Sweet home Alabama

Chris Lane, formerly of Winter Haven, Fla., now of Guntersville, Ala., has settled nicely into his new Alabama home with a Stren Series win on Guntersville today.

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. - The Guntersville Chamber of Commerce might give some thought to employing pro angler Chris Lane as a spokesman for their fine town. In April, Lane moved his family to Guntersville, Ala., in an effort to cut back on the massive amount of travel he endures as a professional angler. Since then he and the family have fallen in love with northeastern Alabama. "I'm from Florida and I do love Florida, but it's kind of out of the way in terms of travel for the pro fishing circuits," Lane said. "So my wife and I talked about it and decided to move up here where it's more centrally located and where there are woods, hills, scenery, a change of seasons, great people - oh, and not to mention a killer bass-fishing lake." Since Lane has made his move to Guntersville, things have clicked for him. He has started a guide business, and tournament travel has been much easier, allowing him to spend much more time at home instead of on the road, hoofing it back and forth to Florida. And with that has come a changed attitude toward his competitive fishing, a turning back to his fishing strengths instead of chasing new techniques in which he has little confidence. All of these changes in Lane's life came to fruition today as he claimed victory in the Stren Series event on Lake Guntersville, now officially his home lake. In three days of Southeast Division competition, Lane checked in daily weights of 20-8, 24-15 and 16-13 to win with a three-day total of 62 pounds, 4 ounces worth $23,648. "This feels really good," Lane said after his win. "This kind of helps solidify our move up here and my more relaxed approached to tournament fishing. Sometimes, as competitors, I think we try too hard and get away from techniques that we really have confidence in. Since moving to Guntersville, my life is not as frantic, my wife and kids have really settled in to this wonderful community here, and I'm relaxed and able to focus more on fishing than ever before, and that feels good. I've been fishing a lot, and with so many fish in this incredible lake, it has restored a lot of my confidence in some of the techniques I love, like flipping and topwaters." That is exactly how Lane caught his fish this week: flipping thick vegetation and scooting floating frogs over the dense mats.Chris Lane shows off his winning bass. His flipping tackle consisted of 1- and 1 1/2-ounce tungsten weights rigged on Gambler Ugly Otters and B.B. Crickets in black and blue colors, fished on Stren Superbraid. "The first day and some of the second I was putting a Gambler KO skirt on my flipping rig," Lane said. "The KO skirt is basically a jig-like skirt that goes between the weight and the soft plastic to bulk up the profile in those mats. But as the week went on, the water got cooler and the fishing pressure in the mats was intense, so I dropped down the size of my flipping bait from the Otter with the skirt to a B.B. Cricket with no skirt." He flipped matted grass in 3 to 4 feet of water in the midlake area. But to hear Lane tell it, his success this week was attributed solely to boat position that was made possible only by his double Power-Pole system that allowed him to staple his boat to the bottom in a mat at any angle and fish it just the way he wanted. The ability to ground down anywhere was especially valuable on day two when winds to 25 mph wreaked havoc on other competitors, and Lane was able to sack the biggest limit of the week weighing 24 pounds, 15 ounces. "I have to give all the credit for this win to my two Power-Poles," Lane said. "Without them I could not have locked down and fished the way I wanted in those mats." Palmore second Pro J.T. Palmore of Gasburg, Va., finished second with a three-day total of 57 pounds, 1 ounce. J.T. Palmore of Gasburg, Va., finished second with a three-day total of 57 pounds, 1 ounce worth $9,459. Most of Palmore's successful week happened on an overlooked stretch of docks and lily pads located in the Spring Creek portion of the lake. He caught most of his weight on days one and two on the docks and lily pads. "I was pitching a 3/8-ounce Shooter Jig with a Net Bait Paca Chunk Sr. to the edges of the docks and then using a black Spro frog on the pads in between," Palmore said. He tied the jig to 20-pound-test Gamma fluorocarbon line and the frog to 65-pound-test braid. Today his productive stretch produced just two good keepers, and Palmore scrambled and fell back on some schooling fish that he fooled with a Zoom Fluke to round out a limit. G-Man thirdPro Gerald Swindle of Warrior, Ala., finished third with a three-day total of 51 pounds, 6 ounces. Gerald Swindle of Warrior, Ala., finished third with a three-day total of 51 pounds, 6 ounces worth $7,567. Swindle found success this week on a Spro Dean Rojas Jr. frog and a Lucky Craft G-Splash popper in the Alreds and South Sauty areas. "A lot of my best mats were gone today," Swindle said. "And the ones that are left were covered up with weekend anglers. I fought and fought just to catch what I weighed in." Buckner fourth Pro Tim Buckner of Scottsboro, Ala., took the fourth place position with 51 pounds, 4 ounces. Tim Buckner of Scottsboro, Ala., took the fourth-place position with 51 pounds, 4 ounces worth $6,621. Buckner spent the week throwing a Sumo frog tied to 65-pound-test Power Pro braid on mats and rallied today with a 16-pound, 12-ounce catch. Deakins fifth Marshall Deakins of Dunlap, Tenn., rounded out the top five with a three-day total of 49 pounds, 6 ounces worth $5,675. Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pros in the Stren Series event on Lake Guntersville:Pro Marshall Deakins of Dunlap, Tenn., rounded out the top five with a three-day total of 49 pounds, 6 ounces. 6th: Randall Tharp of Gardendale, Ala., three-day total of 48-10, $5,203 7th: Jared Haas of Hixson, Tenn., three-day total 48-6, $4,730 8th: David Gray of Section, Ala., three-day total 48-4, $4,257 9th: Jason Grape of Rainbow City, Ala., three-day total 40-3, $3,784 10th: Robert Boyd of Russellville, Ala., three-day total 34-1, $3,311 Tharp wins Angler of the Year title in Stren Series Southeast Division A special congratulation goes to Randall Tharp for winning Angler of the Year in the Stren Series Southeast Division. This season Tharp finished 10th at Okeechobee, eighth at Santee Cooper, 28th at Wheeler and sixth at Guntersville for a year-end total of 752 points.

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/news/2015-04-26-arey-does-it-again

Arey Does it Again

Quaker State pro Matt Arey of Shelby, N.C., wowed the crowed in Rogers, Ark., today with an incredible 17-pound, 3-ounce five-bass limit to come from behind and win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake. This is Arey’s second consecutive Beaver Lake FLW Tour victory. Arey’s final-day surge was enough to surpass two-time reigning Angler of the Year Andy Morgan, who led yesterday but weighed in only 9-08 today and fell to third. Arey’s four-day total was 55-06, earning the pro $125,000. READ MORE »

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Beaver Lake Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-25-morgan-maintains-his-lead

Morgan Maintains His Lead

One of Andy Morgan’s fishing mottos is to make the best of what you have got “in front of you” to survive and fish another day. Beaver Lake doesn’t give much. So when an angler as resourceful as Morgan gets to a lake that doesn’t give out many resources, the two work well together. Instead of worrying about hitting it out of the park or putting immense pressure on himself to come up with a grand winning strategy, Morgan just scraps, scrapes and claws at the ground right in front of him, making the best of what he’s got. Morgan’s performance on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake was a prime example of his “make the best of it” attitude. After burning up the spawning fish he had located in practice during the first two days of the tournament, he was forced to fish by the seat of his pants today – something he thoroughly enjoys. 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/2015-04-25-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 3

Andy Morgan didn’t light up the world on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake, but he caught what he needed to maintain the lead and put a 1-pound, 9-ounce cushion between he and Matt Arey. Most of the rest of the top 20 scrambled today, abandoning their patterns and trying new options to try and make the final-day cut. Here’s how the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-25-beaver-lake-day-3-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-make-way-for-morgan

Make Way for Morgan

“Hidden largemouths” is quickly becoming the buzz term at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac, as those atop the leaderboard are using the term to refer to spawning largemouths that are so well hidden that other competitors never found them. These hidden fish are covered by thick brush, hidden so deep that they were only found during the very rare windows of sunshine during practice or located off the beaten path. The latter are not in obvious pockets or places where one would expect to find beds, but rather out on the main bluff channels where few ever look. On day one, Jacob Wheeler caught hidden largemouths to take the lead. On day two, former Beaver Lake champion Andy Morgan caught hidden largemouths to take over the pole position going into the weekend. His catch of 15 pounds, 7 ounces today gives Morgan a two-day total of 28-09 to take the lead by just 11 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 2

At halftime of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac, the top five reads like a who’s who of Beaver Lake. Leader Andy Morgan is a former Beaver Lake champion. Behind him, Darrel Robertson has been very close to winning here with a runner-up finish in 2005. In third is 2014 Beaver Lake champion Matt Arey. Bryan Thrift, in fourth, has never won on Beaver Lake, but has led here before. And finally, fifth-place pro Stetson Blaylock knows his way around this lake pretty well, too, with a couple of top 10s. 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/2015-04-24-beaver-lake-day-2-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-wheeler-with-a-slim-lead

Wheeler with a Slim Lead

Jacob Wheeler has a plan to win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake this week. That plan involves primarily the largemouth species, a target weight of 14 pounds per day and a lot of fish management. Today, Wheeler surpassed his target by nearly 2 pounds with a 15-pound, 14-ounce catch that puts him in the driver’s seat at Beaver Lake, in the lead by just a scant 5 ounces over second-place pro Bryan Thrift. “Largemouths are the way to win here at Beaver Lake,” Wheeler says. “They are the fish to go the distance here, and that’s what I’m focusing on.” READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 1

Though there were plenty of fish caught off beds at Beaver Lake on day one of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac, the top five is rounded out by a group of anglers who relied on sight-fishing very little. Opinions on where exactly bass are in the spawning cycle at Beaver Lake vary greatly from angler to angler, but a few common denominators did come to light on day one. For starters, most agree that one major spawning cycle has already occurred. Plenty of empty beds and a lot of gaunt, postspawn fish at the scale were evidence of that. Second, there are still some bass (of all species) trying to spawn, but the ones left on beds are extremely wary. Finally, the order of difficulty to catch each species ranks as follows: smallmouth bass – extremely easy; spotted bass – not as easy; largemouth bass – extremely difficult. 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-beaver-lake-day-1-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 1 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. 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/2015-04-20-top-10-baits-from-lake-murray

Top 10 Baits from Lake Murray

Competitors in the FLW College Fishing National Championship mostly targeted bass feeding on spawning blueback herring on shallow points and main-lake pockets. Across the board, herring-imitating baits such as soft jerkbaits, swimbaits, topwaters, wake baits and umbrella rigs dominated the event. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-jig-bite-carries-holmes-on-wateree

Jig Bite Carries Holmes on Wateree

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/news/2015-04-20-bryan-slows-down-for-chickamauga-win

Bryan Slows Down for Chickamauga Win

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/news/2015-04-20-morfis-dominates-with-34-pound-limit

Morfis Dominates With 34-Pound Limit

OKEECHOBEE, Fla. – Joshua Morfis of Cape Coral, Florida, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 34 pounds, 14 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Gator Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Okeechobee. For his victory, Morfis earned $6,336. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-salzman-cracks-31-pounds-on-guntersville

Salzman Cracks 31 Pounds on Guntersville

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