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

Wagner whacks 24 for EverStart lead

Pro leader Heath Wagner holds up part of his 24-pound Lake Erie limit.

TRENTON, Mich. - With calm winds and high temperatures only reaching the mid-70s, day one of the EverStart Series Central Division finale proved to be the perfect chance to wrestle with Lake Erie. Known for both huge rollers and huge smallmouth bass, Erie produced only the latter on opening day as each of the top five pros chose to fish the big lake. The heaviest Erie haul belonged to Heath Wagner, the winner of the recent Walmart BFL event. Heading right back to the winning spots from two weeks ago, Wagner caught a five-bass limit quickly. "I had a limit in 41 minutes; I always keep track," he said. "I probably had 18 or 19 pounds at that time. By 8:30 I had culled up to 22 or 22 1/2; that's when I stayed away from my best areas. After that I went shallower, just trying to get my co-angler a limit and I caught a 5-10 in about 10 feet of water." That 5-10 was the heaviest bass of the day among the pros and anchored Wagner's 24-pound stringer. The pro leader said he caught his fish over gravel in water as shallow as 10 feet and as deep as 30 feet. "I like them both," Wagner said of Erie and St. Clair. "But I'm an Erie guy. And I think I need to be on Erie to win this tournament. Last year you had to be on St. Clair to catch that bag, but Erie is starting to come back." Wagner elaborated on his pattern, saying he targeted precise spots with a Poor Boy's tube (smoke purple flash color) and a 3/8-ounce weight. He'd snap the tube to trigger his bites. "The stuff I'm catching them off now is typically fall stuff." Jancasz second despite mechanical problems Trevor Jancasz caught 22 pounds, 1 ounce on day one despite battling mechanical issues.Like Wagner, Trevor Jancasz spends most of his tournament hours over on Erie. But his opening day didn't go nearly as smoothly as Wagner's. "I went out to one of my spots and caught three good ones and two little ones," said Jancasz. "I fished for about four hours and then I left and experienced a bunch of mechanical issues. My livewell shut off, my electronics stopped working. I figured all my fish were going to die." Jancasz decided to head back and maybe sample the Detroit River on the way in for a quick upgrade or two. When he stopped along the North Shore, suddenly everything came back on. He knew he was near a waypoint, so he slid over and popped two 5-pounders. Not wanting to press his luck, this time he went straight to Elizabeth Park. "I only caught those seven smallmouths all day," said Jancasz, whose best five weighed 22 pounds, 1 ounce. "And I only fished two of my spots. Tomorrow I should have a good day if everything works." In terms of pattern, the White Pigeon, Mich., native said he stayed on the trolling motor and targeted isolated rock piles in 20 to 30 feet of water. "Smallmouth fishing is just my thing. Every time I'm in a tournament, Erie seems to be where I go." Vizachero third Jeff Vizachero sits in third place after day one with 21 pounds, 15 ounces.Jeff Vizachero took 13th at last year's FLW Tour Open - catching 20-12 on the tournament's first day and 20-10 on day two before falling back a bit on day three. He upped that opening-day catch to 21-15 today and is hoping for a stronger finish this year. "I'm an Erie guy," said Vizachero. "I live in Grosse Ile, Mich., so I've got to go to Erie." Vizachero described his bite as steady, noting that early was slightly better than late. "The area I'm fishing is not a numbers game. I only caught 10 keepers total, but these are big fish. I just want five bites." To that end, Vizachero blanked on his best spot first thing this morning. It took him about an hour to reconnect with the school, but he eventually did find them. "They tend to roam when it's flat calm; that's normal. I would have actually preferred it to be windier. I'm used to 3- and 4-footers." All of Vizachero's weigh fish were just over 4 pounds and came via a custom-made bait. "The way I look at it, 60 pounds will do it, so I'm on track." Taylor fourth Rick Taylor caught a 21-pound, 12-ounce limit for fourth place on day one.In fourth place is West Olive, Mich., pro Rick Taylor, who won the Wheeler Lake EverStart in May. Taylor's opening-day limit weighed 21 pounds, 12 ounces and consisted of all brown bass. "I practiced for five days and I found that school yesterday at 4:06 in the afternoon," said Taylor. "You just can't give up in this sport." Fishless after his first two stops, Taylor went back to that aforementioned area and discovered they were still biting. He caught a limit quickly and culled four times in the afternoon. "It's not a big area. I basically work my way up, and then go back down. I caught fish from 8 feet to 32 feet, but the vast majority came in 22 to 24." Taylor said he caught his fish on a bait given to him by his good friend and reigning Bassmaster Classic champion Cliff Pace. "He showed me the bait," Taylor explained. "But I'm fishing it totally differently. It works phenomenally though. I caught a glob of them today." While he fished Erie today, he's not deciding where to go tomorrow until he sees the flag pole firsthand in the morning. "I've got about 17 or 18 pounds in St. Clair; I had a good practice over there. I just think the Erie fish are generally fatter right now." Ryan Said is tied for fifth place after day one with 21 pounds, 9 ounces.Said, Greenwood tie for fifth Tied for fifth with 21 pounds, 9 ounce are Ryan Said of Wixom, Mich., and Gary Greenwood of Irwin, Pa. "I fun fish St. Clair in the spring," explained Said. "Come tournament time, I fish Lake Erie." Said reported that both he and his co-angler partner had limits within the first 45 minutes of the day. He started with a drop-shot but the fish wanted a Poor Boy's tube more (smoke purple flash) so he switched. "I've got one real specific area that I left today with about 19 pounds. Then I went up shallow and Gary Greenwood gets some assistance holding up his 5-pound, 2-ounce smallmouth bass.caught a giant that weighed probably 5 1/2 pounds and that really helped." Anchoring Greenwood's 21-9 sack was a 5-pound, 2-ounce smallmouth. Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pros after day one: 7th: Joe Balog of Harrison Township, Mich., five bass, 20-7 8th: Jared Rhode of Port Clinton, Ohio, five bass, 20-5 9th: Skip Johnson of Goodells, Mich., five bass, 19-12 10th: John Devries of Fishers, Ind., five bass, 19-9 Rupe leads co-anglers Bryan Rupe took the co-angler lead Thursday after catching a 19-pound, 14-ounce limit. Rupe caught that weight from Lake St. Clair, the first limit of smallmouths in his life. Co-angler leader Bryan Rupe holds up part of his 19-pound, 14-ounce stringer."Every fish I caught, with the exception of one, was a big one," said the Mayfield, Ky., co-angler. "I probably caught eight or 10 fish today dragging a drop-shot with either a goby or a Roboworm through the grass. When it got hung, I'd rip it through the grass and a lot of times that's when I'd get my bites." Rupe said he lost a good one right at the boat as the fish jumped and spit the hook. He estimates it weighed nearly 5 pounds and would have culled out a 3-pounder. Without it, his big fish weighed 4 pounds, 8 ounces. "I can't complain, I'm in the lead. This is now one of my favorite places to come fish. I want to thank Bottom Line Bait and Tackle in town here. They set me up with exactly what I needed to catch them and showed me what to do." Hippensteel second Second-place co-angler Jim Hippensteel holds up two nice smallmouth bass.In second place is co-angler Jim Hippensteel of Rochester, Ind. Hippensteel caught a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 7 ounces. Raider, Gallion, Soulliere round out top five Derek Raider of Lexington, Ky., caught a 19-pound, 6-ounce limit for third place among the co-anglers. Marc Gallion of Lyons, Ill., caught a 19-5 limit for fourth. Derrick Soulliere of Windsor, Ontraio, rounds out the top five with 18 pounds, 8 ounces. Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers after day one: 6th: Tony Goff of Fortville, Ind., five bass, 18-7 6th: Chad Wright of Clarklake, Mich., five bass, 18-7 8th: Donald Sibley of Strasburg, Ohio, five bass, 18-5 9th: John Terry of Lexington, Ohio, five bass, 18-4 10th: George Wagner of Ypsilanti, Mich., five bass, 18-2 Day two of the EverStart Series event will begin Friday at 6 a.m. from Elizabeth Park Marina located at 202 Grosse Ile Parkway in Trenton.

Tags: headline-story 

/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-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 »

/news/2015-08-22-forrest-wood-cup-day-3-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 3 Coverage

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

/news/2015-08-21-ramie-races-into-the-lead

Ramie Races into the Lead

On the back of a 17-pound, 14-ounce limit, which is the biggest of the tournament thus far, Ramie Colson Jr. jumped from seventh place to take over the lead at the halfway point of the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. Colson’s two-day total is 31 pounds, 1 ounce, which puts him almost 3 pounds ahead of Tennessee’s Brad Knight. The Forrest Wood Cup, which is hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, moves into its top-20 round on Saturday. The top 10 pros after Saturday’s weigh-in advance to Sunday’s final round for a shot at the $500,000 top prize. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 2

At times, bass fishing can be a lot like real estate, where the three most important rules are location, location and location. The 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita presented by Walmart is starting to become a bit of a real estate game where location is the primary consideration in who climbs the leaderboard. And those mining the backs of creeks and tributaries are on the prime pieces of real estate. Consider that after day two, four of the top five pros are concentrating their fishing efforts in the back ends of creeks or rivers. All of these areas fit a classic late-summer, early-fall pattern where shad pack into the back of creek ditches that meander through shallow flats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-forrest-wood-cup-day-2-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 2 Coverage

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

/news/2015-08-20-wheeler-hunting-history

Wheeler Hunting History

It’s never been done before, and it hasn’t happened yet, but Jacob Wheeler is in prime position to become the first two-time Forrest Wood Cup champion in history. Wheeler, of Indianapolis, Ind., brought in a 16-pound, 2-ounce limit of Lake Ouachita bass on the first day of the Cup, which is presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-top-5-patterns-from-the-cup-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 1

After day one of the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita, several things have come to light. For one, this event is not likely to produce a runaway win for anyone like it did when Scott Martin won here in 2011. Second, when the pros said Ouachita was going to be stingy, they meant it – only 29 of the 50 pros checked in limits today. Third, firm patterns are hard to come by on Lake Ouachita in August. Jacob Wheeler took the lead on day one in the event that’s presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. With the help of a 5-pound bass, Wheeler weighed in a limit of 16 pounds, 2 ounces, but he had to sample a lot of different areas for his catch. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-forrest-wood-cup-day-1-coverage

Forrest Wood Cup Day 1 Coverage

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