UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Ouachita

Sykora Works Wonders on Wilson

Another dominant performance kept Marcus Sykora on top at the BFL All-American at Wilson Lake.

FLORENCE, Ala. - To say that Marcus Sykora is leading the Walmart BFL All-American on Wilson Lake is tantamount to calling Michelangelo a church painter, or terming Noah just a boat builder. Without question, the seasoned angler from of Osage Beach, Mo. is on something really special and his performance thus far has been nothing short of complete dominance.

Sykora blasted out of the gate with a day-one limit of 26 pounds, 11 ounces and established a lead of 5-6.

Impressive, huh? Well, hold on cowboy, this bull's just get warmed up.

Consider these numbers:

Sykora again blew away the field with a second-round catch of 27-4 that pushed his two-day total to 53-15.

His day-two weight was 5 pounds, 10 ounces heavier than the next largest bag and Sykora's new lead of 14-6 is more than the average daily weight of more than half the field.

"It's unreal," Sykora chuckled. "It's like there's a little button down there and every time my crankbait hits it, the spot kicks out a 5-pounder."

Fishing about a quarter mile downstream of the Wheeler Dam, Sykora caught his fish in about 15 feetMarcus Sykora watches as his massive sack of fish goes through the bump tank. of water over an underwater bar. Both days, he found his greatest concentration of fish in an area with a half-moon shaped notch on the side of a point.

He surmises that the spot benefits from current created by the dam's water releases, while eliminating the churning mayhem of the tailrace.

"To be honest, I've never seen anything like this before," Sykora said of his spot's abundance. "I think it's the subtlety of that indent in the bar. Also, I think that the current is coming through and there's something that funnels or reroutes that current. The only time I've seen anything remotely like this, it was current-related."

Sykora had his first day's weight by about 9 a.m. but securing today's pot of gold required traversing one rocky rainbow, as Wilson Lake delivered a humbling dose of heartache en route to happiness. In a span of about 45 minutes, Sykora lost three fish between 6 and 7 pounds.

Normally, I'm reticent to report on the big ones that got away, because we only lose big'ns, right? This time, your humble correspondent witnessed the losses from a media boat. All three fish got big air and all three had jaw-dropping girths. Two threw the crankbait; one came upbuttoned when the O-ring on the rear treble detached.

Crankbaits produced all of Marcus SykoraSykora's not easily rattled, but that kinda stuff gnaws at one's confidence. Fortunately, persistence rewarded the tournament leader and within five minutes of his third loss, Sykora boated a 3 1/2-pounder that culled. About five cast later, a solid 5 got him back on track.

"I was so blessed to be able to get off to such a good start that I really do feel that regardless of the size of fish that I lose, I'm going to get another opportunity," Sykora said. "You can never dwell on the past. You have to be looking to the future and you have to have a positive outlook.

"Is it aggravating? Yes. Is it frustrating? Yes. Does it hurt? Yes. But at the end of the day, it is what it is and there's nothing you can do about it so let's move on."

Sykora's certainly hoping for plenty of chances on day 3. The first two days, he laid off his fish once he had what he thought he needed. In the final round, he said he'll work the spot for all he can get.

Moutogiannis moves up to second

Dino Moutogiannis, of Newington, Conn., placed eighth on day one with a limit weighing 17-15. On theA big day-two effort moved Dino Moutogiannis up from ninth to second. second day, he upped his game and weighed in a limit that went 21-10. This earned Moutogiannis a final-round berth with a tournament total of 39-9.

Edwards advances to third

Kevin Edwards, of Knoxville, Tn. moved up to third from his seventh-place spot on day one. His second-round weight of 20-10, paired with his 18-2 from day one gave him a total of 38-12.

A mix of crankbaits, football heads and Carolina rigs produced a 20-pound, 10-ounce bag for Marcus Sykora.Edwards said he basically stuck with the same ledge-fishing game plan he followed on day one - cranking a Strike King 10XD and slowly dragging a big Texas-rigged worm and a Zoom Brush Hog on a Carolina rig. Today, the fish showed some preferential differences.

"Yesterday, I did better on the dragging baits, but the big fish came on the crankbait," Edwards said. "Today it was the opposite; I did better on the crankbait. I had a limit dragging but then I culled when I had three big ones on the crankbait.

"It was just timing today - I threw it at the right time. I picked it up and it was bam, bam, bam. I caught all of my (weight) in the afternoon. I struggled today and I probably didn't have a fish until after 12."

Nichol nabs fourth

David Nichol, of Gainesville, Ga., caught a limit of 18-11 and placed fourth with 38-7.

Nichol reported adjusting his tactics from what he did on day one. He started with the finesse jig he used yesterday, but had to adjust that presentation when he determined that the fish had moved deeper. Today, a ¾-ounce jig with a Strike King Rage Craw trailer did the trick.

Mechanical issues claimed valuable fishing time and Nichol said an early letdown brought lasting impact.

"I lit them up early and caught a couple of fish early, but I lost a 7 pounder about 30 minutes into the day and I think that spooked the school," Nichol said. "After that, it was just one here and one there."

Castledine slips to fifth

Committing to a single spot worked best for Texas boater Todd Castledine.Todd Castledine, of Nacogdoches, Texas caught a limit of 16-4 and slipped a couple of notches to fifth with a total weight of 36-11. Castledine fished crankbaits and Texas-rigged plastics.

"Yesterday, I drove around and killed a whole bunch of time looking for stuff that never helped," he said. "I pulled back up on one of my spots and caught two big ones. Today, I was worried about how much traffic it would be getting so I figured if I stayed on it, I'd be the only one on it.

"It worked out for the top-10 (cut). I caught them early in the morning and I only culled once after 9:30 a.m. Tomorrow, without as many boats, I'm going to hit spot and then go fish everywhere.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 pro leaders at the BFL All-American:

6th: Lloyd Pickett Jr., of Bartlett, Tn., 36-2
7th: Mark Richardson, of Eastanollee, Ga., 36-2
8th: Jayme Rampey, of Liberty, S.C., 35-14
9th: Bobby Padgett, of Lagrange, Ga., 35-8
10th: John Talton, of Georgetown, Tenn., 34-7

Cothran clobbers co-angler field

Paired with Sykora, co-angler leader Bryan Cothran enjoyed the great opportunity of a fish-rich spot Co-angler leader Bryan Cothran sacked up his divisionand sacked up his personal best limit - 24 pounds, 13 ounces - to take the lead with 36-11 and a margin of 2-5 over second-place Justin Sward, of Birmingham, Ala., who tallied 34-6.

Cothran caught his fish on crankbaits and soft plastics.

"It was an incredible day - it was non-stop action until we left the fish," he said. "The key was my boater. He just found that huge school of fish.

"I had my limit by 9 o'clock and my 11 o'clock I had my weight. I told my boater that when I got that kind of weight I'd sit down (and stop fishing), so I stopped fishing at 11 o'clock."

Lee Black, of Danville, Ala. took third with 33-9. In fourth place, John Bedingfield, of Loganville, Ga. had 33-0 and Brandon Maynard, of Cookville, Tenn. took fifth with 32-12.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 co-angler leaders at the BFL All-American:

6th: Daniel Brock, or Anna, Texas, 30-6
7th: David Blackstock, of The Colony, Texas, 27-15
8th: Ethan Flack, of Cullman, Ala., 27-13
9th: Evan Barnes, of Hot Springs, Ark., 25-14
10th: Nicholas Marsh, Commerce Township, Mi., 25-1

Day three of BFL All-American on Wilson Lake continues at Saturday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7:00 a.m. (Central) at Waterfront Marina located at 4451 Florence Boulevard in Florence.

Tags: david-a-brown  headline-story  2014-06-05-wilson-lake 

/news/2016-02-12-top-10-photos-from-lake-okeechobee-

Top 10 Photos from Lake Okeechobee

FLW’s coverage crew was all over the place during the Walmart FLW Tour kickoff presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee. The following photos are some of the best taken during a week of wild weather swings and big bass. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-10-dudley-links-up-with-livingston-lures

Dudley Links Up with Livingston Lures

Livingston Lures has added three-time Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year David Dudley to its pro-staff. The Virginia pro joins two-time FLW AOY Andy Morgan and former FLW Rookie of the Year Stetson Blaylock on the Team Livingston roster. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-10-power-pole-extends-partnership-with-flw

Power-Pole Extends Partnership with FLW

FLW announced yesterday that JL Marine Systems, manufacturer of Power-Pole shallow-water anchor systems, has signed a sponsorship extension for the 2016 season. This will be the sixth consecutive season that the two organizations have partnered. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-flw-college-fishing-western-conference-opens-season-on-shasta-lake

FLW College Fishing Western Conference Opens Season on Shasta Lake

REDDING, Calif. – FLW College Fishing is headed to Lake Shasta Feb. 20 for the first of three regular-season stops in the Western Conference. A full field of college teams will be competing for a top award of $2,000 and a berth in the FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-lake-shasta-set-to-host-costa-flw-series-opener-presented-by-minn-kota

Lake Shasta Set to Host Costa FLW Series Opener Presented by Minn Kota

REDDING, Calif. – The Costa FLW Series is headed to Lake Shasta Feb. 18-20 for a tournament presented by Minn Kota when as many as 300 pros and co-anglers will take to the water for the first stop of 2016 in the Western Division. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-montgomery-targets-prespawn-bass-for-win

Montgomery Targets Prespawn Bass for Win

Local angler Scott Montgomery of Eufaula, Ala., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 1 ounce, Saturday to win the first FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Bulldog Division tournament of 2016 on Lake Eufaula. For his victory, Montgomery took home a check for $4,127. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-09-top-10-patterns-from-lake-okeechobee

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Okeechobee

Oklahoma’s Bradley Hallman sewed up his first Walmart FLW Tour victory at the season-opener on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats by pitching and punching reed heads in the South Bay area with a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver. Hallman stuck with his program despite up-and-down air temperatures, high winds and all the curveballs Mother Nature could throw at him. Here's how the rest of the top 10 got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-08-top-10-baits-from-lake-okeechobee

Top 10 Baits from Lake Okeechobee

The Walmart FLW Tour presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee went from a tight race to a runaway in a hurry when Bradley Hallman just wouldn’t stop catching the big ones. As for the lures he used, and those put to work by the rest of the top 10, some Okeechobee staples were applied as well as a few oddball baits. If you’re thinking of heading down to the Big O or anywhere else in Florida soon, you might want to acquire a few of the lures they fished. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-07-hallman-wins-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Hallman Wins Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Okeechobee Presented by Ranger Boats

CLEWISTON, Fla. – Pro Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, brought just two bass to the scale Sunday totaling 6 pounds, 8 ounces, but it was still enough to earn the win at the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Hallman’s four-day cumulative total of 16 bass weighing 71 pounds, 2 ounces earned him the win by an impressive 14-pound, 14-ounce margin over second-place pro Alex Davis of Albertville, Alabama, and $100,000 in the tournament that featured 169 of the best bass-fishing anglers in the world competing in the first FLW Tour event of the regular season. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-07-big-hall-man-on-okeechobee

Big (Hall)Man on Okeechobee

It was the Bradley Hallman show all week long at Lake Okeechobee at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats. Though, the Norman, Okla., pro struggled on day four and brought in only two fish for 6 pounds, 8 ounces, he pulled off the wire-to-wire victory in his first event on Tour. The 13-pound, 9-ounce lead that Hallman built up through the first three days of competition was enough that he didn't actually have to weigh his fish today. Hallman's tournament total of 71 pounds, 2 ounces far exceeded the 56-04 caught by runner-up Alex Davis. For the win, Hallman earned $100,000. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-07-lake-okeechobee-day-4-coverage

Lake Okeechobee Day 4 Coverage

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

/news/2016-02-06-top-5-patterns-from-lake-okeechobee-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Okeechobee Day 3

Across the board, weights fell off on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats and hosted by Roland and Mary Ann Martin's Marina and Resort and the Hendry County Tourism and Development Council. No one in the top 20 crossed the 20-pound mark. Cloud cover, which prevented the water temperature from rising much above 65 degrees, and low water clarity might both have slowed the replenishment of bass moving into spawn. Tournament leader Bradley Hallman experienced a bit of a stall in the action as well, bringing just four fish to the scales, but he still managed to increase his lead to 13 pounds, 9 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-hallman-extends-lead-on-day-three-at-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Hallman Extends Lead On Day Three At Walmart FLW Tour On Lake Okeechobee Presented By Ranger Boats

Anchored by an 8-pound, 10-ounce kicker, pro Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, brought four bass to the scale Saturday totaling 14 pounds, 3 ounces to extend his lead to more than 13½ pounds heading in to the final day of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Hallman’s... READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-can-anyone-catch-hallman-

Can Anyone Catch Hallman?

Despite catching only four keepers on day three, Norman, Okla., pro Bradley Hallman extended his lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee. With a day-three weight of 14 pounds, 3 ounces and a tournament total of 64-10, his margin over second-place angler Alex Davis is now 13 pounds, 9 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-montgomery-wins-flw-bass-fishing-league-bulldog-division-opener-on-lake-eufaula

Montgomery Wins FLW Bass Fishing League Bulldog Division Opener on Lake Eufaula

EUFAULA, Ala. – Local angler Scott Montgomery of Eufaula, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 1 ounce, Saturday to win the first FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Bulldog Division tournament of 2016 on Lake Eufaula. For his victory, Montgomery took home a check for $4,127. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-06-okeechobee-day-3-coverage

Okeechobee Day 3 Coverage

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

/news/2016-02-05-top-5-patterns-from-lake-okeechobee-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Okeechobee Day 2

Fueled by 25 mph north winds, the Lake Okeechobee washing machine cleansed some livewells today, keeping them free of the 20-pound limits that are so common here when the weather is sunny, 75 and calm. However, a few 20-plus-pound limits still snuck through the rinse cycle to grace the scales. The biggest limit once again belonged to Bradley Hallman of Norman, Okla. He added 25 pounds, 7 ounces to the 25 he caught on day one. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-oklahoma-s-hallman-extends-lead-at-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Oklahoma’s Hallman Extends Lead at Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Okeechobee Presented by Ranger Boats

CLEWISTON, Fla. – Pro angler Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, brought a five-bass limit weighing 25 pounds, 7 ounces to the scale Friday to extend his lead on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Hallman will bring an 8-pound, 8-ounce advantage into day three of the four-day competition that features 169 of the top bass-fishing anglers in the world competing for a top cash award of up to $125,000. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-cales-earns-co-angler-win

Cales Earns Co-angler Win

Co-angler Tim Cales of Sandstone, W.Va., earned his second win with FLW after sacking up 30 pounds, 11 ounces over two days in the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-hallman-way-in-front

Hallman Way in Front

Bradley Hallman is doing his best to make the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats a one-man show. But Alabama pro Alex Davis hopes to spoil Hallman’s hopes of a wire-to-wire victory. Today, Hallman weighed in 25 pounds, 7 ounces to raise his two-day total to 50-07. He’s led the tournament each day thus far. Davis weighed in 20-15 to move from third to second but is still 8 1/2 pounds behind the leader. READ MORE »