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.

Tags: headline-story  brett-carlson 

/news/2015-04-26-arey-does-it-again

Arey Does it Again

Quaker State pro Matt Arey of Shelby, N.C., wowed the crowed in Rogers, Ark., today with an incredible 17-pound, 3-ounce five-bass limit to come from behind and win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake. This is Arey’s second consecutive Beaver Lake FLW Tour victory. Arey’s final-day surge was enough to surpass two-time reigning Angler of the Year Andy Morgan, who led yesterday but weighed in only 9-08 today and fell to third. Arey’s four-day total was 55-06, earning the pro $125,000. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-26-beaver-lake-day-4-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-25-morgan-maintains-his-lead

Morgan Maintains His Lead

One of Andy Morgan’s fishing mottos is to make the best of what you have got “in front of you” to survive and fish another day. Beaver Lake doesn’t give much. So when an angler as resourceful as Morgan gets to a lake that doesn’t give out many resources, the two work well together. Instead of worrying about hitting it out of the park or putting immense pressure on himself to come up with a grand winning strategy, Morgan just scraps, scrapes and claws at the ground right in front of him, making the best of what he’s got. Morgan’s performance on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake was a prime example of his “make the best of it” attitude. After burning up the spawning fish he had located in practice during the first two days of the tournament, he was forced to fish by the seat of his pants today – something he thoroughly enjoys. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-25-gordon-and-gagner-crowned-tbf-champs

Gordon and Gagner Crowned TBF Champs

Two more anglers qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup today by winning the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship on Grand Lake in Grove, Okla. Shawn Gordon of Russellville, Ark., earned the TBF crown on the boater side by catching a three-day limit of 50 pounds, 2 ounces, capped by the largest limit caught today – 18 pounds, 10 ounces. Gordon earned $5,000 for his win, but more importantly, he’ll be competing against the best pros in the business in August at the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Gordon also won the TBF “Living The Dream” package, which includes paid entry into the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour, a travel stipend, and use of a wrapped truck and Ranger bass boat. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-25-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 3

Andy Morgan didn’t light up the world on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake, but he caught what he needed to maintain the lead and put a 1-pound, 9-ounce cushion between he and Matt Arey. Most of the rest of the top 20 scrambled today, abandoning their patterns and trying new options to try and make the final-day cut. Here’s how the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-25-beaver-lake-day-3-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-make-way-for-morgan

Make Way for Morgan

“Hidden largemouths” is quickly becoming the buzz term at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac, as those atop the leaderboard are using the term to refer to spawning largemouths that are so well hidden that other competitors never found them. These hidden fish are covered by thick brush, hidden so deep that they were only found during the very rare windows of sunshine during practice or located off the beaten path. The latter are not in obvious pockets or places where one would expect to find beds, but rather out on the main bluff channels where few ever look. On day one, Jacob Wheeler caught hidden largemouths to take the lead. On day two, former Beaver Lake champion Andy Morgan caught hidden largemouths to take over the pole position going into the weekend. His catch of 15 pounds, 7 ounces today gives Morgan a two-day total of 28-09 to take the lead by just 11 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 2

At halftime of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac, the top five reads like a who’s who of Beaver Lake. Leader Andy Morgan is a former Beaver Lake champion. Behind him, Darrel Robertson has been very close to winning here with a runner-up finish in 2005. In third is 2014 Beaver Lake champion Matt Arey. Bryan Thrift, in fourth, has never won on Beaver Lake, but has led here before. And finally, fifth-place pro Stetson Blaylock knows his way around this lake pretty well, too, with a couple of top 10s. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-heckman-heads-up-tbf-championship-field

Heckman Heads up TBF Championship Field

Some bass are still spawning in Grand Lake, and others are yet to make their way up to the shallows, but none of that interests Sam Heckman. Diligent commitment to his postspawn plan here Friday landed Heckman atop the boater field with 34 pounds, 3 ounces and locked up his Southwest Division win at the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship. Saturday, the top boater from each of seven TBF divisions will vie for the TBF National Championship and the “Living the Dream” package that goes with it. The package includes paid entry in the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour as a pro, a Forrest Wood Cup berth and use of a custom-wrapped truck and Ranger boat on Tour for the year, as well as a travel stipend for each event. Seven non-boaters – one from each TBF division – also will fish in tomorrow’s final round for a chance at paid entry into a Rayovac FLW Series division of choice. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-beaver-lake-day-2-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-wheeler-with-a-slim-lead

Wheeler with a Slim Lead

Jacob Wheeler has a plan to win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake this week. That plan involves primarily the largemouth species, a target weight of 14 pounds per day and a lot of fish management. Today, Wheeler surpassed his target by nearly 2 pounds with a 15-pound, 14-ounce catch that puts him in the driver’s seat at Beaver Lake, in the lead by just a scant 5 ounces over second-place pro Bryan Thrift. “Largemouths are the way to win here at Beaver Lake,” Wheeler says. “They are the fish to go the distance here, and that’s what I’m focusing on.” READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 1

Though there were plenty of fish caught off beds at Beaver Lake on day one of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac, the top five is rounded out by a group of anglers who relied on sight-fishing very little. Opinions on where exactly bass are in the spawning cycle at Beaver Lake vary greatly from angler to angler, but a few common denominators did come to light on day one. For starters, most agree that one major spawning cycle has already occurred. Plenty of empty beds and a lot of gaunt, postspawn fish at the scale were evidence of that. Second, there are still some bass (of all species) trying to spawn, but the ones left on beds are extremely wary. Finally, the order of difficulty to catch each species ranks as follows: smallmouth bass – extremely easy; spotted bass – not as easy; largemouth bass – extremely difficult. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-griffith-grabs-tbf-lead-

Griffith Grabs TBF Lead

By midday, the prospects were unclear for Jon “Scooter” Griffith here in The Bass Federation National Championship on Grand Lake, but in a roundabout way it provided just the clarity he needed to dial in a pattern that helped him take the day-one lead with an 18-pound, 13-ounce limit. Griffith began his day by sight-fishing the clear water down by the Pensacola Dam. This opening move, he says, gave him some early comfort, as it matched the transparent water he’s used to fishing near his home in Mesa, Ariz. Targeting windblown points, Griffith got his early bites with reaction baits in about 4 to 8 feet of water. Unfortunately, the plan turned out to be less productive than he had expected. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-beaver-lake-day-1-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 1 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-tbf-championship-tips-off

TBF Championship Tips Off

The spawn is on at Grand Lake, but that’s not the only game in town. As the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship plays out for the next three days, anglers will find this northern Oklahoma impoundment abounding with lots of fishing options. Brian Maloney, the 2012 Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American champion, says he was impressed with what he found in practice. “The quality of fish on Grand is just amazing,” notes the Missouri angler. “This lake continues to put out 3- and 4-pounders, and right now there’s a variety of things we can do. “There are guys sight-fishing for spawning fish, and we’re probably looking at another wave or two of fish coming in soon. I’m sure the full moon coming up in another week or so will move them in.” Adding that the lake currently has fish in all prespawn, spawning and postspawn stages, Maloney thinks that TBF contenders will be greeted by a mix of water conditions typical for Grand this time of year. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-top-10-baits-from-lake-murray

Top 10 Baits from Lake Murray

Competitors in the FLW College Fishing National Championship mostly targeted bass feeding on spawning blueback herring on shallow points and main-lake pockets. Across the board, herring-imitating baits such as soft jerkbaits, swimbaits, topwaters, wake baits and umbrella rigs dominated the event. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-jig-bite-carries-holmes-on-wateree

Jig Bite Carries Holmes on Wateree

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/news/2015-04-20-bryan-slows-down-for-chickamauga-win

Bryan Slows Down for Chickamauga Win

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/news/2015-04-20-morfis-dominates-with-34-pound-limit

Morfis Dominates With 34-Pound Limit

OKEECHOBEE, Fla. – Joshua Morfis of Cape Coral, Florida, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 34 pounds, 14 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Gator Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Okeechobee. For his victory, Morfis earned $6,336. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-salzman-cracks-31-pounds-on-guntersville

Salzman Cracks 31 Pounds on Guntersville

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