Double whammy

MANNING, S.C. - At the beginning of the 2007 Stren Series Southeast Division season, Ken Ellis of Bowman, S.C., had one simple goal: to win the Stren Southeast points race. The Angler of the Year in each of the five Stren Series divisions receives only a trophy, but for Ellis, it's not about rewards. It's about a sense of accomplishment. "I finished sixth in the points last year," he said before competition began Saturday morning. "So this year, I made a concerted effort to stay focused on the points." He started the year at Lake Okeechobee with a 36th-place finish. He grinded his way through an ultratough Lake Seminole event, where he checked in a small limit each day for a 14th-place finish. Then he journeyed to Lake Eufaula for an eigth-place finish. Coming down the "home" stretch at Santee Cooper, the well-known Santee expert sat in second place in the points race, 24 points behind Jesse Draime of Longbeach, Miss., and he knew that his goal was within reach. As he suited up for competition this morning with both a Santee win and a points title on his mind, it was hard to know which was the cake and which was the icing. "Of course, there is more financial reward in winning the tournament," he said. "But, I've already won here on Santee once before, and I've never won the points. Financially, I favor winning the tournament. But from the standpoint of personal goals, I favor the points title." After sacking 27 pounds, 5 ounces in the final round of competition on Santee Cooper today, Ellis ran away with both the icing and the cake, leaving hardly a crumb or a smidge of frosting for his competitors. His four-day total came to 86 pounds, 7 ounces, giving him a 9-pound margin of victory in the tournament. And as for the points title, he clinched it with 745 points.Ken Ellis of Bowman, S.C., wins the Santee Cooper Stren Series event and the Stren Series Southeastern Divison points title for 2007. All week Ellis fished the Bonneau area of Lake Moultrie, targeting brush-sweetened stumps that he has spent years preparing in the bottom of Lake Moultrie. "I've fished these lakes for nearly 35 years, and in that time I've learned where some of the best stumps are that the big fish spawn around," Ellis explained. "When the lake gets low in the winters, Chuck (Howard) and I wade out to these stumps and nail brush to them." Ellis has cleverly designed his stump-sweetening project around his boat position. "I'll attach brush to two to three stumps in a semicircle that will all be within casting distance of my boat," he revealed. "Then I GPS where I want my boat to be positioned relative to that brush rather than GPSing the brush itself." In terms of lures, Ellis relied on a weightless Zoom Trick worm, Senko and Zoom 4-inch lizard tied to 6- and 8-pound-test line. He cast the lures to his sweetened stumps and worked them ultraslow, allowing each cast to settle about 30 seconds before moving it. "It's been a special week," Ellis said after accepting his two titles. "Winning both is special, but what's really special is winning it right here at home in front of all these fine folks. "Every year a lot of these people drive from all over South Carolina to come see me weigh in here. Last year I let them down with a second-place finish in the tournament and a sixth-place finish in the points. But this year, I got them both, so this is for all my supporters that have come here year after year, waiting for this win." Hutson second Fishing his first Stren event, Mark Hutson of Moncks Corner, S.C., weighed in an astounding 28 pounds, 2 ounces today to finish runner up with a four-day total of 77 pounds, 6 ounces.Fishing his first Stren event, Mark Hutson of Moncks Corner, S.C., weighed in an astounding 28 pounds, 2 ounces today to finish runner-up with a four-day total of 77 pounds, 6 ounces. "I did what I like to do all week," Hutson said. "Sight-fish." Hutson also fished Lake Moultrie in the Bonneau and Hatchery areas, targeting sight-fish around stumps and cypress trees with a Zoom green-pumpkin Ultra-vibe Speed Craw tied to 20- and 40-pound-test braid. "It's been pretty slim pickings down there all week, but today I saw the biggest wave of fish I've seen all year move up," he said. "My partner (co-angler champion Brad Rodrigue) and I had all of our fish by 11 or 12 o'clock; it was just an awesome day of fishing." Kremer third After weighing in just 6 pounds, 10 ounces yesterday, After weighing in just 6 pounds, 10 ounces yesterday, Joseph Kremer of Osteen, Fla., rebounded big today with 21 pounds, 14 ounces. Joseph Kremer of Osteen, Fla., rebounded big Saturday with 21 pounds, 14 ounces. He finished fourth with a four-day total of 71 pounds, 13 ounces. Kremer sight-fished a Culprit Wooly Booger and a Culprit topwater frog for his catch today. Kremer also ended up second in the Stren Series Southeast Division points race with a total of 729 points. Thrift fourth Bryan Thrift weighed in 23 pounds, 10 ounces today to round out his four-day total at 70 pounds, 9 ounces.Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., capped off his Stren Series season with yet another Stren top-10 in fourth place. He weighed in 23 pounds, 10 ounces today to round out his four-day total at 70 pounds, 9 ounces. "I was sight-fishing in the lower lake," Thrift said. "I used a white Zoom lizard. "I chose the white color because I was making such long casts to the beds; I couldn't really see how close the fish was getting to the bait. But with that white, you can see it good, and whenever that lizard disappeared, I knew it was time to set the hook." Howard fifth Ken Ellis' brush-planting partner, Chuck Howard of Elloree, S.C., finished fifth with a four-day total of 66 pounds, 11 ounces.Chuck Howard of Elloree, S.C., finished fifth with a four-day total of 66-11. Ellis brought in his biggest bag of the week, 20 pounds, 8 ounces, today. Similar to Ellis, Howard used weightless Trick Worms in a watermelon color on light line. He fished isolated stumps and trees in Lake Moultrie. "They really moved up today," he said. "I caught more fish today than I have all week." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pros in the Santee Cooper Stren Series event: 6th: Ricky Shumpert of Lexington, S.C., four-day total of 61-15 7th: Greg Pugh of Cullman, Ala., 59-3 8th: Glenn Browne of Ocala, Fla., 57-2 9th: Nicholas Turner of Jones, Ala., 50-15 10th: Ryan Worthington of Middleburg, Fla., 47-13

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/news/2015-05-23-brown-rallies-for-seminole-win

Brown Rallies for Seminole Win

When the Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Seminole started on Thursday, hot, slick conditions prevailed. The air temperatures pushed into the 90’s, water temperatures hovered between 80 and 85 degrees – summertime was on. Or was it? READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-23-jeter-takes-co-angler-crown

Jeter Takes Co-Angler Crown

Call it a local’s sweep at the Rayovac FLW Series on Lake Seminole. While local pro Clint Brown of Bainbridge, Ga., won the boater Division, his Bainbridge neighbor, Greg Jeter won the Co-angler Division to make it a local twofer. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-23-lake-seminole-day-3-midday-update

Lake Seminole Day 3 Midday Update

Second place pro Clint Brown was gaining some serious ground on Reneau as Brown had boxed four solid keepers for about 11 pounds on his very first spot – all caught from protected backwaters with a topwater. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-22-reneau-grabs-lead-on-seminole

Reneau Grabs Lead On Seminole

Though Reneau has weighed in 15-1 and 20-7 over two days for a total of 35 pounds, 8 ounces, he says he is only getting about six bites per day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-22-top-5-patterns-from-seminole-day-2

Top 5 Patterns From Seminole Day 2

A shake-up occurred on day two of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Lake Seminole. Day one was all about slow, summertime fishing in the lake’s deep timber. Overnight a frontal passage dropped water and air temperatures and left a north wind howling down the lake. As a result, the timber bite cooled off and those fishing shallower waters climbed up the leaderboard. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-22-lake-seminole-day-2-midday-update

Lake Seminole Day 2 Midday Update

The hot summer at Seminole turned back into spring this morning as a cold front blew through the area dropping air temps some 10 degrees with a blustery north wind. Sweatshirts were needed again as the cold air felt more like April than May. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-enfinger-leads-on-seminole

Enfinger Leads On Seminole

Enfinger said he got off to a “fast start” this morning, sacking a limit by 10 a.m., but he only upgraded twice after that, catching about eight keepers on the day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-top-5-patterns-from-seminole-day-1

Top 5 Patterns From Seminole Day 1

Bradley Enfinger took the day-one lead at the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Lake Seminole fishing suspended bass in timber. Others in the top-5 fished both wood and grass on day one. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-lake-seminole-midday-update

Lake Seminole Midday Update

Lake Seminole is known to be more of a quality lake than a quantity lake and that trait showed on the morning of day one as anglers who were catching fish were not necessarily getting many bites, but 3-pound pluses seemed to be the norm for the ones hauled in over the gunnel. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-seminole-summer

Seminole Summer

Last week, the Walmart FLW Tour plied the waters of the Chattahoochee River on Lake Eufaula. This week, the Rayovac FLW Series moves 60 miles south on the “Hooch” to Lake Seminole for the final event of the Southeast Division. Running offshore brush piles was the dominant theme on Eufaula last week, leaving some to wonder if a similar pattern could work on Seminole, since the two legendary lakes are connected by the same river. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-ledges-lift-wilson-to-top

Ledges Lift Wilson to Top

Tim Wilson of Gas City, Indiana, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 29 pounds, 10 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Choo Choo Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Guntersville. For his victory, Wilson earned $5,584. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-two-in-a-row-for-fox

Two in a Row for Fox

Dwight Fox of Gainesboro, Tennessee, weighed four bass totaling 16 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Mountain Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Cumberland. For his victory, Fox earned $4,463. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-bluff-walls-carry-meredith

Bluff Walls Carry Meredith

GROVE, Okla. – Mitch Meredith of Hulbert, Oklahoma, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 18 pounds, 4 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Okie Division tournament of 2015 on Grand Lake. For his victory, Meredith earned $7,165. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-tidwell-slows-down-for-title

Tidwell Slows Down for Title

MCCORMICK, S.C. – Brian Tidwell of Seneca, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Clarks Hill Lake. For his victory, Tidwell earned $3,021. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-ginter-gets-the-win

Ginter Gets the Win

CELINA, Ohio – Gary Ginter of Maplewood, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 4 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division tournament of 2015 on Grand Lake. For his victory, Ginter earned $3,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-jig-does-the-trick-for-roselle

Jig Does the Trick for Roselle

MARBURY, Md. – Mike Roselle of La Plata, Maryland, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division tournament of 2015 on Potomac River. For his victory, Roselle earned $6,235. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-18-top-10-patterns-from-lake-eufaula

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Eufaula

Bryan Thrift won the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State on Lake Eufaula by keying on isolated pieces of cover – brush piles, stumps, logs, rocks, etc. – for four days and hitting as many spots as possible during competition hours. Others in the top 10 fished a very similar program, but there were a few wild cards. Here’s the rundown of Eufaula’s top finishers. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-17-thrift-by-3

Thrift by 3

The “numbers game.” It’s a term that Bryan Thrift used to describe his fishing on Lake Eufaula back in 2013 when he finished runner-up to Randy Haynes in a Walmart FLW Tour event. The method to his numbers madness was to hit as many solitary objects – stumps, brush piles, rocks, logs – on the bottom of Lake Eufaula as humanly possible in an eight-hour tournament day. When Thrift saw that Lake Eufaula was back on the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour schedule for May of this year, he grinned that patented Bryan Thrift grin because he already knew how to crunch the numbers at Eufaula. And Thrift is still grinning. After sacking up a final-day catch of 15 pounds, 5 ounces to top off 69-14 for the week, Thrift made the numbers work for his fourth FLW Tour win. He added another $125,000 to his bank account. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-17-lake-eufaula-day-4-coverage

Lake Eufaula Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Eufaula presented by Quaker State. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-16-morrow-thrift-neck-and-neck

Morrow, Thrift Neck and Neck

Georgia pro Troy Morrow brought in 15 pounds, 4 ounces on the third day of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State on Lake Eufaula to increase his tournament total to 54-13. Morrow maintains his lead for the second consecutive day, but he won’t sleep comfortably tonight with North Carolina hammer Bryan Thrift just 4 ounces off the lead with 54-09. READ MORE »