UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Erie

My, oh, Meyer

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. - Lake Havasu threw a lot of hurdles at EverStart Series anglers this week: heavy rain, then sun, even a high-speed water-ski race. But the biggest hurdle of all was the season; the bass just don't like to bite here in January. One by one, all of the contenders fell prey to the Havasu winter bass blues except one: Clayton Meyer, who worked his little brown jig pattern into a decisive, $9,600 pro victory at the Western Division season opener Saturday. "I feel pretty good," the 39-year-old auto repairman from San Diego said after his first EverStart victory. "I was a little dizzy up on the stage, though." Meyer spun everybody's heads when he brought in another five-bass limit Saturday worth 12 pounds, 2 ounces and defeated second-place David Kromm by almost 5 1/2 pounds in the finals. Meyer totaled 25-10 over the last two days while Kromm, his closest competition, tallied 20-5. Most impressively, Meyer was the only angler out of the field of 330 to catch limits all four days of the tournament. "I'll tell you what about these Lake Havasu bass: When they don't want to bite, they are tough," said pro Gary Dobyns, who caught the day's biggest limit but ultimately finished in fifth place due to a weak day three. Arizona pro Gregg Warne, who finished 10th, put it this way: "I'd rather take a whipping than fish this lake in the wintertime." Then he credited recent fish-habitat rebuilding efforts and added: "But this lake has really turned around in recent years with the quality of the fish and I did have a great week." Clayton Meyer threw the same bait the entire week: a 3/8- or 1/2-ounce, brown-on-brown jig.The greatest week, of course, belonged to Meyer. How he managed to catch fish when almost everyone else couldn't seems simple enough on the surface, but one wonders if there's more to it. All week long, he said that he fished points, cuts and humps on the main lake south of Lake Havasu City. He threw the same bait the entire week, as well - 3/8- and 1/2-ounce, brown-on-brown jigs that he received from a friend - and fished in between 5 and 15 feet of water. "I've been using it for years," he said. "And every time I've come here I've caught fish with it." Still, a lot of anglers were throwing jigs this week, probably a lot of brown ones, too. What likely separated Meyer from the rest were his locations. He found spots that were veritable highways for prespawn smallmouths - and some largemouths - moving up for the spring. "I was just fishing the sides of points, and that's about it," he said. "They just kept coming up and coming up and coming up." Clayton Meyer, 2005 EverStart Series Lake Havasu pro championHe said the areas he fished are "common areas" on Havasu, and he focused exclusively on the Arizona side of the lake the first three days. The fourth day, however, he moved to the California side of the lake. "I only caught five fish today," Meyer said. "And I caught them all on spots that I hadn't fished before." A lot of the key was timing. When the sun came out Friday, most anglers said it was either a morning or afternoon bite - with nothing in between. The same was true of Saturday, where Meyer caught just one fish early then had to wait until after the water-ski race was done around 12:30 p.m. to move. Then he ran to the other side of the lake, caught his second one - a 4-pound kicker smallie - and eventually filled out his limit. Said the winner, who also won a new Ranger 519 VX for his efforts: "I'm beginning to really, really like this lake." Pro David Kromm tallied 20-5 in the final round and finished second.Kromm bogs down in the backwater Kromm, of Kennewick, Wash., had the best shot to catch Meyer, but ultimately fell short when he made a long run upriver to some backwaters and failed to catch a keeper. Eventually, he retreated closer to the main lake and landed three bass that weighed 7 pounds, 1 ounce, but it wasn't nearly enough for victory. "I didn't get a fish on my water," he said. "I wasted a lot of time trying to get up there and now I wish that I hadn't." Kromm, who fished out of an aluminum boat in order to access the remote water, caught his fish this week on a variety of presentations: drop-shots, split-shots and a few on spinnerbaits. "I found a lot of areas that people overlooked," he said. "The key for me was just going in on stealth mode. I made a lot of really long casts and had to be really patient." He earned $9,600 for second place. Art Roland finished third in the Pro Division with a final-round total of six bass weighing 18 pounds, 5 ounces.Roland flips to third Art Roland of Brentwood, Calif., finished third in the Pro Division with a final-round total of six bass weighing 18 pounds, 5 ounces. He earned $8,650. "I just fished really shallow," he said. "I was flipping docks with a ¼-ounce purple jig and a crawdad trailer." Kerr fourth After finishing third at this tournament last year, Justin Kerr of Simi Valley, Calif., slipped to fourth place this year at Havasu. He caught 11 bass weighing 17 pounds, 10 ounces in the final round and collected $7,650. Pro Justin Kerr caught 11 bass weighing 17 pounds, 10 ounces in the final round and finished fourth."I was fishing shallow in the tules," he said. "I was making long casts with really light line and just sitting back waiting for them to bite." Dobyns rebounds for fifth Dobyns, of Yuba City, Calif., caught the heaviest limit of the day - 13 pounds, 11 ounces - and salvaged a fifth-place finish with a final-round total of 17-7. The former EverStart champion collected $7,150 this week at Havasu. Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 Pro Division finishers at Lake Havasu: 6th: Tim Klinger of Boulder City, Nev., six bass, 14-2, $6,150 7th: Clifford Pirch of Payson, Ariz., five bass, 13-4, $5,150 8th: Richard Smith of Santa Clarita, Calif., five bass, 12-11, $4,650 9th: Paul Hodges of Glendale, Ariz., six bass, 10-14, $4,150 10th: Gregg Warne of Mesa, Ariz., three bass, 6-1, $3,650 Coming up The next EverStart Series event is a Central Division contest at Sam Rayburn Reservoir near Jasper, Texas, Feb. 23-26. The next Western Division tournament will be held at Clear Lake near Lakeport, Calif., March 9-12. Link: Co-angler Division: Bailey banks bass bucks with big first win

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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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


Forrest Wood Cup Day 4 Coverage

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


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 »


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 »


Forrest Wood Cup Day 3 Coverage

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


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 »


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 »


Forrest Wood Cup Day 2 Coverage

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


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 »


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 »


Forrest Wood Cup Day 1 Coverage

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


Elkins Looked Deep on Erie

Matt Elkins of Spencerville, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Michigan Division tournament on the Detroit River. For his victory, Elkins earned $5,337. READ MORE »