Martin digs deep for Ouachita win

Forrest Wood Cup champion Scott Martin holds up his two biggest bass from day four on Lake Ouachita.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Despite having three Walmart FLW Tour wins, it was easy to recognize Scott Martin as the son of legendary angler Roland Martin. But after claiming the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita, it's clear Martin has stepped out of his father's shadow and is carving his own remarkable career. With his fourth victory in hand, Martin trails only David Fritts in terms of FLW Tour wins. Even more impressive is that the Clewiston, Fla., native has won on a natural lake (Champlain twice), a river (Pascagoula) and an impoundment (Ouachita). After cashing a $600,000 check, his career earnings of nearly $2 million rank second only to David Dudley in FLW Outdoors history. The accolades are striking, but Martin had to work for his Ouachita win. After alternating between shallow and deep during practice, Martin became convinced he could catch quality largemouths offshore. When it became obvious most of the field was fishing shallow, it only cemented his decision to stay off the bank. Pro winner Scott Martin While he had several areas, one 150-yard stretch northwest of Bird Island proved to be the most productive. The key to the area, Martin said, was the presence of large shad, which were pushed in Scott Martineach day by the wind. He followed these balls of shad in 23 to 27 feet of water by looking at his graph. When he'd see a bass, he'd immediately release a drop-shot and Roboworm to the bottom of the lake. But most of his big bites this week came on a 1/2-ounce Sworming Hornet Fish Head Spin, which he tipped with a Yamamoto swimbait body. He also mixed in a 10-inch Texas-rigged ribbontail worm (plum color), which accounted for most of his final-day fish. All three baits were tied to Segaur Invizx fluorocarbon line - 10-pound-test for the drop-shot and Fish Head Spin, 12-pound for the worm. "Right off the bat the first morning, I caught three good ones, and I told my partner, `I can win the tournament in this spot,'" Martin recalled. "Lo and behold, that's exactly what happened. It didn't look like much on the graph, but it kept on reloading because of the bait." Forrest Wood Cup champion Scott Martin poses for photos with Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats. The National Guard pro started fast out of the gate with a 19-pound, 2-ounce limit as the largemouths roamed and ambushed the shad. But on the second day, he struggled with only 11-9 while his co-angler partner sacked 17-11. Expecting adversity during the course of the week, Martin bounced back with a resilient 16-pound, 1-ounce limit Saturday. On the final day, he discovered that the fish were holding tighter to the brush in the clear conditions. Once he put down the swimbait and switched to the worm, he started getting bit and eventually finished with 14-5. "The key today was I dropped markers down on specific brush piles so I could pick them apart thoroughly. I suspect that's what happened the second day too. Looking back, what happened that day was unfortunate, but at least I learned something from it." For winning the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita, Florida pro Scott Martin earned $600,000.If there was any question about this being Martin's tournament, it was answered when he moved shallow for the first time all week and immediately caught a keeper off a bream bed. Then on his very last cast of the day, he caught another keeper out deep. Neither fish likely mattered in the outcome, but they were indicative of Martin's mojo. For a three-day total of 61 pounds, 1 ounce, he earned $600,000. "I remember as a kid going to all the championships and wishing that someday I'd win one. I've dreamed of this all my life. For my family and everyone that supports me, this is special." Tharp's shallow pattern comes up short Despite catching 16 pounds on day one, Randall Tharp was visibly upset after missing several big fish. He repeatedly mentioned that to win the Forrest Wood Cup, he'd need to capitalize on all of his big bites. And as it turned out, he was right. "I dumped a 20-pound stringer the first day, and I dumped a 5-pounder today," he said. "But you're going to lose them fishing that way; that's part of it." The Gardendale, Ala., pro fished wolfpack bass over shallow bluegill beds all week. The bluegills would spawn both on the sides of points and in the timber-laden pockets. He had four productive areas EverStart pro Randall Tharp finished second with a four-day total of 56 pounds, 7 ounces.located in the Crystal Springs area of the lake, which he'd rotate through two or three times per day. Tharp's main bait this week was a Brian's Bees Prop 3, which he threw under calm conditions. When there was a chop on the lake, he'd opt for a Lucky Craft Sammy or Gunfish. But the Prop 3 accounted for the lion's share of his fish. He'd throw these baits with 30-pound braided line and a 6-pound monofilament leader. "I was making long casts, because if they saw you, you wouldn't catch them." Toward the end of the week, Tharp was becoming proficient at popping the bait and making a loud noise without moving it much from the precise strike zones. "I gave it 100 percent every day, and I have no regrets. But it's not every day you have a chance to win the world championship of bass fishing." Tharp now has two second-place finishes in 2011. Ironically, he finished runner-up to two Lake Okeechobee locals in Martin (this week) and Brandon McMillan (at the Big O in February). His consolation prize at the Cup is a $100,000 check. Rose finishes third Third-place pro Mark Rose holds up his biggest bass from day four on Lake Ouachita.Mark Rose tried to win an endurance race this week at Lake Ouachita, but the cool, cloudy weather experienced on days one and three put him behind the 8-ball. Although he steadily climbed the leaderboard each day, Rose ultimately finished third with a total weight of 50 pounds, 15 ounces. The Marion, Ark., pro's final-day stringer weighed 9 pounds, 10 ounces. Rose fished offshore points and channel swings near the intersection of the main lake and the river and said most of his fish came from about 17 feet. Like Martin, the presence of big shad was key for the National Guard pro. While Martin caught several 4- and 5-pounders, getting big bites was tougher for Rose. In fact, his biggest bass Sunday came from shallow water and fell prey to a Strike King Pro Model buzzbait. When he was offshore, the Pickwick Lake champion employed a variety of offshore lures including crankbaits, spoons, Carolina rigs, swimbaits and drop-shots. He said his key to the bigger fish was the Strike King Shadalicious swimbait, which he rigged with a 1/2-ounce jighead. "I was fishing my strengths, so I'm content," he said. "If we would have had different conditions, it might have made a difference." Rose claimed $60,000 for third and finished the year with four consecutive top-10s. "Momentum is everything in this sport, and I'm just comfortable and confident out there right now." Clausen falls to fourth Chevy pro Luke Clausen threw topwaters en route to a fourth-place finish at the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup.Chevy pro Luke Clausen had the opportunity today to become the first pro to claim two Forrest Wood Cup titles. Ultimately, he finished fourth with a total weight of 48 pounds, 10 ounces, earning $55,000. Clausen caught only three bass Sunday, which weighed 6 pounds, 12 ounces after a dead-fish penalty. "I'm disappointed with the day I had, but I wouldn't have done anything different," he said. "The topwater bite was OK early, but went downhill quickly." Clausen fished bluegill beds on flat drains located in the midlake region. He had one particular 300-yard stretch of water he would revisit multiple times with the hopes of reconnecting with the wolfpacks. When it was choppy, the 2004 Forrest Wood Cup champion would throw a Megabass Giant Dog-X. When it was raining and still, he'd opt for the Brian's Bees Prop 2. He would also occasionally mix in a Reactions Innovations Vixen. "I still saw tons of 3- and 4-pounders out there today. I didn't lose that many; they just wouldn't bite." Morgan rises to fifth Fifth-place pro Andy Morgan holds up his biggest bass from day four on Lake Ouachita.Andy Morgan caught a limit worth 10-2 on day four and unexpectedly rose from 10th to fifth. The Dayton, Tenn., native finished the tournament with a four-day cumulative weight of 47 pounds, 5 ounces worth $50,000. "I wasn't as dialed in on the bluegill pattern as most of the guys, so I had to fish faster and cover more water," he said. Morgan's performance is impressive considering he spent only four hours practicing shallow, instead opting to work the deep grass. Once the tournament commenced, he fished the Crystal Springs area with a Reaction Innovations Vixen. By the end of the week, nearly all the paint had worn off it from innumerable blow-ups. "It has been an absolute grind. But for a highland impoundment in August, the bite has been exceptional." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pros at the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita: 6th: Todd Auten of Lake Wylie, S.C., 46-2, $45,000 7th: Cody Meyer of Grass Valley, Calif., 44-7, $40,000 8th: Andy Montgomery of Grover, N.C., 42-11, $35,000 9th: David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va., 42-7, $30,000 10th: Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., 42-3, $25,000

Tags: headline-story  brett-carlson 

/news/2015-03-29-lefebre-lands-on-top

Lefebre Lands on Top

He left the dock this morning in 7th place, eight and a half pounds off the lead. And when he returned this afternoon, Dave Lefebre shocked the weigh-in crowd with a come-from-behind Walmart FLW Tour win that left his competitors shell-shocked. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-29-lewis-smith-lake-day-4-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 4 Coverage

Day 4 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-birge-buzzes-ahead

Birge Buzzes Ahead

Today started off with a slightly miserable 31-degree air temperature, but it didn’t take long for the top 20 pros to really heat up on Lewis Smith Lake at the second stop of the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour presented by Evinrude. Reports poured in throughout the day of big bass – especially big largemouths – being caught off beds. It looked at first as if one of the “largemouth lookers” might piece together a big enough bag to snatch the lead away from Oklahoma rookie Zack Birge, who struggled early to make his shallow topwater pattern work. Unfortunately for the rest of the field, the young gun Birge has the coolness and patience of a veteran, and he stuck with his game plan of throwing a buzzbait and soft jerkbait rig until the sun had time to warm the shallows and spur the fish to become more active. Birge tallied 17 pounds, 11 ounces today, raising his three-day total to 54-8 and giving him a lead of 3-11 over Texas veteran Clark Wendlandt in second place. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 3

After three days, it looks as if tournament leader Zack Birge has the quality largemouth bite in the bushes wired. But behind him on the leaderboard are nine pros doing everything from sight-fishing to catching schooling bass and everything in between. Even with all the patterns in play, few have fizzled. The sight-fishers have reported finding new bedders, the schoolers are still schooling and a couple of guys have even started tapping floating docks. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-millsaps-wins-on-lake-sinclair

Millsaps Wins on Lake Sinclair

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – David Millsaps of Ranger, Georgia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds, 10 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Bulldog Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Sinclair. For his victory, Millsaps earned $6,009. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-walters-nets-third-victory-on-wylie

Walters Nets Third Victory on Wylie

LAKE WYLIE, N.C. – Todd Walters of Kernersville, North Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League North Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Wylie. For his victory, Walters earned $4,350. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-lewis-smith-lake-day-3-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 3 Coverage

Day 3 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-mosley-on-top-at-arkansas-river

Mosley on Top at Arkansas River

MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Brandon Mosley of Choctaw, Oklahoma, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Okie Division tournament of 2015 the Arkansas River. For his victory, Mosley earned $5,349. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-topwater-takes-birge-to-the-top

Topwater Takes Birge to the Top

On a day when chilly, windy post-front conditions challenged many Walmart FLW Tour anglers who were relying on sight-fishing for spawning bass, Zack Birge bucked the trend and pulled out a pair of topwaters to haul in 17 pounds, 14 ounces. Birge jumped from third place past day-one leader Drew Benton to take over the top spot on Lewis Smith Lake in the event, which is presented by Evinrude. Birge’s two-day total of 36-13 has him positioned 1 pound ahead of Benton. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 2

While air and water temperatures plummeted on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude, the big surprise came in the stability of the fishing patterns amidst such change. Zack Birge found plenty of production on his primary pattern to send him to the top of the leaderboard, and those under him held true to their patterns as well to secure a ticket to day three’s top 20. Among the biggest surprises was the number of pros who were still able to pluck fish off beds. Most pros that were sight-fishing say the bass are committed to beds and that the cold snap will not run them off at this point in time. Despite the cold, some even found new fish on beds that were not there yesterday. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-lewis-smith-lake-day-2-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 2 Coverage

Day 2 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-benton-blasts-20-12-on-lewis-smith

Benton Blasts 20-12 on Lewis Smith

Panama City, Fla., pro Drew Benton jumped into the early lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude with a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 12 ounces. Benton caught a mix of largemouths and spotted bass, and revealed that both black bass species are spawning. He leads a tight top 20 that includes 18 pros that caught more than 15 pounds each. The first day was an absolute fish-fest. Of the 154 pros fishing this tournament, 138 weighed limits. Brad Roberts of Faubush, Ky., has a 2-ounce lead in the co-angler division with a 13-pound, 4-ounce limit. Tomorrow he’ll try to defend his lead on the final day of co-angler competition. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 1

While Drew Benton was busy bugging bedding fish for his day-one tournament lead, several others behind him were scoring big with other fishing options on Lewis Smith Lake. Sight-fishing also played a role in the top limits produce by Tracy Adams, Scott Martin and Ish Monroe, but Clayton Batts and Zack Birge both brought in big bags with other patterns. Click here to read about Benton’s day-one performance at the second Walmart FLW Tour event of 2015, which is presented by Evinrude. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-lewis-smith-lake-day-1-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 1 Coverage

Day 1 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-22-arkansas-anglers-win-college-open

Arkansas Anglers Win College Open

Consistency was the key for the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville here in the FLW College Fishing Kentucky Lake Open as Zachary Pickle and Drew Porto won the event with a two-day total of 43 pounds, 12 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-kendrick-king-on-guntersville

Kendrick King On Guntersville

Kendrick, who is fishing the Rayovac FLW Series in hopes of qualifying for the FLW Tour, caught more than 25 pounds each day of the event and finihsid in fine fasion when it counted. Kendick was catching nearly all of his bass around big schools of bait with a Houdini pearl-colored Scottsboro Tackle swimbait from 15- to 25-feet of water. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-epting-s-30-pounds-tops-on-santee-cooper

Epting's 30 Pounds Tops on Santee Cooper

SUMMERTON, S.C. – Chris Epting of Chapin, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 30 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Santee Cooper. For his victory, Epting earned $3,679. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-wood-rock-key-for-middleton-s-victory

Wood, Rock Key for Middleton's Victory

HUDDLESTON, Va. – Dennis Middleton of Madison Heights, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division tournament of 2015 on Smith Mountain Lake. For his victory, Middleton earned $7,199. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-johnson-wins-on-dale-hollow

Johnson Wins on Dale Hollow

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – Robby Johnson of Byrdstown, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mountain Division tournament of 2015 on Dale Hollow Lake. For his victory, Johnson earned $5,689. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-griffin-gets-win-on-ross-barnett

Griffin Gets Win on Ross Barnett

BRANDON, Miss. – Jason Griffin of Benton, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 23 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Ross Barnett Reservoir. For his victory, Griffin earned $5,349. READ MORE »