Pack-man fever

FLORENCE, Ala. - As expected, the EverStart finals in the Pro Division came down to two FLW heavyweights. With Mark Pack of Mineola, Texas, and 2003 FLW Tour Angler of the Year Dan Morehead of Paducah, Ky., battling it out on a daily basis, bass-fishing enthusiasts knew they were in for a treat heading into the final weigh-in. However, in the end, Pack outgunned and outfished Morehead - pulling away on the final day of competition by nearly 10 pounds to grab first place on Pickwick Lake. Although the finals ultimately proved to be somewhat anticlimactic, that was just fine with Pack. "It feels good to finally win one," said Pack, who owned multiple top-10 performances over the years in the EverStart Series, but had never won a title until today. "I knew it'd come sooner or later." Not only did it come sooner, but it came a lot easier than expected. Heading into the finals, Pack held a precarious 3-pound, 15-ounce lead over Morehead. However, although there were some early morning jitters, Pack managed to calm his nerves and return with a triumphant 15-pound, 15-ounce stringer in the finals, bringing his two-day total to an unassailable 32 pounds, 13 ounces. Pack ultimately won $10,000 in cash and a new, fully rigged Ranger boat valued at approximately $40,000. Mark Pack of Mineola, Texas, used a total catch of 32 pounds, 13 ounces to win the EverStart tournament title on Pickwick Lake."I knew (Morehead) was going to need about 20 pounds to beat me, and I knew it was probably going to be tough for him to do," said Pack. "I struggled a little bit at the beginning of the day. I caught one fish about 8:30 a.m. and then I didn't catch another fish for a while. But I stayed relaxed and focused because I knew a lot of my fish turned on between 10:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. And that's pretty much what happened. My area also gave me a lot of confidence. It was a big (half-mile) area that had everything you need to catch fish this time of year. My guiding experience also helped me a lot today." Pack said that he really didn't deviate from his primary bait of choice all week - a Lake Fork Tackle Creature bait. "I used a Carolina rig in about 3 to 8 feet of water," said Pack, who led the tournament for three straight days. "I targeted scattered shells and mussel beds. The funny thing is that I found this area very late on the last day of practice. But the key for me was making really long casts. These smallmouth bass got real spooky if you got too close." In the end, Pack successfully kept his distance from his smallmouth bass. But more importantly, he kept his distance from the rest of the pro field when it mattered most. Morehead nets second place Although his two-day catch of 23 pounds, 9 ounces came up short, Morehead still managed to be more than happy with his performance this week. "I really can't complain. It's been a good tournament. I'm happy with what I did," said Morehead. "(Pack) had a solid pattern and he was on fish all week. I really didn't have a pattern. My motto was, `Just keep (the bait) wet.'" Pro Dan Morehead of Paducah, Ky., used a two-day catch of 23 pounds, 9 ounces to finish the Pickwick Lake event in second place.Morehead, who took home a check for $10,000, said he flipped a small-profile FLW jig tipped with a crawdad trailer all week. "I'm so tired of flipping a jig right now," Morehead joked. "That's what I did all four days. Like I said, I didn't have a pattern. I stayed pretty close by on Wilson Lake, targeting boat docks and the back bays. I probably didn't burn 15 gallons of gas all week." While Morehead acknowledged that he struggled in the first two FLW tournaments of the year, his last two EverStarts - a 23rd-place finish at Sam Rayburn and a second-place finish at Pickwick - have given him some added confidence heading into the Wal-Mart Open scheduled for next week. "I'm happy with my finish," said Pack. "It's great timing too. Now I feel like I'm back." Consider the rest of the FLW Tour field forewarned. Sisk snares third place Using a two-day catch of 16 pounds, 3 ounces, pro Larry Sisk of Evansville, Ind., grabbed third place overall as well as a check for $9,000.Using a two-day catch of 16 pounds, 3 ounces, Larry Sisk of Evansville, Ind., grabbed third place overall as well as a check for $9,000. "I wasn't sure what was going on today," said Sisk, on his difficulty of landing a huge stringer in the finals. "I'm just an old junk fisherman from the Ohio River. Overall though, I had a good tournament." Best of the rest Joe Bennett of Independence, Mo., took advantage of a two-day catch of 14 pounds, 12 ounces to grab fourth place overall. However, Bennett admitted that the rising water levels really hurt his chances of making a significant move in the finals. "They raised Wheeler Lake about a foot today," said Bennett, who ultimately took home a check for $8,000. "All of my stumps were underwater and I couldn't see any of them. It just didn't work out today." Fifth place at the Pickwick Lake event belonged to Dewey Allen of Connersville, Ind. Allen, who recorded a catch of 11 pounds, 13 ounces, won $7,500 for his efforts.Fifth place belonged to Dewey Allen of Connersville, Ind. Allen, who recorded a catch of 11 pounds, 13 ounces, won $7,500 for his efforts. Rounding out the top 10 pro finishers were Mark Richards (sixth) of Houston with a catch of 9 pounds, 3 ounces; Dick Shaffer (seventh) of Rockford, Ohio, with a catch of 8 pounds, 12 ounces; Allen Powell (eighth) of Clarksdale, Miss., with a catch of 8 pounds, 12 ounces; Rusty Smith (ninth) of Somerset, Ky., with a catch of 8 pounds, 12 ounces; and Robert Robinson (10th) of Mobile, Ala., with a catch of 7 pounds, 10 ounces. Tie-breakers were settled by angler results over the first two days of the tournament. EverStart action continues April 28-May 1 on the Red River at Natchitoches, La.

Tags: headline-story  gary-mortenson 

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Lake Murray Midday Update Day 2

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Liberty Leads College Championship

A 22-pound, 2-ounce stringer anchored by a 7-pound, 9-ounce largemouth boosted Liberty University’s Travis Rulle and Caleb Eppler into the opening-round lead of the FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance Insight Genesis College Cup here on Lake Murray. Rulle and Eppler were the last anglers to weigh in on day one, and their five-fish limit gave them a lead of more than 3 pounds ahead of Eastern Kentucky University veterans Kyler Raymer and Ethan Snyder, who had 18-15. The surprise team of the tournament so far is Colorado Mesa University’s Josh Worth and Kennedy Kinkade, who brought in 18-10 despite never having fished east of the Mississippi River before. Worth and Kinkade are in third place, followed by Cade Laufenberg and Wyatt Stout of Winona State University, and Benn Curry and Tim Ward of Auburn University, both teams with 17-8. Lamar University’s Cameron Lafleur and Justin Royal in 10th place set the cut mark at 16-8. The entire field will fish again tomorrow, and only the top 10 based on two-day cumulative weight will fish in Saturday’s final round. READ MORE »

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Castledine Stands Tall On Grand

Day one of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Power-Pole on Grand Lake produced stunning weights. With “thousands” of bass on the beds, the pros brought in a total of exactly 2,240 pounds and it took 16 pounds to make the top 60. Rising above the crowd was Nacogdoches, Texas, pro Todd Castledine, renowned for his prowess in Texas, the sight-fishing master cracked 23 pounds, 13 ounces and leads second-place pro Jonathan Henry by 1 pound, 6 ounces. READ MORE »

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Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake Day 1

The first day of the Rayovac FLW Series Central Division tournament was all about the sight-bite – from day-one leader Todd Castledine on down. The event, presented by Power-Pole and hosted by the Grand Lake Association, undoubtedly featured other patterns, but every angler who did well relied in large part on bedding bass. READ MORE »

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Lake Murray Midday Update Day 1

With precipitation ranging from an incessant mist to torrential downpours sweeping the area throughout the morning, the odds favored a slow start to the FLW College Fishing National Championship being presented by the Lowrance Insight Genesis College Cup here on Lake Murray. As it turns out, however, the bass apparently liked the extra water and reacted accordingly. A number of the teams that found prime spawning areas for blueback herring in practice earlier this week returned on day one and were rewarded with limit catches of largemouths and spots by midmorning. Among them was the local favorite, the University of South Carolina, which reportedly had culled up to about 13 pounds by 11 a.m. Likewise, the Oregon State University was sitting on about 15 pounds and had culled five times. Tanner Masters and Wyatt Ryan of East Central University (of Oklahoma) caught their limit fishing seawalls and riprapped banks during the sporadic herring spawns that fired up as soon as boats reached their first fishing destinations. READ MORE »

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Hanselman Wins Back-to-Back

Once you get Ray Hanselman going, just get out of his way. The Del Rio, Texas, pro is riding an incredible high right now after sewing up his second consecutive Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division win. Hanselman won the opener on Lake Amistad in February, then backed it up this week with a win on Sam Rayburn Reservoir in an event presented by Mercury. For his final-day limit, Hanselman plowed deep into Rayburn’s flooded cover to track down a five-bass limit worth 16 pounds, 10 ounces, raising his three-day total to 60-08 for a win by more than 7 pounds. For his efforts, Hanselman earned a cool $35,815 check and another trophy to add to his mantle. READ MORE »

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White Takes Bragging Rights on Kentucky Lake

GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. – Joe White of Princeton, Kentucky, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 23 pounds, 15 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League LBL Division tournament of 2015 on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. For his victory, White earned $5,014. READ MORE »

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Taylor Targets Bluebacks for Hartwell Win

ANDERSON, S.C. – Brock Taylor of Pendleton, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 1 ounce Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Savannah River Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Hartwell. For his victory, Taylor earned $4,830. READ MORE »

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Chenoweth Wins on Kerr

HENDERSON, N.C. – Rick Chenoweth of Fredericksburg, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division tournament of 2015 on Kerr Lake. For his victory, Chenoweth earned $5,241. READ MORE »

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Rayburn Day 3 Midday Update

A chilly morning greeted the top 10 pros and co-anglers for the final day of Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division competition on Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Mercury, but a warm sunrise filtered by scattered clouds bespoke the gorgeous conditions forthcoming. Winds have dropped off to barely a breeze, main-lake running is easy, and the coves and creeks where most anglers are fishing are glassy smooth. Fish surely pulled tighter to cover with the sunny conditions, but that probably makes little difference, as the majority of anglers have been flipping close to trees and into dense buck brush since day one. The heavy, tangled spots with vines seem to be the prime targets again today. READ MORE »

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Hansen Holds Lake of the Ozarks Title

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. – Brian Hansen of Fenton, Missouri, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 18 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Ozark Division tournament of 2015 on Lake of the Ozarks. For his victory, Hansen earned $4,507. READ MORE »

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Frog Carries Lowery to Victory

ALEXANDER CITY, Ala. – David Lowery of Phenix City, Alabama, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 14 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Bama Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Martin. For his victory, Lowery earned $4,385. READ MORE »

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Gordon Grabs Title on Dardanelle

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – Shawn Gordon of Russellville, Arkansas, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Arkie Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Dardanelle. For his victory, Gordon earned $7,244. READ MORE »

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Hanselmania Returns

He’s back at it again. Ray Hanselman of Del Rio, Texas, won the season-opening Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division tournament on Lake Amistad, and today he weighed in 23 pounds, 5 ounces on the second day of competition at stop No. 2 on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Hanselman vaulted into the tournament lead with a two-day total of 43-14. “Hanselmania” leads by 5 pounds, 6 ounces over Denny Brauer, also of Del Rio, who is in second place for the second consecutive day. The leader’s stringer is even more impressive considering that Hanselman lost three 5-pounders this morning and caught 23-5 on a day when only one other pro weighed more than 20 pounds, and only three others weighed more than 18 pounds. Day-one leader Joe Don Setina weighed in only four keepers for 11 pounds today. READ MORE »

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Rayburn Day 2 Midday Update

With only one fish in the livewell at 10:30, Joe Don Setina was probably hoping for a repeat of day one – at least the part where he sacks ’em up in the second half. We found the leading pro fishing the Black Forrest area that he worked the first day, and he’s sticking with the same routine of flipping heavy cover. READ MORE »

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Setina Overcomes Slow Start

Pittsburg, Texas, pro Joe Don Setina is off to a hot start in the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division this season. After a top-10 finish at the opener on Lake Amistad, Setina jumped out to the day-one lead on Sam Rayburn today. It wasn't all smooth sailing for Setina, however. He says nothing went right for him this morning, when he lost fish, snagged trees and finally had to sit down and collect himself before continuing on. After refocusing, Setina caught his first keeper at about 11 a.m. and proceeded to sack up 23 pounds, 6 ounces for a slim 8-ounce lead over second-place pro Denny Brauer, who also finished in the top 10 at the Amistad opener. READ MORE »

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Top 5 Patterns from Sam Rayburn Day 1

Overcoming a tough start, Joe Don Setina rallied to take the day-one lead at the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division event presented by Mercury on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. He’s fishing flooded trees and bushes like most of the field and weighed in 23 pounds, 6 ounces. With the lake at a 15-year high thanks to recent rains, Rayburn’s bass are scattered, often in areas that are difficult to reach. Some pros are muscling their way through the thick stuff to search for bedding fish, while others opt for working the perimeter of the flooded zone for postspawn bass. READ MORE »