UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Erie

Salewske soars into first

California's Rusty Salewske takes nearly a 1-pound lead going into the final day of the 2009 Forrest Wood Cup.

PITTSBURGH - Pro angler Rusty Salewske is a no-nonsense guy. He works hard on the water, both in practice and during tournaments. On day three of the Forrest Wood Cup, his workmanlike effort on an otherwise slow day launched him from 10th to first. He also took one giant step toward becoming the latest Western pro to claim the richest championship in professional bass fishing. Salewske's 6 pounds, 6 ounces may look good on paper, but he described his day as an absolute struggle. Although he caught over 30 fish, only five were keepers. His first Three Rivers smallmouth that measured didn't come until 10:30 a.m. "I've caught a limit every day, but I've only culled one fish since I got here," said Salewske, who qualified for the Cup through the National Guard Western Division of the Walmart FLW Series. The Alpine, Calif., native starts his day by going through four locks on the Allegheny River. Of the 10 pro finalists, no one travels farther. Salewske doesn't begin fishing until just after 9 a.m., but once he reaches his destination, he has the entire area to himself. He found the spot with friend and fellow Western pro Brett Hite on the very last day of practice. "I started today by throwing topwaters on a seawall, but that didn't work so I had to switch it up. Pro leader Rusty Salewske holds up one of his five keeper smallmouth bass Saturday.Every day I've got to figure out what they're doing, but I know they live there. The only reason I got a limit is I found a little pattern at the end of the day." Salewske's adjustment was abandoning the topwaters and focusing on shade pockets. He would fish extremely fast for 100 yards or so until he received a bite. Once he got that bite, he would then slow down and work the shady area thoroughly with a 1/4-ounce jig and Smallie Beaver. Salewske cuts the baby Beaver in half - giving it a smaller profile. "I tried a crankbait and spinnerbait too, but the jig caught all my fish today. If you were in my boat, you would catch every fish I caught today on a drop-shot or a shaky head or anything - it's not the bait. It has nothing to do with the bait. It's finding out what they're doing. Once we figured it out, our last hour was insane. I probably caught 20 and my partner caught a bunch too." Despite ending the day with a flurry, Salewske is unsure what tomorrow will bring. He reiterated that every day has been different, and he expects he'll have to adjust again tomorrow. "I guarantee I'll waste three hours on shade pockets tomorrow morning," he quipped. "I always start with what worked the day before, but it never seems to last." Salewske didn't expect to have a 15-ounce lead, and he's doing everything in his power to block out the thought of fishing with $1 million on the line tomorrow. "I'm shocked with where I'm at right now. To be honest, I didn't want to be in first place; I wanted to be in second or third. I just didn't want the added pressure. So far I've been able to fight off thinking about the million." Curtis catches another limit In the early 2000s, David Curtis was crushing the Triple A competition on lakes like Sam Rayburn and Second-place pro David Curtis places a smallmouth bass on the scale.Toledo Bend. In the summer and early fall, the Trinity, Texas, native is nearly invincible. Using deep-diving crankbaits, creature baits and big jigs, Curtis has made a career out of finding loads of offshore bass. But in the past few years, he's become increasingly versatile, and he's displaying those skills this week on the Three Rivers. After finishing the opening round in fifth place, Curtis moved up to where he was after day one - second place. His limit weighed 5 pounds, 7 ounces. "It was a grind like it has been the entire tournament," said Curtis, who has won more than $600,000 in his FLW Outdoors career. "I had some good fortune today. The second stop I made I managed to catch four keepers. I really wasn't anticipating that at all. That really lifted my spirits. I'd be lying if I didn't say my confidence was lagging this morning." Curtis is fishing rocky banks along the Ohio River, but he wouldn't say which pool nor would he say what baits he is using. On day one, he threw mostly a spinnerbait as he capitalized on the mayfly-hatch bite. But that pattern died on day two, and at takeoff this morning, he vowed to fish instinctively. Of all the pro finalists, the reigning Stren Series champion has been by far the most reticent. "I know everybody else did too, but I came here on a mission to win. I don't want this to sound arrogant, but I've already got plans for the money if I win. I came here with the hopes and the expectations that I was going to win." Meyer continues to ascend Cody Meyer caught a limit Saturday weighing 5 pounds even, good enough for third place in the Pro Division.Western pro Cody Meyer finished the opening day of the Forrest Wood Cup in 10th place. On day two he climbed to fourth, and on day three he rose to third. Like Curtis and Salewske, Meyer has caught a five-bass limit each day - Saturday's coming in at 5 pounds even. "It was supertough; I think I'm running out of fish, and I'm just really happy to have five," said Meyer, who qualified through the Stren Series Western Division. After using a drop-shot rig with a 4-inch Jackall Cross Tail Shad yesterday, Meyer switched up to an 1/8-ounce grub today. He pitched the grub along rocky banks - focusing on overhanging trees. "I'm basically fishing the shade line, and I caught all of my fish off of one small area." To get to that area, Meyer travels through two locks in the Allegheny River. On day one he fished in the Monongahela. "I'm just flying by the seat of my pants. Today it seemed like the fish suspended a little, and the grub does a better job at getting deeper. I pitch it up under the trees and then bring it back down to about 6 feet." Iaconelli fourth Crowd favorite Mike Iaconelli is still in striking distance in fourth place with 4-12.After fishing in the Allegheny on days one and two, Michael Iaconelli opted for new water in the Ohio on Saturday. His intent was to target less-pressured fish, and for the most part it worked. Although he failed to catch a limit, his four bass for 4-12 put him in striking distance with one day of competition remaining. "I had No. 5 on twice, but they got off," said the former Bassmaster Classic champion. "But they were small fish." Iaconelli is fishing 90 miles an hour with an array of baits including jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, topwaters and drop-shots. He has 12 rods on his deck - six of which are baitcasting rods, and six of which are spinning rods. Iaconelli's co-angler partner caught a limit today weighing 6 pounds, 4 ounces. "Being in front of the boat, that's tough to stomach. But on the bright side, I know I'm around the right fish. What they're doing right now is totally different from what they were doing when we got here." Suggs fifth Fifth-place pro Scott Suggs caught three keepers Saturday that weighed 4 pounds, 6 ounces.Just 2 pounds off the lead is bass fishing's first instant millionaire, Scott Suggs. The Folgers pro, who won the Cup in 2007, caught only three bass Saturday, but they weighed 4 pounds, 6 ounces. Surprisingly, two of those three fish were largemouth bass, the other a smallie. Like most, Suggs has been adjusting all week. Yesterday he fished behind an island that broke the ripping current in the Allegheny. Today he tried to fish offshore, but it didn't work. "I wasted a bunch of time trying to find that perfect current break," he said. "I know those fish didn't move, but I couldn't find them today." At 1 p.m. he retreated into a little backwater area and caught the two keeper largemouths on back-to-back casts. The water there is hardly deep enough to get a boat in. Essentially, Suggs is at a crossroads. He needs the water to come down and clear up for his smallmouth pattern to work, or he needs it to come up so he can safely enter this backwater area. "My biggest problem (with the smallmouth area) is that there's entirely too much flow. It's blown all of my stuff off. I don't even recognize my spots anymore." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pros at the Forrest Wood Cup after day three: 6th: Greg Hackney of Gonzales, La., 4-3 7th: Dave Lefebre of Union City, Pa., 3-15 8th: David Walker of Sevierville, Tenn., 0-13 9th: Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., 0-12 10th: Larry Nixon of Bee Branch, Ark., 0-10 The final day of the 2009 Forrest Wood Cup on the Three Rivers will begin Sunday at 7 a.m. at Steelers Quay, located at Art Rooney Drive across from the South Plaza of Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

Tags: headline-story  brett-carlson 

/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-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/2015-08-25-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 »

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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 »

/news/2015-08-20-wheeler-hunting-history

Wheeler Hunting History

It’s never been done before, and it hasn’t happened yet, but Jacob Wheeler is in prime position to become the first two-time Forrest Wood Cup champion in history. Wheeler, of Indianapolis, Ind., brought in a 16-pound, 2-ounce limit of Lake Ouachita bass on the first day of the Cup, which is presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 1

After day one of the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita, several things have come to light. For one, this event is not likely to produce a runaway win for anyone like it did when Scott Martin won here in 2011. Second, when the pros said Ouachita was going to be stingy, they meant it – only 29 of the 50 pros checked in limits today. Third, firm patterns are hard to come by on Lake Ouachita in August. Jacob Wheeler took the lead on day one in the event that’s presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. With the help of a 5-pound bass, Wheeler weighed in a limit of 16 pounds, 2 ounces, but he had to sample a lot of different areas for his catch. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-forrest-wood-cup-day-1-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 1 Coverage

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