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

Schmitt surges to victory

EverStart Series pro Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Md., parlayed a three-day, 52-pound, 4-ounce catch into a tournament title on the Chesapeake Bay.

NORTH EAST, Md. - Before the start of the EverStart event on the Chesapeake Bay, Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Md., was having second thoughts about entering the contest. With a brand new baby at home, Schmitt had some real reservations about leaving his young family behind to go out and fish a tournament. However, as it turned out, the decision to fish this week is something he surely won't regret. Although the Maryland pro started the day in fourth place, Schmitt turned on the afterburners and landed a whopping 21-pound, 1-ounce stringer - by far the largest sack recorded in the entire event - to cruise to victory. For his efforts, Schmitt won nearly $25,000 as well as a brand new, fully rigged Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower engine. "It's just unbelievable," Schmitt said. "We had a baby on Sept. 1 and I honestly felt a little guilty coming here. But hopefully my wife will be a little happier now." Schmitt said he targeted bass all week with a 6th Sense swimbait in an American Shad color, concentrating his fishing efforts on one particular trench in large grass flat. Although many anglers complained that the grass bite had completely died off this week, Schmitt stuck to his gameplan, never wavered and ultimately walked away with a tournament title. "I fished exclusively in the grass flats all week," he said. "That's just what I do best. Basically, I fished one trench the entire time. I call it the `magic trench' because the fish were migrating in and out of it all week. It was 6 feet deep surrounded by about 2 feet of water on all sides. And with the tide being so low today it really helped because those fish just (concentrated) in that trench. The tide really pulled those fish right into that spot. I'm actually surprised that there weren't more people fishing there." Heading into the finals, Schmitt knew that he had to make a big move if he was to have any chance at the title. But he had some real concerns that his fish had dried up. As a result, he didn't have a whole lot of confidence in today's outcome. However, after the first hour of competition, all that changed. Pro Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Md., shows off his first-place trophy after winning the EverStart Series title on the Chesapeake Bay."I really thought my fish were done coming into today," said Schmitt. "I really thought this cold front killed them. But first thing this morning, I realized that wasn't the case and I had a real chance to win. I wound up catching all of my weight in the first hour. The tide was perfect and the fish just went off. Today they bit early and they bit late." In the end, Schmitt netted a total, three-day catch of 52 pounds, 4 ounces, out-fishing his next closest competitor by more than 2 full pounds. "I really wasn't quite sure what I had coming back today so I was still nervous," he said. "You can catch some big bags on this lake and I wasn't sure what the other guys had. So it's definitely nice to win. It really was a tough week of fishing for me so it's really been a very rewarding experience. I'm happy." Moran makes his move Heading into weigh-in, Mike Moran of Ruff's Dale, Pa., thought he'd done enough to pull out a victory. With an 18-pound, 14-ounce stringer in his bag, Moran knew full well that no one had landed that much weight in the entire tournament. However, when Schmitt stepped to the scales, Moran's dreams of a tournament title were dashed. Pro Mike Moran of Ruffs Dale, Pa., finished the EverStart Series  Chesapeake Bay event in second place overall."I lost three fish today but I was still feeling pretty good until I saw (Schmitt) weigh-in," Moran said. "But overall I had a good week. The people here are tremendous and everything has been first rate. I really can't complain one bit." Like Schmitt, Moran said that he relied heavily on one prime fishing area to land the majority of his catch all week. "I stayed in one place the entire tournament," he said. "It was a stretch about a couple thousand yards long and I probably hauled 85 pounds out of there between me and my (partners) in three days. Today the bite was pretty steady all day. I just wish I could have stayed out there about an hour longer. But I definitely wound up catching a lot more than I expected to catch this week, especially after practice." Moran said that he capitalized on a flipping bite, targeting wood and hard cover with a Zoom Baby Brush Hog, while mixing in the occasional "moving" baits and ChatterBaits. "I know this place has a lot of big fish, but the way it fished this week I'm really happy with the way things turned out," he said. "I really did have a great week." Moran's total, 50-pound, 1-ounce stringer was ultimately good enough for second place overall. The Pennsylvania pro also took home more than $9,100 in winnings. Day-two leader falls to third Although Frank Poirier of Hopewell, Va., led the EverStart event on the Chesapeake Bay for the first two days, he failed to hold on the lead when it mattered most. However, despite ultimately finishing the tournament in third place, he took his final-day performance in stride. Day-two pro leader Frank Poirier of Hopewell, Va., had to settle for third during final weigh-in on the Chesapeake Bay."Coming into this event I didn't feel really good," he said. "I had to find new fish every day and really had to scramble out there. But I've been blessed. It was a good week and a lot of fun." Poirier said that the wind really affected his bite in the finals, leaving his primary fishing holes high and dry during the finals. "The places where I was catching fish literally dried up today," he said. "That north wind blew straight down the bay and pushed all of my water out. So once again, it was a day of adjustments. I had to abandon my (primary) pattern with two hours left to go after some deeper fish." While Poirier acknowledged that he was in real trouble with the time ticking off the clock, his gamble almost paid off. "I went for those deeper fish and, praise God, they were there," he said. "I was targeting fish in about 3 to 4 feet of water, keying on rocks and wood. And during the last two hours of the day I probably caught around a dozen keepers. Those last two hours saved me because I was able to cull out everything I had. But it was just a crazy week. It was nuts. It was basically scramble, scramble, scramble every day and then make some more adjustments." Poirier said he used a combination of ChatterBaits, CP crankbaits and a Berkley Pit Boss to land the majority of his catch. Ultimately, Poirier's 15-pound, 9-ounce catch in the finals (and 49-pound, 3-ounce total stringer) came up just short. But the Virginia pro still managed to net more than $6,000 in winnings. Harvey grabs fourth Fishing in his first-ever EverStart Series event, local pro Charles Harvey of North East, Md., managed to parlay a 40-pound, 14-ounce catch into a fourth-place finish.Fishing in his first-ever EverStart Series event, local pro Charles Harvey of North East, Md., managed to parlay a 40-pound, 14-ounce catch into a fourth-place finish. However, despite having some key local knowledge of the Chesapeake Bay, Harvey acknowledged that the tournament was far from easy. "I'm a local pro so I really expected to see some bigger bags this week," he said. "But the wind pretty much blew all of the water of my areas so I really had to scramble out there today." Harvey said he relied primarily on flipping a Booya jig at boat docks during the most of the final day of competition. "Today I used a jig all day long, had five bites and got them all in the boat," he said. "I came in fourth place overall and didn't lose a fish all week - so it's been a good week. I'm tickled to death just to have made the top 10." For his efforts, Harvey netted nearly $5,500. Rodriguez snares fifth place Pro Dan Rodriguez of Monkton, Md., took fifth place overall at the EverStart event on the Chesapeake Bay.Bolstered by a total, three-day catch of 40 pounds, 8 ounces, Dan Rodriguez of Monkton, Md., finished the Chesapeake Bay event in fifth place. But like most of the other finalists, today's windy conditions really threw a monkey wrench into the fishing strategy of the Maryland pro. "The wind kind of messed me up, especially with my jig bite," said Rodriguez, who targeted bass all week on a customized, homemade jig with a Havoc trailer. "I also lost two half decent fish on a crankbait so that didn't help either. I made a really long run today and because of the wind I just decided to stay there all day because I wouldn't have been able to get to my other spots. So it was tough." Rodriguez said he primarily targeted two rivers, keying on hard cover, rock and wood to land the majority of his catch this week. "I fished that spot for the last 20 years," said Rodriguez, who acknowledged that he has nearly four decades of fishing experience on the Chesapeake Bay. "You just try to make the right decision to win the tournament and today it didn't work out. There are lots of big fish here but I couldn't get enough of those big bites today." In the end, though, Rodriguez said he was happy with his overall performance. "It was a great experience," he said. "I love fishing the Bay. It's just a great fishery. Overall, I had a good day and really good event so I'm happy." For his fifth-place finish, Rodriguez netted over $4,800 in winnings. Best of the rest Rounding out the top-10 pro finalists: Pro Matt Stasiak of Pittsburgh, Pa., took sixth place overall at the EverStart Series Chesapeake Bay event.6th: Matt Stasiak of Pittsburgh, Pa. - 38 pounds, 15 ounces. 7th: Michael A. Sentore of Gloucester City, N.J. - 36 pounds, 11 ounces. 8th: Joseph Wood of Westport, Mass. - 36-pounds, 6 ounces. 9th: Jay Pirollo of Warwick, Md. - 34 pounds, 5 ounces. 10th: Jerrod Lloyd of Millville, N.J. - 29 pounds, 2 ounces. For a complete list of pro results, click here 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 »