Cecil slides by on Toledo Bend

After nearly bombing on day one, Russell Cecil recovered and won the Toldedo Bend event.

MANY, La. - It's cliched, but true: you can't win a tournament on the first day, but you can certainly lose it. Well, Russell Cecil is happy that he came out on the right side of that premise and found himself victorious at the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division tournament on Toledo Bend. "On the first day, I was so close to spinning out," the Willis, Texas pro recalls. "At noon, I had no fishRussell Cecil reacts to the news of his Toledo Bend victory. and I decided I had to run somewhere, do something and change everything up. I ran to a place I'd fished and practice and caught two little ones - like 15-inchers - and saw a 7-pounder on a bed with a buck (male bass) with her. I caught the buck and she pulled right up there and I caught that 7-pounder. "With 5 minutes to go, I pulled into a pocket I was saving. I had one hot fish in there; I caught it and got to the weigh-ins with 16 pounds, 13 ounces. And I almost had nothing the first day." Day two was the meat wagon, as Cecil sacked up a whopping 29-2 - the tournament's heaviest catch. This raised him from 13th place to first and positioned him to overcome the final-round's unforeseen limitations. "Every big fish I came across I caught," Cecil said. "I had a 6 1/2-pounder, a 7 1/2-, a 9 1/2-. It was just one of those days. I was incredibly blessed yesterday. I couldn't do anything wrong. A Big Bite Warmouth was the main bait for Toledo Bend winner Russell Cecil.Weather complicated matters on day three, as a dense fog covered the lake and forced FLW officials to postpone the final takeoff by 4 1/2 hours. In an effort to allow anglers as much fishing time as possible, the day was extended by two hours. Nevertheless, that critical morning bite was gone and anglers found themselves scrambling to rework their game plans. Again, Cecil found himself in a nearly heart-breaking situation. With Todd Castledine sitting less than two pounds off the lead, Cecil's decided to secure an early limit and then go hunting "game-changers" - big kicker fish that could push him over the finish line with a comfortable margin. As it turned out, Cecil caught a limit fairly easily, but never found his big-fish opportunity. Ultimately, he'd catch 15-10 on day three to end with a tournament total of 61-9 and a 7-ounce margin of victoryA huge day-two catch fueled Russell Cecil over second-place Clark Reehm. "I'm about as excited as I've ever been about winning one of these because I sure didn't think I pulled it off today," he said. Fishing the mid-lake area, Cecil caught all of his bass by sight fishing. His primary bait was a Big Bite Warmouth in the bluegill color. This soft plastic bait resembles the small perch that harass bedding bass by attempting to eat the eggs. "I also mixed it up some," he said. "I was trying to trick them, sneak up on them, and do the best I could to catch them." Reehm rises to second After holding at third for two days, Texas pro Clark Reehm, caught the heaviest sack of day three - 21-0 - and gained a notch to finish second with 61-2. For him, committing to a sight-fishing program and exercising a high level of patience and persistence was intrinsic to his success. "When you're bed fishing, it comes down to decisions," he said. "I had three different fish that I married today. I was in one pocket almost the entire time." Joined by his son Ash, second-place pro Clark Reehm shows off one of his fish.Here, Reehm engaged in an often-frustrating chess match with big, cagey females and the smaller males intent on impressing the gals with their nest-guarding skills. The challenge was to get the heavyweight females sufficiently irritated so they'd bite the bait before the scrappy little males. Reehm recounted multiple instances of the males getting to the bait first, but he got enough of the right ones when it counted. Of course, he must have lamented the clock running on a big one that might have changed the event's outcome. "With about 10 minutes left, I got one of those big females to bite and she ripped my bait off," Reehm said. "I decided to rig up again and the whole time, I'm having my co-angler tell me the time - how much longer do I have? "I pitched my bait back in there and my line takes off to the side - it was one of those stinking males again. The whole time, that female's nosing down (on the bait) and I'm counting the minutes down and finally I said `We have to go.' I got back to the check-in at 4:59. Again, it comes down to decisions and I was around the right fish." For baits, Reehm said: "I ran the gamut with sight-fishing tools. My boat looks like a porcupine when I'm fishing because I have rods sticking everywhere. But when I'm bed-fishing, I have two primary deals: I have a big baits as an aggravator because I'm trying to get those fish fired up. A lot of times that bait won't even have a hook because I don't want to hook the fish. There's too much plastic there and the bait balls up on your hook. "Then, I have two baits that are my closers. One is a Kicker Fish Baits High Tail Hole Shot, which has air chambers in the tail so the bait stands up in the fish's face. The other is a (discontinued) Gene Larew floating craw worm. It's really soft, so when I get that bite, the hook is going to penetrate that bait quickly. For those fish that are just nipping at the bait, I can jam on it." Castledine goes to third Day-one leader, Todd Castledine struggled through a frustrating final round, but strong efforts the firstDay-one leader  Todd Castledine ended up in third place. two days - 24-4 and 19-14 - enabled him to salvage a third-place finish with 58-0. "This might have been my worst final day ever," Castledine said. "I think if it could go wrong, it happened to me. I don't think I've ever broken off braid, but I did it three times today. I broke a rod, bent three hooks - I did everything." An accomplished sight-fisherman, Castledine went looking for fish to look at again today. On days one and two, he had to scrap what he had found in practice because the fish weren't cooperating. He ended up fishing entirely new areas to find his fish. "I messed up today and went back to those same areas, trying to make it happen again and I should have gone somewhere else," Castledine said. All week, Castledine caught his fish on Kicker Fish Kicker Craws. He alternated between a watermelon red flake and a bubble gum color. Upshaw moves up to fourth Bed fishing with Gene Larew plastics led  Andrew Upshaw to a fourth-place finish.Oklahoma pro Andrew Upshaw sacked up the second largest limit of day three (behind Reehm) and that 20-pound, 3-ounce effort enabled him to climb one more notch to finish fourth with 57-13. Upshaw spent most of his tournament bed fishing with Gene Larew plastics, but at the end of day two, a wakebait produced a 7-pounder that very likely made his tournament. The rest of the time, he matched wits with bass paired up for the spawn. "I caught all the male bass on a white Gene Larew Salt Craw," he said. "It seemed like the male bass were a lot more aggressive and they liked the white color. I caught the big females on a Gene Larew Biffle Bug in the Bama Bug color." Wagner winds up fifth Plagued by mechanical issues, which cut into his fishing time the first two days, Houston pro RonnieTexas pro  Ronnie Wagner finished in fifth place. Wagner ended up in fifth place with 55-8. Wagner spent a little bit of his time throwing an Alabama rig, but most of his fish came off the beds. His top baits were a Kicker Fish Kicker Craw, a Big Bite tube and a Big Bite Warmouth. Wagner said that lighter colored baits were key. "When you're bed fishing, you want to be able to identify your bait in the bed," he said. "To be able to work the beds properly, you have to be able to see that bait." Best of the rest Rounding out the top-10 pro leaders at the Rayovac FLW Series Toledo Bend event: 6th: Nick Lebrun, of Tyler, Texas, 52-13 7th: Troy Broussard, of Beaumont, Texas, 51-14 8th: Lendell Martin Jr., of Nacogdoches, Texas, 51-4 9th: Jim Tutt, of Longview, Texas, 49-5 10th: Ricky Guy, of Humble, Texas, 42-1

Tags: headline-story 

/news/2015-06-29-dobson-sticks-with-jerkbait-for-win

Dobson Sticks With Jerkbait for Win

Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Michigan, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Michigan Division tournament of 2015 on Lake St. Clair. For his victory, Dobson earned $5,804. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-johnston-targets-beds-for-big-limit

Johnston Targets Beds for Big Limit

Cory Johnston of Cavan, Ontario, Canada, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 25 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Northeast Division tournament of 2015 on 1000 Islands. For his victory, Johnston earned $5,632. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-football-jig-helps-bates-net-title

Football Jig Helps Bates Net Title

Matthew Bates of Greenville, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds even Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Ferguson. For his victory, Bates earned $3,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-hipsher-hops-ledges-for-victory

Hipsher Hops Ledges for Victory

Craig Hipsher of Benton, Kentucky, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League LBL Division tournament of 2015 on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. For his victory, Hipsher earned $4,385. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-lauer-wins-on-ohio-river

Lauer Wins on Ohio River

David Lauer of McConnelsville, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 12 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division tournament of 2015 on the Ohio River. For his victory, Lauer earned $6,289. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-creature-bait-does-it-for-berhorst

Creature Bait Does it for Berhorst

Dennis Berhorst of Holts Summit, Missouri, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Ozark Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Truman. For his victory, Berhorst earned $5,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-wendlandt-back-at-the-top

Wendlandt Back at the Top

It’s been 14 seasons since Clark Wendlandt last stood on a Walmart FLW Tour stage and hoisted a tournament championship trophy. Since that time, the Texas pro has experienced ups and downs, including an Angler of the Year title (his third) in 2009 and a major medical issue that sidelined him for most of the 2014 season. All that’s in the past now, however, and Wendlandt is right back where he belongs in the world of bass fishing – in first place after the final day on the Potomac River in the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-top-10-patterns-from-the-potomac-river

Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River

Clark Wendlandt didn’t pull off any secret techniques to win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. He simply found an area with the right quality of bass to win and managed it perfectly despite facing a medley of Mother Nature’s toughest challenges. The rest of the top 10 stuck with the standard Potomac targets too, namely grass, docks and wood cover. The only underlying trend of the top 10 is that they found areas to themselves. Here’s how the rest of the top 10 got it done at the 2015 Tour finale. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-potomac-river-day-4-coverage

Potomac River Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on the Potomac River presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-wendlandt-receives-helping-hand

Wendlandt Receives Helping Hand

Not to discredit Clark Wendlandt’s skills as a bass fisherman, but if it wasn’t for an extreme act of kindness on the part of fellow competitor Shin Fukae, Wendlandt wouldn’t be where he is this evening – leading through three days of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-top-5-patterns-from-potomac-river-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Potomac River Day 3

Pouring rain, gusting winds, a remarkable act of kindness, an Angler of the Year title on the line – day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River certainly was not boring. To say the top 20 anglers were waterlogged after Saturday would be any understatement, but as nasty as the weather was, it wasn’t the biggest story of the day. Shinichi Fukae generously helped Clark Wendlandt retain his lead, while Scott Martin sealed the deal on his first AOY title. Meanwhile, a number of other anglers scrambled to adjust with what the weather and the Potomac are throwing at them. Here’s how the rest of the top five caught their fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-potomac-river-day-3-coverage

Potomac River Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on the Potomac River presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-26-wendlandt-in-familiar-territory

Wendlandt in Familiar Territory

A lot of flip-flopping took place on the second day of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. When the scale closed, it was three-time Tour Angler of the Year Clark Wendlandt who found himself on top with a two-day total of 32 pounds, 10 ounces. Wendlandt caught 17-13 today – the day’s second-heaviest limit – and leads Potomac local Bryan Schmitt by 1-12 going into the weekend. Wendlandt missed part of last season after suffering a heart attack but has rebounded with good success this season. He has won three times on Tour but hasn’t finished in first place since Beaver Lake in 2001. Details to come on the patterns of the top five. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-26-potomac-river-day-2-coverage

Potomac River Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Chickamauga presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-jersey-boy-leads-the-pack

Jersey Boy Leads the Pack

Talk about a traffic jam. And, no, we’re not talking about the streets around the Washington, D.C. area. We’re talking about the standings at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. Adrian “Jersey Boy” Avena leads the way with a 16-pound, 12-ounce limit, but a total of 41 pros weighed in at least 12 pounds. Many pros lamented the tough bite today, but the results say otherwise as 114 limits were brought to the scale on the pro side. Troy Morrow trails Avena by just 1-06, and 1 ounce behind Morrow is one of the most successful tidewater bass anglers of all time, Bryan Schmitt. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-top-5-patterns-from-potomac-river-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Potomac River Day 1

It might seem impossible for 405 miles of water to fish small, but space was hard to come by on day one of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. The creeks near takeoff at Smallwood State Park have seen as much traffic as a Washington, D.C. highway at rush hour. On the flip side, anglers who were able to develop patterns that got them away from the crowds, such as day-one leader Adrian Avena, have been able to reap the benefits of what has been a stingy fishery. Here’s how the rest of the pros in the top five caught their fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-aoy-shake-up-martin-makes-his-move

AOY Shake-Up: Martin Makes His Move

Scott Martin has been talking about winning the Angler of the Year title since before the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour season started. It’s on his mind and for good reason: Angler of the Year is the only major FLW title he hasn’t won in what Martin has built into one of the most decorated professional fishing careers in FLW Tour history. Today, on the first day of competition at the Tour finale on the Potomac River, Martin has unofficially moved into the lead in the AOY race for the first time all season. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-potomac-river-day-1-coverage

Potomac River Day 1 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Chickamauga presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-20-richardson-wins-all-american

Richardson Wins All-American

Curtis Richardson has a way of surprising people – even himself. The Ontario angler had all but written himself off in the championship round of the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American, thinking his limit of five bass wouldn’t hold up for long with the likes of Jeremy Lawyer and Bill Schroeder breathing down his neck. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-20-all-american-midday-update-day-3

All-American Midday Update Day 3

Big changes might be coming in the standings of the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American on Kentucky Lake, as some of the top 10 leaders struggled this morning to catch limits. Canadian angler Curtis Richardson, who currently is leading, had only one 3-pound keeper by midmorning. And second-place boater Billy Schroeder, who had fished just below the Paris Landing Bridge for the first two days, finally bailed out from there after catching four keepers this morning. READ MORE »