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/2015-03-27-lewis-smith-lake-day-2-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 2 Coverage

Day 2 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-benton-blasts-20-12-on-lewis-smith

Benton Blasts 20-12 on Lewis Smith

Panama City, Fla., pro Drew Benton jumped into the early lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude with a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 12 ounces. Benton caught a mix of largemouths and spotted bass, and revealed that both black bass species are spawning. He leads a tight top 20 that includes 18 pros that caught more than 15 pounds each. The first day was an absolute fish-fest. Of the 154 pros fishing this tournament, 138 weighed limits. Brad Roberts of Faubush, Ky., has a 2-ounce lead in the co-angler division with a 13-pound, 4-ounce limit. Tomorrow he’ll try to defend his lead on the final day of co-angler competition. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 1

While Drew Benton was busy bugging bedding fish for his day-one tournament lead, several others behind him were scoring big with other fishing options on Lewis Smith Lake. Sight-fishing also played a role in the top limits produce by Tracy Adams, Scott Martin and Ish Monroe, but Clayton Batts and Zack Birge both brought in big bags with other patterns. Click here to read about Benton’s day-one performance at the second Walmart FLW Tour event of 2015, which is presented by Evinrude. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-lewis-smith-lake-day-1-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 1 Coverage

Day 1 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-22-arkansas-anglers-win-college-open

Arkansas Anglers Win College Open

Consistency was the key for the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville here in the FLW College Fishing Kentucky Lake Open as Zachary Pickle and Drew Porto won the event with a two-day total of 43 pounds, 12 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-kendrick-king-on-guntersville

Kendrick King On Guntersville

Kendrick, who is fishing the Rayovac FLW Series in hopes of qualifying for the FLW Tour, caught more than 25 pounds each day of the event and finihsid in fine fasion when it counted. Kendick was catching nearly all of his bass around big schools of bait with a Houdini pearl-colored Scottsboro Tackle swimbait from 15- to 25-feet of water. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-epting-s-30-pounds-tops-on-santee-cooper

Epting's 30 Pounds Tops on Santee Cooper

SUMMERTON, S.C. – Chris Epting of Chapin, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 30 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Santee Cooper. For his victory, Epting earned $3,679. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-wood-rock-key-for-middleton-s-victory

Wood, Rock Key for Middleton's Victory

HUDDLESTON, Va. – Dennis Middleton of Madison Heights, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division tournament of 2015 on Smith Mountain Lake. For his victory, Middleton earned $7,199. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-johnson-wins-on-dale-hollow

Johnson Wins on Dale Hollow

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – Robby Johnson of Byrdstown, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mountain Division tournament of 2015 on Dale Hollow Lake. For his victory, Johnson earned $5,689. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-griffin-gets-win-on-ross-barnett

Griffin Gets Win on Ross Barnett

BRANDON, Miss. – Jason Griffin of Benton, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 23 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Ross Barnett Reservoir. For his victory, Griffin earned $5,349. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-top-5-patterns-from-guntersville-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Guntersville Day 2

The second day of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division tournament on Lake Guntersville proved as remarkable as the first – or perhaps better, considering today’s parade of big fish included a 12-pound, 10-ounce behemoth caught by fourth-place pro Trevor Fitzgerald for the day’s Big Bass prize. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-hall-holds-steady-for-lead

Hall Holds Steady For Lead

Joe Hall of Lake City, Minn. wasn’t confident about his chances going onto the second day of competition of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event on Lake Guntersville. Nonetheless, he held steady with a 27-pound, 5-ounce catch that only barely fell short of the 28-1 he weighed on the first day. With a two-day total of 55 pounds, 6 ounces, Hall holds a 1-pound, 12-ounce lead over Cameron Gautney going into the final day of the Mercury presented tournament. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-missouri-anglers-lead-college-open

Missouri Anglers Lead College Open

Andrew Nordbye and Adam Almohtadi of Northwest Missouri State University of Maryville, Mo., took the lead in the opening round of the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake with 25 pounds, 2 ounces. Heading into Saturday’s second and final round, the University of Kentucky’s Ryan Collins and Hunter Fulcher sit in second place with 22-14, while Ethan Flack and Konnor Kennedy of the University of Alabama are currently third with 22-9. Details to follow. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-day-1-patterns-from-the-college-open

Day 1 Patterns from the College Open

The Northwest Missouri State University team of Andrew Nordbye and Adam Almontadi took the day-one lead in the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake. While their pattern seems to be effectively refined – they were using only one lure and had no others out on the deck – Nordbye and Almontadi don’t have this one sewed up yet. The rest of the top five is just a few pounds behind the leaders. Here’s how they made it into contention going into the final day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-gautney-under-pressure

Gautney Under Pressure

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event on Guntersville is just as misty and nasty as the first. Lucky for us, the first day of the Mercury-presented event featured huge catches throughout the field. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-college-open-day-1-midday-update

College Open Day 1 Midday Update

“You should have been here yesterday” might have been the motto for the first day of fishing in the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake. Though many of the 194 teams entered in the two-day event out of Moor’s Resort & Marina reported good to excellent practices, many of the same anglers were complaining about a lack of fish on opening morning of the competition. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-19-gautney-cranks-up-the-lead

Gautney Cranks Up The Lead

Gautney says he keyed on staging fish in several very specific locations and one specific depth. He and co-angler Antoni Bicy caught 59 pounds, 8 ounces off of his spots, and he seems confident about his ability to keep catching them the rest of the event. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-19-top-5-patterns-from-guntersville-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Guntersville Day 1

The first day of the Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Guntersville was a welcome departure from the grumblings of practice. Though fans weren’t treated to multiple 30-pound limits on the pro side, like at the Walmart Bass Fishing League event at Guntersville a couple of weekends ago, it still took more than 25 pounds to get into the top five on day one of this Mercury-presented tournament. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-14-morrison-wins-on-dale-hollow

Morrison Wins on Dale Hollow

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – Charles Morrison of Georgetown, Kentucky, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Music City Division tournament of 2015 on Dale Hollow Lake. For his victory, Morrison earned $3,926. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-14-hughan-claims-arkie-division-title-on-greers-ferry

Hughan Claims Arkie Division Title on Greers Ferry

GREERS FERRY, Ark. – William Hughan of Little Rock, Arkansas, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 14 pounds, 4 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Arkie Division tournament of 2015 on Greers Ferry Lake. For his victory, Hughan earned $4,350. READ MORE »