Ramsey’s rampage

PADUCAH, Ky. - When Candace Ramsey got married just three weeks ago, she never dreamed her new husband could produce a wedding gift this big. Her groom, Wade Ramsey of Midwest City, Okla., walked away with $100,000 Saturday as winner of the 2005 BFL All-American - a pretty good paycheck when you're a policeman by day.Wade Ramsey poses with his wife of three weeks, Candace. On stage, Ramsey said he thought it would be close, but his performance was nothing short of dominating. His three-day, 33-pound, 3-ounce catch bested the runner-up by more than 4 pounds, and he did it all by hunting for the big bite. In a tournament where nearly everybody else was fishing for smallmouths with finesse rigs, Ramsey bucked the system, going for largemouths with bigger tackle. "I'm not a finesse fisherman," he said. "I started looking for other options. These weren't the best conditions to do what I've been doing. I went fishing for a bigger bite, and it's been a struggle." Ramsey's worst day, performance-wise, was on day one, when he landed in the No. 12 spot with a limit weighing 8 pounds, 11 ounces. He kicked it into high gear, though, on day two, leading the field by more than 3 pounds and improving his catch by almost that much. Wade Ramsey holds up his $100,000 check for winning the All-American.Though several anglers - including runner-up Adam Wagner, who weighed in one of the tournament's heaviest bass - had him nervous, the tournament was Ramsey's all the way. As if the final weigh-in was not nerve-racking enough, Ramsey said he never finished out his limit until the end of the day, all three days. "I decided to gamble with the largemouths," he said. "Each day I had five keeper bites. It's been stressful dealing with not having a limit until the end of the day every day." His final keeper today came at 1:15, when he had about 10 minutes of fishing time remaining in the day. He decided early this morning to gamble again and use a buzzbait, and again, his gamble paid off. "I decided to throw a black Red River buzzbait," he said. "The first place I went to, I caught a 3-pounder. Then I had a long dry spell. I started to get worried, so I went back to that first spot." That spot has proven to be plentiful and lucrative for Ramsey this week, to say the least. He says he caught 11 out of 15 keepers out of a rock ledge on the Tennessee River. "It was a small pocket that had current flowing over it," he said, adding that he caught most of his bass Carolina-rigging a green-pumpkin Zoom Baby Brush Hog. "I was throwing a rig over it - it was jagged and tough to fish. This spot was ideal for fish, though. They could stay out of current, but it had enough current to wash baitfish over it." Ramsey said he caught his heaviest fish during practice out of that very spot, including two back-to-back largemouths that prompted him to leave the area and not come back until the first day of competition. On day one, he said, another competitor beat him to the area, and after he left, Ramsey went in and caught three keepers. On the second day, Ramsey had the benefit of an earlier flight number and got to the hot spot first.Wade Ramsey reacts to being named the All-American champion. "This spot was ideal for fish," he said. "I think a lot of people probably fish there, but I think I fished it differently than other people." Although Ramsey said he never caught fish as big as he did in practice during the tournament days, he said the spot replenished itself daily, offering plenty of largemouths for Ramsey to take to the scales. "That helped me win this tournament," he said. "I knew I had a shot. I practiced hard to come and do the best I could, but with the competition here, I wasn't sure. Yesterday, I led it by 3 pounds, and that blew my mind." Ramsey said he and his new bride had hoped to build a house this coming winter, but thanks to his All-American winnings, they can start that sooner than they had planned. "I'm trying to keep a level head about it," he said. "I'm thrilled." Ramsey has competed in the Wal-Mart BFL Okie Division for three full seasons and ranked 11th in 2004 to advance to the Toledo Bend regional, where he finished fourth to earn a trip to the All-American. Wagner claims No. 2 spot No. 2 Adam Wagner holds up one of the heaviest bass of the tournament.Yesterday, Adam Wagner of Cookeville, Tenn., weighed in 6 pounds, 12 ounces and didn't think his two-day total would even be enough for a top-10 finish. It turns out it was, and he turned up the heat on the final day, catching the day's heaviest limit at 13 pounds, 10 ounces and hauling in one of the tournament's heaviest bass. His three-day total weight of 29 pounds, 1 ounce earned him $25,000 as the second-place boater. Green pumpkin was the order of the day for most anglers, including Wagner, who said he caught his bass with a 3 1/2-inch tube and a 5-inch finesse worm using a 3/16-ounce leadhead featuring a 4/0 hook. "I was fishing rock piles around Barkley Dam, drifting with the current and letting the bait drift down over the rocks," he said. "I had a 4-6 on Thursday, and I caught the biggest one today on the same rod." Wagner, the current Music City Division points leader, advanced to the All-American by ranking 21st in the 2004 Music City points standings and then finishing first at the Columbus Pool regional. Richards jumps to third Mark Richards managed a third-place finish despite having to forego his pattern on the final day.Houston, Texas, angler Mark Richards caught 24 pounds, 2 ounces over three days to take home $12,000 as the No. 3 boater. He entered the final day in the No. 6 position and advanced despite losing his game plan early in the day. "My main pattern was fishing a spot with running water in the Tennessee River," Richards said. "There were baitfish there, and there were big fish there. Whatever that water was, they shut it off today. It wasn't running." Richards fished the area for about an hour before he gave up and began a hunt for new spots. "I just ran a bunch of spots I'd never fished before, and I was happy to catch four today," he said. "If they were running water, I'd be sorry I didn't win it." Richards, a Northeasterner by birth, finished 20th in the Cowboy Division in 2004 and finished sixth at the Columbus Pool regional to claim an All-American slot. Crow, Deal round out top five Day-one leader Brent Crow ended the tournament in fourth place.Day-one leader Brent Crow of Hartselle, Ala., ended the tournament in fourth with a three-day total of 23 pounds, 7 ounces that earned him $9,000. "It was a tough day again today," he said. "The last two days have gotten slower and slower. I didn't lose any today; I just didn't get enough bites." Haubstadt, Ind., boater Ryan Deal landed in the fifth spot with a three-day total of 23 pounds, 7 ounces and took home $7,000. "I'm pretty fortunate to be in the top 10," Deal said. "I didn't execute this week at all. Maybe next year - I'll be back." Best of the rest Rounding out the top 10 All-American boaters: 6th: Robert Beatty of Clermont, Fla., 20-10, $6,500 7th: Michael Bryson of LaFayette, Ga., 20-0, $6,000 8th: Jeff Wooldridge of LaFayette, La., 18-13, $5,500 9th: John Pearson of Perry, Ga., 18-5, $5,000 10th: Rick Byrnes of Tamaroa, Ill., 17-15, $4,500

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/news/2015-04-26-arey-does-it-again

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 »

/news/2015-04-26-beaver-lake-day-4-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 4 Coverage

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

/news/2015-04-25-morgan-maintains-his-lead

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 »

/news/2015-04-25-gordon-and-gagner-crowned-tbf-champs

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 »

/news/2015-04-25-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-3

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 »

/news/2015-04-25-beaver-lake-day-3-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 3 Coverage

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

/news/2015-04-24-make-way-for-morgan

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 »

/news/2015-04-24-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-2

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 »

/news/2015-04-24-heckman-heads-up-tbf-championship-field

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 »

/news/2015-04-24-beaver-lake-day-2-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 2 Coverage

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

/news/2015-04-23-wheeler-with-a-slim-lead

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 »

/news/2015-04-23-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-1

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 »

/news/2015-04-23-griffith-grabs-tbf-lead-

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 »

/news/2015-04-23-beaver-lake-day-1-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 1 Coverage

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

/news/2015-04-23-tbf-championship-tips-off

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 »

/news/2015-04-20-top-10-baits-from-lake-murray

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 »

/news/2015-04-20-jig-bite-carries-holmes-on-wateree

Jig Bite Carries Holmes on Wateree

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/news/2015-04-20-bryan-slows-down-for-chickamauga-win

Bryan Slows Down for Chickamauga Win

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/news/2015-04-20-morfis-dominates-with-34-pound-limit

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 »

/news/2015-04-20-salzman-cracks-31-pounds-on-guntersville

Salzman Cracks 31 Pounds on Guntersville

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