UPCOMING EVENT: FLW Pro Circuit - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Yoder’s rollercoaster ride results in wire-to-wire win

Yoder’s rollercoaster ride results in wire-to-wire win
Pro winner Michael Yoder holds up his biggest bass from day three on Falcon Lake.

ZAPATA, Texas - For the diehard angler, a trip to Falcon Lake is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For Michael Yoder, that is a severe understatement. His past three days on the legendary Rio Grande River impoundment will never be forgotten.

Yoder's week can best be described as a rollercoaster filled with peaks and valleys. He launched his boat Thursday morning knowing that his only reliable spot was located 18 miles south of the takeoff site on the Mexican side of the lake near the dam. He also knew the forecast called for dangerously high winds out of the north. Thankfully, he reached his primary area without too much difficulty.

Once he got there, he tied into some amazing fish - 38 pounds, 4 ounces worth of Falcon Lake bass to be exact. But he knew the ride back would be brutal. Battling giant waves, Yoder wrecked just about every piece of equipment on his boat from his trolling motor to his graph to his livewell pumps. But at the A closer look at Michael Yoderend of the day, he was in safe and had accumulated a 9-pound lead.

"My boat was a mess when I came in, but I have to thank Ranger for staying up with me until 10:30 Thursday night making sure I would be ready to go Friday morning," he said.

Day two saw colder conditions and slightly diminished winds. Once again, Yoder ventured south - braving the elements. As the temperature plummeted, the bite slowed. Instead of throwing the tilapia-pattern crankbait (made by 6th Sense Custom Tackle) he used on day one, Yoder was forced to go to a jig. His jig of a choice was of the football-head variety and was hand-tied by the company Fish Diffee. He tipped it with a Gene Larew craw in green pumpkin color.

The result was another solid limit weighing 27 pounds, 11 ounces. With much calmer conditions Saturday, he started fishing shallow scattered rocks in his primary area but the bite was off. He scrambled around some and eventually returned to his sweet spot shortly after noon only to find commercial tilapia fishermen occupying the area. Rather than panic, Yoder went with a gut feeling and started Carolina rigging with a Zoom lizard out deep.

"There was a nearby island and I basically just started dragging until I felt brush," said Yoder. "I found them stacked up in one spot that was about 25 feet deep."

At 2:35 p.m. the Texarkana, Ark., pro tied into his fifth and final keeper - a Falcon Lake beauty that weighed nearly 8 pounds and pushed his final-day stringer to 27-9. At the time, Yoder was thinking that specific fish sealed the deal on his first victory.

"At 2:45 I decided it was time to leave. I turned the key and got nothing."
Pro Michael Yoder celebrates after winning the inaugural FLW American Fishing Series event on Falcon Lake.
What transpired next was a mad scramble of switching batteries and matching black wires with black wires and red wires with red wires. The engine eventually started and he was able to check in with a few minutes to spare.

"I'm applying as a mechanic at NASCAR next week," quipped Yoder.

Yoder then reflected on his first American Fishing Series event as a pro.

"What a week. There have been a lot of ups and downs. But it's all been worth it."

For winning the inaugural American Fishing Series event, Yoder claimed $25,000 and a fully equipped 198VX Ranger. His total weight of 93 pounds, 8 ounces surpassed the winning weight (92-2) of last year's Falcon champion - Joe Don Setina.

"It feels incredible to be up here but there's a lot of friends and family that helped me get here.'

Combs' 41-1 not enough

Imagine catching 41 pounds on the final day of a tournament and not winning. That's what is running through Keith Combs' mind right now. His official day-three weight from Falcon was 41 pounds, 1 ounce. Not only was 41-1 his personal best, it was also the heaviest single-day catch in FLW Outdoors Pro Keith Combs holds up a giant Falcon Lake bass he caught on day three. Combs finished the event in second place.history. The smallest fish in his creel weighed nearly 8 pounds and his biggest weighed almost 10.

"It was a great day from start to finish," said the Del Rio, Texas, pro who guides on both Amistad and Falcon. "We were blessed with great weather for a change and wow that was fun. I couldn't wait to weigh them in."

Combs said he caught one of the giants on his second cast of the day and they hit approximately every 20 minutes after that. Ironically, his big sack came within sight of the Zapata County Boat Ramp. He fished the same area on day two, but minor adjustments made all the difference.

"I was fishing a road bed and I think I was lined up wrong yesterday. Today I threw to where the boat was positioned. I either didn't fish it slow enough or I was lined up wrong. Its amazing how a minor adjustment can make such a big difference."

That road bed, which was in approximately 12 feet of water, was a migratory route for both pre- and postspawn bass. The road bed ran across a giant flat to the main river channel. While several other anglers were working the channel, Combs had the road bed to himself.

To catch his fish, Combs used mostly a Carolina rig with a Zoom Brush Hog. Occasionally he mixed in a spinnerbait. He said the key to his success was the area and his Power Tackle rods, which allowed him to quickly draw the mean Falcon Lake bass out of the brush.

Combs' consolation prize was $8,000. He more than likely won't be fishing the next Texas Division event. Instead, he'll be practicing for the FLW Tour season opener on the Red River.

Mullins third

With a three-day total of 76 pounds, 14 ounces, pro David Mullins finished the Falcon Lake event in third place. Coppell, Texas, pro David Mullins finished the tournament with a total weight of 76 pounds, 14 ounces. His five-bass limit Saturday weighed 23 pounds, 8 ounces - his lightest performance of the event.

Throughout the week, Mullins alternated between fishing deep and shallow. But whatever depth he worked, he stuck with a Brush Hog as his bait of choice. When shallow he flipped it and when deep he drug it with a Carolina rig. To illustrate the point, one of Mullins' day-three keepers came from 2 feet of water and another came from 60 feet.

His primary area was located on the south end of the lake. On days one and two the ride back to weigh-in was wicked and he was glad to be in a 21-foot Ranger.

"It wasn't fun, but we got back," Mullins said.

His third-place finish, his first top 10 at the Triple A level, earned him $6,000.

Morton, Cremo round out top five

In fourth place was Etoile, Texas, native Justin Morton with a three-day total of 70 pounds, 5 ounces. After sticking 25-8 and 23-9 on days one and two, Morton managed 21-4 on day three. While most of the pros were employing plastics, Morton used a crankbait.

"I was ripping a Norman DD-22 just like I would rip a Rat-L-Trap through the grass at (Sam) Rayburn," he said.

This was Morton's first trip to the top 10 and he earned $5,000.

Richard Cremo dropped from second to fifth after managing only two bass worth 9-13 Saturday. He finished the event with a total weight of 68 pounds, 7 ounces - worth $4,500. Like Morton, this was Cremo's first time making the cutoff.

"I never expected anything like this," Cremo said. "I'm just thankful for the opportunity."

Cremo fished six miles northwest of the boat ramp and worked a point in 12 to 15 feet of water. He used three baits - a spinnerbait, a Carolina rig and a jig.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros at the American Fishing Series Texas Division event on Falcon Lake:

6th: Randy White of Haslet, Texas, three-day total of 66-9, $4,000
7th: Tim Reneau of Del Rio, Texas, 66-9, $3,500
8th: Michael Herron of Paris, Texas, 65-7, $3,000
9th: Rob Burns of Plano, Texas, 64-0, $2,500
10th: Christopher Brasher of Spring, Texas, 57-4, $2,000

The next American Fishing Series event will take place Feb. 4-6 on the Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Jasper, Texas.

Tags: brett-carlson  headline-story  2010-01-07-falcon-lake 

Carper Wins Big on St. Johns River

Carper Wins Big on St. Johns River

The 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine continued competition Saturday at the St. Johns River in Palatka, Florida – the first time that the Gator Division presented by A.R.E. has opened their season on the St. Johns River – and featured a major return on investment for the winner. READ MORE »

Lasyone Tops Record Field on Rayburn

Lasyone Tops Record Field on Rayburn

The 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine opened competition Saturday at the historic Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Brookeland, Texas, and featured a record-setting field size – 230 boaters and 230 co-anglers. The season opener, the largest field in more than 20 years, took off with multiple anglers left on the waiting list.  READ MORE »

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 »