Cherokee Day 3 Coverage - Major League Fishing

Cherokee Day 3 Coverage

It's almost top-10 cut time in east Tennessee
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Scott Martin Photo by Kyle Wood.
April 13, 2019 • FLW Communications • Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit


FLW Live Leaderboard – CLICK HERE

Lake Tour

Tournament Details

Cherokee Lake Preview

FLW Live Schedule

Day two leader story – CLICK HERE

Day three OTW Gallery – CLICK HERE


1:55 p.m. – That's a wrap

Dylan Hays is officially packing up and going for smallmouths.

“I'll have a spinning rod in my hand for the first time in a few days,” he said. “Maybe i’ll get a few 4-pounders.”

The Arkansas pro is definitely optimistic. Even if he doesn’t catch or upgrade, he might learn something that could help him for tomorrow.

It was another eventful day on Cherokee Lake and on FLW Live. We might have had a record day for live fish catches. Most pros are targeting smallmouth bass, but Cherokee Lake’s green fish are proving to be important too.

Be sure to watch weigh-in with Chris Jones on at 4 p.m. ET!


1:40 p.m. – Tim misses one

Tim Frederick just had a feisty smallmouth break his line after rubbing against a rock. Frederick and his marshal agreed that it was a decent smallie that would have probably helped cull.

Dylan Hays has been contemplating where he should fish all day, and is still doing the same. His uncertainty is almost playing to his advantage as he is just hitting a ton of juicy spots up in largemouth country (the river). Until that last 4-pounder he was clearly stressed out, but now he seems super upbeat. Hays still has a heck of a run back to weigh-in so it wouldn’t be surprising if he starts to work his way back to the main lake and start fishing for smallies. No sense in pushing it too much now that he has a good bag.


1:30 p.m. – Hays gets another big

Dylan Hays got another beauty out of a tree. This fish was a 4-pounder and bit on the same jig he’s been throwing all day. Just like that, Hays is back in third place with plenty of culling room left.

J. Todd Tucker was having issues with his trolling motor as it was only turning to the right. Something with the foot pedal wasn’t working like it should. Lucky for him, he brought the wireless remote with and is now using that to run the motor. Also, he’s still catching some pretty good fish and is fixin’ to make it to championship Sunday.

Dudley finally put fish No. 5 in the livewell. That leaves just Evan Barnes as the only angler without a limit.

Other than Hays moving way up the leaderboard, there have not been many movers. Everyone may be hitting their peak weights for the day. That being said, anyone not named Andrew Upshaw should pick up the Dylan Hays mentality and start swinging for the fences and try to get that 4- to 5-pound kicker.


Tim Frederick

12:45 p.m. – Frederick in second

Tim Frederick has wiggled his way into second place behind Andrew Upshaw on the FLW Live Leaderbord. Remember, these weights are just estimates and will fluctuate some after they cross the official FLW weigh-in scale. Also, some anglers and marshals are just eyeballing their fish, so some sandbagging will inevitably take place.

We’ve mentioned the guys near the top of the leaderboard a lot today, but the others in the top 30 are certainly catching a bunch of fish too. According to the marshals, Thrift, Reyes, Nixon, Tucker and Stefan are all catching fish and culling. Dudley and Barnes each need one more keeper and the entire top 30 will have limited out. Cherokee Lake is really showing out for the FLW Tour this week. Yes, the fish are in predictable places, but the number of fish in this lake is just unreal.


Andy Young

Andy Young

Andy Young

12:10 p.m. – Quick Flurry

Apparently noon is lunchtime for the fish in Cherokee Lake. Frederick, Buck, Upshaw, Tucker and Young all just caught fish within about a minute of each other. Andy Young now has a limit over 16 pounds and is in fourth place. Andy is throwing an Outkast Tackle Perfect Ned Head around the same areas as Frederick and Upshaw.


Grae Buck

Dylan Hays

Dylan Hays

12:00 p.m. – Noon update

The last hour has been slower than usual for Andrew Upshaw. He said, “The middle of the day they really shut down and get hard to catch.” He also mentioned that the fish typically turn back on around 2 p.m. Another cull or two and Upshaw will be in prime position heading into championship Sunday.

Despite the bite slowing down, Grae Buck has managed to make a few tiny culls. He is definitely around a lot of 2 3/4- to 3-pounders. For a shot at winning this thing he will need to hook into something a little bit bigger.

Dylan Hays filled out his limit with a little largemouth. “I thought that was another Nadene for a minute. She had me wrapped up underneath that log.” Now it’s upgrade time.


Matt Becker

Matt Becker

Matt Becker

11:25 a.m. – Slowing down

Other than a few guys catching them we seemed to have hit a slight lull in the action. We can't complain much about a lack of fish catches considering 26 out of the 30 pros have their limits. Matt Becker is one pro who is still getting bit. He is fishing the same areas as a bunch of other anglers, but he is targeting a little deeper water off the bank. These fish could be repositioning, or simply just not eating for the time being.


Dylan Hays

Dylan Hays

Dylan Hays

Dylan Hays

10:45 p.m. Ol’ Nadene

Dylan Hays may have just caught the largest fish of the tournament – a 5-plus pounder. He picked up the fish at his juiciest spot with a jig. Dylan knows he needs a couple 3 1/2-pounders and he will be right in the mix of taking over. He is contemplating if he should go catch smallmouths more toward the main lake or stay way upriver on his largemouth spots. Either way, he is in pretty good shape after catching that biggun.


10:25 a.m. – Pollen

The trees have been kicking out the pollen like crazy all week in east Tennessee (not good for allergy sufferers). There is so much of the stuff around that it’s actually collecting on the surface of the water along the bank in some areas of the lake. Andrew Upshaw was just going along a rock bank and noticed a swirl in a slick of floating pollen next to a rock crevice. After seeing that, he flipped his worm in there and caught a 3-pound, 4-ounce smallmouth, which culled out a smaller one. Without a doubt things are going well for Upshaw.

Matt Becker just culled up almost 3 pounds after sticking a 4 3/4-pounder on a shaky head. That fish pushed Becker up into fourth place.


Dylan Hays

Dylan Hays

10:10 a.m. – Maybe rain is a good thing

The moment it started to rain, Dylan Hays got his largemouth to eat. He literally bagged three fish in five casts while flipping. Shortly after his flurry, Dylan dumped a 4-pounder. He currently has around 7 pounds in the boat.

Matt Becker is steadily climbing his way up the FLW Live Leaderboard this morning. We don’t have a live camera on him, but it looks like he is throwing a small plastic, possibly on a shaky head.

Other than Upshaw, the top 10 is straight up stacked. There is a lot of fishing yet to happen, and a lot should change by the end of the day.









DAY 1 – 3





18 – 6 (5)

17 – 14 (5)

14 – 12 (5)

51 – 0 (15)




16 – 6 (5)

17 – 10 (5)

13 – 4 (5)

47 – 4 (15)

3 – 12



16 – 4 (5)

14 – 14 (5)

16 – 0 (5)

47 – 2 (15)

3 – 14



17 – 4 (5)

16 – 5 (5)

13 – 8 (5)

47 – 1 (15)

3 – 15



17 – 4 (5)

17 – 1 (5)

12 – 0 (5)

46 – 5 (15)

4 – 11



17 – 2 (5)

15 – 1 (5)

13 – 4 (5)

45 – 7 (15)

5 – 9



15 – 14 (5)

16 – 4 (5)

12 – 12 (5)

44 – 14 (15)

6 – 2



16 – 8 (5)

16 – 6 (5)

11 – 12 (5)

44 – 10 (15)

6 – 6



14 – 12 (5)

17 – 0 (5)

12 – 12 (5)

44 – 8 (15)

6 – 8



15 – 8 (5)

15 – 10 (5)

12 – 8 (5)

43 – 10 (15)

7 – 6


Andrew Upshaw

9:35 a.m. – More rain

Andrew Upshaw caught a 4-pounder that pushed his limit up over 14 pounds. That gives him nearly a 5-pound lead over second-place angler Grae Buck.

It also started to rain again. Any rain and wind could be more hindering to the anglers than we originally suspected. Austin Felix mentioned, “If the rain comes and starts breaking up the surface, I am going to have to fish blind and hope to put my bait in front of one.”


Andrew Upshaw

Andrew Upshaw

Andrew Upshaw

9:20 a.m. – Upshaw back in the driver's seat

The fish seem to be biting a little better for everyone right now. If you haven’t been watching FLW Live, you should seriously reconsider. Andrew Upshaw has his fish fired up and has filled up his livewell. He actually just caught a bonus largemouth that found it's way in the box, at least for the time being. That largie also has him back in the lead, unofficially.

Frederick has himself a small limit of smallmouths in the boat. Last year when he won the FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee, Frederick explained that he has an uncanny ability to "feel" the beds when he is rolling his baits over them. Smallmouths are a lot different than largemouths, but if Frederick can keep getting dialed in on these beds, he’s definitely a guy to watch out for.


Grae Buck

Grae Buck

Grae Buck

8:55 a.m. – New leader

Grae Buck is leading the tournament after getting his limit and making a cull. Just like Upshaw, Buck is targeting bedded fish in between rocks and boulders. His smallest keeper is right around 2 pounds.

Tom Monsoor is unofficially in fifth place after limiting out. His marshal reported that all of his fish came on a custom Tom Monsoor swim jig, which is no shock. Tom has a couple spotted bass that he is in the process of culling out.


8:30 a.m. – Upshaw has a few

Andrew Upshaw only has two dinks in the boat. He said, “They’re kind of off this morning. I don’t think they’re getting the bait really good.” He is looking for bedding smallmouths that are nestled up in nooks and crannies along a rocky shoreline. Upshaw is using a wacky-rigged Strike King Ocho along with a ned rig to target the smallies.

Here’s a video of Andrew explaining how he likes to throw ned rigs: 

There was a little drizzle of rain at takeoff this morning, but it only lasted a few minutes. We’re supposed to have sporadic rain throughout the first half of the day, then clear up for the afternoon.


8 a.m. – Milner, Monsoor, Thrift and Stefan

Kerry Milner, Tom Monsoor, Bryan Thrift and Matt Stefan all boxed up limits in the first hour of competition. Our leader Andrew Upshaw, meanwhile, has just one small largemouth in the livewell. Weights are packed so tightly together that Upshaw slid a good ways down the standings in the unofficial leaderboard by 8 a.m. There's a long day left to fish though, so don't expect the Oklahoma pro to relinquish his seat at the top that easily. 

It's a bit cooler on the water today than the previous too days, but the forecast calls for the temperature to reach 75 today, so it'll be another fantastic weigh-in.


Andrew Upshaw

7:30 a.m. – Another fast start on day three

Andrew Upshaw has led both days of the FLW Tour event presented by Lowrance at Cherokee Lake, but his lead is far from secure. Everyone in the top 30 has been hammering fish. This morning, like the last two mornings, the fishing has been smokin' hot early. Matt Stefan had a limit by 7:30 a.m., and several quality keepers were already in the boat.

The highlight of the morning was a beautiful rainbow that arced across the hills of east Tennessee, surely bringing good luck for someone among our top 30. Today is supposed to be another wonderful spring day, with light rain in the morning giving way to partly cloudy skies in the afternoon.

On the water, much of the fishing centers on the spawn for both largemouth and smallmouth bass. Not everyone is sight-fishing, but many of the bass have been caught in prime bedding areas or near them. It should continue to be a great shootout event. 



Temperature at takeoff: 56 degrees

Forecast high: 75 degrees

Sky: cloudy

Precipitation: 50 percent chance of rain early

Wind: NE at 5 to 10 mph



Presented by Lowrance

Hosted by the Jefferson County Economic Development Alliance

Takeoff: 7 a.m. ET at TVA Dam Boat Launch, Renfro Rd., Jefferson City, TN

Weigh-in: 4 p.m. ET at TVA Dam Boat Launch

FLW Expo: 2 p.m. ET through the end of weigh-in at TVA Dam Boat launch

FLW Live: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET live on-the-water coverage with commentary from Travis Moran and Todd Hollowell; 4 p.m. ET through the end of weigh-in