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 

/news/2015-05-21-seminole-summer

Seminole Summer

Last week, the Walmart FLW Tour plied the waters of the Chattahoochee River on Lake Eufaula. This week, the Rayovac FLW Series moves 60 miles south on the “Hooch” to Lake Seminole for the final event of the Southeast Division. Running offshore brush piles was the dominant theme on Eufaula last week, leaving some to wonder if a similar pattern could work on Seminole, since the two legendary lakes are connected by the same river. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-14-shallow-deep-and-in-between-at-eufaula

Shallow, Deep and in Between at Eufaula

A couple of weeks ago Eufaula was high and off-color, and the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State that begins this morning was shaping up to be a shallow-water showdown. The lake has fallen by a couple of inches since then, however, and now the odds are even that both inshore and offshore patterns will be in play. In fact, one Eufaula expert who isn’t fishing the tournament expects it will take a mixture of patterns to make it to Sunday’s championship round and claim the $100,000 that goes to the winner. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-07-anything-goes-at-the-cal-delta

Anything Goes at the Cal Delta

There are 127 pros entered in the Rayovac FLW Series Western Division tournament presented by Ranger at the California Delta this week. If you asked them all what their baits or tactics are for the first day of competition today, you might get 127 different answers. At some fisheries that FLW’s tournament circuits visit, such varied and often vague responses from pros when they’re prompted for fishing info are the result of them attempting to stealthily hide their fishing patterns. That’s not exactly the case at this tournament. The fact is, the California Delta is one of the most vast and varied fisheries that hosts FLW events. It’s a collection of unique mini-fisheries all rolled into one, with dirty water, clean water, tons of vegetation and other factors tossed into the mix. It’s a tidal fishery, so the water levels and currents fluctuate throughout each day. And, of course, it’s spring in California, and because of the vastness of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers and the delta system they feed, with its 1,000 miles of waterways, there are populations of bass in all stages of the spawn in their own little geographic areas. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-07-in-or-out-on-kentucky-lake

In or Out on Kentucky Lake

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/news/2015-05-04-top-10-patterns-from-lake-texoma

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Texoma

With his win on Lake Texoma, Del Rio, Texas, pro Ray Hanselman made Rayovac FLW Series history by sweeping the Texas Division. Hanselman did most of his damage with a Strike King Sexy Frog, although he made a few flips and pitches here and there with plastics. Recent rains had pushed Texoma to about 2 feet above normal pool, and Hanselman used this to his advantage by targeting overlooked areas that had been muddy during practice. Working flooded brush in the backs of secondary coves, he found bedding fish, as well as postspawners ready to chew in the clearing water. Most of the other top 10 finishers also targeted a mix of spawning and postspawn fish. The changing water level, plus a mild cold front that pushed through the first day of the event, made for tough fishing under mostly high, bright skies. Anglers reported super-tough conditions, and many struggled to get daily limits. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-02-hanselman-trifecta-tops-texoma

Hanselman Trifecta Tops Texoma

Del Rio, Texas pro Ray Hanselman made history on Lake Texoma with a victory that completed his sweep of Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division. With victories in the previous two divisional events on Lake Amistad and Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Hanselman caught a 5-bass limit that weighed 18 pounds, 9 ounces today and finished with a tournament total of 58-13 and a 12-pound winning margin. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-02-big-day-one-catch-sets-up-lejeune-s-texoma-win

Big Day One Catch Sets Up Lejeune’s Texoma Win

No doubt, co-angler Ryan Lejeune, of Eunice, La., would have preferred two more days like his first, but a big opening effort set up his wire-to-wire win in the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division tournament on Lake Texoma. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-02-hanselmania-closing-in-on-texoma-title

Hanselmania Closing in on Texoma Title

It aint’ over ’til it’s over. The fat lady has yet to sing. All the cliches still apply, so in fairness to nine other talented pros, we’ll make no predictions or insinuations about day-two leader Ray Hanselman and possible outcome of the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division tournament on Lake Texoma. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-01-big-bag-pushes-hanselman-ahead

Big Bag Pushes Hanselman Ahead

It’s the question of the day, the question of the week; indeed, it’s the question of the 2015 Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division season: Will we see the trifecta from Ray Hanselman? With the Del Rio, Texas pro leading the final division event on Lake Texoma with 40 pounds, 4 ounces, it appears that the stage is set for a third installment of Hanselmania. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-01-texoma-midday-report

Texoma Midday Report

Lake Texoma is showing its stingy side as Rayovac FLW Series anglers ply this Ouachita River reservoir for day two of the final Texas Division event. The weather is nice, with sunny skies and moderate wind, but the first half of the day was painfully slow for the handful of boats we followed. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-30-setina-takes-day-1-lead

Setina Takes Day 1 Lead

Joe Don Setina, of Pittsburg, Texas leads day one of Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division action on Lake Texoma with a limit catch weighing 20 pounds, 9 ounces. Setina caught his fish by flipping flooded brush. Ryan Lejeune, of Eunice, La. leads the co-anglers with 12-4. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-30-top-5-patterns-from-lake-texoma-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Texoma Day 1

Pittsburg, Texas pro Joe Don Setina took the day-one lead in Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division action on Lake Texoma with 20 pounds, 9 ounces. Setina was targeting spawning fish in flooded brush. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-30-lake-texoma-midday-report-day-1

Lake Texoma Midday Report Day 1

Early goings on Lake Texoma seem to be pretty tough for the Rayovac FLW Series field. From the water, FLW Website Content Manager Jesse Schultz reported seeing several anglers bed-fishing in the GrandPappy Point Resort & Marina area. Most were putting in a lot of time on each fish, which means the bass weren’t exactly snapping. Today’s calm, sunny, post-cold front conditions are, no doubt, helping anglers see their targets clearly, but the visibility works both ways. Someone’s going to find the right bank with just enough water tint to relax the fish and deliver a nice sack, but it’s likely that many will struggle through a tough day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-30-texoma-tough-but-stabilizing

Texoma Tough, but Stabilizing

As of press time, we were unable to confirm whether or not Troy Broussard has ever suffered a barnyard assault by any beast of burden. Nevertheless, his colorful metaphor bespeaks a challenging scenario facing the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division field on Lake Texoma for this week’s finale, which is presented by Evinrude. From Broussard’s facebook page: “Well, after three full days [of practice] on Lake Texoma, I can honestly say that I compare this to getting kicked in the face by a mule. It’s brutal.” Allusions aside, the big Ouachita River reservoir straddling the Texas-Oklahoma border has indeed shown its persnickety side of late. Blame Mother Nature for that. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-25-gordon-and-gagner-crowned-tbf-champs

Gordon and Gagner Crowned TBF Champs

Two more anglers qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup today by winning the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship on Grand Lake in Grove, Okla. Shawn Gordon of Russellville, Ark., earned the TBF crown on the boater side by catching a three-day limit of 50 pounds, 2 ounces, capped by the largest limit caught today – 18 pounds, 10 ounces. Gordon earned $5,000 for his win, but more importantly, he’ll be competing against the best pros in the business in August at the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Gordon also won the TBF “Living The Dream” package, which includes paid entry into the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour, a travel stipend, and use of a wrapped truck and Ranger bass boat. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-heckman-heads-up-tbf-championship-field

Heckman Heads up TBF Championship Field

Some bass are still spawning in Grand Lake, and others are yet to make their way up to the shallows, but none of that interests Sam Heckman. Diligent commitment to his postspawn plan here Friday landed Heckman atop the boater field with 34 pounds, 3 ounces and locked up his Southwest Division win at the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship. Saturday, the top boater from each of seven TBF divisions will vie for the TBF National Championship and the “Living the Dream” package that goes with it. The package includes paid entry in the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour as a pro, a Forrest Wood Cup berth and use of a custom-wrapped truck and Ranger boat on Tour for the year, as well as a travel stipend for each event. Seven non-boaters – one from each TBF division – also will fish in tomorrow’s final round for a chance at paid entry into a Rayovac FLW Series division of choice. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-griffith-grabs-tbf-lead-

Griffith Grabs TBF Lead

By midday, the prospects were unclear for Jon “Scooter” Griffith here in The Bass Federation National Championship on Grand Lake, but in a roundabout way it provided just the clarity he needed to dial in a pattern that helped him take the day-one lead with an 18-pound, 13-ounce limit. Griffith began his day by sight-fishing the clear water down by the Pensacola Dam. This opening move, he says, gave him some early comfort, as it matched the transparent water he’s used to fishing near his home in Mesa, Ariz. Targeting windblown points, Griffith got his early bites with reaction baits in about 4 to 8 feet of water. Unfortunately, the plan turned out to be less productive than he had expected. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-tbf-championship-tips-off

TBF Championship Tips Off

The spawn is on at Grand Lake, but that’s not the only game in town. As the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship plays out for the next three days, anglers will find this northern Oklahoma impoundment abounding with lots of fishing options. Brian Maloney, the 2012 Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American champion, says he was impressed with what he found in practice. “The quality of fish on Grand is just amazing,” notes the Missouri angler. “This lake continues to put out 3- and 4-pounders, and right now there’s a variety of things we can do. “There are guys sight-fishing for spawning fish, and we’re probably looking at another wave or two of fish coming in soon. I’m sure the full moon coming up in another week or so will move them in.” Adding that the lake currently has fish in all prespawn, spawning and postspawn stages, Maloney thinks that TBF contenders will be greeted by a mix of water conditions typical for Grand this time of year. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-tricky-transition-at-beaver

Tricky Transition at Beaver

Though Beaver Lake is an annual stop for the Walmart FLW Tour, that doesn’t mean it is an easy lake to decipher. This year’s event, which is presented by Rayovac, is later into the spring than usual and is causing some major head scratching among the 154 pros in the field. There’s no doubt that some fish can be found on beds, however, they are mostly small. The consensus is that a lot of fish are stuck in limbo between the spawn and prespawn phase on this White River impoundment. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-spawn-looming-at-beaver-lake

Spawn Looming at Beaver Lake

As the pros who fish the Walmart FLW Tour begin practice on Beaver Lake, this jewel of northwestern Arkansas could be setting up for another spring spawn showdown. READ MORE »