Le victor

The fish surges one last time.

MURRAY, Ky. - Dave Lefebre left them biting on Kentucky Lake on day three, and they did not let him down today, as the Kellogg's pro once again hauled in the day's heaviest stringer to claim the Walmart FLW Tour victory with 6 1/2 pounds to spare. Lefebre's journey to the top was a rather long one, as he seemed out of contention after day one, having caught a fair-to-middling 14 pounds, 15 ounces that had him all the way back in 40th. Lefebre, though, should never be counted out, especially when he's found a spot that he knew all along had the winning fish. He bounced back on day two with 19 pounds before really strutting his stuff yesterday with the heaviest stringer of the tournament - a limit weighing a whopping 23 pounds, 15 ounces. That moved him all the way up to second, only 2 ounces behind the day-three leader, Snickers pro Chris Baumgardner of Gastonia, N.C. Wind and cloud cover frustrated Baumgardner's efforts today, while Lefebre's spot proved its mettle by yielding yet another limit, this one worth 19 pounds, 5 ounces, the day's heaviest weight. That put Lefebre on top with a four-day total of 77 pounds, 3 ounces that earned the Erie, Pa., native $125,000. Destiny calls Dave LefebreLefebre could have been undone today with mechanical issues that forced him to switch boats, losing lots of precious fishing time in the process. He also lost two fish that he estimated at 4 1/2 pounds each, both of which he had in the net before they jumped. "To start the day like that and end up where I am is a blessing from God, and I give Him all the glory," Lefebre said. "I lost my temper a couple of times. I knew if I could get my head together, I could win this." Lefebre's victory, then, feels a little bit like destiny, and it's a journey that began on the second day of practice, when he found a shell bed full of bass that were eating up his Rapala DT 10 and DT 6 crankbaits. "I had a strong day my first day of practice, and I had the luxury of saying I was ready for the tournament, even though I really wasn't," he said. "So I went out and looked for stupid stuff. Just when I was ready to give up, I got a big bite that made me keep going." Though Lefebre found the shell bed with crankbaits, it was a Storm swimbait that brought in kicker fish after kicker fish once the tournament began. "I threw it every day on that spot," he said. "Today I threw a hodgepodge of swimbaits - I brought my whole box of swimbaits to Kentucky Lake like I always do. But today was the first day I've shown that spot anything but the Storm." Big risks paid off for Lefebre Dave Lefebre gives his son, Mitchell, a chance to hoist the winnerOn day three, Lefebre said he left big fish biting on his spot in an effort to manage his fish. That can be risky, as sometimes anglers leave them biting in order to save them for later, only to return the next day and find them gone. For Lefebre, it paid off. "I fish to win every day, and it's hard to do that when you need four days together to win," he said. "I tried to manage the fish and leave them biting to save them for another day. It didn't have to work out this way, but it did." While the story of the week seemed to be relying on electronics to catch bass deep on the ledges, Lefebre's shell bed was in about 5 to 6 feet of water. "Early in the day, they were biting," he said. "Late in the day, I had to throw at a certain angle on that shell bed. Today when the wind laid down, I got back to that spot and caught that big one." When day three ended and it looked like it would be a showdown between Lefebre and Baumgardner, both of them were hunting for the same thing - a second FLW Tour victory. Lefebre's first Tour win came in 2004 on Old Hickory Lake, while Baumgardner won in 2007 on the Potomac River. "I fish with a lot of my very close friends, and it was Chris's turn," Lefebre said on stage. "I went out of turn." Clouds roll in on Baumgardner Chris Baumgardner struggled today, catching 12-11 to fall to second.Baumgardner ended day three on top using a strategy he said was no big deal, and it wasn't - he was fishing docks on Lake Barkley throwing a chatterbait with a Zoom Super Fluke in glimmer blue. But it was a simple strategy that took him far even if he fell short of claiming the win. Baumgardner's four-day haul totaled 70 pounds, 11 ounces and earned him $33,287. He began the tournament in 30th place with 15-9 but changed his fortunes on day two with a limit weighing 19 pounds, 8 ounces. He threw the hammer down on day three, bringing in 22-15 and becoming the man to beat on the final day. But Sunday exchanged Saturday's abundant sunshine for clouds and scattered showers, and Baumgardner's bite suffered. He wound up weighing in a 12-pound, 11-ounce limit, more than 10 pounds less than he weighed in the day before. "I just didn't get the big bites," he said. "It was cloudy, and the fish don't get around docks as good - they go out in the middle. There was nothing to pull them up to the docks." Baumgardner tried to adjust but never keyed in on any technique or spot that would yield the big bites. "I'm glad he caught 19," Baumgardner said of Lefebre's day-four catch. "If he'd caught 15 and beat me by a little it would have been worse. I'll take second." Mabrey moves up to third Kyle MabreyKyle Mabrey and Jim Moynagh switched spots on the leaderboard today, as yesterday's No. 4 Mabrey moved up to third while Moynagh dropped to fourth. Mabrey had a solid day on Kentucky Lake today, bringing in a 17-pound, 10-ounce limit that boosted his total weight to 68 pounds, 4 ounces, worth $28,520. "I was looking for areas where fish had recently spawned and were making their way back to the main lake," Mabrey said of his tournament strategy. "They were still in that shallow mode, which is not typical on Kentucky Lake this time of year." Mabrey found a gravel bar that was about 12 feet deep that had a little ditch running through it about 14 feet deep. That fell off into a creek channel 24 feet down that ended on a big flat. "It was jam-packed with baitfish," Mabrey said. "I was catching fish averaging 3 pounds. Often I'd see an enormous tail in their mouth, so I started fishing bigger baits." Mabrey relied on swimbaits this week on a Yellow Hammer Rig, and in fact, cameras caught Mabrey landing three bass at one time today on that Yellow Hammer Rig. "I was bummed out - I thought it was going to be a giant," he said. Kyle MabreyIn addition to the 6-inch swimbaits on the Yellow Hammer, Mabrey said he also caught fish on a Zoom Magnum Ol' Monster worm. In today's cloudy weather, he switched to a swimbait with blades, which he thinks helped the fish to see his bait. "It totally seemed to get the bigger fish to bite," he said. "When it's harder to see, you've got to give them a little more flash." Mabrey credits not only the baits but also the rest of his equipment, including a 775 Powell Endurance Rod that he rigged up with 65-pound braided line. "It's a great rod for throwing those heavy rigs," he said. Moynagh, Yelas round out top five Jay Yelas ended up fifth with a four-day weight of 67 pounds.Finishing in the fourth spot is M&Ms pro Jim Moynagh of Carver, Minn., with a four-day catch of 67 pounds, 2 ounces that earned him $23,753. The finish put him just one point behind David Dudley in the Angler of the Year race. "I had one spot that produced quality fish, and on day two it really panned out," Moynagh said. "It was a one-spot wonder tournament for me." Chevy pro Jay Yelas of Corvallis, Ore., ended the tournament in fifth with a combined weight of 67 pounds, good for $18,987. He too was among the pro leaders bucking conventional wisdom and fishing shallow, and he caught his bass on Lake Barkley. "I just like to fish shallow," he said. "You can do whatever you want to catch them here. The deepest I caught them all week was probably 4 feet deep." Best of the rest Rounding out the top 10 pro finalists: 6th: Straight Talk pro J.T. Kenney of Palm Bay, Fla., 64-15 7th: Todd Hollowell of Fishers, Ind., 63-6 8th: Fatheadz Eyewear pro Jacob Wheeler of Indianapolis, Ind., 61-8 9th: Snapple pro Jacob Powroznik of Prince George, Va., 60-1 10th: EverStart pro Ron Shuffield of Bismarck, Ark., 59-3

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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-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-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-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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