UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Poirier pulls ahead

Pro Frank Poirier of Hopewell, Va., proudly displays his first-place catch during the opening round of EverStart Series competition on the Chesapeake Bay.

NORTH EAST, Md. - By almost any metric, fishing on the Chesapeake Bay was brutal today. Normally one of the most prolific fisheries on the East Coast, the "Bay" left plenty of EverStart Series anglers shaking their heads as they paraded across the stage Thursday - observing in almost lockstep accord that they've never seen this body of water fish so tough. To underscore this point, only 30 pros in the entire field even managed a five-fish stringer. On the co-angler side, a scant five anglers produced limits - an almost unprecedented occurrence for a tournament of this magnitude. But like every tournament, there are always a select few anglers who can decipher the most complex of puzzles even on the most fickle and difficult fisheries. And today, top honors went to Hopewell, Va., native Frank Poirier. Although Poirier acknowledged that he had a disappointing practice, he said that he learned just enough to come into today's competition with a semblance of a gameplan. "I really had a tough practice," Poirier said. "So I didn't come into today with a terrible amount of confidence." Poirier said that throughout the entire practice session he could only come up with a single pattern that showed any promise at all. But as it turned out, that pattern proved to make all the difference in the world in today's competition. "Heading into today, I really only had one pattern I had any confidence in at all," he said. "And the first two places we stopped at today I missed a couple of good opportunities. But then things started clicking after that. I probably caught about a dozen keepers pretty early and then I began looking for more areas after that. I spent a good part of today fine-tuning my pattern and adding a couple of twists to what was already working." The Virginia pro said the key to his success was developing an "area-specific pattern," which he ultimately parlayed into a 16-pound, 15-ounce limit. "I caught most of my fish shallow to mid-depth," he said. "I caught them on grass, wood and rocks. It's more of an area-specific pattern than a pattern where you use a specific bait or target some specific cover. I'm also using a variety of methods to catch them - crankbaits, spinnerbaits and soft plastics." Not surprisingly, Poirier said he was more than pleased with today's developments, especially given the fact that he wasn't very optimistic heading into Thursday's competition. "It feels really good to be in the position I'm in now," he said. "But more importantly, I feel like I can now catch five fish every day and that's important here. I'm going to go with the same gameplan tomorrow, but I might expand on it a little bit. And if I can get a limit early tomorrow, I should be in pretty good shape." However, Poirier knows all too well the dangers of getting too complacent. "I've been in the lead before and it's really just a hot seat," he said. "There are still two days to go. In some ways, I wish I was in second or third so I wouldn't have such a big target on my back. But tomorrow, I'm just going to go out there and go fishing. And then we'll see what happens." Schmitt scores second Pro Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Md., shows off his 16-pound, 10-ounce catch en route to a second-place after day one on the Chesapeake Bay.Bolstered by a catch of 16 pounds, 10 ounces, Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Md., found himself in second place and merely 5 ounces out of the overall lead. "I personally feel like it was going to be a lot better than it was out there today," said Schmitt, of landing in the runner-up position despite the difficult fishing conditions. "So I'm very satisfied so far, because it was tough out there." Schmitt said that one of the keys to his success was waiting out the grass bite - a pattern which many pros appeared to have abandoned earlier in the day. "I found a couple of key areas in the grass and that's what I fished today," he said. "I fished grass early in the morning and really stuck with it. And the bite really turned on at the very end of the day. A lot of boats were on that same grass at noon but by 1:30 p.m. they cleared out because I think a lot of the guys got frustrated and discouraged. But I stuck with it." Schmitt said he targeted bass flipping a jig as well as with a combination of Senkso and swimbaits. While Schmitt said he was happy with his second-place finish, he cautioned that Friday could bring a whole different weather element into play. "Tomorrow could be a whole different day," he said. "A cold front is moving in and if the wind picks up and blows hard in the afternoon, the bite could get really tough. And that's why it was important to do well today. After tomorrow though, I should have a pretty good idea if I can win this tournament." Stasiak grabs third Pro Matt Stasiak of Pittsburgh, Pa., finished day one in third place overall on the Chesapeake Bay.Heading into the Chesapeake Bay tourney, things weren't looking too great for Matt Stasiak of Pittsburgh, Pa. For starters, he'd never fished this body of water before. And secondly, during practice, he developed a horrible sinus infection that nearly torpedoed his chances before the tournament even started. "I got a sinus infection last Monday and that was really tough," said Stasiak. "I wound up fishing 12 to 14 hours a day because this was the first time I'd ever fished the Chesapeake Bay - but it was terrible." However, although his practice session was far from ideal, Stasiak said he was able to rely on the tidal fishing experience he'd gained over the years on the Potomac River. As a result, he was able put together a semblance of a gameplan which ultimately paid big dividends. "I know a little bit about tidal stuff because I'm familiar with fishing the Potomac," he said. "This time of year the fish are in a transitional period. So I knew you just have to put the lure in the right place. And it paid off. I'm really confident right now. And I'm absolutely happy with how things have turned out today." Stasiak, who ultimately boated a total catch of 16 pounds, 2 ounces, said he targeted bass using a combination of reaction and "moving" baits, keying on grass and flipping the occasional boat dock as well. "It took me all day but I finally figured out these fish," he said. "I covered a lot of water today and almost ran out of oil from running around so much. My goal was to get to as many spots as I could. I'm fishing grass and boat docks but the bites were few and far between. With that tide, timing is everything." Standing in third place overall, Stasiak said he is going to try and relax as much as possible and keep a level-headed approach heading into Friday's competition. "I'm just going to try and cover as much water as possible again, do what I do best and have fun," he said. Rodriguez snares fourth Pro Dan Rodriguez of Monkton, Md., parlayed his 37 years of fishing experience on the Chesapeake Bay into a fourth-place finish after day one of EverStart competition.With nearly four decades of fishing experience on the Chesapeake Bay, Dan Rodriguez of Monkton, Md., probably had a bit of an advantage over the majority of the field coming into the event. And today that advantage showed. Using a total catch of 16 pounds, Rodriguez landed in fourth place overall and remained less than 1 pound off the overall lead. "I feel pretty confident right now," said Rodriguez. "This is my home water and I've been fishing here for 37 years. I know anything can happen on this body of water, but I really think I'm going to catch them again tomorrow. " Because Rodriguez is comfortable enough fishing this waterway, the Maryland native said he has no problem gambling on a few long runs - which is exactly what he did today. "It took us about 40 minutes one-way just to get to our spot today," he said. "So I'm making a pretty long run, mainly to fish two rivers. I'm basically targeting some wood, a little bit of grass and a mud bank. Today I wound up catching a couple of limits so I'm feeling pretty good overall." Rodriguez said that a customized jig has been the key to his success so far. "I've got this homemade jig that they chew here like bubble gum," he said. "I caught all of my fish on it so far and I'm definitely not putting it down." Best of the rest Rounding out the top-five pros was Todd Helm of Baltimore, Md. Helm ultimately landed a total catch of 15 pounds, 15 ounces to net fifth place overall. Rounding out the top-five pros was Todd Helm of Baltimore, Md. Helm ultimately landed a total catch of 15 pounds, 15 ounces to net fifth place overall. Meanwhile, David Wickenheiser of Edgewood, Md., landed the day's big bass award in the Pro Division after netting a 4-pound, 15-ounce largemouth. The fish ultimately earned Wickenheiser a check for $152. For a complete list of pro results, click here Baird nets co-angler lead Lenny Baird of Stafford, Va., used a total catch of 13 pounds, 12 ounces to grab the top spot in the Co-angler Division on day one at the Chesapeake Bay.As one of only five co-anglers to return to the marina with a limit, Lenny Baird of Stafford, Va., was understandably pleased with his performance. Throw in the fact that Baird's 13-pound, 12-ounce limit was good enough to grab the overall lead in the Co-angler Division and well, you had one happy camper. "We just had a great day," said Baird. "We had a lot of fun. I caught 20 plus fish today and I didn't even catch 20 fish in all of practice combined. So yeah, I had a good day." Baird said that he targeted bass using a combination of jigs and rubber worms. "We're fishing in a small, shallow, narrow creek," he said. "I was basically flipping wood. The tide was also perfect for us today. And it should be all week long as long as the wind doesn't muddy everything up. Overall I feel pretty good. But there is still a lot of fishing left and anything can happen on this body of water. Tomorrow I just have to execute, get the fish in the boat and I'll be fine." Best of the rest Harry Moore of Clarington, Ohio, parlayed a total catch of 12 pounds, 15 ounces into a second-place finish. Marvin Reese of Gwynn Oak, Md., finished the day in third place overall in the Co-angler Division with a catch of 12 pounds, 7 ounces.Marvin Reese of Gwynn Oak, Md., took third place overall in the Co-angler Division with a catch of 12 pounds, 7 ounces. Jonathan Lang of Joppa, N.J., netted fourth place with a total catch of 10 pounds, 2 ounces. "This is my first EverStart event and the biggest tournament of my career so I'm pretty happy with the way things went today," said Lang. "There are still two more days of fishing left so hopefully I can keep it up." However, for Lang, things didn't quite go as scripted to start out the most important tourney of his young career. Co-angler Jonathan Lang of Joppa, N.J., netted fourth place during the first day of Chesapeake Bay EverStart competition with a total catch of 10 pounds, 2 ounces."My partner's boat broke down early this morning so we're forced to stay around the marina," he said. "But maybe it was a blessing in disguise because we did pretty well." Lang said he ultimately targeted bass holding to submerged wood to land the majority of his catch. "I was flipping a jig and pretty much did that all day long," he said. "And it worked out pretty well in the end." Meanwhile, Rob Tipton of Williamstown, N.J., grabbed fifth place overall with a catch of 9 pounds, 5 ounces. Dick Gum of Woodbridge, Va., landed the day's big bass award in the Co-angler Division after netting a 5-pound, 14-ounce largemouth - the largest fish caught in the tournament to date. For a complete list of co-angler results, click here. Swarms of seagulls flee the dock as EverStart boaters return to the marina after a hard day of fishing on the Chesapeake Bay.EverStart Series action resumes during Friday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7 a.m. at Anchor Marina, located at 36 Iroquois Drive in North East, Md. Bass-fishing fans can also tune into FLW Live on FLWOutdoors.com at 3 p.m. Eastern time to watch live streaming video and audio of Friday's day-two weigh in. 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.

Tags: headline-story 


Devere Takes BFL Wild Card Win

The decision of what to fish come tournament time can be difficult for most. For others – like Mike Devere – relying on a single bait that you have confidence in is all you need. Devere’s one bait, one rod method was strong enough to carry him to victory by nearly 2 pounds in the BFL Wild Card held on Lake Hartwell. READ MORE »


Hanselmania 4.0

Saturday, in Paducah, Ky., on the shores of the Ohio River, Ray Hanselman rewrote history for the second time this season. After winning all three 2015 Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division events, which had never been done before, Hanselman came to Kentucky and won the Rayovac FLW Series Championship. READ MORE »


Rayovac Championship Day 3 Coverage

The final day of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River will largely be fished on the Tennessee River, as all but two anglers rolled up it to chase smallmouths. READ MORE »


Hanselman on the Verge of Four-Peat

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River was fished primarily on the nearby Tennessee River and resulted in a major shuffling of the leaderboard. In the end, Ray Hanselman rose from second to first and will lead the top 10 into the final day with 30 pounds, 14 ounces. READ MORE »


Top 5 Patterns from the Ohio River Day 2

After two days of competition, Ray Hanselman leads the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River, but as the leaderboard has reflected, the river’s hefty smallmouths are certainly capable of producing some fireworks and providing some surprises. READ MORE »


Rayovac Championship Day 2 Coverage

Down at Paducah, the start of day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship was just about perfect – a light wind, temps in the low 40s and no fog. That’s not the case elsewhere. READ MORE »


Barnes Blasts 21 on the Ohio

On day one of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River David Barnes Sr. of China, Maine, hauled exactly 21 pounds of smallmouth across the stage to take the lead on a day that was tough for many. READ MORE »


Top 5 Patterns from the Ohio River Day 1

Shortly after David Barnes electrified the Rayovac FLW Series Championship weigh-in with his leading weight of 21 pounds of smallmouths, Ray Hanselman followed suit with an all-smallmouth limit weighing 19 pounds. READ MORE »


Rayovac Championship Day 1 Coverage

Updates from day one of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River. READ MORE »


McCaig Wins Neely Henry Regional

There are times that a little local knowledge helps you in a bass tournament, and then there are times it does not. And sometimes, it pays to ignore past experiences altogether, as Mark McCaig figured out en route to winning the Oct. 22-24, 2015 Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Neely Henry out of Gadsden, Ala. By disregarding what his local experience might have suggested he do and approaching the tournament a little differently, the Oxford, Ala., boater posted a three-day total weight of 45 pounds, 7 ounces to take home the $20,000 winner’s purse as well as a 2015 Ranger Z518C with 200-hp outboard. READ MORE »


Goodwin Wins at Lake of the Ozarks

Day-two leader Shonn Goodwin of Moore, Okla., held on to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional presented by Mercury at Lake of the Ozarks Oct. 22-24 by bringing four bass to the scale on the third and final day. Those fish weighed 8 pounds, 11 ounces. His three-day total of 14 bass weighed 43-13. For the win, Goodwin earned $20,000 and a new Ranger bass boat. READ MORE »


Walters Wins Wateree BFL Regional

Todd Walters relied on a combo pattern to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional on Lake Wateree. The North Carolina boater fished rocky cover upstream and brush piles in the lake's clear lower end. The two-part program produced a three-day winning weight of 47 pounds, 4 ounces, which was 11 pounds better than second place. READ MORE »


Uribe By An Ounce

After Jody Jordan brought 24 pounds, 5 ounces to push his total past 66 pounds on the final day the crowd waited with bated breath for day two leader Joe Uribe Jr. to bring his fish to the scale. As Uribe transferred his third bass from the bag to the scale, he shook his head and whispered back “you’ve got it,” to the watching Jordan. READ MORE »


Anderson Wins KY Lake Regional

You might say there weren’t any surprises at the 2015 Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional presented by Lowrance on Kentucky Lake Oct. 15-17. The techniques of the top 12 pros who fished the final day were typical of the Tennessee River in fall: surface fishing with frogs and Zara Spooks and winding Rat-L-Traps and ChatterBaits. The winners weren’t surprising either: Ryan Sykes of Hamilton, Ohio, won the co-angler division for the second consecutive year, and Tennessee pro Brent Anderson earned his sixth win on the Kentucky/Barkley system since 2009. READ MORE »


Grover Takes Co-angler Title on Clear Lake

Rick Grover of Trabuco Canyon, Calif., pulled in 55 pounds, 5 ounces of bass for the Rayovac FLW Series co-angler win on Clear Lake. All told, it was worth a new Ranger Z117 with a 90-horsepower outboard and $5,000. READ MORE »


Clear Lake Midday Update Day 3



Uribe Takes Lead and AOY at Clear Lake

Joe Uribe Jr. jumped into the lead going into the final day of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Clear Lake. Uribe caught 20 pounds, 13 ounces on day two for a total of 44 pounds, 8 ounces and was the only pro to weigh more than 20 pounds both days. READ MORE »


Top 5 Patterns from Clear Lake Day 2

When the scales had closed after the second day of the Rayovac FLW Series Western Division tournament presented by Evinrude on Clear Lake, no doubt more than a few anglers breathed a sigh of relief that they were still in contention. READ MORE »


Clear Lake Midday Update Day 2

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Clear Lake has been a little slower than day one. READ MORE »


Crutcher Cracks 29-9

Midway through a weigh-in that was noticeably lacking in super-sized bags, Mark Crutcher of Lakeport, Calif., lit up the leaderboard with 29 pounds, 9 ounces of Clear Lake goodness. READ MORE »