UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Champlain

Cox finally closes on Red River

Pro John Cox of DeBary, Fla., caught a five-bass limit weighing 7 pounds, 13 ounces Sunday to lead wire to wire and win $100,000 at the Walmart FLW Tour on the Red River with a four-day catch of 20 bass weighing 48-8.

SHREVEPORT/BOSSIER CITY, La. - Mercury pro John Cox has enjoyed the view from the top of an FLW leaderboard before: Last year he led the opening three days of the FLW Series Eastern on Lake Okeechobee in his home state before snatching defeat from the jaws of victory on the final day, ending it the runner-up; then he led day one of the next FLW Series event on Lake Eufaula, only to finish seventh. He even won the 2010 points race in that circuit. But he has never enjoyed a tour-level win - until today, that is. The Debary, Fla., pro has been a top-notch grass-roots angler in the Walmart BFL, stringing together two wins, three runner-up finishes and another four top-10 finishes since 2004; he was a consistent Pro John Cox picked up his first Tour win Saturday on the Red River after coming close in the past.performer in the EverStart Series Southeast Division from 2005 to 2007, qualifying for two championships, but top finishes eluded him, including a 2007 tourney - again on Lake Eufaula - in which he led the opening day only to finish 30th; and while he had measured success as a touring pro last year in the FLW Series, his earnings on the season would be just enough to fish a full 2011 schedule on the Walmart FLW Tour (including both Majors and Opens). In other words, this 25-year-old rookie Tour pro has struggled to stay afloat this year and has even borrowed some money from friends, he said, to continue his quest. So when he sacked a limit of five bass Sunday to contribute to a four-day winning weight of 48 1/2 pounds and complete his wire-to-wire victory march at the Red River, you can bet that success for him felt sublime. Immediately before the final weigh-in, Cox said of what a win would mean: "It would be amazing ... winning this far from home. I just want to get it off my back and finally get a win. It would give me a lot of confidence." John Cox started his final day near Red River South Marina.When Cox's 7-13 limit sealed the deal Sunday, it gave him confidence that extended beyond a fishing boat as well. He proposed to his girlfriend via FLW Live with the Red River trophy in hand and a check for $100,000 at his feet - a promise he'd made back at Okeechobee last year, when he said he'd pop the question when he won a tournament: "Cheryn, would you marry me?" And the kicker to this personal story is a conversation he had with Cheryn, who is expecting, before he left home for the Red River: "We were thinking of baby names and kind of joking around, I said, `If I win at the Red River on lily pads, we should name her Lily,' so I guess she's going to be Lily." But there was fishing to be done to warrant a celebration, and here's how he did it. On days one and two, Cox accessed a backwater area downstream in Pool 4 via a seemingly impassible culvert; it was an area he learned about at a tournament two years ago. He fished out of a 17-foot aluminum boat with a small 75-hp engine and even took all but one battery out to lighten his load as much as possible. Still, it was incredibly difficult to pass through the tunnel, which was so shallow it caused his boat to bottom out and get stuck (click here to watch video of the process). Once he broke on through, Cox quickly sacked strong limits of 14-10 and an even 14 pounds over the first two days by fishing a Dandy Baits 1/2-ounce jighead with a green-pumpkin/green-glitter skirt and then a ChatterBait and swimbait. On days three and four, he "just fished around the ramp" in Pool 5 - including lily pads, where he boated his first keeper early this morning - as well as a backwater fishing hole he found about two miles south. That plan worked well for a 12-1 limit Saturday, but today the water was low enough that he had to access it via a narrow and shallow ditch (sound familiar?), which he could only achieve by making a fast run at it and blasting through the mud. John Cox"I looked at it and I thought, `There's no way I'm going to idle in there,' so then I throttled it and went in there at about 50 mph," he said, adding that he only caught one there today off a bed on a craw, and that's when he started to get nervous. "I was a wreck today all the way until the end," he said. "I couldn't cast. I didn't feel like I was in my shoes." Eventually he went back to the launch site at about 1:30 p.m. and worked the lily pads again with a Producto Buzztail Shad until he finally rounded out his limit in the last 20 minutes of his fishing day. Cox got the monkey off his back today, and he's clearly a competitor of the highest caliber, so it's reassuring for many fans of professional bass fishing to know that he will use his winnings - along with what he earns as a fishing guide and doing odd jobs - to not only start a family, but also to keep on fishing. "It would pay for the rest of the year, and I'd be able to fish for bigger fish," he said before the win - that's good news for the sport. National Guard pro Mark Rose of Marion, Ark., who caught a total of 19 bass weighing 43-4 and earned $32,553, was runner-up.Rose runner-up National Guard pro Mark Rose of Marion, Ark., added yet another top-10 finish to his already-impressive FLW record, sacking the heaviest pro limit of the day - 12 pounds, 11 ounces - to give him a three-day total of 43-4 and the runner-up finish worth $32,553. Despite falling short of another tournament win, Rose was a good sport. "I'm very proud of John," Rose said, adding that he didn't buy into some of the negative comments he heard earlier in the week regarding Cox's unorthodox method of accessing his secret fishing hole, including the lightweight boat. "He utilized it real well and did his homework. I hope he wins." Mark Rose cranked a Strike King KVD 1.5 crankbait to finish second. As far as the fishing, Rose stuck to the same small oxbow in Pool 5 all week. "It's a grind out there," Rose said. "I caught all my fish this week on a Strike King KVD 1.5 (crankbait) and a Strike King Premier Pro-Model spinnerbait." Though Rose had said earlier he knew the rest of the field was "fishing for second place," it didn't stop him from getting excited Sunday as he put together his best tournament day on the Red River. "I was fired up," he said about landing his two kicker fish today. "It's just been such a grind that that was a positive moment ... and that's what you ned to keep the momentum going. Otherwise you're just getting sunburned and bored." 3rd: Clint Brownlee, Tifton, Ga., 20 bass, 40-1, $28,636.Brownlee falls a spot Pro Clint Brownlee of Tifton, Ga., went into the final day in second place with the best odds of catching Cox, but it wasn't meant to be. He sacked a 7-14 limit (after 1 1/2-pound dead-fish penalties) from the same backwater oxbow he'd fished all week not far from the launch site. "My water was down, and the sun was out," he said, adding that the conditions didn't line up well with his topwater buzzbait pattern. "I caught four fairly quick, and when the sun came out, I had to start flippin'." He caught most of his fish this week on an 1/8-ounce Strike King buzzbait, and some flipping everything Clint Brownlee buzzed a Strike King 1/8-ounce buzzbait over vegetation to finish third.from a Zoom Trick Worm (over the first few days) to a Grandebass Mega Claw and a Big Bite Fighting Craw (today). "I gave it all I had today," he said, adding that he was still pleased with his performance. "This is my third year fishing the Tour ... this is my first top-10, and I want to come back. It's really hard to make the top 10 - trust me on that." And for his third-place finish, Brownlee earned $28,636. Robertson remains fourth 4th: Castrol pro Darrel Robertson, Jay, Okla., 20 bass, 40-0, $23,219. Castrol pro Darrel Robertson of Jay, Okla., rocketed 15 slots up the leaderboard yesterday and held onto his fourth-place position to end the tournament. He caught a five-bass limit for 10-13 today, giving him a total weight of 40 pounds worth $23,219. After locking down to Pool 4 the first three days, Robertson stayed with the majority in Pool 5 today. "I caught it all off of wood, right there at the takeoff," he said. "I had about four lay-downs yesterday where I was catching them, and they had to have a root showing out of the water. Today it had to have brush around it." Robertson caught his bass this week on a green-pumpkin Biffle Bug, whether he was keying on grass - like early in the tournament - or wood. Today he plucked a limit of bass from wood by 8 a.m. before upgrading a few times. 5th: Gary Yamamoto, Palestine, Texas, 20 bass, 37-11, $18,553.Yamamoto fifth Gary Yamamoto is a well-known bass pro and highly renowned for his line of soft-plastic baits. After a dry spell on Tour, he put together a Red River game plan this week that earned him a fifth-place finish with a total weight of 37-11 worth $18,553. With his ever-present dog Isabella accompanying him to the weigh-in stage, the Palestine, Texas, pro had a little fun while in the spotlight - even placing the pooch on top of the weigh basket in a humorous attempt at boosting his already-impressive (and legitimate) 10-4 limit. "This weekend I was going to go down to the (Gulf) of Louisiana and catch some redfish and some Gary Yamamoto holds up a nice keeper on day four.flounder, but unfortunately I caught too many fish," he said. Yamamoto fished just south of Clark's Red River Marina all week and was of course fishing with his own soft-plastic baits, including a Yamamoto Craw, a Yamamoto Hula Swimmer and a 5-inch prototype craw with a double tail, all colored black and blue. Today he managed his two kicker fish from a small bush "with two legs" that he had worked earlier in the week - to the tune of at least 20 flips - to no avail. Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pro finishers at the Walmart FLW Tour Major on the Red River: 6th: Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., four-day total of 35 pounds, $15,753 7th: David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va., 34-10, $14,819 (unofficial Angler of the Year leader after this event) 8th: Mike Reynolds of Modesto, Calif., 34-9, $14,386 9th: Jon Strelic of El Cajon, Calif., 34-6, $12,953 (first FLW Tour top-10) 10th: Christian Romans of Carrollton, Ky., 33-8, $12,019 (first FLW Tour top-10) FLW Tour action resumes in early June when the circuit visits the Potomac River for an Open event.

Tags: headline-story 

/news/2015-08-01-browne-sticks-to-the-bank-to-win

Browne Sticks To The Bank To Win

A lot would have had to happen for Glenn Browne to relinquish his hard-earned lead on the final day of the Rayovac FLW Series event presented by Plano on Lake Champlain. It turned out that a lot did happen, but with help from his friends and a great pattern, Glenn Browne socked 18 pounds, 7 ounces on the final day for a 63-pound, 8-ounce total and a payday of $34,097 plus a new Ranger Z518 with a 200-hp outboard. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-01-champlain-midday-update-day-3

Champlain Midday Update Day 3

Day three of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano on Lake Champlain started with a beautiful sunrise and light rain that had tapered off by the beginning of takeoff. For leader Glenn Browne, the beauty was soon marred by a breakdown that occurred shortly into his run south. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-31-top-5-patterns-from-champlain-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Champlain Day 2

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Plano on Lake Champlain definitely shook up the leaderboard. While Glenn Browne took a huge lead, the rest of the pack swapped around and remained pretty tight. Browne is catching his fish down south near Ticonderoga, but the north end has also produced very well for the rest of the field. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-31-browne-crushes-again-leads-by-6-

Browne Crushes Again, Leads By 6+

Averaging 20 pounds or more is a difficult thing to do in a multi-day tournament on Lake Champlain, but Glenn Browne might be on his way to doing it in the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano. After two days, the Ocala, Fla., pro has run to Ticonderoga twice and sacked up nearly identical bags for a total of 45 pounds, 8 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-31-champlain-midday-update-day-2

Champlain Midday Update Day 2

While day one of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano on Lake Champlain was wracked by high winds and rain in the morning, day two has been almost as good as Champlain can be. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-30-cioppa-leads-on-champlain

Cioppa Leads On Champlain

David Cioppa of Hopkinton, Mass., weighed 22 pounds, 13 ounces late in the weigh-in to grab the lead after the first day of the Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Champlain. Cioppa weighed all largemouths and says that he caught the entirety of his weight by about 9 a.m. from one location in the northern end of the lake. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-30-top-5-patterns-from-champlain-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Champlain Day 1

Lake Champlain was rough and wild on day one of the Rayovac FLW Series event presented by Plano, and a bunch of the anglers still got it done in a big way. David Cioppa caught largemouths in the Inland Sea, but the rest of the top guys spread out all over the massive lake. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-30-champlain-midday-update-day-1

Champlain Midday Update Day 1

Takeoff was placid enough, with a beautiful sunrise and a light breeze in the slightly protected corner that is Plattsburgh. By about 6:30 a.m., day one of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano on Lake Champlain was already beginning to get rough. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-21-top-picks-from-icast

Top Picks From ICAST

A few days of walking the floor at ICAST is enough to exhaust a body, but it isn’t enough to know exactly what’s worthwhile. For that, you need some time to reflect and probably a few tournament seasons to fly by to see what rises up. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-renfrew-fished-to-win

Renfrew Fished to Win

Ian Renfrew of Phoenix, New York, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Northeast Division tournament on Oneida Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Renfrew earned $4,695. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-docks-and-rocks-key-for-synders

Docks and Rocks Key for Synders

Rus Snyders of Nashville, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Music City Division tournament on Old Hickory Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Snyders earned $2,703. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-jig-crankbait-carry-powroznik

Jig, Crankbait Carry Powroznik

Ryan Powroznik of Prince George, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 15 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division tournament on the James River. For his victory, Powroznik earned $7,507. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-persistence-pays-for-arning

Persistence Pays for Arning

Ray Arning Jr. of Walnut Hill, Illinois, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Illini Division tournament on Rend Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Arning earned $5,804. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-17-new-rod-roundup

New Rod Roundup

Rod companies continue to impress each year with a new crop of lighter, faster and more affordable (sweet!) rods. On the subject of price, these days, a tournament pro or an average angler could be fishing with rods that cost less than $100 apiece, but without giving up anything in the realm of quality. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-17-new-terminal-tackle

New Terminal Tackle

Don’t skimp where it counts the most – terminal tackle. Hooks, weights, jigheads and the like are the keys to taking all those new soft baits and swimbaits to the fish, hooking them and getting them in the boat. Here’s the best stuff we saw on the floor at ICAST 2015. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-flw-announces-2016-tour-schedule

FLW Announces 2016 Tour Schedule

FLW announced the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour regular-season schedule today in a live press conference held at the 2015 ICAST show in Orlando, Fla. With the help of six veteran Tour pros, the company unveiled each of the six events, one-by-one, to a crowd of observers gathered around the FLW booth. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-6-new-reels-to-try

6 New Reels to Try

Whether you need to replace an old reel or you’re just looking to add to the arsenal, here are some of the latest and greatest from ICAST. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-6-new-lines-from-icast-2015

6 New Lines from ICAST 2015

Line might just be the most important part of the package when it comes to landing fish. From presenting the bait to getting them in the net, your line is involved the entire way. If you’re looking for something new to try, the following lines are worth a shot. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-icast-best-of-show-winners-

ICAST Best Of Show Winners

One of the highlights of ICAST is the annual “Best of Show” awards. Not everything at ICAST is of interest to bass anglers, but the below might end up being staples for a long time to come. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-10-new-frogs-and-toads

10 New Frogs and Toads

These days, frogs and toads aren’t just mimicking frogs and toads. They’re designed to be perfect imitations of rats, bream and various oddball creatures. New models at ICAST this season offer anglers some of these “alternative” species, as well as new sizes, colors, action types and degrees of realism. Here are 10 new models that we feel are of greatest interest. Click here for complete 2015 ICAST coverage. READ MORE »