UPCOMING EVENT: YETI College Fishing - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir


Central Division AOY Race Concludes on Dardanelle

Boats line up for takeoff on Lake Dardanelle.

The Central Division of the Rayovac FLW Series will wrap up this week on Lake Dardanelle after an already exceptional season that has seen giants on Kentucky Lake and one of the best spawn tournaments in memory at Grand Lake. On top of battling for the $40,000 top prize for winning at Dardanelle, anglers will also be competing to claim the Strike King Angler of the Year award and its $2,000 prize package, which includes deposits into the 2016 Rayovac FLW Series.

Currently, Quaker State pro Matt Arey is in the driver’s seat, but the field behind him is close and pretty stacked.

Here’s how it breaks down.


Matt Arey – 487 points

Matt Arey started the season with a third-place finish at Grand Lake. There, he relied entirely on spawning bass for his daily limits and was able to exploit one of his prime strengths.
Arey finished 12th on Kentucky Lake where he fished offshore on the first day and targeted docks on the second day when his ledge schools dried up. Unfortunately for Arey, he’ll need to wrap up the AOY on a lake he’d never fished before practicing this week.

“I like the lake. It’s got a lot of options shallow, deep and in between,” says a moderately confident Arey. “It’s got a lot of color in it right now because they are pulling water through pretty good [though it should be clearing as the week goes on]. Overall, I like how it’s setting up, but it’s still August and it’s going to be a grind. It seems like the bites that I’ve gotten are the right ones, but I’m not getting many of them.”

Of course, there’s always the chance that Arey is distracted by the Forrest Wood Cup just a few days away, right?

“That’s the hardest thing,” reveals the Quaker State pro. “I’ve got enough experience fishing full-time that all my focus is on Dardanelle, but there are a half-million bucks and a big silver cup on the line just next week. I don’t feel like I’m not focused on Dardanelle and my practice, but the Forrest Wood Cup is obviously right around the corner.”


Todd Castledine, Robbie Dodson, Todd Hollowell – 472 points

The pack of pros in a tie looking to catch Arey is a pretty talented one. Todd Castledine, Robbie Dodson and Todd Hollowell are a murderers’ row, and the odds seem good that at least one of them will catch ‘em and pressure Arey. Of course, none of them has ever fished an FLW event on Dardanelle before, so no one is going in with killer local knowledge.

Castledine is a stud in Texas, and he hasn’t done anything to indicate that he won’t be able to catch quality limits on Dardanelle. Though he typically dominates around the spawn, Castledine is very adept offshore and can work shallow too. Point is, don’t count him out.

Dodson is also completely void of Dardanelle competition experience, and the lake, with its shallow grass and riverine environment, really falls outside of his strong suit, which is fishing rocky highland reservoirs.

Dardanelle has a lot of grass now, but if there’s any kind of offshore bite Hollowell ought to be able to dial it in. He’s an expert with his graphs and stands a great chance of banking a high finish if he can get on an offshore pattern.


Ledge Sticks in the Hunt

The group from fifth through eighth is pretty remarkable. The first among them is Michael Wooley at 467 points, then Tom Redington at 464, Mark Rose with 461 and finally Brandon Hunter with 456. All told, the pros who make up the second half of the top 10 have as much offshore savvy as it is possible to have. That said, if there is one angler that stands out from this batch it is Rose.

While Rose does have some past experience on Dardanelle (27th in the 2009 FLW Series event and 94th in a 2007 FLW Series event), it isn’t enough to lock him in as a favorite. The reason to expect a lot from Rose is his history. The Walmart pro wasn’t always a ledge expert. He started his career as a bit of a river rat and was known for scrapping it up shallow. So, not only is Rose really good, but his knowledge combo might be perfect for Dardanelle.  


Down and Maybe Out

Everyone else in the field will be at least 40 points back of Arey, so it will take a combination of some bad finishes from the guys on top and a great finish from the would-be usurper to pick up the AOY title. The remaining angler with perhaps the best chance to make a run at the title is FLW Tour pro Greg Bohannan, who’s in 10th place with 443 points.

Bohannan spent his college years at Arkansas Tech just a stone’s throw from Dardanelle and managed a bunch of time on the water between class and baseball and football. Thus, he’s got some pretty solid experience on the lake. Bohannan also snagged a 33rd-place finish in the 2009 FLW Series event on Dardanelle and has already put in some solid practice time on the lake. So, if someone is going to come from deep to knock off Arey, then Bohannan is my pick.  

Championship Berths at Stake

The AOY isn’t the only thing on the line at the season finale – berths in the 2015 Rayovac FLW Series Championship are also at stake. With the top 40 pros and co-anglers from each division heading to the Championship and 10 spots in the Forrest Wood Cup up for grabs once they get there, a big section of the field will be interested in more than just a tournament paycheck.

Tags: lake-dardanelle  matt-arey  todd-castledine  robbie-dodson  todd-hollowell  jody-white  pre-tournament  2015-08-13-lake-dardanelle 


AOY Update: Lake Toho

 With the first two events of the 2019 FLW Tour season in the books, it’s time to take a look at how the Angler of the Year race is shaping up. At Sam Rayburn and Lake Toho the pros were tested with very different conditions, and the standings include anglers different specialties and skill sets than at this time last year, when the Tour’s first two events were both held in Florida. READ MORE »


Top 10 Baits from Toho

The second stop of the 2019 FLW Tour landed right on the spawn on Lake Toho and the other lakes on the Kissimmee Chain. Top finishers caught bass in all phases of the spawn. Collectively, they used just about every bait you’ll ever need if you want to catch a bass this time of year in the Sunshine State. READ MORE »


Roaming Kissimmee with Douglas

Hailing from Minnesota, Josh Douglas is in his third year on the FLW Tour and looking for his first FLW Cup qualification. Were it not for a disqualification in the final event of the year at St. Clair in 2018, Douglas would have sailed into the Cup. After a tough start to the year at Rayburn, he’s planning to get back on track at the FLW Tour event presented by Ranger on Lake Toho. READ MORE »


Burghoff Checks Out Toho on Day 2

FLW Tour rookie Miles “Sonar” Burghoff kicked off his freshman season with a strong performance on Sam Rayburn, where he just missed fishing the final day with a 12th-place finish. Now, the Tour is on a system he is more than familiar with, having spent countless hours on Lakes Toho and Kissimmee while attending college at the University of Central Florida. READ MORE »


A Look at Lake Toho

Stop No. 2 of the 2019 FLW Tour takes us to Lake Toho and the several other lakes strung along the Kissimmee River. Presented by Ranger Boats, the tournament will take off from Big Toho Marina on the north end of the namesake lake, but competitors will be able to spread out down the Kissimmee River into Cypress Lake, Lake Hatchineha (Hatch), Lake Kissimmee, and perhaps even Tiger Lake and Lake Rosalie if they’re feeling adventurous. READ MORE »


Spawn on the Horizon at Okeechobee

Florida is a familiar place for FLW competition, and Lake Okeechobee is probably the best-known fishery the Sunshine State has to offer. So there shouldn’t be many surprises when the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division kicks off the season Jan. 31–Feb. 2 on the Big O with an event presented by Power-Pole. READ MORE »


By the Numbers: Lake Toho

The FLW Tour season opener on Sam Rayburn was a slugfest for sure. Fortunately for fans and anglers alike, the second stop of the season could be just as good, as the Tour heads to Central Florida and Lake Toho and the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes in Kissimmee, Fla., on February 7. READ MORE »


2019 Lake Toho Preview

Lake Tohopekaliga (Toho for short) is the first of four lakes on the menu for pros in the second stop of the FLW Tour. At the south end of Toho, a lock and a series of canals leads to Cypress Lake, Lake Hatchineha (Hatch) and Lake Kissimmee, which are all fair game for the pros. READ MORE »


Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Fishing deep-diving crankbait, dragging Carolina rigs and working finesse baits such as drop-shots were the keys to success at the FLW Tour opener at Sam Rayburn. Here are the bass-fishing baits that the top pros used. READ MORE »


Cecil’s Final Morning of Practice

Russell Cecil is one of a number of standout Texas anglers fishing the FLW Tour opener this week on Sam Rayburn. After a lackluster rookie campaign in 2018, fishing near home is a great opportunity for the Willis, Texas, pro to get the year started off strong. Though the conditions are far from normal, a few hours on the final day of practice reveal that Cecil certainly has a read on the bass. READ MORE »


FLW Live Schedule for Sam Rayburn

The 2019 FLW Live seasons kicks off on the big bass factory of Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Brookeland, Texas. Watch your favorite stars such as Scott Martin and Bryan Thrift weigh-in at the FLW Tour season opener, and then follow the weekend action live with the top pros. READ MORE »


Thliveros, Hollowell and Pangrac to Join “FLW Live” as Analysts for 2019 FLW Tour Season

MINNEAPOLIS – Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) the world’s largest tournament organization, announced today three additions to the “FLW Live” coverage... READ MORE »


Figuring Out Rayburn with Powell

Hensley Powell has quickly and quietly amassed quite a record with FLW. In just three years fishing the Costa FLW Series, he’s earned over $90,000, and he got a win at Table Rock in the Central Division in 2018. READ MORE »


Sam Rayburn Lake Tour

This year, the FLW Tour kicks off in Texas with a showdown presented by Polaris on Sam Rayburn. Big Sam hasn’t hosted too many FLW Tour events in the past, but it’s loaded with bass and bass fishing history. The lake is much higher than normal right now, which will no doubt produce different fishing than is typical for winter on Rayburn. READ MORE »


Practice Starts at Rayburn

Day one of practice for the FLW Tour presented by Polaris on Sam Rayburn started this morning. We hung around takeoff to see friends we haven't seen in months and to get the season underway.  READ MORE »


Childs Holds on for Co-angler Win

Jay Childs caught two giant largemouths on day one, along with a smaller keeper, to take the early lead at Lake Amistad. Then he survived today for the win with a pair of keepers that included one smallmouth. READ MORE »


High Water will Factor at Rayburn

Typical winter fishing on Sam Rayburn would call for a lot of lipless crankbaits, Carolina rigs and a focus on offshore structure and submerged grass. However, for the FLW Tour opener January 10-13 a lot of that may be out the window – or at least a lot different than many of the Rayburn sticks in the field are used to. Sam Rayburn has risen steadily since December 10th, and as of January 3, the lake is at 171.43 feet, which is 7 feet over full pool of 164.4 feet. READ MORE »


By the Numbers: Sam Rayburn

The 2019 FLW Tour takes to the waters of Sam Rayburn Reservoir Jan. 10-13 for the opening event of the new season. Rayburn can produce some absolute giants in January, and if the weather cooperates, there’s potential for an abundance of massive bags. READ MORE »


2019 Rookie Rundown

No matter how you get to the FLW Tour, you’re only a rookie once. This year, 34 pros are taking their talents on Tour for the first time. READ MORE »


Big Bass Expected at Opener on Amistad

Lake Amistad might not kick out quite as many massive stringers of largemouth bass as it used to, but the legendary south Texas border reservoir is still a factory for big fish. According to local guide and always tournament favorite Ray “Hanselmania” Hanselman, there are some real giants to be caught at Amistad, but they’ll be at a premium when the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division rolls into Del Rio to kick off the 2019 season on Jan. 3 READ MORE »