Day One Begins at Pickwick Lake

Join the NPFL Pros as the 2023 Season begins on Pickwick Lake.

Story by Justin Brouillard | Photos by Tanner & Travis Lyons

This time, hosted by the City of Florence, Alabama, the anglers and their families are excited to return to Pickwick Lake to get the season kicked off. The weather for the day is scheduled for light winds and bright sun, although launch time temperatures are around 30-degrees. The high for the day should reach the upper 50’s and the low winds will allow anglers to move around throughout the tournament day.

Like last season, the first event of the season is dealing out some curve balls, as anglers are dealing with fast moving, falling water this week on Pickwick. There are plenty of decisions to make when they launch from McFarland Park this morning.

During the 2021 season, local Brandon Perkins was able to run away with the victory on Pickwick. His three-day total of 55-pounds, 11-ounces was enough to earn the victory by 8-pounds on a much different Pickwick Lake.

“I don’t even know where to start tomorrow,” said Perkins, after day three of practice. “Practice overall was a mix; I had two decent days and one terrible day. I am fishing how I want, doing the things I know to catch big bags, but I am afraid it could be one of those deals where it isn’t enough.”

Perkins said he sampled a whole variety of Pickwick, from the Wilson Dam to the Counce, TN end where he has so much history. He spent time in practice sampling the grass fish and could not make it work for him. Conditions this go around are giving anglers some conditions to overcome, similar to Cumberland Lake to start the 2022 season.

“When the schedule came out, I initially thought we might break records this week,” Perkins added. “With the current moving the way it has, and the rain events, the TVA is pulling water, and the dam is ripping. In the last week, the water has dropped over 7-foot, but it is still Pickwick and I know what spring is capable of.”

Perkins is hoping for a bit of fortune this week with a smaller field of anglers spreading out on Pickwick. With fish on both ends of the lake, his decision on where to start will likely not come until he pulls out of take-off.

“As soon as I thought I had a pattern figured out, I was unable to replicate it much. Ideally, the conditions would allow me to run to where I am comfortable fishing away from the crowds, and I am hoping since the lake is fishing bigger than it has in the past, I will have some of those more obvious areas to myself this week.”

John Cox is a name that we should here plenty this week with two in the field. The angler from Debary, Florida has been both hot and cold on Pickwick in the past and is hoping to expand on his tough practice period while fishing on day one.

“I have always finished really bad here although I did get a couple of top 10’s last year, but it was on the other end of the lake. With the wind this week, it just takes too long to get there from McFarland Park,” said Cox. “Practice for me has been OK, the few fish I caught have been really fat; and with a couple of groups going to both tailraces, I expect them to catch them pretty good.”

When Pickwick was first scheduled, Cox was excited to get here and learn more about the fishery.

“I told myself this would be a good practice period to come and learn this lake a little bit better,” added Cox. “If I can figure something out over the next three days then great, but if not, I know what to expect next time.”

Matt Looney is looking forward to expanding on his “actually pretty decent” practice period this week on Pickwick. Looney isn’t falling into the trap, but is in his wheelhouse this week and is having fun doing it.

“A lot of guys were talking about how it was tough to find fish, but for whatever reason I was able to catch some,” said Looney. “I had good days and expect to have a good event. The lake is changing daily but I found out a couple nuances that might make a difference.”

He is hoping the wind doesn’t get too bad throughout the event so he is able to sample the other end of the lake some. And like Perkins, he thinks with less anglers running around, that will only help his changes of fishing the Counce, TN side.

“With paying less guys this year and what I’ve seen not being a local, I think 16 1/2 a day easily, maybe more, will get it done this week,” he added.

Adam Savage has a tough practice period and noted he was not able to generate a lot of bites overall. When he did get a bite, the quality was there and he is right at home fishing the way he likes.

“Prior to practice, with the conditions more stable, I would have estimated about 22 to 25-pounds a day to win, but now I am thinking 18 to 20-pounds,” said Savage.

How to Watch

Tune in daily March 15 through 17 to watch daily action from Florence, AL, with Live Coverage here and on the FREE PHYX TV App beginning on Wednesday. 

Follow along and watch the daily LIVE Leaderboard, LIVE Blog, and on the water photo galleries and blogs of the anglers on Pickwick Lake.

Under the Go Live Tab, choose LIVE Broadcast or check out the real-time leaderboard on the Weigh Live Tracker with estimated weights entered by the anglers on the water and join us for the LIVE Weigh-ins, here!

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