UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Hoernke’s the hottest on the Red

Emotional pro Sean Hoernke, whose dream as youth was to become a pro angler, celebrates his first EverStart victory at the Red River.

Texas pro wins Central Division closer; Davis wins points title

NATCHITOCHES, La. - When Sean Hoernke beat 2002 FLW Tour champion John Sappington by 4 ounces in the final round of EverStart Series Central Division competition Saturday, it was the next step toward making his dream come true. Hoernke caught five bass weighing 12 pounds, 10 ounces to win the Pro Division, collected $10,000 and took home a new Ranger boat.

"This feels great," said a teary-eyed Hoernke. "It's been a long time coming. This is the greatest thing in the world."

What started for Hoernke, who hails from Euless, Texas, as a stint in competitive motorcycle racing as youth eventually evolved into a passion for tournament fishing that culminated in Saturday's EverStart victory.

"When I was 13 years old, I dreamed of fishing as a pro," he said. "I grew up in motorcycle racing, but then my uncle got me fishing from the bank. When I turned 16 and got my driver's license, I was gone. At Texas A & M, I actually structured my college courses in marketing and public relations so that I would be specifically geared for a career in pro fishing."

It seems to have worked so far for Hoernke, who guides at Lake Fork, Texas, between tournaments. While he competed at the 2000 BFL All-American and even won a BFL Cowboy Division event in 1998, this was his first-ever top-10 appearance at the EverStart level. He has fished the Central Division sporadically since 2001, but this week's tournament was his sole entry into EverStart competition this season.

"This is the only one I've fished this year, so I wasn't in the running for the points. My plan was to win," he said.

The plan worked to a T. While Hoernke owns a regular 21-foot bass boat, he brought and used a flat-bottom, 17-foot aluminum boat all week long on the Red River. The idea was to gain access to some of the more remote backwater areas that bigger boats couldn't reach. The first two days of competition, he used that access to his advantage when he found a little backwater area off the river's heavily fished Pool 4 and made the cut. The last two days when there were fewer tournament boats, he fell back to his second scouted location, which involved a more conventional - and accessible - shallow-water pattern on nearby Pool 3. There, he shared the same water as Sappington.

"We watched each other catch fish all through the event," Hoernke said. "I knew it was going to be won out of that area. When I saw that there were just two of us in there, I poured it on because I have a lot of respect for John."

Hoernke landed a total of 28 bass Saturday, eventually culling out to his winning weight. In the finals, he said he alternated between throwing a chartreuse, lime and white spinner bait and flipping a black-and-red-flake tube.

Second place bittersweet for Sappington

Sappington, from Wyandotte, Okla., caught a limit weighing 12 pounds, 6 ounces in the finals and collected $10,000 for second place. He admitted to feeling slightly disappointed by the outcome if only because he fished within sight of Hoernke and because he loves Louisiana fishing, having tasted victory here before. The last time he fished a major tournament in this state, he won the 2002 FLW Championship at Cross Lake in Shreveport.

"Sean and I fished the exact same place up the river a little bit from the takeoff (at Morgan's Landing)," he said. "I kind of did think I had it (won). I felt like I caught enough fish to win it, but he caught more fish than I did so he deserved it."

Sappington used a Lake Fork craw to land the bulk of bass, but said he did lose one 5-pounder early Saturday morning that could have made the difference between first and second place, which the veteran knows can be crucial in pro fishing.

"If you would have asked me three days ago about second place, I would have said, `great,'" he said. "But the problem with second place is that nobody remembers second place. But I've had a good tournament. There was nothing more I could do."

Gulledge lands in third

Danny Gulledge of Hamburg, Ark., who took a sizable lead on day one with an 18-pound stringer, finished the tournament in third place with a five-bass weight of 10 pounds, 9 ounces. He collected $9,000.

Like earlier in the week, conditions were hot, humid and blindingly sunny Saturday. That's just the way Gulledge, who used a War Eagle spinner bait, liked it.

"The sun was key for what I was doing," he said. "Anytime I could see the brim suspended, I could catch fish. My last two fish I caught in the last 10 minutes."

Hester good for fourth

The high temperatures even had the locals sweating. Jerry Hester, who hails from nearby Coushatta, La., finished in fourth place with five bass weighing 9 pounds, 2 ounces. He collected $8,000.

"It was hot - real hot - out there," he said. "I had a plan to save my big ones and catch them today, but they just didn't bite."

Stegall finishes fifth

Roger Stegall of Iuka, Miss., also caught five bass weighing 9 pounds, 2 ounces, but finished in fifth place due to a tiebreaker. He collected $7,500.

"I'm not bragging, but I've been sort of consistent. I've had about 9 or 10 pounds every day," he said, adding that he made a grueling 50-mile, lock-to-lock run in the heat in search of a 5-pound bite. "I caught most of them on a Strike King spinner bait and June bug worm."

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pro finishers are Lendell Martin Jr. of Nacogdoches, Texas, (sixth place, $6,500) with five bass weighing 7 pounds, 8 ounces; Craig Powers of Rockwood, Tenn., (seventh, $5,500) with four bass weighing 7-7; Randall Osborne of Mount Sterling, Ky., (eighth, $5,000) with five bass weighing 7-7; Bobby Graves of Mount Ida, Ark., (ninth, $4,500) with three bass weighing 4-14; and Slade Dearman of Onalaska, Texas, (10th, $4,000) with two bass weighing 4-6.

Davis wins points title

Jackie Davis of Willard, Mo., won the 2003 Central Division standings title when Powers finished in seventh place Saturday. Davis finished the year with 763 points and Powers finished with 757.

"Jackie Davis is a great competitor, and he's a great guy. He deserved it," Powers said. "It worked out as it should have."

Coming up

The Central Division is done for the 2003 season. The next EverStart Series tournament is a Northern Division contest at the Detroit River in Trenton, Mich., July 23-26.

Day-four links:

Photos
Final results
Press release
'Barber clips co-angler title at Red River'

Tags: jeff-schroeder  headline-story  2003-06-25-red-river 

/news/2016-07-28-early-reports-from-wheeler

Early Reports from Wheeler

Starting this Sunday, the 50 Forrest Wood Cup competitors will hit Wheeler Lake bright and early for the first of three days of official practice. It’ll be the first time the anglers have been allowed on the Tennessee River reservoir since the pre-practice cut off date of July 17. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-27-celebs-seminars-on-deck-for-the-cup

Celebs, Seminars on Deck for the Cup

The 2016 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart in Huntsville, Ala., on Aug. 4-7 will be crawling with some of the best bass anglers in the industry – both active pros and bassin’ legends. Fans in attendance will have the opportunity to personally wish their favorite anglers good luck before takeoff, snag a picture and an autograph from an industry superstar, or sit in on a seminar. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-27-bass-and-bbq-festival-set-for-forrest-wood-cup-expo

Bass and BBQ Festival set for Forrest Wood Cup Expo

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – FLW is adding some Alabama flavor to the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup with its Bass & BBQ Festival as part of the FLW Expo outside the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama, August 6 and 7. The BBQ Festival, presented by WQRV 100.3 The River, will feature four award-winning BBQ teams offering delicious fare to visitors at the Forrest Wood Cup. A portion of all... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-27-bk-s-year-as-the-champ

BK’s Year as the Champ

Brad Knight plans on getting a good night’s sleep before this year’s Forrest Wood Cup on Wheeler Lake begins on Aug. 4. Sounds pretty straightforward, but there have been times during the past 12 months when dozing off wasn’t so easy for the defending Cup champion. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-top-10-patterns-from-the-1000-islands

Top 10 Patterns from the 1000 Islands

High wind and fluctuating water temperatures made things a little difficult for the anglers, but the top-10 pros adapted and utilized the whole playing field to exploit everything from deep smallmouth to shallow largemouth. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-mccartney-o-keefe-tie-for-win-at-flw-bass-fishing-league-great-lakes-division-event-on-mississippi-river-presented-by-navionics

McCartney, O’Keefe Tie For Win at FLW Bass Fishing League Great Lakes Division Event on Mississippi River Presented By Navionics

LA CROSSE, Wis. (July 25, 2016) – Mark McCartney of Davis Junction, Illinois, and Nick O’Keefe of La Crosse, Wisconsin, each weighed three bass totaling 11 pounds even, Saturday to win the third FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division tournament of 2016 on the Mississippi... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-mccartney-o-keefe-tie-on-the-mighty-miss

McCartney, O'Keefe tie on the Mighty Miss

Mark McCartney of Davis Junction, Illinois, and Nick O’Keefe of La Crosse, Wisconsin, each weighed three bass totaling 11 pounds even, Saturday to win the third FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division tournament of 2016 on the Mississippi River presented by Navionics. For his win, McCartney earned $5,540 after bonuses, and O’Keefe took home $3,540. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-country-music-superstar-dustin-lynch-to-perform-free-concert-in-huntsville-presented-by-wdrm-102-1

Country Music Superstar Dustin Lynch to perform Free Concert In Huntsville presented by WDRM 102.1

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Country music superstar Dustin Lynch will perform a free concert on the Walmart weigh-in stage at the Propst Arena in the Von Braun Center in Huntsville on Sunday, August 7, starting at 4 p.m., prior to the final weigh-in of the world championship of professional bass fishing, the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. The concert is presented by WDRM... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-canterbury-s-next-challenge-

Canterbury’s Next Challenge

At the time of writing, Canterbury had been picked by every pundit and 50 percent of players overall, which is a decent bump over Morgan at 47 percent. The dollars attached obviously make a difference, but there’s no doubt that everyone expects great things. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-jay-kendrick-the-rookie-

Jay Kendrick – The “Rookie”

A rookie by designation if not by experience, Forrest Wood Cup contender Jay Kendrick finished 34th in the standings in his first year on the Walmart FLW Tour to clinch a spot in the championship. What makes it even more fortuitous for him is that because the Cup is taking place on Wheeler Lake, he’ll be able to stay at his own house for the event, which is just about 30 minutes from takeoff at Ditto Landing. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-fan-freebies-and-contests-at-the-cup

Fan Freebies and Contests at the Cup

One pro angler is going to win $300,000 at the Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart Aug. 4-7 on Wheeler Lake in Huntsville, Ala. That’s good for him. For fans, the chance to win is pretty good too. FLW and its partners and sponsors have lined up a sweet selection of giveaway prizes for the Cup and the accompanying FLW Expo, ranging from a tricked-out bass boat to a fishing trip with Jimmy Houston. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-24-1000-islands-top-10-baits

1000 Islands Top 10 Baits

The top pros from the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands kept it pretty simple to catch both largemouths and smallmouths from this massive fishery that includes the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. Drop-shots, spinnerbaits and jigs all saw action and got it done from the lake to the river. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-24-penn-state-taps-docks-at-chautauqua-

Penn State Taps Docks at Chautauqua

The Penn State University duo of Clayton Frey of York, Pennsylvania, and Derek Horner, of State College, Pennsylvania, won the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference event at Chautauqua Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and qualified the team for the 2017 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-thompson-co-angler-champ-on-1000-islands

Thompson Co-angler Champ on 1000 Islands

The 1000 Islands is a great place to take a vacation, especially if you are from the south and want to escape the heat. That is exactly what co-angler Joe Thompson of Clayton, Ga., did and wound up capturing the top spot in the co-angler division bringing home a Ranger Z117 with a 90 hp motor. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-penn-state-university-wins-flw-college-fishing-northern-conference-event-on-chautauqua-lake

Penn State University wins FLW College Fishing Northern Conference Event on Chautauqua Lake

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. – The Penn State University duo of Clayton Frey of York, Pennsylvania, and Derek Horner, of State College, Pennsylvania, won the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference event at Chautauqua Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and qualified the team for the 2017 FLW College Fishing National... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-michigan-s-dobson-leads-wire-to-wire-wins-costa-flw-series-event-at-1000-islands-presented-by-mercury

Michigan’s Dobson leads wire-to-wire, wins Costa FLW Series Event at 1000 Islands presented by Mercury

CLAYTON, N.Y. – Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Michigan, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event at 1000 Islands presented by Mercury with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 68 pounds, 8 ounces. For his win, Dobson earned $82,669, including a new Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-dobson-dominates-1000-islands

Dobson Dominates 1000 Islands

Scott Dobson didn’t expect it to come so quickly, but 30 minutes is all it took for him to find the winning pattern during his first day of practice for the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands. That pattern would lead him to three consecutive limits of more than 20 pounds, including today’s final-round bag worth 21-12 – the day’s biggest limit, yet his smallest of the tournament. His three-day total weight of 68-8 earned him a check for more than $37,000 along with a Ranger Z518C with a 200-hp engine for being Ranger Cup qualified. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-1000-islands-top-5-patterns-day-2

1000 Islands Top 5 Patterns Day 2

Strong winds limited competition to only the St. Lawrence River on day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands, but that was no problem for the majority of the top 10. Even though most of them fished Lake Ontario on day one, they were able to adjust and stay on the fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-dobson-extends-lead-at-1000-islands

Dobson Extends Lead at 1000 Islands

A windy day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on the 1000 Islands didn’t stop day-one leader Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Mich., from sacking up the biggest bag of the day. Dobson threw down an impressive 22-pound, 3-ounce limit to extend his lead to 5 pounds over Cal Climpson – a noted Lake Ontario maestro. Dobson’s two-day total stands at 46-12, and with lighter winds tomorrow some big bags are expected. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-lake-ontario-out-for-day-2

Lake Ontario Out for Day 2

It is never good when you wake up the morning of a tournament and every flag you see is standing straight out at 3 a.m., but that was the case this morning for day two of the Costa FLW Series event on the 1000 Islands. READ MORE »