One-spot Long shot

For winning the FLW Tour event on Lake Guntersville, North Carolina pro Brent Long earned $125,000.

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. - The pros said it time and time again - on the new Lake Guntersville you can't spot sit for an entire tournament. Those days are long gone - too much pressure, both from tournament fishermen and recreational anglers. But Brent Long didn't listen. He fished one little U-shaped ledge all four days of the 2010 FLW Tour finale and walked away with a first-place check of $125,000. Of the 20 fish Long weighed this week, 17 came from this one particular ledge, located at the intersection of Siebold Creek and the main-river channel. Each of the first three days he whacked 25-pound-plus stringers from the area, but day four was much different. "It's amazing; you never see a tournament like this won on such a small area," Long said. "But you could tell today that I had really pounded on them. I feel like I caught just about every fish down there. Brent Long holds up one of the last-minute fish that brought him victory at Lake Guntersville.And the ones I didn't catch are now well educated." During the first two days of the tournament, Long did not start on Siebold. Instead he fished a little ditch in the marina by the 431 Bridge. He'd assemble a quick limit worm fishing and then run over to his big-fish spot. But he was boat No. 2 on Friday and with the intense traffic, he didn't want to take any chances. After driving straight to Siebold, he never left - alternating between guarding and fishing. On Saturday, he took the same approach, but ended up resorting to his worm spot late in the afternoon. "At 12:15 I had three average keepers and I decided I had to take a risk and leave. I went and fished another area for 20 minutes without a bite. But then I kept thinking back to how it easy it was to get a limit in the marina. So at around 1 p.m. I ran in there and got five quality bites. I lost two, but it felt so good to go in and catch a few. In that last hour or so, I went from hero to zero and then back from zero to hero." Long's ledge arsenal was pretty standard fare. His two main baits were a Norman DD22 and a hand-tied Ernest Langley 3/4-ounce football head jig with a Zoom Fat Albert Twin-Tail grub. Unlike most competitors, Long burned the crankbait as fast as possible to generate reaction strikes from suspended fish. When the bass were schooling and chasing bait, he'd throw a Strike King Shadalicious swimbait. At his marina spot, he opted for a 10-inch Zoom Ole Monster in red plum. "The top of the ledge was 13 feet deep and the bottom was about 24," Long explained. "The bottom had baseball-sized rock, but the sweet spot was clean. In the morning, they were busting the surface. But Lake Guntersville champion Brent Long holds up his trophy.those usually weren't the biggest ones and eventually they settled back down. During the day, they kind of hung out and suspended on the sides. That's when I picked up the crankbait. When they weren't suspending I would slowly drag the jig." For Long, it was a great ending to what was, until recently, a disappointing season. Coming into Guntersville the pro winner had not accumulated so much as a penny in FLW Tour earnings. Even worse, he had a disappointing Bassmaster Classic and a lackluster BFL All-American. But in a matter of four days, those bad memories have been erased by Guntersville giants. "I came here with the sole intention of cashing a check. I wasn't fishing for points. I got exactly what I was after." For a total weight of 95 pounds, 7 ounces, Long earned $100,000. He also earned $25,000 from the Ranger Cup program. To add to the moment, his wife and two daughters drove from North Carolina to be in attendance. And his parents were tuning in intently via FLW Live. "I called my dad last Sunday and wished him a happy Father's Day and he said, `Thank you, but are you catching any fish?' And I said, `Yeah.' And he said, `Well, that's what I want for Father's Day.' I can only imagine what him and my mom are doing right now. She's probably laying on the floor fainted right now." Rose retains second On the strength of a 7-pound kicker, Mark Rose brought a 19-pound, 9-ounce limit to the scale Saturday Mark Rose holds up his kicker bass en route to finishing second at Lake Guntersville.to push his total weight to 87 pounds, 4 ounces. Over the past few years, Rose has become an excellent TVA ledge fisherman. He did his homework for Guntersville by spending several days of prepractice scouring ledges with his ridiculously large Lowrance units. That extra effort resulted in a stable of 15 different areas, located from the mid-lake region down to the dam, three of which Rose described as big-fish spots. "When we used to fish deep, we'd look for stumps and shells on our graphs. Now the technology is so good I look for schools of fish instead of just structure." Rose too used a variety of baits but his best was the Strike King 6XD (sexy herring color). He'd take a rattling 6XD and make precise casts to the deepest sides of the ledge corner. He'd then follow up with the same 6XD only in the Silent Stalker model. The baits were great for quality, but not for quantity. "My partners caught more than me all week, but I knew if I stuck with the crankbait I'd get a few bigger bites each day." And that theory proved accurate. Unfortunately, he lost his two big bites on day three, which could have been the difference in contending for the win. His second-place finish earned him $36,077. "I just try to work as hard as I can to be a student of the game." Fritts rises to third David Fritts caught a 21-pound, 3-ounce bag Saturday and moved up one spot to third. After catching a 28-pound stringer on day three, Lexington, N.C., pro David Fritts came back to reality Saturday with a 21-pound, 3-ounce catch. He finished the tournament with a total weight of 87 pounds, 2 ounces. His final-day limit came on a Rapala DT20 in Pearl Gray Shiner. "That bait is just phenomenal," Fritts said. "We worked on it for a long time and now it just catches huge fish. DT stands for David T. Fritts as well as Dives-To." Fritts' day-three stringer was caught Carolina rigging a Zoom Brush Hog in water 30 to 35 feet deep. The defending Lake Guntersville champion used a green pumpkin Hog, but dipped the tails in chartreuse so it mimicked a bluegill. "I have never had a piece of plastic get bit so hard in all my life.' Fritts fished from the lower end of the lake to above Waterfront (Tackle). For third place, he earned $27,010. Walker fourth Rising one place to fourth was Sevierville, Tenn., pro David Walker, perhaps the most consistent angler of the week. After sacking limits of 20-4, 21-4 and 21-12, Walker managed another five bass Saturday that weighed 20 pounds, 12 ounces to finish with 84 even. Walker employed a two-pronged approach on Guntersville. In addition to fishing ledges, he also flipped the outside grass line in water 5 to 8 feet deep. "Of the 20 I weighed, 13 came from offshore stuff and seven came from the grass," Walker said. "I didn't have that many ledges so I just hopped back and forth (between shallow and deep)." Both his ledges and grass were located in the Alred Islands area. He started every morning out deep, then would come up to the skinny water around 9 a.m. With enough light, he could see through the little pockets of grass. In the afternoons, he'd switch back to the ledges. "When I flipped, I used a 1-ounce jig with either a Chigger Craw or a Paca Chunk on 65-pound braid. I wanted a trailer with an erratic motion because 90 percent of bites came on the fall. "That grass grew a lot from two weeks ago during prepractice. In a few areas, it's really starting to top out." When ledge fishing, he used a big 12-inch worm and a crankbait. Today the crank accounted for a few key fish including two on back-to-back casts. His best spot was covered up early with boats so he adjusted and ended up working the 431 Bridge area. Del Rio, Texas, pro Keith Combs fell to fifth after catching a limit Saturday worth 15 pounds, 6 ounces.Combs falls to fifth South Texas expert Keith Combs brought his lightest stringer to the scale on day four. His five best weighed 15 pounds, 6 ounces - pushing his total weight to 82 pounds, 2 ounces. For fifth place, he earned $16,130. Combs fished a handful of spots near the mouth of Spring Creek. On his better ones, he positioned the boat in approximately 26 feet of water and threw up to about 12. His key baits were a Strike King 6XD Silent Stalker (chartreuse blueback), a 3/4-ounce Oldham's jig and a new bait from Power Tackle called a Lateral Perch. Saturday, the 6XD crankbait accounted for four keepers. He burned it extremely fast like Long and Rose. "The Silent Stalker gets down there quick and just eats the bottom up. If you were really grinding it hard and getting that deflection, you'd get a big bite." The final FLW Tour event is the Forrest Wood Cup, slated for Lake Lanier in Duluth, Ga., Aug.5-8.

Tags: headline-story 

/news/2015-03-29-lefebre-lands-on-top

Lefebre Lands on Top

He left the dock this morning in 7th place, eight and a half pounds off the lead. And when he returned this afternoon, Dave Lefebre shocked the weigh-in crowd with a come-from-behind Walmart FLW Tour win that left his competitors shell-shocked. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-29-lewis-smith-lake-day-4-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 4 Coverage

Day 4 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-birge-buzzes-ahead

Birge Buzzes Ahead

Today started off with a slightly miserable 31-degree air temperature, but it didn’t take long for the top 20 pros to really heat up on Lewis Smith Lake at the second stop of the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour presented by Evinrude. Reports poured in throughout the day of big bass – especially big largemouths – being caught off beds. It looked at first as if one of the “largemouth lookers” might piece together a big enough bag to snatch the lead away from Oklahoma rookie Zack Birge, who struggled early to make his shallow topwater pattern work. Unfortunately for the rest of the field, the young gun Birge has the coolness and patience of a veteran, and he stuck with his game plan of throwing a buzzbait and soft jerkbait rig until the sun had time to warm the shallows and spur the fish to become more active. Birge tallied 17 pounds, 11 ounces today, raising his three-day total to 54-8 and giving him a lead of 3-11 over Texas veteran Clark Wendlandt in second place. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 3

After three days, it looks as if tournament leader Zack Birge has the quality largemouth bite in the bushes wired. But behind him on the leaderboard are nine pros doing everything from sight-fishing to catching schooling bass and everything in between. Even with all the patterns in play, few have fizzled. The sight-fishers have reported finding new bedders, the schoolers are still schooling and a couple of guys have even started tapping floating docks. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-millsaps-wins-on-lake-sinclair

Millsaps Wins on Lake Sinclair

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – David Millsaps of Ranger, Georgia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds, 10 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Bulldog Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Sinclair. For his victory, Millsaps earned $6,009. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-walters-nets-third-victory-on-wylie

Walters Nets Third Victory on Wylie

LAKE WYLIE, N.C. – Todd Walters of Kernersville, North Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League North Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Wylie. For his victory, Walters earned $4,350. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-lewis-smith-lake-day-3-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 3 Coverage

Day 3 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-mosley-on-top-at-arkansas-river

Mosley on Top at Arkansas River

MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Brandon Mosley of Choctaw, Oklahoma, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Okie Division tournament of 2015 the Arkansas River. For his victory, Mosley earned $5,349. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-topwater-takes-birge-to-the-top

Topwater Takes Birge to the Top

On a day when chilly, windy post-front conditions challenged many Walmart FLW Tour anglers who were relying on sight-fishing for spawning bass, Zack Birge bucked the trend and pulled out a pair of topwaters to haul in 17 pounds, 14 ounces. Birge jumped from third place past day-one leader Drew Benton to take over the top spot on Lewis Smith Lake in the event, which is presented by Evinrude. Birge’s two-day total of 36-13 has him positioned 1 pound ahead of Benton. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 2

While air and water temperatures plummeted on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude, the big surprise came in the stability of the fishing patterns amidst such change. Zack Birge found plenty of production on his primary pattern to send him to the top of the leaderboard, and those under him held true to their patterns as well to secure a ticket to day three’s top 20. Among the biggest surprises was the number of pros who were still able to pluck fish off beds. Most pros that were sight-fishing say the bass are committed to beds and that the cold snap will not run them off at this point in time. Despite the cold, some even found new fish on beds that were not there yesterday. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-lewis-smith-lake-day-2-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 2 Coverage

Day 2 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-benton-blasts-20-12-on-lewis-smith

Benton Blasts 20-12 on Lewis Smith

Panama City, Fla., pro Drew Benton jumped into the early lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude with a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 12 ounces. Benton caught a mix of largemouths and spotted bass, and revealed that both black bass species are spawning. He leads a tight top 20 that includes 18 pros that caught more than 15 pounds each. The first day was an absolute fish-fest. Of the 154 pros fishing this tournament, 138 weighed limits. Brad Roberts of Faubush, Ky., has a 2-ounce lead in the co-angler division with a 13-pound, 4-ounce limit. Tomorrow he’ll try to defend his lead on the final day of co-angler competition. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 1

While Drew Benton was busy bugging bedding fish for his day-one tournament lead, several others behind him were scoring big with other fishing options on Lewis Smith Lake. Sight-fishing also played a role in the top limits produce by Tracy Adams, Scott Martin and Ish Monroe, but Clayton Batts and Zack Birge both brought in big bags with other patterns. Click here to read about Benton’s day-one performance at the second Walmart FLW Tour event of 2015, which is presented by Evinrude. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-lewis-smith-lake-day-1-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 1 Coverage

Day 1 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-22-arkansas-anglers-win-college-open

Arkansas Anglers Win College Open

Consistency was the key for the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville here in the FLW College Fishing Kentucky Lake Open as Zachary Pickle and Drew Porto won the event with a two-day total of 43 pounds, 12 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-kendrick-king-on-guntersville

Kendrick King On Guntersville

Kendrick, who is fishing the Rayovac FLW Series in hopes of qualifying for the FLW Tour, caught more than 25 pounds each day of the event and finihsid in fine fasion when it counted. Kendick was catching nearly all of his bass around big schools of bait with a Houdini pearl-colored Scottsboro Tackle swimbait from 15- to 25-feet of water. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-epting-s-30-pounds-tops-on-santee-cooper

Epting's 30 Pounds Tops on Santee Cooper

SUMMERTON, S.C. – Chris Epting of Chapin, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 30 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Santee Cooper. For his victory, Epting earned $3,679. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-wood-rock-key-for-middleton-s-victory

Wood, Rock Key for Middleton's Victory

HUDDLESTON, Va. – Dennis Middleton of Madison Heights, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division tournament of 2015 on Smith Mountain Lake. For his victory, Middleton earned $7,199. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-johnson-wins-on-dale-hollow

Johnson Wins on Dale Hollow

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – Robby Johnson of Byrdstown, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mountain Division tournament of 2015 on Dale Hollow Lake. For his victory, Johnson earned $5,689. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-griffin-gets-win-on-ross-barnett

Griffin Gets Win on Ross Barnett

BRANDON, Miss. – Jason Griffin of Benton, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 23 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Ross Barnett Reservoir. For his victory, Griffin earned $5,349. READ MORE »