The greatest All-American hero

Boater Adam Wagner of Cookeville, Tenn., finished in first place and took home $120,000 at the $1 million Walmart BFL All-American presented by Chevy on the Mississippi River.

DAVENPORT, Iowa - It was said many times this week that fishing in the Walmart BFL All-American is a dream come true for a weekend tournament bass angler. Underscoring that sentiment is Adam Wagner, who completed his wire-to-wire victory Saturday on the Mississippi River with a three-day total weight of 36 1/2 pounds. "I've dreamed of being a professional fisherman since I was 6 years old," said Wagner, who fished in his third career All-American this week (he placed second in 2005 and 23rd in 2004). His wife, Kimber, and 9-year-old daughter, Jordyn, were at the final weigh-in in Davenport, Iowa, to watch his dream come true today as he put four bass weighing 11 pounds, 5 ounces in the scale and then hoisted a check for $120,000 high above his head. Wagner will soon further his dream, as he is now qualified to fish against the best bass pros in the world in this year's $2 million Forrest Wood Cup and eligible to compete on the Walmart FLW Tour in 2010. "It gives me a shot to go out on the Tour," he said, "so if (my wife) says it's OK ... I'm ready to go." Winning the All-American is the exclamation point on a season that has already been like living a dream for Wagner, who works as an equipment operator in Cookeville, Tenn. He's already won two other Bass Fishing League events this year in the Music City Division, where he's currently ranked No. 1 in the Boater Division with two regular-season events left to go. The rising star now boasts 20 top-10 finishes in BFL competition, including six wins, and $251,618 in FLW Outdoors earnings. Wagner found his system during practice and never looked back. He fished pools 14 and 13 - the farthest eligible upstream from the takeoff site of Rock Island, Ill. - plucking keeper bass from each all Adam Wagner of Cookeville, Tenn., won the All-American on the Mississippi River with a three-day total of 14 bass weighing 36-8 in the Boater Division.three days. "I locked through to (pool) 13 every day," he said. "I got lucky and found a couple fish in 14 ... where I had about 40 minutes to fish each day before locking through. I'd usually catch three more in 13." The system was a gamble in that it only allowed him about an hour and a half of fishing time each day in pool 13, where he caught most of his bigger bass. In pool 13, Wagner landed his lunkers by swimming a ¼-ounce jig with a black skirt in grass and lily pads in about a foot of water or by fishing a green-pumpkin Senko when the bite called for it. In pool 14, he consistently flipped a Sweet Beaver with a 3/8-ounce tungsten weight to wood and lay-downs in the current in the main channel in about 3 feet of water. Today he caught a big smallmouth in pool 16 near the takeoff site, the only fish he caught there all week. His final kicker fish looked great onstage, but was just icing on the cake as he won by an incredible margin of 9 1/2 pounds. His daily weights were as follows: day one, five bass, 15-9; day two (also his birthday - talk about a whirlwind week), five bass, 9-10; and day three, four bass, 11-5. All week Wagner said he "came here to win it." But despite his confidence in his pattern and determination throughout the week, when it was all said and done, he was still a bit overwhelmed. "This is just unbelievable," he said. Boater Steve Wagner of New Kent, Va., finished runner-up in the All-American with a total of 13 bass for 27 pounds. Steve Wagner happy with second Steve Wagner of New Kent, Va., fished his way to second place in the Boater Division of the All-American with a three-day total weight of 27 pounds. He earned $25,000. Being the runner-up sat fine with Wagner, who said: "I knew unless I pulled out a miracle today, he was going to win. I'm not disappointed. "I made it here. I've only been fishing for four years." Fishing in his first All-American this week, Wagner now has five BFL top-10 finishes on his resume. Wagner said he made a critical error on day one that may have cost him the win. He said he was boating farther upstream than anyone in the tournament, about 60 miles one way, where he had found several hot spots in practice. With only an hour to fish each day that far north in pool 13, he wasted precious time Thursday trying to recapture his success from practice. "Those areas where the good fish were - the water dropped about a foot and the fish weren't there," he said of day one, when he only bagged four bass for 9-4 as he checked four other spots he'd previously located before locking on to a bite in a 40-yard stretch of water. "As soon as I got there, I knew the fish were going to be there." Boater Chris Baldwin of Lexington, N.C., caught this kicker small mouth on the final day of the All-American to finish third with a total of 11 bass weighing 22-15. Locked on to a pattern, Wagner spent most of the rest of the week on that small area on Edick Lake flipping a 3 1/2-inch Strike King jig in June-bug color to heavy cover for his bass. Baldwin climbs to third Fishing in his fourth All-American, boater Chris Baldwin of Lexington, N.C., climbed three slots on the final day to finish third with a three-day total of 22-15 worth $14,000 plus a $9,000 Ranger bonus. "I started out in pool 13 the first day, the second day I fished pool 14, and today I stayed in pool 16," Baldwin said of his combo-platter strategy. After only catching three bass on day one, Baldwin said it was time to change it up on day two. He caught three bass in pool 14 Friday, but then caught two nice ones in pool 16 on the way back to the marina. Boater Mike Devere of Berea, Ky., placed fourth at the All-American.That convinced him to stay near the launch site today, where he reeled in three more bass to add 7 1/2 pounds to his total. Two largemouths came from a Zoom crankbait, and he caught his kicker smallmouth on a three-bladed War Eagle spinnerbait. Devere, Moran round out top five Fishing in his second All-American, boater Mike Devere of Berea, Ky., finished in fourth place with a three-day total of 22-14 worth $13,000 plus an $8,000 Ranger bonus. Devere fished areas in pool 14 each day that he found while practicing with another Berea native, co-angler Brian Ross who finished 20th in his division. Devere caught most of his bass this week on a ¼-ounce Brovarney swim jig with a Zoom twin tail in pearl-white color, targeting lay-downs and stumps in about 3 feet of water. Boater Russ Moran of Manchester, Tenn., who has fished at every level of competition in FLW Outdoors bass circuits, finished fifth in his first trip to the All-American. His three-day total weight of 19-Ending the All-American in fifth place in the Boater Division was Russ Moran.3 earned him $12,000 plus a $7,000 engine bonus. Moran spent the week in the minority, fishing downstream in pool 17, where he found slack water in a backwater lake with bushes. He caught most of his fish flipping a black-and-blue Strike King jig. Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 boaters to fish the final day of the 2009 Walmart BFL All-American: Eighth-place boater Larry Neal of Piney Flats, Tenn., earned the Yamaha Be the Best award worth $10,000 at the 2009 All-American. As the No. 1 boater in the BFL Volunteer Division in 2008, he won the award by placing highest among all points leaders to compete in the championship.6th: Jeff Holder of Bossier City, La., seven bass, three-day total of 18-15, $11,000 (plus $6,000 in contingency awards)14-14 7th: Edward Gettys of Scottsboro, Ala., seven bass, 17-8, $10,000 ($5,000) 8th: Larry Neal of Piney Flats, Tenn., eight bass, 16-2, $9,000 (Neal also won the Yamaha Be the Best award worth $10,000 for being the highest-placing BFL divisional points champ) 9th: Gary Edwards of Milton, Ky., seven bass, 15-11, $8,000 10th: David Lowery of Milledgeville, Ga., seven bass, 15-2, $7,000 ($7,000)

Tags: headline-story  patrick-baker 

/news/2015-06-29-dobson-sticks-with-jerkbait-for-win

Dobson Sticks With Jerkbait for Win

Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Michigan, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Michigan Division tournament of 2015 on Lake St. Clair. For his victory, Dobson earned $5,804. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-johnston-targets-beds-for-big-limit

Johnston Targets Beds for Big Limit

Cory Johnston of Cavan, Ontario, Canada, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 25 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Northeast Division tournament of 2015 on 1000 Islands. For his victory, Johnston earned $5,632. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-football-jig-helps-bates-net-title

Football Jig Helps Bates Net Title

Matthew Bates of Greenville, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds even Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Ferguson. For his victory, Bates earned $3,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-hipsher-hops-ledges-for-victory

Hipsher Hops Ledges for Victory

Craig Hipsher of Benton, Kentucky, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League LBL Division tournament of 2015 on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. For his victory, Hipsher earned $4,385. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-lauer-wins-on-ohio-river

Lauer Wins on Ohio River

David Lauer of McConnelsville, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 12 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division tournament of 2015 on the Ohio River. For his victory, Lauer earned $6,289. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-creature-bait-does-it-for-berhorst

Creature Bait Does it for Berhorst

Dennis Berhorst of Holts Summit, Missouri, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Ozark Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Truman. For his victory, Berhorst earned $5,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-wendlandt-back-at-the-top

Wendlandt Back at the Top

It’s been 14 seasons since Clark Wendlandt last stood on a Walmart FLW Tour stage and hoisted a tournament championship trophy. Since that time, the Texas pro has experienced ups and downs, including an Angler of the Year title (his third) in 2009 and a major medical issue that sidelined him for most of the 2014 season. All that’s in the past now, however, and Wendlandt is right back where he belongs in the world of bass fishing – in first place after the final day on the Potomac River in the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-top-10-patterns-from-the-potomac-river

Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River

Clark Wendlandt didn’t pull off any secret techniques to win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. He simply found an area with the right quality of bass to win and managed it perfectly despite facing a medley of Mother Nature’s toughest challenges. The rest of the top 10 stuck with the standard Potomac targets too, namely grass, docks and wood cover. The only underlying trend of the top 10 is that they found areas to themselves. Here’s how the rest of the top 10 got it done at the 2015 Tour finale. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-potomac-river-day-4-coverage

Potomac River Day 4 Coverage

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

/news/2015-06-27-wendlandt-receives-helping-hand

Wendlandt Receives Helping Hand

Not to discredit Clark Wendlandt’s skills as a bass fisherman, but if it wasn’t for an extreme act of kindness on the part of fellow competitor Shin Fukae, Wendlandt wouldn’t be where he is this evening – leading through three days of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-top-5-patterns-from-potomac-river-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Potomac River Day 3

Pouring rain, gusting winds, a remarkable act of kindness, an Angler of the Year title on the line – day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River certainly was not boring. To say the top 20 anglers were waterlogged after Saturday would be any understatement, but as nasty as the weather was, it wasn’t the biggest story of the day. Shinichi Fukae generously helped Clark Wendlandt retain his lead, while Scott Martin sealed the deal on his first AOY title. Meanwhile, a number of other anglers scrambled to adjust with what the weather and the Potomac are throwing at them. Here’s how the rest of the top five caught their fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-potomac-river-day-3-coverage

Potomac River Day 3 Coverage

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

/news/2015-06-26-wendlandt-in-familiar-territory

Wendlandt in Familiar Territory

A lot of flip-flopping took place on the second day of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. When the scale closed, it was three-time Tour Angler of the Year Clark Wendlandt who found himself on top with a two-day total of 32 pounds, 10 ounces. Wendlandt caught 17-13 today – the day’s second-heaviest limit – and leads Potomac local Bryan Schmitt by 1-12 going into the weekend. Wendlandt missed part of last season after suffering a heart attack but has rebounded with good success this season. He has won three times on Tour but hasn’t finished in first place since Beaver Lake in 2001. Details to come on the patterns of the top five. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-26-potomac-river-day-2-coverage

Potomac River Day 2 Coverage

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

/news/2015-06-25-jersey-boy-leads-the-pack

Jersey Boy Leads the Pack

Talk about a traffic jam. And, no, we’re not talking about the streets around the Washington, D.C. area. We’re talking about the standings at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. Adrian “Jersey Boy” Avena leads the way with a 16-pound, 12-ounce limit, but a total of 41 pros weighed in at least 12 pounds. Many pros lamented the tough bite today, but the results say otherwise as 114 limits were brought to the scale on the pro side. Troy Morrow trails Avena by just 1-06, and 1 ounce behind Morrow is one of the most successful tidewater bass anglers of all time, Bryan Schmitt. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-top-5-patterns-from-potomac-river-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Potomac River Day 1

It might seem impossible for 405 miles of water to fish small, but space was hard to come by on day one of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. The creeks near takeoff at Smallwood State Park have seen as much traffic as a Washington, D.C. highway at rush hour. On the flip side, anglers who were able to develop patterns that got them away from the crowds, such as day-one leader Adrian Avena, have been able to reap the benefits of what has been a stingy fishery. Here’s how the rest of the pros in the top five caught their fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-aoy-shake-up-martin-makes-his-move

AOY Shake-Up: Martin Makes His Move

Scott Martin has been talking about winning the Angler of the Year title since before the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour season started. It’s on his mind and for good reason: Angler of the Year is the only major FLW title he hasn’t won in what Martin has built into one of the most decorated professional fishing careers in FLW Tour history. Today, on the first day of competition at the Tour finale on the Potomac River, Martin has unofficially moved into the lead in the AOY race for the first time all season. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-potomac-river-day-1-coverage

Potomac River Day 1 Coverage

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

/news/2015-06-20-richardson-wins-all-american

Richardson Wins All-American

Curtis Richardson has a way of surprising people – even himself. The Ontario angler had all but written himself off in the championship round of the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American, thinking his limit of five bass wouldn’t hold up for long with the likes of Jeremy Lawyer and Bill Schroeder breathing down his neck. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-20-all-american-midday-update-day-3

All-American Midday Update Day 3

Big changes might be coming in the standings of the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American on Kentucky Lake, as some of the top 10 leaders struggled this morning to catch limits. Canadian angler Curtis Richardson, who currently is leading, had only one 3-pound keeper by midmorning. And second-place boater Billy Schroeder, who had fished just below the Paris Landing Bridge for the first two days, finally bailed out from there after catching four keepers this morning. READ MORE »