1:50 That’s a wrap on the blog
Because of the unique travel time challenges due to the layout of Cumberland most of our crew is in the process of getting off the water and heading to weigh-in. There’s some time left to run or fish, and it ought to be pretty productive – sun, warmth and wind are usually good things. Weigh-in starts at 3 p.m. ET, and there will surely be some nice fish weighed, so make sure to come out or tune in!
1:30 Felix and Cales
Austin Felix has moved up toward Fishing Creek. He hasn’t really upgraded, but he wants to be closer to takeoff considering how windy it is.
Also around there, Tim Cales has wrapped up a limit for about 12 pounds.
1:06 Thompson is on the board, others
Joe Thompson says the fish have started biting. He’s got just four, but they’re all 2-pounders. Cody Hahner has three and Rob Kilby has a limit.
12:53 Dudes with fish
Grae Buck has 15+ in the boat. He says he’s got four smallies and one big largemouth. Clark Wendlandt is also working on a mixed bag, and he’s got about 14 pounds. Game on!
12:38 Cobb is culling
Brandon Cobb just made a solid cull and replaced a squeaker with a good one. He figures he has about 11 pounds now.
12:33 The struggle bus
Lately we’ve run into a slew of folks that aren’t catching. Jason Lambert has just three. Rob Jordan and Chase Brooks have three as well. Chris Neau has only four. It’s apparently pretty tough for some folks.
12:17 Reehm and Morgenthaler
Clark Reehm isn’t saying much, so it’s fair to assume he’s having a tough day. Chad Morgenthaler has a limit, and he’s got one little one that he wants to cull to get up to around 13 pounds.
12:08 One for Ashmore
Scott Ashmore says the bite has been tough. He’s got just one, but it’s a nice 3+ smallie.
12:02 Birge has a small limit
Zack Birge says he’s got a limit for around 9 pounds. Based on a lot of our recent updates, the bite sure hasn’t been good for everyone.
11:53 Cifuentes and Smith
Joey Cifuentes has two little ones now. Blake Smith has two as well, but one of his is a 3-pounder.
11:35 Arey is one shy
Matt Arey has four small bass and all three species in the livewell at the moment.
11:20 Dudley culls up
David Dudley is slinging a blade and just culled up to about 11 pounds. He’s one of many who are fishing up the lake and boxing up limits, but there are some dandy smallmouths being caught farther down.
11:02 Felix culls
Austin Felix is known for his love of Harry Potter and smallmouths. Today. He’s doing work on the smallmouth side of things, as he recently culled again and should be working his way into the upper teens now.
10:56 Thrift ties Meyer
With five keepers in the boat (four smallies) that go about “13 pounds,” Bryan Thrift has tied Cody Meyer for the most consecutive limits in FLW Tour competition. He’s also got a pretty good day going.
10:50 Felix is rolling
Austin Felix has taken the early and unofficial lead. He’s tossing 2-pounders back without looking and says he’s got about 15 pounds in the ‘well.
10:45 It’s starting to rock and roll
The wind is really starting to pick up down in the lower end of the lake. It’s supposed to get pretty frisky today as things warm up, and the wind is likely to help the fishing. So, we’ll see what happens. Now, it mostly is just breezy enough to form some mudlines in places.
Also, Jim Jones has two keepers and Jay Kendrick has one.
10:40 Cory J, Latimer and Webster
Cory Johnston has two so far, but one of them is a dandy smallmouth. Brian Latimer has three and just lost a slammer a minute ago – he’s not happy about that. Joseph Webster has just one little one.
10:10 Cowboy up!
Joey Cifuentes only has one in the boat. Luckily, there’s a lot of day left.
10:00 Atkins and Johnston
Justin Atkins has a limit for about 11 pounds. He’s cranking a bank up the lake near takeoff. On the opposite end of the lake, Chris Johnston just landed a nice 3-pound smallmouth and has two skippers to go with it.
9:45 A handful of updates
Rob Jordan has a pair of medium keepers. Ramie Colson has five and the makings of an excellent day – he’s got all three species in the box and his best are a largemouth and a smallmouth that both go over 3 pounds. Also of note, Carl Jocumsen has culled up slightly again.
9:35 Martin gets a big one
Scott Martin just popped a 4-pound smallie for his second keeper. He says he could see it and a few others on his Panoptix, but it took him about 10 minutes of work to get one of them to commit.
9:33 McCaghren limits
Billy McCaghren just filled out his limit with a good fish to get up past 10 pounds. Bill Day says that limits from 9 to 11 pounds will be a dime a dozen this week, so he’s still got some kicker work to do to separate himself from the pack come weigh-in.
9:25 Jocumsen upgrades, McCaghren with four
Carl Jocumsen just put a solid largemouth in the boat to upgrade a bit. No exact word on the size, but he’s got to be feeling good with a decent limit so early.
Down the lake, Billy McCaghren has four in the boat for 8 or 9 pounds. Pretty much everyone from the Ozarks is a decent bet this week, so it’d be no surprise to see him whack ‘em.
9:17 Martin with one, Jocumsen with a limit
Scott Martin just made a bait change and caught his first keeper and missed one. He says the fish are a lot more active today than they were the last day of practice.
More up the lake, Carl Jocumsen has our first limit of the day and says it goes a bit more than 10 pounds.
9:13 A slow start for some
Matt Becker, James Watson and Jeremy Lawyer are all fishless so far. Becker is slinging a jerkbait on windy points and has lost two in quick succession. Brandon McMillan had a pretty electric start to practice according to our sources, but he’s just got one spotted bass in the boat now.
8:58 Myers with another
Britt Myers just landed a solid largemouth for his second keeper. Myers stumbled a bit at the Harris Chain, but he’s sitting 28th in the points about halfway through his first season on Tour.
8:50 Ponds, J-Mac and Martin
Pete Ponds is on the board with one good smallmouth. Down the lake, Jared McMillan added a nice keeper largemouth to his bag. Around Conley Bottom, Scott Martin is still fishless, but he did land a pretty nice walleye on a spinnerbait.
8:48 Nichol, Myers
David Nichol has a green and a brown and they’re both fairly small. Britt Myers just landed a keeper spotted bass, and he says the debris on the ride down the lake was pretty bad this morning.
8:43 J-Mac gets on the board
Jared McMillan just popped a 3-pound smallie to get things underway. He says there are a pile of suspended bass around him, but he’s having trouble getting them to bite.
8:35 Rozema with two good ones
Craig Rozema is fishing his rookie season on Tour and hasn’t finished above 89th so far, but things might be looking up. He’s slinging a little swimbait and just boxed up a 2-pound and a 4-pound smallie on just about back-to-back casts.
8:29 Nothing for J-Mac, the weather
Jared McMillan is working around the State Dock area and hasn’t picked up a keeper yet. He’s alternating between a spinnerbait, a fluke and a jerkbait.
The temperatures listed in the conditions don’t really do the weather justice. This morning was noticeably warmer than previous days, and it feels like a really, really good day for fishing.
8:24 Three for Cales
Time Cales has boxed up three keepers so far for not much weight. He’s more up the river and has a spot and two largemouths.
8:18 Nothing for Thompson yet
Down in the lower end, Joe Thompson hasn’t boxed anything up yet. He’s throwing a spinnerbait.
8:10 Morin has one
Fishing up closer to takeoff, Bob Morin has started off with one keeper. Keepers should be pretty easy this week due to the 12-inch size limit, but getting up past 14 pounds or so will be the difference maker.
7:45 They’ve reached the lower end
The folks in the first few flights have just started rolling into Beaver and Otter, so we probably aren’t far from our first set of updates that actually deal with bass.
7:00 Will the weather bring the bite?
Practice for the FLW Tour presented by General Tire on Lake Cumberland started with a lot of anticipation. Pre-practice had been good to many pros, and everyone was excited to fish under new regulations – instead of a 15-inch limit on largemouths and an 18-inch limit on smallmouths, everything over 12 inches is fair game now. However, three days of practice in frigid conditions did its work, and the bite was generally reported as lackluster. That may very well change now that spring weather has actually arrived.
Cumberland is currently fairly high, almost 3 feet over full pool, and the high water has hidden most of the brush and trees that grew up when the lake was drawn down from 2006 to 2013. A fairly typical mountain reservoir in most respects, it is known for really good smallmouth fishing, and it’s likely that the eventual winner will rely at least in part on brown fish for their limits. Of course, there are largemouths and spots too, and plenty of them will be weighed as well, especially by pros fishing up the river near takeoff.
One of the big questions that will be answered the coming day is how much suspended or deep fish will play and how much traditional shallow, prespawn bass will play. Most of the lake has at least some stain now, and the water looks perfect for a spinnerbait. If things keep warming up that could push fish shallow and into the waiting arms of anglers. However, the lack of success many experienced in practice is a pretty good indicator that there are still a lot of fish out deeper. Those deeper fish could be feeding on alewives or simply hanging out and avoiding the fluctuating water near the bank. Some pros will undoubtedly be targeting those fish, and it could be very productive, but it’s easy to imagine a lot of green fish getting caught on the bank as well.
One final factor to consider is the long run to the lower end. The true smallmouth country of Cumberland is more than 30 miles from takeoff, and it’s likely that a lot of the field will make that trek. With the water higher than normal, there is a considerable amount of floating debris that makes the run a little more treacherous. Under prime conditions it takes 40 or 50 minutes to get to the mouth Beaver Creek – it’s going to take a bit longer this week, as pros will have to slow down in some of the more trashy areas.
Anyhow, it’s time to fish now, and with any luck the lake will really show off, we just don’t know how. With changing conditions and spring movement, the next four days are bound to be very interesting.
Temperature at takeoff: 52 degrees
Forecast high: 74 degrees
Precipitation: 0 percent chance of rain
Wind: southeast at 15 mph
Water level: 725.85 feet (tracker)
Folgers Morning Takeoff: 7:00 a.m. ET at General Burnside Island State Park, 8801 S. Highway 27, Burnside, Ky.
Weigh-in: Thursday and Friday at 3 p.m. ET at General Burnside Island State Park and 4 p.m. ET Saturday and Sunday at General Burnside Island State Park
FLW Expo: 12 to 4 p.m. ET Saturday and Sunday at General Burnside Island State Park FLW Live: Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. ET to 12:30 p.m. ET