Powers slam

HENDERSON, N.C. - Pro golf has its "Tiger Slam." Now pro fishing has what you could call a "Powers Slam." Craig Powers of Rockwood, Tenn., became the first pro bass angler ever to win consecutive EverStart Series tournaments when he caught yet another limit Saturday and claimed victory in the Northeast Division opener at Kerr Lake. Powers caught five bass on the final day at Kerr that weighed a collective 11 pounds, 15 ounces, pushed his two-day total to 27-14 and won $10,000 plus a new Ranger boat. It was the second time in just two weeks that he has collected that bounty, since he also won the EverStart Southeast Division closer at West Point Lake on May 21. Powers not only becomes the first pro to win consecutive tournaments, he will go down in the books as the first champion of the new Northeast Division. The only comparable feat that immediately comes to mind was the run made by Rick Clunn on the Wal-Mart FLW Tour in 2000 when he finished first-second-first in consecutive events. "I'm going to go out and eat with my family in a little bit, and I'm going to hold onto this feeling as long as I can," Powers said Saturday afternoon. "Because it doesn't get any better than this." Pro Chris Baldwin of Lexington, N.C., finished with an impressive 27 pounds, 11 ounces and collected $10,000 for second place. He caught SaturdayBut it wasn't just that he pulled off the Powers Slam, it was how he did it that was impressive. Powers won by a mere 3 ounces over a charging Chris Baldwin on the final day. In one of the most thrilling weigh-ins on record, Baldwin amassed the day's second-heaviest limit - 14 pounds, 10 ounces - and looked to be in position for his first big win. But he trailed Powers, the day-three leader, by 2-14 coming into the day. That proved to be the difference; Powers' limit of 11-15 weighed just 2-11 less than Baldwin's. "As happy as I am to win this, I hate it for Chris because I know how much he's going through right now," said Powers, himself a past runner-up on the FLW Tour. "I'm very lucky to be standing where I am right now." Pro Craig Powers of Rockwood, Tenn., caught a final-round total of 10 bass weighing 27 pounds, 14 ounces to win the EverStart Series Northeast Division event on Kerr Lake.That could be the understatement of the week. Powers lost two fish that almost cost him victory Saturday. Near the end of the day, a big 5-pounder came off on his Pop-R topwater bait, then he proceeded to lose another 3 1/2-pounder on a crankbait shortly afterward. To hear him tell it, he thought he'd lost right there. "He had the whole plug in his mouth," he said of the lost crankbait fish, "but I don't think he was hooked at all. Man, I'll tell you what, I was cussing after that." Powers fished the same way Saturday that he had all week long: mainly throwing a Pop-R around shallow bushes in pockets. It was a departure from what almost everybody else was doing, which was targeting bass feeding on shad on points. Conditions changed somewhat today, however, when the clouds thinned, the wind died and the temperature rose, so Powers also managed to catch one of his keepers on a jig. Craig Powers shows off the Pop-R topwater bait that led him to victory at both West Point Lake and Kerr Lake."When the fish are in the bushes, it's just the way I like to fish," he said. "It's the same way I caught them at West Point. It was great for me here because the fish on the bank had zero pressure on them. I spent all my time on the trolling motor not far from where we took off (at Satterwhite Point). There's just a ton of fish in the bushes right now." With today's catch, Powers also caught his eighth consecutive five-bass limit in eight days of fishing on the EverStart Series, going back to West Point. His winning limit today at Kerr - 11 pounds, 15 ounces - was the smallest one over that amazing stretch. "These guys I fished with this week, just to be in the top 10 with these guys, that's a great compliment," he said. "Win, lose or draw, I'm just happy to be here." For the record, Powers has exactly 30 FLW Outdoors top-10 finishes, including 13 of them spread out across the EverStart Series and seven on the FLW Tour. He also has one FLW victory (Red River, 2001) in addition to his two recent EverStart wins. Chris Baldwin realizes that heBaldwin a bridesmaid again Baldwin just can't catch a break. The pro from Lexington, N.C., finished with an impressive 27 pounds, 11 ounces and collected $10,000 for second place. But it was second place - again. A heavyweight on the Wal-Mart BFL with 25 top-10s to his name, Baldwin has finished second at the All-American twice (1998 and 1999). To make matters worse, he finished second in BFL Piedmont Division competition right here at Kerr Lake just two weeks ago. "I came in second at the BFL, and I think that made a difference and helped me do well here this week," he said, obviously a little dejected. "This second place can only help me do well at the next one." Still, this week was by no means a loss for Baldwin. Each day, he started throwing a topwater, then would switch over to a fluke when conditions changed during the day. The pattern almost worked to perfection. "By the time we made the cut, we pretty much went out and had any spot that we wanted to fish," he said. "I've caught so many fish this week that my hands hurt." Pro Jeffrey Thomas of Broadway, N.C., caught 15 pounds even Saturday, finished with a final total of 26-15 and took third place. Pro Brian Wilhoit, leading at the time, looks on in the background.Thomas surges for third Catching the heaviest pro limit of the day was Jeffrey Thomas of Broadway, N.C., a Kerr Lake standout and rising star on tour. He caught 15 pounds even Saturday, finished with a final total of 26-15 and took third place. He earned $9,000. "Yeah, I'm pretty pleased," he said. "I picked up the big stick and went to find me some dirty water. It was the only way I knew how to beat C.P. (Powers)." He landed 17 keepers in his dirty water and, like many at Kerr this week, found himself stricken with a case of raw hands - in a good way. "My hands were so sore from catching fish, I couldn't even tie a knot," he said. Pro Pete Gluszek of Franklinville, N.J., finished in the fourth slot and collected $8,000. He caught 26-5 in the final round.Gluszek fourth Day-one pro leader Pete Gluszek of Franklinville, N.J., finished in the fourth slot and collected $8,000. He caught a limit weighing 12 pounds, 14 ounces Saturday, but it wasn't enough for victory as his total settled on 26-5. "Obviously, I'm a little disappointed because I thought I had my chances," he said, indicating that he caught his fish Saturday on a Gambler Super Stud soft-plastic jerkbait. "On day one, on more than one occasion, there were schools - and I mean schools - of 5-pounders busting on the herring (shad). What a thrill. I'm certainly going to be coming back here next May and June." Daves fifth Chris Daves of Hopewell, Va., son of Bassmaster Classic champion Woo Daves, finished in the fifth position in the Pro Division with a final-round weight of 21 pounds, 4 ounces. He earned $7,500. "Today, I did lose two good ones, and that probably cost me," he said. "But to lose only two fish over four days of fishing is a pretty good week." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 Pro Division finishers at Kerr Lake: 6th: Brian Wilhoit of Oxon Hill, Md., nine bass, 20-1, $6,500 7th: Rodney Sorrell of Stokesdale, N.C., eight bass, 18-1, $5,500 8th: Bob Plemmons of Kernersville, N.C., six bass, 12-10, $5,000 9th: Jack Gadlage of Benton, Ky., six bass, 12-4, $4,500 10th: Brent Brannon of Cumming, Ga., five bass, 9-2, $4,000 Coming up The next EverStart Series event is a Central Division contest at Kentucky Lake near Benton, Ky., June 15-18. The next Northeast Division tournament will be held on Lake Erie at Cleveland, Ohio, July 27-30.

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Arey Does it Again

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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 »


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

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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

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Griffith Grabs TBF Lead

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Beaver Lake Day 1 Coverage

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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 »


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Morfis Dominates With 34-Pound Limit

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Salzman Cracks 31 Pounds on Guntersville