Home-lake Hawk leads Lanier

Pro Kevin Hawk of Ramona, Calif., shows off his first-place catch of 14 pounds, 12 ounces during the opening round of 2010 Forrest Wood Cup competition.

GAINESVILLE, Ga. - For 78 of the best bass pros in the world, day one of the 2010 Forrest Wood Cup felt like an oven. Temperatures soared into the mid-90s, and the bite, which was OK during practice, took a turn for the worse. But a few anglers dialed in on Lanier's nomadic spotted bass. And not surprisingly, the leader after day one was a local. But unexpectedly, he doesn't have the surname Mann or Meninger. Lake Lanier transplant Kevin Hawk qualified for the Cup via the 2009 FLW Series Western Division. With berth in hand, he moved east and fished the 2010 FLW Tour as a co-angler. When he wasn't away on Tour, he was spending all his free time on Lanier learning how to catch its magnum spots. On day one, it paid off to the tune of a 14-pound, 12-ounce stringer. "I hit my best big-fish spots today," said Hawk, who is originally from Ramona, Calif., and practices with National Guard pro Brent Ehrler. "I know these places are going to get beat up pretty good, so I wanted to go and capitalize early." Pro leader Kevin Hawk speaks with the media shortly after the day-one weigh-in.Hawk said he sampled 35 to 40 areas today. Depending on the spot, he'd make approximately five to 10 casts and then move on. He's targeting brush and timber in the middle and bottom of the water column. He described his strategy as running hard and fishing slow. "It's a matter of fishing enough spots to come across a few better fish. Some are positioned on the top (of the structure), some on the sides and some on the bottom. It seems like in the morning they're higher up." Hawk caught 12 keepers on the day, all of which came on a white, 1/2-ounce Fish Head Spin. He had his limit by 10:30 a.m. and all of his weigh fish by noon. If not for an 8-ounce dead fish penalty, his lead would be even greater. "Fishing this lake as much as I do, I had a good understanding of what was going on. But I was shaking off a lot of fish, so I didn't exactly know what to expect weightwise. I thought maybe I was on about 12 pounds. I just knew I wanted to catch as much as I could today." With his year-long journey finally coming to fruition, the 31-year-old Hawk momentarily reflected. "I'm pretty pumped right now, but I realize it's only day one." Christie stunned with second-place sack After catching a five-bass limit weighing 14 pounds, 8 ounces, pro Jason Christie sits in second place.In second place is Park Hill, Okla., pro Jason Christie, who caught a limit of spots worth 14 pounds, 8 ounces. A noted shallow-water fisherman, Christie was pleasantly surprised with his day-one performance. "I was averaging probably 9 or 10 pounds a day in practice, and those are 15-hour days," he said. "But I caught a 2 1/2-pounder right off the bat, and that gave me some momentum. From there I just about caught one everywhere I stopped; I think I finished with nine or 10 keepers. But as good as it was today, I'll tell you right now that I could not get a bite tomorrow and it wouldn't surprise me." To see Christie fishing in 35 feet of water with finesse tackle is a rare sight. In fact, today was the first tournament limit he ever caught on a spinning rod. His bait of choice was a 4-inch Yum Dinger, which he fished wacky style with a nail weight pushed in the side. "I'd drop it down, and as soon as I'd pick it up they'd be there. I think these are reaction bites, because if I don't catch them right away, that's it. "For some reason I think they moved deeper today. They say the thermocline is right around 30 feet, but these were just below that. I don't even know how they get oxygen down there." Since winning the American Fishing Series event on Lake of the Ozarks back in 2007, Christie has successfully established himself as a top-end Tour pro. "It's a mind-set. I now really believe that I can compete with these guys. I've led - that's a three-letter word - several times, but I want to win at this level. And the Cup would be a good one to win." Kenney third Third-place pro JT Kenney holds up two nice spotted bass.JT Kenney may be best known for his flipping prowess on Lake Okeechobee, but he's making a statement this week that he's a well-rounded angler. With an eye on his electronics and drop-shot in hand, he's making even the best finesse fishermen blush. "I got this nickname, the Flipping King, so everybody thinks I only fish shallow," said Kenney. "But I like fishing deep; I like using a drop-shot and looking down at my graph. And I've made three or four cuts fishing that way. "Today actually went according to plan for a change," he added. "I started on some shallow fish, and then I moved down the lake and fished deeper stuff." Kenney weighed all spotted bass, but his first spot in the back of a cove was supposed to be a largemouth area. "In practice they were largemouths, but today they were spots. Believe me, I was largemouth fishing." Of the five Kenney weighed, two came from shallow water. In total, he culled five or six times. When he's probing deep water, the Palm Bay, Fla., pro is drop-shotting with either a Gambler Stud or a Berkley hand-poured finesse worm. The baits are working fine, but the key to his deep-water pattern is closely monitoring his graph. "I think I know what it looks like when the fish are feeding." Cody Meyer brought some of his western spot-catching know how to Lanier to catch 14-3 for fourth place on day one.Meyer fourth, Defoe fifth After finishing third at last year's Forrest Wood Cup, pro Cody Meyer is once again in contention. Using his vast spotted bass experience on Western lakes like Shasta and Oroville, Meyer caught a limit worth 14 pounds, 3 ounces. With one perished fish, his raw weight was 14 pounds, 11 ounces. "Lanier is very similar to Shasta and Oroville," said the Grass Valley, Calif., native. "The fish are suspending in 20 to 25 feet over water 50 to 70 feet deep." Meyer is alternating between a swimbait and a drop-shot with a Jackall Cross Tail Shad. Between the two, he managed a total of 10 keepers - the biggest weighing 3 1/2 pounds. Like Hawk, he shook off so many fish during practice, he wasn't sure what kind of quality he was around. Interestingly, his practice partner, JR Wright, is leading the Co-angler Division with 12-5. "I bounced around a lot today, but I have two spots that produced the best." Meyer is using last year's Cup as motivation in the humid, 95-degree heat. Ott Defoe ran his tunnel-hull aluminum far up into the rocks of the Chattahoochee River to catch 13-10 on day one for fifth place"I was so close; I think about that tournament every day." While Meyer fished deep main-lake structure, fifth-place pro Ott Defoe ran 25 miles up the Chattahoochee River and fished in ankle-deep water. Certain stretches of the river are loaded with treacherous rock, so Defoe has had to switch out his normal tournament boat for an 18-foot tunnel-hull aluminum. "I was very fortunate today," said the Knoxville, Tenn., pro. "I caught a 3 1/2-pounder on my fifth cast. I didn't catch another one until 11, but it was a 3-pounder too." Despite catching several shoal bass, Defoe weighed only spots. He said even the spots position themselves like normal river fish on current breaks. "The nice thing is that I have the area all to myself, and I don't have to finesse-fish." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pros at the Forrest Wood Cup after day one: 6th: Jason Meninger of Gainesville, Ga., five bass, 13-3 7th: Brian Travis of Conover, N.C., five bass, 13-2 8th: Larry Nixon of Bee Branch, Ark., five bass, 12-10 9th: Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., five bass, 12-9 10th: David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va., five bass, 11-14 Tomorrow's takeoff is scheduled for 7 a.m. Eastern time from Laurel Park, located at 3100 Old Cleveland Highway in Gainesville, Ga.

Tags: headline-story 

/news/2015-06-29-dobson-sticks-with-jerkbait-for-win

Dobson Sticks With Jerkbait for Win

Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Michigan, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Michigan Division tournament of 2015 on Lake St. Clair. For his victory, Dobson earned $5,804. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-johnston-targets-beds-for-big-limit

Johnston Targets Beds for Big Limit

Cory Johnston of Cavan, Ontario, Canada, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 25 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Northeast Division tournament of 2015 on 1000 Islands. For his victory, Johnston earned $5,632. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-football-jig-helps-bates-net-title

Football Jig Helps Bates Net Title

Matthew Bates of Greenville, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds even Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Ferguson. For his victory, Bates earned $3,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-hipsher-hops-ledges-for-victory

Hipsher Hops Ledges for Victory

Craig Hipsher of Benton, Kentucky, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League LBL Division tournament of 2015 on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. For his victory, Hipsher earned $4,385. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-lauer-wins-on-ohio-river

Lauer Wins on Ohio River

David Lauer of McConnelsville, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 12 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division tournament of 2015 on the Ohio River. For his victory, Lauer earned $6,289. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-creature-bait-does-it-for-berhorst

Creature Bait Does it for Berhorst

Dennis Berhorst of Holts Summit, Missouri, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Ozark Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Truman. For his victory, Berhorst earned $5,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-wendlandt-back-at-the-top

Wendlandt Back at the Top

It’s been 14 seasons since Clark Wendlandt last stood on a Walmart FLW Tour stage and hoisted a tournament championship trophy. Since that time, the Texas pro has experienced ups and downs, including an Angler of the Year title (his third) in 2009 and a major medical issue that sidelined him for most of the 2014 season. All that’s in the past now, however, and Wendlandt is right back where he belongs in the world of bass fishing – in first place after the final day on the Potomac River in the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-top-10-patterns-from-the-potomac-river

Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River

Clark Wendlandt didn’t pull off any secret techniques to win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. He simply found an area with the right quality of bass to win and managed it perfectly despite facing a medley of Mother Nature’s toughest challenges. The rest of the top 10 stuck with the standard Potomac targets too, namely grass, docks and wood cover. The only underlying trend of the top 10 is that they found areas to themselves. Here’s how the rest of the top 10 got it done at the 2015 Tour finale. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-potomac-river-day-4-coverage

Potomac River Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on the Potomac River presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-wendlandt-receives-helping-hand

Wendlandt Receives Helping Hand

Not to discredit Clark Wendlandt’s skills as a bass fisherman, but if it wasn’t for an extreme act of kindness on the part of fellow competitor Shin Fukae, Wendlandt wouldn’t be where he is this evening – leading through three days of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-top-5-patterns-from-potomac-river-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Potomac River Day 3

Pouring rain, gusting winds, a remarkable act of kindness, an Angler of the Year title on the line – day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River certainly was not boring. To say the top 20 anglers were waterlogged after Saturday would be any understatement, but as nasty as the weather was, it wasn’t the biggest story of the day. Shinichi Fukae generously helped Clark Wendlandt retain his lead, while Scott Martin sealed the deal on his first AOY title. Meanwhile, a number of other anglers scrambled to adjust with what the weather and the Potomac are throwing at them. Here’s how the rest of the top five caught their fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-potomac-river-day-3-coverage

Potomac River Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on the Potomac River presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-26-wendlandt-in-familiar-territory

Wendlandt in Familiar Territory

A lot of flip-flopping took place on the second day of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. When the scale closed, it was three-time Tour Angler of the Year Clark Wendlandt who found himself on top with a two-day total of 32 pounds, 10 ounces. Wendlandt caught 17-13 today – the day’s second-heaviest limit – and leads Potomac local Bryan Schmitt by 1-12 going into the weekend. Wendlandt missed part of last season after suffering a heart attack but has rebounded with good success this season. He has won three times on Tour but hasn’t finished in first place since Beaver Lake in 2001. Details to come on the patterns of the top five. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-26-potomac-river-day-2-coverage

Potomac River Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Chickamauga presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-jersey-boy-leads-the-pack

Jersey Boy Leads the Pack

Talk about a traffic jam. And, no, we’re not talking about the streets around the Washington, D.C. area. We’re talking about the standings at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. Adrian “Jersey Boy” Avena leads the way with a 16-pound, 12-ounce limit, but a total of 41 pros weighed in at least 12 pounds. Many pros lamented the tough bite today, but the results say otherwise as 114 limits were brought to the scale on the pro side. Troy Morrow trails Avena by just 1-06, and 1 ounce behind Morrow is one of the most successful tidewater bass anglers of all time, Bryan Schmitt. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-top-5-patterns-from-potomac-river-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Potomac River Day 1

It might seem impossible for 405 miles of water to fish small, but space was hard to come by on day one of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. The creeks near takeoff at Smallwood State Park have seen as much traffic as a Washington, D.C. highway at rush hour. On the flip side, anglers who were able to develop patterns that got them away from the crowds, such as day-one leader Adrian Avena, have been able to reap the benefits of what has been a stingy fishery. Here’s how the rest of the pros in the top five caught their fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-aoy-shake-up-martin-makes-his-move

AOY Shake-Up: Martin Makes His Move

Scott Martin has been talking about winning the Angler of the Year title since before the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour season started. It’s on his mind and for good reason: Angler of the Year is the only major FLW title he hasn’t won in what Martin has built into one of the most decorated professional fishing careers in FLW Tour history. Today, on the first day of competition at the Tour finale on the Potomac River, Martin has unofficially moved into the lead in the AOY race for the first time all season. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-potomac-river-day-1-coverage

Potomac River Day 1 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Chickamauga presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-20-richardson-wins-all-american

Richardson Wins All-American

Curtis Richardson has a way of surprising people – even himself. The Ontario angler had all but written himself off in the championship round of the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American, thinking his limit of five bass wouldn’t hold up for long with the likes of Jeremy Lawyer and Bill Schroeder breathing down his neck. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-20-all-american-midday-update-day-3

All-American Midday Update Day 3

Big changes might be coming in the standings of the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American on Kentucky Lake, as some of the top 10 leaders struggled this morning to catch limits. Canadian angler Curtis Richardson, who currently is leading, had only one 3-pound keeper by midmorning. And second-place boater Billy Schroeder, who had fished just below the Paris Landing Bridge for the first two days, finally bailed out from there after catching four keepers this morning. READ MORE »