WHAT: The 2013 Walmart BFL season continues with four tournaments on Saturday, March 16. The Bulldog division holds its second tournament of the season on Lake Seminole, the Mississippi Division continues on Pickwick Lake, the Mountain Division opens on Dale Hollow Lake and the North Carolina division heads to Jordan Lake. Up to 400 boaters and co-anglers will be competing in each event for top awards up to $8,000 and $3,000 respectively.
WHEN: Saturday, March 16
Bainbridge Earle May Boat Basin
100 Boat Basin Circle
NOTES: Located on the border of Florida and Georgia, this lake is currently full, clear and close to 60 degrees. Reports indicate that the lake’s hydrilla is in abundance and fish are hanging in and around the shallow grass flats. Like in many other warm Southern-climate lakes, some of the bass may decide to spawn if conditions permit. Warm weather should be pushing the bass up shallower and into the backs of the creeks. Soft plastics and jigs worked in and around the grass can produce quality bass throughout the day. Shallow-diving crankbaits and lipless crankbaits can also be effective. Lake Seminole is known for being windy this time of year, and boat control can quickly become an issue for even the most experienced anglers. Boats fitted with shallow water anchors will give a significant advantage if conditions get blustery.
J.P. Coleman State Park
613 County Road 321
NOTES: Pickwick Lake continues to be one of the hottest lakes in the Southeast and has consistently been producing five-bass limits of more than 20 pounds. The Alabama Rig’s popularity has made it a reliable factor in just about every tournament on the Tennessee River system. Pickwick Lake has been said to be one of the few lakes in the country where you can catch a 5-pound smallmouth and a 5-pound largemouth on back-to-back casts. Smallmouths inhabit the more turbulent waters of the lake near the dam, while gravel bars and points are holding bass of both species. In addition to the Alabama rig, crankbaits, jigs and jerkbaits should also be effective on Pickwick’s black and brown bass.
Dale Hollow Lake
Star Point Resort
4490 Star Point Road
NOTES: Located on the Tennessee/Kentucky border, Dale Hollow Lake is known for its abundance of trophy-sized smallmouth bass. The lake still holds the record for the world’s largest smallmouth, which weighed in just shy of 12 pounds. But smallmouth bass aren’t the only species that are worthy of attention here. There are also plenty of hefty largemouth that roam the lake as well. Mixed bags at weigh-in are a common occurrence. Water temperatures are currently around 50 degrees and swimbaits, jerkbaits, crankbaits and jigs are all producing on deeper structure around the lake. Warm days will push the largemouth further back into the creeks.
North Carolina Division
New Hope Overlook
New Hill/Olive Chapel Road
New Hill, N.C.
NOTES: Located just outside North Carolina’s capital of Raleigh, Jordan Lake has been one of the best big-bass lakes in the state since it was impounded. As the weather continues to warm up, rocks and riprap banks tend to gather heat faster throughout the day. This in turn congregates the shad and other baitfish and attracts the predators of the lake. Anglers will have to watch the water clarity, as springtime rains often soak and muddy the already dingy waters of Jordan Lake. Reports indicate that main-creek points with rock and timber cover have produced as of late. Impressive stringers have been recorded the past few years, and it is very likely that it will take a bag of more than 22 to 23 pounds to win.
The BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 120 tournaments throughout the season, five in each division. The top 40 boaters and co-anglers from each division qualify for a regional tournament and are competing to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the Walmart BFL All-American presented by Chevy. The 2013 BFL All-American is being held June 27-29 on Nickajack Lake in Chattanooga, Tenn. Top winners in the BFL can move up to the EverStart Series or even the Walmart FLW Tour.
Logo courtesy FLW Outdoors