UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2015 - Kerr Lake

Play it again, Sam

BENTON, Ky. - A phenomenal tournament on a phenomenal fishery came to a phenomenal end today, as Camden, Tenn., pro Sam Lashlee won his second major tournament in seven days when he annihilated the competition at the Stren Series Midwest Division opener on his home lakes, Kentucky-Barkley. His margin of victory over No. 2 pro Yancy Windham was an astounding 6 pounds, 13 ounces, but the tricky Lashlee had the crowd, FLW Live viewers and, in particular, his wife believing he lost the whole thing. His basket of fish, shrouded by a black National Guard bag to keep the suspense going, actually contained a 21-pound, 12-ounce limit, but a disappointed-looking Lashlee said he had three fish in the box. It was true - he did have three fish in the box, but they were of course joined by another two. Lashlee's dramatic ploy worked, as the black bag was whisked off the basket to reveal his hefty five-bass limit that put his two-day total to 44 pounds, 15 ounces, easily handing him a victory he'd led everyone to believe he had lost. The trick was, everything he said was true. But his response to an otherwise tough day not only handed him another lucrative victory but also top-shelf status as an angler who gets the job done. "This was one of the most frustrating days of my life," Lashlee said on stage. "I woke up with a different kind of feeling. I was tense. I started off and lost a big one and said to my partner, `I'm going to have to earn this baby.' Then I lost another toad. I couldn't believe it." Lashlee went on to say he "squeaked out a limit," which indeed he did, but the major obstacle Lashlee had to overcome today was boat traffic. Lashlee has been hounded all week by fan followers, and while the support is always appreciated, deliberately fishing his hot spot didn't sit so well. "There were so many boats on my area," he said. "I ran here, I ran there, everywhere, doing everything I could. I don't have any gas left in my boat." Lashlee says his biggest strength as a competitor is finding the fish, and he put that strength to the test today when he arrived at this Tennessee honey hole and found it covered up with boats. His frustration level mounted when, at 11 a.m., he still didn't have the bass to win it, whereas every other day this week, he could have put his rods down by 8 o'clock. "It's funny how things happen," he said. "It was a struggle, but thank God it worked out the way it did. I knew about what I had, and I knew it would take one heck of a sack to beat it." Sam Lashlee shows off the worm that handed him the victory.All week, Lashlee has been using a Series 6 crankbait and a 3/4-ounce jig, but today's change in location warranted a change in presentation, so Lashlee switched to a paddletail worm. "That worm saved my neck today," Lashlee said. "It was good to me on the first day, and it really paid off today. Four of the five I weighed in came on that worm." Historical moment All eyes were on Lashlee after day two, when he took over the pro lead from local pro Mike Auten. Lashlee is a known threat on his home lake, but a victory here would mean two in one week, as it was just last Saturday that Lashlee earned $100,000 at the Wal-Mart FLW Series event on Old Hickory Lake. "Two weeks ago I was a local guy who wins a lot of tournaments," Lashlee said of the impact of two major victories. "It's like a dream. Pinch me, wake me up." With the $10,000 he won today, it is as if Lashlee earned more than $15,000 a day over the past seven days, and that is not including the value of the fully rigged Ranger boat he also won as the Stren Series Kentucky Lake champion. Windham makes a run for it Runner-up Yancy Windham holds up the two best bass from his day-four sack of 19-14. He caught 38-2 over two days.Thanks to Lashlee's convincing performance, Yancy Windham of Gordo, Ala., was the newest Stren Series winner in the eyes of the audience up until the very last minute. In the end, though, he had to settle for second, but his day-four effort was noble, as he put his best foot forward today and hauled in 19 pounds, 14 ounces to bring his two-day total to 38 pounds, 2 ounces, good for $10,000. Windham too dealt with a crowd problem today, but his hodgepodge of bait choices was still effective. He reported catching them on crankbaits, big worms, shaky-head worms and jigs, among other things, all week long. "I had a variety of things going," Windham said. "I had some big schools of fish found, and I did the best I could with what I had. I wanted to make sure Sam couldn't breeze by with this thing." Making Windham's performance all the more remarkable is that Kentucky-Barkley does not play to his strengths. He credits fellow final-round pro Bobby Kilzer with teaching him how to fish Kentucky Lake ledges during practice for another Stren Series event here in the past. "This definitely is not even my strength, so to do what I did, I'm really happy," Windham said. "I caught a ton of fish, and I was catching them on everything." Tutt milks one spot for third Jim Tutt weighed in 15 pounds, 12 ounces today to bring his two-day total to 33-6, good for third.After spending the first three days in the No. 4 position, Texas pro Jim Tutt ended the tournament in third with a final-round total of 33 pounds, 6 ounces, good for $9,000. He brought in a limit today weighing 15 pounds, 12 ounces. "I had a great week," Tutt said. "I caught all my fish off one spot that was 50 yards wide and 20 yards long. I was running wide open this morning and ran clean past the spot because there was nobody on it. I couldn't believe it." Indeed, it seems Tutt was in a rare position today to have reached his spot and found it empty. What it was not empty of, though, were bass. Tutt estimates he caught 66 keepers all week off that one spot, and he caught the majority of them on a Zoom Ole Monster Tequila Sunrise worm. "I don't know the ledges very well," Tutt said. "All my fish were kind of suspended a little bit. I just fished really slow and only got about one bite an hour, but I made myself stay there." Chapman, Lynch round out top five Kenneth Chapman took fourth place with a two-day catch of 32-15.Taking fourth place and $8,000 is Woodlawn, Tenn., pro Kenneth Chapman, with a two-day catch of 32 pounds, 15 ounces, including his day-four catch of 16-10. "I caught what I could catch here," Chapman said. "Sixteen pounds, I was lucky to get that." Local pro Drew Lynch of Paducah earned $7,500 as the fifth-place pro thanks to his final-round catch of 32 pounds, 9 ounces. He too caught 16-10 on day four. "I didn't lose but one fish all week," Lynch said. "I had an outstanding tournament, but I'm tired." Lynch caught his bass this week on Barkley Lake in 10 to 18 feet of water, throwing jigs and worms. Rest of the best Ramie Colson Jr. improved his position four spots and ended the tournament in sixth place with a combined weight of 32 pounds, 6 ounces. Rounding out the top 10 pros on Kentucky Lake: 6th: Ramie Colson Jr., Cadiz, Ky., 10 bass, 32-6, $6,500 7th: Mike Ward, Paris, Tenn., 10 bass, 31-3, $5,500 8th: Donald Cordle Jr., Brentwood, Tenn., 10 bass, 30-12, $5,000 9th: Bobby Kilzer, Paris, Tenn., 10 bass, 30-6, $4,500 10th: Anton Silvester, Staunton, Ill., five bass, 21-11, $4,000 Coming up The Stren Series will next visit the Mississippi River in Onalaska, Wis., July 12-15, which is another Midwest Division event.

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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

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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 »

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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

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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 »

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Forrest Wood Cup Day 3 Coverage

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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 »

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Forrest Wood Cup Day 2 Coverage

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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 »

/news/2015-08-20-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-1

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 »

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Forrest Wood Cup Day 1 Coverage

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