UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2015 - Ohio River

Shaffer maintains All-American Boater Division lead

Friday another tough day at Cross Lake

SHREVEPORT, La. - He didn't catch much fish, but Dick Shaffer of Celina, Ohio, maintained a firm grip on first place in the Boater Division at the 2002 Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League All-American Friday. Buoyed by his standout catch of 14 pounds, 2 ounces Thursday, Shaffer added just another three bass weighing 2-15 to his two-day total Friday and held onto first place by virtue of his commanding opening-round combined weight of 17-1.

The next closest boater was Ricky Smith of Collinsville, Miss., who notched a two-day total of 13 pounds, 6 ounces. Following Shaffer and Smith were: Greg Gutierrez of Red Bluff, Calif., in third place with a two-day total of 12-15; Terry Tucker of Gadsden, Ala., in fourth with 11-10; and Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala., in fifth with 9-10.

"I caught three babies today," said Shaffer. "I also lost one good fish, but I know where he's at."

It was another one of those days at Cross Lake, where any fish - from baby size to behemoth - was welcome. The 14- to 17-inch "slot monster" kept a lot of bass out of anglers' livewells, even more so than Thursday, when only five five-bass limits came to the scale. On Friday only three anglers out of 100 managed to catch limits.

"The best part about today was listening to that aerator on that Ranger boat run," said Allan Cagle of Winter Haven, Fla., who recovered from a zero on day one with a two-bass catch weighing 4 pounds, 6 ounces on day two.

Cagle was happy that he actually had to use the livewell today, as opposed to yesterday. The four-time All-American qualifier finished in 22nd place.

Shaffer, a concrete contractor by trade, is himself a repeat All-American. While he took pride in the idea that he led the opening round by a wide margin, he knows from experience that his work isn't over.

"It didn't matter to me if I was first, second or 10th - just as long as I made (the cut)," he said. "I've been in this position before."

Shaffer admitted that he laid off the bulk of his fish Friday and that he plans to return to his favorite spot tomorrow and try to repeat his day-one output. But - considering the lake's stingy slot limit, fellow finalists who made a valiant run with some bigger weights Friday and the pressure of fishing for $100,000 - he knows it won't be easy.

"I'm not even thinking about it," he said. "I'll just try to get fish to bite that are the right size. If I get five, I'll be tickled."

One of his biggest obstacles might be Smith, who seems to be reveling in this extremely tough-fishing tournament.

"I love to fish these tough-bite tournaments," he said. "It's not that I always catch them, but when the fish are easy there's a lot of luck involved and it seems anybody can win. I can go out there, focus and watch the line for nine hours straight. I seem to be lucky enough to catch the fish that bite."

Plus, Smith, a past third-place finisher at the All-American, is carrying some heavy experience into his second BFL championship final round.

"Absolutely. It's different this year. I know what to expect in terms of how the tournament is run and so on. I haven't had any other issues on my mind (besides fishing)," he said.

One of the bigger comeback stories of the day was Tucker, who caught Friday's biggest stringer of five bass weighing 7 pounds, 13 ounces. He sat in 14th place after Thursday with a weight of 4-14. While the 3-pound difference might not seem like much, it was huge here this week.

"I'm fishing this lake like I would a pond," he said about 8,600-acre Cross Lake. "Basically, I'm going after individual fish. I knew it was going to be a flipping lake, which is my kind of lake."

The biggest comeback, however, belonged to Erie, Pennsylvania's Dave Lefebre, who bounced all the way back from a 30th-place showing on day one to qualify for the finals in 10th place. He caught one of the other full five-bass stringers Friday, weighing 6 pounds, 15 ounces, to make up for a 1-pound, 2-ounce performance Thursday. It was the second-heaviest catch of the day.

The third full stringer belonged to fifth-place Kennedy, whose five fish Friday weighed 4-12.

Robert Ewick of Indianapolis won the boater big-bass award and $1,000 with the 4-pound, 6-ounce largemouth that he caught Thursday.

Another boater of note was 13th-place Wes Campbell of Dayton, Ohio. He collected a $10,000 check from Yamaha for being the highest-placing regular-season BFL points champion at the All-American. In fact, Campbell was the only points champion in the Boater Division to qualify for this year's All-American. He won the Buckeye Division standings in 2001 with 1,089 points.

Competition resumes Saturday at 5:45 a.m. at the American Legion Boat Ramp as the final 10 boaters compete in a one-day shootout for the top prize of $100,000. The final weigh-in is at 2 p.m. at the L. Calhoun Allen Exposition Hall on Clyde Fant Parkway in Shreveport. Doors open to the public at noon. Admission is free, and fishing fans are invited to attend the weigh-in, which will be broadcast live as part of "FLW Outdoors" on PAX TV. There are also free children's games, sponsor giveaways and a free drawing for a fully rigged Ranger 216 B Cherokee bass boat.

Day-two links:

Ives crowned 2002 All-American co-angler champion
Full results
Press release

Tags: headline-story  jeff-schroeder 


Top 10 Patterns from Lake Erie

Most of the other top top-10 finishers found their fish over rocky bottom structure around the Pelee area. Drop-shots and crankbaits dominated the catches. READ MORE »


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 »


Webster Runs and Guns for Win

Michael Webster of Gastonia, North Carolina, brought a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 9 ounces to the scale Sunday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division Super Tournament on Lake Wylie with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 27 pounds, 10 ounces. For his victory, Webster earned $4,476. READ MORE »


Experience Pays for Boggs

Drew Boggs of Lebanon, Tennessee, brought five bass totaling 13 pounds, 12 ounces to the scale Sunday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Music City Division Super Tournament on Old Hickory Lake with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 27 pounds, 2 ounces. For his victory, Boggs earned $4,257. READ MORE »


Jig, Crankbait Carry Gray to Victory

Brandon Gray of Bullock, North Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 14 pounds, 3 ounces Sunday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division Super Tournament on Kerr Lake with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 32 pounds, 14 ounces. For his victory, Gray earned $5,886. READ MORE »


Hemken Searched Deep for Bigger Bites

Shawn Hemken of Walshville, Illinois, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Sunday weighing 11 pounds, 6 ounces to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Illini Division Super Tournament on Lake Shelbyville with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 26 pounds, 1 ounce. For his victory, Hemken earned $6,882. READ MORE »


Topwater Lifts Ragan to Top

Thadeus Ragan of West Park, Florida, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 26 pounds, 8 ounces Sunday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Gator Division Super Tournament on Lake Okeechobee with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 47 pounds, 10 ounces. For his victory, Ragan earned $6,922. READ MORE »


Martinkovic Runs Away with Title

Chris Martinkovic of Hamilton, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 12 pounds, 9 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Hoosier Division tournament on the Ohio River. For his victory, Martinkovic earned $6,244. READ MORE »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


Forrest Wood Cup Day 4 Coverage

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


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 »


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 »