UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Erie

Power surge!

Craig Powers of Rockwood, Tenn., shows off his trophy after winning the Wal-Mart FLW Tour event on the Red River.

Craig Powers outduels VanDam for first-ever FLW title, $100,000 first-place prize

SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER, La. - Craig Powers of Rockwood, Tenn., couldn't have written the script any better himself. Fishing in his fifth FLW final-five tour event of his career, Powers made sure that this one was not going to slip away. With his mother in the audience and thoughts of his father - who passed away 2 1/2 years ago - close to his heart, Powers used a formidable 14-pound, 11-ounce catch to walk away with the FLW Tour title on the Red River. Clearly, this was a moment to cherish.

"What can I say? It's a sigh of relief. It's been a long time coming," said Powers, barely containing his emotions. "I've waited my whole life for this. I hope it never gets dark. I hope this day never ends."

Powers, who survived a 10-minute battle with a stubborn bass that lodged itself in a huge pile of floating timber on the Red River only a few hours earlier, said that once he landed that fish, he knew he was destined to win.

"When I pulled that fish out, I looked at the sky and thanked my father," he said. "At that point, I knew I was probably going to win the tournament. Things like that happen for a reason. But win, lose or draw, I knew I had a great day of fishing. And when you have such a great family, nothing else really matters."

Although Powers spent much of the tournament feeling out new fishing holes and trying to adapt to the ever-changing conditions on the Red River, he said that his confidence slowly began to grow as the week went on.

"Every day I learned a little more and my pattern got stronger and stronger," said Powers, who spent most of the tournament flipping a black and blue jig. "But I definitely got a little bit lucky today. The water level rose about 4 inches and the current really picked up. And that's the way I like to fish. I just expanded my pattern into a little oxbow and caught some pretty good fish."

Although Powers put on a clinic on the Red River today, he said he'd rather be lucky than good any day of the week.

"You can fish as well as you can and have about as good of a pattern as there is, but you definitely need some luck to win one of these things," he said. "And today, it was just meant to be."

VanDam comes in second ... again

Coming into today's finals, Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., had come in second place twice in two out of five FLW Tour events. After today's weigh-in was over, VanDam was able to add yet another second-place finish to his long list of accomplishments. However, VanDam was quite aware of the fact that victory had eluded him yet again.

"I was pretty disappointed. I had an opportunity to blow this out today," said VanDam, the current overall points leader on the 2001 FLW Tour. "On my very first bite of the day, I lost a 5-pound bass. On my next bite, I lost a 3-pound bass. And a few minutes later, I lost a 4-pound bass. I'd been experimenting every day, refining my patterns. And today, I thought I nailed it. The problem was that I just didn't execute."

However, VanDam said he wouldn't let his finish tarnish his accomplishment. Nor was he content to fall back on any excuses.

"I had a good tournament. But it was just one of those kind of days," said VanDam, who picked up a check for $35,000. "I had a real hard day and I managed to overcome a lot just to get the fish I had in the boat. So I'm proud of my performance. All you can do is put yourself in a position to win. And I think I did that. Sooner or later, things are going to fall into place."

VanDam, who recorded a final catch of 13 pounds, 15 ounces, also walked away with an additional $1,000 for winning the tournament's Pepsi/Frito-Lay Big Bass award for netting the largest fish of the tournament - a 7-pound, 8-ounce bass.

The best of the rest

Bill Chapman of Salt Rock, WV, used a gritty performance to finish in third place, registering a final catch of 13 pounds, 2-ounces. Fishing in his first-ever finals, Chapman said he was happy with his accomplishment.

"I had one of the best days of tournament fishing that I've ever had," said Chapman, who took home $20,000 for his efforts. "The only thing I did wrong was that I broke off one big fish. But other than that, everything worked out well. Anytime you can fish for four days and catch the equivalent of 17 limits, you've got to be happy."

Dwayne Horton of Knoxville, Tenn., came in fourth place after landing a catch weighing 10 pounds, 1 ounce. Horton, who won $16,000, said that his biggest opponent today appeared to be the wind.

"I think the wind really muddied up the water where I was fishing today," he said. "And that sort of hurt me. But overall, I've had a good tournament. I'm happy to be here."

Rounding out the top five was Dan Morehead of Paducah, Ky. Morehead, who lead the tournament after day two, recorded a final-day catch of 4 pounds to win a check for $14,000. Morehead said that his main problem was that his premier fishing hole finally dried up after producing a host of huge stringers for the first three days of the tournament.

"Obviously, I ran out of fish today," he said. "But I can't complain. With these other guys in the tournament, I knew that I needed to catch quality fish. It just didn't work out."

Television coverage of the FLW Tour event on the Red River is scheduled to air on ESPN on June 17 at 4 p.m. CST. The next FLW Tour event will take place on Lake St. Clair in Detroit, Mich., from June 20-23.

Related links:

Photos
Results
Press release
Quick Bites: Day 4


Tags: headline-story  gary-mortenson 

/news/2015-08-29-matual-masters-erie

Matual Masters Erie

David Matual of Chicago, Ill., leaned on his spot hard and sacked up the biggest bag of day three weighing 22 pounds, 6 ounces. For his final-day rally he claimed the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division victory on Lake Erie with a three-day total of 65 pounds, fending off Jared Rhode by a mere 7 ounces. Drop-shotting over shallow reefs delivered all of Matual’s fish and earned him a check worth more than $31,000. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-lake-erie-day-3-midday-update

Lake Erie Day 3 Midday Update

Lake Erie put on a different face for day three of the final Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event. After a rough day one, yesterday’s calm and mostly sunny conditions offered comfortable running and fishing conditions. Today was still a far cry from the brutal waves of day one - and prior practice days - but windier conditions and overcast skies seemed to present a more challenging scenario. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-28-top-5-patterns-from-lake-erie-day-2

Top 5 Patterns From Lake Erie Day 2

Pennsylvania pro Dave Lefebre and Ohio pro Jared Rhode tied for the day-two lead in Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division action on Lake Erie with 43 pounds, 9 ounces. Both pros caught their fish on drop-shots. Here are the details of the rest of the top five. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-28-lefebre-rhode-tied-at-the-top

Lefebre, Rhode Tied at the Top

Notching his second day of 20-plus pounds, FLW Tour pro Dave Lefebre tallied 43 pounds, 9 ounces and tied day-one leader Jared Rhode for the day-two top spot at the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. Lefebre caught his 22-3 limit on Rapala DT-10 crankbaits, while Rhodes tempted his 19-15 catch with drop-shots. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-28-lake-erie-day-2-midday-update

Lake Erie Day 2 Midday Update

With winds shifting from yesterday’s northerly blow to a warmer southerly direction, day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie brought calmer conditions with greater ability to methodically work key spots. Offshore, waves ran 1 to 2 feet, with leeward areas behind the Lake Erie Islands nearly flat. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-27-rhode-cracks-23-10-for-erie-lead

Rhode Cracks 23-10 for Erie Lead

Jared Rhode played his cards and the gamble paid off better than expected, as the pro from Port Clinton, Ohio, took the day-one lead at the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie with a limit catch weighing 23 pounds, 10 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-27-top-5-patterns-from-lake-erie-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Erie Day 1

Taking off this morning, the FLW Tour pro from Erie, Pa., knew the day’s north wind would keep him from making a long run to a big-fish spot close to his home. However, keeping it local and fishing a little past Pelee Island to the west delivered a solid second-place catch. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-27-lake-erie-day-1-midday-report

Lake Erie Day 1 Midday Report

Winds have subsided considerably since practice, but Lake Erie’s still showing her temperamental side to Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division anglers fishing the last divisional event out of Sandusky, Ohio. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-25-top-10-patterns-from-the-forrest-wood-cup

Top 10 Patterns from the Forrest Wood Cup

If you don’t believe that summertime bass fishing in the dog days of August is all over the map, just take a look at the top 10 patterns from the best bass pros on earth at the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Brad Knight captured the Cup by mining one small creek end for four days. But beyond that, the rest of the top 10 patterns ran the gamut, from targeting schoolers over 40 feet to wolf packs of bass on the bank to brush piles to grass to mud flats and everywhere in between. Here’s a rundown. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-23-knight-slays-ouachita

Knight Slays Ouachita

Lancing, Tenn., pro Brad Knight won the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart on Lake Ouachita with a four-day total of 51 pounds, 12 ounces. In front of a standing-room-only crowd at Bank of the Ozarks Arena in Hot Springs, Ark., Knight weighed in 11-07 on day four to surpass Jacob Wheeler, who started the day with a 12-ounce lead. Fishing in just one area all four days, Knight locked up the first win of his FLW career. He earned $500,000 for his victory and pushed his career earnings total to more than $688,000. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-23-forrest-wood-cup-day-4-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-22-wheeler-back-in-front

Wheeler Back in Front

Jacob Wheeler loves Lake Ouachita. It’s where he fished his first Forrest Wood Cup in 2011, and it’s where he’ll take the tournament lead into the final day of competition at the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Wheeler, the 2011 Cup champion, led this tournament on day one and slipped a couple spots on day two. He now has a very slim 12-ounce lead over Tennessean Brad Knight. The anglers will square off tomorrow on Ouachita starting at 7 a.m. against the rest of the top 10 pros for the top prize of $500,000. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-22-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 3

Jacob Wheeler may have regained his lead in the Forrest Wood Cup on day three, but Brad Knight is right on his heels. Going into the final day, the two pros are separated by just 12 ounces. The margin is tight, and what’s going to make the final day fun to watch is the difference in the two anglers’ strategies. Wheeler is running a topwater pattern on the main lake, and fishing new water is part of his plan. Knight, however, has caught almost all of his weight from one 250-yard stretch of bass-rich creek channel. He literally knows every target he is fishing by heart. On the surface, Knight’s area looks to be the better bet. But he has shared the general area with Brandon Cobb and Mark Daniels Jr. for three solid days. And the bad news, at least for Knight, is that both Cobb and Daniels will be sharing the water with him again on the final day as both made the top-10 cut. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-22-forrest-wood-cup-day-3-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-ramie-races-into-the-lead

Ramie Races into the Lead

On the back of a 17-pound, 14-ounce limit, which is the biggest of the tournament thus far, Ramie Colson Jr. jumped from seventh place to take over the lead at the halfway point of the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. Colson’s two-day total is 31 pounds, 1 ounce, which puts him almost 3 pounds ahead of Tennessee’s Brad Knight. The Forrest Wood Cup, which is hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, moves into its top-20 round on Saturday. The top 10 pros after Saturday’s weigh-in advance to Sunday’s final round for a shot at the $500,000 top prize. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 2

At times, bass fishing can be a lot like real estate, where the three most important rules are location, location and location. The 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita presented by Walmart is starting to become a bit of a real estate game where location is the primary consideration in who climbs the leaderboard. And those mining the backs of creeks and tributaries are on the prime pieces of real estate. Consider that after day two, four of the top five pros are concentrating their fishing efforts in the back ends of creeks or rivers. All of these areas fit a classic late-summer, early-fall pattern where shad pack into the back of creek ditches that meander through shallow flats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-forrest-wood-cup-day-2-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-wheeler-hunting-history

Wheeler Hunting History

It’s never been done before, and it hasn’t happened yet, but Jacob Wheeler is in prime position to become the first two-time Forrest Wood Cup champion in history. Wheeler, of Indianapolis, Ind., brought in a 16-pound, 2-ounce limit of Lake Ouachita bass on the first day of the Cup, which is presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 1

After day one of the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita, several things have come to light. For one, this event is not likely to produce a runaway win for anyone like it did when Scott Martin won here in 2011. Second, when the pros said Ouachita was going to be stingy, they meant it – only 29 of the 50 pros checked in limits today. Third, firm patterns are hard to come by on Lake Ouachita in August. Jacob Wheeler took the lead on day one in the event that’s presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. With the help of a 5-pound bass, Wheeler weighed in a limit of 16 pounds, 2 ounces, but he had to sample a lot of different areas for his catch. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-forrest-wood-cup-day-1-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 1 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »