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."

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/news/2015-03-28-birge-buzzes-ahead

Birge Buzzes Ahead

Today started off with a slightly miserable 31-degree air temperature, but it didn’t take long for the top 20 pros to really heat up on Lewis Smith Lake at the second stop of the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour presented by Evinrude. Reports poured in throughout the day of big bass – especially big largemouths – being caught off beds. It looked at first as if one of the “largemouth lookers” might piece together a big enough bag to snatch the lead away from Oklahoma rookie Zack Birge, who struggled early to make his shallow topwater pattern work. Unfortunately for the rest of the field, the young gun Birge has the coolness and patience of a veteran, and he stuck with his game plan of throwing a buzzbait and soft jerkbait rig until the sun had time to warm the shallows and spur the fish to become more active. Birge tallied 17 pounds, 11 ounces today, raising his three-day total to 54-8 and giving him a lead of 3-11 over Texas veteran Clark Wendlandt in second place. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 3

After three days, it looks as if tournament leader Zack Birge has the quality largemouth bite in the bushes wired. But behind him on the leaderboard are nine pros doing everything from sight-fishing to catching schooling bass and everything in between. Even with all the patterns in play, few have fizzled. The sight-fishers have reported finding new bedders, the schoolers are still schooling and a couple of guys have even started tapping floating docks. READ MORE »

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Lewis Smith Lake Day 3 Coverage

Day 3 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-topwater-takes-birge-to-the-top

Topwater Takes Birge to the Top

On a day when chilly, windy post-front conditions challenged many Walmart FLW Tour anglers who were relying on sight-fishing for spawning bass, Zack Birge bucked the trend and pulled out a pair of topwaters to haul in 17 pounds, 14 ounces. Birge jumped from third place past day-one leader Drew Benton to take over the top spot on Lewis Smith Lake in the event, which is presented by Evinrude. Birge’s two-day total of 36-13 has him positioned 1 pound ahead of Benton. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 2

While air and water temperatures plummeted on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude, the big surprise came in the stability of the fishing patterns amidst such change. Zack Birge found plenty of production on his primary pattern to send him to the top of the leaderboard, and those under him held true to their patterns as well to secure a ticket to day three’s top 20. Among the biggest surprises was the number of pros who were still able to pluck fish off beds. Most pros that were sight-fishing say the bass are committed to beds and that the cold snap will not run them off at this point in time. Despite the cold, some even found new fish on beds that were not there yesterday. READ MORE »

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Lewis Smith Lake Day 2 Coverage

Day 2 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-benton-blasts-20-12-on-lewis-smith

Benton Blasts 20-12 on Lewis Smith

Panama City, Fla., pro Drew Benton jumped into the early lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude with a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 12 ounces. Benton caught a mix of largemouths and spotted bass, and revealed that both black bass species are spawning. He leads a tight top 20 that includes 18 pros that caught more than 15 pounds each. The first day was an absolute fish-fest. Of the 154 pros fishing this tournament, 138 weighed limits. Brad Roberts of Faubush, Ky., has a 2-ounce lead in the co-angler division with a 13-pound, 4-ounce limit. Tomorrow he’ll try to defend his lead on the final day of co-angler competition. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 1

While Drew Benton was busy bugging bedding fish for his day-one tournament lead, several others behind him were scoring big with other fishing options on Lewis Smith Lake. Sight-fishing also played a role in the top limits produce by Tracy Adams, Scott Martin and Ish Monroe, but Clayton Batts and Zack Birge both brought in big bags with other patterns. Click here to read about Benton’s day-one performance at the second Walmart FLW Tour event of 2015, which is presented by Evinrude. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-lewis-smith-lake-day-1-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 1 Coverage

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/news/2015-03-22-arkansas-anglers-win-college-open

Arkansas Anglers Win College Open

Consistency was the key for the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville here in the FLW College Fishing Kentucky Lake Open as Zachary Pickle and Drew Porto won the event with a two-day total of 43 pounds, 12 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-kendrick-king-on-guntersville

Kendrick King On Guntersville

Kendrick, who is fishing the Rayovac FLW Series in hopes of qualifying for the FLW Tour, caught more than 25 pounds each day of the event and finihsid in fine fasion when it counted. Kendick was catching nearly all of his bass around big schools of bait with a Houdini pearl-colored Scottsboro Tackle swimbait from 15- to 25-feet of water. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-epting-s-30-pounds-tops-on-santee-cooper

Epting's 30 Pounds Tops on Santee Cooper

SUMMERTON, S.C. – Chris Epting of Chapin, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 30 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Santee Cooper. For his victory, Epting earned $3,679. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-wood-rock-key-for-middleton-s-victory

Wood, Rock Key for Middleton's Victory

HUDDLESTON, Va. – Dennis Middleton of Madison Heights, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division tournament of 2015 on Smith Mountain Lake. For his victory, Middleton earned $7,199. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-johnson-wins-on-dale-hollow

Johnson Wins on Dale Hollow

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – Robby Johnson of Byrdstown, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mountain Division tournament of 2015 on Dale Hollow Lake. For his victory, Johnson earned $5,689. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-griffin-gets-win-on-ross-barnett

Griffin Gets Win on Ross Barnett

BRANDON, Miss. – Jason Griffin of Benton, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 23 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Ross Barnett Reservoir. For his victory, Griffin earned $5,349. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-top-5-patterns-from-guntersville-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Guntersville Day 2

The second day of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division tournament on Lake Guntersville proved as remarkable as the first – or perhaps better, considering today’s parade of big fish included a 12-pound, 10-ounce behemoth caught by fourth-place pro Trevor Fitzgerald for the day’s Big Bass prize. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-hall-holds-steady-for-lead

Hall Holds Steady For Lead

Joe Hall of Lake City, Minn. wasn’t confident about his chances going onto the second day of competition of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event on Lake Guntersville. Nonetheless, he held steady with a 27-pound, 5-ounce catch that only barely fell short of the 28-1 he weighed on the first day. With a two-day total of 55 pounds, 6 ounces, Hall holds a 1-pound, 12-ounce lead over Cameron Gautney going into the final day of the Mercury presented tournament. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-missouri-anglers-lead-college-open

Missouri Anglers Lead College Open

Andrew Nordbye and Adam Almohtadi of Northwest Missouri State University of Maryville, Mo., took the lead in the opening round of the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake with 25 pounds, 2 ounces. Heading into Saturday’s second and final round, the University of Kentucky’s Ryan Collins and Hunter Fulcher sit in second place with 22-14, while Ethan Flack and Konnor Kennedy of the University of Alabama are currently third with 22-9. Details to follow. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-day-1-patterns-from-the-college-open

Day 1 Patterns from the College Open

The Northwest Missouri State University team of Andrew Nordbye and Adam Almontadi took the day-one lead in the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake. While their pattern seems to be effectively refined – they were using only one lure and had no others out on the deck – Nordbye and Almontadi don’t have this one sewed up yet. The rest of the top five is just a few pounds behind the leaders. Here’s how they made it into contention going into the final day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-gautney-under-pressure

Gautney Under Pressure

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event on Guntersville is just as misty and nasty as the first. Lucky for us, the first day of the Mercury-presented event featured huge catches throughout the field. READ MORE »