UPCOMING EVENT: FLW SERIES - 2020 - Toledo Bend Lake

Quick Bites: FLW Series East-West Fish-Off, Day 3

Quick Bites: FLW Series East-West Fish-Off, Day 3
Wal-Mart pro George Cochran celebrates his Forrest Wood Cup berth.

Wal-Mart FLW Series
East-West Fish-Off
Lake Amistad, Del Rio, Texas
Saturday, day three

Veterans grind into the Cup ... One of the most amazing things about professional bass fishing's most recognized veterans is that they always find their way to the big championships. No matter what the qualifying criteria is - points, pounds, head-to-head brackets, catching bass out of a bathtub with a Snoopy rod - no matter how you design the course, if it involves catching bass to go to a championship, the megaveterans will get it done. Case in point: The FLW Series East-West Fish-Off on Lake Amistad in February. Going into the event, all the talk was the number of 20-pound bags it was going to take each day to advance past your bracketed competitor. Then in stroll veterans Larry Nixon, George Cochran and David Fritts, cool as cucumbers, completely unfrazzled by all the dock talk of monster sacks. They go out each day, grind out less than 20 pounds per day - in fact, among the three of them, none ever weighed in a limit over 16 pounds in three days - and yet they all walked out with an early ticket to the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup. Amazingly, Cochran made the Cup by catching weights of just 10-10, 10-15 and 13-3 to surpass Western pro Brent Lyon by 2 pounds. Cochran gets the unofficial award for winning his bracket with the lowest three-day weight of 34-12. "When you've been doing this as long as we have, you just learn to go out there and do what you do best, and let the cards fall where they may. Making big championships is what keeps me in this business; looking forward to big championship events like the Forrest Wood Cup is what keeps the adrenaline flowing - those big events are what I live for. From now until August, I'll be focused Chevy pro Larry Nixon wipes the sweat off his brow after grinding his way into an early Forrest Wood Cup Berth.on that event in hopes that I can win it again."

Nixon next ... Nixon weighed in 15-5, 15-10 and 14-2 to slide by Mike Folkestad by less than 2 pounds. "After a few days of practice, I knew this lake was not fishing to the point of having to catch 20 pounds per day just to keep up," Nixon said. "I just went out there and fished the way I like to fish - with jigs teamed with Chigger Craw trailers and a big Senko with a 3/16-ounce weight. I did fish for big fish for a little while each day, just to keep them honest, but mostly I did my own thing."

Fritts follows ... David Fritts surpassed Western pro Gabe Bolivar by 3 pounds with 12-12, 14-Chevy pro David Fritts grinded his way into the Forrest Wood Cup doing what he does best, cranking.12 and 13-5. "I think the most important thing Larry, George and myself realize is that you have to fish your fish," Fritts said. "If we don't catch 20 pounds on our first spot, we don't lose our cool and go running around during the tournament fishing places we haven't fished or trying techniques we're not familiar with. We each do our own thing - the same things we've been doing for years - and we stick to them, and in the end things work out." With that said, it may come as no surprise that Fritts caught his fish on a crankbait this week, a Rapala DT-16 and Rapala Down Deep. And when the notion of fishing Lake Murray in August for a million dollars came up, the cranking king only smiled and said, "You know, Murray is not far from my house."

Rose still goes ... One of the happiest bracket losers at the end of day three was Mark Rose, who, despite losing his bracket, still advanced to the Forrest Wood Cup based on the fact that Greg Bohannan, who happens to be his roommate, double-qualified for the Cup. BohannanPro Greg Bohannan showing off the fish that earned Mark Rose a berth into the Forrest Wood Cup. actually qualified for the Cup back in November at the Stren Series Championship. And though Bohannan trailed his bracketed competitor, Roy Hawk, for two days at the Fish-Off, Bohannan turned it around on day three for a catch of 16-12 and surpassed Hawk, giving him the double-qualification ticket. With that done, the next available slot went to the bracket loser with the highest weight - Rose - who amassed 58-11 in three days but was no match for his competitor, Clayton Meyer, who caught 76-11 to win the event overall. Though defeated, Rose still ended up sixth in the tournament - the loser with the highest weight. "Man, I can't tell you how happy I am about this," Rose said. "Some might think I got lucky, but I don't feel bad about the way I qualified one bit. If I had come here and beat 54 other anglers based on weight and still not advanced to the Cup, I would have not been very happy."

Stetson Blaylock wins the Co-angler side of the FLW Series East-West Fish-Off with a three-day total of 49-1.Splitting winnings ... Before the East-West Fish-Off began, Western co-angler Justin Lucas and Eastern co-angler Stetson Blaylock brokered a deal that if either one of them won the event, they would split the winnings with the other. At first Lucas looked like the most likely candidate of the two for the win, holding the second-place position after day two. But in the end, Blaylock stepped up and weighed in 19-15 on day three to take the win, and the co-anglers ended up taking home $2,500 apiece.

Herren rebounds from mishap ... Eastern Division pro Matt Herren got his week off to a shaky start on day one of the Fish-Off when his lever-controlled trim went haywire and trimmed up Despite losing all his rods on day one, Matt Herren got his mind right on day three with a 22-14 catch.his engine inadvertently, sending his boat into a wicked 360-degree spin. Fortunately, both Herren and his co-angler were unharmed, but during the mishap, all of Herren's rods were slung out into Lake Amistad and sunk to the bottom. Rodless, Herren went on a rod-and-reel scavenger hunt across the lake, borrowing a few rods from fellow competitors. "The whole deal really shook me up for a couple days; it was pretty scary, and I couldn't think straight again until today." Herren got back in the game today and rebounded with a fantastic day-three catch of 22-14. Though it was not enough to catch Western pro Ken Wick for a Cup berth, at least Herren got a little redemption on Amistad after his fiasco.

Big-bTournament winner Clayton Meyer shows off the biggest bass of the event - a 12-pound behemoth.ass Meyer ... If you wonder what the allure is of great Lake Amistad in Texas, tournament winner Clayton Meyer demonstrated it today by showing off a beautiful 12-pound bass he caught on day three - the biggest bass of the tournament. The Amistad beast anchored his day-three weight of 30 pounds, 1 ounce, Meyer's second 30-pound-plus sack of the week.

Bracket of pain ... The most heart-wrenching loss of the Fish-Off went to BP pro David Walker. Walker, the Eastern Division Angler of the Year, missed a Forrest Wood Cup berth by just 6 ounces. Instead, his competitor, Western pro Bobby Barrack, got the Cup ticket in the three-day nail biter that came down to Barrack's 37-11 to Walker's 37-6.

Bracket of power ... A real barn-burner bracket was that of Eastern pro Derek Remitz A real barn burner bracket: Derek Remitz clips Zack Thompson, 57-2 to 55-0.versus Western pro Zack Thompson. Both anglers had an incredible week on Amistad with three-day totals pushing into the mid-50-pound range. In the end, Remitz clipped Thompson by just 2 pounds, 2 ounces, making Thompson the loser with the heaviest weight (except for Mark Rose, who earned a berth due to Bohannan's double qualification).

Quick numbers

14: Number of Western Division pros who won their brackets.

16: Number of Eastern Division pros who won their brackets.

29-14: Weight, in pounds and ounces, of the largest winning margin in a bracket by Clark Wendlandt over Tim Klinger.

6: Weight, in ounces, of the smallest winning margin in a bracket of Barrack over Walker.

Sound bites

"Florida has some great bass lakes, but this is the best lake I've ever been to." - BP pro J.T. Kenney, on his week at Lake Amistad.

"I feel like a South Texas chainsaw salesman right now - I've got a tough job ahead of me," - A defeated Andy Morgan, on missing out on an early Forrest Wood Cup berth and now being forced to qualify through the 2008 FLW Tour.

"Everybody's always talking about swinging for the fences; well, I must have bunted today." - Castrol pro David Dudley, referring to his 13-4 catch on day three, which gave him a 2008 Forrest Wood Cup qualification.

"Two limits over 30 pounds? I wish the man would take me fishing out there for a few minutes." - Chevy pro Dion Hibdon, referring to Clayton Meyer's impressive win.

Tags: rob-newell  quick-bites  2008-02-07-east-west-fish-off 

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