UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Nixon holds off charge

Larry Nixon shows off his third FLW Tour winner's trophy.

CONCORD, N.C. - Considering Lake Norman is not known as a big-fish lake, folks who turned out for the Wal-Mart FLW Tour National Guard Open final weigh-in Sunday got to see an afternoon full of big-fish surprises. Three of the biggest limits of the tournament were weighed in by the sport's biggest stars. For starters, local angler Hank Cherry, beginning the day in 10th, brought the hometown crowd to a roar with a one-by-one display of a Lake Norman limit weighing 15 pounds, 11 ounces. Then popular Yamaha pro Jay Yelas brought an astounding 16 pounds, 6 ounces to the stage. And for a few tense moments, it looked like Larry Nixon's lead might be in serious jeopardy. But when it was Nixon turn at the scales, the General saved his heaviest artillery for last, blasting back his competition's healthy charge with his biggest limit of the week weighing 14 pounds, 7 ounces to win the event with a two-day total of 27 pounds.Larry Nixon saved his heavy artillery for day four when he needed it most to fend off a hard charge from Jay Yelas. This marks Nixon's third FLW Tour victory. "Every win out here gets sweeter," Nixon said. "And I'll tell you why: Every year these young anglers get better and better. And every now again, an old fox like myself can still outsmart them. And when it happens, it's something to savor." In terms of having his best day today, Nixon said he changed the order of places he was fishing to match the sun angle. "I did a much better job of timing my water today," Nixon explained. "A big key for me was to have sun shining on the banks so I could read my water from a distance - see the objects and targets I wanted to fish from a long way off. The last few days I've been getting to my key stretches when it was too early and still too shady to see good. Today I finally got the timing down perfect, where the shade was clearing off the water, and the sun was exposing what I needed to see as I fished throughout the day." Nixon was targeting stumps and lay-downs in 2 to3 feet of water about three miles above the 150 Bridge. "Boat position was critical," he added. "These fish here are smart. When a boat gets too close to them, they just giggle at you. When it was shady, by the time I visually located my target, it was too late; I was too close. But with that sun out, I could stay way back, read my target and drop it in their hut." Nixon's key bait was a green-pumpkin Berkley Wacky Crawler rigged on a 1/16-ounce shaky head, fished on spinning gear. Yelas posts huge comeback for second Jay Yelas mounted one the most memorable charges in recent FLW Tour history - 16 pounds, 6 ounces on Lake Norman - to try and dethrone Nixon.Jay Yelas of Tyler, Texas, gave the crowd a rush today as he weighed in the biggest limit of the tournament, bringing his two-day total to 23 pounds, 7 ounces and moving from ninth to second, worth $75,000. "What a day," Yelas said, still elated with his catch. "I went out this morning with nothing to lose. So I stuck a swimbait in my hand and fished it all day long. I only got five bites - that's it - and they weighed 16-6. "I was fishing a 6-inch soft-plastic, shad-imitation swimbait, Texas-rigged," he said. "And the reason I was Texas-rigging it was to skip it up under boat docks. I was using Trilene XT 17-pound-test and a heavy-action rod. Surprisingly, that big swimbait skips pretty good." In terms of the way the fish bit the swimbait, Yelas said, "They don't really blast it or smash it. I saw most of my bites, and they just kind of swim up to it and eat it very casually. It's weird. You would figure it would be an aggressive bite, but it's not - at least not here." Vatalaro finishes third Vic Vatalaro of Kent, Ohio, brought in 12 pounds, 3 ounces today to finish third withGain pro Vic Vatalaro finished third with 23 pounds. a two-day total of 23 pounds worth $50,000. "I had a better today simply because I went and got my limit early," he said. "I didn't do that yesterday, and it kind of messed me up. So today I went to an area and got a limit by about 9:30, and that let me relax and start culling up." Vatalaro's key bait this week was a Fluke fished around docks and lay-downs. "I was weighting the Fluke and fishing it on 8-pound-test Gamma line," he noted. "I was trying to get it down there about 5 feet deep to get those bigger spots to come up on it." Cherry jumps to fourth Hank Cherry gave his hometown crowd what they came for: an exciting weigh-in. Cherry weighed in 15-11 on the last day to finish fourth.Local pro Hank Cherry of Maiden, N.C., finally got revenge on his fish that treated him dirty yesterday and gave his hometown crowd a show in the process. Cherry's 15-pound, 11-ounce limit vaulted him from 10th to fourth. "It felt good to get even with my fish today," Cherry said. "That's what I should have weighed in yesterday as well. They cost me about $160,000, but I got $40,000 for a week of fishing, so that's not too bad." So what was the difference between yesterday and today? "Just getting them in the boat - it's that simple. Yesterday I had 18 bites and only landed four. Today I had 23 bites and landed 23 of them. The first seven bass I caught this morning weighed 12 pounds, and I caught them in a matter of minutes. "I could tell by the way the first one hit, it was going to be `game on' today. Yesterday they were just stabbing at the bait with their mouth closed - I could see them. Today they would inhale that jig - it was incredible." Cherry's key bait was a 1/2-ounce Jymsu jig and chunk fish on 20-pound-test fluorocarbon. "The object is to skip it as far back under the dock as you can get it," he added. "The harder the cast is to make, the better." Suggs fifth Folgers pro Scott Suggs of Bryant, Ark., finished fifth with a two-day total of 20 pounds, 4 ounces worth $30,000. Folgers pro Scott Suggs ended up fifth with 20 pounds, 4 ounces. Today Suggs stuck with his plan of fishing stumps and docks with a 1/4-ounce shaky head, teamed with a Zoom Trick Worm. "Stumps were more of the deal for me than docks," Suggs said. "If I soaked that worm next to a stump long enough, one would finally eat it." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pros in the FLW Tour event on Lake Norman: 6th: Jim Moynagh of Carver, Minn., two-day total of 20-0, $29,000 7th: Michael Bennett of Roseville, Calif., 19-14, $28,000 8th: Greg Pugh of Cullman, Ala., 19-6, $27,000 9th: Gabe Bolivar of Ramona, Calif., 17-8, $26,000 10th: Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., 9-8, $25,000 Points race Duracell pro Michael Bennett has moved into the lead for the Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year race with 563 points. He is followed by Bryan Thrift with 534 points.

Tags: headline-story  rob-newell 


Devere Takes BFL Wild Card Win

The decision of what to fish come tournament time can be difficult for most. For others – like Mike Devere – relying on a single bait that you have confidence in is all you need. Devere’s one bait, one rod method was strong enough to carry him to victory by nearly 2 pounds in the BFL Wild Card held on Lake Hartwell. READ MORE »


Top 10 Patterns from the Ohio River

Here is a closer look at how the rest of the top 10 fished in the Championship, which was hosted by the Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau and the City of Paducah Oct. 28-31. READ MORE »


Hanselmania 4.0

Saturday, in Paducah, Ky., on the shores of the Ohio River, Ray Hanselman rewrote history for the second time this season. After winning all three 2015 Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division events, which had never been done before, Hanselman came to Kentucky and won the Rayovac FLW Series Championship. READ MORE »


Rayovac Championship Day 3 Coverage

The final day of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River will largely be fished on the Tennessee River, as all but two anglers rolled up it to chase smallmouths. READ MORE »


Hanselman on the Verge of Four-Peat

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River was fished primarily on the nearby Tennessee River and resulted in a major shuffling of the leaderboard. In the end, Ray Hanselman rose from second to first and will lead the top 10 into the final day with 30 pounds, 14 ounces. READ MORE »


Top 5 Patterns from the Ohio River Day 2

After two days of competition, Ray Hanselman leads the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River, but as the leaderboard has reflected, the river’s hefty smallmouths are certainly capable of producing some fireworks and providing some surprises. READ MORE »


Rayovac Championship Day 2 Coverage

Down at Paducah, the start of day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship was just about perfect – a light wind, temps in the low 40s and no fog. That’s not the case elsewhere. READ MORE »


Barnes Blasts 21 on the Ohio

On day one of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River David Barnes Sr. of China, Maine, hauled exactly 21 pounds of smallmouth across the stage to take the lead on a day that was tough for many. READ MORE »


Top 5 Patterns from the Ohio River Day 1

Shortly after David Barnes electrified the Rayovac FLW Series Championship weigh-in with his leading weight of 21 pounds of smallmouths, Ray Hanselman followed suit with an all-smallmouth limit weighing 19 pounds. READ MORE »


Rayovac Championship Day 1 Coverage

Updates from day one of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River. READ MORE »


McCaig Wins Neely Henry Regional

There are times that a little local knowledge helps you in a bass tournament, and then there are times it does not. And sometimes, it pays to ignore past experiences altogether, as Mark McCaig figured out en route to winning the Oct. 22-24, 2015 Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Neely Henry out of Gadsden, Ala. By disregarding what his local experience might have suggested he do and approaching the tournament a little differently, the Oxford, Ala., boater posted a three-day total weight of 45 pounds, 7 ounces to take home the $20,000 winner’s purse as well as a 2015 Ranger Z518C with 200-hp outboard. READ MORE »


Goodwin Wins at Lake of the Ozarks

Day-two leader Shonn Goodwin of Moore, Okla., held on to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional presented by Mercury at Lake of the Ozarks Oct. 22-24 by bringing four bass to the scale on the third and final day. Those fish weighed 8 pounds, 11 ounces. His three-day total of 14 bass weighed 43-13. For the win, Goodwin earned $20,000 and a new Ranger bass boat. READ MORE »


Walters Wins Wateree BFL Regional

Todd Walters relied on a combo pattern to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional on Lake Wateree. The North Carolina boater fished rocky cover upstream and brush piles in the lake's clear lower end. The two-part program produced a three-day winning weight of 47 pounds, 4 ounces, which was 11 pounds better than second place. READ MORE »


Uribe By An Ounce

After Jody Jordan brought 24 pounds, 5 ounces to push his total past 66 pounds on the final day the crowd waited with bated breath for day two leader Joe Uribe Jr. to bring his fish to the scale. As Uribe transferred his third bass from the bag to the scale, he shook his head and whispered back “you’ve got it,” to the watching Jordan. READ MORE »


Anderson Wins KY Lake Regional

You might say there weren’t any surprises at the 2015 Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional presented by Lowrance on Kentucky Lake Oct. 15-17. The techniques of the top 12 pros who fished the final day were typical of the Tennessee River in fall: surface fishing with frogs and Zara Spooks and winding Rat-L-Traps and ChatterBaits. The winners weren’t surprising either: Ryan Sykes of Hamilton, Ohio, won the co-angler division for the second consecutive year, and Tennessee pro Brent Anderson earned his sixth win on the Kentucky/Barkley system since 2009. READ MORE »


Grover Takes Co-angler Title on Clear Lake

Rick Grover of Trabuco Canyon, Calif., pulled in 55 pounds, 5 ounces of bass for the Rayovac FLW Series co-angler win on Clear Lake. All told, it was worth a new Ranger Z117 with a 90-horsepower outboard and $5,000. READ MORE »


Clear Lake Midday Update Day 3



Uribe Takes Lead and AOY at Clear Lake

Joe Uribe Jr. jumped into the lead going into the final day of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Clear Lake. Uribe caught 20 pounds, 13 ounces on day two for a total of 44 pounds, 8 ounces and was the only pro to weigh more than 20 pounds both days. READ MORE »


Top 5 Patterns from Clear Lake Day 2

When the scales had closed after the second day of the Rayovac FLW Series Western Division tournament presented by Evinrude on Clear Lake, no doubt more than a few anglers breathed a sigh of relief that they were still in contention. READ MORE »


Clear Lake Midday Update Day 2

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Clear Lake has been a little slower than day one. READ MORE »