Wood out front on Smith Mountain

Joseph Wood of Westport, Mass., takes the early lead with 18 pounds, 13 ounces.

HUDDLESTON, Va. - Throughout the first day of competition in the EverStart Northern Division on Smith Mountain Lake, the sun came out and the wind laid down - making for near perfect sight-fishing conditions. Although many of the anglers in the first flight struggled, the latter flights took full advantage of their longer days, including the current leader Joseph Wood of Westport, Mass., who caught 18 pounds, 13 ounces today. Wood planned to do some sight-fishing and wasn't pleased with the gusty wind that stuck around from a mild cold front that passed through last night. But he persevered. "My day started off terribly," said Wood. "The first fish I started on was so locked on the bed that it was practically turned over on its back. When I hooked her, my line broke and I couldn't get it to bite again. The next fish I went to I broke off too. It took me a while to find some other fish because of the wind, but around 11 o'clock I caught my first fish." Getting a big bite on this lake is crucial, and that is exactly what Wood did. "I found my big one (5-10) and (had to work on) her for over an hour," Wood continued. "She bumped a drop-shot after about 20 minutes of working her, but then she got spooky. I switched up baits and finally got her to eat." Wood is sight-fishing but not necessarily for fish on beds. He has been targeting some of the cruising bass as well, making repeated casts in front of the fish until they bite. The one thing Wood noticed was the amount of pressure his prime fishing locations received today. "There were guys on everything today. I really think that pressure is going to get to these fish in the clear water. I might switch it up and try to fish some of the dirtier water tomorrow; I'll see how I feel in the morning. It's just tough to leave areas where you can see good fish swimming in front of you." Johnston, Sheffey Jr. tied for second Cory Johnston bested his brother on day one with 18 pounds, 4 ounces to sit in a tie for second. Back on the heels of Wood is Peterborough, Ontario, pro Cory Johnston who sacked up 18 pounds, 4 ounces to land just ounces behind the leader. Johnston figured that this lake could get beat up pretty quickly so he decided to practice in a way that would help him avoid that. "I spent a lot of time in practice trying to find areas that were out of the way," said Johnston. "I really put my time in and it seemed to pay off today." Johnston also did some sight-fishing, but took a different approach for his key bites. "I did a bit of sight-fishing today to catch the two smallmouth I weighed," Johnston went on to say. "I have a couple spots that are loaded with prespawn bass, but they are hard to get to bite. I just kept covering water. I hit probably 80 spots and have no gas left in my boat. "I have a deck full of rods and most of them are for sight-fishing, only two of them are for prespawners," Johnston continued. "If they don't eat of those two baits then they can starve because I don't want any more rods on my deck." Most of the fish that Johnston has on bed are smallies. He says they are more of a filler fish for him as he wants to spend more time on the bigger, fatter prespawn largemouth. Donald Sheffey Jr. of Concord, Va., sits locked in a tie with Johnston after bringing 18-4 across the stage today. He is playing the sight-fishing game this week as well. Sheffey Jr. started his day by catching a 4-pounder off of a wind-blown point on a spinnerbait. After that he went to work catching his next four keepers off of beds - including two nice smallmouth. By 11 a.m. he had the weight he brought in for the day. "I had my limit pretty early and then decided to try and look for another pattern," said Sheffey Jr. "I threw a swimbait around and a shaky head by some docks but never got any bites. I only caught five spawners from my areas and I didn't have much boat traffic near me, so there should be some more fish left." Johnston's brother in fourth Chris Johnston of Peterborough, Ontario, sits in fourth after the first round of competition with 18-2. Just 2 ounces behind his brother sits Chris Johnston of Peterborough, Ontario with a day-one weight of 18 pounds, 2 ounces. In similar fashion to his brother, Johnston also spent the majority of his time going after prespawn bass. "I went bed fishing early. A few of the ones I wanted I got beat to. I think I only kept one fish from sight-fishing," said Johnston. "I spent the rest of the day catching prespawners. I ran a ton of water, maybe 70 places, and I knew that most of them had a good fish or two around the area. I even think that a few of the fish I caught today were post-spawn because of how skinny and beat up they looked." Like many of the anglers chasing cruising fish, Johnston says that they are hard to catch and that he can only get them to bite in certain places on the lake. "Tomorrow I may try to pick one or two off beds, but I want to spend the majority of my time going after those prespawners." Hudson fifth Derik Hudson of Hurt, Va., rounds out the top five with 17-9. Rounding out the fifth spot after day one is Derik Hudson of Hurt, Va., who weighed in 17 pounds, 9 ounces. Rest of the best Rounding out the top-10 pros after day one of the EverStart Series event on Smith Mountain Lake: 6th: Philip Jarabeck of Lynchburg, Va., five bass, 17-5 7th: John Vanore of Mullica Hill, N.J., 17-1 8th: Ron Nelson of Berrien Springs, Mich., five bass, 16-15 9th: Trevis Towe of Daleville, Va., five bass, 16-13 10th: Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Md., five bass, 16-5 Burdette in co-angler top spot Dennis Burdette of Lindside, W.V., poses with his pro on day one Brandon Coulter who helped put him on his 13-pound, 15-ounce limit. Dennis Burdette of Lindside, W.V., claimed the leader spot after day one on Smith Mountain Lake with a 13-pound, 15-ounce limit. "I was fortunate enough to get paired with Brandon Coulter who was on some fish," said Burdette. "He was fishing the way I like to by covering water looking for prespawn fish." Burdette did catch some smallmouth today, but culled them out of his bag before the end of the day. Having experience on Smith Mountain and being able to fish here often, Burdette noticed that he could catch them the same way he has for the past week. So what might that be? "I'll tell you how I `m catching them maybe tomorrow or Saturday," laughed Burdette. "Tomorrow should be a lot like today weather wise so I'm excited to get back out there." Chapman second Brent Chapman of Union Hall, Va., found the second-place position with 11 pounds, 4 ounces worth of Smith Mountain Lake bass. After catching 11 pounds, 4 ounces on day one, Brent Chapman of Union Hall, Va., rides in second place. He spent most of his day blind casting to the bank because his pro was trying to sight-fish. He does think that some of the fish he weighed may have been on bed because when he got a bite, the fish simply was swimming off with the bait in its mouth. Rest of the best Rounding out the top-10 co-anglers after day one: 3rd: Scott Howard of Evington, Va., five bass, 11-1 4th: Jerry Gray of Glen Allen, Va., five bass, 10-4 5th: Manuel Cruz of Clifton, N.J., four bass, 10-0 6th: Wil Dieffenbauch of Hundred, W.V., five bass, 9-9 7th: Thomas Hassler of Strasburg, Va., five bass, 9-4 8th: Justin Hicks of Roanoke, Va., three bass, 9-0 9th: Chris Schomaker of Pineville, W.V., five bass, 8-12 10th: Andy Dick of Wilmington, Del., three bass, 8-9 Day two of the EverStart Northern Division on Smith Mountain Lake will begin Friday at 7 a.m. from Parkway Marina, located at 16817 Smith Mountain Lake Parkway in Huddleston, Va.

Tags: headline-story 

/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/2015-03-22-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 »

/news/2015-03-21-griffin-gets-win-on-ross-barnett

Griffin Gets Win on Ross Barnett

BRANDON, Miss. – Jason Griffin of Benton, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 23 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Ross Barnett Reservoir. For his victory, Griffin earned $5,349. READ MORE »