UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Ouachita

Modrak regroups, wins Detroit EverStart

Detroit River champ Mark Modrak is joined onstage by his son Brandon.

TRENTON, Mich. - Like a coach benching a frustrated player, only to have the refocused athlete return and nail the buzzer-beater, Mark Modrak gave himself a breather and came back to win the EverStart Series Central Division tournament on the Detroit River.

Modrak, who hails from China Township, Mich., spent most of his day about midway up the St. Clair River. Linking Lake St. Clair to the larger, cooler Lake Huron, the river had produced well for him on days one and two with limits of 17-9 and 20-15. Today, however, he experienced some frustrations that threatened to derail his final-round efforts.

Essentially, Modrak was dialed in on a good pattern, but the scenario's dynamics created a high margin of error that temporarily got the better of him. Understandable, considering the investment of time, fuel and effort the 150-mile round trip required.

"It was a battle today; I lost so many fish today," Modrak said. "Every day it's been getting harder andA long run up the St. Clair River paid off for Mark Modrak. harder to keep them on. I'm fishing really strong current and it's like trout fishing - you just let your bait swing down in the current and you get a big bow in your line. When you get bit you have to really take up the slack."

A challenging technique, no doubt, but it's one that Modrak has perfected over some 20 years of fishing the river. He said he typically expects to catch 90 percent of the fish that bite, but today saw a much lower hookup ratio rattling his confidence. That's when he decided a change of scenery would help him purge the frustration and allow him to hit the reset button.

"I fished with (second-place co-angler) Mark Myers today - he's a professor and I felt like Gilligan," Modrak lamented. "I'd catch a 2-pounder and he'd catch another 3 to 3 1/2. I don't know, maybe I was too worked up.

"I told him `We're going to leave this spot, we're going to go fish somewhere else and we'll come back to it.' I went off and gathered myself, came back (to the original spot) and whacked three good ones right away. That allowed me to cull three little fish."

River current was a key element for EverStart Detroit River winner Mark Madrak.Modrak caught the final round's heaviest sack - a limit of 20-7 that gave him a three-day total of 58-15 and a winning margin of just 3 ounces. His final bag included a hefty smallmouth that clearly pushed him into the top spot.

"When I brought that one in, I was hoping it was a little over 5 pounds," Modrak said. "I caught one there yesterday that was 5-1 and I knew this fish was bigger - it was well over 6."

Throughout the tournament, Modrak started each day with a Strike King Series 5 crankbait and then alternated between a dropshot with Berkley 3-inch Fry and Lunch Money tubes in green pumpkin and smoke on ¼- to 5/16-ounce KMR leadheads. Mondak used two different jig styles - one had a thinner, elongated head and a 90-degree line tie that enabled the jig to scoot along the bottom like a fleeing baitfish. The other featured a more weight-forward design and a 60-degree line tie. This style kept the bait's head down and its tail up, so it mimicked a feeding crawfish or a small finfish.

Modrak found most of his fish on a little gravel bar in the St. Clair River. Traversing the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair was no walk in the park, but fortune favors the bold - especially the well-equipped.

"It's a long run and that Detroit River is tough," Modrak said. "The locals call it `The Miracle Mile,' because when you get down there around the heart of Detroit, if you can make it through there without breaking anything, it's a miracle.

"Thank God I got to run a Ranger and Evinrude. With the confidence you have in those boats andAfter stumbling a little on day two, Jared Rhode regrouped and improved to second on day three. motors, you can run anywhere."

Rhode rises to second

Day-one leader Jared Rhode, of Port Clinton, Ohio, got off to a great start with his opening-round bag of 21-7. He slipped two notches on day two when he kept busy with plenty of bites but no quality fish. After weighing 17 pounds yesterday, Rhode redeemed himself on day three with a bag of 20-5 that enabled him to regain one of those notches and finish with a tournament total of 58-12.

Targeting rock flats in Lake Erie, Rhode fished a tube and a dropshot with Berkley Gulp minnows. With the smallmouth spawning late, he fished shallower than he typically likes in about 13 to 18 feet. Essential to his success was a downsizing move that may have heightened his blood pressure.

"One thing I did today was I used a little bit lighter line - I went down to 6-pound Berkley fluorocarbon," he said. "I know that some of the fish were getting picked over. I caught a couple of big ones on that lighter line and it almost gave me a heart attack.

Expanding on a tip from a friend helped Travis Fox fish his way into a third-place finish."It takes five minutes to get them it, you're back-reeling and the drag's pulling. But that Berkley line is so strong you can tow a boat with it."

Rhode's third-day catch was the second largest, behind Modrak's.

Fox figures it out for third

The only other pro to reach the 20-pound mark on day three, Arkansas pro Travis Fox caught an even 20 and moved up three notches from sixth place to third with a three-day total of 57-11. Admitting that he's no Detroit River expert, Fox said he was able to implement some of his experience, along with some helpful input into his tournament effort.

"In my spare time, I like to float rivers and catch smallmouth," he said. "I tried to use the current as part of my strategy here. It worked a little bit and every day I tried to capitalize and figure a few more things out.

"I had some help from a friend (seventh-place pro) Todd Steele. I was having an OK practice and he said `You need to go here.' It was one waypoint, so I went there and he wasn't kidding. So I floated around, got lucky and caught some fish, found some other waypoints and just tried my best to stay on them."

Fox caught his day-three fish on green pumpkin tubes with a 5/16-ounce leadhead. He tempted hisScott Dobson improved from ninth place to fourth on day three. fish by dropping the tube into grass and hopping it or pulling it through the vegetation.

Dobson improves to fourth

Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Mich., started the day in ninth place, but made a big final-round move on the strength of his 19-pound, 12-ounce limit. Dobson climbed five spots to finish fourth with 56-8.

Most of the week, Dobson fished shallow and caught his fish on drop shots, tubes, jerkbaits and small swimbaits. Stealthy movement and quick response was essential and that's what his Power Poles provided.

"A lot of people up here don't think that Power Poles will stay on the boat in the rough water, but I put mine through 300 miles over the last three days and I never (had any problems) with them," Dobson said. "I use them all the time in shallow water. You don't spook the fish. You just put them down when Day two leader Todd Schmitz found his top spots short of big fish on day three.you see a fish, throw over there and catch him."

Schmitz runs out of quality fish

On day two, Todd Schmitz of Goshen, Ind., made a big move from seventh place to first after sacking up the tournament's largest bag, a 23-pound, 2-ounce effort. However, Schmitz believes he may have taken too many big fish from his two main spots during the first two rounds because today, he couldn't find anything over about 3 pounds. A day-three sack of 13-6 gave him 56-2 for the tournament.

"There were still fish on my spots, but obviously they were much smaller," Schmitz said. "That usually happens. A lot of times, when big fish leave, little fish take their place."

Today, Schmitz caught one fish on a chartreuse spinnerbait and four on a green pumpkin tube with a 3/8-ounce Outkast Tackle leadhead.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 pro leaders at the EverStart Series Detroit River event:

6th: Michael Trombly, of Perrysburg, Ohio, 55-6
7th: Todd Steele, of Port Huron, Mich., 54-15
8th: Randy Ramsey, of Battle Creek, Mich., 54-4
9th: Skip Johnson, of Goodells, Mich., 53-1
10th: Wade Hendricks, of Thompsons Station, Tenn., 52-13

Tags: david-a-brown  headline-story  2011-07-14-detroit-river 

/news/2016-02-07-hallman-wins-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Hallman Wins Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Okeechobee Presented by Ranger Boats

CLEWISTON, Fla. – Pro Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, brought just two bass to the scale Sunday totaling 6 pounds, 8 ounces, but it was still enough to earn the win at the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Hallman’s four-day cumulative total of 16 bass weighing 71 pounds, 2 ounces earned him the win by an impressive 14-pound, 14-ounce margin over second-place pro Alex Davis of Albertville, Alabama, and $100,000 in the tournament that featured 169 of the best bass-fishing anglers in the world competing in the first FLW Tour event of the regular season. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-07-big-hall-man-on-okeechobee

Big (Hall)Man on Okeechobee

It was the Bradley Hallman show all week long at Lake Okeechobee at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats. Though, the Norman, Okla., pro struggled on day four and brought in only two fish for 6 pounds, 8 ounces, he pulled off the wire-to-wire victory in his first event on Tour. The 13-pound, 9-ounce lead that Hallman built up through the first three days of competition was enough that he didn't actually have to weigh his fish today. Hallman's tournament total of 71 pounds, 2 ounces far exceeded the 56-04 caught by runner-up Alex Davis. For the win, Hallman earned $100,000. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-07-lake-okeechobee-day-4-coverage

Lake Okeechobee Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-top-5-patterns-from-lake-okeechobee-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Okeechobee Day 3

Across the board, weights fell off on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats and hosted by Roland and Mary Ann Martin's Marina and Resort and the Hendry County Tourism and Development Council. No one in the top 20 crossed the 20-pound mark. Cloud cover, which prevented the water temperature from rising much above 65 degrees, and low water clarity might both have slowed the replenishment of bass moving into spawn. Tournament leader Bradley Hallman experienced a bit of a stall in the action as well, bringing just four fish to the scales, but he still managed to increase his lead to 13 pounds, 9 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-hallman-extends-lead-on-day-three-at-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Hallman Extends Lead On Day Three At Walmart FLW Tour On Lake Okeechobee Presented By Ranger Boats

Anchored by an 8-pound, 10-ounce kicker, pro Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, brought four bass to the scale Saturday totaling 14 pounds, 3 ounces to extend his lead to more than 13½ pounds heading in to the final day of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Hallman’s... READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-can-anyone-catch-hallman-

Can Anyone Catch Hallman?

Despite catching only four keepers on day three, Norman, Okla., pro Bradley Hallman extended his lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee. With a day-three weight of 14 pounds, 3 ounces and a tournament total of 64-10, his margin over second-place angler Alex Davis is now 13 pounds, 9 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-okeechobee-day-3-coverage

Okeechobee Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/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 »