Cross Lake shootout

Sunlight that struggled to break through morning clouds should increase by midday.

SHREVEPORT, La. - No one has to explain the math to Jacob Wheeler or Mike Brueggen - the first- and second-place boaters going into the final round of BFL All-American action on Cross Lake. Wheeler, who has led the event for two days, has a two-day total weight of 28-10. He established a 7 1/2-pound lead on day one and pushed that margin to 9 1/2 yesterday. Brueggen nearly tanked on day one. He weighed just one keeper that went 1-4, but he stormed back with a vengeance on day two with a huge limit of 17-14. That bag was the event's second largest, behind Wheeler's day-one limit of 18-6. Here's where it gets interesting. If Wheeler matches what he caught yesterday (10-4), he'll have aTop boater Jacob Wheeler and Shane Winchester head out for the final day of BFL All-American action. three-day total of 38-14. If Brueggen repeats his day-two effort, he'll have 37. However, a small change on either side could alter the outcome. "After one pound on the first day, I'm just happy to be here on the final day," Brueggen said. "I feel like a winner already, but I plan on catching them today and hopefully the lake helps me out." Wheeler's perspective: "I'm going to catch as many fish as I can today. I have to catch them. Mike's an awesome fisherman. Everyone out here (in the final round) is the best of the best of the BFL. It's awesome to be out here fishing the last day of the All-American with possibly the chance of actually making my dream of becoming a professional fisherman come true." For that to happen, Wheeler knows he has to refocus and drill down to the quality he found on day one. If anything, today's conditions may work in his favor. Winds will be a little less than yesterday's blustery Leading boater Jacob Wheeler will fish mostly a green pumpkin tube.conditions, but the morning cloud cover was trying to break at take-off and skies are supposed to reach at least partial clarity by noonish. That means more light penetration, which tightens fish to cover and makes for easier targeting. Wheeler said he plans to start conservatively, secure a limit and then go hunting bigger fish. With a green pumpkin tube as his main bait, he's hopeful that today's calmer conditions will afford him greater opportunities. "It's not blowing nearly as hard as it has been the last couple of days so there might be some water that was unfishable the last couple of days that's fishable now and those fish aren't pressured," Wheeler said. "Yesterday, it was blowing so hard my co-angler's hat blew off and it didn't hit the water for 300 yards! There were 3- to 4-foot waves out there yesterday." Brueggen caught most of his day-two fish on a Lethal Weapon football head jig, but he found a late-dayMike Brueggen hopes to find his big bites with a Spro frog. topwater bite that looked promising enough to make him commit to a Spro frog today. "Toward the end of the day, I got some bigger bites on (the frog) and I think the bigger fish are there," Brueggen said. "So, I'm going to live or die on this. I hope I don't have to use the football head today because that would mean I got the big ones right away." Third-place boater Lloyd Pickett Jr. sits 10 pounds off the lead, but his pattern of diligently working Carolina rigs over drop-offs in about six feet of water is one of those sleeper deals with homerun potential. Finding the right little break or bend could bring his bait through a wad of Cross Lake lunkers. He has a lot of ground to make up, but Picket's confident with his game plan. "With the cloud cover and light wind this morning, I'm going to tie on a topwater and throw it a few times this morning, but then I'm going to move out to some deeper trees," he said. "You have to or die by what Starting the day in third place, Lloyd Pickett Jr will commit most of his day to Carolina you here and I'm a Carolina rigger by nature. I'm going to throw that topwater a little bit and a crankbait a little bit, but 95 percent of the day, I'm going to be on that rig." Kip Carter, who starts today in fourth place, plans on tempting his big bites mostly on top. He'll be throwing a Pop-R and a buzzbait to find those quality fish over the lakes protected slot limit of 14-17 inches. (Anglers are allowed to keep four fish over 17 inches in the 5-fish limit.) "I'm going to need four `overs' today to have a shot at winning this thing and every big bite I had yesterday came on top, so I'm going to keep it on top," Carter said. Fifth-place boater, Mike Hicks will also work on top with a popper. Targeting areas with bream beds as been the key for him. Logistics Hosted by the Shreveport-Bossier City Regional Sports Authority, the tournament features the top 49 boaters and top 49 co-anglers from across the country casting for top awards of up to $130,000 in the Boater Division and $60,000 in the Co-angler Division plus the opportunity to compete in the 2011Topwater presentations like this buzzbait will be the plan for Kip Carter. Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart on Lake Ouachita, Aug. 11-14. Saturday's final weigh-in will be at the Shreveport Convention Center located at 400 Caddo Street in Shreveport at 3 p.m. prior to the day three weigh-in of the Walmart FLW Tour. Fans will be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at the Shreveport Convention Center on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. The first 300 kids 14 and under on Sunday will receive a free rod and reel combo compliments of KTBS 3. Fans can also register to win a Can-Am ATV courtesy of Kiss Country 93.7 and 99X which will be given away on Sunday following the final weigh-in of the FLW Tour event. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public. Coverage of the BFL All-American tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS. "FLW Outdoors," will air Sept. 4 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET. "FLW Outdoors," hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to more than 500 million households worldwide. The BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, offering bigger prizes to those who qualify for regional championships and those who make it to the BFL All-American. Top winners in the BFL can Mike Hicks will target bream beds with poppers.move up to the EverStart Series or even the FLW Tour. Friday's conditions: Sunrise: 6:15 a.m. Temperature at takeoff: 72 degrees Expected high temperature: 87 degrees Wind: SSE 10-15 mph Humidity: 40 percent Day's outlook: Cloudy and rainy

Tags: morning-story 


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


Here They Come

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Grinding Wheel-er

ROGERSVILLE, Ala. – The story was much the same among the 141 pro and co-anglers that launched out of Joe Wheeler State Park this morning for the first day of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on Wheeler Lake. Fishing on the Tennessee River in the fall can be hit or miss and right now anglers are experiencing the latter. READ MORE »


A Clear Challenge

Challenging conditions including low water, abundant baitfish and a late-season algae bloom set the stage for an epic bass battle among the 212 pros and co-anglers vying for top honors Oct. 9-11 in the Rayovac FLW Series Western Division Clear Lake tournament, which kicked off this morning at 7:30 a.m. PT. Presented by Evinrude, the three-day event promises plenty of drama. Anglers are competing for lucrative paybacks, including $32,448 in cash for first place on the pro side, plus a fully rigged Ranger Z518C with 200-hp Evinrude outboard if the winner is Ranger Cup compliant, for a total purse worth more than $80,000. On the co-angler side, the victor claims a fully rigged Ranger Z117 with 90-hp Evinrude, plus $5,000 in Ranger Cup cash if entered in that contingency program. READ MORE »


Rayburn Returns

ZAVALLA, Texas – If Sam Rayburn Reservoir were a stock on Wall Street, now would be the time to buy. READ MORE »


The Mississippi Mix-Up

LA CROSSE, Wis. – Things are much different since the last time the Rayovac FLW Series Central Division launched from the Clinton Street Landing back in 2012. Cooler temperatures, higher water levels and scattered fish will make things interesting for the 119 pros and co-anglers this week on the Mississippi River. READ MORE »


James River Jam

RICHMOND, Va. – On tidal fisheries like the James River, optimism and opportunity are inextricably linked to water level. For anglers competing in the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division, today’s tide schedule will present a brief period of opportunity, followed by a long grind the rest of the day. READ MORE »


Hopes High on Champlain

PLATTSBURGH, NY - Fair weather and a fishery flush with bassin’ options fueled contagious optimism among the 142 competitors squaring off in the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Champlain. READ MORE »


Kentucky Lake: The pressure is palpable

PARIS LANDING, Tenn. – If the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Evinrude needed a theme song, David Bowie’s rendition of “Under Pressure” would be as good as it gets. The entire field will be under more pressure than usual as the four-day competition opens this morning. There’s the pressure to win or at least take advantage of a final opportunity to take home a good check this season, the pressure to pull out all the stops and make up ground in the Angler of the Year standings and gain entry into the Forrest Wood Cup, the pressure to not take chances and lose a shot at the Cup – and so it goes. READ MORE »


The Task of Timing

FLORENCE, Ala. – Fishing tournaments inherently rely on timed competition – get as much weight as you can within the allotted time frame. However, as the country's top 49 boaters and co-anglers take to Wilson Lake for the Walmart BFL All-American presented by Chevy timing will greatly impact outcomes. READ MORE »


Pick a number at Pickwick

FLORENCE, Ala. – To listen to some of the pros gathered here for the Walmart FLW Tour on Pickwick Lake presented by StraightTalk, here’s the scenario that will play out for the next couple of days: Each morning anglers will depart the takeoff area and proceed to their first stop where, depending on their draw, they will be required to wait in line until it’s their turn to fish. Once they’ve caught a keeper, they will move on to the next community hole, where they will again repeat the process. And so the tournament will proceed until Sunday evening when the champion will be crowned. OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but not by much. Veterans and newcomers alike agree that Pickwick will fish much smaller than it really is in this, the fifth 2014 Tour stop that’s hosted by the Florence/Lauderdale Tourism Bureau. Because fish-finding electronics have become so precise, most of the locations that consistently hold bass in early summer on Pickwick seem to have found their way into the waypoint logs of just about every angler entered. As veteran Texas pro Tommy Martin puts it, “either we’re going to have to play nice and share places and get along, or go find six or eight spots that nobody knows about. Good luck with that; I plan to play nice.” READ MORE »


Kentucky Lake slugfest begins

There are no secrets on Kentucky Lake this week. If you want to catch a winning stringer, you’d better be ledge fishing. Rayovac FLW Series anglers launched out of Kenlake State Resort Park this morning to near-perfect ledge-fishing conditions for the start of the second Central Division event of the season. READ MORE »


High tide on the Delta

BETHEL ISLAND, Calif. – Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing – or, at least, a challenging thing. Gotta have water to fish and current generally stimulates fish, but this week’s tide schedule may prove perplexing for Rayovac FLW Series Western Division anglers on the California Delta. READ MORE »


Guntersville’s great mystery

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. -- Largemouth bass in Lake Guntersville just might be some of the most prolific bass in the world. How one fishery continues to pump out so many bass under the duress of so much fishing pressure is a mystery that many bass pros have pondered. READ MORE »