No Swett

Sam Swett of Covington, La., edged out La Crosse, Wisconsin’s Tom Monsoor by 10 ounces Saturday to win the Pro Division of the second stop of the 2004 Wal-Mart FLW Tour at the Atchafalaya Basin.

MORGAN CITY, La. - It came down to the very last bass. The players: hometown favorite Sam Swett versus Wisconsin dominator Tom Monsoor. The stakes: $100,000 and the pride of Louisiana anglers everywhere. The outcome: With his last fish, Swett clinched a close victory and brought the trophy home on the bayou. Needless to say, the capacity crowd approved. Swett, who hails from Covington, La., edged out La Crosse, Wisconsin's Tom Monsoor by 10 ounces Saturday to win the Pro Division of the second stop of the 2004 Wal-Mart FLW Tour at the Atchafalaya Basin. "I love you, Louisiana," Swett told the packed house at weigh-in. "I'm proud to call you home." A good bet is that he was happy to be fishing near home, too, this week. While Swett admitted that he has only fished the basin twice in his career, he took advantage of the tidal water throughout the week. All four days, he made a long run down toward the Gulf of Mexico to a little unnamed area of natural bayous near the Intracoastal Waterway and worked an area where the tide - and the week's dismal weather - was crucial. "The saltwater doesn't intimidate me," he said. "It tends to push the bass up against the bank when the tide comes in. I knew that the northwest wind could blow that clear water off the bayou, and I had to worry about the muddy water coming in. The key for me was clear water and patience." Sam Swett caught 10 bass weighing 23 pounds, 9 ounces in the final round of competition on the Atchafalaya Basin.Given a week's worth of fishing under cold, rainy, muddy-water conditions, patience was indeed a virtue at Atchafalaya. Swett didn't catch them fast Saturday, nor did he catch very many. But, by calmly working his 1/2-ounce white spinnerbait with gold and silver Colorado blades through the cleanest, tide-driven water he could find, he landed a five-bass limit weighing 10 pounds, 11 ounces. His two-day, final-round total of 23 pounds, 9 ounces beat Monsoor's final tally of 22-15. "I just went searching for what I needed to do," Swett said. "Today, it was do-or-die for me. You just don't have time to second-guess your decisions." There was definitely no second-guessing anything for Swett Saturday. Having fished the tour since 2001, the Team Fujifilm pro's $100,000 victory was his first FLW win, and it came in just his first visit to the top-10 final round. "It hasn't hit me yet," he said. "It was definitely special to win in front of the hometown crowd with all my friends and family here." Tom Monsoor weighs in his fifth fish and briefly takes the lead. He finished second with a final-round weight of 22-15 and collected $37,000.Bayou voodoo derails Monsoor Monsoor, who crushed the field in the opening round with a weight over 32 pounds, had been hooking up - and landing - the moneymaking bass all week. His luck changed Saturday, however, when it counted most. "I lost five of them," he said. "And they were all good ones, too. Any one of them would have won it. I haven't lost a fish in three weeks." Despite the lost fish, Monsoor still cobbled together a limit weighing 10 pounds, 9 ounces Saturday. His final weight of 22-15 earned him $37,000 for second place. Monsoor is a standout pro from the North with a long, successful track record in the BFL Great Lakes Division. He's also a heavyweight in the EverStart Series Northern Division, with a number of top-10s and a victory to his name. Last year, when he moved up to fish the FLW full time, his impact was felt almost immediately when he finished third at Kentucky Lake. While he was happy enough to finish in the runner-up spot at this week's tough-fishing tournament, he wondered if maybe he fell prey to a little Louisiana destiny. "Maybe it was meant to be for Sam to win, but I should have won it," he said with a nod to his lost fish. "My day is coming. I've never fished a circuit where I haven't won a tournament. Three, two, one (a reference to the possible progression of his FLW top-10 finishes): That's my motto now." Bird's biggest bag Cody Bird of Granbury, Texas, found some fish again Saturday and caught the biggest sack of the day, a limit weighing 13 pounds, 5 ounces. But his 5-7 weight from Friday meant he would only rise to finish in third place with a two-day weight of 18-12. He collected $25,000. "The day started out with that really good (bass) and I thought, `Here we go,'" he said. "But I only caught five keepers." Baumgardner drops to fourth Day-three leader Chris Baumgardner of Gastonia, N.C., couldn't capitalize on his slight head start in the first half of the final round. He caught just two bass weighing 4 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday and ended with a two-day total of 17-9. He collected $20,000 for fourth place. "I don't know what it was," he said. "The current slowed down and the water got cold. I just couldn't get them to bite." Steve Tosh of Waterford, Calif., combined for a two-day total of 16-2 and ended up in fifth place.Tosh fifth Steve Tosh of Waterford, Calif., a newcomer to the FLW Tour, had the best finish of his career at Atchafalaya. He caught three bass weighing 7 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday, combined for a two-day total of 16-2 and ended up in fifth place. He collected $18,000. "I'll tell you what, I've had the best time of my life. This is it. It doesn't get any better than this," he said. Dean Rojas of Grand Saline, Texas, fishes during the finals of the FLW Tour event at the Atchafalaya Basin. After the tournament, Rojas was ranked No. 1 overall among pros on the tour based on points standings.Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pro finishers at FLW Atchafalaya Basin are Dean Rojas of Grand Saline, Texas, with a final-round total weight of 11 pounds, 2 ounces (6th place, $17,000); Randy Blaukat of Lamar, Mo., with a weight of 9-9 (7th, $16,000); Mike Surman of Boca Raton, Fla., with a weight of 9-2 (8th, $15,000); Bill McDonald of Indianapolis with a weight of 4-0 (9th, $14,000); and Mark Rose of Marion, Ark., with a weight of 1-11 (10th, $13,000). With two top-10 finishes in the first two tournaments of the season, Rojas has also taken the lead in the FLW standings by a narrow two points over Osaka, Japan's Shinichi Fukae. The third FLW Tour stop of the season is scheduled for Old Hickory Lake near Gallatin, Tenn., March 10-13.

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/news/2015-03-28-birge-buzzes-ahead

Birge Buzzes Ahead

Today started off with a slightly miserable 31-degree air temperature, but it didn’t take long for the top 20 pros to really heat up on Lewis Smith Lake at the second stop of the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour presented by Evinrude. Reports poured in throughout the day of big bass – especially big largemouths – being caught off beds. It looked at first as if one of the “largemouth lookers” might piece together a big enough bag to snatch the lead away from Oklahoma rookie Zack Birge, who struggled early to make his shallow topwater pattern work. Unfortunately for the rest of the field, the young gun Birge has the coolness and patience of a veteran, and he stuck with his game plan of throwing a buzzbait and soft jerkbait rig until the sun had time to warm the shallows and spur the fish to become more active. Birge tallied 17 pounds, 11 ounces today, raising his three-day total to 54-8 and giving him a lead of 3-11 over Texas veteran Clark Wendlandt in second place. READ MORE »

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Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 3

After three days, it looks as if tournament leader Zack Birge has the quality largemouth bite in the bushes wired. But behind him on the leaderboard are nine pros doing everything from sight-fishing to catching schooling bass and everything in between. Even with all the patterns in play, few have fizzled. The sight-fishers have reported finding new bedders, the schoolers are still schooling and a couple of guys have even started tapping floating docks. READ MORE »

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Lewis Smith Lake Day 3 Coverage

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Topwater Takes Birge to the Top

On a day when chilly, windy post-front conditions challenged many Walmart FLW Tour anglers who were relying on sight-fishing for spawning bass, Zack Birge bucked the trend and pulled out a pair of topwaters to haul in 17 pounds, 14 ounces. Birge jumped from third place past day-one leader Drew Benton to take over the top spot on Lewis Smith Lake in the event, which is presented by Evinrude. Birge’s two-day total of 36-13 has him positioned 1 pound ahead of Benton. READ MORE »

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Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 2

While air and water temperatures plummeted on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude, the big surprise came in the stability of the fishing patterns amidst such change. Zack Birge found plenty of production on his primary pattern to send him to the top of the leaderboard, and those under him held true to their patterns as well to secure a ticket to day three’s top 20. Among the biggest surprises was the number of pros who were still able to pluck fish off beds. Most pros that were sight-fishing say the bass are committed to beds and that the cold snap will not run them off at this point in time. Despite the cold, some even found new fish on beds that were not there yesterday. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-lewis-smith-lake-day-2-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 2 Coverage

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/news/2015-03-26-benton-blasts-20-12-on-lewis-smith

Benton Blasts 20-12 on Lewis Smith

Panama City, Fla., pro Drew Benton jumped into the early lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude with a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 12 ounces. Benton caught a mix of largemouths and spotted bass, and revealed that both black bass species are spawning. He leads a tight top 20 that includes 18 pros that caught more than 15 pounds each. The first day was an absolute fish-fest. Of the 154 pros fishing this tournament, 138 weighed limits. Brad Roberts of Faubush, Ky., has a 2-ounce lead in the co-angler division with a 13-pound, 4-ounce limit. Tomorrow he’ll try to defend his lead on the final day of co-angler competition. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 1

While Drew Benton was busy bugging bedding fish for his day-one tournament lead, several others behind him were scoring big with other fishing options on Lewis Smith Lake. Sight-fishing also played a role in the top limits produce by Tracy Adams, Scott Martin and Ish Monroe, but Clayton Batts and Zack Birge both brought in big bags with other patterns. Click here to read about Benton’s day-one performance at the second Walmart FLW Tour event of 2015, which is presented by Evinrude. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-lewis-smith-lake-day-1-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 1 Coverage

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/news/2015-03-22-arkansas-anglers-win-college-open

Arkansas Anglers Win College Open

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/news/2015-03-21-kendrick-king-on-guntersville

Kendrick King On Guntersville

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/news/2015-03-21-epting-s-30-pounds-tops-on-santee-cooper

Epting's 30 Pounds Tops on Santee Cooper

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/news/2015-03-21-wood-rock-key-for-middleton-s-victory

Wood, Rock Key for Middleton's Victory

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/news/2015-03-21-johnson-wins-on-dale-hollow

Johnson Wins on Dale Hollow

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/news/2015-03-21-griffin-gets-win-on-ross-barnett

Griffin Gets Win on Ross Barnett

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/news/2015-03-20-top-5-patterns-from-guntersville-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Guntersville Day 2

The second day of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division tournament on Lake Guntersville proved as remarkable as the first – or perhaps better, considering today’s parade of big fish included a 12-pound, 10-ounce behemoth caught by fourth-place pro Trevor Fitzgerald for the day’s Big Bass prize. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-hall-holds-steady-for-lead

Hall Holds Steady For Lead

Joe Hall of Lake City, Minn. wasn’t confident about his chances going onto the second day of competition of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event on Lake Guntersville. Nonetheless, he held steady with a 27-pound, 5-ounce catch that only barely fell short of the 28-1 he weighed on the first day. With a two-day total of 55 pounds, 6 ounces, Hall holds a 1-pound, 12-ounce lead over Cameron Gautney going into the final day of the Mercury presented tournament. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-missouri-anglers-lead-college-open

Missouri Anglers Lead College Open

Andrew Nordbye and Adam Almohtadi of Northwest Missouri State University of Maryville, Mo., took the lead in the opening round of the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake with 25 pounds, 2 ounces. Heading into Saturday’s second and final round, the University of Kentucky’s Ryan Collins and Hunter Fulcher sit in second place with 22-14, while Ethan Flack and Konnor Kennedy of the University of Alabama are currently third with 22-9. Details to follow. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-day-1-patterns-from-the-college-open

Day 1 Patterns from the College Open

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Gautney Under Pressure

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