Wilson wins on Sam Rayburn

Pro Kris Wilson of Montgomery, Texas, picked up his first EverStart Series win on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. He earned $29,409 plus a Ranger boat, motor and trailer.

JASPER, Texas - The third time really is a charm, at least for pro angler Kris Wilson, who won the EverStart Series Texas Division event on Sam Rayburn Reservoir today with a two-day weight of 34 pounds, 9 ounces. The Montgomery, Texas, pro has entered this event three years running, and Saturday he rocketed from 13th place to the top of the leaderboard for the victory. Wilson, a pipeline controller, has only fished in three FLW Outdoors tournaments in his angling career. In 2009, he fished the EverStart Texas event on Sam Rayburn and placed 26th; the following season, he fished the event again and placed 21st. On his third try in 2011, he sealed the deal. Strong, consistent bass fishing is really what brought Wilson his win, but if he had a charm, it was his EverStart Series pro Kris Wilson used this 7-11 largemouth to help propel him to a win on Sam Rayburn and pick up the Big Bass award worth $230.green-pumpkin Big Bite creature baits. "I caught every single fish this tournament on a Big Bite creature bait," he said, adding that he fished it on a Carolina rig. Yesterday Wilson caught a five-bass limit weighing 15-5 to add to his 19-4 limit today, which was anchored by a 7-11 kicker that earned him the day's Big Bass award and an additional $230 to add to the $29,409 plus a Ranger boat package including motor and trailer that he earned for the win. "Yesterday I struggled; I only caught about seven (bass)," he said. "Today I caught a bunch - 15. "I started in the spot I caught `em best yesterday ... and caught the big one on the outside edge of the grass in about 7 feet of water at about 9 a.m." Wilson said he was running to about 20 spots across "the entire lake," focusing mostly on grass points and some pockets. He burned about 30 gallons of fuel each day. He fished a Bass-N-Bucks tournament on Sam Rayburn last weekend and then practiced every day this week up until the start of the tournament (the only day he didn't fish was the opening day of the tournament Thursday, which was canceled due to dangerous conditions that accompanied a frigid cold front). "I feel great," he said of his first FLW Outdoors win. Johnston runner-up Pro Stephen Johnston of Hemphill, Texas, placed second on Sam Rayburn with 10 bass, 32-8, $10,083.Sam Rayburn stick Stephen Johnston of Hemphill, Texas, added another EverStart Series trophy to his collection today with a runner-up finish worth $10,083. In EverStart Series competition alone on Sam Rayburn, he has notched five top-10 finishes including a win in 2007. "I just really slowed down today," he said. "I didn't have a bite until about 10 a.m." Johnston caught a 16-2 limit Thursday and a 16-6 limit today for a two-day total of 32 1/2 pounds. "We really fished about six different places from the south end all the way up to the 147 Bridge," he said, adding that he targeted scattered grass in about 6 to 8 feet of water. Johnston alternated between a Cyclone jig with a Venom pork chunk and a Strike King Series 5 XD crankbait, a new bait, to catch his bass this week. He said he ripped the crankbait through scattered grass and occasionally caught some staging on the outside edge of the grass. Erwin earns third place Pro Joe Erwin of Claremore, Texas, placed third with 10 bass, 31-11, $8,403.Third place in the Pro Division and $8,403 went to Joe Erwin of Claremore, Okla., for a two-day total weight of 31-11. He weighed 14-9 the first day and 17-2 today, both limits. "I caught every one of my fish on a Kinami (lipless rattling crankbait colored red and yellow)," he said. Erwin prefished with his oldest son and found one good spot on a flat in the midlake area where he fished "in between grass patches" in 2 1/2 to 5 feet of water. "It was the only place I got a bite," he said. Erwin is a Walmart BFL Okie Division stalwart with seven top-10 finishes including a win. This week marks his first EverStart Series top-10. Bebber breaks top 10 in three consecutive seasons Pro Charles Bebber of Willis, Texas, placed fourth with 10 bass, 30-10, $7,562.Willis, Texas, pro Charles Bebber scored his third-consecutive EverStart Series top-10 finish on Sam Rayburn, a routine that began in the Texas Division in 2009. He also made the top 10 last month at Choke Canyon, putting him in second place in for the race for the Strike King Angler of the Year title for the Texas Division. Bebber targeted grass in drains in 3 to 5 feet of water to sack a 17-1 limit Thursday and a 13-9 limit today, giving him a total weight of 30-10. He earned $7,562 for fourth place. A power-fisherman at heart, he slowed down his presentation to find success alternating between a Carolina rig (2-foot leader) with soft plastics from Big Bite Baits and a Lucky Craft LVR D-7. "It ended up being a power kind of deal," he said of fishing the Carolina rig shallow to catch most of his fish. "I was moving I pretty good." Bebber wouldn't divulge his hot spots on Sam Rayburn Reservoir, which he considers his home water, but said his Power-Pole shallow-water anchor was invaluable to access his areas. Eschete falls a place to fifth Coming in fifth was pro Ronnie Eschete Jr. of Thibodaux, La., with a two-day total of 30-9 (18-3 limit Pro Ronnie Eschete Jr. of Thibodaux, La., placed fifth with 10 bass, 30-9, $6,722.Thursday, 12-6 limit today). He earned $6,722. Eschete fished the Jackson Hill area on the north side of the lake this week and found his best success in a spot approximately 200 yards long. He fished an XCalibur rattle bait in water anywhere from to 2 to 8 feet deep, keying on grass. Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pros to finish the EverStart Series Texas Division event on Sam Rayburn Reservoir: 6th: Bert Thompson of Benton, La., six bass, 29-14, $5,882 7th: Russell Cecil, Willis, Texas, eight bass, 29-12, $5,042 8th: Claude Rabb, Vidalia, Texas, nine bass, 29-2, $4,201 9th: Michael Yoder, Texarkana, Ark., 10 bass, 29-0, $3,361 10th: Kevin Lasyone, Dry Prong, La., nine bass, 26-5, $2,521 Coming up The next EverStart Series Texas Division event will take place March 17-19 on Toledo Bend at Hemphill, Texas.

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/news/2015-04-26-arey-does-it-again

Arey Does it Again

Quaker State pro Matt Arey of Shelby, N.C., wowed the crowed in Rogers, Ark., today with an incredible 17-pound, 3-ounce five-bass limit to come from behind and win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake. This is Arey’s second consecutive Beaver Lake FLW Tour victory. Arey’s final-day surge was enough to surpass two-time reigning Angler of the Year Andy Morgan, who led yesterday but weighed in only 9-08 today and fell to third. Arey’s four-day total was 55-06, earning the pro $125,000. READ MORE »

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Beaver Lake Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

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Morgan Maintains His Lead

One of Andy Morgan’s fishing mottos is to make the best of what you have got “in front of you” to survive and fish another day. Beaver Lake doesn’t give much. So when an angler as resourceful as Morgan gets to a lake that doesn’t give out many resources, the two work well together. Instead of worrying about hitting it out of the park or putting immense pressure on himself to come up with a grand winning strategy, Morgan just scraps, scrapes and claws at the ground right in front of him, making the best of what he’s got. Morgan’s performance on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake was a prime example of his “make the best of it” attitude. After burning up the spawning fish he had located in practice during the first two days of the tournament, he was forced to fish by the seat of his pants today – something he thoroughly enjoys. READ MORE »

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Gordon and Gagner Crowned TBF Champs

Two more anglers qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup today by winning the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship on Grand Lake in Grove, Okla. Shawn Gordon of Russellville, Ark., earned the TBF crown on the boater side by catching a three-day limit of 50 pounds, 2 ounces, capped by the largest limit caught today – 18 pounds, 10 ounces. Gordon earned $5,000 for his win, but more importantly, he’ll be competing against the best pros in the business in August at the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Gordon also won the TBF “Living The Dream” package, which includes paid entry into the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour, a travel stipend, and use of a wrapped truck and Ranger bass boat. READ MORE »

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Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 3

Andy Morgan didn’t light up the world on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake, but he caught what he needed to maintain the lead and put a 1-pound, 9-ounce cushion between he and Matt Arey. Most of the rest of the top 20 scrambled today, abandoning their patterns and trying new options to try and make the final-day cut. Here’s how the top five got it done. READ MORE »

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Beaver Lake Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-make-way-for-morgan

Make Way for Morgan

“Hidden largemouths” is quickly becoming the buzz term at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac, as those atop the leaderboard are using the term to refer to spawning largemouths that are so well hidden that other competitors never found them. These hidden fish are covered by thick brush, hidden so deep that they were only found during the very rare windows of sunshine during practice or located off the beaten path. The latter are not in obvious pockets or places where one would expect to find beds, but rather out on the main bluff channels where few ever look. On day one, Jacob Wheeler caught hidden largemouths to take the lead. On day two, former Beaver Lake champion Andy Morgan caught hidden largemouths to take over the pole position going into the weekend. His catch of 15 pounds, 7 ounces today gives Morgan a two-day total of 28-09 to take the lead by just 11 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 2

At halftime of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac, the top five reads like a who’s who of Beaver Lake. Leader Andy Morgan is a former Beaver Lake champion. Behind him, Darrel Robertson has been very close to winning here with a runner-up finish in 2005. In third is 2014 Beaver Lake champion Matt Arey. Bryan Thrift, in fourth, has never won on Beaver Lake, but has led here before. And finally, fifth-place pro Stetson Blaylock knows his way around this lake pretty well, too, with a couple of top 10s. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-heckman-heads-up-tbf-championship-field

Heckman Heads up TBF Championship Field

Some bass are still spawning in Grand Lake, and others are yet to make their way up to the shallows, but none of that interests Sam Heckman. Diligent commitment to his postspawn plan here Friday landed Heckman atop the boater field with 34 pounds, 3 ounces and locked up his Southwest Division win at the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship. Saturday, the top boater from each of seven TBF divisions will vie for the TBF National Championship and the “Living the Dream” package that goes with it. The package includes paid entry in the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour as a pro, a Forrest Wood Cup berth and use of a custom-wrapped truck and Ranger boat on Tour for the year, as well as a travel stipend for each event. Seven non-boaters – one from each TBF division – also will fish in tomorrow’s final round for a chance at paid entry into a Rayovac FLW Series division of choice. READ MORE »

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Beaver Lake Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-wheeler-with-a-slim-lead

Wheeler with a Slim Lead

Jacob Wheeler has a plan to win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake this week. That plan involves primarily the largemouth species, a target weight of 14 pounds per day and a lot of fish management. Today, Wheeler surpassed his target by nearly 2 pounds with a 15-pound, 14-ounce catch that puts him in the driver’s seat at Beaver Lake, in the lead by just a scant 5 ounces over second-place pro Bryan Thrift. “Largemouths are the way to win here at Beaver Lake,” Wheeler says. “They are the fish to go the distance here, and that’s what I’m focusing on.” READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 1

Though there were plenty of fish caught off beds at Beaver Lake on day one of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac, the top five is rounded out by a group of anglers who relied on sight-fishing very little. Opinions on where exactly bass are in the spawning cycle at Beaver Lake vary greatly from angler to angler, but a few common denominators did come to light on day one. For starters, most agree that one major spawning cycle has already occurred. Plenty of empty beds and a lot of gaunt, postspawn fish at the scale were evidence of that. Second, there are still some bass (of all species) trying to spawn, but the ones left on beds are extremely wary. Finally, the order of difficulty to catch each species ranks as follows: smallmouth bass – extremely easy; spotted bass – not as easy; largemouth bass – extremely difficult. READ MORE »

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Griffith Grabs TBF Lead

By midday, the prospects were unclear for Jon “Scooter” Griffith here in The Bass Federation National Championship on Grand Lake, but in a roundabout way it provided just the clarity he needed to dial in a pattern that helped him take the day-one lead with an 18-pound, 13-ounce limit. Griffith began his day by sight-fishing the clear water down by the Pensacola Dam. This opening move, he says, gave him some early comfort, as it matched the transparent water he’s used to fishing near his home in Mesa, Ariz. Targeting windblown points, Griffith got his early bites with reaction baits in about 4 to 8 feet of water. Unfortunately, the plan turned out to be less productive than he had expected. READ MORE »

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Beaver Lake Day 1 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

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TBF Championship Tips Off

The spawn is on at Grand Lake, but that’s not the only game in town. As the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship plays out for the next three days, anglers will find this northern Oklahoma impoundment abounding with lots of fishing options. Brian Maloney, the 2012 Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American champion, says he was impressed with what he found in practice. “The quality of fish on Grand is just amazing,” notes the Missouri angler. “This lake continues to put out 3- and 4-pounders, and right now there’s a variety of things we can do. “There are guys sight-fishing for spawning fish, and we’re probably looking at another wave or two of fish coming in soon. I’m sure the full moon coming up in another week or so will move them in.” Adding that the lake currently has fish in all prespawn, spawning and postspawn stages, Maloney thinks that TBF contenders will be greeted by a mix of water conditions typical for Grand this time of year. READ MORE »

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Top 10 Baits from Lake Murray

Competitors in the FLW College Fishing National Championship mostly targeted bass feeding on spawning blueback herring on shallow points and main-lake pockets. Across the board, herring-imitating baits such as soft jerkbaits, swimbaits, topwaters, wake baits and umbrella rigs dominated the event. READ MORE »

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Jig Bite Carries Holmes on Wateree

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Bryan Slows Down for Chickamauga Win

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Morfis Dominates With 34-Pound Limit

OKEECHOBEE, Fla. – Joshua Morfis of Cape Coral, Florida, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 34 pounds, 14 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Gator Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Okeechobee. For his victory, Morfis earned $6,336. READ MORE »

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Salzman Cracks 31 Pounds on Guntersville

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