A good win for Goodwin

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The $1 million Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League All-American championship saw three different leaders in three days of competition, but it was who ended up on top today that mattered most. The last man standing on the Ohio River was yesterday's No. 3 Shonn Goodwin, who weighed in five of the 12 bass caught today on the boater side to take the All-American crown and $100,000 cash. The marketing manager from Moore, Okla., emerged victorious after one of the most grueling tournaments in recent memory. He caught 3 pounds, 15 ounces on the first day to end up in 12th but climbed to third yesterday with 7 pounds, 2 ounces. His day-three limit weighing 5 pounds sealed the deal, as his combined total of 16 pounds, 1 ounce was enough to beat runner-up Curtis Samo by 1 pound, 10 ounces. Sweetening the pot is the fact that as the All-American champion, Goodwin will compete in the prestigious $2 million Forrest Wood Cup as a pro, where he will be angling for a top prize of as much as $1 million cash. That event will take place in August on Arkansas' Lake Ouachita, not too far from Goodwin's Okie homeplace. Shonn Goodwin reacts to his $100,000 All-American victory.There to cheer him on today were his wife, Cindy, and their 6-month-old "miracle baby," Sophie. According to Cindy, the first thing the big paycheck will go to is a college fund for the little one. To earn that college money, Goodwin had to overcome a 1-pound, 11-ounce deficit as the No. 3 boater heading into today, and he did it the hard way - by running nearly 250 miles south to the Rocky Point-Deer Creek area. "I made a commitment to run a long ways," Goodwin said. "It was hard work, almost 250 miles a day in that bass boat. It's really nerve-racking, because if you make one bad decision, you're out of luck." The long run left Goodwin only about two and a half hours per day to try to catch fish. "I couldn't second-guess myself," he said. "I didn't have time to make adjustments. I lost a couple of fish, but it didn't matter. I executed well and got enough bites to scratch out a win." Goodwin's bait of choice this week was a square-billed crankbait he called the RC.5. The presentation was an odd choice in a week when most fishermen were opting for a slower approach. The difference, he says, was key. "I was cranking it really fast across the stumps," he said. "That creates a reaction bite. Almost everybody was flipping slow, but the crankbait moves so fast that the fish don't have time to reflect; they just react. That's contrary to what a lot of people were doing." The alternative presentation also made Goodwin's long run worth it. While many competitors this week opted for a long run, his company in the top three were staying close. In the end, the long run won out. Shonn Goodwin earned the All-American winner"I felt like I was around the fish to win," Goodwin said. "It took me two and a half hours to get there through the lock. I was either going to catch them or not - there was not much I could do about it. I caught a limit and I thought about winning, but they were so small, I wasn't very confident." He knew that if day-two leader Calvin Davidson had any fish at all, even with a limit, he might not have enough to win. But when Davidson came up empty-handed, it became Goodwin's time to shine. Next up - Arkansas in August. "I've been to Ouachita," he said. "I like to fish there, but I've only fished it a couple of times. I'm excited to take a look." Goodwin is an Okie Division veteran who was ranked fourth in 2006 to advance to regional competition at Wright Patman, where he finished fifth to earn a trip to the All-American. His resume includes 11 top-10 finishes and three victories, including today's. Samo remains a bridesmaid in second Curtis Samo finished second with 14 pounds, 7 ounces. He has finished second, third and fourth in All-American competition but still has no win on his resume.Perennial All-American contender Curtis Samo of Rochelle, Ill., came close yet again today but ultimately had to settle for second with a three-day catch of 14 pounds, 7 ounces, worth $25,000. Samo's All-American stats now include a second-, third- and fourth-place finish - and seventh and ninth place - but still no wins. "I guess it wasn't meant to be," he said onstage. "I honestly thought this would be my tournament to win." It was a tough tournament for anybody to win, as the Ohio River was a formidable foe all week. Samo ended day one in seventh with 5 pounds, 4 ounces and caught 6 pounds yesterday to rise to second. He caught two bass today - double the number of what a lot of finalists caught - that weighed 3 pounds, 3 ounces that ultimately put him 1 pound, 10 ounces shy of the leader. "You want to put yourself in a position to win, and I did that, but I had five keeper bites, and I lost three of them," he said. "You can't do that in a tournament this tough." Samo was working several different baits this week, and he was fishing close by, affording him the opportunity to fish multiple spots. He started off this morning fishing riprap in a spot where he had caught a keeper each of the first two days. "I started throwing a crankbait, and the line got wrapped around a rock," he said. "There was a fish on the end of it, and it pulled right off. That fish probably would have won it for me." He then relocated to another spot where he had previously caught some smaller fish and landed a good-sized bass on a swimming jig, only to have his heart broken by the crankbait again. "I started throwing it and I got another one, and it pulled off," he said. "I bopped around different places, and it was a long time between bites." One last trick in his bag was a Boy Howdy topwater that had handed him good fortune earlier in the week, and that lure was ultimately the straw that broke the camel's back. "I had a 2-pounder jump over my bait," he said. "With about an hour left, (co-angler partner) Mike Williams caught two fish, so I think we figured something out, but it was probably too late." While coming so close yet again to an All-American victory is understandably difficult, Samo, ever the professional, took it all in stride. "I've been second, third and fourth," he said. "I'm inching up." Davidson comes up empty, lands in third Despite not catching any fish today, No. 3 boater Calvin Davidson still shows a little enthusiasm. Yesterday's leader Calvin Davidson of Plainfield, Ind., had a day much like yesterday, when he caught 7 pounds, 3 ounces to take over the lead with 12-12 over two days. There was just one fundamental difference. "It was a lot like every other day; I just didn't get the bites," Davidson said. "I felt like I fished pretty well. I felt confident I could be in the top 10, but I never dreamed I'd be leading it. This morning, I had more wires coming out of me than a 911 call center, and it was unnerving." Indeed, Fox Sports Net was on hand with all the tricks of the trade, including hat cams and all manner of mikes and gadgets. It's enough to make any weekend angler a little nervous when it's their first time in the spotlight. But Davidson gamely continued on, pitching a 3/16-ounce Prowler tube with a Bite Me jighead to try to land some bass. "I was swimming it through balls of fry," he said. "The other fish get aggravated and come up and eat. I caught five of my eight fish on that tube." Like Samo, Davidson played it close all week, fishing within about five miles of the launch ramp, he estimates, in Harrod's Creek. Davidson was the 29th-ranked angler in 2006 Hoosier Division standings, which enabled him to compete in the Kentucky Lake Regional, where he finished fifth. That finish sent him to this week's All-American, his first. His three-day catch of 12 pounds, 12 ounces earned him $14,000 plus $18,000 in Ranger and Evinrude contingency bonuses. He was also the highest-finishing participant in the Ranger Cup contingency program, earning him a brand-new 519VX Ranger boat. Yurko, Newberry score top-five finishes Ronald Yurko took fourth place with 11 pounds, 7 ounces over three days.Taking fourth place and $13,000 is Ronald Yurko of East Point, Fla., with 11 pounds, 7 ounces over three days. He also earned another $16,000 in Ranger and Evinrude contingency bonuses. "The beds were all empty, and the fish were all gone," Yurko said. "I gave it my all, and that's all I could do." Ultimately finishing fifth was day-one leader Dicky Newberry of Houston with 11 pounds over three days. He earned $12,000 plus $14,000 in Ranger and Yamaha contingency bonuses. "We did all we could do," said Newberry, who also dealt with a back rendered sore from casting. "We fished hard today. That's the way it goes." Rest of the best Matthew Mize holds up something rarely seen on stage today - a bass. His three-day total of 10 pounds, 8 ounces earned him a sixth-place finish.Rounding out the top 10 boaters on the Ohio River: 6th: Matthew Mize, Ben Lomond, Ark., six bass, 10-8, $11,000 7th: Thomas Southern, Sylacauga, Ala., five bass, 10-5, $10,000 plus $10,000 in Ranger, Yamaha bonuses 8th: Richard Heath Jr., Beaverdam, Va., six bass, 9-9, $9,000 plus $4,500 Ranger bonus 9th: Jeff Benson, Holmen, Wis., five bass, 8-0, $8,000 10th: Jamey Black, Sheridan, Ark., five bass, 7-11, $7,000 plus $3,500 Evinrude bonus

Tags: headline-story  jennifer-simmons 

/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 »