UPCOMING EVENT: TACKLE WAREHOUSE PRO CIRCUIT - 2020 - Harris Chain of Lakes

Biffle blows away competition to maintain overall lead on Wheeler Lake

Biffle blows away competition to maintain overall lead on Wheeler Lake
Pro Tommy Biffle quietly caught the two biggest stringers of the week so far –18-13 Wednesday and 19-4 Thursday – and leads the Pro Division by over 6 pounds after the opening round.

Morehead holds off challengers to claim FLW Tour Angler of the Year title

FLORENCE, Ala. - Coming into the Forrest Wood Open on Wheeler Lake, Tommy Biffle of Wagoner, Okla., knew he needed to fish the tournament of his life to have any chance at the 2003 FLW Angler of the Year title. But while Biffle upheld his end of the bargain, turning in a whopping two-day catch of 38 pounds, 1 ounce to hold onto first place heading into Friday's semifinals, it wasn't quite enough to overtake Dan Morehead of Paducah, Ky., in the 2003 Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year race.

Even so, Biffle wasn't about to complain. After all, with the help of Thursday's finish, the Oklahoma native had put himself in perfect position to make a run at the $200,000 first-place prize on Wheeler Lake. In addition, Biffle's performance made him the frontrunner for the prestigious 2003 Ranger Cup - awarded to the top Ranger-sponsored pro in the country.

Not bad for two days of fishing.

"When I left home this week, I told my wife that I was fishing to win this tournament," said Biffle. "I knew that was the only way I'd have a chance to win angler of the year and the Ranger Cup. Although it didn't work out as far as the angler-of-the-year title goes, I know I gave it my best shot. I still have a chance to win the tournament on Wheeler Lake and the Ranger Cup. So, overall, I really don't have any regrets."

Biffle ultimately finished in fourth place in the 2003 FLW Angler of the Year race.

However, with the AOY contest now out of the way, Biffle said he can really concentrate on the task at hand - winning the title on Wheeler Lake.

"I really feel good about this tournament so far," said Biffle. "I had a limit by 9:30 a.m. this morning and I know I can catch some fish. I have one pretty good spot that is really working for me. And I have several other spots I haven't fished yet."

Biffle said he is targeting bass on grass as well as deep river ledges with a combination of jigs and Carolina rigs. However, as well as he's done so far, Biffle knows all too well that the tournament is far from over.

"Leading the tournament after the second day is all good, but you have to be leading at the end," he said. "That's what's important."

Horton makes a splash

Fishing in only his second FLW Tour event since 1997, BASS superstar Tim Horton of Muscle Shoals, Ala., was determined to make this tournament count. Using a two-day catch of 31 pounds, 6 ounces, Horton stormed into the semifinals, earning his first-ever top-10 cut on the FLW Tour in the process.

"I felt pretty good coming into this tournament," he said. "I really like this lake and so far, it's been a lot of fun. And now I have a one-in-10 chance of winning $200,000. That's pretty exciting."

Horton said he is fishing a 10-inch Yum worm in a watermelon color almost exclusively, targeting bass in grass beds in about 6 feet of water.

"And I'm going to do the same thing tomorrow," he said. "The key is just being patient."

Best of the rest

Dion Hibdon of Stover, Mo., qualified for the semifinals in third place after landing a two-day catch of 30 pounds, 8 ounces.

Chad Cook of Summerville, S.C., grabbed the fourth qualifying spot with a total catch of 29 pounds, 6 ounces, while Bill Chapman of Salt Rock, W. Va., earned the fifth qualifying position with a catch of 28 pounds, 12 ounces.

Rounding out the top 10 pro qualifiers were Keith Williams (sixth) of Conway, Ark., with a catch of 28 pounds, 12 ounces; Dale Teaney (seventh) of Williamsburg, Ohio, with a catch of 27 pounds, 13 ounces; Kevin VanDam (eighth) of Kalamazoo, Mich., with a catch of 27 pounds, 10 ounces; Aaron Martens (ninth) of Castaic, Calif., with a catch of 27 pounds, 5 ounces; and Scott Martin (10th) of Clewiston, Fla., with a catch of 26 pounds, 10 ounces.

Alvin Shaw won the day's Snickers' Big Bass Award in the Pro Division after netting a 5-pound, 8-ounce largemouth. Shaw won $1,250 for his catch.

Angler of the Year race

Although it was a hard-fought battle to the end, Dan Morehead of Paducah, Ky., finally emerged victorious in the 2003 Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year competition after holding off a furious charge from some of the top anglers in the nation. The final results, while technically unofficial at this time, are as follows: Morehead (first with 1,048 points); David Dudley of Manteo, N.C. (second with 1,001 points); Clark Wendlandt of Cedar Park, Texas (third with 999 points); Tommy Biffle of Wagoner, Okla., (fourth with a point range of 996-987, depending on his eventual finish in the finals) and Tim Carroll of Owasso, Okla., (fifth with 973 points).

Peoples earns top spot in Co-angler Division

Bolstered by a two-day catch of 26 pounds, 12 ounces, Brantley Peoples of Raleigh, N.C., grabbed the top qualifying position heading into Friday's co-angler finals.

"It's very exciting," said Peoples. "I've made the cut several times, but I've never wound up leading the tournament before. It's just great to get this far."

Alex Ormand of Bessemer City, N.C., qualified for the finals in second place after landing a two-day catch of 25 pounds, 5 ounces.

Simon Morrow of Alexander City, Ala., grabbed third place with a catch of 24 pounds, 2 ounces.

Lonnie Fuller, Jr., making his third top-10 appearances of the year, qualified for the finals in fourth place with a total catch of 23 pounds, 12 ounces.

Day-one leader Mike McAdoo of Murfreesboro, Tenn., qualified in fifth place with a total catch of 22 pounds, 9 ounces.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top 10 co-angler finalists were Eric Ambort (sixth) of Mabelvale, Ark., with a catch of 22 pounds, 4 ounces; Darell Craft (seventh) of Morristown, Tenn., with a catch of 22 pounds, 2 ounces; Kelly Greer (eighth) of Green Forest, Ark., with a catch of 21 pounds, 14 ounces; Robert Bogard Jr. (ninth) of Conway, Ark., with a catch of 21 pounds, 11 ounces; and Masafumi Kato (10th) of Ishikawa, Japan, with a catch of 21 pounds, 7 ounces.

Brad Robinson of Hagerstown, Ind., won the day's big-bass award after landing a 5-pound, 12-ounce largemouth. Robinson won $750 for his efforts.

Co-angler of the Year race

The final results for the 2003 FLW Co-angler of the Year race, while technically unofficial at this time, are as follows: Quint Bourgeois of Knoxville, Tenn., (first place with 1,029 points); Greg Lineberry of Galax, Va., (second with 1,012 points); Jason Abram of Bluff City, Tenn., (third with 997 points); Tommy Szwankowski of Hope, Ark., (fourth with 974 points); and Ralph Wilson of Warner Robins, Ga., (fifth with 972 points).

Tomorrow's takeoff is scheduled to take place at 7 a.m. at Joe Wheeler State Park, located at 4401 McLean Drive in Rogersville, Ala.

Click here for a preview of day three.

Related links:

Photos
Results
Results of day-two pairings
Day-three pairings
Quick Bites: Forrest Wood Open, Day 2
Press release

Tags: gary-mortenson  headline-story  2003-06-18-wheeler-lake 

Fitzgerald Finishes Strong at St. Johns

Fitzgerald Finishes Strong at St. Johns

Trevor Fitzgerald of Belleview, Fla., moved ahead one spot in the standings on the final day of competition at the St. Johns River to earn his first Toyota Series victory. His three-day catch of 57 pounds, 12 ounces earned him the win by a 6-pound margin. READ MORE »

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 3

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 3

Day two of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener on the St. Johns River brought more fish, bigger fish and eight bags over 20 pounds – a marked improvement over what we saw on day one. Day three could go either direction, though, as a small cold front overnight left behind bluebird skies and abundant sunshine today. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 2

It’s been a question of when, not if: When is the first big wave of spawners going to move up on the St. Johns River? That question may have been answered on day two of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener, as more and more anglers brought big fish across the weigh-in stage, with many of the bass coming from beds or shallow cover where fish are staging to make their big move. READ MORE »

Big Day Puts Blair Ahead at St. Johns

Big Day Puts Blair Ahead at St. Johns

Jason Blair caught 22 pounds, 3 ounces – the biggest limit of the tournament so far – to take over the lead at the Toyota Series Southern Division season opener on the St. Johns River. The West Palm Beach, Fla., pro has a two-day total of 39-15 and a 1-pound, 11-ounce lead over yesterday’s leader, Trevor Fitzgerald. READ MORE »

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 2

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 2

After a warm but windy day to start the Toyota Series Southern Division opener on the St. Johns River, day two brought lower temperatures, rain and a shifting wind that blew right up the chute early this morning. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 1

The St. Johns River is fishing tough, and while weights were down across the board on day one of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener, the top five found a way to get the job done with some impressive stringers of big Florida bass. READ MORE »

Fitzgerald in Front on St. Johns

Fitzgerald in Front on St. Johns

Trevor Fitzgerald of Belleview, Fla., took the lead on day one of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener at the St. Johns River with a five-bass limit that weighed 21 pounds, 2 ounces. Fitzgerald has previously won a Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event on the St. Johns and is in contention to make his 12th top-10 finish with FLW. READ MORE »

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 1

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 1

As expected, the St. Johns River is still fishing pretty tough in the Toyota Series Southern Division opener, which kicked off this morning. The St. Johns holds plenty of good fish, but she’s not all that willing to give them up. READ MORE »

Littich Nets Big O Title

Littich Nets Big O Title

Boater Thomas Littich of Cape Coral, Florida, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 23 pounds, 14 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston, Florida. For his victory, Littich earned a total of $7,220, including a $2,500 FLW PHOENIX BONUS contingency award. READ MORE »

Dover Wins on Keowee

Dover Wins on Keowee

Boater Randy Dover of Buford, Georgia, brought five to the scale Saturday totaling 15 pounds, 10 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake Keowee in Seneca, South Carolina. For his victory, Dover earned a total of $5,627. READ MORE »

Robinson Slings a Blade on Martin

Robinson Slings a Blade on Martin

Boater Dusty Robinson of Eclectic, Alabama, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 13 pounds, 4 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake Martin in Alexander City, Alabama. For his victory, Robinson earned a total of $5,686, including a $1,000 Mercury contingency award. READ MORE »

Bethel Wins on Seminole

Bethel Wins on Seminole

The Bethel University duo of Brad Ableman of Latham, New York, and Wilson Smith of Southaven, Mississippi, won the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI event at Lake Seminole Friday with a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 1 ounce. READ MORE »

South Forsyth Wins on Seminole

South Forsyth Wins on Seminole

The South Forsyth High School duo of Brett Morlanne and Michael Landernaeu, both of Cumming, Georgia, brought four bass to the scale Saturday weighing 12 pounds, 5 ounces to win the 2020 FLW High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing Lake Seminole Open. READ MORE »

Johnson Gets No. 1 on Lanier

Johnson Gets No. 1 on Lanier

Boater Jason Johnson of Dawsonville, Georgia, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 19 pounds, 1 ounce to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine at Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Georgia. For his victory, Johnson earned a total of $13,596, including the lucrative $7,000 FLW PHOENIX Bonus contingency award. The victory was the first win of Johnson’s FLW career. READ MORE »

Huff Wins it on Toledo

Huff Wins it on Toledo

Cody Huff has had a heck of a run these last few weeks on Toledo Bend. It started when he and Dakota Pierce of Bethel University won the Bassmaster College Series event last week. This week, Huff went solo and loaded up a 61-pound, 11-ounce total for a $35,395  payday in the opening event of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Toledo Bend – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Toledo Bend – Day 2

Cody Huff has been red hot on Toledo Bend for the last week and with one more day to go it’s his tournament to lose. That being said, there is a laundry list of local pros looking to take full advantage of any slip he may have in the final round of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division season opener. READ MORE »

Huff Hauls Ahead at Toledo Bend 

Huff Hauls Ahead at Toledo Bend 

Cody Huff appears to be unstoppable on Toledo Bend. Last week, the Bethel University angler won the Bassmaster College Series event on Toledo with his partner Dakota Peirce. This week, he's weighed 43 pounds, 12 ounces through two days and appears to be cruising toward the win in the first Toyota Series Southwestern Division event of the year. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Toledo Bend – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Toledo Bend – Day 1

Everyone knew this tournament wouldn’t be the slugfest Toledo Bend is known for, but that didn’t stop the top pros from assembling some decent catches on day one of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division opener. READ MORE »

Johnston In Front at Toledo Bend

Johnston In Front at Toledo Bend

Toledo Bend isn't fishing like its normal self at the moment, but the lake still kicked out some solid bags to start the Toyota Series Southwestern Division season opener. Leading the pack after day one is Stephen Johnston of Hemphill, Texas, who set the pace with a 23-pound, 8-ounce limit thanks to the help of a 10-7 kicker. Behind him are several locals waiting to make their move, with the rest of the top five all within nearly 4 pounds of Johnston. READ MORE »

Swindle Wins on Guntersville

Swindle Wins on Guntersville

Boater James Swindle of Parrish, Alabama, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 20 pounds, 7 ounces to top 223 boats and win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine at Lake Guntersville in Scottsville, Alabama. Swindle earned $6,000 for his victory.  READ MORE »