Lake Seminole readies for weekend of FLW you bass-fishing tournaments

Published 3:26 pm Friday, February 1, 2019

Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) is set to visit the Bainbridge area next week, Feb. 8-9, with the YETI FLW College Fishing event at Lake Seminole and the Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Open at Lake Seminole.

The tournaments, hosted by the Bainbridge Convention and Visitors Bureau, will showcase some of the top young anglers from across the region competing for cash and prizes and angling for their chance to advance to the FLW College Fishing National Championship and High School Fishing National Championship events.

“This is going to be a fun weekend of fishing,” said local angler Clint Brown of Bainbridge, who has a win and a third-place finish on Lake Seminole in FLW Series competition. “I predict that at least one team catches a limit over 25 pounds, and I’d be willing to bet that they’re going to need at least 20 (pounds) to be in the top 5. It’s fixing to get really good, and if the weather holds up, the kids are going to really catch them.”

Brown said that he expects the bass will still be in their prespawn patterns, but suggested that the anglers target the likely staging areas.

“The fish are ready to start spawning, but we’ve had some cold weather and the rivers are all pretty muddy,” Brown said. “My best advice would be to fish nearby to bedding areas. It’s a wide range, but any deep water – 10 feet or less – close to bedding areas. They’re going to be biting lipless crankbaits and vibrating jigs. I’d be throwing a Buddha Baits Swagger Jig around deeper hydrilla – black and blue or shad colors. Something that can get a reaction bite from them.

“The key will be figuring out how to catch the suspended bass,” Brown went on to say. “The winning fish like to suspend around the grass, but they can be very tough to bite. You can throw at them 8, 10 casts in a row and they won’t move. The key is going to be finding the right bait to get those fish to fire. If a team can find the right school, they can fill the boat real quick.”

The college anglers will kick off competition on Friday, Feb. 8, at 7:30 a.m. EST at the Bainbridge Earle May Boat Basin, located at 100 Boat Basin Circle in Bainbridge. The weigh-in will be held at the boat basin Friday at 3 p.m.

The high school anglers will then compete on Saturday, launching at 7:30 a.m. from the boat basin and weighing in at 3 p.m.

All takeoffs and weigh-ins are free to attend and open to the public, and will be streamed live online at FLWFishing.com.

YETI FLW College Fishing teams compete in three regular-season qualifying tournaments in one of five conferences – Central, Northern, Southern, Southeastern and Western. All participants must be registered, full-time students at a college, university or community college and members of a college fishing club that is recognized by their school. The top 10 teams from each division’s three regular-season tournaments and the top 20 teams from the annual FLW College Fishing Open will advance to the 2020 FLW College Fishing National Championship. Additional teams will qualify for the National Championship if the field size in regular-season events exceeds 100 boats. The Potomac River and Marbury, Maryland, will play host to the 2019 FLW College Fishing National Championship, June 4-6, 2019.

The Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Open tournaments are free, two-person (team) events for students in grades 7-12 and open to any FLW and Student Angler Federation-affiliated high school clubs.

The top 10 percent of teams at each Open event along with the TBF High School Fishing state championships will advance to the 2019 High School Fishing National Championship on Pickwick Lake in June.

The High School Fishing national champions will each receive a $5,000 college scholarship to the school of their choice.