Ehrler captures FLW Tour title on Lake Hartwell

Brent Ehrler wrestles another one to the boat.

ANDERSON, S.C. - All week long, Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., said that he didn't want to be in first place until after the final day of competition on Lake Hartwell. Well, he lived up to his word. Using a whopping 20-pound, 5-ounce catch as a springboard during Sunday's finals, Ehrler effectively ran away with the title - boasting a total catch of 74 pounds, 13 ounces to walk away with the fourth FLW Tour victory of his career by out-fishing his next closest competitor by more than 3 full pounds. If it wasn't clear before, it's certainly obvious now that Ehrler is fishing as well as anyone on the planet. And that's no exaggeration. In addition to today's Lake Hartwell victory, Ehrler has won the Forrest Wood Cup title (2006), the FLW Tour event on Lake Ouachita (2010), the FLW Tour Table Rock Lake contest (2010), two FLW Series titles (Lake Havasu in 2009 and Lake Shasta in 2010), and the 2004 EverStart Series Championship. Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., holds up part of his winning catch at the FLW Tour Lake Hartwell event.In addition, Ehrler boasts 29 top-10 finishes in FLW events since 2003 as well as over $1.86 million in career earnings. He has recorded two angler-of-the-year titles (EverStart Series Western Division in 2003 and FLW Series Western Division in 2010), finished runner-up in the FLW Tour Angler of the Year race in 2008 and 2011 and netted three top-10 finishes in the Forrest Wood Cup since 2006. And as a final bonus, Ehrler managed to shrug off his second-place finish at the FLW Tour Lake Hartwell event just one year prior en route to full redemption in South Carolina in 2012. Not bad for a few days work. "It feels so good," said Ehrler, who netted $125,000 in first-place winnings at the Lake Hartwell contest this week. "I can't tell you how awesome it is to win this thing. I just had a very good day today." Ehrler said that he had been mixing it up all week, fishing in depths ranging from 2 to 50 feet and employing multiple baits including everything from drop-shot rigs, to jigs, reaction baits to Picasso umbrella rigs. But today, Ehrler said he honed in on two key areas where he managed to do most of his damage. "All of my fish came on two spots today," he said. "Basically, both of those spots had fairly big drop-offs from about 30 to 50 feet. This lake is fairly flat so when you find those deeper drop-offs, you can get those better quality bites. It took me awhile to get going. But when those spots turned on, it went fast. I had a limit by about 9:30 a.m." Ehrler said that he targeted staging bass that were adhering to deeper drop-offs and content on feeding up on baitfish before moving onto the banks to spawn. Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., shows off his first-place check after winning the FLW Tour event on Lake Hartwell."I pulled up on one spot and caught a 4- or 5-pounder right away," Ehrler said. "I had a dry spell in the middle of the day but I caught two good fish pretty late. I basically conserved both of my main areas today and that really paid off. I didn't fish one spot at all until today and the other one, where I caught most of my fish, I only fished a little bit on day three." While Ehrler's arsenal was vast all week, the California pro said he concentrated mostly on fishing a Phenix football jig and Phenix casting jig equipped with a 5-inch twin-tailed grub. Then when he found the fish he was looking for, he often employed a drop-shot Senko rig. But winning the tournament wasn't the only bonus for the young pro this afternoon. "Today I got a text from my wife that my son just started crawling," said Ehrler, trying to hold back tears onstage. "This has just been an awesome week. It really has." Frazier the next `young gun?' Without a doubt, 23-year-old Micah Frazier of Newnan, Ga., turned in the performance of his career in today's competition. Buoyed by the largest catch of the tournament - a behemoth 21-pound, 14-ounce sack during the final day of competition, Frazier leapfrogged from sixth to second place overall with an outstanding four-day total of 71 pounds, 11 ounces. Micah Frazier of Newnan, Ga., proudly displays his second-place catch during the finals of the FLW Tour Lake Hartwell event."I managed to make it interesting," said Frazier, who looked like he could be in the driver's seat for his first FLW Tour title right until the closing minutes of final weigh-in. "But just to be up here with these guys is awesome." Frazier, who targeted bass in the back of a single creek all week, said he wasn't about to change things up too much on the final day of competition. "I did the exact same thing I did all tournament; I fished quarter-mile stretches in the back of that creek," he said. "Today, the fished moved a little bit further back in the creek and it took a little bit to find them. But I probably had a limit by 10:45 a.m." Frazier said that he specifically looked for "transition stuff" such as channel swings and other areas of the creek where bass were moving in and out in preparation for the spawn. As for his bait of choice, Frazier kept it simple. "I threw a Rapala Shad Rap all day," he said. "And all the fish I caught all week came on that bait." For Frazier, the highlight of the day was when he hooked into a mammoth bass in the 7-pound range "When I hooked my big fish I didn't think it was even a bass at first," he said. "It just started stripping my line. But then I saw it roll over and I realized what it was. I couldn't believe it. I was so happy to get it in the boat." And that probably made all the difference between a fifth-place finish and getting his runner-up check worth $35,000. "Man, it's just been an awesome week," he said. "It's been a dream come true." Stone cements comeback Marty Stone of Fayetteville, N.C., shows off his third-place catch during the finals of the Lake Hartwell contest.Marty Stone of Fayetteville, N.C., had an emotional rollercoaster ride of a tournament to say the least. After taking a two-year hiatus from the sport and struggling mightily during most of the first day of the tournament, Stone turned things around in a big way. Not only did he qualify for the top 10 and earn a well-deserved third-place finish in the final, but he also - and perhaps most importantly - demonstrated to himself that he still has what it takes to be on the top pros on tour. "I exceeded all expectations this week," said Stone, who parlayed a total catch of 68 pounds, 5 ounces into $30,000 in winnings. "After taking that much time off I had a lot of self-doubt. And today was just another step in that journey. It's still a long journey but it's a good first step." However, it was far from easy. "I really enjoyed myself this week but today was very stressful" he said. "My bite really picked up later in the day and we lost an hour because of daylight savings time and that had me worried. By noon, I didn't have a fish in the boat and I had lost five good fish leading up to that point. So I was beyond frustrated." But shortly thereafter, Stone's karma started to change for the better. "From noon to 2 p.m. I had a great day of fishing," he said. "For me, the conditions had to be just right. I needed sunshine, some wind and baitfish. And once I had that combination, I was able to call my shots. I still lost a 5-pounder later in the day that hurt and I would have killed for another hour of fishing time, but that's just the way it goes." Stone said that he caught "90 percent" of his catch came on a War Eagle double Colorado blade spinnerbait. "I was basically fishing docks with that spinnerbait and fishing laydowns with a Bandit 200 crankbait," he said. "I really like Lake Hartwell. It really fishes to my strengths." Marty Stone reveals his hand-inscribed tournament dedication to a friend who recently lost his life in a house fire.During final weigh-in, Stone regaled the crowd with an emotional story of his own, about the "real strength" of a friend he never met. The story revolved about a soldier named Duane who he had been trying to meet for the past year or so. However, he never got the chance because Duane recently perished in a house fire attempting to save his two daughters. "He's my real hero," said Stone, barely able to fight back tears. "And I dedicated this tournament to him." Auten nails down fourth Using a total catch of 66 pounds, 1 ounce, Todd Auten of Lake Wylie, S.C., finished the Lake Hartwell event in fourth place overall. "This was a real good tournament for me," said Auten, who managed a fantastic finish despite battling a sinus cold throughout the final day of competition. "I did really well here last year but feel off on that third day. So it's just a pleasure being able to fish on day four." Using a total catch of 66 pounds, 1 ounce, Todd Auten of Lake Wylie, S.C., finished the Lake Hartwell event in fourth place overall.Auten said that he targeted channel swings and docks to land the majority of his catch, concentrating primarily on "dirty water" and suspended bass. "I relied on a Phenix swim jig with a Zoom Super Fluke in white and chartreuse," he said. "And I caught all but one fish on it all week." In the end, Auten said he had no complaints. "Overall I'm happy," said Auten, who took home $25,000 in winnings. "I fished pretty well and had a good time. And anytime you make the top 10 you can't complain." Gagliardi nets top-five finish If there was a crowd favorite it had to be Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C. And, in the end, he didn't disappoint. Using a catch of 61 pounds, 1 ounce, Gagliardi turned in a fifth-place performance to claim $20,000 in prize money. Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C., finished the FLW Tour event on Lake Hartwell in fifth place."I really feel like I made the most of what I had to work with," said Gagliardi. "I really milked my spots for everything they had." Gagliardi, who had been fishing both deep and shallow all week, knew that he was in for a tough day right from the get-go. "I started out deep and I could tell right away that the fish were acting differently and that it wasn't going to be as good as a few of the other days," he said. "So I started running around and wound up going shallow. I was throwing a swimbait and a Buckeye Spot Remover with a Senko but I just wasn't able to get the big bites I really needed." Overall though, he said he was happy to have made the cut. "When they first announced we're coming here I was really excited," he said. "When we came here last time, the lake really didn't show what it was capable of producing. But I think now all the anglers know what Lake Hartwell is all about." Best of the rest Rounding out the top-10 pro finalists: 6th: Jay Yelas of Corvallis, Ore., 61-0 7th: Dan Morehead of Paducah, Ky., 58-14 8th: Tom Monsoor of La Crosse, Wisc., 56-6 9th: Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., 55-7 10th: Brett Hite of Phoenix, Ariz., 54-9 For a complete list of the day's results, click here. FLW Tour Major competition resumes March 29-April 1 at Table Rock Lake in Branson, Mo.

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. 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 »