UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Erie

Hodges goes wire to wire to claim Kentucky Lake title

BENTON, Ky. - Andy Hodges of Cadiz performed the rare feat of leading a bass tournament wire to wire, winning the Stren Series Central Division event on Kentucky Lake with a whopping 79 pounds, 6 ounces of bass over four days. His name never left the top spot on the leaderboard despite the fact that he was fishing against some serious heavy hitters in his first-ever Stren Series event. "This is the best fishing I've ever done in my whole life," said an exuberant Hodges prior to weighing in his winning bass. "I fished my heart out this week. I'm exhausted." Hodges overcame a surge from runner-up Curt McGuire, who fished his best day of the week today, bringing in 21-5 to end the week with 75-11. Hodges had 20 pounds of his own, though, to ultimately top McGuire by 3 pounds, 11 ounces. En route to the $25,000 victory, Hodges had to think outside of his box - he's a Kentucky/Barkley native - to topple such elite pros as Koby Kreiger and Craig Powers as well as known Kentucky/Barkley stalwarts like McGuire and No. 3 Sam Lashlee. Andy Hodges holds up his well-deserved trophy from the Stren Central on Kentucky Lake."I struggled on day two for a little while, and I'm really, really proud of myself for adjusting," he said. "I don't like to change, and I caught 22 pounds (on day two). It was just my week." While early talk indicated a hot shallow-water bite this week, the top three pros all fished relatively deep. Hodges fished a little of both, with his best fishing coming out of the deeper water. The key was a 1/2-ounce green-pumpkin football-head jig, and he broke so many of them off that he headed out this morning with only two of them left. After he caught a limit, he was courteous enough to hand one of them to his day-four co-angler, Chuck Loerzel. "I was fishing deep, dragging that jig along the bottom," he said. "Most of them are postspawn fish, so you had to put it right in their face." Hodges also fished a Sweet Beaver around shallow wood to land his bass. And while a shallow pattern did help him on his way to victory, it was a change to deeper water that ultimately allowed him to win. "During practice I caught a lot of fish shallow, but they weren't quality fish," he said. "Plus, in every bay I'd see a boat fishing bushes, so I started fishing deeper structure, and I kept moving farther out - and I kept catching them." The first day, Hodges said his boat sat in deep water but the fish he caught were shallower. Then came day two, when they just would not bite. He ultimately turned things around and had his best day on his toughest day, when he brought in 22-1 on Thursday. "The past two days, I caught them all deep," he said. "Today, I fished 4 feet down to 9 feet. I'm very much relieved. The caliber of guys here was top-notch. These are the guys I see on TV and in the magazines and on the Internet. To compete against them and win is something else." McGuire again settles for second Curt McGuire caught the dayTwo years ago, Curt McGuire of Lawrenceburg, Tenn., finished second at this very tournament on Kentucky Lake, and he's in second again despite catching the heaviest limit of day four. His 21-pound, 5-ounce stringer brought his four-day total to 75 pounds, 11 ounces, good for $10,000. McGuire is a seasoned Kentucky Lake pro, and he fished what he knew best - ledges - to land his bass this week. "I always fish ledges, and I always fish deep," he said of his Kentucky Lake strategy. "I fished anywhere from 8 to 15 feet, mostly on hard bottom and gravel patches. I live or die out there. I haven't made a cast at the bank here in three years." It was an observation McGuire made several weeks ago that ultimately determined how he was going to fish the tournament this week. "I knew at home a big wave (of spawning fish) had come up three weeks ago, and I knew they were done," he said. "They had to go somewhere. I knew some of them had to be postspawn." The fish that comprised his hefty day-four sack were actually located Tuesday in practice but wouldn't bite for him until today. "I checked on them on day two - not a bite," he said. "Today, it was on." Indeed, McGuire's co-angler partner, Stephen Smith, took home the co-angler trophy, making him the third co-angler that McGuire has guided to a win in three years. "He netted my 4-pounder with his 4-pounder still in the net," McGuire said of Smith, who caught 18 pounds today. McGuire's primary bait was a Booyah football-head jig. Lashlee rises to third Sam Lashlee ended up in third place with 65-3 over four days.This event's defending champion, Sam Lashlee of Camden, Tenn., ultimately took third place and $9,000 (plus a $5,000 Ranger bonus) with a four-day catch of 65 pounds, 3 ounces. His limit today weighed in at 15 pounds, 4 ounces. "The fish were in the bushes," he said. "I ran to New Johnsonville the first day, and every day I made a shorter trip." Lashlee estimates his day-one run totaled 75 miles, and he ran about 60 miles on the second day. On the third and fourth day, his trip totaled around 50 miles, and today he ran close to the White Oak Creek area. "The second day is when I started fishing ledges harder," he said. "That's when I knew that I'd better get on the ledges to have a chance to win." That day, Lashlee visited the river islands and culled every fish out thanks to a very productive drop. "The third day, I made a mistake and went flipping," he said. "Today, I fished too much of the stuff that I've been fishing, and I struggled. I should have looked for new stuff." Lashlee mostly relied on a 1/2-ounce and a 3/4-ounce Strike King football-head jig in green pumpkin with a big Denny Brauer chunk. He also reported catching lots of bass on a Strike King Series 5 crankbait. "It was a slow bite," he said. "I was having to move my bait really slow." Partners Kreiger, Powers take fourth and fifth Koby Kreiger took fourth place with 63 pounds, 3 ounces.Koby Kreiger and Craig Powers are well-known among the tournament trails for sharing everything from rooms to fishing info to tournament winnings, and they took fourth and fifth place, respectively, at this week's event. Kreiger brought in 63 pounds, 3 ounces of bass over four days to earn $8,000 and his second Stren Series top-10 finish of the season. "It was pretty much the Andy Hodges show all week," Kreiger said. "I caught a lot of fish but came up a little short." Powers fished a Pop-R all week to bring in 60 pounds of bass over four days and earn $7,000. "I had such a good time," he said. "My wife's probably going to leave me, but I'm staying here tonight and fishing tomorrow. I've been getting 40 to 50 bites a day. My left hand is so sore I can't stand it." Rest of the best Carl Svebek took sixth place with a four-day total of 56-15.Rounding out the top 10 pros on Kentucky/Barkley: 6th: Carl Svebek, Siloam Springs, Ark., 20 bass, 56-15, $6,000 7th: Charlie King, Shreveport, La., 18 bass, 55-13, $5,500 8th: Kristofer Anderson, Lees Summit, Mo., 20 bass 55-1, $5,000 9th: Troy Eakins, Nixa, Mo., 20 bass 54-13, $4,500 10th: Sam Newby, Pocola, Okla., 19 bass, 53-11, $4,000 Coming up The next Stren Series event is a Western Division contest at the California Delta near Oakley, Calif., May 16-19. The next Central Division tournament is the third event of the season. It will be held at the Columbus Pool near Columbus, Miss., June 6-9.

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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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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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Forrest Wood Cup Day 4 Coverage

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

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 1

After day one of the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita, several things have come to light. For one, this event is not likely to produce a runaway win for anyone like it did when Scott Martin won here in 2011. Second, when the pros said Ouachita was going to be stingy, they meant it – only 29 of the 50 pros checked in limits today. Third, firm patterns are hard to come by on Lake Ouachita in August. Jacob Wheeler took the lead on day one in the event that’s presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. With the help of a 5-pound bass, Wheeler weighed in a limit of 16 pounds, 2 ounces, but he had to sample a lot of different areas for his catch. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-forrest-wood-cup-day-1-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 1 Coverage

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