UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Ouachita

Stick Nixon

EverStart Series rookie Brian Nixon, 22, of Grand Junction, Colo., scored his first EverStart Series victory in dominating fashion Saturday with a 9-pound, 1-ounce margin of victory on California’s Clear Lake.

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.

Tags: jeff-schroeder  headline-story  2004-04-14-clear-lake 

/news/2016-02-12-top-10-photos-from-lake-okeechobee-

Top 10 Photos from Lake Okeechobee

FLW’s coverage crew was all over the place during the Walmart FLW Tour kickoff presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee. The following photos are some of the best taken during a week of wild weather swings and big bass. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-10-dudley-links-up-with-livingston-lures

Dudley Links Up with Livingston Lures

Livingston Lures has added three-time Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year David Dudley to its pro-staff. The Virginia pro joins two-time FLW AOY Andy Morgan and former FLW Rookie of the Year Stetson Blaylock on the Team Livingston roster. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-10-power-pole-extends-partnership-with-flw

Power-Pole Extends Partnership with FLW

FLW announced yesterday that JL Marine Systems, manufacturer of Power-Pole shallow-water anchor systems, has signed a sponsorship extension for the 2016 season. This will be the sixth consecutive season that the two organizations have partnered. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-flw-college-fishing-western-conference-opens-season-on-shasta-lake

FLW College Fishing Western Conference Opens Season on Shasta Lake

REDDING, Calif. – FLW College Fishing is headed to Lake Shasta Feb. 20 for the first of three regular-season stops in the Western Conference. A full field of college teams will be competing for a top award of $2,000 and a berth in the FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-lake-shasta-set-to-host-costa-flw-series-opener-presented-by-minn-kota

Lake Shasta Set to Host Costa FLW Series Opener Presented by Minn Kota

REDDING, Calif. – The Costa FLW Series is headed to Lake Shasta Feb. 18-20 for a tournament presented by Minn Kota when as many as 300 pros and co-anglers will take to the water for the first stop of 2016 in the Western Division. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-montgomery-targets-prespawn-bass-for-win

Montgomery Targets Prespawn Bass for Win

Local angler Scott Montgomery of Eufaula, Ala., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 1 ounce, Saturday to win the first FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Bulldog Division tournament of 2016 on Lake Eufaula. For his victory, Montgomery took home a check for $4,127. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-top-10-patterns-from-lake-okeechobee

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Okeechobee

Oklahoma’s Bradley Hallman sewed up his first Walmart FLW Tour victory at the season-opener on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats by pitching and punching reed heads in the South Bay area with a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver. Hallman stuck with his program despite up-and-down air temperatures, high winds and all the curveballs Mother Nature could throw at him. Here's how the rest of the top 10 got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-08-top-10-baits-from-lake-okeechobee

Top 10 Baits from Lake Okeechobee

The Walmart FLW Tour presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee went from a tight race to a runaway in a hurry when Bradley Hallman just wouldn’t stop catching the big ones. As for the lures he used, and those put to work by the rest of the top 10, some Okeechobee staples were applied as well as a few oddball baits. If you’re thinking of heading down to the Big O or anywhere else in Florida soon, you might want to acquire a few of the lures they fished. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-07-hallman-wins-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Hallman Wins Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Okeechobee Presented by Ranger Boats

CLEWISTON, Fla. – Pro Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, brought just two bass to the scale Sunday totaling 6 pounds, 8 ounces, but it was still enough to earn the win at the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Hallman’s four-day cumulative total of 16 bass weighing 71 pounds, 2 ounces earned him the win by an impressive 14-pound, 14-ounce margin over second-place pro Alex Davis of Albertville, Alabama, and $100,000 in the tournament that featured 169 of the best bass-fishing anglers in the world competing in the first FLW Tour event of the regular season. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-07-big-hall-man-on-okeechobee

Big (Hall)Man on Okeechobee

It was the Bradley Hallman show all week long at Lake Okeechobee at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats. Though, the Norman, Okla., pro struggled on day four and brought in only two fish for 6 pounds, 8 ounces, he pulled off the wire-to-wire victory in his first event on Tour. The 13-pound, 9-ounce lead that Hallman built up through the first three days of competition was enough that he didn't actually have to weigh his fish today. Hallman's tournament total of 71 pounds, 2 ounces far exceeded the 56-04 caught by runner-up Alex Davis. For the win, Hallman earned $100,000. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-07-lake-okeechobee-day-4-coverage

Lake Okeechobee Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-top-5-patterns-from-lake-okeechobee-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Okeechobee Day 3

Across the board, weights fell off on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats and hosted by Roland and Mary Ann Martin's Marina and Resort and the Hendry County Tourism and Development Council. No one in the top 20 crossed the 20-pound mark. Cloud cover, which prevented the water temperature from rising much above 65 degrees, and low water clarity might both have slowed the replenishment of bass moving into spawn. Tournament leader Bradley Hallman experienced a bit of a stall in the action as well, bringing just four fish to the scales, but he still managed to increase his lead to 13 pounds, 9 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-hallman-extends-lead-on-day-three-at-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Hallman Extends Lead On Day Three At Walmart FLW Tour On Lake Okeechobee Presented By Ranger Boats

Anchored by an 8-pound, 10-ounce kicker, pro Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, brought four bass to the scale Saturday totaling 14 pounds, 3 ounces to extend his lead to more than 13½ pounds heading in to the final day of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Hallman’s... READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-can-anyone-catch-hallman-

Can Anyone Catch Hallman?

Despite catching only four keepers on day three, Norman, Okla., pro Bradley Hallman extended his lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee. With a day-three weight of 14 pounds, 3 ounces and a tournament total of 64-10, his margin over second-place angler Alex Davis is now 13 pounds, 9 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-montgomery-wins-flw-bass-fishing-league-bulldog-division-opener-on-lake-eufaula

Montgomery Wins FLW Bass Fishing League Bulldog Division Opener on Lake Eufaula

EUFAULA, Ala. – Local angler Scott Montgomery of Eufaula, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 1 ounce, Saturday to win the first FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Bulldog Division tournament of 2016 on Lake Eufaula. For his victory, Montgomery took home a check for $4,127. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-okeechobee-day-3-coverage

Okeechobee Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-top-5-patterns-from-lake-okeechobee-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Okeechobee Day 2

Fueled by 25 mph north winds, the Lake Okeechobee washing machine cleansed some livewells today, keeping them free of the 20-pound limits that are so common here when the weather is sunny, 75 and calm. However, a few 20-plus-pound limits still snuck through the rinse cycle to grace the scales. The biggest limit once again belonged to Bradley Hallman of Norman, Okla. He added 25 pounds, 7 ounces to the 25 he caught on day one. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-oklahoma-s-hallman-extends-lead-at-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Oklahoma’s Hallman Extends Lead at Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Okeechobee Presented by Ranger Boats

CLEWISTON, Fla. – Pro angler Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, brought a five-bass limit weighing 25 pounds, 7 ounces to the scale Friday to extend his lead on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Hallman will bring an 8-pound, 8-ounce advantage into day three of the four-day competition that features 169 of the top bass-fishing anglers in the world competing for a top cash award of up to $125,000. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-cales-earns-co-angler-win

Cales Earns Co-angler Win

Co-angler Tim Cales of Sandstone, W.Va., earned his second win with FLW after sacking up 30 pounds, 11 ounces over two days in the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-hallman-way-in-front

Hallman Way in Front

Bradley Hallman is doing his best to make the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats a one-man show. But Alabama pro Alex Davis hopes to spoil Hallman’s hopes of a wire-to-wire victory. Today, Hallman weighed in 25 pounds, 7 ounces to raise his two-day total to 50-07. He’s led the tournament each day thus far. Davis weighed in 20-15 to move from third to second but is still 8 1/2 pounds behind the leader. READ MORE »