UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Erie

Every ounce counts

HENDERSON, Nev. - Thanh Le has a lot of people to thank for his first EverStart Series victory. The personable pro won this week's Western Division event on Lake Mead by a scant 1-ounce margin over opening-round leader Tim Klinger of Boulder City, Nev., who caught 19 pounds, 1 ounce to Le's 19-2. Over the course of three seasons in the EverStart Series, Le has had boat trouble - many, many times. This week was no exception, and luckily for Le, part of his prize package included an Evinrude-powered Ranger boat.Thanh Le is congratulated for his victory while runner-up Tim Klinger looks on. "My boat broke down this time after the second day," he said. The list of people who have loaned him boats includes Jim Wickham, the 2003 co-angler points champion. Wickham won a fully rigged Ranger as the '03 EverStart/Evinrude Co-angler Champion, and Le took that very boat out on the rough waters of Lake Mead this week to claim his second top-10 finish and his first win. After the final weigh-in, Le had only one request: to give props to the long list of folks kind enough to let him borrow a rig during all the times his boat has failed him over the last couple of years. Including Wickham, those people are Dan Unten, Jeff Wilkie, Richard Davies, Steve Brecko and Justin Hanold. As for Wickham, "I helped him win that boat," Le said. "He won the '03 Clear Lake tournament out of the back of my boat, so it's payback." Short run pays off Le began the tournament Wednesday in the top 10 and never fell out of it, ending day one in sixth place and earning a trip to the final round by finishing fifth on day two. He was fourth after day three with a 7-pound, 7-ounce catch that lagged behind leader Gabe Bolivar by a seemingly insurmountable 4 pounds, 9 ounces. But Bolivar brought in only 6 pounds, 11 ounces on the final day, while Le improved his catch by more than 4 pounds. Le's final tally on day four was 11 pounds, 11 ounces, which earned him $8,400 plus the Ranger.Thanh Le poses with his trophy. "I was basically targeting cuts in the back of bays and coves," he said. "The first three days I fished the Echo area, which is about 30 or 40 miles (away)." For the final day, Le moved to one of his favorite Lake Mead hot spots, the Finger Cove area located not far from the launch site at Callville Bay Marina. "Today I went less than a minute, to the next cove," he said. "Late yesterday around 2 p.m. I went there - it's an area I fish every year this time of year." Le said he declined to fish the Finger Cove area the first two days due to excessive boat traffic, and he did not wet a line there yesterday either, merely checking the area out to gauge its quality for day four. "Yesterday I kept looking at it, but I had fish," he said. "After struggling today, I came back there. Yesterday I had spotted 30-something fish on the bank. Some were on beds, and some were cruising along the bank." Le entered the area this morning, hoping against hope that he'd have it to himself. Luckily for him, there was no one there except for two pleasure boats. "I had the place to myself all day long," he said. Le undeterred by mighty winds Le reported that this week's ever-changing weather conditions did not change the way he fished. This week's tournament has seen hot sun that later cooled off as much as 20 degrees over two days. The winds have also gone from calm to what felt close to gale-force, whipping around at upwards of 30 mph. Finally, the anglers also dealt with rain on the last day, although not for very long. "It's common knowledge that the fish get more active in the wind and clouds on this lake," Le said. "They get more aggressive." For that reason, Le counted himself among the anglers who welcomed the wind. Some wanted it while others, like runner-up Klinger, wished it would go away. Lessons learned Overall, Le prefished the area for nine and a half days, coupling that knowledge with a few things he learned in the past to catch his winning fish.A look at Thanh Le "Two years ago I fished a WON bass tournament here," he said. "I fished with a local who came out with a tube in his hand. He put two (bass) in the boat and taught me a lesson." Le caught his tournament-winning bass throwing a 3 3/4-inch green pumpkin tube. He's also the new Pro Division points leader, taking the position away from Scott Mascadri, who finished the tournament in sixth. Klinger's near-miss After leading the two-day opening round with a combined catch of 27 pounds, 9 ounces, local pro Tim Klinger slipped to second place on day three with a limit of bass that weighed 9 pounds, 10 ounces. Although he - along with everyone else - had a lot of ground to make up with Gabe Bolivar's commanding 12-pound catch, Klinger was certainly never out of the hunt. Klinger fished with eventual co-angler winner Lewis Milligan on day four and handed him the bait that earned him the title. With Klinger's bait tied on, Milligan brought in four fish that gave him the co-angler win by 8 ounces.Tim Klinger led the opening round on Lake Mead and ultimately finished the tournament in second place. All week, Klinger has utilized a reaction-bait pattern that located the fish, switching to a soft bait once the bass began following the reaction bait. This sight-fishing pattern blew away in the wind, although Klinger managed to adjust well enough to come within an ounce of victory. "Today I switched up and left my primary area," he said. "I caught seven or eight fish - missed a few, broke some off." Klinger caught his bass today on a 3/4-ounce brown/red Yamamoto jig mixed with purple and admitted that the gusty winds affected his performance. "With the wind blowing, I couldn't fish the way I did the first couple of days," he said. Klinger's performance this week on Lake Mead helped him secure a fourth-place ranking heading into the Western Division's final event on the California Delta. Kolender takes third place Add Dennis Kolender to the list of anglers earning their personal-best EverStart finish this week on Lake Mead. The Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League veteran took third place with a two-day total of 18 pounds, 11 ounces that earned him $8,000. Kolender tied for second on day one and was third after day two with an accumulated weight of 23 pounds, 1 ounce. He remained in third on day three with 9 pounds, 2 ounces and held on to that position on the final day with another 9 pounds, 9 ounces. Dennis Kolender took third place on Lake Mead. "I made a big run today," he said. "I hadn't been there in over a year." Kolender had been fishing past the Virgin Basin earlier in the week, but moved today to Gregg's Basin to catch his bass. Several anglers had trouble with losing fish this week, and today, Kolender was no exception. "I broke off two fish, and that probably hurt me," he said. "I had a shallow pattern, throwing a Fluke and a brown jig and drop-shotting a Tiki-Drop." Bolivar moves down, Meyer moves up No. 4 pro Gabe Bolivar shocked the crowd when he brought in only three fish today after building up a solid lead after day three. His three bass today weighed more than 5 pounds less than his day-three catch, but his two-day weight of 18 pounds, 11 ounces was enough to earn him $7,350. (Kolender, who also caught 18-11, earned the better standing due to the day-two-standings tiebreaker. He finished third after day two, while Bolivar finished fourth.) Clayton Meyer, who won the season opener on Lake Havasu, moved up from ninth to fifth on the strength of the day's heaviest catch. Meyer caught only 1 pound, 15 ounces on day three, but brought in 11 pounds, 12 ounces on day four to take fifth place and $6,850 with a two-day total of 13-11. Best of the rest Rounding out the top 10 pros on Lake Mead: 6th: Scott Mascadri of Sacramento, Calif., nine bass, 12-13, $5,850 7th: Justin Kerr of Simi Valley, Calif., seven bass, 11-8, $4,850 8th: Shane Meisel of Alta Loma, Calif., seven bass, 10-15, $4,350 9th: Sean Andrachick of Marion, Mont., three bass, 5-2, $3,850 10th: Johnny Parks of Aztec, N.M., one bass, 1-13, $3,350 What's next Coming up next on the EverStart trail is a Central Division event on Lake of the Ozarks April 20-23. The Western Division will wrap up the regular season May 4-7 with an event on the California Delta.

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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Forrest Wood Cup Day 4 Coverage

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

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

/news/2015-08-17-elkins-looked-deep-on-erie

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 »

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Manson Targets Shad

Scott Manson of Covington, Ohio, weighed four bass totaling 8 pounds, 10 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division tournament on the Ohio River. For his victory, Manson earned $5,205. READ MORE »