Kennedy takes charge

FLORENCE, Ala. - After dominating the EverStart Series Southeast Division points race this season, pro Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala., continued his leading ways today by taking an early lead in the EverStart Series Championship on Pickwick Lake with four bass weighing 16 pounds, 7 ounces. "I started the day on Wilson (Lake), fishing deep," Kennedy said. "But it wasn't working out like I wanted, so I locked back into Pickwick at about 11:30, and I started fishing shallow." Kennedy didn't have a keeper when he locked down, but after changing his game plan, things began to click. "It was weird," he said. "I had a lot more bites when the current was on, but for some reason, I couldn't get a hook in them. I missed the first five bites I had down here (Pickwick). When the current shut off this afternoon, I finally started catching them, but the number of bites fell off." Kennedy says he plans to permanently abandon his deep fish on Wilson and stay in Pickwick all day tomorrow. Lefebre second Dave Lefebre of Union City, Pa., is in second place with four bass weighing 15Pro Dave Lefebre brings a quality bass aboard on day one of the 2006 EverStart Series Championship. pounds, 6 ounces. Lefebre spent most of his practice time on Wilson and had planned to fish there until he discovered something special on Pickwick. "Yesterday, the FOX television crew wanted to film a little deal with me," Lefebre recounted. "After filming the bit, I went back out on the water just to see if I could find something close by to fish after I locked back down each day. Well, I got to fooling around, and I think I may have stumbled across the mother lode." Due to the way Lefebre is fishing, he's having trouble keeping the fish on the hook. "I had several other big ones on today, which would have pushed my stringer over 20 pounds," he said. "I'm fishing really heavy jigs on light line in current. There's so much bow in the line, it's hard to get a hook in the fish, and they're jumping off." Green third Jerry Green put himself in contention with an opening-day catch weighing 12-2.Jerry Green of Justiceburg, Texas, drove his boat 180 miles today, but his four bass weighing 12 pounds, 2 ounces made the long ride well worth it, as he grabbed third place. "I'm going all the way down to Bay Springs Lake in Mississippi," Green said. "It's a whole different lake down there - deep, clear and full of big spotted bass. I like fishing that way, so I decided to commit to that area. I only have about four hours of fishing time, but I feel more confident down there." Unlike the other leaders who are fishing current-oriented areas, Green says current isn't a factor for him. "I'm fishing pretty deep," he added. "At times, I'm fishing 15 to 20 feet deep." Newton fourth Jonathan Newton of nearby Rogersville, Ala., is no stranger to winning EverStartAs expected, local pro Jonathan Newton landed in the top five with one of only nine limits on the pro side. tournaments on Pickwick Lake. He won a Central Division tourney here in March 2003, and he has put himself in position to do it again this week with five bass weighing 12 pounds, 1 ounce for fourth place. After losing an hour to a fog delay this morning, Newton gambled on a long run-and-lock game plan that took him to Wheeler Lake - and it paid off. "I only had about three hours to fish," Newton said. "I'm flipping a couple of small stretches of bank up there, and I don't have a lot of time to move around." The next big gamble Newton is contemplating is staying on Pickwick tomorrow with hopes of saving his best water on Wheeler for the finals. "If I could sneak into the finals on Pickwick tomorrow, I could let the water on Wheeler rest for a day," he said. "But the last time I tried that strategy in the FLW here, it came back and bit me." Webber fifth Michigan pro Mike Webber ended day one in the fifth spot with a limit weighing 12 pounds.Mike Webber of Holly, Mich., sits in the fifth position after day one with five bass weighing 12 pounds even. While other anglers are making long runs to their areas, Webber is making a 40-minute idle to his best spot. "I tried to run in there in practice, and I hit a stump," Webber said. "I committed to idling the whole way in, and it takes at least 40 minutes to get to the best stuff. "I really have no idea what kind of potential the place has," he continued. "My partner (who is leading the Co-angler Division) and I got in there and caught them quick and left. I don't know if there are a hundred fish in there or one, but I'm going to find out tomorrow. Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pros in the EverStart Championship on Pickwick Lake: 6th: Lloyd Pickett Jr. of Bartlett, Tenn., four bass, 10-14 7th: Art Garza of Buna, Texas, five bass, 10-11 8th: Kota Kiriyama of Moody, Ala., five bass, 10-10 9th: Matt Herren of Trussville, Ala., three bass, 10-3 10th: Scott Nielsen of Salt Lake City, five bass, 9-7 Guin leads co-anglers Mark Guin grabbed the day-one co-angler lead with a three-bass catch that weighed 7-13.Mark Guin of Crossett, Ark., leads the Co-angler Division with three bass for 7 pounds, 13 ounces. Guin fished with fifth-place pro Mike Webber and had the kind of day co-anglers dream about. "We just had a great day," Guin said. "We got back into this place, he caught a limit and I caught three good fish on crankbaits and soft plastics." Rick Turner of Tyler, Texas, turned in the Co-angler Division big bass of the day - 4 pounds, 15 ounces - which gave him a two-fish total of 7 pounds, 11 ounces for second place. Co-anglers George Miller of Springfield, Pa., and Gene Purdy of Bentonville, Ark., are tied for third at 6 pounds, 11 ounces. Arch Cornett of Huntsville, Ala., holds down the fifth position in the Co-angler Division with 6 pounds, 8 ounces. Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers in the EverStart Championship on Pickwick Lake: 6th: Christopher Hall of Clarks Summit, Pa., two bass, 5-15 7th: James Chapman of Cedartown, Ga., two bass, 5-9 8th: Brian Mlekush of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., two bass, 5-8 9th: Paul Bailey of Agoura Hills, Calif., three bass, 5-5 10th: Mike Drain of Purcell, Okla., two bass, 4-15 Day-two competition resumes Thursday at 7 a.m. at McFarland Park in Florence, Alabama.

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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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