MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING

DRAGONFLY - RAYMARINE

THE SPRAGUE REPORT: LAKE CUMBERLAND

Posted by Z3 MEDIA STAFF on 04/11/2018

Burnside, KY – The fourth FLW Tour stop of the season kicks off Thursday morning on Lake Cumberland in Kentucky.  This marks the second time in as many years that the Tour has visited the massive fishery.  In 2017, Scott Martin edged out Barry Wilson for the victory in early April.  

Things are a little different this year, as the lake is approximately 10 feet higher than it was when the Tour visited in 2017.   In addition, anglers will be able to keep all three species of bass that are at least 12-inches in length as opposed to the 15-inch minimum on largemouth and 18-inch minimum on smallmouth that was in play last year.  

For the 2018 season, The BASS ZONE has enlisted the help of FLW Tour pro, Jeff Sprague.   The Texas angler is fishing his fifth year on the FLW Tour and is coming off a 33rd place finish in the last stop on the FLW Tour on Lake Lanier.  

On the Wednesday prior to the start of each FLW Tour event in 2018, Sprague will check in with The BASS ZONE and give a candid post-practice report as he prepares for the first day of competition.  

WHAT ARE YOUR FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF CUMBERLAND?  
“It’s a totally different lake than it was the last time that we were here in 2017.  Last year, the fish were spawning when we were here and this year, we are a good week or two behind.  The water is a lot higher and it’s a lot more off-colored.  

The areas that were clear last year are not as clear this year, so I think that makes it a little harder for some of the guys who are targeting smallmouth.  It also spreads the largemouth out because they have a lot of places to go with the high water.  Unless something changes, I think we are going to see a little bit of a drop in weight overall.”

WHAT IS GOING TO BE THE X-FACTOR THIS WEEK?
“Everyone wants to talk about how the fact that we can weight in 12” fish is going to change everything, but I really don’t think that the length limit change is going to play as much of a factor as it would have last year.   Last year, everyone was catching large amounts of 15” to 17” smallmouth.  There are still smallmouth being caught, but there’s just not the sheer number of those sized fish.”  

HOW MUCH OF A FACTOR WILL PRIOR EXPERIENCE PLAY THIS WEEK?  
“I think prior experience could both help and hurt this year.  I know that during practice I’ve found myself gravitating to areas where I knew they were spawning when we were here last year.   It has helped me some, but it has also hurt a little bit because maybe I didn’t expand on enough water.  

“There are some guys who have figured out where the fish live on this lake, so they’ll be able to wheel into an area where they live and get right in a hurry if the fish are biting.”   

WILL THIS EVENT BE WON IN A PARTICULAR AREA OR WILL AN ANGLER HAVE TO MOVE AROUND TO HAVE SUCCESS?
“This lake is so big and the runs are so long that you’re not really able to run around a whole lot.  It’s almost a 50 mile run to the lower end.  By the time your run around a little bit down there and get fuel, you’ve burnt up your day.  

“The idle zones on this lake are gigantic.  Everywhere you want to go into a creek you have a 10 minute idle.  It eats up a lot of your time, so a guy has to have a pretty good game plan or an area where he’s confident and can sit down and grind.”  

WHAT IS YOUR ESTIMATE FOR THE WINNINGS WEIGHT?  
“I’m going to go with 16-pounds a day to win the tournament, so 64-pounds should get the job done.”