UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Quick Bites: EverStart Championship, Day 4

An exuberant Balog collected the championship trophy in only his first season on the the EverStart Series.

2001 EverStart Series Championship
Pickwick Lake, Florence, Ala.
Day four, Pro finals

Couldn't be closer ... Ricky Shumpert of Lexington, S.C., needed his last fish to weigh 1 pound, 14 ounces to tie Joe Balog and 1-15 win the championship. On the scale the feisty smallmouth wouldn't settle down, and Shumpert watched in anguish as the scale bounced around - 1-13, 1-14, even 1-15. Eventually, the scale settled on 1-13 and Balog took home the victory by 1 ounce. Balog's total weight was 4-5 while Shumpert's was 4-4. "Man, I lost it by 1 ounce!" Shumpert lamented afterwards. A bitter pill it was. That 1 ounce was worth $5,000 plus a $35,000 new Ranger boat to Shumpert. Balog took home the winner's prize of $25,000 and the boat while Shumpert settled for $20,000 for second place. Still, there's not a better sport in fishing than Shumpert, a rising star and perennial top-10 finisher on both the EverStart and FLW circuits. He said, "I'm looking forward to next year. In a month we start all over again."

The adage goes: Never give up ... Today Balog said, "I thought I was out of it yesterday. I shouldn't even be here." In reality, he was just being modest. He has been consistently strong all week long. He placed third Wednesday and moved up to second Thursday. Of all five finalists, Balog's opening-round weight of 21-11 beat the next closest competitor by almost 7 pounds. In the semifinals Friday, Balog qualified for the finals in fifth place with one nice bass weighing 3 pounds, 4 ounces. Fortunately for him, the fishing has been so tough that 3-4 was actually a quality total catch Friday. Shouldn't be here? Then who should?

Lessons from the master ... Balog, of Independence, Ohio, says his biggest inspiration in pro bass fishing is legendary Rick Clunn and his mental approach to the sport. It is a fitting tribute, then, that Balog wins at Pickwick Lake where Clunn last won an Operation Bass tourney, the Wal-Mart FLW Tour in June 2000. Not surprisingly, Balog had nothing but good things to say about Pickwick Lake and the entire Shoals area. "I can't find anything to complain about," he quipped, "which is odd because I usually do."

Early Eakins ... Maybe the hardest hit by today's two-hour fog delay was Friday's leader Jim Eakins of Nixa, Mo. He was fishing docks and had been catching his competitive stringers mostly before noon throughout the week. "I really needed the early morning bite," he said. Eakins finished third with one bass weighing 3 pounds, 8 ounces.

All the way to Wheeler ... Tournament followers watched as Greg Pugh took off and wondered whether he would make his monumental run to his fishing location in light of this morning's fog delay. The run was about 90 miles round trip and took him through two time-consuming locks upriver to Wheeler Lake. He did it anyway. "I don't approach those two (Pickwick and Wilson lakes)," the Cullman, Ala., native said about fishing this stretch of the Tennessee River. "I go to Wheeler." He finished fourth with two bass weighing 3 pounds, 2 ounces.

Grosse estimate ... When Richard Grosse of Hebron, Ohio, lost a fish early in the morning he didn't seem too fazed by it. "I didn't think it would really matter because I thought I would (catch) four or five fish." He didn't, catching only one more keeper weighing 1 pound, 6 ounces for fifth place. Still, it was a stellar tournament for the rookie pro fishing his first season on the EverStart Series.

Quick Number

14: Difference, in ounces, between the total weight caught by all five pro finalists at the 2001 EverStart Series Championship - 16 pounds, 9 ounces - and the total weight caught by Rick Clunn at the 2000 Wal-Mart FLW Tour finals at Pickwick Lake - 15 pounds, 9 ounces. Needless to say, this tourney was really tough.

Sound Bite

"I'm going to frame my underwear."
- Joe Balog, who superstitiously wore the same pair of underwear during all four days of competition, on how he would commemorate his EverStart Series Championship victory.

Quick Links, Day 4:

Photos
Results
Not your average Joe
Press release

Tags: jeff-schroeder  quick-bites  2001-11-07-pickwick-lake 

/tips/2016-07-23-1000-islands-day-3-midday-update

1000 Islands Day 3 Midday Update

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-22-1000-islands-midday-update-day-2

1000 Islands Midday Update Day 2

Day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands got started on a slightly different note this morning when FLW’s tournament directors declared Lake Ontario off limits due to hazardous conditions. The change threw a few of the top pros off their primary plans, but regardless the 137-boat field will be cut down to the top 10 after today, so adjustments need to be made in order to qualify to fish the weekend. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-19-flw-podcast-126-icast

FLW Podcast 126 - ICAST

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-14-2017-walmart-flw-tour-schedule

2017 Walmart FLW Tour Schedule

In what has become an annual tradition at FLW, the 2017 Walmart FLW Tour schedule was announced at a press conference and industry gathering held Thursday on the show floor at ICAST in Orlando, Fla. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-12-si-se-puede-yes-we-can

Si Se Puede ... Yes We Can

Mexico’s Lake Zimapan is different in many ways from the lakes to the north such as Florida’s Lake Okeechobee and California’s Clear Lake, but one element it has in common with those famous fisheries is big bass. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-11-5-rookie-lessons-learned

5 Rookie Lessons Learned

People have asked me what my first year on the Walmart FLW Tour was like. Well, it was like running headfirst into a hurricane for a few months. I came out the other side a little battered, bruised and smelling like fish. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-11-flw-podcast-125-scott-martin

FLW Podcast 125 - Scott Martin

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-08-review-lew-s-custom-speed-stick-lite

Review: Lew’s Custom Speed Stick Lite

Recently I had the opportunity to try one model in particular – the 7-foot, 4-inch Magnum Pitchin’ rod. After fishing with it several times, I’ve concluded that it performs as advertised, is sensitive and lightweight, and is well worth the money. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-08-reunited-and-it-feels-so-good

Reunited, and it Feels so Good

This year I really had a reunion with finesse fishing. Most of my better tournaments came from fishing some type of finesse presentation. Finesse tactics seemed to always give me a certain confidence about the day. While finesse tactics are nothing new to the game of bass fishing, this year I regained the confidence and joy of catching bass on smaller offerings. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-08-2016-icast-preview

2016 ICAST Preview

The doors to ICAST don’t open until next week, when everyone gets out on the showroom floor in Orlando, Fla., but there are already plenty of snippets of information available. FLW’s media crew will be there in full force to bring you coverage of the hottest new products, as well as the annual New Product Showcase awards. For now, take a gander at some of the early birds. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-07-flw-canada-kicks-off-at-tri-lakes

FLW Canada Kicks Off at Tri-Lakes

Among these Canadian all-stars was the eventual winning team of Chris Vandermeer of Peterborough and Jeff Slute of Millbrook. Capitalizing on a strong day one shallow-water smallmouth pattern, the duo took advantage of the slick-calm conditions using a silver-hued topwater popping plug to agitate the lake’s bronzebacks into attack. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-30-flw-tour-pro-cooksey-recovering-after-accident

FLW Tour Pro Cooksey Recovering After Accident

Walmart FLW Tour sophomore Dalton Cooksey of New Concord, Ky., is recovering at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee following a single-car accident that took place Wednesday afternoon. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-30-flw-podcast-124-jeremy-lawyer

FLW Podcast 124 - Jeremy Lawyer

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-29-stetson-blaylock-s-recipe-for-a-wacky-rig

Stetson Blaylock’s Recipe for a Wacky Rig

From March until the end of the fishing season I’m going to have a wacky rig on deck. It’s a really effective way to fish anytime the fishing is tough, or if the fish are up cruising banks. Anytime fish are about 5 feet deep or less, I can catch them on the wacky rig. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-28-morgan-claims-third-flw-tour-angler-of-the-year-title

Morgan Claims third FLW Tour Angler of the Year Title

MINNEAPOLIS – Livingston Lures pro Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tennessee, added to his incredible fishing resume by winning his third Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year title Saturday at the FLW Tour's final 2016 regular-season event on Lake Champlain.... READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-24-three-things-by-dd-kentucky-lake

Three Things by DD: Kentucky Lake

Kentucky Lake did not go the way I intended. I was pumped and ready to rock out a top-20 finish. I had great expectations of myself, but nothing seemed to come together. Practice was dicey, but I thought for sure I could put something together to make the cut. That was until day one came, and the whole vibe of my day instantly went from eager to agitated. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-23-how-to-catch-smallmouths-with-hair-jigs

How to Catch Smallmouths with Hair Jigs

The “right” hair jig for smallmouths is a small 1/16- to 1/8-ounce marabou jig with a round or mushroom-shaped head. The jig is similar to marabou jigs used by crappie fishermen, but bass models will often have a larger, stronger hook and possibly a longer or thicker skirt. Naturally, anglers have their favorites, and there are subtle differences in jigs that make some better than others. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-22-two-exciting-events-to-look-forward-to

Two Exciting Events to Look Forward To

We are in the last stretch of the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour. Awaiting us is the Lake Champlain tournament in just a few days. A couple of things will be settled there: the pro field for the Forrest Wood Cup and the Angler of the Year. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-21-tagging-along-with-sprague-in-kentucky

Tagging Along with Sprague in Kentucky

Through the first four events of the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour season, Jeff Sprague finished inside the top 20 every time and challenged for the win at Beaver Lake. After stop No. 4 on Pickwick, Sprague took over the lead in the Angler of the Year race. This is the story of his first tournament as the AOY leader – stop No. 5 on Kentucky Lake. Currently, Sprague is preparing for the finale on Lake Champlain. He’s in second place in the AOY standings. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-19-waunakee-hs-wins-wi-title

Waunakee HS Wins WI Title

The Waunakee High School duo of Colin Steck and Nathan Lorenz brought a five-bass limit to the scale Sunday weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces, to win the 2016 TBF/FLW High School Fishing Wisconsin State Championship on the Minocqua Chain of Lakes. The win earned the team trophies, the title of state champions and advanced the team to the High School Fishing Central Conference championship on the Ohio River in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, on September 23-24. READ MORE »