Rook wins by tiebreaker!

NATCHITOCHES, La. - No one could have scripted a better ending to the stormy EverStart Series Central Division event on the Red River. Neither the rain-soaked anglers nor the umbrella-donned fans at the final weigh-in were anticipating the tournament drama that ensued between pros Scott Rook of Little Rock, Ark., and Dan Morehead of Paducah, Ky. In the final moments of the king-of-the-hill style weigh-in, EverStart Tournament Director Chris Jones announced that Morehead's final bass needed to be 3 pounds, 5 ounces to take the lead from Rook. Indeed, Morehead's bass weighed exactly 3 pounds, 5 ounces and, for a moment, it looked as if Morehead was the winner. A dejected Rook, who had lost a national tournament to Morehead years ago by ounces, conceded to Morehead, again, and congratulated him. A second later, Jones realized that Morehead needed 3 pounds, 5 ounces just to tie Rook, not beat him. Morehead really needed 3 pounds, 6 ounces to actually beat Rook. Rook was on the phone with his wife telling her of his 'defeat' when Morehead informed him that he had actually won.Unbeknownst to Rook, who had ducked off the stage to phone his wife and tell her the bad news, the Red River EverStart title was tied up. According to EverStart Series rules, final round ties are broken by how anglers qualified for the finals - in essence, the combined weight of days one and two. A quick check of the records revealed that Rook had qualified second and Morehead fourth, which gave Rook the official win. Rook was still on the phone when he was called back to the stage and announced the winner. "I'm speechless," gasped Rook in dismay when he reached the stage. "I think I just accidentally hung up on my wife; I hope she forgives me. I can't believe this is happening. "I've fished professionally for six years and this is my first national win. I`ve finished second so many times. So when it looked like Dan had won, I said, `Great, here we go again, another second place.' I still don't know what to say." For the record, Rook and Morehead both had a two-day total of 27 pounds. Rook weighed in 15 pounds, 3 ounces today and won $10,000 and a fully rigged Ranger for his win. Rook's winning lure: a black 3/8-ounce buzzbait.Rook was fishing a large backwater oxbow in Pool Three all week. In the earlier rounds, he fished a white square-billed shallow-diving crankbait in standing timber. "The water was about 8 to 10 feet deep, but the fish were suspended on limbs and forks in the timber in about 3 to 4 feet," he said. When the heavy rain moved in this morning, Rook switched to a 3/8-ounce black buzzbait to catch all of his winning fish. "Earlier in the week, when it was sunny, the fish were tight on the trees," he said. "With the clouds and rain the last two days, they scattered out more. Instead of fishing the trees, I fished a shallow ridge of grass in the same oxbow with the buzzbait." Morehead second After Morehead weighed in 13 pounds, 5 ounces and the tiebreaker was applied, he became runner-up. "Hey, rules are rules, and that's the way it goes," said Morehead who showed the grace of a true professional about his fleeting moment of victory. "If I was meant to win, I would have caught a bigger fish sometime in the last two days." Dan Morehead fished stumps and logs within submerged grass in Pool Four all week to finish second. Dan Morehead of Paducah, Ky., finished second after the tiebreaker with a two-day total of 27 pounds."The first two days I was mostly flipping a Mann's Dragon tube, watermelon candy with a chartreuse tail, to specific targets," he said. "When the clouds moved in yesterday, the flipping bite kind of went to pot, and I had to adapt with a Mann's top-water chugger." Driving rains destroyed Morehead's top-water pattern today and he had to adapt again. "About midmorning, I pulled out a 1/2-ounce Mann's Classic spinnerbait and started catching fish with that, so I stayed with it all day," he said. The spinnerbait was chartreuse and white with a Colorado blade in the front and a gold willow blade on the back. "The main thing for me this week was just adapting to each day's conditions," he added. Pro Toby Hartsell of Livingston, Texas, finished third with a two-day total of 25 pounds, 2 ounces.Hartsell third Toby Hartsell of Livingston, Texas, weighed in the biggest limit of the day, 15 pounds, 11 ounces, to move into third with a two-day total of 25 pounds, 2 ounces. Hartsell fished a spinnerbait and Zara spook in Pool Four to amass his catch. "I caught a bunch of fish today, but the biggest ones all came on the spook," he said. Chapman fourth Pro Kenneth Chapman of Woodlawn, Tenn., finished fourth with a two-day total of 24 pounds, 15 ounces.Kenneth Chapman of Woodlawn, Tenn., finished fourth with a two-day total of 24 pounds, 15 ounces. Chapman also cashed in on the top-water bonanza happening on the Red River to catch 13 pounds today. Chapman fished several backwaters south of the launch ramp in Pool Three. Though he flipped soft plastics earlier in the week to make the finals, he switched to a white 1/4-ounce Lunker Lure buzzbait and a Lucky Craft popper today to catch his fish. Pro Slade Dearman of Sam Rayburn, Texas, finished fifth with a two-day total of 23 pounds, 8 ounces.Dearman fifth Slade Dearman of Sam Rayburn, Texas, finished fifth with a two-day total of 23 pounds, 8 ounces. Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pros were George Jeane of Evans, La., in sixth place with a two-day total of 21 pounds, 15 ounces; Kenneth Sheets of Pevely, Mo., in seventh place with a two-day total of 20 pounds, 8 ounces; Glenn Maxwell of Crossett, Ark., in eighth place with a two-day total of 18 pounds, 10 ounces; Danny Gulledge of Hamburg, Ark., in ninth place with a two-day total of 18 pounds, 5 ounces; and Marc Lowenthal of Prairieville, La., in 10th place with a two-day total of 16 pounds, 10 ounces.

Tags: headline-story  rob-newell 

/news/2015-04-25-beaver-lake-day-3-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-make-way-for-morgan

Make Way for Morgan

“Hidden largemouths” is quickly becoming the buzz term at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac, as those atop the leaderboard are using the term to refer to spawning largemouths that are so well hidden that other competitors never found them. These hidden fish are covered by thick brush, hidden so deep that they were only found during the very rare windows of sunshine during practice or located off the beaten path. The latter are not in obvious pockets or places where one would expect to find beds, but rather out on the main bluff channels where few ever look. On day one, Jacob Wheeler caught hidden largemouths to take the lead. On day two, former Beaver Lake champion Andy Morgan caught hidden largemouths to take over the pole position going into the weekend. His catch of 15 pounds, 7 ounces today gives Morgan a two-day total of 28-09 to take the lead by just 11 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 2

At halftime of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac, the top five reads like a who’s who of Beaver Lake. Leader Andy Morgan is a former Beaver Lake champion. Behind him, Darrel Robertson has been very close to winning here with a runner-up finish in 2005. In third is 2014 Beaver Lake champion Matt Arey. Bryan Thrift, in fourth, has never won on Beaver Lake, but has led here before. And finally, fifth-place pro Stetson Blaylock knows his way around this lake pretty well, too, with a couple of top 10s. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-heckman-heads-up-tbf-championship-field

Heckman Heads up TBF Championship Field

Some bass are still spawning in Grand Lake, and others are yet to make their way up to the shallows, but none of that interests Sam Heckman. Diligent commitment to his postspawn plan here Friday landed Heckman atop the boater field with 34 pounds, 3 ounces and locked up his Southwest Division win at the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship. Saturday, the top boater from each of seven TBF divisions will vie for the TBF National Championship and the “Living the Dream” package that goes with it. The package includes paid entry in the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour as a pro, a Forrest Wood Cup berth and use of a custom-wrapped truck and Ranger boat on Tour for the year, as well as a travel stipend for each event. Seven non-boaters – one from each TBF division – also will fish in tomorrow’s final round for a chance at paid entry into a Rayovac FLW Series division of choice. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-beaver-lake-day-2-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-wheeler-with-a-slim-lead

Wheeler with a Slim Lead

Jacob Wheeler has a plan to win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake this week. That plan involves primarily the largemouth species, a target weight of 14 pounds per day and a lot of fish management. Today, Wheeler surpassed his target by nearly 2 pounds with a 15-pound, 14-ounce catch that puts him in the driver’s seat at Beaver Lake, in the lead by just a scant 5 ounces over second-place pro Bryan Thrift. “Largemouths are the way to win here at Beaver Lake,” Wheeler says. “They are the fish to go the distance here, and that’s what I’m focusing on.” READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 1

Though there were plenty of fish caught off beds at Beaver Lake on day one of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac, the top five is rounded out by a group of anglers who relied on sight-fishing very little. Opinions on where exactly bass are in the spawning cycle at Beaver Lake vary greatly from angler to angler, but a few common denominators did come to light on day one. For starters, most agree that one major spawning cycle has already occurred. Plenty of empty beds and a lot of gaunt, postspawn fish at the scale were evidence of that. Second, there are still some bass (of all species) trying to spawn, but the ones left on beds are extremely wary. Finally, the order of difficulty to catch each species ranks as follows: smallmouth bass – extremely easy; spotted bass – not as easy; largemouth bass – extremely difficult. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-griffith-grabs-tbf-lead-

Griffith Grabs TBF Lead

By midday, the prospects were unclear for Jon “Scooter” Griffith here in The Bass Federation National Championship on Grand Lake, but in a roundabout way it provided just the clarity he needed to dial in a pattern that helped him take the day-one lead with an 18-pound, 13-ounce limit. Griffith began his day by sight-fishing the clear water down by the Pensacola Dam. This opening move, he says, gave him some early comfort, as it matched the transparent water he’s used to fishing near his home in Mesa, Ariz. Targeting windblown points, Griffith got his early bites with reaction baits in about 4 to 8 feet of water. Unfortunately, the plan turned out to be less productive than he had expected. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-beaver-lake-day-1-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 1 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-tbf-championship-tips-off

TBF Championship Tips Off

The spawn is on at Grand Lake, but that’s not the only game in town. As the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship plays out for the next three days, anglers will find this northern Oklahoma impoundment abounding with lots of fishing options. Brian Maloney, the 2012 Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American champion, says he was impressed with what he found in practice. “The quality of fish on Grand is just amazing,” notes the Missouri angler. “This lake continues to put out 3- and 4-pounders, and right now there’s a variety of things we can do. “There are guys sight-fishing for spawning fish, and we’re probably looking at another wave or two of fish coming in soon. I’m sure the full moon coming up in another week or so will move them in.” Adding that the lake currently has fish in all prespawn, spawning and postspawn stages, Maloney thinks that TBF contenders will be greeted by a mix of water conditions typical for Grand this time of year. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-top-10-baits-from-lake-murray

Top 10 Baits from Lake Murray

Competitors in the FLW College Fishing National Championship mostly targeted bass feeding on spawning blueback herring on shallow points and main-lake pockets. Across the board, herring-imitating baits such as soft jerkbaits, swimbaits, topwaters, wake baits and umbrella rigs dominated the event. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-jig-bite-carries-holmes-on-wateree

Jig Bite Carries Holmes on Wateree

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-bryan-slows-down-for-chickamauga-win

Bryan Slows Down for Chickamauga Win

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-morfis-dominates-with-34-pound-limit

Morfis Dominates With 34-Pound Limit

OKEECHOBEE, Fla. – Joshua Morfis of Cape Coral, Florida, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 34 pounds, 14 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Gator Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Okeechobee. For his victory, Morfis earned $6,336. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-salzman-cracks-31-pounds-on-guntersville

Salzman Cracks 31 Pounds on Guntersville

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-lanter-wins-on-rend-lake

Lanter Wins on Rend Lake

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-19-top-10-patterns-from-lake-murray

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Murray

As contestants in the FLW College Fishing National Championship on Lake Murray discovered last week, fishing the blueback herring spawn can be backbreaking work. All that stooping over to grab a different rig to cast at bass busting their favorite forage, and then quickly straightening, is hard on the old spinal column. Flexing up and down is what it took to contend in the championship, however, as bass couldn’t make up their minds whether they wanted their grub served on the surface or closer to the bottom. Typically, the collegians were fan-casting Carolina rigs, umbrella rigs, hard jerkbaits and even crankbaits to likely looking points and broad flats. Sometimes they caught fish with such random prospecting, but perhaps more bass were taken when anglers found themselves within casting distance of blowups and were quick enough to grab a soft jerkbait rig or topwater lure and virtually spoon-feed it to the fish. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-18-gamecocks-win-college-title

Gamecocks Win College Title

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-18-gamecocks-win-national-title

Gamecocks Win National Title

As any good Palmetto State bass fisherman will tell you, home lake advantage only works if you’re consistent in your catches from day to day. Anthony Gagliardi proved it here on Lake Murray last summer in the Forrest Wood Cup, and the University of South Carolina proved it again in the FLW College Fishing National Championship that concluded Saturday. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-18-hallman-prevails-on-grand

Hallman Prevails On Grand

READ MORE »