UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2015 - Ohio River

Fleetwood’s finest hour

BULL SHOALS, Ark. - With 16 top-10 finishes to his name, Tim Fleetwood is a seasoned FLW Outdoors professional angler. Fourteen of his top-10 finishes have come from the deep, clear impoundments of the Ozark region. Despite an admirable local resume, he's finished in just about every position in the top 10 except for one: first. A determined Fleetwood changed that today, and he did so amid brutal conditions that included heavy snow showers and westerly winds gusting up to 40 mph. Fishing in his first Stren Series event since 1999, Fleetwood made an ultratough Bull Shoals Lake look like child's play. This event was, to some extent, a redemption tournament for Fleetwood. At the 1999 BFL All-American, he officially finished fourth, less than 4 pounds shy of victory. What the official results don't say is that the tournament, held on the Mississippi River near Onalaska, Wis., was a no-cull event. Fleetwood had his fifth fish stuck several times, but he decided to chuck it back and fish for the win. Had he weighed a fifth fish, he would have been just ounces away from the most prestigious title in weekend angling. There were no crucial decisions like that to be made today, as Fleetwood went into Saturday's final round with nearly a 9-pound lead. With his Tim Hughes custom jerkbait leading the way, the Forsyth, Mo., pro caught five fish for 11 pounds, 9 ounces and was able to keep hard-charging Mark Rose at bay. Pro Tim Fleetwood celebrates after winning the 2006 Stren Series Central Division event on Bull Shoals Lake."I feel like I'm still out on the water," he said. "I was so focused all week, it hasn't really sunk in yet. I was always thinking about what to do to get my next bite." Fleetwood was the only pro who was able to catch a five-bass limit each of the four days of Central Division competition. Fittingly, he had to adjust today as the brutal conditions wouldn't allow him to reach his best area. Running north this morning, instinct told Fleetwood to stop and fish a small cove just south of Big Creek. The detour turned out to be a profitable one as he ended up spending the whole day there. "I felt like if I could just catch a limit, I could win this thing. When I put that fifth fish in the boat at noon, I thought I had it." In addition to dominating the bass this week, Fleetwood put a hurting on the Bull Shoals walleye population. Yesterday the pro winner caught a walleye that registered 19 pounds, 5 ounces on his digital scale. Although rare, Bull Shoals Lake is no stranger to trophy walleyes. In fact, the current world record was caught on Greers Ferry, also located in the Ozark region of Arkansas. For some perspective, Fleetwood's fish would be a record in most Midwestern states, and was only 3 pounds short of the current world record. He wanted to keep the fish at the time, but it wouldn't fit in his livewell, plus he was plenty busy with the tournament at hand. A look at Tim FleetwoodWhile he fished several areas, they were all located on the extreme north end of the lake. Day four was the first day he fished near Big Creek. At all his areas, Fleetwood focused on suspended fish located near channel swings. The specific colors of his Tim Hughes custom jerkbait were mainly red and orange. The bait, which included spots of chartreuse and flake, was actually designed by Fleetwood himself. After receiving the specifications, Hughes airbrushed and finished the bait, which was presented on 8-pound-test Stren monofilament. In all, Fleetwood's four-day total of 52 pounds, 12 ounces earned him a $25,000 cash purse and a fully loaded Ranger boat. Rose finishes runner-up Rose came after Fleetwood with guns blazing today, turning in the best catch of the day - 14 pounds, 8 ounces - but his day-one performance ultimately came back to haunt him. Rose, who is from Marion, Ark., finished second with a four-day combined weight of 46 pounds, 12 ounces worth $13,301. Marion, Ark., pro Mark Rose caught the heaviest limit of the day and finished the tournament in second place.For most of the opening round, Rose threw a brown 3/8-ounce jig in 10 to 15 feet of water. Late in the day yesterday, he discovered that he was just a few feet from the ultimate honeyhole. Accidentally backing off the bluff wall he was fishing, he suddenly saw a flurry of activity on his electronics. After changing from the finesse jig to a football-head jig, he immediately began to reap the benefits. On day four, as his snow-filled Ranger boat idled up to that same area, Rose wasn't sure if he was going to catch them again. "Once I put my line in, it was every cast for about an hour," he said. "It seemed like they were all 3-pounders though. I never really could get that big bite." Had Rose made the change earlier in the tournament, it could possibly have been enough to overcome the 6-pound difference between Fleetwood and him. Weisinger third Oklahoma angler Jerry Weisinger rebounded on day four and finished third in the Pro Division.Pro Jerry Weisinger rebounded nicely on day four with a five-bass limit weighing 10 pounds, 8 ounces. In fact, day three was the only day the Wyandotte, Okla., pro failed to bring a limit to the scale. His total weight spanning four days was 38 pounds, 7 ounces. That placed him third and earned him a check for $7,471. Weisinger's primary area was located on the Missouri side of the lake and consisted of steep, bluffy banks. His main lures this week were a chrome and blue Smithwick Rogue jerkbait, an Eakins jig and a Wiggle Wart crankbait. "I think the pockets that I was fishing were getting too cold," he said. After taking last year off to refresh and spend time with his family, Weisinger's 2007 season is off with a bang. Hutson falls to fourth Randall Hutson of Washburn, Mo., finished fourth with a four-day total of 36 pounds, 8 ounces worth $6,641. Hutson led each of the first two days of the tournament, but only caught four keeper bass over the final two days. "I knew when the wind changed I was done," said Hutson, who used a 4 1/2-inch Smithwick Rogue jerkbait and a Lucky Strike jig. "With the water being this cold, the fish wanted something real slow." The former Wal-Mart FLW Tour champion may not be a household name in professional bass fishing, but his accolades stack up against the best anglers in the sport. As proof, Hutson has accumulated over $450,000 in FLW Outdoors career earnings. His major accomplishments include an FLW Tour win on the Connecticut River in 1998, which at the time was the richest bass tournament in the history of the sport. His other major paydays have come in the Ozarks, a surprise to no one. He took second at the Wal-Mart Open on Beaver Lake in 2002 and again in 2003. Each of those tournaments earned Hutson $100,000. Nixon fifth Pro Larry Nixon finished his first Stren Series event in fifth place.FLW Tour veteran Larry Nixon of Bee Branch, Ark., finished fifth with a combined total of 36 pounds even. Fishing in the first Stren Series event of his career, Nixon earned $5,810. He got there by improving his catch as the tournament progressed. It's a rarity when one of the best anglers to ever pick up a rod and reel sneaks up on the competition, but that's exactly what happened. After only one and a half days of practice, Nixon struggled out of the gate with only 3-4 on day one. Each of the next three days he returned to form by catching double-digit limits. Like many of the other finalists, Nixon ran nearly 50 miles from the Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock to get to his fish. He used both a green and gold Rapala Husky Jerk and a 6-inch Smithwick Rogue jerkbait to trigger his strikes. The Chevy pro said he was able to fish shallower (7 to 10 feet) than most because his water had a darker stain to it. "This morning it was so cold that I didn't really want to go fishing, but I knew I better because I was on some good fish," Nixon said. "But I had a ball at my first Stren. I just love these clear-water lakes." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pros at the Stren Series Central Division event on Bull Shoals: 6th: Robbie Dodson of Harrison, Ark., four-day total of 35-12, $4,980 7th: Jeff Evans of Benton, Ky., 31-2, $4,566 8th: Brent Maurer of Ledbetter, Ky., 28-0, $4,150 9th: Matthew Jones of Spokane, Mo., 25-15, $3,735 10th: Ben Kurtz of Elkhorn, Wis., 25-13, $3,321 The next Stren Series event will take place March 7-10 on Lake Eufula, the third qualifier in the Southeast Division. The next Stren Series Central Division event will be held on Kentucky Lake May 2-5.

Tags: headline-story  brett-carlson 

/news/2015-08-03-balog-back-on-top

Balog Back on Top

Joe Balog of Harrison Township, Michigan, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Michigan Division tournament on Lake St. Clair. For his victory, Balog earned $6,418. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-03-edwards-finally-brings-it-home

Edwards Finally Brings it Home

Gary Edwards of Milton, Kentucky, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 11 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Hoosier Division tournament on the Ohio River. For his victory, Edwards earned $6,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-01-browne-sticks-to-the-bank-to-win

Browne Sticks To The Bank To Win

A lot would have had to happen for Glenn Browne to relinquish his hard-earned lead on the final day of the Rayovac FLW Series event presented by Plano on Lake Champlain. It turned out that a lot did happen, but with help from his friends and a great pattern, Glenn Browne socked 18 pounds, 7 ounces on the final day for a 63-pound, 8-ounce total and a payday of $34,097 plus a new Ranger Z518 with a 200-hp outboard. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-01-champlain-midday-update-day-3

Champlain Midday Update Day 3

Day three of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano on Lake Champlain started with a beautiful sunrise and light rain that had tapered off by the beginning of takeoff. For leader Glenn Browne, the beauty was soon marred by a breakdown that occurred shortly into his run south. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-31-top-5-patterns-from-champlain-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Champlain Day 2

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Plano on Lake Champlain definitely shook up the leaderboard. While Glenn Browne took a huge lead, the rest of the pack swapped around and remained pretty tight. Browne is catching his fish down south near Ticonderoga, but the north end has also produced very well for the rest of the field. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-31-browne-crushes-again-leads-by-6-

Browne Crushes Again, Leads By 6+

Averaging 20 pounds or more is a difficult thing to do in a multi-day tournament on Lake Champlain, but Glenn Browne might be on his way to doing it in the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano. After two days, the Ocala, Fla., pro has run to Ticonderoga twice and sacked up nearly identical bags for a total of 45 pounds, 8 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-31-champlain-midday-update-day-2

Champlain Midday Update Day 2

While day one of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano on Lake Champlain was wracked by high winds and rain in the morning, day two has been almost as good as Champlain can be. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-30-cioppa-leads-on-champlain

Cioppa Leads On Champlain

David Cioppa of Hopkinton, Mass., weighed 22 pounds, 13 ounces late in the weigh-in to grab the lead after the first day of the Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Champlain. Cioppa weighed all largemouths and says that he caught the entirety of his weight by about 9 a.m. from one location in the northern end of the lake. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-30-top-5-patterns-from-champlain-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Champlain Day 1

Lake Champlain was rough and wild on day one of the Rayovac FLW Series event presented by Plano, and a bunch of the anglers still got it done in a big way. David Cioppa caught largemouths in the Inland Sea, but the rest of the top guys spread out all over the massive lake. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-30-champlain-midday-update-day-1

Champlain Midday Update Day 1

Takeoff was placid enough, with a beautiful sunrise and a light breeze in the slightly protected corner that is Plattsburgh. By about 6:30 a.m., day one of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano on Lake Champlain was already beginning to get rough. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-21-top-picks-from-icast

Top Picks From ICAST

A few days of walking the floor at ICAST is enough to exhaust a body, but it isn’t enough to know exactly what’s worthwhile. For that, you need some time to reflect and probably a few tournament seasons to fly by to see what rises up. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-renfrew-fished-to-win

Renfrew Fished to Win

Ian Renfrew of Phoenix, New York, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Northeast Division tournament on Oneida Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Renfrew earned $4,695. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-docks-and-rocks-key-for-synders

Docks and Rocks Key for Synders

Rus Snyders of Nashville, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Music City Division tournament on Old Hickory Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Snyders earned $2,703. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-jig-crankbait-carry-powroznik

Jig, Crankbait Carry Powroznik

Ryan Powroznik of Prince George, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 15 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division tournament on the James River. For his victory, Powroznik earned $7,507. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-persistence-pays-for-arning

Persistence Pays for Arning

Ray Arning Jr. of Walnut Hill, Illinois, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Illini Division tournament on Rend Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Arning earned $5,804. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-17-new-rod-roundup

New Rod Roundup

Rod companies continue to impress each year with a new crop of lighter, faster and more affordable (sweet!) rods. On the subject of price, these days, a tournament pro or an average angler could be fishing with rods that cost less than $100 apiece, but without giving up anything in the realm of quality. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-17-new-terminal-tackle

New Terminal Tackle

Don’t skimp where it counts the most – terminal tackle. Hooks, weights, jigheads and the like are the keys to taking all those new soft baits and swimbaits to the fish, hooking them and getting them in the boat. Here’s the best stuff we saw on the floor at ICAST 2015. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-flw-announces-2016-tour-schedule

FLW Announces 2016 Tour Schedule

FLW announced the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour regular-season schedule today in a live press conference held at the 2015 ICAST show in Orlando, Fla. With the help of six veteran Tour pros, the company unveiled each of the six events, one-by-one, to a crowd of observers gathered around the FLW booth. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-6-new-reels-to-try

6 New Reels to Try

Whether you need to replace an old reel or you’re just looking to add to the arsenal, here are some of the latest and greatest from ICAST. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-6-new-lines-from-icast-2015

6 New Lines from ICAST 2015

Line might just be the most important part of the package when it comes to landing fish. From presenting the bait to getting them in the net, your line is involved the entire way. If you’re looking for something new to try, the following lines are worth a shot. READ MORE »