UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Ouachita

FLW Championship starts today

Wendlandt and the Wal-Mart FLW Tour trophy.

Wendlandt looking to fish shallow

SHREVEPORT, La. - Action starts today at the Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship in Shreveport as the top 50 pros and top 50 co-anglers from the 2000 FLW season make their assault on the Red River. The championship culminates an FLW season where fans saw continued domination by the old guard as well as the triumph of the new.

What they saw was a season of true champions.

At the first stop on Lake Okeechobee, Fla., local pro Steve Daniel of Clewiston showed he knows the big bass in his home waters better than most. He took home the trophy, making it his third FLW Tour win, a record he tied with David Fritts of Lexington, N.C. Previously, Daniel won the second tour stop in 1996, again on Lake Okeechobee, as well as the inaugural FLW Championship, on Lake Lanier, Ga., that same year.

At tour stop number two, Scott Martin, also of Clewiston, led the youth movement at the FLW's first-ever event held on the Pascagoula River in Biloxi, Miss. The cool-headed 24-year-old, son of fishing legend Roland Martin and 1999 Co-Angler of the Year, made hundred-mile runs across the imposing waters of the Gulf of Mexico to bring back impressive catches. Said Martin, "This is such an adrenaline rush. You run all the way over here and you don't know if you're going to catch one." He caught enough to take the win, even edging his father, who placed sixth, out of the final round.

At tour stop number three on Lake Murray, S.C., Clark Wendlandt of Cedar Park, Texas, put on a sight-fishing clinic that showed why he would eventually win 2000 Angler of the Year. With the bass on the beds, the plucky Wendlandt hooked his way to a win with his tenacity and ability to conquer the shallows despite some shifty weather.

The next stop, the Wal-Mart Open on Beaver Lake, Ark., marked the start of the run of Clunn. Rick Clunn of Ava, Mo., already a bass fishing legend, cinched the win and $200,000 with a dominating effort in Arkansas history's richest pro bass tournament. Using crankbaits 90 percent of the time, he worked the low water levels to near perfection.

Clunn's run continued at tour stop number five on the Mississippi River in Memphis, Tenn., but he fell just short of back-to-back wins, placing second behind fellow old-school angler Gary Klein of Weatherford, Texas. The two pro bass heavyweights battled mightily amidst river conditions suitable for a clash of the titans. While heavy winds and spine-crunching rough water on the big Mississippi made the runs a full-contact sport, the two ventured heartily into the elements to bring back huge stringers of fish. In a showdown that went to the very last fish weighed, Klein narrowly defeated the hot Clunn and successfully defended his 1999 victory in Memphis - the first angler ever to do so on the FLW Tour.

At the final regular-season stop, the Forrest Wood Open on Pickwick Lake, Ala., Clunn bounced back and picked up his second win of the year. The win sparked talk of Clunn's Tiger Woods-like domination on tour and made him the all-time leading money winner on the FLW Tour with $677,100. Said Clunn, "I really try to win every tournament I enter, and you've got to do more than just talk about it. It's just a matter of fulfilling potential."

Looking ahead to this week's championship on the Red River, look for Angler of the Year Wendlandt to stick to his strength: fishing shallow. "I've got a good game plan," he said, "but you can't really tell how it's going to turn out until you get out there the first day. I think the overall fishing here is fairly tough, but I feel pretty good and I'm going to concentrate on two or three areas."

The 2000 Co-Angler of the Year, David Hudson of Jasper, Ala., likes his prospects on the Red River from the back of the boat. He points to the abundance of timber along the bank as the key to possible victory. "It really gives the amateur a good advantage," he said. "With the timber, there will be plenty of fishing for everybody." And Hudson is looking to change the methodical, consistent fishing technique that earned him the Co-Angler of the Year title into a more aggressive approach in hopes of earning that elusive first-place check. He plans on replacing his smaller finesse worm baits with larger spinner baits and jigs to attract to larger quarry. "I'm going to do my best," he said. "All year long, I've fished kind of conservatively, but I'm going to go for it this time."

The FLW Championship first-place pro cash prize of $250,000 is the largest prize in competitive fishing. Competition consists of three rounds over four days, with the Co-Angler Division finishing Friday and the Pro Division finishing Saturday. The event is presented by Citgo.


Tags: jeff-schroeder  pre-tournament  2000-09-13-red-river 

/tips/2016-02-05-an-ill-wind-at-okeechobee-

An Ill Wind at Okeechobee?

The wind can be a bass fisherman’s best friend or worst enemy. On its best behavior, it creates a temporary current, positions baitfish and helps an angler move around more stealthily in shallow water. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-02-04-aquatic-plant-id

Aquatic Plant ID

Val Osinski, the owner of Gambler Lures and winner of the 2015 Costa FLW Series event on the lake, knows as much about the Big O as anyone and is an expert on finding and targeting bass in its various grasses. When we had the opportunity to ride along with him for a tour of the lake and to learn to identify some of the grasses, it was a no-brainer to accept. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-02-02-poche-services-set

Poche Services Set

Funeral services for Dylan Poche, the 18-year-old Bass Fishing League angler who was stabbed to death Saturday night, are scheduled for Thursday at 2 p.m. at Freedom Life Church in Natchitoches, La. Visitation will take place at Freedom Life beginning at 5 p.m. Wednesday. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-02-02-time-to-shine-for-setzer

Time to Shine for Setzer

With three years on Tour and a Co-angler of the Year (COY) award under his belt, Braxton Setzer believes now is his time to start casting from the front. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-02-01-ambassador

Ambassador

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-29-glenn-browne-s-timeout-is-over-

Glenn Browne’s Timeout is Over

By his own admission, Glenn Browne isn’t the most organized guy. After the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division opener on Lake Okeechobee, he spent hours returning stuff to its proper place and tossing out the usual flotsam and jetsam that accumulates in a bass boat during a tournament. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-28-flw-podcast-109-mike-surman

FLW Podcast 109 - Mike Surman

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-28-john-cox-gives-himself-a-makeover

John Cox Gives Himself a Makeover

Last fall there was a rumor going around that John Cox was entering the electronics age and souping up his boat with sonar gear. Just to clear the air, the Florida pro reports that though he did flirt with the notion of incorporating an offshore strategy centered on depth finders into his act, he eventually abandoned the idea. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-27-austin-felix-is-ready-for-the-big-time

Austin Felix is Ready for the Big Time

Back in the spring of 2014, Austin Felix and his University of Minnesota teammate Chris Burgan were on the top of the FLW College Fishing world. With a win in the National Championship on Lake Keowee, Felix was headed to the Forrest Wood Cup as a pro. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-27-flw-canada-sets-tournament-sites-dates

FLW Canada Sets Tournament Sites, Dates

FLW Canada, one of four partners in FLW’s International Division of the Costa FLW Series, recently released its 2016 tournament schedule. The season includes three two-day regular-season qualifying events and a three-day championship. Anglers fish as two-person teams. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-26-jigging-spoons-for-winter-bass

Jigging Spoons for Winter Bass

Of course, the application of the spoon hinges on finding bass in the first place, which is the biggest challenge. Walmart FLW Tour pros Jason Johnson and Clark Reehm are experts at finding winter bass in their respective regions of the country and offer FLW readers some advice on where to look and how to get them to bite the spoon. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-24-how-bryan-thrift-got-to-be-so-good

How Bryan Thrift Got to be so Good

My No. 1 focus out here is to support my family and make a living. Whatever I have to do to make that happen, I’m going to make a valiant effort. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-22-high-school-fishing-makes-the-grade

High School Fishing Makes the Grade

Jacob Smith and Daniel Clark are typical teenagers, at least in everything except bass fishing. In that, they are above average, as the two juniors from Travelers Rest High School in South Carolina proved in the TBF/FLW High School Fishing Florida Open held Jan. 17 on Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-22-flw-mexico-at-the-starting-gate

FLW Mexico at the Starting Gate

Our excitement is so great that we wanted to share this important news with all of you. Believe me, fishermen in Mexico are talking it up as if it were dock talk surrounding the Forrest Wood Cup. What really matters at the end of the line is knowing that FLW is showing its true devotion to promoting bass fishing and making it a truly international sport. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-22-making-the-case-for-haynes-as-aoy

Making the Case for Haynes as AOY

As many have noted, the Walmart FLW Tour schedule for this season looks a lot like it did in 2014. Back then, in his sophomore year on Tour, Randy Haynes had one of the strangest seasons you’ll ever see. He finished 104th at Okeechobee, 149th at Sam Rayburn (ouch) and cranked out top-30 finishes everywhere else. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-21-flw-podcast-108-jason-lambert

FLW Podcast 108 - Jason Lambert

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-20-bfl-choo-choo-division-postponed

BFL Choo Choo Division Postponed

The FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Choo Choo Division tournament on Lake Guntersville originally scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 23 has been postponed due to impending inclement weather. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-20-tigerodz-aligns-with-auburn-team

TIGERODZ Aligns With Auburn Team

Custom fishing rod manufacturer TIGERODZ of Scottsboro, Ala., has signed an agreement to become the official rod brand for the Auburn University Bass Sports Club. Scott Dobbins, president of TIGERODZ, is an Auburn alum, and he says the pairing involved a natural progression of involvement. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-20-becoming-aware-of-your-angler-strengths

Becoming Aware of Your Angler Strengths

The ongoing sentiment among fishermen is that versatility is the key to becoming a successful professional angler. While I’m certain that statement holds some weight, I think there is an alternate perspective that is worth entertaining. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-18-pundits-picks-for-aoy

Pundits Picks for AOY

Winning the Angler of the Year title is a tremendous feat. It can solidify a budding career or affirm a veteran’s status among the best. It also comes with a hefty reward – $100,000 and early entry into the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup. READ MORE »