By John Johnson
BassFan Senior Editor


Tommy Dickerson's goal for the final Southwestern FLW Series event of the season at Oklahoma's Fort Gibson Lake was a top-15 finish. That would assure him a place among the top 10 on the final points list, and thus an invitation to return to the FLW Tour in 2019.

Dickerson, who competed on the Tour in 2016, badly wants to do it again next year.

"The upcoming schedule really fits my style and the first tournament is on Sam Rayburn, which is my home lake," he said. "The schedule is a shallow water-type deal and that fits my style. My No. 1 bait is a Rat-L-Trap and I think the first three tournaments could be won on that."

He used a spinnerbait to triumph in the tough-bite event at Fort Gibson. He concluded day 3 tied with Kyle Cortiana for the top slot (both compiled a 32-06 aggregate), but Dickerson was declared the winner based on a higher placement on day 2 (he was 1st and Cortiana was 4th).

The 54-year-old Texan had a 4-pound lead after day 2, but managed just a three-fish, 5-15 stringer in the final round when the backwater area he'd been exploiting became inaccessible for much of the final day due to low water. With the level back on the rise, he returned to the spot for the final few hours and mustered up just enough to prevail.

Practice was Tough

The visit to Fort Gibson was Dickerson's first and his first and he was decidedly unimpressed after his first few days on the water.

"I'd planned to practice for 6 days and for the first 4 days I didn't catch a keeper," he said. "I was catching maybe 20 12-inchers a day (the minimum-length requirement was 14 inches), but that was it.

"After the fourth day I made my mind up that I had to get as far away from the main lake as possible. I talked to the guys at the motel and none of us were catching anything. I needed to do something different so I went as far up the (Grand) River as I could go, then as far back in a creek as I could get."

He worked his way into a channel that was perhaps 50 yards wide with a variety of cover (brush, laydowns, rocks) lining each side. He tried fishing the shoreline stuff, but that didn't produce much action. Once he began slow-rolling his spinnerbait through the center of the channel, however, he started getting quality bites.

Strong Start, then Limped Home

Dickerson caught a 14 1/2-pound stringer on day 1 that left him in 2nd place, about a pound off of Cortiana's lead. He moved into the top slot the next day with a 12-pound haul as Cortiana weighed only three fish for 6-05.

He had a great deal of trouble getting out of his backwater locale on the second day as the water continued to fall. He spent about 45 minutes trying to get back in on the morning of the final day, but realized the quest was futile.

"I knew what (the situation would be) before I ran that far, but I figured I had to try because I didn't have anything else," he said. "Just before I left I looked down and saw just a little bit of water movement and I thought maybe ... just maybe ... it would come back up enough later on to get back into that spot.

"As soon as I got back to the main lake, the current was so strong that I had to run my trolling motor wide open just to maintain my position. I figured I'd wait until 10 o'clock and then go back and try it again. After I got all the way back there, I could see the water had come up a foot in 3 hours."

He had no trouble getting across the big rock shoal that was the main obstacle along his route to the secluded creek. He got five bites while he was back there and landed three, and they combined to weigh just enough to give him his second triple-A victory and first since 2006 at Lake Texoma.

Winning Gear Notes

> Spinnerbait gear 6'10" medium-heavy iRod Vibrating Jig rod, Shimano Chronarch casting reel (6.3:1 ratio), 20-pound Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon line, 1/2-ounce Santone spinnerbait (chartreuse/white with one willow-leaf blades one reddish-orange and one gold).

The Bottom Line

> Main factor in his success "The main deal that I figured out was I needed to cast right down the middle of the creek. With the falling water and I think they moved to the deepest spot. I'd just slow-roll the bait and when I felt it hit something, I'd roll it over or pop it through and that's where I'd get the bites. There were several other boats in there the first day, but those guys were all throwing at the bank and they didn't do as good as I did. Their boats were where the fish were at."

> Performance edge "I'd have to give my Ranger boat the credit it floated shallow enough for me to get over that shoal and it does that as well as any boat on the market."

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Final Standings

1. Tommy Dickerson -- Orange, Tx -- 14-7 (5) -- 12-0 (5) -- 5-15 (3) -- 32-6 (13) -- $80,503

2. Kyle Cortiana -- Coweta, Ok -- 15-8 (5) -- 6-5 (3) -- 10-9 (5) -- 32-6 (13) -- $13,199

3. Brady Winans -- Caddo Mills, Tx -- 7-6 (3) -- 12-1 (3) -- 12-9 (3) -- 32-0 (9) -- $10,371

4. Cody Bird -- Granbury, Tx -- 10-4 (5) -- 12-1 (5) -- 7-9 (4) -- 29-14 (14) -- $8,451

5. Tommy Biffle -- Wagoner, Ok -- 12-15 (4) -- 6-13 (2) -- 10-2 (3) -- 29-14 (9) -- $7,606

6. Mitchell Webb -- Skiatook, Ok -- 11-1 (5) -- 7-1 (3) -- 9-9 (5) -- 27-11 (13) -- $6,761

7. Brandon Mosley -- Choctaw, Ok -- 6-9 (3) -- 12-9 (5) -- 8-7 (3) -- 27-9 (11) -- $5,916

8. Ryan Wilbanks -- Wagoner, Ok -- 12-5 (5) -- 11-1 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 23-6 (10) -- $5,070

9. Joel Baker -- Talala, Ok -- 10-6 (4) -- 10-5 (4) -- 2-10 (1) -- 23-5 (9) -- $4,225

10. Darrel Robertson -- Jay, Ok -- 9-7 (2) -- 8-12 (3) -- 4-12 (2) -- 22-15 (7) -- $3,380

The following anglers did not make the cut and did not fish on day 3.

11. Tyson Patrick -- McCamey, Tx -- 9-5 (4) -- 7-15 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 17-4 (7) -- $3,169

12. Randy Despino -- Colfax, La -- 11-8 (4) -- 3-12 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 15-4 (6) -- $3,188

13. Stephen Johnston -- Hemphill, Tx -- 7-6 (3) -- 6-6 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 13-12 (6) -- $2,535

14. Chuck Nelson -- Elmore City, Ok -- 6-6 (3) -- 6-5 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 12-11 (5) -- $2,535

15. Brett Brumnett -- Wagoner, Ok -- 6-13 (2) -- 5-13 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 12-10 (5) -- $2,535

16. Casey Scanlon -- Lake Ozark, Mo -- 12-1 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 12-1 (5) -- $2,535

17. Eric Wright -- Balch Springs, Tx -- 6-4 (3) -- 5-11 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 11-15 (6) -- $2,535

18. Floyd Drannon -- Stratford, Ok -- 6-8 (3) -- 5-6 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 11-14 (5) -- $2,535

19. Jeff Sprague -- Point, Tx -- 2-11 (1) -- 9-0 (5) -- 0-0 (0) -- 11-11 (6) -- $2,535

20. Christopher Digino -- Dallas, Tx -- 9-11 (3) -- 1-14 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 11-9 (4) -- $2,535

21. Brad Cook -- Afton, Ok -- 6-5 (3) -- 5-3 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 11-8 (5) -- $2,324

22. Justin Wojcik -- Bulverde, Tx -- 11-7 (4) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 11-7 (4) -- $2,324

23. Christopher Jones -- Bokoshe, Ok -- 9-1 (3) -- 2-4 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 11-5 (4) -- $2,324

24. Steve Bruton -- Broken Bow, Ok -- 5-3 (2) -- 5-10 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 10-13 (4) -- $2,324

25. Chad Warren -- Sand Springs, Ok -- 3-8 (2) -- 7-3 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 10-11 (5) -- $2,324

26. Samuel Canoe -- Georgetown, La -- 8-3 (4) -- 2-7 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 10-10 (5) -- $2,113

27. Andrew Upshaw -- Tulsa, Ok -- 2-14 (1) -- 7-12 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 10-10 (4) -- $2,113

28. Blaine Covington -- Fort Worth, Tx -- 7-10 (2) -- 2-14 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 10-8 (3) -- $2,113

29. Cameron Mattison -- Bossier City, La -- 4-3 (1) -- 6-5 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 10-8 (3) -- $2,113

30. Jack Covas -- Waco, Tx -- 5-8 (2) -- 5-0 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 10-8 (4) -- $2,113

31. Brian Hanes -- Bernice, Ok -- 5-11 (3) -- 4-10 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 10-5 (5) -- $1,690

32. Travis Harriman -- Huntsville, Ar -- 2-6 (1) -- 7-7 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 9-13 (4)

33. Kevin Lasyone -- Dry Prong, La -- 5-4 (2) -- 4-4 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 9-8 (4)

34. Jeffrey Randolph -- Huntsville, Tx -- 7-5 (3) -- 1-14 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 9-3 (4)

35. Ronny Johnson -- Locust Grove, Ok -- 2-1 (1) -- 7-2 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 9-3 (4)

36. Jake Biram -- Tulsa, Ok -- 6-10 (3) -- 2-8 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 9-2 (4)

37. Phillip Whittaker -- Baytown, Tx -- 7-6 (3) -- 1-10 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 9-0 (4)

38. Zack Birge -- Blanchard, Ok -- 5-9 (2) -- 3-6 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 8-15 (3)

39. Tommy Martin -- Hemphill, Tx -- 4-5 (2) -- 4-7 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 8-12 (4)

40. Curt Warren -- Rose, Ok -- 4-1 (2) -- 4-3 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 8-4 (4)

41. Derek Fulps -- Broken Arrow, Ok -- 5-12 (3) -- 2-6 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 8-2 (4)

42. Roger Hughes -- Bartlesville, Ok -- 3-12 (1) -- 4-1 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 7-13 (3)

43. Justin Green -- Camden, Ar -- 2-0 (1) -- 5-11 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 7-11 (4)

44. Jon Englund -- Farwell, Mn -- 5-7 (1) -- 1-15 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 7-6 (2)

45. Ricci Head -- Shawnee, Ok -- 5-2 (2) -- 2-1 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 7-3 (3)

46. James Caldemeyer -- Gilmer, Tx -- 4-4 (2) -- 2-15 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 7-3 (3)

47. Blake Schroeder -- Whitehouse, Tx -- 4-4 (2) -- 2-14 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 7-2 (3)

48. Jake Ormond -- Sterlington, La -- 3-10 (2) -- 3-8 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 7-2 (3)

49. Troy O'Rourke -- Natchitoches, La -- 2-13 (1) -- 4-4 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 7-1 (3)

50. Tommy Brown -- Louisville, Tn -- 3-2 (1) -- 3-15 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 7-1 (3)

51. Matt Cooper -- Smithville, Tx -- 4-15 (2) -- 2-1 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 7-0 (3)

52. Caleb Gibson -- Locust Grove, Ok -- 0-0 (0) -- 6-14 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 6-14 (3)

53. Darold Gleason -- Many, La -- 6-11 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 6-11 (2)

54. Cougun Ledford -- Coweta, Ok -- 4-6 (3) -- 2-5 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 6-11 (4)

55. Kevin Ledoux -- Choctaw, Ok -- 4-4 (2) -- 2-7 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 6-11 (3)

56. Robert Case -- Point, Tx -- 6-8 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 6-8 (3)

57. Jason Bonds -- Lufkin, Tx -- 6-4 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 6-4 (3)

58. Dean Alexander -- Georgetown, Tx -- 2-1 (1) -- 4-3 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 6-4 (2)

59. Tim Reneau -- Richland Springs, Tx -- 3-15 (1) -- 2-5 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 6-4 (2)

60. Waylon Harvey -- Henderson, Tx -- 6-2 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 6-2 (2)

61. Michael Herron -- Paris, Tx -- 0-0 (0) -- 5-14 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 5-14 (2)

62. Jordan Osborne -- Longview, Tx -- 0-0 (0) -- 5-6 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 5-6 (2)

63. Tye Smith -- Grove, Ok -- 2-4 (1) -- 3-1 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 5-5 (2)

64. Dakota Ebare -- Stephenville, Tx -- 3-5 (2) -- 1-12 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 5-1 (3)

65. Randy Cisler -- Mesquite, Tx -- 2-12 (1) -- 2-5 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 5-1 (2)

66. Holt Markum -- Paradise, Tx -- 4-15 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 4-15 (2)

67. Roy Whisenhunt -- Valliant, Ok -- 2-12 (1) -- 2-3 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 4-15 (2)

68. Theron Caldwell -- Colleyville, Tx -- 2-9 (1) -- 2-4 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 4-13 (2)

69. Lee Batson -- Heath, Tx -- 2-5 (1) -- 2-8 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 4-13 (2)

70. Kevin Gressett -- Tioga, Tx -- 2-13 (1) -- 1-14 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 4-11 (2)

71. Matt Massey -- Littleton, Co -- 1-15 (1) -- 2-12 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 4-11 (2)

72. Mark Russell -- Yantis, Tx -- 4-9 (3) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 4-9 (3)

73. Kirk Smith -- Edmond, Ok -- 2-13 (1) -- 1-11 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 4-8 (2)

74. T.R. Andreas -- Kerrville, Tx -- 1-13 (1) -- 2-11 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 4-8 (2)

75. Bill Tervin -- Pocola, Ok -- 1-12 (1) -- 2-8 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 4-4 (2)

76. Todd Castledine -- Nacogdoches, Tx -- 2-4 (1) -- 1-15 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 4-3 (2)

77. Kelly Owens -- Crowley, La -- 4-0 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 4-0 (2)

78. Brian Mathis -- Cedar Park, Tx -- 2-2 (1) -- 1-13 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 3-15 (2)

79. Rob Burns -- Plano, Tx -- 0-0 (0) -- 3-14 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 3-14 (2)

80. Skeeter Fowler -- Grand Saline, Tx -- 0-0 (0) -- 3-13 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 3-13 (1)

81. Matt Garner -- Seminole, Ok -- 3-12 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 3-12 (1)

82. Jacob Capps -- Muskogee, Ok -- 3-11 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 3-11 (2)

83. Terry Ezell -- El Reno, Ok -- 1-9 (1) -- 2-2 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 3-11 (2)

84. Mike Gilbreath -- Grove, Ok -- 1-15 (1) -- 1-12 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 3-11 (2)

85. Jerod Hawkes -- Sabinal, Tx -- 1-13 (1) -- 1-12 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 3-9 (2)

86. Nick Lebrun -- Bossier City, La -- 0-0 (0) -- 3-7 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 3-7 (1)

87. Nick Aber -- Piedmont, Ok -- 0-0 (0) -- 3-3 (2) -- 0-0 (0) -- 3-3 (2)

88. Lance Crawford -- Broken Bow, Ok -- 0-0 (0) -- 3-1 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 3-1 (1)

89. Eric Porterfield -- Fort Gibson, Ok -- 2-15 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 2-15 (1)

90. John Pilcher -- Kansas, Ok -- 2-10 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 2-10 (1)

91. Cameron Pappan -- Winfield, Ks -- 0-0 (0) -- 2-7 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 2-7 (1)

92. Harmon Davis -- Marlow, Ok -- 2-6 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 2-6 (1)

93. Billy Hurt -- Spring Creek, Tn -- 2-6 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 2-6 (1)

94. Garrett Hilton -- Beaumont, Tx -- 2-2 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 2-2 (1)

95. Darren Hahne -- Ottawa, Il -- 0-0 (0) -- 2-2 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 2-2 (1)

96. Alton Wilhoit -- Noble, Ok -- 0-0 (0) -- 2-2 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 2-2 (1)

97. Colby Miller -- Elmer, La -- 0-0 (0) -- 1-14 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 1-14 (1)

98. Scott Bonvillain -- Dequincy, La -- 1-13 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 1-13 (1)

99. Russell Cecil -- Willis, Tx -- 1-13 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 1-13 (1)

100. Joe Gerard -- Concordia, Ks -- 0-0 (0) -- 1-13 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 1-13 (1)

101. Jeffrey Gengler -- Fort Collins, Co -- 0-0 (0) -- 1-11 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 1-11 (1)

102. Eric Faucett -- Norman, Ok -- 1-11 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 1-11 (1)

103. Danny Weems -- Como, Tx -- 0-0 (0) -- 1-10 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 1-10 (1)

104. Sheldon Collings -- Grove, Ok -- 1-9 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 1-9 (1)

105. James Martin -- Longview, Tx -- 1-9 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 1-9 (1)

106. Jeff Bunch -- Nacogdoches, Tx -- 0-0 (0) -- 1-8 (1) -- 0-0 (0) -- 1-8 (1)

Brandon Moss -- Blanchard, Ok -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0)

Warren Houston -- Lahoma, Ok -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0)

Stacey King -- Reeds Spring, Mo -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0)

Mathew Williamson -- Guthrie, Ok -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0)

Jim Tutt -- Longview, Tx -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0)

Douglas R. Johnson -- Ponca City, Ok -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0)

Chris Lewis -- Longview, Tx -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0)

Brian Robison -- Magnolia, Tx -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0)

Paul Heavener -- Tulsa, Ok -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0) -- 0-0 (0)