UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

‘Rock’ star performance

Pro winner Brent Ehrler holds up his biggest from day four on Table Rock Lake.

BRANSON, Mo. - Fresh off a victory at the FLW Series Western Division opener on Lake Shasta, Brent Ehrler arrived to a chilly Table Rock Lake and didn't initially like what he saw. For starters, the water was substantially cooler and clearer than last year's FLW Tour event. His concerns became very real as he failed to boat more than two keepers in any of the three practice days.

He did, however, identify one spot with potential. Ehrler found this spot accidentally as he began to run to the back of a creek. He saw a point on his graph and decided it was worth investigating. This area, located up the White River just above the Highway 39 Bridge, had classic prespawn written all over it.

Ehrler saw it as the inside turn of a creek-channel bend that formed a point. And surrounding it was a With trophy in hand, Brent Ehrler celebrates after winning the FLW Tour event on Table Rock Lake.bed of standing timber. While many pros fished similar areas, Ehrler's was different in that the timber was completely submerged. In other words, it couldn't be seen with the naked eye; he needed his Lowrance electronics to locate it.

"In the morning, those fish came up there to feed, and then they'd drop back down to the timber," said the 2006 Forrest Wood Cup champion. "They're staging in there, and in another two weeks, they will be up on the bank."

Ehrler didn't know what he had found until he fished it hard on day one. In practice he caught only one keeper there. Right after he got bit, Brandon Hunter, his practice partner, caught a quality largemouth. Not wanting to burn valuable weight, that was all he needed to know.

On day one he caught 16 pounds, 6 ounces. On day two he sacked 22-2, the heaviest limit of the entire tournament. Yesterday he calmly put 14-6 in the boat, and today he sealed the deal with 16-13.

"I've never found a spot like this before. It was just loaded, and it replenished each day. It wasn't just big fish either. There were a ton of 12-inchers too. I even caught a walleye one day. I've never been so excited to go fishing each morning. I've never had a tournament like this."

The lion's share of Ehrler's catch came on two baits - a 5-inch Yamamoto grub and a Yamamoto National Guard pro Brent Ehrler holds up his check for winning the 2010 FLW Tour opener on Table Rock Lake.Swimming Senko (smoke and natural-shad colors). He fished both on a regular 1/4-ounce jighead. Tied to the baits was 12-pound braided line and a 7-foot, 8-pound fluorocarbon leader. Occasionally, he would mix in a regular Senko, a Lucky Craft 2.5 deep-diving crankbait and a Lucky Craft Pointer 100DD jerkbait. These baits were presented over the trees on the deep side of the drop-off. His boat was sitting in 30 to 35 feet of water, and the fish were positioned in 15 to 25.

"This was their first stop on the way back to the creek."

For a total weight of 69 pounds, 11 ounces, Ehrler earned $100,000. He also earned $25,000 from the Ranger Cup program and $2,500 from the Cabela's Angler Cash program. His 13-pound, 2-ounce margin of victory is the second larges in FLW Tour history only to Brett Hite. Coincidentally, Hite also won FLW Tour and FLW Series events back to back. Ehrler's win was the fifth of his young career. And with each one, the 33-year-old begins to solidify his position as FLW Outdoors' best professional angler.

"The Cup was obviously an awesome tournament to win, but this is a big deal because I've never won a regular-season Tour event. And with the way the economy and everything is these days, the timing is great too."

Shuffield second

His main goal was not to catch Ehrler, but to retain his fragile second-place standing. And Ron Shuffield accomplished just that. The Bismarck, Ark., pro put his third limit of the week in the boat Pro Ron Shuffield caught a 17-pound, 10-ounce limit Saturday to finish the Table Rock event in second place.Saturday. This one weighed 17 pounds, 10 ounces and pushed his total weight to 56 pounds, 9 ounces.

Shuffield was the only finalist who fished the James River and not the White. Fishing fans may remember the James was an extremely popular arm in 2009. More specifically, Shuffield was in Ants Creek, a branch of the James. Shuffield actually started his tournament on the main lake in extremely deep water. He caught three right away Wednesday morning, but never got bit again. He eventually changed his entire strategy and ran to the river. There he worked a variety of jerkbaits on 10-pound fluorocarbon.

"The key wasn't brand or color," he explained. "The key was being around a fish that wanted to bite. I really thought they'd move shallower, but the fish clearly suspended. And you really had to slow down to get bites."

Shuffield would twitch the jerkbait twice and then pause it for five or six seconds before repeating the process. This successfully emulated a struggling shad. He focused on channel-swing banks and transition banks where one type of rock changes to another. Many of these banks had cedar trees and brush. While the other finalists targeted exclusively largemouths, Shuffield brought in mixed bags of all three Table Rock species.

"To finish second to Brent Ehrler, I have no problem with that whatsoever."

His consolation prize was $40,000. As dominant as Ehrler's tournament was, Shuffield actually would have won under the old zeroed-weight format.

Pro Mike Wurm finished the FLW Tour opener on Table Rock Lake in third place.Wurm climbs to third

After catching limits each of the first two days, pro Mike Wurm managed only three bass each of the last two days. His day-four catch weighed 8 pounds, 10 ounces and pushed his total weight to 46 pounds, 6 ounces. Two of the fish were largemouths - the other a spotted bass. For third place, Wurm earned $30,000.

"Overall, I'm pretty proud of myself," said the Hot Springs, Ark., native. "I found a real good pattern, and I executed every day. The last two days I think they started moving - probably up the creek. I could have depleted the area too."

Wurm dragged a small Eakins' jig with a Zoom Critter Craw on the bottom of the White River. At times he worked the jig so slow he was barely moving it. This was the exact method he used to win the 1999 FLW Tour qualifier on Lake Murray. One of his keys this week was using 10-pound braid with a 10-pound fluorocarbon leader. It helped him pull fish out of the timber and improved his hook-set ratio.

"It was really important to barely move the jig. If you so much as lifted it, that means you were fishing it too fast. You've got to remember these fish are cold. And when they're cold, they don't want to move very much - just like us."

Thrift fourth

Falling one place to fourth was Shelby, N.C., pro Bryan Thrift. After sacking 14-pound limits the first Bryan Thrift holds up his lone keeper bass from day four on Table Rock Lake. Thrift finished the event in fourth place.two days, Thrift caught four bass Friday. Today he managed only a single keeper, but it was a nice largemouth weighing 5 pounds, 3 ounces. Thrift finished the tournament with 44 pounds, 1 ounce - earning $20,000.

"I fished a deep (14 to 25 feet) point with timber," said Thrift. "But on this lake there's so much timber. The best one that I found had a sharp drop and a rock vein that ran through it. The vein is almost like a strip of rock. I found this honeyhole on the last day of practice at about 3 p.m."

Thrift used a 3/8-ounce Damiki Mamba jig with a craw trailer on 15-pound fluorocarbon. Like Ehrler, he occasionally mixed in a crankbait - his preferred model a Damiki DC200. His lone keeper Saturday came on a jerkbait - his only jerkbait fish of the week.

Thrift's primary area, located near Ehrler in the White, was phenomenal early in the week, especially in the morning. It got progressively worse though, and the young pro had nowhere else to turn.

"Everywhere else I went I didn't catch squat, so I didn't want to leave. I had a long, tough day today. I beat that area up for over two hours and only caught a couple shorts. I had to punt and scramble around just to get that one keeper."

Pugh blanks for fifth

Greg Pugh finished in 5th place with a four-day total of 38-8 worth $18,000.All week long pro Greg Pugh spoke about how gratifying it was to finally get some revenge on Table Rock, a lake he's struggled at in years past. Today Table Rock returned the favor as Pugh failed to catch a keeper bass. Pugh's four-day cumulative weight registered 38 pounds, 8 ounces, good enough for fifth place and $18,000.

"All week long I was having difficulty getting them out of the trees," said the Cullman, Ala., native. "Today I had a bunch of white bass fishermen near me. I think all the boat traffic finally drove them out."

While most fished deeper cedar trees, Pugh targeted oak trees over a flat in 9 to 14 feet of water. His best spot, located up the White River, was actually four overlapping oaks that have intertwined limbs. In those trees, Pugh used a black-and-blue 5/8-ounce Lunker Lures jig and Zoom Black Super Chunk Junior trailer.

"I'm happy to have finally done well on Table Rock, but the last few days were kind of aggravating."

Video coverage

For daily video coverage of the Table Rock event check out the Reeltime Report.

The next FLW Tour event is slated for Lake Norman in Charlotte, N.C., March 24-27.

Tags: brett-carlson  headline-story  2010-03-03-table-rock-lake 

/news/2016-07-25-top-10-patterns-from-the-1000-islands

Top 10 Patterns from the 1000 Islands

High wind and fluctuating water temperatures made things a little difficult for the anglers, but the top-10 pros adapted and utilized the whole playing field to exploit everything from deep smallmouth to shallow largemouth. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-mccartney-o-keefe-tie-for-win-at-flw-bass-fishing-league-great-lakes-division-event-on-mississippi-river-presented-by-navionics

McCartney, O’Keefe Tie For Win at FLW Bass Fishing League Great Lakes Division Event on Mississippi River Presented By Navionics

LA CROSSE, Wis. (July 25, 2016) – Mark McCartney of Davis Junction, Illinois, and Nick O’Keefe of La Crosse, Wisconsin, each weighed three bass totaling 11 pounds even, Saturday to win the third FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division tournament of 2016 on the Mississippi... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-mccartney-o-keefe-tie-on-the-mighty-miss

McCartney, O'Keefe tie on the Mighty Miss

Mark McCartney of Davis Junction, Illinois, and Nick O’Keefe of La Crosse, Wisconsin, each weighed three bass totaling 11 pounds even, Saturday to win the third FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division tournament of 2016 on the Mississippi River presented by Navionics. For his win, McCartney earned $5,540 after bonuses, and O’Keefe took home $3,540. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-country-music-superstar-dustin-lynch-to-perform-free-concert-in-huntsville-presented-by-wdrm-102-1

Country Music Superstar Dustin Lynch to perform Free Concert In Huntsville presented by WDRM 102.1

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Country music superstar Dustin Lynch will perform a free concert on the Walmart weigh-in stage at the Propst Arena in the Von Braun Center in Huntsville on Sunday, August 7, starting at 4 p.m., prior to the final weigh-in of the world championship of professional bass fishing, the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. The concert is presented by WDRM... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-jay-kendrick-the-rookie-

Jay Kendrick – The “Rookie”

A rookie by designation if not by experience, Forrest Wood Cup contender Jay Kendrick finished 34th in the standings in his first year on the Walmart FLW Tour to clinch a spot in the championship. What makes it even more fortuitous for him is that because the Cup is taking place on Wheeler Lake, he’ll be able to stay at his own house for the event, which is just about 30 minutes from takeoff at Ditto Landing. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-fan-freebies-and-contests-at-the-cup

Fan Freebies and Contests at the Cup

One pro angler is going to win $300,000 at the Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart Aug. 4-7 on Wheeler Lake in Huntsville, Ala. That’s good for him. For fans, the chance to win is pretty good too. FLW and its partners and sponsors have lined up a sweet selection of giveaway prizes for the Cup and the accompanying FLW Expo, ranging from a tricked-out bass boat to a fishing trip with Jimmy Houston. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-24-1000-islands-top-10-baits

1000 Islands Top 10 Baits

The top pros from the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands kept it pretty simple to catch both largemouths and smallmouths from this massive fishery that includes the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. Drop-shots, spinnerbaits and jigs all saw action and got it done from the lake to the river. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-24-penn-state-taps-docks-at-chautauqua-

Penn State Taps Docks at Chautauqua

The Penn State University duo of Clayton Frey of York, Pennsylvania, and Derek Horner, of State College, Pennsylvania, won the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference event at Chautauqua Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and qualified the team for the 2017 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-thompson-co-angler-champ-on-1000-islands

Thompson Co-angler Champ on 1000 Islands

The 1000 Islands is a great place to take a vacation, especially if you are from the south and want to escape the heat. That is exactly what co-angler Joe Thompson of Clayton, Ga., did and wound up capturing the top spot in the co-angler division bringing home a Ranger Z117 with a 90 hp motor. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-penn-state-university-wins-flw-college-fishing-northern-conference-event-on-chautauqua-lake

Penn State University wins FLW College Fishing Northern Conference Event on Chautauqua Lake

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. – The Penn State University duo of Clayton Frey of York, Pennsylvania, and Derek Horner, of State College, Pennsylvania, won the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference event at Chautauqua Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and qualified the team for the 2017 FLW College Fishing National... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-michigan-s-dobson-leads-wire-to-wire-wins-costa-flw-series-event-at-1000-islands-presented-by-mercury

Michigan’s Dobson leads wire-to-wire, wins Costa FLW Series Event at 1000 Islands presented by Mercury

CLAYTON, N.Y. – Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Michigan, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event at 1000 Islands presented by Mercury with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 68 pounds, 8 ounces. For his win, Dobson earned $82,669, including a new Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-dobson-dominates-1000-islands

Dobson Dominates 1000 Islands

Scott Dobson didn’t expect it to come so quickly, but 30 minutes is all it took for him to find the winning pattern during his first day of practice for the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands. That pattern would lead him to three consecutive limits of more than 20 pounds, including today’s final-round bag worth 21-12 – the day’s biggest limit, yet his smallest of the tournament. His three-day total weight of 68-8 earned him a check for more than $37,000 along with a Ranger Z518C with a 200-hp engine for being Ranger Cup qualified. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-1000-islands-top-5-patterns-day-2

1000 Islands Top 5 Patterns Day 2

Strong winds limited competition to only the St. Lawrence River on day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands, but that was no problem for the majority of the top 10. Even though most of them fished Lake Ontario on day one, they were able to adjust and stay on the fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-dobson-extends-lead-at-1000-islands

Dobson Extends Lead at 1000 Islands

A windy day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on the 1000 Islands didn’t stop day-one leader Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Mich., from sacking up the biggest bag of the day. Dobson threw down an impressive 22-pound, 3-ounce limit to extend his lead to 5 pounds over Cal Climpson – a noted Lake Ontario maestro. Dobson’s two-day total stands at 46-12, and with lighter winds tomorrow some big bags are expected. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-lake-ontario-out-for-day-2

Lake Ontario Out for Day 2

It is never good when you wake up the morning of a tournament and every flag you see is standing straight out at 3 a.m., but that was the case this morning for day two of the Costa FLW Series event on the 1000 Islands. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-1000-islands-top-5-patterns-day-1

1000 Islands Top 5 Patterns Day 1

Past experience on this fishery seems to be a big advantage for the top pros through one day of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands. Scott Dobson leads the way with 24 pounds, 9 ounces, yet there are some serious hammers right on his heels. Dobson fished both the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario for his limit, while others went straight to the lake and stayed there. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-dobson-drops-24-9

Dobson Drops 24-9

Despite the weights being dropped on the scale for the opening round of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on the 1000 Islands presented by Mercury, it has actually been a tough day of fishing. Strong winds made it hard for the anglers regardless of if they were fishing the lake or river. Smallmouth guru Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Mich., sacked up 24 pounds, 9 ounces on day one to take a 1-8 lead over Canadian stick Cal Climpson. Dobson utilized both the river and lake for his limit, which could play to his advantage if the wind blows like the weathermen are forecasting tomorrow. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-professional-bass-fishing-s-forrest-wood-cup-set-to-visit-wheeler-lake

Professional Bass Fishing’s Forrest Wood Cup set to visit Wheeler Lake

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of professional bass fishing, will visit Wheeler Lake and the Huntsville, Alabama, area August 4-7 to crown bass fishing’s top angler of 2016. Hosted by the Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the tournament will feature 50 of the world’s best bass-fishing... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-1000-islands-midday-update-day-1

1000 Islands Midday Update Day 1

Day one of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands hasn’t been about if the wind will blow, but when. Everyone knew the gales were coming eventually. Still, the majority of anglers hung a left out of the dock this morning and charged toward Lake Ontario into a steady breeze that turned into a howling wind by midmorning. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-21-2016-forrest-wood-cup-angler-intro-music

2016 Forrest Wood Cup Angler Intro Music

Each season, the anglers that make the Forrest Wood Cup get to choose the intro music that will play when they walk out on stage at weigh-ins. Naturally, the selections vary as widely as the anglers’ personalities and backgrounds – David Dudley once selected the Chicken Dance song, if that tells you anything. READ MORE »