UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Champlain

Why the wheels fell off at Hartwell

John Cox fires a cast on his first spot.

"... A man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?" Although the poet Robert Browning wasn't referring to bass tournaments when he wrote that bit of verse, it's applicable to those who aspire to great things on the Walmart FLW Tour. The quest should be worthy of the goal. For sure, reaching for the stars doesn't guarantee an angler success, and it's especially frustrating when he comes close until the fish or circumstances move the goalposts farther away from him. Consider some of the anglers who made a run at the Lake Hartwell championship, only to fall short in the end. Ramie Colson Jr. eyes up the dock to make the perfect pitch.Ramie Colson Jr. Day 1: 17-10 (5th place) Day 2: 11-02 (6th place) Day 3: 1-01 (14th place) "Mainly I was fishing a creek with a little stained water and some shallow cover in the back end, and I had a great practice in there. I tried to expand it in some other creeks, but it just wasn't the same. The fish bit good in that creek the first day of the tournament, but by the third day it was pretty much a case of it being cleaned out. Because of the lower temperatures that came in, and then the bluebird weather, the fish weren't replenishing in that shallow stuff. Looking back at it now I wish I had backed off into deeper water and tried to relocate them. It seems like the people who really stayed with it and were consistent were fishing in that 15- to 20-foot range. If I had it to do over, I would have tried to find some brush in about 20 feet of water for that third day." Pro Skip Johnson of Goodells, Mich., is in second after day one with five bass for 19 pounds, 4 ounces.Skip Johnson Day 1: 19-04 (2nd place) Day 2: 2-10 (42nd place) "I found a bunch of fish on the first day of practice and stayed off them until the first morning of the tournament. It was sweet; I had my limit by 7:45 on a lipless crankbait, and I must have culled about 20 fish before I decided to save them for the next day. Every one of them was a largemouth. When I left there around 9:30, I turned the key and my GPS shorted out - it wasn't a Lowrance, by the way. So I lost all my waypoints. I fished around the rest of the day and almost didn't make it back to the weigh-in on time because I kept getting lost. I ran up two creeks thinking it was the main lake before I realized I needed to turn around. Hartwell is about 56,000 acres, and most of it looks the same: deep winding creeks and lots of coves. On the second day, all I had going for me was the paper lake map and some Navionics waypoints I had on my iPhone. My best spot wasn't one of them. I literally ran out of fuel trying to find my way back, but I never felt like I was exactly in the right place again." John Cox finished fifth on Lake Hartwell targeting largemouths in shallow water with a lipless crankbait. John Cox Day 1: 18-13 (3rd place) Day 2: 15-11 (2nd place) Day 3: 1-00 (6th place) Day 4: 13-06 (5th place) "The three-hour fog delay on day three threw me off. I was kind of excited about my chances, but when I got to my first spot I didn't get bit for 20 or 30 minutes. Instead of just putting my head down and trying to get five bites on something, I started running from spot to spot and had one small fish to show for it at the weigh-in. On my best days I was slow-reeling a spinnerbait or ripping a Rat-L-Trap off the bottom. There were all these largemouths in the middle of a pocket, and once they left deeper water and moved up into about 8 feet of water, they would get a little crazy and hit anything that went by. I think what happened that third day is that they had moved out because of the cold-water runoff from all the rain that fell the day before. The water temperature was 52 the first day, but then went down to 48. When the water [temperature] went back up to 58 on the last day, the fish went at it again." Local pro Barton Aiken sits in fourth place with a two-day total of 31 pounds, 11 ounces.Barton Aiken Day 1: 16-00 (9th place) Day 2: 15-11 (4th place) Day 3: 0-00 (12th place) "I think I figured out what happened to me on the third day of the tournament. I was throwing jerkbaits like Andy Morgan and some of the others, and between working it in practice and handling fish, my hands got pretty torn up. I'm a dentist and I wear gloves, so my hands are relatively soft anyway. While we were waiting for the fog delay to end on the third day, I sprayed Liquid Bandage on my hands to protect them. Later, I looked at the ingredients and realized that basically as I handled jerkbaits I was putting scent on them, and whatever it was, the bass didn't like it. At different times that third day I watched a 4-pounder and a 3-pounder ease up to within 6 inches of the jerkbait and just turn around and swim off. That's the only thing I can think of. Hartwell is my home lake, and I was fishing main-lake stuff. I might not catch a keeper in January or in August, but no way I'm going to get shut out in March. I had things going my way pretty good. If you need to spray Liquid Bandage on your hands, don't do it when you're fishing a tournament." Barry Wilson settles in sixth place thanks to his 17-9 limit.Barry Wilson Day 1: 17-09 (6th place) Day 2: 7-08 (18th place) Day 3: 3-05 (16th place) "You can go down the list of weights and see that a bunch of guys got busted on that second day, me included. I assume that they were more or less doing the same thing I was, which was fishing shallow for largemouths. My practice was incredible, and the water temperature was exactly right. I was fishing 1 to 2 feet of water with a Strike King Red Eye Shad and had 14 or 15 pounds the first day of practice. I easily could have had 20 pounds the second day of practice, and got another 14 or 15 pounds on my last practice day. I was okay the first day of the tournament because the water was still in the high 50s in the morning and the fish were active. Then it started dropping. On the morning of day two, the water temperature was at about 51 to 52 degrees and then dipped into the 40s where I was. The third day was a washout. From the end of practice to the end of the third day, the water temperature had dropped about 10 degrees. The largemouths were still there and committed, but they locked up and quit biting."

Tags: article 

/tips/2015-07-24-walmart-bfl-tournament-preview

Walmart BFL Tournament Preview

The 2015 Walmart Bass Fishing League season will continue with a tournament on Saturday, July 25, when the Shenandoah division takes on the James River. Up to 400 boaters and co-anglers will be competing for top awards of up to $8,000 and $3,000 respectively in the one-day event. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-07-22-how-to-fish-the-prop-bee

How to Fish the Prop Bee

The Brian’s Bees Prop Bee isn’t the most popular topwater bait on the Walmart FLW Tour. Rather, it’s more limited in scope. It’s a niche bait. When a tournament falls into the window where the Prop Bee shines, however, it’s one of those “you-gotta-have-it” baits that is practically a shoo-in to produce a few top-10 finishes. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-07-16-flw-tournaments-headed-to-china

FLW Tournaments Headed to China

FLW announced an exclusive licensing agreement with Sunny Lake (Beijing) Sport Development, LLC, from China to begin sanctioning FLW bass fishing tournaments in the Eastern Asian nation at a contract signing today at the 2015 ICAST show in Orlando. The agreement was signed by FLW President of Operations Kathy Fennel and Gang Li, vice president of the Florida Culture Exchange Association (FCEA), representing Sunny Lake Sport Development. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-07-10-walmart-bfl-tournament-preview

Walmart BFL Tournament Preview

The 2015 Walmart Bass Fishing League season will continue with two tournaments on Saturday, July 11. The Great Lakes division takes on the Wolf River Chain and the Michigan division stops at the Detroit River for an event presented by Navionics. Up to 400 boaters and co-anglers will be competing for top awards of up to $8,000 and $3,000 respectively in the one-day events. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-07-10-5-frog-tactics-that-work-now

5 Frog Tactics that Work Now

Beyond the simple joy of slamming hooks into the mouth of a shallow, surface-feeding bass, frogs also offer technical advantages that allow anglers to capitalize on some of the best big-bass action of the summer. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-30-martin-earns-first-aoy-title

Martin Earns First AOY Title

Prior to the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour season, Scott Martin had banked a total of three top-10 Angler of the Year finishes in his 15-year career as a pro. It was impressive, but not indicative of his greatness. The truth of the matter is that Scott Martin was a winner, always taking risks in search of equal reward. That risky fishing has led Martin to more than $2 million in earnings, a Forrest Wood Cup win and four Tour-level wins. But the gambles burned him often enough that he never earned AOY. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-30-birge-dominates-roy-race

Birge Dominates ROY Race

Zack Birge isn’t wasting any time filling out his tournament-fishing resume. The Oklahoman won the 2014 Rayovac FLW Series Championship on Wheeler Lake last fall then joined up on the Walmart FLW Tour for 2015 and went on a season-long tear that earned him the Rookie of the Year award. Birge, alongside his wife, Kristina, was presented with his ROY trophy this afternoon on the weigh-in stage at the Potomac River tournament, where he finished in 77th place. He finished 29th overall in the AOY standings to best a group of 18 rookies. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-27-flw-signs-contract-for-south-korean-tournaments

FLW Signs Contract for South Korean Tournaments

At the day-two weigh-in of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River, FLW signed a contract that inked an exclusive licensing agreement with MirooNamoo Media Group from South Korea to begin sanctioning FLW bass fishing tournaments in the Eastern-Asian country. South Korea will run a series of FLW tournaments that advance anglers, who are citizens of the host country, to a new International Division at the Rayovac FLW Series Championship beginning in 2016. Two anglers will compete as pros with FLW providing Ranger boats, and two will compete as co-anglers. The top pro award at the Rayovac FLW Series Championship is $95,000, including a Ranger Z518C if the pro is Ranger Cup qualified, and the top co-angler award is a Ranger Z117. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-26-hunter-captures-co-angler-of-the-year-title

Hunter Captures Co-angler of the Year Title

Things couldn’t have worked out any better for first-year Walmart FLW Tour co-angler John Hunter, who wrapped up a phenomenal season from the back of the boat to win Co-angler of the Year and the Ranger Z518C with 200-hp outboard that goes with it. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-26-aoy-update-martin-controls-his-destiny-

AOY Update: Martin Controls His Destiny

Scott Martin is on the verge of winning the only major FLW title that has escaped him to this point: Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year. As John Cox and Bryan Thrift stumbled in the Walmart FLW Tour season finale on the Potomac River, Martin steamed ahead and made the top-20 cut in 11th place with 26 pounds, 9 ounces. The way the math checks out, if Martin finishes 19th place or better, he’ll win AOY. If he finishes 20th, he’ll be tied with Cox. The tiebreaker awards AOY to the angler with the most total weight for the season. If he finishes 20th, Martin can still win by bringing at least 11-13 to the scale on day three. Anything less and Cox survives to win. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-25-on-the-bubble-for-the-cup-

On the Bubble for the Cup

By rule, the top 35 anglers in the Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year standings make the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita Aug. 20-23. However, when a Tour pro pre-qualifies through another of FLW’s tournament circuits and also finishes in the top 35, an additional Cup invitation is extended to the angler in 36th place, and on down the list in the event of additional double qualifications. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-24-a-bass-fisherman-in-need

A Bass Fisherman in Need

Friends of FLW College Fishing angler David Cosner have established a fund to help the Texas fisherman pay medical bills associated with his long battle with Wegener’s Granulomatosis, a debilitating disease that gradually destroys the organs. Cosner, who founded the Texas State University Bass Cats and was named to the 2010 FLW College Fishing All-America team, was diagnosed with the rare disease in 2009 when he was 17 and since has had to undergo 215 surgeries. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-22-coy-and-roy-on-the-line

COY and ROY on the Line

FLW is hauling a lot of hardware to Maryland this week for the final stop of the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. The world’s largest tournament fishing organization is also going to be writing some fat checks. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-18-father-of-david-dudley-passes

Father of David Dudley Passes

James Dudley, the father of longtime Walmart FLW Tour pro David Dudley, passed away June 17 after a lengthy illness. He was a lifetime resident of Lynchburg, Va., and a member of Thomas Road Baptist Church. Like his son, James Dudley was also a tournament fisherman and competed in 73 FLW events. He finished in the top 10 in eight of them. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-12-is-this-the-new-bass-fishing-capital-of-the-south-

Is this the New Bass Fishing Capital of the South?

Dayton, Tenn., is situated on Richland Creek, a tributary that flows into the western side of Lake Chickamauga, one of the hottest bass fisheries in the country. Local officials with a flair for marketing – and good business sense – believe that Chickamauga can be the sellable “brand” that attracts bass fishermen to come and spend their time and their money in Dayton. They believe that old-fashioned Southern hospitality and small-town charm, plus trophy bass, are just the recipe for turning Dayton into “The New Bass Fishing Capital of the South.” READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-09-bass-bbq-is-back

Bass & BBQ is Back

Bass fishing and barbecue are favorite Southern pastimes, made even better when you spice them up with a little competition. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-04-bfl-payouts

BFL Payouts

READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-01-2015-flw-tv-schedule

2015 FLW TV Schedule

READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-01-miss-nina-wins-more-accolades

Miss Nina Wins More Accolades

When the letter that notified Nina Wood that she was being inducted into the Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame came awhile back, she was a bit surprised. None of the rest of us was. In a sense, it was a restatement of the obvious, another in a long line of awards and recognition earned by the co-founder of Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-19-missed-opportunities-at-beaver-lake

Missed Opportunities at Beaver Lake

READ MORE »