UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Potomac River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Skarlis scores big on Mississippi River

Skarlis scores big on Mississippi River
Pro Tommy Skarlis of Waukon, Iowa, and co-angler Jimmy Cox of Bono, Ark., show off their first-place catch of 36 pounds, 12 ounces during the opening day of FLW Walleye Tour competition on the Mississippi River.

RED WING, Minn. - Bolstered by a mammoth catch of 36 pounds, 12 ounces, veteran pro Tommy Skarlis of Waukon, Iowa, blistered the rest of the field along with co-angler partner Jimmy Cox of Bono, Ark., to grab the overall lead at the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour event on the Mississippi River.

Heading into Friday's competition, Skarlis and Cox now boast a formidable lead of nearly 9 pounds over their next closest rivals - a lead that would have seemed far-fetched at opening takeoff this morning.

"I'm so blessed. We just went out and caught them. I'm pretty much speechless right now," said Skarlis. "I've been fishing (the Red Wing area) since I was 14 years old and I love fishing the Mississippi River. I just feel fortunate to have gotten the weight I did today."

Cox agreed that the day couldn't have gone much better - especially given the fact that conditions were less than ideal.

"When you go out there with someone and you get to weigh-in 36 pounds, it's an awesome day," said Cox. "We only lost one big fish all day. So overall, it couldn't have gone much better."

Although water levels were down and the current wasn't as brisk as some had hoped, Skarlis argued that he was able to have success largely due to the fact that he had little to no boat traffic around his prime fishing holes.

"I had pretty much most of the (areas) to myself today," said Skarlis. "On this river, you need big fish to win. And this river is the epicenter of big fish. And if I can get left alone on the stuff I'm fishing over the next two days, I think we can catch some more limits like the one we caught today."

"I know (Skarlis) was surprised that we had those spots all to ourselves," said Cox. "We caught our first fish around 7:30 a.m. and we just had a lot of success the rest of the day. Basically we had four or five good spots and hopped around from spot to spot all day."

Although he didn't want to divulge too many specifics, Skarlis said that he targeted his catch using a combination of homemade Do-It tackle, 12-pound Trilene line and a 7-foot St. Croix LX-70 MHM rod.

"The rod was important because it really allowed me to feel the bottom," he said. "There are a lot of Zebra mussels and it's pretty easy to get snagged," said Skarlis. "As far as our technique was concerned, I had four different programs that I started the day with. But one was working out so well we just stuck with that. Every time I'd think about switching, we'd get another bite with that (technique). So we pretty much stayed with it all day."

Moving forward, however, Skarlis said that he's going to have to keep adapting if he's to maintain his overall lead.

"The biggest thing is that these fish are changing every day," he said. "So it's scary. These areas are changing and I'm going to need to change as well to keep having success. On this river, you're going to need big bites. Numbers alone aren't going to win this event."

Bruegger, Lessila snare runner-up spot

Although they didn't have quite the day that the Skarlis-Cox team had, pro Robert Bruegger of Wabasha, Minn., and co-angler Tim Lessila of Milwaukee, Wisc., managed to turn in quite a performance as well - recording a stellar catch of 27 pounds, 15 ounces to grab second place overall heading into tomorrow's action.

"I'm very proud of what we caught," said Bruegger. "It was a good day. I knew that those fish were there, I just hoped they would bite. It would have been a little better day if I didn't snap a big fish off, but overall we had eight bites and got five in the boat. So I'm happy."

Bruegger's co-angler partner agreed.

"We definitely had a good day," said Lessila. "Hopefully I can do just as well tomorrow."

Bruegger said that caught most of their quarry live-bait rigging.

"And we're going to go with the same game plan tomorrow," said Bruegger. "Hopefully we'll get them again tomorrow like we did today."

Bjorkman, Klamfoth net third

Despite only landing four keepers, pro Brian Bjorkman of Fargo, N.D., and co-angler David Klamfoth of Waverly, Ill., still managed to grab third place overall with an impressive catch of 25 pounds, 8 ounces.

"It was a good day overall. So even thought we didn't get five fish, I really can't complain," said Bjorkman. "The day started out real well but we did leave one on the table."

Klamfoth said that all things considered, he had a great time out on the water today as well.

"It was great," said Klamfoth. "We caught some quality fish today. We had five good bites but unfortunately we couldn't get that last one we needed to fill out our limit. But this is a great fishery. And today ranks right up there with one of the best tournament days I've ever had."

Bjorkman said that he put a lot of effort into strategizing for today's events. However, like most of the successful teams, he said he had to adapt on the fly.

"It took me four hours last night tying rods because I didn't know exactly how today would play out," said Bjorkman. "I knew coming in that with the low water and slow current that I'd be targeting five big bites because it was probably going to be tough fishing today. But when I got out there today, I only wound up using one technique all day."

Bjorkman said that he found a highly productive area and decided early on that he was going to live or die with that spot - at least in today's competition.

"Once I found those fish, I wasn't leaving," he said. "The key was finding current seams with bait. Once you found that, the fish seemed to be there."

After registering one of only three sacks above 25 pounds, Bjorkman said he was quite pleased with tournament to date. However, he acknowledged that, with two days left in the tournament, it's far too early to get comfortable.

"I'm really happy with how this played out today," said Bjorkman. "And going forward, I think it's only going to get better and better. This was a good start. But we have two more days left. So we have to keep fishing hard."

Brunz, Hahn finish in fourth

Although they had to battle a steady, chilly downpour for the majority of the afternoon, pro Tom Brunz of Madison Lake, Minn., and co-angler Keith Hahn of McHenry, Ill., still managed to head back to weigh-in with a nice catch weighing in at 24 pounds, 10 ounces.

"It was a little soggy out there, but we had a pretty good day," said Brunz. "We had all of our fish by 9:30 a.m. and wound up with a pretty good limit, so we'll take that on the first day. And hopefully, tomorrow, those areas will replenish themselves."

Despite the elements, Brunz's partner was more than happy with today's outcome.

"It was excellent," said Hahn. "Tom really knows these waters for sure. Usually, I wait until we have our limit to start talking. But today, I didn't have to wait very long before I got to open my mouth."

Meleen, Oleson secure top-five finish

Pro Paul Meleen of Isle, Minn., and co-angler Larry Oleson of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisc., finished the day in fifth place overall with a total catch of 24 pounds.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 teams:

6th: Pro Matthew Ernst of North Oaks, Minn., and co-angler John Mickish of White Bear Lake - 22-6.
7th: Pro Steve Lotz of Lena, Ill., and co-angler Brett Lilienthal of Brooklyn Park, Minn. - 22-2.
8th: Pro Rich Mealey of Westerville, Ohio, and co-angler Jeffrey Kittelson of Arden Hills, Minn. - 21-13.
9th: Pro Randy Stevens of Rochester, Minn., and co-angler Nicholas Werner of Demorestville, Ontario - 20-12.
10th: Pro Brent Afseth of Preston, Minn., and co-angler Harold Johnson of Fridley, Minn. - 19-9.

Pro Rich Mealey of Westerville, Ohio, shows off a 10-pound, 2-ounce walleye en route to an eighth-place finish on the Mississippi River.Walleye fishing fans take note

Walleye Tour action continues during Friday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 6:30 a.m. at Ole' Miss Marina/Bay Point Park located at 1429 Levee Road in Red Wing, Minn.

Tags: gary-mortenson  headline-story  2012-04-19-mississippi-river-red-wing 

Matlock Flips Bushes for Title

Matlock Flips Bushes for Title

Tyler Matlock of Omaha, Arkansas, caught 11 pounds, 9 ounces of bass Saturday to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Arkie Division tournament on Greers Ferry Lake. For his efforts, Matlock took home $3,205. READ MORE »

Quaintance Makes it Two on Pickwick

Quaintance Makes it Two on Pickwick

Chris Quaintance of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Mississippi Division tournament on Pickwick Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 21 pounds, 5 ounces. Quaintance netted $4,119 for his victory. READ MORE »

Laufenberg Claims Mighty Miss Title

Laufenberg Claims Mighty Miss Title

Cade Laufenberg of Goodview, Minnesota, won Saturday’s T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division opener on the Mississippi River at La Crosse presented by Navionics with five bass weighing 16 pounds, 7 ounces. For his day on the water, Laufenberg pocketed $4,355. READ MORE »

Chico Wins on Clear

Chico Wins on Clear

The Chico State University duo of Carson Leber of Dixon, California, and Chad Sweitzer of Chico, California, won the YETI FLW College Fishing event on Clear Lake presented by Costa Saturday with a five-bass limit weighing 17 pounds, 9 ounces. The victory earned the Wildcats’ bass club $2,000 and a slot in the 2020 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

Sales Earns Top Spot on Cherokee

Sales Earns Top Spot on Cherokee

Hunter Sales of Blaine, Tennessee, caught five bass Saturday weighing 14 pounds, 12 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Volunteer Division event on Lake Cherokee. Sales earned $3,455 for his efforts. READ MORE »

Burger Smashes 23-9 on Chesapeake Bay

Burger Smashes 23-9 on Chesapeake Bay

Jason Burger of Bridgeton, New Jersey, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Northeast Division opener on the Chesapeake Bay presented by Navionics Saturday with five bass weighing 23 pounds, 9 ounces. For his efforts, Burger pocketed $4,000. READ MORE »

Boehle Runs Shad Spawn, Points for W

Boehle Runs Shad Spawn, Points for W

Adam Boehle of Warrenton, Missouri, caught five bass Saturday weighing 20 pounds, 12 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournament on Lake of the Ozarks. Boehle pocketed $4,938 for his win in the event presented by Navionics and 250 points in the Ozark Division presented by Bassing Bob standings. The winner of the division’s Angler of the Year title after five tournaments will win $3,000. READ MORE »

Allman Wins on Wylie

Allman Wins on Wylie

Mike Allman of York, South Carolina, caught five bass Saturday weighing 14 pounds, 7 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) South Carolina Division event on Lake Wylie. Allman earned $2,500 for his efforts. READ MORE »

Lake County Drops 23-9 on Clear Lake

Lake County Drops 23-9 on Clear Lake

The Lake County High School Fishing Club duo of Cooper Goff and Nathan Phillips, both of Kelseyville, California, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 23 pounds, 9 ounces to win the 2019 Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Clear Lake Open. READ MORE »

Grover Grabs Clear Lake Title

Grover Grabs Clear Lake Title

Clear Lake is always a fun place to fish, but wind, rain and cooler temperatures made things tough for the second stop of the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Ranger Boats, and the famed fishery wasn't as kind as it can be with many pros struggling as the week went on. Kyle Grover, on the other hand, only got better as the tournament progressed. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Clear Lake Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Clear Lake Day 2

Drop-shotting tules was the main pattern for Uribe and knowing how to reach the fish made all the difference. Adjusting to the conditions was definitely key on day two, and no doubt the rest of the top pros had to go with the flow to stay in sight of the title. READ MORE »

Uribe in Charge on Clear Lake

Uribe in Charge on Clear Lake

When weather woes nixed Joe Uribe Jr.’s initial objective, the resilient angler from Surprise, Ariz., refocused his effort and sacked up a limit of 19 pounds, 5 ounces to take over the lead on day two of the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Ranger Boats and hosted by Konocti Vista Casino Resort & Marina with a total weight of 41-13. READ MORE »

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 2

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 2

Clear Lake was in a foul, foul mood this morning for the second day’s launch of the Costa FLW Series Western Division event, which is presented by Ranger Boats and hosted by Konocti Vista Casino Resort & Marina. Absent was the drizzly rain of yesterday, but the tradeoff was a 15- to 20-mph northwest wind that turned the lake into a washing machine. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Clear Lake Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Clear Lake Day 1

Lane Olson of Forest Grove, Ore., benefitted from a double dose of Clear Lake kickers when he found the right set of docks in a major spawning bay. Finesse baits did the trick up shallow for the day one leader at the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Ranger Boats. Other slow presentations served his brief offshore work. Handling the day’s weather challenges was a big part of Olson’s success.  Here are the details of the rest of the top five. READ MORE »

Olson Out in Front at Clear Lake

Olson Out in Front at Clear Lake

Lane Olson of Forest Grove, Ore., was able to separate himself from the pack on day one of the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Ranger Boats with a five-bass limit weighing 25 pounds. One of four anglers to crack 20 pounds, Olson leads second-place pro Joe Uribe Jr. by 2 1/2 pounds. The rest of the top 20 are packed together with just a few pounds separating them.  READ MORE »

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 1

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 1

The weather system pushing through northern California brought dreary, drizzly conditions interspersed with occasional steady spells of light rain for day one of the Costa FLW Series Western Division event, which is presented by ranger Boats and hosted by Konocti Vista Casino Resort & Marina. The sun made only a few peeking appearances, but there were several bright spots in the morning’s activity. READ MORE »

South Laurel Wins KHSAA Championship on Kentucky

South Laurel Wins KHSAA Championship on Kentucky

The South Laurel High School team of Shawn Coots and Trent Keltner weighed 19 pounds, 9 ounces on day one and 13-4 on day two for a 32-13 total and the win in the 2019 Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) State Bass Fishing Championship on Kentucky Lake. READ MORE »

Manson Nets Third Win

Manson Nets Third Win

Scott Manson of Covington, Ohio, brought five bass to the scale Saturday weighing 13 pounds, 4 ounces, to take top honors at the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Buckeye Division opener on Grand Lake-St. Mary’s presented by Navionics. For his efforts, Manson netted $4,046. READ MORE »

Herron, Rutland tie on Lay Lake

Herron, Rutland tie on Lay Lake

Dusty Herron of Alabaster, Alabama, and Chris Rutland of Wetumpka, Alabama, each caught five bass Saturday weighing 16 pounds even to tie for the win at the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Bama Division tournament on Lay Lake. After contingency awards, Rutland earned $3,435, while Herron took home $2,435. READ MORE »

Shad Spawn Takes Elrod to Top

Shad Spawn Takes Elrod to Top

Bryan Elrod of Mechanicsville, Virginia, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Piedmont Division tournament on Smith Mountain Lake presented by Navionics Saturday with five bass weighing 17 pounds, 1 ounce. For his efforts, Elrod pocketed $3,766. READ MORE »