UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Erie

Trombly’s time to shine

TRENTON, Mich. - If an angler wants to win a tournament on Lake Erie, he had better be prepared to work for it. And if Lake Erie isn't in a difficult mood, you can bet the Detroit River is. Such was the scene for this week's Stren Series Midwest Division season closer, and true to form, the river and the lake richly rewarded those who persevered with a steady stream of monstrous limits. Pro Mike Trombly of Perrysburg, Ohio, spent many a long hour practicing for this tournament, and it paid off well the first three days, when he brought in a succession of limits in excess of 20 pounds. In fact, Trombly was the only pro to break that 20-pound barrier yesterday. Saturday, though, was his toughest day yet, and he stood in the weigh-in line with his day-four catch of 17 pounds, 1 ounce and watched his fellow finalists bring in sacks totaling 19 and 20 pounds. Mike Trombly holds up part of his day-four haul that put him in the winnerIf Trombly was nervous, he didn't show it. The final angler to weigh in by virtue of his day-three No. 1 status, Trombly approached the stage to face the one angler who had hit 20 pounds today - Bryan Coates. In the end, it was Trombly by a hair - 5 ounces, to be exact - and despite a tough day on the water, sweet victory was finally his with a two-day total of 38 pounds, 8 ounces. "It's been perfect," Trombly said of his incredible week in Detroit. "It feels great to be the bride. I've always been the bridesmaid." Indeed, prior to this week, Trombly had finished in the top 10 on the Detroit River-Lake Erie 10 times in his FLW Outdoors career and had finished first only once, at a Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League tournament in 2001. What brought victory home this time was a variety of factors, not the least of which is that Trombly says he never lost a fish all week. Though Trombly did take off this morning with a 1-pound, 10-ounce advantage over his nearest competition, victory didn't come quite so easily. Like it always is on this fishery, Trombly had to work for it. "The day started off really slow," he said, echoing the statement of practically the rest of the top 10. "I started in an area where I had caught some fish earlier in the week, and it didn't produce. So I started covering a lot of water and fishing as many places as I could." Trombly started off in the river, where he bounced around without having a lot of luck. Then Trombly began to employ a strategy that would ultimately result in a lucrative victory. "I went to an area I knew didn't have big ones so I could start a decent sack and then run to catch big ones," he said. "I began making my way down the Canadian shore (on Lake Erie) and hit several different areas. It was a 36-mile run, and that was the farthest I ran all day." Mike Trombly takes a moment to let victory sink in.While Erie is known for producing bigger fish, Trombly kept the big picture in mind and went for both quantity and quality. "I spread out my time," he said. "I fished the river and the lake so I wasn't putting too much pressure on any one area." To bring in the bass, Trombly used typical Erie baits - tubes and gobies. His Mike's RX tubes brought in his kicker fish, and as he said onstage, there is no rocket science to the goby on this fishery. But he also had good luck today with a Rat-L-Trap and a Senko, the ultimate go-to bait. "I caught several on a Rat-L-Trap in 8 feet of water, and a Senko accounted for my two biggest fish," he said. For the victory, Trombly earned $8,400 cash plus a fully rigged Ranger boat. As a qualified Ranger owner, he took home $10,000 in contingency dollars as well as $4,500 as the highest-finishing participant in the Ranger Cup. Coates comes close Bryan Coates came close but settled for second with a two-day total of 38 pounds, 3 ounces.Ending the tournament in second place with 38 pounds, 3 ounces is Bryan Coates of Amherst, Ohio. Coates made a valiant effort for the victory today but ultimately came up just short. Coates is another one of those anglers who regularly performs well on Lake Erie and the Detroit River, but to hear him tell it, fall is not his best season to find success around here. Though the thin margin between him and Trombly would make many cringe, Coates was simply thankful to have done so well this time of year. Helping Coates with his challenge, though, were several co-anglers, including winner Dick Parker and No. 5 Charles Hasty. "Dick Parker and I got to fish a couple of days, and we were able to put something together," Coates said. "I had great co-anglers every day, and my co-angler on day three (Hasty) really saved me. That made my tournament - it got me into day four and into second place." Coates fished an ISG tube and an ISG goby on Lake Erie most of the week to catch his bass. "I went to the islands today, the same place I've fished all week," he said. "It was really good in the morning, and then right at the end, they turned back on." For his second-place finish, Coates earned $8,400 cash. Shaffer takes third Opening-round leader Dick Shaffer took third place with 37 pounds, 3 ounces of bass over the final two days.Opening-round leader Dick Shaffer of Rockford, Ohio, fell to seventh yesterday but picked it back up today to ultimately finish third with a two-day total catch of 37 pounds, 8 ounces. He caught 17-9 yesterday and improved that by more than 2 pounds today, bringing in 19-10, one of the heaviest sacks of the day. "I stopped here really close and had a limit by 7:15," Shaffer said. "I culled up the weight, and I had a spot that I thought was perfect. I was there by 9:15, and I got the bites, but I didn't put them in the boat." Shaffer would only say that the "perfect" spot was really far away. "Everything went really good until today," he said. "I thought everything was right to catch a big bag, and it was, but I lost two fish weighing over 5 pounds." Nevertheless, Shaffer earned $8,000 for his third-place finish and added a 28th top-10 finish to his resume. He said his key baits this week were the ISG tube and ISG goby. Vatalaro slips to fourth No. 4 Vic Vatalaro has some fun as he weighs in his fish on the final day. His two-day haul totaled 35 pounds, 14 ounces.After bringing in 19 pounds, 13 ounces yesterday to enter the final day in second, Vic Vatalaro of Kent, Ohio, brought in only 16 pounds, 1 ounce today to fall to fourth place with a two-day total of 35 pounds, 14 ounces. "I had a great time up here," said the ever-effusive Vatalaro. "I wound up fishing close the whole time. I lost some fish first thing in the morning and headed north, and it just didn't happen." Vatalaro said a key for him was using baits of different colors. His preferred baits this week were Mizmo gobies, the colors of which he changed throughout the day depending on the sun. He earned $7,350 for his fourth-place finish. Hayward moves up to fifth David Hayward improved his weight by more than 4 pounds to move from 10th to fifth.Yesterday's No. 10 pro David Hayward took fifth place with a two-day total of 35 pounds, 6 ounces, thus accomplishing what he set out to do today - move up in the standings. "My goal today was to do well and move up a couple of spots," Hayward said. "I went to my first area, and the wind died on us and so did the fishing. Then the wind picked up, and 15 minutes after the wind picked up, we started catching them." Hayward gets the most-improved award for the day, as his 15-pound, 7-ounce day-three catch was followed up today with a limit weighing 19 pounds, 15 ounces, the day's second-heaviest stringer. He earned $6,850 as the fifth-place pro. Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pros on the Detroit River: Veteran Stacey King took sixth place in the tournament and second place in the points.6th: Stacey King, Reeds Spring, Mo., 10 bass, 34-14, $5,850 7th: Todd Koehler, Metamora, Mich., 10 bass, 33-3, $4,850 8th: Terry Boyd, Cincinnati, 10 bass, 33-1, $4,350 9th: Kevin Spears, New Boston, Ohio, nine bass, 28-3, $3,850 10th: Joe Balog, Harrison Township, Mich., seven bass, 27-7, $3,350 Morgenthaler Midwest Division points champion With 728 points for the season, Coulterville, Ill., pro Chad Morgenthaler emerged as the 2006 Midwest Division Angler of the Year. Morgenthaler fished a solid season to take the points title, the highlight of which was a fourth-place finish last month on the Mississippi River in Iowa. He finished 24th at this week's event, just shy of the semifinal-round cut. He bested No. 2 Stacey King by 33 points. Coming up The Stren Series will next visit Lake Champlain in Plattsburgh, N.Y., for a Northeast Division event that will close out the regular season. That event takes place Sept. 27-30.

Tags: headline-story  jennifer-simmons 

/news/2015-08-29-matual-masters-erie

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 »

/news/2015-08-29-lake-erie-day-3-midday-update

Lake Erie Day 3 Midday Update

Lake Erie put on a different face for day three of the final Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event. After a rough day one, yesterday’s calm and mostly sunny conditions offered comfortable running and fishing conditions. Today was still a far cry from the brutal waves of day one - and prior practice days - but windier conditions and overcast skies seemed to present a more challenging scenario. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-28-top-5-patterns-from-lake-erie-day-2

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 »

/news/2015-08-28-lefebre-rhode-tied-at-the-top

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 »

/news/2015-08-28-lake-erie-day-2-midday-update

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 »

/news/2015-08-27-rhode-cracks-23-10-for-erie-lead

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 »

/news/2015-08-27-top-5-patterns-from-lake-erie-day-1

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 »

/news/2015-08-27-lake-erie-day-1-midday-report

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 »

/news/2015-08-25-top-10-patterns-from-the-forrest-wood-cup

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 »

/news/2015-08-23-knight-slays-ouachita

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 »

/news/2015-08-23-forrest-wood-cup-day-4-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-22-wheeler-back-in-front

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 »

/news/2015-08-22-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-3

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 »

/news/2015-08-22-forrest-wood-cup-day-3-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-ramie-races-into-the-lead

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 »

/news/2015-08-21-forrest-wood-cup-day-2-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-wheeler-hunting-history

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 »

/news/2015-08-20-forrest-wood-cup-day-1-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 1 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »