Don’t Blink Professional Bass Fishing Fans! The season is not over because as many as 450 FLW 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.
The event falls just behind last week’s event hosted by the City of Dayton and the Bass Pro Shop of East Ridge, Tennessee. This week the Pros of the FLW 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.
Dayton, Soddy-Daisy, and Chattanooga are becoming known as the Bass Capital of the world as tournaments continue to schedule events. Such events shine the spotlight on Tennessee Pro Anglers.
Michael Wooley of Collierville, Tennessee
Pro Michael Wooley of Collierville Tennessee said the recent heavy rains may play a part in the way anglers approach the lake’s condition as the bass move away from spawning areas.
“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 post-spawn 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 adjust.
“It’s only a forecast though, so nothing is guaranteed,” said Wooley when speaking about lake conditions and bait selection. “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.
Take off and Weigh-In Location and Times
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.
FLW and Payout Info
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.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization. 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 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
Kent Whitaker, also known as “The Deck Chef,” is a culinary writer and cookbook author. He’s also penned Young Reader and History titles. The former winner of the Emeril Live Food Network Barbecue Contest also covers football, motor-sports, and bass fishing. Kent currently lives in East Tennessee with his wife, son, and a couple of dogs that love when he fires up the smoker or grill.