Got Bass

DECATUR, Ala. - Other competitors might think it's a little unfair, but when Sam Bass of Section, Ala., weighs in at FLW Outdoors events, he is allowed to come to the stage with six bass - a five-bass limit plus himself. Today, when Bass weighed in, he brought up five bass for 19 pounds, 4 ounces to take the day-one lead in the Stren Series Championship on Wheeler Lake. And if that's just way too much bass for you, there's more: Bass now maintains a 3-pound lead over second place. While Bass could be considered a local on Wheeler, he contends he does not fish the lake very often. "I live near Guntersville. Why would I come here?" he joked. Kidding aside, Bass did say that he caught his leading weight in a way similar to how he fishes on Guntersville. "The common denominator is grass," he said. "These fish relate to the vegetation on Wheeler in much the same way as they do on Guntersville." Bass fished the Decatur Flats area with topwaters to catch eight keepers. "I found these fish on Tuesday with topwaters," he said. "The water has come up since then, but they were not too far from where I found them. They simply moved up into some scattered vegetation on a nearby flat. I fished one little area and never moved the boat all day. "Even though the water has come up, the fish don't move far from the ditches and deeper edges that they call home. When they start sucking the bottom out of the lake at the dam, the fish want to be able to get right back into a comfort zone." Looking ahead to tomorrow, Bass is a little worried about his primary area. "They bit so good in there today because the water had finally cleared up a little bit," he added. "But the wind is supposed to blow tomorrow and that will mess the place up. Once the waves start rolling in there, it gets muddy and the bite turns off." Lane Second Also fishing in the shallow slop is Bobby Lane of Lakeland, Fla., who sacked Pro Bobby Lane of Lakeland, Fla., is in second place with 16-4.five bass weighing 16 pounds, 4 ounces for second today. "I should have had a real big bag today," Lane lamented. "I lost so many big ones; it makes me sick to think about it." Lane fished one ditch in the Decatur Flats area most of the day. "I started out flipping the matted stuff, like we do back home in Florida," he said. "I caught a few that way, but then I noticed they were pulling water, and as they pulled it, it was clearing up. So I made a bait change, and at about 1 o'clock, they started chewing - it was unreal. At one point my partner and I doubled up on two good fish. But the ones I lost are going to haunt me." Lefebre third Pro Dave Lefebre of Union City, Pa., is in third place with 15-10.Dave Lefebre of Union City, Pa., parked himself in third place with five bass weighing 15 pounds, 10 ounces. Lefebre had located a nice bunch of fish in practice along a ditch edge, but when he returned to it this morning, he did not get a bite on his first few key casts. "The fish had vanished, and I immediately knew something was wrong," Lefebre said. "Then I noticed how much the water came up overnight. It's been rising every day, and just from yesterday, it's probably come up another half a foot. I moved about 30 yards up onto a nearby flat, and I found the fish again. I really believe those fish from the ditch repositioned up there with the rising water." Shepard tied for fourth In the fourth-place position is Mark Shepard of Labelle, Fla., with a five-bass limit Pro Mark Shepard of Labelle, Fla., is tied for fourth with 14-5.weighing 14 pounds, 5 ounces. Like Lane, Shepard relied on his Florida flipping roots to point him in the direction of some grassy bass. "I'm catching some out of grass close to here (Decatur), but I'm also catching some off wood way upriver," Shepard said. "I caught about 12 keepers today, half down here and half up there. The problem is my two best spots are miles apart, and I spent a lot of time running today." Scott also tied for fourth Pro Ricky Scott of Van Buren, Ark., is tied for fourth with 14-5.Ricky Scott of Van Buren, Ark., is tied with Shepard for fourth place with five bass weighing 14 pounds, 5 ounces. Scott noted that three of his biggest fish came from one small 20-yard stretch. "I'm fishing close to here in Decatur, and I'm fishing pretty shallow," he said. "I could get out of the boat and walk to the bank and not get very wet if I had to. But I need the clouds and wind like we had today to fish the way I am. If it gets sunny and calm, I could be in trouble." Big bass David Cioppa of Hopkinton, Maine, weighed in a 7-pound largemouth to take the day-one big-bass award of $750. Szwankowski leads co-anglersThomas Szwankowski of Hope, Ark., leads the Co-Angler Division of the Stren Series Championship with 12-7. Thomas Szwankowski of Hope, Ark., boated five bass for 12 pounds, 7 ounces to take the day-one lead in the Co-angler Division of the Stren Series Championship. Szwankowski spent the day fishing with pro Justin Kerr of California. "I caught a few on a Carolina rig out deep, but my best fish came on a Horny Toad around a grass mat," Szwankowski said. "My goal tomorrow is to catch a limit. I feel like I need to catch a limit just to hold me in the top 10." Gift second Central Division Co-angler of the Year Bill Gift ended day one in the second position at the Stren Series Championship.Bill Gift of Alix, Ark., fished with Lane today to sack five keepers weighing 12 pounds, 1 ounce for second place. "It was just a great day of fishing," Gift said. "Like Bobby, I missed some key fish today, but I ended up with five good ones, so I can't complain." Gift reported catching his fish on a mixture of flipping and topwaters. Knight frogs for third Monte Knight of Quitman, Miss., fished with pro Jess Caraballo to catch four bass weighing 11 pounds, 2 ounces for third in the Co-angler Division. "I threw a topwater toad all day," Knight said. "I missed some good bites with it, but that's frog fishing for you - some are going to come off from time to time. It seemed the key was to keep cranking it steady over the grass without stopping it." Orr, Billmaier round out top five Sammy Orr of Maryville, Tenn., is in fourth place in the Co-angler Division with five bass for 10 pounds, 13 ounces. And Jason Billmaier of Las Vegas is in fifth place with five bass for 10 pounds, 12 ounces. Co-angler big bass The day-one big-bass award of $375 went to red-hot co-angler Bud Strader of Rockwood, Tenn., for his 5-pound, 5-ounce lunker. The cash just keeps piling up for Strader as he also won the last Wal-Mart FLW Series event at Lake of the Ozarks.

Tags: headline-story  rob-newell 

/news/2015-03-30-top-10-patterns-from-lewis-smith

Top 10 Patterns from Lewis Smith

The Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Evinrude on Lewis Smith Lake featured a mishmash of springtime patterns that ranged from targeting bass feeding on blueback herring to catching spawning fish to dropping in on deep schools of spotted bass. Here’s a breakdown of the patterns of the top 10 pros. READ MORE »

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Lefebre Lands on Top

He left the dock this morning in 7th place, eight and a half pounds off the lead. And when he returned this afternoon, Dave Lefebre shocked the weigh-in crowd with a come-from-behind Walmart FLW Tour win that left his competitors shell-shocked. READ MORE »

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Lewis Smith Lake Day 4 Coverage

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Birge Buzzes Ahead

Today started off with a slightly miserable 31-degree air temperature, but it didn’t take long for the top 20 pros to really heat up on Lewis Smith Lake at the second stop of the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour presented by Evinrude. Reports poured in throughout the day of big bass – especially big largemouths – being caught off beds. It looked at first as if one of the “largemouth lookers” might piece together a big enough bag to snatch the lead away from Oklahoma rookie Zack Birge, who struggled early to make his shallow topwater pattern work. Unfortunately for the rest of the field, the young gun Birge has the coolness and patience of a veteran, and he stuck with his game plan of throwing a buzzbait and soft jerkbait rig until the sun had time to warm the shallows and spur the fish to become more active. Birge tallied 17 pounds, 11 ounces today, raising his three-day total to 54-8 and giving him a lead of 3-11 over Texas veteran Clark Wendlandt in second place. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 3

After three days, it looks as if tournament leader Zack Birge has the quality largemouth bite in the bushes wired. But behind him on the leaderboard are nine pros doing everything from sight-fishing to catching schooling bass and everything in between. Even with all the patterns in play, few have fizzled. The sight-fishers have reported finding new bedders, the schoolers are still schooling and a couple of guys have even started tapping floating docks. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-millsaps-wins-on-lake-sinclair

Millsaps Wins on Lake Sinclair

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – David Millsaps of Ranger, Georgia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds, 10 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Bulldog Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Sinclair. For his victory, Millsaps earned $6,009. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-walters-nets-third-victory-on-wylie

Walters Nets Third Victory on Wylie

LAKE WYLIE, N.C. – Todd Walters of Kernersville, North Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League North Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Wylie. For his victory, Walters earned $4,350. READ MORE »

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Lewis Smith Lake Day 3 Coverage

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/news/2015-03-28-mosley-on-top-at-arkansas-river

Mosley on Top at Arkansas River

MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Brandon Mosley of Choctaw, Oklahoma, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Okie Division tournament of 2015 the Arkansas River. For his victory, Mosley earned $5,349. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-topwater-takes-birge-to-the-top

Topwater Takes Birge to the Top

On a day when chilly, windy post-front conditions challenged many Walmart FLW Tour anglers who were relying on sight-fishing for spawning bass, Zack Birge bucked the trend and pulled out a pair of topwaters to haul in 17 pounds, 14 ounces. Birge jumped from third place past day-one leader Drew Benton to take over the top spot on Lewis Smith Lake in the event, which is presented by Evinrude. Birge’s two-day total of 36-13 has him positioned 1 pound ahead of Benton. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 2

While air and water temperatures plummeted on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude, the big surprise came in the stability of the fishing patterns amidst such change. Zack Birge found plenty of production on his primary pattern to send him to the top of the leaderboard, and those under him held true to their patterns as well to secure a ticket to day three’s top 20. Among the biggest surprises was the number of pros who were still able to pluck fish off beds. Most pros that were sight-fishing say the bass are committed to beds and that the cold snap will not run them off at this point in time. Despite the cold, some even found new fish on beds that were not there yesterday. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-lewis-smith-lake-day-2-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 2 Coverage

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/news/2015-03-26-benton-blasts-20-12-on-lewis-smith

Benton Blasts 20-12 on Lewis Smith

Panama City, Fla., pro Drew Benton jumped into the early lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude with a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 12 ounces. Benton caught a mix of largemouths and spotted bass, and revealed that both black bass species are spawning. He leads a tight top 20 that includes 18 pros that caught more than 15 pounds each. The first day was an absolute fish-fest. Of the 154 pros fishing this tournament, 138 weighed limits. Brad Roberts of Faubush, Ky., has a 2-ounce lead in the co-angler division with a 13-pound, 4-ounce limit. Tomorrow he’ll try to defend his lead on the final day of co-angler competition. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 1

While Drew Benton was busy bugging bedding fish for his day-one tournament lead, several others behind him were scoring big with other fishing options on Lewis Smith Lake. Sight-fishing also played a role in the top limits produce by Tracy Adams, Scott Martin and Ish Monroe, but Clayton Batts and Zack Birge both brought in big bags with other patterns. Click here to read about Benton’s day-one performance at the second Walmart FLW Tour event of 2015, which is presented by Evinrude. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-lewis-smith-lake-day-1-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 1 Coverage

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/news/2015-03-22-arkansas-anglers-win-college-open

Arkansas Anglers Win College Open

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/news/2015-03-21-kendrick-king-on-guntersville

Kendrick King On Guntersville

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/news/2015-03-21-epting-s-30-pounds-tops-on-santee-cooper

Epting's 30 Pounds Tops on Santee Cooper

SUMMERTON, S.C. – Chris Epting of Chapin, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 30 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Santee Cooper. For his victory, Epting earned $3,679. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-wood-rock-key-for-middleton-s-victory

Wood, Rock Key for Middleton's Victory

HUDDLESTON, Va. – Dennis Middleton of Madison Heights, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division tournament of 2015 on Smith Mountain Lake. For his victory, Middleton earned $7,199. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-johnson-wins-on-dale-hollow

Johnson Wins on Dale Hollow

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – Robby Johnson of Byrdstown, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mountain Division tournament of 2015 on Dale Hollow Lake. For his victory, Johnson earned $5,689. READ MORE »