Stonewalled

KELSEYVILLE, Calif. - Stren Series Western Division anglers caught more than 8 1/2 tons of bass at Clear Lake this week, but when all was said and done, the exhilarating outcome was decided by a measly 4 ounces. Western Division pro points leader Michael Tuck wowed fishing fans Saturday by catching his second 30-pound-plus limit of the week in the final round, but Jared Stone upended his first victory bid by snagging just enough weight to hold on to first place. The final tally? Stone: 99 pounds, 14 ounces, Tuck: 99-10. While all 20 pros and co-anglers caught five-bass limits Saturday at this phenomenal fishery, it was Tuck who owned the final round. His limit weighed in at exactly 30 pounds, 15 ounces - the 22nd-heaviest limit in FLW Outdoors history and his second top-25 record weight of the week - and was anchored by a massive, 10-12 kicker largemouth that ranked as the second-heaviest fish caught at this monster tournament. Only three pros failed to catch more than 20 pounds Saturday, and one of those, compellingly, was day-three leader Stone. He laid up on day four with 18-15 - the second-lightest pro weight in the finals - but it was ultimately just barely enough. Even Stone had a hard time soaking it all in. "I feel bad for him. He's an outstanding angler and deserves all the success he's had," Stone said of Tuck, in disbelief. "But man, to come in with 30 pounds and not win - that's unbelievable." Unbelievable? Yes, but that was just par for the course at the freak show otherwise known as the 2007 Clear Lake Stren Series. Stren rookie Jared Stone of Lakeport, Calif., cleared $25,000 and a new Ranger boat at Clear Lake for winning the third Western Division event of the year.Rookie - but local - Stone capitalizes on prime opportunity Stone, who hails from Lakeport, Calif., on the north end of Clear Lake, has never fished an FLW Outdoors event before this week. In fact, he said, "I signed up for this tournament Monday morning. I'd been on some good fish for about three weeks, and the FLW's the biggest thing to come to Clear Lake, so I figured I'd better get in on it." Wise decision. Not only did he clear $25,000 and a new Ranger boat for winning the third Western Division event of the year, he etched his name into the record books. His 99-pound, 14-ounce total is now the fourth-heaviest total tournament weight in FLW Outdoors history, and the 31-15 limit he caught Friday ranks 15th of all time. And really, it was that 15th-ranked weight that won this thing for Stone. By catching that 31-15 Friday - the heaviest limit of the tournament - he knocked Tuck's first big weight of the week, 31-11 on Thursday, down a peg to 16th place of all time. Notice the difference between those two epic stringers: 4 ounces. This was a week about numbers, and by his own admission, Stone's were bad on Saturday. "I had a horrible day today," he said. "My fish were changing, and I didn't make the proper adjustments. I probably lost five fish today, including two really good ones. Probably three of them would have helped me out even more." The first three days, Stone said he caught all of his fish on a 7-inch Osprey swimbait, targeting deeper water around docks where bass were relating to spawning areas. He didn't focus on a single area, saying that he "moved all around the lake." However, as the weather warmed up each day and turned downright summery by the end of the week - it was 87 degrees and sunny Saturday afternoon - the big mothers moved up shallow, and things got tougher for Stone. Pro Jared Stone caught an 18-pound, 15-ounce limit in the finals and etched his name into the record books with a 99-pound, 14-ounce four-day total weight, which ranks fourth all-time."Like I said yesterday, it's been getting tougher and tougher on me every day," he said. "Today I started with the swimbait and fished it for about four hours. I didn't have a limit until about 11 o'clock, and my co-angler (Kyle Clement) was drop-shotting and catching all kinds of fish behind me. So I had to go sight-fishing, and they just didn't bite as well. I just didn't have a big bite today, but if I would have kept throwing the swimbait, I wouldn't even have had 18 pounds." Stone sight-fished using a drop-shot with a 6-inch warmouth-colored Roboworm on 8-pound-test to squeak out his (small!) 18-pound, 15-ounce limit, but said dirty water hampered his bed-fishing. His biggest keeper Saturday weighed about 4 ¾ pounds, but he took it any way he could. "They say, `When it's meant to happen, it's meant to happen,'" he said. "I gave it everything I had, and I guess it paid off. It is incredible. I can't believe it." Tuck zinged again This is the second time in as many years that Tuck has played the bridesmaid at the Clear Lake Stren Series. Last year he was upstaged by some last-minute heroics from eventual winner Jimmy Reese. This year, Stone had his number. "It burns," he said, obviously disappointed. "Man, what do I have to do?" By catching two sacks over 30 pounds in four days, including his 10-12 kicker in the finals - his second-heaviest career tournament fish - he did just about everything he could do. If not for his slow start, a 16-7 limit Wednesday, Tuck would have won in a romp. Tuck took more away from this event, however, than just learning how to swallow a bitter pill - again. First, he discovered the Huddleston swimbait, which, he said, fellow pro Jason Borofka tipped him off to prior to the tournament. He waited until Saturday's sunshine rolled around to put down the swimbait and light up the sight beds with a 6-inch Roboworm on a drop-shot. That's how he caught his big fish. "The first three days, I was throwing a Huddleston swimbait, and I've never caught a fish on it until three days ago," Tuck said. "Man, that thing is awesome." Second, with an all-time record of 17,234 pounds, 11 ounces of fish weighed in this tournament by the entire field - which broke the Lake Amistad Stren mark by more than 4,000 pounds - not to mention his own two big limits, Tuck recognized the significance of this week and this bass fishery. "I love this lake. It's the best lake in the world, bar none," he said. "I hear that Amistad's good, but you guys can have it." Third, and perhaps most importantly, the pro from Antelope, Calif., took one step closer to clinching his first points title. Tuck has been dominant three tournaments into the Western Division season - two top-five finishes and a 12th - and now leads Gene Gray 586 points to 571. "What a beautiful day and a wonderful setting," he said. "I'm just honored to be here." Tuck earned $9,481 for second place. Pro Jim Davis of San Jose, Calif., caught a 26-5 limit Saturday and earned third place with a four-day weight of 94-14.Davis no slouch himself, takes third in tournament, points Perhaps the most consistent pro this week was Jim Davis of San Jose, Calif., who caught limits between 21 and 26 pounds all four days. His 26-5 limit Saturday was his heaviest of the week, and he earned $8,534 for third place with a four-day weight of 94-14. "This fishery's just on fire right now," he said. "I threw a lot of swimbaits, a lot of reaction baits. If they didn't bite on the swimbait, I'd back off and go back to get them with finesse baits." Davis moved into a tie with Reese for third place in the Western Division pro standings with 555 points. Pro Wayne Breazeale of Kelseyville, Calif., amassed 27 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday and finished fourth with a four-day total of 94-0.Breazeale pounds 27-2, takes fourth Wayne Breazeale of Kelseyville, Calif., amassed his second heavy stringer in a row - 27 pounds, 2 ounces - and finished fourth with a four-day total of 94-0. He earned $7,585. "I love this lake," said the local pro. "I ripped my fish most of the week, and I caught that 9(-pounder) yesterday at about 2 o'clock. That's what got me here. Today, I threw this (chartreuse) Roboworm crawdad thing. I don't know what it's called, but it works." Pro Jason Borofka, here showing off his Osprey swimbait, finished fifth with 93-4.Borofka slides to fifth In second place heading into the day, Salinas, California's Borofka caught 20 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday and finished fifth with a four-day weight of 93-4. He took home $6,637. "I was throwing a 9-inch Osprey swimbait," he said. "I only caught three big fish on it in the tournament, but it was awesome. You could go up to some docks and have 30 fish over 5 pounds come up to it." Seventh-place pro Cody Meyer caught a big kicker Saturday. This 10-pound, 10-ounce largemouth was his personal best tournament fish and tied for third-heaviest of the tournament.Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 Pro Division finishers at Clear Lake, based on four-day combined weight: 6th: Brian Nollar of Homer, Alaska, 92-12, $5,688 7th: Cody Meyer of Grass Valley, Calif., 91-11, $5,215 8th: Jeff Billings of Clearlake, Calif., 90-15, $4,741 9th: Gino Campiotti of Manteca, Calif., 89-4, $4,266 (day-two leader) 10th: Roy Hawk of Salt Lake City, 84-9, $3,793 Meyer also caught a big kicker Saturday. His 10-pound, 10-ounce largemouth was his personal best tournament fish and tied for third-heaviest of this tournament. For the record In addition to all the one-day and total tournament weight records set this week at Clear Lake, four of the top five pro finishers caught four-day weights that rank in the FLW Outdoors top 10 of all time: Stone (99-14, fourth), Tuck (99-10, fifth), Davis (94-14, sixth) and Breazeale (94-0, eighth). Three more Clear Lake finalists made the top 15: Borofka (93-4, 11th), Nollar (92-12, 12th) and Meyer (91-11, 13th). Coming up The next Stren Series event is a Central Division contest at Kentucky Lake near Benton, Ky., May 2-5. The next Western Division tournament is the fourth and final event of the season. It will be held at the California Delta near Oakley, Calif., May 16-19.

Tags: headline-story  jeff-schroeder 

/news/2015-04-24-make-way-for-morgan

Make Way for Morgan

It’s been eight years since Dayton, Tenn., pro Andy Morgan lifted a Walmart FLW Tour first-place trophy over his head, and that win came at Beaver Lake in Rogers, Ark. Today, Morgan once again put himself into position for a Beaver Lake championship by taking over the lead at the halfway point of the FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac. Morgan’s day-two limit weighed 15 pounds, 7 ounces for a two-day total weight of 28-09. He and the rest of the top 20 pros will take off from Prairie Creek Marina tomorrow at 6:30 a.m. The FLW Expo begins at noon at the John Q. Hammons Center in Rogers, followed immediately by the day-three weigh-in. 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 »

/news/2015-04-18-gamecocks-win-college-title

Gamecocks Win College Title

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-18-gamecocks-win-national-title

Gamecocks Win National Title

As any good Palmetto State bass fisherman will tell you, home lake advantage only works if you’re consistent in your catches from day to day. Anthony Gagliardi proved it here on Lake Murray last summer in the Forrest Wood Cup, and the University of South Carolina proved it again in the FLW College Fishing National Championship that concluded Saturday. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-18-hallman-prevails-on-grand

Hallman Prevails On Grand

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-18-lake-murray-midday-update-day-3

Lake Murray Midday Update Day 3

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-17-top-5-patterns-from-grand-lake-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake Day 2

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-17-college-championship-race-tightens

College Championship Race Tightens

READ MORE »