UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Champlain

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 


Top Picks From ICAST

A few days of walking the floor at ICAST is enough to exhaust a body, but it isn’t enough to know exactly what’s worthwhile. For that, you need some time to reflect and probably a few tournament seasons to fly by to see what rises up. READ MORE »


Renfrew Fished to Win

Ian Renfrew of Phoenix, New York, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Northeast Division tournament on Oneida Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Renfrew earned $4,695. READ MORE »


Docks and Rocks Key for Synders

Rus Snyders of Nashville, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Music City Division tournament on Old Hickory Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Snyders earned $2,703. READ MORE »


Jig, Crankbait Carry Powroznik

Ryan Powroznik of Prince George, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 15 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division tournament on the James River. For his victory, Powroznik earned $7,507. READ MORE »


Persistence Pays for Arning

Ray Arning Jr. of Walnut Hill, Illinois, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Illini Division tournament on Rend Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Arning earned $5,804. READ MORE »


New Rod Roundup

Rod companies continue to impress each year with a new crop of lighter, faster and more affordable (sweet!) rods. On the subject of price, these days, a tournament pro or an average angler could be fishing with rods that cost less than $100 apiece, but without giving up anything in the realm of quality. READ MORE »


New Terminal Tackle

Don’t skimp where it counts the most – terminal tackle. Hooks, weights, jigheads and the like are the keys to taking all those new soft baits and swimbaits to the fish, hooking them and getting them in the boat. Here’s the best stuff we saw on the floor at ICAST 2015. READ MORE »


FLW Announces 2016 Tour Schedule

FLW announced the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour regular-season schedule today in a live press conference held at the 2015 ICAST show in Orlando, Fla. With the help of six veteran Tour pros, the company unveiled each of the six events, one-by-one, to a crowd of observers gathered around the FLW booth. READ MORE »


6 New Reels to Try

Whether you need to replace an old reel or you’re just looking to add to the arsenal, here are some of the latest and greatest from ICAST. READ MORE »


6 New Lines from ICAST 2015

Line might just be the most important part of the package when it comes to landing fish. From presenting the bait to getting them in the net, your line is involved the entire way. If you’re looking for something new to try, the following lines are worth a shot. READ MORE »


ICAST Best Of Show Winners

One of the highlights of ICAST is the annual “Best of Show” awards. Not everything at ICAST is of interest to bass anglers, but the below might end up being staples for a long time to come. READ MORE »


10 New Frogs and Toads

These days, frogs and toads aren’t just mimicking frogs and toads. They’re designed to be perfect imitations of rats, bream and various oddball creatures. New models at ICAST this season offer anglers some of these “alternative” species, as well as new sizes, colors, action types and degrees of realism. Here are 10 new models that we feel are of greatest interest. Click here for complete 2015 ICAST coverage. READ MORE »


7 Terrific Topwater Baits

If you don’t like fishing topwater, just give up fishing already. These seven new baits will help you get your surface-fishing fix next season. READ MORE »


Critters and Craws

Nearly everyone already has a tackle box overflowing with soft baits. That said, there are always more to try. If you’re looking for something new, the following might do the trick. READ MORE »


New Hard Baits for 2015

It doesn’t take long to find yourself overwhelmed on the show floor of ICAST. Hundreds of companies are here unveiling cool, new products. When it comes to the hard bait category it can be daunting to sift through all the new stuff. Its early, but here are a few things that might be worth adding to the tackle box. READ MORE »


ICAST 2015 Fishing Accessories

Check out these tools and accessory items that fill a variety of roles when on the water. We’ll update the list later tomorrow too. Click here for complete 2015 ICAST coverage. READ MORE »


Cool New Electronics at ICAST 2015

These days, anglers rely on cutting edge electronic devices not only to find and catch fish, but also to share their fishing experiences with the world. The following new products, as seen on day one at ICAST 2015, will help you do all of the above. READ MORE »


New Clothing and Sunglasses at ICAST 2015

Sunglasses and clothing that can resist all that Mother Nature throws at it are critical for hard-core anglers. Here’s what’s new in those categories at this year’s ICAST show. READ MORE »


Three New Finesse Worms

Though there is a ton of finesse worms already available on the market, but the following three from the first day of ICAST might be worth a look if you sense a gap in your arsenal. READ MORE »


Dance, Detweiler and East Win ICAST Cup

Weighing in midway through the 48-boat field, Bill Dance, Cody Detweiler, and Dave East repped Mystik Lubricants brought a five-bass limit for 17 pounds, 1 ounce to the scale for the win. The team focused on two shallow, grassy areas within sight of Big Toho Marina for the entirety of the event and caught about 10 bass and culled twice before 8 a.m. READ MORE »