UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Champlain

Bennett still in charge

Duracell pro Michael Bennett reels in a keeper bass while co-angler Pat Wilson mans the net.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - There is an interesting fishing battle setting up in South Carolina at the Forrest Wood Cup, and the winner of that battle is going to get a million dollars Sunday afternoon. After Saturday's weigh-in, the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup has boiled down primarily to a two-horse race between Duracell pro Michael Bennett of Lincoln, Calif., and Kellogg's pro Dave Lefebre of Union City, Pa. After day three, Bennett leads with 16 pounds, 1 ounce. Lefebre is trailing Bennett by 2 pounds, 13 ounces with 13 pounds, 4 ounces. Behind those two is Terry Bolton of Jonesboro, Ark., with 10 pounds, 15 ounces. Simply put, Bennett has put on a clinic the last three days, junk-fishing by the seat of his pants. He is demonstrating the art of tournament bass fishing in its purest form, relying solely on his instincts and intuition to fish almost all new water each day and making critical decisions on the fly. So far his approach has worked beautifully, but he is the first to point out that the bottom could fall out at any time. The last two days he has gotten just five or six bites per day and has made them count. On the other hand, Lefebre has committed to one area, and he knows it well. Each day he has gotten more bites than Bennett. Today Lefebre said he had 11 or 12 bites. The question now becomes whether Bennett can live on the edge another day for the quality bites. A stumble from Bennett, and Lefebre's consistency could put the Kellogg's pro in the winner's circle. Beyond that, a face plant by either pro could leave the door open for Bolton or Chris Baumgardner. Bennett turning trash into treasure As for Bennett's day, he is learning how to mine the treasures out of his junk-fishing. Duracell pro Michael Bennett has put on a junk-fishing clinic the last three days to lead the Forrest Wood Cup.Each day he has dialed in a little more on where he needs to be and what he needs to be throwing. "I started the tournament with 8 to 12 rods on the deck, and I'm now down to just three," Bennett said. "I know what to look for, but I have run completely out of water." A critical move by Bennett happened on day two. After finishing off his limit at about noon, he invested the rest of his tournament day in riding around the lake, looking for a particular mix of shallow cover. He found several places that fit the bill and fished those places today for his catch. But the problem is he cannot find any more water like it. "I've been very comfortable fishing new water as long as it has the right ingredients," Bennett said. "But today I fished everything on this lake that looked like that, and I've basically got no new water to fish. I'm going to have to start repeating on water that I've fished over the last few days, and I'm a little nervous about that because I feel like the fish don't replenish very fast in these areas." Bennett hit 30-plus spots today and noted that the critical time is the first three hours of the day. "Getting at least three fish in the boat in the first three hours is crucial," Bennett pointed out. "That puts me on the right pace to finish my limit by check-in." As for the nerves in fishing for a million bucks, Bennett candidly said, "I get nervous onstage, but once that's over, I'm fine." Lefebre lurking KelloggIn the Lefebre camp, there's not much talk of junk-fishing, running and gunning or fishing by the seat of his pants. Instead, Lefebre has spent the whole tournament in one area and knows it "like the back of his hand." He had nearly a dozen bites today, and the best five checked in at 13 pounds, 4 ounces. Unlike other leaders, who have had to run all over creation to assemble their limits, Lefebre has been steadily hammering out 11 to 13 pounds per day from this single area located up one of the rivers. "I have a lot of confidence in the area," Lefebre said. "I'm very familiar with what's going on in there. Each day the pattern changes just a bit: Some days the fish are more tucked in the cover, and I have to probe in there to get them out; other days the fish are more outside the cover, and I have to swim the bait more on the outsides of the cover to get the bites." Lefebre noted that Dion Hibdon and Jay Yelas are also up in his area, but he made it clear that he felt like they were not sharing the same water. "We might be overlapping a tad, but for the most part, we are all fishing different types of stuff up there," he explained. As for his chances at the million on Sunday, Lefebre said he would rather be in second going into the final day than leading. "I wish that lead was just a few ounces instead of a few pounds," he added. "But the pressure is on (Bennett) to hold the lead now." Bolton third Terry Bolton of Jonesboro, Ark., holds down the third-place position with five bass Terry Bolton of Jonesboro, Ark., holds down the third place position with five bass for 10 pounds, 15 ounces.for 10 pounds, 15 ounces. Bolton continued "practicing" today and said he fished all new water for about 40 percent of the day. He had seven keeper bites and boated six of them. Yesterday he relied on a topwater toad for most of his bites but said that pattern went away today. "I only caught one on top today, and I ended up culling that one," he said. "I spent too much time fishing that toad today, and when I finally put it down, I caught some flipping and on a shaky head. I'm telling you, every day is like a completely different day out here." Baumgardner fourth Snickers pro Chris Baumgardner of Gastonia, N.C., reeled in four keeper bass today for 10 pounds, 9 ounces putting him in fourth place.Chris Baumgardner of Gastonia, N.C., reeled in four keeper bass today for 10 pounds, 9 ounces, putting him in fourth place. The Snickers pro is fishing a Zoom Horny Toad and a buzzbait around shallow cover to catch his fish. "Some of them are on grass, but some of them are coming off nothing-looking areas, too," Baumgardner said. "Some of the best banks are just little flat banks with nothing on them. "I struggled for a while and then made a move down to some clearer water, and that seemed to help my bite," he added. Ehrler fifth National Guard pro Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., caught a five-bass limit weighing 8 pounds, 8 ounces to round out the top five after day three.Pro Brent Ehrler is well on his way to winning Ranger Cup for the second year in a row. Ehrler is on the run-and-gun program, using a buzzing-type toad to cover heaps of water. He hit an estimated 30 different spots today. "I fished about 90-percent new water today," Ehrler said. "I'm focusing on the back ends of creeks, especially where I find a mix of docks and grass. But I can't get bites in areas I've already fished over, so covering new water is a key component to how I'm fishing." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pros in the Forrest Wood Cup event on Lake Murray after day three: 6th: Brian Travis of Conover, N.C., three bass, 8-2 7th: Dion Hibdon of Stover, Mo., four bass, 7-2 8th: Kevin Vida of Clare, Mich., four bass, 6-3 9th: Jay Yelas of Corvallis, Ore., four bass, 5-9 10th: Mark Rose of Marion, Ark., two bass, 1-13 Day four of the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Murray will begin Sunday at 7 a.m. at the Lake Murray Marina and Yacht Club in Irmo, S.C.

Tags: headline-story  rob-newell 

/news/2015-07-30-cioppa-leads-on-champlain

Cioppa Leads On Champlain

David Cioppa of Hopkinton, Mass., weighed 22 pounds, 13 ounces late in the weigh-in to grab the lead after the first day of the Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Champlain. Cioppa weighed all largemouths and says that he caught the entirety of his weight by about 9 a.m. from one location in the northern end of the lake. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-30-top-5-patterns-from-champlain-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Champlain Day 1

Lake Champlain was rough and wild on day one of the Rayovac FLW Series event presented by Plano, and a bunch of the anglers still got it done in a big way. David Cioppa caught largemouths in the Inland Sea, but the rest of the top guys spread out all over the massive lake. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-30-champlain-midday-update-day-1

Champlain Midday Update Day 1

Takeoff was placid enough, with a beautiful sunrise and a light breeze in the slightly protected corner that is Plattsburgh. By about 6:30 a.m., day one of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano on Lake Champlain was already beginning to get rough. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-21-top-picks-from-icast

Top Picks From ICAST

A few days of walking the floor at ICAST is enough to exhaust a body, but it isn’t enough to know exactly what’s worthwhile. For that, you need some time to reflect and probably a few tournament seasons to fly by to see what rises up. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-renfrew-fished-to-win

Renfrew Fished to Win

Ian Renfrew of Phoenix, New York, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Northeast Division tournament on Oneida Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Renfrew earned $4,695. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-docks-and-rocks-key-for-synders

Docks and Rocks Key for Synders

Rus Snyders of Nashville, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Music City Division tournament on Old Hickory Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Snyders earned $2,703. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-jig-crankbait-carry-powroznik

Jig, Crankbait Carry Powroznik

Ryan Powroznik of Prince George, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 15 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division tournament on the James River. For his victory, Powroznik earned $7,507. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-persistence-pays-for-arning

Persistence Pays for Arning

Ray Arning Jr. of Walnut Hill, Illinois, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Illini Division tournament on Rend Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Arning earned $5,804. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-17-new-rod-roundup

New Rod Roundup

Rod companies continue to impress each year with a new crop of lighter, faster and more affordable (sweet!) rods. On the subject of price, these days, a tournament pro or an average angler could be fishing with rods that cost less than $100 apiece, but without giving up anything in the realm of quality. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-17-new-terminal-tackle

New Terminal Tackle

Don’t skimp where it counts the most – terminal tackle. Hooks, weights, jigheads and the like are the keys to taking all those new soft baits and swimbaits to the fish, hooking them and getting them in the boat. Here’s the best stuff we saw on the floor at ICAST 2015. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-flw-announces-2016-tour-schedule

FLW Announces 2016 Tour Schedule

FLW announced the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour regular-season schedule today in a live press conference held at the 2015 ICAST show in Orlando, Fla. With the help of six veteran Tour pros, the company unveiled each of the six events, one-by-one, to a crowd of observers gathered around the FLW booth. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-6-new-reels-to-try

6 New Reels to Try

Whether you need to replace an old reel or you’re just looking to add to the arsenal, here are some of the latest and greatest from ICAST. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-6-new-lines-from-icast-2015

6 New Lines from ICAST 2015

Line might just be the most important part of the package when it comes to landing fish. From presenting the bait to getting them in the net, your line is involved the entire way. If you’re looking for something new to try, the following lines are worth a shot. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-icast-best-of-show-winners-

ICAST Best Of Show Winners

One of the highlights of ICAST is the annual “Best of Show” awards. Not everything at ICAST is of interest to bass anglers, but the below might end up being staples for a long time to come. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-10-new-frogs-and-toads

10 New Frogs and Toads

These days, frogs and toads aren’t just mimicking frogs and toads. They’re designed to be perfect imitations of rats, bream and various oddball creatures. New models at ICAST this season offer anglers some of these “alternative” species, as well as new sizes, colors, action types and degrees of realism. Here are 10 new models that we feel are of greatest interest. Click here for complete 2015 ICAST coverage. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-7-terrific-topwater-baits

7 Terrific Topwater Baits

If you don’t like fishing topwater, just give up fishing already. These seven new baits will help you get your surface-fishing fix next season. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-critters-and-craws

Critters and Craws

Nearly everyone already has a tackle box overflowing with soft baits. That said, there are always more to try. If you’re looking for something new, the following might do the trick. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-15-new-hard-baits-for-2015

New Hard Baits for 2015

It doesn’t take long to find yourself overwhelmed on the show floor of ICAST. Hundreds of companies are here unveiling cool, new products. When it comes to the hard bait category it can be daunting to sift through all the new stuff. Its early, but here are a few things that might be worth adding to the tackle box. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-15-icast-2015-fishing-accessories

ICAST 2015 Fishing Accessories

Check out these tools and accessory items that fill a variety of roles when on the water. We’ll update the list later tomorrow too. Click here for complete 2015 ICAST coverage. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-15-cool-new-electronics-at-icast-2015

Cool New Electronics at ICAST 2015

These days, anglers rely on cutting edge electronic devices not only to find and catch fish, but also to share their fishing experiences with the world. The following new products, as seen on day one at ICAST 2015, will help you do all of the above. READ MORE »