Texas A&M scores with major comeback effort

After starting the final round in fifth place, Texas A&M's Paul Manley and Andrew Shafer blew away the competition with a 17-2 limit.

NATCHITOCHES, La. - The only good thing about starting the day in last place is that there's only one way to go. Of course, how far you go depends on how bad you want it. Obviously, Andrew Shafer and Paul Manley of Texas A&M wanted the National Guard FLW College Fishing Texas Regional Championship title in a big way. After placing fourth on day one with 6 pounds, 10 ounces, Shafer and Manley caught 6-11 on day two and dropped to fifth. That must have really irritated them, because Monday they sacked up the tournament's heaviest catch - a 17-pound, 2-ounce limit that was nearly 4 pounds heavier than their first two days' total of 13-5. Referring to his morning prediction of a strong final-round performance, Shafer said, "We told ya'll weThis nice pair of Sibley Lake largemouths helped Andrew Shafer contribute greatly to his team were going to come in here and open up a can on `em." That optimism came as a complete dismissal of the "last place" stigma. "We told everyone that we were going to do something different and we were going to go out there and compete. We had nothing to lose, so we went out there and did our best and the big ones bit." Shafer said that weather contributed to his team's success. With a cold front bearing down on northwestern Louisiana, day three began with early-morning showers that tapered to a drizzle by the 7 a.m. launch. Persistent cloud cover kept fish roaming, and the impending temperature drop had them chewing. Paul Manley caught this chunky bass on a spinnerbait.Shafer caught all of his day-three fish on a gray-colored ChatterBait with a Lake Fork swimbait for a trailer. "Everybody was throwing spinnerbaits, but the fish liked that little change in action (with the ChatterBait). It still had the vibration and the movement, but a little change helped," Shafer said. "The bass are feeding on shad right now, so I put that swimbait on, and it looks amazing in the water." Manley got two of his fish on a gray spinnerbait with chartreuse skirt tips and caught his last keeper on a Texas-rigged Speed Craw (green-pumpkin with chartreuse pincers). Topping the field, he said, was a pleasant surprise to cap a great day on the water. "It feels good, but we weren't expecting it - we thought we had about 13 pounds," Manley said. "This morning, we went out hoping to jump maybe a spot or two, but once we got our three biggest fish, we realized we had a shot at (winning). We started getting a little more serious at that point." In both of the previous two days, the winners caught their fish mostly around cypress trees and docks.Perched nervously in the hot seats, Andrew Shafer and Paul Manley get a message of encouragement via live video feed from Texas A&M supporters. Their bites came later in the day, and they caught all their keepers after 1 p.m. Today, they started out by probing grass lines, but soon transitioned to stands of dead lily pads and found their fish roaming the perimeters. "They were out on the edges in some holes in the pads," Shafer said. "They were really aggressive. When we hooked one, we'd say, `Oh man!' When Paul hooked his big one, he said, `I can't turn it - it's a monster!' "Every fish we hooked, we got it in the boat. We just did what we had to do, and it worked out." For their efforts, Manley and Shafer won $25,000 for their school and a Ranger 177TR with an engine for their bass club. The boat will be wrapped in the school colors. Texas State improves to second Texas StateRetaining the second-place position in which they began day three, Jay McCollum and David Cosner of Texas State University added 10 pounds, 13 ounces to the 6-9 and 10-3 they caught the first two days. They ended their run with a 27-9 total that earned $12,500 for their school and another $12,500 for their club. Cosner said that he and McCollum tried to fish wind-swept points, but quickly deduced that the day's excessive wind - often gusting to 30 mph - was pushing loads of bait into backwater coves. The important adjustment, he said, was to relax and focus on covering the water thoroughly. "I started second-guessing myself this morning, and I really had to tell myself to slow down," Cosner said. "I started off fishing a jig, but then I started throwing a spinnerbait, and it paid off. We caught all of our keeper fish on spinnerbaits." The Texas State anglers used 1/2-ounce white Booyah spinnerbaits. Given the day's dim conditions, they switched from metallic blades to painted blades. They caught their fish on spinnerbaits with chartreuse willow blades and white Colorado blades. "The water was murky, and it was on the rise from all the heavy rain," Cosner said. "Also, the sun wasn't out, so metallic blades wouldn't flash." McCollum said that diligence was his biggest ally today: "I had a plan, and that plan was to throw a spinnerbait all day. If I hadn't have caught my last fish when I did, I probably would have put that rod down because my wrist was killing me." Froggy Tarleton State stays in third Tanner Morgan and John Anderson of Tarleton State may have settled for third place, but they'll beJohn Anderson threw a Horny Toad and caught three good fish for Tarleton State. remembered as the most-improved team of the tournament. Day one found them in 15th place with 4-6, but sacking up 10-6 - the heaviest day-two weight - pushed them into the final round at third place. Today's weight of 10-5 kept them in the same spot with a 25-1 total that earned $5,500 for their school and the same for their club. Anderson and Morgan caught all of their fish on Horny Toads in watermelon-red and green-pumpkin. Heeding the advice of another team that did not reach the finale, they determined that frogging would be a good fit for the prevailing conditions. "Cloud cover and rain normally brings the fish shallow, so we thought the (frog baits) would be a good plan for working the pondweed," Anderson said. Morgan, who caught three big keepers in a deep hole on day two, said today's windy conditions forced them out of several promising spots: "I think the wind really limited us a little bit. We had some good stands of pondweed that we caught some fish out of early, and then when the wind picked up, we couldn't get another bite in there. "We had to go find some spots that were out of the wind. Our deep hole that we fished yesterday was getting pounded by the wind. We fished it a little bit, but the wind was just too much for (that spot)." Wind-blown Northwestern settles for fourth Local anglers, Jeffrey Rich and Aaron Sistrunk of Northwestern State finished fourth.The hometown favorites, Jeffrey Rich and Aaron Sistrunk of Northwestern State, represented their school well by reaching the top five and improving each day. They placed eighth on day one with 6 pounds, 3 ounces, improved to fourth on day two with 7-6 and ended in fourth by catching 8-2 for a tournament total of 21-11. Throwing frogs and spinnerbaits, the local anglers were anticipating the opportunity of fishing a promising spot where a seawall with adjacent depths of 6 feet rolled off into about 14. The spot produced big weights quickly in practice, so Rich and Sistrunk figured they had an ace in the hole. "We really wanted to fish our deep fish today because we knew that they'd bite, but the wind just didn't go the right way - it blew straight in on our spot at about 30 mph," Rich said. "The waves were so big they were going over into the (homeowner's) yard. I tried to stay on the spot with the trolling motor on (high), but it was too rough for us." Certainly, the local favorites would have preferred a win, but of the two $4,000 checks that he andAfter leading for two days, the Baylor team dropped to fifth on the final day. Sistrunk won for their school and their bass club, Rich joked, "Me and Aaron are now the all-time leading money winners for Northwestern State University." Baylor bottoms out with fifth Baylor University's Jay Holland and Andrew McAdams led days one and two with catches of 10-15 and 6-5. They stumbled on the final day with just three fish for 3-6 and ended in fifth with a total weight of 20-10. Holland and McAdams won $3,000 for their school and the same for their bass club. The Baylor anglers fished 1/2-ounce War Eagle spinnerbaits with gold and silver willow blades. The colors were Mouse (gray skirt) and Hot Mouse (gray skirt with chartreuse tips).

Tags: headline-story  david-a-brown 

/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 »

/tips/2015-06-22-thrift-flirting-with-second-aoy-title

Thrift Flirting with Second AOY Title

Bryan Thrift can’t say for certain what baits will sit on his front deck during the final Walmart FLW Tour event of 2015 on the Potomac River, which is set to kick off this Thursday, but he’s quick to say what will not join him – the memory of his 2010 Angler of the Year title. 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 »