UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Erie

University of Florida goes all the way

The University of Florida's Jake Gipson and Matthew Wercinski swept the event on Lake Monroe.

SANFORD, Fla. - Turkey day is just around the corner, and the University of Florida's Jake Gipson and Matthew Wercinski are giving "thanks" that five bass "gobbled" their baits and stuck a big "feather" in their caps at the National Guard FLW College Fishing Southeast Regional Championship on Lake Monroe. Now that we have the holiday metaphors out of the way, let's look at how the Gator duo won the tournament. Gipson and Wercinski took the lead for the University of Florida on day one with with 12 pounds, 12 ounces and then added 9-9 on day two. Their final-round score was 7-12 for a three-day total weight of 30 pounds, 1 ounce. UF's go-to bait for most of the tournament was a Zoom Magnum Speed Worm fished on a 6/0 heavy-gauge hook with a clear, plastic screw-lock weight. On days one and two, ripping the worms acrossAlthough the kicker fish eluded them, UF the tops of grass beds proved most effective, but today found the fish in a foul mood, and they just didn't want to chase the fast-moving presentations. "We had been catching our fish really shallow around matted grass," Gipson said. "When the sun was out (on days one and two), the bass would get under those mats and it was purely a reaction bite on top. But today it was cloudy, so I think those fish were out roaming, and they weren't willing to come up and eat that topwater (presentation)." Downsizing to Texas-rigged Zoom Baby Brush Hogs was the final-round strategy. Gipson and Wercinski found most of their day-three action in a hole at the mouth of a creek. Although both anglers fished the same baits, Gipson started catching fish early, while Wercinski had to tough it out for several hours before finding his keepers. "It was the mental game for me today because I didn't have a fish until after noon," Wercinski said. "It was rough." AuburnGipson described the fundamental elements of his University of Florida team's success: "There were two keys - the first was to keep our heads down and keep fishing. Every day, we caught a fish with less than an hour to go, so we had to keep plugging away. "The other thing was teamwork. The first day, I had my limit early and I was helping (Wercinski) get his limit. I was rigging stuff for him, keeping him in the front of the boat and staying out of his way so he could catch them. The second day, we reversed roles. He had a limit early, and I didn't have my limit until a half-hour (before the end of fishing time). We just kept helping each other out." For their efforts, the UF anglers won $25,000 for their school and a Ranger 177TR, wrapped in their school colors, with a motor for their bass club. Gipson and Wercinski, along with all of the top five teams, will fish for the University of Florida in the National Guard FLW College Fishing 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. Gipson said that his team's victory and the prize boat will provide a great boost for the UF bass club that he and Wercinski founded: "We started this club a little over a year ago, and it has grown quite a bit. This is really going to help us out a lot." Auburn's Parker and Baker finish in second They had the heaviest weight (8-4) and the only limit of day three, but in the end, Auburn's Shaye BakerA mighty and Dennis Parker couldn't overtake the Florida team, and the Tigers settled for second with a total weight of 27-11. On days one and two, their weights were 9-13 and 9-0. For the first two days, Baker and Parker caught most of their bass in a spring-fed creek where clear, shallow water required stealth presentations with weightless Texas-rigged finesse worms and Fat Albert grubs on 10-pound fluorocarbon line. "We caught one fish in the main lake, but we had nine keepers between us yesterday and seven between us on the first day," Baker said. "We wanted to go back in the same creek today and give it a shot because we knew there were still some fish in there, and every ounce counts." Fortune favored Baker, and he stuck three keepers in short order, but Parker's luck lagged a little. Baker said he had not intended to fish the entire creek, but they ended up having to fish it all the way to the Three good fish from Auburnend, where Parker found his first keeper. He bagged his second on the way out of the creek, and then Baker recalled a certain tree with all the right features, including the memory of producing a fish in practice. "For whatever reason, that tree just looked right in practice, and I said, `That's the magic tree,'" Baker recalled. "So we idled 400 yards (from the creek mouth) to this one tree, Dennis throws up there about three times, and on the third cast, about halfway back to the boat the fish hits, and he put it in the boat. That was his third fish and our limit." Parker pointed to team spirit as the key ingredient to Auburn's success: "Shaye really carried me today. I was getting discouraged - I had one break off early, and I had a couple others that wouldn't commit (to the bait). On the first two days, I had my limits by 9 o'clock, so today I was starting to get down and second-guessing myself. Shaye just kept building me back up and telling me, `Just keep doing what we're doing. We know there's fish in here, so just keep your head down.' "Every time, I'd push a little harder. This is our fourth day fishing (including practice), and it really helps if you have a partner that's willing to carry you like that." Auburn's Rodgers and Peek advance to third Starting day three in fifth place, Auburn's Richard Peek and Caleb Rodgers had only one way to go, andRising two spots from fifth, Auburn they took that upward direction, gaining two spots for a third-place finish with 20 pounds, 2 ounces. The Tigers bagged three keepers on the final day for 5-14. They had 7-4 on day one and 7-0 on day two. Day three's prolonged period of overcast conditions worked in favor of this Auburn team. Days one and two had clouds with scattered periods of sunshine. Today saw gray skies from the launch until midday. "We've needed cloudy weather all week - that's what we planned for, and that's how we practiced," Peek said. "We actually had it this morning for an extra hour or two. We had two better bites and got them in the boat, but once the sun came out about 11 a.m., our bite died down." Peek and Rodgers fished a Skinny Dipper swimbait on a weighted 5/0 wide-gap hook and a Texas-rigged Zoom Chigger Tail Worm in the Bama Bug color. They flipped the worm and swam it across the tops of lily pads and hydrilla. When they found holes in the vegetation, they let the worm drop into these openings to further tease the bass. Peek said that his team had two more shots at good fish, but the nature of their tactics inherently claims a few fish. "We hooked two more good ones that were way back in the lily pads, and we couldn't pull them out." UCF represents for fourth Representing the tournamentWith infectious enthusiasm, no doubt spurred by tremendous support from a very vocal audience of their fellow Knights, the University of Central Florida's wildly popular team of Dustin Lauer and Matthew Norman managed just three fish for 1-15 on day three and retained their fourth-place position with a total of 19-5. Targeting hydrilla and bulrushes on the lake's west side, the UCF anglers caught their fish on frogs and flukes. Lauer said the day's calm conditions hurt their efforts: "It was a nice day - a little too nice. We actually needed a little more wind movement and a little bit of rain to kick that bait up and get the bass biting. We were kind of banking on that." The hometown crowd went nuts when Lauer and Norman weighed the largest bag of day two - 10 pounds, 10 ounces - and rose three spots from seventh to make the top five. The UCF anglers got no less love on day three, despite a slow day. Thanking their supporters, both anglers expressed pride in carrying the UCF banner this week and promised to do so at the championship in Knoxville. "We worked so hard - this lake is tough," Lauer said. "We're going to go Knoxville and fish our hearts out and represent our school." Young Harris struggles, finishes fifth It was a tough day for Clint McNeal and Brad Rutherford of Young Harris College, as the anglers slippedAvoiding the goose egg, Clint McNeal boated a single bass for Young Harris College. two notches to finish fifth with a total of 19 pounds, 2 ounces. The anglers started the tournament by placing fourth on day one with 9-0 and rose to third on day three with 8-14. McNeal caught a single bass weighing 1-4 on day three. The anglers had fared well by throwing topwaters and flukes at schooling fish on days one and two, but they could not find such activity in the final round. With today's wind much lighter than the previous two days, Rutherford surmised that the baitfish were being herded into the areas where they had previously found schooling bass. Without the food concentration, the predators were not forming their feeding groups. McNeal said he was thankful for his one fish: "That fish came five minutes before we had to come in. We stopped on one last place and hit it just to try, and it paid off. We were worried that we were going to come in with a goose egg."

Tags: headline-story  david-a-brown 

/news/2015-08-29-matual-masters-erie

Matual Masters Erie

David Matual of Chicago, Ill., leaned on his spot hard and sacked up the biggest bag of day three weighing 22 pounds, 6 ounces. For his final-day rally he claimed the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division victory on Lake Erie with a three-day total of 65 pounds, fending off Jared Rhode by a mere 7 ounces. Drop-shotting over shallow reefs delivered all of Matual’s fish and earned him a check worth more than $31,000. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-lake-erie-day-3-midday-update

Lake Erie Day 3 Midday Update

Lake Erie put on a different face for day three of the final Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event. After a rough day one, yesterday’s calm and mostly sunny conditions offered comfortable running and fishing conditions. Today was still a far cry from the brutal waves of day one - and prior practice days - but windier conditions and overcast skies seemed to present a more challenging scenario. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-28-top-5-patterns-from-lake-erie-day-2

Top 5 Patterns From Lake Erie Day 2

Pennsylvania pro Dave Lefebre and Ohio pro Jared Rhode tied for the day-two lead in Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division action on Lake Erie with 43 pounds, 9 ounces. Both pros caught their fish on drop-shots. Here are the details of the rest of the top five. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-28-lefebre-rhode-tied-at-the-top

Lefebre, Rhode Tied at the Top

Notching his second day of 20-plus pounds, FLW Tour pro Dave Lefebre tallied 43 pounds, 9 ounces and tied day-one leader Jared Rhode for the day-two top spot at the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. Lefebre caught his 22-3 limit on Rapala DT-10 crankbaits, while Rhodes tempted his 19-15 catch with drop-shots. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-28-lake-erie-day-2-midday-update

Lake Erie Day 2 Midday Update

With winds shifting from yesterday’s northerly blow to a warmer southerly direction, day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie brought calmer conditions with greater ability to methodically work key spots. Offshore, waves ran 1 to 2 feet, with leeward areas behind the Lake Erie Islands nearly flat. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-27-rhode-cracks-23-10-for-erie-lead

Rhode Cracks 23-10 for Erie Lead

Jared Rhode played his cards and the gamble paid off better than expected, as the pro from Port Clinton, Ohio, took the day-one lead at the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie with a limit catch weighing 23 pounds, 10 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-27-top-5-patterns-from-lake-erie-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Erie Day 1

Taking off this morning, the FLW Tour pro from Erie, Pa., knew the day’s north wind would keep him from making a long run to a big-fish spot close to his home. However, keeping it local and fishing a little past Pelee Island to the west delivered a solid second-place catch. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-27-lake-erie-day-1-midday-report

Lake Erie Day 1 Midday Report

Winds have subsided considerably since practice, but Lake Erie’s still showing her temperamental side to Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division anglers fishing the last divisional event out of Sandusky, Ohio. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-27-hunting-erie-s-brown-fish

Hunting Erie’s Brown Fish

It’s going to be an Easter egg hunt on Lake Erie, but at least the great lake will behave a little better during the final Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event than it did during practice. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-26-smallmouth-slugfest-on-tap-at-erie-

Smallmouth Slugfest on Tap at Erie

Florida pro Glenn Browne leads the race with 492 points, largely due to his win at the previous divisional event on Lake Champlain. Following well within striking distance are Canadian pro Cory Johnston (484 points) and Louisianan Gerald Spohrer (483), who found his way into the Northern Division quite incidentally. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-25-top-10-patterns-from-the-forrest-wood-cup

Top 10 Patterns from the Forrest Wood Cup

If you don’t believe that summertime bass fishing in the dog days of August is all over the map, just take a look at the top 10 patterns from the best bass pros on earth at the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Brad Knight captured the Cup by mining one small creek end for four days. But beyond that, the rest of the top 10 patterns ran the gamut, from targeting schoolers over 40 feet to wolf packs of bass on the bank to brush piles to grass to mud flats and everywhere in between. Here’s a rundown. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-23-knight-slays-ouachita

Knight Slays Ouachita

Lancing, Tenn., pro Brad Knight won the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart on Lake Ouachita with a four-day total of 51 pounds, 12 ounces. In front of a standing-room-only crowd at Bank of the Ozarks Arena in Hot Springs, Ark., Knight weighed in 11-07 on day four to surpass Jacob Wheeler, who started the day with a 12-ounce lead. Fishing in just one area all four days, Knight locked up the first win of his FLW career. He earned $500,000 for his victory and pushed his career earnings total to more than $688,000. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-23-forrest-wood-cup-day-4-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-22-wheeler-back-in-front

Wheeler Back in Front

Jacob Wheeler loves Lake Ouachita. It’s where he fished his first Forrest Wood Cup in 2011, and it’s where he’ll take the tournament lead into the final day of competition at the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Wheeler, the 2011 Cup champion, led this tournament on day one and slipped a couple spots on day two. He now has a very slim 12-ounce lead over Tennessean Brad Knight. The anglers will square off tomorrow on Ouachita starting at 7 a.m. against the rest of the top 10 pros for the top prize of $500,000. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-22-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 3

Jacob Wheeler may have regained his lead in the Forrest Wood Cup on day three, but Brad Knight is right on his heels. Going into the final day, the two pros are separated by just 12 ounces. The margin is tight, and what’s going to make the final day fun to watch is the difference in the two anglers’ strategies. Wheeler is running a topwater pattern on the main lake, and fishing new water is part of his plan. Knight, however, has caught almost all of his weight from one 250-yard stretch of bass-rich creek channel. He literally knows every target he is fishing by heart. On the surface, Knight’s area looks to be the better bet. But he has shared the general area with Brandon Cobb and Mark Daniels Jr. for three solid days. And the bad news, at least for Knight, is that both Cobb and Daniels will be sharing the water with him again on the final day as both made the top-10 cut. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-22-forrest-wood-cup-day-3-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-ramie-races-into-the-lead

Ramie Races into the Lead

On the back of a 17-pound, 14-ounce limit, which is the biggest of the tournament thus far, Ramie Colson Jr. jumped from seventh place to take over the lead at the halfway point of the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. Colson’s two-day total is 31 pounds, 1 ounce, which puts him almost 3 pounds ahead of Tennessee’s Brad Knight. The Forrest Wood Cup, which is hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, moves into its top-20 round on Saturday. The top 10 pros after Saturday’s weigh-in advance to Sunday’s final round for a shot at the $500,000 top prize. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 2

At times, bass fishing can be a lot like real estate, where the three most important rules are location, location and location. The 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita presented by Walmart is starting to become a bit of a real estate game where location is the primary consideration in who climbs the leaderboard. And those mining the backs of creeks and tributaries are on the prime pieces of real estate. Consider that after day two, four of the top five pros are concentrating their fishing efforts in the back ends of creeks or rivers. All of these areas fit a classic late-summer, early-fall pattern where shad pack into the back of creek ditches that meander through shallow flats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-forrest-wood-cup-day-2-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-wheeler-hunting-history

Wheeler Hunting History

It’s never been done before, and it hasn’t happened yet, but Jacob Wheeler is in prime position to become the first two-time Forrest Wood Cup champion in history. Wheeler, of Indianapolis, Ind., brought in a 16-pound, 2-ounce limit of Lake Ouachita bass on the first day of the Cup, which is presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. READ MORE »