UPCOMING EVENT: YETI FLW COLLEGE FISHING - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Teenage dream tournament

Nineteen-year-old Kyle Welcher leads the FLW Tour event on Table Rock Lake at the halfway point.

BRANSON, Mo. - The TBF National Championship may be taking place downstream the White River on Bull Shoals Lake, but 19-year-old Kyle Welcher is "Living the Dream" on Table Rock Lake. Despite having only two small fish at noon, the Walmart FLW Tour rookie caught a 24-pound, 8-ounce stringer and grabbed the lead at the second Major of the season.

While a good majority of the bass on Table Rock are spawning, they're spooky because the water continues to fall. To adjust, many of the top pros have decided to ignore the bedding bass and instead focus on prespawners. Thus far, it appears the prespawn females are much more willing to cooperate. Just ask Welcher himself.

"Where I'm fishing right now the water temperature is just getting prime," said the Opelika, Ala., native. "It's cool and it's stained. These fish are not on beds. They're eating; you put in front of one and they will bite."

Welcher's day did not get off to a good start as his co-angler boated the first fish, a 6-pound, 2-ounce lunker. But he didn't hit the panic button. At 1 p.m. Welcher caught his first 5-pounder. More quality fish followed after that.

"I fished the same areas; the bass were just set up different. I made a bait change midday and that's what I caught them on. It made all the difference. As soon as the wind died down, the water warmed Kyle Welcher on the move. up a bit more and the fish came straight to the bank and started eating."

Welcher wouldn't reveal the specific bait, but it's been key for several big fish. Yesterday he weighed in a 7-6 and today he coaxed a 6-8. His total weight at the halfway point in the tournament is 44 pounds, 4 ounces.

"I'm fishing fast, but I'm not really covering a lot of water if that makes sense. There are certain areas that are better and I'm trying to focus on those. I think a lot of the other guys are running out of fish and I'm more confident in my area than I was yesterday. Tomorrow I'm going to go out and stay in that right area with an open mind and eventually the fish will tell me where they're at, how they're positioned and maybe I can string together another good sack."

Welcher went to the University of Alabama-Birmingham for a semester and he now attends Troy University online for nursing. But if he catches them strong for two more days he might have a career ahead of him as a professional bass fisherman.

"It's overwhelming. There are 159 of the best (pros) behind me and I just had the good fortune to inch them out after day two. All I can say is that I'm on top of the world. I'd rather be leading on day four than on day two, but today was a real confidence boost. I'm not trying to ignore that I'm leading this, but leading after the fourth day is what really matters."

King second

Second-place pro Stacey King holds up two giant largemouths with his grandson Wit. The man chasing Welcher has roughly four decades of tournament-fishing experience and he's also a guide on Table Rock Lake. That man would be none other than Reeds Spring, Mo., pro Stacey King. After what he termed a "terrible practice," King has found his prespawn groove.

"I probably had the worst practice of my life, but I had some areas that I knew I was going to pursue given the conditions, so I didn't really bother fishing them," King explained. "But I'm playing the staging game; these are standard prespawn patterns."

Like many of the leaders, King is fishing mainly the stained water. He's caught fish in the clear water, but the dingy areas have coughed up the quality fish. King's limit today weighed 22 pounds, 13 ounces and pushed his total weight to 42 pounds even. Anchoring Friday's stringer was an 8-pound largemouth, the biggest bass of the tournament thus far.

"I probably only caught eight or nine keepers today; but I didn't hit my good areas as hard once I knew I was in the cut."

King wouldn't reveal the lures he's throwing, only allowing that he's using "moving baits." He likes his chances the next two days but isn't sure he can replicate the truly big fish.

"There's still some staging fish moving up, but who knows. It's all about the big bite. I didn't have any idea I could catch those big ones; it shocked me. I feel great about it."

Younger Shuffield strikes with umbrella rig

Spencer Shuffield scores on an Alabama RigAnother Tour rookie is making noise on Table Rock and this one has considerably more tournament experience. Spencer Shuffield of Bismarck, Ark., threw a Swim N' Frenzy around timber en route to a giant 21-pound, 6-ounce stringer. After catching 18-14 on day one, Shuffield sits exactly 4 pounds off the lead in fourth.

"Within 30 minutes this morning I had my limit," he said. "And I had 20 pounds within 2 hours."

Shuffield's kicker fish, which weighed 7-10, actually broke his net. With 20 pounds in the livewell he decided to ease in and get a replacement. From there he spent the rest of the day focused primarily on getting his co-angler a limit of bed fish.

"I still probably caught another 15 or 20 keepers after that, just fishing around. I bet I caught over 40 keepers on the day."

Shuffield's umbrella-rig setup is the three-hook version that has smaller swimbaits with willow blades running in front.

"My success is definitely due to the rig; I promise you that. Dad (Ron) threw a bigger one yesterday and caught 11 pounds. He threw the smaller one today in the exact same areas and caught 19 pounds."

Shuffield likes his chances with two days remaining.

"Every one of the fish I caught is prespawn, so I feel real good about it. I think a lot of the females go up on the bank at night and then during the day they back off and suspend. I am very anxious for tomorrow."

Nick falls to fourth

Blake Nick caught a 16-pound, 11-ounce stringer Friday and fell from first to fourth.Day-one leader Blake Nick caught a 16-pound, 11-ounce stringer Friday but fell from first to fourth. Three of his keepers were largemouths, the other two brown bass. He starts day three with a total weight of 37 pounds, 15 ounces.

"I'm not OK with 16, but I did work hard for that," said Nick. "So it's a happy medium I guess. The fish were just not in the same areas. The wind changed, which moved the bait and then the fish moved."

Nick's worried about tomorrow mainly because he's still learning on the fly. His pattern consists of burning a squarebill crankbait in stained water along gravel bars and points.

"That dirty water allows me to fish fast and that's what I need to do since I don't have any experience here."

Christie fifth

Fifth-place pro Jason Christie holds up two giant Table Rock largemouths.Like King, Jason Christie whined and complained before the tournament about his terrible practice. But he caught 19-8 yesterday and backed that up today with 17-15 for a total weight of 37-7 and fifth place.

"I've been fortunate to catch two giants each day," said the Park Hill, Okla., native. "I wasn't on anything coming into this so I don't know about my chances for the weekend. I mean, I've weighed six 15-inch fish the last two days."

The Rayovac pro is mostly flipping, but will occasionally sight-fish; he caught one of his five keepers looking at them today as it was located at the base of a willow. Despite his success, he's considering changing water tomorrow.

"I can't make up my mind if there's more coming or if it's the same old, same old. I think it's better for me to fish new water but I have a pair (of spawning fish) way up the river. I want to fish them, but it takes over an hour out of my day."

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros on Table Rock after day two:

6th: Brent Long of Cornelius, N.C., 36-12
7th: John Devere of Berea, Ky., 35-14
8th: Clent Davis of Montevallo, Ala., 35-8
9th: Chris Baumgardner of Gastonia, N.C., 34-14
10th: Terry Bolton of Paducah, Ky., 33-14

Bone takes co-angler lead

Veteran co-angler Patrick Bone of Cleveland, Ga., took over the lead in his division after catching a 13-pound, 10-ounce limit. Combined with his 10 pounds from day one, Bone has a total weight of 23 pounds, 10 ounces.

Bone finished third in last year's Co-angler of the Year race and this year is fishing the EverStart Series Southeast Division as a pro.

Bertrand slips to second

Day-one leader Brock Bertrand of Fayetteville, Ark., caught just two small keepers Friday but fell only spot on the leaderboard. His 3-13 today combined with 19-2 yesterday gives him an opening-round total Third-place co-angler Hector Delagarza holds up a nice Table Rock Lake bass.of 22 pounds, 15 ounces.

De La Garza, Meador, Spangler round out top five

Hector De La Garza of Rockwall, Texas, caught a 16-pound, 5-ounce limit while fishing with Welcher. His big 6-pound, 2-ounce kicker was caught on one of his first casts of the day. Combined with 5-14 from day one, De La Garza sits third with 22 pounds, 3 ounces.

Steven Meador of Bella Vista, Ark., caught an 11-pound, 10-ounce limit to bring his total weight to 21-4, good for fourth.

Tom Spangler of Corryton, Tenn., rounds out the top five with 20 pounds, 12 ounces.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers on Table Rock after day two:

6th: JR Wright of Truckee, Calif., 19-15
7th: Kevin Spooner of Vero Beach, Fla., 19-4
8th: Steve Redwine of Blue Ash, Ohio, 18-14
9th: Max Wilson of Everton, Mo., 18-14
10th: Mark Shelton of Fayetteville, Ark., 18-1

Day three of the FLW Tour on Table Rock Lake will begin Saturday at 7 a.m. from Table Rock State Park Marina located at 380 State Park Marina Road in Branson.

Tags: brett-carlson  headline-story  2012-03-29-table-rock-lake 

Duarte Covers Ground for Second W

Duarte Covers Ground for Second W

John Duarte of Middle River, Maryland, caught five bass Saturday weighing 18 pounds, 8 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) South Carolina Division season opener on Lake Hartwell presented by Navionics. For his win, Duarte earned $4,396. READ MORE »

Stevens Drops 32-10 on Big O

Stevens Drops 32-10 on Big O

Kail Stevens of Boynton Beach, Florida, caught a massive five-bass limit Saturday weighing 32 pounds, 10 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Gator Division tournament on Lake Okeechobee. Stevens took home $4,766 for his efforts. READ MORE »

Aaron Plays Current for G-Ville Win

Aaron Plays Current for G-Ville Win

Chad Aaron of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, caught five bass Saturday weighing 25 pounds, 14 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Choo Choo Division season opener on Lake Guntersville presented by Navionics. For his win, Aaron earned $4,363. READ MORE »

Montevallo Wins on Seminole

Montevallo Wins on Seminole

The University of Montevallo duo of Justin Barnes of Monroeville, Alabama, and Adam Carroll of Carrollton, Georgia, won the YETI FLW College Fishing event on Lake Seminole Saturday with a five-bass limit weighing 23 pounds, 1 ounce. The victory earned the Falcon’s bass club $2,000 and a slot in the 2020 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

Mount Paran Christian School wins on Seminole

Mount Paran Christian School wins on Seminole

The Mount Paran Christian School duo of Lee Rose Koza and Carter Koza, both of Marietta, Georgia, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 23 pounds, 2 ounces to win the 2019 Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Lake Seminole Open. READ MORE »

Anders Chases Shad for Keowee W

Anders Chases Shad for Keowee W

Boater Joe Anders of Easley, South Carolina, caught a five-bass limit Saturday weighing 14 pounds, 11 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Savannah River division event on Lake Keowee presented by Navionics. Anders earned $4,164 for his efforts. READ MORE »

Toho Day 4 Coverage

Toho Day 4 Coverage

Complete coverage of the 2019 Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Fla. READ MORE »

Gross Wins Second Tour Title

Gross Wins Second Tour Title

Buddy Gross of Chickamauga, Ga., won the 2019 FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats at Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Fla., with a four-day total of 20 bass that weighed 85 pounds, 12 ounces. READ MORE »

Gross Grabs Toho Lead

Gross Grabs Toho Lead

Day three of the FLW Tour presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho was tough on the leaders, but Buddy Gross stayed steady, rising to first from fifth with 19 pounds, 12 ounces. In total, Gross has amassed 62 pounds even through three days, which is just about a pound ahead of Darrell Davis, who caught 25-12 for a 60-15 total and rocketed up to second from 13th. Going into the final day, everyone in the top six is within 5 pounds of the lead, and the way the Kissimmee Chain is pumping out big ones, that counts as the slimmest of margins. READ MORE »

Toho Day 3 Coverage

Toho Day 3 Coverage

Complete coverage of the 2019 Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Fla. READ MORE »

Cox Stays Ahead on Toho

Cox Stays Ahead on Toho

Day two of the FLW Tour presented by Ranger on Lake Toho featured not one, but TWO 10-pounders, one caught by Casey Scanlon and the other by Jamie Horton. READ MORE »

Toho Day 2 Coverage

Toho Day 2 Coverage

Complete coverage of the 2019 Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Fla. READ MORE »

Cox Leads Toho Slugfest

Cox Leads Toho Slugfest

Day one of the FLW Tour presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho was the slugfest many expected. Leading the way is sight-fishing extraordinaire John Cox, who caught 31 pounds, 9 ounces and the day one big bass – a giant that went 10-9.  In second, John Voyles wrangled up 24-15, and Scott Martin is close behind him with 24-12. READ MORE »

Toho Day 1 Coverage

Toho Day 1 Coverage

Complete coverage of the 2019 Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Fla. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Toho

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Toho

Weigh-ins at the FLW Tour Lake Toho event will be broadcast daily at 3 p.m. ET days one and two and 4 p.m ET days three and four. The studio broadcast, with live in-the-boat streaming, airs Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. with hosts Travis Moran and Peter T. READ MORE »

Thliveros Brings it Home

Thliveros Brings it Home

Nick Thliveros led after day two on Okeechobee and after weighing his lowest weight of the week, he was able to seal the deal for his first Costa FLW Series win as a pro. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Okeechobee – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Okeechobee – Day 2

Fishing as a whole is still tough on the Big O, but there was definitely an improvement today – especially for the guys at the top of the leaderboard. READ MORE »

Thliveros in Charge on Okeechobee

Thliveros in Charge on Okeechobee

Nick Thliveros is one day away from taking the title in the Costa FLW Series event on Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Okeechobee – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Okeechobee – Day 1

Things are tough on Okeechobee, but these pros cracked some of the code to wrangle solid catches. READ MORE »

Roder Out Front on Big O

Roder Out Front on Big O

Okeechobee is normally the place of dreams. This week, however, it isn’t quite living up to its reputation. Day one of the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event on the Big O saw plenty of fish, though the quality bites were hard to come by. Troy Roder of Brookeland, Texas, set the pace early with a 19-pound, 15-ounce limit to grab the lead in the season opener – presented by Power-Pole – with a lead of over 4 pounds heading into Friday. READ MORE »