Big finish at the Ramapo show

Ramapo's Jeff Voss and Joseph Zapf took the early lead and dominated the event for three days.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - When Ramapo College anglers Jeff Voss and Joseph Zapf launched on day one of the FLW National Guard College Fishing Series Northern Regional Championship on Sayers Lake, they knew they wanted to put themselves on the road to success - literally. The plan worked and with a clean sweep of this three-day event, the Ramapo team tallied a tournament total of 27 pounds, 2 ounces and took home equal prizes of $12,500 for their college and their school's bass club, along with a Ranger boat and engine for the latter. Now, after two days of understandably covert operations, the New Jersey duo revealed that they spent the majority of the tournament fishing a roadbed that Voss had located during practice. "We were fishing a roadbed in the middle of the lake and anybody who fishes knows that's a highway for fish," Voss said. "It's going to replenish every day. We were fishing little baits on the bottom andRamapo dropshotting here and there when the bite stopped and the fish just loaded up every day. "We had two spots that along the roadbed and two spots that we would run to and give the (roadbed) a break," Voss said. "We'd come back in 20 minutes and there would be one or two there. Today, we stayed in one spot the whole day." After experimenting a little on day one, the winners quickly determined that a 3-inch black Senko was the key bait that Sayers Lake smallmouth can't resist. They occasionally fished dropshots, but they did most of their damage by working their baits slowly across the hard bottom on jigs. Voss fished a 3/16-ounce jig and Zapf used a 1/8. Both produced equally "That was definitely the key bait - they wouldn't bite anything else," Zapf said. "You just had to fish it really slow on the bottom and take your time. We each caught them on (the black Senko) and once we homed in on that, it was game-on. It was awesome." Jeff Voss and Joseph Zapf continued to build their lead each day. As with the previous two days, the winners found their bites early today. Zapf said: "It was definitely a morning bite. I don't think we caught another keeper after 10 a.m." Statistically, it's no surprise that Voss and Zapf had the heaviest bag on all three days. (It's not unheard of for a team that leads day one to hold their position without bagging the most weight on subsequent days.) However, the stats tell an interesting tale. After catching the event's heaviest bag on day one (12-10), their productivity steadily declined with days two and three yielding 9-4 and 5-4. Of course, Voss and Zapf would have preferred an upward trend in daily catches, but the leads they built increased from 1 pound, 12 ounces on day one to 5-8 on day two and ultimately a winning margin of 7-12 in today's final round. Considering that this stingy little lake of a modest 1,730 acres had most teams struggling from the start, Voss and Zapf were definitely on one the few sweet spots. Entering day three with a significant advantage on an increasingly difficult fishery buoyed their confidence, but they made no assumptions. "We knew coming into this day that a 5 1/2-pound lead was pretty good for a lake like this, but we knew we couldn't blank," Voss said. "We just needed to get a couple of fish and each fish was just one more (mark) on the board, so we were feeling pretty good after every fish." Fairmont ends with second Fairmont State University's Wil Dieffenbauch and Brent Dodrill were the only other team to post aFairmont single-day weight of over 10 pounds. Their 10-14 on day one put them in second place and with subsequent bags of 5-8 and 5-4, they remained in that position to finish with a tournament total of 19-6. On days one and two their strategy was to start shallow with reaction baits and then go deep with plastics by mid-morning. Today, they decided to forego the shallow game and commit their day to working isolated rocks in 12-14 feet. The anglers caught two keepers today on 3 1/2-inch pumpkinseed tubes on 1/8-ounce jigheads. This was the most consistent bait they used all three days. "We ran spots where, in pre-practice, we caught both largemouth and smallmouth, but it seemed like the smallmouth have been biting (better) the last three days and that's what we caught again today," Dieffenbauch said. Dodrill said that he was pleased with his team's overall performance. "All-in-all, we stayed consistent, we did what we needed to do, we're in the top-5 and that was our main goal - to get back to the (College Fishing Series National Championship)," Dodrill said. Virginia Tech takes third When their largemouth bite slowed, Carson Rejzer and Wyatt Blevins ran up Bald Eagle Creek and caught smallmouth.  Virginia Tech's Wyatt Blevins and Carson Rejzer also finished where they started by keeping the third-place spot throughout the tournament. They caught a limit that weighed 8-13 on day one but struggled on day's two and three. They ended with a total weight of 17-6. "It's a really tough lake and we just grinded it out," Rejzer said. "We had a great first day and that really set us up for the rest of the week. So we just held it right there." Today, Blevins and Rejzer ran up Bald Eagle Creek and caught their fish on green pumpkin tubes. Pushing a little farther, Rejzer said, allowed them to catch a pair of nice keepers when the action was dwindling elsewhere in the lake. "We didn't see anyone else where we were all week long," he said. "You have to go past a really shallow spot and that deters a lot of people. But we went another 500 yards up the river to where it was moving, clear water, there were a lot of smallmouth. They're very hard to catch because it's such a small area. It's so narrow and so clear that they see you and they're spooky. But we were able to get a couple of them to bite and that helped out a whole lot." Ramapo's Danza and Rieder rise to fourth As the founder and president of Ramapo College's bass club, Bob Rieder was thrilled to see hisBob Rieder and Charles Danza gave Ramapo College another top-5 finish with their fourth-place performance. school's double representation in the top-5. He and Charles Danza came on strong in the final round, sacking up four keepers for 4 pounds 13 ounces and moving up one spot to fourth place with 16-1. Both anglers caught two keepers. Danza used a black shad Kitech swimbait rigged on 1/8-ounce weighted swimbait head. "I was ripping it through the weeds and when it got stuck, the fish grabbed it when I pulled it through. It was like a reaction strike." Rieder caught his fish on a 3/8-ounce green pumpkin Kitech jig with a green pumpkin Reaction Innovations sweet beaver. "I was pitching it through the weeds, trying to get whatever fish wouldn't hit Charles' bait." Danza added: "We were trying to cover the most amount of water. On the third day, with all the pressure on the lake, we just thought it was best to cover a lot of water and try to find them." Ryan Ingalls caught Christopher Newport Christopher Newport finishes fifth Ryan Ingalls and Derek Berhalter of Christopher Newport caught one keeper that weighed one pound and slipped a notch to fifth with a tournament total of 12-6. Ingalls caught his team's lone fish on a dropshot with a 4-inch finesse worm. "I think the short fishing day hurt us, we only got to fish six hours and we were catching them later in the day (on days one and two)," Ingalls said.

Tags: headline-story  david-a-brown 

/news/2015-04-26-beaver-lake-day-4-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 4 Coverage

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

/news/2015-04-25-morgan-maintains-his-lead

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-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-3

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 »

/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 »

/news/2015-04-25-beaver-lake-day-3-coverage

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-spawn-looming-at-beaver-lake

Spawn Looming at Beaver Lake

As the pros who fish the Walmart FLW Tour begin practice on Beaver Lake, this jewel of northwestern Arkansas could be setting up for another spring spawn showdown. 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

READ MORE »

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

Bryan Slows Down for Chickamauga Win

READ MORE »

/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

READ MORE »