GAINESVILLE, Ga. – When the calendar says early August, pro bass fishermen know the sledding will be tough. Especially in the southeast, this time of year is infamously known as the dog days of summer. The weather is scorching hot and the bite is difficult. But on Georgia’s Lake Lanier, the spotted bass fishing is still surprisingly good.
In fact, Lanier is known as one of the best spot fisheries in the country. And at just under 40,000 acres, it’s perfectly sized to accommodate 78 of the best anglers in the world.
“You can catch as many keepers as you want on Lake Lanier,” said two-time FLW Tour champion Ray Scheide. “But if you want to catch the 3-pounders, you’ve got to go to a completely different area.”
Scheide explained that the bigger spots are chasing blueback herring, a protein-rich baitfish that continuously roam in open water.
“If you can get a school to come up it’s the most exciting 15 minutes you’ll ever experience. But you better fish fast. If you catch two in a school of 200 – you’ve done well. It’s so hard to call them up and once you do they go down so fast.”
The Russellville, Ark., native tried some largemouth fishing during practice and his results were so-so. He plans to mainly focus on spots, but mix in a few hours of largemouth fishing when the opportunity arises.
“I did find somewhat of a largemouth pattern. I plan to fish for them first thing in the morning. I’ve found that the spots don’t bite until midday – at least for me. The sun really tends to position them better on brush and over tree tops. It seems like in the morning they roam more and are harder to catch.”
Alabama pro Kyle Mabrey plans to fish solely for Kentuckies. He’s catching them both suspended and on the bottom of the water column.
“I’ve been averaging close to 12 pounds a day, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see some 15- or 16-pound stringers,” he said. “This is a tough time to fish, no doubt about it, but this is Lake Lanier.”
Mabrey says his deep-brush pattern could be feast or famine, but he’s ready to roll the dice.
“When you come to the Forrest Wood Cup, you know you’re going to get a good check. Even last place takes home $7,000. So you’ve really got to go for it. What have you got to lose?”
Even shallow-water largemouth ace Glenn Browne is fishing for spotted bass.
“Believe me, I tried largemouth fishing,” said the Loudoun-Tellico winner. “I just didn’t get many bites. And when I got bit spot fishing, they were all 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 pounds. If you can catch five like that, that’s all you need.”
Browne plans to start his day with a topwater, then switch to targeting suspending spots with a Fish Head Spin. Later in the afternoon when they typically drop to the bottom he’ll pull out the traditional drop shot and finesse worm.
“The deeper spots are just huge; they’re just killing the bluebacks. They look like they’ve swallowed a football. I’m going to say today’s leader will have 17 or 18 pounds.”
Notable: The 2010 Forrest Wood Cup will have a cumulative weight format. The full field will fish for two days and then be cut to 30 after day two. After day three, the field will be trimmed to the top six pros who will fish the final day of competition by themselves. Co-angler competition will conclude on Saturday (day three).
Daily takeoff ceremonies will be held at Laurel Park, located at 3100 Old Cleveland Hwy. in Gainesville, Ga., each morning from 6:30 to 7 a.m. Takeoffs will commence at 7 a.m. Weigh-ins will be held daily at 5 p.m. at The Arena at Gwinnett Center located at 6400 Sugarloaf Pkwy. in Duluth, Ga.
The FLW Outdoors Expo will be held in conjunction with the Forrest Wood Cup at the Gwinnett Convention Center on Friday from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. FLW Outdoors Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, angler seminars, the opportunity to meet professional anglers, see and test the latest outdoor equipment, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public.
Fishing fans can register to win a Ranger boat that will be given away after the pro champion is crowned. Fans can register at ForrestWoodCup.com and must be present to win.
On the Web
For those who can’t catch the weigh-in action in person, FLWOutdoors.com offers FLW Live, an online application that brings fans real-time weigh-in results, streaming video and audio.
In addition to FLW Live, FLWOutdoors.com is offering real-time updates from the water throughout each day of the Forrest Wood Cup. Simply click on the “On the Water” tab from any of the home pages.
Sunrise: 6:49 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 79 degrees
Expected high temperature: 95 degrees
Water temperature: 89-93 degrees
Wind: WSW at 6 mph
Maximum humidity: 64 percent
Day’s outlook: isolated thunderstorms