UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Erie

All’s well for Criswell

DEL Rio, Texas - Saturday afternoon on Lake Amistad, the sun came out and the wind picked up, blowing away the chances of several finalists in this week's Stren Series Central Division opener. In the end, it took a little local knowledge to finish the job, as Del Rio's own Jim Criswell scored the win with a record-breaking two-day total of 56 pounds, 7 ounces. Though pros David Mauldin and Craig Dowling fell short of claiming the new world-record four-day weight, Criswell and Mauldin did get themselves into the FLW Outdoors record books for heaviest final-round two-day catch. The previous mark was set by James Nuckols Jr. in a 2001 Stren Series event on Lake Okeechobee with 48 pounds, 9 ounces of bass caught the final two days. Criswell's 56-7 haul is the new record, with Mauldin behind him with his own final-round tally of 51-10. Mauldin also set a new FLW Outdoors record for four-day total weight with 105 pounds, 8 ounces. After a leading opening-round performance and a semifinal-round lead as well, Mauldin looked to be difficult to dethrone, but bad luck and a strong wind spelled the end for his winning chances. He caught 18 pounds, 4 ounces today, no match for Criswell's 27 pounds, 10 ounces that earned Criswell $10,000 cash plus a fully rigged Ranger boat, plus another $10,000 cash from Ranger for meeting contingency guidelines. Jim Criswell won the Stren Series Central Opener on his home waters of Lake Amistad.Criswell's win is a far cry from his 46th-place performance on Lake Amistad just three weeks ago in a Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail event. In fact, it was a little consolation fishing with his son after that event that led to his Stren Series-winning spot. "I was so down," he said. "The next day, we went over to some old water in Mexico, and I saw the spot on the edge of a break. It was flat and had about 15 to 20 trees on it. I threw in there with that jerkbait and twitched it. My son said, `Look at those fish under your bait.'" The Mexican sweet spot would turn out to contain a motherlode of bass. At one point he counted as many as 20 3-pounders and had five to seven 5-pounders close to the boat. "My son said, `Look at those little ones,'" Criswell said. "I said, `John, they're not little. Twenty of them would weigh 99 pounds.'" In the end, that is almost exactly what happened. He caught 20 bass over the course of the tournament that weighed 100 pounds and 3 ounces. "The first day I caught two 6 1/2-pounders, and I left, trying to take care of the spot," he said. "The next day, I started there and got a big 6 and a 7 1/2 and left. Yesterday I pulled in there and got a 5, a 4 1/2 and a big 6 and left, and I had had a 7-pounder when I showed up there." That afternoon, he returned to the hot spot and caught yet another 7-pounder, eventually weighing in a day-three haul of 43 pounds, 12 ounces that put him in third place heading into the final day. "Today I went straight over there," he said. "I knew I needed to get there early because the sun kills your bite on a jerkbait." Indeed, the top 10 took off this morning underneath the same cloudy skies that had prevailed during the first three days, though the sun came out before long. In addition to the jerkbait, Criswell also reported catching bass on a Senko, as did many others during the tournament. "This morning I was fortunate," Criswell said. "In one pass I had the fish I weighed. I'd rather be lucky than good." Criswell said his Mexican honeyhole was located about four miles from the American side of the water. Class act Mauldin settles for second David Mauldin fell short of the win but still claimed second with a two-day total of 51 pounds, 10 ounces.After an incredible run the last three days, Mauldin had to have been disappointed to bring in only 18 pounds, 4 ounces on day four, but he certainly didn't show it. "Jim is the champion," Mauldin, who hails from Tomball, Texas, said on stage. "I'll be back." Coupled with his day-three catch of 33 pounds, 6 ounces, Mauldin's runner-up weight of 51 pounds, 10 ounces is still the second-largest two-day final-round weight in FLW Outdoors history - no small feat. He says he caught all of his bass this week on a spot he found while driving around the area in his vehicle. "It was a submerged road bed," he said. "I found it driving down the road looking at this lake. I spent eight hours (in practice) finding that sweet spot." This morning, Mauldin went to his first spot before the wind picked up, and he arrived to find the water so clear he could see the bottom. He got five bites but couldn't get them in the boat. "All of them dropped the bait," he said. "So I went to my deep spot and caught my giant there and got a limit. Then the wind kicked up, and I couldn't do much." Mauldin's bait of choice was a 5-inch watermelon-red Kicker Fish Bait Company Shadstick bait. "Everybody was throwing a Senko, and I wanted a little bigger bait," he said. For his second-place finish, Mauldin took home a check for $10,000. Dowling claims third Craig DowlingCraig Dowling, too, had a tough day four, falling from 31-5 on day three to a catch of only 14 pounds, 14 ounces today. That brought his two-day total to 46 pounds, 3 ounces and put him in third place to end the tournament. "Every day I've run a bunch of spots," the pro from Many, La., said. "Today I never found that big-fish spot. I started where I caught them yesterday, and I only caught one good fish there." When his shallow-water areas didn't pan out either, Dowling figured his chances at winning were through. He said he caught his bass this week on Yamamoto Hula Grubs and Senkos, as well as X-Rap jerkbaits. "I was looking for points at the mouth of spawning coves that had a creek channel next to it," he said of his preferred fishing holes. "It needed to have a sharp dropoff - 30 to 60 feet." Dowling earned $9,000 for his top-three finish. Scott, Combs round out top five Ricky Scott brought in 22-9 today that bumped his two-day total up to 46-3, which put him in fourth.Finishing the tournament in fourth is Ricky Scott of Van Buren, Ark. Scott caught 23-10 on day three and followed that up with 22-9 today for a two-day total of 46 pounds, 3 ounces worth $8,000. He caught his bass this week on a jerkbait. Keith Combs of Temple, Texas, jumped from 10th to fifth with the second-heaviest pro limit of the day. His 27-pound, 8-ounce catch was bested only by Criswell's, and combined with his day-three limit of 16-3, he wound up with 43 pounds, 11 ounces that earned him $7,500. He caught his bass on a Carolina-rigged, watermelon-red Brush Hog in 30 to 40 feet of water. Best of the rest Rounding out the top 10 pros on Lake Amistad: Kevin Lasyone holds up a big one from his 24-10 day-four stringer. He ended the tournament in sixth place with 42-11 over two days.6th: Kevin Lasyone of Dry Prong, La., 10 bass, 42 pounds, 11 ounces, $6,500 7th: David Truax of Beaumont, Texas, 10 bass, 41 pounds, 7 ounces, $5,500 8th: Russell Cecil of Willis, Texas, 10 bass, 35 pounds, 6 ounces, $5,000 9th: Chad Griffin of Cresson, Texas, 10 bass, 32 pounds, 15 ounces, $4,500 10th: Eddy May of Valley Center, Kan., seven bass, 25 pounds, 7 ounces, $4,000 Coming up The next Central Division event takes place March 22-25 on Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Jasper, Texas. The next Stren Series event is a Western Division tournament on Clear Lake in Lakeport, Calif., March 1-4.

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/news/2015-08-29-matual-masters-erie

Matual Masters Erie

David Matual of Chicago, Ill., leaned on his spot hard and sacked up the biggest bag of day three weighing 22 pounds, 6 ounces. For his final-day rally he claimed the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division victory on Lake Erie with a three-day total of 65 pounds, fending off Jared Rhode by a mere 7 ounces. Drop-shotting over shallow reefs delivered all of Matual’s fish and earned him a check worth more than $31,000. READ MORE »

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Lake Erie Day 3 Midday Update

Lake Erie put on a different face for day three of the final Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event. After a rough day one, yesterday’s calm and mostly sunny conditions offered comfortable running and fishing conditions. Today was still a far cry from the brutal waves of day one - and prior practice days - but windier conditions and overcast skies seemed to present a more challenging scenario. READ MORE »

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Top 5 Patterns From Lake Erie Day 2

Pennsylvania pro Dave Lefebre and Ohio pro Jared Rhode tied for the day-two lead in Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division action on Lake Erie with 43 pounds, 9 ounces. Both pros caught their fish on drop-shots. Here are the details of the rest of the top five. READ MORE »

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Lefebre, Rhode Tied at the Top

Notching his second day of 20-plus pounds, FLW Tour pro Dave Lefebre tallied 43 pounds, 9 ounces and tied day-one leader Jared Rhode for the day-two top spot at the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. Lefebre caught his 22-3 limit on Rapala DT-10 crankbaits, while Rhodes tempted his 19-15 catch with drop-shots. READ MORE »

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Lake Erie Day 2 Midday Update

With winds shifting from yesterday’s northerly blow to a warmer southerly direction, day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie brought calmer conditions with greater ability to methodically work key spots. Offshore, waves ran 1 to 2 feet, with leeward areas behind the Lake Erie Islands nearly flat. READ MORE »

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Rhode Cracks 23-10 for Erie Lead

Jared Rhode played his cards and the gamble paid off better than expected, as the pro from Port Clinton, Ohio, took the day-one lead at the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie with a limit catch weighing 23 pounds, 10 ounces. READ MORE »

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Top 5 Patterns from Lake Erie Day 1

Taking off this morning, the FLW Tour pro from Erie, Pa., knew the day’s north wind would keep him from making a long run to a big-fish spot close to his home. However, keeping it local and fishing a little past Pelee Island to the west delivered a solid second-place catch. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-27-lake-erie-day-1-midday-report

Lake Erie Day 1 Midday Report

Winds have subsided considerably since practice, but Lake Erie’s still showing her temperamental side to Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division anglers fishing the last divisional event out of Sandusky, Ohio. READ MORE »

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Top 10 Patterns from the Forrest Wood Cup

If you don’t believe that summertime bass fishing in the dog days of August is all over the map, just take a look at the top 10 patterns from the best bass pros on earth at the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Brad Knight captured the Cup by mining one small creek end for four days. But beyond that, the rest of the top 10 patterns ran the gamut, from targeting schoolers over 40 feet to wolf packs of bass on the bank to brush piles to grass to mud flats and everywhere in between. Here’s a rundown. READ MORE »

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Knight Slays Ouachita

Lancing, Tenn., pro Brad Knight won the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart on Lake Ouachita with a four-day total of 51 pounds, 12 ounces. In front of a standing-room-only crowd at Bank of the Ozarks Arena in Hot Springs, Ark., Knight weighed in 11-07 on day four to surpass Jacob Wheeler, who started the day with a 12-ounce lead. Fishing in just one area all four days, Knight locked up the first win of his FLW career. He earned $500,000 for his victory and pushed his career earnings total to more than $688,000. READ MORE »

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Forrest Wood Cup Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

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Wheeler Back in Front

Jacob Wheeler loves Lake Ouachita. It’s where he fished his first Forrest Wood Cup in 2011, and it’s where he’ll take the tournament lead into the final day of competition at the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Wheeler, the 2011 Cup champion, led this tournament on day one and slipped a couple spots on day two. He now has a very slim 12-ounce lead over Tennessean Brad Knight. The anglers will square off tomorrow on Ouachita starting at 7 a.m. against the rest of the top 10 pros for the top prize of $500,000. READ MORE »

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Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 3

Jacob Wheeler may have regained his lead in the Forrest Wood Cup on day three, but Brad Knight is right on his heels. Going into the final day, the two pros are separated by just 12 ounces. The margin is tight, and what’s going to make the final day fun to watch is the difference in the two anglers’ strategies. Wheeler is running a topwater pattern on the main lake, and fishing new water is part of his plan. Knight, however, has caught almost all of his weight from one 250-yard stretch of bass-rich creek channel. He literally knows every target he is fishing by heart. On the surface, Knight’s area looks to be the better bet. But he has shared the general area with Brandon Cobb and Mark Daniels Jr. for three solid days. And the bad news, at least for Knight, is that both Cobb and Daniels will be sharing the water with him again on the final day as both made the top-10 cut. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-22-forrest-wood-cup-day-3-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-ramie-races-into-the-lead

Ramie Races into the Lead

On the back of a 17-pound, 14-ounce limit, which is the biggest of the tournament thus far, Ramie Colson Jr. jumped from seventh place to take over the lead at the halfway point of the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. Colson’s two-day total is 31 pounds, 1 ounce, which puts him almost 3 pounds ahead of Tennessee’s Brad Knight. The Forrest Wood Cup, which is hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, moves into its top-20 round on Saturday. The top 10 pros after Saturday’s weigh-in advance to Sunday’s final round for a shot at the $500,000 top prize. READ MORE »

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Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 2

At times, bass fishing can be a lot like real estate, where the three most important rules are location, location and location. The 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita presented by Walmart is starting to become a bit of a real estate game where location is the primary consideration in who climbs the leaderboard. And those mining the backs of creeks and tributaries are on the prime pieces of real estate. Consider that after day two, four of the top five pros are concentrating their fishing efforts in the back ends of creeks or rivers. All of these areas fit a classic late-summer, early-fall pattern where shad pack into the back of creek ditches that meander through shallow flats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-forrest-wood-cup-day-2-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-wheeler-hunting-history

Wheeler Hunting History

It’s never been done before, and it hasn’t happened yet, but Jacob Wheeler is in prime position to become the first two-time Forrest Wood Cup champion in history. Wheeler, of Indianapolis, Ind., brought in a 16-pound, 2-ounce limit of Lake Ouachita bass on the first day of the Cup, which is presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. READ MORE »

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Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 1

After day one of the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita, several things have come to light. For one, this event is not likely to produce a runaway win for anyone like it did when Scott Martin won here in 2011. Second, when the pros said Ouachita was going to be stingy, they meant it – only 29 of the 50 pros checked in limits today. Third, firm patterns are hard to come by on Lake Ouachita in August. Jacob Wheeler took the lead on day one in the event that’s presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. With the help of a 5-pound bass, Wheeler weighed in a limit of 16 pounds, 2 ounces, but he had to sample a lot of different areas for his catch. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-forrest-wood-cup-day-1-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 1 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »