Steady Freddy

ONALASKA, Wis. - When the going got tougher in Saturday's second half of the Northern Division final round, Fred Roumbanis stayed as steady as they come by catching his fourth good limit of the week and clinching the first EverStart Series victory of his young career. He caught 10 bass weighing 27 pounds, 2 ounces over the last two days of competition on the Mississippi River and took home $10,000 plus a new Ranger boat for his Pro Division win. "I can't believe I just won this," said Roumbanis, a 26-year-old full-time angler from Auburn, Calif. "That Ranger's huge. My boat is so falling apart right now." All except one of the pros caught limits, but the last day of fishing seemed to be the toughest of the four this week. A thick fog rolled in right at takeoff time, which kept many finalists from running to their holes right away, especially downriver to Pool 9. That combined with high, bluebird skies and calm water later in the day to cool down the hot smallmouth bite seen on the river earlier in the week. Hence, the weights fell off slightly and nobody was able to muster more than 12 pounds of fish. Roumbanis, however, caught the second-heaviest limit Saturday - 11 pounds, 4 ounces - which just added to his leading weight from Friday and cinched the win. "Man, I thought I had a tough day," he said. "I had boats all over my water today. I know I must have fished the biggest community hole in this whole place. There were 10 to 15 boats on it, but the difference was I just fished it a little deeper than everybody else." This was a spot-fishing tournament all week long. Roumbanis' winning spot, he said, was a small lake off the main river channel in Pool 8 about a 25-minute run from the takeoff spot at Clinton Street Landing. He said he found it by looking at a map and seeing something he liked. "I fish the California Delta, and the spot looked just like area back home called Big Break. So I just stuck with it," he said. "I was fishing offshore grass. Everyone else in there was fishing shallow in the slop. What I did was key on 3 to 4 feet of water where the grass was just hitting the surface. For me, grass means bass. Every fish I caught, I caught on a snag-proof green frog, just the kind you can buy right in Wal-Mart. It was pretty beat up after this week." Pro Fred Roumbanis earned a new Ranger 519VX powered by a Yamaha or Evinrude outboard, Minn Kota trolling motor, Garmin electronics and EverStart batteries plus $10,000 cash for winning the EverStart Northern contest at the Mississippi River.Roumbanis caught all largemouths Saturday, which was his tendency all week. Being from the Delta, this tournament played right into his hands as the smallmouth bite petered out over the last couple days and the largemouth anglers asserted their dominance. "I'm not a very good smallmouth fisherman, so, naturally, I went for largemouths," he said. "I'm an expert at throwing frogs. I make a lot of money throwing frogs." However, he almost didn't make nearly as much money as he did this week. In fact, he was lucky to make the cut. After a solid 14 1/2-pound limit on day one, Roumbanis caught 12-15 on day two. By 1 o'clock that day, however, he didn't have even close to that weight. So he made a last-minute run downriver through the lock and caught his two heaviest fish, pushing his weight to almost 13 pounds. He was fortunate to catch the lock at the right time coming back and returned to weigh-in just under the wire. "I figured it was either go down there and try or I was going to miss the cut anyway," he said. "I made it back with just a minute to spare. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for that." This is Roumbanis' second EverStart Series top-10 finish. His first, which comes as no surprise, was in 2003 Western Division competition at the California Delta, where he finished ninth. Runner-up pro Jim Jones of Big Bend, Wis., caught a limit weighing 10 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday but came up short of victory with a final total of 25-7.Jones one good keeper short Pro Jim Jones of Big Bend, Wis., placed second Friday, and that's where he stayed when all was said and done Saturday. He caught a limit weighing 10 pounds, 2 ounces but came up short of victory with a final total of 25-7. He earned $10,000. "The fish just didn't bite the way they should have. I could see the largemouths swimming around, but they weren't feeding," he said. "I caught mostly smallies because I could get those to bite, but they just don't have any size to them." Pro Chris Cox of Appleton, Wis., caught the heaviest limit Saturday but finished third with a final weight of 24-13.Cox third, comes close to repeat victory Making a valiant attempt at history, Chris Cox of Appleton, Wis., caught the heaviest limit Saturday and made a push to become the first pro to win back-to-back EverStart tournaments in the same division. However, his 11-pound, 12-ounce limit wasn't enough to dig him out of the fifth-place hole he was in after Friday. His final weight, 24-13, earned him third place and $8,800. "When we started off this morning, the fog came in and I didn't make the long run that I had been," said Cox, who won the first Northern Division tournament at the Detroit River last month. "I lost a 3-pounder early and I thought, `This is going to haunt me.'" In fact, Cox said he lost two good fish today that might have made a difference. Whether it was 2 1/2-pound difference will never be known. "So close," he said with a smile. With first- and third-place finishes under his belt in the first two events, Cox takes a commanding lead in the Northern Division pro standings. He has 398 points. As Chris Cox looks on, pro Jeff Ritter of Prairie du Chien, Wis., finishes fourth with a final weight of 24 pounds, 12 ounces.Ritter fourth Jeff Ritter of Prairie du Chien, Wis., also came up short on his bid for the record books. Last year's Mississippi River EverStart pro winner finished fourth this year with a final weight of 24 pounds, 12 ounces. He earned $7,800. "I had a lot tougher day today. There was no wind, no current, and the water had dropped. So the conditions were real bad for me," said Ritter, who caught a limit weighing 10 pounds even Saturday. "But I had a great week, and you can't ask for anything more." Feldermann fifth Opening-round leader Mike Feldermann finished in the fifth spot in the Pro Division with a final weight of 23 pounds, 12 ounces. He collected $7,300. "Time was the biggest issue for me all week," said Feldermann, who made a long run down to the lower end of Pool 9 everyday. "With the fog, I could only fish for a couple hours. But you've had a good tournament if you have a good showing and make a good check." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 Pro Division finishers at the Mississippi River: 6th: Jim Johnson of La Crosse, Wis., 10 bass, 20-5, $6,300 7th: Clayton Reitz of Morton, Ill., 10 bass, 20-3, $5,300 8th: Randy Wieczorek of Buffalo City, Wis., 10 bass, 19-8, $4,800 9th: Bill Lowen of Cincinnati, 10 bass, 18-13, $4,300 10th: Tom Howland of Riceville, Iowa, 10 bass, 16-2, $3,800 Coming up The next EverStart Series event is a Northeast Division contest at the Potomac River near Woodbridge, Va., Aug. 17-20. The next Northern Division tournament will be the third event of the regular season, held on Lake Michigan at Escanaba, Mich., Aug. 24-27.

Tags: headline-story  jeff-schroeder 


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 »


Beaver Lake Day 4 Coverage

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


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

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


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

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


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



Bryan Slows Down for Chickamauga Win



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 »


Salzman Cracks 31 Pounds on Guntersville