UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart FLW Tour - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

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.

Tags: brett-carlson  headline-story  2011-06-16-kentucky-lake 

/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 »

/news/2016-02-01-bfl-angler-poche-stabbed-to-death

BFL Angler Poche Stabbed to Death

Louisiana angler Dylan Poche, who was just beginning his career as a professional bass fisherman, was stabbed to death late Saturday night after participating in an FLW Bass Fishing League Cowboy Division tournament. Police say they have a suspect in custody. READ MORE »

/news/2016-01-30-ucf-earns-title-on-crescent

UCF Earns Title on Crescent

The University of Central Florida team of Hunter McKamey of Geneva, Tennessee, and Kyle Oliver of Winter Garden, Florida, won the FLW College Fishing Southeastern Conference opener on Crescent Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 22 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and advanced the team to the 2017 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

/news/2016-01-30-university-of-central-florida-wins-flw-college-fishing-southeastern-conference-opener-on-crescent-lake

University of Central Florida Wins FLW College Fishing Southeastern Conference Opener on Crescent Lake

BUNNELL, Fla. – The University of Central Florida team of Hunter McKamey of Geneva, Tennessee, and Kyle Oliver of Winter Garden, Florida, won the FLW College Fishing Southeastern Conference opener on Crescent Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 22 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and advanced the team to the 2017 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

/news/2016-01-29-okeechobee-heating-up

Okeechobee Heating Up

The weather over the last few weeks in Florida has been, well, not so Florida-like. Wave after wave of cold front has riddled the Sunshine State, leaving the bass in lockdown mode. Hope is on the horizon, though, for the entire field of the Walmart FLW Tour with a forecast calling for warmer weather in the days leading up to the start of the season-opener on Lake Okeechobee Feb. 4-7. READ MORE »

/news/2016-01-28-costa-announces-contingency-program

Costa Announces Contingency Program

Costa Del Mar, the new title sponsor of the FLW Series, recently launched its Costa FLW Rewards contingency program for all Walmart FLW Tour, Costa FLW Series and FLW Bass Fishing League events. The program is effective immediately. READ MORE »