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 

/news/2015-03-28-birge-buzzes-ahead

Birge Buzzes Ahead

Today started off with a slightly miserable 31-degree air temperature, but it didn’t take long for the top 20 pros to really heat up on Lewis Smith Lake at the second stop of the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour presented by Evinrude. Reports poured in throughout the day of big bass – especially big largemouths – being caught off beds. It looked at first as if one of the “largemouth lookers” might piece together a big enough bag to snatch the lead away from Oklahoma rookie Zack Birge, who struggled early to make his shallow topwater pattern work. Unfortunately for the rest of the field, the young gun Birge has the coolness and patience of a veteran, and he stuck with his game plan of throwing a buzzbait and soft jerkbait rig until the sun had time to warm the shallows and spur the fish to become more active. Birge tallied 17 pounds, 11 ounces today, raising his three-day total to 54-8 and giving him a lead of 3-11 over Texas veteran Clark Wendlandt in second place. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 3

After three days, it looks as if tournament leader Zack Birge has the quality largemouth bite in the bushes wired. But behind him on the leaderboard are nine pros doing everything from sight-fishing to catching schooling bass and everything in between. Even with all the patterns in play, few have fizzled. The sight-fishers have reported finding new bedders, the schoolers are still schooling and a couple of guys have even started tapping floating docks. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-lewis-smith-lake-day-3-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 3 Coverage

Day 3 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-topwater-takes-birge-to-the-top

Topwater Takes Birge to the Top

On a day when chilly, windy post-front conditions challenged many Walmart FLW Tour anglers who were relying on sight-fishing for spawning bass, Zack Birge bucked the trend and pulled out a pair of topwaters to haul in 17 pounds, 14 ounces. Birge jumped from third place past day-one leader Drew Benton to take over the top spot on Lewis Smith Lake in the event, which is presented by Evinrude. Birge’s two-day total of 36-13 has him positioned 1 pound ahead of Benton. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 2

While air and water temperatures plummeted on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude, the big surprise came in the stability of the fishing patterns amidst such change. Zack Birge found plenty of production on his primary pattern to send him to the top of the leaderboard, and those under him held true to their patterns as well to secure a ticket to day three’s top 20. Among the biggest surprises was the number of pros who were still able to pluck fish off beds. Most pros that were sight-fishing say the bass are committed to beds and that the cold snap will not run them off at this point in time. Despite the cold, some even found new fish on beds that were not there yesterday. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-lewis-smith-lake-day-2-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 2 Coverage

Day 2 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-benton-blasts-20-12-on-lewis-smith

Benton Blasts 20-12 on Lewis Smith

Panama City, Fla., pro Drew Benton jumped into the early lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude with a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 12 ounces. Benton caught a mix of largemouths and spotted bass, and revealed that both black bass species are spawning. He leads a tight top 20 that includes 18 pros that caught more than 15 pounds each. The first day was an absolute fish-fest. Of the 154 pros fishing this tournament, 138 weighed limits. Brad Roberts of Faubush, Ky., has a 2-ounce lead in the co-angler division with a 13-pound, 4-ounce limit. Tomorrow he’ll try to defend his lead on the final day of co-angler competition. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 1

While Drew Benton was busy bugging bedding fish for his day-one tournament lead, several others behind him were scoring big with other fishing options on Lewis Smith Lake. Sight-fishing also played a role in the top limits produce by Tracy Adams, Scott Martin and Ish Monroe, but Clayton Batts and Zack Birge both brought in big bags with other patterns. Click here to read about Benton’s day-one performance at the second Walmart FLW Tour event of 2015, which is presented by Evinrude. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-lewis-smith-lake-day-1-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 1 Coverage

Day 1 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-22-arkansas-anglers-win-college-open

Arkansas Anglers Win College Open

Consistency was the key for the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville here in the FLW College Fishing Kentucky Lake Open as Zachary Pickle and Drew Porto won the event with a two-day total of 43 pounds, 12 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-kendrick-king-on-guntersville

Kendrick King On Guntersville

Kendrick, who is fishing the Rayovac FLW Series in hopes of qualifying for the FLW Tour, caught more than 25 pounds each day of the event and finihsid in fine fasion when it counted. Kendick was catching nearly all of his bass around big schools of bait with a Houdini pearl-colored Scottsboro Tackle swimbait from 15- to 25-feet of water. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-epting-s-30-pounds-tops-on-santee-cooper

Epting's 30 Pounds Tops on Santee Cooper

SUMMERTON, S.C. – Chris Epting of Chapin, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 30 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Santee Cooper. For his victory, Epting earned $3,679. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-wood-rock-key-for-middleton-s-victory

Wood, Rock Key for Middleton's Victory

HUDDLESTON, Va. – Dennis Middleton of Madison Heights, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division tournament of 2015 on Smith Mountain Lake. For his victory, Middleton earned $7,199. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-johnson-wins-on-dale-hollow

Johnson Wins on Dale Hollow

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – Robby Johnson of Byrdstown, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mountain Division tournament of 2015 on Dale Hollow Lake. For his victory, Johnson earned $5,689. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-griffin-gets-win-on-ross-barnett

Griffin Gets Win on Ross Barnett

BRANDON, Miss. – Jason Griffin of Benton, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 23 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Ross Barnett Reservoir. For his victory, Griffin earned $5,349. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-top-5-patterns-from-guntersville-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Guntersville Day 2

The second day of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division tournament on Lake Guntersville proved as remarkable as the first – or perhaps better, considering today’s parade of big fish included a 12-pound, 10-ounce behemoth caught by fourth-place pro Trevor Fitzgerald for the day’s Big Bass prize. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-hall-holds-steady-for-lead

Hall Holds Steady For Lead

Joe Hall of Lake City, Minn. wasn’t confident about his chances going onto the second day of competition of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event on Lake Guntersville. Nonetheless, he held steady with a 27-pound, 5-ounce catch that only barely fell short of the 28-1 he weighed on the first day. With a two-day total of 55 pounds, 6 ounces, Hall holds a 1-pound, 12-ounce lead over Cameron Gautney going into the final day of the Mercury presented tournament. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-missouri-anglers-lead-college-open

Missouri Anglers Lead College Open

Andrew Nordbye and Adam Almohtadi of Northwest Missouri State University of Maryville, Mo., took the lead in the opening round of the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake with 25 pounds, 2 ounces. Heading into Saturday’s second and final round, the University of Kentucky’s Ryan Collins and Hunter Fulcher sit in second place with 22-14, while Ethan Flack and Konnor Kennedy of the University of Alabama are currently third with 22-9. Details to follow. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-day-1-patterns-from-the-college-open

Day 1 Patterns from the College Open

The Northwest Missouri State University team of Andrew Nordbye and Adam Almontadi took the day-one lead in the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake. While their pattern seems to be effectively refined – they were using only one lure and had no others out on the deck – Nordbye and Almontadi don’t have this one sewed up yet. The rest of the top five is just a few pounds behind the leaders. Here’s how they made it into contention going into the final day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-gautney-under-pressure

Gautney Under Pressure

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event on Guntersville is just as misty and nasty as the first. Lucky for us, the first day of the Mercury-presented event featured huge catches throughout the field. READ MORE »