Terry Tucker wins Ultimate Match Fishing on Chickamauga Lake

Terry Tucker of Gadsden, Alabama won the inaugural Pelicanʼs Ultimate Match Fishing Invitational fishing tournament on Chickamauga Lake. The event took place May 27 and 28 on Lake Chickamauga with anglers fishing out of Dayton, Tennessee.

The field, consisting of the top BFL anglers in the nation, competed in a standard tournament format on day one with the two top finishers competing head-to-head on day two under Ultimate Match Fishing rules for the top prize of $20,000 dollars and a chance to fish against the top FLW and BASS Elite Series pro anglers on Pelicanʼs Ultimate Match Fishing on Outdoor Channel in 2018.

Jimmy Washam of Covington, Tennessee took first place on day one with a 5-bass limit of 21.61 pounds. Tucker finished day one in second place with 21.36 pounds.

Jimmy Washam and Terry Tucker of Gadsden, Alabama get set to go one-on-one for the $20,000 first place prize and a chance to fish against the pros on Pelican’s UMF in 2018. (Photo: Gary Bolden)

The first and second place anglers, Washam and Tucker, met again on day two, competing head-to-head under UMF format rules. For four grueling 90-minute quarters Washam and Tucker battled under the watchful eye of UMF Referee Mark Randolph with UMF hosts Fish Fishburne and Joe Thomas calling the play by play. In the end, Tucker overcame 2 full pounds of penalties to narrowly edge Jimmy Washam by just over a pound. The entire match will air later this year exclusively on Outdoor Channelʼs streaming site.

With the victory, Tucker pockets $20,000 dollars and a birth in Pelicanʼs Ultimate Match Fishing in 2018 to fish against the top professional bass anglers from both the FLW Tour and the BASS Elite Series to air exclusively on Outdoor Channel.

The first and second place anglers, Washam and Tucker, met again on day two, competing head-to-head under UMF format rules. The competition between the two was emceed live by UMF hosts Fish Fishburne and Joe Thomas calling the play by play. (Photo: Gary Bolden)

An obviously emotional Tucker, who has been through some physical challenges over the past several years told the crowd, “Win or lose, it just meant a lot to me to know that I could still do it. That even after what Iʼve been through, I could still compete against these young guys.”

See the full tournament results at www.ultimatematchfishing.com.

Fish Dayton welcomes Costa FLW Series this Week on Lake Chickamauga

FISH DAYTON SET TO HOST COSTA FLW SERIES SOUTHEASTERN DIVISION FINALE PRESENTED BY LOWRANCE

DAYTON, Tenn. – As many as 450 pros and co-anglers are set to compete May 4-6 in the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division finale on Lake Chickamauga. The tournament, presented by Lowrance, is the final regular-season event of 2017 scheduled in the Southeastern Division. Pros will be competing for a top award of up to $50,000 in cash and a new Ranger Z518C boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard.

“There’s going to be a lot of bass and a lot of big limits caught in this event,” said FLW Tour pro Michael Wooley of Collierville, Tennessee, who won the FLW Tour event at Lake Chickamauga in 2015. “There should be a lot of fish heading offshore right now because the spawn is just about over. I would say it’s going to be a postspawn deal, but there could be a twist. This week we’ve had a lot of rain and we are supposed to get more.”

Wooley said that following a lot of rain, the river runs high and bass seek protection in creeks from the strong current. With that in mind, competitors who originally planned to fish solely offshore may need to make adjustments.

“It’s only a forecast though, so nothing is guaranteed,” said Wooley. “If we do get the rain docks will be a big player, as well as grass up the river. In grassy areas, I’d use a ChatterBait or any kind of soft-plastics. On the docks, I’d flip a jig or maybe even throw a wacky-rigged worm.”

Wooley said that areas near Chester Frost Park will be a good bet for anglers who choose to target offshore bass.

“Chester Frost Park is a really prime area for catching offshore bass,” said Wooley. “I won the Tour event near there and the dam in 2015. If I were competing, I’d throw a big swimbait – they’ll eat it up – or a (Strike King) 6XD or 10XD crankbait.”

The Tennessee pro said a three-day cumulative weight of 70 pounds should be enough to take home top honors.

Anglers will take off from the Dayton Boat Dock, located at 175 Lakeshore St. in Dayton at 6:30 a.m. EDT each day. Weigh-ins will be held at the marina beginning at 2:30 p.m. each day. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public. The event is hosted by the Rhea Economic & Tourism Council.

In Costa FLW Series regular-season competition, payouts are based on the number of participants competing in the event. At Lake Chickamauga, pros will fish for as much as $50,000 and a Ranger Z518C boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard if Ranger Cup qualified. Co-anglers will cast for a Ranger Z175 boat with a 90-horsepower Evinrude outboard and an additional $1,250 if Ranger Cup qualified.

The Costa FLW Series consists of five U.S. divisions – Central, Northern, Southeastern, Southwestern and Western. Each division consists of three tournaments with competitors vying for valuable points that could earn them the opportunity to fish in the Costa FLW Series Championship. The 2017 Costa FLW Series Championship is being held Nov. 2-4 on Kentucky Lake in Paris, Tennessee.

For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Costa FLW Series on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.

About FLW

FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2017 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 274 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. For more information visit FLWFishing.com and follow FLW at FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube and Snapchat.

Records broke and history made at the 2017 Battle of Chick

DAYTON, Tenn. — A field of 347 boats and 1,033 total participants took part in Saturday’s Costa Bassmaster High School Southern Open presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods on Chickamauga Lake.

The event broke records before the first cast was made, with the largest field in B.A.S.S. history. Then once the fishing began, the records just kept falling.

Logan Henderson and Steven Swann from the Springville (Ala.) Anglers won with a 24-pound, 1-ounce limit of bass that now ranks as the largest ever caught in a B.A.S.S. high school event. They finished just ahead of Colton Williams and Chase Taylor of the Good Hope (Ala.) fishing team, who placed second with 22-11.

The previous record catch of 23-14 was caught by Alex Heintze and Justin Watts in 2015.

“It started off kind of slow for us,” said Henderson, a sophomore at Springville High School in St. Clair County, Ala. “Then we caught one about 5 pounds — Steven did — and at about 10:15(a.m.), we caught one that weighed 8-3.

“Then from about 10:15 until about noon, it just got slow.”

Henderson and Swann caught all of their fish around brushpiles in 12 to 15 feet. They couldn’t get the bass to bite anything but a Strike King 5XD crankbait — but it wasn’t for lack of trying.

“We fished a football head jig and a spoon, but we couldn’t get them to hit either one,” Swann said. “All of a sudden, from about 1 to 3, they just started biting again.”

It was the first trip for the pair to Chickamauga, and they only had about a day and a half to practice. Their boat captain, Kenny Pannell, who is also Logan’s grandfather, arrived a day earlier than the youngsters and did a little scouting himself.

There were moments of anxiety for the winning team during the midday lull — even with two big fish already in the livewell.

“It’s tough, because you’re anticipating another big one,” Henderson said. “We didn’t want to waste those two big ones we had already caught.

“We finally changed areas, and the second spot where we started catching them had brush that was a little more scattered.”

Henderson and Swann knew by the time they got to the weigh-in stage that they would need a big weight to replace Williams and Taylor as the leaders. The eventual second-place finishers weighed in early, and had been sitting in the hot seat with 22-11 for more than an hour when Henderson and Swann took the stage.

The impressive catch of Williams and Taylor was anchored by a largemouth that weighed 7-10.

“We pulled up on a spot where we knew there was some grass, but we didn’t catch anything for about 30 minutes,” Taylor said. “We moved a little deeper and started catching them. That was the only spot we stayed in all day.”

The spot, which was only about 20 feet long, was the kind of place tournament anglers of all ages dream of finding.

“We caught 43 fish out of that one spot,” Williams said. “It was just a lucky spot that we had never fished before.”

The anglers stayed with their special spot as long as they could. But with boat troubles dogging them throughout the day, they decided to make a 35-minute run back to another spot that was closer to the launch site.

Fishing was much tougher for them after the move.

“I know we could have caught another kicker if we could have stayed there longer,” Taylor said.

Taylor spent most of his day using a 1/2-ounce chartreuse ChatterBait with a small swimbait trailer. Williams said he used a 1/2-ounce crawfish-colored Rat-L-Trap.

Another record that fell was the largest bass ever caught during a B.A.S.S. high school event. Chase Carter and Adam Sansom of the North West Georgia Anglers established a new mark — one that will be hard to top in the future — with a largemouth that weighed 10-11.

On a day when numerous bass in the 7- to 8-pound range were caught, Carter and Sansom easily earned the award for Big Bass.

“He thought he had a catfish,” said Sansom, a high school junior. “But then when that thing opened its mouth, my heart just stopped.”

Carter, a freshman, had a similar reaction.

“It probably took me an hour to stop shaking,” he said.

Rounding out the Top 5 were Houston Calvert and Chase Abbott, Cold Springs Fishing Team (20-14), Justin Lowery and James Cobbs, Cullman High School (20-7) and Chace Gregory and Tucker Weidler, Helena High School (20-6).

The Top 35 teams from the event qualified for the Costa Bassmaster High School National Championship presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, scheduled for June 19-24 on Kentucky Lake in Paris, Tenn.

Largest Field in History of B.A.S.S. headed for Dayton

Dayton, TN —  After hosting the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Souuthern Open last week, Dayton brings in an even bigger field on the 36,240-acre Tennessee River.  Last week local Pro Angler Michael Neal brought home a second place finish in a field of over 200.  Dayton community are hoping the local Rhea County High School Team can repeat that success this weekend, April 29-30, in a field twice that size.

The Costa Bassmaster High School Southern Open presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods is scheduled for Saturday, with takeoff at 6:40 a.m. ET from Blue Water Resort and weight in scheduled for 2:40 pm at Dayton Boat Dock.  The field for this B.A.S.S. event will be the largest in the 50-year tournament history of B.A.S.S with a field of 416 boats.

Tournament format is  two anglers and a team captain or coach in each boat.  That would put the number of participants in the water at more than 1,200.  this will break the previous record by over 80 boats.  Last April 332 boats set the record in a High School Open, in tournament held on Lake Guntersville, in Alabama.

Saturday’s event is one of four High School Opens that qualify student anglers for the Costa Bassmaster High School Championship presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.  In addition to top anglers in the Opens, the highest-finishing competitors in state championships and sanctioned high school team trails also are invited to the High School Championship.

Rhea County High School will bring a very large group competing with 15 boats slated to blast off on Saturday for the tournament.

Bryan College Anglers ranked Number One in Nation

Nathan Bell and Dylan Pritchett finished 7th and 15th place respectively at Kentucky Lake on Saturday

March 16, 2017

Dayton, Tenn. — The temperature dropped drastically and the snow turned Kentucky Lake into a whiteout over the weekend, but that didn’t hinder the Bryan College Lions Fishing Team who weathered the wintry mix and battled their way to 7th and 15th place finishes at the Cabela’s Collegiate Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley on Saturday, Mar. 11, to surge ahead of the competition and dethrone Auburn University (Ala.) and claim the No. 1 spot in the country.

Dylan Pritchettt hold up his fish that garnered a 15th place finish for Bryan College on Saturday

The format of the 2017 Big Bass Bash had already been changed from a two-day event to a one-day event due the chance of inclement weather. The previous standings for Cabela’s School of the Year had University of Alabama, University of North Alabama, and University of South Carolina also ahead of Bryan, but the 513 points awarded to Nathan Bell (SR/Riceville, Tenn.) for his 6.81lber and 505 points given to Dylan Pritchett (JR/Evensville, Tenn.) after his 6.39lb catch helped the young Lions program make a rippling splash in collegiate fishing to lead the race for School of the Year.

In just their third year in existence, Bryan has fished their way through a tough body of water with no divisions or conferences, meaning that all schools in the nation are facing off for the Cabela’s School of the Year title. The 634 points compiled before the Big Bass Bash grew by more than a grand with the Lions now at 1,652 for the year.

The Big Bass Bash is a highly anticipated event for the schools vying for School of the Year, because of the large field of anglers that enter the event, which in turn allows for a large amount of points to be earned. The prize gets even sweeter with Cabela’s taking the top two finishes of each team, and each angler is considered a team. “You have to do well at the Big Bass Bash for a chance at becoming School of the Year,” explained Bell.

Even though fellow rival Bethel University (Tenn.) took the top honors with an 8.49lber and placed 6th with a 6.85lber, they closed the gap by only 15 points. Consistency has been key for the Lions with top finishes in every tournament this season, and that will play a major role in Bryan guarding the number one ranking.

Because of his experience, Bell didn’t let the mental game start playing tricks on him. “The day before I didn’t think the conditions were going to affect the fishing,” said Bell. “I have fished enough to know that when weather drastically changes that the fish will still bite. It’s normally the day after that you can start to notice the difference.”

He wasn’t nervous about the fish biting, but he did think that the approach would need to be different to get a big bite. Bell remarked, “I told my partner, Cole Sands (SO/Calhoun, Tenn.), that we would need to slow the pace down. Some of the guys wouldn’t be able to reach their spots, but all we needed was to catch two fish over 6lbs to lead in School of the Year.”

The tournament was broke into eight sessions, and the top-10 in each would win prizes. Bryan’s Dylan Kear (JR/Clinton, Tenn.) was the only one on the team to land a large enough fish to place through the first two sessions. Pritchett helped Bryan feel more comfortable when he placed 3rd in session three presented by Cabela’s with one of the 6lbers that Bell said the Lions would need. It wasn’t until session six that Connor Cohran (FR/Dalton, Ga.) and Jonathan Peck broke the silence with fish that neared the 5lb mark for 6th and 7th finishes during that particular weigh-in.

The Lions entered the final session, session eight presented by Engel Coolers & Costa Sunglasses, in need of one more 6lber, and it was Bell who delivered for Bryan. “When I caught the fish with just an hour left, I knew we killed it,” said Bell. “We had been fishing shallow all day, but Sands had the idea to go over to a deep spot. On my first cast of the last session, I felt it reach bottom and took it about two feet before the huge hit.”

When asked about how he felt helping the Lions to take over as the No. 1 team in the nation, Bell explained, “We are all excited about the honor to become the leader in the running for School of the Year. It’s entirely a team effort, and the cool thing is it takes all of us to outlast these large colleges and universities since there are no divisions. The strong finish in the Big Bass Bash sets us up really good for the top-10 in School of the Year, because all of the other schools close to us in the race have already participated in their regional tournament. We haven’t fished our BASS regional, which will provide us with even more points.”

Head Bryan Fishing Coach, Mike Keen said, “I am extremely proud of these guys. They have worked very hard to reach this milestone. This is the reward of a total team effort. Now we move our focus to placing high in each tournament in order to protect our No. 1 spot.”

Up next for the Lions, they travel to Lake Hartwell in Hartwell, S.C. this weekend for the FLW Southeastern Regional on Saturday, Mar. 18, and follow it up with the Cabela’s College Open on Lake Dardanelle in Russellville, Ark. next Saturday, Mar. 25.

Andy Morgan Wins Third AOY Title

(Editor’s Note: This story courtesy Curtis Niedermier, www.FLWOutdoors.com)

There’s no established benchmark for what is a dynasty in professional sports. It’s a subjective term.

What the pundits can agree on is that a dynasty requires multiple championships over the course of several seasons. How many championships we can all debate, but in the case of Andy Morgan’s performance over the last four seasons, the case could be made that he’s established a dynasty on the Walmart FLW Tour.

Today at Lake Champlain in Plattsburgh, N.Y., Morgan won his third Angler of the Year title and its $100,000 prize. He’s not the first to win three, but Morgan is the first in FLW Tour history to win three in four years.

The first came in 2013. Then Morgan went back to back with his second in 2014. Last season, Morgan “slipped” with a ninth-place finish in the standings – what would be a career best for many other anglers – and he’s now back on top in 2016.

Generally, dynasties are contingent on winning year-end championships, but in professional fishing we can argue that AOY is the more challenging title to win. It rewards consistency over the course of a season. And Morgan’s year defines consistency.

He made the top-20 cut this week at Champlain, so his final place hasn’t been recorded, but he’s going to average at least a 22nd-place finish for the season. He took 40th at the opener on Okeechobee then had his worst finish of 42nd place at Lake Hartwell. Morgan made the top 10 at Beaver Lake and Kentucky Lake and finished 11th at Pickwick.

“My first two tournaments were not that great,” Morgan says. “I got checks, and I was proud of that. But to win AOY it wasn’t the kind of checks you need to get. The last four tournaments I put it together, and it just worked out well. It was a blessing to do well.”

Remarkably, Morgan never really had a bad day over that span. He’s caught a limit every day of the season so far and attributes that kind of consistency to both willingness to gamble and his unwillingness to relent on the tough days.

“After you do well for a little while you get a little fearless,” he says. “You kind of get the preconceived stuff out of the way. You have a game plan, but you’re not afraid to scrap it sometimes when it all goes bad. And it usually does. In practice and the tournaments, sometimes it’s totally different, right and left. But you get fearless, and you just go fishing. You treat it like a normal day. That sounds simple, but it’s not easy to do when you pay the big entry fee and it’s all on the line.”

Morgan overtook Jeff Sprague for the AOY lead at stop No. 5 on Kentucky Lake in early June, but his biggest hurdle was the finale here on Champlain. It’s a place where smallmouths are in play, and Morgan has never been shy about his distaste for Northern smallmouths. It’s also a place where everybody catches fish. A scrapper who cashes a lot of checks with a spinning rod in hand, Morgan says he’d have preferred that the AOY title be settled in a tough event.

“I’m just not comfortable up here,” he says of Champlain. “It’s not a good feeling to come here in a slugfest and have to catch them. I think this is my fifth time here, and every time everybody catches them.”

Adding to the drama was a pair of dead fish in Morgan’s limit today – his first dead fish, he says, in “I don’t know how long.” It appeared early on in the weigh-in that the resulting 8-ounce penalty might open the door for Sprague or one of the other contenders to take away Morgan’s lead. It didn’t happen. He weighed 16 pounds, 14 ounces, and one by one the rest of the AOY contenders fell short.

It wasn’t a dominating performance that sealed the deal. His wasn’t a season-long display of big limits and contending for tournament wins. It was more a collection of scrappy, blue-collar performances that allowed him to survive the tough days and gradually build momentum throughout the season. It was a hard-working AOY win, says Morgan. And if anything, that’s the definition of the Andy Morgan dynasty.

“I’ve always said it just takes a good rain coat and some sunscreen to get out here and compete. That kind of grinding, and that kind of mentality that you’re not going to beat me is what it takes,” he says. “You have to learn to work. You learn to get up early and put in whatever it takes to compete and stay competitive. I’m 44 years old. You can see the gray in my beard. But I still know how to work. It’s all about the hustle.”

2016 Bass Pro Shops’ Big Bass Tour comes to Dayton

Over $75k to be awarded at Bass Pro Shops’ Big Bass Tour this Wkd in Dayton, May 21-22

big_bass_tour_logo_white (1)One special fish could win a new boat and loads of cash at Bass Pro Shops’ Big Bass Tour this weekend in Dayton, Tennessee.

Lake Chickamauga is the seventh stop in the nation’s premier big bass tournament series brought to you by industry giants such as Bass Pro Shops, Nitro Boats, GoPro, Huk Performance Fishing, Shimano, Mercury, and Oakley.

“Anyone can win this one. You need one big bite. One cast, one big bass.  This one here is anyone’s ballgame,” says local lunker hunter Chad Reel, who won Rhea Medical Foundation’s Big Bass Tourney last May with an 8.27 pound largemouth.

Reel and long-time partner Kevin Burnett say they are yet to fish a tournament this year, but this one’s too good to pass up.

“If you’re gonna fish a tournament where your odds are good, there isn’t another tournament you can enter for this price ($110 per day, $160 both days).”

Over $3,000 will be awarded each hour to the top ten bass with biggest paying $1,000.  Add the grand prize, 2016 Nitro Z18 with a Mercury 150HP ProXS motor ($33,175 as equipped), and it’s easy to see why this has become the hottest big bass series in the nation.

“Anyone can win this one,” adds Reel.  “You need one big bite to win – one cast, one big bass.”

Dayton pro Michael ‘The Real Deal’ Neal, fresh off a second place finish ($30,000) at Walmart FLW Tour’s Pickwick Lake event, says, “Fishing a big fish tournament is anybody’s game because there is more luck involved.”

“Don’t focus on catching numbers.  Throw the biggest bait in your tackle box all day,” is Neal’s best advice for anglers hoping to drive away with that new Nitro Z18.

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Lake Chickamauga – Big Bass, Lots of Grass

Out of six events thus far in 2016, the largest bass in the series was caught prespawn (February 27-28) on the Harris Chain of Lakes (FL) weighing in at 8.94 pounds.

This is a great opportunity for Lake Chickamauga to show the nation what we’re all about.

Dennis Tumlin – RETC Director

If last weekend’s Morristown Marine Tournament (195 boats) is any indication, Lake Chickamauga will shatter that amount.

Josh Roark and partner Allen Smith (Morristown, TN) brought a 10.17 pounder to the scales, and we won’t mention the 12 plus pounder caught James Gobel of Bean Station (TN) earlier last week.

“It will definitely take at least 10.5 to 11.5 to win,” says FLW Pro Michael Neal who has a front row seat to current lake trends as proprietor of Dayton Boat Dock, a hub for area anglers and the venue for this event.

Rhea County’s Economic and Tourism Director Dennis Tumlin says Lake Chick has risen to every occasion and hopes it will shine again this weekend.

“This is a great opportunity for Lake Chickamauga to show the nation what we’re all about.  We have big bass and lots of grass.”

“I’ve been working to bring this event to Dayton for over three years,” says Tumlin.  “We’re excited to see our local anglers have the opportunity to fish one of the biggest tours in the nation right here in Dayton.”

For more details, visit bigbasstour.com.

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