UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Erie

Stick Nixon

CLEARLAKE, Calif. - Just under a month ago after struggling to a 103rd-place finish at Lake Havasu, young EverStart rookie Brian Nixon approached Western Division standout Art Berry and asked for some confidence tips. Whatever Berry told him, it worked. Nixon, a pro from Grand Junction, Colo., won the EverStart Series Western tournament at Clear Lake Saturday with a hefty final-round weight of 44 pounds even. He collected $8,500 and a new Ranger 519 for the victory. In a storybook twist, he ended up defeating his mentor, Berry, who secured the third runner-up finish of his two-year EverStart career and is quickly evolving into the Kevin VanDam of the Western Division. "This guy here (Berry) is one of the best," Nixon said Saturday. "He is one of the class acts in bass fishing." "I would have been happy if I won this tournament," said Berry, perhaps acknowledging his own role in Nixon's victory, "but I am ecstatic that Brian won it." Brian NixonTo be sure, so was the winner. At 22 years old and fishing in just his third EverStart tournament, to say that Nixon is fresh off the farm is an understatement. He's green enough that he showed up to the final day's takeoff with dead boat batteries and had to borrow a ride to fish. Nevertheless, the excitement of winning this event over some of the best anglers in the West certainly made an impression: He was practically vibrating when he accepted his trophy. "All I ever think about is fishing," Nixon said. "I'm barely 22 years old. I don't even think about girls all that much yet." How did he do it? The key was his fishing location, of course, plus the near-25-pound sack of bass he weighed in on Friday. His hot spot, which he fished most of the week including the final two days, was a small stretch of water in Soda Bay with a ditch and docks perfectly suited to attract bass under the week's windy, sketchy conditions. "I caught them in there the first day," Nixon said. "I knew the fish were there, but I didn't realize there were so many big fish." Brian Nixon shows off his winning combination of baits: a Pepper jig, a spinnerbait and a rip bait.He found that out Friday when he landed his leading 24-pound, 14-ounce stringer. Saturday, he went right back to the spot, worked his rip bait, a spinnerbait and a Pepper jig, and again hooked into the heaviest sack of the day, 19-2. He had his limit by 10 a.m. "This is awesome to get on a lake like this and go and catch them a hundred different ways. The most awesome part about it is the cuts on your hands," Nixon said, showing off beat-up hands that looked like they'd been on the winning end of some serious catches. "Look at that! You just don't get that anywhere else." It's true. Few other tournament venues provide enough fish for all 10 pro finalists to weigh in limits on Saturday, which happened at Clear Lake. Behind Nixon, the next heaviest sack belonged to Berry, who thought he had a shot to finally get over the hump. His stellar performance on this year's Western circuit has given Art Berry a substantial lead in the points with just one event left, but he still hasn't won one.The ones that got away Berry, who hails from Hemet, Calif., would never say it, but it was apparent that he was shaken by his third near miss. He landed a hefty limit weighing 16 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday, finished with 34-15 and collected $8,000 for second place in the Pro Division. But Berry is one of those anglers who, you can tell, is not really in this sport for the money. His stellar performance on this year's Western circuit has given him a substantial lead in the points with just one event left. But he still hasn't won one - and you know what they say about horseshoes and hand grenades. Pro Art Berry of Hemet, Calif., landed a hefty limit weighing 16 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday, finished with 34-15 and collected $8,000 for second place in the Pro Division."It's all right. It's going to make me better," Berry said. "I just wanted it so bad. But to be an angler like Clark Wendlandt or Kevin VanDam, you've got to have things like this happen to you." What happened to Berry Saturday were the proverbial ones that got away. He broke off two huge largemouths - one that he estimated at over 8 pounds and the other at over 10 - and that made all the difference. "I just had a little bit of bad luck," he said, then addressed the standings race. "My main goal is to be the best. I'm really happy with my fishing right now. My goal is to win Angler of the Year, so I'm just going to go down (to the California Delta) and try to get it done. This just adds a little fuel to fire." Lintner third Despite giving play to the notion of quitting after he broke off a huge bass Friday, Jared Lintner of Oceana, Calif., ended up catching 34 pounds, 12 ounces in the final round at Clear Lake and collected $7,000 for third place in the Pro Division. Jared Lintner of Oceana, Calif., ended up catching 34 pounds, 12 ounces in the final round at Clear Lake and collected $7,000 for third place in the Pro Division.Lintner focused his energies on the final two days flipping tules on the south end of the lake, but windy conditions held him to an 11-pound, 15-ounce limit Saturday. "Today, it just got tough," he said. Amazing Ehrler fourth Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., has fished in all seven of the Western Division tournaments over the last two years and has finished in the top five in five of them. Saturday, he continued his impressive run with a 31-pound, 7-ounce final weight and finished fourth at Clear Lake. He collected $6,000 and moved up to a tie for second place in the yearly pro standings. "I started the day with a 7-pound deficit, so I went looking for some big ones," he said. "Sometimes you've just got to do it. I'm just happy to get what I did." Gliebe fifth David Gliebe of Stockton, Calif., caught 29 pounds, 3 ounces in the final round and finished in fifth place, worth $5,500. After landing a third-place 19 pounds, 4 ounces Friday, Gliebe slipped Saturday and caught just 9-15. Responding to tournament director Chris Jones' remark that he tends to do pretty well at Clear Lake, Gliebe quipped, "Yeah, that's where I fished yesterday." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 Pro Division finishers in EverStart Western competition at Clear Lake are Russ Barger of Boise, Idaho, with a final-round weight of 29 pounds, 3 ounces (6th place, $5,000); 2003 Clear Lake champion Luke Clausen of Spokane, Wash., with 28-5 (7th, $4,500); Rob Wenning of Sparks, Nev., with 26-11 (8th, $4,000); Shaun Bailey of Agoura, Calif., with 24-8 (9th, $3,500); and Sean Minderman of Post Falls, Idaho, with 21-0 (10th, $3,000). Coming up The next EverStart Series event is an Eastern Division contest at Santee Cooper lakes near Summerton, S.C., April 21-24. The next Western Division tournament is the fourth and final event of the season and will be held at the California Delta near Oakley, Calif., May 5-8.

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/news/2015-08-28-top-5-patterns-from-lake-erie-day-2

Top 5 Patterns From Lake Erie Day 2

Pennsylvania pro Dave Lefebre and Ohio pro Jared Rhode tied for the day-two lead in Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division action on Lake Erie with 43 pounds, 9 ounces. Both pros caught their fish on drop-shots. Here are the details of the rest of the top five. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-28-lefebre-rhode-tied-at-the-top

Lefebre, Rhode Tied at the Top

Notching his second day of 20-plus pounds, FLW Tour pro Dave Lefebre tallied 43 pounds, 9 ounces and tied day-one leader Jared Rhode for the day-two top spot at the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. Lefebre caught his 22-3 limit on Rapala DT-10 crankbaits, while Rhodes tempted his 19-15 catch with drop-shots. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-28-lake-erie-day-2-midday-update

Lake Erie Day 2 Midday Update

With winds shifting from yesterday’s northerly blow to a warmer southerly direction, day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie brought calmer conditions with greater ability to methodically work key spots. Offshore, waves ran 1 to 2 feet, with leeward areas behind the Lake Erie Islands nearly flat. READ MORE »

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Rhode Cracks 23-10 for Erie Lead

Jared Rhode played his cards and the gamble paid off better than expected, as the pro from Port Clinton, Ohio, took the day-one lead at the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie with a limit catch weighing 23 pounds, 10 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-27-top-5-patterns-from-lake-erie-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Erie Day 1

Taking off this morning, the FLW Tour pro from Erie, Pa., knew the day’s north wind would keep him from making a long run to a big-fish spot close to his home. However, keeping it local and fishing a little past Pelee Island to the west delivered a solid second-place catch. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-27-lake-erie-day-1-midday-report

Lake Erie Day 1 Midday Report

Winds have subsided considerably since practice, but Lake Erie’s still showing her temperamental side to Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division anglers fishing the last divisional event out of Sandusky, Ohio. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-25-top-10-patterns-from-the-forrest-wood-cup

Top 10 Patterns from the Forrest Wood Cup

If you don’t believe that summertime bass fishing in the dog days of August is all over the map, just take a look at the top 10 patterns from the best bass pros on earth at the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Brad Knight captured the Cup by mining one small creek end for four days. But beyond that, the rest of the top 10 patterns ran the gamut, from targeting schoolers over 40 feet to wolf packs of bass on the bank to brush piles to grass to mud flats and everywhere in between. Here’s a rundown. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-23-knight-slays-ouachita

Knight Slays Ouachita

Lancing, Tenn., pro Brad Knight won the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart on Lake Ouachita with a four-day total of 51 pounds, 12 ounces. In front of a standing-room-only crowd at Bank of the Ozarks Arena in Hot Springs, Ark., Knight weighed in 11-07 on day four to surpass Jacob Wheeler, who started the day with a 12-ounce lead. Fishing in just one area all four days, Knight locked up the first win of his FLW career. He earned $500,000 for his victory and pushed his career earnings total to more than $688,000. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-23-forrest-wood-cup-day-4-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-22-wheeler-back-in-front

Wheeler Back in Front

Jacob Wheeler loves Lake Ouachita. It’s where he fished his first Forrest Wood Cup in 2011, and it’s where he’ll take the tournament lead into the final day of competition at the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Wheeler, the 2011 Cup champion, led this tournament on day one and slipped a couple spots on day two. He now has a very slim 12-ounce lead over Tennessean Brad Knight. The anglers will square off tomorrow on Ouachita starting at 7 a.m. against the rest of the top 10 pros for the top prize of $500,000. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-22-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 3

Jacob Wheeler may have regained his lead in the Forrest Wood Cup on day three, but Brad Knight is right on his heels. Going into the final day, the two pros are separated by just 12 ounces. The margin is tight, and what’s going to make the final day fun to watch is the difference in the two anglers’ strategies. Wheeler is running a topwater pattern on the main lake, and fishing new water is part of his plan. Knight, however, has caught almost all of his weight from one 250-yard stretch of bass-rich creek channel. He literally knows every target he is fishing by heart. On the surface, Knight’s area looks to be the better bet. But he has shared the general area with Brandon Cobb and Mark Daniels Jr. for three solid days. And the bad news, at least for Knight, is that both Cobb and Daniels will be sharing the water with him again on the final day as both made the top-10 cut. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-22-forrest-wood-cup-day-3-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-ramie-races-into-the-lead

Ramie Races into the Lead

On the back of a 17-pound, 14-ounce limit, which is the biggest of the tournament thus far, Ramie Colson Jr. jumped from seventh place to take over the lead at the halfway point of the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. Colson’s two-day total is 31 pounds, 1 ounce, which puts him almost 3 pounds ahead of Tennessee’s Brad Knight. The Forrest Wood Cup, which is hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, moves into its top-20 round on Saturday. The top 10 pros after Saturday’s weigh-in advance to Sunday’s final round for a shot at the $500,000 top prize. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 2

At times, bass fishing can be a lot like real estate, where the three most important rules are location, location and location. The 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita presented by Walmart is starting to become a bit of a real estate game where location is the primary consideration in who climbs the leaderboard. And those mining the backs of creeks and tributaries are on the prime pieces of real estate. Consider that after day two, four of the top five pros are concentrating their fishing efforts in the back ends of creeks or rivers. All of these areas fit a classic late-summer, early-fall pattern where shad pack into the back of creek ditches that meander through shallow flats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-forrest-wood-cup-day-2-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-wheeler-hunting-history

Wheeler Hunting History

It’s never been done before, and it hasn’t happened yet, but Jacob Wheeler is in prime position to become the first two-time Forrest Wood Cup champion in history. Wheeler, of Indianapolis, Ind., brought in a 16-pound, 2-ounce limit of Lake Ouachita bass on the first day of the Cup, which is presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 1

After day one of the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita, several things have come to light. For one, this event is not likely to produce a runaway win for anyone like it did when Scott Martin won here in 2011. Second, when the pros said Ouachita was going to be stingy, they meant it – only 29 of the 50 pros checked in limits today. Third, firm patterns are hard to come by on Lake Ouachita in August. Jacob Wheeler took the lead on day one in the event that’s presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. With the help of a 5-pound bass, Wheeler weighed in a limit of 16 pounds, 2 ounces, but he had to sample a lot of different areas for his catch. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-forrest-wood-cup-day-1-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 1 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-17-elkins-looked-deep-on-erie

Elkins Looked Deep on Erie

Matt Elkins of Spencerville, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Michigan Division tournament on the Detroit River. For his victory, Elkins earned $5,337. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-17-manson-targets-shad

Manson Targets Shad

Scott Manson of Covington, Ohio, weighed four bass totaling 8 pounds, 10 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division tournament on the Ohio River. For his victory, Manson earned $5,205. READ MORE »