UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Ouachita

Change is good

Jason Ober fished schools of bass that were following yellow perch and found the winning limit.

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. - In a dramatic see-saw battle against a formidable opponent, Jason Ober of Johnstown, Pa., made a critical adjustment and secured his victory in the Stren Series Northern Division event on Lake Champlain.

Locked in a close contest with Chris Baumgardner - the Snickers pro from Gastonia, N.C. - Ober took Baumgardner's day-one lead in the second round, but gave it back on day three. Entering the final round in second place, Ober caught a limit weighing 17 pounds, 4 ounces and tallied a tournament total of 74-5.

Prevailing against not only Baumgardner, but an entire field of accomplished anglers was very meaningful to Ober.

"I'm overwhelmed - this is the highlight of my life," he said. "To fish against (pros such as) Chris Baumgardner, Mike Iaconelli and Pete Gluszek is unbelievable."

Ober spent the entire tournament working waypoints where he had marked large groups of smallmouth After relying on crankbaits and topwaters for most of the tournament, top pro Jason Ober fished a dropshot in the final round.bass. In open water depths of 12 to 14 feet, the smallies were following dense pods of yellow perch, so locating the food meant locating the predators.

Crankbaits and topwater plugs had delivered the majority of his bites during the first three days of competition, but when the hard baits' productivity declined, Ober took an essential cue from his co-angler, Thomas Shafer, who also won his division. Shafer was using a green-pumpkin candy Chigger Craw on a drop-shot, and when the bait hit paydirt, Ober knew what he had to do.

"My co-angler is the reason I won today," Ober said. "I was saving one little honeyhole for today, and I went there at the end of the day. My co-angler caught a great big one, and then he caught another great big one. Finally, I said, `Look, I am hard-headed, but I'm not that hard-headed - show me the deal.'

"I tied up (with Shafer's bait), and we caught them on every cast from then until it was time to go. I caught two of my weight fish (with that bait) that I'm sure made the difference for me.

"I went from throwing topwater plugs, to cranking to drop-shotting to seal this deal. Drop-shotting is what just won me this (tournament)."

Second-place Baumgardner let down by lay-downs

Heavy rains the night before the final round shut down Chris BaumgardnerRunning 25 miles from the launch site, Baumgardner started out throwing a 1/2-ounce black/blue ChatterBait with a Zoom Speed Craw around lay-downs in creek bends. For the past three days, targeting suspended fish in 3 to 5 feet of water had consistently produced big stringers, including his top effort: a 20-pound, 10-ounce bag on day three.

However, Baumgardner said his creek pattern produced only two keepers - probably due in some part to the heavy rains that fell the night before. Dingy water pushing through the lake's arteries affected visibility, while swift current hindered fish and fisherman.

"With all the rain we had, my spot got trashed," he said. "The current was twice as strong (as the day before)."

Baumgardner said he worked his creeks until about 11 a.m. and put two keepers in the well. He then moved to a "community hole" where he finished out his limit by drop-shotting for smallmouths.

"I fished the creek until my trolling wouldn't go anymore; the current was that strong," Baumgardner said. "I tried to go with the current, but it was just to fast. You couldn't fish it."

Baumgardner weighed 16 pounds, 3 ounces on day four and ended with 73-15.

Voyles feeling froggy in third

Entering the final round in fifth place, John Voyles of Petersburg, Ind., ran south to the fertile grass beds Snapping a frog on a slack line led John Voyles to a third-place finish.of Ticonderoga. Green-and-black Spro frogs fished over matted vegetation in 3 to 4 feet produced his 16-pound, 7-ounce stringer (63-11 total) and some of the most exhilarating strikes he'd ever seen.

"When those bass came up and hit that frog, it's like watching and alligator coming out of the water," Voyles said. "It's phenomenal."

The key to working the frog, Voyles said, was maximum action with minimal forward progress. "I was snapping it on a slack line. I was really trying to make it pop on that mat."

When John Voyles ran out of the Spro frogs he was using in practice, a friend in Indiana overnighted a fresh supply for the tournament.Working an area overrun with hungry bass, Voyles said he could have abandoned his technique and still caught fish. "There was such a good school of fish underneath (the mat), I really didn't need to pop the frog. I mean they were fighting over it."

Voyles said he discovered the hot frog action during practice, but the intense bite wore down all but one of his frogs. He had to make that lone amphibian imposter suffice for the first day of the event, but fortunately a friend back home in Indiana was able to overnight reinforcements to Plattsburgh so Voyles could continue his pattern.

Seal sticks it out, takes fourth

Starting day four in seventh place, Gregg Seal of Eldred, Pa., rose three places with a limit catch of Despite a first-round stumble, Gregg Seal stuck with his game plan and turned in a fourth-place finish.15 pounds, 15 ounces, which gave him a 62-14 total. Starting his campaign with a 38th-place effort on day one was not favorable to his confidence, but Seal persevered.

"I dropped the ball a little bit the first day, and I thought I was done, but I just stuck with it," he said. "I'm proud of the adjustments I made."

Seal used dropshot tubes earlier in the tournament, but eventually discovered a good topwater pattern that produced several of his weight fish.

Lakey finds his fish (again) for fifth

He temporarily lost his school of fish on day three, but fifth-place pro Scott Lakey found them again in the final round.Entering the final round in ninth place, Scott Lakey of Augusta, Mich., caught 15 pounds, 11 ounces for a total of 62-3. He fished a 1/2-ounce football -head jig in peanut butter-and-jelly color.

Like most, Lakey was keying on areas with large schools of yellow perch and the smallmouths that were gorging on this forage. He turned in two bags of 16-plus pounds on days one and two, but stumbled on day three with just 13-8.

"I was on a big wad of fish this week," he said. "I lost them yesterday, but I found them again today."

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top 10 pro leaders at the Stren Series Lake Champlain event:

6th: Mike Iaconelli of Runnemede, N.J., 60-11
7th: Brian Gates of Mendon, Vt., 60-9
8th: Chad Pipkens of Holt, Mich., 60-1
9th: Pete Gluszek of Franklinville, N.J., 59-7
10th: Atsushi Nakahigashi of Chester, Va., 58-11

Tags: david-a-brown  headline-story  2008-07-16-lake-champlain 

/news/2016-02-10-dudley-links-up-with-livingston-lures

Dudley Links Up with Livingston Lures

Livingston Lures has added three-time Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year David Dudley to its pro-staff. The Virginia pro joins two-time FLW AOY Andy Morgan and former FLW Rookie of the Year Stetson Blaylock on the Team Livingston roster. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-10-power-pole-extends-partnership-with-flw

Power-Pole Extends Partnership with FLW

FLW announced yesterday that JL Marine Systems, manufacturer of Power-Pole shallow-water anchor systems, has signed a sponsorship extension for the 2016 season. This will be the sixth consecutive season that the two organizations have partnered. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-flw-college-fishing-western-conference-opens-season-on-shasta-lake

FLW College Fishing Western Conference Opens Season on Shasta Lake

REDDING, Calif. – FLW College Fishing is headed to Lake Shasta Feb. 20 for the first of three regular-season stops in the Western Conference. A full field of college teams will be competing for a top award of $2,000 and a berth in the FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-lake-shasta-set-to-host-costa-flw-series-opener-presented-by-minn-kota

Lake Shasta Set to Host Costa FLW Series Opener Presented by Minn Kota

REDDING, Calif. – The Costa FLW Series is headed to Lake Shasta Feb. 18-20 for a tournament presented by Minn Kota when as many as 300 pros and co-anglers will take to the water for the first stop of 2016 in the Western Division. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-montgomery-targets-prespawn-bass-for-win

Montgomery Targets Prespawn Bass for Win

Local angler Scott Montgomery of Eufaula, Ala., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 1 ounce, Saturday to win the first FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Bulldog Division tournament of 2016 on Lake Eufaula. For his victory, Montgomery took home a check for $4,127. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-top-10-patterns-from-lake-okeechobee

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Okeechobee

Oklahoma’s Bradley Hallman sewed up his first Walmart FLW Tour victory at the season-opener on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats by pitching and punching reed heads in the South Bay area with a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver. Hallman stuck with his program despite up-and-down air temperatures, high winds and all the curveballs Mother Nature could throw at him. Here's how the rest of the top 10 got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-08-top-10-baits-from-lake-okeechobee

Top 10 Baits from Lake Okeechobee

The Walmart FLW Tour presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee went from a tight race to a runaway in a hurry when Bradley Hallman just wouldn’t stop catching the big ones. As for the lures he used, and those put to work by the rest of the top 10, some Okeechobee staples were applied as well as a few oddball baits. If you’re thinking of heading down to the Big O or anywhere else in Florida soon, you might want to acquire a few of the lures they fished. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-07-hallman-wins-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Hallman Wins Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Okeechobee Presented by Ranger Boats

CLEWISTON, Fla. – Pro Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, brought just two bass to the scale Sunday totaling 6 pounds, 8 ounces, but it was still enough to earn the win at the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Hallman’s four-day cumulative total of 16 bass weighing 71 pounds, 2 ounces earned him the win by an impressive 14-pound, 14-ounce margin over second-place pro Alex Davis of Albertville, Alabama, and $100,000 in the tournament that featured 169 of the best bass-fishing anglers in the world competing in the first FLW Tour event of the regular season. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-07-big-hall-man-on-okeechobee

Big (Hall)Man on Okeechobee

It was the Bradley Hallman show all week long at Lake Okeechobee at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats. Though, the Norman, Okla., pro struggled on day four and brought in only two fish for 6 pounds, 8 ounces, he pulled off the wire-to-wire victory in his first event on Tour. The 13-pound, 9-ounce lead that Hallman built up through the first three days of competition was enough that he didn't actually have to weigh his fish today. Hallman's tournament total of 71 pounds, 2 ounces far exceeded the 56-04 caught by runner-up Alex Davis. For the win, Hallman earned $100,000. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-07-lake-okeechobee-day-4-coverage

Lake Okeechobee Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-top-5-patterns-from-lake-okeechobee-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Okeechobee Day 3

Across the board, weights fell off on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats and hosted by Roland and Mary Ann Martin's Marina and Resort and the Hendry County Tourism and Development Council. No one in the top 20 crossed the 20-pound mark. Cloud cover, which prevented the water temperature from rising much above 65 degrees, and low water clarity might both have slowed the replenishment of bass moving into spawn. Tournament leader Bradley Hallman experienced a bit of a stall in the action as well, bringing just four fish to the scales, but he still managed to increase his lead to 13 pounds, 9 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-hallman-extends-lead-on-day-three-at-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Hallman Extends Lead On Day Three At Walmart FLW Tour On Lake Okeechobee Presented By Ranger Boats

Anchored by an 8-pound, 10-ounce kicker, pro Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, brought four bass to the scale Saturday totaling 14 pounds, 3 ounces to extend his lead to more than 13½ pounds heading in to the final day of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Hallman’s... READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-can-anyone-catch-hallman-

Can Anyone Catch Hallman?

Despite catching only four keepers on day three, Norman, Okla., pro Bradley Hallman extended his lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee. With a day-three weight of 14 pounds, 3 ounces and a tournament total of 64-10, his margin over second-place angler Alex Davis is now 13 pounds, 9 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-montgomery-wins-flw-bass-fishing-league-bulldog-division-opener-on-lake-eufaula

Montgomery Wins FLW Bass Fishing League Bulldog Division Opener on Lake Eufaula

EUFAULA, Ala. – Local angler Scott Montgomery of Eufaula, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 1 ounce, Saturday to win the first FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Bulldog Division tournament of 2016 on Lake Eufaula. For his victory, Montgomery took home a check for $4,127. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-okeechobee-day-3-coverage

Okeechobee Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-top-5-patterns-from-lake-okeechobee-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Okeechobee Day 2

Fueled by 25 mph north winds, the Lake Okeechobee washing machine cleansed some livewells today, keeping them free of the 20-pound limits that are so common here when the weather is sunny, 75 and calm. However, a few 20-plus-pound limits still snuck through the rinse cycle to grace the scales. The biggest limit once again belonged to Bradley Hallman of Norman, Okla. He added 25 pounds, 7 ounces to the 25 he caught on day one. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-oklahoma-s-hallman-extends-lead-at-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Oklahoma’s Hallman Extends Lead at Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Okeechobee Presented by Ranger Boats

CLEWISTON, Fla. – Pro angler Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, brought a five-bass limit weighing 25 pounds, 7 ounces to the scale Friday to extend his lead on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Hallman will bring an 8-pound, 8-ounce advantage into day three of the four-day competition that features 169 of the top bass-fishing anglers in the world competing for a top cash award of up to $125,000. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-cales-earns-co-angler-win

Cales Earns Co-angler Win

Co-angler Tim Cales of Sandstone, W.Va., earned his second win with FLW after sacking up 30 pounds, 11 ounces over two days in the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-hallman-way-in-front

Hallman Way in Front

Bradley Hallman is doing his best to make the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats a one-man show. But Alabama pro Alex Davis hopes to spoil Hallman’s hopes of a wire-to-wire victory. Today, Hallman weighed in 25 pounds, 7 ounces to raise his two-day total to 50-07. He’s led the tournament each day thus far. Davis weighed in 20-15 to move from third to second but is still 8 1/2 pounds behind the leader. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-okeechobee-day-2-coverage

Okeechobee Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »