Hall in a day’s work

WOODBRIDGE, Va. - There was no doubt about who was on the best fish in Friday's first half of final-round action of EverStart Series Northeast Division competition at the Potomac River. Pro Michael Hall and co-angler Derek Moyer headed out in boat No. 5 this morning and proceeded to put a stomping on almost everyone else in their respective fields. Last to weigh-in Friday afternoon, Hall - the pro out of Annandale, Va., who also led Wednesday - hoisted a limit weighing 16 pounds, 2 ounces to the scale and grabbed the Pro Division lead by a pound. But boat No. 5 really made its statement when Hall's co-angler, Moyer - who hails from Alexandria, Va. - followed him up with an 11-pound, 5-ounce limit of his own to take the lead from the back of the boat. "I have to say that having a great partner was a huge benefit today," Hall said. "I've got to give Derek credit. At one point, I started moving around a little quicker, pushing the trolling motor a little faster. He noticed that and told me to slow down. That made all the difference because you have to fish these fish really slowly." Hall said that, before this event, he had a plan to work the migratory patterns of the Potomac's tidal-water bass. So far, that strategy has worked to a tee. He's fishing one area of the river, following the fish around as they move in and out of different types of cover with the tides. "The Potomac is a very fickle river," he said. "You can find fish one day, then go back the next day and they'll be gone. There's a lot of grass out there, and it's really easy to get lost in it. You've just got to pick your spots and go with it. It's about understanding the movement of these fish and following their migratory routes as they move in from the main river. Sometimes they're in the main channel, and sometimes they're in the grass beds themselves." Michael Hall celebrates as he takes the lead in FridayHall said he caught around 13 keeper bass Friday, mostly on soft plastics, including a kicker largemouth he estimated to weigh between 5 1/2 and 6 pounds. The key, he said, was keeping the bait presentation slow. "Given that area, there's a load of fish in there. But if you come blowing in there with your trolling motor on high, you're not going to catch them," he said. "I've got my trolling motor turned down so low, you can't even hear it." He and other EverStart finalists did, however, hear a lot of wind and rain Friday, not to mention feel it. A constant gray drizzle, clouds, and heavier winds prevailed most of the day, and that threw a lot of competitors off their game plans. Plus, a later low tide forced a handful of pros to start pressing. Many competitors have said the fish mainly bite here twice a day - on the outgoing tide in the morning and on the incoming tide later in the afternoon. Today's low tide was around 3 p.m., which might have been a little too late for some finalists. But Hall was having none of that. "The first thing I told myself this morning was that you can't let the weather and the tides psyche you out. So I cleared my mind of the tides and everything else," the leader said. "I knew the fish would bite twice during the day. Even if you're not catching anything, you've just got to wait for it. At the end of the day, I actually think the second bite was a little stronger than the first. I like this weather. When it's cloudy and windy, I always feel the fish bite well on the Potomac." Pro Scott Dameron of Beckley, W.Va., caught a limit weighing 15 pounds, 12 ounces and placed second.Dameron second With a limit weighing 15 pounds, 12 ounces, Scott Dameron of Beckley, W.Va., is sitting a pound behind Hall and has the best shot to catch the local pro Saturday. Dameron was the first to admit that luck played no small part in his tall catch Friday, much as it has all week long. "I've just been truly blessed this week. I've caught my fifth fish every day with just a few minutes to go," he said. "I'm not on a lot of fish, but I'm on some big fish." And he might not have even come close to a limit if not for his co-angler partner, Mickey Pettry of Manassas, Va., who clued him in on a secret bait today. Neither one of them, of course, would disclose what exactly that bait was. "I wasn't having much luck, and my co-angler was tearing them up," Dameron said. "Now, I'm not the brightest person in the world, but after his third fish I decided it would be best if I changed up (to the same bait Pettry was using)." Pro J.T. Kenney of Frostburg, Md., remained in the hunt for his first EverStart win by catching a limit weighing 12 pounds, 10 ounces. He placed third Friday.Kenney third, wants first EverStart victory at home After several near-misses on the EverStart circuit, past Wal-Mart FLW Tour champ J.T. Kenney of Frostburg, Md., remained in the hunt for his first win at this level by catching a limit weighing 12 pounds, 10 ounces. He'll fish tomorrow in third place, but he said he missed a big opportunity today. "I lost one today that was the biggest fish I've had on this river," said Kenney, a Potomac River veteran. "It had to be 6 or 7 pounds. I thought I was going to puke when she got off." Kenney flipped thick grass mats with a heavy weight and a Sweet Beaver for most of his fish, but said he also caught one on a topwater. Kenney has two runner-up finishes on the EverStart circuit already this year, including one at Santee Cooper lakes that he lost by a tiebreaker. The other was at Lake Okeechobee. He admitted that finally closing the deal here would be preferable to the alternative. "It would be nice finally to win one this week, especially since it's so close to home," he said. "But I wouldn't even have to worry about it if I'd have caught that big one." Pro Rick Morris of Lanexa, Va., climbed to fourth place with a five-bass weight of 11 pounds, 4 ounces.Morris fourth Also within spitting distance of the leader is pro Rick Morris of Lanexa, Va., who climbed to fourth place with a five-bass weight of 11 pounds, 4 ounces. "I changed patterns totally today. I went with the wind and didn't go conservative at all," he said. "I was just running around with spinnerbaits and buzzbaits all day and I was able to catch a few good ones. We had a great day. There's a 20-pound bag out there, and tomorrow I'm just going to go out there and go for it." Poole fifth Pro Chris Poole of Manassas, Va., rounded out the top five with a three-bass weight of 9 pounds, 6 ounces, but he said he felt like he left a little on the water Friday. "This river's really not fishing to its true strengths," he said. "Normally, a 15-pound bag here just gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside, but it takes 17 to 20 pounds to really have a winning stringer. The big difference now is the hydrilla. You've either got to fish around the edges or try to flip through it to where the fish are underneath. That's really hard to do." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pros heading into Saturday's action at the Potomac River: 6th: Bo Curry of Monrovia, Md., five bass, 9-1 7th: Todd Neale of Warrenton, Va., four bass, 8-6 8th: Peter Hearst of Arlington, Va., four bass, 7-14 9th: Mike Hicks of Mineral, Va., two bass, 5-15 10th: Tim Peek of Sharpsburg, Ga., three bass, 5-7 (opening-round leader) Derek Moyer of Alexandria, Va., caught five bass weighing 11 pounds 12 ounces to lead the Co-angler Division Friday.Moyer sitting pretty atop co-angler leaderboard Moyer's limit put him almost 2 pounds ahead of second-place co-angler Pettry, which normally really wouldn't be all that much of a lead here at the Potomac where 4- and 5-pound bass have been caught with regularity. But Moyer has the advantage of fishing with Hall again Saturday - this time in boat No. 1 - and if the two of them can repeat what they did Friday, they could be very tough to beat. "It was incredible today. All I can say is I was really blessed," Moyer said. "But it's always going to be tough; you never know what's going to happen tomorrow. You've just got to knuckle down and try to get the job done." Pettry caught the only other limit on the co-angler side and grabbed second place with a weight of 9 pounds, 14 ounces. Asked if he would reveal his secret bait - even after the tournament was over - he pointed to his fellow anglers and said, "Absolutely not, because those guys fish here all the time." Mark Letosky of Warrenton, Va., grabbed the third spot for the co-anglers with a four-bass weight of 9 pounds, 12 ounces. Co-angler Gary Guilliams of Troutville, Va., caught three bass weighing 7 pounds, 4 ounces and placed fourth. Jonathan Ceaser of Midlothian, Va., rounded out the co-angler top five with a three-bass weight of 5 pounds, 6 ounces Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers: 6th: Mike McDonald of Randleman, N.C., two bass, 5-2 7th: Doug Jenkins of St. Leonard, Md., two bass, 4-2 (days-one and -two leader) 8th: David Borodziuk of Audubon Park, N.J., zero bass 9th: Larry Church of Keysville, Va., zero bass 10th: Duane Glassco of Chester, Va., zero bass Final round Saturday Day four of Northeast Division competition at the Potomac River begins as the final-round field of 10 boats takes off from Leesylvania State Park in Woodbridge at 6:30 a.m. Eastern time Saturday. Friday's weights carry over to Saturday, and each division's winner will be determined by two-day combined weight.

Tags: headline-story  jeff-schroeder 

/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-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-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-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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/news/2015-04-20-lanter-wins-on-rend-lake

Lanter Wins on Rend Lake

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/news/2015-04-19-top-10-patterns-from-lake-murray

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Murray

As contestants in the FLW College Fishing National Championship on Lake Murray discovered last week, fishing the blueback herring spawn can be backbreaking work. All that stooping over to grab a different rig to cast at bass busting their favorite forage, and then quickly straightening, is hard on the old spinal column. Flexing up and down is what it took to contend in the championship, however, as bass couldn’t make up their minds whether they wanted their grub served on the surface or closer to the bottom. Typically, the collegians were fan-casting Carolina rigs, umbrella rigs, hard jerkbaits and even crankbaits to likely looking points and broad flats. Sometimes they caught fish with such random prospecting, but perhaps more bass were taken when anglers found themselves within casting distance of blowups and were quick enough to grab a soft jerkbait rig or topwater lure and virtually spoon-feed it to the fish. READ MORE »