Turner tops at Amistad

DEL RIO, Texas - Rick Turner picked a fine way to follow up his day-three, record-setting, 14-pound, 8-ounce bass by rallying from third place today to win the Stren Series Texas Division event on mighty Lake Amistad. Turner's four-day, 90-pound, 9-ounce catch bested Dan Schoonveld by 1 pound, 2 ounces. With his tournament win, spectacular day three and 14-8 monster bass, Turner paints a picture for the way this whole tournament shook out. Overall, 13,193 pounds and 9 ounces of bass were caught out of Lake Amistad over the past four days, a new Stren Series record for heaviest total tournament catch. The tournament seemed to be a two-way race between Schoonveld and Bob Coleman, yesterday's leader. But both of them suffered surprising stumbles today, Coleman in particular, opening the door for Turner to claim a win that relied heavily on his massive day-three weight of 33 pounds, 3 ounces, which he followed up today with a limit weighing 16 pounds, 7 ounces. "Last year I weighed in the biggest sack of my life here, and I thought I would never, ever weigh in a sack that big again," Turner said. "But yesterday I had 33 pounds, and that's a fisherman's dream." Rick Turner displays his hard-won trophy from Lake Amistad.So is winning a Stren Series tournament, and though Turner has Wal-Mart FLW Tour and Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail victories to his credit, this is his first Stren Series crown, and no one was more surprised than he. "I don't believe it!" he said. "I got out there, and my fish weren't biting well - I didn't think I had a chance of winning. I thought I'd need 20 to 22 pounds. Third is what I was hoping for - this tops it all off." Turner's own 16-7 day-four limit wasn't the heaviest of the day by any means, so his third-place standing after day three was definitely a factor in his climb to the top. "I thought it would take more weight than that," he said. "I expected (the leaders) to do the same, so I didn't think I'd have enough." Making Turner's outlook even bleaker was that his go-to spot wasn't working out for him like he had hoped, so he left it and went looking for fish - a dead-end road. "The spot I had fished the first three days, I got bit in pretty early," he said. "But the bite was a lot slower - it wasn't the same. So I left, but I didn't get bit there either, so I went back to the spot and caught seven keepers and culled up. It was steady all day, just a long time between bites." Turner caught them on main-lake points with hydrilla and trees, a staging area for prespawn bass and a pit stop on the way back home for fish that had already spawned. "The fish were on their way in to spawn, and when they got through spawning, they'd go back there and kind of recoup," he said. Turner caught a few on a Carolina-rigged Brush Hog, but said the majority of his bass came on the lure that brought him the 14-8 - a prototype football-head jig made by Buckeye Lures, though he says he couldn't use it today because he had broken all of them off in the previous three days. For the win, Turner claimed $25,000 in cash plus a fully rigged Ranger boat. As for his mega-bass from day three, it has been donated to the Texas Share Lunker program, where Turner reports it is doing beautifully. Two-day leader Schoonveld takes second Dan Schoonveld ended the tournament in second place, just 1 pound, 2 ounces behind the leader.Dan Schoonveld of Mansura, La., spent the first two days of this event perched at the top of the leaderboard thanks to catches like his record-breaking day-one limit of 34 pounds, 12 ounces. Today proved to be a bit of a doozy, though, as he managed only 13 pounds, 3 ounces to bring his total weight to 89 pounds, 7 ounces, good for second place. "What I caught the first day, I couldn't believe it myself," he said. "It was one of those days where I couldn't go wrong. I was waiting for the fish to come in, and they didn't come in today." Schoonveld was fishing drains in creeks as well as what he describes as the sharpest points in the biggest spawning flats. He was using an Ezee Jig of his own design on a drop-shot. As for the spawning flats, Schoonveld said, "That's where the big fish were moving up, except today. The difference today was the fish went ahead and moved up, and I did not adjust." Wind played a major factor in this week's event, with wind speeds as high as 30 mph that would frustrate even the most disciplined angler. To combat that, Schoonveld relied on Kistler rods. "I think my Kistler rods were my No. 1 key," he said. "They're so light and sensitive that I could throw a 1/4-ounce weight and feel everything." For his second-place finish, Schoonveld earned $9,832 plus a $5,000 Ranger bonus. Elbow costs Coleman a victory Good sport Bob Coleman had a tough day four and ended up third with 89-5 over four days.In third place is yesterday's leader, Bob Coleman of Washington, Mo., with a three-day total of 89 pounds, 5 ounces. Coleman was very consistent the first three days of competition, bringing in 25-12, 26-5 and 24-15, respectively, but struggled today, weighing in only 11 pounds, 11 ounces. "I actually had more bites today," Coleman said. "But I've got a bad elbow. I set the hook and couldn't hold them. They just got off." Coleman did help deliver a decisive victory to his co-angler partner, Jimmy Ballard, who won that division by an unbelievable 24-pound, 3-ounce margin. "We had a great day," Coleman said. "I had the bites, and I had the opportunities; I just couldn't get it done." Coleman was Texas rigging Senkos with heavy weights, catching all prespawn fish in about 20 feet of water. For his third-place finish, he earned $8,849 plus a $5,000 Ranger bonus. Reneau fourth - again In fourth place for the third consecutive day is Tim Reneau of Seguin, Texas, with a four-day total of 88 pounds, 15 ounces. Reneau caught the day's heaviest pro limit, weighing in 23 pounds of Amistad bass. "I started out in practice fishing up the lake, fishing deep ridges, but the wind blew me off them," Reneau said. "I drove around every day looking for fish, and this is it." Reneau caught his bass on a 3/4-ounce green-pumpkin jig and a Senko. Repeat performer Johnston lands in fifth Current points leader and fifth-place finisher Stephen Johnston displays the 9-pounder he caught on day four.Sam Rayburn winner Stephen Johnston of Hemphill, Texas, took fifth place with a four-day catch of 83 pounds, 5 ounces. Johnston, too, had one of the better pro days, bringing in a limit today worth 21 pounds, 11 ounces. "I caught a 10-6 on Tuesday and came back and caught a 9-pounder today - it just doesn't get any better than Del Rio," Johnston said. Interestingly, Johnston's father, Wayne, made the co-angler top-10, and like his son, finished in fifth place in his division. The younger Johnston is also the Texas Division points leader, a trend likely to continue given that the next Texas event is on his home waters of Toledo Bend. Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pros on Lake Amistad: Barry Smith is the sixth-place pro with 79 pounds, 13 ounces over four days.6th: Barry Smith, Palo Pinto, Texas, 20 bass, 79-13, $5,899 7th: Jim Tutt, Longview, Texas, 20 bass, 77-14, $5,408 8th: Robert Robinson, Mobile, Ala., 20 bass, 73-6, $4,916 9th: David Curtis, Trinity, Texas, 19 bass, 72-7, $4,424 10th: Ronnie Eschete Jr., Thibodaux, La., 15 bass, 65-3, $3,933 Coming up The next Stren Series event is a Southeast Division contest at the Santee Cooper lakes near Manning, S.C., April 11-14. The next Texas Division tournament is the third event of the season. It will be held at Toledo Bend near Hemphill June 20-23.

Tags: headline-story  jennifer-simmons 

/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-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-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-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

READ MORE »

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

Bryan Slows Down for Chickamauga Win

READ MORE »

/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

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-lanter-wins-on-rend-lake

Lanter Wins on Rend Lake

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-19-top-10-patterns-from-lake-murray

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 »