Campbell makes triumphant return

With a three-day total weight of 45 pounds, 6 ounces, John Campbell of Marco Island, Fla., won his first ever title on the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour this week on Lake Oahe.

PIERRE, S.D. - Just a few months ago, John Campbell from Marco Island, Fla., thought his days of fishing professionally were done. After suffering a neck injury he couldn't even cast a spinning rod only a mere eight weeks ago. Only a few weeks ago, Campbell finally felt he was well enough to give the Lake Oahe National Guard FLW Walleye Tour event a try. John Campbell celebrates as he is announced the winner of the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour on Lake Oahe. This was his first event of the season and started out on a good note. Campbell brought in 16 pounds, 1 ounce on day one to have him in seventh place. Day two saw Campbell jump into second place with 13 pounds, 15 ounces. And on the final day, Campbell was one of only two anglers to break the 15-pound mark - 15 pounds, 6 ounces - giving him a three-day total of 45-6. His total weight gave him the win by one pound and his first ever tour title. "This was a huge win for me," said the Mercury pro. "Especially since I really thought I was done with this game just a few months ago." Taking a page from last year's tour champion on Lake Oahe - Chase Parsons - Campbell focused on trolling spinnerbaits through the trees. A white, 1-ounce Booyah spinnerbait pulled on 18-pound leadcore with a 5- to 6-foot leader of 14-pound Fireline was the ticket this week. "I went back to the area that I fished last year and got 16th on," said Campbell. "It still held some real quality fish, so I focused most of my time there. The spot has trees on it that are in anywhere from five to 20 feet of water. The big thing was being able to see the fish in the trees on my electronics, once I knew they were there I just had to bash those spinnerbaits into the trees to get a bite." Mercury pro John Campbell shows off an over that was part of his 15-pound, 6-ounce bag on the final day to give him the victory on Lake Oahe. Campbell also utilized trolling crankbaits and live bait rigs in order to help fill out his slot fish if need be. For his slots he focused in the deeper water - 28 to 32 feet - but still around trees. Open water trolling over 40 or 50 feet would also help yield slot fish for Campbell. His main focus was to a 10-mile stretch of the lake from the dam and on to the north. "Boat control was very crucial to my presentation. The trees were only 10- to 15-feet wide so I really had to stay on my game to maneuver through them. Also speed was another factor to catch these fish. Two miles per hour was the ticket, anything faster or slower and I wouldn't get bit. My Mercury tiller really allowed me the chance to dial in the speed I needed. "Having Craig Salmonson as my co-angler two days in a row really helped as well. We worked so good together, and he knew what the game plan was so I didn't need to repeat anything. I lost a lot of baits this week and having Craig, who is one of the fastest knot tiers I have ever seen, allowed us to never miss a beat." Ewing lands in second Eric Ewing from La Salle, Colo., had a three-day total weight of 44 pounds, 6 ounces that helped him finish in second place in his first ever National Guard FLW Walleye Tour event. The pro from La Salle, Colo., Eric Ewing fished in his first ever National Guard FLW Walleye Tour this week. On day one Ewing weighed in 13 pounds, 8 ounces, finding himself tied with Brett King for 26th. After day two the rookie pro pulled in a sack worth 15-4 and found himself making the top 10. Today, Ewing brought in the heaviest bag that went for 15-10 and helping the Colorado pro grab second place with a total weight of 44-6. "I think the big help for me this week was having good co-anglers," said Ewing. "They all knew how to catch and land fish under pressure, which is something I found out I wasn't good at." Ewing was another angler that took a page from watching last year's television show from the tour event on Lake Oahe. "I had never tried pulling spinnerbaits before, once I saw the FLW show with Chase I figured I should give it a shot. I started to practice the technique on Lake McConaughy in Nebraska a while back and finally felt like I had the hang of it. "I have been coming to Oahe for a few years with my family just for fun," Ewing continued. "And this year decided I should give the FLW event a try. I never would have thought I would do this well." Practice went well for Ewing, helping build his confidence as he kept finding fish in the timber. As far as joining the tour full-time, he isn't so sure about that just yet. He did manage to take home a check for just under $15,000 on his first attempt at the pro life. "I would love to do this for a living, I love to walleye fish. Maybe one day I can get the help I need to be able to finally fish for a living." Przekurat holds onto third Chevy pro Jason Przekurat finished in third place with a total weight of 43 pounds, 1 ounce. The Chevy pro was the only angler on the final day to have an FLW title under his belt. Though his week was strong, Przekurat just couldn't find the overs he needed to add to his resume. Przekurat brought a limit of 13 pounds, 2 ounces to the scales today giving him a total weight of 43-1. "The intake at the dam was my primary big fish spot," said the Stevens Point, Wis., pro. "I would throw a 3/8- to 1/2-ounce jig depending on the current. I tipped that with a Gulp Minnow in smelt color. I would toss the jig in the cutouts on the pillars and let it fall down to the bottom in 40 feet. That is when I would catch my bigger fish." Przekurat would then switch to rigging with 4-inch Gulp Worms also smelt colored to pick up his slot fish. He opted to use artificial worms to save on the amount of crawlers he would have had to use this week. Today, the Chevy pro was able to start on his big fish spot and had it all to himself. "It was both good and bad," said Przekurat. "At least with other boats around you can see where the schools of fish are. At about 10:30 my day turned into a grind. I just couldn't catch any of the solid slot fish. I ended up making a run to the trees where I have caught some 19-inchers. The first fish I caught from there was 24 which helped. "I had a great week though, I never lost a fish and I had a blast. I love to come out here and chase pheasants in the fall and I love to chase Oahe walleye." Przekurat landed a check for $16,300 with his finish. King Climbs into fourth Brett King of Claremont, Minn., moved his way up the leaderboard to finish with a total weight of 42 pounds, 7 ounces, good enough for fourth place. Having already captured one top-5 finish at the first National Guard FLW Walleye Tour event in Red Wing, Minn., Brett King continually climbed the ranks this week to finish in fourth place. He was in 26th after day one - tied with Eric Ewing at 13 pounds, 8 ounces. King then landed 15 pounds, 2 ounces on the second day to slide into the top 10. Today he brought in a 13-pound, 13-ounce bag to finish with a three-day total of 42-7. King also now leads the current Angler of the Year standings going into the final event of the season in Escanaba, Mich. "Practice was just alright for me," said the Claremont, Minn., native. "When I found my spot to catch overs, I wasn't really sure of how good it actually was because I only fished it for a little bit in the evenings." His main tactic this week was pulling No. 14 Rapala Husky Jerks custom painted by JT Custom Tackle in the pink squirrel and clown color. 4- to 10-feet down in the water column was his main focus. He would pull two lines high in the water column, and two lower to catch his fish. King focused on flooded trees to pull his cranks on. "On the first day I caught my overs in 20 minutes. On the second day it probably took 45 minutes. Today was basically do or die for me because I wanted to go for the win, I wanted my overs to be six pounds or bigger. I just couldn't find those right ones today, but managed to catch a lot of smaller overs I threw back. Luckily, I caught my last over with a few minutes left in the tournament when I decided to go jig." King took home a check worth over $8,400 in prize money. Steffens takes fifth Danny Steffens of Oxford, Wis., had Chip Leer read an anniverasry card to his wife during weigh in. Danny Steffens of Oxford, Wis., fished one heck of a tournament. He managed to come from 76th on day one up to fifth place after day two. Steffens weighed the biggest bag of the tournament to achieve that - 19 pounds, 1 ounce. Today he hoped to celebrate his anniversary with his wife by winning the event. Though he tried hard, he did manage a bag worth 12 pounds, 14 ounces giving him a three-day total of 42 pounds. That earned him a check worth just shy of $10,000 - not a bad anniversary gift. His main focus was open water trolling spinner rigs to suspended walleyes. While on stage he had this to say to the crowd, "Guys, if you mark suspended fish over deep water, don't assume they are salmon because I bet you they are walleyes." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pros from the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour on Lake Oahe: 6th: Gary Maher of Menoken, N.D., 40-1 7th: Lynn Jurrens of Watertown, S.D., 39-2 8th: Danny Plautz of Madison, Wis., 38-15 9th: Ryan Jirik of Rhinelander, Wis., 36-14 10th: Brian Regelin of Cozad, Neb., 35-9 Salmonson claims co-angler title Co-angler champion Craig Salmonson from Timmins, Ontario, had a three-day total weight of 46 pounds, 4 ounces and earned a check for $6,000. Craig Salmonson of Timmins, Ontario, is fishing his first year with the FLW. On day one of the event he was paired with Paul Steffen, bringing 16 pounds, 15 ounces to the scales. On day two and day three he would fish with good friend John Campbell. With a 13-pound, 15-ounce limit on day two, Salmonson would climb the ranks to sit in second going into the final day. Today, with a weight of 15-6 gave him a three-day total of 46-4 and earned him $6,000. "This is just awesome," said Salmonson. "Getting to fish with John for two days was unbelievable. It worked out so well because I knew the game plan already on the final day." Salmonson is no stranger to the tournament walleye fishing world however. In Ontario he fishes the Northern Ontario Walleye Tour. Those tournament dates always have conflicted with the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour until this year. "Fishing out here was just absolutely amazing. You can catch fish so many different ways. I had a blast." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers from the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour on Lake Oahe: 2nd: Chris Augustyn of Holdrege, Neb., 44-3 3rd: Dale Janota of Gillette, Wyo., 43-13 4th: Wayne Olsen of Humboldt, S.D., 42-10 5th: Richard Ness of Blunt, S.D., 42-6 6th: Lowell Joy of Bemidji, Minn., 40-8 7th: Cal Van Cleve of Wilmot, S.D., 40-2 8th: Keith Keivens of Toledo, Ohio, 39-9 9th: Kenny Brenner of Moline, Ill., 37-5 10th: Kevin Yancey of Newport, Mich., 36-2 Walleye fans take note The National Guard FLW Walleye Tour on Bays de Noc will be the next and last tournament of the 2012 season which is being held Aug. 2-4 in Escanaba, Mich. The event will be hosted by the Bays de Noc Convention & Visitors Bureau; boats will launch from Escanaba Harbor.

Tags: headline-story 

/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 »

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Beaver Lake Day 4 Coverage

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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 »

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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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