UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Ouachita

Relaxation can wait

David Rush of Palermo, Calif. went from seventh to fourth to first over three days at the Stren Series Western Division tournament on Lake Oroville.

OROVILLE, Calif. - When David Rush needs a break from the day-to-day grind he makes the 15-minute drive from his home in Palermo to Lake Oroville, fishes for bass and goes home refreshed.

Today he goes home exhausted, but with a check for $16,716 and a Ranger boat package as winner of the third Stren Series Western Division tournament of the season.

Rush topped a field of 109 pros, who almost unanimously limited out each day with spotted bass of nearly identical size, making the battle for No. 1 a true fight to the finish. Rush used sacks of 9 pounds, 12 ounces on day one, 10 pound, 2 ounces on day two and 9 pounds, 10 ounces on day three to accumulate 29 pounds, 8 ounces and win his first tournament since a Walmart Bass Fishing League tournament in 2000.

Rush was pushed to the end by three other pros who finished a combined 17 ounces off his winning weight: Ishama Monroe with 29 pounds, 4 ounces; Jason Bubier with 29 pounds, 2 ounces; and Michael Tuck with 29 pounds, 1 ounce. Even the No. 10 pro, Kurt Walters, was just 3 pounds, 4 ounces off the pace.

It was a close, mentally-fatiguing tournament for all competitors. Rush, who operates two trucks during construction season and also helps his wife run a foster home, knows all about mental fatigue and what it takes to compete and win at this level.

"It normally takes a couple days on the water just to get my head straight, to leave behind what I need to and get into what I'm doing now," Rush said. "It's really tough. Guys who fish all the time have the advantage of not having that headache."

But a lot of other guys at this tournament didn't live 15 minutes down the road.

"This lake is No. 1 for me because I can sleep in my own bed when I fish a tournament here," he said.

Rush was in seventh place after day one and fourth place after day two. His heaviest sack came on day two, and he said he didn't think he had enough on day three to jump over the three pros ahead of him.

"When that sun came out today and the lake flattened out, I thought I was in trouble," he said. "I fished deeper, didn't sight-fish like I normally do and was just grinding it out. I tried to stay away from everybody and fish a little different, a little deeper."

Most of his weigh fish were caught on a Roboworm or a tube rigged with very small jigs on 6-pound fluorocarbon. He threw these baits to the bank and worked them back down to about 30 feet.

"It was a slow go," he said.

But ultimately, it was an approach that eked out the slimmest of victories.

Monroe is most certainly back

It's been five years since Ishama Monroe has fished a Stren Series tournament, and make no mistakeIshama Monroe led after day one, but couldn about it: Everyone knows he's back.

Monroe took charge early by setting the pace on day one with a leading weight of 11 pounds, 10 ounces, but faltered on day two and fell to third with an 8-pound, 12-ounce sack. Saturday, he almost found that mark again, bringing 8 pounds, 14 ounces to the scales, good for a total weight of 29 pounds, 4 ounces and a second-place check for $6,687.

Monroe found irony in fishing behind Rush.

"Dave was the first guy I ever fished a tournament with," he said. "He beat me so bad, he made me cry. I was 15 years old, and he said to me at about 1 o'clock in the afternoon, `Here, have a worm.' No, Dave's a great guy and an inspiration to me, and I look forward to fishing against him again."

Bubier can't hold on

Oroville's native son started the day in first place but ended up third, as his five-fish sack weighing 8 pounds, 7 ounces was his lightest of the tournament. He had 10-pound weights each of the first two days and just needed to get close again to claim a victory in his first pro tournament.

Jason Bubier of Oroville, Calif. started day three in first place, but ended it in third with 29 pounds, 2 ounces.But it wasn't to be, as Bubier had a combined weight of 29 pounds, 2 ounces. Who knows who's more heartbroken, Jason or his daughter Leslie, who sang the national anthem before each takeoff and at Saturday's final weigh-in and was with him onstage when he realized he had lost.

But Bubier still claimed a check for $5,349 and has a bright future ahead.

Tuck knocks on the door, finishes No. 4

Michael Tuck was another angler who saw his weights go down each day. He pulled 10 pounds, 15 ounces on day one, 9-10 on day two and 8-8 on day three for a total weight of 29 pounds, 1 ounce and a fourth-place finish worth $4,681.

"It's been a tough week as far as making decisions go," he said. "But I never lost a fish, and this might be the first tournament where I could say that."

Tuck spent the week drop-shotting an 1/8-ounce wacky-rigged worm in 15 to 25 feet for spotted bass. He looked for largemouths, but couldn't find the size he needed to win. He said he saw a beauty on a bed Friday, but couldn't get it to go Saturday.

Lake Roosevelt swimbait rescues Michels

Jeff Michels, who placed fifth with 28 pounds, 6 ounces, said his whole tournament turned on a Jeff Michels of Lakehead, Calif. vaulted into the top 10 on day one and never let go, ultimately finishing fifth with 28 pounds, 6 ounces.swimbait he found in a bait shop near Lake Roosevelt in Arizona at the last Western Division stop.

"All my big ones came on this bait," he said, showing it to the crowd at the weigh-in. "Then I finished my limit by throwing worms up shallow in the grass."

The swimbait has a unique action, Michels said: "I can't wait to get it on the (California) Delta. They're going to tear it up."

Best of the rest

6th: Dusty Kahler, Atascadero, Calif., 27 pounds, 15 ounces, $3,678
7th: Charlie Weyer, West Hills, Calif., 27 pounds, 15 ounces, $3,343
8th: Cody Meyer, Redding, Calif., 27 pounds, 1 ounce, $3,009
9th: Duane Dunstone, Reno, Nev., 26 pounds, 12 ounces, $2,675
10th: Kurt Walters, Grand Junction, Colo., 26 pounds, 4 ounces, $2,340

Tags: vince-meyer  headline-story  2009-05-14-lake-oroville 

/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 »

/news/2016-02-04-top-5-patterns-from-the-okeechobee-tour-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from the Okeechobee Tour Day 1

The Walmart FLW Tour has been coming to Lake Okeechobee for the better part of 20 years. And for a vast majority of those years, the north end of the lake has been the business end – where the business of fish catching is done. Today, that tradition was derailed in the first round of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats and hosted by Hendry County Tourism Development Council. Though some boats did sample the Harney Pond area up north, many of the normal fish-producing haunts such as the Monkey Box, Dyess Ditch and Fisheating Bay were complete ghost towns. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-04-hallman-leads-day-one-of-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Hallman Leads Day One Of Walmart FLW Tour On Lake Okeechobee Presented By Ranger Boats

Oklahoma pro Bradley Hallman, brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 25 pounds even Thursday to grab the early lead after day one of the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Right behind him in second place is renowned Okeechobee angler Brandon McMillan of Clewiston, who weighed in five bass totaling 22-8. Hallman now brings a 2½-pound lead into day two of the four-day READ MORE »