UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Rookie romp reaps bass fishing’s richest reward

Luke Clausen, 26, of Spokane, Wash., completed a four-day sweep of the $1.5 million Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship to win $500,000 Saturday. Also pictured is Forrest L. Wood, the founder of Ranger Boats and the FLW Tour's namesake.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - If there were ever any doubts about whether the best pro angler would beat the brackets and win at Logan Martin Lake this week, Luke Clausen put them all to rest Saturday. The 26-year-old rookie pro from Spokane, Wash., led all challengers for the fourth day in a row and won the 2004 Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship with a five-bass limit weighing 14 pounds, 10 ounces.

Simply put, Clausen was the best angler here this week, and he earned every penny of the $500,000 winner's check.

"I can't even believe what's happening," Clausen said. "I was so stressed out this morning that I couldn't even make a cast under a dock. I was so nervous."

Nervous? Maybe. Rattled? Not even close. Clausen spent the week mowing over some of the toughest competition in the brackets, competition that included a heavyweight shootout with Shad Schenck of Waynetown, Ind., in the opening round and a hard-fought win over Greg Hackney of Gonzales, La., in the semifinals. Clausen caught the heaviest limits of the entire 48-angler pro field three of the tournament's four days and led in total weight throughout the event. Overall, he caught 55 pounds of bass during the championship.

Luke Clausen caught a five-bass limit weighing 14 pounds, 10 ounces Saturday, his third catch over 14 pounds in four days.Not only did the 26-year-old make history as the youngest to win the FLW Championship, he became the first pro to complete a four-day sweep in an FLW tournament. Several have come close since the tour began in 1996 - like David Fritts of Lexington, Ky., and Alton Jones of Waco, Texas - but none have won before.

"I think that's pretty awesome," Clausen said. "Everything was just going right for me this week. It's great to fish against company like this. It's just amazing."

What's more amazing is that Clausen defeated the likes of Scott Martin, Mickey Bruce, Charlie Ingram and Clark Wendlandt, among others, on a lake that he had never even fished before. This was his first trip Logan Martin Lake.

With the way the fishing developed for this tournament, perhaps that played right into the winner's hands. Water fluctuations - first a drop in water level in the opening round, then a rise on Friday - plus a cold front threw many pros off balance when the tournament started Wednesday. Clausen, however, never strayed from his finesse-fishing pattern around docks, but he did have to adjust every day.

"The day it got overcast, I really struggled until I realized that they were under docks. I caught almost all of my fish off of docks, though I did catch a few off secondary points," he said, adding that his magic bait was a prototype Reaction Innovations green-pumpkin finesse worm on 6- and 8-pound line. "I would run out of water each day, so I'd go find some more. A lot of fish I was catching were suspended and they were biting it on the fall. I think the light bait was key."

Luke Clausen hoists the 2004 Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship trophy.Clausen said he caught about 10 keepers when it counted Saturday, almost all spotted bass. He caught one largemouth the entire week, he said, which was his big fish this morning.

Clausen's win capped a triumphant week for West Coast anglers at this year's championship. The co-angler winner, Stephen Tosh Jr., is from Waterford, Calif., and both he and Clausen came to the FLW Tour this season after posting big numbers in the nascent EverStart Series Western Division the last two years. There, Clausen won the Clear Lake tournament in 2003.

Clausen's FLW Outdoors career earnings prior to this week stood at $31,500. Now he can tack a big old "5" on the front of that figure.

"This is incredible," he said. "I don't even know what I'll do with the money. I'll probably put it in the bank and look at the balance every day. The hardest part's going to be writing that check to the government."

Scott Martin put up another nice limit - 14 pounds, 4 ounces - and nearly won his second FLW tournament in a row.Martin misses win No. 3

Clausen had to earn his win Saturday because Scott Martin put up another nice limit - 14 pounds, 4 ounces - and nearly won his second FLW tournament in a row. Last month, Martin won the Forrest Wood Open and $200,000 at Lake Champlain. The son of TV bass legend Roland Martin, the Clewiston, Fla., native won his first FLW event as a pro at the Pascagoula River in 2000.

This week, he earned $50,000 for second place at the championship.

Asked about his hot hand right now, Martin said: "I've been getting up really early and staying really late, and it's paid off.

"I'm happy. I fished really efficiently and I fished really clean."

Finishing third and earning $40,000 was 2004 Kentucky Lake champion Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C., with a five-bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 7 ounces.Gagliardi falls short of No. 2

Another 2004 FLW winner, Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C., claimed the third spot with a limit weighing 13 pounds, 7 ounces. Gagliardi, who won at Kentucky Lake in May, added another $40,000 to his career earnings this week.

"I got lucky. I caught two big fish before 9 o'clock," he said. "It makes for a long day when you've got two good fish in your livewell and you're struggling all day to get some 2-pounders to go with it."

Millsaps fourth, Bruce fifth, Vida sixth

Jimmy Millsaps of Canton, Ga., delighted the capacity crowd with a crazy catch Saturday, dredging up a log, some weeds and who knows what else in an valiant effort to land a fish. He finished in fourth place with a limit weighing 12 pounds, 4 ounces and earned $35,000.

Jimmy Millsaps and the other finalists made a big entrance at Saturday"This was a heart-attack fish," he said at weigh-in as video of the catch rolled.

Mickey Bruce of Buford, Ga., finished fifth and collected $30,000 with a limit weighing 11 pounds, 12 ounces.

"I had an opportunity for a big stringer today, but a few of them just got off," he said.

Kevin Vida of Clare, Mich., rounded out his solid week at Logan Martin Lake with another decent limit - 11 pounds, 8 ounces - and finished in sixth place. He earned $24,000.

"What a tremendous fishery this is," he said. "I've never caught spotted bass like this in my life."

Rest of the best

A number of pros admitted to "swinging for the fences" and going for big fish instead of just a limit Saturday. Consequently, the weights fell off in the bottom half of the leaderboard.

Rounding out the top 12 finishers at the championship are Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa., with five bass weighing 6 pounds, 15 ounces (7th place, $23,000); Charlie Ingram of Santa Fe, Tenn., with five bass weighing 6-10 (8th, $22,000); Clark Wendlandt of Cedar Park, Texas, with five bass weighing 6-3 (9th, $21,000); Glenn Browne of Ocala, Fla., with five bass weighing 5-0 (10th, $20,000); Jason Kilpatrick of Satsuma, Ala., with two bass weighing 4-6 (11th, $19,000); and John Crews of Jetersville, Va., with three bass weighing 3-15 (12th, $18,000).

Catch all the action

Coverage of the Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship will be broadcast on the Outdoor Life Network on the "FLW Outdoors" television program. A tournament preview show featuring bass-fishing legend Hank Parker will air Aug. 15 at noon CDT and Aug. 19 at 4 p.m. CDT, and fishing fans can watch the tournament weigh-in with hosts Carlton Wing, Taylor Carr and Charlie Evans Aug. 22 at noon and Aug. 26 at 4 p.m. Tournament veteran Larry Nixon will host a tournament wrap-up show Aug. 29 at noon, and that show will re-air Sept. 2 at 4 p.m.

Tags: jeff-schroeder  headline-story  2004-08-11-flw-tour-championship 

/news/2016-07-25-top-10-patterns-from-the-1000-islands

Top 10 Patterns from the 1000 Islands

High wind and fluctuating water temperatures made things a little difficult for the anglers, but the top-10 pros adapted and utilized the whole playing field to exploit everything from deep smallmouth to shallow largemouth. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-mccartney-o-keefe-tie-for-win-at-flw-bass-fishing-league-great-lakes-division-event-on-mississippi-river-presented-by-navionics

McCartney, O’Keefe Tie For Win at FLW Bass Fishing League Great Lakes Division Event on Mississippi River Presented By Navionics

LA CROSSE, Wis. (July 25, 2016) – Mark McCartney of Davis Junction, Illinois, and Nick O’Keefe of La Crosse, Wisconsin, each weighed three bass totaling 11 pounds even, Saturday to win the third FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division tournament of 2016 on the Mississippi... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-mccartney-o-keefe-tie-on-the-mighty-miss

McCartney, O'Keefe tie on the Mighty Miss

Mark McCartney of Davis Junction, Illinois, and Nick O’Keefe of La Crosse, Wisconsin, each weighed three bass totaling 11 pounds even, Saturday to win the third FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division tournament of 2016 on the Mississippi River presented by Navionics. For his win, McCartney earned $5,540 after bonuses, and O’Keefe took home $3,540. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-country-music-superstar-dustin-lynch-to-perform-free-concert-in-huntsville-presented-by-wdrm-102-1

Country Music Superstar Dustin Lynch to perform Free Concert In Huntsville presented by WDRM 102.1

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Country music superstar Dustin Lynch will perform a free concert on the Walmart weigh-in stage at the Propst Arena in the Von Braun Center in Huntsville on Sunday, August 7, starting at 4 p.m., prior to the final weigh-in of the world championship of professional bass fishing, the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. The concert is presented by WDRM... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-canterbury-s-next-challenge-

Canterbury’s Next Challenge

At the time of writing, Canterbury had been picked by every pundit and 50 percent of players overall, which is a decent bump over Morgan at 47 percent. The dollars attached obviously make a difference, but there’s no doubt that everyone expects great things. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-jay-kendrick-the-rookie-

Jay Kendrick – The “Rookie”

A rookie by designation if not by experience, Forrest Wood Cup contender Jay Kendrick finished 34th in the standings in his first year on the Walmart FLW Tour to clinch a spot in the championship. What makes it even more fortuitous for him is that because the Cup is taking place on Wheeler Lake, he’ll be able to stay at his own house for the event, which is just about 30 minutes from takeoff at Ditto Landing. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-fan-freebies-and-contests-at-the-cup

Fan Freebies and Contests at the Cup

One pro angler is going to win $300,000 at the Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart Aug. 4-7 on Wheeler Lake in Huntsville, Ala. That’s good for him. For fans, the chance to win is pretty good too. FLW and its partners and sponsors have lined up a sweet selection of giveaway prizes for the Cup and the accompanying FLW Expo, ranging from a tricked-out bass boat to a fishing trip with Jimmy Houston. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-24-1000-islands-top-10-baits

1000 Islands Top 10 Baits

The top pros from the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands kept it pretty simple to catch both largemouths and smallmouths from this massive fishery that includes the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. Drop-shots, spinnerbaits and jigs all saw action and got it done from the lake to the river. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-24-penn-state-taps-docks-at-chautauqua-

Penn State Taps Docks at Chautauqua

The Penn State University duo of Clayton Frey of York, Pennsylvania, and Derek Horner, of State College, Pennsylvania, won the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference event at Chautauqua Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and qualified the team for the 2017 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-thompson-co-angler-champ-on-1000-islands

Thompson Co-angler Champ on 1000 Islands

The 1000 Islands is a great place to take a vacation, especially if you are from the south and want to escape the heat. That is exactly what co-angler Joe Thompson of Clayton, Ga., did and wound up capturing the top spot in the co-angler division bringing home a Ranger Z117 with a 90 hp motor. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-penn-state-university-wins-flw-college-fishing-northern-conference-event-on-chautauqua-lake

Penn State University wins FLW College Fishing Northern Conference Event on Chautauqua Lake

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. – The Penn State University duo of Clayton Frey of York, Pennsylvania, and Derek Horner, of State College, Pennsylvania, won the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference event at Chautauqua Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and qualified the team for the 2017 FLW College Fishing National... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-michigan-s-dobson-leads-wire-to-wire-wins-costa-flw-series-event-at-1000-islands-presented-by-mercury

Michigan’s Dobson leads wire-to-wire, wins Costa FLW Series Event at 1000 Islands presented by Mercury

CLAYTON, N.Y. – Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Michigan, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event at 1000 Islands presented by Mercury with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 68 pounds, 8 ounces. For his win, Dobson earned $82,669, including a new Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-dobson-dominates-1000-islands

Dobson Dominates 1000 Islands

Scott Dobson didn’t expect it to come so quickly, but 30 minutes is all it took for him to find the winning pattern during his first day of practice for the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands. That pattern would lead him to three consecutive limits of more than 20 pounds, including today’s final-round bag worth 21-12 – the day’s biggest limit, yet his smallest of the tournament. His three-day total weight of 68-8 earned him a check for more than $37,000 along with a Ranger Z518C with a 200-hp engine for being Ranger Cup qualified. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-1000-islands-top-5-patterns-day-2

1000 Islands Top 5 Patterns Day 2

Strong winds limited competition to only the St. Lawrence River on day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands, but that was no problem for the majority of the top 10. Even though most of them fished Lake Ontario on day one, they were able to adjust and stay on the fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-dobson-extends-lead-at-1000-islands

Dobson Extends Lead at 1000 Islands

A windy day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on the 1000 Islands didn’t stop day-one leader Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Mich., from sacking up the biggest bag of the day. Dobson threw down an impressive 22-pound, 3-ounce limit to extend his lead to 5 pounds over Cal Climpson – a noted Lake Ontario maestro. Dobson’s two-day total stands at 46-12, and with lighter winds tomorrow some big bags are expected. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-lake-ontario-out-for-day-2

Lake Ontario Out for Day 2

It is never good when you wake up the morning of a tournament and every flag you see is standing straight out at 3 a.m., but that was the case this morning for day two of the Costa FLW Series event on the 1000 Islands. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-1000-islands-top-5-patterns-day-1

1000 Islands Top 5 Patterns Day 1

Past experience on this fishery seems to be a big advantage for the top pros through one day of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands. Scott Dobson leads the way with 24 pounds, 9 ounces, yet there are some serious hammers right on his heels. Dobson fished both the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario for his limit, while others went straight to the lake and stayed there. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-dobson-drops-24-9

Dobson Drops 24-9

Despite the weights being dropped on the scale for the opening round of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on the 1000 Islands presented by Mercury, it has actually been a tough day of fishing. Strong winds made it hard for the anglers regardless of if they were fishing the lake or river. Smallmouth guru Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Mich., sacked up 24 pounds, 9 ounces on day one to take a 1-8 lead over Canadian stick Cal Climpson. Dobson utilized both the river and lake for his limit, which could play to his advantage if the wind blows like the weathermen are forecasting tomorrow. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-professional-bass-fishing-s-forrest-wood-cup-set-to-visit-wheeler-lake

Professional Bass Fishing’s Forrest Wood Cup set to visit Wheeler Lake

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of professional bass fishing, will visit Wheeler Lake and the Huntsville, Alabama, area August 4-7 to crown bass fishing’s top angler of 2016. Hosted by the Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the tournament will feature 50 of the world’s best bass-fishing... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-1000-islands-midday-update-day-1

1000 Islands Midday Update Day 1

Day one of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands hasn’t been about if the wind will blow, but when. Everyone knew the gales were coming eventually. Still, the majority of anglers hung a left out of the dock this morning and charged toward Lake Ontario into a steady breeze that turned into a howling wind by midmorning. READ MORE »