From Junk to riches

FORT MADISON, Iowa - Post-front conditions on day four of the Stren Series Midwest Division event on the Mississippi River left the door cracked open for a spectacular come-from-behind victory. Mother Nature's curveball was David Junk's gain as the local pro seized the opportunity and sacked up 14-3 to win his first pro-level bass tournament. On a day when weights were down considerably, the Quincy, Ill., resident registered the heaviest limit of the day and squeezed by the nine remaining pros in nail-biting fashion. Along with two Wal-Mart BFL wins, Junk now possesses three victories in his angling career. But he said this one was by far the sweetest. "I knew I had enough to make it interesting," said Junk. "I knew I had a shot if somebody stumbled. What an awesome place to do it, being only an hour from home." Pro David Junk displays his homemade spinnerbait that propelled him to victory.Only half of the top-10 pros registered five-bass limits Saturday. Several accomplished anglers stumbled, in particular the frog fishermen. They were still getting the bites, but the change in weather made the fish extremely picky. Several pros reported bass blowing up their baits, but not eating them entirely. That can make for a frustrating day when this much money is at stake. Junk never had to worry about the frog bite. He caught his bass throughout the week junk fishing, no pun intended. "I figured that would be a fitting style of fishing since it is my last name and all." He fished deep, shallow and everywhere in between, throwing nearly everything in his tackle box. His key baits were a white and chartreuse Fat Free Shad crankbait, a homemade spinnerbait and a black and blue Crawpappy. At one point, his co-angler counted 16 rods on the deck of his boat. David Junk displays his trophy for winning the Stren Series Midwest Division event on the Mississippi River.In preparation for this event, Junk fished a few local tournaments on the river. That added knowledge and experience made a big difference in his success. While he was fishing in Pool 19 near the city of Montrose, Iowa, he caught most of his keepers in one little area off a laydown and a piece of driftwood. The biggest fish of his stringer weighed roughly 5 pounds and was a true testament to perseverance. The kicker bit the Crawpappy with about 20 minutes left in the day and anchored his two-day total of 10 bass weighing 26 pounds, 4 ounces. "It was awesome and I can't wait to do it again," Junk added. "I set my goal for at least 15 pounds everyday." At 6:30 Saturday morning, Junk departed Captain Kirk's Marina as boat No. 6. The seemingly implausible task ahead of him was never a deterrent. "I knew I had a strong enough pattern to hold fish through the entirety of the event but I just had to go fishing and catch them, that was my biggest worry." For eliminating 143 Stren Series pros, Junk earned a check worth $8,600, and a fully rigged 519VX Ranger Comanche bass boat. Mr. Consistency takes second Pro Bill Walker earned $8,600 for his second place finish on the Mississippi River.Pro Bill Walker, who caught at least 13 pounds in each of the prior three days, had his 13-pound streak end on day four. Walker still caught the second-heaviest limit of the day, and finished only 6 ounces behind the winner. His limit Saturday weighed 12 pounds, 6 ounces and gave him a final-round total of 25 pounds, 14 ounces. His second-place finish earned him a check for $8,600. "I had the fish on to do it," said Walker. "I missed one, a solid 4-pounder that I couldn't get out of the pads." Throughout the week, the Mulkeytown, Ill., pro flipped a 5-inch, green-pumpkin Tiki Stick to catch his fish. Rose slips to third The smallmouth wouldnMark Rose of Marion, Ark., caught 10 pounds, 15 ounces, tallied a final weight of 24-12 and finished third for the pros earning a $8,100 check. Rose was the only angler locking into Pool 20. Each day he ran 20 miles south to an area that had a good mix of both smallmouth and largemouth bass. Plus, he had the spot completely to himself all four days of the tournament. "I didn't have the smallmouth bite today," Rose said. "My partner got the 4-pound smallmouth early this morning. Like I said yesterday, I'm not disappointed at all. Post-front conditions can be really tough and the sun really hurt me." Up until Saturday, Rose was enjoying a near flawless tournament. He was fishing rock piles on the edge of the current and had the perfect setup to work his 1/4-ounce spinnerbait. Rose also used a little green-pumpkin worm to finesse the smallmouths. "You knew right where the fish were positioned." Morgenthaler needed one more Chad Morgenthaler finished the tournament in fourth place on the pro side with a final-round total of 23-6.Chad Morgenthaler, a pro from Coulterville, Ill., brought 10-10 to the scale Saturday even though he only had four keepers. Had he boated one more, he could have taken the title away from Junk. As it is, Morgenthaler finished in fourth place with a final weight of 23-6 and collected $7,400. "I had the fifth one stuck five times," he said. "They'd jump over the bait, knock it around but they wouldn't eat it. I had to have all five of the key bites." Morgenthaler used a black and white Reactions Innovations Shark to catch his bass. Davis fifth William Davis could only manage four bass Saturday that weighed 8 pounds, 8 ounces. Davis finished the tournament in fifth place in the Pro Division.Day-three leader William Davis experienced the same problems as Morgenthaler. Despite receiving numerous topwater blowups, Davis only caught four bass on day four that weighed 8 pounds, 8 ounces. His final-round total registered at 22 pounds, 14 ounces, but he claimed the tiebreaker over sixth-place pro Nathan Huss. According to the FLW rulebook, ties on days three and day four are resolved by day-two standings. "I had the fifth fish stuck and I had about five more bites," the Russellville, Ala., pro explained. "Usually if they miss it, I can come back with a different bait and make them bite." Pro leader William Davis displays his key bait from this week on the Mississippi River.Davis' topwater bait of choice was the Zoom Horny Toad. The two other baits in his arsenal were a spinnerbait and a 12-inch worm. His consolation prize is not only a $6,900 check but also a likely berth in the $1 million Stren Series Championship in his backyard on Wheeler Lake. Heading into the final qualifying event on the Detroit River, Davis will have a two-point lead over pro Jim Jones in the Midwest Division Angler of the Year race. Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pro finalists in the Stren Series Midwest Division event on the Mississippi River: 6th: Nathan Huss of Elkhart Lake, Wis., 22-14, $5,900 7th: Wesley Strader of Spring City, Tenn., 20-0, $4,900 8th: Gary Colassessano of Indianapolis, Ind., 18-15, $4,400 9th: Jason Leuenberger of La Crosse, Wis., 17-9, $3,900 10th: Bobby McMullin of Pevely, Mo., 15-14, $3,400 Up next The next Stren Series event is a Northeast Division contest on the Potomac River in La Plata, Md., Aug. 16-19. The next Midwest Division event is scheduled for the Detroit River near Trenton, Mich., Sept. 6-9.

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Dobson Sticks With Jerkbait for Win

Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Michigan, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Michigan Division tournament of 2015 on Lake St. Clair. For his victory, Dobson earned $5,804. READ MORE »

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Johnston Targets Beds for Big Limit

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Football Jig Helps Bates Net Title

Matthew Bates of Greenville, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds even Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Ferguson. For his victory, Bates earned $3,963. READ MORE »

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Hipsher Hops Ledges for Victory

Craig Hipsher of Benton, Kentucky, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League LBL Division tournament of 2015 on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. For his victory, Hipsher earned $4,385. READ MORE »

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Lauer Wins on Ohio River

David Lauer of McConnelsville, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 12 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division tournament of 2015 on the Ohio River. For his victory, Lauer earned $6,289. READ MORE »

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Creature Bait Does it for Berhorst

Dennis Berhorst of Holts Summit, Missouri, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Ozark Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Truman. For his victory, Berhorst earned $5,963. READ MORE »

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Wendlandt Back at the Top

It’s been 14 seasons since Clark Wendlandt last stood on a Walmart FLW Tour stage and hoisted a tournament championship trophy. Since that time, the Texas pro has experienced ups and downs, including an Angler of the Year title (his third) in 2009 and a major medical issue that sidelined him for most of the 2014 season. All that’s in the past now, however, and Wendlandt is right back where he belongs in the world of bass fishing – in first place after the final day on the Potomac River in the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

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Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River

Clark Wendlandt didn’t pull off any secret techniques to win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. He simply found an area with the right quality of bass to win and managed it perfectly despite facing a medley of Mother Nature’s toughest challenges. The rest of the top 10 stuck with the standard Potomac targets too, namely grass, docks and wood cover. The only underlying trend of the top 10 is that they found areas to themselves. Here’s how the rest of the top 10 got it done at the 2015 Tour finale. READ MORE »

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Potomac River Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on the Potomac River presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-wendlandt-receives-helping-hand

Wendlandt Receives Helping Hand

Not to discredit Clark Wendlandt’s skills as a bass fisherman, but if it wasn’t for an extreme act of kindness on the part of fellow competitor Shin Fukae, Wendlandt wouldn’t be where he is this evening – leading through three days of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. Wendlandt suffered a mechanical failure with his rig just a couple of hours into competition that prevented him from running his big motor on plane. He was stuck, more or less, and planned to fish with the trolling motor as best he could before being towed back to the ramp early. If it’d played out as planned, Wendlandt would have lost significant fishing time and probably wouldn’t have weighed in a limit. Fukae would let nothing of the sort happen when he came across Wendlandt on the water and heard what had happened. In 16th place and fishless at the time, Fukae insisted that Wendlandt trade boats, effectively ending his tournament and giving Wendlandt the chance to catch 14 1/2 pounds and maintain his lead with a three-day total of 47-02. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-top-5-patterns-from-potomac-river-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Potomac River Day 3

Pouring rain, gusting winds, a remarkable act of kindness, an Angler of the Year title on the line – day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River certainly was not boring. To say the top 20 anglers were waterlogged after Saturday would be any understatement, but as nasty as the weather was, it wasn’t the biggest story of the day. Shinichi Fukae generously helped Clark Wendlandt retain his lead, while Scott Martin sealed the deal on his first AOY title. Meanwhile, a number of other anglers scrambled to adjust with what the weather and the Potomac are throwing at them. Here’s how the rest of the top five caught their fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-potomac-river-day-3-coverage

Potomac River Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on the Potomac River presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-26-wendlandt-in-familiar-territory

Wendlandt in Familiar Territory

A lot of flip-flopping took place on the second day of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. When the scale closed, it was three-time Tour Angler of the Year Clark Wendlandt who found himself on top with a two-day total of 32 pounds, 10 ounces. Wendlandt caught 17-13 today – the day’s second-heaviest limit – and leads Potomac local Bryan Schmitt by 1-12 going into the weekend. Wendlandt missed part of last season after suffering a heart attack but has rebounded with good success this season. He has won three times on Tour but hasn’t finished in first place since Beaver Lake in 2001. Details to come on the patterns of the top five. READ MORE »

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Potomac River Day 2 Coverage

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/news/2015-06-25-jersey-boy-leads-the-pack

Jersey Boy Leads the Pack

Talk about a traffic jam. And, no, we’re not talking about the streets around the Washington, D.C. area. We’re talking about the standings at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. Adrian “Jersey Boy” Avena leads the way with a 16-pound, 12-ounce limit, but a total of 41 pros weighed in at least 12 pounds. Many pros lamented the tough bite today, but the results say otherwise as 114 limits were brought to the scale on the pro side. Troy Morrow trails Avena by just 1-06, and 1 ounce behind Morrow is one of the most successful tidewater bass anglers of all time, Bryan Schmitt. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-top-5-patterns-from-potomac-river-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Potomac River Day 1

It might seem impossible for 405 miles of water to fish small, but space was hard to come by on day one of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. The creeks near takeoff at Smallwood State Park have seen as much traffic as a Washington, D.C. highway at rush hour. On the flip side, anglers who were able to develop patterns that got them away from the crowds, such as day-one leader Adrian Avena, have been able to reap the benefits of what has been a stingy fishery. Here’s how the rest of the pros in the top five caught their fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-aoy-shake-up-martin-makes-his-move

AOY Shake-Up: Martin Makes His Move

Scott Martin has been talking about winning the Angler of the Year title since before the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour season started. It’s on his mind and for good reason: Angler of the Year is the only major FLW title he hasn’t won in what Martin has built into one of the most decorated professional fishing careers in FLW Tour history. Today, on the first day of competition at the Tour finale on the Potomac River, Martin has unofficially moved into the lead in the AOY race for the first time all season. READ MORE »

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Potomac River Day 1 Coverage

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Richardson Wins All-American

Curtis Richardson has a way of surprising people – even himself. The Ontario angler had all but written himself off in the championship round of the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American, thinking his limit of five bass wouldn’t hold up for long with the likes of Jeremy Lawyer and Bill Schroeder breathing down his neck. READ MORE »

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All-American Midday Update Day 3

Big changes might be coming in the standings of the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American on Kentucky Lake, as some of the top 10 leaders struggled this morning to catch limits. Canadian angler Curtis Richardson, who currently is leading, had only one 3-pound keeper by midmorning. And second-place boater Billy Schroeder, who had fished just below the Paris Landing Bridge for the first two days, finally bailed out from there after catching four keepers this morning. READ MORE »