Chasing Ehrler

Pro leader Brent Ehrler boats a nice Smith Lake spotted bass.

JASPER, Ala. – Today brought the weather that many anglers – especially largemouth guys – had hoped for with warmer temperatures to start the day and wind. Those factors still couldn’t seem to help the bite on Lewis Smith Lake which is beginning to show signs of fishing pressure getting the best of it. One man, however, still remains perched atop the leaderboard for the third straight day in a row.

Keystone Light pro Brent Ehrler has caught the largest bags from each day of competition during days one and two – 17 pounds, 8 ounces and 16-7, respectively. On day three his weight slipped some, but Ehrler still managed 11-15 to bring his overall weight to 45-14 and carries a 6-4 lead to the final day.

“I have caught heavier weights than I thought I could this week,” said Ehrler. “It hasn’t been easy at all this week – each day is truly a grind.”

Throughout the event Ehrler has been relying on a few key places that he found during practice. One of them has produced quality bites for him despite having never received a bite in practice from it. After yesterday though, Ehrler felt that he couldn’t rely as heavily on that area and knew he would have to make it happen from the other few places he had left. Most of the water he is focusing on is in around 30 to 40 feet, with his fish coming off the bottom or close to it - where he has been utilizing his electronics to see the fish that he often times will later catch.

“I saw a few on that spot (his big-fish area) today but I’d be lucky to catch any there tomorrow. I’m not relying on it. If I catch one there it’s going to be a big one though.”

Reluctant still to give up his presentation, Ehrler said that there is one thing he is doing differently that has been putting the bigger bites in the boat for him.

“I had eight or so bites all day, it started really slow and picked up as the day went on,” the Redlands, Calif., native said. “I culled around mid-day but it was tough. My co-angler caught 12 pounds today which hurts because those fish won’t be there tomorrow. That does tell me that there are still good fish around those areas though.

“I have a target on my back going into tomorrow and I don’t like that. It has been an emotional rollercoaster this week between bites. I’m not very confident for tomorrow and it’s not going to be a goodnights sleep tonight.”

Powroznik up to second Jacob Powroznik fights a spotted bass around the boat.

He has said from day one that he could catch between 12 to 14 pounds everyday of the event and he has done exactly that. After a 14-pound, 11-ounce limit on day one, Powroznik backed that up on day two with 12-12. Today, he brought in 12-3 to keep his consistent streak alive.

Powroznik has been one of the few anglers to make the top 10 that is strickly fishing for spotted bass. He has executed a solid game plan all week, knowing exactly what caliber of fish live on each one of his spots. From what he found in practice, Powroznik has been able to fish this event without having to search out new water like other pros have.

Out of the dozen places the Mercury pro has to fish, he has caught fish from each one of them. And when many of the remaining anglers are struggling to catch fish from old water, consistency could prove dangerous in this event.

“I was catching them on almost every cast first thing this morning,” said the Prince George, Va., native. “I am still confident I can go catch 12 to 14 pounds tomorrow, but I have a chance at a 17- or 18-pound bag off of my areas too.”

Most of the places Powroznik has been fishing are deep – somewhere in the 50-foot range. He has thrown a few different rods but the drop-shot on 6-pound fluorocarbon has been the ticket this week.

As the winds are expected to blow tomorrow Powroznik can only be excited to hit the water as he says it should help his already hot bite.

Scheide in third

Third-place pro Ray Scheide holds up his two largest fish from day three on Smith Lake.

3M Scotch Tape and Peltor Brands pro Ray Scheide has played both the spotted bass and largemouth game all week with extreme consistency. His limit on day one put him up there in the standings with 13 pounds, 15 ounces. Day two he brought in 12-2 to climb further up the rankings and today his 12-9 limit gave him a total catch on Smith worth 38-10.

Out of the many bags of fish this week that offered a mixture of spots and largemouths, majority of them came from areas where both species are plentiful. Scheide on the other hand, has been doing two totally separate deals all week.

“I have probably put over 250 miles on my Evirude this week,” said Scheide. “I usually make a stop early to try and catch spots, and then I make about a 35-mile run up the lake for largemouths. I have been using about 80 percent of my day to try for largemouths.”

The spotted bass area that Scheide found actually came during the first day of competition. Scheide already had a decent limit when he went searching for some backup areas. That is when he stumbled upon two main areas that have produced one or two good bites each day from 45 to 50 feet of water.

One issue that has concerned Scheide this week is the fact he could not get a largemouth bite until around 1 p.m., every day.

“I didn’t know if it was me or what until I heard some other guys have had the same issue, but I couldn’t get a bite until later in the day,” said the Dover, Ark., native. “With the quality of the bites I have been getting from the spots it makes me wonder what I could do if I stayed on them. I’m going to need to do some thinking tonight. Maybe if I get two good bites tomorrow morning I will just stay on them all day; I’d love to burn only a gallon of gas.”

When it comes to catching the spots, Scheide has eight rods on the deck and throws a little of everything at them. Up in the largemouth country he keeps it simple by casting a jig, crankbait or jerkbait to whatever cover (bluffs, steep banks or flipping areas) get in front of him.

“I’m really not sure what I will do in the morning; I’ll start for spots and see how it goes. I’m just going to go fishing tomorrow.”

Kreiger down to fourth

Pennsylvania pro Brad Rightnour makes a move Friday morning.It has been a tough week for Koby Kreiger as it has progressively gotten harder to get a bite – and his weights reflect that. He started the week off right with a 15-pound sack on day one. Day two brought high skies and calm conditions which made it tough, but Kreiger was saved by a big spotted bass in the last 45 minutes helping him to land a limit worth 12-14. Like the rest of the 20 anglers on day three, Kreiger struggled some and brought in 9-11 to bring his total weight after three days to 37-9.

The Okeechobee, Fla., resident has been producing mixed bags of fish in his limits daily saying that he is just out there fishing not really knowing what he will catch.

“I have really been struggling to get a bite before noon,” said Kreiger. “From about noon on, I can catch them until I have to come in. I have been getting a big bite every day and I got one today but I lost it. If I can figure out how to catch some early it would help to keep the pressure off.” 

Biffle in fifth

Tommy Biffle sits in fifth place with a three-day total of 37 pounds, 8 ounces.

One angler that has quietly made his way up the rankings this week is the Wagoner, Okla., native Tommy Biffle. His day one started out with a 10-pound, 5-ounce limit to sit him in 56th place. On day two, Biffle connected with the right fish and brought the second biggest limit to the stage – an impressive 15-11. To add to his total today, Biffle caught 11-8 to make his three-day total weight on Smith Lake 37-8.

Biffle has been catching some decent sized largemouths this week but also has had a few nice spots mixed in his bag, including one over 4 pounds today.

Rest of the Best

Rounding out the top 10 pros who made the cutoff after day three:

6th: Cody Meyer of Auburn, Calif., 37-1
7th: Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., 36-8
8th: Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C., 36-7
9th: Zell Rowland of Montgomery, Texas, 36-0
10th: Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., 35-14

Day four of the FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake will begin Sunday at 7:30 a.m. from the Smith Lake Dam Access located at 7482 Smith Lake Dam Road in Jasper, Ala.

Tags: lewis-smith-lake  brent-ehrler  deep  andy-morgan  headline-story  kyle-wood 

/news/2015-04-26-arey-does-it-again

Arey Does it Again

Quaker State pro Matt Arey of Shelby, N.C., wowed the crowed in Rogers, Ark., today with an incredible 17-pound, 3-ounce five-bass limit to come from behind and win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake. This is Arey’s second consecutive Beaver Lake FLW Tour victory. Arey’s final-day surge was enough to surpass two-time reigning Angler of the Year Andy Morgan, who led yesterday but weighed in only 9-08 today and fell to third. Arey’s four-day total was 55-06, earning the pro $125,000. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-26-beaver-lake-day-4-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-25-morgan-retains-lead-at-walmart-flw-tour-on-beaver-lake-presented-by-rayovac

Morgan Retains Lead At Walmart FLW Tour On Beaver Lake Presented By Rayovac

ROGERS, Ark. (April 25, 2015) – Livingston Lures pro Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tennessee, caught a five-bass limit weighing 10 pounds, 9 ounces Saturday to retain the lead on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour at Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. Morgan’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 39 pounds, 2 ounces gives him a... READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-25-morgan-maintains-his-lead

Morgan Maintains His Lead

One of Andy Morgan’s fishing mottos is to make the best of what you have got “in front of you” to survive and fish another day. Beaver Lake doesn’t give much. So when an angler as resourceful as Morgan gets to a lake that doesn’t give out many resources, the two work well together. Instead of worrying about hitting it out of the park or putting immense pressure on himself to come up with a grand winning strategy, Morgan just scraps, scrapes and claws at the ground right in front of him, making the best of what he’s got. Morgan’s performance on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake was a prime example of his “make the best of it” attitude. After burning up the spawning fish he had located in practice during the first two days of the tournament, he was forced to fish by the seat of his pants today – something he thoroughly enjoys. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-25-gordon-and-gagner-crowned-tbf-champs

Gordon and Gagner Crowned TBF Champs

Two more anglers qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup today by winning the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship on Grand Lake in Grove, Okla. Shawn Gordon of Russellville, Ark., earned the TBF crown on the boater side by catching a three-day limit of 50 pounds, 2 ounces, capped by the largest limit caught today – 18 pounds, 10 ounces. Gordon earned $5,000 for his win, but more importantly, he’ll be competing against the best pros in the business in August at the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Gordon also won the TBF “Living The Dream” package, which includes paid entry into the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour, a travel stipend, and use of a wrapped truck and Ranger bass boat. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-25-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 3

Andy Morgan didn’t light up the world on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake, but he caught what he needed to maintain the lead and put a 1-pound, 9-ounce cushion between he and Matt Arey. Most of the rest of the top 20 scrambled today, abandoning their patterns and trying new options to try and make the final-day cut. Here’s how the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-25-beaver-lake-day-3-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-morgan-grabs-lead-after-day-two-of-walmart-flw-tour-on-beaver-lake-presented-by-rayovac

Morgan Grabs Lead After Day Two Of Walmart FLW Tour On Beaver Lake Presented By Rayovac

ROGERS, Ark. (April 24, 2015) – The weather threw anglers another curveball Friday morning at the Walmart FLW Tour at Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. After cold and wind greeted anglers on Thursday, heavy rainfall and lightning was the story today, prompting FLW Tournament Director Bill Taylor to delay takeoff 45 minutes due to the lightning and low visibility.. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-make-way-for-morgan

Make Way for Morgan

“Hidden largemouths” is quickly becoming the buzz term at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac, as those atop the leaderboard are using the term to refer to spawning largemouths that are so well hidden that other competitors never found them. These hidden fish are covered by thick brush, hidden so deep that they were only found during the very rare windows of sunshine during practice or located off the beaten path. The latter are not in obvious pockets or places where one would expect to find beds, but rather out on the main bluff channels where few ever look. On day one, Jacob Wheeler caught hidden largemouths to take the lead. On day two, former Beaver Lake champion Andy Morgan caught hidden largemouths to take over the pole position going into the weekend. His catch of 15 pounds, 7 ounces today gives Morgan a two-day total of 28-09 to take the lead by just 11 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 2

At halftime of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac, the top five reads like a who’s who of Beaver Lake. Leader Andy Morgan is a former Beaver Lake champion. Behind him, Darrel Robertson has been very close to winning here with a runner-up finish in 2005. In third is 2014 Beaver Lake champion Matt Arey. Bryan Thrift, in fourth, has never won on Beaver Lake, but has led here before. And finally, fifth-place pro Stetson Blaylock knows his way around this lake pretty well, too, with a couple of top 10s. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-heckman-heads-up-tbf-championship-field

Heckman Heads up TBF Championship Field

Some bass are still spawning in Grand Lake, and others are yet to make their way up to the shallows, but none of that interests Sam Heckman. Diligent commitment to his postspawn plan here Friday landed Heckman atop the boater field with 34 pounds, 3 ounces and locked up his Southwest Division win at the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship. Saturday, the top boater from each of seven TBF divisions will vie for the TBF National Championship and the “Living the Dream” package that goes with it. The package includes paid entry in the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour as a pro, a Forrest Wood Cup berth and use of a custom-wrapped truck and Ranger boat on Tour for the year, as well as a travel stipend for each event. Seven non-boaters – one from each TBF division – also will fish in tomorrow’s final round for a chance at paid entry into a Rayovac FLW Series division of choice. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-beaver-lake-day-2-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-wheeler-with-a-slim-lead

Wheeler with a Slim Lead

Jacob Wheeler has a plan to win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake this week. That plan involves primarily the largemouth species, a target weight of 14 pounds per day and a lot of fish management. Today, Wheeler surpassed his target by nearly 2 pounds with a 15-pound, 14-ounce catch that puts him in the driver’s seat at Beaver Lake, in the lead by just a scant 5 ounces over second-place pro Bryan Thrift. “Largemouths are the way to win here at Beaver Lake,” Wheeler says. “They are the fish to go the distance here, and that’s what I’m focusing on.” READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 1

Though there were plenty of fish caught off beds at Beaver Lake on day one of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac, the top five is rounded out by a group of anglers who relied on sight-fishing very little. Opinions on where exactly bass are in the spawning cycle at Beaver Lake vary greatly from angler to angler, but a few common denominators did come to light on day one. For starters, most agree that one major spawning cycle has already occurred. Plenty of empty beds and a lot of gaunt, postspawn fish at the scale were evidence of that. Second, there are still some bass (of all species) trying to spawn, but the ones left on beds are extremely wary. Finally, the order of difficulty to catch each species ranks as follows: smallmouth bass – extremely easy; spotted bass – not as easy; largemouth bass – extremely difficult. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-griffith-grabs-tbf-lead-

Griffith Grabs TBF Lead

By midday, the prospects were unclear for Jon “Scooter” Griffith here in The Bass Federation National Championship on Grand Lake, but in a roundabout way it provided just the clarity he needed to dial in a pattern that helped him take the day-one lead with an 18-pound, 13-ounce limit. Griffith began his day by sight-fishing the clear water down by the Pensacola Dam. This opening move, he says, gave him some early comfort, as it matched the transparent water he’s used to fishing near his home in Mesa, Ariz. Targeting windblown points, Griffith got his early bites with reaction baits in about 4 to 8 feet of water. Unfortunately, the plan turned out to be less productive than he had expected. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-beaver-lake-day-1-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 1 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-tbf-championship-tips-off

TBF Championship Tips Off

The spawn is on at Grand Lake, but that’s not the only game in town. As the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship plays out for the next three days, anglers will find this northern Oklahoma impoundment abounding with lots of fishing options. Brian Maloney, the 2012 Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American champion, says he was impressed with what he found in practice. “The quality of fish on Grand is just amazing,” notes the Missouri angler. “This lake continues to put out 3- and 4-pounders, and right now there’s a variety of things we can do. “There are guys sight-fishing for spawning fish, and we’re probably looking at another wave or two of fish coming in soon. I’m sure the full moon coming up in another week or so will move them in.” Adding that the lake currently has fish in all prespawn, spawning and postspawn stages, Maloney thinks that TBF contenders will be greeted by a mix of water conditions typical for Grand this time of year. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-tricky-transition-at-beaver

Tricky Transition at Beaver

Though Beaver Lake is an annual stop for the Walmart FLW Tour, that doesn’t mean it is an easy lake to decipher. This year’s event, which is presented by Rayovac, is later into the spring than usual and is causing some major head scratching among the 154 pros in the field. There’s no doubt that some fish can be found on beds, however, they are mostly small. The consensus is that a lot of fish are stuck in limbo between the spawn and prespawn phase on this White River impoundment. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-21-5-pros-to-watch-at-beaver-lake

5 Pros to Watch at Beaver Lake

The halfway point for the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour season is fast approaching as the Tour makes its annual trek to Beaver Lake. The third stop on the schedule is important because it reveals the real contenders in the Angler of the Year race as well as provides a better idea of who will be in contention to punch their tickets to the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita this August. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-top-10-baits-from-lake-murray

Top 10 Baits from Lake Murray

Competitors in the FLW College Fishing National Championship mostly targeted bass feeding on spawning blueback herring on shallow points and main-lake pockets. Across the board, herring-imitating baits such as soft jerkbaits, swimbaits, topwaters, wake baits and umbrella rigs dominated the event. READ MORE »