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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/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

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-25-morgan-maintains-his-lead

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 »

/news/2015-04-25-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-3

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 »

/news/2015-04-25-beaver-lake-day-3-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/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-spawn-looming-at-beaver-lake

Spawn Looming at Beaver Lake

As the pros who fish the Walmart FLW Tour begin practice on Beaver Lake, this jewel of northwestern Arkansas could be setting up for another spring spawn showdown. 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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/news/2015-04-20-bryan-slows-down-for-chickamauga-win

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 »