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

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 


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 »