UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Ouachita

Elias earns first FLW Tour victory

Paul Elias of Pachuta, Miss., shows off his first-place trophy after winning the FLW Tour event on the Atchafalaya Basin. The win represented the first FLW victory of Elias' career.

Mississippi native nets first-place finish in dominating fashion

MORGAN CITY, La. - Today was the day Paul Elias finally got the monkey off his back. After going nearly five years without a victory in a major bass-fishing tournament, Elias made sure that the outcome of today's FLW final on the Atchafalaya Basin was never in doubt. With his fellow competitors unable to crack the 29-pound barrier, Elias blew past the rest of the field, parlaying a two-day catch of 34 pounds, 2 ounces into his very first FLW Tour title.

Not surprisingly, Elias was more than happy to savor his victory for as long as he could.

"It's been almost five years since I won a major tournament, and it really starts playing with your head after a while," said Elias, whose last recorded victory was a Bass Pro Shop Legends event in 1998. "I've been close so many times before, and that's why this victory is so sweet.

"This is the best victory I've ever had," Elias continued. "It's even better than winning the Bassmaster Classic because I had my family here to see it."

Elias - who landed the majority of his catch on a combination of spinner baits, buzzbaits and tubes - said his primary fishing hole was almost too difficult to navigate successfully at times.

"I was having to run some skinny water to get where I was going," said Elias, a resident of Pachuta, Miss. "There was barely even enough room for my camera boat. But the area held a lot of fish because it was the deepest water for many miles."

After landing the largest stringer of the day in the semifinals at the same spot, Elias' prime fishing hole produced the largest stringer again in today's competition - a 16-pound, 13-ounce sack.

"For me, the key was using fast-moving baits," said Elias. "I also executed a lot better than I have in the past."

With Elias' wife and family in the audience cheering him on to "bring it on home," Elias not only won the tournament title, but also took home a whopping check for $100,000.

"It's just been a great week," he said. "It's been a long time coming."

Chapman nets second place, highest-ever FLW Tour finish

Although Bill Chapman finished the tournament in second place with a two-day catch of 28 pounds, 1 ounce, the native of Salt Rock, W. Va., said he had very few regrets. Sure, he would have liked to have won his first-ever FLW Tour event, but when all was said and done, Chapman said he would return home with a clear conscience.

"It was so close," he said. "I knew I needed a big fish, but I just wasn't able to get that big bite today. Overall, though, I had a great week. You really can't complain about winning $35,000 doing something you really love."

Chapman used a combination of Zoom lizards, Brush Hawgs and tube baits to land the majority of his catch. However, although many anglers struggled to navigate the difficult and expansive waters of the Atchafalaya Basin all week, Chapman said he had no such problem.

"I grew up on the Ohio River, and this water is exactly like that only with more fish," he said. "And if I didn't lose that 8-pounder yesterday, I might have been able to pull this off. But don't worry, I'm going to win one of these tournaments some day."

Lefebre grows up quickly

Fishing in his very first season on the FLW Tour, Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa., used a two-day catch of 27 pounds, 14 ounces to grab third place overall, net a $20,000 check and win the respect of his peers almost overnight. Not bad for four days of fishing.

"This is the biggest show on television, and I still can't believe I'm here," said Lefebre, who graduated last year from the EverStart Northern Division. "I can't even put this week into words. It really means a lot to me. These are some of the best fishermen in the world. It's definitely the most satisfying tournament of my career."

Lefebre landed the majority of today's catch using ISG tube baits.

"And a lot of Pepto Bismo," he said.

Jimmy Millsaps of Canton, Ga., finished the tournament in fourth place after netting a total catch of 26 pounds, 8 ounces.

"I had a great time," said Millsaps, who took home a check for $16,000. "I just love this place. I caught a lot of fish and met a lot of good people."

Andre Moore of Scottsdale, Ariz., took a philosophical approach concerning his fifth-place victory.

"Yesterday, I kind of stumbled a bit," said Moore, who used a total catch of 25 pounds to land $14,000 in tournament winnings. "But I managed to catch five fish all week. In the end, you can't determine the size of your bites. And that's the difference."

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top 10 finalists were Gary Klein (sixth) of Weatherford, Texas, with a two-day catch of 20 pounds, 7 ounces; Wes Thomas (seventh) of Hanover, Ind., with a catch of 19 pounds, 10 ounces; J.T. Kenney (eighth) of Frostburg, Md., with a catch of 18 pounds, 13 ounces; Jack Bell (ninth) of Kane, Pa., with a catch of 13 pounds, 11 ounces; and Dwayne Horton (10th) of Knoxville, Tenn., with a catch of 10 pounds, 12 ounces.

FLW action resumes March 12-15 at Lake Murray in Columbia, S.C.

Related links:

Photos
Results
Quick Bites: FLW Atchafalaya Basin, Day 4
Press releases

Tags: gary-mortenson  headline-story  2003-02-12-atchafalaya-basin 

/news/2016-02-10-dudley-links-up-with-livingston-lures

Dudley Links Up with Livingston Lures

Livingston Lures has added three-time Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year David Dudley to its pro-staff. The Virginia pro joins two-time FLW AOY Andy Morgan and former FLW Rookie of the Year Stetson Blaylock on the Team Livingston roster. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-10-power-pole-extends-partnership-with-flw

Power-Pole Extends Partnership with FLW

FLW announced yesterday that JL Marine Systems, manufacturer of Power-Pole shallow-water anchor systems, has signed a sponsorship extension for the 2016 season. This will be the sixth consecutive season that the two organizations have partnered. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-flw-college-fishing-western-conference-opens-season-on-shasta-lake

FLW College Fishing Western Conference Opens Season on Shasta Lake

REDDING, Calif. – FLW College Fishing is headed to Lake Shasta Feb. 20 for the first of three regular-season stops in the Western Conference. A full field of college teams will be competing for a top award of $2,000 and a berth in the FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-lake-shasta-set-to-host-costa-flw-series-opener-presented-by-minn-kota

Lake Shasta Set to Host Costa FLW Series Opener Presented by Minn Kota

REDDING, Calif. – The Costa FLW Series is headed to Lake Shasta Feb. 18-20 for a tournament presented by Minn Kota when as many as 300 pros and co-anglers will take to the water for the first stop of 2016 in the Western Division. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-montgomery-targets-prespawn-bass-for-win

Montgomery Targets Prespawn Bass for Win

Local angler Scott Montgomery of Eufaula, Ala., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 1 ounce, Saturday to win the first FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Bulldog Division tournament of 2016 on Lake Eufaula. For his victory, Montgomery took home a check for $4,127. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-top-10-patterns-from-lake-okeechobee

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Okeechobee

Oklahoma’s Bradley Hallman sewed up his first Walmart FLW Tour victory at the season-opener on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats by pitching and punching reed heads in the South Bay area with a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver. Hallman stuck with his program despite up-and-down air temperatures, high winds and all the curveballs Mother Nature could throw at him. Here's how the rest of the top 10 got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-08-top-10-baits-from-lake-okeechobee

Top 10 Baits from Lake Okeechobee

The Walmart FLW Tour presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee went from a tight race to a runaway in a hurry when Bradley Hallman just wouldn’t stop catching the big ones. As for the lures he used, and those put to work by the rest of the top 10, some Okeechobee staples were applied as well as a few oddball baits. If you’re thinking of heading down to the Big O or anywhere else in Florida soon, you might want to acquire a few of the lures they fished. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-07-hallman-wins-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Hallman Wins Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Okeechobee Presented by Ranger Boats

CLEWISTON, Fla. – Pro Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, brought just two bass to the scale Sunday totaling 6 pounds, 8 ounces, but it was still enough to earn the win at the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Hallman’s four-day cumulative total of 16 bass weighing 71 pounds, 2 ounces earned him the win by an impressive 14-pound, 14-ounce margin over second-place pro Alex Davis of Albertville, Alabama, and $100,000 in the tournament that featured 169 of the best bass-fishing anglers in the world competing in the first FLW Tour event of the regular season. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-07-big-hall-man-on-okeechobee

Big (Hall)Man on Okeechobee

It was the Bradley Hallman show all week long at Lake Okeechobee at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats. Though, the Norman, Okla., pro struggled on day four and brought in only two fish for 6 pounds, 8 ounces, he pulled off the wire-to-wire victory in his first event on Tour. The 13-pound, 9-ounce lead that Hallman built up through the first three days of competition was enough that he didn't actually have to weigh his fish today. Hallman's tournament total of 71 pounds, 2 ounces far exceeded the 56-04 caught by runner-up Alex Davis. For the win, Hallman earned $100,000. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-07-lake-okeechobee-day-4-coverage

Lake Okeechobee Day 4 Coverage

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

/news/2016-02-06-top-5-patterns-from-lake-okeechobee-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Okeechobee Day 3

Across the board, weights fell off on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats and hosted by Roland and Mary Ann Martin's Marina and Resort and the Hendry County Tourism and Development Council. No one in the top 20 crossed the 20-pound mark. Cloud cover, which prevented the water temperature from rising much above 65 degrees, and low water clarity might both have slowed the replenishment of bass moving into spawn. Tournament leader Bradley Hallman experienced a bit of a stall in the action as well, bringing just four fish to the scales, but he still managed to increase his lead to 13 pounds, 9 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-hallman-extends-lead-on-day-three-at-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Hallman Extends Lead On Day Three At Walmart FLW Tour On Lake Okeechobee Presented By Ranger Boats

Anchored by an 8-pound, 10-ounce kicker, pro Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, brought four bass to the scale Saturday totaling 14 pounds, 3 ounces to extend his lead to more than 13½ pounds heading in to the final day of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Hallman’s... READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-can-anyone-catch-hallman-

Can Anyone Catch Hallman?

Despite catching only four keepers on day three, Norman, Okla., pro Bradley Hallman extended his lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee. With a day-three weight of 14 pounds, 3 ounces and a tournament total of 64-10, his margin over second-place angler Alex Davis is now 13 pounds, 9 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-montgomery-wins-flw-bass-fishing-league-bulldog-division-opener-on-lake-eufaula

Montgomery Wins FLW Bass Fishing League Bulldog Division Opener on Lake Eufaula

EUFAULA, Ala. – Local angler Scott Montgomery of Eufaula, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 1 ounce, Saturday to win the first FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Bulldog Division tournament of 2016 on Lake Eufaula. For his victory, Montgomery took home a check for $4,127. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-okeechobee-day-3-coverage

Okeechobee Day 3 Coverage

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

/news/2016-02-05-top-5-patterns-from-lake-okeechobee-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Okeechobee Day 2

Fueled by 25 mph north winds, the Lake Okeechobee washing machine cleansed some livewells today, keeping them free of the 20-pound limits that are so common here when the weather is sunny, 75 and calm. However, a few 20-plus-pound limits still snuck through the rinse cycle to grace the scales. The biggest limit once again belonged to Bradley Hallman of Norman, Okla. He added 25 pounds, 7 ounces to the 25 he caught on day one. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-oklahoma-s-hallman-extends-lead-at-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Oklahoma’s Hallman Extends Lead at Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Okeechobee Presented by Ranger Boats

CLEWISTON, Fla. – Pro angler Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, brought a five-bass limit weighing 25 pounds, 7 ounces to the scale Friday to extend his lead on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Hallman will bring an 8-pound, 8-ounce advantage into day three of the four-day competition that features 169 of the top bass-fishing anglers in the world competing for a top cash award of up to $125,000. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-cales-earns-co-angler-win

Cales Earns Co-angler Win

Co-angler Tim Cales of Sandstone, W.Va., earned his second win with FLW after sacking up 30 pounds, 11 ounces over two days in the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-hallman-way-in-front

Hallman Way in Front

Bradley Hallman is doing his best to make the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats a one-man show. But Alabama pro Alex Davis hopes to spoil Hallman’s hopes of a wire-to-wire victory. Today, Hallman weighed in 25 pounds, 7 ounces to raise his two-day total to 50-07. He’s led the tournament each day thus far. Davis weighed in 20-15 to move from third to second but is still 8 1/2 pounds behind the leader. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-okeechobee-day-2-coverage

Okeechobee Day 2 Coverage

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