UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Swanstrom learning to love Erie

Swanstrom learning to love Erie
John Swanstrom holds up a 12-pound Lake Erie walleye he caught Friday.

PORT CLINTON, Ohio - During a four-day slugfest on Lake Erie, nothing is more important than consistency. Reconnecting with nomadic Great Lakes walleyes day after day is a difficult task. But rookie pro John Swanstrom is making it look easy. Step aside bass-rich Falcon Lake, the western basin of Erie is once again the hottest fishery on the planet.

With a five-fish catch weighing 45 pounds, 13 ounces, Swanstrom took control of the leaderboard with one day of Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour competition remaining. For the third consecutive day, the weather cooperated. As the fishing continued to improve throughout the week it became clear that Pat Neu's four-day cumulative weight record of 111 pounds, 8 ounces would be crushed. But nobody thought it would be crushed after only the third day. Altogether, over 4,000 pounds of walleyes were brought to the scale Friday. On day one, just over 2,000 pounds were caught.

It is absolutely mind-boggling to think Swanstrom has already accumulated a total of 15 walleyes weighing 122 pounds. That means each of his fish have on average weighed over 8 pounds.

"I'm speechless," said the pro leader. "This is absolutely unbelievable. We caught those big ones in a Pro John Swanstrom and co-angler Larry Behsman hold up their 45-pound, 13-ounce catch.matter of an hour and a half."

Swanstrom grew up in Duluth, Minn., and has been around fishing all his life. But he's never seen anything like this.

"There were a few fish in the morning and then we moved to our secondary spot and the cranks just fired. It was ridiculous."

The biggest fish of the five in his limit weighed 12 pounds.

"We're running a little bit of both (crankbaits and spinners), but we're definitely getting our bigger fish on cranks. We've been real consistent with our trolling speeds but quite frankly I don't think it mattered. It was one of those days where the stars line up and wow, unbelievable."

Swanstrom's co-angler, Larry Behsman, had similar thoughts.

"It was probably the best experience I've had in my life - no doubt," he said. "This was my first trip to Erie but I think I'll be back."

The Superior, Wis., pro said he is fishing halfway between Port Clinton and the Canadian border. He'll start tomorrow's final day of competition with an 18-pound lead.

"Nobody is going to run away with this. This is Lake Erie, its going to be a slugfest again tomorrow."

Smith second

By his standards, pro Larry Stephen Smith had a bad day on Lake Erie. Keep in mind he still caught a five-fish limit weighing 31 pounds, 5 ounces.

Larry Stephen Smith and Keith Strauss hold up their day-three catch."I didn't think we had that kind of weight," said the Green Bay and Winnebago guide. "I'm just shocked. I didn't think I was going to make it. Today was a tough day - we only had six bites."

Smith is catching all his fish on crankbaits trolled at speeds from 1.5 to 1.7 mph.

"It was a totally different bite and I missed the program. The water warmed up and the fish moved up. The first two days I had five in the box by 9:30 a.m. and today we didn't have five in the livewell until 2 p.m."

Despite trailing the leader by 18 pounds, the Berlin, Wis., native doesn't think this tournament is over.

"Tomorrow will definitely be a day for adjusting. I think I got a heck of a shot at winning this. If the weather holds I'm thinking 43 or 44 pounds."

Furseth sacks 43 for third

Erik Furseth, a friend and teammate of Swanstrom, is in third place after catching a three-day total of 102 pounds, 7 ounces. His limit Friday weighed 43 pounds even. Not surprisingly, he is sharing the same water as Swanstrom.

"The bite really turned on for us this morning," said the East Lansing, Mich., pro. "It's really tough when Erik Furseth is in third place with a three-day total weight of 102-7.you're throwing back 6-pounders."

Furseth said he literally trolled 100 yards behind the pro leader. Along with his other teammates, Alan Szoke and Steve Vandemark, the two found these fish on the second day of practice.

"We knew they were there, but we couldn't get them to bite."

The first day they bit in earnest was day one of the tournament. Since then, it has been getting better and better each day.

"I had 40 pounds on my first pass this morning. I lost three fish on day one that would have added another 10 pounds. Believe it or not, those are the only three I have lost."

Like Swanstrom, Furseth is trolling with mainly crankbaits. Today, Furseth caught 25 keepers while Swanstrom caught roughly a dozen.

"We're on them. The fish are high in the water column. The big fish bite in the morning 6-8 feet from the surface. After that, the 5-6 pounders show up so you've got to be on them early."

South Dakota rookie fourth

Rising to fourth place was rookie G3 pro Chad Schilling of Akaska, S.D. After bringing in only 21 pounds on day two, the 2007 PWT Rookie of the Year was able to manage five walleyes that weighed 41 pounds, 7 ounces on day three. His opening-round total was 101 pounds, 9 ounces.

South Dakota pro Chad Schilling is fourth with 101 pounds, 9 ounces."That was fun out there," he said. "Everybody talks about how great Lake Erie is but wow, talk about chaos. We just had a blast out there."

Schilling is starting each day by trolling an equal amount of crankbaits and spinners.

"I call this POP fishing. That stands for Put them Out and Pray"

The Lake Oahe guide said he's not targeting numbers. He caught a dozen fish on the day but he saw several locals catch smaller walleyes hand over fist.

"At one time I switched up and caught four 4-pounders right away and said, `This is stupid' so I went back to what I was doing. I'm kind of kicking myself for yesterday but you've got to look forward."

Frey up to fifth

Rising two spots to fifth place was local Avon Lake, Ohio, pro David Frey. On day three, he once again put five walleyes into the box that weighed 35 pounds, 7 ounces. His three-day weight is 101-9, the Local pro David Frey is in fifth place with one day of competition remaining.same as Schilling's. Technically, Schilling owns the tiebreaker since he has the heaviest single-day catch.

"We had six hookups today that got off - two for sure that were 8 pounds-plus," Frey said. "They would have helped a lot but I think we're OK. I've been fishing here for 20 years and I've never lost that many fish."

Frey is using all crankbaits. He said the key to his success has been his productive location.

"If I don't lose fish I think I can get 40 pounds tomorrow - but so can the other guys."

Rounding out the top 10 pros who will be fishing on day four on Lake Erie:

Rest of the best

6th: Rick Franklin of Bemidji, Minn., 101-2
7th: Kevin Michnicki of Cleveland, Ohio, 100-0
8th: Robert Henton of Spartansburg, Pa., 99-11
9th: Dan Stier of Clearwater, Minn., 98-4
10th: Pete Harsh of Sauk Centre, Minn., 98-2

Copeland continues to sleep, catch fish

On the co-angler side, Jason Copeland of Wellsville, Kansas, continued to use his odd method of David Kraft and Jason Copeland hold up their day-three catch from Lake Erie.sleeping in the boat Friday. But after leading the tournament for two consecutive days, his technique no longer looks like luck.

"You bet he slept all day," said his pro partner, David Kraft.

In total, Kraft and Copeland caught eight walleyes. Kraft said they used both spinners and plugs as they focused on changing depths as much as possible.

"I figure if you sleep than maybe you can sneak up on them," said Copeland, who has a three-day total weight of 111 pounds, 11 ounces. "When you're catching them it's not boring, but when you're trolling there are lulls."

With more than a 5-pound lead, Copeland has a good chance at winning a not-so-boring $10,000 in his first walleye tournament.

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers who will fish on day four on Lake Erie:John Kopcok is second in the Co-angler Division with one day remaining.

2nd: John Kopcok of Bellriver, Ontario, 106-1
3rd: Ike Rhodes of Harrogate, Tenn., 102-9
4th: Behsman of Elysian, Minn., 100-5
5th: Kenny Henexson of Thornton, Colo., 99-9
6th: Randy Seidl of Appleton, Minn., 96-2
7th: Jeff Sather of Montevideo, Minn., 94-10
8th: Bruce Frevert of Centerville, Iowa, 92-5
9th: Nate Brunz of Madison Lake, Minn., 90-9
10th: Marty Barski of Crystal Lake, Ill., 89-4

The final day of FLW Walleye Tour competition on Lake Erie begins as the top 10 pro and 10 co-anglers take off from the Nor'Easter Club at 6:30 a.m. Eastern time Saturday. The final weigh-in will take place at 4 p.m. Eastern time from the Wal-Mart store located at 2826 E. Harbor Road in Port Clinton.

Tags: brett-carlson  headline-story  2008-04-16-lake-erie 

Miller Wins Wild Card on Kentucky Lake

Miller Wins Wild Card on Kentucky Lake

Weighing limits of 15 pounds, 13 ounces on day one and 15-3 on day two, Michael Miller of Greenville, S.C., overcame a tough-fishing Kentucky Lake to win the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Wild Card and qualify for the All-American. READ MORE »

Coastal Carolina Wins on Hartwell  

Coastal Carolina Wins on Hartwell  

The Coastal Carolina University duo of Max McQuaide of Tyngsborough, Mass., and Grant Tattersall, of Conway, S.C., won the YETI FLW College Fishing tournament at Lake Hartwell presented by Costa with a five-bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 11 ounces. The victory earned the Chanticleers’ bass club $2,000 and a slot in the 2020 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

Allison Comes from Behind on Cumberland

Allison Comes from Behind on Cumberland

By catching four quality smallmouth bass on the final day of the Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland, Missourian Chad Allison was able to come back from 10th place and win the co-angler division, earning more than $30,000. READ MORE »

Upshaw Closes on Cumberland

Upshaw Closes on Cumberland

For the second time this season, Andrew Upshaw is an FLW champion thanks to consistent days spent targeting big Southern smallmouths. The Tulsa, Okla., pro won the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland in Burnside, Ky., with a three-day total weight of 42 pounds, 15 ounces. The win comes less than seven months after Upshaw won the FLW Tour event on Cherokee Lake in east Tennessee. READ MORE »

FLW Live Leaderboard - Lake Cumberland

FLW Live Leaderboard - Lake Cumberland

FLW media staff provides unofficial weight estimates for the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland READ MORE »

Cumberland Day 3 Coverage

Cumberland Day 3 Coverage

Andrew Upshaw continues to roll on Cumberland. READ MORE »

Upshaw Moves Ahead at Cumberland

Upshaw Moves Ahead at Cumberland

Day two of the Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland was a bit tougher for some, given the post-frontal conditions featuring lighter winds, sun and cold temperatures. As projected, consistency has been the key and Andrew Upshaw continued to dial in his program adding 15 pounds, 1 ounce to his day-one bag of 14-15 for a total of 30 pounds even. READ MORE »

Cumberland Day 2 Coverage

Cumberland Day 2 Coverage

Day one of the Costa FLW Series Championship proved to be about as challenging as many anglers anticipated after a tough practice period, but it wasn’t all bad. Zimbabwe’s Roger Cousens certainly wasn’t complaining. His tournament-leading 17-pound, 2-ounce bag was exactly what he had hoped for as the tournament kicked off, and he’s gunning for another big stringer today. READ MORE »

Zimbabwe’s Cousens Grabs Lead

Zimbabwe’s Cousens Grabs Lead

The FLW International Division is well represented in the Costa FLW Series Championship, and perhaps none represented the division better than Roger Cousens of Zimbabwe, who didn’t seem bothered by the stingy conditions of Lake Cumberland on day one. With the only bag that topped 17 pounds for the day (17-2), Cousens enters day two with a 3-ounce lead over Robert Nakatomi, who qualified from the Western Division. READ MORE »

Cumberland Day 1 Coverage

Cumberland Day 1 Coverage

With rain early and a cold snap forecasted to move in this afternoon, the first day of the Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland could present some unique challenges for the 193-boat field, especially after a fairly mild and pleasant practice period.  READ MORE »

Fitzpatrick All the Way on Grand

Fitzpatrick All the Way on Grand

Roger Fitzpatrick has had quite a fall fishing season. He won the BFL Super Tournament on Lake of the Ozarks in September, then qualified for the All-American by winning the BFL Regional on Grand Lake in October. READ MORE »

Drury Wins on Lake of the Ozarks

Drury Wins on Lake of the Ozarks

The Drury University duo of Cole Breeden of Eldridge, Missouri and Cameron Smith, of Nixa, Missouri, won the YETI FLW College Fishing event on Lake of the Ozarks presented by Bass Pro Shops with a five-bass limit weighing 18 pounds, 9 ounces. The victory earned the Panthers’ bass club $2,650 and a slot in the 2020 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

Myers Makes Long Run for Kentucky Win

Myers Makes Long Run for Kentucky Win

Mark Myers of Cedar Falls, Iowa, is no stranger to the victory circle with FLW, having previously won a BFL as a boater to go with two FLW Tour victories as a co-angler and two more as a co-angler in Costa FLW Series competition. But, his latest win at the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Regional on Kentucky and Barkley Lakes is the realization of his long-time goal to qualify for the All-American. READ MORE »

Beavers Wins Potomac Regional

Beavers Wins Potomac Regional

A severe storm backed up the tides and drained many of the best areas on the Potomac. Adjusting to the unusual conditions and grinding out daily limits were the keys to success in the BFL Regional. READ MORE »

New Dominates Seminole Regional

New Dominates Seminole Regional

Belmont, N.C., angler Bryan New, who’s regularly one of FLW’s top performers in the grassroots ranks, had established a dominant pace. New weighed in 22 pounds, 9 ounces on day one and added 20-2 on day two to carry a lead of 6 pounds, 15 ounces into the finals. A roughly 7-pound margin isn’t necessarily a sure thing on Seminole, but the fall bite was a bit slower than what the lake can produce, and it was obvious New was cruising. READ MORE »

Hays Rallies for Ozark Title

Hays Rallies for Ozark Title

The final day of the Costa FLW Series Central Division event on Lake of the Ozarks presented by Evinrude was no walk in the park for the top 10 pros. With a cold front passing through at the start of the event, a high-pressure system settled in for the final round of fishing. While most struggled, Dylan Hays of El Dorado, Ark., sacked up 14 pounds, 6 ounces today – the biggest limit brought in during the final day – and finally was able to wrangle his first FLW title. READ MORE »

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 3

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 3

The final day of the Costa FLW Series Central Division on Lake of the Ozarks presented by Evinrude is fixing to get fun based on what’s already happened today and what could happen. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks – Day 2

Sure enough, with conditions changing from rain and clouds to sun and wind, the Costa FLW Series Central Division on Lake of the Ozarks, which is presented by Evinrude, has made it tough on guys. Of course, day-two leader James Watson predicted that some of the biggest bags of the event would come in today despite the conditions, and he was right. READ MORE »

Consistency Puts Watson Out Front

Consistency Puts Watson Out Front

Weather has been the storyline leading up to the Costa FLW Series Central Division finale on Lake of the Ozarks presented by Evinrude. With storms and rain blowing through yesterday ahead of a cold front, the cooler weather set in today making fishing tough on some, but others took advantage of the change. READ MORE »

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 2

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 2

A cold front that brought temperatures in the 40s, rain and wind has the bass in a funk on day two of the Costa FLW Series Central Division event presented by Evinrude on Lake of the Ozarks. READ MORE »