UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Ouachita

Rose closes Wheeler deal

With daughter Hannah Grace peeking from behind, National Guard pro Mark Rose shows off two of his winning fish.

DECATUR, Ala. - It's neither fair, nor respectful to other competitors to assume a tournament is "in the bag" just because a guy brings a huge lead into the final round. But Mark Rose, at least indirectly, justified any such murmurings with his dominant wire-to-wire win at the FLW Tour Open event on Wheeler Lake.

Ever the humble gentleman, Rose simply won't engage in that line of thinking. He'll thank God, his family and his sponsors and he'll let others draw their own conclusions. For him, it's simply a matter of being fortunate enough to fish his style of fishing during a period when Wheeler's bass were positioned well for it. Essentially, the fish are just starting to move into their fall transition of shallow migration, but the water's still on the warm side, so plenty of quality fish remain out deep. With a solid understanding of these seasonal patterns and significant experience at picking apart the deep bottoms of TVA impoundments, Rose was in his comfort zone and simply went to work methodically locating and engaging his finned opponents.

"I just felt comfortable out there - I just get in tune with it," he said. "It's a passion I have. I really like it. IA modified crankbait proved essential for Mark Rose in his dominant victory on Wheeler Lake. like it when I'm not catching anything because I'm trying to figure them out.

"I made a conscious effort about four of five years ago to get offshore. There's one of the best ledge fishermen in the country in the audience here - Randy Haynes (FLW competitor from Counce, Tenn.) - and I owe him a lot. He taught me a lot and spent a lot of time with me when I first started getting out, so I just have to thank him."

Now, here's where we justify that "dominant" statement. Day one, Rose weighs the event's biggest bag - a limit weighing 21-6 that gave him the lead he would never relinquish and a margin of 3-7. He followed on day two with 17-8 and expanded his advantage to 4-6. Day three yielded Rose's smallest bag of the tournament (15-10), but the way the other weights lined up, he found himself heading into the final day of competition with a big-time lead of 7-1.

Flash forward to the culmination of today's final weigh-in. After starting day four in third place, behind Blake Nick, Chevy pro Luke Clausen had moved up from third place to first with 58-12, while Nick slipped below Clausen with 57-2. Rose takes the stage with a three-day total of 54-8, so he's just 4-pounds, 8 ounces off the lead before yanking the first fish out of his bag.

Second-place finisher Luke Clausen watches as Mark Rose pulls another big fish from his bag.Given his previous three averages, a single fish would've done it for him. But within this sincerely modest man beats the heart of a fierce competitor, so it came as no surprise when Mark Rose dropped 16-14 on the scales and blew this one out with a total weight of 71-6 and a massive winning margin of 12 pounds, 10 ounces.

Rose spent most of his time fishing about 15 miles from the tournament site and targeted fish in about 21-23 feet of water. Well familiar with the Tennessee River's extensive ledges, he knew he'd need to dial in the specific little sweet spots that would be most likely to attract quality fish. He found just such attraction over mussel beds - lively areas that typically hold baitfish. Rose said his Lowrance HDS-10 with StructureScan was essential to locating his quarry.

"That's my eyes and ears," he said. "I could not have done this without my electronics. Those mussel beds were the key, but every now and then, there were some stumps. I was trying to get around those stumps and if you touched a stump, a lot of times you'd get bit."

Rose had two main areas for most of the tournament, but a third spot opened up for him today when a fellow competitor who had been fishing there did not make the final-round cut. This spot produced aSurrounded by his family, Mark Rose celebrates a huge victory on Wheeler Lake. good flurry of early activity, but Rose rotated through all of his spots throughout the day.

"I just milked it for all it was worth today." He said. "I have to thank the people of this community. I had a lot of people out there watching me and they let me fish. I only had three little old spots and they left it alone and I appreciate that."

Rose used a variety of baits this week, but he caught most of his fish on a deep diving crankbait with a few stealth modifications for maximum depth. Today, the crankbait produced four of his keeper, with the fifth biting a Strike King football head jig with a Rage Craw trailer. Rose said he also caught fish on a Texas-rigged 10-inch worm and he also employed a Strike King jigging spoon to stimulate fish that played hard-to-get.

"The bigger fish wanted the crankbait more than anything else," he said. "For whatever reason, it takes time to figure out those bigger fish and I figured out that they wanted a crankbait."

Rose said that fishing his baits on 12-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon was essential for getting them to the target depth, while promoting longer casts and providing optimal durability.

Clausen climbs into second

Chevy pro Luke Clausen moved up a notch to finish second at Wheeler.Clausen had held steady at third place for the first three days of the event before overtaking Nick in the final round. His productivity had depended on two to three big bites each day, but in the final round, he had just one quality fish and end up with a limit weighing 11-13.

Noting that he never identified any particular patterns during the tournament, Clausen essentially junk fished his way into the final round. Today, he located a productive stretch of bank with trees that still had sufficient water for bass to hold beneath. The TVA had been pulling water during the tournament, so shoreline depths kept declining.

"The water dropped about two feet so it was hard to fish anything that I had been fishing," he said. "All week, I had been driving around and fishing new stuff. I found some water on a little wood so I went flipping for a little while."

Clausen caught one on Zara Spook, three on a shaky head with a Z-Man finesse worm and one on a Z-Man flipping bait. His biggest fish hit while Clausen was flipping an overhanging tree and nearly gave him the slip.

"It was actually kind of a surprise - I was going around a trip and flipped up there and as I was reeling the bait back up he grabbed it," Clausen recounted. "Luckily, I was able to catch up to it and sling it in the boat really quick. With the kind of weights we're catching - except for Mark Rose - you catch one 4-pounder and that really changes your day."

Nick struggles, slips to third

Alabama pro Blake Nick brought a lot of Wheeler experience into the tournament and had no troubleAlabama pro Blake Nick struggled on day four and slipped one notch to third. determining where he needed to fish. His only regret was not maximizing the potential in the early goings.

"I knew there were two places with good, healthy populations of fish - one's at the Guntersville Dam and the other one's at the Wheeler Dam," he said. "I had one place (at the Wheeler Dam) and I pulled in there and made 10 casts and caught 18 pounds. I thought I'd be smart and leave because I didn't think anyone was going to catch 18 and there comes Mark with 21 pounds. In hindsight, I wish I would have stayed there and whacked on them."

Fishing mostly football heads, Nick spent increasingly longer periods on his key spot each day and caught a couple more competitive limits on days two and three. Today, he managed only a limit of 9-11.

"It was a little different day," Nick said. "I don't know if it was affected by the water being down, because it was a deep bite. I have a feeling (the TVA) pulled water all night and the fish probably fed for a long time last night. But everybody has to face the same conditions to go out there and catch them. So there are no excuses."

Long settles at fourth

Missouri pro Shane Long did most of his damage the past few days with a dropshot.For Missouri pro Shane Long, the event's highlight was the 7-pound, 4-ounce largemouth that took Big Bass honors on day two and propelled him up from 17th place to fifth. Bagging one nearly 5 pounds on day three helped move him into fourth and a solid final-round limit of 12-7 kept him there with a tournament total of 55-0.

Fishing far up the river near the Guntersville dam, Long found the bass unwilling to eat his jig, so he decided to try something different - a dropshot. Fitted with Luck "E" Strike finesse worms in green pumpkin and pink, the rig proved just the ticket.

"There were several boats in that area and everybody's throwing a jig, Carolina rig, Alabama rig and all that big stuff," Long said. "I was just trying to catch five - it was pretty tough. So I pulled out a dropshot, dropped it down there and caught a 4-pounder, so I stuck with it. I caught that 7-4 on the second day and I had (another big fish) yesterday and I jumped off one today that was about 4 1/2. I mean, they'll bite it."

Hite rises to fifth

Brett Hite, of Phoenix, Ariz., tied for 10th place on day one, rose to sixth on day two, gave up threeNational Guard pro Brett Hite moved up from eighth place to fifth in the final round. notches on day three and regained some ground today to finish fifth with 51-6. Hite's final-round weight of 13-3 was the day's second largest, behind Rose.

The National Guard pro said he had minimal success in practice but located a key area that showed him a couple of quality bass. He decided to camp out there and relentlessly work his signature bait - a Phenix vibrating jig. Hite also recognized his boat and motor sponsors, Ranger and Evinrude, for providing an effective fishing rig.

"For the last three seasons, I have not been to a service trailer with a motor issue," Hite said. "Also, if it wasn't for (Ranger Boats founder) Forrest Wood, we wouldn't be here today, so my hat's off to them."

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 pro leaders at the FLW Tour Open event on Wheeler Lake:

6th: Randall Tharp, of Gardendale, Ala., 50-13
7th: Michael Williamson, of Fort Smith, Ark., 49-9
8th: Larry Nixon, of Bee Branch, Ark., 47-6
9th: Scott Suggs, Bryant, Ark., 45-10
10th: Jerry Lawler, of Athens, Ala., 36-4

Tags: david-a-brown  headline-story  2012-09-20-wheeler-lake 

/news/2016-02-10-dudley-links-up-with-livingston-lures

Dudley Links Up with Livingston Lures

Livingston Lures has added three-time Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year David Dudley to its pro-staff. The Virginia pro joins two-time FLW AOY Andy Morgan and former FLW Rookie of the Year Stetson Blaylock on the Team Livingston roster. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-10-power-pole-extends-partnership-with-flw

Power-Pole Extends Partnership with FLW

FLW announced yesterday that JL Marine Systems, manufacturer of Power-Pole shallow-water anchor systems, has signed a sponsorship extension for the 2016 season. This will be the sixth consecutive season that the two organizations have partnered. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. READ MORE »

/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 »