Capitol gains

Leveraging the outgoing tides delivered the wire-to-wire BFL All-American win for Brian Maloney.

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - During his final day on the Potomac River, Brian Maloney heard Coast Guard vessels cutting through the waves; he heard government helicopters buzzing overhead; he heard the thunder of a 21-gun salute. Nothing, however, compared to the memorable sound of a standing room only crowd cheering his victory in the Wal-Mart BFL All-American. After leading the event on days one and two with 15 pounds, 4 ounces and 14-10, the Osage Beach, Mo. boater nabbed a final-round limit that weighed 13-6. His three-day total of 43-4 allowed him to slip past second-place Dick Shaffer by 6 ounces and claim a $120,000 prize. "I still can't believe this," an emotional Maloney said. "I didn't think I had (enough)."Brian Maloney caught most of his fish on a football head jig with a Garneau Baits paddle tail worm. All three days, Maloney has leveraged the daily tide schedule by staking out a 75-yard stretch of shallow flats where ditches carved by storm water drains provide natural drop-back areas for fish on outgoing tides. All three tournament days saw outgoing tides from takeoff until early afternoon. Tides advance a little less than an hour each day, so the falling water scenario lasted progressively longer with afternoon incoming cycles starting later each day. While rising water grants fish expanding access to shoreline cover, falling tides pull them away from the shallows and into deeper sanctuaries until the water returns. Comparing tidal fisheries to the seasonal floodwaters of his Midwest home, Maloney noted that the fish get nervous when they don't have sufficient water over their backs. Knowing he'd face outgoing tides through most of the tournament time, he made finding low-water retreats his practice priority. "Those ditches may only be a foot or two deeper than the surrounding flats, but it was enough for them to be comfortable," Maloney said. "When the water started falling off the flats, the fish were coming to me." Although a chartreuse silent crankbait produced some of his fish, the top boater did most of his damage with a black Garneau Baits Slap Stick hand-poured paddle tail worm on a 5/16-ounce football Brian Maloney isnhead jig. Maloney said he made long casts on 10-pound fluorocarbon line and used an aggressive presentation to startle and irritate bass into biting. "I was ripping the bait - I wasn't playing with them," he said. "I wanted them to react to it. I was pulling it up off the bottom and hopping it 6-8 inches. I guess you could call it stroking a paddle tail. "I looked around me in practice and everybody was finessing the fish and using green baits. I decided to go with a darker bait and a more aggressive retrieve. What I was doing, I thought was the right thing and it seemed like it turned out pretty good today." With an FLW Tour Major event running concurrently out of National Harbor, the BFL All-American field was restricted to fishing north of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, while Tour anglers fished south. Every day, the All-Americans had to idle past the bridge en route to the check-in point, so the massive pilings presented an option for late-day limit fillers. Maloney said he took advantage of this giant fish-attractor each day of the event. "I made a last-minute decision to run down to the bridge," he said. "Every day I've been getting one that culled out. There's one pillar out there that likes me for some reason. The first two days of the event, every pillar had 10-12 boats around it. The first one I pulled up to I caught three there. It was on the Virginia side, just a couple of pillars off the main channel." Shaffer improves to second After posting weights of 14-7 on days one and two, Dick Shaffer, of Rockford, Ohio added another 14Second-place boater Dick Shaffer caught his fish on wood and boat docks. even in the final round to finish second with 42-14. Shaffer caught fish by flipping Junebug colored tube around wood in six to 10 feet and skipping docks in 15-25 feet of water with a Kinami Flash stick bait on a 3/16-ounce jig head. He dyed the stick bait's tail chartreuse for added fish-attraction. Docks yielded most of his productivity and this scenario, Shaffer said, was not tide-dependent. "When I was fishing boat docks, it did not matter what the tide was doing," he said. "Those boats floated up and down with the tide and so did the fish." Shaffer said he started out flipping the wood, but quickly transitioned to the docks when the hard cover failed to produce the kind of fish he needed. Williams improves to third Catching the dayDavid Williams, of Maiden, N.C., tied for 15th on day one, moved up to sixth on day two and added three more notches in the final round to finish third with 42-3. Williams' limit catch of 15-5 was the heaviest of day three and the tournament's second heaviest. Moreover, Williams was the only competitor to break 15 pounds twice. (He weighed 15-3 on day two.) Williams caught his fish on a 1/2-ounce white spinnerbait with double willow blades, a 3/8-ounce black/blue jig with a Zoom Speed Craw trailer and a custom chatterbait made by his father. Williams said he located the spot he'd fish during the tournament during his pre-practice visit a couple of weeks ago. "Me and dad came up here and I really struggle the first two days but right before I came in (one day), I pulled up on a place and they were stacked up," Williams said. "When I came back for the tournament, there were there. I was able to put it together and add a couple of things to it with my practice time and it worked out." Marina bite moves Newberry up to fourth Dicky Newberry, of Houston, Texas found a good bite in a marina toward the end of day one and heFishing weightless Senkos around docks was Dicky Newberry stuck with that for the next two days. Pitching weightless Senkos around the docks and patiently waiting for them to sink down to the suspended bass was his game plan. Newberry said the weekend traffic and the noise of boaters cleaning their vessels and stomping along the docks may have spooked the fish. He was convinced that big bass inhabited the area he was fishing, but his limit catch of 13-9 fell short of his expectations. Newberry ended his tournament with a fourth-place total of 40-13. Bolt finishes fifth Conrad Bolt sacked up a nice limit and improved to fifth place.Conrad Bolt, of Seneca, S.C. got off to a slow start, but he eventually dialed in what he needed to do and sacked up a 12-pound limit. His final-round effort lifted him from seventh to fifth with a total weight of 38-1. "I was scratching my head about 11 o'clock today," he said. "My co-angler (second-place Bobby Drinnon) put an old-fashioned butt whooping on me. He kinda made me think a little today so I adjusted and caught fish. Bolt caught his day-three fish on a dropshot baited with a Robo Worm. He had been using the Margarita Mutilator color, but switching to a Junebug color today proved effective. Best of the rest Rounding out the top-10 pro leaders at the BFL All-American:Lily Grace Saint watches closely as her dad Corey Saint 6th: Roger Fitzpatrick, of Eldon, Mo., 37-3 7th: Christopher Jones, of Bokoshee, Ok., 36-1 8th: Corey Saint, of Lexington, Ala., 35-2 9th: Scott Hamrick, of Denver, N.C., 32-11 10th: Marc Snyder, of St. Johns. Mich., 28-14

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/news/2015-04-26-arey-does-it-again

Arey Does it Again

Quaker State pro Matt Arey of Shelby, N.C., wowed the crowed in Rogers, Ark., today with an incredible 17-pound, 3-ounce five-bass limit to come from behind and win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake. This is Arey’s second consecutive Beaver Lake FLW Tour victory. Arey’s final-day surge was enough to surpass two-time reigning Angler of the Year Andy Morgan, who led yesterday but weighed in only 9-08 today and fell to third. Arey’s four-day total was 55-06, earning the pro $125,000. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-26-beaver-lake-day-4-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-25-morgan-maintains-his-lead

Morgan Maintains His Lead

One of Andy Morgan’s fishing mottos is to make the best of what you have got “in front of you” to survive and fish another day. Beaver Lake doesn’t give much. So when an angler as resourceful as Morgan gets to a lake that doesn’t give out many resources, the two work well together. Instead of worrying about hitting it out of the park or putting immense pressure on himself to come up with a grand winning strategy, Morgan just scraps, scrapes and claws at the ground right in front of him, making the best of what he’s got. Morgan’s performance on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake was a prime example of his “make the best of it” attitude. After burning up the spawning fish he had located in practice during the first two days of the tournament, he was forced to fish by the seat of his pants today – something he thoroughly enjoys. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-25-gordon-and-gagner-crowned-tbf-champs

Gordon and Gagner Crowned TBF Champs

Two more anglers qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup today by winning the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship on Grand Lake in Grove, Okla. Shawn Gordon of Russellville, Ark., earned the TBF crown on the boater side by catching a three-day limit of 50 pounds, 2 ounces, capped by the largest limit caught today – 18 pounds, 10 ounces. Gordon earned $5,000 for his win, but more importantly, he’ll be competing against the best pros in the business in August at the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Gordon also won the TBF “Living The Dream” package, which includes paid entry into the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour, a travel stipend, and use of a wrapped truck and Ranger bass boat. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-25-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 3

Andy Morgan didn’t light up the world on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake, but he caught what he needed to maintain the lead and put a 1-pound, 9-ounce cushion between he and Matt Arey. Most of the rest of the top 20 scrambled today, abandoning their patterns and trying new options to try and make the final-day cut. Here’s how the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-25-beaver-lake-day-3-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-make-way-for-morgan

Make Way for Morgan

“Hidden largemouths” is quickly becoming the buzz term at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac, as those atop the leaderboard are using the term to refer to spawning largemouths that are so well hidden that other competitors never found them. These hidden fish are covered by thick brush, hidden so deep that they were only found during the very rare windows of sunshine during practice or located off the beaten path. The latter are not in obvious pockets or places where one would expect to find beds, but rather out on the main bluff channels where few ever look. On day one, Jacob Wheeler caught hidden largemouths to take the lead. On day two, former Beaver Lake champion Andy Morgan caught hidden largemouths to take over the pole position going into the weekend. His catch of 15 pounds, 7 ounces today gives Morgan a two-day total of 28-09 to take the lead by just 11 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 2

At halftime of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac, the top five reads like a who’s who of Beaver Lake. Leader Andy Morgan is a former Beaver Lake champion. Behind him, Darrel Robertson has been very close to winning here with a runner-up finish in 2005. In third is 2014 Beaver Lake champion Matt Arey. Bryan Thrift, in fourth, has never won on Beaver Lake, but has led here before. And finally, fifth-place pro Stetson Blaylock knows his way around this lake pretty well, too, with a couple of top 10s. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-heckman-heads-up-tbf-championship-field

Heckman Heads up TBF Championship Field

Some bass are still spawning in Grand Lake, and others are yet to make their way up to the shallows, but none of that interests Sam Heckman. Diligent commitment to his postspawn plan here Friday landed Heckman atop the boater field with 34 pounds, 3 ounces and locked up his Southwest Division win at the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship. Saturday, the top boater from each of seven TBF divisions will vie for the TBF National Championship and the “Living the Dream” package that goes with it. The package includes paid entry in the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour as a pro, a Forrest Wood Cup berth and use of a custom-wrapped truck and Ranger boat on Tour for the year, as well as a travel stipend for each event. Seven non-boaters – one from each TBF division – also will fish in tomorrow’s final round for a chance at paid entry into a Rayovac FLW Series division of choice. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-beaver-lake-day-2-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-wheeler-with-a-slim-lead

Wheeler with a Slim Lead

Jacob Wheeler has a plan to win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake this week. That plan involves primarily the largemouth species, a target weight of 14 pounds per day and a lot of fish management. Today, Wheeler surpassed his target by nearly 2 pounds with a 15-pound, 14-ounce catch that puts him in the driver’s seat at Beaver Lake, in the lead by just a scant 5 ounces over second-place pro Bryan Thrift. “Largemouths are the way to win here at Beaver Lake,” Wheeler says. “They are the fish to go the distance here, and that’s what I’m focusing on.” READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 1

Though there were plenty of fish caught off beds at Beaver Lake on day one of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac, the top five is rounded out by a group of anglers who relied on sight-fishing very little. Opinions on where exactly bass are in the spawning cycle at Beaver Lake vary greatly from angler to angler, but a few common denominators did come to light on day one. For starters, most agree that one major spawning cycle has already occurred. Plenty of empty beds and a lot of gaunt, postspawn fish at the scale were evidence of that. Second, there are still some bass (of all species) trying to spawn, but the ones left on beds are extremely wary. Finally, the order of difficulty to catch each species ranks as follows: smallmouth bass – extremely easy; spotted bass – not as easy; largemouth bass – extremely difficult. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-griffith-grabs-tbf-lead-

Griffith Grabs TBF Lead

By midday, the prospects were unclear for Jon “Scooter” Griffith here in The Bass Federation National Championship on Grand Lake, but in a roundabout way it provided just the clarity he needed to dial in a pattern that helped him take the day-one lead with an 18-pound, 13-ounce limit. Griffith began his day by sight-fishing the clear water down by the Pensacola Dam. This opening move, he says, gave him some early comfort, as it matched the transparent water he’s used to fishing near his home in Mesa, Ariz. Targeting windblown points, Griffith got his early bites with reaction baits in about 4 to 8 feet of water. Unfortunately, the plan turned out to be less productive than he had expected. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-beaver-lake-day-1-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 1 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-tbf-championship-tips-off

TBF Championship Tips Off

The spawn is on at Grand Lake, but that’s not the only game in town. As the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship plays out for the next three days, anglers will find this northern Oklahoma impoundment abounding with lots of fishing options. Brian Maloney, the 2012 Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American champion, says he was impressed with what he found in practice. “The quality of fish on Grand is just amazing,” notes the Missouri angler. “This lake continues to put out 3- and 4-pounders, and right now there’s a variety of things we can do. “There are guys sight-fishing for spawning fish, and we’re probably looking at another wave or two of fish coming in soon. I’m sure the full moon coming up in another week or so will move them in.” Adding that the lake currently has fish in all prespawn, spawning and postspawn stages, Maloney thinks that TBF contenders will be greeted by a mix of water conditions typical for Grand this time of year. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-top-10-baits-from-lake-murray

Top 10 Baits from Lake Murray

Competitors in the FLW College Fishing National Championship mostly targeted bass feeding on spawning blueback herring on shallow points and main-lake pockets. Across the board, herring-imitating baits such as soft jerkbaits, swimbaits, topwaters, wake baits and umbrella rigs dominated the event. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-jig-bite-carries-holmes-on-wateree

Jig Bite Carries Holmes on Wateree

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/news/2015-04-20-bryan-slows-down-for-chickamauga-win

Bryan Slows Down for Chickamauga Win

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/news/2015-04-20-morfis-dominates-with-34-pound-limit

Morfis Dominates With 34-Pound Limit

OKEECHOBEE, Fla. – Joshua Morfis of Cape Coral, Florida, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 34 pounds, 14 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Gator Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Okeechobee. For his victory, Morfis earned $6,336. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-salzman-cracks-31-pounds-on-guntersville

Salzman Cracks 31 Pounds on Guntersville

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