UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Erie

All-American champion lined it up

Boater Troy Morrow of Toccoa, Ga., caught a three-day total of 38 pounds, 13 ounces of bass to win the 2010 BFL All-American on DeGray Lake and $120,000.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Sometimes practice really does make perfect. Just ask boater Troy Morrow, who ran away with the 2010 All-American title with more than 8 pounds to spare by sticking to the successful patterns he found before the BFL championship began this week on DeGray Lake. Morrow left his home in Toccoa, Ga., in time to allow himself seven practice days on central Arkansas' DeGray Lake leading up to May 17, the start of the off-limits period ahead of the All-American. After just four and a half days, he had 92 waypoints plugged into his Lowrance GPS unit and enough confidence in both the shallow and deep patterns he had developed that he decided to go home. "This lake fit me to a T," he said. "Early in my practice, I could go down the shorelines and get 20 pounds easy - almost for the fun of it." Morrow said he loves fishing jigs, but figured by the time the tournament kicked off May 27, it would be a contest won deep. He quickly switched it up and started honing in on a pattern that he applies on his home water of Lake Hartwell, another fishery with blueback herring as a primary baitfish. "I practiced ahead of what the fish were doing," he said. "I fished out deeper to find a different pattern." What he found was myriad locations with brush piles submerged in anywhere from 18 to 25 feet of Troy Morrow caught five-bass limits over the first two days and finished up Saturday with four bass for 8-11.water in the midlake area of DeGray. That way he could catch them with a fluke-style topwater bait over the brush in the mornings, and then transition to deeper fishing with crankbaits (Spro Little John DD), which landed most of his kicker fish, or plastic worms (NetBait T-MAC). "I like to fish jigs, but I could never get them to bite," he said. "But I love to fish deep, so it all worked out." Morrow proved these methods Wednesday during the official practice day and went to work from there. He caught five-bass limits over the first two days of the tournament for 13 pounds, 12 ounces and then 16-6, and he finished up the event Saturday with four bass for 8-11, giving him a three-day total of 38-13, worth the first-place prize of $100,000 plus a $20,000 Ranger bonus. Morrow - who said he works in construction, tree removal "or whatever it takes to get me to the next tournament" - doesn't lack confidence, a trait that served him well at the 2010 All-American and his him looking ahead. "Needless to say, I won't be working for a while ... I just happen to live 35 miles from Lake Lanier (site of the Aug. 5-8 Forrest Wood Cup, for which he qualified via his All-American win)," he said, revealing the widest smile he'd shown onstage all week. Watkins winds up second Despite being a veteran bass angler, boater Tee Watkins of East Point, Ky., was fishing in his first All-American this week and placed second with a three-day total weight of 30 pounds, 12 ounces.As the end of the weigh-in approached, the only boater left among the top 10 who had a chance of catching Morrow was veteran bass pro Tee Watkins of East Point, Ky. But after a second-day surge, he couldn't repeat his success Saturday, weighing only three fish for 5-6, giving him a three-day total of 30-12 and a runner-up check for $20,000 plus a $10,000 Ranger bonus. "I stayed shallow and managed to get a good bite some of the days," he said, adding that he fell victim to the fickle nature of the bass he'd patterned today. "I had the fish to win it, and I just missed a few - especially that big one on day one." Watkins' primary pattern was swimming a 3/8-ounce black/blue Pro Cast jig made by Cumberland Pro Lures with a black/blue Berkley Critter Chunk on points along a six-mile stretch in the midlake area. Boater Keith Green of Arkadelphia, Ark., finished third with 13 bass over three days for 30-8 and $16,000. Green climbs to third Keith Green of Arkadelphia, Ark., is a DeGray Lake veteran, and he used his local knowledge to put four bass in the boat today for 9-4, giving him a three-day total of 30 1/2 pounds worth $16,000. Like many anglers this week, Green had trouble keeping his bass buttoned. "I did have the opportunity, but they rolled on my bait today," said Green, who pushed his FLW Outdoors career earnings to over $180,000 today. "I was fishing a topwater most of the week, but that's what happens - it's fishing." Darby improves to fourth Boater Chris Darby of Mount Ida, Ark., placed fourth with 12 bass, 29-6, for $21,000. Another local favorite with a strong cheering section, boater Chris Darby of Mount Ida, Ark., add three bass to his tourney tally Saturday for a three-day total weight of 29-6 worth $14,000 plus $7,000 in Ranger Cup earnings. Darby told a familiar tale: "I had two big ones pull off. I was fishing a (Carolina) rig, and the bite was so alive, they just came off." (Seventh-place boater Brandon Palaniuk would later describe DeGray's bass as a combination of Evel Knievel and Harry Houdini because "they are daring enough to bite anything, but somehow they all get loose magically.") Threadgill sews up fifth place Fifth place and $13,000 went to Jason Threadgill of Norwood, N.C., the only boater to manage a five-bass limit on the final day that bolstered his three-day weight of 29 pounds. "I made a few bad decisions, but all in all is was a great week," he said. "The first two days were kind Jason Threadgill of Norwood, N.C., placed fifth in the Boater Division with 14 bass, 29 pounds, $13,000.of stressful, but today I just went out and fished. I got five; I couldn't ask for more. "I had some deep fish (that he caught on brush piles), and when that bite died out, I'd go to the bank and flip bushes." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 boaters to finish the All-American presented by Chevy on DeGray Lake: 6th: Richie Eaves of Nauvoo, Ill., 13 bass, 27-1, $17,000* 7th: Brandon Palaniuk, Rathdrum, Idaho, 10 bass, 23-11, $15,500* 8th: Shonn Goodwin, Moore, Okla., 12 bass, 20-15, $10,000 9th: Ty Garrett, Pulaski, Tenn., nine bass, 20-13, $9,000 10th Jason Grape, Southside, Ala., six bass, 19-4, $11,000* *includes Ranger Cup bonus

Tags: headline-story 

/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 »

/news/2015-08-22-forrest-wood-cup-day-3-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-ramie-races-into-the-lead

Ramie Races into the Lead

On the back of a 17-pound, 14-ounce limit, which is the biggest of the tournament thus far, Ramie Colson Jr. jumped from seventh place to take over the lead at the halfway point of the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. Colson’s two-day total is 31 pounds, 1 ounce, which puts him almost 3 pounds ahead of Tennessee’s Brad Knight. The Forrest Wood Cup, which is hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, moves into its top-20 round on Saturday. The top 10 pros after Saturday’s weigh-in advance to Sunday’s final round for a shot at the $500,000 top prize. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 2

At times, bass fishing can be a lot like real estate, where the three most important rules are location, location and location. The 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita presented by Walmart is starting to become a bit of a real estate game where location is the primary consideration in who climbs the leaderboard. And those mining the backs of creeks and tributaries are on the prime pieces of real estate. Consider that after day two, four of the top five pros are concentrating their fishing efforts in the back ends of creeks or rivers. All of these areas fit a classic late-summer, early-fall pattern where shad pack into the back of creek ditches that meander through shallow flats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-forrest-wood-cup-day-2-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-wheeler-hunting-history

Wheeler Hunting History

It’s never been done before, and it hasn’t happened yet, but Jacob Wheeler is in prime position to become the first two-time Forrest Wood Cup champion in history. Wheeler, of Indianapolis, Ind., brought in a 16-pound, 2-ounce limit of Lake Ouachita bass on the first day of the Cup, which is presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 1

After day one of the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita, several things have come to light. For one, this event is not likely to produce a runaway win for anyone like it did when Scott Martin won here in 2011. Second, when the pros said Ouachita was going to be stingy, they meant it – only 29 of the 50 pros checked in limits today. Third, firm patterns are hard to come by on Lake Ouachita in August. Jacob Wheeler took the lead on day one in the event that’s presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. With the help of a 5-pound bass, Wheeler weighed in a limit of 16 pounds, 2 ounces, but he had to sample a lot of different areas for his catch. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-forrest-wood-cup-day-1-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 1 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-17-elkins-looked-deep-on-erie

Elkins Looked Deep on Erie

Matt Elkins of Spencerville, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Michigan Division tournament on the Detroit River. For his victory, Elkins earned $5,337. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-17-manson-targets-shad

Manson Targets Shad

Scott Manson of Covington, Ohio, weighed four bass totaling 8 pounds, 10 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division tournament on the Ohio River. For his victory, Manson earned $5,205. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-15-lieblong-dominates-dardanelle-rayovac

Lieblong Dominates Dardanelle Rayovac

Having lead the event for two days, the pro from Conway, Ark., carried a 14-ounce lead into the final round. After weighing a limit of 12 pounds, 2 ounces on day three, Lieblong closed the door with a tournament total of 46-3 and a 2-pound, 2-ounce margin of victory. READ MORE »