Super Powers

VALLEY, Ala. - Craig Powers of Rockwood, Tenn., has made 11 top-10 cuts in EverStart tournaments and has never won one. That all changed today as Powers brought in another five-bass limit weighing 12 pounds, 3 ounces to take the West Point Lake EverStart Series Southeast Division title with a two-day total of 24 pounds, 7 ounces. Perhaps the 12th time is the charm, but to hear Powers tell it, his first EverStart win almost never happened. Powers, who owns a Domino's Pizza, originally had planned to skip the West PointCraig Powers gets an emotional hug from his wife Kristi. event because of work. "School is out back home, and we are slammed with last-day-of-school pizza parties," Powers said. "I had to stay home and work." In fact, Powers was making pizza like a mad man last Sunday when his roommate and fellow pro Koby Kreiger called with a fishing report. "Koby called me like 20 times on Sunday saying, `Man, you've got to get down here, they're killing topwater,'" Powers recounted. "One time he called me after hooking a 6-pounder - I could hear it thrashing around beside the boat - and it killed me." Monday morning, Powers called FLW Outdoors and filled one of the last available slots in the tournament. "I left home at 3:30 in the morning on Tuesday," Powers said. "I was on the lake by 7:30 and knew exactly how I was going to fish by 9:30." With the exception of a few fish caught on wacky worms and Senkos, Powers caught most of his fish on an oversized Pop-R tied to 17-pound-test line. "I was running and gunning pockets all up and down the lake," he said. "I fished any piece of shallow-water cover that looked good - brush, stumps, bank grass - you name it. "The closest I ever came to winning one of these EverStarts was here at West Point in 1999 - I finished third, and missing that win really chapped me," he said. "And now, to win here when I wasn't even planning to fish - it's just weird how things work out." Pro Mike Keel of Auburn, Ala., finished in second place with a two-day total of 24 pounds, 2 ounces.Keel second Mike Keel of Auburn, Ala., came up 6 ounces shy of an EverStart win today, finishing second with a two-day total of 24 pounds, 2 ounces. Keel alternated between shallow- and deep-water patterns all week, but said the deeper bite was better today. He fished a 1/2-ounce Stanley Jig - black/blue - with a black trailer on 20-pound-test line around isolated rocks, stumps and brush piles in 8 to 12 feet of water. "I was hopping the jig up off the bottom around those isolated pieces of cover," Keel said. Gagliardi moves to third Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C., finished third with a two-day total of 22 pounds, Pro Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C., finished in third place with a two-day total of 22 pounds, 2 ounces.2 ounces. Gagliardi sight-fished early in the week and then discovered a "bream pattern." "Wherever I would find groups a bream, the bass would be nearby," he said. "Each time I found a group of bream, I would always hit that spot early the next morning and catch a couple of key bass." Gagliardi used wacky worms on 10-pound-test line and Brian's Bees "Prop Bee" topwaters that featured double props. Kennedy slips to fourth Pro Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala., nervously looks on as Craig Powers weighs in. Kennedy finished in fourth place with a two-day total of 21 pounds, 2 ounces.Day-three leader Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala., dealt with the frustration of watching his primary shallow-water pattern cave today under the pressure of wind and boat traffic. After incurring a 1-pound dead-fish penalty for two dead bass, his five-fish limit weighed in at 4 pounds, 14 ounces, giving him a two-day total of 21 pounds, 2 ounces to finish fourth. "I was fishing isolated cypress trees out on the main lake," he said. "The fish were only in about 18 inches of water, and the wind and wave action from all the Saturday boat traffic just destroyed it." Kennedy relied on a watermelon Kinami flash fished on 10-pound-test line most of the week. "I was fishing it on a spinning rod so I could skip it under the trees," he said. "If the bait landed up there with a loud splash, they wouldn't bite it - I had to slide it up under there quietly with a skip cast." Though Kennedy hated to see another EverStart win elude him, his fourth-place finish did net him the EverStart Series Angler of the Year honor for the Southeast Division. Johnson fifth Michael Johnson of Talking Rock, Ga., finished in fifth place with a two-day total of 17Pro Michael Johnson of Talking Rock, Ga., finished fifth with a two-day total of 17 pounds, 13 ounces. pounds, 13 ounces. Johnson fished a 1/4-ounce root beer-colored jig with a twin-tail trailer on shallow wood to catch his fish. "I can't even tell you how many trees, stumps and logs I've fished in the last four days," Johnson said. "I'd make about 10 pitches to each one, crank up and run to the next." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pros in the EverStart Series Southeast event on West Point Lake: 6th: Jared Parmer of Roanoke, Ala., with a two-day total of 14-1 7th: Asa Godsey of Clewiston, Fla., with a two-day total of 13-9 8th: Tony Wood of Bowdon, Ga., with a two-day total of 9-13 9th: Rick Couch of Ocala, Fla., with a two-day total of 6-14 10: Flash Butts Roanoke Rapids, N.C., with a two-day total of 4-4

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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 »


Beaver Lake Day 3 Coverage

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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

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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



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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 »


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Lanter Wins on Rend Lake



Top 10 Patterns from Lake Murray

As contestants in the FLW College Fishing National Championship on Lake Murray discovered last week, fishing the blueback herring spawn can be backbreaking work. All that stooping over to grab a different rig to cast at bass busting their favorite forage, and then quickly straightening, is hard on the old spinal column. Flexing up and down is what it took to contend in the championship, however, as bass couldn’t make up their minds whether they wanted their grub served on the surface or closer to the bottom. Typically, the collegians were fan-casting Carolina rigs, umbrella rigs, hard jerkbaits and even crankbaits to likely looking points and broad flats. Sometimes they caught fish with such random prospecting, but perhaps more bass were taken when anglers found themselves within casting distance of blowups and were quick enough to grab a soft jerkbait rig or topwater lure and virtually spoon-feed it to the fish. READ MORE »


Gamecocks Win College Title