Stricklin strikes first at Ouachita River

James Stricklin, Jr., of Texarkana, Texas, leads the EverStart Championship on the Ouachita River with 12 pounds, 13 ounces.

MONROE, La. - When daylight cracked over the Ouachita River this morning 153 EverStart Championship qualifiers had already lined the banks with their boats, eagerly awaiting takeoff. Among those sleek fiberglass chariots were a handful of aluminum boats. At least a half-dozen pros had shucked their bigger glass boats for smaller, lighter models that would allow more efficient access to the river's stump-infested backwaters. Imagine the surprise of those pros as they entered their coveted backwater only to find the other five or six pros in aluminum rigs also in that very same backwater. Though the backwater plan backfired a bit, at least two from the tin-boat contingent now sit in the top 10. Others running standard full-size glass boats chose to utilize the whole extent of the Ouachita River with their speed and make long runs to fish the river itself. Of those, several are in the top 10. And yet another group used their standard glass rigs to access small creeks along the river for their success. After day one, it looks as if three different gameplans are working at the Ouachita River. No one was able to crack the teens in terms of weight and certainly no one posted a super bag of bass to take a dominating lead. Top weights are bunched up tight from the 9- to 13-pound range. Big bass in each division came in at nearly five pounds, showing that a few bruisers are to be had. The top mark to beat in the Pro Division was 12 pounds, 13 ounces, which belonged to leader James Stricklin, Jr., of Texarkana, Texas. Stricklin is neither in a backwater, nor on the main river, yet was able to access his water fairly easily in his full-size glass boat. "I'm in a backwater, but it's a deeper backwater and I do not have to fight my way in there," Stricklin said. "I ended up catching four of my better fish in there and then came out into the river and caught the littlest one in my limit." He noted that the area does not produce many bites, but when it does they are of better quality. And the best news: he did not see another boat all day. "I think the area has the potential to produce a really big bag if things got right," Stricklin added. "I feel good about it. It's a big area and I'm encouraged that it's not receiving much pressure. I did fish it hard for the four bites I got today, but I think there are still plenty of fish in there." Kreiger second Koby Kreiger of Okeechobee, Fla., nabbed second place after day one with a limit weighing 12 pounds, 5 ounces. Koby Kreiger of Okeechobee, Fla., nabbed second place with a limit weighing 12 pounds, 5 ounces. Kreiger said he did not fool around with any backwaters. He took a long ride and fished the main river and caught 9 or 10 keepers on the day. "I hopped, skipped and jumped around on the river today," Kreiger said. "I'm catching my fish off something very specific and when I catch one off it, I have to let it rest and then I can usually come back and catch another one. It's not necessarily a replenishing deal, but more of a scenario where when I catch one it pulls the fish off what I'm fishing and I have to give them time to set back up." "I don't know what tomorrow holds," he added. "Today was the best day of fishing I've had since I've been here. I kept hearing all these tales about guys catching 20 pounds in practice, but as for me, I'll take 12-pounds a day all week as long as I can get it." Kapiton third George Kapiton of Inverness, Fla., sits in third place after day one with a five-bass limit weighing 11 pounds, 4 ounces. George Kapiton of Inverness, Fla., sits in third place after day one with a five-bass limit weighing 11 pounds, 4 ounces. Kapiton is not accessing stumpy backwaters and instead is fishing areas he describes as being related to the main river. "I have one long stretch that's maybe a mile long that I feel like is my best stretch," he said. "But the rest of my places are much shorter, isolated stretches. I caught three of my best ones pretty quick this morning and then added a couple more later. I had what I weighed in by 10 o'clock, which is the earliest I've caught a bass all week." Jones fourth Larry Jones of Acworth, Ga., holds down the fourth place spot on day one with a limit for 10 pounds, 13 ounces Larry Jones of Acworth, Ga., holds down the fourth place spot on day one with a limit for 10 pounds, 13 ounces. Jones stuck to the main river for his catch today, boating 20 to 25 keepers on his primary spot. "I have a couple of places in the river that have a lot of fish on them," he said. "A lot of them are small, but if you go through enough of them, you can cull up to a decent weight. I had what I weighed in by about 10 o' clock this morning and then I got off my best place to save a few for tomorrow." Dillard fifth Local pro Jim Dillard of West Monroe, La., settled into the fifth spot on day one with a five-bass limit weighing 10 pounds, 11 ounces. Local pro Jim Dillard of West Monroe, La., settled into the fifth spot on day one with a five-bass limit weighing 10 pounds, 11 ounces. Dillard utilized an aluminum boat to access the backwater that contained the tin-boat party of six other anglers. "It takes about 25 minutes to work your way in there and once you're in there, you're kind of committed," the Hawaiian Punch pro said. "So yes, there were a lot of boats in there, but it's a big area and everyone worked well together and we stayed out of each other's way. There are so many stumps in there it forces you to fish extremely slow. Each time you go to move 5 feet, you're on another stump and that noise spooks the fish. But everyone in there understood that and took it easy getting around." Dillard ended up catching 7 or 8 keepers on the day. At least one other boat in the area is in the top 10, but several others did not fare as well. "I feel like I'm right on pace to do well," Dillard added. "I caught every fish that bit; I didn't lose any fish so I can't ask for much more than that. Despite the pressure in the area I plan to go back again." Big bass Michael Williamson of Fort Smith, Ark., caught the big bass in the Pro Division on day one weighing 4 pounds, 12 ounces. Rest of the best Rounding out the top-10 pros in the EverStart Series Championship on the Ouachita River after day one: 6th: Bill Chapman of Salt Rock, W.V., five bass, 10-10 6th: Ladd Shannon of Atkin, Ark., five bass, 10-10 8th: Shane Long of Willard, Mo., five bass, 10-2 9th: Cody Bird of Granbury, Texas, five bass, 9-12 10th: Jeromy Francis of Magnolia, Texas, five bass, 9-10 10th: Lamonte Loyd of Gilmer, Texas, five bass, 9-10 Sward leads co-anglers Justin Sward of Birmingham, Ala., leads the Co-angler Division of the EverStart Championship with a five-bass limit weighing 7 pounds, 11 ounces. Justin Sward of Birmingham, Ala., leads the Co-angler Division of the EverStart Championship with a five-bass limit weighing 7 pounds, 11 ounces. Tony Spinks of Springfield, Mo., is in second among the co-anglers with four bass for 7 pounds, 10 ounces. Co-angler David Kelly of Goose Creek, S.C., is in third place with a limit for 7 pounds, 9 ounces. Co-angler Gary Reimers of Taylor, Texas, is in fourth place with a limit worth 7 pounds, 5 ounces and Steve Brown of Altamonte Springs, Fla., holds down the fifth place spot with 7 pounds, even. Big bass Dan Wilson of Pilot Point, Texas caught the big bass in the Co-angler Division on day one weighing 4 pounds, 11 ounces. Rest of the best Rounding out the top-10 co-anglers in the EverStart Series Championship on the Ouachita River after day one: 6th: Daniel Leue of Colusa, Calif., five bass, 6-15 7th: David Kayda of Huffman, Texas, five bass, 6-14 8th: Bill Fussell of Thibodaux, La., five bass, 6-12 9th: Audie Brantley of North Augusta, S.C., five bass, 6-10 9th: Vince Denina of Willis, Texas, four bass, 6-10 9th: Robert Russell of Smyrna, Tenn., five bass, 6-10

Tags: headline-story 

/news/2015-06-29-dobson-sticks-with-jerkbait-for-win

Dobson Sticks With Jerkbait for Win

Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Michigan, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Michigan Division tournament of 2015 on Lake St. Clair. For his victory, Dobson earned $5,804. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-johnston-targets-beds-for-big-limit

Johnston Targets Beds for Big Limit

Cory Johnston of Cavan, Ontario, Canada, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 25 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Northeast Division tournament of 2015 on 1000 Islands. For his victory, Johnston earned $5,632. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-football-jig-helps-bates-net-title

Football Jig Helps Bates Net Title

Matthew Bates of Greenville, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds even Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Ferguson. For his victory, Bates earned $3,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-hipsher-hops-ledges-for-victory

Hipsher Hops Ledges for Victory

Craig Hipsher of Benton, Kentucky, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League LBL Division tournament of 2015 on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. For his victory, Hipsher earned $4,385. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-lauer-wins-on-ohio-river

Lauer Wins on Ohio River

David Lauer of McConnelsville, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 12 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division tournament of 2015 on the Ohio River. For his victory, Lauer earned $6,289. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-creature-bait-does-it-for-berhorst

Creature Bait Does it for Berhorst

Dennis Berhorst of Holts Summit, Missouri, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Ozark Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Truman. For his victory, Berhorst earned $5,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-wendlandt-back-at-the-top

Wendlandt Back at the Top

It’s been 14 seasons since Clark Wendlandt last stood on a Walmart FLW Tour stage and hoisted a tournament championship trophy. Since that time, the Texas pro has experienced ups and downs, including an Angler of the Year title (his third) in 2009 and a major medical issue that sidelined him for most of the 2014 season. All that’s in the past now, however, and Wendlandt is right back where he belongs in the world of bass fishing – in first place after the final day on the Potomac River in the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-top-10-patterns-from-the-potomac-river

Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River

Clark Wendlandt didn’t pull off any secret techniques to win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. He simply found an area with the right quality of bass to win and managed it perfectly despite facing a medley of Mother Nature’s toughest challenges. The rest of the top 10 stuck with the standard Potomac targets too, namely grass, docks and wood cover. The only underlying trend of the top 10 is that they found areas to themselves. Here’s how the rest of the top 10 got it done at the 2015 Tour finale. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-potomac-river-day-4-coverage

Potomac River Day 4 Coverage

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

/news/2015-06-27-wendlandt-receives-helping-hand

Wendlandt Receives Helping Hand

Not to discredit Clark Wendlandt’s skills as a bass fisherman, but if it wasn’t for an extreme act of kindness on the part of fellow competitor Shin Fukae, Wendlandt wouldn’t be where he is this evening – leading through three days of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. Wendlandt suffered a mechanical failure with his rig just a couple of hours into competition that prevented him from running his big motor on plane. He was stuck, more or less, and planned to fish with the trolling motor as best he could before being towed back to the ramp early. If it’d played out as planned, Wendlandt would have lost significant fishing time and probably wouldn’t have weighed in a limit. Fukae would let nothing of the sort happen when he came across Wendlandt on the water and heard what had happened. In 16th place and fishless at the time, Fukae insisted that Wendlandt trade boats, effectively ending his tournament and giving Wendlandt the chance to catch 14 1/2 pounds and maintain his lead with a three-day total of 47-02. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-top-5-patterns-from-potomac-river-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Potomac River Day 3

Pouring rain, gusting winds, a remarkable act of kindness, an Angler of the Year title on the line – day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River certainly was not boring. To say the top 20 anglers were waterlogged after Saturday would be any understatement, but as nasty as the weather was, it wasn’t the biggest story of the day. Shinichi Fukae generously helped Clark Wendlandt retain his lead, while Scott Martin sealed the deal on his first AOY title. Meanwhile, a number of other anglers scrambled to adjust with what the weather and the Potomac are throwing at them. Here’s how the rest of the top five caught their fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-potomac-river-day-3-coverage

Potomac River Day 3 Coverage

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

/news/2015-06-26-wendlandt-in-familiar-territory

Wendlandt in Familiar Territory

A lot of flip-flopping took place on the second day of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. When the scale closed, it was three-time Tour Angler of the Year Clark Wendlandt who found himself on top with a two-day total of 32 pounds, 10 ounces. Wendlandt caught 17-13 today – the day’s second-heaviest limit – and leads Potomac local Bryan Schmitt by 1-12 going into the weekend. Wendlandt missed part of last season after suffering a heart attack but has rebounded with good success this season. He has won three times on Tour but hasn’t finished in first place since Beaver Lake in 2001. Details to come on the patterns of the top five. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-26-potomac-river-day-2-coverage

Potomac River Day 2 Coverage

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

/news/2015-06-25-jersey-boy-leads-the-pack

Jersey Boy Leads the Pack

Talk about a traffic jam. And, no, we’re not talking about the streets around the Washington, D.C. area. We’re talking about the standings at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. Adrian “Jersey Boy” Avena leads the way with a 16-pound, 12-ounce limit, but a total of 41 pros weighed in at least 12 pounds. Many pros lamented the tough bite today, but the results say otherwise as 114 limits were brought to the scale on the pro side. Troy Morrow trails Avena by just 1-06, and 1 ounce behind Morrow is one of the most successful tidewater bass anglers of all time, Bryan Schmitt. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-top-5-patterns-from-potomac-river-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Potomac River Day 1

It might seem impossible for 405 miles of water to fish small, but space was hard to come by on day one of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. The creeks near takeoff at Smallwood State Park have seen as much traffic as a Washington, D.C. highway at rush hour. On the flip side, anglers who were able to develop patterns that got them away from the crowds, such as day-one leader Adrian Avena, have been able to reap the benefits of what has been a stingy fishery. Here’s how the rest of the pros in the top five caught their fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-aoy-shake-up-martin-makes-his-move

AOY Shake-Up: Martin Makes His Move

Scott Martin has been talking about winning the Angler of the Year title since before the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour season started. It’s on his mind and for good reason: Angler of the Year is the only major FLW title he hasn’t won in what Martin has built into one of the most decorated professional fishing careers in FLW Tour history. Today, on the first day of competition at the Tour finale on the Potomac River, Martin has unofficially moved into the lead in the AOY race for the first time all season. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-potomac-river-day-1-coverage

Potomac River Day 1 Coverage

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

/news/2015-06-20-richardson-wins-all-american

Richardson Wins All-American

Curtis Richardson has a way of surprising people – even himself. The Ontario angler had all but written himself off in the championship round of the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American, thinking his limit of five bass wouldn’t hold up for long with the likes of Jeremy Lawyer and Bill Schroeder breathing down his neck. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-20-all-american-midday-update-day-3

All-American Midday Update Day 3

Big changes might be coming in the standings of the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American on Kentucky Lake, as some of the top 10 leaders struggled this morning to catch limits. Canadian angler Curtis Richardson, who currently is leading, had only one 3-pound keeper by midmorning. And second-place boater Billy Schroeder, who had fished just below the Paris Landing Bridge for the first two days, finally bailed out from there after catching four keepers this morning. READ MORE »