UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Champlain

Cox has heart

TRENTON, Mich. - In a week of amazing weights in the 2005 EverStart Northern opener, pro Chris Cox of Appleton, Wis., capped it with an astounding win by way of a two-day final-round weight of 45 pounds, 2 ounces. Perhaps just as amazing is the fact that Cox achieved all this in the wake of a near-fatal heart attack earlier in the year. After his first year of fishing the Wal-Mart FLW Tour as a pro last season, Cox had a scary start to 2005. He said he'd been suffering from what he thought was heartburn for several days leading up to an ice-fishing trip he was about to take with his young son in January. When his condition worsened, he drove himself to the hospital instead, where he was told he was lucky to have made the trip. Not long after, he had a heart attack that required emergency life-saving measures to bring him back. "I was dead on the table ... they shocked me three times," Cox said minutes after his comeback win Saturday. Cox is only 38, but a hereditary heart condition related to "bad cholesterol," which he said should be manageable from here on out, almost made him a victim. Three stents and eight weeks of rehabilitation later, Cox was back to doing what he does best: fishing and fathering - his wife just gave birth to a baby girl three weeks ago. It was clear from his stellar performance this week in the EverStart Series Northern Division opener on the Detroit River that Cox is hardly the victim type. Just ask his opponents. Pro Chris Cox of Appleton, Wis., won nearly $20,000 along with a fully rigged ranger boat for winning the EverStart Northern opener on the Detroit River.Cox, who has qualified for the EverStart Series Championship both years he fished the Northern Division, blew everyone away with an astounding sack weighing 24-15 Friday - it would have broken the 25-pound mark if not for a dead-fish penalty - and then sealed the deal today with another massive stringer weighing 20-3. All totaled, he weighed in a staggering 84 pounds of smallmouth bass over the course of the four-day tournament, worth nearly $20,000 in cash plus a new fully rigged Ranger boat. "It was a common reef ... a rock pile about 20 yards long," Cox said of his tournament-winning location, which he had entirely to himself until today. The rock pile is in Lake Erie, exactly 35.7 miles from the launch site on the Detroit River. This morning he said there were a few local boaters, who had likely heard about his king-sized sack Friday, who followed him there. But the company was not enough to shut down the location, though he moved to his secondary area for a while later in the day, not far from other top-10 sticks including runner-up Eric Struif and Erie-Detroit River king Steve Clapper. "It slowed down for a little bit there, so I moved to my secondary area," he said, which wasn't too far away. But it was his more pristine reef that truly made the win possible - that and a steady bite all week at an exact depth of 26 to 27 feet. "I fished (a Detroit River tourney) two years ago, and everybody knew about (the reef)," Cox said. "But either everyone forgot about it, or they weren't biting for anyone in practice. I don't know." The winning baits: Chris Cox drop-shotted a cucumber gobie with a Lindy rattling weight to win the EverStart Series event on the Detroit River.Cox spent about six days prefishing, getting reacquainted with the rock pile, "fine-tuning the location" and marking its highest point. He dead-sticked a cucumber Poor Boy gobie tube with gold flakes, "just laid it and dragged it," pretty much throughout the entire tournament, he said. He said the real element of his drop-shot rig that brought so much success, however, was the 1/2-ounce Lindy rattling weight that drug behind on the rocks. So far this year Cox has only fished a Wal-Mart BFL event and some local tournaments, including some with his wife. But he is registered for the entire Northern Division season and is considering trying to sign up for the EverStart event on Lake Champlain later this year. With a quick lead out of the gate for the points race in the North, Cox may very well be championship-bound as well, so 2005 could easily shape up to be the biggest year of his career - and it's clearly already been a life-changing one. Pro Eric Struif of Lake Villa, Ill., was the runner-up at the EverStart Northern opener on the Detroit River with a final-round catch of 10 bass that weighed 42 pounds, 7 ounces, worth $9,600.Struif satisfied with second Pro Eric Struif of Lake Villa, Ill., made a valiant effort today to make up a 3-pound, 12-ounce deficit for a shot at winning the Northern opener - and that after hauling in a huge 21-3 sack Friday. Though he improved by an ounce and landed the largest sack of the day at 21-4, Struif had to settle for second place a second day in a row with a final-round total of 42-7. But the finish was not sour grapes; he said it was sweet, not to mention worth $9,600. "This goes down as one of my best tournaments," he said. "This fishery is incredible." Struif - who fished a tube, a drop-shot with a 4-inch worm or a Senko all week - said his area was productive for four days straight as well. Struif was one of the only pros, if not the only angler, who improved with each day: 18-0, 21-1, 21-3 and 21-4. "I had a lot to make up," he said. "I'm always hopeful ... but Chris is a great fisherman." Pro Kota Kiriyama of Birmingham, Ala., placed third in the EverStart Series event on the Detroit River with 10 bass weighing 37 pounds, 1 ounce,  worth $8,650.Kiriyama debuts in EverStart Series with third-place finish Pro Kota Kiriyama - who has recently relocated to Birmingham, Ala., and is not now living in California as was reported earlier this week - got bit this week, and not just by quality bass, but also the EverStart bug. The BASS veteran was fishing his first Wal-Mart FLW Outdoors event this week, and he said he had a great time making such a big splash. "I love the EverStart; I'm pumped," he said. "I like the format here. This is my first tournament with you guys, and I really like the organization." Later he said he intends to sign up for more events - some more Northern Division tourneys with any luck. "I've never been to a place like this where I can catch this many smallmouths," he said. And catch them he did. He bagged an impressive 37 pounds, 1 ounce over the finals, worth $8,650, by fishing Lake Erie in Canadian waters, in roughly the same area where most of the top 10 competitors were finding success. He said he fished a green-pumpkin or watermelon tube with "a what do you call it - jighead? That's all you need." Pro Steve Clapper of Lima, Ohio, placed fourth in the EverStart Northern on the Detroit River with nine bass weighing 35 pounds, 3 ounces, worth $7,650.Master of the Erie-Detroit-St. Clair system finishes fourth Pro Steve Clapper of Lima, Ohio, is renowned for his mastery of the Detroit River, Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair, all of which were open to competitors this week. In fact, he recently won his fourth Detroit River BFL event, and has logged many, many other wins and top-10s on these bodies of water. It was Erie he chose this week upon with to work his Northern magic, hauling in 35-3 over the final two days, worth $7,650. Clapper improved his catch today by one fish and nearly 2 pounds. "I'm just happy I got this far," he said. "I've seen a lot of fish caught, but I really scrambled." Clapper's "scrambling" on Erie is the average angler's good day. He made the top-10 cut and then placed fourth fishing a few rigs: a prototype swimbait, and a "Big Dude" jighead by Right Bite with a ¾-ounce Dream tube, "jerking it hard." Pro Michael Woolley of West Bloomfield, Mich., landed an 18-11 sack today for a final-round total weighing 33-15, worth a check for $7,150.Woolley moves up to finish fifth Pro Michael Woolley of West Bloomfield, Mich., landed an 18-11 sack today for a final-round total weighing 33-15, worth a check for $7,150. He said the key to his success was in the details of the underwater structure he found on Erie. The humps he chose to fish had subtle, 2-foot drops where he found his fish. "You look around for differences in bottom change - like rolling humps," he said. "Those fish are hiding in those pockets. They may seem little, but a 2-foot change is a big change for a fish." Woolley was casting and then dragging a drop-shot rig over the humps. He fished a Senko wacky-style for his bigger fish as well as a watermelon-cream gobie. Rest of the best All of the top five pros caught limits, and rounding out the top 10 to conclude the EverStart Series Northern event on the Detroit River: 6th: Art Ferguson III of St. Clair Shores, Mich., 10 bass, 33-5, $6,150 7th: Bryan Coates of Amherst, Ohio, seven bass, 29-9, 8th: Dick Shaffer of Rockford, Ohio, seven bass, 26-3, $4,650 9th: Charlie Hartley of Grove City, Ohio, seven bass, 25-13, $4,150 10th: Scott Emery of Livonia, Mich., six bass, 17-5, $3,650 The next EverStart Series Northern Division event will be held Aug. 3-6 on the Mississippi River near Onalaska, Wis.

Tags: headline-story  patrick-baker 

/news/2015-07-31-browne-crushes-again-leads-by-6-

Browne Crushes Again, Leads By 6+

Averaging 20 pounds or more is a difficult thing to do in a multi-day tournament on Lake Champlain, but Glenn Browne might be on his way to doing it in the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano. After two days, the Ocala, Fla., pro has run to Ticonderoga twice and sacked up nearly identical bags for a total of 45 pounds, 8 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-31-top-5-patterns-from-champlain-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Champlain Day 2

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Plano on Lake Champlain definitely shook up the leaderboard. While Glenn Browne took a huge lead, the rest of the pack swapped around and remained pretty tight. Browne is catching his fish down south near Ticonderoga, but the north end has also produced very well for the rest of the field. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-31-champlain-midday-update-day-2

Champlain Midday Update Day 2

While day one of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano on Lake Champlain was wracked by high winds and rain in the morning, day two has been almost as good as Champlain can be. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-30-cioppa-leads-on-champlain

Cioppa Leads On Champlain

David Cioppa of Hopkinton, Mass., weighed 22 pounds, 13 ounces late in the weigh-in to grab the lead after the first day of the Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Champlain. Cioppa weighed all largemouths and says that he caught the entirety of his weight by about 9 a.m. from one location in the northern end of the lake. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-30-top-5-patterns-from-champlain-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Champlain Day 1

Lake Champlain was rough and wild on day one of the Rayovac FLW Series event presented by Plano, and a bunch of the anglers still got it done in a big way. David Cioppa caught largemouths in the Inland Sea, but the rest of the top guys spread out all over the massive lake. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-30-champlain-midday-update-day-1

Champlain Midday Update Day 1

Takeoff was placid enough, with a beautiful sunrise and a light breeze in the slightly protected corner that is Plattsburgh. By about 6:30 a.m., day one of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano on Lake Champlain was already beginning to get rough. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-21-top-picks-from-icast

Top Picks From ICAST

A few days of walking the floor at ICAST is enough to exhaust a body, but it isn’t enough to know exactly what’s worthwhile. For that, you need some time to reflect and probably a few tournament seasons to fly by to see what rises up. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-renfrew-fished-to-win

Renfrew Fished to Win

Ian Renfrew of Phoenix, New York, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Northeast Division tournament on Oneida Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Renfrew earned $4,695. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-docks-and-rocks-key-for-synders

Docks and Rocks Key for Synders

Rus Snyders of Nashville, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Music City Division tournament on Old Hickory Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Snyders earned $2,703. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-jig-crankbait-carry-powroznik

Jig, Crankbait Carry Powroznik

Ryan Powroznik of Prince George, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 15 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division tournament on the James River. For his victory, Powroznik earned $7,507. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-persistence-pays-for-arning

Persistence Pays for Arning

Ray Arning Jr. of Walnut Hill, Illinois, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Illini Division tournament on Rend Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Arning earned $5,804. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-17-new-rod-roundup

New Rod Roundup

Rod companies continue to impress each year with a new crop of lighter, faster and more affordable (sweet!) rods. On the subject of price, these days, a tournament pro or an average angler could be fishing with rods that cost less than $100 apiece, but without giving up anything in the realm of quality. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-17-new-terminal-tackle

New Terminal Tackle

Don’t skimp where it counts the most – terminal tackle. Hooks, weights, jigheads and the like are the keys to taking all those new soft baits and swimbaits to the fish, hooking them and getting them in the boat. Here’s the best stuff we saw on the floor at ICAST 2015. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-flw-announces-2016-tour-schedule

FLW Announces 2016 Tour Schedule

FLW announced the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour regular-season schedule today in a live press conference held at the 2015 ICAST show in Orlando, Fla. With the help of six veteran Tour pros, the company unveiled each of the six events, one-by-one, to a crowd of observers gathered around the FLW booth. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-6-new-reels-to-try

6 New Reels to Try

Whether you need to replace an old reel or you’re just looking to add to the arsenal, here are some of the latest and greatest from ICAST. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-6-new-lines-from-icast-2015

6 New Lines from ICAST 2015

Line might just be the most important part of the package when it comes to landing fish. From presenting the bait to getting them in the net, your line is involved the entire way. If you’re looking for something new to try, the following lines are worth a shot. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-icast-best-of-show-winners-

ICAST Best Of Show Winners

One of the highlights of ICAST is the annual “Best of Show” awards. Not everything at ICAST is of interest to bass anglers, but the below might end up being staples for a long time to come. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-10-new-frogs-and-toads

10 New Frogs and Toads

These days, frogs and toads aren’t just mimicking frogs and toads. They’re designed to be perfect imitations of rats, bream and various oddball creatures. New models at ICAST this season offer anglers some of these “alternative” species, as well as new sizes, colors, action types and degrees of realism. Here are 10 new models that we feel are of greatest interest. Click here for complete 2015 ICAST coverage. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-7-terrific-topwater-baits

7 Terrific Topwater Baits

If you don’t like fishing topwater, just give up fishing already. These seven new baits will help you get your surface-fishing fix next season. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-critters-and-craws

Critters and Craws

Nearly everyone already has a tackle box overflowing with soft baits. That said, there are always more to try. If you’re looking for something new, the following might do the trick. READ MORE »