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

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Cecil slides by on Toledo Bend

Cecil slides by on Toledo Bend
After nearly bombing on day one, Russell Cecil recovered and won the Toldedo Bend event.

MANY, La. - It's cliched, but true: you can't win a tournament on the first day, but you can certainly lose it. Well, Russell Cecil is happy that he came out on the right side of that premise and found himself victorious at the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division tournament on Toledo Bend.

"On the first day, I was so close to spinning out," the Willis, Texas pro recalls. "At noon, I had no fishRussell Cecil reacts to the news of his Toledo Bend victory. and I decided I had to run somewhere, do something and change everything up. I ran to a place I'd fished and practice and caught two little ones - like 15-inchers - and saw a 7-pounder on a bed with a buck (male bass) with her. I caught the buck and she pulled right up there and I caught that 7-pounder.

"With 5 minutes to go, I pulled into a pocket I was saving. I had one hot fish in there; I caught it and got to the weigh-ins with 16 pounds, 13 ounces. And I almost had nothing the first day."

Day two was the meat wagon, as Cecil sacked up a whopping 29-2 - the tournament's heaviest catch. This raised him from 13th place to first and positioned him to overcome the final-round's unforeseen limitations.

"Every big fish I came across I caught," Cecil said. "I had a 6 1/2-pounder, a 7 1/2-, a 9 1/2-. It was just one of those days. I was incredibly blessed yesterday. I couldn't do anything wrong.

A Big Bite Warmouth was the main bait for Toledo Bend winner Russell Cecil.Weather complicated matters on day three, as a dense fog covered the lake and forced FLW officials to postpone the final takeoff by 4 1/2 hours. In an effort to allow anglers as much fishing time as possible, the day was extended by two hours. Nevertheless, that critical morning bite was gone and anglers found themselves scrambling to rework their game plans.

Again, Cecil found himself in a nearly heart-breaking situation. With Todd Castledine sitting less than two pounds off the lead, Cecil's decided to secure an early limit and then go hunting "game-changers" - big kicker fish that could push him over the finish line with a comfortable margin.

As it turned out, Cecil caught a limit fairly easily, but never found his big-fish opportunity. Ultimately, he'd catch 15-10 on day three to end with a tournament total of 61-9 and a 7-ounce margin of victoryA huge day-two catch fueled Russell Cecil over second-place Clark Reehm.

"I'm about as excited as I've ever been about winning one of these because I sure didn't think I pulled it off today," he said.

Fishing the mid-lake area, Cecil caught all of his bass by sight fishing. His primary bait was a Big Bite Warmouth in the bluegill color. This soft plastic bait resembles the small perch that harass bedding bass by attempting to eat the eggs.

"I also mixed it up some," he said. "I was trying to trick them, sneak up on them, and do the best I could to catch them."

Reehm rises to second

After holding at third for two days, Texas pro Clark Reehm, caught the heaviest sack of day three - 21-0 - and gained a notch to finish second with 61-2. For him, committing to a sight-fishing program and exercising a high level of patience and persistence was intrinsic to his success.

"When you're bed fishing, it comes down to decisions," he said. "I had three different fish that I married today. I was in one pocket almost the entire time."

Joined by his son Ash, second-place pro Clark Reehm shows off one of his fish.Here, Reehm engaged in an often-frustrating chess match with big, cagey females and the smaller males intent on impressing the gals with their nest-guarding skills. The challenge was to get the heavyweight females sufficiently irritated so they'd bite the bait before the scrappy little males.

Reehm recounted multiple instances of the males getting to the bait first, but he got enough of the right ones when it counted. Of course, he must have lamented the clock running on a big one that might have changed the event's outcome.

"With about 10 minutes left, I got one of those big females to bite and she ripped my bait off," Reehm said. "I decided to rig up again and the whole time, I'm having my co-angler tell me the time - how much longer do I have?

"I pitched my bait back in there and my line takes off to the side - it was one of those stinking males again. The whole time, that female's nosing down (on the bait) and I'm counting the minutes down and finally I said `We have to go.' I got back to the check-in at 4:59. Again, it comes down to decisions and I was around the right fish."

For baits, Reehm said: "I ran the gamut with sight-fishing tools. My boat looks like a porcupine when I'm fishing because I have rods sticking everywhere. But when I'm bed-fishing, I have two primary deals: I have a big baits as an aggravator because I'm trying to get those fish fired up. A lot of times that bait won't even have a hook because I don't want to hook the fish. There's too much plastic there and the bait balls up on your hook.

"Then, I have two baits that are my closers. One is a Kicker Fish Baits High Tail Hole Shot, which has air chambers in the tail so the bait stands up in the fish's face. The other is a (discontinued) Gene Larew floating craw worm. It's really soft, so when I get that bite, the hook is going to penetrate that bait quickly. For those fish that are just nipping at the bait, I can jam on it."

Castledine goes to third

Day-one leader, Todd Castledine struggled through a frustrating final round, but strong efforts the firstDay-one leader  Todd Castledine ended up in third place. two days - 24-4 and 19-14 - enabled him to salvage a third-place finish with 58-0.

"This might have been my worst final day ever," Castledine said. "I think if it could go wrong, it happened to me. I don't think I've ever broken off braid, but I did it three times today. I broke a rod, bent three hooks - I did everything."

An accomplished sight-fisherman, Castledine went looking for fish to look at again today. On days one and two, he had to scrap what he had found in practice because the fish weren't cooperating. He ended up fishing entirely new areas to find his fish.

"I messed up today and went back to those same areas, trying to make it happen again and I should have gone somewhere else," Castledine said.

All week, Castledine caught his fish on Kicker Fish Kicker Craws. He alternated between a watermelon red flake and a bubble gum color.

Upshaw moves up to fourth

Bed fishing with Gene Larew plastics led  Andrew Upshaw to a fourth-place finish.Oklahoma pro Andrew Upshaw sacked up the second largest limit of day three (behind Reehm) and that 20-pound, 3-ounce effort enabled him to climb one more notch to finish fourth with 57-13.

Upshaw spent most of his tournament bed fishing with Gene Larew plastics, but at the end of day two, a wakebait produced a 7-pounder that very likely made his tournament. The rest of the time, he matched wits with bass paired up for the spawn.

"I caught all the male bass on a white Gene Larew Salt Craw," he said. "It seemed like the male bass were a lot more aggressive and they liked the white color. I caught the big females on a Gene Larew Biffle Bug in the Bama Bug color."

Wagner winds up fifth

Plagued by mechanical issues, which cut into his fishing time the first two days, Houston pro RonnieTexas pro  Ronnie Wagner finished in fifth place. Wagner ended up in fifth place with 55-8.

Wagner spent a little bit of his time throwing an Alabama rig, but most of his fish came off the beds. His top baits were a Kicker Fish Kicker Craw, a Big Bite tube and a Big Bite Warmouth. Wagner said that lighter colored baits were key.

"When you're bed fishing, you want to be able to identify your bait in the bed," he said. "To be able to work the beds properly, you have to be able to see that bait."

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top-10 pro leaders at the Rayovac FLW Series Toledo Bend event:

6th: Nick Lebrun, of Tyler, Texas, 52-13
7th: Troy Broussard, of Beaumont, Texas, 51-14
8th: Lendell Martin Jr., of Nacogdoches, Texas, 51-4
9th: Jim Tutt, of Longview, Texas, 49-5
10th: Ricky Guy, of Humble, Texas, 42-1

Tags: david-a-brown  headline-story  2014-03-20-toledo-bend 

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 »

Top 10 Patterns from Clear Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Clear Lake

An unwavering commitment to one fish-laden area enabled Kyle Grover to earn his first Costa FLW Series win with a three-day total of 66 pounds, 13 ounces at the Western Division event at Clear Lake. The tournament was presented by Ranger Boaters and hosted by Konocti Vista Casino Resort & Marina. 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 »

Top 10 Baits from Clear Lake

Top 10 Baits from Clear Lake

Even though cold, windy and rainy conditions challenged the field throughout the event, Clear Lake still showed the caliber of fish that swim in it during the second stop of the Costa FLW Series Western Division season, which was presented by Ranger Boats.   READ MORE »

Huntze Closes Door for Co-angler W

Huntze Closes Door for Co-angler W

Logan Huntze, the youngest competitor in the co-angler field, showed that age is just a number, as the 19-year-old earned a convincing Clear Lake victory at the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Ranger Boats by amassing a three-day total of 57 pounds, 15 ounces. 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 »

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 3

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 3

After taking a brutal pounding from the strong winds of day two, the top-10 pros and co-anglers in the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Ranger Boats are taking advantage of Clear Lake’s calmer final round conditions. A steady light rain began around 10 a.m., but without yesterday’s white caps, the lake’s allowing easy runs to wherever anglers want to fish. 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 »

Big Bags Coming on Rainy Clear Lake

Big Bags Coming on Rainy Clear Lake

One of the gems of California bass fishing might have its luster muted by the week’s weather, but Clear Lake will likely still provide plenty of opportunity for anglers competing in this week’s Costa FLW Series Western Division event, which is presented by Ranger Boats and hosted by Konocti Vista Casino Resort & Marina.  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 »