Reese reigns supreme on Clear Lake

LAKEPORT, Calif. - Heading into the finals of the Stren Series Western Division event on Clear Lake, Jimmy Reese of Witter Springs, Calif., didn't want to make the same mistake he made a month earlier at Lake Havasu. After qualifying for the finals in second place, Reese could only muster a 1-pound, 13-ounce stringer on the last day of competition at Havasu - a result which dropped him all the way to fifth place in the final standings. This time, however, Reese was determined to write his own ending and ensure a storybook finish. Jimmy Reese of Witter Springs, Calif., celebrates victory on Clear Lake by holding up part of his two-day 40-pound, 8-ounce catch.Ironically, in the end, he need not have worried as his final script turned out to be somewhat anticlimactic. Using a final-day catch of 20 pounds, 15 ounces, Reese simply blew away the rest of the competition, netting a two-day total of 40 pounds, 8 ounces and outdistancing himself from his nearest competitor by almost 6 full pounds. Finally, the Stren Series title he'd been seeking for years was now his. "It's awesome. To win a tournament of this magnitude is just the highlight of my career," said Reese, who walked away with the tournament title, a brand new Ranger boat, and a cash and prize package worth over $60,000. "I had a lot of fun today. This is my first big win. But I'll tell you, I really was a nervous wreck the whole time." Reese may have been nervous, but you would have never known it by the quick success he had almost immediately upon leaving the marina this morning. Heading into the finals, Reese had a 1-pound, 9-ounce lead over second-place competitor Todd Woods. But within a few short hours, Reese began to steamroll the rest of the pro field. "I saved my best spot for today, and I had a limit by 7:45 a.m.," he said. "I caught all 21 pounds in that one spot in about three hours. It was an area that nobody really fishes, and it basically went untouched the entire time. As soon as we got there, we really whacked them." Jimmy Reese of Witter Springs, Calif., shows off his trophy after winning the pro title on Clear Lake.Reese, who said he didn't lose a fish all day, used Roboworms on 8-pound-test line to land the majority of his catch. "Everything just went perfectly today," he said. "It's still an unreal feeling. I'm speechless." In addition to winning the boat, title and prize money, Reese said the tournament victory boosted his confidence in another important way as well. "I can finally lose the `I'm-Skeet-Reese's-brother' title," said Reese, half joking but also realistically acknowledging the long shadow that his world-famous brother has cast over him for years. "Now, I have my own identity as a fisherman. This whole experience has just been fantastic. It's really a dream come true." Tuck comes up short Pro Mike Tuck of Antelope, Calif., finished the Clear Lake event in second place.Despite a spirited comeback in the finals, Mike Tuck's two-day total of 36-pounds, 7-ounces wasn't enough to overcome Reese's monster day. However, his second-place finish didn't seem to dampen his spirits any. "It was a lot of fun," said Tuck, a resident of Antelope, Calif. "I caught a lot of fish and finally got to fish the way I wanted to today. I never gave up and kept grinding it out all day." For his effort in the finals, Tuck took home the runner-up trophy as well as a check for $10,000. Woods happy with finish Pro Todd Woods of Murrieta, Calif., finished the Clear Lake event in third place, earning a check for $9,000.Using a total catch of 34 pounds, 13 ounces, Todd Woods of Murrieta, Calif., finished the tourney in third place, earning a check for $9,000. "I'm just ecstatic with the way things turned out," Woods said. "I found a great spot, and I must have caught about 60 fish off of it. This is only my second time fishing this lake, so I'm very pleased. This is truly an awesome, awesome, awesome fishery, I have to say." Lee mounts furious comeback Pro Robert Lee of Angels Camp, Calif., finished in fourth place at the Clear Lake event.Languishing in ninth place heading into the final day of competition, Robert Lee of Angels Camp, Calif., knew he had to make a dramatic move if he was to have any shot at a tournament title. In the end, Lee reached down deep, fished as hard as he could and nearly pulled it off, turning in a 20-pound sack in the finals that vaulted him all the way to fourth place. "It was really tough out there today. It was really cold, and it was tough fishing there for a while," he said. "At 12:30, I had only two fish in the boat that weighed 2 pounds. And then I started to get mad. I made some adjustments, and later on in the afternoon, the fish started coming into my area. Then I started whacking them. In the end, I came up a little short. But overall, I can't complain." Lee said his major adjustment was downsizing from a larger tube bait to a 4-inch tube with a 3/16-ounce weight and 20-pound-test line. "That was the key adjustment for me, and it paid off," said Lee, who ended up with a two-day total of 34 pounds, 4 ounces. In the end, Lee walked away with a check for $8,000. Fischer nets fifth place Pro Jerry Fischer of Lincoln, Calif., grabbed fifth place during the finals at Clear Lake.Although happy to make the finals, Jerry Fischer of Lincoln, Calif., said that he didn't make the adjustments when it counted during today's competition. "Most of my quality fish kind of died on me today. And I probably should have downsized my bait," said Fischer, who ultimately won $7,500 in prize money after recording a two-day catch of 32 pounds, 1 ounce. "But overall, I had a good time." Best of the rest Rounding out the top 10 pro finalists at the Stren Series Clear Lake event: 6th: Ed Arledge of San Diego, 30-2 7th: Dean McDaniel of Sacremento, Calif., 28-0 8th: William T. McAninch of Sylmar, Calif., 27-14 9th: Jason Borofka of Salinas, Calif., 27-4 10th: Jim Lyon of Reno, Nev., 25-13 Coming up The next Stren Series event is a Southeast Division contest at Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Ala., March 15-18. The next Western Division tournament, the third event of the 2006 season, will be held at Lake Shasta near Redding, Calif., March 29-April 1.

Tags: headline-story  gary-mortenson 


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