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/2015-04-17-top-5-patterns-from-grand-lake-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake Day 2

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-17-college-championship-race-tightens

College Championship Race Tightens

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-17-hallman-out-front

Hallman Out Front

Spawning bite continues to produce for the anglers in the Rayovac FLW Series event on Grand Lake. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-17-lake-murray-midday-update-day-2

Lake Murray Midday Update Day 2

The air temperature reached a high of 53 degrees here yesterday, which tied a record for the coolest high temperature for that date. Apparently, the short-lived cold snap also had a chilling effect on the fishing at Lake Murray this morning, as several competitors in the FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance Insight Genesis College Cup reported meager results. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-16-liberty-leads-college-championship

Liberty Leads College Championship

A 22-pound, 2-ounce stringer anchored by a 7-pound, 9-ounce largemouth boosted Liberty University’s Travis Rulle and Caleb Eppler into the opening-round lead of the FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance Insight Genesis College Cup here on Lake Murray. Rulle and Eppler were the last anglers to weigh in on day one, and their five-fish limit gave them a lead of more than 3 pounds ahead of Eastern Kentucky University veterans Kyler Raymer and Ethan Snyder, who had 18-15. The surprise team of the tournament so far is Colorado Mesa University’s Josh Worth and Kennedy Kinkade, who brought in 18-10 despite never having fished east of the Mississippi River before. Worth and Kinkade are in third place, followed by Cade Laufenberg and Wyatt Stout of Winona State University, and Benn Curry and Tim Ward of Auburn University, both teams with 17-8. Lamar University’s Cameron Lafleur and Justin Royal in 10th place set the cut mark at 16-8. The entire field will fish again tomorrow, and only the top 10 based on two-day cumulative weight will fish in Saturday’s final round. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-16-castledine-stands-tall-on-grand

Castledine Stands Tall On Grand

Day one of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Power-Pole on Grand Lake produced stunning weights. With “thousands” of bass on the beds, the pros brought in a total of exactly 2,240 pounds and it took 16 pounds to make the top 60. Rising above the crowd was Nacogdoches, Texas, pro Todd Castledine, renowned for his prowess in Texas, the sight-fishing master cracked 23 pounds, 13 ounces and leads second-place pro Jonathan Henry by 1 pound, 6 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-16-top-5-patterns-from-grand-lake-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake Day 1

The first day of the Rayovac FLW Series Central Division tournament was all about the sight-bite – from day-one leader Todd Castledine on down. The event, presented by Power-Pole and hosted by the Grand Lake Association, undoubtedly featured other patterns, but every angler who did well relied in large part on bedding bass. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-16-lake-murray-midday-update-day-1

Lake Murray Midday Update Day 1

With precipitation ranging from an incessant mist to torrential downpours sweeping the area throughout the morning, the odds favored a slow start to the FLW College Fishing National Championship being presented by the Lowrance Insight Genesis College Cup here on Lake Murray. As it turns out, however, the bass apparently liked the extra water and reacted accordingly. A number of the teams that found prime spawning areas for blueback herring in practice earlier this week returned on day one and were rewarded with limit catches of largemouths and spots by midmorning. Among them was the local favorite, the University of South Carolina, which reportedly had culled up to about 13 pounds by 11 a.m. Likewise, the Oregon State University was sitting on about 15 pounds and had culled five times. Tanner Masters and Wyatt Ryan of East Central University (of Oklahoma) caught their limit fishing seawalls and riprapped banks during the sporadic herring spawns that fired up as soon as boats reached their first fishing destinations. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-11-hanselman-wins-back-to-back

Hanselman Wins Back-to-Back

Once you get Ray Hanselman going, just get out of his way. The Del Rio, Texas, pro is riding an incredible high right now after sewing up his second consecutive Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division win. Hanselman won the opener on Lake Amistad in February, then backed it up this week with a win on Sam Rayburn Reservoir in an event presented by Mercury. For his final-day limit, Hanselman plowed deep into Rayburn’s flooded cover to track down a five-bass limit worth 16 pounds, 10 ounces, raising his three-day total to 60-08 for a win by more than 7 pounds. For his efforts, Hanselman earned a cool $35,815 check and another trophy to add to his mantle. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-11-white-takes-bragging-rights-on-kentucky-lake-

White Takes Bragging Rights on Kentucky Lake

GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. – Joe White of Princeton, Kentucky, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 23 pounds, 15 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League LBL Division tournament of 2015 on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. For his victory, White earned $5,014. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-11-taylor-targets-bluebacks-for-hartwell-win

Taylor Targets Bluebacks for Hartwell Win

ANDERSON, S.C. – Brock Taylor of Pendleton, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 1 ounce Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Savannah River Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Hartwell. For his victory, Taylor earned $4,830. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-11-chenoweth-wins-on-kerr

Chenoweth Wins on Kerr

HENDERSON, N.C. – Rick Chenoweth of Fredericksburg, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division tournament of 2015 on Kerr Lake. For his victory, Chenoweth earned $5,241. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-11-rayburn-day-3-midday-update

Rayburn Day 3 Midday Update

A chilly morning greeted the top 10 pros and co-anglers for the final day of Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division competition on Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Mercury, but a warm sunrise filtered by scattered clouds bespoke the gorgeous conditions forthcoming. Winds have dropped off to barely a breeze, main-lake running is easy, and the coves and creeks where most anglers are fishing are glassy smooth. Fish surely pulled tighter to cover with the sunny conditions, but that probably makes little difference, as the majority of anglers have been flipping close to trees and into dense buck brush since day one. The heavy, tangled spots with vines seem to be the prime targets again today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-11-hansen-holds-lake-of-the-ozarks-title

Hansen Holds Lake of the Ozarks Title

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. – Brian Hansen of Fenton, Missouri, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 18 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Ozark Division tournament of 2015 on Lake of the Ozarks. For his victory, Hansen earned $4,507. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-11-frog-carries-lowery-to-victory

Frog Carries Lowery to Victory

ALEXANDER CITY, Ala. – David Lowery of Phenix City, Alabama, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 14 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Bama Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Martin. For his victory, Lowery earned $4,385. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-11-gordon-grabs-title-on-dardanelle

Gordon Grabs Title on Dardanelle

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – Shawn Gordon of Russellville, Arkansas, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Arkie Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Dardanelle. For his victory, Gordon earned $7,244. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-10-hanselmania-returns

Hanselmania Returns

He’s back at it again. Ray Hanselman of Del Rio, Texas, won the season-opening Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division tournament on Lake Amistad, and today he weighed in 23 pounds, 5 ounces on the second day of competition at stop No. 2 on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Hanselman vaulted into the tournament lead with a two-day total of 43-14. “Hanselmania” leads by 5 pounds, 6 ounces over Denny Brauer, also of Del Rio, who is in second place for the second consecutive day. The leader’s stringer is even more impressive considering that Hanselman lost three 5-pounders this morning and caught 23-5 on a day when only one other pro weighed more than 20 pounds, and only three others weighed more than 18 pounds. Day-one leader Joe Don Setina weighed in only four keepers for 11 pounds today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-10-rayburn-day-2-midday-update

Rayburn Day 2 Midday Update

With only one fish in the livewell at 10:30, Joe Don Setina was probably hoping for a repeat of day one – at least the part where he sacks ’em up in the second half. We found the leading pro fishing the Black Forrest area that he worked the first day, and he’s sticking with the same routine of flipping heavy cover. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-09-setina-overcomes-slow-start

Setina Overcomes Slow Start

Pittsburg, Texas, pro Joe Don Setina is off to a hot start in the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division this season. After a top-10 finish at the opener on Lake Amistad, Setina jumped out to the day-one lead on Sam Rayburn today. It wasn't all smooth sailing for Setina, however. He says nothing went right for him this morning, when he lost fish, snagged trees and finally had to sit down and collect himself before continuing on. After refocusing, Setina caught his first keeper at about 11 a.m. and proceeded to sack up 23 pounds, 6 ounces for a slim 8-ounce lead over second-place pro Denny Brauer, who also finished in the top 10 at the Amistad opener. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-09-top-5-patterns-from-sam-rayburn-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Sam Rayburn Day 1

Overcoming a tough start, Joe Don Setina rallied to take the day-one lead at the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division event presented by Mercury on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. He’s fishing flooded trees and bushes like most of the field and weighed in 23 pounds, 6 ounces. With the lake at a 15-year high thanks to recent rains, Rayburn’s bass are scattered, often in areas that are difficult to reach. Some pros are muscling their way through the thick stuff to search for bedding fish, while others opt for working the perimeter of the flooded zone for postspawn bass. READ MORE »