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: headline-story 

/news/2015-06-29-dobson-sticks-with-jerkbait-for-win

Dobson Sticks With Jerkbait for Win

Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Michigan, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Michigan Division tournament of 2015 on Lake St. Clair. For his victory, Dobson earned $5,804. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-johnston-targets-beds-for-big-limit

Johnston Targets Beds for Big Limit

Cory Johnston of Cavan, Ontario, Canada, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 25 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Northeast Division tournament of 2015 on 1000 Islands. For his victory, Johnston earned $5,632. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-football-jig-helps-bates-net-title

Football Jig Helps Bates Net Title

Matthew Bates of Greenville, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds even Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Ferguson. For his victory, Bates earned $3,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-hipsher-hops-ledges-for-victory

Hipsher Hops Ledges for Victory

Craig Hipsher of Benton, Kentucky, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League LBL Division tournament of 2015 on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. For his victory, Hipsher earned $4,385. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-lauer-wins-on-ohio-river

Lauer Wins on Ohio River

David Lauer of McConnelsville, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 12 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division tournament of 2015 on the Ohio River. For his victory, Lauer earned $6,289. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-creature-bait-does-it-for-berhorst

Creature Bait Does it for Berhorst

Dennis Berhorst of Holts Summit, Missouri, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Ozark Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Truman. For his victory, Berhorst earned $5,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-wendlandt-back-at-the-top

Wendlandt Back at the Top

It’s been 14 seasons since Clark Wendlandt last stood on a Walmart FLW Tour stage and hoisted a tournament championship trophy. Since that time, the Texas pro has experienced ups and downs, including an Angler of the Year title (his third) in 2009 and a major medical issue that sidelined him for most of the 2014 season. All that’s in the past now, however, and Wendlandt is right back where he belongs in the world of bass fishing – in first place after the final day on the Potomac River in the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-top-10-patterns-from-the-potomac-river

Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River

Clark Wendlandt didn’t pull off any secret techniques to win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. He simply found an area with the right quality of bass to win and managed it perfectly despite facing a medley of Mother Nature’s toughest challenges. The rest of the top 10 stuck with the standard Potomac targets too, namely grass, docks and wood cover. The only underlying trend of the top 10 is that they found areas to themselves. Here’s how the rest of the top 10 got it done at the 2015 Tour finale. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-potomac-river-day-4-coverage

Potomac River Day 4 Coverage

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

/news/2015-06-27-wendlandt-receives-helping-hand

Wendlandt Receives Helping Hand

Not to discredit Clark Wendlandt’s skills as a bass fisherman, but if it wasn’t for an extreme act of kindness on the part of fellow competitor Shin Fukae, Wendlandt wouldn’t be where he is this evening – leading through three days of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. Wendlandt suffered a mechanical failure with his rig just a couple of hours into competition that prevented him from running his big motor on plane. He was stuck, more or less, and planned to fish with the trolling motor as best he could before being towed back to the ramp early. If it’d played out as planned, Wendlandt would have lost significant fishing time and probably wouldn’t have weighed in a limit. Fukae would let nothing of the sort happen when he came across Wendlandt on the water and heard what had happened. In 16th place and fishless at the time, Fukae insisted that Wendlandt trade boats, effectively ending his tournament and giving Wendlandt the chance to catch 14 1/2 pounds and maintain his lead with a three-day total of 47-02. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-top-5-patterns-from-potomac-river-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Potomac River Day 3

Pouring rain, gusting winds, a remarkable act of kindness, an Angler of the Year title on the line – day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River certainly was not boring. To say the top 20 anglers were waterlogged after Saturday would be any understatement, but as nasty as the weather was, it wasn’t the biggest story of the day. Shinichi Fukae generously helped Clark Wendlandt retain his lead, while Scott Martin sealed the deal on his first AOY title. Meanwhile, a number of other anglers scrambled to adjust with what the weather and the Potomac are throwing at them. Here’s how the rest of the top five caught their fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-potomac-river-day-3-coverage

Potomac River Day 3 Coverage

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

/news/2015-06-26-wendlandt-in-familiar-territory

Wendlandt in Familiar Territory

A lot of flip-flopping took place on the second day of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. When the scale closed, it was three-time Tour Angler of the Year Clark Wendlandt who found himself on top with a two-day total of 32 pounds, 10 ounces. Wendlandt caught 17-13 today – the day’s second-heaviest limit – and leads Potomac local Bryan Schmitt by 1-12 going into the weekend. Wendlandt missed part of last season after suffering a heart attack but has rebounded with good success this season. He has won three times on Tour but hasn’t finished in first place since Beaver Lake in 2001. Details to come on the patterns of the top five. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-26-potomac-river-day-2-coverage

Potomac River Day 2 Coverage

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

/news/2015-06-25-jersey-boy-leads-the-pack

Jersey Boy Leads the Pack

Talk about a traffic jam. And, no, we’re not talking about the streets around the Washington, D.C. area. We’re talking about the standings at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. Adrian “Jersey Boy” Avena leads the way with a 16-pound, 12-ounce limit, but a total of 41 pros weighed in at least 12 pounds. Many pros lamented the tough bite today, but the results say otherwise as 114 limits were brought to the scale on the pro side. Troy Morrow trails Avena by just 1-06, and 1 ounce behind Morrow is one of the most successful tidewater bass anglers of all time, Bryan Schmitt. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-top-5-patterns-from-potomac-river-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Potomac River Day 1

It might seem impossible for 405 miles of water to fish small, but space was hard to come by on day one of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. The creeks near takeoff at Smallwood State Park have seen as much traffic as a Washington, D.C. highway at rush hour. On the flip side, anglers who were able to develop patterns that got them away from the crowds, such as day-one leader Adrian Avena, have been able to reap the benefits of what has been a stingy fishery. Here’s how the rest of the pros in the top five caught their fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-aoy-shake-up-martin-makes-his-move

AOY Shake-Up: Martin Makes His Move

Scott Martin has been talking about winning the Angler of the Year title since before the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour season started. It’s on his mind and for good reason: Angler of the Year is the only major FLW title he hasn’t won in what Martin has built into one of the most decorated professional fishing careers in FLW Tour history. Today, on the first day of competition at the Tour finale on the Potomac River, Martin has unofficially moved into the lead in the AOY race for the first time all season. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-potomac-river-day-1-coverage

Potomac River Day 1 Coverage

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

/news/2015-06-20-richardson-wins-all-american

Richardson Wins All-American

Curtis Richardson has a way of surprising people – even himself. The Ontario angler had all but written himself off in the championship round of the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American, thinking his limit of five bass wouldn’t hold up for long with the likes of Jeremy Lawyer and Bill Schroeder breathing down his neck. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-20-all-american-midday-update-day-3

All-American Midday Update Day 3

Big changes might be coming in the standings of the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American on Kentucky Lake, as some of the top 10 leaders struggled this morning to catch limits. Canadian angler Curtis Richardson, who currently is leading, had only one 3-pound keeper by midmorning. And second-place boater Billy Schroeder, who had fished just below the Paris Landing Bridge for the first two days, finally bailed out from there after catching four keepers this morning. READ MORE »