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

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 »