Top 5 Patterns from Chickamauga – Day 1 - Major League Fishing

Top 5 Patterns from Chickamauga – Day 1

The top five pros are almost all on the same program
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February 27, 2020 • Richard Simms • Toyota Series

This story is supposed to be about the top five pros’ patterns, but it’s tough to write much when virtually every angler is fishing the exact same pattern.

Miles Burghoff from Soddy Daisy, Tenn., and Brent Butler from Vonore, Tenn., both ended up with exactly 21 pounds, 9 ounces, creating a two-way tie for first place going into day two of the Toyota Series Central Division event at Lake Chickamauga. They were mostly throwing lipless crankbaits. Here’s what the remaining top five anglers were doing.

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Complete results


Josh Norris

3. Josh Norris – Spring City, Tenn. – 21-0 (5)

Following up in third place behind Burghoff and Butler was Josh Norris from Spring City, Tenn., with 21-0. His weapon of choice was pretty much the same as the leaders.

“Shallow. I was fishing shallow with lipless cranksbaits,” says Norris. “It’s just about location, just running and gunning. I’m burning a lot of gas through that thing.”

Norris says he traveled downriver from Dayton for one simple reason.

“There’s more fish down there,” he says.


Tommy Brown

4. Tommy Brown – Louisville, Tenn. – 20-6 (5)

In fourth place is Tommy Brown from Louisville, Tenn., with 20-6. Unlike the top three, however, Brown fished upriver from Dayton rather than downriver.

“I’m covering a lot of water and finding the grass, catching them out of the grass,” says Brown. “A lot of it has been washed away this winter, but there are a few areas up here with a little bit of grass back in it, and that’s where the better fish are. I’m throwing lipless [crankbaits], what everybody’s throwing. It’s just a matter of where you throw it.

“But down here, in February and March, lipless is hard to beat,” he adds. “It’s going to continue to be a grind. The difference-maker is going to be somebody getting hold of a big one. You get 20 [pounds] today and then come in with 25 or 30 tomorrow, you’re going to be in business.”


Nick Cupps

5. Nick Cupps – Chattanooga, Tenn. – 18-15 (10)

Nick Cupps from Chattanooga, Tenn., ended in fifth place with 18-15. He sang the same song as the other top anglers.

“It was a grind all day long,” says Cupps. “I threw a lipless crankbait all day long. I don’t see it changing much in the next couple of days. But in practice, I thought if you found one you’d find them all grouped up, and the guys that found them would really catch them. But I have yet to find that. I had seven keeper bites all day long. It’s just keep grinding after them, and it’s not easy.”

Cupps had a 6-5 big fish in his bag.

“The big bite goes a long way on Lake Chickamauga,” he adds. “Especially here. I get tired of hearing about double-digit fish because I’ve never caught one. Maybe I’ll catch one tomorrow, but those are game changers. But that’s what I love about this sport, and FLW puts on a great event.”