UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2015 - Ohio River

Michels takes charge on Lake Oroville

EverStart pro Jeff Michels of Lakehead, Calif., recorded a five-fish limit of 13 pounds, 5 ounces, to grab the top spot on the opening day of Lake Oroville competition.

OROVILLE, Calif. - As expected, the first day of 2013 EverStart Series Western Division competition on Lake Oroville featured a tight contest from the outset. In fact, by the time Thursday's weigh-in had concluded, weights were so bunched up that only 4 pounds separated eighth place from 93rd - a remarkable statistic to say the least. However, for veteran pros, the results weren't entirely surprising as that's how Lake Oroville fishes historically. With plenty of fish in the 1- to 2-pound range, and a dearth of behemoth bass, anglers who made the successful jump up the leaderboard were almost required to show off a few nice kickers. And nobody did that better than EverStart pro Jeff Michels of Lakehead, Calif. Boasting a five-fish limit of 13 pounds, 5 ounces, Michels now sits in the proverbial driver's seat heading into Friday's all-important day of competition - the day in which the top-10 cut in the both the pro and co-angler divisions will be announced. Michels, who actually surprised himself with his day's catch, said he couldn't be happier with the results. "This morning I thought 7 pounds was all I was going to get," he said. "But I found one spot and got lucky on it. I caught two nice ones there right away, left and came back and landed another two quality bass later in the afternoon. It feels good to be in the lead. But let's wait and see how I'm feeling after tomorrow." Michels said that he was familiar with the area from past events, but he didn't know that it would produce as well as did. "I knew the general area pretty well so I just tried to zero in on where the bigger fish were," he said. "Then, during the first day of practice I was able to figure out a little bit better where exactly I wanted to fish. The area really isn't that remarkable. It's basically a nothing pea gravel bank." While a number of pros targeted bass by using reaction baits in the morning and switching to a more finesse-based approach later in the afternoon, Michels said that he stuck with reaction baits for the entire outing. "Yeah, I threw reaction baits all day long," he said. "I was using a small, 3 1/2-inch swimbait and 6-pound test line. I only had two spinning rods on the deck the whole day. Some guys were throwing bigger baits but here you have to match the hatch and the (baitfish) really aren't much bigger than 3 or 4 inches." However, the real question for Michels is: Can that spot produce for two more days? "I think it can," he said. "I might not be as successful throwing what I did today but I think I can slow down and still catch them with something else. I know this spot has some big fish on it. There is a giant there in the 5- to 6-pound range. And now, I just have to get it to bite." Lockhart stays within striking distance Glen Lockhart of Biggs, Calif., used a 13-pound catch to propel him all the way into the runner-up position heading into Friday's competitionAs one of the last anglers to weigh-in today, Glen Lockhart of Biggs, Calif., definitely saved the best for last, producing a whopping 13-pound catch that propelled him all the way into the runner-up position heading into Friday's competition. "This is my home lake," said Lockhart. "I've won three boats here and I've been here long enough to know what structure to fish when the lake levels rise and fall. But even though I'm familiar with it, Lake Oroville is a tough fishery - it's really difficult to catch fish over 2 pounds. But I got lucky with that big one today." The big one Lockhart was referencing was a hefty 4-pound, 8-ounce bass that took top honors in today's big-bass competition. The award also came with a nice $230 check. Lockhart said that he targeted bass in 12 to 15 feet of water in the morning and then moved out deeper to 30 to 35 feet later in the afternoon. "I threw straight jigs all day," he said. "You need to be slow and methodical with the high pressure system and all of the boat traffic. But I did run around quit a bit. As far as the areas I was targeting, I was mostly looking for breaks." Like all veteran pros, Lockhart knows there are still plenty of hours left to log before he can even think about hoisting the tournament trophy. "I feel really good. I'm real happy right now," he said. "But I could easily come back tomorrow with only 7 or 8 pounds. So you just never know." Dobyns ties for third place Pro Richard Dobyns of Yuba City, Calif., used a 12-pound, 8-ounce catch to tie for third place on opening day at Lake Oroville.While Gary Dobyns is one of the most recognizable sticks in the western United States, it was his son, Richard Dobyns who carried the day for the family name. Boasting a 12-pound, 8-ounce catch, the younger Dobyns claimed third place overall - easily out-fishing his father who struggled to a 57th-place finish by the end of the day. "I'm ecstatic,' said Dobyns of his finish in today's competition. "I had way more weight than I thought I had." However, Dobyns - who currently resides in Yuba City, Calif. - said it was far from easy. "It was real tough out there today," he said. "I had to cover a lot of water and I was changing depths all day. I wound up fishing anywhere from 5 to 40 feet. Basically I was running all over the place. With the big cold snap we had the fish were really inactive. So you really had to slow things down once you started fishing." "I was bouncing jigs and throwing tubes, targeting anything and everything," Dobyns continued. "There wasn't any rhyme or reason to it except I was looking for anywhere where the wind was moving water." So what is the game plan moving forward? "It's going to be another scramble," he said. "I'm going to run, run, run until I run into some fish that want to feed." Friend joins Dobyns in third Pro Ryan Friend of Oroville, Calif., parlayed a 12-pound, 8-ounce catch into a third-place result on Lake Oroville during the first day of competition.Ryan Friend of Oroville, Calif., parlayed a similar 12-pound, 8-ounce catch into a top-five finish as well. "This is my home lake so I obviously spend a lot of time here," he said. "I tried to go with my confidence spots today. I really wanted to concentrate on targeting bigger fish and not really worry about catching a limit. But it all kind of worked out today." Like the majority of the field, Friend said the bite was difficult at best. "I think the bite was a little bit slow for everyone today," he said. "I fished way more finesse-style baits than anything. I did throw some reaction baits sporadically, but I mostly stayed with finesse baits. "I have certain areas here that I have confidence in," Friend continued. "But it's hard with a 115-boat field. If you run around too much, you wind up finding out that the spots you want to fish are already occupied. That's why it's important to keep your line wet as much as you can." Friend said that he targeted tapering points and chunk rock to land the majority of his catch. Rounding out the top-five pro standings was Wayne Breazeale of Kelseyville, Calif., who landed a 12-pound, 5-ounce catch. Breazeale was one of only five anglers to break the 12-pound mark in the entire field. Tate grabs lead in Co-angler Division Using a catch of 10 pound, 7 ounces, James Tate of Calabasas, Calif., grabbed the top spot overall in the Co-angler Division. Co-angler Steve Biechman of Redding, Calif., used a 10-pound, 5-ounce catch to tie for second place at Lake Oroville.Tate was followed by Steve Biechman of Redding, Calif., and Chuck Kavros of Grass Valley, Calif., who tied for second place with a total catch of 10 pounds, 5 ounces. Rounding out the top-five co-anglers: Aaron Seay of El Cajon, Calif., (fourth place with 10 pounds, 1 ounce) and Jack Farage of Discovery Bay, Calif. (fifth place with 9 pounds, 13 ounces). EverStart Series action continues during Friday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7:30 a.m. at the Spillway Launch at the north end of the Oroville Dam in Oroville, Calif.

Tags: headline-story 

/news/2015-08-31-top-10-patterns-from-lake-erie

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Erie

Most of the other top top-10 finishers found their fish over rocky bottom structure around the Pelee area. Drop-shots and crankbaits dominated the catches. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-matual-masters-erie

Matual Masters Erie

David Matual of Chicago, Ill., leaned on his spot hard and sacked up the biggest bag of day three weighing 22 pounds, 6 ounces. For his final-day rally he claimed the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division victory on Lake Erie with a three-day total of 65 pounds, fending off Jared Rhode by a mere 7 ounces. Drop-shotting over shallow reefs delivered all of Matual’s fish and earned him a check worth more than $31,000. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-webster-runs-and-guns-for-win

Webster Runs and Guns for Win

Michael Webster of Gastonia, North Carolina, brought a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 9 ounces to the scale Sunday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division Super Tournament on Lake Wylie with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 27 pounds, 10 ounces. For his victory, Webster earned $4,476. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-experience-pays-for-boggs

Experience Pays for Boggs

Drew Boggs of Lebanon, Tennessee, brought five bass totaling 13 pounds, 12 ounces to the scale Sunday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Music City Division Super Tournament on Old Hickory Lake with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 27 pounds, 2 ounces. For his victory, Boggs earned $4,257. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-jig-crankbait-carry-gray-to-victory

Jig, Crankbait Carry Gray to Victory

Brandon Gray of Bullock, North Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 14 pounds, 3 ounces Sunday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division Super Tournament on Kerr Lake with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 32 pounds, 14 ounces. For his victory, Gray earned $5,886. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-hemken-searched-deep-for-bigger-bites

Hemken Searched Deep for Bigger Bites

Shawn Hemken of Walshville, Illinois, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Sunday weighing 11 pounds, 6 ounces to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Illini Division Super Tournament on Lake Shelbyville with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 26 pounds, 1 ounce. For his victory, Hemken earned $6,882. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-topwater-lifts-ragan-to-top

Topwater Lifts Ragan to Top

Thadeus Ragan of West Park, Florida, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 26 pounds, 8 ounces Sunday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Gator Division Super Tournament on Lake Okeechobee with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 47 pounds, 10 ounces. For his victory, Ragan earned $6,922. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-martinkovic-runs-away-with-title

Martinkovic Runs Away with Title

Chris Martinkovic of Hamilton, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 12 pounds, 9 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Hoosier Division tournament on the Ohio River. For his victory, Martinkovic earned $6,244. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-29-lake-erie-day-3-midday-update

Lake Erie Day 3 Midday Update

Lake Erie put on a different face for day three of the final Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event. After a rough day one, yesterday’s calm and mostly sunny conditions offered comfortable running and fishing conditions. Today was still a far cry from the brutal waves of day one - and prior practice days - but windier conditions and overcast skies seemed to present a more challenging scenario. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-28-top-5-patterns-from-lake-erie-day-2

Top 5 Patterns From Lake Erie Day 2

Pennsylvania pro Dave Lefebre and Ohio pro Jared Rhode tied for the day-two lead in Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division action on Lake Erie with 43 pounds, 9 ounces. Both pros caught their fish on drop-shots. Here are the details of the rest of the top five. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-28-lefebre-rhode-tied-at-the-top

Lefebre, Rhode Tied at the Top

Notching his second day of 20-plus pounds, FLW Tour pro Dave Lefebre tallied 43 pounds, 9 ounces and tied day-one leader Jared Rhode for the day-two top spot at the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. Lefebre caught his 22-3 limit on Rapala DT-10 crankbaits, while Rhodes tempted his 19-15 catch with drop-shots. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-28-lake-erie-day-2-midday-update

Lake Erie Day 2 Midday Update

With winds shifting from yesterday’s northerly blow to a warmer southerly direction, day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie brought calmer conditions with greater ability to methodically work key spots. Offshore, waves ran 1 to 2 feet, with leeward areas behind the Lake Erie Islands nearly flat. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-27-rhode-cracks-23-10-for-erie-lead

Rhode Cracks 23-10 for Erie Lead

Jared Rhode played his cards and the gamble paid off better than expected, as the pro from Port Clinton, Ohio, took the day-one lead at the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie with a limit catch weighing 23 pounds, 10 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-27-top-5-patterns-from-lake-erie-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Erie Day 1

Taking off this morning, the FLW Tour pro from Erie, Pa., knew the day’s north wind would keep him from making a long run to a big-fish spot close to his home. However, keeping it local and fishing a little past Pelee Island to the west delivered a solid second-place catch. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-27-lake-erie-day-1-midday-report

Lake Erie Day 1 Midday Report

Winds have subsided considerably since practice, but Lake Erie’s still showing her temperamental side to Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division anglers fishing the last divisional event out of Sandusky, Ohio. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-25-top-10-patterns-from-the-forrest-wood-cup

Top 10 Patterns from the Forrest Wood Cup

If you don’t believe that summertime bass fishing in the dog days of August is all over the map, just take a look at the top 10 patterns from the best bass pros on earth at the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Brad Knight captured the Cup by mining one small creek end for four days. But beyond that, the rest of the top 10 patterns ran the gamut, from targeting schoolers over 40 feet to wolf packs of bass on the bank to brush piles to grass to mud flats and everywhere in between. Here’s a rundown. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-23-knight-slays-ouachita

Knight Slays Ouachita

Lancing, Tenn., pro Brad Knight won the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart on Lake Ouachita with a four-day total of 51 pounds, 12 ounces. In front of a standing-room-only crowd at Bank of the Ozarks Arena in Hot Springs, Ark., Knight weighed in 11-07 on day four to surpass Jacob Wheeler, who started the day with a 12-ounce lead. Fishing in just one area all four days, Knight locked up the first win of his FLW career. He earned $500,000 for his victory and pushed his career earnings total to more than $688,000. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-23-forrest-wood-cup-day-4-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-22-wheeler-back-in-front

Wheeler Back in Front

Jacob Wheeler loves Lake Ouachita. It’s where he fished his first Forrest Wood Cup in 2011, and it’s where he’ll take the tournament lead into the final day of competition at the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Wheeler, the 2011 Cup champion, led this tournament on day one and slipped a couple spots on day two. He now has a very slim 12-ounce lead over Tennessean Brad Knight. The anglers will square off tomorrow on Ouachita starting at 7 a.m. against the rest of the top 10 pros for the top prize of $500,000. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-22-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 3

Jacob Wheeler may have regained his lead in the Forrest Wood Cup on day three, but Brad Knight is right on his heels. Going into the final day, the two pros are separated by just 12 ounces. The margin is tight, and what’s going to make the final day fun to watch is the difference in the two anglers’ strategies. Wheeler is running a topwater pattern on the main lake, and fishing new water is part of his plan. Knight, however, has caught almost all of his weight from one 250-yard stretch of bass-rich creek channel. He literally knows every target he is fishing by heart. On the surface, Knight’s area looks to be the better bet. But he has shared the general area with Brandon Cobb and Mark Daniels Jr. for three solid days. And the bad news, at least for Knight, is that both Cobb and Daniels will be sharing the water with him again on the final day as both made the top-10 cut. READ MORE »