UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Champlain

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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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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ICAST Best Of Show Winners

One of the highlights of ICAST is the annual “Best of Show” awards. Not everything at ICAST is of interest to bass anglers, but the below might end up being staples for a long time to come. READ MORE »

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10 New Frogs and Toads

These days, frogs and toads aren’t just mimicking frogs and toads. They’re designed to be perfect imitations of rats, bream and various oddball creatures. New models at ICAST this season offer anglers some of these “alternative” species, as well as new sizes, colors, action types and degrees of realism. Here are 10 new models that we feel are of greatest interest. Click here for complete 2015 ICAST coverage. READ MORE »

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7 Terrific Topwater Baits

If you don’t like fishing topwater, just give up fishing already. These seven new baits will help you get your surface-fishing fix next season. READ MORE »

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Critters and Craws

Nearly everyone already has a tackle box overflowing with soft baits. That said, there are always more to try. If you’re looking for something new, the following might do the trick. READ MORE »