Ehrler claims first win at EverStart Championship

Pro Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., shows off his first-place check after winning the 2004 EverStart Championship on Lake Cumberland.

SOMERSET, Ky. - Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., knows about heartache. In the last two years in the EverStart Series Western Division, Ehrler has had a second-place finish and three third-place finishes. When he led the top 10 anglers out on the water Saturday for the final day of competition in the 2004 EverStart Series Championship on Lake Cumberland, he was determined not to let this one slip away. At about noon, he set the hook on what he thought was a good fish, and his line broke. Adding insult to injury, the evasive bass leaped victoriously - with Ehrler's jig still in its mouth. "I saw it jump and try to shake my jig; it was good one, about a 3-pounder," Ehrler lamented in the boat yard just before weigh-in. "I've lost another one." But Ehrler's dejected state waned a little under the EverStart Series weigh-in tent as he watched local favorite H.C. Sumpter of Nancy, Ky., fall short of taking away his slim lead. Then, when Lloyd Pickett of Bartlett, Tenn., failed to bring up a fifth keeper bass to take the lead, Ehrler was left to bask in the glory of the limelight - finally. Pro Brent Ehrler proudly displays part of his winning 10-pound, 10-ounce catch in the finals of the EverStart Championship.For the record, Ehrler brought another four bass to the scales today weighing 5 pounds, 13 ounces for a two-day total of 10 pounds, 10 ounces. "I just can't believe it," Ehrler gasped while realizing his win. "I thought for sure I had lost again. This is amazing. I think I might cry." Ehrler adopted a run-and-gun approach to Lake Cumberland that involved running dozens of cuts and pockets on the main lake each day, fishing any piece of wood he could find. He used a D&L jig in 3/8- and 5/16-ounce sizes with a Reaction Innovations Smally Beaver trailer. Both jigs were a brown and green color combination. He fished the jigs on 12- and 16-pound-test Sunline Fluorocarbon. "The key was to cast up as shallow as possible on the wood," he said. "Many of my bites today came out of 6 inches to 3 feet of water. Brent Ehrler at Lake Cumberland"I would pull into a little cut or pocket, make a couple of casts to any piece of wood on the bank and then run to the next pocket. If the area looked really good, I might stay and grind around in there a while, but if it didn't feel right, I'd bounce over to the next place." Since Ehrler is the original owner of a Ranger boat, his win garnered him a financial windfall. He was awarded a Ranger 519VS rigged with a Yamaha Outboard and $25,000 cash for his win. In addition, he received $10,000 from Ranger in contingency money and another $10,000 from Ranger for being Ranger Cup qualified. In all, Ehrler hauled in some $80,000 in cash and merchandise for his win. Local favorite H. C. Sumpter of Nancy, Ky., finished in second place overall in the Pro Division during the finals of the 2004 EverStart Championship.Local favorite falls 7 ounces short Every time H.C. Sumpter made a trip to the scales this week, the roar of the crowd that followed left little doubt as to who was the local favorite. Sumpter made a hard charge at the win today by being the only pro to bring in a five-bass limit. But in the end, he fell 7 ounces short of victory with a two-day total of 10 pounds, 3 ounces. In the qualifying rounds, Sumpter scored some big smallmouths on top-waters, but he could never get the smallmouth bite going again in the finals. Today he had to resort to a spinnerbait and jigging spoon to catch his fish. "I caught three on a jigging spoon in about 50 feet of water and two on a spinnerbait in a foot of water," he said. Pro Lloyd Pickett Jr. of Bartlett, Tenn., used a catch of 9 pounds, 14 ounces to finish in third place at the 2004 EverStart Championship.Pickett charges to third The comeback of the day belonged to Lloyd Pickett. Pickett charged from eighth place Friday to third today on the strength of the day's biggest catch - 8 pounds, 1 ounce - and combined for a two-day total of 9 pounds, 14 ounces. Pickett fished a Carolina rig in the Conley Bottom area of Lake Cumberland. "My main area was a gravel point that ran out to a creek bend in about 14 feet of water," Pickett said. He Carolina rigged a Zoom Baby Brush Hog (green-pumpkin) in earlier rounds but switched to an 8-inch Zoom lizard (green-pumpkin) today. "The big lizard was my big-fish bait," Pickett said. "My son and I fished over here a few weeks ago and caught some good 3- and 4-pound fish on it." Pugh `shakes' for fourth Pedigree pro Greg Pugh of Cullman, Ala., had to break out the spinning rod and a 1/4-ounce Shaky Head rig with a 6-inch finesse worm today to collect four bass weighing 3 pounds, 12 ounces for a two-day total of 8 pounds, 5 ounces to finish fourth. "Earlier in the week I had been fishing a Suddeth Little Earl crankbait and a Fat Free No. 5 crankbait on creek bends in the back of Otter and Beaver Creeks," he said. "They wouldn't bite the crankbaits today, so I had to get out the finesse stuff to get them to eat." Pro Warren Wyman of Calera, Ala., used a catch of 8 pounds, 3 ounces to finish the EverStart Championship in fifth place.Wyman slips to fifth Warren Wyman of Calera, Ala., added one nice 3-pound largemouth to his two-day total of 8 pounds, 3 ounces to finish fifth. The bass fell victim to a 4-inch Zoom finesse worm (green-pumpkin) pinned to a Spot Sticker jig head. Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 in the EverStart Series Championship are Ramie Colson of Cadiz, Ky., with a two-day total of 6 pounds, 7 ounces (6th place); Mark Fletcher of Palmetto, Ga., with a two-day total of 5 pounds, 13 ounces (7th); Dion Hibdon of Stover, Mo., with a two-day total of 5 pounds, 9 ounces (8th); Pete Gluszek of Franklinville, N.J., with a two-day total of 5 pounds, 3 ounces (9th); and Scott Emery of Livonia, Mich., with a two-day total of 1 pound, 10 ounces (10th).

Tags: headline-story  rob-newell 

/news/2015-04-25-morgan-maintains-his-lead

Morgan Maintains His Lead

One of Andy Morgan’s fishing mottos is to make the best of what you have got “in front of you” to survive and fish another day. Beaver Lake doesn’t give much. So when an angler as resourceful as Morgan gets to a lake that doesn’t give out many resources, the two work well together. Instead of worrying about hitting it out of the park or putting immense pressure on himself to come up with a grand winning strategy, Morgan just scraps, scrapes and claws at the ground right in front of him, making the best of what he’s got. Morgan’s performance on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake was a prime example of his “make the best of it” attitude. After burning up the spawning fish he had located in practice during the first two days of the tournament, he was forced to fish by the seat of his pants today – something he thoroughly enjoys. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-25-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 3

Andy Morgan didn’t light up the world on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake, but he caught what he needed to maintain the lead and put a 1-pound, 9-ounce cushion between he and Matt Arey. Most of the rest of the top 20 scrambled today, abandoning their patterns and trying new options to try and make the final-day cut. Here’s how the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-25-gordon-and-gagner-crowned-tbf-champs

Gordon and Gagner Crowned TBF Champs

Two more anglers qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup today by winning the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship on Grand Lake in Grove, Okla. Shawn Gordon of Russellville, Ark., earned the TBF crown on the boater side by catching a three-day limit of 50 pounds, 2 ounces, capped by the largest limit caught today – 18 pounds, 10 ounces. Gordon earned $5,000 for his win, but more importantly, he’ll be competing against the best pros in the business in August at the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Gordon also won the TBF “Living The Dream” package, which includes paid entry into the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour, a travel stipend, and use of a wrapped truck and Ranger bass boat. READ MORE »

/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 »