Lefebre Maintains Lead

Kellogg's Frosted Flakes pro Dave Lefebre stays in the lead on day two with a five-fish limit of 19 pounds, 13 ounces.

PLATTSBURGH, NY—In an afternoon marked by major leaderboard fluctuations among the 142 pros competing in the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Champlain, Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes pro Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa., held tight to the pole position, bringing a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 13 ounces for a two-day total of 41 pounds, 5 ounces.

Although he is happy to lead the field of 10 pros headed into the final round of the three-day event, sitting more than 3½ pounds ahead of his closest rival, Lefebre lamented not hooking the big bite on day two.

“It was a pretty good day; just no kicker,” he said seconds after being the first angler to cross the stage at scenic Dock Street Landing. “I just needed one of the big ones I got yesterday to really build a cushion.”

True enough, his catch did dip from a total of 21 pounds, 8 ounces on day one. But it was still a breakout performance considering that many anglers struggled to piece together limits in the midteens, let alone match their day-one catches. 

As on day one, Lefebre took advantage of a calm morning to run south to target beefy largemouths that were still on the bite. “My first two fish were 4-pounders, and that took a lot of pressure off,” he grinned. He stuck to the program throughout the day, only turning his bow toward port when it was time to race for the timer boat. Having led the first flight out, he was due in at 2 p.m., sharp. As it turned out, afternoon breezes provided a bit rougher ride than Lefebre expected. “It was real bumpy coming back,” he said. “After coming in early yesterday, I cut it way too close today.”

Looking ahead, Lefebre foresees another southern sojourn on Saturday. “I know I’m headed back down regardless of the weather,” he said. While he knows hungry largemouths await, he tempers his optimism with the knowledge that plenty of company will be there as well. “The area has gotten a lot of pressure from anglers fishing a local tournament,” he said. “I have a following of spectator boats, and when I leave, they move in and fish the spot. When I come back, there are five or six boats on it.”

In fact, with a large event in the 100-boat class set for Saturday, tournament director Ron Lappin moved takeoff from 6 a.m. to safe light, 5:15, for the finals, to give the top-10 anglers a chance to find their fishing grounds ahead of the crowds.

“My biggest obstacle will not be getting thrown off my game if I have to move around,” Lefebre added. “I need to have no preconceived notions about starting here and going there, and keep an open mind. Fortunately, I’ve got a pattern going and haven’t fished half of my spots yet. I might weigh all my fish from a place I haven’t fished yet.”

As for his evening plans, he said, “I’m going to sleep like a baby, get up and go fishing.”

Jordan Lee of Auburn, Ala., jumped from fifth to second on day two at Lake Champlain with an 18-pound, 3-ounce limit. Lee Milks Morning Reactions 
Jordan Lee of Auburn, Ala., was among the hard-charging contenders hot on Lefebre’s heels. Lee climbed from fifth place up to second on the wings of an 18-pound, 3-ounce limit that pushed his total to 37-12.

Lee tapped a blistering morning bite to make his move. “I have one spot the smallmouths are biting early,” he said. “I got them all before 8 o’clock and then it was over.”

His program included throwing strike-triggering reaction baits in depths of 10 feet or less. “I think the fish are holding deeper and moving up shallow to feed,” he said. “They’re spitting up big baitfish in my livewell.”

On day one, he credited his co-angler for sharing a red-hot bait that yielded numerous bites, and that presentation continued to produce. “I caught fish on a couple different baits, but the co-angler’s was still particularly good,” he said.

To extend the action later in the day, Lee hopes to rekindle a surface bite he discovered earlier in the week. “I was catching them on topwaters in the afternoons during practice, but haven’t caught them that way during the tournament,” he said. “If it gets really flat calm tomorrow I may try it again, though.”

Pro Chris Johnston of Peterborough, Ont., made a move to the top from 17th place to third on day two.Johnston’s Weed Game Yields 20 Pounds 
In third place, Chris Johnston of Peterborough, Ont., was one of two pros to crack the 20-pound barrier on day two. He notched a 20-pound, 3-ounce limit of largemouths to claim third with 37-10, advancing 14 places from his day-one ranking of 17th.

“I ran 70 miles down south,” he said. “I caught most of my fish flipping jigs into weeds in about 4 to 5 feet of water.” Cryptically, he added that his success hinged on a tweak he’d rather not talk about until after the final weigh-in. “I was doing something a little bit different that got me more fish, and I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow,” he said.

Like Lefebre, Johnston was far from alone in the southern weedbeds. “There’s a lot of pressure down there,” he said. “I was just off the main stuff, and a lot of guys who are fishing a tournament tomorrow saw me catching fish, so that could hurt me.”

Marini Plays Green Card 
Like many pros, Michael Marini of Slingerlands, N.Y., saw his weight fall on day two. But his 18-pound, 8-ounce bag was still enough to fuel a run from ninth to fourth.Pro Michael Marini of Slingerlands, N.Y., claimed fourth place on day two with a limit weighing 18 pounds, 8 ounces.

“I was a little shy on my weight today, but that’s only because I stopped fishing at 11:30 this morning to give myself time to get back,” he said.

Once again on the hunt for greener pastures rich in largemouths, Marini headed south to ply soft baits in the weeds. “I ran down to Ticonderoga again to fish worms in the milfoil,” he said. “I found the same school of fish, and they were still biting.”

Glenn Babineau of Mechanicville, N.Y., brought in 19 pounds, 1 ounce to move into fifth place on day two.Babineau’s Junk-Fishing Genius 
Glenn Babineau of Mechanicville, N.Y., moved up from 14th place to round out the top five pros with 37 pounds, 7 ounces. His day-two largemouth limit weighing 19-1 actually marked an improvement from his 18-6 day-one limit.

“I was doing pretty much the same as yesterday—junk fishing,” he laughed. “I can’t really sit on one grass spot and get ‘em like some of the guys can. I wish I had something like that but I don’t. So I’m running around throwing a lot of baits at a lot of targets and getting quality bites.”

Babineau’s varied arsenal includes just about everything in the tackle box. “I caught fish on jigs, [Z-Man Original} ChatterBaits and crankbaits,” he said. “I’m mixing it up because I don’t have anything to go to.”

Babineau might call it junk fishing, but considering it fueled a critical leap up the leaderboard and opened the door to making the cut and competing on day three, many would call it genius.

Best of the Rest

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

6th: Derick Olson, Honey Brook, Pa., 37-5

7th: Cory Johnston, Peterborough, Ont., 36-3

8th: Mike Neilson, Markham, Ont., 35-13

9th: Mike McDonald, Randleman, N.C., 35-7

10th: Mark Daniels Jr., Fairfield, Calif., 35-1

For complete results, including the co-angler results, click here.

Day three of Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division action on Lake Champlain continues at Saturday’s takeoff, scheduled to take place at 5:15 a.m. ET at Dock Street Landing, located at 5 Dock Street in Plattsburgh, N.Y.

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-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 »

/news/2015-03-20-college-open-day-1-midday-update

College Open Day 1 Midday Update

“You should have been here yesterday” might have been the motto for the first day of fishing in the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake. Though many of the 194 teams entered in the two-day event out of Moor’s Resort & Marina reported good to excellent practices, many of the same anglers were complaining about a lack of fish on opening morning of the competition. READ MORE »