The second stop of the Toyota Series Central Division ought to be a really good one. Set for Pickwick Lake in late May, the offshore bite ought to be in full swing, with plenty of shallow fish as well.
Toyota Series Central Division
May 28-30, 2020
Hosted by Florence/Lauderdale Tourism
One of the best Tennessee River impoundments, Pickwick runs northwest though Alabama and a bit of Mississippi, and the lower end and dam are in Tennessee, about 70 miles south of New Johnsonville.
There’s no bad stretch of the lake, but it does have a few distinct sections. The upper end of the lake, near the Wilson Dam, is known for a lot of current and excellent smallmouth fishing. Down the lake, some really exceptional ledges come into play, and, depending on the timing, there is a lot of shallow action on shallower bars, grass and even flooded cover.
Though it isn’t surprising to see a smallmouth or two in a bag at Pickwick, it’s largemouths that win most of the time there. As is the case with most Tennessee River reservoirs, shad are the dominant forage.
Tournament history for late May and early June on Pickwick suggests fantastic fishing. Typically, tournaments in May (especially the latter half) and June are dominated offshore, with folks such as Buddy Gross and Randy Haynes having some memorable wins. Still, Pickwick is a good enough lake with enough shallow cover that truly deep ledge fishing is rarely the only option. When Greg Hackney won the 2014 FLW Tour event on Pickwick in early June, he fished offshore, but quite shallow.
Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit rookie Cole Floyd, who has won the last two Collegiate Bass Championships on Pickwick, says the fishing should be pretty phenomenal.
“It’s definitely gonna be an offshore deal, and it’s gonna be a slugfest,” says Floyd. “I bet it’s gonna be crazy. There will be guys that catch them out of shallower stuff, too. They will be tough to beat if they find that stuff. I bet the weights will be crazy. I’d say it’ll take high 60s to win over three days.”
Floyd says that on Kentucky Lake, the fishing has been a little behind this year, but he thinks that only makes the timing better at Pickwick.
“I’ll usually start finding fish out on mid-range stuff now, or a week before now [mid-May],” says Floyd of the offshore bite. “It’s kind of behind here [at Kentucky Lake]. We haven’t had a shad spawn yet, and usually it’s going on now. I’ve heard that it hasn’t quite happened yet there [at Pickwick], but I think our tournament will hit it right on the nail.”
For catching offshore fish, Floyd thinks that cranking will be clutch, as that’s usually one of the best early producers offshore on the Tennessee River. Other traditional ledge-fishing baits will work as well, including football jigs and other dragging baits. Swimbaits, hair jigs and fluke-style baits on Scrounger-style heads could also produce well, and they have a history of success in the summer on Pickwick.
For shallower stuff, big spinnerbaits can be very good around spawning shad. Big, shallow-running crankbaits can be a good bet to catch the better-than-average largemouths that might be shallow and gorging on big gizzard shad.
Any co-angler that signs up through the 2020 Toyota Series Co-Angler Special will also get a free shirt for signing up. You can call (270) 252-1000 or sign up here.