UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

A statement on Somerville

After losing their day-one lead on the second day, Stephen F. Austin's Ryan Watkins and Andrew Upshaw stormed back to claim the final-round victory.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - If anyone ever needs a template for tournament success, just check out Ryan Watkins and Andrew Upshaw's winning performance at the National Guard FLW College Fishing Texas Regional Championship, presented by Mercury. From the tournament's beginning they talked about keeping their heads down, focusing on their game and not sweating what anyone else was or was not doing. This was their message when they led day one with 21-5, when they slipped to second a day later with a smaller bag of 14-11, and when the final weigh-in saw them sack up a huge limit of 26-6 that set a new record for the largest single-day catch in a College Fishing regional. In the end, their potent combination of work ethic, self-confidence and productivity delivered aAndrew Upshaw loads a 7 1/2-pounder into the tank as Stephen F. Austin teammate Ryan Watkins looks on. convincing win with a three-day total of 62-6 and a winning margin of 9-11. Consider also these stats: Watkins and Upshaw caught limits all three days, they were the only team to break 20 pounds and their third and first-day catches were the event's heaviest two bags. "We've been in this sport a long time and we've competed against a lot of great anglers," Watkins said. "We know that moments like this are few and far between. The feeling is unexplainable and I'll just thank the lord above for giving me this blessing." Throughout the event, Watkins and Upshaw caught their fish on crankbaits. Their day-one fish preferred a custom chartreuse/blue sexy shad model, while a Strike Pro Big Bubba lipless crank in crawfish pattern did the trick. In the final round, a Strike King Series 3 crankbait in sexy shad tempted the winning fish. "The fish were changing every day," Watkins said. "They moved up, they moved out and just paying attention to what the fish were doing, we knew we had to change baits because there was so much With his partner Andrew Upshaw watching the scale closely, Ryan Watkins loads the final bass for Stephen F. Austin.pressure (on the lake), we had to do something different. We just kept chunking and grinding and it worked out for us. "We lost a lot of fish before we got started (catching), but we looked at each other and said `We have a lot of faith in the man upstairs,' so we just kept chunking." Watkins said that he and his partner fished three main areas. One was a ledge in four to six feet with rock beds, another had brush with a depth range of four to 12 feet and the third was stretch of bank in two feet with scattered rock groupings. All produced, but Upshaw said the hard stuff proved most rewarding. "The story of the day was rocks," he said. "We found the isolated rock beds off the bank and that was the best thing. In the fall, these fish start to feed; they're getting reading for winter. Rocks give them aStephen F. Austin lot more area to go feed because the baitfish move across these rock beds and the fish can sit there between the rocks and ambush their prey. "A brush pile can only hold maybe one or two fish, but you can put a whole lot more fish on a rock bed than a piece of wood. The fish replenish better because the deepest part of the lake was right near (our spots)." Aggies Shafer and Brown rally for second Hometown team Andrew Shafer and Weston Brown got off to a strong start with a day-one weight of 18-9 that put Texas A&M in third place. Day two saw the Aggies struggle to find consistency but they managed to hold their position with a bag weighing 14-14. Today, Shafer and Brown roared back with their best bag of the tournament - a limit of 19-4 that pushed them up one notch to finish second with 52-11. Catching the dayShafer summarized the makings of his team's big finish: "I would say persistence and (continuously) pounding the spots. We slowed down a lot and just fished flawlessly today. Yesterday, we missed some bites but today we just fished (clean). We concentrated and we knew what we had to do. "We knew we had to get at least 20 pounds to have a shot (at winning) and that was our goal all day. We got close to that." Like day two, Shafer and Brown caught all of their final-round fish on plastics - shaky heads with finesse worms and Texas-Rigged Zoom Speed Craws. Around 8 a.m., the latter produced a kicker that went about 6 1/2 for Brown. "Once we got that big one in the morning, we thought that might have a shot at it," Brown said. "We knew we needed a couple more big ones. We got our last big one with 20 minutes left to fish." Bates and Collins slip to third Two days of consistent quality - 19-0 and 19-15 - would put Texas A&M's Kyle Bates and Cody Collins in first place after day two. Both days, Bates boated big kickers of 9-12 and 6-7, butLosing a key bait early in the day put a damper on the efforts of Kyle Bates and Cody Collins, who took third place for Texas A&M. Somerville's generosity dried up today and the anglers from Aggieland managed only four fish for 8-6 and dropped two notches to a third-place finish. Misfortune arose early as Collins made a cast with his most productive crankbait and snagged a gill net that would rob him of this key lure. "I think that really played on our minds, but it didn't affect our fishing that much," Bates said. "We had caught a lot of fish on that bait the previous two days, but today, our spots had just been beaten up and I just don't think there were any fish in the area anymore." Bates and Collins spent their final day fishing a flat bordered by deeper water. They were banging crankbaits off the brush piles, as they had done for two days. Bates said that, despite the minimal action, they decided to live or die by their game plan. "That may be one of my weaknesses - I'm kind of stubborn. It worked for two days before; I thought it would work today. We didn't want to waste any time making a risky move and have it completely fail, so we stayed conservative and pretty much did what we had done the two previous days." LSU finishes fourth Moving up from sixth place on day one, LSU's Timothy Morris and Richard Murdock entered the final Crankbaits were the choice for fourth-place LSUround in fourth place. After a tough day in which they caught four keepers for 9-12, they ended fourth with 39-1. Morris said that he and his partner caught their keepers on Luckycraft and Excalibur square bill crankbaits around rocks. Today, they found that the Excalibur's wider wobble was most effective. Showing a battered bait to the crowd, Morris explained that the chipped paint and haggard appearance came from close contact with the hard environment. "This bait used to be a square bill, but now it's a round bill," he joked. Murdock noted that he and his partner had found their best bites in the first couple hours of days one and two. Day three presented a lean morning and they struggled. "We've been relying on the really early bite and it just didn't happen today," he said. "It was slow all day. We noticed it was getting close (to the end), so we picked up a shaky head and some other lures. We caught a few shorts on a deeper diving crankbait. We tried some other lures, but we weren't 100 percent successful." Texas A&M-Corpus Christi takes fifth Jacob Heath and Kennedy Schwartzburg, of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi caught three fish that weighed 7-15 and ended in fifth place with a tournament total of 36-1. The anglers have made the TexasJacob Heath shows off a fish for fifth-place Texas A&M-Corpus Christi as Kennedy Schwatzburg watches. Regional three years in a row, but this was their first top-five finish. "We had one goal coming in here and that was to make the National Championship and we achieved that goal (with a top-five finish)," Heath said. "We could have zeroed today and we would be walking out of here with smiles on our faces, pumped up, heads held high. We're ecstatic right now." Schwartzburg said that medium-diving crankbaits in two to four feet of water produced the majority of his team's fish. Today, the lack of wind put a damper on that plan. Heath, who fished a jig part of the day, described a dramatic moment with their biggest fish of the day. "I pitched a jig at the fish and he missed it so I pitched it in there again and hooked him," he recalled. "I fought the fish to the boat and when (Schwartzburg) netted it, the jig popped out of the fish's mouth right when he scooped it."

Tags: headline-story 


Devere Takes BFL Wild Card Win

The decision of what to fish come tournament time can be difficult for most. For others – like Mike Devere – relying on a single bait that you have confidence in is all you need. Devere’s one bait, one rod method was strong enough to carry him to victory by nearly 2 pounds in the BFL Wild Card held on Lake Hartwell. READ MORE »


Hanselmania 4.0

Saturday, in Paducah, Ky., on the shores of the Ohio River, Ray Hanselman rewrote history for the second time this season. After winning all three 2015 Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division events, which had never been done before, Hanselman came to Kentucky and won the Rayovac FLW Series Championship. READ MORE »


Rayovac Championship Day 3 Coverage

The final day of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River will largely be fished on the Tennessee River, as all but two anglers rolled up it to chase smallmouths. READ MORE »


Hanselman on the Verge of Four-Peat

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River was fished primarily on the nearby Tennessee River and resulted in a major shuffling of the leaderboard. In the end, Ray Hanselman rose from second to first and will lead the top 10 into the final day with 30 pounds, 14 ounces. READ MORE »


Top 5 Patterns from the Ohio River Day 2

After two days of competition, Ray Hanselman leads the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River, but as the leaderboard has reflected, the river’s hefty smallmouths are certainly capable of producing some fireworks and providing some surprises. READ MORE »


Rayovac Championship Day 2 Coverage

Down at Paducah, the start of day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship was just about perfect – a light wind, temps in the low 40s and no fog. That’s not the case elsewhere. READ MORE »


Barnes Blasts 21 on the Ohio

On day one of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River David Barnes Sr. of China, Maine, hauled exactly 21 pounds of smallmouth across the stage to take the lead on a day that was tough for many. READ MORE »


Top 5 Patterns from the Ohio River Day 1

Shortly after David Barnes electrified the Rayovac FLW Series Championship weigh-in with his leading weight of 21 pounds of smallmouths, Ray Hanselman followed suit with an all-smallmouth limit weighing 19 pounds. READ MORE »


Rayovac Championship Day 1 Coverage

Updates from day one of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River. READ MORE »


McCaig Wins Neely Henry Regional

There are times that a little local knowledge helps you in a bass tournament, and then there are times it does not. And sometimes, it pays to ignore past experiences altogether, as Mark McCaig figured out en route to winning the Oct. 22-24, 2015 Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Neely Henry out of Gadsden, Ala. By disregarding what his local experience might have suggested he do and approaching the tournament a little differently, the Oxford, Ala., boater posted a three-day total weight of 45 pounds, 7 ounces to take home the $20,000 winner’s purse as well as a 2015 Ranger Z518C with 200-hp outboard. READ MORE »


Goodwin Wins at Lake of the Ozarks

Day-two leader Shonn Goodwin of Moore, Okla., held on to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional presented by Mercury at Lake of the Ozarks Oct. 22-24 by bringing four bass to the scale on the third and final day. Those fish weighed 8 pounds, 11 ounces. His three-day total of 14 bass weighed 43-13. For the win, Goodwin earned $20,000 and a new Ranger bass boat. READ MORE »


Walters Wins Wateree BFL Regional

Todd Walters relied on a combo pattern to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional on Lake Wateree. The North Carolina boater fished rocky cover upstream and brush piles in the lake's clear lower end. The two-part program produced a three-day winning weight of 47 pounds, 4 ounces, which was 11 pounds better than second place. READ MORE »


Uribe By An Ounce

After Jody Jordan brought 24 pounds, 5 ounces to push his total past 66 pounds on the final day the crowd waited with bated breath for day two leader Joe Uribe Jr. to bring his fish to the scale. As Uribe transferred his third bass from the bag to the scale, he shook his head and whispered back “you’ve got it,” to the watching Jordan. READ MORE »


Anderson Wins KY Lake Regional

You might say there weren’t any surprises at the 2015 Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional presented by Lowrance on Kentucky Lake Oct. 15-17. The techniques of the top 12 pros who fished the final day were typical of the Tennessee River in fall: surface fishing with frogs and Zara Spooks and winding Rat-L-Traps and ChatterBaits. The winners weren’t surprising either: Ryan Sykes of Hamilton, Ohio, won the co-angler division for the second consecutive year, and Tennessee pro Brent Anderson earned his sixth win on the Kentucky/Barkley system since 2009. READ MORE »


Grover Takes Co-angler Title on Clear Lake

Rick Grover of Trabuco Canyon, Calif., pulled in 55 pounds, 5 ounces of bass for the Rayovac FLW Series co-angler win on Clear Lake. All told, it was worth a new Ranger Z117 with a 90-horsepower outboard and $5,000. READ MORE »


Clear Lake Midday Update Day 3



Uribe Takes Lead and AOY at Clear Lake

Joe Uribe Jr. jumped into the lead going into the final day of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Clear Lake. Uribe caught 20 pounds, 13 ounces on day two for a total of 44 pounds, 8 ounces and was the only pro to weigh more than 20 pounds both days. READ MORE »


Top 5 Patterns from Clear Lake Day 2

When the scales had closed after the second day of the Rayovac FLW Series Western Division tournament presented by Evinrude on Clear Lake, no doubt more than a few anglers breathed a sigh of relief that they were still in contention. READ MORE »


Clear Lake Midday Update Day 2

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Clear Lake has been a little slower than day one. READ MORE »


Crutcher Cracks 29-9

Midway through a weigh-in that was noticeably lacking in super-sized bags, Mark Crutcher of Lakeport, Calif., lit up the leaderboard with 29 pounds, 9 ounces of Clear Lake goodness. READ MORE »