Shaffer goes wire to wire in victory

Pro Dick Shaffer of Rockford, Ohio, proudly displays his first-place check after winning the Stren Series title at Fort Madison, Iowa.

FORT MADISON, Iowa - Heading into the Stren Series finals on the Mississippi River, neither the weather nor the stiff competition could knock Dick Shaffer from his perch atop the leaderboard. For two straight days, Shaffer proved to be the man to beat. And guess what? Today was no different. While the majority of the top 10 pros struggled once again to bring quality limits to the scales, Shaffer blew away the competition when it mattered most in the finals - boating a 9-pound, 3-ounce limit to boost his three-day total to 27 pounds, 10 ounces. As a result, Shaffer cruised to a tournament title, walking away with over $15,000 in cash as well as a brand-new, fully rigged Ranger boat worth an estimated $40,000. "It's great," said Shaffer of his 5-pound, 4-ounce margin of victory. "I've led these types of events plenty of times before, but not on the final day. I just wanted to come here, cash a check and get some points. So, to get a win feels great." Pro Dick Shaffer of Rockford, Ohio, sits in the hot seat patiently awaiting the conclusion of the Stren Series event at Fort Madison, Iowa.Ironically enough, Shaffer said the key to the entire tournament happened in the moments shortly before day-one takeoff. "I actually came within three seconds of going the wrong direction on the first day of the tournament," said Shaffer. "I was going to head in an entirely different direction, but the wind was blowing so hard that I changed my mind. Honestly, within 30 seconds of calling my boat number on that first day, I made the decision to head in a different direction. And that decision won me the tournament." Shaffer, a resident of Rockford, Ohio, said he had found his general fishing area at a previous tournament, but that the exact spot he fished all week materialized only during some practice forays. "I found the area in practice, but the water was too low to get into," he said. "Basically it was a little shallow slough, and I fished there every day. I probably wore the bark off all of those seven logs in that spot this week." Keying on timber with a combination of Zoom Speed Craws, jigs and spinnerbaits, Shaffer managed to haul out bass after bass on his key spot. However, heading into the finals, Shaffer admitted that he thought there weren't many fish left to catch - if any. "I was worried that, if the water dropped too low, I'd have a hard time getting into that area," he said. "But I was determined to get in there no matter what today. And I was really surprised that there were still some big fish left. The fish in that area were all resident fish, so I knew that new fish wouldn't be coming in to replenish the area. I'm still surprised there were as many fish in there as there were." Pro Dick Shaffer of Rockford, Ohio, shows off his winning catch at the Stren Series event at Fort Madison, Iowa.Upon arriving at his spot, he knew within minutes that he might be in store for victory. "I got bit on that Speed Craw in about the first 10 casts, and I decided I wasn't going to put that rod down all day," he said. "Heading back to weigh-in (with a 4-pound lead from the previous day), I knew I was in pretty good shape. I figured if somebody caught more than me, they would really deserve to win." In the end, nobody really came close to Shaffer's totals. "It's a great feeling to get this win," he said. "I just had a great week." Hometown favorite nabs runner-up position Crowd favorite Chad Kerr of Burlington, Iowa, proved to be as consistent as Shaffer, finishing in second place overall in each of the three days of the Mississippi River tournament. "It's been a great week," said Kerr, who boated a total catch of 22 pounds, 6 ounces to win over $6,000 in prize money. "I gave it all I had, and I really didn't expect to be in the top 10 this week. So it's been a good tournament." Crowd favorite Chad Kerrof Burlington, Iowa, proudly displays part of his second-place catch during the Stren Series event at Fort Madison.Amazingly enough, Kerr only decided to fish the event at the very last minute. In addition, he was so confident that he wouldn't be in any position to qualify for the top 10 that he didn't ask his boss if he could take Saturday off from work. "I really had to do some serious calling yesterday so I could get off work today," said Kerr. Not surprisingly, Kerr said that the conditions made fishing extraordinarily difficult all week. "I've run around this river for three straight days like a chicken with its head cut off," said Kerr. "The conditions changed so much that I really had to throw a little bit of everything. I wound up doing a lot of junk-fishing. So I'm pretty happy with the way everything turned out." Kerr said he used a combination of Lucky Craft crankbaits, River Killer spinnerbaits, tubes and flipping techniques to land the majority of his catch. Stetich cements third-place status ... again For three straight days, Shaffer and Kerr finished in first and second places, respectively. Apparently not wanting to be left out in the consistency category, Michael Stetich of Omaha, Neb., managed his third straight third-place finish in the standings as well - completing a statistical anomaly that might never again be duplicated in the history of FLW Outdoors. Pro Michael Stetich of Omaha, Neb., finished the Stren Series event at Fort Madison in third place overall.However, statistics are one thing, but making the top-10 cut in one of the most difficult tournaments of the year is quite another. "It's been a good year so far," said Stetich. "I just wanted to come here and catch a couple of fish for points. But it wound up being a lot better than that." Stetich, whose primary fishing strategy was to cover as much water as possible, said he targeted bass with a 3/8-ounce Dirty Bait Company swim jig in a black-and-blue color, coupled with a Senko trailer. "This whole week I had the trolling motor down and covered as much water as possible," said Stetich, who walked away with over $5,000 in prize money. "It was a tough tournament. But it was a good experience overall." Stetich ultimately boated a total catch of 18 pounds, 9 ounces. Fryrear nets fourth place On the strength of a total catch of 18 pounds, 2 ounces, pro Steve Fryrear of Stronghurst, Ill., finished the Mississippi River event in fourth place, winning $4,400 in the process.On the strength of a total catch of 18 pounds, 2 ounces, Steve Fryrear of Stronghurst, Ill., finished the Mississippi River event in fourth place, winning $4,400 in the process. "It's been a long, hard week, and I feel pretty beat up right now," said Fryrear. "But it was an awesome week as well. I never dreamed I'd get this far." Jenkel grabs fifth place overall Derek "Duke" Jenkel of Pinckneyville, Ill., recorded a successful top-five finish after recording a total catch of 17 pounds, 12 ounces worth over $3,700. "I'm as fine as a frog's hair split three ways," said Jenkel of his performance. "We've had a lot of fun this week. And when you're fishing (in the finals) on Saturday, it doesn't get any better than that." Jenkel said that he landed the majority of his catch fishing a Lucky Craft crankbait. Best of the rest Rounding out the top 10 Stren Series pro finalists: 6th: Chris Aswegan of Lisbon, Iowa, 17-5 7th: Todd Schmitz of Goshen, Ind., 16-7 8th: George Jeane Jr. of Evans, La., 14-9 9th: John McGinnis of Clarkson, Ky., 12-9 10th: Lloyd Pickett Jr. of Bartlett, Tenn., 11-8 Stren Series Central Division action resumes Oct. 1-3 at Lake of the Ozarks, scheduled to take place at Osage Beach, Mo.

Tags: headline-story  gary-mortenson 

/news/2015-06-29-dobson-sticks-with-jerkbait-for-win

Dobson Sticks With Jerkbait for Win

Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Michigan, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Michigan Division tournament of 2015 on Lake St. Clair. For his victory, Dobson earned $5,804. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-johnston-targets-beds-for-big-limit

Johnston Targets Beds for Big Limit

Cory Johnston of Cavan, Ontario, Canada, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 25 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Northeast Division tournament of 2015 on 1000 Islands. For his victory, Johnston earned $5,632. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-football-jig-helps-bates-net-title

Football Jig Helps Bates Net Title

Matthew Bates of Greenville, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds even Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Ferguson. For his victory, Bates earned $3,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-hipsher-hops-ledges-for-victory

Hipsher Hops Ledges for Victory

Craig Hipsher of Benton, Kentucky, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League LBL Division tournament of 2015 on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. For his victory, Hipsher earned $4,385. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-lauer-wins-on-ohio-river

Lauer Wins on Ohio River

David Lauer of McConnelsville, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 12 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division tournament of 2015 on the Ohio River. For his victory, Lauer earned $6,289. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-creature-bait-does-it-for-berhorst

Creature Bait Does it for Berhorst

Dennis Berhorst of Holts Summit, Missouri, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Ozark Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Truman. For his victory, Berhorst earned $5,963. READ MORE »

/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. 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 »