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/2015-04-20-spawn-looming-at-beaver-lake

Spawn Looming at Beaver Lake

As the pros who fish the Walmart FLW Tour begin practice on Beaver Lake, this jewel of northwestern Arkansas could be setting up for another spring spawn showdown. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-16-fog-delays-grand-lake-start

Fog Delays Grand Lake Start

It’s no secret that the first Rayovac FLW Series Central Division event of the year on Grand Lake has collided perfectly with the spawn. Nearly every shallow pocket on the lake holds dozens upon dozens of bass that are eager to do their deed. The 197 pros making up a record-setting Central Division field could hardly contain themselves to get on the water this morning. The only issue was fog – and lots of it. With a 7 a.m. CT takeoff planned, a heavy blanket of fog delayed the start of the tournament, which is presented by Power-Pole, until 8:30, when the fog lifted enough for safe travel but was still hanging around just enough to be a hindrance to those looking to sight-fish. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-16-weather-woes-greet-college-anglers

Weather Woes Greet College Anglers

It was supposed to be a shallow-water bassfest, with largemouths and spots roaming Lake Murray’s shoreline to feast on spawning blueback herring. That still might happen as the FLW College Fishing National Championship plays out the next three days here, but the fishing is more likely to be ad lib than follow any script. The dreary, damp weather that settled over the region Wednesday during the last day of practice is the culprit. Not only did it hamper the efforts of contestants looking for the last bedding fish of the season, but also those depending on a consistent blueback herring bite to gin up the action. Still, the consensus of opinion is that one pattern or the other will prevail, and settle the question of college bragging rights for the next year as well as send the winning team to the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita in August. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-13-top-10-patterns-from-sam-rayburn

Top 10 Patterns from Sam Rayburn

With heavy rainfall swelling Sam Rayburn Reservoir, this Angelina River impoundment had risen 5 feet above normal level by the start of the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division tournament. This gave fish and fishermen access to miles of shoreline forest and brush that normally stand in mere inches of water – if not on dry ground. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-12-top-10-baits-from-sam-rayburn

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

With Sam Rayburn swollen to 5 feet above its normal water level, the top 10 pros broke out various flipping and punching rigs to pick apart newly flooded cover. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-11-hanselman-wins-back-to-back

Hanselman Wins Back-to-Back

Once you get Ray Hanselman going, just get out of his way. The Del Rio, Texas, pro is riding an incredible high right now after sewing up his second consecutive Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division win. Hanselman won the opener on Lake Amistad in February, then backed it up this week with a win on Sam Rayburn Reservoir in an event presented by Mercury. For his final-day limit, Hanselman plowed deep into Rayburn’s flooded cover to track down a five-bass limit worth 16 pounds, 10 ounces, raising his three-day total to 60-08 for a win by more than 7 pounds. For his efforts, Hanselman earned a cool $35,815 check and another trophy to add to his mantle. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-11-wilson-tops-co-anglers-on-rayburn

Wilson Tops Co-anglers on Rayburn

Dan Wilson caught one of only three co-angler limits on the final day of competition to come back from fourth place and win the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division event on Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Mercury. Consistency was key for Wilson, who weighed in 11 pounds, 1 ounce on day one, then followed with 13-04 and 14-15 on days two and three, respectively. His three-day total of 39-04 bested day-two leader Bryan New of North Carolina by 3 pounds, 12 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-11-rayburn-day-3-midday-update

Rayburn Day 3 Midday Update

A chilly morning greeted the top 10 pros and co-anglers for the final day of Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division competition on Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Mercury, but a warm sunrise filtered by scattered clouds bespoke the gorgeous conditions forthcoming. Winds have dropped off to barely a breeze, main-lake running is easy, and the coves and creeks where most anglers are fishing are glassy smooth. Fish surely pulled tighter to cover with the sunny conditions, but that probably makes little difference, as the majority of anglers have been flipping close to trees and into dense buck brush since day one. The heavy, tangled spots with vines seem to be the prime targets again today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-10-hanselmania-returns

Hanselmania Returns

He’s back at it again. Ray Hanselman of Del Rio, Texas, won the season-opening Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division tournament on Lake Amistad, and today he weighed in 23 pounds, 5 ounces on the second day of competition at stop No. 2 on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Hanselman vaulted into the tournament lead with a two-day total of 43-14. “Hanselmania” leads by 5 pounds, 6 ounces over Denny Brauer, also of Del Rio, who is in second place for the second consecutive day. The leader’s stringer is even more impressive considering that Hanselman lost three 5-pounders this morning and caught 23-5 on a day when only one other pro weighed more than 20 pounds, and only three others weighed more than 18 pounds. Day-one leader Joe Don Setina weighed in only four keepers for 11 pounds today. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-10-top-5-patterns-from-sam-rayburn-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Sam Rayburn Day 2

Two limits of more than 20 pounds have pushed Del Rio, Texas, pro Ray Hanselman atop the leaderboard at the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division tournament on Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Mercury. Hanselman is flipping and pitching plastics to flooded brush and trees, with careful consideration to the spots that allow him the best targeting efficiency. The lake level remains at a 15-year high, so anglers are chasing scattered bass in areas the fish rarely see. Overcast skies dominated the day, and isolated showers popped up throughout competition. Overall, productivity was lower than that of day one, with fewer fish and limits caught, and overall weights down. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-10-rayburn-day-2-midday-update

Rayburn Day 2 Midday Update

With only one fish in the livewell at 10:30, Joe Don Setina was probably hoping for a repeat of day one – at least the part where he sacks ’em up in the second half. We found the leading pro fishing the Black Forrest area that he worked the first day, and he’s sticking with the same routine of flipping heavy cover. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-09-setina-overcomes-slow-start

Setina Overcomes Slow Start

Pittsburg, Texas, pro Joe Don Setina is off to a hot start in the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division this season. After a top-10 finish at the opener on Lake Amistad, Setina jumped out to the day-one lead on Sam Rayburn today. It wasn't all smooth sailing for Setina, however. He says nothing went right for him this morning, when he lost fish, snagged trees and finally had to sit down and collect himself before continuing on. After refocusing, Setina caught his first keeper at about 11 a.m. and proceeded to sack up 23 pounds, 6 ounces for a slim 8-ounce lead over second-place pro Denny Brauer, who also finished in the top 10 at the Amistad opener. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-09-top-5-patterns-from-sam-rayburn-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Sam Rayburn Day 1

Overcoming a tough start, Joe Don Setina rallied to take the day-one lead at the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division event presented by Mercury on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. He’s fishing flooded trees and bushes like most of the field and weighed in 23 pounds, 6 ounces. With the lake at a 15-year high thanks to recent rains, Rayburn’s bass are scattered, often in areas that are difficult to reach. Some pros are muscling their way through the thick stuff to search for bedding fish, while others opt for working the perimeter of the flooded zone for postspawn bass. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-09-anglers-brace-for-rough-weather

Anglers Brace for Rough Weather

At the morning takeoff, Texas pro Jim Tutt joked about putting on his rainsuit in the warm, dry sanctuary of the cove where the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division event on Sam Rayburn would soon commence. However, upon leaving the protected waters just east of the Sam Rayburn Dam, anglers soon found a very different mood that’s likely to worsen as the day progresses. Cloudy morning skies generally foretell some type of weather system coming or going, but this afternoon and evening will see some pretty fierce meteorological mayhem making its way across the Midwest and Mississippi Valley regions. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-09-swollen-rayburn-challenges-anglers

Swollen Rayburn Challenges Anglers

High water, high winds and high hopes – that’s the forecast for the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division event on Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Mercury, which kicked off today at the Umphrey Family Pavilion. Torrential rains of recent weeks have swollen this Angelina River impoundment, and a huge downpour last weekend has all but stymied efforts to lower the water level. Currently, the lake sits about 5 feet above normal – a level not seen here in more than 15 years. Realistically, anglers aren’t looking for much, if any, decline this week – particularly given the approaching storm system. READ MORE »

/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 »