UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2015 - Kerr Lake

Rodgers reels in Forrest Wood Cup victory

Joined by his son Fisher and daughter Sarah, Dearal Rodgers celebrates his victory.

GAINESVILLE, Ga. - Dearal Rodgers had been waiting six years for his first tournament win, and achieving that special moment at the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Lanier must have made the taste of victory infinitely sweeter. The Camden, S.C., co-angler entered the final day of co-angler competition in first place with 18 pounds - the aggregate of his 8-15 from day one and 9-1 from day two. On day three, his four-fish bag, anchored by a solid 4-pounder, weighed 9-3. His tournament total of 27-3 earned him a $60,000 prize. "This is about one dollar for every morning I've woken my wife (April) up early, getting ready to goThis big Lake Lanier spot anchored Dearal Rodgers fishing," Rodgers said. "It's been a long time, and I've been trying hard." Patience proved to be an essential skill for Rodgers, as his victorious performance took way too long to materialize. Fishing behind ultra-efficient pro, Cody Meyer, the eventual winner found most of his productivity in the latter part of the day. "Cody's a really good angler, and I had to be patient," Rodgers said. "I only had one fish by 1:30. I really stretched them out today. It was a grind - this lake is tough. But you have to have confidence in what you're throwing." Arming himself with custom 7-foot RPM drop-shot rod with a Team Daiwa spinning reel carrying 6-pound line, Rodgers rigged Robo Worms on No. 2 Gamakatsu hooks and used 3/16-ounce lead weights. To Top co-angler Dearal Rodgers discusses his winning tactics with his wife April, son Fisher and daughter Sarah at his side. minimize visibility, he and his wife, April, took black Sharpie markers and darkened his weights. For optimal presentation with less snagging potential, Rodgers rigged his drop-shots with extra long leaders - about 3 to 4 feet was most common. "That way, the weight would be down in the brush, but the worm would be working on top of the brush," he said. "That was really key for me this week." Another important rigging point for Rodgers was his bait hooking style. He basically nose-hooked his worm, but kept the point from exiting the plastic. This afforded maximum bait action with a weedless presentation. "As a co-angler, you have to have a better presentation than your pro," Rodgers said. "Most of the pros are fishing Texas-rigged baits to get through the brush and it makes it difficult to catch fish behind them if you're using the exact same thing. With nose hooking, you get a little better action and I think that helped me this week." Most of Rodgers' fish came out of about 30 feet of water. "It's tough to get a bite in that deeper water,Dearal Rodgers was overjoyed with his victory at the Forrest Wood Cup. and when you get a bite, he may get in the brush and break you off. I broke two off today but I didn't let it bother me because that's something I can't control." Wright rises to second J.R. Wright of Truckee, Calif., led day one with 12-5 (the event's largest co-angler bag). He stumbled on day two and caught just one fish weighing 2-8, but redeemed himself on day three with the day's only limit - a 12-pound effort that moved his total to 26-13. Here's the bummer: Wright finished just 6 ounces behind Rodgers, but his day three score included an 8-ounce penalty for an expired fish. Ever the gentleman competitor, Wright showed no bitterness over Finishing a close second, JR Wright caught the only co-angler limit of day three. the disheartening stats. "I did my best to take care of my fish, but sometimes that happens," he said. Wright, the only co-angler to break 10 pounds on day three, said his pro pairing enabled him to focus on tactics with which he's most comfortable - dropshotting. "Today, I got to do what I love to do," he said. "I fished with Jason Christie and he fished really slow and methodically through these bushes. I was able to keep a dropshot rod in my hand the whole day and I just slowly got the bites." Wright used Robo Worms in the margarita mutilator and morning dawn colors. He also employed a longer leader to entice fish suspending away from brush piles. "My pro was concentrating on the brush, but it seemed that some of those fish would swim out from the brush and bite my bait," Wright said. "I could feel brush a little. I was using a tungsten weight, whichLosing a big fish late in the day left Frank Divis Sr in third place. really made a difference in (sensitivity)." Late day loss leaves Divis at third Frank Divis Sr. of Fayetteville, Ark. said he had a nearly perfect tournament by converting all but one bite into catches. Unfortunately, that one missed opportunity likely levied a heavy toll. "I fished flawlessly this week, but I lost a fish at 2:30 today that cost me this tournament," he said. "I'm using 40-pound braided line and an 8-pound fluorocarbon leader, so I'm not afraid to pull them out of anything. "I got a good hook set on (the fish), the rod bent over and everything was fine. Then, all of a sudden, the line just went limp. What can you say? That was the first fish I lost all week. I fished probably the best I've fished in 20 years." Fourth-place co-angler Matt Peters holds up his biggest bass from day three on Lake Lanier. This magnum spot weighed over 4 pounds.Divis' three day total of 25-9 fell less than 2 pounds from the winning score. He's confident that the fish he lost would have easily bridged that gap. On the upside, Divis was one of the event's most consistent performers with daily totals of 8-12, 8-8 and 8-5. Divis caught his fish on a dropshot baited with Zoom finesse worms in the natural light color. Peters rebounds to take fourth Blanking on day one of any tournament is a tough setback to overcome, but recognizing the magnitude of the Forrest Wood Cup competition, Matt Peters of Gainesville, Ga. put his nose to the grindstone for the second and third days and ended in fourth place with a 19-14 total. "Day one was tough," he said. "I caught six short fish, but wasn't able to get any of the quality bites I needed. I was glad to catch what I caught on the second day. I drew out with a great pro - Troy Morrow - and was able to get five good ones for 9-15." Oddly enough, the day three pairings found Peters again fishing with Morrow, so the established rapport and tactics allowed for an easy continuation during which Peters sacked up another 9-15. HeMarvin Hawkes caught just one fish and finished 15th, but his 4-pound, 6-ounce bass demonstrated the quality swimming in Lake Lanier. fished Roboworms on a drop-shot and a Spro Little John DD crankbait, which was custom painted by Rob Jordan of Xtreme Lure Creations. John Niedosik of Avondale, Ariz., caught three fish that weighed 6-1 and gained one notch to finish fifth with 17-15. Best of the rest Rounding out the top-10 co-angler leaders at the Forrest Wood Cup were: 6th: Brandon Hunter of Benton, Ky., 17-5 7th: Chad Pipkens of Holt, Mich., 16-15 8th: Brad Roberts of Nancy, Ky., 16-10 9th: Gayle Janes of Bermuda Dunes, Calif., 14-5 10th: Jason Law of Waycross, Ga., 14-3

Tags: co-angler-headline 

/news/2015-08-29-hicks-tops-co-angler-field-on-erie

Hicks Tops Co-angler Field on Erie

At 8:30 a.m., Justin Hicks turned to the camera boat following him and Jared Rhode – who split the day-two lead with Dave Lefebre – and said: “I sure would like to win this.” Eight hours later, the young man from Roanoke, Va., lifted the first place trophy at the final Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-21-sunny-skies-at-the-top

Sunny Skies at the Top

It was his first and the Forrest Wood Cup’s last. With the Cup going exclusively to professionals next year, Sunny Hawk, like the rest of the co-anglers, knew this was the last chance for someone to be crowned a co-angler Cup champion. While many made a run at the title – including three past co-angler champions – Hawk made the most of it, weighing in three fish for 6 pounds, 5 ounces on day two for a tournament total of 19-11 to claim his first career win. “For my first win to be at the Cup, I’m pretty pumped,” Hawk said while holding the $50,000 first-place check. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-sunny-s-day-on-the-back-deck

Sunny’s Day on the Back Deck

It’s almost as if Roy and Sunny Hawk switched bags. The father-son duo came to the Forrest Wood Cup with big aspirations – Roy on the pro side and Sunny as a co-angler. So when a Hawk weighed in a limit for 13 pounds, 6 ounces on day one, that was exactly what they hoped would happen, though they probably didn’t think it would be Sunny who did it from the back of the boat. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-01-shafer-takes-co-angler-title

Shafer Takes Co-Angler Title

Scott Shafer picked up the win on the co-angler side in the Rayovac FLW Series event presented by Plano on Lake Champlain with 17 pounds, 12 ounces on the final day for an even 50-pound total. He took home a new Ranger Z117 with a 90-hp outboard as a reward. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-26-jones-wins-potomac-co-angler-crown

Jones Wins Potomac Co-angler Crown

With a two-day total of 25 pounds, 2 ounces, Jim Jones of Big Bend, Wis., won the co-angler title at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River by just 1 pound, 3 ounces over Kyle Prskalo of Illinois. After opening the event in fifth place, Jones bagged a 13-03 limit to climb into the lead. Jones fished with pros Scott Wiley on day one and Ish Monroe on day two. His pro partners worked similar strategies, which allowed Jones to dial in a pattern. “It was all grass fishing,” he says. “I was mostly throwing a swim jig but caught a couple on a ChatterBait and one on a worm. I threw some chartreuse dye on my trailers as well.” READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-20-burgess-tops-all-american-co-angler-field

Burgess Tops All-American Co-Angler Field

If Bob Burgess could have picked three better partners to fish with in the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American on Kentucky Lake, it might have been illegal. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-12-lafleur-earns-co-angler-win

LaFleur Earns Co-angler Win

Co-angler Paul LaFleur of Benton, Ark., earned his first top-10 finish and first win with FLW on the back of a 17-pound, 2-ounce day-two bag that gave him a tournament total of 31-04 at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Igloo Coolers on Lake Chickamauga. “I threw a big worm and a drop-shot the whole time,” says LaFleur. “Today was mainly the big worm. The ledge bite wasn’t good. I caught two real quick, and then it went dead and I caught all the rest up shallow.” READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-06-co-angler-honeycutt-triumphs-in-james-river-debut

Co-angler Honeycutt triumphs in James River debut

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/news/2015-05-15-sweet-as-honeycutt

Sweet as Honeycutt

Keith Honeycutt knows how to fish his way to the tournament podium. The veteran Texas co-angler has won multiple FLW tournaments, including the 2013 Walmart FLW Tour event at Grand Lake. Still, when Honeycutt hoisted the FLW Tour co-angler champion’s trophy over his head on stage this afternoon at Lake Eufaula, he celebrated with great joy because he knows how difficult it is to attain that level of success against the best amateur anglers in the world. “It doesn’t come around very often,” says Honeycutt, who edged out Japan’s Hiroyuki Watanabe by just 2 ounces with a two-day total of 22 pounds, 12 ounces. “It’s hard to get two pro partners who fish a way that you can catch them too.” READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-09-farage-dominates-delta-co-anglers

Farage Dominates Delta Co-anglers

Adapt or die. That pretty well sums up co-angler Jack Farage’s runaway win at the Rayovac FLW Series Western Division event presented by Ranger Boats on the California Delta this week. Obviously, the Discovery Bay, Calif., co-angler adapted – he changed baits every day – and made all the right moves. Farage opened the tournament with a massive 26-pound limit, followed with 11-11 yesterday and then blew the competition away with 16-14 today. His three-day total of 54-09 is 15-07 better than second-place co-angler Todd Kline’s. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-02-big-day-one-catch-sets-up-lejeune-s-texoma-win

Big Day One Catch Sets Up Lejeune’s Texoma Win

No doubt, co-angler Ryan Lejeune, of Eunice, La., would have preferred two more days like his first, but a big opening effort set up his wire-to-wire win in the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division tournament on Lake Texoma. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-co-angler-dunkin-nearly-perfect-at-beaver-lake

Co-angler Dunkin Nearly Perfect at Beaver Lake

Having all the right lures and executing proper presentation are what catches fish in a tournament. However, Walmart FLW Tour co-angler Luke Dunkin knows that to win a Tour event and its $20,000 prize from the back of the boat, everything has to be darn near perfect. “It [perfection] starts with getting to fish your style of fishing, the right pro partner and not losing a fish during the tournament,” Dunkin says. Check, check and … almost check. Dunkin, of Lawrenceburg, Tenn., experienced as close to perfection as is possible this week on the way to winning the co-angler competition at Tour stop No. 3 on Beaver Lake. His only misstep was a single lost fish that he worried would cost him. It didn’t, and in the end his total weight of 18 pounds, 2 ounces was enough to hold off Tour veteran Todd Lee of Jasper, Ala., by just 3 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-18-triplett-takes-co-angler-crown-on-grand

Triplett Takes Co-Angler Crown On Grand

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/news/2015-04-11-wilson-tops-co-anglers-on-rayburn

Wilson Tops Co-anglers on Rayburn

Dan Wilson caught one of only three co-angler limits on the final day of competition to come back from fourth place and win the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division event on Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Mercury. Consistency was key for Wilson, who weighed in 11 pounds, 1 ounce on day one, then followed with 13-04 and 14-15 on days two and three, respectively. His three-day total of 39-04 bested day-two leader Bryan New of North Carolina by 3 pounds, 12 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-day-2-remember

Day 2 Remember

Brad Roberts didn’t just catch more weight than his pro. By the time day two was over, the co-angler had weighed in the biggest bag of any angler on the day. Leading the co-angler side going into the second day of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Evinrude on Lewis Smith Lake, Roberts sacked a giant 18 pounds, 13 ounces to complete a two-day sweep with an impressive 32-1. “This feels awesome,” Roberts says. “I could only fish three [FLW Tour] events this year, and I picked this one because it’s a lot like Dale Hollow and Lake Cumberland back home. Obviously, I picked the right one.” How impressive was what the Faubush, Ky., angler pulled off? His 18-13 beat the biggest pro weight on day two by 9 ounces (Jason Reyes, 18-4), and his 32-1 cumulative weight would have put him in fourth on the pro side after two days. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-o-donnell-earns-co-angler-win

O’Donnell Earns Co-angler Win

“Every time I would think “oh no, this isn’t going right,” I would catch a big one,” says O’Donnell. “I guess it was meant to be.” READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-06-randles-takes-co-angler-crown

Randles Takes Co-angler Crown

The whole premise behind being a successful co-angler is to fish the spots that the guy in the front of the boat hasn’t already hit. Here on Lake Toho and connected lakes – with their miles of lily pad fields and vast mats of various types of aquatic vegetation – finding such targets of opportunity is never a problem, though some co-anglers are better than others at mining the ones that actually have bass in them. Chad Randles of Elkhorn, Neb., proved he had what it takes to pry bass out of their Toho cubby holes as he won the co-angler title here in the Walmart FLW Tour season-opener presented by Mercury. Randles weighed in a pair of limits over two days that totaled 29 pounds, 15 ounces. Mark Holman of Cornelius, N.C., was second with 27-11, while John Hunter of Shelbyville, Ky., placed third with 27-7. READ MORE »

/news/2015-02-14-carrillo-cool-in-victory

Carrillo Cool in Victory

He’s probably the most relaxed competitor this writer has ever encountered in tournament fishing. Just don’t mistake his cool demeanor on the outside for a lack of intensity deep down inside. Ricardo Carrillo of Laredo, Texas, was all business on the water at this week’s Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division event on Lake Amistad presented by Frabill. Carrillo caught 11 pounds, 15 ounces, 6-10 and 5-4 in three days for a tournament total of 23-13 to win the co-angler division by more than 3 pounds. For his efforts, Carrillo earned his very first bass boat, a Ranger Z117 with 90-hp outboard. READ MORE »

/news/2015-02-07-leue-lands-co-angler-title

Leue Lands Co-angler Title

Lake Havasu City, Ariz. – Believe it or not, Daniel Leue of Colusa, Calif., was the only co-angler to bring in a five-bass limit every day of competition this week in the first Western Division event on Lake Havasu presented by Mercury. Though, that doesn’t mean the second victory of his career came easy. The average quality of fish in Havasu kept Leue on his toes but thanks to his 16-pound, 2-ounce limit (the largest of the tournament) on the final day he walked away victorious. READ MORE »

/news/2015-01-24-clewiston-native-wilson-is-co-angler-champ

Clewiston Native Wilson is Co-angler Champ

He was born and raised in Clewiston, and for the last eight years Moses Wilson has been pouring his heart and soul into building a professional fishing career on his hometown waters of Lake Okeechobee. Today, Wilson took a long step forward in his quest by winning the co-angler division of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event presented by Power-Pole on Lake Okeechobee. Wilson caught 13 pounds, 7 ounces today while fishing with pro Mark Daniels Jr. for a three-day total of 38 pounds, 2 ounces. READ MORE »