WHAT: The 2013 Walmart BFL season continues with six tournaments on Saturday, April 20. The Gator division holds its fourth tournament of the season on Lake Toho, the LBL division continues on Kentucky and Barkley lakes, the Mississippi division blasts off on Ross Barnett Reservoir, the Music City division continues on Center Hill Lake, the Shenandoah division opens on the Potomac River and the Volunteer division visits South Holston 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, April 20

WHERE:          

Gator Division
Lake Toho
Big Toho Marina
101 Lakeshore Blvd.
Kissimmee, Fla.

NOTES: Conditions on Lake Toho are shaping up to provide a good tournament. A colder than average spring has prolonged some of the spawning activity and a few straggler bass may still be found spawning around the lake. Air temperatures in the Kissimmee area are predicted to stay above 80 degrees for the next few weeks, and if water temperatures continue to increase topwater fishing could come into play. The postspawn bass are keying in on shad and bunching up in schools. Plastics, frogs and swimbaits will be thrown by many anglers. Weights here last month were very solid, and anglers can expect to see a few bags around 20 pounds, with the possibility of an even larger stringer.

WHERE:          

LBL Division
Kentucky/Barkley lakes
Moors Resort & Marina
570 Moors Road
Gilbertsville, Ky.

NOTES: Water temperatures are currently in the lower 50-degree range, and reports state that the bass are scattered. Some fish are being caught very shallow, while others are still holding on deeper structure. Weather has been warming up and many of the fish that are shallow are now being caught on crankbaits and plastics. Jerkbaits are also reporting to work well. The umbrella rig may also be a major player in getting some of those bigger, less active fish to commit. The quantity of big bass in Kentucky and Barkley lakes is staggering. Expect a winning weight somewhere in the low to mid 20-pound range.

WHERE:          

Mississippi Division
Ross Barnett Reservoir
Tommy’s Trading Post
4238 Highway 43 N.
Brandon, Miss.

NOTES: Ross Barnett is close to full pool and water temperatures are the in the 50s. Water conditions have been known to change quickly in this shallow-water reservoir. Heavy rains or wind can make this lake muddy and hard to fish, but tends to position the fish on available cover, such as stump fields and vegetation. Many bass are up shallow and spawning. Plastics including craws, worms, jerkbaits and swimbaits are all expected to produce. Jigs and crankbaits might become a factor as well. Expect a winning weight to be near 15 pounds.

WHERE:          

Music City Division
Center Hill Lake
Ragland Bottom Recreation Area
1423 Ragland Bottom Road
Sparta, Tenn.

NOTES: Water temperature is in the 50s and the lake level is fairly stable. Reports state that bass fishing has been good on jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, plastic worms and jigs while fishing depths of 5 to 15 feet of water. The fish are starting to concentrate in the creeks, anticipating the spawn.  Several nice smallmouth are being caught on the transitions and drop offs in 15 to 25 feet of water. Expect the winning weight to be around 20 pounds, with many limits in the teens.

WHERE:          

Shenandoah Division
Potomac River
Smallwood State Park
2750 Sweden Point Road
Marbury, Md.

NOTES: The Potomac River region has seen warmer weather this week, and reports are stating that the bass are moving up into the shallow spawning areas adjacent to the nearest deep water. They are still waiting to nest, but a couple of more warm days will most likely put them in the mood. The most consistent bedding areas are the shallow sandy or gravel bottom areas in direct sunlight in coves or the backs of creeks. Grass beds are also good bedding spots. Lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits, plastics and jigs have been the preferred baits of tournament anglers lately.

WHERE:

Volunteer Division
South Holston Lake
Observation Knob Park
553 Knob Park Road
Bristol, Tenn.

NOTES: Water is on the rise at South Holston. It has risen over 10 feet in the last month, and is predicted to keep rising until it reaches its full summer pool. The lake’s shoreline habitat offers anglers rock bluffs, shale banks and clay points. There is also abundant offshore structure in the form of river channels, humps and drop offs. Smallmouth and largemouth bass fishing has been good as of late and is getting better. Reports state that umbrella rigs with swimbaits in shad or natural-green colors have been producing the best quality of fish. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits in shades of green or chartreuse are also producing. Fish are being found at all depths, and the winning weight is projected to be roughly 17 to 19 pounds.

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

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