UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Dale Hollow Lake

Malone masters Big Muddy

Malone masters Big Muddy
Pro champion Paul Malone holds shares the winner's trophy with a good friend.

LA CROSSE, Wis. - Three weeks ago, Paul Malone took some time off from his job as an applications engineer and drove from Pleasant Valley, Iowa, to La Crosse to practice for the EverStart Series Central Division event on the Mississippi River. He found what he termed the "perfect spot" but he had to nervously wait to see if these tournament-winning bass would stick around.

Two days before the tournament began, Malone revisited the 80-yard stretch of water, located in the mid-lake section of Onalaska (Pool 7). Much to his delight, it was still loaded and looking perfect - holding the ideal combination of lily pads, duck weed, current and baitfish. While Malone loved the setup, he worried cloudy conditions could ruin the frog bite.

On day one, he caught a solid 11-pound, 3-ounce limit and was on pace. Day two brought those dreaded cloudy, cooler conditions. Rather than fight it, he punted and fished Pool 8, bringing a very average 7-pound, 11-ounce stringer to the scale. Malone made the top-10 cutoff, but he'd have to rally from Pro champion Paul Malone holds up a fiesty Mississippi River largemouth.eighth to claim victory.

"I knew I was going to struggle on day two with that weather," he said. "I really thought yesterday killed me. But today the hot sun came back and that positions them perfectly under the mats. I was praying for the hot and the sun and when it came, they bit."

On day three he caught an 11-pound, 7-ounce limit, the second-heaviest stringer of the entire tournament. All of his fish came on topwater frogs, his two best being a heavier River2Sea frog and a lighter Spro Popping frog. Malone would vary the weight based on the density of the cover. The River2Sea frog could move more water, but the Spro "really got their attention in the thin duck weed."

In addition to frogging, Malone tried punching mats, but it wasn't nearly as successful. This was his very first EverStart event and he credited his victory to confidence.

"After that practice, I came up here to win and I was only fishing for those big ones. Several times I thought about leaving but I knew they were still there. When it was good I was only getting a fish an Paul Malone used both a River2Sea frog and a Spro Popping frog to win the EverStart Series event on the Mississippi River.hour. Sometimes I would go two or three hours without a bite. Most guys would have left in that situation. If I didn't have the confidence I would've left too. Usually fish that like don't stick around, but when I checked them again Tuesday they were still there; I couldn't believe it."

Malone finished with a three-day total of nine largemouths weighing 30 pounds, 5 ounces. His margin of victory was 6 ounces and he earned $31,194.

King surges to second

After making the long idle to the Copeland Park landing Saturday afternoon, Zach King was thinking he may have just won the tournament. All week long he was catching 60 to 70 keepers per day and he Second-place finisher Zach King holds up his biggest bass from the final day.saved his biggest bag for the final day.

"Everything went perfect; it was just flawless," said the Clarksville, Ark., pro. "I caught so many today I forgot. I really thought I had a chance, but I have no regrets."

While King weighed a few fish on a Booyah Pad Crasher and a Spook, his main pattern was flipping a Yum F2 tube (black and red color). While he occasionally flipped trees, he mainly focused on a ditch going back into a creek. This ditch, which coughed up well over 100 keeper bass, was located less than a mile from takeoff in Pool 8.

"They would sit on the outside edge of the ditch in like 3 to 4 feet of water, just following the channel. Fishing up here is just unbelievable. It sets up just like my home lake, Lake Dardanelle, except you get way more bites."

King leaves La Crosse as the Strike King Angler of the Year leader in the Central Division.

"That's a goal of mine this year and I also want to qualify for the FLW Tour."

McGarry slips to third

Local angler Dan McGarry finished the EverStart Series event in third place. Dan McGarry caught a solid 8-pound, 14-ounce limit Saturday but still slipped from second to third, earning $8,913. He finished the three-day tournament with nine bass weighing 28 pounds, 14 ounces.

"I had kind of a rough day," said the Tomah, Wis., fisherman. "All week long I've been using a white Lethal Weapon Swim jig with a 5-inch Action Plastics grub. But first thing this morning I got on a real solid Spook bite. I had the right bites, but just didn't get them. It was rough."

McGarry's main pattern was swimming that Lethal Weapon jig through grass flats. The flat itself was in 4 feet of water, but what made it productive was the presence of shad. While it proved to be consistent, McGarry lamented the fact that he never got a truly big bite.

In 2008, McGarry won a pair of BFLs on his home water, but this was his first EverStart event.

Thill, Johnson round out top five

Local anglers Dan Thill of La Crosse and Kevin Johnson of Sparta rounded out the top five. Thill rallied Fourth-place pro Dan Thill shows off an impressive pair of smallmouths.from 10th to fourth after catching three bass Saturday that weighed 9 pounds, 10 ounces. Two of Thill's keepers were quality smallmouths, the other an average largemouth. Thill finished the event with a total weight of 28 pounds, 1 ounce, earning $8,021.

Johnson managed 8-6 on three bass, pushing his cumulative total to 27 pounds, 14 ounces. Earlier in the week he had been catching his fish on a frog, but the river dropped several inches during the tournament and he wasn't able to access some of his better water. He earned $7,130.

"I've been struggling the past year and a half," said Johnson. "So this was a pleasant surprise."

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 pros at the EverStart Series Mississippi River event:

6th: Dennis Rhead of Elmwood, Wis., 27-11
7th: Richie Eaves of Nauvoo, Ill., 26-15
8th: Shane Long of Springfield, Mo., 26-5
9th: Doug Stanton of Winona, Minn., 26-0
10th: Dave Parsons of Yantis, Texas, 25-7

The next EverStart Series event is slated for Aug. 16 on 1000 Islands in New York. The next Central Division event takes place Sept. 13 on Lake of the Ozarks.

Tags: brett-carlson  headline-story  2012-07-26-mississippi-river-lacrosse 

Laufenberg Claims Mighty Miss Prize

Laufenberg Claims Mighty Miss Prize

Boater Cade Laufenberg of Onalaska, Wisconsin, brought a three-day total of 15 bass to the scale weighing 50 pounds, 1 ounce to win the no-entry fee Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Regional Championship at the Mississippi River. For his victory, Laufenberg earned $60,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and automatic entry into the 2021 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American Championship, June 3-5, at Douglas Lake in Dandridge, Tennessee. READ MORE »

Butler Runs Brush for Cherokee Win

Butler Runs Brush for Cherokee Win

Boater Josh Butler of Hayden, Alabama, brought a three-day total of 12 bass to the scale weighing 29 pounds, 3 ounces to win the no-entry fee Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Regional Championship at Lake Cherokee. For his victory, Butler earned $60,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and automatic entry into the 2021 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American Championship, June 3-5, at Douglas Lake in Dandridge, Tennessee. READ MORE »

Johnson Wins on Sam Rayburn

Johnson Wins on Sam Rayburn

Going into the final day, Blake Schroeder was just 3 ounces ahead of Aaron Johnson in the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn. Tight to the end, both anglers brought more than 18 pounds to the scale, but Johnson’s 18-14 bag boosted his total to 54-14 and earned him the win. For the victory, Johnson takes home $31,751 and the second FLW win of his career. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Sam Rayburn Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Through two days of competition, it’s looking like the shallow grass bite is the deal in the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn. Leading the way, Blake Schroeder had tallied a pair of 18-pound bags from shallow grass, and the pros behind him aren’t slacking on the grass game either. Heading into the final day, it’s going to be a true shootout for the win, with a Texas-sized kicker a bite away for everyone in the field. READ MORE »

Schroeder Slides Ahead on Rayburn

Schroeder Slides Ahead on Rayburn

Climbing from fourth to first, Blake Schroeder took over the lead in the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn with his second-consecutive 18-pound bag. Weighing 18-3 on day one, the Texas pro put an even 18 pounds on the scale on day two for a 36-3 total. Behind him, the weights are stacked, and five other pros are within 5 pounds going into the final day on the big Texas lake. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Sam Rayburn Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Day one of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn offered pretty good fishing and a lot of options. Anglers in the top 10 fished deep, shallow and in between to catch their fish, and no one pattern dominated the leaderboard. READ MORE »

Moore Sacks 21 on Rayburn

Moore Sacks 21 on Rayburn

Taking the lead on day one of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn, Cole Moore weighed an even 21 pounds to kick things off. Though the fishing was not really up to the massive heights it can reach on Rayburn, it was far from bad, and plenty of pros put together limits in the teens both shallow and deep. READ MORE »

Morrow Keeps Rolling

Morrow Keeps Rolling

Boater Troy Morrow of Eastanollee, Georgia, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 32 pounds even, to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Savannah River Division Super-Tournament at Lake Hartwell presented by Fish-Intel. For his victory, Morrow earned $6,415. READ MORE »

Boggs Takes Regional on Chickamauga

Boggs Takes Regional on Chickamauga

Boater Drew Boggs of Lebanon, Tennessee, brought a three-day total of 15 bass to the scale weighing 40 pounds, 11 ounces to win the no-entry fee Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Regional Championship at Lake Chickamauga. For his victory, Boggs earned $61,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and automatic entry into the 2021 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American Championship, June 3-5, at Douglas Lake in Dandridge, Tennessee. READ MORE »

Daves Wins James River Regional

Daves Wins James River Regional

Pro Chris Daves of Spring Grove, Virginia, brought a three-day total of 15 bass to the scale weighing 50 pounds, 1 ounces to win the no-entry fee Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Regional Championship on the James River. For his victory, Daves earned $60,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and automatic entry into the 2021 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American Championship, June 3-5, at Douglas Lake in Dandridge, Tennessee. READ MORE »

Cook Goes Wire-To-Wire

Cook Goes Wire-To-Wire

He put his name on the map as one to watch on day one. Today, Corey Cook put his name on the hardware as one of the best on Lake of the Ozarks right now. READ MORE »

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 3

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 3

Lady Luck shines on us all sometimes, but sometimes she doesn’t. For this morning, at least, she sure wasn’t shining on Corey Cook READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks – Day 2

Scrapping plans and making long runs can be a scary deal, but the risk can be worth the reward. READ MORE »

Cook Still Leads on Lake of the Ozarks

Cook Still Leads on Lake of the Ozarks

Corey Cook stumbled a bit on day two of the Toyota Series Plains Division event on Lake of the Ozarks. Bringing in 15 pounds, 4 ounces, Cook weighed an average bag and boosted his total of 38-13, which is still more than 4 pounds ahead of second place. Behind Cook, Andy Newcomb is in second with 34-6, and Shane Long is in third with 31-9. READ MORE »

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 2

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the Toyota Series Plains Division on Lake of the Ozarks has started out pretty much like yesterday – pretty weather but pretty short on fish. READ MORE »

Cook Blasts 23-9 on Lake of the Ozarks

Cook Blasts 23-9 on Lake of the Ozarks

Day one of the Toyota Series Plains Division event on Lake of the Ozarks was pretty tough by the standards of the fishery, with just one angler cracking the 20-pound barrier. Blowing the doors off the competition, at least on day one, Corey Cook hammered out 23 pounds, 9 ounces to take more than a 6-pound lead over second place. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks – Day 1

When the fish are on the move, it can make life miserable for anglers. Day one of the Toyota Series Plains Division event on Lake of the Ozarks showcased that pretty well. READ MORE »

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 1

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 1

The Toyota Series visited Lake of the Ozarks this exact same week in 2019, and it launched under torrential rains, gusting winds and a strobe light's worth of lightning that delayed the takeoff until 8:15 a.m. A year later, the weather couldn’t be more beautiful for the second stop of the Plains Division. READ MORE »

Wes Monroe Wins on the Ouachita River

Wes Monroe Wins on the Ouachita River

Louisiana’s West Monroe High School duo of Jay Cash and Jackson Lemoine caught four fish Saturday weighing 9 pounds, 11 ounces to win the FLW High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing Ouachita River Open event in Monroe, Louisiana. READ MORE »

ETBU Wins on the Ouachita River

ETBU Wins on the Ouachita River

The East Texas Baptist University team of Grant Hendrix of Livingston, Texas, and Josh Manuel of Burleson, Texas, won the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI at the Ouachita River event Friday with a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 4 ounces. READ MORE »