Lefebre rocks the Three Rivers

Pro leader Dave Lefebre battles a Three Rivers smallmouth Thursday morning.

PITTSBURGH - Tournament bass fishermen are known as exaggerators, and when a $1 million first-place purse is on the line, credible information can be scarce. All week long we heard report after report of brutally tough fishing on the Three Rivers. But on day one of the Forrest Wood Cup, two dozen pros caught five-fish limits - some of them solid in size. Pretournament favorite and Kellogg's pro Dave Lefebre boated his limit by 9:10 a.m. after going through a few locks. That's a heck of a start on lakes like Champlain and Guntersville, but it's absolutely unheard of on the Three Rivers. But this is almost home water for Lefebre, who lives just two hours from Pittsburgh in Union City, Pa. Years ago, Lefebre fished tournaments in this area, but he always focused his efforts on the Monongahela River. With so much at stake, Lefebre wanted to start fresh and approach the tournament with an open mind. Pro leader Dave Lefebre sets his 8-pound, 13-ounce limit on the scale. "I used to be a Mon guy," he said. "I'd only fished the Allegheny maybe twice, and I'd never fished the Ohio. I basically started over, and it has worked great." Although he wouldn't say which pool he is fishing, Lefebre is working a tailrace in the Ohio River. After catching a 3-pound kicker at 10 a.m., he camped on his spot all day. Fishing the same general area is the General himself - Larry Nixon. The Chevy pro also caught a limit early and hunkered down to stake his claim. Nixon and Lefebre can see each other, but they're not on top of each other, and neither angler feels threatened by the other's presence. Lefebre said he has two specific rocks within the area that are 50 yards apart. Amazingly, those two spots produced 25 keeper smallmouths today. As far as presentations are concerned, Lefebre understandably didn't want to get into specifics, although he admitted he is fishing both slow and fast. "I thought I could do well, but I was just hoping to catch 5 or 6 pounds today," added the former musician, who finished the day with 8-13. "I tried to make my spot work for today and hopefully make me the cut. And then I've got all my other stuff to fall back on." His weight could have reached double digits if not for a lost fish. After setting the hook, Lefebre began reeling in what he thought was a small keeper. He actually told his co-angler he didn't need the net. Then he saw it was another 3-pounder, and before he knew it, the fish was gone. "The conditions were almost ideal today - we had more current from the rain yesterday, and that really helped position the fish." Lefebre thinks this is a spot that will replenish, but he knows he still has to manage it. He didn't intend to catch so many keepers, but that's just the way it worked out. "My plan was that I was going to leave it alone once they stopped improving. But with each fish, I'd gain an ounce or 2. There has never been a tournament where managing fish has been so important." King Curtis announces his presence In second place is pro David Curtis, aka the King of Texas, who caught 8 pounds, 12 ounces. Fishing David Curtis is in second place after day one with 8 pounds, 12 ounces.fans haven't heard much from Curtis this season as he does not fish the Walmart FLW Tour or the Walmart FLW Series. But make no mistake, Curtis' talents are on par with the best in the sport. By winning the Stren Series Championship on Table Rock Lake last fall, the Trinity, Texas, native punched his ticket to the Cup by being the highest-finishing Texas Division pro. Curtis also used the Stren Series Texas Division to make the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Murray. "I don't really like smallmouth fishing, but summertime and fall are my favorite seasons," he said. Curtis' summertime and fall accolades are astounding. In addition to winning the Stren Series Championship last year and taking third in 2007, Curtis has won the Texas Tournament Trail Championship three times. In short, he's an angler that always fishes to win, and pressure does not affect him in the least bit. Curtis did not expect to catch 8-12 Thursday, not in his wildest dreams. After spending 12 days on the Three Rivers during prepractice, Curtis was still confused with what the fish were doing. But on day one of the official four-day practice, he figured some things out. Not surprisingly, he returned to the site of that catch on day one of the tournament. "I'm covering a lot of water. The bite was good in the morning, and then it slowed by about noon." Curtis' limit consisted of three smallmouth bass and two spotted bass. Nixon third Larry Nixon is in third place after catching five bass Thursday that weighed 8 pounds, 4 ounces.Nixon may not have caught what Lefebre did on day one, but it likely won't matter as the weights are zeroed once the final round concludes Friday afternoon. Nixon caught 8-4 today, but what is more impressive is that his co-angler partner caught 7-10. That means 10 bass weighing over 16 pounds were caught from Nixon's Stratos boat. "When I found this place, I caught a fish; and when I was bringing him in, I saw about a dozen other fish following him up," Nixon exclaimed. "They were competing for the bait. When I saw that, I thought maybe I was dreaming. I didn't know there were that many bass in this river." Nixon left Steelers Quay this morning scared to death as boat No. 71. To his delight, there was no one in his area when he arrived. With a limit already in the boat at 11 a.m., he caught a 2 ¼-pounder and decided to play defense the rest of the day. "I'm fishing a little current break with some structure on the bottom. I'm not sure what is down there, but I think it's rocks. I'm casting a drop-shot, and I'm using several baits. I caught a limit so fast on that drop-shot, it made my head spin." Nixon admits he has no backup plan in case this spot runs dry. "I'm just going to ride this like a horse. Just keep feeding it and keep riding it. All this means is that I don't have to catch as much tomorrow." Suggs fourth, Iaconelli fifth After catching a limit worth 7-12, Folgers pro Scott Suggs is in position to win another $1 million at the Forrest Wood Folgers pro Scott Suggs celebrates after his weight is called. The 2007 Forrest Wood Cup champion caught a 7-pound, 12-ounce limit on day one. Cup (he was the first $1 million winner in 2007). But hot on his heels with 7-10 is Michael Iaconelli, who took fifth at the 2005 Bassmaster Classic on the Three Rivers. Ironically, the two are sharing water one lock up on the Allegheny River. "When I got to my first spot, I was alarmed because it looked like solid mud," Suggs said. "Then I caught one waiting for the lock. When I got to the next pool, I limited out in an hour; things just fell into place." Suggs said he used bigger, heavier soft plastics in green-pumpkin color today. He described his pattern as "old Arkansas River-type stuff." Tomorrow he plans to use the same baits in black with red flake. The red-flake baits look great in dirty water, but he took them out of his boat Wednesday night, thinking they wouldn't be needed. "I'm just spot running - fishing key little spots and key little things. I didn't get to fish some of my better spots today because of the mud. I think they still live there, and they will eventually adjust and go back to eating." While Iaconelli shared a stretch of the Allegheny with Suggs, he also fished the Ohio. He started his day by heading toward the first Allegheny lock. When he missed the lock by a matter of seconds, he nearly had an infamous Iaconelli meltdown. Instead, he calmly turned his boat around and began fishing Mike Iaconelli grabs the 5th place spot after day day one with 7-10near the lock. "On my very first cast, I caught a 2-pounder; it was crazy," said Iaconelli. The entire day was far from magical, as Iaconelli sorted through 20 bites, only one-quarter of which were keepers. "Any time you catch a limit on the Three Rivers, you ought to be proud. I worked all day to catch what I did, and I was fortunate to get three quality fish." The Runnemede, N.J., pro said he used a combination of both finesse- and power-fishing on day one. The cloudy weather, in particular, allowed him to power-fish more than he initially expected. "My best day of practice was only about 5 pounds, so I'm ahead of the game." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pros at the Forrest Wood Cup after day one: 6th: Greg Bohannan of Rogers, Ark., five bass, 7-8 7th: Adam Wagner of Cookeville, Tenn., five bass, 7-7 8th: Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., Mo., five bass, 6-10 9th: Rusty Salewske of Alpine, Calif., five bass, 6-4 10th: Cody Meyer of Redding, Calif., five bass, 6-3 Tomorrow's takeoff is scheduled for 7 a.m. Eastern time from Steelers Quay, located at Art Rooney Drive across from the South Plaza of Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

Tags: headline-story  brett-carlson 

/news/2015-03-26-benton-blasts-20-12-on-lewis-smith

Benton Blasts 20-12 on Lewis Smith

Panama City, Fla., pro Drew Benton jumped into the early lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude with a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 12 ounces. Benton caught a mix of largemouths and spotted bass, and revealed that both black bass species are spawning. He leads a tight top 20 that includes 18 pros that caught more than 15 pounds each. The first day was an absolute fish-fest. Of the 154 pros fishing this tournament, 138 weighed limits. Brad Roberts of Faubush, Ky., has a 2-ounce lead in the co-angler division with a 13-pound, 4-ounce limit. Tomorrow he’ll try to defend his lead on the final day of co-angler competition. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-lewis-smith-lake-day-1-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 1 Coverage

Day 1 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-22-arkansas-anglers-win-college-open

Arkansas Anglers Win College Open

Consistency was the key for the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville here in the FLW College Fishing Kentucky Lake Open as Zachary Pickle and Drew Porto won the event with a two-day total of 43 pounds, 12 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-kendrick-king-on-guntersville

Kendrick King On Guntersville

Kendrick, who is fishing the Rayovac FLW Series in hopes of qualifying for the FLW Tour, caught more than 25 pounds each day of the event and finihsid in fine fasion when it counted. Kendick was catching nearly all of his bass around big schools of bait with a Houdini pearl-colored Scottsboro Tackle swimbait from 15- to 25-feet of water. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-epting-s-30-pounds-tops-on-santee-cooper

Epting's 30 Pounds Tops on Santee Cooper

SUMMERTON, S.C. – Chris Epting of Chapin, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 30 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Santee Cooper. For his victory, Epting earned $3,679. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-wood-rock-key-for-middleton-s-victory

Wood, Rock Key for Middleton's Victory

HUDDLESTON, Va. – Dennis Middleton of Madison Heights, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division tournament of 2015 on Smith Mountain Lake. For his victory, Middleton earned $7,199. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-johnson-wins-on-dale-hollow

Johnson Wins on Dale Hollow

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – Robby Johnson of Byrdstown, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mountain Division tournament of 2015 on Dale Hollow Lake. For his victory, Johnson earned $5,689. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-griffin-gets-win-on-ross-barnett

Griffin Gets Win on Ross Barnett

BRANDON, Miss. – Jason Griffin of Benton, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 23 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Ross Barnett Reservoir. For his victory, Griffin earned $5,349. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-top-5-patterns-from-guntersville-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Guntersville Day 2

The second day of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division tournament on Lake Guntersville proved as remarkable as the first – or perhaps better, considering today’s parade of big fish included a 12-pound, 10-ounce behemoth caught by fourth-place pro Trevor Fitzgerald for the day’s Big Bass prize. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-hall-holds-steady-for-lead

Hall Holds Steady For Lead

Joe Hall of Lake City, Minn. wasn’t confident about his chances going onto the second day of competition of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event on Lake Guntersville. Nonetheless, he held steady with a 27-pound, 5-ounce catch that only barely fell short of the 28-1 he weighed on the first day. With a two-day total of 55 pounds, 6 ounces, Hall holds a 1-pound, 12-ounce lead over Cameron Gautney going into the final day of the Mercury presented tournament. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-missouri-anglers-lead-college-open

Missouri Anglers Lead College Open

Andrew Nordbye and Adam Almohtadi of Northwest Missouri State University of Maryville, Mo., took the lead in the opening round of the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake with 25 pounds, 2 ounces. Heading into Saturday’s second and final round, the University of Kentucky’s Ryan Collins and Hunter Fulcher sit in second place with 22-14, while Ethan Flack and Konnor Kennedy of the University of Alabama are currently third with 22-9. Details to follow. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-day-1-patterns-from-the-college-open

Day 1 Patterns from the College Open

The Northwest Missouri State University team of Andrew Nordbye and Adam Almontadi took the day-one lead in the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake. While their pattern seems to be effectively refined – they were using only one lure and had no others out on the deck – Nordbye and Almontadi don’t have this one sewed up yet. The rest of the top five is just a few pounds behind the leaders. Here’s how they made it into contention going into the final day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-gautney-under-pressure

Gautney Under Pressure

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event on Guntersville is just as misty and nasty as the first. Lucky for us, the first day of the Mercury-presented event featured huge catches throughout the field. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-college-open-day-1-midday-update

College Open Day 1 Midday Update

“You should have been here yesterday” might have been the motto for the first day of fishing in the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake. Though many of the 194 teams entered in the two-day event out of Moor’s Resort & Marina reported good to excellent practices, many of the same anglers were complaining about a lack of fish on opening morning of the competition. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-19-gautney-cranks-up-the-lead

Gautney Cranks Up The Lead

Gautney says he keyed on staging fish in several very specific locations and one specific depth. He and co-angler Antoni Bicy caught 59 pounds, 8 ounces off of his spots, and he seems confident about his ability to keep catching them the rest of the event. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-19-top-5-patterns-from-guntersville-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Guntersville Day 1

The first day of the Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Guntersville was a welcome departure from the grumblings of practice. Though fans weren’t treated to multiple 30-pound limits on the pro side, like at the Walmart Bass Fishing League event at Guntersville a couple of weekends ago, it still took more than 25 pounds to get into the top five on day one of this Mercury-presented tournament. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-14-morrison-wins-on-dale-hollow

Morrison Wins on Dale Hollow

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – Charles Morrison of Georgetown, Kentucky, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Music City Division tournament of 2015 on Dale Hollow Lake. For his victory, Morrison earned $3,926. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-14-hughan-claims-arkie-division-title-on-greers-ferry

Hughan Claims Arkie Division Title on Greers Ferry

GREERS FERRY, Ark. – William Hughan of Little Rock, Arkansas, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 14 pounds, 4 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Arkie Division tournament of 2015 on Greers Ferry Lake. For his victory, Hughan earned $4,350. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-14-bridwell-takes-opener-on-cherokee

Bridwell Takes Opener on Cherokee

MORRISTOWN, Tenn. – Jason Bridwell of Gray, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Volunteer Division tournament of 2015 on Cherokee Lake. For his victory, Bridwell earned $5,127. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-14-birge-boats-29-pounds-on-grand-lake

Birge Boats 29 Pounds on Grand Lake

GROVE, Okla. – Zack Birge of Blanchard, Oklahoma, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 29 pounds, 1 ounce Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Okie Division tournament of 2015 on Grand Lake. For his victory, Birge earned $7,000. READ MORE »