UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Erie

Thrift, Tharp flip flop at top

Chevy pro Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., took over the top spot in the standings after the third day of Forrest Wood Cup competition with a total catch of 39 pounds, 6 ounces.

SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY, La. - Thanks to a late-day kicker, Bryan Thrift and Randall Tharp swapped places at the top of the standings at the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup. Instead of Tharp leading by 4 ounces, Thrift sits perched at the top by the same margin with one day remaining on the Red River. Coming in to the year-end championship, Thrift stated that he hated river systems and was apprehensive about his chances to succeed. But if he catches a good stringer tomorrow, he'll have $500,000 reasons to change his mind. "It's still anybody's game," said Thrift, who officially weighed 9 pounds, 15 ounces Saturday. "Somebody in sixth or seventh could go out tomorrow and try something off the wall and catch 18 pounds like Randall and I did on the first day and win this thing. The river is capable of producing those type of weights, so I really don't believe that anybody is out of this." Thrift said that despite taking the lead, most of the day was a struggle. He estimated that he caught only eight or nine keepers throughout the day, and four were barely over the 12-inch minimum length Bryan Thrift speed reels his fifth keeper of day two into the boat. requirement. "I tried to find places in practice where I could get multiple bites, but they're slowly fading away. The places where I was getting three or four bites each day are now only getting me one, sometimes none. Today I fished around 40 to 50 different places. I've been fishing wood, pads, rocks - anything that looks good. I've been up to the train trestle in Shreveport and I've been down as far as Pool 4. I'm just putting the trolling motor down and covering water." While it's true that Thrift is running and gunning, he's also fishing incredibly slow at times. He spends nearly three hours of the day on his one big-fish spot, a point located in a backwater. Thrift puts the boat in 16 feet of water and throws up into 2 feet. Today, he visited it three times and his one quality bite came at 3:20 in the afternoon. That spot has produced four kickers this week and all have bit an 1/8-ounce Evercast Lures shaky head rigged with a 6 1/2-inch Damiki Finesse Miki. Occasionally, Thrift will also mix in a Trick Worm or a ChatterBait (Fluke trailer). Four of his weigh fish came from Pool 5, the other, a 2-pounder from Pool 4. "I was only down there for 25 minutes. I caught that one and came right back up." While he's sure to go back down tomorrow, he had completed running to Pool 3 earlier in the week. But that's too big of a risk now. "Tomorrow I'm going to do the same deal. If it's not working, I'll do something else. I'm not going to get stale in my approach and go down dying with one thing. If I'm not getting bit, I'll change it up and try to make them bite something else. I think I'm most likely going to have to run some new water." Tharp confident in second Two years ago, Tharp got a taste of what it felt like to contend for a Forrest Wood Cup. He thinks he now knows what it takes to win one. He prepares to swing it in."Things got a little more clear for me today," said the EverStart pro. "I know exactly what I need to do win to this tournament and I know exactly where I'm going." While Tharp weighed 9 pounds, 7 ounces, he failed to capitalize on three "giant bites" this afternoon. That his him convinced he's on the right fish to win. To catch those fish, he throws a number of baits - from a swim jig to a squarebill crankbait to a frog. He also spends a good portion of the day flipping. Nearly all of Tharp's time is spent in Pool 5 backwater areas. Ironically, he started the tournament with the intention of fishing an area called the White House, south of the launch in Pool 5. But Larry Nixon was already on it. While Tharp is confident in himself, he respects the talent and ability of Thrift and the others in contention. "Four ounces? That's awful close - and Larry and Jacob aren't far behind either. Whoever goes out and catches a big bag is going to win this deal." Tharp believes this tournament is going to be won in the backwaters and that looks closer and closer to a truth with each passing day. "One of the guys I've been sharing my best water with got cut today so now I have it all to myself. I'm keeping it real simple. I'm rotating between two areas the whole day on Sunday. I'm still catching my biggest bass in the hottest part of the day." Nixon still third Larry Nixon slowly works his big-fish spot early Saturday morning. General Nixon sits in third place for the third consecutive day, but instead of gaining ground on the leaders like yesterday, he lost a bit as he weighed only 8 pounds, 5 ounces. Nixon started on his big-fish area, the same area that has delivered 4-pounders on each of the first two days, but caught nothing except drum. "Boy, what a struggle," he said. "You don't how hard I worked for those five little fish. The boat traffic killed me today, because it made everything from the bank to 15 feet out really dirty. What I was looking for today was a very flat bank with a little undercut with the right kind of grass." Nixon left the big fish spot, a shallow milfoil bed, at 10 a.m. From there, he put a flipping stick in his hand with a little Yamamoto bait and just grinded out what he could in Pool 5. With a total weight of 35 pounds, 14 ounces, Nixon is still in contention for an overdue Forrest Wood Cup win. Wheeler soars to fourth Jacob Wheeler holds up a 3-pound frog fish that pushed him into double digits. After catching a measly 7 pounds, 4 ounces on day one, Jacob Wheeler's chances of repeating as Forrest Wood Cup champion looked bleak to say the least. But yesterday he snuck into the top 20 with a comeback sack of 13 pounds, 7 ounces. Today, he rode a strong frog bite to a 14-pound, 4-ounce stringer, by far the heaviest of the day. He'll enter the final day with 34 pounds, 15 ounces and a deficit of just over 4 pounds. "I started the day flipping a Trigger X Goo Bug in the main river," said Wheeler. "At about noon I switched up to the backwaters and put the frog in my hand." The frog ended up culling three fish. Although they didn't make it to weigh-in today, Wheeler also caught several fish drop-shotting a Probe Worm around channel cuts. The Indiana pro started the tournament fishing backwaters, but was forced to the main river when the water temperature dropped 10 degrees or more in some of his areas. Now that the weather has stabilized, those backwaters are getting more and more productive. "I need 17 pounds to win tomorrow, maybe 15 pounds realistically. If I can get a giant bite it's possible and they are back there. I'm excited to have a chance to be the first two-time Cup champion. I feel good about my chances now." With his weights increasing each day, Wheeler will be one to watch - particularly around 1 p.m., the time his frog bite peaks. Rose retains fifth Mark Rose plays a crankbait fish to the boat Saturday morning. For the third consecutive day, Mark Rose holds down fifth place, even though his 9-pound, 9-ounce stringer was his lightest yet of the week. Rose made a quick stop at his primary area at the mouth of Port Lake and the main river channel, but as he suspected that area was milked dry. He then completely scrapped his plan and ran towards the White House. Instead of fishing in it with Nixon and Matt Arey, Rose cranked a shallow flat on the outside. He had been contemplating the move for some time as the Walmart pro believes the water clarity is slowly improving. After he left the White House he fished other similar areas, all in Pool 5. "I caught a 3-pounder late in the day that really saved me," said Rose, who finished second at the 2011 FLW Tour qualifier on the Red. "I have a lot of anticipation for tomorrow; I still don't think I'm out of it. I've said all along 12 pounds a day would win this thing so I need 15 pounds tomorrow." Earlier in the week when he fished close he flipped with the new 1/2-ounce Strike King Structure Jig and used a shaky head with a Fat Baby Finesse Worm. He also occasionally mixed in the Strike King Series 3 crankbait. Rose's total weight sits at 34 pounds, 6 ounces. Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pros at the Forrest Wood Cup after day three: 6th: Robbie Dodson of Harrison, Ark., 33-5 7th: Kerry Milner of Bono, Ark., 32-13 8th: Troy Morrow of Eastanollee, Ga., 32-7 9th: Tom Monsoor of La Crosse, Wis., 32-4 10th: Michael Neal of Dayton, Tenn., 32-4 The final takeoff is scheduled for 7 a.m. Central time from Red River South Marina located at 250 Red River South Marina Road in Bossier City, La. As a proud sponsor of FLW, Walmart offers one of the most comprehensive selections of fishing tackle and equipment in the industry. To find great deals on Walmart's entire collection of rods, reels, baits and electronics, click here.

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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Forrest Wood Cup Day 4 Coverage

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

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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 »

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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 »

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Forrest Wood Cup Day 3 Coverage

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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 »

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Forrest Wood Cup Day 2 Coverage

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

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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 »

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Forrest Wood Cup Day 1 Coverage

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