UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Ouachita

Long Beach dominates on Utah Lake

Another strong performance secured the victory for Alex Cox and Justin Gangel of CSU-Long Beach.

OREM, Utah - And then there was one. That's usually a declaration of finality; stoically stated for dramatic effect. In the case of CSU-Long Beach anglers Justin Gangel and Alex Cox, winning the FLW National Guard College Fishing Series Western Conference Championship on Utah Lake was a matter of dialing in one bait before the show even started.

Bagging daily weights of 8-5, 5-14 and 7-5 the champs ended with a total weight of 21-8 and a winning margin of 5-2. The only team with a day-three limit, Cox and Gangel caught their fish on the 4-inch Gary Yamamoto Fat Ika. Kind of a grub/tube hybrid, the bait has a plump, solid body with a fringe skirt that wiggles enticingly.

With extensive experience throwing the Ika in a small city pond in El Dorado Park back home in Long Alex Cox loads one of his fish as CSU-Long Beach teammate Justin Gangel looks on. Beach, Cox had a light bulb moment during practice when he determined that this bait seemed like a good option for the vast stands of reeds throughout Utah Lake.

"Back home, the fishing is really tough in the city park so you have to flip your bait way back in the vegetation," Cox said. "The Ika has a fat, round body that you don't have to add weight to. The body has (enough) weight so you can flip it and when it hits the water it sinks at the perfect rate, which is ideal in the murky water. It has a nice slow presentation so they have time to eat it. Also, the tentacles move on their own so you don't have to twitch (the bait)."

Adding glass rattles and spraying the Ikas with Bang craw/shad scent increased the bait's attraction. As Gangel noted, the deal worked so well they had to restock their tackle bags.

"We came off the water early on Thursday just to order six more packs of these because we were going through them like hotcakes," he said.

Rigging a Gary Yamamoto Fat Ika backwards so the head fell first was essential for  Alex Cox and Justin Gangel of CSU-Long Beach.Rigging was essential for the proper presentation. Basically, Cox and Gangel rigged their Ika's backward from the standard Texas style arrangement. Rather than inserting their 5/0 Owner wide gap hooks through the rounded head end, they started at the fringed end and anchored their hooks in the head. This created an aerodynamic package the enabled them to flip into the deep reaches where the fish were hiding.

"When you rig it Texas style, you can flip it into pretty much anything," Cox said. "I was flipping it into and over sections of reeds that you couldn't get any other bait into. We caught one fish that was (briefly) hanging up in the air because it was in (such thick vegetation when we hooked it). We pulled the boat over and netted it.

"You can get this bait into a lot of places where you don't think the fish are going to be, and that's key. As the weights showed, there weren't many fish to be caught so it was important to find every one of them."

The winners flipped with extra-heavy Dobyns rods and Shimano Core (flipping version) reels spooled with 50 and 60-pound braid. The reels, Cox said, were an important piece of the picture, as the flipping-specific tuning facilitated the pace of 10-12 flips per minute that the anglers maintained all  Alex Cox and Justin Gangel were elated at the news of their victory.day.

"All that was key because as soon as there was a bite, you just had to rip him out of the reeds," Gangel said. "You couldn't give him anything; you just had to get him into the boat."

The winning anglers did all of their damage in Provo Bay - a shallow area known also known as "Mud Lake" on Utah Lake's southeast corner. The area's dense reeds reminded Cox of El Dorado's thick tules so he knew just how to fish it.

"The depth was about a foot and a half for three miles," Gangel said. "Once we got in, it was between a foot and two feet deep the entire time we were in there. We found a spot away from everyone else and we were fishing as deep in that vegetation as we could get."

Cox summarized: "We put it all together, stuck to our plan three days in a row and just got it done."

Oregon State improves to second

Oregon State UniversityFor Oregon State's Zach MacDonald and Ryan Sparks, days one and two were all about brief spurts of quality. Both days saw them weigh in two fish for weights of 5-6 and 5-4. Day three yielded four fish, but the size was much smaller and their final-round weight of 5-12 gave them a tournament total of 16-6, which moved them up from fourth place to second.

"Actually, the whole week, we only broke off one fish, which I don't think would have made a difference," MacDonald said. "Overall, we stuck all our fish. Today they were just small."

MacDonald said he and his teammate realized that the spots they had depended on for days one and two were becoming exhausted so they ran around the lake and tried several new areas. One of their keepers came from new water.

Sparks caught three of their fish on a 3 1/2-inch Zoom tube (black/red) Texas-rigged on a 3/0 Owner hook. MacDonald added the other keeper on a Reaction Innovations Smallie Beaver (green gobi).

"From all the pressure, the fish were definitely were eating the smaller stuff," MacDonald said. "We caught all our fish on that little tube and the little Beaver."

Chico State slips to third

Chico State's Anthony Dayton and Nick Carrico started off with a bang as they took the day-one leadChico State with 10-5 - the largest bag of the tournament. They stumbled on day two and slipped to second after catching just one fish that went 2-1. A day-three goose egg dropped them to third with 12-6.

"Today we were kind of out of our element and we were running around," Carrico said. "We said to ourselves: 'It's the final day and we need to try to make something happen. Unfortunately, it didn't happen. I think we just fished too fast and we were just jumping around a little too much."

The Chico State anglers threw a mix of chatterbaits, crankbaits, shaky head with a Berkley Pit Boss and Senkos.

Arizona State takes fourth

Arizona StateArizona State's Jason Karseboom and Bobby Fletcher also came up empty on day three. After posting weights of 2-4 and 8-15, they dropped a notch to fourth place with 11-3. This team made a dramatic improvement on day two by advancing from 11th place to third. Flipping small beaver style baits was their most productive tactic.

"I think dedication is what got us (to the top-5)," Fletcher said. "We didn't change baits and we stuck to what we were doing because we knew they were there. We just knew we had to hit them right on the head."


UC Santa Cruz finishes fifth

Sam Sayad and Chris Rhoden, of UC Santa Cruz entered day three in fifth place and after a fishless Day three yielded no keepers for UC Santa Cruz, so Sam Sayad and Chris Rhoden remained in fifth place.day on Utah Lake, they finished in the same position with a total weight of 9-1. Fate dealt a crushing blow early in their day, as a game-changing opportunity came and went.

"We were getting about 15 bites a day up there so we thought it was good for another day," Sayad said. "The first hour I broke off about a 4-pounder. For this lake, it was just a heart-breaker. From there, it just kind of spiraled downhill. We fished hard and gave it our all."

Tags: david-a-brown  headline-story  2012-08-30-western-conference-championship 

/news/2016-02-09-flw-college-fishing-western-conference-opens-season-on-shasta-lake

FLW College Fishing Western Conference Opens Season on Shasta Lake

REDDING, Calif. – FLW College Fishing is headed to Lake Shasta Feb. 20 for the first of three regular-season stops in the Western Conference. A full field of college teams will be competing for a top award of $2,000 and a berth in the FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-lake-shasta-set-to-host-costa-flw-series-opener-presented-by-minn-kota

Lake Shasta Set to Host Costa FLW Series Opener Presented by Minn Kota

REDDING, Calif. – The Costa FLW Series is headed to Lake Shasta Feb. 18-20 for a tournament presented by Minn Kota when as many as 300 pros and co-anglers will take to the water for the first stop of 2016 in the Western Division. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-montgomery-targets-prespawn-bass-for-win

Montgomery Targets Prespawn Bass for Win

Local angler Scott Montgomery of Eufaula, Ala., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 1 ounce, Saturday to win the first FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Bulldog Division tournament of 2016 on Lake Eufaula. For his victory, Montgomery took home a check for $4,127. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-top-10-patterns-from-lake-okeechobee

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Okeechobee

Oklahoma’s Bradley Hallman sewed up his first Walmart FLW Tour victory at the season-opener on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats by pitching and punching reed heads in the South Bay area with a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver. Hallman stuck with his program despite up-and-down air temperatures, high winds and all the curveballs Mother Nature could throw at him. Here's how the rest of the top 10 got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-08-top-10-baits-from-lake-okeechobee

Top 10 Baits from Lake Okeechobee

The Walmart FLW Tour presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee went from a tight race to a runaway in a hurry when Bradley Hallman just wouldn’t stop catching the big ones. As for the lures he used, and those put to work by the rest of the top 10, some Okeechobee staples were applied as well as a few oddball baits. If you’re thinking of heading down to the Big O or anywhere else in Florida soon, you might want to acquire a few of the lures they fished. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-07-hallman-wins-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Hallman Wins Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Okeechobee Presented by Ranger Boats

CLEWISTON, Fla. – Pro Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, brought just two bass to the scale Sunday totaling 6 pounds, 8 ounces, but it was still enough to earn the win at the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Hallman’s four-day cumulative total of 16 bass weighing 71 pounds, 2 ounces earned him the win by an impressive 14-pound, 14-ounce margin over second-place pro Alex Davis of Albertville, Alabama, and $100,000 in the tournament that featured 169 of the best bass-fishing anglers in the world competing in the first FLW Tour event of the regular season. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-07-big-hall-man-on-okeechobee

Big (Hall)Man on Okeechobee

It was the Bradley Hallman show all week long at Lake Okeechobee at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats. Though, the Norman, Okla., pro struggled on day four and brought in only two fish for 6 pounds, 8 ounces, he pulled off the wire-to-wire victory in his first event on Tour. The 13-pound, 9-ounce lead that Hallman built up through the first three days of competition was enough that he didn't actually have to weigh his fish today. Hallman's tournament total of 71 pounds, 2 ounces far exceeded the 56-04 caught by runner-up Alex Davis. For the win, Hallman earned $100,000. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-07-lake-okeechobee-day-4-coverage

Lake Okeechobee Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-top-5-patterns-from-lake-okeechobee-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Okeechobee Day 3

Across the board, weights fell off on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats and hosted by Roland and Mary Ann Martin's Marina and Resort and the Hendry County Tourism and Development Council. No one in the top 20 crossed the 20-pound mark. Cloud cover, which prevented the water temperature from rising much above 65 degrees, and low water clarity might both have slowed the replenishment of bass moving into spawn. Tournament leader Bradley Hallman experienced a bit of a stall in the action as well, bringing just four fish to the scales, but he still managed to increase his lead to 13 pounds, 9 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-hallman-extends-lead-on-day-three-at-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Hallman Extends Lead On Day Three At Walmart FLW Tour On Lake Okeechobee Presented By Ranger Boats

Anchored by an 8-pound, 10-ounce kicker, pro Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, brought four bass to the scale Saturday totaling 14 pounds, 3 ounces to extend his lead to more than 13½ pounds heading in to the final day of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Hallman’s... READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-can-anyone-catch-hallman-

Can Anyone Catch Hallman?

Despite catching only four keepers on day three, Norman, Okla., pro Bradley Hallman extended his lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee. With a day-three weight of 14 pounds, 3 ounces and a tournament total of 64-10, his margin over second-place angler Alex Davis is now 13 pounds, 9 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-montgomery-wins-flw-bass-fishing-league-bulldog-division-opener-on-lake-eufaula

Montgomery Wins FLW Bass Fishing League Bulldog Division Opener on Lake Eufaula

EUFAULA, Ala. – Local angler Scott Montgomery of Eufaula, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 1 ounce, Saturday to win the first FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Bulldog Division tournament of 2016 on Lake Eufaula. For his victory, Montgomery took home a check for $4,127. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-okeechobee-day-3-coverage

Okeechobee Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-top-5-patterns-from-lake-okeechobee-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Okeechobee Day 2

Fueled by 25 mph north winds, the Lake Okeechobee washing machine cleansed some livewells today, keeping them free of the 20-pound limits that are so common here when the weather is sunny, 75 and calm. However, a few 20-plus-pound limits still snuck through the rinse cycle to grace the scales. The biggest limit once again belonged to Bradley Hallman of Norman, Okla. He added 25 pounds, 7 ounces to the 25 he caught on day one. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-oklahoma-s-hallman-extends-lead-at-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Oklahoma’s Hallman Extends Lead at Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Okeechobee Presented by Ranger Boats

CLEWISTON, Fla. – Pro angler Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, brought a five-bass limit weighing 25 pounds, 7 ounces to the scale Friday to extend his lead on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Hallman will bring an 8-pound, 8-ounce advantage into day three of the four-day competition that features 169 of the top bass-fishing anglers in the world competing for a top cash award of up to $125,000. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-cales-earns-co-angler-win

Cales Earns Co-angler Win

Co-angler Tim Cales of Sandstone, W.Va., earned his second win with FLW after sacking up 30 pounds, 11 ounces over two days in the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-hallman-way-in-front

Hallman Way in Front

Bradley Hallman is doing his best to make the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats a one-man show. But Alabama pro Alex Davis hopes to spoil Hallman’s hopes of a wire-to-wire victory. Today, Hallman weighed in 25 pounds, 7 ounces to raise his two-day total to 50-07. He’s led the tournament each day thus far. Davis weighed in 20-15 to move from third to second but is still 8 1/2 pounds behind the leader. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-okeechobee-day-2-coverage

Okeechobee Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-04-top-5-patterns-from-the-okeechobee-tour-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from the Okeechobee Tour Day 1

The Walmart FLW Tour has been coming to Lake Okeechobee for the better part of 20 years. And for a vast majority of those years, the north end of the lake has been the business end – where the business of fish catching is done. Today, that tradition was derailed in the first round of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats and hosted by Hendry County Tourism Development Council. Though some boats did sample the Harney Pond area up north, many of the normal fish-producing haunts such as the Monkey Box, Dyess Ditch and Fisheating Bay were complete ghost towns. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-04-hallman-leads-day-one-of-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Hallman Leads Day One Of Walmart FLW Tour On Lake Okeechobee Presented By Ranger Boats

Oklahoma pro Bradley Hallman, brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 25 pounds even Thursday to grab the early lead after day one of the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Right behind him in second place is renowned Okeechobee angler Brandon McMillan of Clewiston, who weighed in five bass totaling 22-8. Hallman now brings a 2½-pound lead into day two of the four-day READ MORE »