Old Hickory stick

Kellogg’s pro Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa., collected $100,000 cash Saturday as winner of the four-day, $500,000 Wal-Mart FLW Tour event on Old Hickory Lake.

GALLATIN, Tenn. - It was certainly no surprise that Dave Lefebre won $100,000 on the final day of Wal-Mart FLW Tour competition at Old Hickory Lake. What was extraordinary was how he ran away with it over the last two days. The 33-year-old pro from Erie, Pa., caught another five-bass limit weighing 12 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday and won his first FLW Pro Division title with a final-round total weight of 27-7. To put his win in perspective, second-place Dion Hibdon caught almost 9 pounds fewer than Lefebre in the overall finals. It was one of the biggest margins of victory seen on the FLW Tour. "The key is confidence and just being in control of what I'm doing," the champion said. "I just feel so good here; it's similar to stuff I fish back home. I can't explain it; it's just prespawn fish and shallow fish, which is what I like." Old Hickory was tough on a lot of anglers this week; not a single pro or co-angler out of the 400 competitors who entered the tournament was able to catch a limit all four days. Lefebre came the closest, catching three days worth of limits and coming in one day, day two, with four bass. He caught the limits when it counted, however, on the final two days, and that's all that mattered. "This is so unbelievable," he said. "You can't put it into words. I was talking to Ray Scheide (pro winner at FLW Lake Okeechobee in January) to see what it felt like to win one of these things, and he said you just can't explain it. He was right." Dave Lefebre caught a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 27 pounds, 7 ounces despite facing tough conditions on the Tennessee fishery.With words or without, it was Lefebre's flipping stick and his crankbait that did all the talking this week. He all but turned the outcome of this event into a foregone conclusion Friday when he crankbaited his way into the only limit of the day and leapt in front of the field by more than 6 pounds. While he again landed one of just two limits caught by the pros Saturday - Hibdon caught the other one - Lefebre said it was a challenging day despite his huge lead. "That's one bite at this place," he said about his 6-pound lead heading into Saturday. "I had a horrible day today, too. I lost a 5-pounder and one that was probably 3 1/2 pounds. I lost a ton of fish, probably close to 15 of them. I missed four fish in a row on one crankbait." To lose that many bass on the last day and still win is a testament to Lefebre's fruitful fishing spot as well as his pattern. Fishing a creek about 15 miles upriver from Bull Creek Ramp, he flipped "a little bit" Saturday, but mainly threw his crankbait in shallow water. Frustrated after breaking off so many fish, he upsized the treble hook on the back of his crankbait and was able to get a few bass into the boat and scratch out his limit. "People label me as a jig-fisherman, but I like to do it all," he said. "But I am really nervous about catching them on treble hooks in a tournament. The weird thing was the area that I ended up winning the tournament in was not the creek that I thought I'd do well in." And Lefebre, if anyone, seems to know how to excel at fickle Old Hickory Lake. This was just his second time fishing on the Tennessee lake, and both visits met with undeniable success. His first trip here was last October at the EverStart Series Championship, a tournament where he finished in third place. Dave Lefebre celebrates with his wife, Anne, and their son, Mitchell."I feel like I can almost call my shots where I'm going to get bit," he said. "It's like I've been fishing here all my life." One of the hottest pros on the FLW Tour at the moment, Lefebre had three top-five finishes coming into Old Hickory this week. Coming out of the EverStart Northern Division, he only started fishing FLWs last year and made a big splash when he finished third in just his second event. "I wouldn't be here if I didn't think I could win," he said. "I just really had a lot of confidence at this lake. It's great to win. I mean, some of the best fishermen in the world fish their whole careers and haven't won one of these tournaments. (My wife and I) are still new at this, and we've got a long road ahead of us." Dion Hibdon caught a total of 18 pounds, 8 ounces in the finals and finished in second place.Hibdon tops rest While he didn't win, Hibdon took solace in leading the other nine pros who seemed to be fishing a different lake than Lefebre in the finals. Hibdon's second-place finish earned him $35,000 and will help him gain points toward the year-end championship in Birmingham, Ala. "I needed this," said Hibdon, who caught a total of 18 pounds, 8 ounces in the finals using mainly a crankbait and a Gambler jig. "I've been to Birmingham before and won a championship once. I'd like to get back there." Shimizu claims second big Japanese win of the week Morizo Shimizu of Osaka, Japan, caught three nice bass weighing a total of 13 pounds, 9 ounces Saturday and vaulted into a $20,000, third-place finish with a final-round total of 15-12. Fishing in roughly the same creeks as Lefebre and Rick Clunn, he threw a blue-and-chartreuse Modo Wild Hunch crankbait in shallow water to hook into his big, prespawning bass. "My area had many big fish," he said. "The water warmed up and we had a very good wind. Yes, I'm happy." Greg Hackney of Gonzales, La.,  made another rebound of sorts Saturday with his four-bass catch weighing 11 pounds 1 ounce. He finished in fourth place with a final-round total of 12-14.Hackney bounces back again Greg Hackney of Gonzales, La. - who won the Energizer Keeps On Going award for his 26-pound, 116-place comeback on day two - made another rebound of sorts Saturday with his four-bass catch weighing 11 pounds 1 ounce. He started the day in 10th place after a 1-13 performance Friday but finished in fourth place with a final-round total of 12-14 and collected $16,000 "Going out this morning in 10th was actually a good position," he said. "You know, I'm laid back. From there, you don't have anywhere to go but up." Veenstra fifth Day-one leader Marcel Veenstra of Brighton, Mich., finished in fifth place and collected $14,000 with a final weight of 11 pounds, 1 ounce. Veenstra tipped his cap to Lefebre, whom he has battled before. In 2002, he edged out Lefebre for the EverStart Northern Division points title in the last tournament of the year. "That's the way it goes," Veenstra said. "He puts a lot of effort into it and he deserves it." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pro finishers at FLW Old Hickory Lake are Rick Clunn of Ava, Mo., with a final-round total weight of 10 pounds, 14 ounces (6th place, $11,000); Mickey Bruce of Buford, Ga., with 10-4 (7th, $10,000); John Murray of Phoenix with 10-0 (8th, $9,000); Glenn Browne of Ocala, Fla., with 8-14 (9th, $8,000); and Tracy Adams of Wilkesboro, N.C., with 8-7 (10th, $7,000). With the win, Lefebre moved up into a tie for third place in the yearly standings with 536 points. Browne nearly took the lead with 559 points after his third good tournament of the year, but he sits in second place behind Dean Rojas of Grand Saline, Texas, who clings to first place in the standings with 560 points. The fourth FLW Tour stop of the season is the Wal-Mart Open scheduled for Beaver Lake near Rogers, Ark., March 31-April 3.

Tags: headline-story  jeff-schroeder 

/news/2015-03-29-lewis-smith-lake-day-4-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 4 Coverage

Day 4 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/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 »

/news/2015-03-28-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-3

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 »

/news/2015-03-28-lewis-smith-lake-day-3-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 3 Coverage

Day 3 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-topwater-takes-birge-to-the-top

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 »

/news/2015-03-27-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-2

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

Day 2 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/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

Day 1 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

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

Arkansas Anglers Win College Open

Consistency was the key for the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville here in the FLW College Fishing Kentucky Lake Open as Zachary Pickle and Drew Porto won the event with a two-day total of 43 pounds, 12 ounces. READ MORE »

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

Kendrick King On Guntersville

Kendrick, who is fishing the Rayovac FLW Series in hopes of qualifying for the FLW Tour, caught more than 25 pounds each day of the event and finihsid in fine fasion when it counted. Kendick was catching nearly all of his bass around big schools of bait with a Houdini pearl-colored Scottsboro Tackle swimbait from 15- to 25-feet of water. READ MORE »

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

Epting's 30 Pounds Tops on Santee Cooper

SUMMERTON, S.C. – Chris Epting of Chapin, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 30 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Santee Cooper. For his victory, Epting earned $3,679. READ MORE »

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

Wood, Rock Key for Middleton's Victory

HUDDLESTON, Va. – Dennis Middleton of Madison Heights, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division tournament of 2015 on Smith Mountain Lake. For his victory, Middleton earned $7,199. READ MORE »

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

Johnson Wins on Dale Hollow

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – Robby Johnson of Byrdstown, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mountain Division tournament of 2015 on Dale Hollow Lake. For his victory, Johnson earned $5,689. READ MORE »

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

Griffin Gets Win on Ross Barnett

BRANDON, Miss. – Jason Griffin of Benton, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 23 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Ross Barnett Reservoir. For his victory, Griffin earned $5,349. READ MORE »

/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

The Northwest Missouri State University team of Andrew Nordbye and Adam Almontadi took the day-one lead in the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake. While their pattern seems to be effectively refined – they were using only one lure and had no others out on the deck – Nordbye and Almontadi don’t have this one sewed up yet. The rest of the top five is just a few pounds behind the leaders. Here’s how they made it into contention going into the final day. READ MORE »