UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Champlain

Walser wins!

HARTFORD, Conn. - Robert Walser has fished three Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League All-American championships in three years, finishing 26th in 2004 and 28th in 2005. This year, when he flew to Connecticut from his native North Carolina, he vowed not to return with anything less than a victory. After beating out 48 of the toughest sticks in the BFL, Walser will fly home tomorrow a happy man - and $140,000 richer - as the newest All-American champion. Robert Walser shows the crowd one of his tournament-winning bass. His three-day weight totaled 34 pounds, 10 ounces."It was my turn," he said simply. "I've been close too many times, and I was determined not to come up here and finish 20th again." That determination led to an intense preparation strategy for the 2006 All-American that began when he signed up to fish the North Carolina Division in 2005. Previously, Walser had earned his All-American tickets via the South Carolina Division, the trail he has returned to for the current season. But in 2005, it was his home-state division that he chose to fish, and that venture resulted in a No. 3 ranking that sent him on to the Clarks Hill regional, where he finished fifth to advance to the All-American. With his qualification in place, Walser began to scout out local Connecticut River know-hows to aid him in his quest. He lined up Johnathan Dingle, who competes in the Stren Series Northeast Division, and Billy Heeber, and they prefished with Walser for four days. "We caught a lot of fish," Walser said. "The weather was miserable, but I saw what I liked, the kind of fishing I'm best at - fishing shallow water 3 feet or less." Walser left Connecticut hoping and praying conditions would stay the same, meaning he wanted to see the river flooding the parking lots when he returned to fish the tournament. "I was comfortable if the river stayed high, and fortunately it did," Walser said. However, the river didn't stay high for long. The water fell at a rapid pace each day of competition, forcing Walser to change tactics. But since the conditions still fell well within his comfort zone, his adjustments didn't hurt too much. "The falling water forced me to adjust," he said. "I learned new places every day, and it was easier to adjust since I was doing what I like to do." Walser's primary method was hunting down spots where he could target fish hovering around wood, and he was not alone in that method, as competitors generally targeted wood or grass all week. He was fishing a Weapon jighead with a homemade skirt and a Zoom Super Chunk Junior in green pumpkin. All-American winner Robert Walser celebrates with his wife, Kathy."Mostly I fished pockets off the river, fishing an 8-foot stick on 20-pound line," he said. "When I got a bite, I had the equipment to pull them out." Looking at the standings sheet, Walser's consistency stands out from his competition, whose weights tended to fluctuate over the course of the three-day tournament. Walser caught 11-4 on day one, 11-11 on day two and duplicated that weight exactly today with another 11-11 limit for a three-day total of 34 pounds, 10 ounces. Walser's consistency coupled with his confidence made him a tough guy to beat this week on the Connecticut River. He says when he landed here on Tuesday and saw the water still in the parking lot, he knew it was his time to shine. "I knew it was mine to lose," he said. "Dalton (Bobo) gave me a scare the first day, because I didn't see me catching a 14-pound limit. When he said he caught them on a buzzbait, I breathed a sigh of relief, because I knew we'd have bluebird skies on Thursday." When the dust settled, Walser was left holding a check for $140,000 and a 2-pound, 3-ounce margin of victory. As the All-American champion, he took home $100,000 for the win plus a $20,000 contingency bonus from Ranger Boats and another $20,000 from Evinrude Outboards. "You hope you get yourself in that mental state to fish a tournament," Walser said of his winning confidence. "I was there all week. I made the right calls - I was just in that happy place. I was extremely comfortable. I knew they had to beat me." Dorland brings in heaviest day-three limit, takes second Chad Dorland brought in the dayMoving up from fourth to second was Dunnellon, Fla., boater Chad Dorland, with a three-day total weight of 32 pounds, 7 ounces. He brought in the day's heaviest limit, clocking in at 12 pounds, 7 ounces, to earn $25,000 as the runner-up. Dorland and No. 3 Kip Carter were sharing an area but were fishing different ways, so the area served both of them well. "He was fishing wood; I was fishing grass," Dorland said. "We weren't in each other's way at all." Dorland said he found the spot - a creek that ran through the downtown area of nearby Middletown - in pretournament practice. He knew he was onto something when he caught a 3-pound largemouth. "I went back and saw it had all that cover," he said. "The first day I started somewhere else but I ended up there, and on days two and three, I stayed there all day." Dorland's primary bait was a Gitem Toad. He advanced to the All-American by finishing the 2005 Gator Division season ranked second and taking sixth place at the Lake Toho regional. Carter falls to third Day-two leader Kip Carter ended up in third place with a three-day total weight of 30 pounds, 7 ounces.Yesterday's leader Kip Carter of Oxford, Ga., brought in his lowest tournament limit today but still finished third with a three-day catch of 30 pounds, 7 ounces. He earned $14,000 for his finish plus $9,000 in Ranger contingency money plus another $9,000 from Yamaha. Like Dorland, Carter stumbled upon the Middletown creek they shared in pretournament practice, but unlike Dorland, he never found the 3-pound bass to tip him off that the area was good. "I actually never caught a fish in there," Carter said. "I just knew I liked it. I knew if the water went down, it could be really good. Sometimes you just go on instinct." Carter's bait of choice all week was a spinnerbait, particularly on the first day. With the falling water, he was forced to mix things up the last two days, but he said the spinnerbait remained his big-bite bait. Though Carter admits that some mistakes on his end may have cost him the win, he still has a bright future ahead of him, with big plans to get out of the construction business and make a living in pro fishing. "I'll fish for a living one day," he said. "I'm young; my time's coming." Mauldin, McDonald settle into fourth, fifth positions In fourth place with 27 pounds, 9 ounces over three days was Mark Mauldin of Cleveland, Tenn.Mark Mauldin of Cleveland, Tenn., brought in 27 pounds, 9 ounces of bass over three days to take fourth place and $13,000. He earned an additional $16,000 in boat and motor contingencies. "I fished pretty clean all week," Mauldin said. "I had a great tournament." In the fifth spot is Mike McDonald of Randleman, N.C., with a three-day total of 27 pounds, 6 ounces. He earned $12,000 for his fifth-place finish plus another $14,000 in boat and motor contingencies. "The Connecticut River is a tremendous fishery," McDonald said. "We were here in really tough conditions. I had the bites today to win this thing, but that's how fishing is - some days you can't catch them all." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 boaters at the All-American: New Jersey angler Robert Soley landed in the sixth spot with a combined weight of 27 pounds, 4 ounces.6th: Robert Soley, North Brunswick, N.J., 27-4, $11,000 7th: Terry Steele, Sparta, Tenn., 26-11, $10,000 plus $5,000 motor contingency 8th: Dennis Berhorst, Holts Summit, Mo., 26-4, $9,000 plus $9,000 in boat and motor contingencies 9th: Richard Pankey, Blytheville, Ark., 25-9, $8,000 plus $4,000 motor contingency 10th: Dalton Bobo, Northport, Ala., 19-4, $7,000 plus $3,500 boat contingency

Tags: headline-story  jennifer-simmons 

/news/2015-07-31-browne-crushes-again-leads-by-6-

Browne Crushes Again, Leads By 6+

Averaging 20 pounds or more is a difficult thing to do in a multi-day tournament on Lake Champlain, but Glenn Browne might be on his way to doing it in the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano. After two days, the Ocala, Fla., pro has run to Ticonderoga twice and sacked up nearly identical bags for a total of 45 pounds, 8 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-31-top-5-patterns-from-champlain-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Champlain Day 2

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Plano on Lake Champlain definitely shook up the leaderboard. While Glenn Browne took a huge lead, the rest of the pack swapped around and remained pretty tight. Browne is catching his fish down south near Ticonderoga, but the north end has also produced very well for the rest of the field. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-31-champlain-midday-update-day-2

Champlain Midday Update Day 2

While day one of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano on Lake Champlain was wracked by high winds and rain in the morning, day two has been almost as good as Champlain can be. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-30-cioppa-leads-on-champlain

Cioppa Leads On Champlain

David Cioppa of Hopkinton, Mass., weighed 22 pounds, 13 ounces late in the weigh-in to grab the lead after the first day of the Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Champlain. Cioppa weighed all largemouths and says that he caught the entirety of his weight by about 9 a.m. from one location in the northern end of the lake. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-30-top-5-patterns-from-champlain-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Champlain Day 1

Lake Champlain was rough and wild on day one of the Rayovac FLW Series event presented by Plano, and a bunch of the anglers still got it done in a big way. David Cioppa caught largemouths in the Inland Sea, but the rest of the top guys spread out all over the massive lake. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-30-champlain-midday-update-day-1

Champlain Midday Update Day 1

Takeoff was placid enough, with a beautiful sunrise and a light breeze in the slightly protected corner that is Plattsburgh. By about 6:30 a.m., day one of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano on Lake Champlain was already beginning to get rough. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-21-top-picks-from-icast

Top Picks From ICAST

A few days of walking the floor at ICAST is enough to exhaust a body, but it isn’t enough to know exactly what’s worthwhile. For that, you need some time to reflect and probably a few tournament seasons to fly by to see what rises up. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-renfrew-fished-to-win

Renfrew Fished to Win

Ian Renfrew of Phoenix, New York, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Northeast Division tournament on Oneida Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Renfrew earned $4,695. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-docks-and-rocks-key-for-synders

Docks and Rocks Key for Synders

Rus Snyders of Nashville, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Music City Division tournament on Old Hickory Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Snyders earned $2,703. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-jig-crankbait-carry-powroznik

Jig, Crankbait Carry Powroznik

Ryan Powroznik of Prince George, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 15 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division tournament on the James River. For his victory, Powroznik earned $7,507. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-persistence-pays-for-arning

Persistence Pays for Arning

Ray Arning Jr. of Walnut Hill, Illinois, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Illini Division tournament on Rend Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Arning earned $5,804. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-17-new-rod-roundup

New Rod Roundup

Rod companies continue to impress each year with a new crop of lighter, faster and more affordable (sweet!) rods. On the subject of price, these days, a tournament pro or an average angler could be fishing with rods that cost less than $100 apiece, but without giving up anything in the realm of quality. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-17-new-terminal-tackle

New Terminal Tackle

Don’t skimp where it counts the most – terminal tackle. Hooks, weights, jigheads and the like are the keys to taking all those new soft baits and swimbaits to the fish, hooking them and getting them in the boat. Here’s the best stuff we saw on the floor at ICAST 2015. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-flw-announces-2016-tour-schedule

FLW Announces 2016 Tour Schedule

FLW announced the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour regular-season schedule today in a live press conference held at the 2015 ICAST show in Orlando, Fla. With the help of six veteran Tour pros, the company unveiled each of the six events, one-by-one, to a crowd of observers gathered around the FLW booth. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-6-new-reels-to-try

6 New Reels to Try

Whether you need to replace an old reel or you’re just looking to add to the arsenal, here are some of the latest and greatest from ICAST. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-6-new-lines-from-icast-2015

6 New Lines from ICAST 2015

Line might just be the most important part of the package when it comes to landing fish. From presenting the bait to getting them in the net, your line is involved the entire way. If you’re looking for something new to try, the following lines are worth a shot. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-icast-best-of-show-winners-

ICAST Best Of Show Winners

One of the highlights of ICAST is the annual “Best of Show” awards. Not everything at ICAST is of interest to bass anglers, but the below might end up being staples for a long time to come. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-10-new-frogs-and-toads

10 New Frogs and Toads

These days, frogs and toads aren’t just mimicking frogs and toads. They’re designed to be perfect imitations of rats, bream and various oddball creatures. New models at ICAST this season offer anglers some of these “alternative” species, as well as new sizes, colors, action types and degrees of realism. Here are 10 new models that we feel are of greatest interest. Click here for complete 2015 ICAST coverage. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-7-terrific-topwater-baits

7 Terrific Topwater Baits

If you don’t like fishing topwater, just give up fishing already. These seven new baits will help you get your surface-fishing fix next season. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-critters-and-craws

Critters and Craws

Nearly everyone already has a tackle box overflowing with soft baits. That said, there are always more to try. If you’re looking for something new, the following might do the trick. READ MORE »