UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Ohio River

Getting it Wright

Getting it Wright
David “Smiley” Wright of Lexington, N.C., wins the Stren Series event on Lake Gaston with a four-day total of 48-8.

BRACEY, Va. - Some call him Smiley Wright for the big grin that he always wears whether fishing is good or bad. Others know him as Ranger Wright for his 35 years as a committed customer of the Ranger Boats company.

His real name is David Wright from Lexington, N.C., and when it comes to fishing a crankbait, he is in an elite class of anglers that includes his friends David Fritts and Gerald Beck.

Wright demonstrated exactly what he can do with a crankbait over the last four days when he brought in limits of 15-1, 13-3, 12-14 and 8-6 to win the Stren Series Northern Division event on Lake Gaston with a four-day total of 49 pounds, 8 ounces.

"This is quite an honor," Wright said. "I've been with Ranger Boats since 1973, and in that time I've owned about 45 Rangers - once you find a quality product like that, you tend to stick with it, and that's why I still own one today."

Ranger Boats rewarded Wright for his loyalty today with a Ranger Boat plus another $3,000 from the Ranger Cup program on top of his $25,000 cash for the tournament win.

As Stren Series Tournament Director Ron Lappin pointed out onstage, Wright is renowned for fishing a crankbait, to which Wright replied, "You call it renowned; I call it hard-headed."

Indeed, Wright did use a crankbait all week. He fished mostly in Pea Hill Creek because it had less grass in it than the rest of the lake.

"A crankbait is a hard cover bait," Wright said. "Most of the time crankbaits and grass don't mix. So when I got here, I looked for the area of the lake that had the least grass in it, and that was Pea Hill Creek."

Wright covered a great deal of water in Pea Hill hunting schools of fish.

"Once I found a group of fish, I'd scour that area, looking for stumps that would hold fish even when the school moved."

His best crankbait all week was a 300-E, made by Ed Chambers at Zoom Bait David Wright's winning crankbait, a Zoom 300-E in a color called Company. He fished the lure on 10-pound-test Stren in 10 to 12 feet of water.

"I really didn't think I had won with the weight I had today," Wright said. "What concerned me the most was the clouds. Sunshine means everything in crankbait fishing. It gets the shad balled up better on the cover and just makes the fish bite much better. Over the years I've learned that I can survive one cloudy day, like I did yesterday, but two cloudy days in row is a killer for my style of fishing, and you can see how it hurt my weight today."

Though his weight went down today, so did the other competitors' weights that were chasing him, and he ended up winning with a 2-pound margin.

"I guess I got it right this time," he added.

Defoe second

Ott Defoe of Knoxville, Tenn., finished second with a four-day total of 47 pounds, 8 ounces for $11,131.00.Ott Defoe of Knoxville, Tenn., finished second with a four-day total of 47 pounds, 8 ounces for $11,131.

"I feel really blessed to catch what I caught this week because I only had basically a day of practice," Defoe said. "I don't really like grass, so I tried to fish places out of the grass - docks and lay-downs."

Defoe's key baits were a Zara Spook and a Senko. The Spook was responsible for his biggest catch of the week - 15 pounds, 7 ounces on day one.

He also commended Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon line (12-pound-test) for allowing him to wrestle out three big bass from a beaver hut during the week.

"On three different occasions I got a fish hung up so bad in that hut that I had to dunk my head down into the water to free the fish," he said. "That Berkley fluorocarbon kept those fish pinned until I could get to them."

Baumgardner third

Snickers pro Chris Baumgardner of Gastonia, N.C, finished third with a three-day total Snickers pro Chris Baumgardner of Gastonia, N.C, with his go to bait for 2007:  a Chatterbait.of 46 pounds, 10 ounces worth $10,518.

Baumgardner's key bait all week was a white and chartreuse ChatterBait trimmed with a white Zoom Ultravibe Speed Craw fished on Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon.

He skipped the bait up under docks and "slow rolled" it out under the platforms.

"I think I just ran out of fish today," Baumgardner said. "A couple of my best docks that produced the big ones this week were vacant."

Vatalaro fourth

Gain pro Vic Vatalaro of Kent, Ohio, finished fourth with a four-day total of 44 pounds, 8 ounces worth $4,905.00.Vic Vatalaro of Kent, Ohio, finished fourth with a four-day total of 44 pounds, 8 ounces worth $4,905.

Vatalaro chose to fish one of the more popular areas of Lake Gaston and outfinesse his competition.

"There were a lot of boats fishing this large, shallow 4-foot flat that had some nice 10- to 12-foot ditches running through it," he said. "I got in there, pulled out my spinning rod loaded with 6-pound-test Gamma and fished a mojo rig featuring a Gambler Sweebo worm in green-pumpkin. I was using a tiny 1/16-ounce weight and just popping it out of the grass for my bites."

Powroznik fifth

Bounty pro Jacob Powroznik of Prince George, Va., finished fifth with a fBounty pro Jacob Powroznik of Prince George, Va., finished fifth with a four-day total of 44 pounds, 8 ounces, worth $4,291.00our-day total of 44 pounds, 8 ounces, worth $4,291.

Powroznik sight-fished small "wolf packs" of bass that were hunting bream and shad in the shallows.

"I was skipping and swimming a 3/8-ounce All Terrain jig around docks and overhanging bushes," he said. "A lot of times I could see the fish, and I'd skip the jig in there and try to make it look like a fleeing bream."

The color of Powroznik's jig was brown-purple-watermelon with a watermelon trailer fished on 14-pound-test Gamma fluorocarbon.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros in the Stren Series Northern Division event on Lake Gaston:

6th: Dustin Wilks of Rocky Mount, N.C., four-day total of 42-11, $3,678
7th: Richard Jenkins of Callaway, Md., four-day total of 40-3, $3,374
8th: Kip Carter of Loganville, Ga., four-day total of, $3,065
9th: Terry Baksay of Easton, Conn., four-day total of $2,758
10th: Joe Balog of Harrison Township, Ohio, four-day total of $2,453

Baumgardner wins Northern Division AOY

Special congratulations to Snickers pro Chris Baumgardner who won the Stren Series Northern Division Angler of the Year with a total of 721 points.

Tags: rob-newell  headline-story  2007-10-03-lake-gaston 

Falcons Win by 2 Ounces on Erie

Falcons Win by 2 Ounces on Erie

The Bowling Green State University team of Jamesen Simion of Saline, Mich., and Cameron Wilt of Alvada, Ohio, won the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI at Lake Erie event Friday with a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds, 1 ounce. The victory earned the Bowling Green bass club $2,000 and qualified them to compete in the 2021 College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

Bishop Hartley wins Erie Open

Bishop Hartley wins Erie Open

Ohio’s Bishop Hartley High School duo of Braden McNamara and Mike Abbott brought five bass to the scale Saturday weighing 15 pounds, 15 ounces to win the FLW High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing Lake Erie Open. READ MORE »

Mallory Drops 25-5 at St. Clair

Mallory Drops 25-5 at St. Clair

Boater Buck Mallory of Lawton, Michigan, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 25 pounds, 5 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake St. Clair in Harrison Township, Michigan. For his victory, Mallory earned a total of $4,652. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Wheeler Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Wheeler Lake

As promised, Wheeler Lake turned out to be the stingiest of the two stops on the Toyota Series Southeastern Division so far this season. The dog days of summer put the kibosh on the main-lake bite, leaving Wheeler’s many shallow creeks and tributaries to supply the pounds and ounces at weigh-in. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Wheeler Lake

Top 10 Baits from Wheeler Lake

The Toyota Series Southeastern Division event on Wheeler Lake was a shallow-water power-fishing showdown in tough summertime conditions. Almost all the fish the top 10 pros caught came from 5 feet of water or less, and a fair amount of those were caught in 3 feet or less. READ MORE »

Monsoor Clinches Win on the Mississippi

Monsoor Clinches Win on the Mississippi

Weighing 12 pounds, 10 ounces on the final day, Tom Monsoor totaled 54-10 to win the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament presented by OPTIMA Batteries on the Mississippi River. Leading the final three days, the win is Monsoor’s second at the top level and earned him $125,000.   READ MORE »

Culpepper Captures Co-Angler Win

Culpepper Captures Co-Angler Win

Cal Culpepper of Hamilton, Ga., won the co-angler side of the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event on Wheeler Lake in impressive fashion. In three days of a tough tournament, Culpepper sacked up limits of 11-11, 5-11 and 11-7 from the back of the boat for a three-day total of 28 pounds, 13 ounces. For his win, he takes home a fully rigged Phoenix bass boat. READ MORE »

Carter Cruises to Wheeler Win

Carter Cruises to Wheeler Win

Anglers who have fished the Toyota Series and Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine in the southeast any length of time know the name Kip Carter of Mansfield, Ga. For years, Carter has pocketed plenty of checks from both leagues with a career total of 50 top 10s. This year, Carter decided to jump back into regional competition with the Southeastern Division of the Toyota Series, and in just his second event back, he found his way to the winner’s circle at Wheeler Lake.  READ MORE »

Wheeler Lake Midday Update - Day 3

Wheeler Lake Midday Update - Day 3

The fish were biting pretty well for the top 10 on the final morning of Toyota Series Southeastern Division event on Wheeler Lake. Overcast skies and a steady south wind put a perfect buzzbait ripple on the water back in the shallow flats in creeks – and the anglers were taking advantage of it.  READ MORE »

Mississippi River Day 4 Coverage

Mississippi River Day 4 Coverage

Complete coverage from the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament at the Mississippi River July 29-August 1, 2020. READ MORE »

Monsoor stays ahead on the Mississippi

Monsoor stays ahead on the Mississippi

After day three of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament presented by OPTIMA Batteries on the Mississippi River the weights are stacked as tightly as they were on the first two days. With the lead, Tom Monsoor of La Crosse, Wis., weighed 13 pounds, 5 ounces to stay in the lead with an even 42 pounds. Behind him, Zack Birge, David Walker and Scott Wiley have all crossed the 40-pound mark and are hot on his heels. READ MORE »

Carter Takes Over at Wheeler

Carter Takes Over at Wheeler

Kip Carter of Mansfield, Ga., may not have the nicest, shiniest boat in the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event this week, but it sure gets him where he needs to go. His beater aluminum tunnel hull craft has plenty of nicks and dings in it and for good reason: Getting into the places he has fished on Wheeler Lake the last two days has required enduring some scratches and dents. READ MORE »

Wheeler Lake Midday Update - Day 2

Wheeler Lake Midday Update - Day 2

Fishing creek ends continued to be the theme on day two of the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event on Wheeler Lake. Although the current was not running as much in the creeks as yesterday, the cooler shadier waters in the back of creeks were still producing for top anglers once again.  READ MORE »

Mississippi River Day 3 Coverage

Mississippi River Day 3 Coverage

Complete coverage from the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament at the Mississippi River July 29-August 1, 2020. READ MORE »

Monsoor Moves Ahead at the Mississippi

Monsoor Moves Ahead at the Mississippi

After two days of fishing in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament presented by OPTIMA Batteries on the Mississippi River the weights are as tight as can be. Moving into the lead on day two is Tom Monsoor of La Crosse, Wis., who weighed a second 14-pound bag for a 28-11 total. In second, Scott Wiley is one of seven anglers with 27 pounds and some ounces in the top 10, making the tournament anyone’s game in the final two days. READ MORE »

Millsaps Grabs Lead on Wheeler

Millsaps Grabs Lead on Wheeler

Wheeler Lake doled out some lumps today in the second event of the Toyota Series Southeastern Division season. Only 14 pros managed to crack the 10-pound mark and six pros took a zero on the day. Leading the way is Jesse Millsaps of Jasper, Ga., with five fish weighing 14 pounds, 15 ounces. His biggest bass weighed 5 pounds, 5 ounces, which was certainly the difference maker in nudging him to nearly 15 pounds in a challenging summertime grinder. READ MORE »

Wheeler Lake Midday Update - Day 1

Wheeler Lake Midday Update - Day 1

Wheeler Lake has turned out to be beyond stingy to the anglers fishing the second event in the Toyota Series Southeastern Division today. After visiting with some 20 pros this morning, the most fish reported caught by a pro was just two keepers. The rest either had just one bass or an empty livewell. READ MORE »

Mississippi River Day 2 Coverage

Mississippi River Day 2 Coverage

Complete coverage from the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament at the Mississippi River July 29-August 1, 2020. READ MORE »

Dog days at Wheeler Lake

Dog days at Wheeler Lake

The second event of the Toyota Series Southeastern Division is off and running this morning on Wheeler Lake out of Ingalls Harbor. Many pros fishing the Southeastern Division this season agree that Wheeler will be the most challenging of the three events in 2020 due to the timing of the tournament. READ MORE »

Wiley Leads on the Mississippi

Wiley Leads on the Mississippi

As expected on the river, the weights are bunched together after the first day of fishing in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament presented by OPTIMA Batteries. More than a quarter of the field are in the 11-12-pound range, and 10 pounds marked the exact halfway point of the field. That means leader Scott Wiley only has a 5-pound, 3-ounce lead over half the field after weighing in 15-3. READ MORE »