UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Dardanelle

Bishop moves to checkmate pro field

Bishop moves to checkmate pro field
Kevin Bishop of Hilton, N.Y., turned in a stellar 21-pound, 2-ounce sack to take first place in the Pro Division heading into the finals on Lake Erie.

CLEVELAND - After another head-scratching day of tournament action, co-angler Jay Garrard of Durham, N.C., seemed to be one the few people out there to accurately capture the true picture of this week's Stren Series Northeast Division event.

"Lake Erie," the young man said, "can be merciless."

If there was any question before that the Great Lakes could wreak havoc on a fishing tournament, there was little doubt to the veracity of that statement after Friday's weigh-in. Just ask pro Bryan Coates. After leading the entire pro field on day one with an outstanding catch of 24 pounds, 10 ounces, Coates not only failed to make the top-20 cut on the second day, but he also failed to bring even one fish to the scales. The end result - Coates 0, Lake Erie 1.

Still not a believer? Then go ask pro Gerald Beck from Lexington, N.C. Beck, one of the clear frontrunners who was sailing along with the largest two-day stringer of the entire tournament at 40 pounds, hit a major speed bump on day three, landing only 6 pounds, 13 ounces, and was summarily bounced from the tournament.

How about co-angler Gary Guilliams of Troutville, Va.? Guilliams not only landed the second-largest stringer on the entire first day of competition as a co-angler, mind you, but he also qualified for the semifinals in first place after landing a two-day stringer totaling a whopping 39 pounds, 10 ounces - a full 7 pounds heavier than his next closest competitor. So what happened to Guilliams today? You guessed it. He caught one fish and was sent packing.

Not convinced yet about the fickle nature of Lake Erie? Well let's hear co-angler Stephen Semelsberger Jr. tell his story about what happened on the water today.

"Everything that could go wrong did go wrong," said Semelsberger. "First our rub rail came off, then our GPS unit went out, and then our trolling motor broke - and that was just the first 20 minutes of our trip. We had to stop and tie the thing down with a rope, and it took us two hours just to get to our spot. Then, when we decided it was time to return to weigh-in, the boat wouldn't start because the battery was dead. So we had to jump it. But it took us three times to figure out that if we used anything electronic, the battery would short out again. It was a really rough ride, and we had to keep stopping along the way. I really thought we weren't going to get back."

In the end, however, they did get back with four minutes to spare. Oh, and by the way, Semelsberger now leads the tournament in the Co-angler Division by nearly 4 pounds after netting the most improbable 19-pound, 8-ounce sack of the entire tournament.

Want more? Take the plight of co-angler Jason Shipton of Muncy, Pa., and his pro partner, Charlie Hartley of Grove City, Ohio.

"We were out on Lake Erie, and the motor mount on our boat snapped," said Shipton. "We couldn't do anything but idle to the nearest marina, which happened to be in Canada. Basically, we're stranded. Our choice was to either take a ferry that wouldn't get us back until midnight or fly. Charlie stayed with the boat and tried to get a tow, but I decided to fly back. I'll tell you what: I never planned on being in Canada or riding in an airplane today. It was definitely something else."

Throw in other quirky events like pro Vic Vatalaro finishing in a tie for second place for the second day in a row, pro Joe Balog losing a crucial 6-pound smallmouth after making a 150-mile roundtrip, and pro Dave Lefebre "borrowing" two indispensable engine mount nuts after a chance encounter with a total stranger five minutes before takeoff, and you have all the makings of one of the zaniest events in Stren Series history.

However, believe it or not, the tournament did go on.

Bishop in control of pro leaderboard

Somehow through it all, Kevin Bishop of Hilton, N.Y., managed to avoid most of the chaos, turning in a stellar 21-pound, 2-ounce sack to take command of the Pro Division heading into Saturday's all-important finals.

"It's fantastic to be in the lead right now," said Bishop. "I caught everything I hooked today, and I'm definitely around the right fish to win this tournament. I'm just really thrilled to have caught what I caught today."

But Bishop is also well aware that he could easily be on the receiving end of Lake Erie's wrath come tomorrow's competition.

"It's definitely scary," said Bishop, who holds a 2-pound, 5-ounce lead over his nearest competitor. "There are a lot of great anglers behind me, and even though I have a cushion, it's not as big as you'd think on this lake. I'm just going to go out there, go fishing and see what happens. If it's your turn, it's going to happen. If it's your turn, you can't help but win. But if it's not, it's not."

Vatalaro, Balog all tied up

Vic Vatalaro of Kent, Ohio, used a catch of 18 pounds, 13 ounces in today's competition to gain a share of second place.Vic Vatalaro of Kent, Ohio, and Joe Balog of Harrison Township, Mich., recorded identical catches weighing 18 pounds, 13 ounces in today's competition to gain a share of second place.

"It was tough out there today," said Vatalaro. "I drove a long way - it took us three hours to get to our spot - and I really only got two good bites the whole day. I started out fishing my best areas and got nothing, so I'm not sure if they're ever going to bite. But I still have other spots. So, if everything works out perfectly, I still think I can get a 22-pound bag tomorrow. But we'll just have to see."

Pro Joe Balog of Harrison Township, Mich., recorded a catch of 18 pounds, 13 ounces in today's competition to gain a share of second place.Balog is cautiously optimistic as well.

"I hadn't lost a fish that really hurt me until today," said Balog. "It just so happened that it was a 6-pounder that I lost at the worst possible time. I'm making a humungous run, about 150 miles total, so I only have about four hours to fish. But the reason I'm making such a long run is because the fishing is so good. And I'll tell you, I'm going to try and catch that 6-pounder again tomorrow."

Pro Christopher King of South Amherst, Ohio, grabbed fourth place with a catch of 18 pounds, 6 ounces.Pro Christopher King of South Amherst, Ohio, grabbed fourth place with a catch of 18 pounds, 6 ounces, while Mike Hoskings of Dumfries, Va., landed in the fifth spot with a total catch of 17 pounds, 7 ounces.

Best of the rest:

Rounding out the top 10 pro finalists at the Lake Erie event:

6th: Dave Lefebre of Union City, Pa., 17-0
6th: Kenny Holloway of Eatonton, Ga., 17-0
8th: Chris Baldwin of Lexington, N.C., 15-3
9th: Nate Wellman of Jenison, Mich., 14-13
10th: Ben Felton of Marshall, Mich., 14-7

Stephen Semelsberger, Jr., of Mount Airy, Md., used a whopping 19-pound, 8-ounce catch to grab the overall lead in the Co-angler Division heading into the Stren Series finals on Lake Erie.Semelsberger nets pole position

After Semelsberger's harrowing day on the water, he was more than happy to hold a nearly 4-pound lead heading into Saturday's finals.

"The whole week has been just unbelievable," said Semelsberger, in probably the biggest understatement of the day. "I had the largest stringer I've ever caught on the first day. I only caught one fish on the second day and still made the cut. And everything worked out today. I've just been very fortunate."

Scholzen grabs second place

Co-angler Matt Scholzen of Racine, Wis., used a 16-pound catch to grab second place heading into the finals on Lake Erie.On the strength of a 16-pound catch, Matt Scholzen of Racine, Wis., remained within striking distance of first place and kept his dreams alive for a tournament title.

"This week has been great," said Scholzen. "I've had three really good partners, and I've been fortunate to have caught the right fish all week."

Rest of high five

Jeff Domonkos of Middleburg, Ohio, claimed third place with a catch weighing 12 pounds, 4 ounces.

Larry Drewett of Sterling, Va., landed in fourth place with a catch of 11 pounds, 7 ounces, while Robert Sweeney of Baltimore, Md., finished in fifth place with a catch of 11 pounds, 6 ounces.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top 10 co-angler finalists at the Lake Erie event:

6th: Tim George of Kittanning, Pa., 10-9
7th: Dick Parker of Amherst, Ohio, 8-11
8th: Blaine Bucy of Weirton, W. Va., 8-1
9th: Michael McMahon of Hackettstown, N.J., 8-0
10th: Rob Webber of Elyria, Ohio, 7-11

Day four of Stren Series action on Lake Erie continues at Saturday's final takeoff, scheduled to take place at 6:30 a.m. EDT at Gordon Park Marina, located at 8701 Lakeshore Blvd. NE in Cleveland.

Tags: gary-mortenson  headline-story  2006-07-19-lake-erie 

Montevallo Takes College Open Title

Montevallo Takes College Open Title

As tough as Kentucky Lake was fishing this week in the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open, Grayson Morris and Jacob Pfundt of the University of Montevallo leading after day one and finishing the job on Thursday resulted in one of the more impressive wins you’ll see. After weighing in a day-one best 12-13, the duo backed it up with another 12-7 on day two for the victory, displaying the kind of consistency it takes to grind it out in tough fishing conditions. For their efforts, Morris and Pfundt were awarded a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-hp Mercury outboard. READ MORE »

King Tops Day 1 at Dardanelle 

King Tops Day 1 at Dardanelle 

Zach King of Clarksville, Ark., used a Heddon Zara Spook to catch 14 pounds, 11 ounces claim the day one lead in the Toyota Series Plains Division event on Lake Dardanelle presented by Fish-Intel. King will take a 6-ounce lead over Matt Wood of Jessieville, Ark., into day two.  READ MORE »

Dardanelle Midday Update – Day 1

Dardanelle Midday Update – Day 1

Thursday’s opening round of the Toyota Series Plains Division opener at Lake Dardanelle followed the script many anglers predicted. Despite many favorable conditions at the beginning of a peak fishing season, muddy water and bright sunshine made fishing difficult across the 34,000-acre Arkansas River impoundment. READ MORE »

Stokes Leads on the Detroit River

Stokes Leads on the Detroit River

Strong winds kept the pros in the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River pinned to the actual river, but the fishing was still very good. Plenty of anglers brought in 17 pounds or more, and the leaders are all concentrated around the 20-pound mark. In first, Troy Stokes of Brownstown, Mich., weighed 21 pounds, 4 ounces to kick things off. READ MORE »

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 1

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 1

Right off the bat, the anglers in the field at the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River were thrown a curveball by the weather. This morning, with increasing wind forecasts, tournament officials made Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair off-limits, thereby penning up the 87 pros and co-anglers on the American side of the Detroit River. READ MORE »

Montevallo Leads College Open 

Montevallo Leads College Open 

As expected, weights were down across the board on day one of the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open on Kentucky Lake. With high water during what’s typically a tough transitional time of year, it took just 12 pounds, 13 ounces for Grayson Morris and Jacob Pfundt of the University of Montevallo to grab the lead. READ MORE »

Dickneite Again on Lake of the Ozarks

Dickneite Again on Lake of the Ozarks

Boater Andre Dickneite of Freeburg, Mo., brought a five-bass limit to the scale Sunday weighing 18 pounds, 7 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event on Lake of the Ozarks in Warsaw, Missouri. For his victory, Dickneite earned a total of $3,794. READ MORE »

Wallis Sacks 19-14 on Truman

Wallis Sacks 19-14 on Truman

Boater Mike Wallis of Hallsville, Mo., brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 19 pounds, 14 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event on Lake Truman in Warsaw, Missouri. For his victory, Wallis earned a total of $5,009. READ MORE »

Houchin Gets Hamilton W

Houchin Gets Hamilton W

Boater Quincy Houchin of Mabelvale, Ark., brought a two-day total of nine bass to the scale weighing 23 pounds, 5 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Arkie Division Super-Tournament at Lake Hamilton. For his victory, Houchin earned $13,460, which includes the lucrative FLW PHOENIX BONUS contingency payout. READ MORE »

Foutz Claims Chick Title

Foutz Claims Chick Title

Boater Jacob Foutz of Charleston, Tenn., brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 29 pounds, 12 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Volunteer Division Super-Tournament at Lake Chickamauga. For his victory, Foutz earned $5,126. READ MORE »

Honnerlaw Nets Big O Title

Honnerlaw Nets Big O Title

Boater Bryan Honnerlaw of Moore Haven, Fla.,brought a five-bass limit to the scale Sunday weighing 22 pounds, 9 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Gator Division Super-Tournament at Lake Okeechobee. For his victory, Honnerlaw earned $6,817. READ MORE »

Amerson Wins First BFL

Amerson Wins First BFL

Boater Keith Amerson of Bethel Springs, Tenn.,, brought a two-day total of six bass to the scale weighing 22 pounds, 7 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine LBL Division Super-Tournament at Kentucky and Barkley Lakes. For his victory, Amerson earned $5,376. READ MORE »

Morgan Wins No. 3

Morgan Wins No. 3

Boater Brian Morgan of Mooresville, N.C., brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale this weekend weighing 24 pounds, 10 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine North Carolina Division Super-Tournament at Lake Norman. Morgan earned a total of $5,831 for his victory – his third win of the year in the North Carolina Division. READ MORE »

Smith Scores Close to Home

Smith Scores Close to Home

Boater Michael M. Smith of Andalusia, Ala., brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 40 pounds, 4 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Bama Division Super-Tournament at Lake Eufaula. For his victory, Smith earned $6,329. READ MORE »

Maupin Takes Potomac Title

Maupin Takes Potomac Title

The dock talk all week at the Potomac River for the Toyota Series Eastern Division event was that fishing was tough. That rang true again today as the wind help stall the tide making things tough for most of the top 10. James Maupin, however, kept his streak of consistency alive as he weighed his third 13-pound-plus limit of the week to move from second to first with 40 pounds, 11 ounces overall. For the win, Maupin earns his first FLW trophy and over $24,000.  READ MORE »

Vaughan Cruising at the Potomac

Vaughan Cruising at the Potomac

The leaderboard definitely saw some shuffling on day two of the Toyota Series Eastern Division event on the Potomac River, but Wayne Vaughan managed to keep the top spot thanks to another solid day. Weighing 14 pounds, 10 ounces today, Vaughan’s total now stands at 31-10 and gives him a nearly 5-pound lead over second place. If he can put it together for one more day, Vaughan will take home his second Toyota Series title in just as many years. READ MORE »

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Saturday’s final round will feature drastically different weather with sunshine in the forecast and with it being a weekend there will be plenty of people out enjoying the resource. READ MORE »

Vaughan Out Front on the Potomac

Vaughan Out Front on the Potomac

Taking the lead after day one with 17 pounds, Wayne Vaughan separated himself from the rest of the tightly-packed top 10 thanks in large part to his 6-5 kicker. Vaughan’s past experience on the river is playing a role this week, but a bite like that helps the cause almost anywhere in the country. READ MORE »

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

September is a tough time to fish almost any body of water and while the Potomac River may not be showing its true colors for the second stop of the Toyota Series Eastern Division the top pros are making do. Wayne Vaughan dropped 17 pounds on the scale to take the lead thanks in large part to his 6-5 kicker. Behind him, however, is a pack of hungry pros – some locals, some not – separated by just a few pounds with their sights set on fishing in the championship round. READ MORE »

Foster Dominates at Ft. Gibson

Foster Dominates at Ft. Gibson

Throughout the week on Fort Gibson for the second stop of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division, the field found tough fishing with big bites few and far between. And then there was local pro Cameron Foster. READ MORE »