Current is key for upcoming Illini Division BFL tournament on Ohio River out of Paducah - Major League Fishing
Current is key for upcoming Illini Division BFL tournament on Ohio River out of Paducah
2w • Sean Ostruszka • Phoenix Bass Fishing League
2024 Phoenix Bass Fishing League – Ohio River at Paducah weigh-in (7/13/2024)
1d • Phoenix Bass Fishing League
2024 Phoenix Bass Fishing League – Neely Henry Lake weigh-in (7/13/2024)
1d • Phoenix Bass Fishing League
2024 Phoenix Bass Fishing League – Detroit River weigh-in (7/13/2024)
1d • Phoenix Bass Fishing League
Midsummer transition to test anglers at Kentucky/Barkley lakes BFL
1w • Sean Ostruszka • Phoenix Bass Fishing League
St. Lawrence River ahead of schedule for July 20 BFL
1w • Sean Ostruszka • Phoenix Bass Fishing League
Neely Henry ready for second half of BFL July ‘twofer’
1w • Sean Ostruszka • Phoenix Bass Fishing League
Lake Ferguson July 20 BFL all hinges on water level
1w • Sean Ostruszka • Phoenix Bass Fishing League
THEIR STORY: Kathy Fennel’s inspiring journey started with a tournament roster and spirit of ‘always aspiring to do more’
1w • Bass Pro Tour
Bonnie’s Brookman wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at Rend Lake
1w • MLF • Press Releases
Harrison Township’s Mandel posts first career win at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at Detroit River
1w • MLF • Press Releases
New Lebanon’s Cunnagin gets the win at Phoenix Bass Fishing League event at Ohio River-Tanners Creek
1w • MLF • Press Releases
Century Club commemorative coins start hitting mailboxes
1w • Jody White • Phoenix Bass Fishing League
2024 Phoenix Bass Fishing League – Rend Lake weigh-in (6/29/2024)
2w • Phoenix Bass Fishing League
2024 Phoenix Bass Fishing League – Ohio River weigh-in (6/29/2024)
2w • Phoenix Bass Fishing League

Current is key for upcoming Illini Division BFL tournament on Ohio River out of Paducah

Image for Current is key for upcoming Illini Division BFL tournament on Ohio River out of Paducah
June 25, 2024 • Sean Ostruszka • Phoenix Bass Fishing League

Seems obvious to say current is a factor on a river. But for the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine Illini Division tournament on July 13 on the Ohio River, that holds truer than in most. You see, it won’t just be the current in the Ohio River that anglers will need to be monitoring.

Tournament details

Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine Illini Division

Ohio River-Paducah

Paducah, Ky.

July 13

SIGN UP NOW!

About the fishery

For years, this tournament launched out of the Smithland Pool, but it’s since been changed to launch out of Burnett Street Ramp in Paducah. Doing so has changed the landscape quite a bit.

You see, prior to the change, anglers had to lock through the Smithland Dam to try and access the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers. Now, it’s just a short run from Paducah to get to either river, and more importantly, the tailwaters of Kentucky and Barkley lakes. The Smithland Pool and it’s many creeks are still in play, too, for anyone wanting to lock up.

Regardless of where anglers go, they’re not going to find much in terms of vegetation. Instead, there’s a ton of rock and manmade cover in the rivers, and plenty of smallmouth hanging around them. In fact, more than in prior years, according to longtime Illini Division sharpie Colby Shcrumpf.

“Catching a limit in Illinois will almost always get you paid, but especially in this event,” Shcrumpf said. “However, it used to be only a handful of limits would get caught. Last year, there were 16. That may not seem like many, but it’s a significant jump. The fishery is definitely improving.”

What to expect

Most eyes will be on the current flowing out of the Kentucky and Barkley dams.

“Below those dams tends to be the best places, but only if the current is running,” Shcrumpf said. “They’re totally current dependent. Those fish live for that current.”

So, if the current is running, expect a good population of the field to be somewhere nearby.

If it’s not, that’s when things get interesting, according to Shcrumpf. Anglers will likely try to find small current breaks out on the main river, but a wildcard could be that Smithland Pool.

“It’s going to be a gamble, because locking is always a gamble,” Shcrumpf said. “All it takes is barge to get stuck or to get your timing off, and you’re done. But there will definitely be less pressure up there, and that could make the difference for a guy who can time things out right.”

In terms of weights, Shcrumpf is figuring 12 to 14 pounds will seal the deal, and that could be with either largemouth or smallmouth. Just like in Kentucky and Barkley, though, the smallmouth have started to really take center stage.

“The rivers go hand-in-hand with the lakes,” Shcrumpf said. “The lakes are on an upswing, and I think the rivers are, too.”