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

Tidwell tops on Smith

Co-angler Hoyt Tidwell celebrates with his wife after winning the Walmart FLW Tour event on Smith Lake.

JASPER, Ala. - After taking the lead yesterday, Hoyt Tidwell of West Point, Tenn., knew that he had a chance to pull out a victory if he could fish deep. Tidwell got his wish as pro leader Brent Ehrler maintained his lead allowing the two to be paired up. Tidwell hauled in a 12-pound, 8-ounce catch to make his total for the week 34-1, providing him with his first ever win on the Walmart FLW Tour. "This is awesome, I don't know what to say; I'm just super excited," said Tidwell. "This game is full of highs and lows and I have been doing this for a long time. This is my biggest tournament win ever; it just feels awesome." Co-angler champion Hoyt Tidwell holds up his two biggest bass from day three on Smith Lake.Tidwell, who is in the Air Force reserves and a poultry farmer, had to take a few years off from fishing due to deployment. He had never fished the tour for a whole season, so last year he made the commitment and ended up qualifying the Forrest Wood Cup. It was at the Cup where he received some baits from Ehrler that would help him to victory on Smith Lake. "I got some Roboworms from him (Ehrler) at the Cup last year. I ran out of them so I ordered some for this tournament and they showed up Tuesday for me. It's a 4 1/2-inch worm and the color is called Halogram Dawn. There is no doubt that the fish wanted that color this week. Yesterday, when I fished with Jacob (Powroznik) I tried throwing different colors after I had a good limit but couldn't get any bites. When I put that one (Halogram Dawn) back down I would get bit. "I fished right below the boat all week. I would just sit there shaking that bait, trying to stay focused on exactly what the worm was doing down there. When you fish with guys like Stacey King, Jacob Powroznik and Brent Ehrler you know you are going to be around fish. That made it easier for me to focus on my fishing." Tidwell utilized a drop-shot essentially the entire week. He used a ¼-ounce weight on the first day because he was fishing in shallower water, but switched to a 3/8-ounce weight on days two and three when in much deeper water. Matched with that Roboworm, it made a deadly spotted bass rig. One other key for Tidwell was to keep the bait on the bottom and keep it moving. He would constantly let out or reel up line to adjust to depth changes. "You just learn so much when you travel with these anglers. If you surround yourself with good anglers you can become a good angler." Tidwell earned a cool $20,000 for his efforts on Smith Lake this week. "This has been a long time coming for me and I couldn't do any of this without the support I get from my wife." Goggins rallies to second Co-angler Anthony Goggins caught a 15-pound limit on day three and finished the Smith Lake event in second place.When 28-year-old Walmart FLW Tour rookie Anthony Goggins came to the Walmart parking lot today he could almost smell the title. Towards the end of the weigh-in today the only person standing between him and his first victory was Hoyt Tidwell. Though he didn't come out on top, Goggins put up one heck of a fight. The Auburn, Ala., resident managed to increase his weight every day going from 4 pounds, 2 ounces on day one, to 10-3 on day two and finally recording the largest bag brought in by a co-angler all week with a 15-pound sack on the final day. His three-day total weight settled at 29-5 and earned him a check worth $7,500. "I fished with a fairy wand (spinning rod) the last two days," said Goggins, who is coming off a fifth-place finish on Okeechobee. "I had been fishing off of the back graph those days because the pro was nice enough to leave them on for me. Today my boater had some electrical problems and had to shut the graph off, so I decided that since I couldn't look at what I'm doing I should cast a big jig." His plan to fish big baits on the final day was an excellent decision for the young rookie. The jig was a 1/2-ounce homemade jig green pumpkin in color with some red mixed in. He also threw a Carolina rig with a Cold Steel Walking Stick that produced three fish for him today. He threw both on 12-pound fluorocarbon. "I just want to thank FLW and the boaters. Also, the volunteers at the boat ramp made this the best experience I have had at a boat ramp, thank you." Rest of the Best Third-place co-angler Mike Hardin shows off two nice Smith Lake bass.Mike Hardin Sr., of Robertsdale, Ala., shuffled around the leaderboard this week before finally settling into the third position. His week started out strong with 10 pounds, 5 ounces on day one. He slipped on day two with only 2-15 and rebounded on day three with 12-0. His total weight for the week was 25-4, enough to earn a check for $5,000. "It was just a slow day," said Hardin Sr. "I got a lucky charm from my grandson and I think it helped me today." Local co-angler favorite Todd Lee of Jasper, Ala. , is no stranger to winning big events with FLW. Lee fished hard hauling in 8 pounds, 3 ounces the first day. He brought 5-1 to the scales on day two and added 8-13 to that, giving him a three-day total weight of 22-1. His fourth-place effort earned him a $4,000 check. Josh Smith of Hamilton, Ohio rounded out the top-five co-anglers from Lewis Smith Lake. One of the more consistent co-anglers in this event, Smith posted 7 pounds, 14 ounces, 6-12 and 7-5 on days one, two and three, respectively. His total weight of 21-15 was good enough to earn $3,000 this week. Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers at the FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake: 6th: Tom Stark of Angola, Ind., 21-13, $2,500 7th: Jesse Wiggins of Cullman, Ala., 21-12, $2,000 8th: Rick Bowen of Jackson, Tenn., 21-0, $1,800 9th: Bryan Partak of Rockdale, Ill., 20-3, $1,700 10th: Alan Woodford of Winslow, Ind., 18-15, $1,600

Tags: co-angler-headline 


It’s Kline Time Again

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Hicks, Sims Tied for Co-angler Lead

After opening the tournament in 63rd place with two keepers for 2 pounds, 12 ounces, Kirk Sims of Lowell, Ark., rebounded on day two with four keepers that weighed 14 pounds, 3 ounces. And Buddy Hicks of Port Neches, Texas, was even more impressive, following up an opening-day zero with a 16-15 limit. READ MORE »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


Co-angler Honeycutt triumphs in James River debut



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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


Triplett Takes Co-Angler Crown On Grand



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 »


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 »


O’Donnell Earns Co-angler Win

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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 »


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 »