Baumgardner completes Snickers trifecta

Chris Baumgardner holds his $125,000 check for winning the FLW Tour event on the Potomac River.

WASHINGTON - Ignoring David Dudley and his millions of dollars, Chris Baumgardner pinned down the Snickers trifecta Sunday. Baumgardner, a team angler sponsored by Snickers, won the Snickers Big Bass award with a 7-pound, 6-ounce Potomac River largemouth caught on Friday. Two days later, he won the fifth Wal-Mart FLW Tour qualifier presented by Snickers. Baumgardner did so in striking fashion, catching 10 bass over the final two days that weighed 33 pounds, 5 ounces. His margin of victory was a whopping 6 pounds, 12 ounces. While other competitors wilted while targeting highly pressured bass, Baumgardner displayed incredible consistency. Although he entered Sunday's competition with a 1-pound lead, the smart money was probably still on Dudley, a pro with a fat wallet and a tremendous track record on the Potomac. But the mild-mannered veteran from Gastonia, N.C., never flinched. He stuck with his game plan and caught five bass that weighed 16 pounds, 14 ounces. Chris Baumgardner holds up a pair of 4-pound bass that propelled him to victory Sunday.All of those bass came on the original Rad Lures ChatterBait, a lure that is taking professional fishing by storm. On day four, he caught one bass with a black-and-blue color scheme. The rest were caught on brown and green-pumpkin. The jig portion of the bait was a brown color he calls "Andy" after fellow tour pro Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C. Montgomery tied the bait's skirt for him, and the body was tipped with a 4-inch green-pumpkin Speed Craw made by Zoom. "It's a bait I've been using the past couple years," said the pro winner. "On these kinds of lakes and rivers where there's grass, it works real good. It's kind of like a spinnerbait that you can skip under docks." Baumgardner never really altered his pattern. During the two-day opening round, he would slow-roll his ChatterBait around lily pads and then move to the milfoil flats around 1 p.m. During the final round, he abandoned the pads and fished the grass exclusively. The winning area was located three miles south of Mattawoman Creek. Baumgardner described it as a classic postspawn area. He caught a sum of 11 keepers on the final day. His livewell was empty at about 8:15 this morning until he hooked up his first fish, a 2 1/2-pounder. A half-hour later he experienced his first flurry, boating three keepers in approximately five minutes. These sporadic flurries continued for the duration of the day. Chris Baumgardner holds up a Potomac River bass while David Dudley looks on.Baumgardner said he remained calm the last two days despite being so close to tasting victory. "I get nervous the first two days. That's when you can really bomb really bad. Once you make the top 10, all you're trying to do then is win. To finally get that win is a great feeling. I've been wanting to win one of these forever. You think you've got it in you to win one, but you don't know for sure until you do it." For eliminating 199 of the best bass anglers in the world, Baumgardner earned a $125,000 first-place purse. In addition, the Snickers Big Bass for the tournament paid a total of $1,750. Dudley doesn't win? Dudley was confident coming into the final day, but he's never one to predict his performances. In his own words, he fished well mechanically but was just off with his decision making. "The timing of my moves wasn't right," said the FLW Outdoors all-time leading money winner. "I think I was 30 minutes late sometimes or 30 minutes too early." David Dudley earned $50,000 for his second-place finish on the Potomac River.Dudley caught a great number of keepers, but they were not near the quality of Baumgardner's. His five-bass limit on day four weighed 11 pounds, 2 ounces, giving him a final-round total weight of 26 pounds, 9 ounces. The Castrol pro spent most of his time in the Mattawoman Creek area near Smallwood State Park. On day one, he primarily fished the Greenway Flats. He returned to that area for a quick stop today, but it was unproductive. His key bait this week was a Zoom Baby Brush Hog in green-pumpkin color. Ironically, Dudley ran out of these baits, and it was Baumgardner who gave him three additional packs. Dudley credited his success to how he presented the bait. "In rivers like this, you've got to make your bait present itself naturally." For his second-place finish, the Lynchburg, Va., pro earned $50,000 and surpassed Denny Brauer to claim the fourth spot on the all-time leading money winner's list with a career-winnings total of $2,370,410. That total includes both his BASS earnings as well as his FLW Outdoors earnings. "I still hate to lose. I don't know what else to say. If I don't win, in my opinion, I've lost. I hate to lose. Big money, little money, it doesn't matter. You want to challenge me at picking four-leaf clovers? No matter what, I just want to win." Lane third Over the duration of the two-day final round, Spiderwire pro Bobby Lane caught an awful lot of fish. But like many others, he struggled to find the quality bites that were the staple of his opening round. Pro Bobby Lane finished third with a two-day total weight of 24 pounds, 12 ounces.Lane mainly fished directly across from the ramp in Mattawoman Creek, burning very little gas the first two days. Sporadically, he would dip into Chicamuxen Creek, although that area was only productive on day one. He caught his fish by flipping thick mats with a Berkley Chigger Craw. On occasion, he would also pull out a Pop-R in search of a kicker bite up top. Sunday morning, he saw a big bass jump nearby in his area. He immediately hopped on his trolling motor and whipped his Pop-R in the direction of the swirl. The result was his first fish, and the biggest bass of the day. That largemouth anchored an 11-pound, 13-ounce limit, which pushed his total to 24 pounds, 12 ounces. "I just love fishing grass," said the Lakeland, Fla., pro. "I can fish grass all day and not catch a fish, and I'll still be happy." With his $40,000 check, Lane's career FLW Outdoors earnings surpassed the $200,000 mark. "I think I'm back on track." Wick maintains fourth Making his first FLW Tour appearance in the final round of 10 boats, Bounty pro Ken Wick caught a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 24 pounds, 3 ounces. His limit Sunday weighed 11 pounds, 6 ounces. Pro Ken Wick earned $30,000 in his first top-10 on the FLW Tour.Wick fished two areas in a small creek that was located eight miles north of Smallwood State Park. Running north, the creek is located on the right-hand side of the river. On day four, all of his bass were caught on a 3/8-ounce Skinny Bear jig that was tipped with a Berkley Chigger Craw. "It's been a ball," said the Star, Idaho, native. "I had an absolute blast. It was everything I thought it was going to be." For finishing fourth, Wick earned $30,000. Davis limits, claims fifth Making his second top-10 appearance of the season, Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Ark., caught a limit of bass weighing 12 pounds, 1 ounce today to push his final-round total to 23-10, good for fifth place and $20,000. Mark Davis holds up his biggest bass from SundayDavis experienced more success in the opening round when the weather was cloudy and cool. Those conditions allowed him to tap into a stellar topwater bite. That pattern dried up Friday, and Davis was forced to scrounge with a plastic worm. "It was awesome when the cloud cover was here," said the only angler to have won the BASS Angler of the Year and the Bassmaster Classic in the same season. "My fish were scattered, not schooled. If they had been schooled up, I possibly could have won the tournament." With only one FLW Tour qualifier remaining, Davis is beginning to set his sights on the 2007 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita, his home water. Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pro finishers in FLW Tour competition at the Potomac River: 6th: Jack Wade of Knoxville, Tenn., 22-14, $19,000 7th: Shad Schenck of Waynetown, Ind., 21-7, $18,000 8th: Jerry Williams of Conway, Ark., 21-2, $17,000 9th: Ray Scheide of Russellville, Ark., 20-7, $16,000 10th: Sandy Melvin of Boca Grande, Fla., 14-5, $15,000 Coming up The next and final FLW Tour qualifying event, the Chevy Open, is scheduled for the Detroit River in the Motor City, July 12-15. AOY update Jay Yelas maintained his lead in the Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year race after five events. To date, Yelas has accumulated 898 points. Behind him is Shinichi Fukae, the 2004 AOY, with 872 points and Davis with 860 points.

Tags: headline-story  brett-carlson 

/news/2015-04-26-arey-does-it-again

Arey Does it Again

Quaker State pro Matt Arey of Shelby, N.C., wowed the crowed in Rogers, Ark., today with an incredible 17-pound, 3-ounce five-bass limit to come from behind and win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake. This is Arey’s second consecutive Beaver Lake FLW Tour victory. Arey’s final-day surge was enough to surpass two-time reigning Angler of the Year Andy Morgan, who led yesterday but weighed in only 9-08 today and fell to third. Arey’s four-day total was 55-06, earning the pro $125,000. READ MORE »

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Beaver Lake Day 4 Coverage

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Morgan Maintains His Lead

One of Andy Morgan’s fishing mottos is to make the best of what you have got “in front of you” to survive and fish another day. Beaver Lake doesn’t give much. So when an angler as resourceful as Morgan gets to a lake that doesn’t give out many resources, the two work well together. Instead of worrying about hitting it out of the park or putting immense pressure on himself to come up with a grand winning strategy, Morgan just scraps, scrapes and claws at the ground right in front of him, making the best of what he’s got. Morgan’s performance on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake was a prime example of his “make the best of it” attitude. After burning up the spawning fish he had located in practice during the first two days of the tournament, he was forced to fish by the seat of his pants today – something he thoroughly enjoys. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-25-gordon-and-gagner-crowned-tbf-champs

Gordon and Gagner Crowned TBF Champs

Two more anglers qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup today by winning the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship on Grand Lake in Grove, Okla. Shawn Gordon of Russellville, Ark., earned the TBF crown on the boater side by catching a three-day limit of 50 pounds, 2 ounces, capped by the largest limit caught today – 18 pounds, 10 ounces. Gordon earned $5,000 for his win, but more importantly, he’ll be competing against the best pros in the business in August at the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Gordon also won the TBF “Living The Dream” package, which includes paid entry into the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour, a travel stipend, and use of a wrapped truck and Ranger bass boat. READ MORE »

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Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 3

Andy Morgan didn’t light up the world on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake, but he caught what he needed to maintain the lead and put a 1-pound, 9-ounce cushion between he and Matt Arey. Most of the rest of the top 20 scrambled today, abandoning their patterns and trying new options to try and make the final-day cut. Here’s how the top five got it done. READ MORE »

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Beaver Lake Day 3 Coverage

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

Make Way for Morgan

“Hidden largemouths” is quickly becoming the buzz term at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac, as those atop the leaderboard are using the term to refer to spawning largemouths that are so well hidden that other competitors never found them. These hidden fish are covered by thick brush, hidden so deep that they were only found during the very rare windows of sunshine during practice or located off the beaten path. The latter are not in obvious pockets or places where one would expect to find beds, but rather out on the main bluff channels where few ever look. On day one, Jacob Wheeler caught hidden largemouths to take the lead. On day two, former Beaver Lake champion Andy Morgan caught hidden largemouths to take over the pole position going into the weekend. His catch of 15 pounds, 7 ounces today gives Morgan a two-day total of 28-09 to take the lead by just 11 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 2

At halftime of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac, the top five reads like a who’s who of Beaver Lake. Leader Andy Morgan is a former Beaver Lake champion. Behind him, Darrel Robertson has been very close to winning here with a runner-up finish in 2005. In third is 2014 Beaver Lake champion Matt Arey. Bryan Thrift, in fourth, has never won on Beaver Lake, but has led here before. And finally, fifth-place pro Stetson Blaylock knows his way around this lake pretty well, too, with a couple of top 10s. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-heckman-heads-up-tbf-championship-field

Heckman Heads up TBF Championship Field

Some bass are still spawning in Grand Lake, and others are yet to make their way up to the shallows, but none of that interests Sam Heckman. Diligent commitment to his postspawn plan here Friday landed Heckman atop the boater field with 34 pounds, 3 ounces and locked up his Southwest Division win at the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship. Saturday, the top boater from each of seven TBF divisions will vie for the TBF National Championship and the “Living the Dream” package that goes with it. The package includes paid entry in the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour as a pro, a Forrest Wood Cup berth and use of a custom-wrapped truck and Ranger boat on Tour for the year, as well as a travel stipend for each event. Seven non-boaters – one from each TBF division – also will fish in tomorrow’s final round for a chance at paid entry into a Rayovac FLW Series division of choice. 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

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Bryan Slows Down for Chickamauga Win

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/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 »

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Salzman Cracks 31 Pounds on Guntersville

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