UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2015 - Kerr Lake

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 

/news/2015-08-29-matual-masters-erie

Matual Masters Erie

David Matual of Chicago, Ill., leaned on his spot hard and sacked up the biggest bag of day three weighing 22 pounds, 6 ounces. For his final-day rally he claimed the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division victory on Lake Erie with a three-day total of 65 pounds, fending off Jared Rhode by a mere 7 ounces. Drop-shotting over shallow reefs delivered all of Matual’s fish and earned him a check worth more than $31,000. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-hicks-tops-co-angler-field-on-erie

Hicks Tops Co-angler Field on Erie

At 8:30 a.m., Justin Hicks turned to the camera boat following him and Jared Rhode – who split the day-two lead with Dave Lefebre – and said: “I sure would like to win this.” Eight hours later, the young man from Roanoke, Va., lifted the first place trophy at the final Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-lake-erie-day-3-midday-update

Lake Erie Day 3 Midday Update

Lake Erie put on a different face for day three of the final Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event. After a rough day one, yesterday’s calm and mostly sunny conditions offered comfortable running and fishing conditions. Today was still a far cry from the brutal waves of day one - and prior practice days - but windier conditions and overcast skies seemed to present a more challenging scenario. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-28-top-5-patterns-from-lake-erie-day-2

Top 5 Patterns From Lake Erie Day 2

Pennsylvania pro Dave Lefebre and Ohio pro Jared Rhode tied for the day-two lead in Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division action on Lake Erie with 43 pounds, 9 ounces. Both pros caught their fish on drop-shots. Here are the details of the rest of the top five. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-28-lefebre-rhode-tied-at-the-top

Lefebre, Rhode Tied at the Top

Notching his second day of 20-plus pounds, FLW Tour pro Dave Lefebre tallied 43 pounds, 9 ounces and tied day-one leader Jared Rhode for the day-two top spot at the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. Lefebre caught his 22-3 limit on Rapala DT-10 crankbaits, while Rhodes tempted his 19-15 catch with drop-shots. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-28-lake-erie-day-2-midday-update

Lake Erie Day 2 Midday Update

With winds shifting from yesterday’s northerly blow to a warmer southerly direction, day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie brought calmer conditions with greater ability to methodically work key spots. Offshore, waves ran 1 to 2 feet, with leeward areas behind the Lake Erie Islands nearly flat. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-27-rhode-cracks-23-10-for-erie-lead

Rhode Cracks 23-10 for Erie Lead

Jared Rhode played his cards and the gamble paid off better than expected, as the pro from Port Clinton, Ohio, took the day-one lead at the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie with a limit catch weighing 23 pounds, 10 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-27-top-5-patterns-from-lake-erie-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Erie Day 1

Taking off this morning, the FLW Tour pro from Erie, Pa., knew the day’s north wind would keep him from making a long run to a big-fish spot close to his home. However, keeping it local and fishing a little past Pelee Island to the west delivered a solid second-place catch. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-27-lake-erie-day-1-midday-report

Lake Erie Day 1 Midday Report

Winds have subsided considerably since practice, but Lake Erie’s still showing her temperamental side to Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division anglers fishing the last divisional event out of Sandusky, Ohio. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-27-hunting-erie-s-brown-fish

Hunting Erie’s Brown Fish

It’s going to be an Easter egg hunt on Lake Erie, but at least the great lake will behave a little better during the final Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event than it did during practice. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-26-smallmouth-slugfest-on-tap-at-erie-

Smallmouth Slugfest on Tap at Erie

Florida pro Glenn Browne leads the race with 492 points, largely due to his win at the previous divisional event on Lake Champlain. Following well within striking distance are Canadian pro Cory Johnston (484 points) and Louisianan Gerald Spohrer (483), who found his way into the Northern Division quite incidentally. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-25-top-10-patterns-from-the-forrest-wood-cup

Top 10 Patterns from the Forrest Wood Cup

If you don’t believe that summertime bass fishing in the dog days of August is all over the map, just take a look at the top 10 patterns from the best bass pros on earth at the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Brad Knight captured the Cup by mining one small creek end for four days. But beyond that, the rest of the top 10 patterns ran the gamut, from targeting schoolers over 40 feet to wolf packs of bass on the bank to brush piles to grass to mud flats and everywhere in between. Here’s a rundown. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-23-knight-slays-ouachita

Knight Slays Ouachita

Lancing, Tenn., pro Brad Knight won the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart on Lake Ouachita with a four-day total of 51 pounds, 12 ounces. In front of a standing-room-only crowd at Bank of the Ozarks Arena in Hot Springs, Ark., Knight weighed in 11-07 on day four to surpass Jacob Wheeler, who started the day with a 12-ounce lead. Fishing in just one area all four days, Knight locked up the first win of his FLW career. He earned $500,000 for his victory and pushed his career earnings total to more than $688,000. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-23-forrest-wood-cup-day-4-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-22-wheeler-back-in-front

Wheeler Back in Front

Jacob Wheeler loves Lake Ouachita. It’s where he fished his first Forrest Wood Cup in 2011, and it’s where he’ll take the tournament lead into the final day of competition at the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Wheeler, the 2011 Cup champion, led this tournament on day one and slipped a couple spots on day two. He now has a very slim 12-ounce lead over Tennessean Brad Knight. The anglers will square off tomorrow on Ouachita starting at 7 a.m. against the rest of the top 10 pros for the top prize of $500,000. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-22-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 3

Jacob Wheeler may have regained his lead in the Forrest Wood Cup on day three, but Brad Knight is right on his heels. Going into the final day, the two pros are separated by just 12 ounces. The margin is tight, and what’s going to make the final day fun to watch is the difference in the two anglers’ strategies. Wheeler is running a topwater pattern on the main lake, and fishing new water is part of his plan. Knight, however, has caught almost all of his weight from one 250-yard stretch of bass-rich creek channel. He literally knows every target he is fishing by heart. On the surface, Knight’s area looks to be the better bet. But he has shared the general area with Brandon Cobb and Mark Daniels Jr. for three solid days. And the bad news, at least for Knight, is that both Cobb and Daniels will be sharing the water with him again on the final day as both made the top-10 cut. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-22-forrest-wood-cup-day-3-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-ramie-races-into-the-lead

Ramie Races into the Lead

On the back of a 17-pound, 14-ounce limit, which is the biggest of the tournament thus far, Ramie Colson Jr. jumped from seventh place to take over the lead at the halfway point of the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. Colson’s two-day total is 31 pounds, 1 ounce, which puts him almost 3 pounds ahead of Tennessee’s Brad Knight. The Forrest Wood Cup, which is hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, moves into its top-20 round on Saturday. The top 10 pros after Saturday’s weigh-in advance to Sunday’s final round for a shot at the $500,000 top prize. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 2

At times, bass fishing can be a lot like real estate, where the three most important rules are location, location and location. The 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita presented by Walmart is starting to become a bit of a real estate game where location is the primary consideration in who climbs the leaderboard. And those mining the backs of creeks and tributaries are on the prime pieces of real estate. Consider that after day two, four of the top five pros are concentrating their fishing efforts in the back ends of creeks or rivers. All of these areas fit a classic late-summer, early-fall pattern where shad pack into the back of creek ditches that meander through shallow flats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-forrest-wood-cup-day-2-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »