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

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Gordon and Gagner Crowned TBF Champs

Gordon and Gagner Crowned TBF Champs
Shawn Gordon's big final-day limit of 18-10 propelled him to the title at the 2015 TBF National Championship.

He earns his living as a financial planner, so it’s fair to say that Shawn Gordon knows something about risk assessment. Today, his discernment paid big dividends, as his decision to forego the bed-fishing pattern he was considering led him to the winning sack in the 2015 The Bass Federation National Championship on Grand Lake.

Gordon’s day-three limit weighed 18 pounds, 10 ounces – the heaviest bag of day three. This gave him a tournament total of 50-2 and a winning margin of 4-8.

The victory earned Gordon $5,000 and the “Living The Dream” prize package of a Ranger boat, motor and trailer plus entry fees and a travel stipend for the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour. Gordon’s win also earned him a berth in the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita, and he qualified for the 2015 Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American on Kentucky Lake by finishing highest among Central Division qualifiers.

Entering the event 2 pounds, 11 ounces behind day-two leader Sam Heckman, Gordon took a good look at the morning’s conditions and knew he had to make a decision. After two days of clouds and scattered rain, a mild cold front that passed through the area brought sunny skies and blustery winds.

Adding to the calculation was the short fishing day today. With weigh-in 90 minutes away on the FLW Tour stage in Rogers, Ark., TBF finalists had to be off the water by 1 p.m.

“It was rough when we came underneath the bridge and it was going to be a 30-minute boat ride down to my sight-fishing spot and a 30-minute boat ride back,” Gordon says. “I only had one for sure to go fish for, so I kind of punted and chunked a crankbait all day. I just didn’t think it was worth it to run down there with the short day. It made more sense to stick around the takeoff area and fish.”

Gordon caught all of his fish on a battle-tested square-bill crankbait that he’s had for so many years that the bait has lost much of its original form.

“It’s an old square bill that’s not square anymore because it’s been thrown so much,” he jokes. “It’s about time to retire it. It used to be chartreuse, but now it’s kind of white.”

Gordon ended up spending his entire day working shallow flats with wood cover on the west side of the Highway 59 Bridge.

“I started in a shallow spawning pocket with shallow rock and pretty flat banks,” he says. “I ended up catching most of my fish today on three shallow, flat points next to the creek channel. There were shad there, and obviously there were some fish there because my partner [co-angler winner Gilbert Gagner] had over 16 pounds too.”

Gordon says he had a steady morning, with five in the livewell by about 9:30. Most of his weight came between 9 and 10:30.

“At 12:45, I caught one that was almost 3 pounds, and when I went to cull, it wouldn’t cull,” Gordon recalls. “That’s about the time I thought, ‘Well, maybe I do have a shot at this.’ I accomplished my initial goal of making it to the last day because you have to make the last day just to have a shot at winning. I just ran out of bed-fish doing it.”

All of the following boater finalists also qualified for the 2015 All-American for being the highest-finishing boater in each of their respective divisions.

 

Second-place boater Sam Heckman says Grand Lake is very similar to the lakes he fishes back in Colorado. The similarities paid off with a trip to the All-American.

2: Sam Heckman – Southwest Division – 45 pounds, 10 ounces

After topping the boater field on day two, Sam Heckman had a bait, he had an area and he had confidence. Unfortunately, changing weather shuffled the deck, and the boater from Fountain, Colo., came up short in the final round.

For two days, Heckman targeted the points, banks and docks full of pockets just five minutes from the Wolf Creek Park takeoff site. A Z-Man ChatterBait with a green pumpkin skirt and a Reaction Innovations Little Dipper in the dirty Sanchez color produced all of his fish.

On day three, the sunny skies undoubtedly had the fish holding tighter to cover, so the roamers he was finding earlier in the week were few and far between. Also, wind and waves pounded some of his key areas on day three.

“I caught most of my fish [the previous two days] when it was cloudy out in the mornings,” Heckman says. “Today, the wind was blowing pretty hard into the points I was fishing, so I think that had a lot to do with it.

“I knew the fish were there,” he adds. “I stuck it out, but the spot got beat up, and it just didn’t pan out for me. I had confidence in the spot and confidence in the bait. I just didn’t put it together like I needed to.”

Heckman describes the area where he caught fish as a collection of cuts and coves off a river-channel swing. He says he was targeting postspawn fish.

“We were in the dirty water, looking for fish that wanted to eat,” he adds.

 

Brian LaClair's consistency earned him third place. He weighed in 13-10, 13-11 and 13-4 in three days.

3: Brian LaClair – Mid-Atlantic Division – 40 pounds, 9 ounces

If tournament fishing was a roller coaster, Brian LaClair’s event wouldn’t scare anyone. And that’s mostly a good thing, as the angler from Denton, Md., turned in consistent bags of 13-10, 13-11 and 13-4 over three days.

“I think I fished pretty clean. I lost maybe two fish during the week,” he says. “I didn’t really find any huge fish, but everything I caught was pretty consistent for three days.”

LaClair caught three of his day-three fish by flipping docks with a 1/4-ounce brown jig with a Zoom twin-tail grub trailer. He trimmed the jig skirt to allow for maximum trailer action and dipped his trailer in chartreuse.

He caught two more keepers on a drop-shot with a brown Jackall finesse worm.

“I was flipping docks where the fish could not see me,” LaClair says. “I was flipping over, skipping under and just being really stealthy. I had been catching fish there the last three days, and out of the three spots I chose to fish today that was the only place where I caught fish.”

 

Mark Lundgren earned his trip to the BFL All-American by topping the Southern Division at the TBF National Championship.

4: Mark Lundgren – Southern Division – 36 pounds, 14 ounces

Consistently throughout the tournament, Mark Lundgren of Cocoa, Fla., stuck with a two-pronged strategy that he used to cover water and devote quality time to anything interesting he came across.

His tools: a Strike King KVD 1.5 square-bill crankbait and a 7/16-ounce Eakins finesse jig with a Strike King Rage Craw trailer.

“I probably threw the crankbait 80 percent of the time,” he says. “If I came across some good-looking wood, I’d pick up the jig and pick it apart. I’d see if I could grab one out of there and then keep on going with the crankbait.”

Lundgren targeted rocky points in 2 to 5 feet of water and bridge riprap.

 

From Ontario to Oklahoma, Curtis Richardson rallied on day three to catch 12 pounds, 9 ounces for a fifth-place finish.

5: Curtis Richardson – Eastern Division – 34 pounds, 0 ounces

Adapting to the day’s conditions and congestion was essential for Curtis Richardson of Belleville, Ontario. After finding six boats from a local tournament on his first spot, and noting that the wind had shifted from the direction it blew the previous day, he changed areas and ran to spot No. 2.

That spot offered only a couple of bites, so he bailed and ran to his back-up area. Fortunately, this spot had favorable wind, no company and more cooperative fish.

“I went to my back-up stuff a little earlier today because with the shorter day, I had to react quicker,” he says.

Richardson targeted postspawn banks outside of spawning pockets. He also sight-fished one of his keepers.

He caught his fish on a 1/4-ounce ball-head jig and a 1/2-ounce football jig, both green pumpkin with Zoom Speed Craw trailers. He fished the lighter jig on spinning gear with 8-pound-test fluorocarbon.

The light jig produced one keeper, and the football head added the other four.

 

Wisconsin boater Nicholas Smyers finished in sixth place with 27-4.

6: Nicholas Smyers – Northern Division – 27 pounds, 4 ounces

Two productive days delivered his divisional win, but the final round mostly dried up for Frankville, Wis., boater Nicholas Smyers.

“The first two days, particularly the second day, I made the right choice,” says Smyers, who threw a Storm Arashi square-bill crankbait. He caught only one keeper today. “Today, I stayed with that choice. I ground it out, and I thought it was my best way to win this tournament. It just didn’t pan out for me.

“I guess I just didn’t get around fish today,” he adds. “I think if I had moved to a different area of the lake and covered a little more water I might have run into them. But with a shorter day, it’s hard to leave fish to go find fish.”

 

Mark Maderos had a long trip from his home in Washington to Grove, Okla., but he made it pay off with a seventh-place finish.

7: Mark Maderos – Northwest Division – 25 pounds, 14 ounces

Day three was also slim for Mark Maderos of Maple Valley, Wash. He caught one keeper that weighed 2 pounds, 13 ounces.

That fish bit a drop-shot on its bed, and Maderos says he went to extreme measures to maintain stealth.

“I was able to use my hands to go down the dock with no trolling motor and my electronics turned off,” he says. “There was a lattice handrail that I could peek through and see if the fish was there. On the second cast, I got the male, but as soon as I got him, the female spooked right off.”

Maderos says the bite was so tough that he downsized his rig to try and tempt some response. He used a 1/8-ounce weight and a 3-inch Density Tackle Panic Minnow.

 

He's won a TBF National Championship as a boater, and now Gilbert Gagner has added a non-boater title to his resume.

Gagner Wins Co-Angler Title with Historic Performance

Gilbert Gagner climbed the mountain once before, and the view was so grand that he had to do it again, if only on a different peak. The 2012 TBF National Champion boater, Gagner tallied a three-day total of 43 pounds, 4 ounces and won his second championship on Grand Lake – this time on the co-angler side.

His achievement marked the first time an angler has won TBF titles both as a boater and non-boater. For his win, Gagner earned $2,500, the “Living The Dream” prize package of entry into the Rayovac FLW Series division of his choice and a berth in the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. As a division champion, he’ll also fish the 2015 BFL All-American on Kentucky Lake.

Paired with winning boater Shawn Gordon, the co-angler from Highgate Springs, Vt., caught his fish on square-bill crankbaits – a Strike King KVD 1.5 (silent version) and a rattling Speed Trap. He found his fish on shallow flats with a mix of rock and wood.

“Today, my boater was considering bed-fishing and throwing square bills in shallow water,” Gagner says. “He decided that the wind was blowing too hard, so he left the bedding fish alone.

“As a co-angler, with bedding fish, you really don’t have an opportunity to do as much casting as you’d like. But Shawn caught a couple of quick fish on a square bill, and that just cemented the whole day of staying with the shallow-water pattern, which gave me enough water to fish.”

Gagner described an important adjustment that contributed to his success.

“I felt that midway through the day, the fish actually pulled out deeper, and I think they got a little spooked because we were on them a little more than we probably should have been,” he says. “So I went to the silent crankbait, and that caught a couple of key fish.”

 

Top 10 Boaters

1: Shawn Gordon – Russellville, Ark. – 50 pounds, 2 ounces – $5,000 + Living the Dream Prize Package + BFL All-American + Forrest Wood Cup

2: Sam Heckman – Fountain, Colo. – 45 pounds, 10 ounces – $1,500 + BFL All-American

3: Brian LaClair – Denton, Md. – 40 pounds, 9 ounces – $1,500 + BFL All-American

4: Mark Lundgren – Cocoa, Fla. – 36 pounds, 14 ounces – $1,500 + BFL All-American

5: Curtis Richardson – Belleville, Ontario – 34 pounds – $1,500 + BFL All-American

6: Nicholas Smyers – Franksville, Wis. – 27 pounds, 4 ounces – $1,500 + BFL All-American

7: Mark Maderos – Maple Valley, Wash. – 25 pounds, 14 ounces – $1,500 + BFL All-American

 

Top 10 Non-Boaters

1: Gilbert Gagner – Highgate Springs, Vt. – 43 pounds, 4 ounces – $2,500 + Living the Dream Prize Package + BFL All-American + Forrest Wood Cup + $5,000 Ranger Cup

2: Wes Logan – Springville, Ala. – 39 pounds, 11 ounces – $750 + BFL All-American

3: Phillip Duracz – Chesterton, Ind. – 27 pounds, 9 ounces – $750 + BFL All-American

4: Steven Wiseman – Bryans Rd., Md. – 23 pounds, 4 ounces – $750 + BFL All-American

5: Johnny Babb – Holdenville, Okla. – 23 pounds, 3 ounces – $750 + BFL All-American

6: Will Treadwell – Buford, Ga. – 22 pounds, 11 ounces – $750 + BFL All-American

7: Brian Merlini – Maple Valley, Minn. – 19 pounds, 14 ounces – $750 + BFL All-American

Tags: tbf  grand-lake  david-a-brown  headline-story  2015-04-23-grand-lake 

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 »