Every year around this time, we have our biggest tournament of the year, the FLW Forrest Wood Cup. Its’ a culmination of all the hard work, travel, tackle preparation, and the good and not-so-good tournament finishes in one unique championship event. This is my 18th appearance at the Cup, and I’ve fished several of them on Lake Ouachita. Ouachita is a great venue because it is such a versatile fishery. It’s a big lake with clear water, timber, grass and rock, and could literally be won on any end of the lake. I’ve had some good finishes there and some poor finishes, but I really love the area, the community is supportive, and it’s always a fun place to fish. I spent four days pre-practicing before off limits, and though I think the fishing will be tough, it will be a good tournament. August is always a tough time to fish, but the lake is in the best shape I’ve ever seen. I expect a three day tournament weight of 50 pounds. The show that accompanies the tournament will be exciting. Hope to see you there! Photo Courtesy FLW
A great way to catch bass in the summer is targeting the bluegill spawn. The time is right when the water is warm and the moon is full or new. Fishing for blue gill is fun too. I love catching bluegill, but you can also catch big bass that are feeding on those spawning bluegill. Bluegill spawn in warm, shallow muddy-looking flat bays. My favorite way to fish the bluegill spawn is topwater, moving down the bank quickly. But if there is a lot of cover, try a swim jig. I like the Strike King Hack Attack Heavy Cover Swim Jig with a Rage Craw trailer. It runs shallow and looks a lot like a blue gill. You might move your rod a little to put inflection in the bait, but basically just reeling it in works well. If fish are not chasing topwater or swim jigs, try an Ocho rigged whacky style pitched up in shallow water. You can catch some really big fish during the bluegill spawn. covering a lot of water and using the right baits.
The sixth stop on the FLW Tour this year was a place I have never fished – the Upper Mississippi River out of La Crosse, Wisconsin on pools 7, 8 and 9. What a cool fishery! Shallow water, current, wing dams, grass, flooded timber – the fishery has it all. The cool thing is that you can catch fish a number of different ways. The tournament was won by Brian Schmitt throwing a swim jig and second place was flipping flooded cover in back waters. I didn’t have my best tournament and finished 66th, but I’d love to have another crack at it another year. I look forward to our return trip.