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/2015-06-28-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. Wendlandt suffered a mechanical failure with his rig just a couple of hours into competition that prevented him from running his big motor on plane. He was stuck, more or less, and planned to fish with the trolling motor as best he could before being towed back to the ramp early. If it’d played out as planned, Wendlandt would have lost significant fishing time and probably wouldn’t have weighed in a limit. Fukae would let nothing of the sort happen when he came across Wendlandt on the water and heard what had happened. In 16th place and fishless at the time, Fukae insisted that Wendlandt trade boats, effectively ending his tournament and giving Wendlandt the chance to catch 14 1/2 pounds and maintain his lead with a three-day total of 47-02. 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 »

/news/2015-06-19-o-canada-richardson-leads-day-2

O Canada! Richardson Leads Day 2

For a guy who’s put together two solid days of fishing to occupy the top spot in the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American on Kentucky Lake hosted by the Henry County Alliance, Curtis Richardson doesn’t exude a lot of confidence. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-19-top-5-patterns-from-all-american-day-2

Top 5 Patterns From All-American Day 2

Like Richardson, the would-be boater champions are all fishing ledges ranging from near the mouth of Jonathan Creek toward the northern end of the vast lake, south to New Johnsonville, Tenn. In between are anglers who haven’t strayed far from Paris Landing, nor are they likely to on Saturday when the predicted gale-force winds will make fishing unpleasant at best. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-19-all-american-midday-update-day-2

All-American Midday Update Day 2

Dealing with finicky bass wasn’t the main problem for the 98 anglers fishing in the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American hosted by the Henry County Alliance on Kentucky Lake this morning. Though the anglers definitely seemed to be having their issues with the fish, it was the wind that caused the biggest obstacle for spot-hopping anglers running their milk runs north and south. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-18-padgett-leads-all-american-with-27

Padgett Leads All-American With 27

Padgett alternated among a Zoom Ol’ Monster worm, a Profound Z-Boss 25 crankbait and a Preacher Jig, fishing each in water that ranged from just under 10 feet deep to about 25 feet deep. His bag included four largemouth and a smallmouth bass that weighed just over 4 pounds. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-18-top-5-patterns-from-all-american-day-1

Top 5 Patterns From All-American Day 1

Though they fished different spots with different lures, all the top contenders in the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American hosted by the Henry County Alliance on Kentucky Lake adhered to an identical theme: ledge fishing. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-18-all-american-midday-report

All-American Midday Report

READ MORE »