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/2015-06-29-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 »