UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Erie

Heating it up in Hartford

HARTFORD, Conn. - It was a tough day on the Connecticut River for opening day of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League All-American championship, but hey, no one ever said fishing was supposed to be easy. All told, 47 of the 48 boaters caught fish, with 24 of them catching limits. That's a pretty good ratio, but making it tough was the nearly 15 pounds needed to take the lead, and most of those 24 limits were in the 6- to 9-pound range. At the top of the heap is Alabama boater Dalton Bobo with a limit that weighed 14 pounds, 15 ounces. Obviously the Northern climate suits the Southern angler quite well. Bobo was the No. 5-ranked angler in the Dixie Division in 2005, and he advanced to the All-American by finishing third at the Clarks Hill regional. Anchoring Bobo's day-one haul was a 5-pound, 11-ounce kicker that earned him $500 as the day's big-bass winner. The real story here is not so much that Bobo is in the lead but rather how he got there. On a day that stumped some of the best and brightest BFL anglers, Bobo led the pack despite the fact that his practice honeyhole had literally dried up, forcing him to just go fishing. "I had a really good spot I found in practice, and the water on it was 8 feet high," he said. "I can't get in there now." Indeed, befuddling anglers today were the falling water levels of the Connecticut River. Bobo's particular spot went from 8 feet of water to 6 inches of sand. "There was no water there - just dirt," Bobo said. "I went junk-fishing, hitting stuff on the river that looked good." Bobo's bait of choice was a buzzbait, and it certainly brought in the bass. He currently has a lead of 3 pounds, 7 ounces in a tournament that hands a $140,000 check to whomever has the heaviest three-day accumulated weight. "This happens to people; it's happened to me," Bobo said of having a sweet spot eliminated come competition time. "I just considered the first day of competition a practice day and wound up putting a pattern together. You want to do that when it counts." Bobo has been fishing BFL events for more than 10 years and is making his first All-American appearance since 1996. He's also tackling the prestigious Wal-Mart FLW Series this year, though he's currently in 171st in the points standings on that circuit. Regardless, Bobo has spent enough time on the water as a competitor to know just how significant his day-one clutch performance was. "I've realized over the years you can't stub your toe against this kind of competition," he said. "I'm pretty sure the river will continue to fall. I understand the tide, and tomorrow I'll try to run it the same." Carmell more than 3 pounds behind in second No. 2 boater Christopher Carmell caught a limit weighing 11 pounds, 8 ounces today but still trails the leader by more than 3 pounds.Behind Bobo in the No. 2 spot is Virginia Beach, Va., boater Christopher Carmell, with a five-bass limit that weighed 11 pounds, 8 ounces. Carmell was ninth in the Northeast Division in 2005 to earn a trip to the Kerr Lake regional, where he finished second to advance to this week's event. Carmell estimates he caught eight or nine keepers today, the heaviest being a 3-pound, 6-ouncer that anchored his catch. He might have been on top today himself but says he lost a few, noting also that he fished the main river and the backwater pockets today to bring in the bass. "The fish weren't on a couple of my spots, but that's how they do here - they're here one day and gone the next," Carmell said. "My main-river fish were there, and I had probably 20 bites today." The key for Carmell today was his loyalty to a buzzbait that, like Bobo, treated him awfully well. He says all his day-one fish were largemouths. "I had a bait that I stuck with all day long," he said. "I knew the fish were there. I think I can catch another five tomorrow. I'm going to try to win it." Walser in third, says he should have had 15 Boater Robert Walser holds up a 4-pound, 6-ouncer that helped put him in third place with a limit weighing 11-4.Finishing day one in the third spot is Lexington, N.C., angler Robert Walser with a limit of bass weighing 11 pounds, 4 ounces. While he is certainly in an enviable position in third, he says his limit could have exceeded 15 pounds today were it not for a few lost fish. "I missed several fish that didn't get my bait," he said. "I didn't hook them, so I can catch them tomorrow. If the ones I saw tried to bite today, I'd be leading." Walser estimates he caught 12 to 15 keepers today, and he too caught them both on the main river and in the backwater pockets. His biggest bass came in at 4 pounds, 6 ounces. "I've got three places I really feel like I can catch them on, and I still have one I haven't even been to," said Walser, competing in his fifth All-American. "I'm tired of being middle of the pack. It's time." Walser advanced to the All-American by ranking third in North Carolina Division points standings and finishing fifth at the Clarks Hill regional. Lawyer, Carter round out top five No. 4 Jeremy Lawyer talks to host Charlie Evans after weighing in 11 pounds on day one.In fourth is Sarcoxie, Mo., boater Jeremy Lawyer with five bass weighing 11 pounds. He is an Ozark Division boater making his first All-American appearance. "We set out today to try to catch smallmouths, and that's what we caught," Lawyer said. "I hope it holds up." Behind him in fifth with a limit of bass weighing 10 pounds, 12 ounces is Kip Carter of Oxford, Ga. He came from the Bulldog Division to compete in the All-American, his first. "I'm covering a lot of water," he said. "I probably covered three miles today. Good bites are hard to come by." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 boaters after day one at the All-American: No. 6 Mark Mauldin puts his bag of bass on the scales. He weighed in a limit worth 10 pounds, 8 ounces.6th: Mark Mauldin, Cleveland, Tenn., five bass, 10-8 7th: Dicky Newberry, Houston, Texas, five bass, 10-5 8th: Chad Dorland, Dunnellon, Fla., five bass, 9-14 9th: Glen Freeman, Converse, La., five bass, 9-11 10th (tie): Keith Monson, Burgin, Ky., three bass, 9-10 Dennis Berhorst, Holts Summit, Mo., five bass, 9-10 Wright takes slim lead in Co-angler Division Co-angler leader Michael Wright weighs in a 2-pound, 3-ouncer from his day-one limit of 8 pounds, 15 ounces.Leading the 48-man co-angler field is Michael Wright of Covington, Ga., with a five-bass catch weighing 8 pounds, 15 ounces. He hauled in one of only three co-angler limits today and leads his nearest competition by a mere 4 ounces heading into tomorrow, which is the co-anglers' final day. Wright is fishing this week courtesy of his third-place performance at the Lake Toho regional, which he qualified for via the Bulldog Division. His heaviest bass of the day clocked in at 2 pounds, 3 ounces, but according to Wright, he was lucky to have a limit, as he rounded that out in the final 45 minutes of competition. "I caught my last fish at 2:15," he said. "But I caught three pike weighing about 30 pounds." Whipple, Ferdinando in contention No. 2 co-angler Carl Whipple weighs in a sack of bass that totaled 8 pounds, 11 ounces.Behind Wright in second place is Carl Whipple of Fredericksburg, Va. Whipple brought in a four-bass catch today that weighed 8 pounds, 11 ounces. "I didn't fish as clean as I wanted to," Whipple said. "Tomorrow I'll keep the bait in the water and fish clean." Whipple is a Shenandoah Division angler who finished sixth at the Clarks Hill regional to earn a trip to the All-American. In third with a limit weighing 8 pounds, 5 ounces is Anthony Ferdinando of Spicewood, Texas. "It started out really slow," he said. "I didn't catch my five until after lunch, and then it came really quick." Ferdinando advanced to this week's competition via the Cowboy Division and Lake Ouachita regional. Lay, Smith round out top five Host Charlie Evans speaks with No. 4 co-angler Pat Lay about his day-one limit catch of 8 pounds, 2 ounces.In fourth place with a five-bass catch weighing 8 pounds, 2 ounces is Cleveland, Tenn., co-angler Pat Lay. He was the No. 4-ranked Choo Choo Division co-angler in 2005 and finished third at the Clarks Hill regional. Behind Lay in the fifth spot is Keith Smith of Madison, Miss. He caught four bass today weighing 7 pounds, 13 ounces to sit just a little over a pound behind the leader. He ranked fifth in Mississippi Division points standings to advance to the Lake Martin regional, where he finished sixth to advance to the All-American. Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers after day one at the All-American: No. 6 co-angler Brandon Wallen shows off the heaviest bass of the day on the co-angler side, a 4-pound, 7-ouncer. He earned $500 for the big bass.6th: Brandon Wallen, Monticello, Ky., three bass, 7-7 7th: John Stottlemyre, Edmond, Okla., four bass, 7-5 8th: Steve Harwood, Weaverville, N.C., three bass, 7-1 9th: Roger Smart, Woodville, Ala., four bass, 6-9 10th: Jerry Lineberger, Lincolnton, N.C., three bass, 6-5 Competition continues tomorrow with a 7 a.m. takeoff from Charter Oak Landing in downtown Hartford. Tomorrow's weigh-in begins at 4 p.m. at the Connecticut Convention Center, following which the co-angler champion will be crowned. The winning co-angler will earn up to $70,000. Following tomorrow's weigh-in, the boater field will be cut to the top 10 that will continue competition Saturday, when the winner will earn $140,000 cash.

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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

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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 »

/news/2015-08-21-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-2

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

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Elkins Looked Deep on Erie

Matt Elkins of Spencerville, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Michigan Division tournament on the Detroit River. For his victory, Elkins earned $5,337. READ MORE »

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Manson Targets Shad

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Lieblong Dominates Dardanelle Rayovac

Having lead the event for two days, the pro from Conway, Ark., carried a 14-ounce lead into the final round. After weighing a limit of 12 pounds, 2 ounces on day three, Lieblong closed the door with a tournament total of 46-3 and a 2-pound, 2-ounce margin of victory. READ MORE »

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Smith Takes Co-Angler Title At Dardanelle

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