UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Quick Bites: Stren Series Championship, Day 4

For two consecutive years, David Curtis and Greg Bohannan have qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup through the Stren Series Championship.

2008 Stren Series Championship
Table Rock Lake, Branson, Mo.
Final round, Saturday

Five pros to Pittsburgh ... It isn't supposed to be this easy, but David Curtis and Greg Bohannan certainly make it look that way. As the highest finishers from the Texas Division and Central Division, Curtis and Bohannan have qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup two consecutive years through the Stren Series Championship. Joining them in Pittsburgh next July will be Michael Iaconelli from the Northern Division, Cody Meyer from the Western Division and Ott Defoe from the Southeast Division. "Man, that is awesome," exclaimed Curtis. "But to be honest Forrest L. Wood addresses the five pros who qualified for the 2009 Forrest Wood Cup. From left to right they are David Curtis, Ott Defoe, Michael Iaconelli, Cody Meyer and Greg Bohannan.with you, I came here wanting to win this event more than anything. But to be able to go to the Cup for the second consecutive year - I can't believe it." For Bohannan, the primary focus was the Cup berth and not a tournament victory, so both anglers achieved their lofty goals: "I was more nervous about making the Cup than I was about winning this event. I don't have to catch a single bass next year on the FLW Tour, and I'll still get to go to Pittsburgh."

Bohannan family expecting ... Being prequalified for the Forrest Wood Cup can take the pressure off an angler. But in Bohannan's case, it also allows for some family flexibility. Bohannan's wife is 16 weeks along with the couple's first child. That puts the baby due near the end of April - smack dab in the middle of the National Guard Open on Lake Norman in Charlotte, N.C. Now that Bohannan has his Cup berth in hand, he doesn't have to decide between fishing and family. "If I need to, I'll be coming home," he said without being prompted.

Defoe does the opposite ... Curtis and Bohannan may have qualified for the Cup two consecutive years, but Defoe has also done it twice. In 2006, Defoe qualified through the Southeast Division - the same division he fished this year. But last year he fished the Northern Division, and he plans to head north again next year. While most Stren anglers fish the division closest to home, the young Knoxville, For the second time in his young career, Ott Defoe has qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup through the Stren Series Championship.Tenn., pro picks the division that best fits into his schedule. In doing this, Defoe has inadvertently given himself a unique advantage. As a Southeast Division pro this season, he was the only angler from that division to qualify for the top 10 this week. If he would have fished the Central Division, he would have scrapped for a Cup berth against five other Central Division anglers. Next year, Defoe will fish the Northern Division, and the championship is slated for Pickwick Lake in northern Alabama. In all likelihood, there won't be too many Northern Division pros that can compete with Defoe on a TVA lake. "Basically, I've been fishing the opposite division of where the championship is held," he said. "I don't do it on purpose; I pick the schedule that fits best. That's how it worked out this year, and that's my plan for next year."

Chilling on the Rock ... With the exception of day one, it has been a cold and windy week on Table Rock Lake. But that's to be expected in the fall, as a new weather pattern seems to arrive daily. Day four was freezing - literally. At takeoff, the temperature was 31 degrees. But the cold and blustery weather actually turned the bite on. "This lake actually gets better the windier and colder it gets," said Bohannan. "I'm not exactly sure why, but I like it." Sure, it was cold in Branson today, but that was nothing compared to Bismarck, N.D., the site of the 2008 FLW Walleye Tour Championship. Thousands of customers in the Dakotas are still without power after a fierce storm delivered a wintry mix of freezing rain and snow.
The rock band DoGtag performed a free concert prior to the day-four weigh-in.
DoGtag rocks ... Prior to the day-four weigh-in, the band DoGtag performed a free concert to the sizeable crowd. DoGtag, which is based out of Branson, performs current and classic modern music hits. Not only are they musically talented, each member of the band served in a branch of the United States military. "To play in front of a weigh-in tank is something I never dreamed I'd do," quipped the lead singer. "I actually dreamed of becoming a bass pro, but that never happened."

Spinnerbaits in the Ozarks ... For the past few years, the spinnerbait has been all but dead to the bass-fishing world. With increased pressure, largemouths and smallmouths have become conditioned to the blade baits. But at the Walmart Open on Beaver Lake, the spinnerbait made a triumphant return as high and dirty water changed the tournament landscape dramatically. In the fall, however, the spinnerbait is a proven producer in the Ozarks, and this week's blustery weather only helped its cause. "The fish suspend in the clear water and are in the chasing mood," said pro Ricky D. Scott, who used a homemade spinnerbait this week. "When the conditions are right like they were today, you can draw them up from a long ways away." Bohannan agreed with Scott, "When the weather is like this on Beaver, Table Rock and Norfork, the big ones eat and you've got to throw something they'll chase."

Kellogg's pro Greg Bohannan of Rogers, Ark., is in 8th with a two-day total of 24-3.Sorry Rose, no Fish-Off for Bohannan ... Last season, Bohannan qualified for the Cup through the Stren Series and still fished the FLW Series East-West Fish-Off. At the Fish-Off, Bohannan defeated his opponent, Western Division pro Roy Hawk. Since the Rogers, Ark., pro was double qualified for the Cup, the extra slot went to the pro who lost his head-to-head matchup with the heaviest weight. Ironically, that pro was Mark Rose, who happens to be Bohannan's friend and travel partner. Rose then went on to finish ninth at the Cup and take home $30,000. This year, Rose can qualify for the Cup through the upcoming Fish-Off, but he won't have Bohannan as a backup plan.

Quick numbers:

308,661: Number of dollars earned by Curtis the last two seasons despite not fishing a single tour-level qualifier.

22-12: Weight, in pounds and ounces, of Curtis' day-four limit.

15: Number of keepers caught on a buzzbait by Bohannan, who hadn't thrown the lure until today.

5: Number of top-10 cutoffs made by Iaconelli in five Stren Series tournaments this year.

Sound bites:

"Now that I've fished the FLW Tour, I know how hard it is to qualify for the Cup, and I value that spot even more." - Defoe.

Stren Series Championship winner David Curtis poses with his wife and Forrest and Nina Wood."When things are meant to be, they just happen; its like magic." - Iaconelli.

"I'm going to do this backwards and save my little fish for last." - Curtis, just before he tricked the crowd and lugged out twin 6-pounders.

"If it would have been calm, I think I could have won it out deep." - Harrison, Ark., pro Robbie Dodson.

"When you make the top 10, you need to go for it, and that's what I did." - Lendell Martin Jr., who swung for the fence on day three and caught only one keeper.

The 2009 Stren Series season kicks off Jan. 15-17 as the Texas Division hosts its first qualifier on Falcon Lake in Zapata, Texas.

Tags: brett-carlson  quick-bites  2008-11-05-flw-all-american-series-championship 

/tips/2016-07-28-flw-podcast-128-mark-rose

FLW Podcast 128 - Mark Rose

READ MORE »

/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 »