UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Erie

Sapp slugs way to pro title on California Delta

BETHEL ISLAND, Calif. - Heading into Saturday's finals, Steve Sapp of Manteca, Calif., had no clue what his strategy was going to be. He didn't know what baits he was going to throw, what areas he was going to fish or exactly how he was possibly going to come up with a large enough stringer to put pressure on day-three leader Bobby Barrack. However, in the end, Sapp just went fishing - and walked away with the tournament title. On the strength of a two-day catch of 36 pounds, Sapp not only won, but he crushed the rest of the pro competition along the way. "I'm still kind of in shock about this whole thing," said Sapp. "This has just been an amazing week for me. Every single day things changed on the water. I lost a 6-pounder yesterday and thought that was going to cost me. "I had a terrible performance on the first day. I was so sure I wasn't going to be fishing this weekend that I called my girlfriend and told her to make plans for us. I wasn't really even sure what I was going to do today. This is just unreal." With no real game plan, Sapp decided to cover a lot of water and try a wide variety of baits in an attempt to get anything going at all. "I probably ran about two and a half hours today," said Sapp. "I first went east, then south and then headed back to the middle part of the Delta. I was throwing Zoom Brush Hogs, FLW tubes, Senkos, frogs, and black and blue jigs. The stuff I fished today was different from what I fished all week. But I made some changes and everything somehow worked out." Sapp said that he targeted largemouth bass on a combination of rocks and tulles in about 3 to 8 feet of water. Pro Steve Sapp of Manteca, Calif., shows off his first-place trophy after winning the EverStart Series event on the California Delta.In the end, Sapp's perseverance clearly paid off. "Oh man, this is just the highlight of everything I've done fishing," said Sapp. "This is the best I've ever done. I've won 24 pro-ams before, but this is the biggest for me. It's just unbelievable. It's just been a great week." Colby's title run comes up short Pro Ron Colby of Page, Ariz., managed to leapfrog from third place in yesterday's competition to the runner-up slot during the finals after landing a two-day catch of 30 pounds, 15 ounces.Ron Colby of Page, Ariz., managed to leapfrog from third place in yesterday's competition to the runner-up slot during the finals after landing a two-day catch of 30 pounds, 15 ounces. "I came out here swinging for the fences, and that's what I did," said Colby, who walked away with a $9,200 payday. "I had nothing to lose. It turned out to be a great week." Colby said he landed the majority of his catch on watermelon and green-pumpkin Senkos as well as a Bobby Barrack frog. Barrack drops to third Heading into the finals, Bobby Barrack of Oakley, Calif., had the overall lead with a day-three catch weighing 19 pounds, 3 ounces. However, Barrack said he just could never get the big fish to bite when it mattered most. "This is the first time I've ever made the finals, so I'm pretty happy," said Barrack, who ultimately landed a total catch of 28 pounds, 11 ounces to finish with $8,500 in prize money. "I got to see some really nice fish today, but most of them just followed my bait and never bit. If there was a prize for following, I would have won hands down. But overall, I had a great time." Barrack said he used a variety of swimbaits as well as his signature Snag Proof Perfect frog. Le mounts impressive comeback Pro Thanh Le of El Cajon, Calif., shows off his 9-pound, 8-ounce largemouth en route to a fourth-place finish at the California Delta event.Had day-two leader Thanh Le of El Cajon, Calif., not stumbled in yesterday's competition, he surely would have made a run for the tournament title. With only 9 pounds, 11 ounces heading into the finals, Le turned on the jets and brought a huge 17-pound, 6-ounce sack - including a whopping 9-pound, 8-ounce largemouth - to the scales today. Unfortunately, it was a little too late. However, Le said he had no regrets. "This place is just awesome. It's been a great tournament," said Le, who walked away with a fourth-place finish as well as a check for $7,550. "The key for me was having a lot of practice on this water. I got here three weeks ago and that really helped. My goal was to make the top 10, and I did that." Not only that, but Le also took home the prestigious 2005 Western Division points championship, an automatic berth in the 2005 EverStart Series Championship - slated for Pickwick Lake in November - as well as an invitation to fish the FLW Tour in 2006. Stafford claims fifth Pro Sean Stafford of Fairfield, Calif., used a two-day catch of 26 pounds, 7 ounces to finish in the top five. For his efforts, Stafford won $7,050.Sean Stafford of Fairfield, Calif., used a two-day catch of 26 pounds, 7 ounces to finish in the top five. For his efforts, Stafford won $7,050. "It was tough out there today," said Stafford. "I finally figured something out later in the day, but it was too late. If I had had another hour of fishing, things might have been different. But I had a great tournament, and I've definitely had a lot of fun." Best of the rest Rounding out the top 10 pro finalists at the EverStart California Delta event: 6th: Jon Strelic of Alpine, Calif., 24-15 7th: Rob Riehl of Tracy, Calif., 21-7 8th: Dewayne Bonham of Brentwood, Calif., 21-3 9th: James Scott of Carson, Calif., 19-6 10th: David Kromm of Kennewick, Wash., 16-14 The top 40 co-anglers in the year-end EverStart Western Division points standings will receive an automatic invite to the 2005 EverStart Series Championship, slated to take place on Pickwick Lake in Florence, Ala., Nov. 2-5. The total purse for that event is $1 million.

Tags: headline-story  gary-mortenson 

/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 »

/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 »

/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 »

/news/2015-08-20-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-1

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 »