UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Champlain

Rush for the brush

Anglers in the top 30 pause for the national anthem prior to the day three launch.

GAINESVILLE, Ga. - There's a fine line between the hometown advantage and the hometown curse, with experience generally deciding the difference. That's the premise local pro Tom Mann Jr. is counting on for day three of the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Lanier. Twelfth place is probably not where Mann would have envisioned himself at the tournament's outset, but with 40 years of Lanier knowledge, the Buford, Ga. pro knows that second half favors those who know the waters best. This will be especially important as the lake's supply of brush piles - the primary targets since day one - yields increasingly fewer untouched spots. "From what I saw yesterday, it seemed like a lot of guys' fish were running out on them," Mann said. "ALocal favorite Tom Mann Jr expects boat traffic to play a factor in today lot of guys that caught them the first day didn't catch them yesterday. The little advantage I have is that I have so many spots I never run out of somewhere to go. I'm just running all day to different spots and I don't have to go back to a place." Complicating matters, Mann noted that this is the last weekend before public schools reopen. "The big factor out here is going to be the boats. School starts Monday morning, so everyone who owns a boat is going to be out here and it's going to be horrible after about 11 o'clock. That doesn't make the fish stop biting, but it just makes it so hard to get around. We're all trying to get to a lot of different spots and (the boat traffic) is really going to hinder everyone trying to get around the lake. All you're doing is fighting big wakes." Leading the pro field with 27-6, California pro Cody Meyer makes his second Forrest Wood Cup appearance. He holds a 1-pound, 4-ounce lead over the veteran Larry Nixon of Bee Branch, Ark., who's fishing his 12th Cup. With a field dominated by anglers half his age, Nixon's also banking on the experience factor. "It's me against the fish - I can't worry about what the young guns are doing," he said. "I have to rely on my knowledge of what bass do every day and hopefully figure out what they're going to do today." Third place pro Jason Christie will be dropshotting with a Yum Dinger.Third place pro Jason Christie, who favors dropshotting a Yum Dinger, said much of the week's fortune amounts to right place, right time. "It's all a matter of luck in where you pull up. If you miss it by a little bit, you may get nothing, but if you get it right, you could catch a bit bag." Taking a look at the top five, with Meyer, Nixon and Christie followed by local pro Jason Menninger (25-1) and day one leader Kevin Hawk (24-15), it looks like all in this group sit well-positioned for a run at the event's $1 million prize. However, peeking farther down the line, a few names draw particular attention. Brent Ehrler, the 2006 Cup winner is having a stellar year with a pair of FLW Tour victories and an FLW Series win. The Redlands, Calif. pro is alternating his dropshot worm colors to trigger bites when the fish play hard-to-get. Eighth place David Dudley, fourth on the list of FLW all-time money leaders took home the Cup in 2003. In 11th place, North Carolina pro Bryan Thrift won the 2010 Angler of the Year title, and anyone counting Mann out of contention is simply naïve. Do not be fooled by Mann's 12th place position. As the grind continues, his deep well of fishing spots could become the game changer. "I think anyone from where I'm at certainly has a legitimate chance to still win this tournament," MannFor National Guard pro Brent Ehrler trying different colors in his dropshot worm will be an important factor in triggering strikes. said. "Today will be the key - you have to get into the top 6 to have a chance. But there are plenty of big spotted bass in Lake Lanier and you just need to get luck and make the right stop where one of those 4-pounders bites that worm instead of those pound-and-a-halfers." Mann said 12- to 13-pound stringers for the next two days would put him where he needs to be. Christie said he's expecting Lanier to eventually reveal its true potential. "I think someone's going to need to catch a 4- or 5-pounder to win," he said. "I think you are going to see a 15- to 17-pound bag in the next day or so." The 2010 Forrest Wood Cup will have a cumulative weight format. The full field was cut to 30 after day two. After day three, the field will be trimmed to the top six pros who will fish the final day of competition by themselves. Co-angler competition will conclude on Saturday (day three). Leading the co-angler division, Dearal Rodgers of Camden, S.C. holds a 12-ounce margin over Frank Divis Sr. Rodgers made his way to the final round with meticulous dropshotting. He's varying his rigs - worm, weight, hook and line size - based on fish reaction. He generally downsizes his tackle later in the day. Day one leader Kevin Hawk starts day three in fifth place.Pairing with Meyer is a good break for Rodgers, as his pro partner's affinity for patient finesse tactics should provide the right platform. If Meyer locates good fish, Rodgers could find himself with a runaway opportunity. Logistics Daily takeoff ceremonies will be held at Laurel Park, located at 3100 Old Cleveland Hwy. in Gainesville, Ga., each morning from 6:30 to 7 a.m. Takeoffs will commence at 7 a.m. Weigh-ins will be held daily at 5 p.m. at The Arena at Gwinnett Center located at 6400 Sugarloaf Pkwy. in Duluth, Ga. The FLW Outdoors Expo will be held in conjunction with the Forrest Wood Cup at the Gwinnett Convention Center on Friday from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. FLW Outdoors Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, angler seminars, the opportunity to meet professional anglers, see and test the latest outdoor equipment, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public. Fishing fans can register to win a Ranger boat that will be given away after the pro champion isSpectators watch as the Georgia National Guard presents the color for the national anthem. crowned. Fans can register at ForrestWoodCup.com and must be present to win. On the Web For those who can't catch the weigh-in action in person, FLWOutdoors.com offers FLW Live, an online application that brings fans real-time weigh-in results, streaming video and audio. In addition to FLW Live, FLWOutdoors.com is offering real-time updates from the water throughout each day of the Forrest Wood Cup. Simply click on the "On the Water" tab from any of the home pages. Saturday's conditions Sunrise: 6:51 a.m. Temperature at takeoff: 77 degrees Expected high temperature: 93 degrees Water temperature: 89-93 degrees Wind: ENE at 7 mph Maximum humidity: 70 percent Day's outlook: cloudy, isolated thunderstorms

Tags: morning-story 

/news/2015-06-25-a-capital-challenge

A Capital Challenge

Rivers can be rollercoasters, and the Potomac River might be about to give the anglers fishing the Walmart FLW Tour finale a tough ride. Two nasty storm systems have blown through in the last few days. According to FLW Tour pro and local Michael Hall, those could have been the two worst things to happen leading up to the tournament. “After 30 years of fishing here, I know storms impact the bass on this river,” says Hall. “Those storms have certainly done that. The wind alone would have done it this week.” READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-18-the-sun-rises-on-the-2015-all-american

The Sun Rises on the 2015 All-American

Practice day Wednesday saw temperatures in the high 80s, with more sultry weather on tap for today. Like many others, Schroeder spent most of the day riding around and checking spots with his electronics. Though undoubtedly fish will be caught from the miles of weedbeds in the lower end of the lake below Paris Landing, he figures it will be a ledge bite that wins. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-11-deep-or-shallow-at-chickamauga-

Deep or Shallow at Chickamauga?

There was no sentimentality attached to the smartphone photos anglers were showing off to each other prior to the Wednesday afternoon rules meeting of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Chickamauga. The photos weren’t of loved ones back home; rather, they were shots of big largemouth bass the fishermen had caught and released during practice earlier this week. In fact, there was a surprising number of such photos making the rounds, which suggests that the kind of hefty bass that can make or break a tournament for an angler are there ready and waiting as the four-day event presented by Igloo Coolers got underway this morning out of Dayton Boat Dock. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-04-northern-rayovacs-kick-off-on-the-james

Northern Rayovacs Kick Off on the James

Ostensibly, the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division tournament presented by Mercury that began this morning is taking place on the James River, but much of the fishing focus will be centered on the Chickahominy River – or Chick, as it’s affectionately known locally. “This tournament is typically won out of the Chick,” says North Carolina pro Jamey Caldwell of the James River tributary. “There are some great bags coming out of the [James] river right now, but I just feel that those big fish are a little more sporadic. I’m going to hang out in the Chick and hope for the best.” READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-seminole-summer

Seminole Summer

Last week, the Walmart FLW Tour plied the waters of the Chattahoochee River on Lake Eufaula. This week, the Rayovac FLW Series moves 60 miles south on the “Hooch” to Lake Seminole for the final event of the Southeast Division. Running offshore brush piles was the dominant theme on Eufaula last week, leaving some to wonder if a similar pattern could work on Seminole, since the two legendary lakes are connected by the same river. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-14-shallow-deep-and-in-between-at-eufaula

Shallow, Deep and in Between at Eufaula

A couple of weeks ago Eufaula was high and off-color, and the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State that begins this morning was shaping up to be a shallow-water showdown. The lake has fallen by a couple of inches since then, however, and now the odds are even that both inshore and offshore patterns will be in play. In fact, one Eufaula expert who isn’t fishing the tournament expects it will take a mixture of patterns to make it to Sunday’s championship round and claim the $100,000 that goes to the winner. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-07-anything-goes-at-the-cal-delta

Anything Goes at the Cal Delta

There are 127 pros entered in the Rayovac FLW Series Western Division tournament presented by Ranger at the California Delta this week. If you asked them all what their baits or tactics are for the first day of competition today, you might get 127 different answers. At some fisheries that FLW’s tournament circuits visit, such varied and often vague responses from pros when they’re prompted for fishing info are the result of them attempting to stealthily hide their fishing patterns. That’s not exactly the case at this tournament. The fact is, the California Delta is one of the most vast and varied fisheries that hosts FLW events. It’s a collection of unique mini-fisheries all rolled into one, with dirty water, clean water, tons of vegetation and other factors tossed into the mix. It’s a tidal fishery, so the water levels and currents fluctuate throughout each day. And, of course, it’s spring in California, and because of the vastness of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers and the delta system they feed, with its 1,000 miles of waterways, there are populations of bass in all stages of the spawn in their own little geographic areas. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-07-in-or-out-on-kentucky-lake

In or Out on Kentucky Lake

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/news/2015-04-30-texoma-tough-but-stabilizing

Texoma Tough, but Stabilizing

As of press time, we were unable to confirm whether or not Troy Broussard has ever suffered a barnyard assault by any beast of burden. Nevertheless, his colorful metaphor bespeaks a challenging scenario facing the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division field on Lake Texoma for this week’s finale, which is presented by Evinrude. From Broussard’s facebook page: “Well, after three full days [of practice] on Lake Texoma, I can honestly say that I compare this to getting kicked in the face by a mule. It’s brutal.” Allusions aside, the big Ouachita River reservoir straddling the Texas-Oklahoma border has indeed shown its persnickety side of late. Blame Mother Nature for that. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-tricky-transition-at-beaver

Tricky Transition at Beaver

Though Beaver Lake is an annual stop for the Walmart FLW Tour, that doesn’t mean it is an easy lake to decipher. This year’s event, which is presented by Rayovac, is later into the spring than usual and is causing some major head scratching among the 154 pros in the field. There’s no doubt that some fish can be found on beds, however, they are mostly small. The consensus is that a lot of fish are stuck in limbo between the spawn and prespawn phase on this White River impoundment. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-16-fog-delays-grand-lake-start

Fog Delays Grand Lake Start

It’s no secret that the first Rayovac FLW Series Central Division event of the year on Grand Lake has collided perfectly with the spawn. Nearly every shallow pocket on the lake holds dozens upon dozens of bass that are eager to do their deed. The 197 pros making up a record-setting Central Division field could hardly contain themselves to get on the water this morning. The only issue was fog – and lots of it. With a 7 a.m. CT takeoff planned, a heavy blanket of fog delayed the start of the tournament, which is presented by Power-Pole, until 8:30, when the fog lifted enough for safe travel but was still hanging around just enough to be a hindrance to those looking to sight-fish. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-16-weather-woes-greet-college-anglers

Weather Woes Greet College Anglers

It was supposed to be a shallow-water bassfest, with largemouths and spots roaming Lake Murray’s shoreline to feast on spawning blueback herring. That still might happen as the FLW College Fishing National Championship plays out the next three days here, but the fishing is more likely to be ad lib than follow any script. The dreary, damp weather that settled over the region Wednesday during the last day of practice is the culprit. Not only did it hamper the efforts of contestants looking for the last bedding fish of the season, but also those depending on a consistent blueback herring bite to gin up the action. Still, the consensus of opinion is that one pattern or the other will prevail, and settle the question of college bragging rights for the next year as well as send the winning team to the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita in August. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-09-swollen-rayburn-challenges-anglers

Swollen Rayburn Challenges Anglers

High water, high winds and high hopes – that’s the forecast for the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division event on Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Mercury, which kicked off today at the Umphrey Family Pavilion. Torrential rains of recent weeks have swollen this Angelina River impoundment, and a huge downpour last weekend has all but stymied efforts to lower the water level. Currently, the lake sits about 5 feet above normal – a level not seen here in more than 15 years. Realistically, anglers aren’t looking for much, if any, decline this week – particularly given the approaching storm system. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-front-and-center

Front and Center

There is little doubt it’s coming. The uncertainty lies in what will happen because of it. If the forecast holds true, at some point this evening the severe weather system that dropped tornados across the central plains Wednesday will arrive at Lewis Smith Lake. Along with the rain and thunder, the front promises to bring with it a significant drop in temperature, with lows projected in the low 30s by the weekend. It’s a storm that looms over the 154 pros and co-anglers set to fish the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Evinrude and hosted by the Walker County Chamber of Commerce. And while they, the anglers, should stay dry, the weather might be the key question mark for a tournament already overflowing with them. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-record-catch-for-record-college-field-

Record Catch for Record College Field?

GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. – Panama City, beach parties, Florida sunshine, bikini weather – big deal. Who needs Spring Break when you’ve got Kentucky Lake in March? OK, maybe that’s a stretch, but how else to explain why a record-setting number of teams showed up for the FLW College Fishing Open tournament here? The official tally of bass fishing teams is 201, according to College Fishing Tournament Director Kevin Hunt, making this the largest collegiate fishing event ever. Teams from every corner of the country are represented here, with squads from as far away as Eastern Washington University competing the next two days. A flotilla left Moor’s Resort & Marina this morning, with individual boats scattering in all directions. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-19-guntersville-grab-bag

Guntersville Grab Bag

Lake Guntersville will always have a place in bass-fishing history – most recently because of Paul Elias and the umbrella rig ­– but it represents so much more. With boat ramps seemingly on every street corner, and a town and community that caters to anglers like no other, the legendary lake is always a popular stop. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-06-toho-midday-report-day-2

Toho Midday Report Day 2

If you’ve been following the FLW On The Water feed, you might have seen a slight uptick in the reports in the last hour or so. A crisp north wind, which was cold enough to force many anglers into their rain gear this morning, seems to have tapered off to a breeze. Down south on Kissimmee the sun is shining. And as the weather has improved, so too has the bite – as evidenced by the sudden surge in fish-catching reports. The increase in action is good news for many anglers who experienced slower fishing this morning than yesterday. Stacey King, who came into today in second place, is among that group. Unfortunately for day-one leader JT Kenney, “slow” for King is still pretty good. He’s got a limit, including a pair of 4-pounders, and has already culled. That makes King our unofficial leader right now. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-05-boom-or-bust-at-toho

Boom or Bust at Toho

To varying degrees of success, tournament anglers are used to figuring out lakes that seemingly are a bundle of contradictions. Be that as it may, Lake Toho threatens to boggle their collective minds as the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour kickoff event presented by Mercury gets underway this morning. READ MORE »

/news/2015-02-11-mighty-amistad-issues-a-challenge

Mighty Amistad Issues a Challenge

Legendary south Texas reservoir Lake Amistad has hosted some of FLW’s most infamous smash-fests – the kind of tournaments where anglers weren’t challenged to catch fish, but were pushed to keep up with the competition when 20- and even 30-pound stringers were being hauled across the stage. READ MORE »

/news/2015-02-05-heating-up-on-havasu

Heating Up on Havasu

Lake Havasu City, Ariz. – Warming weather could provide the spark that is needed to ignite a big-time bite on Lake Havasu this week for the first event of the 2015 Rayovac FLW Series Western Division, which is presented by Mercury. Past FLW events on Havasu have been plagued by lower temperatures and strong winds that slowed the bite – fishing was good, but the anglers didn’t experience the lake’s full potential. The last few days on the Colorado River impoundment, however, have seen temperatures near 80 degrees with nearly no wind. As it stands now, the forecast for competition days is calling for more of the same, and many of the 152 pros in this tournament feel like that could open things up. READ MORE »