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/2015-04-26-arey-does-it-again

Arey Does it Again

Quaker State pro Matt Arey of Shelby, N.C., wowed the crowed in Rogers, Ark., today with an incredible 17-pound, 3-ounce five-bass limit to come from behind and win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake. This is Arey’s second consecutive Beaver Lake FLW Tour victory. Arey’s final-day surge was enough to surpass two-time reigning Angler of the Year Andy Morgan, who led yesterday but weighed in only 9-08 today and fell to third. Arey’s four-day total was 55-06, earning the pro $125,000. READ MORE »

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Beaver Lake Day 4 Coverage

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Morgan Maintains His Lead

One of Andy Morgan’s fishing mottos is to make the best of what you have got “in front of you” to survive and fish another day. Beaver Lake doesn’t give much. So when an angler as resourceful as Morgan gets to a lake that doesn’t give out many resources, the two work well together. Instead of worrying about hitting it out of the park or putting immense pressure on himself to come up with a grand winning strategy, Morgan just scraps, scrapes and claws at the ground right in front of him, making the best of what he’s got. Morgan’s performance on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake was a prime example of his “make the best of it” attitude. After burning up the spawning fish he had located in practice during the first two days of the tournament, he was forced to fish by the seat of his pants today – something he thoroughly enjoys. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-25-gordon-and-gagner-crowned-tbf-champs

Gordon and Gagner Crowned TBF Champs

Two more anglers qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup today by winning the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship on Grand Lake in Grove, Okla. Shawn Gordon of Russellville, Ark., earned the TBF crown on the boater side by catching a three-day limit of 50 pounds, 2 ounces, capped by the largest limit caught today – 18 pounds, 10 ounces. Gordon earned $5,000 for his win, but more importantly, he’ll be competing against the best pros in the business in August at the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Gordon also won the TBF “Living The Dream” package, which includes paid entry into the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour, a travel stipend, and use of a wrapped truck and Ranger bass boat. READ MORE »

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Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 3

Andy Morgan didn’t light up the world on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake, but he caught what he needed to maintain the lead and put a 1-pound, 9-ounce cushion between he and Matt Arey. Most of the rest of the top 20 scrambled today, abandoning their patterns and trying new options to try and make the final-day cut. Here’s how the top five got it done. READ MORE »

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Beaver Lake Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-make-way-for-morgan

Make Way for Morgan

“Hidden largemouths” is quickly becoming the buzz term at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac, as those atop the leaderboard are using the term to refer to spawning largemouths that are so well hidden that other competitors never found them. These hidden fish are covered by thick brush, hidden so deep that they were only found during the very rare windows of sunshine during practice or located off the beaten path. The latter are not in obvious pockets or places where one would expect to find beds, but rather out on the main bluff channels where few ever look. On day one, Jacob Wheeler caught hidden largemouths to take the lead. On day two, former Beaver Lake champion Andy Morgan caught hidden largemouths to take over the pole position going into the weekend. His catch of 15 pounds, 7 ounces today gives Morgan a two-day total of 28-09 to take the lead by just 11 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 2

At halftime of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac, the top five reads like a who’s who of Beaver Lake. Leader Andy Morgan is a former Beaver Lake champion. Behind him, Darrel Robertson has been very close to winning here with a runner-up finish in 2005. In third is 2014 Beaver Lake champion Matt Arey. Bryan Thrift, in fourth, has never won on Beaver Lake, but has led here before. And finally, fifth-place pro Stetson Blaylock knows his way around this lake pretty well, too, with a couple of top 10s. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-heckman-heads-up-tbf-championship-field

Heckman Heads up TBF Championship Field

Some bass are still spawning in Grand Lake, and others are yet to make their way up to the shallows, but none of that interests Sam Heckman. Diligent commitment to his postspawn plan here Friday landed Heckman atop the boater field with 34 pounds, 3 ounces and locked up his Southwest Division win at the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship. Saturday, the top boater from each of seven TBF divisions will vie for the TBF National Championship and the “Living the Dream” package that goes with it. The package includes paid entry in the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour as a pro, a Forrest Wood Cup berth and use of a custom-wrapped truck and Ranger boat on Tour for the year, as well as a travel stipend for each event. Seven non-boaters – one from each TBF division – also will fish in tomorrow’s final round for a chance at paid entry into a Rayovac FLW Series division of choice. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-beaver-lake-day-2-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-wheeler-with-a-slim-lead

Wheeler with a Slim Lead

Jacob Wheeler has a plan to win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake this week. That plan involves primarily the largemouth species, a target weight of 14 pounds per day and a lot of fish management. Today, Wheeler surpassed his target by nearly 2 pounds with a 15-pound, 14-ounce catch that puts him in the driver’s seat at Beaver Lake, in the lead by just a scant 5 ounces over second-place pro Bryan Thrift. “Largemouths are the way to win here at Beaver Lake,” Wheeler says. “They are the fish to go the distance here, and that’s what I’m focusing on.” READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 1

Though there were plenty of fish caught off beds at Beaver Lake on day one of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac, the top five is rounded out by a group of anglers who relied on sight-fishing very little. Opinions on where exactly bass are in the spawning cycle at Beaver Lake vary greatly from angler to angler, but a few common denominators did come to light on day one. For starters, most agree that one major spawning cycle has already occurred. Plenty of empty beds and a lot of gaunt, postspawn fish at the scale were evidence of that. Second, there are still some bass (of all species) trying to spawn, but the ones left on beds are extremely wary. Finally, the order of difficulty to catch each species ranks as follows: smallmouth bass – extremely easy; spotted bass – not as easy; largemouth bass – extremely difficult. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-griffith-grabs-tbf-lead-

Griffith Grabs TBF Lead

By midday, the prospects were unclear for Jon “Scooter” Griffith here in The Bass Federation National Championship on Grand Lake, but in a roundabout way it provided just the clarity he needed to dial in a pattern that helped him take the day-one lead with an 18-pound, 13-ounce limit. Griffith began his day by sight-fishing the clear water down by the Pensacola Dam. This opening move, he says, gave him some early comfort, as it matched the transparent water he’s used to fishing near his home in Mesa, Ariz. Targeting windblown points, Griffith got his early bites with reaction baits in about 4 to 8 feet of water. Unfortunately, the plan turned out to be less productive than he had expected. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-beaver-lake-day-1-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 1 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-tbf-championship-tips-off

TBF Championship Tips Off

The spawn is on at Grand Lake, but that’s not the only game in town. As the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship plays out for the next three days, anglers will find this northern Oklahoma impoundment abounding with lots of fishing options. Brian Maloney, the 2012 Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American champion, says he was impressed with what he found in practice. “The quality of fish on Grand is just amazing,” notes the Missouri angler. “This lake continues to put out 3- and 4-pounders, and right now there’s a variety of things we can do. “There are guys sight-fishing for spawning fish, and we’re probably looking at another wave or two of fish coming in soon. I’m sure the full moon coming up in another week or so will move them in.” Adding that the lake currently has fish in all prespawn, spawning and postspawn stages, Maloney thinks that TBF contenders will be greeted by a mix of water conditions typical for Grand this time of year. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-top-10-baits-from-lake-murray

Top 10 Baits from Lake Murray

Competitors in the FLW College Fishing National Championship mostly targeted bass feeding on spawning blueback herring on shallow points and main-lake pockets. Across the board, herring-imitating baits such as soft jerkbaits, swimbaits, topwaters, wake baits and umbrella rigs dominated the event. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-jig-bite-carries-holmes-on-wateree

Jig Bite Carries Holmes on Wateree

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/news/2015-04-20-bryan-slows-down-for-chickamauga-win

Bryan Slows Down for Chickamauga Win

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/news/2015-04-20-morfis-dominates-with-34-pound-limit

Morfis Dominates With 34-Pound Limit

OKEECHOBEE, Fla. – Joshua Morfis of Cape Coral, Florida, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 34 pounds, 14 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Gator Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Okeechobee. For his victory, Morfis earned $6,336. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-salzman-cracks-31-pounds-on-guntersville

Salzman Cracks 31 Pounds on Guntersville

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