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/2015-05-23-brown-rallies-for-seminole-win

Brown Rallies for Seminole Win

When the Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Seminole started on Thursday, hot, slick conditions prevailed. The air temperatures pushed into the 90’s, water temperatures hovered between 80 and 85 degrees – summertime was on. Or was it? READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-23-jeter-takes-co-angler-crown

Jeter Takes Co-Angler Crown

Call it a local’s sweep at the Rayovac FLW Series on Lake Seminole. While local pro Clint Brown of Bainbridge, Ga., won the boater Division, his Bainbridge neighbor, Greg Jeter won the Co-angler Division to make it a local twofer. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-23-lake-seminole-day-3-midday-update

Lake Seminole Day 3 Midday Update

Second place pro Clint Brown was gaining some serious ground on Reneau as Brown had boxed four solid keepers for about 11 pounds on his very first spot – all caught from protected backwaters with a topwater. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-22-reneau-grabs-lead-on-seminole

Reneau Grabs Lead On Seminole

Though Reneau has weighed in 15-1 and 20-7 over two days for a total of 35 pounds, 8 ounces, he says he is only getting about six bites per day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-22-top-5-patterns-from-seminole-day-2

Top 5 Patterns From Seminole Day 2

A shake-up occurred on day two of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Lake Seminole. Day one was all about slow, summertime fishing in the lake’s deep timber. Overnight a frontal passage dropped water and air temperatures and left a north wind howling down the lake. As a result, the timber bite cooled off and those fishing shallower waters climbed up the leaderboard. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-22-lake-seminole-day-2-midday-update

Lake Seminole Day 2 Midday Update

The hot summer at Seminole turned back into spring this morning as a cold front blew through the area dropping air temps some 10 degrees with a blustery north wind. Sweatshirts were needed again as the cold air felt more like April than May. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-enfinger-leads-on-seminole

Enfinger Leads On Seminole

Enfinger said he got off to a “fast start” this morning, sacking a limit by 10 a.m., but he only upgraded twice after that, catching about eight keepers on the day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-top-5-patterns-from-seminole-day-1

Top 5 Patterns From Seminole Day 1

Bradley Enfinger took the day-one lead at the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Lake Seminole fishing suspended bass in timber. Others in the top-5 fished both wood and grass on day one. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-lake-seminole-midday-update

Lake Seminole Midday Update

Lake Seminole is known to be more of a quality lake than a quantity lake and that trait showed on the morning of day one as anglers who were catching fish were not necessarily getting many bites, but 3-pound pluses seemed to be the norm for the ones hauled in over the gunnel. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-ledges-lift-wilson-to-top

Ledges Lift Wilson to Top

Tim Wilson of Gas City, Indiana, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 29 pounds, 10 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Choo Choo Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Guntersville. For his victory, Wilson earned $5,584. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-two-in-a-row-for-fox

Two in a Row for Fox

Dwight Fox of Gainesboro, Tennessee, weighed four bass totaling 16 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Mountain Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Cumberland. For his victory, Fox earned $4,463. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-bluff-walls-carry-meredith

Bluff Walls Carry Meredith

GROVE, Okla. – Mitch Meredith of Hulbert, Oklahoma, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 18 pounds, 4 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Okie Division tournament of 2015 on Grand Lake. For his victory, Meredith earned $7,165. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-tidwell-slows-down-for-title

Tidwell Slows Down for Title

MCCORMICK, S.C. – Brian Tidwell of Seneca, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Clarks Hill Lake. For his victory, Tidwell earned $3,021. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-ginter-gets-the-win

Ginter Gets the Win

CELINA, Ohio – Gary Ginter of Maplewood, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 4 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division tournament of 2015 on Grand Lake. For his victory, Ginter earned $3,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-19-jig-does-the-trick-for-roselle

Jig Does the Trick for Roselle

MARBURY, Md. – Mike Roselle of La Plata, Maryland, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division tournament of 2015 on Potomac River. For his victory, Roselle earned $6,235. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-17-thrift-by-3

Thrift by 3

The “numbers game.” It’s a term that Bryan Thrift used to describe his fishing on Lake Eufaula back in 2013 when he finished runner-up to Randy Haynes in a Walmart FLW Tour event. The method to his numbers madness was to hit as many solitary objects – stumps, brush piles, rocks, logs – on the bottom of Lake Eufaula as humanly possible in an eight-hour tournament day. When Thrift saw that Lake Eufaula was back on the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour schedule for May of this year, he grinned that patented Bryan Thrift grin because he already knew how to crunch the numbers at Eufaula. And Thrift is still grinning. After sacking up a final-day catch of 15 pounds, 5 ounces to top off 69-14 for the week, Thrift made the numbers work for his fourth FLW Tour win. He added another $125,000 to his bank account. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-17-lake-eufaula-day-4-coverage

Lake Eufaula Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Eufaula presented by Quaker State. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-16-morrow-thrift-neck-and-neck

Morrow, Thrift Neck and Neck

Georgia pro Troy Morrow brought in 15 pounds, 4 ounces on the third day of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State on Lake Eufaula to increase his tournament total to 54-13. Morrow maintains his lead for the second consecutive day, but he won’t sleep comfortably tonight with North Carolina hammer Bryan Thrift just 4 ounces off the lead with 54-09. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-16-top-5-patterns-from-lake-eufaula-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Eufaula Day 3

Troy Morrow is leading the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State on Lake Eufaula. However, with one day left to fish, he has a big problem going into the last day: Bryan Thrift. The Shelby, N.C., pro is just 4 ounces behind Morrow. Here’s how Thrift and the rest of the top five caught their fish. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-16-lake-eufaula-day-3-coverage

Lake Eufaula Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Eufaula presented by Quaker State. READ MORE »