Trying for triumphant tradition

Leading the pro division with 11-6, Georgia's Kim Carver sits in good shape to capture his second BFL All-American title.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Some folks celebrate their birthdays by treating themselves to a new outfit; others go for jewelry, while still others splurge on high-end electronics, art or imported chocolates. For top boater Kim Carver, another Wal-Mart BFL All-American win - this time at the Lake Hamilton event presented by Chevy - would make a fine gift. Carver bagged his first All-American title on May 27, 1998, in La Crosse, Wis. That victory on the Mississippi River came three days before his 43rd birthday. Presently leading with 11 pounds, 6 ounces, Carver welcomes birthday No. 53 on day two. On the potential for replicating his feat of a decade prior, the Milledgeville, Ga., resident said: "I gave myself a nice birthdaySecond place pro Kevin Snider snuck past third by one ounce. present in '98, but can I do it again? Who knows? I hope so. I'd like to give myself another $100,000 birthday." Posting the only double-digit bag of day one, Carver said he entered the tournament confident in his ability to catch a solid limit. However, two fish over 3 pounds - including a 3-13 - pleasantly surprised him. "The two big fish are the biggest I've ever caught out of this lake," he said. "As soon as my partner netted both of those fish, the hook fell right out of their mouths and into the net. I was very fortunate." Third-place pro Terry McWilliams really stood out in his bright green Soar Bats team jersey.Carver started his day intending to fish shallow until he secured a limit and then head to deep water, where he would throw a deep-diving crankbait for larger fish. As it turned out, the shallow water produced all of his fish. Most hit a shad-colored Zara Spook, but he also caught one of his weight fish on a spinnerbait. "I caught all of my fish before 12 o'clock today, and they all came of the shoreline," Carver said "It worked out 100 percent opposite (of what I expected). And that's why we call it fishing - we never know what's going to happen." Overcast skies that lasted nearly until the end of day-one fishing presented good topwater conditions. Carver said that he looked for a certain shoreline scenario, but ended up catching fish in a variety of habitat. "I'm just going down the bank," he said. "You'll catch one off a piece of wood. You'll catch one off a Oklahoma pro Jason Christie caught a limit weighing 8-14 for fourth place.dock. You'll catch one out of a patch of grass. There is no rhyme or reason where the next one is coming from." The day-two forecast calls for sunny conditions, so an extended topwater bite will probably not occur. Nevertheless, Carver is ready to defend his lead and enjoy his birthday on the water. "I'd rather have it cloudy, but I'll take whatever the good Lord gives us, and we'll go fishing." Best of the rest In second place, Kevin Snider of Elizabethtown, Ky., caught a limit weighing 9 pounds, 15 ounces, while Terry McWilliams weighed just an ounce less for third place with 9-14, and Park Hill, Okla., boater Jason Five-year-old Alana Berlo was super excited about the Snickers Big Bass that her dad, fifth-place pro Shayne Berlo caught. The fish weighed 4 pounds, 1 ounce.Christie placed fourth with 8-14. Shayne Berlo of Vienna, Va., took fifth at 8-10. Berlo's 4-pound, 1-ounce largemouth won the Snickers Big Bass award. Rounding out the top 10 boaters at the BFL All-American: 6th: Mike Brueggen, Cashton, Wis., 8-1 7th: Greg Rikard, Leesville, S.C., 8-0 8th: Thomas Wooten, Huddleston, Va., 7-15 9th: Ray Griffin, Henderson, N.C., 7-5 10th: Brett Sellers, Denham Springs, La., 7-2 Crosnoe captures co-angler lead Robert Crosnoe of Inverness, Fla., caught a limit weighing 8 pounds, 14 ounces to lead the Co-angler Second-place co-angler Billy Cain caught his divisionDivision. Trailing by 10 ounces is Billy Cain of Jackson, Ga., with 8-10. Cain's 5-pound, 2-ounce fish took Big Bass honors for his division. In third place, Blake Wilson of Prattsville, Ark., has 8-3, while Kenneth Hunnicutt of Jacksonville, Fla., took fourth with 6-8, and Tim Austin of Williston, Vt., placed fifth with 6-6. Rounding out the top 10 co-angler leaders at the Stren Series Clear Lake event: 6th: Johnnie Devine, Mount Washington, Ky., 5-13 7th: Brett Wysock, Wilmington, Ill., 5-12 8th: Michael Adams, Ocean Springs, Miss., 5-11 9th: Chris Dozier, Collinsville, Miss., 5-3 10th: Tommy Lindler, Lexington, S.C., 5-2 Praise from a pro At the weigh-in's opening, Wal-Mart FLW Tour pro Dion Hibdon opened the show with complimentary words for the Bass Fishing League. Hailing the BFL anglers as the toughest competitors around, Hibdon lauded the organization's efforts to promote bass fishing at the grassroots level. "The BFL has always been a starting point for fishermen to get into tournament competition," the Chevy pro said. "You really do care about the future of this sport, and my hat's off to you. You really work hard at this." Day two of BFL All-American action on Lake Hamilton continues at Friday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7 a.m. CDT at Fish Hatchery Ramp located at 350 Fish Hatchery Road in Hot Springs. Weigh-ins each day start at 4 p.m. at Summit Arena located at 134 Convention Blvd. in Hot Springs.

Tags: headline-story  david-a-brown 

/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

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-bryan-slows-down-for-chickamauga-win

Bryan Slows Down for Chickamauga Win

READ MORE »

/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 »

/news/2015-04-20-salzman-cracks-31-pounds-on-guntersville

Salzman Cracks 31 Pounds on Guntersville

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-lanter-wins-on-rend-lake

Lanter Wins on Rend Lake

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-19-top-10-patterns-from-lake-murray

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Murray

As contestants in the FLW College Fishing National Championship on Lake Murray discovered last week, fishing the blueback herring spawn can be backbreaking work. All that stooping over to grab a different rig to cast at bass busting their favorite forage, and then quickly straightening, is hard on the old spinal column. Flexing up and down is what it took to contend in the championship, however, as bass couldn’t make up their minds whether they wanted their grub served on the surface or closer to the bottom. Typically, the collegians were fan-casting Carolina rigs, umbrella rigs, hard jerkbaits and even crankbaits to likely looking points and broad flats. Sometimes they caught fish with such random prospecting, but perhaps more bass were taken when anglers found themselves within casting distance of blowups and were quick enough to grab a soft jerkbait rig or topwater lure and virtually spoon-feed it to the fish. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-18-gamecocks-win-college-title

Gamecocks Win College Title

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-18-gamecocks-win-national-title

Gamecocks Win National Title

As any good Palmetto State bass fisherman will tell you, home lake advantage only works if you’re consistent in your catches from day to day. Anthony Gagliardi proved it here on Lake Murray last summer in the Forrest Wood Cup, and the University of South Carolina proved it again in the FLW College Fishing National Championship that concluded Saturday. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-18-hallman-prevails-on-grand

Hallman Prevails On Grand

READ MORE »