Pack comeback

Mark Pack of Mineola, Texas, posted a 14-pound, 5-ounce catch on the final day to win the Wal-Mart Open.

ROGERS, Ark. - On day one of the Wal-Mart Open on Beaver Lake, Mark Pack of Mineola, Texas, made a prophetic remark: "We're on the winning pattern, there's no doubt about that; it's just a matter of who is going to get the better bites off those places." Pack made that statement after taking the lead on day one of the Wal-Mart FLW Tour event. The allusion was to the fact that he and several other competitors were dialed in to the same pattern and same places on a high and muddy Beaver Lake. Over the next two days, Pack took a trip backward in the standings. He drifted to third on day two and then back to sixth on day three. But even then he still maintained his belief: "It may not be me, but someone is going to win the tournament fishing this pattern ... there are several guys doing it." Today, Pack proved he was right by bringing in 14 pounds, 5 ounces of Beaver Lake bass to the scales to win the Wal-Mart Open and $200,000 with a two-day total of 21 pounds, 10 ounces. Pack's big limit rocketed him from sixth place to first and gave him an untouchable 3-pound, 7-ounce margin of victory. "It's great to win a major league tournament like this," said Pack, who has fished the FLW Tour for nine years without a win. "It's been a dream of mine since I was young." Pack's journey to his Wal-Mart Open victory actually began several years ago when he fished this event in high water. During that event he scored a top-10 by fishing road beds and long rock points that stuck way out in the main river. The series of bars, points and road beds were located within five miles of the Highway Mark Pack shows off his tournament winning kicker to the crowd.12 Bridge. This week he fished those exact same places for the win. "Each of these places had some kind of hard structure up on top - rock, asphalt, concrete, even old submerged boat ramps - and the fish were relating to those hard places," he said. "The reason why they bit so much better today was because of the current. Yesterday there was no current, and the lake was backing up; it had the fish really scattered. But today the current was running, and it had the fish congregated. I had a limit by 7:30 this morning and probably caught 35 keepers all day." Pack, who is the owner of Lake Fork Trophy Tackle, used some of his own creations to catch his fish. He used a homemade 3/16-ounce jig teamed with one of his new Hyper Worms, which features a big paddle tail on a segmented body. He also credited a Lucky Craft RC 2.5 crankbait for producing his big fish today, which weighed about 5 pounds. When he did occasionally flip, he used a jig teamed with a Lake Fork Hyper-Freak trailer. "Most of the fish came on the 3/16-ounce jig with the Hyper Worm," he said. "I was kind of swimming the jig over the bottom in 3 feet of water. With the water being so muddy, that paddle tail on the worm helped the fish find the bait." Cochran second Wal-Mart pro George Cochran of Hot Springs, Ark., finished runner-up with a two-day total of 18 pounds, 3 ounces.Wal-Mart pro George Cochran of Hot Springs, Ark., finished runner-up with a two-day total of 18 pounds, 3 ounces. Cochran, who made the top 10 by virtue of Joel Richardson's (Kernersville, N.C.) disqualification, collected $50,000 for his finish. "I do feel sorry for Joel," Cochran said. "He just made an honest mistake that cost him his top-10 qualification. But at the same time, I was excited to represent two of my best sponsors - Wal-Mart and Ranger Boats - right here on their home grounds." Cochran spent the entire tournament doing what he loves: fishing a spinnerbait. "I pretty much used one lure all week: a 3/16-ounce Strike King Little Mr. Money spinnerbait that I designed," he said. "It's a smaller-profile, tandem spinnerbait with a Colorado blade in the front and an Indiana blade on the back. My favorite color is called emerald shad, and that's what I used all week." Cochran primarily fished the spinnerbait around floating boat docks on 15-pound P-Line. "Throwing it down the shady sides of the dock was definitely the key," Cochran added. Bohannan third Local pro Greg Bohannan of Rogers, Ark., finished third with a two-day total of Even though he finished third, Greg Bohannan of Rogers, Ark., was defintely number one in the crowd's favorite department.17 pounds, 14 ounces worth $40,000. And while Bohannan may have finished third, he certainly received the loudest roar from his hometown crowd in the John Q. Hammons Center in Rogers, Ark. Bohannan was one of the other competitors that Pack referred to who was working the "winning pattern." "Mark and I were fishing the exact same way and in some of the same places," Bohannan said. "I don't know why, but when the water gets high and dingy here, those fish get on those long pea-gravel points. I knew where about 15 of those type places were, but these guys out here are good and several of them found those spots this week." Like Pack, Bohannan said the fish were relating to old foundations or bigger groups of rock on the points in 2 to 7 feet of water, and the current helped his bite today. "I really have to credit my (fish finder) for helping me relocate some of those places," he added. "I'd idle alongside those long points, scanning the bottom until I'd find the exact sweet spot along the point that I was looking for." Bohannan's key baits included a 1/2-ounce War Eagle football jig teamed with a Berkley Chigger Craw trailer, a Berkley Flicker Shad crankbait and a Norman Deep Little N crankbait. Both of the crankbaits were in a red color. "The jig and Chigger Craw combo produced most of my fish," he added. "I'd just kind of swim it along the bottom, contacting the rocks." Hawkes fourth Mike Hawkes of Sabinal, Texas, finished fourth with a two-day total of 17 pounds, 10 ounces worth $35,000.Mike Hawkes of Sabinal, Texas, finished fourth with a two-day total of 17 pounds, 10 ounces worth $35,000. For much of the week, Hawkes relied on a 3/8-ounce Oldham's jig and a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver in a Big Texan color to catch his fish. "The biggest key for me this week was to swim those two baits through the flooded bushes and limbs," Hawkes said. "If I just pitched it in there and let it go to the bottom, I rarely got a bite. Most of my bites came when I was swimming it through the cover." Arey fifth Matt Arey of Shelby, N.C., finished fifth with a two-day total of 16 pounds, Matt Arey of Shelby, N.C., finished fifth with a two-day total of 16 pounds, 2 ounces worth $30,000.2 ounces worth $30,000. Arey, too, was working patterns and areas similar to Pack and Bohannan. Several of Arey's better areas included flooded lawns where shad and minnow were up feeding on the nutrient-rich lawn grass. "Any rocky flats out in front of those flooded yards were the key for me," Arey said. "It was like the bass didn't want to get too far from all that bait. If there was a big flooded field or yard with baitfish up in it, there was a pack of bass somewhere nearby." Arey's lure lineup included white ChatterBaits (in 3/8- and 1/2-ounce sizes) and a selection of Bandit 200 crankbaits in various hues of chartreuse. When he flipped, he used a Gambler Little Otter and Flappin' Daddy. Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pros in the Wal-Mart Open on Beaver Lake: 6th: Kyle Mabrey of McCalla, Ala., two-day total of 15-1, $28,000 7th: Sam Newby of Pocola, Okla., two-day total of 14-13, $26,000 8th: Dan Morehead of Paducah, Ky., two-day total of 14-7, $24,000 9th: Alvin Shaw of State Road, N.C., two-day total of 6-14, $22,000 10th: Richard Strother of Tyler, Texas, two-day total of 6-13, $20,000 Coming up The next event on the FLW Tour will be held on the Fort Loudoun-Tellico lakes near Knoxville, Tenn., June 19-22.

Tags: headline-story  rob-newell 

/news/2015-03-30-top-10-patterns-from-lewis-smith

Top 10 Patterns from Lewis Smith

The Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Evinrude on Lewis Smith Lake featured a mishmash of springtime patterns that ranged from targeting bass feeding on blueback herring to catching spawning fish to dropping in on deep schools of spotted bass. Here’s a breakdown of the patterns of the top 10 pros. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-29-lefebre-lands-on-top

Lefebre Lands on Top

He left the dock this morning in 7th place, eight and a half pounds off the lead. And when he returned this afternoon, Dave Lefebre shocked the weigh-in crowd with a come-from-behind Walmart FLW Tour win that left his competitors shell-shocked. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-29-lewis-smith-lake-day-4-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 4 Coverage

Day 4 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-birge-buzzes-ahead

Birge Buzzes Ahead

Today started off with a slightly miserable 31-degree air temperature, but it didn’t take long for the top 20 pros to really heat up on Lewis Smith Lake at the second stop of the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour presented by Evinrude. Reports poured in throughout the day of big bass – especially big largemouths – being caught off beds. It looked at first as if one of the “largemouth lookers” might piece together a big enough bag to snatch the lead away from Oklahoma rookie Zack Birge, who struggled early to make his shallow topwater pattern work. Unfortunately for the rest of the field, the young gun Birge has the coolness and patience of a veteran, and he stuck with his game plan of throwing a buzzbait and soft jerkbait rig until the sun had time to warm the shallows and spur the fish to become more active. Birge tallied 17 pounds, 11 ounces today, raising his three-day total to 54-8 and giving him a lead of 3-11 over Texas veteran Clark Wendlandt in second place. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-3

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 »

/news/2015-03-28-millsaps-wins-on-lake-sinclair

Millsaps Wins on Lake Sinclair

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – David Millsaps of Ranger, Georgia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds, 10 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Bulldog Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Sinclair. For his victory, Millsaps earned $6,009. READ MORE »

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

Walters Nets Third Victory on Wylie

LAKE WYLIE, N.C. – Todd Walters of Kernersville, North Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League North Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Wylie. For his victory, Walters earned $4,350. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-lewis-smith-lake-day-3-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 3 Coverage

Day 3 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-mosley-on-top-at-arkansas-river

Mosley on Top at Arkansas River

MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Brandon Mosley of Choctaw, Oklahoma, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Okie Division tournament of 2015 the Arkansas River. For his victory, Mosley earned $5,349. READ MORE »

/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

Day 2 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/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

Lewis Smith Lake Day 1 Coverage

Day 1 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

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

Arkansas Anglers Win College Open

Consistency was the key for the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville here in the FLW College Fishing Kentucky Lake Open as Zachary Pickle and Drew Porto won the event with a two-day total of 43 pounds, 12 ounces. READ MORE »

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

Kendrick King On Guntersville

Kendrick, who is fishing the Rayovac FLW Series in hopes of qualifying for the FLW Tour, caught more than 25 pounds each day of the event and finihsid in fine fasion when it counted. Kendick was catching nearly all of his bass around big schools of bait with a Houdini pearl-colored Scottsboro Tackle swimbait from 15- to 25-feet of water. READ MORE »

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

Epting's 30 Pounds Tops on Santee Cooper

SUMMERTON, S.C. – Chris Epting of Chapin, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 30 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Santee Cooper. For his victory, Epting earned $3,679. READ MORE »

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

Wood, Rock Key for Middleton's Victory

HUDDLESTON, Va. – Dennis Middleton of Madison Heights, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division tournament of 2015 on Smith Mountain Lake. For his victory, Middleton earned $7,199. READ MORE »

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

Johnson Wins on Dale Hollow

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – Robby Johnson of Byrdstown, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mountain Division tournament of 2015 on Dale Hollow Lake. For his victory, Johnson earned $5,689. READ MORE »