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

Marvelous Morehead

Dan Morehead holds up part of his winning stringer en route to a first-place finish on Beaver Lake. Morehead's 28-pound, 8-ounce catch was more than 8 pounds greater than his nearest competitor.

Kentucky native adds Wal-Mart Open victory to `dream' fishing season

ROGERS, Ark. - By any objective measure, Dan Morehead of Paducah, Ky., has had a career year on the FLW Tour. And today was no different. Bolstered by a two-day catch of 28 pounds, 8 ounces, Morehead once again dominated the competition in one of the most important tournaments of the year. In fact, his win at the prestigious Wal-Mart Open was so spectacular that none of his fellow finalists could even get within 8 pounds.

If winning the top prize of $200,000 wasn't enough, Morehead also tightened his vice-like grip on the 2003 FLW Angler-of-the-Year title - increasing his lead over his nearest competitor by 51 points with only two tournaments remaining on the year.

"It feels great. If you're going to win a tournament, this is the one to win," said Morehead. "If I could bottle this and sell it, I'd be rich. This has been such a good year that I hope that I never wake up."

Morehead now boasts more than $500,000 in career earnings, eight top-10 finishes and two tournament titles on the FLW Tour. In addition to his Wal-Mart Open victory, Morehead has netted a third-place finish at Lake Okeechobee, a 23rd-place finish at the Atchafalaya Basin and an eighth-place finish at Lake Murray this year alone.

Amazingly enough, Morehead attributed his success in 2003 to a renewed interest in the sport of archery.

"I shoot a lot of archery, and that sport is 100 percent mental," he said. "I really concentrated on it this winter, and I really think it's helped me to stay focused. You guys might not know this, but if I'm not in a bass boat, I usually have a bow in my hand."

However, some sage advice from a good friend hasn't seemed to hurt Morehead's chances either.

"My buddy has a saying, `Believe it, achieve it, doubt it, do without it,'" said Morehead. "I've thought a lot about that this year. And I really believe it's true."

And that advice seemed to come in handy today. Although Morehead had the lead going into today's competition, he stumbled early on - missing three fish for the first time all tournament.

"Almost immediately, I lost a 3-pounder," he said. "I wound up losing three big fish today that I know of, and I should have come back with 18 pounds. But after I caught my third fish, I was able to start to settle down and come back into the zone. Towards the end, it seemed like every decision I made was the right one."

Rocks and line size the key to success

Morehead said that he targeted bass near the Prairie Creek Marina in about 8 to 10 feet of water.

"I kept my boat in about 10 feet of water parallel to the banks," he said. "For the most part, I used a Mann's Minus-8 bait to catch most of my fish throughout the week."

Although Morehead also used Mann's suspending jerkbait and jig-head worm, he said that line size and rocky bottoms were the primary keys to his success.

"I only used 8-pound-test line, and that really seemed to be the difference," he said. "And as long as I was ticking that chunk rock, I got bit. If I wasn't hitting rocks, I wasn't catching fish."

While victory was sweet, Morehead said it was only half the battle as the 2003 Angler-of-the-Year title is finally within striking distance. But then again, so is the pressure.

"I'm going to savor this victory, but there's a lot more work to be done," he said. "I'm really focusing on that Angler-of-the-Year title and making the Jacobs Cup. Right now, I have the momentum and I'm going for broke."

Morehead's victory has also set the stage for the next FLW tournament on Kentucky Lake. If he were to do well there, the AOY title would almost certainly be his. And he knows it.

"What I'd really love to do is hit them hard on Kentucky Lake," said Morehead. "That way, I won't have to sweat it out during the last tournament of the year."

To be fair, Morehead shouldn't be the one sweating anything right now.

(Photo by Gary Mortenson)" BORDER="1" ALIGN="RIGHT">Hutson misses another chance at Beaver Lake title

Although no one would blame him for being disappointed after finishing in second place at the Wal-Mart Open two years in a row, Randall Hutson was not about to feel sorry for himself.

"It's kind of hard to be down about this," said Hutson of Washburn, Mo. "I had some tough luck this morning, and I lost two good, good fish, but it probably wouldn't have been enough to beat Dan anyway. And anytime you can go from 86th place to making the top-10 cut and winning $100,000, you've got to feel pretty good."

Hutson, who rallied hard to make the top-10 cut after only catching 6 pounds, 1 ounce on the first day of competition, used a combination of jerkbaits and Lucky Strike jigs to land the majority of his catch throughout the tournament.

However, if it wasn't for the wind, things might have ended up differently.

"If the wind was blowing, I think I would have been able to catch a big sack of fish today," said Hutson, who ultimately landed a total catch of 19 pounds, 13 ounces. "Overall though, it was a wonderful week."

Despite the fact that he came up just a little bit short in the finals, Hutson, said that he has no regrets.

"I now have four top-10 finishes on the FLW Tour, and in three of those tournaments, my co-angler won the title," Hutson said. "I hope I can win one of these things on Beaver Lake someday, but I'll take second place anytime. It was a great finish as far as I'm concerned."

Moran sheds rookie image

Using a catch of 18 pounds, 9 ounces, Russ Moran of Murfreesboro, Tenn., grabbed third place and a check for $54,5000 in only the fourth FLW tournament of his career. In many ways, Moran was arguably the happiest angler on the weigh-in stage when all was said and done.

"This is absolutely the greatest thing I've ever been involved with," said Moran. "It's everything I expected and then some. I think I wore my rabbit's food down to the claws today."

Moynagh nets fourth place

A native of Carver, Minn., Jim Moynagh said that he had absolutely no expectations coming into Beaver Lake. So, when he found out that his catch of 18 pounds, 3 ounces in the finals was good enough for fourth place and a check for $39,000, he seemed almost relieved.

"Every day I went out there I didn't know if I was going to catch a fish or not," said Moynagh, who used a jig worm to land the majority of his catch. "Today, I caught about 10 or 11 keepers so I had a lot of fun. It was just a great tournament."

Martens rights the ship

After struggling on the tour all year long, Aaron Martens finally turned in a performance worthy of his stellar reputation. Using a two-day catch of 17 pounds, 1 ounce, Martens captured fifth place, a check for $33,500 as well as some much needed confidence.

"Besides yesterday - where I struggled all day and only caught four fish - it was a great tournament," said Martens. "I was finally able to get some good practice time and it paid off."

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top 10 finalists were Rock Monteith (sixth) of Columbia, S.C., with a catch of 15 pounds, 14 ounces; Rick Clunn (seventh) of Ava, Mo., with a catch of 11 pounds, 11 ounces; Scott Martin (eighth) of Clewiston, Fla., with a catch of 11 pounds, 4 ounces; Jim Eakins (ninth) of Nixa, Mo., with a catch of 8 pounds, 10 ounces; and Wesley Burnett (10th) of Hot Springs, Ark., with a catch of 4 pounds, 3 ounces.

FLW action resumes May 14-17 at Kentucky Lake in Gilbertsville, Ky.

Related links:

Photos
Final results
Quick Bites: Wal-Mart Open, Day 4
Press release

Tags: headline-story  gary-mortenson 

/news/2015-08-31-top-10-patterns-from-lake-erie

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 »

/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-webster-runs-and-guns-for-win

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 »

/news/2015-08-29-experience-pays-for-boggs

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 »

/news/2015-08-29-jig-crankbait-carry-gray-to-victory

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 »

/news/2015-08-29-hemken-searched-deep-for-bigger-bites

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 »

/news/2015-08-29-topwater-lifts-ragan-to-top

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 »

/news/2015-08-29-martinkovic-runs-away-with-title

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 »

/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 »