Trombly triumphs with different direction

TRENTON, Mich. - Sometimes, breaking from the norm, taking risks and doing your own thing can pay off big. That's essentially the tale of Mike Trombly's victory Saturday at the Stren Series Northern Division tournament on the Detroit River. At the morning check-out, Trombly headed south from Elizabeth Park Marina while the rest of the top 10 boats went north to Lake St. Clair. Fishing the lower end of the Detroit River and Lake Erie, the Perrysburg, Ohio, angler caught a five-fish limit weighing 20 pounds, 7 ounces to tally a four-day total of 79 pounds. "I hadn't put in any practice time on St. Clair," Trombly said. "I had caught a good bag there two weeks ago, but I wasn't comfortable that I could go back and do that again. There's a lot of roaming fish in St. Clair, and I wasn't comfortable having to cover a lot of water to keep up with them. In Erie, I'm fishing spots and I was more comfortable with that. "Also, in St. Clair you're looking at the same kind of cover, but not as much specific structure. Erie has more specific structure, whereas on St. Clair, there are miles and miles of weeds, and it all looks the same." Targeting the 7- to 10-foot range of water depth, Trombly started his day by fishing Rat-L-Traps, and when that action waned, he transitioned to snapping a smoke-purple colored tube. Traditionally, green tubes have been the perennial favorite for smallmouth bass, but Trombly chose his color strategically. In addition to his tournament winnings and Ranger contingency bonus, Mike Trombly also won the Ranger Cup award."That color imitates shad," he explained. "This is the time of year when there's a lot of shad moving into the mouth of the river. "When I got to my first spot this morning, there was a pretty big ball of shad right in front of me, and the fish were busting right on the surface. Big smallmouths were smoking shad. I could only get two on that spot - the fish kept following that ball of shad until it moved out of the area." Having finished out his day on Lake Erie, Trombly praised his Ranger 620 for dependable performance in big water. "When it comes to making a big run when it's rough, whether it's coming through the river or running across the lake when there are 6-footers, that boat gets me there safely and it's a dry ride." Hensley runner-up Brian Hensley caught a 21-pound, 2-ounce bag - the largetst of the final round.Finishing second, Brian Hensley of Edwardsburg, Mich., weighed the day's heaviest bag, a 21-pound, 2-ounce effort that gave him a four-day total of 78-3. Fishing in 14 feet of water in the northwest section of Lake St. Clair, Hensley started his day using tubes, but ended up catching his heaviest smallmouths on Lucky Craft jerkbaits and drop-shot rigs fitted with Berkley Gulp gobies. Hensley said that a key discovery during one of his practice days proved invaluable during the tournament. "Just last weekend, I bought a Humminbird side imaging unit, and when I was idling across a flat, I noticed there was one area that had better weeds on it. I marked a GPS coordinate there and fished around that spot most of the week." Notably, Hensley's wife, Renee, took second place on the co-angler side with 66 pounds, 8 ounces. Of their coincidental performances, Brian Hensley said: "It's unbelievable. The only thing that could have made it better would be if we had (finished in the same spot) yesterday. Then we could have fished together today." (Pros were paired with co-anglers who finished in the same day-three position.) Campbell takes third Mr. Consistency, A.C. Campbell of Mineral Springs, Pa., took third place with 77 pounds, 4 ounces after finishing second on days one and three and topping the pro field on day two. He continued his pattern Despite wind limitations, AC Campbell still found enough quality fish for third place.of targeting rocky bottom with weed patches in Lake St. Clair, but the day's conditions proved limiting. During the first three days of competition, Campbell modified a drop-shot technique by letting his sit still on the bottom until he got a strike. "During the week, when the fish quit biting on tubes, I'd go to that dead-sticking (tactic)," he said. "Today, with the high wind and the 3-foot waves, I couldn't fish the way I wanted to fish. I had waves coming over the bow and hitting me in the knees." Campbell ended up cracking tubes on the bottom. "I was using a 1/2-ounce tube when a lot of guys were using 3/8-ounce. I think the 1/2-ounce gave me more of a reaction bite. I was popping it violently with braided line and fluorocarbon leader." Crisp fourth Fourth place finisher Mike Crisp was joined on stage by his 4-year-old daughter Tori.Mike Crisp of Union Grove, Wis., grabbed the fourth-place spot with 76-13. Flipping Berkley Gulp leeches to small weed patches proved most productive for him. "It was like bed-fishing. I'd just ease up to a little patch of weeds and flip 10 feet in front of me. I called my shots on every cast. I said, `Here's a fish.' My co-angler couldn't believe it." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pro leaders at the Stren Series Detroit River event: 5th: Chip Harrison of Bremen, Ind., 76-6 6th: Chris Oeser of Egg Harbor Township, N.J., 75-7 7th: Koby Kreiger of Okeechobee, Fla., 74-11 8th: Jacob Powroznik of Prince George, Va., 74-11 9th: Terry Baksay of Easton, Conn., 73-4 10th: David Hasty of Toledo, Ohio, 71-1 Hasty's father, Charles Hasty, won the Co-angler Division with 67-1. With his Detroit River finish, Campbell moved into sixth place in the Stren Series Northern Division standings. Baksay holds the ninth-place spot and Oeser is 17th.

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Wendlandt Back at the Top

It’s been 14 seasons since Clark Wendlandt last stood on a Walmart FLW Tour stage and hoisted a tournament championship trophy. Since that time, the Texas pro has experienced ups and downs, including an Angler of the Year title (his third) in 2009 and a major medical issue that sidelined him for most of the 2014 season. All that’s in the past now, however, and Wendlandt is right back where he belongs in the world of bass fishing – in first place after the final day on the Potomac River in the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

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Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River

Clark Wendlandt didn’t pull off any secret techniques to win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. He simply found an area with the right quality of bass to win and managed it perfectly despite facing a medley of Mother Nature’s toughest challenges. The rest of the top 10 stuck with the standard Potomac targets too, namely grass, docks and wood cover. The only underlying trend of the top 10 is that they found areas to themselves. Here’s how the rest of the top 10 got it done at the 2015 Tour finale. READ MORE »

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Potomac River Day 4 Coverage

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Wendlandt Receives Helping Hand

Not to discredit Clark Wendlandt’s skills as a bass fisherman, but if it wasn’t for an extreme act of kindness on the part of fellow competitor Shin Fukae, Wendlandt wouldn’t be where he is this evening – leading through three days of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. Wendlandt suffered a mechanical failure with his rig just a couple of hours into competition that prevented him from running his big motor on plane. He was stuck, more or less, and planned to fish with the trolling motor as best he could before being towed back to the ramp early. If it’d played out as planned, Wendlandt would have lost significant fishing time and probably wouldn’t have weighed in a limit. Fukae would let nothing of the sort happen when he came across Wendlandt on the water and heard what had happened. In 16th place and fishless at the time, Fukae insisted that Wendlandt trade boats, effectively ending his tournament and giving Wendlandt the chance to catch 14 1/2 pounds and maintain his lead with a three-day total of 47-02. READ MORE »

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Top 5 Patterns from Potomac River Day 3

Pouring rain, gusting winds, a remarkable act of kindness, an Angler of the Year title on the line – day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River certainly was not boring. To say the top 20 anglers were waterlogged after Saturday would be any understatement, but as nasty as the weather was, it wasn’t the biggest story of the day. Shinichi Fukae generously helped Clark Wendlandt retain his lead, while Scott Martin sealed the deal on his first AOY title. Meanwhile, a number of other anglers scrambled to adjust with what the weather and the Potomac are throwing at them. Here’s how the rest of the top five caught their fish today. READ MORE »

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Potomac River Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on the Potomac River presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

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Wendlandt in Familiar Territory

A lot of flip-flopping took place on the second day of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. When the scale closed, it was three-time Tour Angler of the Year Clark Wendlandt who found himself on top with a two-day total of 32 pounds, 10 ounces. Wendlandt caught 17-13 today – the day’s second-heaviest limit – and leads Potomac local Bryan Schmitt by 1-12 going into the weekend. Wendlandt missed part of last season after suffering a heart attack but has rebounded with good success this season. He has won three times on Tour but hasn’t finished in first place since Beaver Lake in 2001. Details to come on the patterns of the top five. READ MORE »

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Potomac River Day 2 Coverage

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Jersey Boy Leads the Pack

Talk about a traffic jam. And, no, we’re not talking about the streets around the Washington, D.C. area. We’re talking about the standings at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. Adrian “Jersey Boy” Avena leads the way with a 16-pound, 12-ounce limit, but a total of 41 pros weighed in at least 12 pounds. Many pros lamented the tough bite today, but the results say otherwise as 114 limits were brought to the scale on the pro side. Troy Morrow trails Avena by just 1-06, and 1 ounce behind Morrow is one of the most successful tidewater bass anglers of all time, Bryan Schmitt. READ MORE »

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Top 5 Patterns from Potomac River Day 1

It might seem impossible for 405 miles of water to fish small, but space was hard to come by on day one of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. The creeks near takeoff at Smallwood State Park have seen as much traffic as a Washington, D.C. highway at rush hour. On the flip side, anglers who were able to develop patterns that got them away from the crowds, such as day-one leader Adrian Avena, have been able to reap the benefits of what has been a stingy fishery. Here’s how the rest of the pros in the top five caught their fish today. READ MORE »

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AOY Shake-Up: Martin Makes His Move

Scott Martin has been talking about winning the Angler of the Year title since before the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour season started. It’s on his mind and for good reason: Angler of the Year is the only major FLW title he hasn’t won in what Martin has built into one of the most decorated professional fishing careers in FLW Tour history. Today, on the first day of competition at the Tour finale on the Potomac River, Martin has unofficially moved into the lead in the AOY race for the first time all season. READ MORE »

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Potomac River Day 1 Coverage

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Thrift Flirting with Second AOY Title

Bryan Thrift can’t say for certain what baits will sit on his front deck during the final Walmart FLW Tour event of 2015 on the Potomac River, which is set to kick off this Thursday, but he’s quick to say what will not join him – the memory of his 2010 Angler of the Year title. READ MORE »

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Richardson Wins All-American

Curtis Richardson has a way of surprising people – even himself. The Ontario angler had all but written himself off in the championship round of the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American, thinking his limit of five bass wouldn’t hold up for long with the likes of Jeremy Lawyer and Bill Schroeder breathing down his neck. READ MORE »

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All-American Midday Update Day 3

Big changes might be coming in the standings of the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American on Kentucky Lake, as some of the top 10 leaders struggled this morning to catch limits. Canadian angler Curtis Richardson, who currently is leading, had only one 3-pound keeper by midmorning. And second-place boater Billy Schroeder, who had fished just below the Paris Landing Bridge for the first two days, finally bailed out from there after catching four keepers this morning. READ MORE »

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O Canada! Richardson Leads Day 2

For a guy who’s put together two solid days of fishing to occupy the top spot in the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American on Kentucky Lake hosted by the Henry County Alliance, Curtis Richardson doesn’t exude a lot of confidence. READ MORE »

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Top 5 Patterns From All-American Day 2

Like Richardson, the would-be boater champions are all fishing ledges ranging from near the mouth of Jonathan Creek toward the northern end of the vast lake, south to New Johnsonville, Tenn. In between are anglers who haven’t strayed far from Paris Landing, nor are they likely to on Saturday when the predicted gale-force winds will make fishing unpleasant at best. READ MORE »

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All-American Midday Update Day 2

Dealing with finicky bass wasn’t the main problem for the 98 anglers fishing in the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American hosted by the Henry County Alliance on Kentucky Lake this morning. Though the anglers definitely seemed to be having their issues with the fish, it was the wind that caused the biggest obstacle for spot-hopping anglers running their milk runs north and south. READ MORE »

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Padgett Leads All-American With 27

Padgett alternated among a Zoom Ol’ Monster worm, a Profound Z-Boss 25 crankbait and a Preacher Jig, fishing each in water that ranged from just under 10 feet deep to about 25 feet deep. His bag included four largemouth and a smallmouth bass that weighed just over 4 pounds. READ MORE »

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Top 5 Patterns From All-American Day 1

Though they fished different spots with different lures, all the top contenders in the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American hosted by the Henry County Alliance on Kentucky Lake adhered to an identical theme: ledge fishing. READ MORE »