Keisel king of Hopatcong

MOUNT ARLINGTON, N.J. - Virginia angler David Keisel proved that it doesn't always take a limit to win a tournament. The Virginia Beach police officer was consistent enough, however, to take first place in The Bass Federation Mid-Atlantic Divisional Championship on New Jersey's Lake Hopatcong with a three-day total of 20 pounds, 15 ounces. With only two fish in his livewell, however, he wasn't too confident about keeping the first-place slot he held on day two when the final weigh-in took place Friday. "I was pretty sure I had blown it," he said. "The worst thing is that I was in the first flight so I was one of the first ones to weigh in today. TBF Mid-Atlantic Divisional Championship presented by The National Guard takes place Sept. 27-29."I had to sit there and watch some pretty big bags of fish come to the stage. I figured someone that wasn't too far behind me would move ahead of me," said Keisel, whose two fish weighed only 3 pounds, 12 ounces today. Three limits were weighed, including a 14-pound, 1-ounce sack, but none were heavy enough to overtake Keisel, who was awarded the Castrol Maximum Performer Award, a $500 gift card from Wal Mart. Hopatcong, located in northern New Jersey, was relatively calm on the first two days of the championship, but a powerful cold front roared across the state last night, leaving behind a cold, strong wind that hampered Keisel's strategy. He caught all of his fish the first two days on a 5-inch wacky-rigged Yamamoto Senko that he worked around docks, but the steady wind prevented him from using that bait effectively. Fortunately, he caught his only two bass on topwaters early in the day. "I got several hits yesterday on a topwater early, but they didn't eat the bait," he said. "Fortunately, two did today. I got both on a Bagley's Bang-O-Lure off a grass-covered point near where I caught my fish the first two days." Climbing Walls Jay Walls, a member of the Delaware Bass Federation, jumped from sixth place yesterday to second overall after bringing in a five-bass limit today that weighed 8 pounds, 11 ounces. His total weight was 20 pounds, 4 ounces. Four of those fish were smallmouths. Jay Walls, who is Delaware's conservation director, finished in second place overall.Walls fished a wacky-rigged 5-inch green-pumpkin-and-watermelon laminate Senko on the outside edge of a grass line. It was near the same area he fished the first two days. "I was catching them on the inside edge of the grass, but they weren't there this morning, so I moved to the outside edge and started catching them," he recalled. "I had to lay my line down on the water after I cast so the bait could sink down to the fish. That was what helped me catch the fish today." Walls, who was fishing as a nonboater, credits his partners for allowing him to go to the areas he located fish during the practice period. "My partner today gave me control of the boat for the entire day. I'm not sure I could have done as well if he didn't do that," he added. Schneidereit nets third Rich Schneidereit also stayed consistent enough to finish third after bringing three bass that weighed 6 pounds, 4 ounces to the scales today. His three-day total was 18 pounds, 11 ounces. "The way the wind was blowing, I changed up a little and threw a spinnerbait to windy banks. I was just working the inside edge of grass lines. The wind actually helped me today," he said. "I tried a crankbait some, but I didn't get anything on that." Pictured are the anglers advancing to the TBF National Championship. The top two anglers from each state team advance.Championship bound The following anglers will represent their states at The Bass Federation National Championship: Delaware - Jay Walls and Tony Kibler; West Virginia - Jody Green and Eric Stewart; New Jersey - Rich Schneidereit and David Frost; Pennsylvania - Randy Follner and Shawn Richard; Virginia - David Keisel and David Andrews; District of Columbia - Bill Kramer and Danny Shanz. (Anglers fishing in the boater division are listed first.) Final state standings Team Delaware is No. 1 at the TBF Mid-Atlantic Divisional Championship.The team from Delaware caught 44 pounds today and jumped from third place yesterday to first overall with a three-day combined weight of 109 pounds, 8 ounces. The West Virginia Bass Federation finished in second place with 99 pounds, 10 ounces, followed by New Jersey, which had a combined weight of 94 pounds, 7 ounces. Pennsylvania finished fourth, followed by Virginia and the District of Columbia. The Mid-Atlantic Divisional Championship was hosted by the New Jersey Bass Federation and presented by The National Guard.

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Beaver Lake Day 3 Coverage

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

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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Beaver Lake Day 2 Coverage

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

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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Beaver Lake Day 1 Coverage

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

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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 »

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Top 10 Baits from Lake Murray

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Jig Bite Carries Holmes on Wateree

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Bryan Slows Down for Chickamauga Win

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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 »

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Salzman Cracks 31 Pounds on Guntersville

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Lanter Wins on Rend Lake

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Top 10 Patterns from Lake Murray

As contestants in the FLW College Fishing National Championship on Lake Murray discovered last week, fishing the blueback herring spawn can be backbreaking work. All that stooping over to grab a different rig to cast at bass busting their favorite forage, and then quickly straightening, is hard on the old spinal column. Flexing up and down is what it took to contend in the championship, however, as bass couldn’t make up their minds whether they wanted their grub served on the surface or closer to the bottom. Typically, the collegians were fan-casting Carolina rigs, umbrella rigs, hard jerkbaits and even crankbaits to likely looking points and broad flats. Sometimes they caught fish with such random prospecting, but perhaps more bass were taken when anglers found themselves within casting distance of blowups and were quick enough to grab a soft jerkbait rig or topwater lure and virtually spoon-feed it to the fish. READ MORE »

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Gamecocks Win College Title

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Gamecocks Win National Title

As any good Palmetto State bass fisherman will tell you, home lake advantage only works if you’re consistent in your catches from day to day. Anthony Gagliardi proved it here on Lake Murray last summer in the Forrest Wood Cup, and the University of South Carolina proved it again in the FLW College Fishing National Championship that concluded Saturday. READ MORE »

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Hallman Prevails On Grand

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