UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2015 - Lake Sinclair

Cool weather, hot bite on St. Clair, Erie

A group of boats point west towards Lake St. Clair Thursday morning.

TRENTON, Mich. - Late July is supposed to mark the dog days of summer, complete with uncomfortable heat and humidity, even in the Upper Midwest. But it feels more like late September this week in the Detroit area with highs only reaching the mid 70s. And unlike Florida largemouths, northern smallmouths still bite (and bite ferociously) during cold fronts - providing the perfect venue to close the EverStart Series Central Division season. When FLW visits Motown, all four fisheries are in play - Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair River, the Detroit River and Lake Erie. History suggests that Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie provide the best opportunity to catch tournament-winning stringers - with Erie possessing fewer, but bigger bass while St. Clair is a safer option stuffed full of 3-pounders. At last year's FLW Tour Open, five of the top six finishers opted for St. Clair and fished within sight of one another. But with a forecast calling for light and variable winds during the opening round, Erie looks primed to take back smallmouth superiority. Leading the points race in the Central Division is veteran pro Dan Morehead. While Morehead calls Kentucky Lake home, he's spent enough time in Detroit to know the pros and cons of the two major fisheries. Given his experience and the current conditions, he plans to point his Ranger/Evinrude east to Erie today. Clear skies awaited EverStart anglers Thursday morning."I spent four days practicing on St. Clair and I could catch 14 or 15 pounds, pretty conservatively, and quite honestly that should be enough to accomplish my goal of winning Strike King Angler of the Year," said Morehead, who carries a 33-point lead into the final event. "But after the practice I had today, catching two 5-pounders, two 4-pounders and a 3-pounder, my goal is to catch 20-plus today and win this tournament. I remember fishing an FLW Tour event years ago and there were some huge rollers on Erie and I vowed never to go back. But here I am going back again." Morehead said he realizes St. Clair is the conservative approach. But he simply can't ignore what he saw in practice. "I'm not a smallmouth expert or anything; I'm a flat-land country boy. To me, St. Clair is always more predictable and you just weed through a bunch of keepers. The problem was that I only saw one 4-poudner the whole time I was there and not as many 3-pounders as I'm used to seeing. On Erie, just about every time I got a bite it was a 3-pound plus fish." If Morehead can clinch AOY, he'll punch his ticket to the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup a year in advance, a luxury rarely afforded to a tour-level pro. "I've won AOY before in both the EverStart and on the Tour and I can tell you I put the award on the highest pedestal. It's a big deal to me. It looks good on a resume and it's a minimum $10,000 from the 2014 Cup. I figure if I catch 15 pounds a day, they can't touch me. But I'm not going to stop fishing at 15, believe me. I'm truly blessed to have fished as well as I have this year with some of the problems I've Casey Martinhad with my shoulder." Casey Martin, the star of the Youtube reality series "Circuit Breaker" is also competing this week. Fresh off a breakthrough FLW Tour victory on Lake Chickamauga, the La Salle, Ontario, native recently returned home to relax, see family and friends and escape Alabama's suffocating July heat. While he's here, he figured he'd throw his hat in the smallmouth ring, although he was mainly a walleye fisherman back when he lived in the area. "To me, it's standard northern smallmouth fishing - lots of tubes, drop-shots and some crankbaits," said the FLW Tour rookie, who will return to the south in a few weeks for the Forrest Wood Cup. "There's a little bit of a topwater bite going on; I've caught some of my bigger fish on a Boing G2 in between dragging and dropping. But I'm just hoping for two or three good bites today." Martin echoed Morehead's sentiment about St. Clair, but still plans to fish there, simply because he's more comfortable with it. "Some of the St. Clair guys are crying the blues and I will say a 4-pounder is pretty hard to come by. If I was a betting man, I would bet on Erie this week. If the wind lays down like they say it's supposed to, guys can move around and hit a bunch of rock piles. I think 20 pounds a day might win and it could take even less than that. But with 20 a day, you'll at least be right there." Logistics Anglers will take off from Elizabeth Park Marina located at 202 Grosse Ile Parkway in Trenton, Mich., at The sun begins to rise over Elizabeth Park Marina Thursday morning. 6 a.m. each day. Weigh-in will be held at the takeoff location on Thursday and Friday beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at Walmart store located at 23800 Allen Road in Woodhaven, Mich., beginning at 3 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public. Pros will fish for a top award of $40,000 plus a Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. Co-anglers will cast for a top award consisting of a Ranger Z117 with 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $5,000 if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. On the Web For those who can't catch the weigh-in action in person, FLWOutdoors.com offers FLW Live, an online application that brings fans real-time weigh-in results, streaming video and audio. Thursday's conditions Sunrise: 6:19 a.m. Temperature at takeoff: 55 degrees Expected high temperature: 75 degrees Water temperature: 72-76 degrees Wind: E at 6 mph Maximum humidity: 64 percent Day's outlook: sunny

Tags: morning-story 


Hunting Erie’s Brown Fish

It’s going to be an Easter egg hunt on Lake Erie, but at least the great lake will behave a little better during the final Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event than it did during practice. READ MORE »


2015 Forrest Wood Cup Off and Running

If the fishing matches the weather on the opening day of the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita, there will be plenty of limit stringers brought to the scales in Hot Springs’ Bank of the Ozarks Arena when the weigh-in commences at 5 p.m. Up until a couple of weather forecasts ago, anglers were anticipating hot, miserable weather during all four days of this, the crowning event of the Walmart FLW Tour season, which is hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Passing thunderstorms Tuesday afternoon brought a pleasant respite to the sultry heat, however, and now Cup contenders only have sulking bass to contend with as they vie for tournament fishing’s richest prize: a winner’s purse of $500,000. READ MORE »


Up and Down on Dardanelle

Tournament fishing inherently has its ups and downs, but Rayovac FLW Series Central Division anglers are getting a concentrated dose of this angling truism on Lake Dardanelle. An Army Corps of Engineers impoundment of the Arkansas River, Dardanelle has seen its water level fluctuate with recent rains and the Corps’ efforts to moderate this flow. Dam releases have pulled the lake down enough to reposition fish. READ MORE »


North or South on Champlain?

With waves 1 to 3 feet and thunderstorms in the offing as day one of the Rayovac FLW Series event presented by Plano gets under way on Lake Champlain, the anglers will have a tall task no matter which direction they run. READ MORE »


A Capital Challenge

Rivers can be rollercoasters, and the Potomac River might be about to give the anglers fishing the Walmart FLW Tour finale a tough ride. Two nasty storm systems have blown through in the last few days. According to FLW Tour pro and local Michael Hall, those could have been the two worst things to happen leading up to the tournament. “After 30 years of fishing here, I know storms impact the bass on this river,” says Hall. “Those storms have certainly done that. The wind alone would have done it this week.” READ MORE »


The Sun Rises on the 2015 All-American

Practice day Wednesday saw temperatures in the high 80s, with more sultry weather on tap for today. Like many others, Schroeder spent most of the day riding around and checking spots with his electronics. Though undoubtedly fish will be caught from the miles of weedbeds in the lower end of the lake below Paris Landing, he figures it will be a ledge bite that wins. READ MORE »


Deep or Shallow at Chickamauga?

There was no sentimentality attached to the smartphone photos anglers were showing off to each other prior to the Wednesday afternoon rules meeting of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Chickamauga. The photos weren’t of loved ones back home; rather, they were shots of big largemouth bass the fishermen had caught and released during practice earlier this week. In fact, there was a surprising number of such photos making the rounds, which suggests that the kind of hefty bass that can make or break a tournament for an angler are there ready and waiting as the four-day event presented by Igloo Coolers got underway this morning out of Dayton Boat Dock. READ MORE »


Northern Rayovacs Kick Off on the James

Ostensibly, the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division tournament presented by Mercury that began this morning is taking place on the James River, but much of the fishing focus will be centered on the Chickahominy River – or Chick, as it’s affectionately known locally. “This tournament is typically won out of the Chick,” says North Carolina pro Jamey Caldwell of the James River tributary. “There are some great bags coming out of the [James] river right now, but I just feel that those big fish are a little more sporadic. I’m going to hang out in the Chick and hope for the best.” READ MORE »


Seminole Summer

Last week, the Walmart FLW Tour plied the waters of the Chattahoochee River on Lake Eufaula. This week, the Rayovac FLW Series moves 60 miles south on the “Hooch” to Lake Seminole for the final event of the Southeast Division. Running offshore brush piles was the dominant theme on Eufaula last week, leaving some to wonder if a similar pattern could work on Seminole, since the two legendary lakes are connected by the same river. READ MORE »


Shallow, Deep and in Between at Eufaula

A couple of weeks ago Eufaula was high and off-color, and the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State that begins this morning was shaping up to be a shallow-water showdown. The lake has fallen by a couple of inches since then, however, and now the odds are even that both inshore and offshore patterns will be in play. In fact, one Eufaula expert who isn’t fishing the tournament expects it will take a mixture of patterns to make it to Sunday’s championship round and claim the $100,000 that goes to the winner. READ MORE »


Anything Goes at the Cal Delta

There are 127 pros entered in the Rayovac FLW Series Western Division tournament presented by Ranger at the California Delta this week. If you asked them all what their baits or tactics are for the first day of competition today, you might get 127 different answers. At some fisheries that FLW’s tournament circuits visit, such varied and often vague responses from pros when they’re prompted for fishing info are the result of them attempting to stealthily hide their fishing patterns. That’s not exactly the case at this tournament. The fact is, the California Delta is one of the most vast and varied fisheries that hosts FLW events. It’s a collection of unique mini-fisheries all rolled into one, with dirty water, clean water, tons of vegetation and other factors tossed into the mix. It’s a tidal fishery, so the water levels and currents fluctuate throughout each day. And, of course, it’s spring in California, and because of the vastness of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers and the delta system they feed, with its 1,000 miles of waterways, there are populations of bass in all stages of the spawn in their own little geographic areas. READ MORE »


In or Out on Kentucky Lake



Texoma Tough, but Stabilizing

As of press time, we were unable to confirm whether or not Troy Broussard has ever suffered a barnyard assault by any beast of burden. Nevertheless, his colorful metaphor bespeaks a challenging scenario facing the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division field on Lake Texoma for this week’s finale, which is presented by Evinrude. From Broussard’s facebook page: “Well, after three full days [of practice] on Lake Texoma, I can honestly say that I compare this to getting kicked in the face by a mule. It’s brutal.” Allusions aside, the big Ouachita River reservoir straddling the Texas-Oklahoma border has indeed shown its persnickety side of late. Blame Mother Nature for that. READ MORE »


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 »


Fog Delays Grand Lake Start

It’s no secret that the first Rayovac FLW Series Central Division event of the year on Grand Lake has collided perfectly with the spawn. Nearly every shallow pocket on the lake holds dozens upon dozens of bass that are eager to do their deed. The 197 pros making up a record-setting Central Division field could hardly contain themselves to get on the water this morning. The only issue was fog – and lots of it. With a 7 a.m. CT takeoff planned, a heavy blanket of fog delayed the start of the tournament, which is presented by Power-Pole, until 8:30, when the fog lifted enough for safe travel but was still hanging around just enough to be a hindrance to those looking to sight-fish. READ MORE »


Weather Woes Greet College Anglers

It was supposed to be a shallow-water bassfest, with largemouths and spots roaming Lake Murray’s shoreline to feast on spawning blueback herring. That still might happen as the FLW College Fishing National Championship plays out the next three days here, but the fishing is more likely to be ad lib than follow any script. The dreary, damp weather that settled over the region Wednesday during the last day of practice is the culprit. Not only did it hamper the efforts of contestants looking for the last bedding fish of the season, but also those depending on a consistent blueback herring bite to gin up the action. Still, the consensus of opinion is that one pattern or the other will prevail, and settle the question of college bragging rights for the next year as well as send the winning team to the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita in August. READ MORE »


Swollen Rayburn Challenges Anglers

High water, high winds and high hopes – that’s the forecast for the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division event on Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Mercury, which kicked off today at the Umphrey Family Pavilion. Torrential rains of recent weeks have swollen this Angelina River impoundment, and a huge downpour last weekend has all but stymied efforts to lower the water level. Currently, the lake sits about 5 feet above normal – a level not seen here in more than 15 years. Realistically, anglers aren’t looking for much, if any, decline this week – particularly given the approaching storm system. READ MORE »


Front and Center

There is little doubt it’s coming. The uncertainty lies in what will happen because of it. If the forecast holds true, at some point this evening the severe weather system that dropped tornados across the central plains Wednesday will arrive at Lewis Smith Lake. Along with the rain and thunder, the front promises to bring with it a significant drop in temperature, with lows projected in the low 30s by the weekend. It’s a storm that looms over the 154 pros and co-anglers set to fish the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Evinrude and hosted by the Walker County Chamber of Commerce. And while they, the anglers, should stay dry, the weather might be the key question mark for a tournament already overflowing with them. READ MORE »


Record Catch for Record College Field?

GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. – Panama City, beach parties, Florida sunshine, bikini weather – big deal. Who needs Spring Break when you’ve got Kentucky Lake in March? OK, maybe that’s a stretch, but how else to explain why a record-setting number of teams showed up for the FLW College Fishing Open tournament here? The official tally of bass fishing teams is 201, according to College Fishing Tournament Director Kevin Hunt, making this the largest collegiate fishing event ever. Teams from every corner of the country are represented here, with squads from as far away as Eastern Washington University competing the next two days. A flotilla left Moor’s Resort & Marina this morning, with individual boats scattering in all directions. READ MORE »


Guntersville Grab Bag

Lake Guntersville will always have a place in bass-fishing history – most recently because of Paul Elias and the umbrella rig ­– but it represents so much more. With boat ramps seemingly on every street corner, and a town and community that caters to anglers like no other, the legendary lake is always a popular stop. READ MORE »