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/2015-03-28-birge-buzzes-ahead

Birge Buzzes Ahead

Today started off with a slightly miserable 31-degree air temperature, but it didn’t take long for the top 20 pros to really heat up on Lewis Smith Lake at the second stop of the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour presented by Evinrude. Reports poured in throughout the day of big bass – especially big largemouths – being caught off beds. It looked at first as if one of the “largemouth lookers” might piece together a big enough bag to snatch the lead away from Oklahoma rookie Zack Birge, who struggled early to make his shallow topwater pattern work. Unfortunately for the rest of the field, the young gun Birge has the coolness and patience of a veteran, and he stuck with his game plan of throwing a buzzbait and soft jerkbait rig until the sun had time to warm the shallows and spur the fish to become more active. Birge tallied 17 pounds, 11 ounces today, raising his three-day total to 54-8 and giving him a lead of 3-11 over Texas veteran Clark Wendlandt in second place. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 3

After three days, it looks as if tournament leader Zack Birge has the quality largemouth bite in the bushes wired. But behind him on the leaderboard are nine pros doing everything from sight-fishing to catching schooling bass and everything in between. Even with all the patterns in play, few have fizzled. The sight-fishers have reported finding new bedders, the schoolers are still schooling and a couple of guys have even started tapping floating docks. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-lewis-smith-lake-day-3-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 3 Coverage

Day 3 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-topwater-takes-birge-to-the-top

Topwater Takes Birge to the Top

On a day when chilly, windy post-front conditions challenged many Walmart FLW Tour anglers who were relying on sight-fishing for spawning bass, Zack Birge bucked the trend and pulled out a pair of topwaters to haul in 17 pounds, 14 ounces. Birge jumped from third place past day-one leader Drew Benton to take over the top spot on Lewis Smith Lake in the event, which is presented by Evinrude. Birge’s two-day total of 36-13 has him positioned 1 pound ahead of Benton. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 2

While air and water temperatures plummeted on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude, the big surprise came in the stability of the fishing patterns amidst such change. Zack Birge found plenty of production on his primary pattern to send him to the top of the leaderboard, and those under him held true to their patterns as well to secure a ticket to day three’s top 20. Among the biggest surprises was the number of pros who were still able to pluck fish off beds. Most pros that were sight-fishing say the bass are committed to beds and that the cold snap will not run them off at this point in time. Despite the cold, some even found new fish on beds that were not there yesterday. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-lewis-smith-lake-day-2-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 2 Coverage

Day 2 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-benton-blasts-20-12-on-lewis-smith

Benton Blasts 20-12 on Lewis Smith

Panama City, Fla., pro Drew Benton jumped into the early lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude with a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 12 ounces. Benton caught a mix of largemouths and spotted bass, and revealed that both black bass species are spawning. He leads a tight top 20 that includes 18 pros that caught more than 15 pounds each. The first day was an absolute fish-fest. Of the 154 pros fishing this tournament, 138 weighed limits. Brad Roberts of Faubush, Ky., has a 2-ounce lead in the co-angler division with a 13-pound, 4-ounce limit. Tomorrow he’ll try to defend his lead on the final day of co-angler competition. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 1

While Drew Benton was busy bugging bedding fish for his day-one tournament lead, several others behind him were scoring big with other fishing options on Lewis Smith Lake. Sight-fishing also played a role in the top limits produce by Tracy Adams, Scott Martin and Ish Monroe, but Clayton Batts and Zack Birge both brought in big bags with other patterns. Click here to read about Benton’s day-one performance at the second Walmart FLW Tour event of 2015, which is presented by Evinrude. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-lewis-smith-lake-day-1-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 1 Coverage

Day 1 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-22-arkansas-anglers-win-college-open

Arkansas Anglers Win College Open

Consistency was the key for the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville here in the FLW College Fishing Kentucky Lake Open as Zachary Pickle and Drew Porto won the event with a two-day total of 43 pounds, 12 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-kendrick-king-on-guntersville

Kendrick King On Guntersville

Kendrick, who is fishing the Rayovac FLW Series in hopes of qualifying for the FLW Tour, caught more than 25 pounds each day of the event and finihsid in fine fasion when it counted. Kendick was catching nearly all of his bass around big schools of bait with a Houdini pearl-colored Scottsboro Tackle swimbait from 15- to 25-feet of water. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-epting-s-30-pounds-tops-on-santee-cooper

Epting's 30 Pounds Tops on Santee Cooper

SUMMERTON, S.C. – Chris Epting of Chapin, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 30 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Santee Cooper. For his victory, Epting earned $3,679. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-wood-rock-key-for-middleton-s-victory

Wood, Rock Key for Middleton's Victory

HUDDLESTON, Va. – Dennis Middleton of Madison Heights, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division tournament of 2015 on Smith Mountain Lake. For his victory, Middleton earned $7,199. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-johnson-wins-on-dale-hollow

Johnson Wins on Dale Hollow

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – Robby Johnson of Byrdstown, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mountain Division tournament of 2015 on Dale Hollow Lake. For his victory, Johnson earned $5,689. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-griffin-gets-win-on-ross-barnett

Griffin Gets Win on Ross Barnett

BRANDON, Miss. – Jason Griffin of Benton, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 23 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Ross Barnett Reservoir. For his victory, Griffin earned $5,349. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-top-5-patterns-from-guntersville-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Guntersville Day 2

The second day of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division tournament on Lake Guntersville proved as remarkable as the first – or perhaps better, considering today’s parade of big fish included a 12-pound, 10-ounce behemoth caught by fourth-place pro Trevor Fitzgerald for the day’s Big Bass prize. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-hall-holds-steady-for-lead

Hall Holds Steady For Lead

Joe Hall of Lake City, Minn. wasn’t confident about his chances going onto the second day of competition of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event on Lake Guntersville. Nonetheless, he held steady with a 27-pound, 5-ounce catch that only barely fell short of the 28-1 he weighed on the first day. With a two-day total of 55 pounds, 6 ounces, Hall holds a 1-pound, 12-ounce lead over Cameron Gautney going into the final day of the Mercury presented tournament. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-missouri-anglers-lead-college-open

Missouri Anglers Lead College Open

Andrew Nordbye and Adam Almohtadi of Northwest Missouri State University of Maryville, Mo., took the lead in the opening round of the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake with 25 pounds, 2 ounces. Heading into Saturday’s second and final round, the University of Kentucky’s Ryan Collins and Hunter Fulcher sit in second place with 22-14, while Ethan Flack and Konnor Kennedy of the University of Alabama are currently third with 22-9. Details to follow. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-day-1-patterns-from-the-college-open

Day 1 Patterns from the College Open

The Northwest Missouri State University team of Andrew Nordbye and Adam Almontadi took the day-one lead in the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake. While their pattern seems to be effectively refined – they were using only one lure and had no others out on the deck – Nordbye and Almontadi don’t have this one sewed up yet. The rest of the top five is just a few pounds behind the leaders. Here’s how they made it into contention going into the final day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-gautney-under-pressure

Gautney Under Pressure

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event on Guntersville is just as misty and nasty as the first. Lucky for us, the first day of the Mercury-presented event featured huge catches throughout the field. READ MORE »