UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Quick Bites: FWC, Lake Murray, Day 4

FLW Outdoors Chairman Irwin Jacobs hands Michael Bennett a check for $1 million.

2008 Forrest Wood Cup Lake Murray, Columbia, S.C. Final round, Sunday More excitement to come ... Now that we know who won the $1 million on Lake Murray, the bass-fishing industry will turn its attention toward Aug. 21. At noon EDT, FLW Fantasy Fishing will unveil its first $1 million champion at the Colonial Center in Columbia with the top 15 overall points leaders in attendance. The winner will be the player who has accumulated the most points over seven tournaments. In addition to the $1 million champion, the top 15 finalists will walk away with prizes such as a new Chevy Silverado (a $40,000 value), a $25,000 Wal-Mart gift card, a $20,000 BP gas card and a Ranger Z19 bass fishing boat (a $52,000 value). Also, the individual fantasy winner from the Forrest Wood Cup will receive a check for $100,000. Girlfriend picks Bennett second ... Michael Bennett, 24, may have won the $1 Emily Norwood picked her boyfriend Michael Bennett in second place.million on the water, but his girlfriend, Emily Norwood, is in contention for an equal amount in FLW Fantasy Fishing. After picking solid teams at each of the first six qualifiers, Norwood chose two anglers in the top 10 at the championship: one being her boyfriend, of course, and the other being Jay Yelas. Ironically, Norwood's downfall may have been picking her boyfriend to finish second. "I begged and begged him to let me pick him first but he wouldn't let me," she said. "I don't know if he was superstitious or what. He said we didn't need $2 million; we're not that greedy." Will Norwood win a prize? We'll find out on Thursday, Aug. 21. Frogs become go-to bait ... At the start of the week, FLWOutdoors.com posted a poll asking visitors what would be the winning bait at the Forrest Wood Cup. The winner with 26 percent of the vote was football-head jig. Most fishing fans were likely thinking the tournament would be won deep in brush piles. Instead, the relatively cool, cloudy weather greatly aided a topwater frog bite. In fact, Bennett, third-place pro Terry Bolton, fourth-place pro Chris Baumgardner and seventh-place pro Brent Ehrler all threw different variations of a frog this week on Lake Murray. Rose takes the high road ... When pro Mark Rose reached his primary area Saturday morning, there was a local angler waiting for him as he approached his best spot in the Crystal Lake arm of the The Columbia area crowd watches the big screen as pro Mark Rose plays a fish.reservoir. Rose first assumed he was a spectator, but quickly realized he was intent on putting fish in the boat. While local anglers have every right to fish public waters, a little courtesy goes a long way, especially when a million dollars is at stake. Apparently the man was intent on engaging in a pseudo one-on-one tournament with the Marion, Ark., pro. Although he was shaken up, Rose took the high road. Instead of confronting the man, he put his head down and did what he does best - focus on fishing. "If you don't stay positive in a situation like that, you'll lose three or four hours of valuable fishing time," Rose said. "Basically, I decided I wouldn't let him ruin my tournament." Major changes for 2009 ... On Aug. 13, FLW Outdoors announced major changes for both the FLW Tour and the FLW Series. With all the excitement surrounding the Forrest Wood Cup, those messages were somewhat buried, but their significance cannot be understated. The most prominent among them is that fields will be scaled back to 150 boats in 2009. In addition, FLW Tour events will no longer be open to pros entering just one tournament. Pros must commit to fish all six FLW Tour qualifiers. Lastly, the FLW Series Fish-off will be dropped in 2009 and the top 20 pros and 20 co-anglers from each of the two FLW Series divisions will advance directly to the 2010 Forrest Wood Cup. While the no-jackpotting rule is great news for tour-level pros, it's also big for fantasy fishing players. The same 150 anglers will be fishing each qualifier, so players won't have to fret over which locals did or did not receive entry into a specific tournament. Michael Bennett celebrates after winning the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup. Quick numbers: 4: Number of five-bass limits weighed by the top 10 pros Sunday. 2: Number of FLW Tour victories in 2008 for Bennett. 27: Percentage of FLW Fantasy Fishing players who had Bennett on their roster. 31: Percentage of Player's Advantage members who had Bennett on their roster. 1,435,434: Career FLW Outdoors earnings, in dollars, for Bennett. 24-15: Two-day total weight, in pounds and ounces, for the pro winner. Sound bites: "If you lose it, give me a call." - FLW Outdoors Chairman Irwin Jacobs on the $1 million check. "I hate to flatter us, but I think we pretty much caught them all." - Sixth-place pro Dion Hibdon, who shared water this week with Yelas and second-place pro Dave Lefebre. Chevy pro Dion Hibdon finished sixth and earned $45,000."The money is great, but the title of Forrest Wood Cup champion goes down in the history books." - Bennett. "I've seen bigger fish than this on a pizza." - Yelas, on his lone keeper Sunday. "In practice one day, I saw probably 50 fish in one pack between 3 and 7 pounds," - Berkley pro Kevin Vida, who sight-fished much of the tournament. "If I can hang with the top 77 here, I think I can compete next year." - TBF National Championship winner Brian Travis, on fishing the FLW Tour in 2009. "Coming that close, I want it even more next year." - Ehrler, on losing to David Dudley by a single point in the Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year race.

Tags: quick-bites  brett-carlson 


Hartwell’s hometown hero

SENECA, S.C. – With the disappointment of the 2008 Bassmaster Classic still fresh in his mind, Casey Ashley crafted a meticulous revenge strategy for the next major tournament held on Lake Hartwell – one that was bulletproof and could withstand cold, wind, rain and fog. In doing so, he had to fish against his shallow-water strengths. Armed with some of the best deep brush piles on the lake, Ashley crushed the second Walmart FLW Tour event of the year from start to finish. READ MORE »


Carlson blog: A plea to tackle companies

Tournament bass fishing season is in full swing, even if the weather in most of the country may not feel like it. From now until mid-summer, culminating with ICAST in July and the Forrest Wood Cup in August, tackle companies across the industry will be launching their newest mouse traps – all guaranteed to catch more fish than the others. READ MORE »


Carlson blog: Tharp oozes confidence, not arrogance

I recently watched some behind-the-scenes footage of the Forrest Wood Cup dinner banquet, which is held the night before the championship commences. The footage was being used for the final episode of the Circuit Breaker reality show series starring FLW Tour rookie Casey Martin. But I was most struck by what I saw from Randall Tharp, who would go on to win the Cup in impressive fashion. READ MORE »


Farewell to the Alabama rig

It seems like just yesterday nearly all members of the bass fishing media were writing about this new bait/system that mimicked an entire school of baitfish. It’s hard to believe that it was almost two years ago that Paul Elias introduced the Alabama rig with his domination on Lake Guntersville. READ MORE »


Quick Bites: Forrest Wood Cup, Red River, Day 4

In 2011, EverStart team pro Randall Tharp of Port Saint Joe, Fla., thought he had fished the perfect Forrest Wood Cup only to lose out at the very end to FLW Tour pro Scott Martin on Lake Ouachita. Although Tharp walked away from that tournament $100,000 richer, he couldn’t help but think of what might have been. READ MORE »


Thrift, Tharp flip flop at top

SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY, La. – Thanks to a late-day kicker, Bryan Thrift and Randall Tharp swapped places at the top of the standings at the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup. Instead of Tharp leading by 4 ounces, Thrift sits perched at the top by the same margin with one day remaining on the Red River. READ MORE »


Quick Bites: Forrest Wood Cup, Red River, Day 3

A change at the top … For two straight days, EverStart team pro Randall Tharp of Port Saint Joe, Fla., had led the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup. Well today that all changed … just barely. READ MORE »


Quick Bites: Forrest Wood Cup, Red River, Day 2

By the start of day two, the new conventional wisdom was that the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup was now simply a two-man duel between Tharp and Thrift. While that narrative made perfect sense at the time, multiple-day, high-stakes bass-fishing tournaments sometimes have a tendency to veer off from a carefully written script. READ MORE »


Quick Bites: Forrest Wood Cup, Red River, Day 1

Heading into today’s competition, the conventional wisdom was that it would take anywhere from 11 to 12 pounds a day to win the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup. However, apparently EverStart team pro Randall Tharp and Chevy team pro Bryan Thrift weren’t listening. READ MORE »


Hippensteel victorious in Detroit

TRENTON, Mich. – Jim Hippensteel has been around the block enough to know how hard it is to win a tournament from the back of the boat. Numerous things have to go right, including several that are out of your control. That’s why when Hippensteel’s pro partner Heath Wagner turned around and retreated from a rough Lake Erie this morning, Hippensteel was convinced another opportunity at victory had slipped away. READ MORE »


ICAST impressions 2013

LAS VEGAS – The curtain has been pulled at ICAST 2013 as hundreds of new baits, rods, reels and accessories have officially been unveiled. Manufacturers, buyers and media members are all calling the event a success as both the number of attendees and the number of exhibitors were up from last year. Below is a look at many of the new products that caught my eye. READ MORE »


Dudley loses bet, favorite topwater to Wheeler

After an incredible practice, David Dudley thought it would take a whopping 17 pounds a day to get a top 50 and a big check at Lake Chickamauga, the site of the final FLW Tour qualifier, even going so far as to call it “Falconesque”. While the fishing on the TVA impoundment was good, just about everybody thought Dudley was crazy. READ MORE »


Telling the untold: Jaye’s unconventional jerkbait pattern

Admittedly, we at FLWOutdoors.com have a pretty standard approach to covering bass tournaments. Following weigh-in, a story is posted each night that includes interviews from the top five pros. In general, this method works as fans are naturally drawn to those who are catching the heaviest stringers. Occasionally, the system fails to capture an interesting story. At Lake Eufaula, sixth-place finisher Kelley Jaye was that interesting story. READ MORE »


Flawed A-rig argument

Yep, just what we need – yet another Alabama rig opinion piece. I promise mine will offer a different perspective, one coming from a writer with no vested interest. In a nutshell, I contend that one of the main arguments against the A-rig is completely unfounded. Let me start with a quick story. READ MORE »


Rapala’s next big lures

The company that introduced the Original Floater, Shad Rap and DT Series says its newest line of lures could be its most successful yet. And so far, action is speaking louder than words as all the major industry retailers, including Walmart, have purchased a piece of the action. READ MORE »


Arey aims higher in 2013

All too often in professional fishing the limelight goes to those who make the top-10 cuts and hoist the six-figure checks above their heads. Matt Arey never made any of those cuts, nor did he win a tournament in 2012, yet he still had by any standard a “career year.” READ MORE »


When second best is a success

I’ll admit it; I’m a Senko aficionado. My friends, family and even co-workers chide me for how often I throw Yamamoto’s famous soft-plastic stickbait. Guess what? I don’t care. Mock me all you want, but if you’re a serious bass fisherman, you appreciate the efficacy of the Senko. It’s simple, and in the spring, it’s nearly impossible to beat. READ MORE »


Auburn clinches long-awaited SEC Championship

ROCK HILL, S.C. – While the weather changed from bright sunshine to thick clouds on day three of the National Guard FLW College Fishing Southeast Conference Championship, it wasn’t nearly enough to derail the powerhouse Auburn University fishing team. With several deep schools of bass located, the Tigers put on an offshore clinic and dominated the three-day tournament wire-to-wire. READ MORE »


Nixon surges to St. Clair lead

WOODHAVEN, Mich. – Bucking the normal trend of diminishing weights, Larry Nixon has improved his catch each day of the Walmart FLW Tour Open. After sitting in relative obscurity on day one with 17 pounds, Nixon rallied on day two with nearly 23 pounds. Today he upped the ante to 23 pounds, 11 ounces and is one day away from his second tour title on Lake St. Clair. READ MORE »


Quick Bites: Forrest Wood Cup, Lake Lanier, Day 4

In the end, the 21-year-old upstart from Indianapolis, Ind., was just too much for the rest of the field. Bolstered by an 11-pound, 15-ounce catch on the final day of competition, FLW Tour rookie Jacob Wheeler blew away four former Forrest Wood Cup champions, three FLW Tour Angler of the Year title holders as well as the rest of the top-10 field to claim the most prestigious title in bass fishing. READ MORE »