Lefebre Sets the Bar on Champlain

Pro Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa., grabs the lead on day one with a limit weighing 21 pounds, 8 ounces.

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes pro Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa., sacked a five-largemouth limit weighing an impressive 21 pounds, 8 ounces to top the leaderboard among the 142 pros competing on day one of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Champlain.

 Although Lefebre is a decorated pro with a prodigious pedigree of top finishes, he let the wind - or lack thereof - be his guide in deciding where to fish.

“When it’s this calm, you have to run south on Champlain,” he said.

The move paid off immediately, as the first five fish gracing his livewell pushed 18 pounds. Judicious upgrades boosted his basket until fears of heavy seas hampering his run back to the check-in boat forced him to pull up stakes ahead of schedule.

“It was really windy in the area I was fishing, so I ran back north an hour early,” he said, noting that he passed the time until check-in by sampling Champlain’s world-class smallmouth action. “I caught about 30 smallies, so I’m surprised that overall the weights are down a little bit at the tournament, because the smallmouths are definitely biting.”

After finishing second in the 2013 Rayovac FLW Series event on Champlain, Lefebre’s strong start made a statement that he’s in it to win it this time around.

“This is revenge,” he said with a grin.

 

Pro Derick Olson of Honey Brook, Pa., grabbed second place with 20 pounds, 2 ounces on day one.

Olson Plays Numbers Game 
Derick Olson of Honey Brook, Pa., was the only other angler to break the 20-pound barrier, bringing a 20-pound, 2-ounce limit to the stage, much to the delight of weigh-in fans gathered at scenic Dock St. Landing.

“It was a good day; we caught a lot of fish,” said Olson. “We had to weed through numbers of smaller bass in the 2- to 3-pound range to get the big fish, but we got 'em.”

Like Lefebre, Olson leaned on the largemouth bite. While Lefebre declined to talk tactical details until later in the game, Olson freely admitted to plying soft baits in the salad.

“We were fishing soft plastics in the weeds, running south and covering water,” he said.

Strong Finish for Auten

Pro Todd Auten of Lake Wylie, S.C., brought a 19-pound, 12-ounce limit to claim third place on day one.


Todd Auten of Lake Wylie, S.C., rode a 19-pound, 12-ounce stringer to third place, but that doesn’t mean he rocketed out of the starting blocks.

“It was a real slow day for me early,” he said. “But at about 12 o’clock they really started biting. After that it was like clockwork - everywhere we went we caught some good ones.”

In the end, his limit included four smallmouths and one largemouth.

 

Pro Joe Wood of Westport, Ma., placed fourth with 19 pounds, 10 ounces, on day one.

Wood Working Hard
Joseph Wood of Westport, Mass., left port determined to sack smallmouths. His game plan held water early in the day, when he reeled in a limit of respectable bronze beauties. But when kickers played hard-to-catch, he shifted gears to bag a 19-pound, 10-ounce total that lifted him to fourth place.

“The day went fantastic,” he said. “Although, it turned out that I wasted my time on smallmouths. I caught about a 15-pound bag of smallies first thing in the morning, but when I tried to cull up to 16 or 17, it just didn’t happen.”

Undaunted, Wood looked to largemouths to save the day.

“When I ran to my green-fish spot, they were on fire,” he said. “I upgraded all my fish in the last hour of the day. I should have gone to them right away.”

Lee Learns a Lesson
Auburn, Ala., pro Jordan Lee rounded out the top five with a beefy 19-pound, 9-ounce limit. But rather than bask in the success, he was quick to give his co-angler plenty of credit for a stellar day-one finish.

“My co actually got me started on a pretty special program,” Lee said. “I knew I was around fish, but when he started catching them and I didn’t, he gave me a few of his baits. We ended up having a great day, and I owe a lot to him.”

Once Lee got into a rhythm, he promptly deposited five bass in the livewell and began the process of upgrading. Smallmouths dominated the catch until a late largemouth joined his keepers.

“In all, I caught 25 smallmouths and 10 or 15 largemouths,” he noted.

Overall, anglers in all stages of the standings reported catching bass with a variety of tactics, from frogging shoreline weeds to dragging Carolina and drop-shot rigs on deeper structure.

While a late flurry of big limits lifted the day’s total weight in the pro ranks to 1,867 pounds, 15 ounces, limits running 9 to 14 pounds were far more common. Still, the 673 keepers were proof of Champlain’s potential, and left little doubt that changes in the leaderboard are likely on day two as the field battles to make the cut and advance to day three’s finals.

Best of the Rest

Rounding out the top-10 pro leaders at the Rayovac FLW Series Lake Champlain event:

6th: Mike Neilson, Markham, Ont., 19-6

7th: Mark Daniels Jr., Fairfield, Calif., 19-3

8th: Bud Cipoletti, West Islip, N.Y., 19-2

9th: Michael Marini, Slingerlands, N.Y., 19-1

10th: Cory Johnston, Peterborough, Ont., 18-15

Steve Brinster of Vernon, N.J., weighed in 18 pounds, 2 ounces to grab the co-angler lead on day one.Steve Brinster Claims Co-Angler Lead

Steve Brinster of Vernon, N.J., brought in an 18-pound, 2-ounce limit to top the co-anglers. Ryan Bauman of Fleetwood, Pa., was close behind in second with 17-8. For complete co-angler results, click here.

Day two of Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division action on Lake Champlain continues at Friday’s takeoff, scheduled to take place at 6 a.m. ET at Dock Street Landing, located at 5 Dock Street in Plattsburgh, N.Y.

Tags: headline-story 

/news/2015-04-26-beaver-lake-day-4-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-25-morgan-maintains-his-lead

Morgan Maintains His Lead

One of Andy Morgan’s fishing mottos is to make the best of what you have got “in front of you” to survive and fish another day. Beaver Lake doesn’t give much. So when an angler as resourceful as Morgan gets to a lake that doesn’t give out many resources, the two work well together. Instead of worrying about hitting it out of the park or putting immense pressure on himself to come up with a grand winning strategy, Morgan just scraps, scrapes and claws at the ground right in front of him, making the best of what he’s got. Morgan’s performance on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake was a prime example of his “make the best of it” attitude. After burning up the spawning fish he had located in practice during the first two days of the tournament, he was forced to fish by the seat of his pants today – something he thoroughly enjoys. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-25-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 3

Andy Morgan didn’t light up the world on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake, but he caught what he needed to maintain the lead and put a 1-pound, 9-ounce cushion between he and Matt Arey. Most of the rest of the top 20 scrambled today, abandoning their patterns and trying new options to try and make the final-day cut. Here’s how the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-25-gordon-and-gagner-crowned-tbf-champs

Gordon and Gagner Crowned TBF Champs

Two more anglers qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup today by winning the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship on Grand Lake in Grove, Okla. Shawn Gordon of Russellville, Ark., earned the TBF crown on the boater side by catching a three-day limit of 50 pounds, 2 ounces, capped by the largest limit caught today – 18 pounds, 10 ounces. Gordon earned $5,000 for his win, but more importantly, he’ll be competing against the best pros in the business in August at the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Gordon also won the TBF “Living The Dream” package, which includes paid entry into the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour, a travel stipend, and use of a wrapped truck and Ranger bass boat. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-25-beaver-lake-day-3-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-make-way-for-morgan

Make Way for Morgan

“Hidden largemouths” is quickly becoming the buzz term at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac, as those atop the leaderboard are using the term to refer to spawning largemouths that are so well hidden that other competitors never found them. These hidden fish are covered by thick brush, hidden so deep that they were only found during the very rare windows of sunshine during practice or located off the beaten path. The latter are not in obvious pockets or places where one would expect to find beds, but rather out on the main bluff channels where few ever look. On day one, Jacob Wheeler caught hidden largemouths to take the lead. On day two, former Beaver Lake champion Andy Morgan caught hidden largemouths to take over the pole position going into the weekend. His catch of 15 pounds, 7 ounces today gives Morgan a two-day total of 28-09 to take the lead by just 11 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 2

At halftime of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac, the top five reads like a who’s who of Beaver Lake. Leader Andy Morgan is a former Beaver Lake champion. Behind him, Darrel Robertson has been very close to winning here with a runner-up finish in 2005. In third is 2014 Beaver Lake champion Matt Arey. Bryan Thrift, in fourth, has never won on Beaver Lake, but has led here before. And finally, fifth-place pro Stetson Blaylock knows his way around this lake pretty well, too, with a couple of top 10s. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-heckman-heads-up-tbf-championship-field

Heckman Heads up TBF Championship Field

Some bass are still spawning in Grand Lake, and others are yet to make their way up to the shallows, but none of that interests Sam Heckman. Diligent commitment to his postspawn plan here Friday landed Heckman atop the boater field with 34 pounds, 3 ounces and locked up his Southwest Division win at the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship. Saturday, the top boater from each of seven TBF divisions will vie for the TBF National Championship and the “Living the Dream” package that goes with it. The package includes paid entry in the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour as a pro, a Forrest Wood Cup berth and use of a custom-wrapped truck and Ranger boat on Tour for the year, as well as a travel stipend for each event. Seven non-boaters – one from each TBF division – also will fish in tomorrow’s final round for a chance at paid entry into a Rayovac FLW Series division of choice. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-beaver-lake-day-2-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-wheeler-with-a-slim-lead

Wheeler with a Slim Lead

Jacob Wheeler has a plan to win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake this week. That plan involves primarily the largemouth species, a target weight of 14 pounds per day and a lot of fish management. Today, Wheeler surpassed his target by nearly 2 pounds with a 15-pound, 14-ounce catch that puts him in the driver’s seat at Beaver Lake, in the lead by just a scant 5 ounces over second-place pro Bryan Thrift. “Largemouths are the way to win here at Beaver Lake,” Wheeler says. “They are the fish to go the distance here, and that’s what I’m focusing on.” READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 1

Though there were plenty of fish caught off beds at Beaver Lake on day one of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac, the top five is rounded out by a group of anglers who relied on sight-fishing very little. Opinions on where exactly bass are in the spawning cycle at Beaver Lake vary greatly from angler to angler, but a few common denominators did come to light on day one. For starters, most agree that one major spawning cycle has already occurred. Plenty of empty beds and a lot of gaunt, postspawn fish at the scale were evidence of that. Second, there are still some bass (of all species) trying to spawn, but the ones left on beds are extremely wary. Finally, the order of difficulty to catch each species ranks as follows: smallmouth bass – extremely easy; spotted bass – not as easy; largemouth bass – extremely difficult. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-griffith-grabs-tbf-lead-

Griffith Grabs TBF Lead

By midday, the prospects were unclear for Jon “Scooter” Griffith here in The Bass Federation National Championship on Grand Lake, but in a roundabout way it provided just the clarity he needed to dial in a pattern that helped him take the day-one lead with an 18-pound, 13-ounce limit. Griffith began his day by sight-fishing the clear water down by the Pensacola Dam. This opening move, he says, gave him some early comfort, as it matched the transparent water he’s used to fishing near his home in Mesa, Ariz. Targeting windblown points, Griffith got his early bites with reaction baits in about 4 to 8 feet of water. Unfortunately, the plan turned out to be less productive than he had expected. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-beaver-lake-day-1-coverage

Beaver Lake Day 1 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-23-tbf-championship-tips-off

TBF Championship Tips Off

The spawn is on at Grand Lake, but that’s not the only game in town. As the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship plays out for the next three days, anglers will find this northern Oklahoma impoundment abounding with lots of fishing options. Brian Maloney, the 2012 Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American champion, says he was impressed with what he found in practice. “The quality of fish on Grand is just amazing,” notes the Missouri angler. “This lake continues to put out 3- and 4-pounders, and right now there’s a variety of things we can do. “There are guys sight-fishing for spawning fish, and we’re probably looking at another wave or two of fish coming in soon. I’m sure the full moon coming up in another week or so will move them in.” Adding that the lake currently has fish in all prespawn, spawning and postspawn stages, Maloney thinks that TBF contenders will be greeted by a mix of water conditions typical for Grand this time of year. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-top-10-baits-from-lake-murray

Top 10 Baits from Lake Murray

Competitors in the FLW College Fishing National Championship mostly targeted bass feeding on spawning blueback herring on shallow points and main-lake pockets. Across the board, herring-imitating baits such as soft jerkbaits, swimbaits, topwaters, wake baits and umbrella rigs dominated the event. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-jig-bite-carries-holmes-on-wateree

Jig Bite Carries Holmes on Wateree

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-bryan-slows-down-for-chickamauga-win

Bryan Slows Down for Chickamauga Win

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-morfis-dominates-with-34-pound-limit

Morfis Dominates With 34-Pound Limit

OKEECHOBEE, Fla. – Joshua Morfis of Cape Coral, Florida, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 34 pounds, 14 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Gator Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Okeechobee. For his victory, Morfis earned $6,336. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-salzman-cracks-31-pounds-on-guntersville

Salzman Cracks 31 Pounds on Guntersville

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-20-lanter-wins-on-rend-lake

Lanter Wins on Rend Lake

READ MORE »