UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2015 - Ohio River

Workman wins Champlain EverStart with largemouths

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. - Angler after angler brought in literally tons of fat, feisty smallmouth bass at Lake Champlain this week - enough to break tour weight records in the EverStart Series Northern Division. So what does Craig Workman do? He wins the tournament with a sack full of largemouths. The 2004 Northern Division and EverStart Series season finale was one for the books. Until Saturday, the September weather couldn't have been more agreeable in upstate New York, with bluebird skies, balmy temperatures and relatively light winds. On top of that, weight records fell as the sublime bass fishery known as Lake Champlain coughed up almost four tons of fish - 7,529 pounds, 12 ounces - to the anglers over the first two days of competition. The bulk of that weight, of course, comprised Champlain's vaunted smallmouths. But with the money on the line Saturday, Workman, a pro out of Fort Worth, Texas, decided he'd bank on the familiar tug of largemouth bass on the end of his line. Workman had been catching mainly largemouths all week long, but thought he might switch over to smallies Saturday. Friday's top three leaders were all from Michigan and are all known smallmouth specialists. "This morning I got worried because these guys were on the smallies so bad. I was going to change my game plan. I had a few smallmouth areas where I could make a milk run and, yesterday, the big largemouths didn't bite," Workman said. "But when I got here and looked at the direction the wind was blowing, I said, `I can't go on a milk run.' I hit three different spots but it was too windy. I didn't actually go to my (largemouth location) until 8:30." As it turned out, Saturday's windy, gloomy conditions worked in Workman's favor. Blown off his open-water smallmouth strategy, he tucked back into the outer feeder creeks in the Missisquoi Bay area and began fishing the weeds that had provided him - and scores of others - cut-worthy largemouths all week long. Since the area had been fished heavily by tournament anglers throughout the week, Workman didn't know how many big ones were left there. For his Northern Division victory at Lake Champlain, Craig Workman collected $10,000 plus a new Ranger 519 VS with all the trimmings."I thought, `You know, there are so many largemouths in here, there might be a slim chance they didn't catch them all,'" he said. "So I pulled into my largemouth spot and my co-angler partner (Mark Grahn) sticks a good one and loses it. Then all of a sudden it was like wham, wham, wham! They were there and they were big." Flipping a Texas-rigged brush hog along grass lines in 8 to 14 feet of murky water, Workman caught five keepers in 45 minutes and eventually culled out his limit to 17 pounds Saturday. Added to the 15-9 he posted Friday, he finished with 32-9 in the final round and won the Pro Division at Lake Champlain. For the victory, Workman collected $10,000 plus a new Ranger 519 VS with all the trimmings. Total package value: $41,900. It was the second pro-level victory of his career; the first was a Texas Tournament Trail win at Lake Amistad in 2003. 2004 Northern Division standings winner Charlie Hartley of Grove City, Ohio, came in second at Lake Champlain after catching 31 pounds, 9 ounces in the finals.Hartley wins points title, finishes second at Champlain Charlie Hartley of Grove City, Ohio, nearly finished the 2004 Northern Division season with the biggest bang possible, but he ultimately fell a pound and a half short. After securing the 2004 Northern Division pro standings title in the opening round at Champlain, he nearly won the tournament but came in second behind Workman after catching 31 pounds, 9 ounces in the finals. He collected $10,000. "It was rough out there today," said Hartley, who caught a limit weighing 15 pounds, 15 ounces Saturday. "I was exposed to the wind and fishing 40 feet deep. We were running two drift socks and really riding the trolling motor. Our arms and backs are worn out." Hartley was steady in Northern events all season long - respectively finishing 21st, 39th, 11th and second in the four tournaments. He won the standings with 731 points. "I had a great time," he said. "I'm just glad I was able to finish the season in the top 10 so I could re-qualify for the FLW Tour." Scott Dobson lands one of his 20 keeper smallmouths. Chuck Willis mans the net.Dobson third Scott Dobson of Waterford, Mich., finished third in the Pro Division and won $9,000 with a final weight of 30 pounds, 13 ounces. While he, Mark Zona and Art Ferguson led the Michigan smallmouth charge on Friday, he and the others had trouble with the wind on the open water Saturday. "I couldn't go to my fish," said Dobson, who caught the bulk of his smallmouths on a jerkbait. "I was fishing a bay up north, but I knew it would be too treacherous this morning, so I went to a bay a little south of here (Plattsburgh). I caught 20 keepers, but I just couldn't cull anything." A perennial top-10 finisher throughout the BFL, EverStart and FLW ranks, Dobson was a little disappointed that he came up short of his first win here at Champlain, but he gave credit to Workman for a tournament well fished. "If a guy can catch largemouths here like that, he's going to win," Dobson said. "Getting 17 or 18 pounds with smallmouths is tough." Pro Mark Zona of Sturgis, Mich., finished in fourth place with a weight of 30 pounds, 9 ounces.Zona not second Pro Mark Zona of Sturgis, Mich., the 2003 Northern Division standings champ, made name for himself as Mr. No. 2 with three second-place finishes last year. So it was almost strange to see him contend here at Champlain and finish in fourth place with a weight of 30 pounds, 9 ounces. "Well, I'd like to be No. 2 right about now," said Zona, who claimed $8,000. "But this place is amazing. I've caught 60-some pounds of bass and I caught them in four different spots." Ferguson fifth After leading days two and three, pro Art Ferguson of St. Clair Shores, Mich., also had wind troubles Saturday and couldn't maintain his torrid pace. He caught a limit, but it weighed just 11 pounds, 3 ounces. He finished the tournament in fifth place and collected $7,500 with a final weight of 28-14. "Yeah, I couldn't fish my main areas today," he said. "I probably missed 10 or 15 fish, too, but that happens." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 Pro Division finishers in EverStart Northern competition at Lake Champlain are David Wolak of Warrior Run, Pa., with a final-round weight of 28 pounds, 13 ounces (6th place, $6,500); Terry Baksay of Monroe, Conn., with 27-11 (7th, $5,500); Steve Clapper of Lima, Ohio, with 27-11 (8th, $5,000); Steven McGahan of Gales Ferry, Conn., with 26-15 (9th, $4,500); and Nick Gainey of Charleston, S.C., with 26-0 (10th, $4,000). All 10 pro finalists caught limits both days of the final round. Coming up The 2004 Northern Division season is done, as is the entire EverStart Series regular season. Next up is the EverStart Series Championship, which will be held at Lake Cumberland near Burnside, Ky., Nov. 3-6. Related tourism link: iloveny.com

Tags: headline-story  jeff-schroeder 

/news/2015-08-31-top-10-patterns-from-lake-erie

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Erie

Most of the other top top-10 finishers found their fish over rocky bottom structure around the Pelee area. Drop-shots and crankbaits dominated the catches. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-matual-masters-erie

Matual Masters Erie

David Matual of Chicago, Ill., leaned on his spot hard and sacked up the biggest bag of day three weighing 22 pounds, 6 ounces. For his final-day rally he claimed the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division victory on Lake Erie with a three-day total of 65 pounds, fending off Jared Rhode by a mere 7 ounces. Drop-shotting over shallow reefs delivered all of Matual’s fish and earned him a check worth more than $31,000. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-webster-runs-and-guns-for-win

Webster Runs and Guns for Win

Michael Webster of Gastonia, North Carolina, brought a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 9 ounces to the scale Sunday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division Super Tournament on Lake Wylie with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 27 pounds, 10 ounces. For his victory, Webster earned $4,476. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-experience-pays-for-boggs

Experience Pays for Boggs

Drew Boggs of Lebanon, Tennessee, brought five bass totaling 13 pounds, 12 ounces to the scale Sunday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Music City Division Super Tournament on Old Hickory Lake with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 27 pounds, 2 ounces. For his victory, Boggs earned $4,257. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-jig-crankbait-carry-gray-to-victory

Jig, Crankbait Carry Gray to Victory

Brandon Gray of Bullock, North Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 14 pounds, 3 ounces Sunday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division Super Tournament on Kerr Lake with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 32 pounds, 14 ounces. For his victory, Gray earned $5,886. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-hemken-searched-deep-for-bigger-bites

Hemken Searched Deep for Bigger Bites

Shawn Hemken of Walshville, Illinois, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Sunday weighing 11 pounds, 6 ounces to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Illini Division Super Tournament on Lake Shelbyville with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 26 pounds, 1 ounce. For his victory, Hemken earned $6,882. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-topwater-lifts-ragan-to-top

Topwater Lifts Ragan to Top

Thadeus Ragan of West Park, Florida, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 26 pounds, 8 ounces Sunday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Gator Division Super Tournament on Lake Okeechobee with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 47 pounds, 10 ounces. For his victory, Ragan earned $6,922. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-martinkovic-runs-away-with-title

Martinkovic Runs Away with Title

Chris Martinkovic of Hamilton, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 12 pounds, 9 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Hoosier Division tournament on the Ohio River. For his victory, Martinkovic earned $6,244. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-lake-erie-day-3-midday-update

Lake Erie Day 3 Midday Update

Lake Erie put on a different face for day three of the final Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event. After a rough day one, yesterday’s calm and mostly sunny conditions offered comfortable running and fishing conditions. Today was still a far cry from the brutal waves of day one - and prior practice days - but windier conditions and overcast skies seemed to present a more challenging scenario. READ MORE »

/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 »

/news/2015-08-27-rhode-cracks-23-10-for-erie-lead

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 »