UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2015 - Kerr Lake

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/2015-08-29-matual-masters-erie

Matual Masters Erie

David Matual of Chicago, Ill., leaned on his spot hard and sacked up the biggest bag of day three weighing 22 pounds, 6 ounces. For his final-day rally he claimed the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division victory on Lake Erie with a three-day total of 65 pounds, fending off Jared Rhode by a mere 7 ounces. Drop-shotting over shallow reefs delivered all of Matual’s fish and earned him a check worth more than $31,000. READ MORE »

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Topwater Lifts Ragan to Top

Thadeus Ragan of West Park, Florida, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 26 pounds, 8 ounces Sunday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Gator Division Super Tournament on Lake Okeechobee with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 47 pounds, 10 ounces. For his victory, Ragan earned $6,922. READ MORE »

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Martinkovic Runs Away with Title

Chris Martinkovic of Hamilton, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 12 pounds, 9 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Hoosier Division tournament on the Ohio River. For his victory, Martinkovic earned $6,244. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-lake-erie-day-3-midday-update

Lake Erie Day 3 Midday Update

Lake Erie put on a different face for day three of the final Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event. After a rough day one, yesterday’s calm and mostly sunny conditions offered comfortable running and fishing conditions. Today was still a far cry from the brutal waves of day one - and prior practice days - but windier conditions and overcast skies seemed to present a more challenging scenario. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-28-top-5-patterns-from-lake-erie-day-2

Top 5 Patterns From Lake Erie Day 2

Pennsylvania pro Dave Lefebre and Ohio pro Jared Rhode tied for the day-two lead in Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division action on Lake Erie with 43 pounds, 9 ounces. Both pros caught their fish on drop-shots. Here are the details of the rest of the top five. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-28-lefebre-rhode-tied-at-the-top

Lefebre, Rhode Tied at the Top

Notching his second day of 20-plus pounds, FLW Tour pro Dave Lefebre tallied 43 pounds, 9 ounces and tied day-one leader Jared Rhode for the day-two top spot at the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. Lefebre caught his 22-3 limit on Rapala DT-10 crankbaits, while Rhodes tempted his 19-15 catch with drop-shots. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-28-lake-erie-day-2-midday-update

Lake Erie Day 2 Midday Update

With winds shifting from yesterday’s northerly blow to a warmer southerly direction, day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie brought calmer conditions with greater ability to methodically work key spots. Offshore, waves ran 1 to 2 feet, with leeward areas behind the Lake Erie Islands nearly flat. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-27-rhode-cracks-23-10-for-erie-lead

Rhode Cracks 23-10 for Erie Lead

Jared Rhode played his cards and the gamble paid off better than expected, as the pro from Port Clinton, Ohio, took the day-one lead at the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie with a limit catch weighing 23 pounds, 10 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-27-top-5-patterns-from-lake-erie-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Erie Day 1

Taking off this morning, the FLW Tour pro from Erie, Pa., knew the day’s north wind would keep him from making a long run to a big-fish spot close to his home. However, keeping it local and fishing a little past Pelee Island to the west delivered a solid second-place catch. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-27-lake-erie-day-1-midday-report

Lake Erie Day 1 Midday Report

Winds have subsided considerably since practice, but Lake Erie’s still showing her temperamental side to Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division anglers fishing the last divisional event out of Sandusky, Ohio. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-25-top-10-patterns-from-the-forrest-wood-cup

Top 10 Patterns from the Forrest Wood Cup

If you don’t believe that summertime bass fishing in the dog days of August is all over the map, just take a look at the top 10 patterns from the best bass pros on earth at the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Brad Knight captured the Cup by mining one small creek end for four days. But beyond that, the rest of the top 10 patterns ran the gamut, from targeting schoolers over 40 feet to wolf packs of bass on the bank to brush piles to grass to mud flats and everywhere in between. Here’s a rundown. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-23-knight-slays-ouachita

Knight Slays Ouachita

Lancing, Tenn., pro Brad Knight won the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart on Lake Ouachita with a four-day total of 51 pounds, 12 ounces. In front of a standing-room-only crowd at Bank of the Ozarks Arena in Hot Springs, Ark., Knight weighed in 11-07 on day four to surpass Jacob Wheeler, who started the day with a 12-ounce lead. Fishing in just one area all four days, Knight locked up the first win of his FLW career. He earned $500,000 for his victory and pushed his career earnings total to more than $688,000. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-23-forrest-wood-cup-day-4-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-22-wheeler-back-in-front

Wheeler Back in Front

Jacob Wheeler loves Lake Ouachita. It’s where he fished his first Forrest Wood Cup in 2011, and it’s where he’ll take the tournament lead into the final day of competition at the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Wheeler, the 2011 Cup champion, led this tournament on day one and slipped a couple spots on day two. He now has a very slim 12-ounce lead over Tennessean Brad Knight. The anglers will square off tomorrow on Ouachita starting at 7 a.m. against the rest of the top 10 pros for the top prize of $500,000. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-22-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 3

Jacob Wheeler may have regained his lead in the Forrest Wood Cup on day three, but Brad Knight is right on his heels. Going into the final day, the two pros are separated by just 12 ounces. The margin is tight, and what’s going to make the final day fun to watch is the difference in the two anglers’ strategies. Wheeler is running a topwater pattern on the main lake, and fishing new water is part of his plan. Knight, however, has caught almost all of his weight from one 250-yard stretch of bass-rich creek channel. He literally knows every target he is fishing by heart. On the surface, Knight’s area looks to be the better bet. But he has shared the general area with Brandon Cobb and Mark Daniels Jr. for three solid days. And the bad news, at least for Knight, is that both Cobb and Daniels will be sharing the water with him again on the final day as both made the top-10 cut. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-22-forrest-wood-cup-day-3-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-ramie-races-into-the-lead

Ramie Races into the Lead

On the back of a 17-pound, 14-ounce limit, which is the biggest of the tournament thus far, Ramie Colson Jr. jumped from seventh place to take over the lead at the halfway point of the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. Colson’s two-day total is 31 pounds, 1 ounce, which puts him almost 3 pounds ahead of Tennessee’s Brad Knight. The Forrest Wood Cup, which is hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, moves into its top-20 round on Saturday. The top 10 pros after Saturday’s weigh-in advance to Sunday’s final round for a shot at the $500,000 top prize. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 2

At times, bass fishing can be a lot like real estate, where the three most important rules are location, location and location. The 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita presented by Walmart is starting to become a bit of a real estate game where location is the primary consideration in who climbs the leaderboard. And those mining the backs of creeks and tributaries are on the prime pieces of real estate. Consider that after day two, four of the top five pros are concentrating their fishing efforts in the back ends of creeks or rivers. All of these areas fit a classic late-summer, early-fall pattern where shad pack into the back of creek ditches that meander through shallow flats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-forrest-wood-cup-day-2-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-wheeler-hunting-history

Wheeler Hunting History

It’s never been done before, and it hasn’t happened yet, but Jacob Wheeler is in prime position to become the first two-time Forrest Wood Cup champion in history. Wheeler, of Indianapolis, Ind., brought in a 16-pound, 2-ounce limit of Lake Ouachita bass on the first day of the Cup, which is presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. READ MORE »