UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Erie

Medlock Masters Okeechobee – Again

Brandon Medlock wins the EverStart Series Southeast event for the second year in a row with a three-day total of 68-2

OKEECHOBEE, Fla. - Win a major bass tournament once on a particular lure or technique and it gets a little attention. But win the same tournament two years in a row on the same lure and technique and suddenly you have garnered a lot of attention. Such is the case with 29-year-old Brandon Medlock of Lake Placid, Fla., who has now won the EverStart Series Southeast event two years in a row with the same lure. In last year's January event, Medlock posted weights of 28-01, 16-05 and 19-02 for a three-day total of 63-08. This year he outdid himself with weights of 17-8, 35-7 and 15-3 for a three-day total of 68-2. The win earned him yet another $35,300 payday.Brandon Medlock "The first time I won, I was in shock," Medlock said. "And to win again, now I'm even more in shock. I just don't know what to say." Medlock's main lure is the same lure he used last year - the Double-Guard Jig - a big 1-ounce jig made by his dad, which features a large 6/0-hook defended by a double weedguard for extra balance and weedlessness. Medlock accentuates the big profile of the bait with a huge hunk of plastic. Last year he used a big salty chunk; this year he favored a Gambler Ugly Otter. He ties the jig to 65-pound test Suffix braided line on a Carrot Stix extra heavy flipping stick. When the package is complete, it constitutes a bait that is built for one thing: giant bass. Medlock's winning secret lies, not so much in the bait itself, but in his absolute confidence to throw it all day. It's a confidence rooted in fishing many team tournaments on Lake Isokpoga with his dad who convinced the younger Medlock to focus solely on big fish in tournaments. "Istokpoga is a big fish lake," Medlock said. "In order to win tournaments there you have to fish for big bass all the time. And this lake is very similar. I could go out here and throw worms, topwaters, buzzing plastics and catch a bunch of bass, but only two or three of them might be big ones. With that jig I fish for eight bites a day - that's my target. If I get eight bites on that jig, five are going to be big ones. When I come to these tournaments, you won't find those other lures out on my deck. I know from many years of fishing with my dad that if we could get eight bites on that jig, we would probably win the tournament because they're going to be big ones that bite it." The Double-Guard does double duty, claiming another EverStart win for Brandon Medlock on Lake Okeechobee.Medlock's arsenal for the week included his dad's jig and a Gambler Cricket, which he used to punch mats. And here is where a clarification needs to made: Medlock does not use the big jig to punch through mats. Instead he uses the jig to pitch into holes and gaps around grass. However, knowing when to punch the Cricket and when to pitch the jig is a critical part of the game. Medlock is fishing the upcoming FLW Tour Open in a couple of weeks and understandably does not want to say exactly where or what he is pitching to. But he did say that knowing when the conditions get just right for the jig is imperative. "The first day I actually punched mats with the cricket - that's how I caught the 17 pounds," he explained. "But yesterday and today I used the jig. A lot of it has to do with the water temperature. When it's cold, punching is the way to go. But once it warms up, the jig is the better option for me. And this event kind of landed right on a transition period. The water was still cold in practice and punching was better. But with the warming water on the first day, more fish started to move onto beds and that's when the jig became better." Tharp second EverStart pro Randall Tharp of Gardendale, Ala., made a hard charge at Medlock today with the second biggest limit of the event, 28 pounds, 14 ounces, moving him up from fifth to second with a three-day total of 62 pounds worth $12,300.Comeback limit of the day: EverStart pro Randall Tharp of Gardendale, Ala., weighed in 28 pounds, 14 ounces, moving him up from fifth to second with a three-day total of 62 pounds. This is now the fourth time Tharp has been runner-up in major tournaments in a 12-month period. This finish also marked his sixth top-10 in a row in events held on Lake Okeechobee. "Four times in less than a year," Tharp said of being second. "If I keep putting myself in position I'll win one. I fished really well this week and today was just one of those magical days you live for out here. But after Medlock caught 35 pounds yesterday, that's pretty hard to recover from." Tharp relied on his favorite game, flipping and pitching, to produce the monstrous bag. He used a variety of plastics under a 1-1/2-ounce tungsten weight tied to 70-pound test Samurai braid to do the damage. The difference between yesterday and today, in his opinion, was fishing pressure, or lack thereof. "Everyone found the best place on the lake with the biggest fish in it," he said. "The last two days there have been 30 boats milling around in there punching those mats. There have been so many boats in there cutting up the vegetation it doesn't even look the same as it did five days ago. And these fish are not stupid - they're not going to come in there with an armada of boats around. Today there were far fewer boats in there and some new big ones moved up." Amazingly Tharp caught the three biggest bass in his limit in about five minutes. "I caught all my big ones in less than an hour and three of them came within a span of about 50 feet," Tharp explained. "And that's the way this place is - when they move up like that you can hurt them in a hurry. Okeechobee is just a magical place and that's why I love this lake so much." Fels third Keith Fels of Ocala, Fla., caught a closing round limit of 17 pounds, 15 ounces to finish third with a three-day total of 55 pounds, 10 ounces. Keith Fels of Ocala, Fla., caught a closing round limit of 17 pounds, 15 ounces to finish third with a three-day total of 55 pounds, 10 ounces worth $10,000. While others punched and flipped, Fels made the casting game work for him. "Flipping is just not my style, so I stayed with the moving baits most of the week," Fels said. "Mostly casting a Gambler Big E-Z and a ¼-ounce swimming jig. I basically burned a lot of gas and covered a lot of water." Holder fourthBrian Holder of Gastonia, N.C., finished in fourth place with a three-day total of 48 pounds, 14 ounces. Brian Holder of Gastonia, N.C., finished in fourth place with a three-day total of 48 pounds, 14 ounces worth $9,000. Holder caught most of his fish punching "blown-in" mats of mixed vegetation consisting of reeds, eelgrass and hyacinths. His primary bait for the week was Lake Fork Craw Tube on a Trokar hook under a 1-ounce tungsten weight fished on 65-pound test Spiderwire braid. Honnerlaw fifth Bryan Honnerlaw of Moore Haven, Fla., rounded out the top five with a three-day total of 47 pounds, 6 ounces worth $8,000. Honnerlaw spent the week flipping mats and reeds with a Sweet Beaver teamed with a Punch Skirt and topped with a 1-ounce weight.Bryan Honnerlaw of Moore Haven, Fla., rounded out the top five with a three-day total of 47 pounds, 6 ounces worth $8,000. Rest of the best Rounding out the top-10 pros in the EverStart Series event on Lake Okeechobee: 6th: Kent Ware of Wadmalaw Island, S.C., three-day total of 42-9 7th: Clent Davis of Montevallo, Ala., three-day total of 41-14 8th: George Kapiton of Inverness, Fla., three-day total of 41-6 9th: Brandon McMillan of Clewiston, Fla., three-day total of 40-12 10th: Jeff Fitts of Keystone Heights, Fla., three-day total of 39-12

Tags: headline-story 

/news/2015-08-29-matual-masters-erie

Matual Masters Erie

David Matual of Chicago, Ill., leaned on his spot hard and sacked up the biggest bag of day three weighing 22 pounds, 6 ounces. For his final-day rally he claimed the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division victory on Lake Erie with a three-day total of 65 pounds, fending off Jared Rhode by a mere 7 ounces. Drop-shotting over shallow reefs delivered all of Matual’s fish and earned him a check worth more than $31,000. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-lake-erie-day-3-midday-update

Lake Erie Day 3 Midday Update

Lake Erie put on a different face for day three of the final Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event. After a rough day one, yesterday’s calm and mostly sunny conditions offered comfortable running and fishing conditions. Today was still a far cry from the brutal waves of day one - and prior practice days - but windier conditions and overcast skies seemed to present a more challenging scenario. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-28-top-5-patterns-from-lake-erie-day-2

Top 5 Patterns From Lake Erie Day 2

Pennsylvania pro Dave Lefebre and Ohio pro Jared Rhode tied for the day-two lead in Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division action on Lake Erie with 43 pounds, 9 ounces. Both pros caught their fish on drop-shots. Here are the details of the rest of the top five. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-28-lefebre-rhode-tied-at-the-top

Lefebre, Rhode Tied at the Top

Notching his second day of 20-plus pounds, FLW Tour pro Dave Lefebre tallied 43 pounds, 9 ounces and tied day-one leader Jared Rhode for the day-two top spot at the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. Lefebre caught his 22-3 limit on Rapala DT-10 crankbaits, while Rhodes tempted his 19-15 catch with drop-shots. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-28-lake-erie-day-2-midday-update

Lake Erie Day 2 Midday Update

With winds shifting from yesterday’s northerly blow to a warmer southerly direction, day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie brought calmer conditions with greater ability to methodically work key spots. Offshore, waves ran 1 to 2 feet, with leeward areas behind the Lake Erie Islands nearly flat. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-27-rhode-cracks-23-10-for-erie-lead

Rhode Cracks 23-10 for Erie Lead

Jared Rhode played his cards and the gamble paid off better than expected, as the pro from Port Clinton, Ohio, took the day-one lead at the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie with a limit catch weighing 23 pounds, 10 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-27-top-5-patterns-from-lake-erie-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Erie Day 1

Taking off this morning, the FLW Tour pro from Erie, Pa., knew the day’s north wind would keep him from making a long run to a big-fish spot close to his home. However, keeping it local and fishing a little past Pelee Island to the west delivered a solid second-place catch. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-27-lake-erie-day-1-midday-report

Lake Erie Day 1 Midday Report

Winds have subsided considerably since practice, but Lake Erie’s still showing her temperamental side to Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division anglers fishing the last divisional event out of Sandusky, Ohio. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-25-top-10-patterns-from-the-forrest-wood-cup

Top 10 Patterns from the Forrest Wood Cup

If you don’t believe that summertime bass fishing in the dog days of August is all over the map, just take a look at the top 10 patterns from the best bass pros on earth at the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Brad Knight captured the Cup by mining one small creek end for four days. But beyond that, the rest of the top 10 patterns ran the gamut, from targeting schoolers over 40 feet to wolf packs of bass on the bank to brush piles to grass to mud flats and everywhere in between. Here’s a rundown. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-23-knight-slays-ouachita

Knight Slays Ouachita

Lancing, Tenn., pro Brad Knight won the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart on Lake Ouachita with a four-day total of 51 pounds, 12 ounces. In front of a standing-room-only crowd at Bank of the Ozarks Arena in Hot Springs, Ark., Knight weighed in 11-07 on day four to surpass Jacob Wheeler, who started the day with a 12-ounce lead. Fishing in just one area all four days, Knight locked up the first win of his FLW career. He earned $500,000 for his victory and pushed his career earnings total to more than $688,000. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-23-forrest-wood-cup-day-4-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-22-wheeler-back-in-front

Wheeler Back in Front

Jacob Wheeler loves Lake Ouachita. It’s where he fished his first Forrest Wood Cup in 2011, and it’s where he’ll take the tournament lead into the final day of competition at the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Wheeler, the 2011 Cup champion, led this tournament on day one and slipped a couple spots on day two. He now has a very slim 12-ounce lead over Tennessean Brad Knight. The anglers will square off tomorrow on Ouachita starting at 7 a.m. against the rest of the top 10 pros for the top prize of $500,000. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-22-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 3

Jacob Wheeler may have regained his lead in the Forrest Wood Cup on day three, but Brad Knight is right on his heels. Going into the final day, the two pros are separated by just 12 ounces. The margin is tight, and what’s going to make the final day fun to watch is the difference in the two anglers’ strategies. Wheeler is running a topwater pattern on the main lake, and fishing new water is part of his plan. Knight, however, has caught almost all of his weight from one 250-yard stretch of bass-rich creek channel. He literally knows every target he is fishing by heart. On the surface, Knight’s area looks to be the better bet. But he has shared the general area with Brandon Cobb and Mark Daniels Jr. for three solid days. And the bad news, at least for Knight, is that both Cobb and Daniels will be sharing the water with him again on the final day as both made the top-10 cut. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-22-forrest-wood-cup-day-3-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-ramie-races-into-the-lead

Ramie Races into the Lead

On the back of a 17-pound, 14-ounce limit, which is the biggest of the tournament thus far, Ramie Colson Jr. jumped from seventh place to take over the lead at the halfway point of the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. Colson’s two-day total is 31 pounds, 1 ounce, which puts him almost 3 pounds ahead of Tennessee’s Brad Knight. The Forrest Wood Cup, which is hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, moves into its top-20 round on Saturday. The top 10 pros after Saturday’s weigh-in advance to Sunday’s final round for a shot at the $500,000 top prize. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 2

At times, bass fishing can be a lot like real estate, where the three most important rules are location, location and location. The 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita presented by Walmart is starting to become a bit of a real estate game where location is the primary consideration in who climbs the leaderboard. And those mining the backs of creeks and tributaries are on the prime pieces of real estate. Consider that after day two, four of the top five pros are concentrating their fishing efforts in the back ends of creeks or rivers. All of these areas fit a classic late-summer, early-fall pattern where shad pack into the back of creek ditches that meander through shallow flats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-forrest-wood-cup-day-2-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-wheeler-hunting-history

Wheeler Hunting History

It’s never been done before, and it hasn’t happened yet, but Jacob Wheeler is in prime position to become the first two-time Forrest Wood Cup champion in history. Wheeler, of Indianapolis, Ind., brought in a 16-pound, 2-ounce limit of Lake Ouachita bass on the first day of the Cup, which is presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 1

After day one of the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita, several things have come to light. For one, this event is not likely to produce a runaway win for anyone like it did when Scott Martin won here in 2011. Second, when the pros said Ouachita was going to be stingy, they meant it – only 29 of the 50 pros checked in limits today. Third, firm patterns are hard to come by on Lake Ouachita in August. Jacob Wheeler took the lead on day one in the event that’s presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. With the help of a 5-pound bass, Wheeler weighed in a limit of 16 pounds, 2 ounces, but he had to sample a lot of different areas for his catch. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-forrest-wood-cup-day-1-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 1 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »