Take it to the limit

MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. - After weighing four-fish bags during both qualifying days, Harrison, Ark., pro Robbie Dodson finally filled out a limit catch to win the Stren Series Central Division event on Norfork Lake. Having led the pro field for two days, Dodson fished a Tim Hughes custom-painted Rogue and a 3-inch Lucky Strike perch-colored grub. His 10-pound, 5-ounce stringer gave him a total of 28-9. For his efforts, Dodson won $25,000 and a Ranger boat package. "It started off really good," he said. "I went to my first bank and caught a keeper, went to the second Two days of 4-fish stringers motivated pro winner Robbie Dodson to secure his limit in the final round.bank and caught a keeper, went to the third bank and caught a keeper. I fished two more banks before I caught my next keeper, but at least I started off with three good fish." He said making a slight adjustment in positioning proved prudent: "I had been fishing the bushes earlier in the week, but with the sun out today, I thought the fish might be a little more aggressive and suspended. So I tried to fish a little farther from the bank. I basically fished the same route I'd been fishing this week, but instead of flipping the bushes, I just pulled out and started fishing little channel swings." Fishing between Henderson Point and the Norfolk Dam, Dodson caught his fish in 10 to 15 feet of water. Boating keeper No. 4 gave him a short-lived confidence boost. "When I got four, I thought I've probably got (the win)," Dodson said. "But then I thought, `Man, I've had a lot of bites, but if I'm having that many, I'm sure someone else is too.' I caught my last keeper with 10 Local pro Preston Havens bagged a 5-pound, 8-ounce smallmouth on his way to a second place finish.minutes to go, so if I hadn't had that fish, I wouldn't have won." Havens handles hefty smallmouth for second Hometown favorite Preston Havens of Mountain Home, Ark., caught four fish weighing 13-6 - the day's biggest stringer. Moving up from fourth place on day two, he totaled 26 pounds, 11 ounces and took home $7,462. His catch included a whopping 5-pound, 8-ounce smallmouth that hit a firetiger Wigglewort in the back of Pigeon Creek. The feisty fish struck early and took Havens on a hectic dance around the boat. "That fish hit right off the bat, first thing this morning," he said. "I was throwing a crankbait and ka-bing - I thought it was a carp. He ran through the prop and around the motor. I ran 90 mph across the boat." After jamming the rod in the water, Havens was able to retrieve the monster. Havens' other three keepers ate a jig with a green-pumpkin crawdad. He fished the bushes early and then moved out to a mud ledge with a rock pile later in the morning. Helpful, he said, was the power generation of the Norfork Dam. "They've been running the generators, and with the (rain) runoff, we've been getting a lot of current," Havens said. "Anytime you get current, it's a fisherman's dream. All you do is position your bait the right way and let a fish come up to it." Fox warms up to third Entering Saturday's final round in second place, Springdale, Ark., pro Travis Fox caught four fish Springdale, Ark. pro Travis Fox carefully places a chunky largemouth in the weigh tank.weighing 9-14 and slipped to third. His tournament total of 24-9 won $6,716. Throwing a jerkbait, jig and spinnerbait, Fox fared well by locating an area of higher water temperature. "I just found a spot with warm water in it, plus the presence of baitfish played a key role. It's amazing the difference 3 to 4 degrees can make." Fox said he was concerned that he may have fished out his primary spot on day two: "I think I hurt them too bad yesterday. I probably caught 30 fish within a 100-yard stretch between me and my co-angler. Today I caught four there - plus two very nice crappie." Endicott slows down, takes fourth Targetting ledge rocks in the backs of coves, Wes Endicott finished fourth with 11-4.Wes Endicott of Joplin, Mo., improved from a ninth-place position on day two to fourth in the final round. Four fish weighing 11-4 gave him a 22-13 total and earned $5,970. After a tough start, Endicott followed some good advice: "I had a terrible practice. I went two days without a bite. Then I got a tip from a friend, and I adjusted by slowing way down. I could get bit now and then, but it seemed like I'd go three or four hours." Targeting ledge rocks with gravel in the backs of coves, Endicott threw Mann's Stingray grubs on a 3/16-ounce ball-head jig. He also fished a swimming minnow on an 1/8-ounce jighead. Ruff rallies to fifth Rising three spots to fifth place, Steve Ruff of Wentzville, Mo., threw a Smithwick Rogue and caught a limit weighing 10-1 for a 21-12 total worth $5,224. Despite a slow start, Steve Ruff enjoyed a midday frenzy during which he and co-angler winner Howard Fulgham boated 18 fish in 15 minutes. A slow start had him scratching his head, but once Ruff located the right spot, the action was fast and furious. "At 10 a.m. I didn't have a fish and my co-angler was wondering what I was doing. My first two spots just didn't pan out, but I said, `I have one more spot that we need to go try.' "We pulled in there, and on my first cast I caught a fish. While my co-angler was getting the net for me, his bait got bit. We caught 18 fish in 15 minutes and had nine keepers. We were having a ball." Best of the rest Sarcoxie, Mo. pro Jeremy Lawyer tallied enough weight to take sixth place.Rounding out the top 10 pro leaders at the Stren Series Central event at Lake Norfork: 6th: Jeremy Lawyer of Sarcoxie, Mo., 18-2 7th: Greg Ryan of Nixa, Mo., 17-3 8th: Tim Fleetwood or Forsyth, Mo., 15-6 9th: Mike Foree of Osage Beach, Mo., 15-0 10th: Tom Murphy of Richland, Mo., 14-6

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Lefebre Lands on Top

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Birge Buzzes Ahead

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Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 3

After three days, it looks as if tournament leader Zack Birge has the quality largemouth bite in the bushes wired. But behind him on the leaderboard are nine pros doing everything from sight-fishing to catching schooling bass and everything in between. Even with all the patterns in play, few have fizzled. The sight-fishers have reported finding new bedders, the schoolers are still schooling and a couple of guys have even started tapping floating docks. READ MORE »

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Millsaps Wins on Lake Sinclair

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/news/2015-03-28-walters-nets-third-victory-on-wylie

Walters Nets Third Victory on Wylie

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Lewis Smith Lake Day 3 Coverage

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Mosley on Top at Arkansas River

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/news/2015-03-27-topwater-takes-birge-to-the-top

Topwater Takes Birge to the Top

On a day when chilly, windy post-front conditions challenged many Walmart FLW Tour anglers who were relying on sight-fishing for spawning bass, Zack Birge bucked the trend and pulled out a pair of topwaters to haul in 17 pounds, 14 ounces. Birge jumped from third place past day-one leader Drew Benton to take over the top spot on Lewis Smith Lake in the event, which is presented by Evinrude. Birge’s two-day total of 36-13 has him positioned 1 pound ahead of Benton. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 2

While air and water temperatures plummeted on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude, the big surprise came in the stability of the fishing patterns amidst such change. Zack Birge found plenty of production on his primary pattern to send him to the top of the leaderboard, and those under him held true to their patterns as well to secure a ticket to day three’s top 20. Among the biggest surprises was the number of pros who were still able to pluck fish off beds. Most pros that were sight-fishing say the bass are committed to beds and that the cold snap will not run them off at this point in time. Despite the cold, some even found new fish on beds that were not there yesterday. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-lewis-smith-lake-day-2-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 2 Coverage

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/news/2015-03-26-benton-blasts-20-12-on-lewis-smith

Benton Blasts 20-12 on Lewis Smith

Panama City, Fla., pro Drew Benton jumped into the early lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude with a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 12 ounces. Benton caught a mix of largemouths and spotted bass, and revealed that both black bass species are spawning. He leads a tight top 20 that includes 18 pros that caught more than 15 pounds each. The first day was an absolute fish-fest. Of the 154 pros fishing this tournament, 138 weighed limits. Brad Roberts of Faubush, Ky., has a 2-ounce lead in the co-angler division with a 13-pound, 4-ounce limit. Tomorrow he’ll try to defend his lead on the final day of co-angler competition. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 1

While Drew Benton was busy bugging bedding fish for his day-one tournament lead, several others behind him were scoring big with other fishing options on Lewis Smith Lake. Sight-fishing also played a role in the top limits produce by Tracy Adams, Scott Martin and Ish Monroe, but Clayton Batts and Zack Birge both brought in big bags with other patterns. Click here to read about Benton’s day-one performance at the second Walmart FLW Tour event of 2015, which is presented by Evinrude. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-lewis-smith-lake-day-1-coverage

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/news/2015-03-22-arkansas-anglers-win-college-open

Arkansas Anglers Win College Open

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/news/2015-03-21-kendrick-king-on-guntersville

Kendrick King On Guntersville

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/news/2015-03-21-epting-s-30-pounds-tops-on-santee-cooper

Epting's 30 Pounds Tops on Santee Cooper

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/news/2015-03-21-wood-rock-key-for-middleton-s-victory

Wood, Rock Key for Middleton's Victory

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/news/2015-03-21-johnson-wins-on-dale-hollow

Johnson Wins on Dale Hollow

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/news/2015-03-21-griffin-gets-win-on-ross-barnett

Griffin Gets Win on Ross Barnett

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