Live now : Bass Fishing League 2016 Ohio River-Rocky Point

Ferguson sweeps Lake of the Pines

Local pro Ritter Ferguson took the day-one lead and never looked back.

LONGVIEW, Texas - Ritter Ferguson was well aware of the dreaded hometown curse, but he was more concerned over big-name competitors like Kellogg's Rice Krispies pro Jim Tutt and Texas legend Harold Allen. In the end, neither local jinx, nor heavy competition could stop Ferguson from claiming the wire-to-wire win in EverStart Series Texas Division action on Lake of the Pines.

Making his home in Diana, Texas, just a short drive west of the lake, Ferguson brought plenty of local knowledge into this event. But unlike the common scenario of a local stick over-thinking his wealth of information, he mentally prepared himself with a solid game plan complete with tactical options and Ritter Ferguson shows off his first-place trophy.went to work hammering out a solid performance.

"I was lucky enough to have several locations I could run to and pull off my main spot and finish out limits," he said. "I had a game plan going in and luckily it worked out."

Drought conditions have this East Texas impoundment down a good 4 1/2 feet, so competitors often fished in close proximity, but Ferguson located a spot that he had to himself for three days. Fishing about mid-lake, he targeted a hump near the Alley Creek area and found his bass mostly on the edges.

"There were just coming up onto that spot to feed," Ferguson said. "I would cast across the spot and drag my bait over it. I was catching my fish on the drop-offs in about six feet of water."

Ferguson did most of his damage with a Texas-rigged Zoom Trick Worm, but he switched to a Baby Brush Hog in the final round. With both baits, he used tungsten bullet weights and a brass ring between hook and sinker.

A Texas-rigged Zoom Baby Brush Hog was Ritter FergusonWhen his primary spot slowed, Ferguson would give it a rest and visit main lake drop-offs where bass were corralling shad schools. Dragging a Carolina-rigged Grande Bass Rattlesnake through the activity delivered several bites. These were mostly smaller fish, but Ferguson used them to fill out his limit as needed.

On day one, Ferguson caught the event's heaviest bag - 19 pounds, 10 ounces - and took the lead by a margin of 1-13. He added 13-11 on day two and stretched his lead to 3-2. In the final round, Ferguson sealed the deal with a limit of 13-4 that gave him a total to 46-9 and a winning margin of 2-8.

After receiving his trophy, Ferguson pointed to heaven and gave thanks for a gracious ending to what could have been a tragic day. Throughout the tournament, he had struggled with bass that wanted to turn on their sides in his livewell - a clear sign of a stressed bass. He had been treating his livewell water with a fish care additive other than the Rejuvenade used in FLW's release tanks and he finally became suspicious today when a peak in his well revealed two of his best fish weren't doing too well.

"After I caught my first three fish, we got ready to leave and go to another spot, and before we did I Top pro Ritter Ferguson reacts to the official word on his win.looked in the well and all three of them are laying over," Ferguson said. "I said 'This is what was (threatening) those fish all week.' So we pumped that water out and pumped new fresh water in there.

"We continued fishing and I was a little worried about it - a little distraught about (possibly) loosing at least a pound in dead-fish penalties. But we went to another spot and started catching fish and my partner looked in the well and said 'Dude, these fish are alive.' I went back there and looked and sure enough, they're swimming around like there's nothing wrong with them. It was amazing."

Ferguson also noted that using a Hydrowave improved his opportunities. The patented device emits the sounds of forage fish and predators eating them. Such sonic stimulus often spurred the bass to start feeding and this gave Ferguson more shots at enticing aggressive fish.

"I think that made a difference for me," Ferguson said. "The Hydrowave kind of activated the school a little bit and made them bite here and there."

Tanner bolts up to second

This huge bass anchored the dayJohn Tanner of Quitman, Texas, departed the takeoff spot at Overlook Park, turned left and headed straight for the Ferrell's Bridge Dam and spent the majority of his day working the edge of the massive rip rap tower. There, he would sack up 18-11, the heaviest sack of day three - second heaviest of the tournament. His total weight of 44-1 moved him up six notches from eighth place to second.

"Today was pretty incredible," Tanner said. "I didn't even think I was going to come this week, but the good Lord decided otherwise. I knew I was supposed to be here - I guide back home and I didn't have a single trip booked this week."

Tanner said he caught fish on shaky heads, drop-shots, crankbaits and ChatterBaits. On day three, the latter did most of the heavy lifting - with the exception of a toad, estimated at 8 pounds.

"I had a limit by about 8:45 a.m.," he said. "Like yesterday, my biggest fish came on a deep-diving crankbait."

A surprise catch added an element of interest to Tanner's day. In his first hour on the water, cast toward the dam rocks drew a connection that felt a lot like a fish - at first.

"The fish were biting kind of easy - there were just loading up on it," Tanner said. "There were just kind of easing out off the bank and you'd have to hit them. That's what happened and I was fighting this thing and suddenly it stopped doing anything and just started coming up and I pull up a rod and reel. It was pretty dirty."

Texas legend Allen takes third

Harold Allen of Shelbyville, Texas, entered day three in seventh place, but after catching the second-Third-place pro Harold Allen said that adjusting to changing conditions was important to his success.largest bag of the final round - 17-6 - he moved up to third with a total weight of 43-14.

Allen said that versatility was his biggest asset, as changing conditions impacted the lake. Day one was sunny and flat, but with a cold front approaching, day two saw increasing wind and afternoon cloud cover. The cold front arrived just in time for day three and brought overcast skies, occasional light sprinkles and a temperature drop of about 10 degrees.

"The fish changed every day and we had to change every day - no days fished alike this week," Allen said. "Today, we caught them pretty early and I had that bag in the first couple of hours, but then we went through a long period where we didn't catch anything. I finally caught a couple of keepers toward the end of the day and culled up a little bit. It was hard work. It never did come easy."

Allen caught most of his week's fish by flipping a Strike King Rodent.

Wilson finishes fourth

 Kris Wilson held the fourth-place spot through the entire tournament.Kris Wilson, of Montgomery, Texas held steady at the fourth-place spot since day one and ended there with a tournament total of 42-12. His best bag was a 16-9 on day one, with catches of 11-11 and 14-8 following.

Wilson caught his fish on a Strike King 5XD in sexy shad and a black/blue jig with black/blue Paca Craw trailer. He fished a 1/2-ounce jig on day one, but moved up to a 3/4-ounce bait for the windy conditions of days two and three.

"I dialed in on flipping for the big bites and that got me to where I am," Wilson said. "I started early every day cranking on the south end and then I ran north and started flipping stumps."

Clark slips to fifth

Brian Clark of Haltom City, Texas, had two days of nearly mirror catches - 14-9 on day one, 14-10 onA prototype squarebill crankbait delivered several fish for  Brian Clark. day two - but struggled on day three with a 9-13 effort. Totaling an even 39 pounds, Clark fell two notches from third to fifth.

His top bait was a prototype squarbill crankbait by Excite. He also caught fish on jigs.

"I was fishing way up the river and the water was really dirty up there, so I was cranking stumps and lay-downs," he said. "We needed some sun today to put the fish on that wood. There were just out there roaming. I caught a bunch of fish today; I just never got that big bite."

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 pro leaders at the EverStart Series Lake of the Pines event:

6th: Austin Terry, of San Angelo, Texas, 36-0
7th: Stewart Herndon, of Graham, Texas, 33-11
8th: Joe Don Setina, of Pittsburg, Texas, 33-3
9th: Russell Cecil, of Willis, Texas, 29-12
10th: Bert Thompson, of Benton, La., 26-9

Tags: david-a-brown  headline-story  2012-10-04-lake-of-the-pines 

/news/2016-07-29-two-for-one

Two for One

The sibling partnership has done that with staggering ability. The two have a practice system in place that, while simple, has generated success north to south. That system, and the teamwork that makes it possible, is about to get its greatest test this week at Wheeler Lake. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-28-early-reports-from-wheeler

Early Reports from Wheeler

Starting this Sunday, the 50 Forrest Wood Cup competitors will hit Wheeler Lake bright and early for the first of three days of official practice. It’ll be the first time the anglers have been allowed on the Tennessee River reservoir since the pre-practice cut off date of July 17. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-27-celebs-seminars-on-deck-for-the-cup

Celebs, Seminars on Deck for the Cup

The 2016 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart in Huntsville, Ala., on Aug. 4-7 will be crawling with some of the best bass anglers in the industry – both active pros and bassin’ legends. Fans in attendance will have the opportunity to personally wish their favorite anglers good luck before takeoff, snag a picture and an autograph from an industry superstar, or sit in on a seminar. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-27-bass-and-bbq-festival-set-for-forrest-wood-cup-expo

Bass and BBQ Festival set for Forrest Wood Cup Expo

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – FLW is adding some Alabama flavor to the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup with its Bass & BBQ Festival as part of the FLW Expo outside the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama, August 6 and 7. The BBQ Festival, presented by WQRV 100.3 The River, will feature four award-winning BBQ teams offering delicious fare to visitors at the Forrest Wood Cup. A portion of all... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-27-bk-s-year-as-the-champ

BK’s Year as the Champ

Brad Knight plans on getting a good night’s sleep before this year’s Forrest Wood Cup on Wheeler Lake begins on Aug. 4. Sounds pretty straightforward, but there have been times during the past 12 months when dozing off wasn’t so easy for the defending Cup champion. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-top-10-patterns-from-the-1000-islands

Top 10 Patterns from the 1000 Islands

High wind and fluctuating water temperatures made things a little difficult for the anglers, but the top-10 pros adapted and utilized the whole playing field to exploit everything from deep smallmouth to shallow largemouth. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-mccartney-o-keefe-tie-for-win-at-flw-bass-fishing-league-great-lakes-division-event-on-mississippi-river-presented-by-navionics

McCartney, O’Keefe Tie For Win at FLW Bass Fishing League Great Lakes Division Event on Mississippi River Presented By Navionics

LA CROSSE, Wis. (July 25, 2016) – Mark McCartney of Davis Junction, Illinois, and Nick O’Keefe of La Crosse, Wisconsin, each weighed three bass totaling 11 pounds even, Saturday to win the third FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division tournament of 2016 on the Mississippi... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-mccartney-o-keefe-tie-on-the-mighty-miss

McCartney, O'Keefe tie on the Mighty Miss

Mark McCartney of Davis Junction, Illinois, and Nick O’Keefe of La Crosse, Wisconsin, each weighed three bass totaling 11 pounds even, Saturday to win the third FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division tournament of 2016 on the Mississippi River presented by Navionics. For his win, McCartney earned $5,540 after bonuses, and O’Keefe took home $3,540. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-country-music-superstar-dustin-lynch-to-perform-free-concert-in-huntsville-presented-by-wdrm-102-1

Country Music Superstar Dustin Lynch to perform Free Concert In Huntsville presented by WDRM 102.1

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Country music superstar Dustin Lynch will perform a free concert on the Walmart weigh-in stage at the Propst Arena in the Von Braun Center in Huntsville on Sunday, August 7, starting at 4 p.m., prior to the final weigh-in of the world championship of professional bass fishing, the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. The concert is presented by WDRM... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-canterbury-s-next-challenge-

Canterbury’s Next Challenge

At the time of writing, Canterbury had been picked by every pundit and 50 percent of players overall, which is a decent bump over Morgan at 47 percent. The dollars attached obviously make a difference, but there’s no doubt that everyone expects great things. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-jay-kendrick-the-rookie-

Jay Kendrick – The “Rookie”

A rookie by designation if not by experience, Forrest Wood Cup contender Jay Kendrick finished 34th in the standings in his first year on the Walmart FLW Tour to clinch a spot in the championship. What makes it even more fortuitous for him is that because the Cup is taking place on Wheeler Lake, he’ll be able to stay at his own house for the event, which is just about 30 minutes from takeoff at Ditto Landing. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-25-fan-freebies-and-contests-at-the-cup

Fan Freebies and Contests at the Cup

One pro angler is going to win $300,000 at the Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart Aug. 4-7 on Wheeler Lake in Huntsville, Ala. That’s good for him. For fans, the chance to win is pretty good too. FLW and its partners and sponsors have lined up a sweet selection of giveaway prizes for the Cup and the accompanying FLW Expo, ranging from a tricked-out bass boat to a fishing trip with Jimmy Houston. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-24-1000-islands-top-10-baits

1000 Islands Top 10 Baits

The top pros from the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands kept it pretty simple to catch both largemouths and smallmouths from this massive fishery that includes the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. Drop-shots, spinnerbaits and jigs all saw action and got it done from the lake to the river. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-24-penn-state-taps-docks-at-chautauqua-

Penn State Taps Docks at Chautauqua

The Penn State University duo of Clayton Frey of York, Pennsylvania, and Derek Horner, of State College, Pennsylvania, won the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference event at Chautauqua Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and qualified the team for the 2017 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-thompson-co-angler-champ-on-1000-islands

Thompson Co-angler Champ on 1000 Islands

The 1000 Islands is a great place to take a vacation, especially if you are from the south and want to escape the heat. That is exactly what co-angler Joe Thompson of Clayton, Ga., did and wound up capturing the top spot in the co-angler division bringing home a Ranger Z117 with a 90 hp motor. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-penn-state-university-wins-flw-college-fishing-northern-conference-event-on-chautauqua-lake

Penn State University wins FLW College Fishing Northern Conference Event on Chautauqua Lake

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. – The Penn State University duo of Clayton Frey of York, Pennsylvania, and Derek Horner, of State College, Pennsylvania, won the FLW College Fishing Northern Conference event at Chautauqua Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and qualified the team for the 2017 FLW College Fishing National... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-michigan-s-dobson-leads-wire-to-wire-wins-costa-flw-series-event-at-1000-islands-presented-by-mercury

Michigan’s Dobson leads wire-to-wire, wins Costa FLW Series Event at 1000 Islands presented by Mercury

CLAYTON, N.Y. – Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Michigan, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event at 1000 Islands presented by Mercury with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 68 pounds, 8 ounces. For his win, Dobson earned $82,669, including a new Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or... READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-23-dobson-dominates-1000-islands

Dobson Dominates 1000 Islands

Scott Dobson didn’t expect it to come so quickly, but 30 minutes is all it took for him to find the winning pattern during his first day of practice for the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands. That pattern would lead him to three consecutive limits of more than 20 pounds, including today’s final-round bag worth 21-12 – the day’s biggest limit, yet his smallest of the tournament. His three-day total weight of 68-8 earned him a check for more than $37,000 along with a Ranger Z518C with a 200-hp engine for being Ranger Cup qualified. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-1000-islands-top-5-patterns-day-2

1000 Islands Top 5 Patterns Day 2

Strong winds limited competition to only the St. Lawrence River on day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands, but that was no problem for the majority of the top 10. Even though most of them fished Lake Ontario on day one, they were able to adjust and stay on the fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2016-07-22-dobson-extends-lead-at-1000-islands

Dobson Extends Lead at 1000 Islands

A windy day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on the 1000 Islands didn’t stop day-one leader Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Mich., from sacking up the biggest bag of the day. Dobson threw down an impressive 22-pound, 3-ounce limit to extend his lead to 5 pounds over Cal Climpson – a noted Lake Ontario maestro. Dobson’s two-day total stands at 46-12, and with lighter winds tomorrow some big bags are expected. READ MORE »