UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Ouachita

Grice tops at tough Toledo Bend

Pro leader Dustin Grice made the most of a fog-delayed day one by fishing close to the take-off site.

HEMPHILL, Texas - If ever there was a Chamber of Commerce day on Toledo Bend Reservoir, day one of the EverStart Series Texas Division tournament was certainly a shining example. However, in terms of fishing, competitors found the deck was stacked against them.

Bright were the skies, cool was the air and light were the breezes - nice for tourism; lousy for fishing. Anyone who's ever spooled a reel will recognize that description as the dreaded "bluebird" conditions where high pressure and lots of light put largemouth bass - especially those hyper-sensitive Florida-strain sissies - in a really foul mood.

Leading up to the tournament, East Texas had seen several days of torrential rains. The skies started to clear a day before the event and the temperature dropped a few degrees with the arrival of a slight cool spell that delivered today's difficult conditions.Dustin Grice caught the leading sack on swimbaits and spinnerbaits.

Adding to the struggle, a thick bank of fog settled over Toledo Bend this morning and with no wind to hasten its departure, takeoff was delayed a little over three hours from the scheduled 7 a.m. start. Texas pro Chris McCall lamented the effect of lost time on the ability to make the most of opportunities. "I was in what I consider one of the best places in the lake but that fog delay killed me."

On the upside, tomorrow's weather should bring more stability with continued warmth, declining barometric pressure, probably a little more wind and better overall productivity. Several anglers pointed out that day two

"I guarantee you the weights will double tomorrow, if not triple," said Lone Star legend Harold Allen. "Bluebird skies after the weather we've had are just tough."

Now, despite the day's limitations, a few anglers broke out with a strong start. Leading the pack is Dustin Grice, of Hewitt, Texas who sacked up 20 pounds, 2 ounces. The only angler to break 20, Dustin Grice gets some fresh water on his leading fish.Grice stayed close to the take-off site at Paradise Point. While many of his competitors consumed much of their available time running to distant areas, he spent more time with his baits in the water.

"I was planning on staying close anyway, so (the delay) kind of fell right into my lap," he said. "I started fishing at 10:30 and I probably didn't burn but 30 minutes of run time (all day)."

Grice targeted prespawn scenarios around outside grass lines in about 4-6 feet. His primary tool were swimbaits on 3/8- and 1/2-ounce leadheads and spinnerbaits. He used the latter when the wind picked up a little later in the day.

"I was just running to where they're staging; where the females are setting up to come in," Grice said. "It got cold last night and I thought they might move out some, but they basically stayed the same."

Grice said he caught approximately 15 bass today. He ran four different areas and had his limit by 11:45 a.m.

Owens winds up second

Kelly Owens, of Crowley, La. came in a pound and 9 ounces behind Grice with his limit catch of 18-9.In second place, Kelly Owens caught his fish traditional prespawn areas with moving baits. Although he declined to disclose what part of the lake he was fishing, Owens said the fog delay didn't deter him from sticking to the plan he hatched in practice.

"I went exactly where I had some fish found and just said I was going to stay in this place that I thought was my best," Owens said.

Moving baits were the general technique and Owens focused his attention on the traditional prespawn ditches and drains were the big females commonly stage on this Sabine River reservoir. Owens said he had to play a little cat-and-mouse, but he eventually located his quarry.

"The fish had moved with the water coming up and with the wind blowing the last day of practice, I hadn't been back there in a day," Owens said. "It took me about an hour to find them and when I did, I was able to catch them pretty good."

Quick start puts Brauer in third

Strike King pro  Denny Brauer caught the dayStrike King pro Denny Brauer's day got off to a strong start and while he endured a prolonged dry spell, he eventually finished out a limit of 16-14 that earned him the third-place spot. Notably, Brauer got his work done on what he initially viewed as a temporary stop. As it turned out, this spot produced all of his keepers, including a 6-11 that earned Big Bass honors.

"I had a spot not too far from here where I had a couple bites the other day when it was raining and being boat 84 (takeoff order), I thought I'd just pull in there and let the boat wakes settle down before I made a long run," Brauer said. "I didn't go 20 yards and I pitched over by some grass and caught that 6-11 on the first bite I had this morning. That was a good way to start.

"I just sat down there for about an hour and really ground the area out and caught four (keepers) and one short. I had a bunch of places I wanted to fish on this short day, so I ran a bunch of places where I thought I could catch a big fish here, or catch a big fish there and never had a bite. So in the last hour, I came back to that (original) spot and caught two more keepers off of it."

Brauer caught all of his fish on his signature Strike King Premier Pro Model jig with a Strike King Rage Chunk trailer. He pitched his bait to grass clumps on 25-pound Seaguar Tatsu line. Brauer said that most of his bites were non-aggressive.

"The big fish really loaded up on it, but after that, they really didn't," he said. "In fact, one fish bit three times before I finally hooked him. They're pretty finicky when they're doing that."

Community holes give Addison fourth place

In fourth place, Phil Addison, of Baytown, Texas caught an even 15 pounds. The morning delay didn'tWhen his jerkbait bite stopped, fourth-place pro  Phil Addison switched to a finesse worm. affect his choice of areas, but missing much of the early bite forced him to adjust his tactics.

"These bluebird skies and grass fish don't mix," he said. "I caught three keepers the way I had been catching them, but that quit about 30 minutes after I got there so I had to go to a finesse style. I caught them on a Strike King KVD jerkbait early and then I caught them on a KVD finesse worm."

Addison said he caught his fish in community holes with about 10 feet of water.

Eisenmann takes fifth

Isolated grass clumps in the backs of pockets were the main target for fifth-place pro  Gene Eisenmann.Gene Eisenmann, of Frisco, Texas caught 14-9 to end up in fifth place. He made a big run to a spot on the south end of the lake on the Louisiana side, where he found his fish in what he described as "really shallow" water. With the all-day sunshine increasing the water temperature, Eisenmann banked on increasing activity.

"I wasn't sight fishing at all," he said. "I was just in an area where they were piling in. With this warming weather, I just knew that would be the deal and it turned out to be."

Eisenmann caught his fish on moving baits. He said he had 15 bites, culled three times - including once within the last hour of fishing time. Targeting isolated grass clumps in the middle of pockets was his plan.

Best of the rest

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

6th: Jeromy Francis, of Magnolia, Texas, 14-8
7th: Bill Glascock, of Kingston, OK, 14-7
7th: Dean Perkins, of Broadus, Texas, 14-7
9th: Glenn Freeman, of Converse, La., 14-2
10th: Phil Marks, of Dallas, Texas, 13-11

Brauer took Big Bass honors with his 6-pound, 11-ounce largemouth.

Jig and rig put Hartley atop co-angler division

Paired with local stick Danny Iles, Howard Hartley, of Berwick, La. had six bites and five of them gaveCo-angler leader  Howard Hartley caught his fish on a football head jig and a Carolina rig. him the co-angler lead with 12-11. Hartley's bait of choice was a ¾-ounce black/blue football head with a green pumpkin Zoom Super Chunk. He also caught fish on a Carolina rig with a Zoom Super Fluke in watermelon candy.

"If I didn't get any bites on the jig in a while, I'd pick up the rig," Hartley said.

Doron Pardo, of Monroe, La. placed second with 11-4, while Rondell Joseph, of Houston, Texas took third with 11-1. In fourth place, Kevin Burks, of Kountze, Texas had 8-14 and Aaron Smith, of Tyler, Texas was fifth with 8-9.

Best of the rest

Third-place co-angler  Rondell Joseph caught the heaviest bass of his division.Rounding out the top-10 co-angler leaders at the EverStart Series Lake Amistad event:

6th: Ray Beck, of Beaumont, Texas, 8-8
7th: Jim Gilbert, of Forney, Texas, 8-5
8th: Travis Gray, of Princeton, La., 7-15
8th: Mike McBurney, of Sunnyvale, Texas, 7-15
10th: David Kayda, of Huffman, Texas, 7-14

Joseph won the Big Bass award for his 6-pound, 2-ounce fish.

Day two of EverStart Series Texas Division action on Toledo Bend Reservoir continues at Friday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7:00 a.m. (Central) at Paradise Point Park in Hemphill, Texas.

Tags: david-a-brown  headline-story  2013-02-14-toledo-bend-reservoir 

/news/2016-02-12-top-10-photos-from-lake-okeechobee-

Top 10 Photos from Lake Okeechobee

FLW’s coverage crew was all over the place during the Walmart FLW Tour kickoff presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee. The following photos are some of the best taken during a week of wild weather swings and big bass. READ MORE »

/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 »