UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2015 - Ohio River

King Clapper dominates Chevy Open wire to wire

Steve Clapper of Lima, Ohio, wins the Wal-Mart FLW Tour Chevy Open in Detroit with a two-day total of 45 pounds, 9 ounces.

DETROIT - Steve Clapper of Lima, Ohio, considered by many to be a fishing icon due to his contributions to the sport, made his 25-year dedication to the pursuit of smallmouths on Lake Erie pay off in a big way Sunday by winning the Wal-Mart FLW Tour Chevy Open. Clapper led the event from beginning to end and finished the job today with a 22-pound, 6-ounce stringer, which gave him the win with a two-day total of 45 pounds, 9 ounces, over a 6-pound margin of victory. Clapper can be thought of as the grandfather of offshore fishing for smallmouths on Lake Erie. Many of the innovations and advancements that are standard components of Great Lakes fishing these days can be indirectly traced back to Clapper's tenacious desire to go out into the middle of Erie and tangle with giant smallmouths. Well-known Midwestern tournament anglers like Joe Balog, Kevin Vida and Mark Zona have all been influenced by Clapper. "Some of us have Steve to thank for our careers in fishing," said fishing TV personality Mark Zona, who has competed against Clapper in Stren Series events in the past and maintains a friendship with him to this day. "He taught us all so much about running big water and targeting offshore smallmouth - and he has always been extremely generous with his knowledge and information. We, in turn, have passed it on, and now we have young pros like Trevor Jancasz who are like third-generation beneficiaries of Clapper's Great Lakes pioneering." While Clapper has helped refine techniques like tubing and drop-shotting for deep-water Finishing the job: Steve Clapper of Lima, Ohio, shows off his tournament winning smallmouths that came from the depths of Lake Erie.smallmouths on Erie, he is best known for his contributions to navigating big water with a bass boat. Like a European explorer looking for gold in foreign lands, Clapper ventured far out into Erie long before the days of GPS technology. Clapper's first boat was a Ranger 198V, which was 18 feet long. "I used to go out there with just a compass," Clapper laughed. "And what's so bad is I'd find a great fishing spot out there in the middle of nowhere, catch a bunch of fish and never be able to find it again. "I'll put it to you this way, most of my best spots I found while I was looking for my other spots," he chuckled. "Back then, we didn't go out there on days like yesterday (day three)," he added. "Equipment has gotten a lot better." Zona remembers meeting Clapper for the first time about 12 years ago. "I walked up to his boat, and he had everything double-tied down with straps and he had two GPSs - one in the console and one on the bow," Zona related. "I thought to myself, This dude is out of his mind. These days, using additional tie-downs and two GPS units is a standard in tournament fishing everywhere. "In tournaments I would run out into Erie about nine miles on a real nasty day, and I thought I was somebody," Zona continued. "Clapper would come in with a big sack of smallies and tell us he rode out there 25 miles. We thought he was lying, but he wasn't. He pioneered long boat rides out into the middle of Erie to fish for giant smallmouths. Many folks don't realize the contributions that man has made to our sport." Steve Clapper of Lima, Ohio, gets a kiss from his wife after winning $200,00 in the Chevy Open.Despite winning seven Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League events over the years, Clapper has never won many of the Stren events in which he has competed. Before this win today, his total FLW Outdoors winnings were $109,000. Today he nearly tripled the amount with his $200,000 Chevy Open winner's purse. "This helps make up for all those seconds, thirds, fourths, fifths and other top-10s in Stren events where I couldn't close the deal," Clapper said. In terms of his fishing this week, Clapper ran some 30 to 35 miles into Lake Erie around the Pelee Island area. He focused his efforts on subtle rises and ridges that come up out of 26 feet into 23 to 22 feet. The ridges featured "rocky spots" or "rough places" on top of them. During the week he targeted his fish with drop-shots and tubes. The drop-shots featured Berkley Gulp gobies and Poor Boys gobies while the tubes were ISG goby-colored tubes over a ¾-ounce Bite Me Big Dude head with a rattle. "There is something about that Gulp scent - I've never seen anything like," he said. "You can drop a regular plastic down there and nothing happens. But you drop one of those Gulp-scented baits down, and all kinds of perch and gobies start pecking it and nibbling it - you can feel them just tearing it up. "I think all those little fish, gathered around chewing on it, attract the attention of smallmouths. You can tell when a big smallmouth is getting ready to bite because all the little pulls and tugs suddenly stop and then there's a big thump." Clapper also noted that when things slicked off today, he began "snapping" his tube off the bottom with vicious snatches of the rod to provoke two of his best fish into biting. Long takes second All week BFGoodrich Tires pro Kevin Long of Berkley, Mich., kept climbing up through the All week B.F. Goodrich pro Kevin Long of Berkley, Mich., kept climbing up through the standings finishing in the runner-up spot with a two-day total of 39 pounds, 7 ounces worth $75,000.standings, finishing in the runner-up spot with a two-day total of 39 pounds, 7 ounces, worth $75,000. Long spent the week in St. Clair. During the first three days, he fished depths of 16 to 18 feet, but today he moved shallow to catch 20 pounds, 10 ounces. "When it gets calm and slick like it was today, I like to move up shallow where I can see the sand, grass and fish," he said. "With good visibility, you can see the targets you need to be casting to from much farther away. I fished a mixture of lures, but my biggest fish came on a Lucky Craft Pointer 100 jerkbait. For some reason, when it gets calm, they really like that jerkbait." Baksay finishes third Pro Terry Baksay of Easton, Conn., stayed in St. Clair all week as well, finishing third with a two-day total of 39 pounds, 7 ounces, worth $50,000.Terry Baksay of Easton, Conn., stayed in St. Clair all week as well, finishing third with a two-day total of 39 pounds, 7 ounces, worth $50,000. Baksay's main lures were a Berkley Gulp Leech on a drop-shot, a Rapala X-10 jerkbait and a Lucky Craft Pointer 100 jerkbait. "I went through three bags of those leeches today," Baksay. "It's just crazy how those smallmouths eat that stuff." When the wind slicked off, Baksay moved a little shallower into 13 feet of water and began throwing jerkbaits to targets he could see. Moleski fourth Thomas Moleski of Elkhart, Ind., took home $40,000 for fourth place with a two-day total of Thomas Moleski took fourth place with 39-1 over the final two days. The ambulance manufacturer earned $40,000 as the No. 4 pro.39 pounds, 1 ounce. Moleski fished Lake Erie all four days, concentrating on depths of 25 to 26 feet. "When the wind lays like it did today, I do things a little different than when it's blowing," Moleski said of his 19-pound, 12-ounce catch. "For one thing, I keep the boat a lot farther from the target and make long casts, because I don't want the shadow of the boat to spook them off their spot. When it's rough and windy, it distorts all the shadows, and I'll get right over my best stuff and fish it vertically." Moleski relied on drop-shot Gulp baits and Poor Boys darters. "Another thing is, when it gets calm, I just hold the bait still down there," he revealed. "I don't shake it or drag it or even move it. I think the more motionless the bait is on calm days, the better it works, especially with the scented products like Gulp!" Schenk takes fifth Shad Schenck of Waynetown, Ind., spent his week out on Lake Erie, which garnered him a fifth-place finish worth $30,000. Schenck drop-shotted Berkley's new Gulp Alive products out on little rises and humps in 25 feet of water. Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pros in the Wal-Mart FLW Tour Chevy Open in Detroit: 6th: Trevor Jancasz of White Pigeon, Mich., two-day total of 37-13, $29,000 7th: Josh Myers of Chatham, Ont., two-day total of 35-10, $28,000 8th: Clark Wendlandt of Leander, Texas, two-day total of 28-6, $27,000 9th: Christopher King of South Amherst, Ohio, two-day total of 18-6, $26,000 10th: Clifford Pirch of Payson, Ariz., two-day total of 16-15, $25,000 The next FLW Tour event coming up is the Big Daddy of them all: the Forrest Wood Cup in Hot Springs, Ark., August 2-5 where one pro could make bass-fishing history by winning $1 million.

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/news/2015-08-31-top-10-patterns-from-lake-erie

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Erie

Most of the other top top-10 finishers found their fish over rocky bottom structure around the Pelee area. Drop-shots and crankbaits dominated the catches. READ MORE »

/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 »

/news/2015-08-29-webster-runs-and-guns-for-win

Webster Runs and Guns for Win

Michael Webster of Gastonia, North Carolina, brought a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 9 ounces to the scale Sunday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division Super Tournament on Lake Wylie with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 27 pounds, 10 ounces. For his victory, Webster earned $4,476. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-experience-pays-for-boggs

Experience Pays for Boggs

Drew Boggs of Lebanon, Tennessee, brought five bass totaling 13 pounds, 12 ounces to the scale Sunday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Music City Division Super Tournament on Old Hickory Lake with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 27 pounds, 2 ounces. For his victory, Boggs earned $4,257. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-jig-crankbait-carry-gray-to-victory

Jig, Crankbait Carry Gray to Victory

Brandon Gray of Bullock, North Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 14 pounds, 3 ounces Sunday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division Super Tournament on Kerr Lake with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 32 pounds, 14 ounces. For his victory, Gray earned $5,886. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-hemken-searched-deep-for-bigger-bites

Hemken Searched Deep for Bigger Bites

Shawn Hemken of Walshville, Illinois, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Sunday weighing 11 pounds, 6 ounces to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Illini Division Super Tournament on Lake Shelbyville with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 26 pounds, 1 ounce. For his victory, Hemken earned $6,882. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-topwater-lifts-ragan-to-top

Topwater Lifts Ragan to Top

Thadeus Ragan of West Park, Florida, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 26 pounds, 8 ounces Sunday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Gator Division Super Tournament on Lake Okeechobee with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 47 pounds, 10 ounces. For his victory, Ragan earned $6,922. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-martinkovic-runs-away-with-title

Martinkovic Runs Away with Title

Chris Martinkovic of Hamilton, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 12 pounds, 9 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Hoosier Division tournament on the Ohio River. For his victory, Martinkovic earned $6,244. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-lake-erie-day-3-midday-update

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 »

/news/2015-08-28-top-5-patterns-from-lake-erie-day-2

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 »

/news/2015-08-28-lefebre-rhode-tied-at-the-top

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 »

/news/2015-08-28-lake-erie-day-2-midday-update

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 »

/news/2015-08-27-rhode-cracks-23-10-for-erie-lead

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 »

/news/2015-08-27-top-5-patterns-from-lake-erie-day-1

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 »

/news/2015-08-25-top-10-patterns-from-the-forrest-wood-cup

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 »

/news/2015-08-23-knight-slays-ouachita

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 »

/news/2015-08-23-forrest-wood-cup-day-4-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 4 Coverage

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

/news/2015-08-22-wheeler-back-in-front

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 »

/news/2015-08-22-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-3

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 »