Live now : Walmart FLW Tour 2016 Lake Okeechobee

Boyd cranks his way to TBF Championship win

Indiana angler Allen Boyd wins the 2011 TBF Championship and the $100,000 Living The Dream package.

When Allen Boyd was 13, his grandfather bought him an aluminum boat. His grandmother dropped him off at a local lake nearly every day during the summer, and he spent every moment he could with a fishing rod in his hand.

"I fished all day long. That's all I wanted to do. I was just a young kid with a fishing pole, but I loved every minute of it," he recalled.

Those long days 25 years ago paid off Saturday when Boyd brought a 17-pound, 1-ounce limit to the scales on the final day of the TBF National Championship, held on Nickajack Lake, to win the "Living The Dream" package. It includes paid entry into the Walmart FLW Tour and is valued at over $100,000. His three-day weight was 50 pounds, just 5 ounces more than second-place boater James Biggs of Texas. Boyd had no hesitations when he was asked if he was going to fish the Tour.

"I've always wanted to do this. I've been a TBF member for such a long time, and I've dreamed about fishing at the pro level," said Boyd, who still seemed stunned an hour after he was presented his trophy.

His win didn't come without some nervous anticipation. Over 2 inches of rain fell on the region yesterday and last night, giving Boyd reason for concern.

"I couldn't sleep. I was worried my spots would be muddy," he said.

They weren't.

Beale falls from first, still wins boat

Day-two leader Kenny Beale Jr., who had nearly 4 pounds more than the next angler going into the final day, didn't have the same good fortune.

Beale ran 35 miles up Nickajack Lake from the launch site near the dam each day to a series of secluded sloughs and indents off the main river channel, including a few spots that weren't even on his GPS. The heavy rain, however, proved a killer for Beale's productive jig pattern.

"My main spots were chocolate-red, solid mud," he said.

Kenny Beale Jr. of Virginia may have fallen from first to third overall, but as the highest-placing Ranger Cup angler in the TBF National Championship, he Despite the water color, Beale and his partner, co-angler champion Rhett Fornof, decided to give the spot at least a try. An hour and one catfish later, they bailed and went to a rocky bank the two found during the official practice day. It already had five other boats on it. With few options, Beale stayed and worked a Texas-rigged Zoom Baby Brush Hog up and down the shore. The spot was good enough for a 12-pound, 1-ounce limit, but it wasn't good enough for the win. He slipped to third overall, ending up with a three-day total of 48-14. Beale was just 1 pound, 2 ounces behind Boyd and 13 ounces behind second-place boater James Biggs.

Boyd reveals winning pattern, Biggs jigs for second overall

Boyd was in third in the Northern Division after the first day, but moved into first after crushing a 19-pound, 11-ounce sack on the second day, including two 5-pounders. Under tournament rules, only one angler from each of the TBF's seven divisions moves on after the second day.

He relied on a blue-and-chartreuse Norman crankbait and a shallow-diving Strike King crankbait. They produced nearly all his fish, which came from just a few areas near Hales Bar Marina that he returned to all three days.

"I was mostly working riprap, but I found some emerging grass just out from some of that riprap. I just went back and forth with the shallow-diving crankbait and deeper-diving one. I'd catch one or two fish with each pass in anywhere from 2 to 12 feet of water," he said.

Biggs also fished riprap near Hales Bar Marina the entire tournament, but he was in a different area than Boyd. He caught an estimated 15 to 25 keepers each day, including a limit before 7 a.m. today, which is exactly what he hoped to do.

"I'm not one of those guys that just fishes for five bass. I wanted to catch 15 or 20 a day because I knew this was going to come down to ounces. When you catch a bunch of fish, you can be sure one or two will be good ones," he said.

2011 TBF Championship co-angler winner Rhett Fornof was also the highest-placing Ranger Cup co-angler, earning him an additional $5,000. Biggs, a 30-year-old firefighter and paramedic who joined the Texas Bass Federation just a year ago, caught most of his fish on a 3/8-ounce football jig tipped with a green-pumpkin Zoom Speed Craw.

Fornof rises to top of Co-angler Division

Fornof, a management consultant from Park City, Utah, not only had the good fortune of drawing skilled partners, he actually drew Beale on the first and third day, and was paired with him for the official practice period. He ended up with 44 pounds, 9 ounces.

"Kenny and I got along really good, and we worked together as a team in some ways. I couldn't have asked for better partners," he said.

Fornof wasn't even supposed to be here. Fellow Utah Bass Federation member Mike Isbell actually beat Fornof in the divisional tournament and was slated to fish as a co-angler for Utah, but had to drop out of the championship.

"I was actually working in Canada when Mike called me and asked me if I wanted to take his place. He said, `I need to know today.' That was last Wednesday," said Fornof. "I was supposed to be on another job this week, and I thought, `I may not have a job when I get home if I choose to fish.' I chose to fish."

Rest of the best

Larry Hardy of Tonto Basin, Ariz., came in fourth with 47 pounds, 9 ounces. Idaho angler Don Boeger finished fifth in the Boater Division with 44-1, 19-year-old Ryan Latinville of New York placed sixth, and Greg Hoskinson came in seventh with 34-12. Jason Myers placed second overall in the Co-angler Division. He weighed 41 pounds, 8 ounces. Dennis Hastings of Texas came in third, followed by Robert Harkness of West Virginia as well as Gene Lippincott, Jason Hester and Casey Casamento of New York.

The spoils

Boyd not only won a slot on the Walmart FLW Tour, the "Living The Dream" package also includes Tour entry fees, the use of a wrapped Ranger boat and wrapped Chevy tow vehicle, sponsor merchandise and travel expenses. He also won a check for $6,000 and a berth in the prestigious 2011 Forrest Wood Cup. Fornof will also fish in the Forrest Wood Cup as a co-angler, and all 14 finalists earned a slot in the 2011 BFL All-American.

Despite slipping to third, Beale isn't leaving Kimball, Tenn., empty-handed. He was the top Ranger Cup angler and will go home with a brand-new Ranger boat. Fornof was the top Ranger Cup co-angler. He earned a $5,000 check from Ranger Boats.

Tags: david-hart  headline-story  2011-04-14-national-championship-nickajack 

/news/2016-02-07-lake-okeechobee-day-4-coverage

Lake Okeechobee Day 4 Coverage

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

/news/2016-02-06-top-5-patterns-from-lake-okeechobee-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Okeechobee Day 3

Across the board, weights fell off on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats and hosted by Roland and Mary Ann Martin's Marina and Resort and the Hendry County Tourism and Development Council. No one in the top 20 crossed the 20-pound mark. Cloud cover, which prevented the water temperature from rising much above 65 degrees, and low water clarity might both have slowed the replenishment of bass moving into spawn. Tournament leader Bradley Hallman experienced a bit of a stall in the action as well, bringing just four fish to the scales, but he still managed to increase his lead to 13 pounds, 9 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-hallman-extends-lead-on-day-three-at-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Hallman Extends Lead On Day Three At Walmart FLW Tour On Lake Okeechobee Presented By Ranger Boats

Anchored by an 8-pound, 10-ounce kicker, pro Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, brought four bass to the scale Saturday totaling 14 pounds, 3 ounces to extend his lead to more than 13½ pounds heading in to the final day of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Hallman’s... READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-can-anyone-catch-hallman-

Can Anyone Catch Hallman?

Despite catching only four keepers on day three, Norman, Okla., pro Bradley Hallman extended his lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee. With a day-three weight of 14 pounds, 3 ounces and a tournament total of 64-10, his margin over second-place angler Alex Davis is now 13 pounds, 9 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-okeechobee-day-3-coverage

Okeechobee Day 3 Coverage

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

/news/2016-02-05-top-5-patterns-from-lake-okeechobee-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Okeechobee Day 2

Fueled by 25 mph north winds, the Lake Okeechobee washing machine cleansed some livewells today, keeping them free of the 20-pound limits that are so common here when the weather is sunny, 75 and calm. However, a few 20-plus-pound limits still snuck through the rinse cycle to grace the scales. The biggest limit once again belonged to Bradley Hallman of Norman, Okla. He added 25 pounds, 7 ounces to the 25 he caught on day one. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-oklahoma-s-hallman-extends-lead-at-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Oklahoma’s Hallman Extends Lead at Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Okeechobee Presented by Ranger Boats

CLEWISTON, Fla. – Pro angler Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, brought a five-bass limit weighing 25 pounds, 7 ounces to the scale Friday to extend his lead on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Hallman will bring an 8-pound, 8-ounce advantage into day three of the four-day competition that features 169 of the top bass-fishing anglers in the world competing for a top cash award of up to $125,000. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-cales-earns-co-angler-win

Cales Earns Co-angler Win

Co-angler Tim Cales of Sandstone, W.Va., earned his second win with FLW after sacking up 30 pounds, 11 ounces over two days in the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-hallman-way-in-front

Hallman Way in Front

Bradley Hallman is doing his best to make the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats a one-man show. But Alabama pro Alex Davis hopes to spoil Hallman’s hopes of a wire-to-wire victory. Today, Hallman weighed in 25 pounds, 7 ounces to raise his two-day total to 50-07. He’s led the tournament each day thus far. Davis weighed in 20-15 to move from third to second but is still 8 1/2 pounds behind the leader. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-okeechobee-day-2-coverage

Okeechobee Day 2 Coverage

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

/news/2016-02-04-top-5-patterns-from-the-okeechobee-tour-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from the Okeechobee Tour Day 1

The Walmart FLW Tour has been coming to Lake Okeechobee for the better part of 20 years. And for a vast majority of those years, the north end of the lake has been the business end – where the business of fish catching is done. Today, that tradition was derailed in the first round of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats and hosted by Hendry County Tourism Development Council. Though some boats did sample the Harney Pond area up north, many of the normal fish-producing haunts such as the Monkey Box, Dyess Ditch and Fisheating Bay were complete ghost towns. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-04-hallman-leads-day-one-of-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Hallman Leads Day One Of Walmart FLW Tour On Lake Okeechobee Presented By Ranger Boats

Oklahoma pro Bradley Hallman, brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 25 pounds even Thursday to grab the early lead after day one of the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Right behind him in second place is renowned Okeechobee angler Brandon McMillan of Clewiston, who weighed in five bass totaling 22-8. Hallman now brings a 2½-pound lead into day two of the four-day READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-04-hallman-takes-the-lead-with-25

Hallman Takes the Lead with 25

The old saying is that the third time is the charm, but for Bradley Hallman of Norman, Okla., it’s more like the first time is the charm. Hallman is fishing his first Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee. It’s the first day of the first Tour event of 2016, and Hallman sits in first place with 25 pounds even. Norman, Okla., pro Bradley Hallman sacked up an impressive 25-pound limit of bass to take the lead on day one of the Walmart FLW Tour opener on Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-04-okeechobee-day-1-coverage

Okeechobee Day 1 Coverage

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

/news/2016-02-03-5-key-areas-on-okeechobee

5 Key Areas on Okeechobee

There are many well-known areas on Lake Okeechobee that are commonly talked about around the docks before and after each event, but five key spots in particular will certainly play a role in this week’s Walmart FLW Tour opener. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-03-5-to-watch-on-okeechobee

5 to Watch on Okeechobee

This year, the Big O is giving the 169-boat field a different look than they’ve seen in past years in the form of high, dirty water. The odds could favor the locals more than in years past, though the caliber of skill among the entire field is over the top. Really, it could be anyone’s tournament. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-02-scouting-the-big-o-with-wesley-strader

Scouting the Big O with Wesley Strader

Wesley Strader is known and admired for his unique wit and constant cheer, but his consistency is what has been the true hallmark of his successful fishing career. Last week, that consistency paid off with the first big win he’s had since 2002 at the B.A.S.S. Open on the Kissimmee Chain in central Florida. Now he’s got his eye on starting the Walmart FLW Tour season on the right foot a few hours south at Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-01-okeechobee-practice-with-scott-martin

Okeechobee Practice with Scott Martin

Scott Martin is heading into the first Walmart FLW Tour event of the season with a full head of steam. After earning what might be the first of many Angler of the Year titles in 2015, he gets to kick off the year sleeping in his own bed and fishing Lake Okeechobee, the place where he grew up and where he has caught more than 50 bass weighing more than 10 pounds. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-01-childers-targeted-rocks-for-victory

Childers Targeted Rocks for Victory

Randy Childers of Anderson, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 14 pounds, 7 ounces, Saturday to win the first FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Savannah River Division tournament of 2016 on Lake Keowee presented by Power-Pole. For his victory, Childers earned $4,271. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-01-childers-wins-flw-bass-fishing-league-savannah-river-division-opener-on-lake-keowee-presented-by-power-pole

Childers Wins FLW Bass Fishing League Savannah River Division Opener on Lake Keowee Presented by Power-Pole

SENECA, S.C. – Randy Childers of Anderson, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 14 pounds, 7 ounces, Saturday to win the first FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Savannah River Division tournament of 2016 on Lake Keowee presented by Power-Pole. For his victory, Childers earned $4,271. READ MORE »