UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

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 rigging.got 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 


Rain Raises the Bar

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A Mixed Bag at Clear Lake

Clear Lake is famous for a good reason. Not only does it hold some giants, it’s home to tremendous amounts of fish over five pounds apiece. October tournaments on Clear in the last few years have shown some of the lake’s tremendous potential, with big ones grouped up and big-time numbers caught by many. READ MORE »


Hunting Erie’s Brown Fish

It’s going to be an Easter egg hunt on Lake Erie, but at least the great lake will behave a little better during the final Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event than it did during practice. READ MORE »


2015 Forrest Wood Cup Off and Running

If the fishing matches the weather on the opening day of the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita, there will be plenty of limit stringers brought to the scales in Hot Springs’ Bank of the Ozarks Arena when the weigh-in commences at 5 p.m. Up until a couple of weather forecasts ago, anglers were anticipating hot, miserable weather during all four days of this, the crowning event of the Walmart FLW Tour season, which is hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Passing thunderstorms Tuesday afternoon brought a pleasant respite to the sultry heat, however, and now Cup contenders only have sulking bass to contend with as they vie for tournament fishing’s richest prize: a winner’s purse of $500,000. READ MORE »


Up and Down on Dardanelle

Tournament fishing inherently has its ups and downs, but Rayovac FLW Series Central Division anglers are getting a concentrated dose of this angling truism on Lake Dardanelle. An Army Corps of Engineers impoundment of the Arkansas River, Dardanelle has seen its water level fluctuate with recent rains and the Corps’ efforts to moderate this flow. Dam releases have pulled the lake down enough to reposition fish. READ MORE »


North or South on Champlain?

With waves 1 to 3 feet and thunderstorms in the offing as day one of the Rayovac FLW Series event presented by Plano gets under way on Lake Champlain, the anglers will have a tall task no matter which direction they run. READ MORE »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


In or Out on Kentucky Lake



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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »