UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Dill delivers

A long run paid off for James Dill, as his target area produced tournament-winning fish.

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. - Making a 50-mile run takes commitment. Doing so on a shivering-cold morning with a stinging rain requires an absolute certainty in the objective. In short, that was the script for James Dill, who won the American Fishing Series Central Division opener on Lake of the Ozarks. The Laurie, Mo., pro left the dock at the Grand Glaize Recreation Area and made a two-hour run up the lake to fish the fertile backwaters he located during practice. Conditions were right, and Dill made the decision to stake his tournament fortunes on these distant spots. "I found a couple of creeks loaded up with fish, and I knew I could go there every day and catch a limit," heJames Dill caught his winning fish on a Crocogator jig in the Ozark Craw color. said. "I just didn't know what the limits would weigh. It was a long run. I will say that - a long run. My non-boaters, I have to give it to them; they hung with me to run that distance." Dill caught all of his fish on a 5/16-ounce Crock O Gator Zapper jig in the Ozark Craw color. "I used the same jig all day today," Dill said. "It just comes through the rocks and brush really good." After two days of mostly sunny conditions, day three saw a cold front roll through the area in the morning. Anglers faced rain, sleet and snow throughout the day, and air temperatures topped out around 38 degrees. Finding a warm spot was essential to Dill's success. "The water temperature up there has been 47 degrees for a good week, and the other week I had 50 in Finding creeks with warmer water was intrinsic to James Dillthere," he said. "I just keyed on that. All of these fish were just coming in, and they were staging on the channel banks. You can go to any channel swing up there and catch fish. I caught probably 14 keepers up there. It was just a good bite today." With many of his fish biting gingerly, Dill said that hookups required heightened sensitivity and response. Fifteen-pound Berkley 100% fluorocarbon line facilitated this. "It was really just a matter of feeling them. Those fish would pick up the jig and just hold it. You had to keep a rhythm going and keep contact with that jig. If you didn't have rhythm going, you'd never feel them. If that rhythm stopped, you'd better set the hook." Dill placed seventh on day one with 13 pounds. He improved to fifth the next day by adding 13-15. In the final round, he caught his best bag of the tournament - 16-1 - and posted a 43-pound total. He won $22,121 plus a Ranger boat, motor and trailer. Kowal sticks with jerkbaits, finishes second Shawn Kowal of Linn Creek, Mo., grabbed the second-place spot on day two and never budged. He caughtOne of the tournament limits all three days, with weights of 15-12, 13-6 and 12-14 yielding a 42-pound total and $7,521. Kowal said he struggled to get a big bite on day two, and he hoped that he had a spot with quality fish identified for the final round. Regrettably, he said he let the crowd factor get to him. "I made some pretty good decisions the first two days, and I really thought that today I'd catch a lot bigger fish," he said. "I had the spot to probably win this tournament, and I left it too early. There were a lot of boats in there. Today, there was a (local) tournament launching from (this area), and there were four other boats in there. It was tight, so I figured I'd make a run and finish out my limit, but it didn't work out quite that way." Targeting specific notches in the shoreline contour, Kowal fished Megabass jerkbaits, including a hot new color that has not yet been released to the public. "I was fishing pretty warm water, so I could move the bait pretty fast," he said. "This afternoon, I fished in cooler water, and I had to let it sit for a while. I just had to keep changing up until I figured out what they wanted." Newly engaged Garrison takes third Holding at third place, Earl Garrison IV missed his Day Three limit by one fish, but his 12-5 weight showed he was around good fish.After placing third on day one with 15-11, Earl K. Garrison IV of Bull Shoals, Ark., kept that position on day two with 13-1. He added four fish that weighed 12-5 on day three for a 41-1 total worth $5,309. Garrison caught all of his fish on Megabass jerkbaits, some of which were custom painted by Fall Creek Lures. "I had two rods out every day, and I just alternated colors on different spots," Garrison said. "It was real simple fishing, but I just came up one short today." After weighing his fish on day one, Garrison surprised his girlfriend Jennifer Swackhammer with a marriage proposal - on her birthday. Jennifer said "yes," and Garrison said she is the catch of his life. Ives makes big run, takes fourth Steve C. Ives of Rockford, Ill., ran about 17 miles from the launch site, fished with rods and jigs from hisMoving up four spots to finish fourth, Steve Ives had three feisty smallmouth in his limit. company, Top 10 Tackle, and caught a strong limit weighing 14-7. Pairing that with his first two weights of 12-4 and 13-10 gave him a fourth-place score of 40-5 worth $4,424. Three of Ives' final-day keepers wore brown suits with stripes on their faces. "Those smallmouth were a real surprise, and that big one was a joy because I was having a tough morning when I got that one," he said. Ives described his bait presentation: "Sometimes I was dragging it, and sometimes I just stopped it. When the bite slowed down, I really slowed down the jig. I'd pull it against the structure and just let it sit for a second. I'd wait, and usually a fish would come by and pick it up." Taylor falls to fifth Bub Taylor of Tontitown, Ark., led the Pro Division after day two, but dropped to fifth with a tournament total of 39-8. He earned $3,982. Best of the rest Rounding out the top 10 pros at the FLW American Fishing Series Lake of the Ozarks event: 6th: Roger Fitzpatrick of Eldon, Mo., 38-14 7th: Marcus Sykora of Osage Beach, Mo., 38-3 8th: Joe Partain of Farmington, Ark., 35-12 9th: Bob Richardson of Granite City, Ill., 33-6 10th: Mike Foree of Osage Beach, Mo., 32-0

Tags: headline-story  david-a-brown 


Devere Takes BFL Wild Card Win

The decision of what to fish come tournament time can be difficult for most. For others – like Mike Devere – relying on a single bait that you have confidence in is all you need. Devere’s one bait, one rod method was strong enough to carry him to victory by nearly 2 pounds in the BFL Wild Card held on Lake Hartwell. READ MORE »


Hanselmania 4.0

Saturday, in Paducah, Ky., on the shores of the Ohio River, Ray Hanselman rewrote history for the second time this season. After winning all three 2015 Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division events, which had never been done before, Hanselman came to Kentucky and won the Rayovac FLW Series Championship. READ MORE »


Rayovac Championship Day 3 Coverage

The final day of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River will largely be fished on the Tennessee River, as all but two anglers rolled up it to chase smallmouths. READ MORE »


Hanselman on the Verge of Four-Peat

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River was fished primarily on the nearby Tennessee River and resulted in a major shuffling of the leaderboard. In the end, Ray Hanselman rose from second to first and will lead the top 10 into the final day with 30 pounds, 14 ounces. READ MORE »


Top 5 Patterns from the Ohio River Day 2

After two days of competition, Ray Hanselman leads the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River, but as the leaderboard has reflected, the river’s hefty smallmouths are certainly capable of producing some fireworks and providing some surprises. READ MORE »


Rayovac Championship Day 2 Coverage

Down at Paducah, the start of day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship was just about perfect – a light wind, temps in the low 40s and no fog. That’s not the case elsewhere. READ MORE »


Barnes Blasts 21 on the Ohio

On day one of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River David Barnes Sr. of China, Maine, hauled exactly 21 pounds of smallmouth across the stage to take the lead on a day that was tough for many. READ MORE »


Top 5 Patterns from the Ohio River Day 1

Shortly after David Barnes electrified the Rayovac FLW Series Championship weigh-in with his leading weight of 21 pounds of smallmouths, Ray Hanselman followed suit with an all-smallmouth limit weighing 19 pounds. READ MORE »


Rayovac Championship Day 1 Coverage

Updates from day one of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River. READ MORE »


McCaig Wins Neely Henry Regional

There are times that a little local knowledge helps you in a bass tournament, and then there are times it does not. And sometimes, it pays to ignore past experiences altogether, as Mark McCaig figured out en route to winning the Oct. 22-24, 2015 Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Neely Henry out of Gadsden, Ala. By disregarding what his local experience might have suggested he do and approaching the tournament a little differently, the Oxford, Ala., boater posted a three-day total weight of 45 pounds, 7 ounces to take home the $20,000 winner’s purse as well as a 2015 Ranger Z518C with 200-hp outboard. READ MORE »


Goodwin Wins at Lake of the Ozarks

Day-two leader Shonn Goodwin of Moore, Okla., held on to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional presented by Mercury at Lake of the Ozarks Oct. 22-24 by bringing four bass to the scale on the third and final day. Those fish weighed 8 pounds, 11 ounces. His three-day total of 14 bass weighed 43-13. For the win, Goodwin earned $20,000 and a new Ranger bass boat. READ MORE »


Walters Wins Wateree BFL Regional

Todd Walters relied on a combo pattern to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional on Lake Wateree. The North Carolina boater fished rocky cover upstream and brush piles in the lake's clear lower end. The two-part program produced a three-day winning weight of 47 pounds, 4 ounces, which was 11 pounds better than second place. READ MORE »


Uribe By An Ounce

After Jody Jordan brought 24 pounds, 5 ounces to push his total past 66 pounds on the final day the crowd waited with bated breath for day two leader Joe Uribe Jr. to bring his fish to the scale. As Uribe transferred his third bass from the bag to the scale, he shook his head and whispered back “you’ve got it,” to the watching Jordan. READ MORE »


Anderson Wins KY Lake Regional

You might say there weren’t any surprises at the 2015 Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional presented by Lowrance on Kentucky Lake Oct. 15-17. The techniques of the top 12 pros who fished the final day were typical of the Tennessee River in fall: surface fishing with frogs and Zara Spooks and winding Rat-L-Traps and ChatterBaits. The winners weren’t surprising either: Ryan Sykes of Hamilton, Ohio, won the co-angler division for the second consecutive year, and Tennessee pro Brent Anderson earned his sixth win on the Kentucky/Barkley system since 2009. READ MORE »


Grover Takes Co-angler Title on Clear Lake

Rick Grover of Trabuco Canyon, Calif., pulled in 55 pounds, 5 ounces of bass for the Rayovac FLW Series co-angler win on Clear Lake. All told, it was worth a new Ranger Z117 with a 90-horsepower outboard and $5,000. READ MORE »


Clear Lake Midday Update Day 3



Uribe Takes Lead and AOY at Clear Lake

Joe Uribe Jr. jumped into the lead going into the final day of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Clear Lake. Uribe caught 20 pounds, 13 ounces on day two for a total of 44 pounds, 8 ounces and was the only pro to weigh more than 20 pounds both days. READ MORE »


Top 5 Patterns from Clear Lake Day 2

When the scales had closed after the second day of the Rayovac FLW Series Western Division tournament presented by Evinrude on Clear Lake, no doubt more than a few anglers breathed a sigh of relief that they were still in contention. READ MORE »


Clear Lake Midday Update Day 2

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Clear Lake has been a little slower than day one. READ MORE »


Crutcher Cracks 29-9

Midway through a weigh-in that was noticeably lacking in super-sized bags, Mark Crutcher of Lakeport, Calif., lit up the leaderboard with 29 pounds, 9 ounces of Clear Lake goodness. READ MORE »