Gators looking to seal the deal on Monroe

Despite a dim morning, UCF's Matthew Norman and Dustin Lauer have bright hopes for a come-from-behind victory.

SANFORD, Fla. - They've had decent bites - enough to earn the top spot - but the University of Florida's Matthew Wercinski and Jake Gipson will be looking for the knock-out punch on the final day of the National Guard FLW College Fishing Southeast Regional Championship on Lake Monroe. The Gator guys set the mark on day one with their 12-pound, 12-ounce catch - thus far, the tournament's heaviest. Going into the second day, Wercinski said he and his partner were going to try and manage their fish by bagging just enough to secure their final round spot, while keeping enough fish in the water to carry them through to the finish line. They accomplished that objective with a 9-9 limit that yielded a 22-5 total, and now it's time to look for the big stuff. "We know there are 8- to 10-pound fish out there because we saw them in practice," Gipson said. "WeThe top-5 teams will find overcast skies and light breezes throughout most of the final day. have a front coming through tonight, so a lot of big fish should be active today ahead of that weather." The leaders have been fishing a secretive soft plastic rig around scattered grass and matted grass. After scratching out modest limits on day two, Wercinski said they're hoping to lock up the win with a nice rod-bender today. "We have a big-fish spot where we haven't gotten a big one yet," he said. "This is a one-bite spot, but if we can get one, it will be a big fish." Auburn's Dennis Parker and Shaye Baker moved up from third to second on day two and enter the final round trailing the leaders by 2-14. They've caught most of their fish from a spring-fed canal where shallow, clear water has necessitated stealthy presentations with 10-pound fluorocarbon line and small plastics. After day two, Baker said he was concerned about the potential for squeezing one more day out of the spot. Leading since day one, the University of Florida"We rung it dry and this is not a place that replenishes," he said. "But we're going to give it a try today and fish 100-200 yards and maybe we'll get lucky and pull a good fish out of there. If not, we'll roll the dice and try to find the right shell bed." Wherever they end up fishing, Baker said that securing quantity will take priority of quality. "It's going to come down to getting a few fish in the morning right quick and then hopefully, getting a big fish or two." If fish remain in their primary spot, the dim light of today's cloudy conditions will counteract the challenges of fishing clear water. Also looking for a big bite is the third-place team from Young Harris - Clint McNeal and Brad Rutherford. They'll also target shell beds with Carolina rigs, but they'll keep reaction baits handy for the schooling fish that they've seen all week. "Some of our spots have big fish on them," Rutherford said. "We've seen 5- and 6-pounders comeAuburn completely out of the water chasing bait." McNeal stressed the importance of numbers: "We both need to catch a limit today. We've gotten lucky both days by catching (enough weight) without getting both of our limits. Today, we'll need six fish." The tournament's host school, University of Central Florida, proudly finds its local team in the number four spot. Matthew Norman and Dustin Lauer made the top-5 cut in dramatic fashion by hauling in the largest bag of day two - a full limit catch of 10 pounds, 10 ounces that included Norman's 4-pound kicker. Starting the day in third place, the Young Harris team of Brad Rutherford and Clint McNeal conduct an interview with FLW College Fishing host Chris Cain.Lauer said they'll need another strong day to close the distance on first place. "We're both going to have to land every fish we hook. It's going to take a kicker fish for us to win." Auburn has dual representation in the final round with Tigers Richard Peek and Caleb Rodgers starting in fifth place. Peek said his team will swing for the fences in hopes of advancing their position. They'll throw mostly swimbaits today. Tournament logistics The top five FLW College Fishing teams from each of the four regular-season Southeastern Division tournaments gained automatic entry into the 2009 Southeastern Regional Championship at the University of Central Florida. During the three-day regional event, 20 two-man collegiate angling teams will compete for a top award of $50,000, which includes a 177TR Ranger wrapped in school colors and powered by an Evinrude or Yamaha outboard engine. Final weigh-ins start at 4 p.m. at the University of Central Florida's IOA Plaza.Auburn University of Central Florida will also host the Reel Life Festival in conjunction with the Southeast Regional Championship. The free festival, located at the University of Central Florida's IOA Plaza, will feature a Battle of the Bands, the National Guard Warrior Challenge ropes course, rock-climbing wall, paintball range, geocaching plus a variety of other activities. The Reel Life Festival will run in conjunction with the tournament weigh-in from 4 to 7 p.m. Reel Life Festival visitors can register to win a MacBook Air. The top five teams from each of the five National Guard regional championships (Western, Central, Northern, Texas and Southeast) will advance to the National Guard National Championship April 10-12, 2010, in Knoxville, Tenn. The winning team at the national championship will qualify for the prestigious 2010 Forrest Wood Cup. Monday's conditions: Sunrise: 6:58 a.m. Temperature at takeoff: 67 degrees Expected high temperature: 84 degrees Water temperature: 60-61 degrees Wind: from the West at 5-10 mph Max. Humidity: 78 percent Day's outlook: Cloudy, thunderstorms possible

Tags: morning-story  david-a-brown 

/news/2015-03-26-front-and-center

Front and Center

There is little doubt it’s coming. The uncertainty lies in what will happen because of it. If the forecast holds true, at some point this evening the severe weather system that dropped tornados across the central plains Wednesday will arrive at Lewis Smith Lake. Along with the rain and thunder, the front promises to bring with it a significant drop in temperature, with lows projected in the low 30s by the weekend. It’s a storm that looms over the 154 pros and co-anglers set to fish the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Evinrude and hosted by the Walker County Chamber of Commerce. And while they, the anglers, should stay dry, the weather might be the key question mark for a tournament already overflowing with them. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-record-catch-for-record-college-field-

Record Catch for Record College Field?

GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. – Panama City, beach parties, Florida sunshine, bikini weather – big deal. Who needs Spring Break when you’ve got Kentucky Lake in March? OK, maybe that’s a stretch, but how else to explain why a record-setting number of teams showed up for the FLW College Fishing Open tournament here? The official tally of bass fishing teams is 201, according to College Fishing Tournament Director Kevin Hunt, making this the largest collegiate fishing event ever. Teams from every corner of the country are represented here, with squads from as far away as Eastern Washington University competing the next two days. A flotilla left Moor’s Resort & Marina this morning, with individual boats scattering in all directions. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-19-guntersville-grab-bag

Guntersville Grab Bag

Lake Guntersville will always have a place in bass-fishing history – most recently because of Paul Elias and the umbrella rig ­– but it represents so much more. With boat ramps seemingly on every street corner, and a town and community that caters to anglers like no other, the legendary lake is always a popular stop. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-06-toho-midday-report-day-2

Toho Midday Report Day 2

If you’ve been following the FLW On The Water feed, you might have seen a slight uptick in the reports in the last hour or so. A crisp north wind, which was cold enough to force many anglers into their rain gear this morning, seems to have tapered off to a breeze. Down south on Kissimmee the sun is shining. And as the weather has improved, so too has the bite – as evidenced by the sudden surge in fish-catching reports. The increase in action is good news for many anglers who experienced slower fishing this morning than yesterday. Stacey King, who came into today in second place, is among that group. Unfortunately for day-one leader JT Kenney, “slow” for King is still pretty good. He’s got a limit, including a pair of 4-pounders, and has already culled. That makes King our unofficial leader right now. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-05-boom-or-bust-at-toho

Boom or Bust at Toho

To varying degrees of success, tournament anglers are used to figuring out lakes that seemingly are a bundle of contradictions. Be that as it may, Lake Toho threatens to boggle their collective minds as the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour kickoff event presented by Mercury gets underway this morning. READ MORE »

/news/2015-02-24-tour-opener-timed-right-for-florida-spawn-fireworks

Tour Opener Timed Right for Florida Spawn Fireworks

It’s always nice to kick off a new season with the proverbial bang, but the Walmart FLW Tour might very well mark its 20th anniversary with a Boom. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-02-21-meyer-motivated-by-catch-of-a-lifetime

Meyer Motivated by “Catch” of a Lifetime

Cody Meyer had a tremendous Walmart FLW Tour season in 2014 – three top-10 finishes, his seventh consecutive Forrest Wood Cup qualification and a second-place finish in the Angler of the Year race. Suffice it to say, the seventh-year pro from Auburn, Calif., carries significant momentum into 2015, but that’s not all he’ll bring. Meyer’s recently intensified motivation comes from something you can’t find on stat sheets or in a tackle bag. Put it this way: Meyer has hoisted plenty of nice largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass, but on Jan. 14, he lifted the most precious “catch” he’s ever held: Brooke Emily Meyer. READ MORE »

/news/2015-02-11-mighty-amistad-issues-a-challenge

Mighty Amistad Issues a Challenge

Legendary south Texas reservoir Lake Amistad has hosted some of FLW’s most infamous smash-fests – the kind of tournaments where anglers weren’t challenged to catch fish, but were pushed to keep up with the competition when 20- and even 30-pound stringers were being hauled across the stage. READ MORE »

/news/2015-02-05-heating-up-on-havasu

Heating Up on Havasu

Lake Havasu City, Ariz. – Warming weather could provide the spark that is needed to ignite a big-time bite on Lake Havasu this week for the first event of the 2015 Rayovac FLW Series Western Division, which is presented by Mercury. Past FLW events on Havasu have been plagued by lower temperatures and strong winds that slowed the bite – fishing was good, but the anglers didn’t experience the lake’s full potential. The last few days on the Colorado River impoundment, however, have seen temperatures near 80 degrees with nearly no wind. As it stands now, the forecast for competition days is calling for more of the same, and many of the 152 pros in this tournament feel like that could open things up. READ MORE »

/news/2015-01-22-here-they-come

Here They Come

Big things are coming on Lake Okeechobee – big bass, big weights and the biggest tournament field in Rayovac FLW Series history. READ MORE »

/news/2014-11-04-top-3-patterns-bfl-wild-card

Top 3 Patterns – BFL Wild Card

When day one of the Walmart Bass Fishing League Chevy Wild Card on Kentucky Lake commenced, J.R. Henard got right to the point, sacking up a limit by 8:30 a.m. and never looking back. For two days, he kept his foot on the gas and hauled in a tournament-winning total of 42 pounds, 5 ounces – nearly 12 pounds better than second place – and a top prize of $4,478, plus entry into the 2015 BFL All-American. READ MORE »

/news/2014-10-30-grinding-wheel-er

Grinding Wheel-er

ROGERSVILLE, Ala. – The story was much the same among the 141 pro and co-anglers that launched out of Joe Wheeler State Park this morning for the first day of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on Wheeler Lake. Fishing on the Tennessee River in the fall can be hit or miss and right now anglers are experiencing the latter. READ MORE »

/news/2014-10-27-top-3-patterns-kentucky-lake-regional

Top 3 Patterns – Kentucky Lake Regional

Victory snatched from the jaws of defeat – that’s a fitting summary of Hamilton, Ohio, boater Chris Martinkovic’s nail-biter win at the Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional on Kentucky Lake Oct. 16-18. READ MORE »

/news/2014-10-24-top-3-patterns-sam-rayburn-regional

Top 3 Patterns – Sam Rayburn Regional

Everyone likes a lush, green lawn, but Buzz Gallo was particularly impressed with some of the grass he found on Sam Rayburn Reservoir – the site of his BFL Regional victory Oct. 16-18. READ MORE »

/news/2014-10-13-top-3-patterns-st-john-s-river-regional

Top 3 Patterns – St. John's River Regional

Poetic as it may sound, the death of water hyacinth literally breathed life into Robert Crosnoe’s efforts at the Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional on the St. Johns River Oct. 2-4. By targeting mats of dead hyacinth that were sprayed sometime between the cutoff period and the event’s official practice, the boater from Inverness, Fla., won the event with 47 pounds, 6 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2014-10-12-top-3-patterns-pickwick-lake-regional

Top 3 Patterns – Pickwick Lake Regional

Joshua Moore arrived at the Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional on Pickwick Lake armed with a tip from Walmart FLW Tour pro Tom Monsoor to focus on ledges during the tournament. Heeding Monsoor’s advice, Moore explored a main-river spot outside of Bear Creek in practice, where he located a three-quarter-mile-long ditch that was about 300 yards wide. READ MORE »

/news/2014-10-11-top-3-patterns-lake-cherokee-regional

Top 3 Patterns – Lake Cherokee Regional

Consistency is great, but with the fall transition scattering fish all over Lake Cherokee at the Oct. 9-11 Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional, Tim Smiley took a mix-it-up approach and sacked up a winning total of 34 pounds, 7 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2014-10-10-top-3-patterns-james-river-regional

Top 3 Patterns – James River Regional

Low tide on the James River during the BFL Regional Oct. 2-4 proved highly productive for Chris Daves, as the angler from Spring Grove, Va., topped a field of 40 boaters from the Northeast, Piedmont, Shenandoah and South Carolina divisions. READ MORE »

/news/2014-10-09-a-clear-challenge

A Clear Challenge

Challenging conditions including low water, abundant baitfish and a late-season algae bloom set the stage for an epic bass battle among the 212 pros and co-anglers vying for top honors Oct. 9-11 in the Rayovac FLW Series Western Division Clear Lake tournament, which kicked off this morning at 7:30 a.m. PT. Presented by Evinrude, the three-day event promises plenty of drama. Anglers are competing for lucrative paybacks, including $32,448 in cash for first place on the pro side, plus a fully rigged Ranger Z518C with 200-hp Evinrude outboard if the winner is Ranger Cup compliant, for a total purse worth more than $80,000. On the co-angler side, the victor claims a fully rigged Ranger Z117 with 90-hp Evinrude, plus $5,000 in Ranger Cup cash if entered in that contingency program. READ MORE »

/news/2014-10-02-rayburn-returns

Rayburn Returns

ZAVALLA, Texas – If Sam Rayburn Reservoir were a stock on Wall Street, now would be the time to buy. READ MORE »