UPCOMING EVENT: ABU GARCIA COLLEGE FISHING - 2020 - Harris Chain of Lakes

Grape grabs early All-American lead

Grape grabs early All-American lead
Boater Jason Grape of Southside, Ala., leads day one of the 2010 BFL All-American on DeGray Lake with five bass for 17-13.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Some would call it luck: Jason Grape qualified for his first BFL All-American through the Chevy Wild Card, a last-chance tourney for those who don't make the championship via regionals; he'd never fished DeGray Lake until one day before the off-limits period kicked in earlier this month; and he made a last-minute decision to fish deep Thursday, when he'd been mixing it up depth-wise during Wednesday's official practice day. But Grape's 4-pound-plus lead defies luck and speaks to great angling instincts.

And further inspection of the Southside, Ala., boater's resume reveals even more: eight top-10 finishes in FLW Outdoors events, including two wins - a BFL Bama event on Lake Guntersville in 2006 and a Music City Division win on Percy Priest this year. In less than eight years as a boater, he has earned more than $25,000 in FLW events. With a whopping 17-pound, 13-ounce limit today - which would have been a pound heavier if not for two dead-fish penalties - Grape has positioned himself as the front-runner to win five times that much money in the 2010 All-American.

"I just changed my whole strategy," Grape said of his 11th-hour decision this morning to stick to one depth on only one of his three primary areas. "I told myself I was going to stay deep all day, and that's what I did."

As stated earlier, Grape isn't very familiar with DeGray, but he said he believes the honeyhole he mined today is located on the upper end of the reservoir. He fished Bo's football-head jigs - 1/2-, ¾- and 1-ounce models in black-and-blue color - mainly with a black Paca Craw trailer in 25 to 32 feet of water.

"It's a ridge with a lot of baitfish on it and balls of shad," said the granite countertop salesman. "I left a lot of good fish there, so I hope I can go get them tomorrow."

Sitting 4 pounds, 1 ounce ahead of second place, Grape will have the luxury of moving to one of his other spots or targeting smaller bass tomorrow to stay in the hunt, though he'd rather not have to rely on the latter.

"During practice I was fishing shallow ... keeper fish, but those kind of little ones won't do nothing."

Slot limit stymies many

The "nothing" that Grape described left many of the 55 boaters and as many co-anglers scratching their heads by day's end. With a minimum length limit of 12 inches on all DeGray bass - largemouth, smallmouth and spotted - largemouths between 13 and 16 inches being off limits, and only being able to weigh two smallmouths per day per Arkansas Game and Fish regulations, a good portion of the field struggled Thursday.

Boater Troy Morrow of Toccoa, Ga., is in second place with 13-12.Add to that a slick, calm day on the water during which fisherman after fisherman reported losing fish, and there were very few five-bass limits weighed. Only a dozen limits were registered by the Boater Division and only two in the Co-angler Division.

Morrow in second

Another boater who excelled despite a tough day-one bite was Troy Morrow, who qualified via the Savannah River Division and sacked a 13-12 limit Thursday. Like Grape, Morrow is no stranger to FLW Outdoors competition: He has earned nearly $35,000 since 1997 and has notched 11 top-10 finishes.

Though some of the Toccoa, Ga., angler's bass came unbuttoned today, he maintained confidence in his pattern - unrevealed thus far - to serve him well on day two.

"I can still see the ones that got away today," Morrow lamented onstage, but added, "I think I'm going to have a good shot at it."
In third place is boater Brad Hallman of Norman, Okla., five bass, 13-6.
Hallman in third

In third place and only 6 ounces behind Morrow at the end of day one was boater Brad Hallman of Norman, Okla., who sacked a limit weighing 13-6.

Hallman - who qualified for the All-American via the Chevy Wild Card - is a longtime BFL boater with five top-10 FLW finishes, including a 2003 win on Lake Eufaula, and nearly $65,000 in career earnings to his credit. He said he likes how All-American competitors get only one short practice day before the championship after a weeklong-plus off-limits period.

"I'm really liking this format," he said. "It really allows you - forces you - to fish in the moment."

Past All-American champion in the hunt again

2007 All-American champion Shonn Goodwin of Moore, Okla., is in fourth place in the Boater Division with five bass for 12 pounds, 6 ounces.Moore, Oklahoma's Shonn Goodwin is about as successful of a BFL boater as has ever competed in the league. Since 1995 he has strung together an amazing 22 top-10 finishes, including five wins, and nearly $175,000 in career earnings in FLW Outdoors competition, most of it coming from the BFL. He wound up fourth today with a limit weighing 12 pounds, 6 ounces.

Surprisingly, 2010 marks only his second All-American appearance, though he did win it - and $100,000 - in 2007. Goodwin made no bones about his hunger for another championship victory this week.

"When you get to the All-American and you see how good (FLW Outdoors) treats us, you want to come back," he said. "Not only do you want to come back, you want to win."

Goodwin qualified for this year's main event via the Okie Division and a Regional Championship on none other than DeGray Lake. Without a doubt, this BFL phenom will be one to watch this week as competition unfolds.

Rest of the best

Boater Jay Brewer of Collinwood, Tenn., qualified for the All-American via the Bama Division and has In fifth was boater Jay Brewer of Collinwood, Tenn., four bass, 11-8.three BFL wins under his belt. He ended day one in fifth with four bass four 11 1/2 pounds. He said he "got something figured out on the lake today," so he's hopeful about his chances to make the top-10 cut tomorrow to fish the final day Saturday.

Rounding out the top 10 boaters after day one of the BFL All-American presented by Chevy on DeGray Lake:

6th: Keith Green, Arkadelphia, Ark., five bass, 11-5
7th: Richie Eaves, Nauvoo, Ill., five bass, 10-14
8th: Brandon Palaniuk, Rathdrum, Idaho, five bass, 10-7
9th: Ryan Deal, Haubstadt, Ind., five bass, 9-4
10th: Charles Cummings, Leeds, Ala., five bass, 9-3

Co-angler Ben Due of Mauston, Wis., leads the Co-angler Division of the All-American on DeGray Lake with a limit weighing 11-10.Co-angler leader is Due

Mauston, Wis., co-angler Ben Due is nearly 2 pounds ahead of the pack after day one of the BFL All-American on DeGray Lake after sacking a five-bass limit weighing 11 pounds, 10 ounces that would've gone a pound better if not for a double dead-fish penalty. Due fished in the midlake area today with boater Patrick Bone.

"We fished fairly deep, outside of spawning coves," he said, adding that he caught all his fish today in 15 to 20 feet of water on a Carolina rig with a Baby Brush Hog in green-pumpkin color.

Coming from up North, Due grew up fishing river systems with much more current and much less water clarity and depth than DeGray Lake. However, he has cut his teeth in FLW Outdoors events from the back of the boat, earning two co-angler points titles over the last couple of years in the BFL Great Lakes Division as well as the co-angler points title in the FLW American Fishing Series Central Division this year. His AFS experience served him well today, as he didn't prefish for the All-American, unless you count the Central Division tournament he fished on Lake Ouachita (also near Hot Springs, Ark.) last month.

"I had a little idea of what to expect as far as clarity and scenery," Due said, adding that "keeping a positive attitude until the last cast of the day" is the secret to his back-deck success.

Co-angler David Hamilton of Rogers, Ark., is in second place with four bass weighing 9-15. Due said he'll fish a Carolina rig again tomorrow if his draw allows for it.

Hamilton currently runner-up

David Hamilton of Rogers, Ark., found himself in second place in the Co-angler Division Thursday with four bass for 9-15, leaving him 1 pound, 11 ounces off the lead. Hamilton fished with boater Roger Pope on day one.

"All the credit really goes to (Pope)," Hamilton said. "I had a great pro, and he put me on fish.

"I've fished the (FLW) Tour, the (FLW) Series, AFS - if you want to learn how to fish, let me tell you, Come out and fish the BFL and qualify for the All-American. These are hands down, top to bottom, the best bass fishermen in the world."

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers after day one of the BFL All-American on DeGray Lake:

3rd: Ray Holloway, Snellville, Ga., three bass, 6-0
4th: Boyd Golightly, Preston, Idaho, five bass, 5-13
4th: George Hirapetian, Charlotte, N.C., two bass, 5-13
6th: Rollie Truehl, Deforest, Wis., two bass, 5-9
7th: Mike D'Angelo Jr., Remlap, Ala., three bass, 5-2
7th: Ryan Ollard, Pell City, Ala., two bass, 5-2
9th: Martin Wallace, Lexington, Ky., two bass, 4-10
10th: Mike Lemons, Huntington, W.Va., three bass, 4-8

All-American action resumes Friday on day two, when the full field will take off at 7 a.m. from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spillway area on DeGray Lake, located at 284 Skyline Drive in Arkadelphia, Ark.

Tags: patrick-baker  headline-story  2010-05-27-2010-bfl-all-american 

Sam Houston Leads with 24-11

Sam Houston Leads with 24-11

Day one of the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship presented by Lowrance on the Harris Chain certainly didn’t disappoint. The consensus from many of the teams during practice was that the chain was fishing tough, yet would kick up some solid bags on Tuesday. With 10 bags over 18 pounds and six over 20, it’s safe to say the Harris Chain is living up to it’s potential. READ MORE »

College Championshp Updates - Day 1

College Championshp Updates - Day 1

Day one of the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship presented by Lowrance is underway on the Harris Chain. READ MORE »

Strickland Hangs Tough on Harris

Strickland Hangs Tough on Harris

The final day of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain was a bit tougher than expected. After putting over 30 pounds on the scale on day two of the weather-shortened derby, Laramy Strickland worked up 15 pounds, 4 ounces on the final day for a 61-4 total to earn the win. For the win, the Bushnell, Fla., rookie took home $100,000 and a big win over a stacked top 30 that included some of the best anglers in the country and some superstar Floridians. READ MORE »

Harris Chain Day 3 Coverage

Harris Chain Day 3 Coverage

The weather-shortened Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event presented by Bad Boy Mowers at the Harris Chain wraps up today with the top 30 pros. Follow along all day to see who can take home the hardware and $100,000. READ MORE »

Strickland Sticks 31-Pound Megabag

Strickland Sticks 31-Pound Megabag

Florida cold fronts are supposed to shut the fishing down, but that wasn’t the case for many of the leaders through two days of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain. Rocketing into the lead from 35th place, Laramy Strickland popped a 31-pound, 6-ounce megabag to put his leading total at an even 46 pounds. In second, Jimmy Washam stayed steady, weighing 21-13 for second and a 41-13 total. In third, Hunter Freeman also made a big jump, hammering out 25-14 on day two to get up to 39-6. READ MORE »

Harris Chain Day 2 Coverage

Harris Chain Day 2 Coverage

The weather has made a 180 here in Leesburg, Fla., for stop No. 2 of the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain of Lakes. Follow along for updates on all the action. READ MORE »

Day 2 at Harris Postponed

Day 2 at Harris Postponed

Day two of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain has been postponed due to high winds. With a lake wind advisory in effect from 10 a.m. ET until later this evening, many pros believe staying off the water today was the right call. READ MORE »

Salewske Cracks 26 at Harris Chain

Salewske Cracks 26 at Harris Chain

Day one of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event presented by Bab Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain was a catchfest, but it wasn’t quite the sight-fishing showdown that some hoped for. In the lead, Rusty Salewske weighed 26 pounds, 10 ounces. Just ounces behind him, Miles Burghoff wrangled 26-8. In third, Jared McMillan put 22-1 on the scale to kick things off. READ MORE »

Harris Chain Day 1 Coverage

Harris Chain Day 1 Coverage

Anglers are enjoying near-perfect conditions for a day-one slugfest in Leesburg, Fla., for stop No. 2 of the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain of Lakes. Follow along for updates on all the action. READ MORE »

FLW Live Leaderboard - Harris Chain

FLW Live Leaderboard - Harris Chain

FLW Marshals and media staff provide unofficial weight estimates for the second stop of the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers at Florida's Harris Chain of Lakes. READ MORE »

Guyot Catches 23-8 for Murray Win

Guyot Catches 23-8 for Murray Win

Boater Scott Guyot of Fayetteville, North Carolina, brought five bass to the scale Saturday totaling 23 pounds, 8 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake Murray in Prosperity, South Carolina. For his victory, Guyot earned a total of $4,359. READ MORE »

Flack Goes Finesse on Lewis Smith

Flack Goes Finesse on Lewis Smith

Local boater Jackie Flack of Cullman, Alabama, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 17 pounds, 3 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lewis Smith Lake in Cullman. For his victory, Flack earned a total of $6,011. READ MORE »

Fitzgerald Finishes Strong at St. Johns

Fitzgerald Finishes Strong at St. Johns

Trevor Fitzgerald of Belleview, Fla., moved ahead one spot in the standings on the final day of competition at the St. Johns River to earn his first Toyota Series victory. His three-day catch of 57 pounds, 12 ounces earned him the win by a 6-pound margin. READ MORE »

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 3

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 3

Day two of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener on the St. Johns River brought more fish, bigger fish and eight bags over 20 pounds – a marked improvement over what we saw on day one. Day three could go either direction, though, as a small cold front overnight left behind bluebird skies and abundant sunshine today. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 2

It’s been a question of when, not if: When is the first big wave of spawners going to move up on the St. Johns River? That question may have been answered on day two of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener, as more and more anglers brought big fish across the weigh-in stage, with many of the bass coming from beds or shallow cover where fish are staging to make their big move. READ MORE »

Big Day Puts Blair Ahead at St. Johns

Big Day Puts Blair Ahead at St. Johns

Jason Blair caught 22 pounds, 3 ounces – the biggest limit of the tournament so far – to take over the lead at the Toyota Series Southern Division season opener on the St. Johns River. The West Palm Beach, Fla., pro has a two-day total of 39-15 and a 1-pound, 11-ounce lead over yesterday’s leader, Trevor Fitzgerald. READ MORE »

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 2

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 2

After a warm but windy day to start the Toyota Series Southern Division opener on the St. Johns River, day two brought lower temperatures, rain and a shifting wind that blew right up the chute early this morning. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 1

The St. Johns River is fishing tough, and while weights were down across the board on day one of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener, the top five found a way to get the job done with some impressive stringers of big Florida bass. READ MORE »

Fitzgerald in Front on St. Johns

Fitzgerald in Front on St. Johns

Trevor Fitzgerald of Belleview, Fla., took the lead on day one of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener at the St. Johns River with a five-bass limit that weighed 21 pounds, 2 ounces. Fitzgerald has previously won a Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event on the St. Johns and is in contention to make his 12th top-10 finish with FLW. READ MORE »

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 1

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 1

As expected, the St. Johns River is still fishing pretty tough in the Toyota Series Southern Division opener, which kicked off this morning. The St. Johns holds plenty of good fish, but she’s not all that willing to give them up. READ MORE »