(Apr 11, 2017 - GROVE, OK.)
As many as 400 pros and co-anglers are set to compete in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event on Grand Lake, April 20-22. The tournament, which is presented by Ranger Boats, is the second of three regular-season events scheduled in the Southwestern Division. Pros will be competing for a top award of up to $40,000 in cash and a new Ranger Z518C boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard.
“This is going to be a great tournament,” said FLW Tour pro James Watson of Lampe, Missouri, who finished in 11th place on Grand Lake when the FLW Series visited in 2016. “There’s still going to be some prespawn activity going on and it could also be a good sight-fishing tournament, depending on water clarity.
“The whole lake will be in play,” continued Watson. “If I were fishing it, I’d pitch a jig or a Luck-E-Strike Ringmaster Creature bait in green-pumpkin or black colors. I’d also slow-roll a big ½-ounce double-willow War Eagle spinnerbait, or throw a Luck-E-Strike Rick Clunn RC2 square-billed crankbait and a G5 American Original crankbait.”
Watson said water clarity will be the key determinant in where anglers choose to fish.
“The sight-fishing will likely be best on the lower end where the water tends to be clearer,” said Watson. “When the Costa Series visited Grand Lake a couple of years ago, it was the best sight-fishing tournament I’ve ever competed in. On the upper end, there’s more color in the water and plenty of rock and laydowns for flipping and pitching. Fish will be setting up well on all of that stuff right now.”
Watson added that boat docks will also be popular, as long as competitors can navigate around their support cables.
“Boat docks will provide a good mix of prespawners and spawners,” said Watson. “If those don’t play out, get cranking down the banks.”
The Missouri pro said that a three-day cumulative weight ranging from 55 to 60 pounds should be enough to take home top honors.
Anglers will take off from Wolf Creek Park, located at 963 N. 16th St. in Grove at 6:30 a.m. CDT each day. Thursday and Friday’s weigh-ins will be held at the park beginning at 2:30 p.m. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be held at Walmart, located at 2115 S. Main St. in Grove, and will also begin at 2:30 p.m.
Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public. The event is hosted by the City of Grove.
In Costa FLW Series regular-season competition, payouts are based on the number of participants competing in the event. At Grand Lake, pros will fish for as much as $40,000 and a Ranger Z518C boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard if Ranger Cup qualified. Co-anglers will cast for a Ranger Z175 boat with a 90-horsepower Evinrude outboard and an additional $5,000 if Ranger Cup qualified.
The Costa FLW Series consists of five U.S. divisions – Central, Northern, Southeastern, Southwestern and Western. Each division consists of three tournaments with competitors vying for valuable points that could earn them the opportunity to fish in the Costa FLW Series Championship. The 2017 Costa FLW Series Championship is being held Nov. 2-4 on Kentucky Lake in Paris, Tennessee.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2017 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 274 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros.