UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2015 - Ohio River

Hawk hauls in hefty mixed bag

Roy Hawk of Salt Lake City, Utah takes the day-one lead at Ft. Loudoun/Tellico with five largemouth weighing 20-14.

LENOIR CITY, Tenn. - Catching fish at the FLW Tour's third qualifier of the year on Fort Loudoun-Tellico lakes isn't a problem. The difficulty lies with locating the big ones. Many pros are sorting through a dozen short fish just to get one skinny keeper. But a handful of heavy hitters figured the big girls out on day one. Leading the tournament with 20 pounds, 14 ounces is Salt Lake City pro Roy Hawk. Fresh off a top-10 finish at the American Fishing Series event on Lake Ouachita, Hawk experienced a solid practice. He was catching a few 4- and 5-pounders each day and was confident he could amass a limit. However, he never dreamed he'd surpass the 20-pound mark. "I caught the two smallmouths early, and then I went to one of my better largemouth areas and caught Pro leader Roy Hawk holds up his kicker largemouth from day one on the Fort Loudoun-Tellico lakes.that giant," said Hawk, who has three FLW Outdoors wins to his name. "I never saw the fish; I didn't know it was there. I just caught it flipping." That largemouth weighed over 7 pounds and was unofficially the heaviest bass of the day. Hawk believes his fish are either spawning or already have spawned. "If they're on bed, I can't see them. They seem like postspawn fish to me." Hawk doesn't believe he can duplicate his opening-day success, but he won't necessarily need to. Instead, he's hoping to demonstrate some consistency. "I don't know where to find the giants, but I've got a couple good smallmouth and largemouth areas." Hawk estimated that he caught 10 fish on the day, and only seven were keepers. He's throwing a bunch of different lures but his main weapon is a 1/2-ounce Pepper jig in sticky-green color. "Everything went so smooth today. I had a great feeling about it this morning, and everything went perfect. It's really neat when it all comes together." Thrift second One month after claiming the FLW Tour qualifier on Lake Norman, Bryan Thrift is once again in contention to win. While he fished a prespawn pattern at his home lake, Thrift is admittedly sight-fishing Red hot Bryan Thrift continues to dominate the FLW Tour by grabbing second place after day one with 20-3 of smallies.in Knoxville. He found five smallmouths spawning during practice, and today he caught all of them. They weighed an impressive 20 pounds, 3 ounces. "I had five smallmouths on bed, and I caught all of them by 9 a.m.," said the Shelby, N.C., pro. "I culled one smallmouth later in the day with a 3-pound largemouth." Thrift's big fish was an impressive 6-pound, 2-ounce smallie. He hooked it earlier in the day, but it broke Thrift's line. It took him about 15 minutes to get her to bite again. This time, she went for a ride in his Ranger livewell. "The rest of the day I spent looking, but all I found is one more smallmouth. That's it - I pretty much burned everything I had." Thrift caught his fish with a Texas-rigged Damiki Hydra (green-pumpkin). "Tomorrow is going to be a hunt-and-peck day. I think it's ridiculous that I can't catch a keeper just running the bank. But I can't." Browne uses largemouths for third Florida pro Glenn Browne used all largemouths en route to a 17-pound day.In third place with 17 pounds even is Ocala, Fla., pro Glenn Browne. Browne used a swimbait and a tube around lay-downs and docks to get off to a great start. "I had what I weighed in by 11:30 this morning," he said. "I caught two limits, and I actually shook off a few late because I didn't want to waste anything. I thought I would catch 13 or 14 pounds; I had a good practice. I wasn't getting a lot of bites, but the quality was there." Browne said most of his fish came on the tube - a Gambler 4-inch in black/neon. But the swimbait, a Gambler Big E-Z (white), tricked two of his bigger fish - one of which Browne shook off three days ago during practice. Oddly enough, it was a prespawn bass sitting in the exact spot (near a dock). "That was weird; that fish basically didn't move in three days. But I was happy to have her." Browne then reflected on how this tournament is shaping up. "This is the way I like to fish - shallow dirty water. The shallower and dirtier the better." Fourth-place pro James Watson holds up part of his 16-pound, 8-ounce catch.Watson fourth Rookie James Watson has had a rough start to his professional career - failing to cash checks at either Table Rock or Norman. But he's come back with a vengeance at the Fort Loudoun-Tellico lakes. On day one, the Waynesville, Mo., pro sacked up 16 pounds, 8 ounces for fourth place. "I had a pretty tough practice but it slowly got better," said Watson, who fished Fort Loudoun Lake Wednesday. "Today they came scattered throughout and I caught everything that bit." Watson managed nine keepers and weighed all largemouths. Most of his fish are coming on a Carolina-rigged Luck E Strike USA curl-tail lizard. His kicker fell victim to a 1/2-ounce Luck E Strike jig with a Fighting Craw trailer. "I think these are prespawn fish that are moving up. I think I can catch them tomorrow too, but I right now I'm just tickled to death to have what I have." Kenney fifth J.T. Kenney pitches a drop-shot to a smallmouth bed.J.T. Kenney, known more for his prowess on the grassy Florida lakes, is slowly figuring out the smallmouth game. Today he caught five brown bass that weighed 16 pounds, 6 ounces. But more importantly, he thinks he has enough for two more days. "I caught two on a Gambler Big E-Z swimbait and three sight-fishing with a drop-shot and either a Gambler Ace or a Gambler Little Otter." Kenney found some of these bedding bass while covering water with the swimbait. "They wouldn't eat it, but they'd come up and smack it and show themselves." Kenney is aiming for roughly 16 pounds a day. He found seven more fish on bed today, which makes him think it's attainable. "I think I can keep catching keeper smallmouths (size limit is 18 inches) - but I don't know about 20 pounds or whatever." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pros at the FLW Tour event on the Fort Loudoun-Tellico lakes after day one: 6th: Ott Defoe of Knoxville, Tenn., five bass, 16-1 7th: Jay Yelas of Corvallis, Ore., five bass, 15-11 8th: Chad Grigsby of Maple Grove, Minn., five bass, 15-0 9th: Mike Wurm of Hot Springs, Ark., five bass, 14-12 10th: Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., five bass, 14-11 Broken hand can't hold back Honeycutt Three weeks ago co-angler Keith Honeycutt had surgery to repair his broken right hand. One would think that would put him on the sidelines for the third FLW Tour event of the season. But Honeycutt has Despite a broken hand, Keith Honeycutt was able to catch 11 pounds, 10 ounces and take the early lead in the Co-angler Division.instead decided to adjust - using mostly spinning rods and moving the handle over to the right side of the reel. "I'm dominantly right-handed," he explained. "So I've had to learn to set the hook with my good hand and reel with my right. After today I really feel like I have a stronger hook set; it's just a little awkward." Amazingly, Honeycutt caught a limit of largemouths weighing 11 pounds, 10 ounces. The Temple, Texas, native said Terry Baksay, his pro partner, was extremely accommodating, especially considering Honeycutt's limited dexterity. "I really didn't think 11 1/2 pounds would be leading it. I guess it was tougher than I thought." The 2007 American Fishing Series Championship winner caught his fish on a Tru Tungsten shaky head with a green pumpkin Berkley finesse worm. "There's no doubt in my mind that the fish I caught were spawning. I couldn't seem them, but we were sitting in like 2- to 4-feet of water. I'm extremely comfortable fishing with that shaky head. A lot of the success I've had over the years has come off of it. I bring it with me everywhere I go." If Honeycutt can keep up his strong pace he could have his second win of the 2010 tournament season. The first came at the American Fishing Series Texas Division event on Sam Rayburn. Wilson second Co-angler Brian Wilson of Somerset, Ky., caught four bass weighing 11 pounds, 4 ounces to assume second place after the first day of competition. Wilson fished with Alabama pro Kyle Mabrey on day one. Rest of the best Hector Delagarza of Sunnyvale, Texas, is in third place with a five-bass limit weighing 10 pounds, 1 ounce. Delagarza is one of the more accomplished co-anglers and used to fish the American Fishing Series Texas Division as a professional. Darrell Mitchell of Taneyville, Mo., is in fourth place with five bass weighing 9 pounds, 11 ounces. Mitchell finished 11th at the season-opening event on Table Rock - his home lake. Following him is Doug Caldwell of Kane, Pa., with three bass for 9 pounds, 3 ounces. Kane had one of the nicer largemouths in the Co-angler Division. Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers at the FLW Tour event on the Fort Loudoun-Tellico lakes after day one: 6th: Ryan Lapine of Portage, Mich., four bass, 9-1 7th: Tyler Bray of Malvern, Ark., five bass, 8-8 8th: Mike Devere of Berea, Ky., five bass, 8-2 8th: Derrick Snavely of Rogersville, Tenn., five bass, 8-2 10th: Kevin Hawk of Ramona, Calif., four bass, 8-0 Day two of the FLW Tour event on the Fort Loudoun-Tellico lakes will begin Thursday at 7 a.m. at the Tellico Recreational Area Ramp.

Tags: headline-story  brett-carlson 

/news/2015-08-31-top-10-patterns-from-lake-erie

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Erie

Most of the other top top-10 finishers found their fish over rocky bottom structure around the Pelee area. Drop-shots and crankbaits dominated the catches. READ MORE »

/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-webster-runs-and-guns-for-win

Webster Runs and Guns for Win

Michael Webster of Gastonia, North Carolina, brought a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 9 ounces to the scale Sunday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division Super Tournament on Lake Wylie with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 27 pounds, 10 ounces. For his victory, Webster earned $4,476. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-experience-pays-for-boggs

Experience Pays for Boggs

Drew Boggs of Lebanon, Tennessee, brought five bass totaling 13 pounds, 12 ounces to the scale Sunday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Music City Division Super Tournament on Old Hickory Lake with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 27 pounds, 2 ounces. For his victory, Boggs earned $4,257. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-jig-crankbait-carry-gray-to-victory

Jig, Crankbait Carry Gray to Victory

Brandon Gray of Bullock, North Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 14 pounds, 3 ounces Sunday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division Super Tournament on Kerr Lake with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 32 pounds, 14 ounces. For his victory, Gray earned $5,886. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-hemken-searched-deep-for-bigger-bites

Hemken Searched Deep for Bigger Bites

Shawn Hemken of Walshville, Illinois, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Sunday weighing 11 pounds, 6 ounces to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Illini Division Super Tournament on Lake Shelbyville with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 26 pounds, 1 ounce. For his victory, Hemken earned $6,882. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-topwater-lifts-ragan-to-top

Topwater Lifts Ragan to Top

Thadeus Ragan of West Park, Florida, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 26 pounds, 8 ounces Sunday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Gator Division Super Tournament on Lake Okeechobee with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 47 pounds, 10 ounces. For his victory, Ragan earned $6,922. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-martinkovic-runs-away-with-title

Martinkovic Runs Away with Title

Chris Martinkovic of Hamilton, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 12 pounds, 9 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Hoosier Division tournament on the Ohio River. For his victory, Martinkovic earned $6,244. 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/2015-08-25-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 »