UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Erie

Fifteen and change for $500,000

Brent Ehrler is the newest Wal-Mart FLW Tour champion, having won the 2006 championship by an 11-ounce margin to take the $500,000 prize.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - As if taking his cue from fellow Western pro Luke Clausen, Brent Ehrler took to the balmy waters of Alabama's Logan Martin Lake like a surfer to a wave. The 29-year-old pro out of Redlands, Calif., caught a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 1 ounce Saturday to win the $500,000 top prize at the 2006 Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship. "It's pretty crazy. It hasn't sunk in yet," Ehrler said. "I haven't even thought about what I'm going to do with the money or anything like that yet. I've just been really fortunate. This is the second tournament that I've won, and they've both been championships. I think we should just fish championships from here on out." All in a dayIf that were the case, Ehrler would be hard to beat. Of the three FLW Outdoors championships that he has fished, Ehrler has won two of them: the 2004 Stren Series Championship and the 2006 FLW Tour Championship. Add to that the 2003 Stren Series Western Division Angler of the Year title, which Ehrler also won, and it has the makings of a seriously enviable fishing career - all before the age of 30. He had to earn it Saturday. Facing a final-round field comprised of some of the heaviest hitters in the sport - not counting Ehrler, there were seven prior FLW Tour winners, four former and current FLW Tour Anglers of the Year and two former FLW Tour Championship winners in the field - the young pro calmly went out and prevailed over the competition in the heat of a day where 11 out of 12 pros caught limits. And hot it was. Ehrler caught all but one of his bass Saturday fishing a Net Bait finesse worm on 1/16-ounce and 1/8-ounce tungsten jigheads. Like Clausen did two years ago when he won the championship at Logan Martin, Ehrler fished docks. Nothing fancy. Nothing extreme. But very effective. "Today, I was concentrated on one little area and fished about 10 docks. It was in the central part of the lake, just north of Lakeside (Park, the takeoff point in Pell City, Ala.) I knew the potential of the area because I had caught a few big ones there. I just fished really slow and really methodically on those docks," Ehrler said, adding that he couldn't explain the success that Western pros have had fishing docks at Logan Martin. "I don't know, we're just fortunate, I guess. I mean, this lake doesn't even fish like California. At home, if the water's 90 degrees like it is here, I'd be fishing 30 feet deep. Here, I caught everything in 2 to 10 feet of water." Brent Ehrler shows off a bass from his tournament-winning catch of 15 pounds, 1 ounce.Ehrler worked his dock pattern to a tee all week long. He caught 20 pounds, 11 ounces over the first two days - a top-15 weight - and ousted his bracket competition, Clifford Pirch, out of the opening round. On day three he caught the second-heaviest limit of the day, 13-4, to beat Ramie Colson Jr. On day four Ehrler's limit of 15-1 edged out Ray Scheide, Clark Wendlandt, Shinichi Fukae and Jay Yelas, each of whom also caught more than 13 pounds. And despite fishing around gnarly boat docks most of the time with nerve-rackingly light 8-pound fluorocarbon line, Ehrler broke off just one fish the entire week. "The weird thing about it was that I'd skip the bait right past a (dock) pole and wouldn't get anything. Then I'd fish around the dock and get a bite on the other side throwing at the same pole. It was like they just wanted it a certain way," he said. Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., is barely able to hold back the tears after winning the 2006 Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship.While his limit contained all solid 2- and 3-pound spotted bass, the winner caught his fifth fish, a 3 1/2-pound kicker, on a Lucky Craft RC 1.5 crankbait around a brush pile. So he's no one-trick pony. But he is a half-million dollars richer. The 12 finalists were given a ride from Logan Martin Lake to the weigh-in arena at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center Saturday in a National Guard Chinook helicopter. As he enjoyed the coolest taxi ride of his life over the hills of central Alabama, Ehrler knew he had a good bag of fish, but he never allowed himself to consider the prospect of hoisting that big blue check. "It was never a for-sure thing," he said. "I mean, look at Ray. He was only a half-pound behind me." Ray Scheide took second place and $50,000 with a five-bass, 14-pound, 6-ounce catch.Scheide lands big bass, falls just short Scheide wowed the capacity Birmingham crowd when he hoisted a kicker fish to the scale that weighed just short of 6 pounds, but when all was weighed and said, his limit topped out at 14 pounds, 6 ounces, leaving him 11 ounces short of Ehrler. "I knew I needed 15 pounds," the pro from Russellville, Ark., said. "I put myself in a position to win it, I got the right bites, and I feel really good about how I fished. This will just be a really strong confidence-builder for next year when we're fishing for a million dollars (which is the winner's payout at the 2007 Forrest Wood Championship.)" Ray Scheide hooks into a feisty Coosa River spotted bass in SaturdayScheide fished a shallow-deep pattern in the back of a creek, throwing a Lucky Craft crankbait and Berkley Power worm in the shallows when the current was low and a Norman Deep Little N crankbait and a Reaction Innovations Shaky Head on a Terminator football jig in deeper water when the current came up. "This morning I ran about 20 miles and, when I set the boat down, I caught the big one on my second cast," he said. "I was rocking and rolling; I thought I was going to win." Scheide earned $50,000 for second place. Clark Wendlandt is splashed by one of the bass that helped him take third place and $40,000.Wendlandt rolls dice for third Clark Wendlandt of Leander, Texas, earned third place and $40,000 with a limit weighing 13 pounds, 9 ounces. He and Scheide shared the same backwater area Saturday, and by the time Wendlandt arrived there, Scheide had already caught his big kicker in the shallow water. "I kind of rolled the dice today. I had this place that I told a few friends about, and when I pulled in there, Ray was there. It was way in the back of a creek, and it was a place I'd saved until today. I'd known about it for 10 years," Wendlandt said. Wendlandt said he caught his fish on a Gambler Swim Blade, crankbait and worms. Shinichi Fukae brought in a limit weighing 13-5 to take fourth place and $35,000.Fukae's catch rate drops, claims fourth Shinichi Fukae of Mineola, Texas, caught a limit weighing 13 pounds, 5 ounces and earned $35,000. "I'm happy," he said. "My main goal was to make the championship this year. I still cannot believe I'm here. That's fantastic." He fished a dock pattern on the lower end of the lake, saying he caught bass in "many areas" and that he never spent more than 10 minutes in a single spot. "It was bam, bam, bam," he said, "between the start point and the lower lake." Fukae fished a green-pumpkin Shaky Head worm on a 3/32-ounce jighead with 8-pound Yo-zuri fluorocarbon line. He said he had been catching some 20 to 30 fish a day until Saturday, when his fish total dropped to about 10. "I just fished whatever dock had a brush pile," he said. "I was moving between the docks and the brush piles." Jay Yelas won the Classic in this very arena three years ago but settled for fifth this time with a five-bass catch weighing 13 pounds, 2 ounces.Yelas fifth, Morgan sixth Jay Yelas of Tyler, Texas, finished fifth with a limit weighing 13 pounds, 2 ounces. He earned $30,000. "I caught at least 13 pounds every day of this tournament, so it was a great week," Yelas said. "This is a great place to fish. Alabama's a place I love to come to because I've got a lot of friends here." Andy MorganAndy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., grabbed sixth place and $24,000 with a limit weighing 12 pounds, 3 ounces. Rest of the best Rounding out the top 12 finishers at the 2006 FLW Tour Championship at Logan Martin Lake: 7th: Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala., five bass, 10-11, $23,000 8th: David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va., five bass, 9-7, $22,000 9th: Brennan Bosley of Benton, Ark., five bass, 8-13, $21,000 10th: Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C., five bass, 7-12, $20,000 11th: George Cochran of Hot Springs, Ark., five bass, 7-10, $19,000 12th: Kim Stricker of Howell, Mich., two bass, 1-12, $18,000 Catch all the action Coverage of the Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship at Logan Martin Lake will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net on the "FLW Outdoors" television program. Part 1 of the championship will air Sunday, Sept. 24, at 11 a.m. Eastern time, and Part 2 will air the following Sunday, Oct. 1, also at 11 a.m. Eastern. For a sneak peek at the action on the water, click here. Links: Videos of championship action Final brackets

Tags: headline-story  jeff-schroeder 

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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

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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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Forrest Wood Cup Day 1 Coverage

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