UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Up for the Cup

At the final takeoff, half of the field ran up the Allegheny River, while the rest headed to the Ohio River.

PITTSBURGH - Ten of the world's top bass fishermen are hoping they CAN see the Forrest for the trees. And that is Forrest - with two R's, as in Forrest Wood, the Ranger Boats founder for whom the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup is named. The "trees" are actually the leaves, bark, branches and twigs floating down Pittsburgh's acclaimed Three Rivers - the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio. Several days this week saw rain of varying intensity and when water drains into rivers it likes to pick up hitch hikers. Debris and mud have affected visibility, while rising rivers and the intuitive current have created their own challenges, in terms of where and how fish will position. Leading the field is Alpine, Calif. pro Rusty Salewske whose performance has been consistent with Top pro Rusty Salewske discusses his strategy with FLWlimits on each of the previous three days. He reached the top-10 by sacking 6 pounds, 4 ounces on day one and following with 5-3 on day two. Salewske jumped into the top spot on day three with 6-6, but he holds just a 15-ounce margin over second place pro, David Curtis of Trinity, Texas. That's not much breathing room, but Salewske said he intends to hold the high ground with a conservative game plan. "What it comes down to is that if I catch five, then (the rest of the field) has to catch them good," he said. "So that's what I'm going to concentrate on - just one at a time and hopefully get the five. It's a mental thing. When you start thinking `I have to catch five,' you start getting in a hurry, you start freaking out, backlashing. "You have to tell yourself, `It's okay to blank, I'm already leading, so let's just catch them one at a time'." Salewske has been fishing far up the Allegheny and he'll return there today. "What I like about (my spot) is the bait was big and there's a lot of it. Also, I saw a lot of keeper fish swimming around." He'll start off with a topwater plug and then spend some throwing a spinnerbait and a crankbait. He'll also keep a jig handy for probing any prominent rock or stickup he encounters. The recent mayfly hatch kept the topwater bite active throughout the day. Recent rains have washed much debris into area waters, so anglers must adjust to the visibility challenges."Several of my better fish, I watched them come up and eat a mayfly, eat a mayfly and when I threw the topwater in front of them, they ate it." Texas pro David Curtis started out strong, placing second on day one - just an ounce off the lead set by Pennsylvania pro Dave Lefebre (currently in seventh). With smallies slurping mayflies, he was basically sightcasting with a spinnerbait. A rainy day two squashed that deal and he dropped to fifth after a day of junk fishing. Curtis regained some consistency on day three by bouncing a Texas-rigged tube over rocks with good current. He also culled a fish on a crankbait. Curtis located a sweet spot in the Ohio River where he bagged four keepers in close proximity. Prior to takeoff, he was chomping at the bit, eager to give his water another shot. "I'm really hoping that spot will produce some more fish for me. Whether it will or won't, we'll just have to see. But catching that many keepers on one small stretch was very encouraging. It lifted my spirits and I'm excited to get back down there and try it again." In third, California pro Cody Meyer bagged limits on each of the previous three days. His heaviest Texas pro David Curtis sits less than a pound out of the lead.catch - 7 pounds, 7 ounces on day two - came under conditions similar to those of today. "On day two when it was cloudy and rainy, I had my best bag (on day two) when it was cloudy and rainy, so I'm hoping they bite a little more today. The only thing I've been lacking all week is a big one so I have to figure out how to get a big one." Meyer will fish mostly with a white, curl tail grub... "The key for me will be to fish slow and cover a lot of water. I've been fishing different water every single day. I'll fish a variety of different structures (such as) bridges, water discharges and rocky banks with mayfly hatches in the trees. The mayflies were a big factor this week. You could see them fall out of the trees and the bass would get really active." New Jersey pro Mike Iaconelli sits in fourth with 4-12. He missed his day three limit by one fish, while A small white grub will be the go-to bait for California pro Cody Meyer.his partner, Brad Roberts won the co-angler title with five fish weighing 6-4. Clearly, one more keeper would have greatly affected Ike's final round position, but he's confident that he's still in the hunt. Today he'll return to the Ohio River and remain flexible in what has proven to be a dynamic fishery. "I'm going to go back to the same pool I fished yesterday because I know the winning fish are swimming around there," Iaconelli said. "This is a game of constant adjustment. That's the one theme you're going to here when this thing's over - the guy that won was able to adjust each day with the fish. "Everyday has been different for me - I've been constantly changing. Yesterday, the fish really switched. My co-angler and I kind of figured it out about noon, which was a little too late. But if the fish start on that pattern, doing the same kind of thing in the same kind of area, I think I'm going to have a really good day. If they change again, it might take me a while to figure it out." Having junk fished most of the previous three days, Iaconelli found that yesterday's murky waters andAdjusting to the day accelerated current nullified several of his options. He ultimately settled on an unnamed bait with a large profile and lots of vibration - key traits for fishing in low visibility. Iaconelli will employ this bait again today with hopes of closing the gap. "My number one goal today is to catch a limit," he said. "If I do that, I'll put myself in contention. There are only three guys ahead of me, so if one of them slips up and I catch a big fish, things could change." Following Iaconelli by 6 ounces, 2007 Forrest Wood Cup champion and bass fishing's first instant millionaire Scott Suggs will start with a Texas-rigged green pumpkin tube. To bolster his bait's attraction in the turbid water, Suggs will spray his plastics with Gulp! Alive scent attractant. "It makes me feel good just being here," Suggs said. "To be back in this position two years after I won is Hoping to increase his baita pretty amazing thing. The ($1 million top prize) is a lot and it was a lot before, but winning again at this level would just be unbelievable." Although the vast majority of fish weighed this week have been small by most standards, the big Easter egg hunt that is the Three Rivers holds a few well hidden prize eggs upon which fortunes could change on a single cast. Lefebre's entire third day weight came from one studly smallie scaling 3 pounds, 15 ounces. A day earlier, Florida pro Scott Martin found a solid 4-pounder. No doubt, the big ones are very hard to come by, but they do exist. Logistics Final weigh-ins will be held at Mellon Arena at 66 Mario Lemieux Place in Pittsburgh beginning at 5 p.m. In conjunction with the weigh-ins, FLW Outdoors will host a free Family Fun Zone and outdoor show at Fans packed the seawall as the top-10 pros readied for a final day of competition.the David L. Lawrence Convention Center located at 1000 Ft. Duquesne Blvd. in Pittsburgh. The Family Fun Zone will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Family Fun Zone offers fans a chance to meet their Fantasy Fishing team anglers face-to-face and review the latest products from Berkley, Lowrance, Ranger, Evinrude, Yamaha and other sponsors while children are treated to giveaways, fishing themed games and rides like the Ranger Boat simulator. Children 14 and under visiting the Family Fun Zone on Sunday will receive a free rod and reel combo while supplies last. One lucky member of the audience will even win a new special edition Three Rivers Ranger Z20 boat powered by Evinrude during the final 5 p.m. weigh-in Sunday, Aug. 2, courtesy of Froggy Radio. Admission is free, and you must be present to win. The total purse for the Pittsburgh Forrest Wood Cup presented by BP and Castrol is $2 million, including $10,000 through 40th place in the Pro Division. Coverage of the Forrest Wood Cup presented by BP and Castrol, hosted by VisitPittsburgh, will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS, the network which brings anglers the best fishing programming on television featuring the most-trusted authorities on the water. The Emmy-nominated "FLW Outdoors," will air Nov. 8 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET. On the web For those who can't catch the weigh-in action in person, FLWOutdoors.com offers FLW Live, an online application that brings fans real-time weigh-in results, streaming video and audio. In addition to FLW Live, FLWOutdoors.com is offering real-time updates from the water throughout each day of the Forrest Wood Cup. Simply click on the "On the Water Coverage" banner from any of the FLW Outdoors, Bass and FLW Tour home pages. Sunday's conditions Sunrise: 6:18 a.m. Temperature at takeoff: 67 degrees Expected high temperature: 75 degrees Water temperature: 74-77 degrees Wind: SW at 6-8 mph Maximum humidity: 84 percent

Tags: morning-story  david-a-brown 


Rain Raises the Bar

When the 171 pros and their co-angler equivalents roll out of Paducah, Ky., onto the Ohio, Tennessee and Cumberland rivers on Thursday morning they’ll have to contend with conditions that are totally different from practice. READ MORE »


A Mixed Bag at Clear Lake

Clear Lake is famous for a good reason. Not only does it hold some giants, it’s home to tremendous amounts of fish over five pounds apiece. October tournaments on Clear in the last few years have shown some of the lake’s tremendous potential, with big ones grouped up and big-time numbers caught by many. READ MORE »


His Own Way

Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” might be too dramatic a description, but the message of a man’s commitment to individuality and doing things his way certainly fits Walmart FLW Tour pro Scott Martin. READ MORE »


Top 10 Patterns from Lake Erie

Most of the other top top-10 finishers found their fish over rocky bottom structure around the Pelee area. Drop-shots and crankbaits dominated the catches. READ MORE »


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 »


Hicks Tops Co-angler Field on Erie

At 8:30 a.m., Justin Hicks turned to the camera boat following him and Jared Rhode – who split the day-two lead with Dave Lefebre – and said: “I sure would like to win this.” Eight hours later, the young man from Roanoke, Va., lifted the first place trophy at the final Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. READ MORE »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


Hunting Erie’s Brown Fish

It’s going to be an Easter egg hunt on Lake Erie, but at least the great lake will behave a little better during the final Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event than it did during practice. READ MORE »


Smallmouth Slugfest on Tap at Erie

Florida pro Glenn Browne leads the race with 492 points, largely due to his win at the previous divisional event on Lake Champlain. Following well within striking distance are Canadian pro Cory Johnston (484 points) and Louisianan Gerald Spohrer (483), who found his way into the Northern Division quite incidentally. READ MORE »


2015 Forrest Wood Cup Off and Running

If the fishing matches the weather on the opening day of the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita, there will be plenty of limit stringers brought to the scales in Hot Springs’ Bank of the Ozarks Arena when the weigh-in commences at 5 p.m. Up until a couple of weather forecasts ago, anglers were anticipating hot, miserable weather during all four days of this, the crowning event of the Walmart FLW Tour season, which is hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Passing thunderstorms Tuesday afternoon brought a pleasant respite to the sultry heat, however, and now Cup contenders only have sulking bass to contend with as they vie for tournament fishing’s richest prize: a winner’s purse of $500,000. READ MORE »


Top 10 Patterns from Lake Dardanelle

Jason Lieblong, who won the Rayovac FLW Series Central Division event on Lake Dardanelle, devoted most of his time to fishing reed lines with a mix of chatterbaits, frogs and Texas-rigged worms. He also caught fish by dragging a Texas-rigged 10-inch worm past brush piles in 6-8 feet. Lieblong amassed a three-day total of 46 pound, 3 ounces. READ MORE »


Lieblong Dominates Dardanelle Rayovac

Having lead the event for two days, the pro from Conway, Ark., carried a 14-ounce lead into the final round. After weighing a limit of 12 pounds, 2 ounces on day three, Lieblong closed the door with a tournament total of 46-3 and a 2-pound, 2-ounce margin of victory. READ MORE »


Smith Takes Co-Angler Title At Dardanelle



Dardanelle Midday Update Day 3



Lieblong Holds On To Lead At Dardanelle

Current events proved perplexing for Jason Lieblong, even though he retained his lead at the Rayovac FLW Series Central Division event on Lake Dardanelle. The pro from Conway, Ark., topped the day-one leaderboard with 19 pounds, 10 ounces, but saw his second day’s productivity slip to 14-7 for a total weight of 34-1 and a 14-ounce lead going into the final round. READ MORE »