UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Thrift charges out of gate at Forrest Wood Cup

2007 FLW Tour Rookie of the Year Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., takes the day one lead in the Forrest Wood Cup with 15-7.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - As of 7 o'clock this morning, all of the pretournament rhetoric, smoke screening and unintentional sandbagging came to an abrupt end as the 2007 Forrest Wood Cup qualifiers took to Lake Ouachita and did what they do best: catch bass.

With temperatures in the mid-90s and a thick layer of humidity slithering through the Ouachita Mountain valley, it was classic summertime fishing at its finest.

If you have ever wondered how the best pros in the world deal with such conditions, this event is a good lesson. Simply put: With a million bucks on the line, no one is holding back.

Despite a lot of pretournament moaning, 34 limits passed through the scales in the Pro Division. As expected, the local contingent represented Arkansas well, but interestingly, there are a few California addresses in the top 10, too.

The Wal-Mart FLW Tour's 2007 Gain Rookie of the Year, Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., set the bar early in the weigh-in with a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 7 ounces, which held up as the day-one lead.

Thrift made it clear that his catch was a total surprise. He only caught six keepers during the day, but a majority of them were larger than he expected.

"I've had several 8- to 10-pound days in practice, but nothing like this," Thrift said of his day-one catch. "Some of those 2-pounders turned into 3-pounders, and I got one about 6 pounds to go with them."

Thift said he fished the lake "from one end to another," spending only a few minutes at each spot.

"I've got a shallow pattern that I'm trying to make last as long as I can in the mornings," he said. "I'm running spot to spot and only making four or five casts per spot. My morning deal has been better for quality, but today that kind of changed. I caught three shallow and then moved out deep where I caught the 6-pounder."

When Thrift works his deep-water pattern, he says he does fish a little longer - 15 to 20 minutes per spot - but he's still trying not to stay in one place too long.

"I'm just trying to keep moving and not get stale," he added. "I seem to fish better when I'm on the move."

He did note that both his shallow and deep patterns were grass-oriented patterns.

Though Thrift is responsible for introducing the bass-fishing world the ChatterBait, he did confirm that he is not using one here.

"Coming here, my plan was to catch them stroking the ChatterBait through the deep grass," he said. "It did work a couple of days, but with it being so hot, those fish are not reacting to it right now. I'm having to drag plastics around to get my bites."

Suggs second

Folgers pro Scott Suggs of Bryant, Ark., is one of the hands-down favorites this week Folgers pro Scott Suggs shows off one of his Ouachita bass before weighing in on day one.at Ouachita, and he showed why today with a five-bass limit weighing 14 pounds, 14 ounces for second place.

As further proof of the number of fish he is on, his co-angler, David Hudson of Jasper, Ala., is leading the Co-angler Division with 11 pounds, 9 ounces.

Despite the amount of money on the line, Suggs was very candid about his pattern.

"I'm spending three-quarters of the day in deep-standing timber," he said. "It's actually where grass and timber kind of come together, but I'm focusing mostly on suspended fish in the standing trees."

Suggs also noted that he saw at least one other competitor fishing the same way he was and that the other competitor is also in the top 10.

As for Suggs' chances at the million dollars from this point in time, he's not calling his shots yet, but he does seem to exude a great deal of confidence in being dialed in on exactly what his fish are doing.

"I'm fishing for all I can get tomorrow," he said. "I'm not going to mess with that conservation game and play with chances of missing the cut. I've done that and gotten burned in the past. I would stop at 10 or 11 pounds, should I catch that tomorrow, but I'm not going to be playing around with the math on anything less."

Sappington third

M&MM&M's pro John Sappington of Willard, Mo., holds down the third-place position after day one with 13 pounds, 13 ounces.

Sappington, the 2002 championship winner on the FLW Tour, revealed that he worked three different patterns to catch 10 keepers today.

One is a shallow grass pattern that has produced small fish for him and is "going away," due to the rapidly falling water levels.

The other is a deep grass pattern, but the last one has a familiar ring to Suggs' primary pattern in that Sappington mentioned the words "standing timber."

"I've got nine rods out on the deck, and I'm fishing a lot of different baits on these fish," he said. "I don't know that I've quite got them dialed in just yet; I feel like I'm playing catch-up to them every day. Each day I have to adjust and change up lures or areas to get them to bite."

Salewske fourth

Rusty Salewske of Alpine, Calif., has started the event in fourth place with Rusty Salewske of Alpine, Calif., has started the Forrest Wood Cup in fourth place with five bass weighing 13 pounds.five bass weighing 13 pounds.

Although Salewske did not want to reveal the finer details of his pattern, it is somewhat obvious that his Western fishing roots are paying off.

"I feel pretty comfortable on this kind of water - deep and clear," he said. "It's not like when I go to Okeechobee and everyone's catching 9-pounders, and I don't know what to do. This kind of water fits me better."

Salewske did say he is fishing down to 30 feet of water and that he's not in the grass, but that deep grass does need to be close by to make his pattern work.

"I've got one good spot that produced most of my fish," he said. "I caught my limit by 10:30 and then backed out of the area a bit. Hopefully that one spot will hold up. I do have other areas that I did not fish today, but this one place has all the right ingredients."

Roberston fifth

After starting the Forrest Wood Cup in fifth place, Darrel Robertson gets interviewed by FOX camera crews. As a former championship winner on the FLW Tour, Darrel Robertson of Jay, Okla., is no stranger to winning big-money tournaments, and he made an early move on a second title today with five bass weighing 12 pounds, 10 ounces.

"This lake has plenty of bass in it," he said. "My thoughts on it are that this time of year, they feed almost exclusively at night. I feel like there are plenty of bass down there looking at my lures, but they just will not bite."

Robertson did make just five bass try an afternoon meal today.

"I've got about eight little key spots that I'm fishing with a worm," he said. "Some are just grass, and some have grass and timber. I'll fish each one for about 20 minutes, then move on to the next one, and I just rotate them like that all day."

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros in the 2007 Forrest Wood Cup after day one:

6th: Greg Pugh of Cullman, Ala., five bass, 12-5
7th: Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Ark., five bass, 12-0
8th: Kevin Vida of Clare, Mich., five bass, 11-14
9th: Jason Borofka of Salinas, Calif., five bass, 11-8
9th: Shad Schenck of Waynetown, Ind., five bass, 11-8

The second day of the Forrest Wood Cup begins at 7 a.m. on Friday at Brady Mountain Resort, located at 4120 Brady Mountain Road in Royal, Ark.

Tags: rob-newell  headline-story  2007-08-02-forrest-wood-cup 

/news/2016-07-25-top-10-patterns-from-the-1000-islands

Top 10 Patterns from the 1000 Islands

High wind and fluctuating water temperatures made things a little difficult for the anglers, but the top-10 pros adapted and utilized the whole playing field to exploit everything from deep smallmouth to shallow largemouth. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-mccartney-o-keefe-tie-for-win-at-flw-bass-fishing-league-great-lakes-division-event-on-mississippi-river-presented-by-navionics

McCartney, O’Keefe Tie For Win at FLW Bass Fishing League Great Lakes Division Event on Mississippi River Presented By Navionics

LA CROSSE, Wis. (July 25, 2016) – Mark McCartney of Davis Junction, Illinois, and Nick O’Keefe of La Crosse, Wisconsin, each weighed three bass totaling 11 pounds even, Saturday to win the third FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division tournament of 2016 on the Mississippi... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-mccartney-o-keefe-tie-on-the-mighty-miss

McCartney, O'Keefe tie on the Mighty Miss

Mark McCartney of Davis Junction, Illinois, and Nick O’Keefe of La Crosse, Wisconsin, each weighed three bass totaling 11 pounds even, Saturday to win the third FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division tournament of 2016 on the Mississippi River presented by Navionics. For his win, McCartney earned $5,540 after bonuses, and O’Keefe took home $3,540. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-country-music-superstar-dustin-lynch-to-perform-free-concert-in-huntsville-presented-by-wdrm-102-1

Country Music Superstar Dustin Lynch to perform Free Concert In Huntsville presented by WDRM 102.1

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Country music superstar Dustin Lynch will perform a free concert on the Walmart weigh-in stage at the Propst Arena in the Von Braun Center in Huntsville on Sunday, August 7, starting at 4 p.m., prior to the final weigh-in of the world championship of professional bass fishing, the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. The concert is presented by WDRM... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-jay-kendrick-the-rookie-

Jay Kendrick – The “Rookie”

A rookie by designation if not by experience, Forrest Wood Cup contender Jay Kendrick finished 34th in the standings in his first year on the Walmart FLW Tour to clinch a spot in the championship. What makes it even more fortuitous for him is that because the Cup is taking place on Wheeler Lake, he’ll be able to stay at his own house for the event, which is just about 30 minutes from takeoff at Ditto Landing. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-fan-freebies-and-contests-at-the-cup

Fan Freebies and Contests at the Cup

One pro angler is going to win $300,000 at the Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart Aug. 4-7 on Wheeler Lake in Huntsville, Ala. That’s good for him. For fans, the chance to win is pretty good too. FLW and its partners and sponsors have lined up a sweet selection of giveaway prizes for the Cup and the accompanying FLW Expo, ranging from a tricked-out bass boat to a fishing trip with Jimmy Houston. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-24-1000-islands-top-10-baits

1000 Islands Top 10 Baits

The top pros from the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands kept it pretty simple to catch both largemouths and smallmouths from this massive fishery that includes the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. Drop-shots, spinnerbaits and jigs all saw action and got it done from the lake to the river. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-24-penn-state-taps-docks-at-chautauqua-

Penn State Taps Docks at Chautauqua

The Penn State University duo of Clayton Frey of York, Pennsylvania, and Derek Horner, of State College, Pennsylvania, won the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference event at Chautauqua Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and qualified the team for the 2017 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-thompson-co-angler-champ-on-1000-islands

Thompson Co-angler Champ on 1000 Islands

The 1000 Islands is a great place to take a vacation, especially if you are from the south and want to escape the heat. That is exactly what co-angler Joe Thompson of Clayton, Ga., did and wound up capturing the top spot in the co-angler division bringing home a Ranger Z117 with a 90 hp motor. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-penn-state-university-wins-flw-college-fishing-northern-conference-event-on-chautauqua-lake

Penn State University wins FLW College Fishing Northern Conference Event on Chautauqua Lake

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. – The Penn State University duo of Clayton Frey of York, Pennsylvania, and Derek Horner, of State College, Pennsylvania, won the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference event at Chautauqua Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and qualified the team for the 2017 FLW College Fishing National... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-michigan-s-dobson-leads-wire-to-wire-wins-costa-flw-series-event-at-1000-islands-presented-by-mercury

Michigan’s Dobson leads wire-to-wire, wins Costa FLW Series Event at 1000 Islands presented by Mercury

CLAYTON, N.Y. – Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Michigan, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event at 1000 Islands presented by Mercury with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 68 pounds, 8 ounces. For his win, Dobson earned $82,669, including a new Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-dobson-dominates-1000-islands

Dobson Dominates 1000 Islands

Scott Dobson didn’t expect it to come so quickly, but 30 minutes is all it took for him to find the winning pattern during his first day of practice for the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands. That pattern would lead him to three consecutive limits of more than 20 pounds, including today’s final-round bag worth 21-12 – the day’s biggest limit, yet his smallest of the tournament. His three-day total weight of 68-8 earned him a check for more than $37,000 along with a Ranger Z518C with a 200-hp engine for being Ranger Cup qualified. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-1000-islands-top-5-patterns-day-2

1000 Islands Top 5 Patterns Day 2

Strong winds limited competition to only the St. Lawrence River on day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands, but that was no problem for the majority of the top 10. Even though most of them fished Lake Ontario on day one, they were able to adjust and stay on the fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-dobson-extends-lead-at-1000-islands

Dobson Extends Lead at 1000 Islands

A windy day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on the 1000 Islands didn’t stop day-one leader Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Mich., from sacking up the biggest bag of the day. Dobson threw down an impressive 22-pound, 3-ounce limit to extend his lead to 5 pounds over Cal Climpson – a noted Lake Ontario maestro. Dobson’s two-day total stands at 46-12, and with lighter winds tomorrow some big bags are expected. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-lake-ontario-out-for-day-2

Lake Ontario Out for Day 2

It is never good when you wake up the morning of a tournament and every flag you see is standing straight out at 3 a.m., but that was the case this morning for day two of the Costa FLW Series event on the 1000 Islands. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-1000-islands-top-5-patterns-day-1

1000 Islands Top 5 Patterns Day 1

Past experience on this fishery seems to be a big advantage for the top pros through one day of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands. Scott Dobson leads the way with 24 pounds, 9 ounces, yet there are some serious hammers right on his heels. Dobson fished both the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario for his limit, while others went straight to the lake and stayed there. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-dobson-drops-24-9

Dobson Drops 24-9

Despite the weights being dropped on the scale for the opening round of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on the 1000 Islands presented by Mercury, it has actually been a tough day of fishing. Strong winds made it hard for the anglers regardless of if they were fishing the lake or river. Smallmouth guru Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Mich., sacked up 24 pounds, 9 ounces on day one to take a 1-8 lead over Canadian stick Cal Climpson. Dobson utilized both the river and lake for his limit, which could play to his advantage if the wind blows like the weathermen are forecasting tomorrow. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-professional-bass-fishing-s-forrest-wood-cup-set-to-visit-wheeler-lake

Professional Bass Fishing’s Forrest Wood Cup set to visit Wheeler Lake

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of professional bass fishing, will visit Wheeler Lake and the Huntsville, Alabama, area August 4-7 to crown bass fishing’s top angler of 2016. Hosted by the Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the tournament will feature 50 of the world’s best bass-fishing... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-1000-islands-midday-update-day-1

1000 Islands Midday Update Day 1

Day one of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands hasn’t been about if the wind will blow, but when. Everyone knew the gales were coming eventually. Still, the majority of anglers hung a left out of the dock this morning and charged toward Lake Ontario into a steady breeze that turned into a howling wind by midmorning. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-2016-forrest-wood-cup-angler-intro-music

2016 Forrest Wood Cup Angler Intro Music

Each season, the anglers that make the Forrest Wood Cup get to choose the intro music that will play when they walk out on stage at weigh-ins. Naturally, the selections vary as widely as the anglers’ personalities and backgrounds – David Dudley once selected the Chicken Dance song, if that tells you anything. READ MORE »