Stephen F. Austin defends title

Robert 'Blaze' Platt and partner Kyle Turner bring the National Guard FLW College Fishing Southern Conference Championship back to Stephen F. Austin.

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. - Cold weather, wind, rain and clouds greeted the top five teams on the final day for the National Guard FLW College Fishing Southern Conference Championship on Lake Dardanelle. With tough conditions and only 1 pound, 11 ounces separating fifth from first, it was left the possibility for anyone to take the title. The team from Stephen F. Austin of Robert With only two of the teams on the final day bringing five-bass limits to the stage, it was Stephen F. Austin who captured the title after starting the day only 3-ounces behind the leader. On day one Robert `Blaze' Platt and Kyle Turner brought 11 pounds, 3 ounces to the scales. They backed that up with the largest bag of the tournament on day two - 17-2. Today they hauled in 16-3, giving them a three-day total of 44-8 and a new Ranger Z117 and motor for their club. "This is awesome," said Turner a junior in forest and wildlife management. "For SFA to come in here and repeat is awesome." "I think we made the guys who won this title for SFA last year proud," said Blaze. "I really think we wouldn't be here without those guys, so thank you. It really is a great feeling to bring the title back." Both Turner and Blaze had been catching most of their fish this week on a Heddon Super Spook Jr. and a 6th Sense squarebill in citrus shad color. But with the temperatures expected to drop even more for the final day, SFA knew they would have to make a change. "We made a game plan sitting in the hotel room last night to prepare for a water change and a temperature change," Turner added. "We were going for a reaction bite. So we tied on a Rat-L-Trap, because that's what we'd be doing right now back home. It really worked out for us." The bait that helped Stephen F. Austin to capture the title on the final day in tough conditions. The guys stuck to their main areas they had been fishing previously but decided to rip lipless crankbaits out of the grass to trigger a reaction strike. They noted that they still caught several fish on the Spook Jr. but their better bites came when ripping the cranks out of the grass. "We never felt satisfied, especially with this group of guys here," said Blaze a junior in spatial science. "I figured the weights would be lower today and the fishing would be tougher. But when we realized our fish were still hungry, then we knew it could be the same for the other teams." SFA focused on a few key banks with around 5 to 10 feet of water. Turner and Blaze threw most of their baits on 16-pound Sunline fluorocarbon. Rat-L-Traps and Strike King Red Eye Shads in gold colors were the ticket to help them land the big bites on the final day. Both of the guys say that they are very excited to head to the national championship. They can't wait until the tournament location is announced, then, they say their blood will really be pumping. University of Louisiana-Monroe climbs to second The University of Louisiana-Monroe team that made it to the final round of Paul Clark and Brett Preuett, captured second place with a three-day total weight of 43 pounds, 10 ounces. Paul Clark and Brett Preuett of the University of Louisiana-Monroe started the week off with a day-one limit that weighed 11 pounds, 8 ounces to sit in fifth. Day two saw their weight improve as they took an impressive 15-15 to the stage, moving them up to fourth. To wrap up the final day, Clark and Preuett were the only other team to bring in a five-bass limit that hit the scales at 16-3. This gave them a three-day total weight of 43-10 and a check worth $5,000. Their two primary baits this week were a Strike King Red Eye Shad and a War Eagle spinnerbait. Clark and Preuett fished these baits around several different grass stretches that were in deeper water. Angelo State falls to third Ethan George and Josh Seale of Angelo State came up short of a limit, weighing only four fish that weighed 13 pounds, 5 ounces, to capture the third place slot. Things didn't get off to a good start for the Angelo State team of Ethan George and Josh Seale this week. After battling with boat issues in practice that limited their water they could check out, they managed to locate one area that held quality fish. Despite having a good area that yielded a 16-pound bag on day two, Angelo State came up short today. They weighed four fish for 13 pounds, 5 ounces on the final day bringing their total weight to 41-13. "We did everything pretty much the same today," said George. "Josh caught a big one right away which made us feel good. Then with about 15 minutes left and only three keepers in the livewell, I broke off a big one. Once I retied, I caught about a 3-pounder on the next cast. Then it was time to head in, pretty disappointing." They worked one main area that was very close to the takeoff area. They threw one bait the entire week - a Castaic swimbait. George finally lost their last Castaic bait today, which they then changed to a Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper. Though, they may not have won, Angelo State was just happy to make it to the final day. "Pretty much the reason we came was to try and make it to the national championship," George added. "We couldn't be more happy with how we ended up, especially after the week we had." For their efforts this week, Angelo State was awarded $3,000 to their club. Lamar University drops to fourth Lamar UniversityOpting to stay away from the grass this week was Danny Iles and Justin Royal of Lamar University. After leading the tournament on day one, their weights continued to drop as the week went on. Today, they brought in three bass for a weight of 9 pounds, 4 ounces to take home $3,000. "Today was slow, but fishing was okay," said Iles. "We wanted to stay away from the grass this week and we thought we had found enough fish to last through this weather, but we just couldn't get enough bites." Throughout the week Lamar rotated between several different soft plastics. The best bait they had was a Strike King ReCon Worm Texas-rigged with a 3/8-ounce bullet weight and a 4/0 hook. Iles also said that the team would throw a Carolina rig and a crankbait depending on how the boat was positioned on the spot. Small points found in 12 to 15 feet of water were the main focus for Iles and Royal. They fished in backwater areas but concentrated on the deeper water with no grass. LSU-Shreveport stuck in fifth Weighing in 6 pounds, 8 ounces on the final day for three fish, Joseph Landry and Gavin Havard ended up in fifth for LSU-Shreveport with a three-day total weight of 33-5.It usually cannot be a good start to your day when you get hailed on as you drive down the lake in the morning. That is exactly what happened to Joseph Landry and Gavin Havard of LSU-Shreveport as they headed up the lake. Later on, they even had to sit in the river channel with their heads down as it hailed on them for around 10 minutes. "All three of our keepers we caught in a small window," said Havard. "The sun came for a second and our fish turned on, after that though, they completely shut down." "It was really a grind," added Landry. "We caught probably 20 or 25 keepers but just the three that weighed. The weather is definitely what killed us." LSU-Shreveport spent their time around Goose Island. Strike King Red Eye Shads were their weapons over the first two days of competition. But today, they made a change and threw Senkos and spinnerbaits. The guys wanted to thank all of the sponsors of FLW who helped make this tournament possible, along with the city of Russellville for hosting this event on a great lake. With only three bass on the final day that weighed 6 pounds, 8 ounces, Landry and Havard had a total limit of 33-5 to bring home a $3,000 check.

Tags: headline-story  kyle-wood 

/news/2015-03-29-lefebre-lands-on-top

Lefebre Lands on Top

He left the dock this morning in 7th place, eight and a half pounds off the lead. And when he returned this afternoon, Dave Lefebre shocked the weigh-in crowd with a come-from-behind Walmart FLW Tour win that left his competitors shell-shocked. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-29-lewis-smith-lake-day-4-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 4 Coverage

Day 4 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/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 »

/news/2015-03-28-millsaps-wins-on-lake-sinclair

Millsaps Wins on Lake Sinclair

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – David Millsaps of Ranger, Georgia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds, 10 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Bulldog Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Sinclair. For his victory, Millsaps earned $6,009. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-walters-nets-third-victory-on-wylie

Walters Nets Third Victory on Wylie

LAKE WYLIE, N.C. – Todd Walters of Kernersville, North Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League North Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Wylie. For his victory, Walters earned $4,350. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-lewis-smith-lake-day-3-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 3 Coverage

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

/news/2015-03-28-mosley-on-top-at-arkansas-river

Mosley on Top at Arkansas River

MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Brandon Mosley of Choctaw, Oklahoma, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Okie Division tournament of 2015 the Arkansas River. For his victory, Mosley earned $5,349. 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 »

/news/2015-03-27-lewis-smith-lake-day-2-coverage

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

Day 1 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-25-5-pros-to-watch-at-lewis-smith

5 Pros to Watch at Lewis Smith

The second stop of the Walmart FLW Tour season rolls to Lewis Smith Lake – or “Smith” as most refer to it – which is located in northern Alabama. It offers a stark contrast to the first event held on Toho, as the fishery is a clear, deep impoundment with little grass to speak of. Traditionally spotted bass have dominated this tournament due to their abundance and better average size. That will likely be the case again this week, however, largemouth may surprise some people since water temperatures are prime for them to swarm the bank. Smith Lake is often overshadowed by its neighboring lakes of Guntersville and Wheeler but has pumped out several world-class spotted bass over the years. In fact, back in the 1970s and 1980s several world record spots were produced in Smith, and the current 8-pound, 15-ounce Alabama state record was caught from here. READ MORE »

/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 »