UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Erie

Laskowski sails to victory on Lake Shasta

REDDING, Calif. - Local pro Chris Laskowski of Anderson, Calif., knew coming into today's finals that it was his tournament to lose. And he didn't disappoint. Although a few anglers in the top-10 made modest runs at the title, Laskowski's 6-plus-pound cushion held up as he claimed the Stren Series Western Division tournament title on Lake Shasta with relative ease. "It feels great," said Laskowski. "I'm just excited to have had an opportunity to fish a tournament like this. With that kind of lead it made it a little easier for me. I was able to go out and look for more spots to fish all week. I had my limit today by around 11 a.m. and I hardly fished the rest of the day - mostly to give my co-angler an opportunity to catch more fish. But I'll tell you what, I'm glad we didn't have one more day of fishing. Bret (Gouvea) was really starting to come on strong." Local pro Chris Laskowski of Anderson, Calif., holds up his first-place check after winning the Stren Series Western Division event on Lake Shasta.Laskowski was referencing the tremendous effort made by second-place finisher Bret Gouvea, who turned in the second-largest sack of the finals. However, despite Gouvea's best efforts, the ultimate winner of the tournament title was never really in doubt. After netting an 18-pound bag on day one, Laskowski followed it up with a 13-pound stringer on day two. From that point on, realistically speaking, the rest of the field was competing for second place given how tough the bite was all week. Amazingly enough, Laskowski said he relied on just one bait for the entire tournament to snag his very first FLW Outdoors title. "I only threw a green-pumpkin Senko all week," said Laskowski, who finished in 15th place at the Stren Series event on Lake Shasta in 2007. "I knew I was going to live or die with that bait. I pretty much had five points that I kept going back and forth on all day." Local pro Chris Laskowski of Anderson, Calif., proudly displays his first-place trophy after winning the Stren Series Western Division event at Lake Shasta.Unlike many pros who were pulling bass out of depths ranging from 40 to 50 feet, Laskowski stayed relatively shallow - landing all of his fish in 20 feet of water or less. Fishing in only the second FLW Outdoors event of his career, Laskowski said the win couldn't have been any sweeter. "This is my best finish by far," said Laskowski, who ended the tournament with a four-day catch of 46 pounds, 12 ounces. "You only get one chance in a lifetime to win a tournament like this. I couldn't be happier right now." Gouvea nets second with gutsy effort Pro Bret Gouvea of Redding, Calif., took second place on Lake Shasta thanks to fish like this.Although Bret Gouvea of Redding, Calif., didn't take home the title, his 11-pound, 8-ounce catch on the toughest day of the tournament to date showed that he was a worthy competitor nonetheless. "It really hasn't sunk in yet," said Gouvea of his finish. "It feels really good though. I've just had a great last two days." Fishing a 5-inch Yamamoto Senko in 38-feet of water, Gouvea landed a monster 5-pounder at approximately 8:30 a.m. It would turn out to be the catch that would ultimately propel him to the runner-up position in the finals. "The fish were scattered all over the place," said Gouvea, who finished the event with a four-day weight of 41 pounds, 13 ounces. "Over the course of the tournament, I noticed that the fish were pulling out deeper and deeper so I decided to fish a little deeper. And that made a difference." In the end, Gouvea said he was more than happy with his finish. "This is the best finish I've ever had at this level," said Gouvea, who walked away with more than $13,000 in winnings. "It's going to be great for my career." Lee nets third after pattern dries up Pro Robert Lee of Angels Camp, Calif., finished in third place at Lake Shasta.Day-two leader Robert Lee of Angels Camp, Calif., knew he had some serious ground to make up if he was to challenge the leader during the final day of competition. However, in the end, he just ran out of productive water. "A lot of these guys in the top five know this lake pretty well. But I'm not that familiar with it," said Lee, who finished the event with a total catch of 40 pounds, 11 ounces. "And when you go to a lake you're not that familiar with, you really have to put together a good pattern. I had a good pattern but it just ran out in the end." Lee said that he used two primary baits all week - a 1/2-ounce jig with a Reaction Innovations Smallie Beaver and a Reaction Innovations Flirt Worm. Lee said he targeted chunk rock on the deeper side of points, fishing in water anywhere from 5 to 20 feet. Lee won more than $12,000 for his efforts. Riley grabs fourth place Pro Jim Riley of Shasta Lake, Calif., took fourth place at the Lake Shasta Stren Series event.Using a four-day catch of 39 pounds, 9 ounces, Jim Riley of Shasta Lake, Calif., snagged fourth place overall as well as nearly $6,500 in prize money. "I missed a lot of fish this week but I never did lose a big fish," said Riley, who targeted bass with a combination of jigs and Senkos. "I think that had I fished a little slower, I might have done a little bit better." Townsend ekes out top-five finish Pro Bill Townsend of Redding, Calif., used a four-day catch of 38 pounds, 12 ounces to win fifth place.Bill Townsend of Redding, Calif., used a four-day catch of 38 pounds, 12 ounces to win fifth place by virtue of a tiebreaker over Denny Goldston of Gardnerville, Nev., who also turned in an identical weight. "It's pretty cool to make a top-10 in my hometown," said Townsend, who walked away with over $5,600 in prize money. Townsend also echoed the sentiment on many finalists that the lake was as difficult to fish as it's been in a great while. "The lake has changed every single day," he said. "It was definitely tough out there all week." Best of the rest Rounding out the top-10 finalists at the Lake Shasta event: 6th: Denny Goldston of Gardnerville, Nev., 38-12 7th: John Maes of Roseville, Calif., 36-2 8th: David Rush of Palermo, Calif., 36-0 9th: Stephen Leatz of San Bernardino, Calif., 35-15 10th: Dewayne Bonham of Brentwood, Calif., 35-10 Stren Series Western Division action continues Feb. 20-23 at Lake Havasu in Lake Havasu City, Ariz.

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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Forrest Wood Cup Day 4 Coverage

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

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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 »

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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 »

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Forrest Wood Cup Day 3 Coverage

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

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Ramie Races into the Lead

On the back of a 17-pound, 14-ounce limit, which is the biggest of the tournament thus far, Ramie Colson Jr. jumped from seventh place to take over the lead at the halfway point of the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. Colson’s two-day total is 31 pounds, 1 ounce, which puts him almost 3 pounds ahead of Tennessee’s Brad Knight. The Forrest Wood Cup, which is hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, moves into its top-20 round on Saturday. The top 10 pros after Saturday’s weigh-in advance to Sunday’s final round for a shot at the $500,000 top prize. READ MORE »

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Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 2

At times, bass fishing can be a lot like real estate, where the three most important rules are location, location and location. The 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita presented by Walmart is starting to become a bit of a real estate game where location is the primary consideration in who climbs the leaderboard. And those mining the backs of creeks and tributaries are on the prime pieces of real estate. Consider that after day two, four of the top five pros are concentrating their fishing efforts in the back ends of creeks or rivers. All of these areas fit a classic late-summer, early-fall pattern where shad pack into the back of creek ditches that meander through shallow flats. READ MORE »

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Forrest Wood Cup Day 2 Coverage

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

/news/2015-08-20-wheeler-hunting-history

Wheeler Hunting History

It’s never been done before, and it hasn’t happened yet, but Jacob Wheeler is in prime position to become the first two-time Forrest Wood Cup champion in history. Wheeler, of Indianapolis, Ind., brought in a 16-pound, 2-ounce limit of Lake Ouachita bass on the first day of the Cup, which is presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. READ MORE »

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Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 1

After day one of the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita, several things have come to light. For one, this event is not likely to produce a runaway win for anyone like it did when Scott Martin won here in 2011. Second, when the pros said Ouachita was going to be stingy, they meant it – only 29 of the 50 pros checked in limits today. Third, firm patterns are hard to come by on Lake Ouachita in August. Jacob Wheeler took the lead on day one in the event that’s presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. With the help of a 5-pound bass, Wheeler weighed in a limit of 16 pounds, 2 ounces, but he had to sample a lot of different areas for his catch. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

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Forrest Wood Cup Day 1 Coverage

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