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 


Arey Does it Again

Quaker State pro Matt Arey of Shelby, N.C., wowed the crowed in Rogers, Ark., today with an incredible 17-pound, 3-ounce five-bass limit to come from behind and win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake. This is Arey’s second consecutive Beaver Lake FLW Tour victory. Arey’s final-day surge was enough to surpass two-time reigning Angler of the Year Andy Morgan, who led yesterday but weighed in only 9-08 today and fell to third. Arey’s four-day total was 55-06, earning the pro $125,000. READ MORE »


Beaver Lake Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »


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 »


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 »


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 »


Beaver Lake Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »


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 »


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 »


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 »


Beaver Lake Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »


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 »


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 »


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 »


Beaver Lake Day 1 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »


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 »


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 »


Jig Bite Carries Holmes on Wateree



Bryan Slows Down for Chickamauga Win



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 »


Salzman Cracks 31 Pounds on Guntersville