UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Erie

Grigsby comes up golden

Pro winner Chad Grigsby holds up part of his 22-pound, 13-ounce final-day stringer.

MURRAY, Ky. - Chad Grigsby has weathered the ups and downs of professional bass fishing for a decade. Up until today, the highlight of his career was a second-place finish at the 2005 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Hamilton. Over that span, Grigsby has led several Walmart FLW Tour events only to fade as the tournament progressed. Today he reversed that trend - gradually climbing from 10th to first in four days. Grigsby located two productive offshore areas: one on the northern end of the lake and the other in Paris, Tenn. He classified the northern spot, a large muscle bar flat near Moors Marina, as a cranking spot and the one near Paris as a jig/worm spot. Each day Grigsby would begin by heading to Paris and gathering a 14- or 15-pound limit. From there, he'd return to Moors in the afternoon in search of upgrades. But the treacherous storms on day three gave Grigsby second thoughts about running 35 miles south to Paris. So he went to Moors first. Continuing that reverse pattern on day four, the Maple Chad Grigsby used the Strike King 6XD crankbait en route to his first FLW Tour victory.Grove, Minn., resident started on his creek channel ledge near Moors. And it was so productive, he never left. Grigsby attacked it single-mindedly by cranking a Strike King Series 6XD crankbait ("sexy shad" color) as hard and fast as physically possible. The water on top of the ledge was approximately 12 feet deep, and the 6XD would grind into the shell beds, causing a reaction strike. When the crankbait would get hung on the shells, he'd snap the rod and immediately after the bait popped free a bass would usually commit. That's how he coaxed his three big ones during a mid-morning flurry. "There's a ditch that goes through it and then drops back to 15 or 16 feet," said the Goodwill pro. "And the top where the ditch comes back up is where the big shell bed is. That's where I caught every one of them. The three biggest almost came back to back to back." The area itself is large and well known as a community spot. In fact, it's the same area where co-angler winner Richard Peek caught over 20 pounds on day two as did his pro partner JT Kenney. Pro winner Chad Grigsby used a homemade paddletail Snider worm and a Secret Lures football-head jig on his deeper ledges. His Paris spot was a deeper (19-21 feet) channel swing, and thus Grigsby used a paddletail worm (plum colored) that was made by pro Kevin Snider, who ironically took second. He fished the worm on a 3/4-ounce Secret Lures football-head jig. Both the jig and the crankbait were tied to Trilene 100 percent fluorocarbon line. "The crankbait bite was phenomenal today, but that jig and worm are what got me here." Grigsby's five-bass limit Sunday weighed 22 pounds, 13 ounces, bringing his four-day combined weight to 73 pounds, 3 ounces pounds. That 73-3 was more than enough to earn him $125,000 and his first Tour win. "It's everything; this is what everybody strives for. I've bombed in some top-10s. But that's because my whole goal is to fish to win. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I'm tired of second; I'm glad I finally got that out of my system." The win came as a surprise for two reasons. In practice, Grigsby had no idea he was on a Chad Grigsby holds up his trophy for winning the FLW Tour event on Kentucky Lake. tournament-winning school. And secondly, he's more known as a shallow-water flipper and smallmouth fisherman. Although the venue was a shocker, the pro winner never doubted his ability. "I knew this day was coming; I thought it would have been here by now. It wears on you a little bit when you get close and can't seal the deal. Today it just got right; the sun came out, it got calm, and everything worked out." Grigsby will celebrate with his friends and family, many of whom are heading north to his wife's family cabin in Hayward, Wis. "It would have been a great week anyway. Now it's going to be an awesome one." Snider second Several of the local pros pointed to Snider as the odds-on pretournament favorite, and the Elizabethtown, Ky., pro didn't disappoint. He finished the tournament with 66 pounds, 11 ounces, earning $33,287 for second place. His day-four stringer of five bass weighed 17 pounds, 3 ounces. Second-place pro Kevin Snider holds up his kicker from day four on Kentucky Lake. Snider knows Kentucky Lake extremely well and ran up to 20 offshore spots in a day. He'd make five casts on the sweet spot, and if he didn't get bit, he'd move on. Snider was convinced the biggest females are the most apt to bite first. He also believes the truly big fish run in small schools of two or three. Most of the places he fished this week were on the north end of the lake. What he considered his best water never produced during the tournament. On day four he started fishing near the bank while he waited out the storm. To his surprise, he caught four 2 1/2-pounders and ended up weighing two of them. Early in the week his best bite occurred in the afternoon on a crankbait. On day three his 12-inch paddletail worm produced best, and today he mainly used a homemade swimbait. "I really wanted to win, but after the practice I had, I didn't think it was possible," Snider explained. "The lake is just not fishing like it usually does in June. I should have been connected to the bank or the spawning pockets like Chad was because the lake is about three weeks behind. They should be in about 20 feet and I was catching them in 17." Yelas third Chevy pro Jay Yelas nearly completed mission impossible, but the offshore sacks once again stole the Jay Yelas flips a jig to bushes in Barkley.show. All week long Yelas flipped shallow bushes, targeting a square-mile area on the south end of Barkley. He described it as one of the best flipping bites he's experienced in years - catching upwards of 40 bass a day. "After practice I was embarrassed to tell my friends that I was going to fish shallow," he said. "That's like conceding because everybody says it's impossible to win shallow here in June. The only reason it worked is because the lake is pretty full. If it was any lower, it wouldn't be productive. The last couple days it dropped almost 6 inches, and I never got the big bites. But I can't complain. To have a shot at winning shallow was just unthinkable." Yelas mainly used a 1/2-ounce Berkley Gripper jig with either a black-and-blue Havoc Craw Fatty or a green-pumpkin Chigger Craw. Occasionally, he mixed in a buzzbait, a swimbait or swam the jig. The best part about Yelas' pattern is that no one else was fishing by him - neither recreational nor tournament anglers. "We're coming back here again next year, so stay out of my bushes," he quipped. Combined with his day-four total of 12-2, he finished with a cumulative weight of 62 pounds, 10 ounces. He earned $28,520. Colson falls to fourth Pro Ramie Colson Jr. finished the Kentucky Lake event in fourth place. Ramie Colson Jr. achieved his goal of 20 pounds per day each of the first two days of the tournament. The final two days were a different story as the severe weather made the long trek to Barkley difficult as well as changed his bite. His five-bass limit Sunday weighed 9 pounds, 8 ounces, giving him a four-day total of 61 pounds, 4 ounces. For finishing fourth, the FLW Series champion earned $23,750. "I fish Barkley every year, and I'll go to my grave saying that I'm going to win one of these in Barkley," said the Cadiz, Ky., native. Colson worked two separate patterns this week. His bread and butter was fishing creek channel drops in 8 to 10 feet of water while the boat sat in approximately 15 feet. On the tops of these drops was homemade brush that Colson planted in preparation for the event. When fishing deep, he opted for a 3/4-ounce homemade jig with a black-and-blue skirt and Zoom Big Salty Chunk as a trailer. "I really think one of the keys to my bigger bites was the Chunk. It's got that bigger profile." But he also moved up and fished the backs of creeks for an hour or two each day. These creek flats also had homemade brush, and he'd swim a 1/2-ounce Enticer jig and a Zoom twin-tail grub by them. "I'm really disappointed. I had saved some stuff for today that didn't produce. The clouds and rain the last two days cooled the water, and when the sun's not out, the baitfish will not get up and feed on top, and that kind of kills the ledge bite on Barkley." Monsoor fifth Fifth-place pro Tom Monsoor holds up his biggest bass from day four on Kentucky Lake. Like Yelas, Tom Monsoor decided that he'd rather swim his signature jig than fish the offshore ledges this week. And like Yelas, he made it work. While the Chevy pro fished Barkley, Monsoor fished the banks south of Kenlake Marina on Kentucky Lake. "I fished the entire tournament in water 6 feet or less," said the La Crosse, Wis., native. "I just went down the bank with the trolling motor on 60 looking for active fish." Monsoor would fish whatever looked good on the bank - including rocks, bushes, gravel and lay-downs. He never dreamed his shallow-water program would take him to the top 10. A few surprise kickers the first day and the inclement weather surely helped. "I just wanted to make the top 50 and stay in for the Forrest Wood Cup." His day-four limit weighed 13 pounds, 13 ounces and brought his total weight to 59 pounds, 6 ounces, good for $18,987. Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pro finishers at the FLW Tour event on Kentucky and Barkley lakes: 6th: Mark Rose of Marion, Ark., 58-4, $16,127 7th: Tom Mann Jr. of Buford, Ga., 57-13, $15,173 8th: Cody Bird of Granbury, Texas, 54-13, $14,220 9th: Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., 50-6, $13,267 10th: Shinichi Fukae of Palestine, Texas, 45-2, $12,313 Coming up The sixth and final FLW Tour Major of 2011 is scheduled for Pickwick Lake in Florence, Ala., July 21-24. AOY update Castrol pro David Dudley saw his lead in the Angler of the Year race shrink to 16 points after five events. To date, Dudley has accumulated 912 points, while National Guard pro Brent Ehrler has tallied 896 points. Behind them are Monsoor with 881points, Mark Rose with 879 points and Jason Christie with 878. This year's AOY winner receives a $100,000 award.

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/news/2015-08-28-top-5-patterns-from-lake-erie-day-2

Top 5 Patterns From Lake Erie Day 2

Pennsylvania pro Dave Lefebre and Ohio pro Jared Rhode tied for the day-two lead in Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division action on Lake Erie with 43 pounds, 9 ounces. Both pros caught their fish on drop-shots. Here are the details of the rest of the top five. READ MORE »

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Lefebre, Rhode Tied at the Top

Notching his second day of 20-plus pounds, FLW Tour pro Dave Lefebre tallied 43 pounds, 9 ounces and tied day-one leader Jared Rhode for the day-two top spot at the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. Lefebre caught his 22-3 limit on Rapala DT-10 crankbaits, while Rhodes tempted his 19-15 catch with drop-shots. READ MORE »

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Lake Erie Day 2 Midday Update

With winds shifting from yesterday’s northerly blow to a warmer southerly direction, day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie brought calmer conditions with greater ability to methodically work key spots. Offshore, waves ran 1 to 2 feet, with leeward areas behind the Lake Erie Islands nearly flat. READ MORE »

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Rhode Cracks 23-10 for Erie Lead

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Top 5 Patterns from Lake Erie Day 1

Taking off this morning, the FLW Tour pro from Erie, Pa., knew the day’s north wind would keep him from making a long run to a big-fish spot close to his home. However, keeping it local and fishing a little past Pelee Island to the west delivered a solid second-place catch. READ MORE »

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Lake Erie Day 1 Midday Report

Winds have subsided considerably since practice, but Lake Erie’s still showing her temperamental side to Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division anglers fishing the last divisional event out of Sandusky, Ohio. READ MORE »

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Top 10 Patterns from the Forrest Wood Cup

If you don’t believe that summertime bass fishing in the dog days of August is all over the map, just take a look at the top 10 patterns from the best bass pros on earth at the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Brad Knight captured the Cup by mining one small creek end for four days. But beyond that, the rest of the top 10 patterns ran the gamut, from targeting schoolers over 40 feet to wolf packs of bass on the bank to brush piles to grass to mud flats and everywhere in between. Here’s a rundown. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-23-knight-slays-ouachita

Knight Slays Ouachita

Lancing, Tenn., pro Brad Knight won the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart on Lake Ouachita with a four-day total of 51 pounds, 12 ounces. In front of a standing-room-only crowd at Bank of the Ozarks Arena in Hot Springs, Ark., Knight weighed in 11-07 on day four to surpass Jacob Wheeler, who started the day with a 12-ounce lead. Fishing in just one area all four days, Knight locked up the first win of his FLW career. He earned $500,000 for his victory and pushed his career earnings total to more than $688,000. READ MORE »

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Forrest Wood Cup Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

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Wheeler Back in Front

Jacob Wheeler loves Lake Ouachita. It’s where he fished his first Forrest Wood Cup in 2011, and it’s where he’ll take the tournament lead into the final day of competition at the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Wheeler, the 2011 Cup champion, led this tournament on day one and slipped a couple spots on day two. He now has a very slim 12-ounce lead over Tennessean Brad Knight. The anglers will square off tomorrow on Ouachita starting at 7 a.m. against the rest of the top 10 pros for the top prize of $500,000. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-22-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 3

Jacob Wheeler may have regained his lead in the Forrest Wood Cup on day three, but Brad Knight is right on his heels. Going into the final day, the two pros are separated by just 12 ounces. The margin is tight, and what’s going to make the final day fun to watch is the difference in the two anglers’ strategies. Wheeler is running a topwater pattern on the main lake, and fishing new water is part of his plan. Knight, however, has caught almost all of his weight from one 250-yard stretch of bass-rich creek channel. He literally knows every target he is fishing by heart. On the surface, Knight’s area looks to be the better bet. But he has shared the general area with Brandon Cobb and Mark Daniels Jr. for three solid days. And the bad news, at least for Knight, is that both Cobb and Daniels will be sharing the water with him again on the final day as both made the top-10 cut. READ MORE »

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Forrest Wood Cup Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-ramie-races-into-the-lead

Ramie Races into the Lead

On the back of a 17-pound, 14-ounce limit, which is the biggest of the tournament thus far, Ramie Colson Jr. jumped from seventh place to take over the lead at the halfway point of the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. Colson’s two-day total is 31 pounds, 1 ounce, which puts him almost 3 pounds ahead of Tennessee’s Brad Knight. The Forrest Wood Cup, which is hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, moves into its top-20 round on Saturday. The top 10 pros after Saturday’s weigh-in advance to Sunday’s final round for a shot at the $500,000 top prize. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 2

At times, bass fishing can be a lot like real estate, where the three most important rules are location, location and location. The 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita presented by Walmart is starting to become a bit of a real estate game where location is the primary consideration in who climbs the leaderboard. And those mining the backs of creeks and tributaries are on the prime pieces of real estate. Consider that after day two, four of the top five pros are concentrating their fishing efforts in the back ends of creeks or rivers. All of these areas fit a classic late-summer, early-fall pattern where shad pack into the back of creek ditches that meander through shallow flats. READ MORE »

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Forrest Wood Cup Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-wheeler-hunting-history

Wheeler Hunting History

It’s never been done before, and it hasn’t happened yet, but Jacob Wheeler is in prime position to become the first two-time Forrest Wood Cup champion in history. Wheeler, of Indianapolis, Ind., brought in a 16-pound, 2-ounce limit of Lake Ouachita bass on the first day of the Cup, which is presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 1

After day one of the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita, several things have come to light. For one, this event is not likely to produce a runaway win for anyone like it did when Scott Martin won here in 2011. Second, when the pros said Ouachita was going to be stingy, they meant it – only 29 of the 50 pros checked in limits today. Third, firm patterns are hard to come by on Lake Ouachita in August. Jacob Wheeler took the lead on day one in the event that’s presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. With the help of a 5-pound bass, Wheeler weighed in a limit of 16 pounds, 2 ounces, but he had to sample a lot of different areas for his catch. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

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Forrest Wood Cup Day 1 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-17-elkins-looked-deep-on-erie

Elkins Looked Deep on Erie

Matt Elkins of Spencerville, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Michigan Division tournament on the Detroit River. For his victory, Elkins earned $5,337. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-17-manson-targets-shad

Manson Targets Shad

Scott Manson of Covington, Ohio, weighed four bass totaling 8 pounds, 10 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division tournament on the Ohio River. For his victory, Manson earned $5,205. READ MORE »