UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Champlain

Dodson gets it done

Coming into day three with only a 14-ounce lead, Robbie Dodson won by 4 1/2 pounds.

BULL SHOALS, Ark. - Robbie Dodson couldn't blame the fish - they wanted to be up shallow in the Bull Shoals buck brush, but with lake levels dropping each day, he had to adjust with the falling water to secure his victory at FLW EverStart Series Central Division action on Bull Shoals Lake. The weekend's full moon sent a fresh wave of bass to the shoreline shortly before the tournament, but with the Army Corps of Engineers dropping the lake nearly a foot each day, those fish had no choice but to move out with the incremental changes. The spawners didn't abandon their mission, per se; they just remained in their comfort depth, as that zone moved farther out. Hailing from Harrison, Ark., Dodson flipped partially submerged bushes each day, but as the waterBull Shoals winner Robbie Dodson is joined on stage by daughters Abby and Brooklyn. fell, his target zone slid progressively lakeward. Fishing the Lead Hill area - a region he's fished for four decades - Dodson said he just relied on his deep well of local knowledge to guide him to where the fish would move in declining water. "I really wasn't on anything in practice, so I just took off and fished where I've fished my whole life," Dodson said. "The bushes I fished yesterday were on the bank today. It was like a whole new lake every day. I fished different areas each day and just ran around and looked for something in the water." On day one, Dodson found his bites with Texas-rigged green pumpkin beaver style baits. On day two, he noticed that the fish were becoming increasingly skittish, so he scaled down to a 2 1/2-inch Luck "E" Strike Fighting Craw on a 5/16-ounce finesse flipping jig. Dodson removed the jig's skirt for a smaller profile and dyed the craw's pinchers orange or chartreuse with markers. A finesse jig and a Luck Consistency told the underlying tale of Dodson's success. He was the only pro to break 14 pounds all three days. His weights of 14-11, 14-9 and 14-13 gave him the winning total of 44-1. His day three weight was the heaviest of the final round. Dodson said he thought he could have amassed bigger weights each day, had the water level not been an issue. Nevertheless, tournament math certainly improved for him. On day one, he placed second and trailed the lead by 12 ounces. A day later, he'd overtake the top spot by a 14-ounce edge and ultimately secure his win with a 4 1/2-pound margin. "I think I would have done better today if they hadn't been dropping the water so much," Dodson said. "But it was a good tournament. I'll take what I've got." King improves to second Clarksville, Ark. pro Zach King landed in third place after each of the first two days, but gained anotherSecond-place pro Zach King caught his fish by wacky rigging trick worms. notch on day three to finish second with a tournament total of 39-9. The first two days, King caught his fish on Texas-rigged green pumpkin Zoom trick worms and Zoom speed craws. Today, he had to alter his presentations to accommodate the fish's mood. "I caught all my fish on some of that Western stuff that (fourth-place pro Justin Lucas) talks about," King said. "I was throwing 6- and 8-pound test line and wacky-rigging a watermelon red Zoom trick worm. I was just throwing it in the bushes and letting it fall. "I think that because the water level was dropping so fast the fish were spooky and they wanted something that wasn't doing anything. They'd just come out and grab it." King said his daily productivity told him that the water fluctuations were taking a toll on the fish. "The first day I caught 30 keepers and the second day I probably caught another 30. Then today, I only caught 15 so I knew something was up." Meredith slips to third Fishing stained water was essential for Ray Meredith.Ray Meredith, of Smiths Grove, Ky., caught a day-three limit of 11-1 and slipped one notch to finish third, just two ounces behind King with a total weight of 39-7. Meredith fished Prowler Slim Jim stick baits and Brush Dog creature baits. Stained water was the key for him and, though the day-three bite tapered off, he said he enjoyed plenty of action throughout the tournament. "They slowed down a bunch today, but I have caught a bunch of fish this week," he said. Recently returning to tournament fishing after concluding his first angling career in the 80's, Meredith thanked Ranger Boats founder and FLW Outdoors namesake Forrest Wood - present at the weigh ins - for helping him get started in bass tournaments all those years ago. Lucas jumps up to fourth National Guard pro Justin Lucas, of Guntersville, Ala., caught his biggest bag of the event on day threeFourth-place pro Justin Lucas found his day-three spot through an iPad app. - a 13-7 limit that lifted his total to an even 39 pounds and moved him up four spots to a fourth-place finish. Lucas fished Bull Shoals for the first time this week and chose to view his lack of experience as a mental liberation. "It was fun to just go out and not have any spots. I just went out and said 'that looks good, that looks good, that looks good,'" he said. Lucas caught his fish on an umbrella rig baited with 4-inch Berkley hollow belly swimbaits and a Texas-rigged Berkley Havoc Rocket Craw. Lucas credits his day-three success to modern map study. "The spot that I fished today, I found it last night on my iPad," he said. "I was looking through my Navionics app, just looking for a good spot to fish and I found this little bluff that ran next to this pocket where I'd been catching them shallow. The shallow fish were all little 2-pounc males, so we pulled out on that spot I found last night and (my co-angler and I) caught all of our fish on that spot. That just shows you that studying a map will still help you - I just did it the high-tech way." Dalbey finishes fifth Dead-sticking soft plastics proved effective for Rich Dalbey.Rich Dalbey, of Greenville, Texas reached the final round with the biggest day-two improvement in the top-10. He qualified for the finale by climbing 14 spots from 19th place to fifth. Day three saw him catch a limit of 11-10 and finish fifth with a tournament total of 38-7. Dalbey fished dark colored wacky-rigged Senkos and most of his bites came with the bait dead-sticked on the bottom. Lower water conditions limited him to just six keeper bites. "It was tougher for me today with that water dropping," Dalbey said. "I figured out yesterday that the fish were around the bushes with the bigger bases, but with the lower water level, those bushes kept getting closer to the shoreline. Today, they were right up on the bank with no water underneath them." Best of the rest Rounding out the top-10 pro leaders at the Bull Shoals event: 6th: Shane Long, of Springfield, Mo., 37-14 7th: Robert Dodson, of Harrison, Ark., 37-10 8th: Lance Williams, of Billings, Mo., 35-6 9th: Frank Clark, of Benton, Ill., 35-3 10th: Dave Crisenberry, of Flippin, Ark., 34-12

Tags: headline-story 

/news/2015-07-21-top-picks-from-icast

Top Picks From ICAST

A few days of walking the floor at ICAST is enough to exhaust a body, but it isn’t enough to know exactly what’s worthwhile. For that, you need some time to reflect and probably a few tournament seasons to fly by to see what rises up. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-renfrew-fished-to-win

Renfrew Fished to Win

Ian Renfrew of Phoenix, New York, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Northeast Division tournament on Oneida Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Renfrew earned $4,695. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-docks-and-rocks-key-for-synders

Docks and Rocks Key for Synders

Rus Snyders of Nashville, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Music City Division tournament on Old Hickory Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Snyders earned $2,703. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-jig-crankbait-carry-powroznik

Jig, Crankbait Carry Powroznik

Ryan Powroznik of Prince George, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 15 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division tournament on the James River. For his victory, Powroznik earned $7,507. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-persistence-pays-for-arning

Persistence Pays for Arning

Ray Arning Jr. of Walnut Hill, Illinois, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Illini Division tournament on Rend Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Arning earned $5,804. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-17-new-rod-roundup

New Rod Roundup

Rod companies continue to impress each year with a new crop of lighter, faster and more affordable (sweet!) rods. On the subject of price, these days, a tournament pro or an average angler could be fishing with rods that cost less than $100 apiece, but without giving up anything in the realm of quality. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-17-new-terminal-tackle

New Terminal Tackle

Don’t skimp where it counts the most – terminal tackle. Hooks, weights, jigheads and the like are the keys to taking all those new soft baits and swimbaits to the fish, hooking them and getting them in the boat. Here’s the best stuff we saw on the floor at ICAST 2015. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-flw-announces-2016-tour-schedule

FLW Announces 2016 Tour Schedule

FLW announced the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour regular-season schedule today in a live press conference held at the 2015 ICAST show in Orlando, Fla. With the help of six veteran Tour pros, the company unveiled each of the six events, one-by-one, to a crowd of observers gathered around the FLW booth. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-6-new-reels-to-try

6 New Reels to Try

Whether you need to replace an old reel or you’re just looking to add to the arsenal, here are some of the latest and greatest from ICAST. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-6-new-lines-from-icast-2015

6 New Lines from ICAST 2015

Line might just be the most important part of the package when it comes to landing fish. From presenting the bait to getting them in the net, your line is involved the entire way. If you’re looking for something new to try, the following lines are worth a shot. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-icast-best-of-show-winners-

ICAST Best Of Show Winners

One of the highlights of ICAST is the annual “Best of Show” awards. Not everything at ICAST is of interest to bass anglers, but the below might end up being staples for a long time to come. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-10-new-frogs-and-toads

10 New Frogs and Toads

These days, frogs and toads aren’t just mimicking frogs and toads. They’re designed to be perfect imitations of rats, bream and various oddball creatures. New models at ICAST this season offer anglers some of these “alternative” species, as well as new sizes, colors, action types and degrees of realism. Here are 10 new models that we feel are of greatest interest. Click here for complete 2015 ICAST coverage. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-7-terrific-topwater-baits

7 Terrific Topwater Baits

If you don’t like fishing topwater, just give up fishing already. These seven new baits will help you get your surface-fishing fix next season. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-critters-and-craws

Critters and Craws

Nearly everyone already has a tackle box overflowing with soft baits. That said, there are always more to try. If you’re looking for something new, the following might do the trick. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-15-new-hard-baits-for-2015

New Hard Baits for 2015

It doesn’t take long to find yourself overwhelmed on the show floor of ICAST. Hundreds of companies are here unveiling cool, new products. When it comes to the hard bait category it can be daunting to sift through all the new stuff. Its early, but here are a few things that might be worth adding to the tackle box. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-15-icast-2015-fishing-accessories

ICAST 2015 Fishing Accessories

Check out these tools and accessory items that fill a variety of roles when on the water. We’ll update the list later tomorrow too. Click here for complete 2015 ICAST coverage. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-15-cool-new-electronics-at-icast-2015

Cool New Electronics at ICAST 2015

These days, anglers rely on cutting edge electronic devices not only to find and catch fish, but also to share their fishing experiences with the world. The following new products, as seen on day one at ICAST 2015, will help you do all of the above. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-15-new-clothing-and-sunglasses-at-icast-2015

New Clothing and Sunglasses at ICAST 2015

Sunglasses and clothing that can resist all that Mother Nature throws at it are critical for hard-core anglers. Here’s what’s new in those categories at this year’s ICAST show. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-15-three-new-finesse-worms

Three New Finesse Worms

Though there is a ton of finesse worms already available on the market, but the following three from the first day of ICAST might be worth a look if you sense a gap in your arsenal. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-14-dance-detweiler-and-east-win-icast-cup

Dance, Detweiler and East Win ICAST Cup

Weighing in midway through the 48-boat field, Bill Dance, Cody Detweiler, and Dave East repped Mystik Lubricants brought a five-bass limit for 17 pounds, 1 ounce to the scale for the win. The team focused on two shallow, grassy areas within sight of Big Toho Marina for the entirety of the event and caught about 10 bass and culled twice before 8 a.m. READ MORE »