Nixon, Fisher grab share of lead at $1 million Forrest Wood Open

Larry Nixon of Bee Branch, Ark., shows off part of his two-day catch of 32 pounds, 13 ounces. Nixon's performance was good enough to give him a share of first place in the Pro Division heading into the semifinal round.

VanDam captures Angler of the Year title, co-angler Shockey vaults into first place

DETROIT - Larry Nixon of Bee Branch, Ark., and Pat Fisher of Stone Mountain, Ga., turned in identical two-day catches of 32 pounds, 13 ounces to climb atop the leaderboard at the $1 million FLW tour event on Lake St. Clair. With an extraordinarily competitive field and huge stringers abound, both Nixon and Fisher demonstrated tremendous determination, consistency and technique to advance to the all-important semifinal round of competition.

Not surprisingly, Nixon and Fisher were pleased with their respective performances.

"It feels real good. I like this lake, it's always been good to me," said Nixon, who finished in fifth place at the FLW tour event on Lake St. Clair in 1999. "I think I have a knack for fishing this lake. I always seem to be hanging around at the end."

Nixon, who has been fishing primarily with tube baits in relatively shallow water, says that his confidence has been growing throughout the tournament.

"It took me awhile to adapt to the conditions, but I think I finally figured it out," he said. "I think I have a good chance to make the top five tomorrow. I should be able to catch between 15 and 17 pounds and that should be enough to qualify for the finals."

Fisher said he was equally happy with the way things have turned out so far.

"I'm on cloud nine. This is the best fishing I've had all year, it's just unreal," he said. "I set three goals this season. My first goal was to qualify for the FLW Championship. My second goal was to make the top 10 at St. Clair. And my third goal was to win this tournament. So far, I'm accomplished two out of three. And with a little luck, I can accomplish them all."

Fisher, who caught a limit this morning by 8:30 a.m., said that he has honed in on a few very productive spots that could easily carry him into the finals.

"I've narrowed down my fishing to two spots and they've both turned out to be very good areas," said Fisher, who is fishing with spinnerbaits and tube baits in 2 to 6 feet of water. "I'm not worried about those areas holding up either because every day more and more fish seem to come there. I know the fish are out there, I'm just going to have to adapt to the weather condititions.

The best of the rest

Terry Baksay of Monroe, Conn., was in third place heading into the semifinal round after netting a two-day catch weighing 31 pounds, 15 ounces. Koby Krieger of Osceola, Ind., took the fourth spot after registering a total catch of 31 pounds, 8 ounces. Steve Daniel of Clewiston, Fla., finished in fifth place with a two-day catch weighing 31 pounds, 7 ounces.

Rounding out the top-10 semifinalists were Scott Dobson (sixth) of Waterford, Mich., with a two-day catch of 30 pounds, 7 ounces; David Dudley (seventh) of Manteo, N.C., with a catch of 30 pounds, 2 ounces; Mickey Bruce (eighth) of Buford, Ga., with a catch of 30 pounds, 1 ounce; Sean Stickler (ninth) of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with a catch of 29 pounds, 8 ounces; and Jimmy Millsaps (tenth) of Canton, Ga., with a catch of 29 pounds, 6 ounces.

Chris Daniels of Clayton, N.C. took home a check for $1,250 after winning the day's Big Bass award in the Pro Division. Daniels, who ultimately finished in 15th place, used a 4-pound, 8-ounce smallmouth to grab the award.

As expected, VanDam wins angler-of-the-year title

After yesterday's performance, it would have taken a near miracle for anyone other than Kevin VanDam to walk away with the 2001 Land O' Lakes Angler of the Year award. Fortunately for the native of Kalamazoo, Mich., there would be no divine intervention today. Bolstered by a two-day catch of 25 pounds, 10 ounces, VanDam cruised to one of the most prestigious victories in all of tournament bass fishing.

Although VanDam fell a little short of his goal of making the top 10 at Lake St. Clair, he said the angler of the year award greatly softened the blow.

"I made a couple of bad mistakes today. And on a lake this good, you can't make many mistakes," said VanDam, who missed the cut by less than 4 pounds. "But it's definitely pretty exciting to win Angler of the Year. I've kind of been looking forward to (the title) all year long. It's a really neat deal."

As Land O' Lakes Angler of the Year, VanDam is recognized as the best, most consistent professional bass angler in the world. His picture will soon be featured on special collector's edition of Kellogg's cereal boxes and he will receive a $25,000 bonus plus a brand new Ranger 518 VX bass boat for his accomplishment.

Shockey-ing for position

James Shockey of Wellington, Fla., used the largest stringer of the day in any division - an 18-pound, 2-ounce catch - to vault from 37th place to first in the Co-Angler Division heading into tomorrow's final round of amateur competition. Shockey, who has had a difficult year by his own admission, said he was ecstatic with tournament results so far.

"I've never had so much fun in my life. I'm loving every minute of this," he said. "I just had one of those days where no matter what I did, everything just worked out. I was kind of in a zone."

Shockey said today's performance has given him a much needed boost in confidence heading into the finals.

"It's been a really tough year for me until this tournament," he said. "But this week, everything has started to go right. I thought the fish would be biting on jerkbaits and that's the type of bait I like to fish. I knew if I came in here and got around some fish, I would catch them. And that's pretty much what has happened so far."

Shockey said that Lake St. Clair continues to be one of his favorite lakes on the FLW Tour.

"The fishing here is just insane," he said. "It's the only place I know of where you can go out, park your boat in 4 feet of water and catch fish anywhere on the lake."

John Jacobs of Birmingham, Ala., grabbed second place in the Co-Angler Division after landing a two-day catch of 26 pounds, 10 ounces. Jacobs also won $750 for winning the day's Big Bass award in the Co-Angler Division after netting a 4-pound, 15-ounce smallmouth.

In third place was Tommy Gaffney of Little Switzerland, N.C. Gaffney turned in a two-day catch weighing 26 pounds, 8 ounces.

Wesley Burnett of Hot Springs, Ark., used a two-day catch of 26 pounds to grab fourth place heading into tomorrow's finals. However, that wasn't his only accomplishment of the day. Burnett's strong showing during today's competition also allowed him to wrap up the Co-Angler of the Year award.

"It feels really good," said Burnett of his new title. "I knew I only had to finish in 21st place or higher to get it. I'm glad I was able to concentrate and accomplish my goal."

Kelly Greer of Green Forest, Ark., took the fifth qualifying spot with a two-day catch of 25 pounds, 10 ounces.

Rounding out the top-10 finalists were James Green of Lincoln, Ala., with a catch of 25 pounds, 3 ounces; George Polosky of Alliance, Ohio, with a catch of 24 pounds, 14 ounces; day-one leader Rick Parnell of Casselberry, Fla., with a catch of 23 pounds, 11 ounces; Armil Morgan of Mineral Springs, Ark., with a catch of 23 pounds, 9 ounces; and Michael Brown of Chatsworth, Ga., with a catch of 22 pounds, 14 ounces.

Competition continues at 8 a.m. Friday at Metro Beach Metropark in Mt. Clemens, Mich., followed by a 5 p.m. weigh-in at the Wal-Mart Supercenter at the intersection of 12-mile Road and Van Dyke Avenue in Warren, Mich.

Related links:

Photos
Results
Day-two pairings
Press release
Quick Bites, Day 2

Tags: headline-story  gary-mortenson 

/news/2015-06-29-dobson-sticks-with-jerkbait-for-win

Dobson Sticks With Jerkbait for Win

Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Michigan, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Michigan Division tournament of 2015 on Lake St. Clair. For his victory, Dobson earned $5,804. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-johnston-targets-beds-for-big-limit

Johnston Targets Beds for Big Limit

Cory Johnston of Cavan, Ontario, Canada, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 25 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Northeast Division tournament of 2015 on 1000 Islands. For his victory, Johnston earned $5,632. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-football-jig-helps-bates-net-title

Football Jig Helps Bates Net Title

Matthew Bates of Greenville, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds even Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Ferguson. For his victory, Bates earned $3,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-hipsher-hops-ledges-for-victory

Hipsher Hops Ledges for Victory

Craig Hipsher of Benton, Kentucky, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League LBL Division tournament of 2015 on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. For his victory, Hipsher earned $4,385. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-lauer-wins-on-ohio-river

Lauer Wins on Ohio River

David Lauer of McConnelsville, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 12 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division tournament of 2015 on the Ohio River. For his victory, Lauer earned $6,289. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-creature-bait-does-it-for-berhorst

Creature Bait Does it for Berhorst

Dennis Berhorst of Holts Summit, Missouri, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Ozark Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Truman. For his victory, Berhorst earned $5,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-wendlandt-back-at-the-top

Wendlandt Back at the Top

It’s been 14 seasons since Clark Wendlandt last stood on a Walmart FLW Tour stage and hoisted a tournament championship trophy. Since that time, the Texas pro has experienced ups and downs, including an Angler of the Year title (his third) in 2009 and a major medical issue that sidelined him for most of the 2014 season. All that’s in the past now, however, and Wendlandt is right back where he belongs in the world of bass fishing – in first place after the final day on the Potomac River in the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-top-10-patterns-from-the-potomac-river

Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River

Clark Wendlandt didn’t pull off any secret techniques to win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. He simply found an area with the right quality of bass to win and managed it perfectly despite facing a medley of Mother Nature’s toughest challenges. The rest of the top 10 stuck with the standard Potomac targets too, namely grass, docks and wood cover. The only underlying trend of the top 10 is that they found areas to themselves. Here’s how the rest of the top 10 got it done at the 2015 Tour finale. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-potomac-river-day-4-coverage

Potomac River Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on the Potomac River presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-wendlandt-receives-helping-hand

Wendlandt Receives Helping Hand

Not to discredit Clark Wendlandt’s skills as a bass fisherman, but if it wasn’t for an extreme act of kindness on the part of fellow competitor Shin Fukae, Wendlandt wouldn’t be where he is this evening – leading through three days of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-top-5-patterns-from-potomac-river-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Potomac River Day 3

Pouring rain, gusting winds, a remarkable act of kindness, an Angler of the Year title on the line – day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River certainly was not boring. To say the top 20 anglers were waterlogged after Saturday would be any understatement, but as nasty as the weather was, it wasn’t the biggest story of the day. Shinichi Fukae generously helped Clark Wendlandt retain his lead, while Scott Martin sealed the deal on his first AOY title. Meanwhile, a number of other anglers scrambled to adjust with what the weather and the Potomac are throwing at them. Here’s how the rest of the top five caught their fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-potomac-river-day-3-coverage

Potomac River Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on the Potomac River presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-26-wendlandt-in-familiar-territory

Wendlandt in Familiar Territory

A lot of flip-flopping took place on the second day of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. When the scale closed, it was three-time Tour Angler of the Year Clark Wendlandt who found himself on top with a two-day total of 32 pounds, 10 ounces. Wendlandt caught 17-13 today – the day’s second-heaviest limit – and leads Potomac local Bryan Schmitt by 1-12 going into the weekend. Wendlandt missed part of last season after suffering a heart attack but has rebounded with good success this season. He has won three times on Tour but hasn’t finished in first place since Beaver Lake in 2001. Details to come on the patterns of the top five. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-26-potomac-river-day-2-coverage

Potomac River Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Chickamauga presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-jersey-boy-leads-the-pack

Jersey Boy Leads the Pack

Talk about a traffic jam. And, no, we’re not talking about the streets around the Washington, D.C. area. We’re talking about the standings at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. Adrian “Jersey Boy” Avena leads the way with a 16-pound, 12-ounce limit, but a total of 41 pros weighed in at least 12 pounds. Many pros lamented the tough bite today, but the results say otherwise as 114 limits were brought to the scale on the pro side. Troy Morrow trails Avena by just 1-06, and 1 ounce behind Morrow is one of the most successful tidewater bass anglers of all time, Bryan Schmitt. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-top-5-patterns-from-potomac-river-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Potomac River Day 1

It might seem impossible for 405 miles of water to fish small, but space was hard to come by on day one of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. The creeks near takeoff at Smallwood State Park have seen as much traffic as a Washington, D.C. highway at rush hour. On the flip side, anglers who were able to develop patterns that got them away from the crowds, such as day-one leader Adrian Avena, have been able to reap the benefits of what has been a stingy fishery. Here’s how the rest of the pros in the top five caught their fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-aoy-shake-up-martin-makes-his-move

AOY Shake-Up: Martin Makes His Move

Scott Martin has been talking about winning the Angler of the Year title since before the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour season started. It’s on his mind and for good reason: Angler of the Year is the only major FLW title he hasn’t won in what Martin has built into one of the most decorated professional fishing careers in FLW Tour history. Today, on the first day of competition at the Tour finale on the Potomac River, Martin has unofficially moved into the lead in the AOY race for the first time all season. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-potomac-river-day-1-coverage

Potomac River Day 1 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Chickamauga presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-20-richardson-wins-all-american

Richardson Wins All-American

Curtis Richardson has a way of surprising people – even himself. The Ontario angler had all but written himself off in the championship round of the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American, thinking his limit of five bass wouldn’t hold up for long with the likes of Jeremy Lawyer and Bill Schroeder breathing down his neck. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-20-all-american-midday-update-day-3

All-American Midday Update Day 3

Big changes might be coming in the standings of the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American on Kentucky Lake, as some of the top 10 leaders struggled this morning to catch limits. Canadian angler Curtis Richardson, who currently is leading, had only one 3-pound keeper by midmorning. And second-place boater Billy Schroeder, who had fished just below the Paris Landing Bridge for the first two days, finally bailed out from there after catching four keepers this morning. READ MORE »