UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Erie

Deka’s domain

CLEWISTON, Fla. - Daryl Deka, a 33-year-old landscape contractor from Wellington, Fla., won the first EverStart Series event of 2005 on Lake Okeechobee Saturday with a two-day final total of 32 pounds, 6 ounces. Deka left the dock this morning in seventh place after bringing in 10 pounds, 10 ounces Friday. When he returned this afternoon, he rocked the weigh-in crowd at the Wal-Mart parking lot with five bass weighing 21 pounds, 12 ounces. "This feels good," Deka said after collecting a certificate for a fully rigged Ranger Boat and $10,000 cash. "Winning is the high we're all out here for." Deka, who has fished Okeechobee regularly for the last 10 years, had a carefully crafted strategy for fishing the Big O this week. The foundation of the plan was to see if he could make the cut fishing reeds in the north end during the first two days. If he made the top-10 cut, he would switch ends of the lake and fish down south on Friday. But the kingpin of his scheme was an isolated stretch of matted hydrilla on the east side of the Monkey Box that he would not touch until the final day. The first two days, everything went according to plan. Deka caught 24 pounds, 15 ounces and 11-8 on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. Those fish came on a 10-inch Gambler worm in a black-grape/green-flake color. But on Friday his plan began to crumble a bit when his run to South Bay didn't pay off with a big bag. "The south end has been muddier than I've ever seen it," he said. "I think the hurricanes this year really hurt it down there." Deka's only saving grace was the lone stretch of matted hydrilla in the Monkey Box that he had stayed away from during competition. Pro Daryl Deka of Wellington, Fla., holds up the kicker bass of his 21-pound, 12-ounce winning string."I know there were a lot of people in the Monkey Box, but for some reason everybody was fishing the west side," he said. "In fact, what probably helped me most was all those fish being caught over there (on the west side) the first day; that made people migrate that way even more." When Deka arrived to his hydrilla mats Saturday morning, he had them all to himself. He went to work flipping a Gambler Crawdaddy - Bowen Blue and Shadow Blue - with a 1-ounce tungsten weight tied to 25-pound-test Big Game line. "A lot of guys use those big 1 1/2-ounce tungstens, but I like the smaller 1-ounce (ones), because I'm looking for creases in the hydrilla, places where the bait can slip through easily - those are the caverns where the fish are sitting. I'm not interested in penetrating thick clumps that are attached to the bottom." He caught 10 keepers Saturday. Three were in the 6-pound class, which enabled him to win. Pro J T Kenney of Frostburg, Md., finished second with a two-day total of 30 pounds, 12 ounces.Kenney comes up short After breaking two EverStart records this week, J.T. Kenney of Frostburg, Md., came 3 pounds, 2 ounces short of winning the whole kit and caboodle. Despite a 17-pound, 12-ounce rally today, he finished second with a two-day total of 30 pounds, 12 ounces. "I really lost this tournament yesterday when I lost several big fish," Kenney said of his runner-up position. "I had a much better day today. I didn't lose any, but I let this one slip away yesterday." Kenney spent the entire tournament in the Monkey Box. He was committed to the area from day one. "Once I got in there, I never cranked my outboard," he said. "I did that for four days in a row." Except for two keepers caught on a 1/2-ounce Lil' Hustler spinnerbait [golden shiner], Kenney caught everything else on a Reaction Innovations Smallie Beaver with 1 1/2-ounce tungsten weight tied to 25-pound-test Big Game line. "It was different every day," he said. "And I had to fish around in there awhile to figure out what was going on. Like today, I was pitching as far back into the mat as possible - sometimes 20 to 30 feet back into the thickest stuff I could find. Then I would just bump the bottom of the mat with the bait to get a bite." Pro Edward Guice of Decatur, Ala., finished third with a two-day total of 27 pounds, 11 ounces.Guice stumbles Edward Guice of Decatur, Ala., got the unofficial award for the most unique pattern in the top 10. He caught a two-day total of 27 pounds, 11 ounces to finish third by cranking and Carolina rigging grass-lined ledges in main-lake canals. "I was keying on staging fish that were bunched up on breaks in the canals," Guice said. "I would crank a crankbait down the sides, trying to hit grass in 2 to 8 feet of water." He caught 20 pounds, 7 ounces on the pattern yesterday, but only brought in 7 pounds, 4 ounces today. "There is not a whole lot of that kind of water on this lake," he added. "I only had a few places like that, and I think a lot of my fish moved up the bank to spawn." Pro Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala., finished fourth with a two-day total of 24 pounds, 15 ounces.Kennedy fourth Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala., finished fourth with a two-day total of 24 pounds, 15 ounces. "I've had a great week," said Kennedy. "This week I've caught the biggest stringer of my life [27-5 on Wednesday] and the biggest fish of my life [8-12 on Thursday]. This place is awesome." Kennedy reported catching a majority of his fish in South Bay by flipping a Gambler Craw on a 1 1/2-ounce weight tied to 65-pound-test braid. Lane fifth Bobby Lane of Lakeland, Fla., finished fifth with a two-day total 23 pounds, 15 ounces. He also spent the entire tournament in the Monkey Box fishing a spinnerbait and flipping. "I started each day fishing a ¼-ounce Terminator spinnerbait with double willow blades," he said. "Then I'd pick up a 1 1/2-ounce tungsten weight with a Beaver or Gambler Cricket [shadow blue] and begin flipping the thick matted stuff." Today he caught a couple of keepers on a Senko. "It's been getting warmer each day, and I think they started to get on beds more today, so I switched to a Senko for a while," he added. Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pro finishers were Sandy Melvin of Boca Raton, Fla., in sixth place with a two-day total of 23 pounds, 1 ounce; Chad Morgenthaler of Coulterville, Ill., in seventh place with a two-day total of 21 pounds, 15 ounces; David Williams of Maiden, N.C., in eighth place with a two-day total of 20 pounds, 12 ounces; Flash Butts of Roanoke Rapids, N.C., in ninth place with a two-day total of 14 pounds, 13 ounces; and Matt Herren of Trussville, Ala., in 10th place with a two-day total of 12 pounds, 3 ounces. Coming up The next Southeast Division tourney is scheduled for Santee Cooper lakes near Manning, S.C., March 2-5. The next EverStart Series event is the Western Division opener at Lake Havasu near Lake Havasu City, Ariz., Jan. 26-29.

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/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-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 »

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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 »

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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 »

/news/2015-08-22-forrest-wood-cup-day-3-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-ramie-races-into-the-lead

Ramie Races into the Lead

On the back of a 17-pound, 14-ounce limit, which is the biggest of the tournament thus far, Ramie Colson Jr. jumped from seventh place to take over the lead at the halfway point of the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. Colson’s two-day total is 31 pounds, 1 ounce, which puts him almost 3 pounds ahead of Tennessee’s Brad Knight. The Forrest Wood Cup, which is hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, moves into its top-20 round on Saturday. The top 10 pros after Saturday’s weigh-in advance to Sunday’s final round for a shot at the $500,000 top prize. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 2

At times, bass fishing can be a lot like real estate, where the three most important rules are location, location and location. The 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita presented by Walmart is starting to become a bit of a real estate game where location is the primary consideration in who climbs the leaderboard. And those mining the backs of creeks and tributaries are on the prime pieces of real estate. Consider that after day two, four of the top five pros are concentrating their fishing efforts in the back ends of creeks or rivers. All of these areas fit a classic late-summer, early-fall pattern where shad pack into the back of creek ditches that meander through shallow flats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-forrest-wood-cup-day-2-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-wheeler-hunting-history

Wheeler Hunting History

It’s never been done before, and it hasn’t happened yet, but Jacob Wheeler is in prime position to become the first two-time Forrest Wood Cup champion in history. Wheeler, of Indianapolis, Ind., brought in a 16-pound, 2-ounce limit of Lake Ouachita bass on the first day of the Cup, which is presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. READ MORE »

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Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 1

After day one of the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita, several things have come to light. For one, this event is not likely to produce a runaway win for anyone like it did when Scott Martin won here in 2011. Second, when the pros said Ouachita was going to be stingy, they meant it – only 29 of the 50 pros checked in limits today. Third, firm patterns are hard to come by on Lake Ouachita in August. Jacob Wheeler took the lead on day one in the event that’s presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. With the help of a 5-pound bass, Wheeler weighed in a limit of 16 pounds, 2 ounces, but he had to sample a lot of different areas for his catch. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-forrest-wood-cup-day-1-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 1 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »