UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Champlain

Bite by bite

The first and second-place boats take off as the final round of BFL All-American action started with sunny skies and light wind.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - A gaggle of Canada geese searched for breakfast in the dew-dampened grass on a hill overlooking Fish Hatchery Ramp. Feeding one bug at a time, their diligent foraging mirrored the task of boater and co-angler finalists fishing Lake Hamilton in the 25th annual Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League All-American presented by Chevy. After two days of thorough pickings by a full field, the finalists will have to look hard for productive Canada geese foraging on a hill overlooking the launch site mirrored the challenging task of rounding up a limit of bass.waters as weekend boat traffic guarantees plenty of company. For all competitors, success or failure will hinge on time management and bite optimization. Those who make the right decisions and catch everything they hook will fare well. Day three brings mostly sunny skies and light breezes; somewhat of a synthesis between the calm, overcast conditions of day one and the bright, windy weather of day two. A morning topwater bite could offer make-it-it-break-it potential, but once the sun hangs high and fish head for depth or cover, the real hunt begins. Leading the boater field since day one, Kim Carver of Milledgeville, Ga. caught the event's only double-digit stringer (11-6) on day one, but struggled on day two with just 5-7. Seeking his second BFL All-Top boater Kim Carver will give his topwater plug a good workout today.American win (his first: 1988 in La Crosse, Wis.), Carver said he'll start with a surface bait and work deeper as the day warms. "I have to go throw my topwater plug this morning and hope for one bite - two would be fantastic," he said. "I got one yesterday (on topwater), but it wasn't as big as I wanted. I could go over (to my spot) and catch another big one, which on this lake, a 2 1/2- to 3-pounder is a big fish. One fish like that would put me on the edge of locking in the victory." Carver's weight goal: "Eight pounds would be fantastic; seven and I'll probably win." Less than a pound back at 16-1, second-place boater Shayne Berlo of Vienna, Va. hopes he can makeIn the second place boat, Shayne Berlo and his co-angler partner Michael Roy bring a double shot of big bass potential to day three. it three consecutive days of finding the kicker fish. On day one, his 4-pound, 1-ounce fish took Snickers Big Bass honors and one nearly 3 pounds on day two helped move him up from fifth place. "My success has been predicated on finding one big fish per day," Berlo said. "I have to get another big fish today, or multiple big fish would be nice." Both of Berlo's big fish bit jigs, but as a self-described "junk fisherman," he'll try a variety of baits to try and identify consistent patterns. His big-fish jig will definitely get wet today. Berlo's co-angler partner Michael Roy of Ivy, Va. also found a nice kicker on day two. His 4-4 missed Co-angler Michael Roy will use a hybrid wacky worm rigged Texas style for weedless presentations.the Big Bass award by one ounce, but it anchored the day's heaviest stringer in both divisions - 9 pounds, 2 ounces - and moved Roy up 27 spots. Roy caught most of his fish on a wacky-rigged watermelon Zoom trick worm. He hooks the worm Texas style for a go-anywhere weedless presentation. Third place boater, Terry McWilliams of Greenfield, Ind. maintained his position from day one, despite a small limit. He caught 9-14 on day one and followed with 5-5. He'll rely mostly on his trademark "Stupid Tube" - a 1/8- or 3/16-ounce jig with the head positioned inside a green pumpkin tube. McWilliams said the day's bright conditions should favor his preferred bait. "When it's sunny, that pushes the fish back under docks and cover, and this bait works very well in (these scenarios)." Tournament logistics The BFL event, which runs May 29-30, assembles 108 anglers from 26 states and offers a top boater In the fourth-place boat, Ray Griffin, foreground, and his co-angler partner Robert Crosnoe strap on their PFDaward of $140,000 and a top co-angler award of $70,000. The boater and co-angler champions will also advance to the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup in Columbia, S.C., Aug. 14-17, where the boater will compete with top anglers from the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series and The Bass Federation for as much as $1 million - the sport's biggest award. The entire field competes Thursday and Friday for an accumulated two-day weight. The top-10 boaters and co-anglers advance to Saturday, and the winners are determined by the heaviest three-day weight. Action continues at today's final weigh-in, scheduled to take place at 4 p.m. (Central Time) at Summit Arena located at 134 Convention Blvd. in Hot Springs. Wednesday's conditions: Sunrise: 6:30 a.m. Temperature at takeoff: 72 degrees Expected high temperature: 88 degrees Water temperature: 72 degrees Wind: from the SW 8 mph Humidity: 44 percent Day's outlook: Sunny

Tags: morning-story  david-a-brown 

/news/2015-07-30-north-or-south-on-champlain-

North or South on Champlain?

With waves 1 to 3 feet and thunderstorms in the offing as day one of the Rayovac FLW Series event presented by Plano gets under way on Lake Champlain, the anglers will have a tall task no matter which direction they run. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-a-capital-challenge

A Capital Challenge

Rivers can be rollercoasters, and the Potomac River might be about to give the anglers fishing the Walmart FLW Tour finale a tough ride. Two nasty storm systems have blown through in the last few days. According to FLW Tour pro and local Michael Hall, those could have been the two worst things to happen leading up to the tournament. “After 30 years of fishing here, I know storms impact the bass on this river,” says Hall. “Those storms have certainly done that. The wind alone would have done it this week.” READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-22-thrift-flirting-with-second-aoy-title

Thrift Flirting with Second AOY Title

Bryan Thrift can’t say for certain what baits will sit on his front deck during the final Walmart FLW Tour event of 2015 on the Potomac River, which is set to kick off this Thursday, but he’s quick to say what will not join him – the memory of his 2010 Angler of the Year title. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-18-the-sun-rises-on-the-2015-all-american

The Sun Rises on the 2015 All-American

Practice day Wednesday saw temperatures in the high 80s, with more sultry weather on tap for today. Like many others, Schroeder spent most of the day riding around and checking spots with his electronics. Though undoubtedly fish will be caught from the miles of weedbeds in the lower end of the lake below Paris Landing, he figures it will be a ledge bite that wins. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-11-deep-or-shallow-at-chickamauga-

Deep or Shallow at Chickamauga?

There was no sentimentality attached to the smartphone photos anglers were showing off to each other prior to the Wednesday afternoon rules meeting of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Chickamauga. The photos weren’t of loved ones back home; rather, they were shots of big largemouth bass the fishermen had caught and released during practice earlier this week. In fact, there was a surprising number of such photos making the rounds, which suggests that the kind of hefty bass that can make or break a tournament for an angler are there ready and waiting as the four-day event presented by Igloo Coolers got underway this morning out of Dayton Boat Dock. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-09-starting-strong

Starting Strong

Zack Birge likes to play the numbers, and right now the math is looking pretty sweet for him. With two events remaining on the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour, the Blanchard, Okla., pro has essentially sewn up Rookie of the Year honors, and he’s currently sitting in fourth place in the Angler of the Year standings. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-08-top-10-patterns-from-the-james-river

Top 10 Patterns from the James River

Flipping isolated clumps of spatterdock produced the winning fish for Canadian pro Cory Johnston at the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on the James River. Adapting to the week’s extreme high water was critical to bagging the winning total of 46 pounds, 14 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-06-johnston-rises-from-sixth-for-the-win

Johnston Rises From Sixth for the Win

Cory Johnston’s bucket list just shrank. After a couple of close finishes, the pro from Peterborough, Ont., finally bagged his first Rayovac FLW Series victory with a winning total of 46 pounds, 14 ounces at the Northern Division opener on the James River Saturday. “I’ve always wanted to win one of these,” Johnston says of his accomplished Rayovac career, which hadn’t included a first-place finish until now. “I’ve won some other tournaments; I’ve been second (in Rayovacs) two times and my brother (Chris) has been second two or three times. So to win this really feels good.” Fishing the Chickahominy River — a major James River tributary — Johnston got off to a lukewarm start, as a 10-pound, 9-ounce effort left him with a 27th-place showing on day one. Regrouping for day two, he formed a new game plan borne of a revelation that came early on day two. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-06-co-angler-honeycutt-triumphs-in-james-river-debut

Co-angler Honeycutt triumphs in James River debut

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/news/2015-06-06-james-river-day-3-midday-update

James River Day 3 Midday Update

Pro leader Kelly Pratt had a good morning and was culling by about 9:30. He returned to the shallow creeks and coves inside the Chickahominy River where he’s been targeting spawning fish all week. With a limit of about 13 pounds by 10, Pratt was still looking for his big fish to turn on later in the day. He’s throwing at gaps and drains in the spatterdock, along with various structure from laydowns to duck blinds. Pratt’s using reaction baits for his primary presentation and following up any missed bites with a finesse worm. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-05-pratt-stays-close-to-take-lead

Pratt Stays Close To Take Lead

High water on the James River has created a challenging scenario for much of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division field. For top pro Kelly Pratt, however, it has brought a bounty of opportunity reflected by his tournament-leading weight of 33 pounds, 4 ounces. Michael Crocker, the leader on day one with 16-10, slipped to 22nd in the second round as he could only muster three fish for 5-09. Georgia pro Troy Morrow shadows Pratt with 31-0. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-05-top-5-patterns-from-day-2-on-the-james

Top 5 Patterns From Day 2 On The James

Gaining two spots today, the FLW Tour pro from Eastanolee, Ga., again committed his day to the Chickahominy — a major James River tributary known for the quantity and quality Morrow sought. Today’s limit added 15-14 to Morrow’s total. “I caught them all day again, but still no size early,” he says. “Every once in a while I’d pick off a big one. Morrow says he’s been catching fish on several types of shallow habitat from wood to vegetation, but one particular bait has produced all of his weight. He wouldn’t divulge the particulars, but he did say it was a bait “that moves a little.” READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-05-james-river-day-2-midday-update

James River Day 2 Midday Update

Most anglers seemed to have been struggling for most of the morning on the James River in round two of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division opener, including day-one leader Michael Crocker. The Maryland pro started his day by running up to the Chickahominy River where he fished a variety of habitat ranging from pads and cypress trees to stumps and docks. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-04-crocker-takes-james-river-lead

Crocker Takes James River Lead

Michael Crocker stepped to the front of the boat and fished his way to the front of the pro field in the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division opener on the James River. Crocker won this event’s co-angler division in 2014 and now the Pasadena, Md., pro has positioned himself well at the other end of the boat with a limit catch of 16 pounds, 10 ounces. The morning delivered an early round of action, albeit short-lived. “I got a couple of bites and then it just died on me,” Crocker recalls. “Then, about halfway through the day, I made a change and nailed two really fast. I made another move and nailed another one really quick and that’s all I caught. I caught five fish today.” READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-04-top-5-patterns-in-the-james-river-rayovac

Top 5 Patterns in the James River Rayovac

Hailing from Williamsburg, Va., Pratt says he fared well in conditions that challenged many of his competitors. Essentially, the week’s full-moon cycle brought extremely high tides to a river already swollen by recent heavy rains. This contrasted the period of extreme low tides leading up to tournament week. High water allows fish to push farther into cover, but Pratt said he didn’t allow that to hinder him. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-04-northern-rayovacs-kick-off-on-the-james

Northern Rayovacs Kick Off on the James

Ostensibly, the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division tournament presented by Mercury that began this morning is taking place on the James River, but much of the fishing focus will be centered on the Chickahominy River – or Chick, as it’s affectionately known locally. “This tournament is typically won out of the Chick,” says North Carolina pro Jamey Caldwell of the James River tributary. “There are some great bags coming out of the [James] river right now, but I just feel that those big fish are a little more sporadic. I’m going to hang out in the Chick and hope for the best.” READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-04-james-river-midday-report

JAMES RIVER MIDDAY REPORT

A damp, drizzly morning turned into a soggy day for anglers in the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division tournament on the James River. A light mist became a steady shower, which gave way to sporadic downpours of moderate intensity. The remainder of day one will see little change, according to weather reports. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-seminole-summer

Seminole Summer

Last week, the Walmart FLW Tour plied the waters of the Chattahoochee River on Lake Eufaula. This week, the Rayovac FLW Series moves 60 miles south on the “Hooch” to Lake Seminole for the final event of the Southeast Division. Running offshore brush piles was the dominant theme on Eufaula last week, leaving some to wonder if a similar pattern could work on Seminole, since the two legendary lakes are connected by the same river. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-14-shallow-deep-and-in-between-at-eufaula

Shallow, Deep and in Between at Eufaula

A couple of weeks ago Eufaula was high and off-color, and the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State that begins this morning was shaping up to be a shallow-water showdown. The lake has fallen by a couple of inches since then, however, and now the odds are even that both inshore and offshore patterns will be in play. In fact, one Eufaula expert who isn’t fishing the tournament expects it will take a mixture of patterns to make it to Sunday’s championship round and claim the $100,000 that goes to the winner. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-07-anything-goes-at-the-cal-delta

Anything Goes at the Cal Delta

There are 127 pros entered in the Rayovac FLW Series Western Division tournament presented by Ranger at the California Delta this week. If you asked them all what their baits or tactics are for the first day of competition today, you might get 127 different answers. At some fisheries that FLW’s tournament circuits visit, such varied and often vague responses from pros when they’re prompted for fishing info are the result of them attempting to stealthily hide their fishing patterns. That’s not exactly the case at this tournament. The fact is, the California Delta is one of the most vast and varied fisheries that hosts FLW events. It’s a collection of unique mini-fisheries all rolled into one, with dirty water, clean water, tons of vegetation and other factors tossed into the mix. It’s a tidal fishery, so the water levels and currents fluctuate throughout each day. And, of course, it’s spring in California, and because of the vastness of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers and the delta system they feed, with its 1,000 miles of waterways, there are populations of bass in all stages of the spawn in their own little geographic areas. READ MORE »