UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Victory unexpected

Joined by his son William, Mike Ward celebrates his Stren victory on Kentucky Lake.

GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. - When Tennessee pro Mike Ward left the weigh-in stage just an ounce shy of taking the lead at the final day of Stren Central Division action on Kentucky-Barkley lakes, he probably wished one of his bass had eaten another shad. Ten minutes later, when he raised the prize check, Ward realized his fish had eaten just enough. Entering the final round in second place, Ward weighed right after David Young of Mayfield, Ky., whose 20-pound, 10-ounce limit - the day's largest - had given him the lead with 57-8. Stepping to the scale with a two-day total of 37-9, Ward needed an even 20 to take the lead. By that expectation, his 19-15 seemingly fell just a baitfish short. However, by tying Young and holding off day-two leader Tommy When cranking didnEllis, who weighed last and took fourth with 54-3, Ward earned the victory through his higher day-two ranking. Saturday marked Ward's second Stren Central win, the other having come from Kentucky Lake as well. During a tournament that saw anglers, including Young, catching quality fish on deep structure, Ward stuck with flipping the buck bushes with a Texas-rigged Strike King Rodent in the Bama Bug color. The decision, he admitted was partially by default. "Flipping isn't really my strength," Ward said. "I love to crank ledges, but I couldn't find good fish on ledges. I looked for them, but I couldn't find them, so I had to go to the bushes. Top pro Mike Ward said he chose a Strike King Rodent because of its soft composition."I threw a BangOlure about three times, I threw a spinnerbait about two, a crankbait about five casts and a Strike King Rodent probably 369 casts. I like the Rodent because it's soft, and the way the fish were eating, you could hardly feel the bites. I think they were holding on to the Rodent longer because it's soft." Ward targeted classic backwater spawning habitat with clear water. His ideal scenario was a single buck bush with a gap in the middle. Dropping his bait in a dead-stick presentation with the occasional wiggle worked best. Ward started the event with a 19-pound, 5-ounce limit that earned him ninth place on day one. He moved up seven notches to second on day two with 17-10. His 57-8 total earned him $25,000 and a Ranger boat, motor and trailer package. Deep bite delivers for second-place Young While many of his competitors pounded the buck brush, Young spent most of his time working ledgesCranking deep ledges produced the day for postspawn fish. Slinging a Norman and Lucky Craft crankbaits in chartreuse and blue, Young did not have a fish in the boat at 9:30, but day two saw his spots turn on later in the morning, so he was confident he'd fare well in the final round. "I had a good week because I got to do what I love to do," Young said, earning $10,000 for second. "I did flip some, but what I like to do is get a crankbait in my hand and go. The fish were in the bushes so good that (many anglers) were fishing the bushes. I just knew that the first waves (of postspawn bass) were coming out." Fishing his baits on 12-pound Gamma fluorocarbon line and loosening his reel tension enabled the long casts that were vital to his productivity. "That's the whole key - getting the bait out as far as you can, getting it down to the bottom and keeping it there for long periods of time." Bever scrambles, moves into third When he found his main spots muddied by recent storms, third place pro Cary Bever got it done with a crankbait. Rhinelander, Wis., pro Cary Bever was Mr. Consistency for the first two days of competition by weighing consecutive bags weighing 18-6. His day-three limit of 17-13 wasn't far from the trifecta, and it was still enough to bring him up one spot to third place with 54-9 worth $8,000. "I had to do some scrambling this morning because the lake had muddied up so bad down south," Bever said. "I ran all the way down there before I realized it wasn't going to get any flatter. I was able to put a few things together and come up with a decent sack." Throwing mostly a Lucky Craft crankbait, Bever said he kept busy with Kentucky Lake's abundant bass: "I'm going to have to get a finger transplant when I go home because I don't have any fingerprints left from all the fish I've caught. The FBI wouldn't get anything out of me." Ellis goes deep, slips to fourth For two days, Paris, Tenn., pro Tommy Ellis led his division by flipping buck brush with a Strike King After leading for two day, Tommy Ellis slipped to fourth place.Rodent in the Okeechobee Craw color. Storms during the previous day and evening had left his spots muddy, so Ellis turned to cranking. Working Strike King Series 3 crankbaits (sexy shad color) at the mouths of feeder creeks with cleaner water flowing into backwater spawning bays, he caught a limit weighing 15-11 and ended up fourth with a total of 54-3 worth $7,000. Powers pops up to fifth He loves fishing a Pop-R, but fifth place pro Craig Powers has a new fondness for cranking ledges.Early May on Kentucky Lake is Pop-R heaven for Rockwood, Tenn., pro Craig Powers, but he candidly admitted falling smitten with another local attraction. "In the first week of May, if there's a better place to fish Pop-R's, you're going to have to prove it to me. But after this week, I might have to change (that view.) I can see how everyone gets addicted to Kentucky Lake ledge fishing. My hands are torn up from catching so many bass." Powers came into day three in seventh place with 36-2. He added 17-13 in the final round for a 53-15 total worth $6,000. Best of the rest Rounding out the top 10 pro leaders at the Stren Series Central event on Kentucky-Barkley: 6th: Patrick Hailstones of Cincinnati, 50-3 7th: Ramie Colson Jr. of Cadiz, Ky., 49-8 8th: Larry Sisk of Evansville, Ind., 49-2 9th: Phil Cannady of Waverly, Tenn., 46-15 10th: Mark Rose of Marion, Ark., 46-9

Tags: headline-story  david-a-brown 


Devere Takes BFL Wild Card Win

The decision of what to fish come tournament time can be difficult for most. For others – like Mike Devere – relying on a single bait that you have confidence in is all you need. Devere’s one bait, one rod method was strong enough to carry him to victory by nearly 2 pounds in the BFL Wild Card held on Lake Hartwell. READ MORE »


Hanselmania 4.0

Saturday, in Paducah, Ky., on the shores of the Ohio River, Ray Hanselman rewrote history for the second time this season. After winning all three 2015 Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division events, which had never been done before, Hanselman came to Kentucky and won the Rayovac FLW Series Championship. READ MORE »


Rayovac Championship Day 3 Coverage

The final day of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River will largely be fished on the Tennessee River, as all but two anglers rolled up it to chase smallmouths. READ MORE »


Hanselman on the Verge of Four-Peat

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River was fished primarily on the nearby Tennessee River and resulted in a major shuffling of the leaderboard. In the end, Ray Hanselman rose from second to first and will lead the top 10 into the final day with 30 pounds, 14 ounces. READ MORE »


Top 5 Patterns from the Ohio River Day 2

After two days of competition, Ray Hanselman leads the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River, but as the leaderboard has reflected, the river’s hefty smallmouths are certainly capable of producing some fireworks and providing some surprises. READ MORE »


Rayovac Championship Day 2 Coverage

Down at Paducah, the start of day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship was just about perfect – a light wind, temps in the low 40s and no fog. That’s not the case elsewhere. READ MORE »


Barnes Blasts 21 on the Ohio

On day one of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River David Barnes Sr. of China, Maine, hauled exactly 21 pounds of smallmouth across the stage to take the lead on a day that was tough for many. READ MORE »


Top 5 Patterns from the Ohio River Day 1

Shortly after David Barnes electrified the Rayovac FLW Series Championship weigh-in with his leading weight of 21 pounds of smallmouths, Ray Hanselman followed suit with an all-smallmouth limit weighing 19 pounds. READ MORE »


Rayovac Championship Day 1 Coverage

Updates from day one of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River. READ MORE »


McCaig Wins Neely Henry Regional

There are times that a little local knowledge helps you in a bass tournament, and then there are times it does not. And sometimes, it pays to ignore past experiences altogether, as Mark McCaig figured out en route to winning the Oct. 22-24, 2015 Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Neely Henry out of Gadsden, Ala. By disregarding what his local experience might have suggested he do and approaching the tournament a little differently, the Oxford, Ala., boater posted a three-day total weight of 45 pounds, 7 ounces to take home the $20,000 winner’s purse as well as a 2015 Ranger Z518C with 200-hp outboard. READ MORE »


Goodwin Wins at Lake of the Ozarks

Day-two leader Shonn Goodwin of Moore, Okla., held on to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional presented by Mercury at Lake of the Ozarks Oct. 22-24 by bringing four bass to the scale on the third and final day. Those fish weighed 8 pounds, 11 ounces. His three-day total of 14 bass weighed 43-13. For the win, Goodwin earned $20,000 and a new Ranger bass boat. READ MORE »


Walters Wins Wateree BFL Regional

Todd Walters relied on a combo pattern to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional on Lake Wateree. The North Carolina boater fished rocky cover upstream and brush piles in the lake's clear lower end. The two-part program produced a three-day winning weight of 47 pounds, 4 ounces, which was 11 pounds better than second place. READ MORE »


Uribe By An Ounce

After Jody Jordan brought 24 pounds, 5 ounces to push his total past 66 pounds on the final day the crowd waited with bated breath for day two leader Joe Uribe Jr. to bring his fish to the scale. As Uribe transferred his third bass from the bag to the scale, he shook his head and whispered back “you’ve got it,” to the watching Jordan. READ MORE »


Anderson Wins KY Lake Regional

You might say there weren’t any surprises at the 2015 Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional presented by Lowrance on Kentucky Lake Oct. 15-17. The techniques of the top 12 pros who fished the final day were typical of the Tennessee River in fall: surface fishing with frogs and Zara Spooks and winding Rat-L-Traps and ChatterBaits. The winners weren’t surprising either: Ryan Sykes of Hamilton, Ohio, won the co-angler division for the second consecutive year, and Tennessee pro Brent Anderson earned his sixth win on the Kentucky/Barkley system since 2009. READ MORE »


Grover Takes Co-angler Title on Clear Lake

Rick Grover of Trabuco Canyon, Calif., pulled in 55 pounds, 5 ounces of bass for the Rayovac FLW Series co-angler win on Clear Lake. All told, it was worth a new Ranger Z117 with a 90-horsepower outboard and $5,000. READ MORE »


Clear Lake Midday Update Day 3



Uribe Takes Lead and AOY at Clear Lake

Joe Uribe Jr. jumped into the lead going into the final day of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Clear Lake. Uribe caught 20 pounds, 13 ounces on day two for a total of 44 pounds, 8 ounces and was the only pro to weigh more than 20 pounds both days. READ MORE »


Top 5 Patterns from Clear Lake Day 2

When the scales had closed after the second day of the Rayovac FLW Series Western Division tournament presented by Evinrude on Clear Lake, no doubt more than a few anglers breathed a sigh of relief that they were still in contention. READ MORE »


Clear Lake Midday Update Day 2

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Clear Lake has been a little slower than day one. READ MORE »


Crutcher Cracks 29-9

Midway through a weigh-in that was noticeably lacking in super-sized bags, Mark Crutcher of Lakeport, Calif., lit up the leaderboard with 29 pounds, 9 ounces of Clear Lake goodness. READ MORE »