UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Erie

The Wright stuff

Jay Wright of Seal Beach, Calif., proudly displays his first-place trophy after winning the EverStart Series event on Clear Lake.

LAKEPORT, Calif. - Sitting in sixth place and facing off against a host of formidable western sticks atop the leaderboard heading into Saturday's final day of competition, Jay Wright of Seal Beach, Calif., knew that he would need a special day if he was to even have a chance at a tournament title. As it turned out, that's exactly what happened. Although the top-10 pros managed to bring in a whopping total of eight stringers over 19 pounds to the scales today, by far the most prolific day of the tournament to date, Wright turned in the performance of his career, boating a staggering 26-pound, 11-ounce catch in today's action to finally seal the deal. Wright's grand, three-day total of 74 pounds, 5 ounces (which included back-to-back catches over 26 pounds on days two and three) was enough to give him a 2-pound-plus margin of victory - as well as a nice first-place check totaling over $26,000. "This is just unbelievable," said Wright. "I didn't think I had a chance. I still can't believe I won. I've been fishing on the pro side for six years and have never come closer than third place. And to come into today, almost 6 pounds back, trying to catch somebody as good as (day-two pro leader) Jimmy Reese, and pull it off, I'm just elated. I still can't believe I beat Jimmy." When the final weights were tabulated and Wright was declared the victor, he finally allowed his emotions to come through - after sweating out the final weigh-in for the better part of an hour. "Yes!" Wright exclaimed. "Finally!" Pro Jay Wright of Seal Beach, Calif., holds up his first-place catch during the 
EverStart Clear Lake event.Not surprisingly, his win was far from easy. After catching the majority of his fish on a Robo worm in a Margarita Mutilator color, Wright began having success on the second day with an 8-inch Huddleston Deluxe Hitch swimbait. "On the first day, I caught all of my fish on a worm," he said. "Then on the second day, I caught one on that worm (drop-shot) and four on the swimbait. I had heard that the swimbait worked best with sunny and windy conditions so when I saw the forecast today, I thought it would be the perfect bait the throw. So I decided to swing for the fences." In the end, it worked out perfectly. Targeting rocky banks that morphed into coves, bays and sea walls, Wright was able to hone in on his huge quarry of pre-spawn bass. "The key was making long casts with a slow wind," he said. "And today's conditions were just ideal. I only got six bites today, but they were big bites. But even heading back to the marina I didn't think I had a chance. I greatly underestimated my weight today. And even if I wasn't off, I still wouldn't have thought that I'd have enough to beat these guys. This is just the greatest victory of my career. "I know I've always had the skill to compete at this level," continued Wright. "But I didn't have the mental makeup that you need to win until this year. So it feels great to get this win. It's still unbelievable." Breazeale claims runner-up finish Pro Wayne Breazeale of Kelseyville, Calif., finished the EverStart Clear Lake event in second place.After winning two local tournaments on Clear Lake over the past two weeks, Wayne Breazeale of Kelseyville, Calif., came up just 2 pounds short of his quest to record an improbable three victories in a row. "The wind over the first two days really screwed up my plans," said Breazeale, who wound up hauling in a three-day catch of 73 pounds, 3 ounces. "My goal was just to stay as close to the leaders as I could until the wind died down. But unfortunately it didn't die down until about the last hour of today. I wound up culling up 4 pounds in the last half hour and if I just had 30 more minutes, I think I could have pulled it off." While Breazeale had planned on sight-fishing almost exclusively, the high winds over the first two days of the tournament derailed those plans. As such, Breazeale had to settle on the drop-shot, employing a Robo worm in a Margarita Mutilator color to bide his time until the wind died down. When it did, he was finally able to throw his bait of choice, a Yamamoto twin-tail grub at bedding fish. "I really wished the wind hadn't hampered me as much as it did," said Breazeale. "But all things considered, I had a pretty good week." For his efforts, Breazeale walked away with over $9,000 in winnings. Crutcher claims third On the strength of a three-day catch weighing in at 72 pounds, 10 ounces, Mark Crutcher of Lakeport, Calif., finished the EverStart Series Clear Lake event in third place.On the strength of a three-day catch weighing in at 72 pounds, 10 ounces, Mark Crutcher of Lakeport, Calif., finished the EverStart Series Clear Lake event in third place. "I just had a great time," said Crutcher. "I'm fortunate that I only live about 3 minutes from this lake. I was planning on sight-fishing the whole time but, amazingly enough, I think this wind really helped me out." Early on in the tournament, Crutcher realized that he could use a 6-inch hybrid swimbait to effectively target bass in stained water. "I put a 6-inch swimbait on the back of a Snakebite chatterbait in a green pumpkin color and started throwing it in muddy water," he said. "Basically, I realized that this (hybrid) bait matched the hatch almost perfectly. As a result, I was able to have a fabulous week despite the windy conditions." For his efforts, Crutcher took home almost $7,500 in winnings. Bailey makes a move Pro Paul Bailey of Kelseyville, Calif., took home fourth place overall at the EverStart Clear Lake event.Heading into the final day of competition, Clear Lake specialist Paul Bailey of Kelseyville, Calif., was in ninth place and looking for that first banner day on the water. Well, today he got it. Posting the second-largest catch of the day, Bailey leapfrogged from ninth to fourth place on the final day of competition. "This tournament has been awesome," said Bailey, who recorded a total weight of 70 pounds, 13 ounces. "Getting to the finals on my home lake, I can't say enough about that. Today, I just went out there and whacked them pretty good." Unlike most of the finalists, Bailey didn't employ a drop-shot, throw worms at tules or go sight-fishing. "Believe it or not, I caught all of my fish on a topwater - a double-bladed buzzbait," he said. "I know none of the other guys were really throwing it. And I definitely missed some fish. But I wound up getting some big bites on that bait." In the end, Bailey's fourth-place finish was good enough to earn him a $6,700 pay day. Reese falls to fifth Day-two leader Jimmy Reese of Witter Springs, Calif., finished the EverStart Clear Lake tournament in fifth place.After leading the tournament for the first two days of competition, Jimmy Reese of Witter Springs, Calif., had to settle for a somewhat disappointing fifth-place finish. In short, he simply ran out of fish. "Everything laid out perfectly for me the first two days," he said. "But I just wasn't able to find the right fish today. It is disheartening to come this close and not be able to pull it off. There aren't many times where you put yourself in position to win. And when you do you have to take advantage of it. But in a few days, I'll get over it - hopefully." Reese spent the entire three days targeting bedding bass almost exclusively. "I basically covered a lot of new water and tried to gamble today," he said. "And sometimes that pays off and sometimes it doesn't. And I think you know how that worked out for me today." For his efforts, Reese walked away with nearly $6,000 in winnings for his three-day total catch of 70 pounds, 11 ounces. Best of the rest Rounding out the top-10 pro finalists: Pro Troy Lindner of Los Angeles, Calif., took sixth place overall at Clear Lake.6th: Troy Lindner of Los Angeles, Calif., 68-13 7th: Tony Franceschi of Livermore, Calif., 68-4 8th: Mark Casey of Fairfield, Calif., 66-12 9th: Greg Gutierrez of Red Bluff, Calif., 66-8 10th: Charlie Weyer of West Hills, Calif., 63-1 For a list of complete results, click here.

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »