UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Erie

Ellis wins Santee squeaker

Targeting stumps for post-spawners was the key for top pro Ken Ellis.

SUMMERTON, S.C. - Textbooks, chalkboards, fog delay - what do they have in common? Schooling, and that's just what Ranger pro Ken Ellis delivered in his EverStart Series Southeast Division victory on Santee Cooper Lakes. Take nothing away from the talented field of finalist against which Ellis competed. But on a day that saw a dense blanket of fog and no wind to usher its departure postponing the takeoff from a scheduled 6:30 start until 11:29, the local legend offered a lesson on how it's done. Entering day three in fifth place after weighing 18-0 and 18-5 on days one and two, Ellis bagged 20 pounds in the final round and won the event with 56-5 and a 7-ounce margin of victory. Fog delays always create a somewhat tempestuous scenario, as tournament organizers balance the overriding concern for safety with the impatience of anglers chomping at the bit. At times, the point of acceptable visibility may be complicated by local impediments, such as the smattering of day-wrecking stumps that present minefields of navigational nightmares throughout Lakes Marion and Moultrie. Notably, it was those same stumps that Ellis targeted for his winning catch. With some 30 years of Ken Ellis used wacky-rigged Zoom Trick Worms to tempt his winning fish.experience on these impoundment lakes, Ellis knew that it was the right time for the stumps in about five feet of water to hold big fish. Postspawners, he said, will either go to deeper grass or deep trees. The latter offers more definitive targets that allowed him to make better use of his time on a short day. "I've been targeting these postspawn females that get out on the deep trees," he said. "I haven't caught a 5-pound fish all week until today, when I caught one. I had enough fish that I was able to get a limit fairly quickly. "I fish really light line and there's a lot of vegetation so the fish were getting around a lot of stuff. But I didn't lose any fish today and a lot of times, that's the key. If you lose one or two fish in this crowd, you're backing up." Ellis caught all of his fish on a wacky-rigged Zoom Trick Worm (watermelon). He fished his baits on light spinning gear. Precision casts and diligent presentations were important to his success. Time management was critical for Ken  Ellis to overcome a fog delay for the win."It takes a lot of patience, you have to work the wind," Ellis said. "We were fishing in a area that had a pretty good bit of current this afternoon, so you have to know how the current's affecting the bait to get it to fall where you want it. "Also, you have to be patient when you hook a good one and not try to (horse the fish). You have to let them do what they want to do for a while." After fishing the previous two days in the lower lake (Moultrie), Ellis stayed in Marion for day three. That turned out to be a good call, as the afternoon saw a vicious storm pound the lake with high winds, lightning and hail. "I had some fish that weren't too far away and at 2:15 when (at TV crew) came to do some stuff with me, I said 'I'm ready to go weigh-in now." I had the weight I was going to have. I was fortunate that I saw the storm coming and I got across the lake and actually had a nice ride." Ware improves to second Kent Ware, of Wadmalaw Island, S.C. made a good run at the lead when he brought in a day-threeSecond-place pro Ken Ware shows off his biggest fish on day three. limit of 15-14. In the end, Ware would come up just a little short and settle into second place with a tournament total of 55-14. Throughout the week, Ware caught fish on a jig, a Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper and a frog. His key bait was a Texas-rigged Senko. He fished the stickbait unweighted on spinning tackle with 17-pound line and targeted mostly trees and docks. Ware said he had to adjust his plan based on the fog delay and the resulting shorter day. "My preference was the lower lake, but with the short day, I decided to fish the upper lake," Ware said. "I had found some fish there in practice so it was a little bit of a gamble." Hutson slips to third A Texas-rigged Berkley Power Worm was the go-to rig for third-place Mark Hutson.The fog delay was a major impediment for Mark Hutson, of Moncks Corner, S.C. After a seventh-place finish on day one, Hutson led day two but he slipped back to a third-place finish on day three when he bagged just two fish for 9 pounds and tallied 51-9. "The fog delay may have cost me the tournament," Hutson said. "All my big bites came first thing in the morning (on the first two days). It was crucial to have that early morning bite and when you don't blast off until (nearly) noon it makes it kind of tough. I had what I had and I was lucky to get one of the big ones to bite." Hutson caught his biggest fish on the same Texas-rigged Berkley Power Worm (plumb) he had been using all week. He used a Bass Pro Shops soft stickbait (green pumpkin) to catch his smaller one. Costas climbs up to fourth Lex Costas, of Daniel Island, S.C. reached the final round after making a big day-two move from 33rdFourth-place pro Lex Costas caught only three bass but they weighed a whopping 14-8. place to seventh. He continued his upward movement in the final round by catching a trio of fish for 14-8 and gaining three more spots to finish fourth with 50-1. Costas spent his day in the upper lake and caught one of his fish on a Texas-rigged Senko and two on a Skinny Dipper. Riley settles at fifth Brent Riley, of Ridgeville, S.C. lost even more time after the late start when he experienced motor problems. He managed only two keepers on day three, but their weight of 10-4 kept him in good shape with a fifth-place total of 49-1. Motor problems hindered fifth-place pro Brent Riley on day three.Fishing the far side of the lower lake Sticking with a Zoom Brush Hog in the green pumpkin magic color, Riley lauded the condition of the Santee Cooper Lakes. "We have a lot of vegetation that we haven't had in a few years and (the lakes) have really made a comeback," he said. "The last two months have been about as awesome as you could imagine. Everybody's had a blast." Best of the rest Rounding out the top-10 pro leaders at the EverStart Series Santee Cooper event:Straight Talk pro JT Kenney gained two spots on day three to finish in seventh place. 6th: Currey Holey, of Ridgeville, S.C., 43-15 7th: JT Kenney, of Palm Bay, FL, 42-13 8th: Keith Pace, of Monticello, Ark., 37-8 9th: Jason Smith, of Albany, Ga., 36-4 10th: Troy Gibson, of Eufaula, Ala., 32-6

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/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 »