All but over for Ehrler

Pro leader Brent Ehrler holds up his two biggest bass from day three on Table Rock Lake.

BRANSON, Mo. - Despite being only 33, Brent Ehrler is wise beyond his years. This week at the FLW Tour opener on Table Rock Lake, Ehrler has located a prespawn staging area that has winning potential. And he knows it too. So he's carefully managed it all week to ensure he heads back to California with yet another six-figure payday. So far the plan has worked brilliantly. After catching 16-6 and 22-2 on days one and two, Ehrler calmly corralled his third limit of the tournament - this one going 14-6. He started the day with an 8-pound lead and ended it with a 14-pound lead. If he wanted to, Ehrler could sleep the whole day tomorrow and possibly still take home the title. The amazing thing is that the National Guard pro's best day of practice consisted of only two keepers. And only one of them came from this magic area up the White River. National Guard pro Brent Ehrler shows his day-three kicker off to the cameras. "I didn't really know what I had until I fished it hard the first day," Ehrler explained. Although this spot has been unbelievable, the pro leader has actually culled one fish from a different area each day. That trend ended today however. As for tomorrow, Ehrler is looking for a strong start that will essentially seal the deal. "I've never been in this situation before. I tell you what I'm still nervous though. If I could just catch a couple early that would help take the pressure off." With only five boats fishing tomorrow, Ehrler was willing to provide details about this classic prespawn area. "It's a point that has a soft ledge and below it there is some timber. Usually, I'm not casting into the timber; I cast above it on the ledge. I think the fish come up there in the morning to feed." Today Ehrler had his limit at 9 a.m. But he didn't get another bite until noon. He's beginning to believe that after the first few hours of daylight, the fish retreat back into the timber. That's where he caught his only upgrade fish. "I think they're staging in there and that's all there is to it. In another two weeks, they will be up on the bank." Shuffield second Rising to second place was Bismarck, Ark., pro Ron Shuffield. Shuffield is about the only pro who has found success in the James River, a popular creek arm in 2009. Today, he managed a 14-pound, Second-place pro Ron Shuffield has a three-day total of 38 pounds, 15 ounces.4-ounce limit to push his total to 38 pounds, 15 ounces. Shuffield actually began his tournament fishing in water 35 to 45 feet deep. He caught three right away Wednesday morning and then never got another bite. Yesterday he started deep and then retreated to the mid-depths of the James. He upgraded there and then today decided to fish it exclusively today. "I'm fishing just about every piece of structure I can find in 15 to 35 feet," he said. "I really thought they would be shallower today but it didn't happen. Clearly, the fish have pulled off and suspended and where I'm at it's a mix of largemouths, smallmouths and spots." Shuffield said he caught every one of his fish on a jerkbait. "The issue is not brand or color. I've used a Spro, a Lucky Craft and a Megabass. The issue is being around a fish that wants to bite." With that in mind, Shuffield is doing more running than most of the four other finalists. "I'm fishing everything from chunk-rock banks to bluff banks to cedar trees to brush. Just not points." Thrift third Rising one place to third was Shelby, N.C., pro Bryan Thrift. After sacking 14-13 and 14-3, Thrift managed four keepers today from the same area that weighed 9 pounds, 14 ounces. He had a fifth Third-place pro Bryan Thrift holds up his two biggest bass from day three.keeper hooked up but lost it in the trees. His total weight is now 38-14 with one day remaining. "I'm fishing a deep (14 to 25 feet) point with timber," said Thrift, who is also up the White River. "But on this lake there's so much timber. The good ones that I've found have a sharp drop and a rock vein that runs through it. The vein is almost like a strip of rock." Thrift also revealed the specific baits he's using. "I'm using a 3/8-ounce Damiki Mamba jig with a craw trailer. If the wind blows I'll upgrade to a 1/2-ounce jig, but I'd rather use the 3/8-ounce." However, his fourth and final keeper came on a Damiki DC200 crankbait. Thrift has entertained the idea of leaving his best area. He thinks it's basically depleted, but he doesn't know where else to go. "I don't think I can bring myself to leave because everywhere else I haven't caught squat." Pugh fourth Six ounces behind Thrift is day-one leader Greg Pugh. Similar to yesterday, Pugh managed four bass Pro Greg Pugh caught four bass Friday that weighed 9 pounds, 5 ounces. Pugh is in fourth place with one day of competition remaining.that weighed 9 pounds, 14 ounces - bringing his total weight to 38 pounds, 8 ounces. "I'm still having difficulty turning them out of the trees," said the Cullman, Ala., native. "And I'm using 20-pound fluorocarbon and a big 7-11 Fenwick flipping stick." Whereas most of the other pros acquired their weight early in the day, Pugh had better luck late. "The sun broke through at noon and the bite improved. The sun brings them into the trees in my area." Instead of fishing cedar trees, Pugh is targeting oak trees. His best spot is actually four overlapping oaks that have intertwined limbs. In those trees, Pugh is working a 5/8-ounce Lunker Lures jig and Zoom Black Super Chunk Junior trailer. "If I lose this tournament, it's not because I didn't find the fish." Wurm falls to fifth After three days of competition, Mike Wurm sits in fifth place in the Pro Division.After demonstrating remarkable consistency each of the first two days, pro Mike Wurm fell back a bit today and caught only three bass for 7 pounds, 9 ounces. With one day remaining, his total weight stands at 37 pounds, 12 ounces. "I only had three keeper bites today," said Wurm, who also caught five short fish. "I think they started moving - probably up the creek. I could have depleted the area too." Wurm is dragging a small Eakins' jig with a Zoom Critter Craw on the bottom of the White River in a painfully slow fashion. His area is large and within it he has four different points and banks he focuses on. One of his keys this week has been using 10-pound braid with a 10-pound fluorocarbon leader. It has helped him pull fish out of the timber and has improved his hook-set ratio. Day four of the FLW Tour event on Table Rock Lake will begin Saturday at 7 a.m. at the Table Rock State Park Marina, located at 380 State Park Marina Road in Branson, Mo.

Tags: headline-story  brett-carlson 

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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

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Morgan Maintains His Lead

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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 »

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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 »

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Beaver Lake Day 3 Coverage

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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 »

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Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 2

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/news/2015-04-24-heckman-heads-up-tbf-championship-field

Heckman Heads up TBF Championship Field

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Beaver Lake Day 2 Coverage

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/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 »

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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 »

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Griffith Grabs TBF Lead

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TBF Championship Tips Off

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Top 10 Baits from Lake Murray

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Jig Bite Carries Holmes on Wateree

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Bryan Slows Down for Chickamauga Win

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Morfis Dominates With 34-Pound Limit

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Salzman Cracks 31 Pounds on Guntersville

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