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

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Faith Carries Fitts to the Top

Faith Carries Fitts to the Top

In a field of 190, going from 90th place to first isn’t exactly a zero-to-hero deal, but c’mon – how could you not be impressed with the incredible comeback victory Jeff Fitts orchestrated with a winning weight of 48 pounds, 10 ounces at the Costa FLW Series Central Division tournament presented by Mercury on Lake Dardanelle.

When Tournament Director Ron Lappin announced Fitts’ victory, the winner’s head-in-hands expression bespoke an obvious convergence of joy, relief and amazement. Tournament winners are always happy, yes, but this win was different. It was an unabashed, odds-defying triumph for which Fitts ultimately thanked divine intervention.

A recap will help solidify the story: Day one, Fitts weighs three fish for 7 pounds, 7 ounces. He follows a day later with 23-15 – the event’s heaviest limit – and races up from 90th to sixth. In the final round, Fitts turns in the top performance and seals the deal with a 17-pound, 4-ounce limit.

“After the first day, I would’ve said, ‘No way I’d be standing here the winner,’” says the champ, who now has 10 top-10 finishes with FLW. “From my practice, I knew I had the potential to catch a 25-pound bag, but until you do it, that’s just potential.”

A slow start in the lower end of the lake on day one prompted him to run up the Arkansas River to the heralded backwaters of Spadra Creek. That’s when things started heading downhill.

“I picked up a rod with 12-pound line and started pitching treetops,” Fitts recalls. “I broke off a 5-pounder in a treetop, and I lost a couple of 3-pounders. I don’t even know why I had 12-pound line on my rod. I was down on myself because I knew I should have had 16 to 17 pounds.”

Fitts eventually scratched up three keepers on day one, but as if starting the second day in 90th place weren’t tough enough, he experienced engine trouble right out of the gate on Friday morning.

Bummer … or was it?

Unable to run, Fitts limped over to a couple of pockets between Lake Dardanelle State Park and Illinois Bayou. Noting that these adjacent areas produced all of his day-two and day-three fish, Fitts says he instantly liked what he saw.

“I’m from Florida, so grass plus cold front equals bass,” the Keystone Heights resident says. “When I pulled into the first pocket, I saw grass mats, and I knew I could catch fish there.”

Armed with a 7-foot, 8-inch Vexan heavy flipping rod and 65-pound-test Seaguar Smackdown braid, he flipped and pitched a Strike King Rage Bug in black/blue or summer craw rigged on a 5/0 Trokar Big Nasty flipping hook with a 1 1/2-ounce Strike King Tour Grade Tungsten weight. The day-two bite started quickly and ended up delivering a dream day for an angler who really needed a shot of positive.

“On my third flip, I caught a 3-pounder. I went 10 feet and caught a 5. I went another 10 feet and caught a 5 1/2,” Fitts recalls. “By then I had 13 to 14 pounds in the boat, and I hadn’t been fishing 10 minutes. I was on top of the world.

“At 10:10, I put my fifth fish in the boat, and at 3:10 I flipped my last 4-pounder and culled the 3-pounder that was my first fish. That gave me the 23-15.”

With no compelling reason to ditch what was working, Fitts ran back to those special pockets on day three and closed out a Cinderella performance with a 12-ounce margin of victory over second-place pro Daniel Kweekul.

“In my opinion, it was 100-percent God talking to me, because I was on my way to Spadra Creek,” Fitts says of his day-two turnaround. “I was going to come back down around 12 o’clock and finish out the day flipping. I couldn’t go, so I went flipping, and there it was.”

Complete results

 

Top 10 Pros

1. Jeff Fitts – Keystone Heights, Fla. – 48-10 (13) – $48,000

2. Daniel Kweekul – Bryant, Ark. – 47-14 (15) – $19,500

3. Teddy Bogard – Pine Bluff, Ark. – 47-00 (15) – $14,000

4. Todd Castledine – Nacogdoches, Texas – 45-03 (11) – $12,000

5. Evan Barnes – Hot Springs, Ark. – 44-12 (15) – $11,000

6. Zach King – Clarksville, Ark. – 43-00 (13) – $9,000

7. Christopher Jones – Bokoshe, Okla. – 40-02 (14) – $7,800

8. Greg Jones – Wentzville, Mo. – 39-07 (13) – $6,800

9. Joe McClary – Kirkwood, Mo. – 32-02 (11) – $5,800

10. Brandon Hunter – Benton, Ky. – 31-14 (11) – $4,400

 

Tags: lake-dardanelle  flw-series  jeff-fitts  david-a-brown  headline-story  2016-03-31-lake-dardanelle 

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 »

Rancho Santa Margarita’s Grover Wins Costa FLW Series Tournament on Clear Lake Presented by Ranger Boats

Rancho Santa Margarita’s Grover Wins Costa FLW Series Tournament on Clear Lake Presented by Ranger Boats

LAKEPORT, Calif. – Pro Kyle Grover of Rancho Santa Margarita, California, caught a five-bass limit weighing 26 pounds, 2 ounces, Saturday – the heaviest limit weighed in the three-day tournament – to win the Costa FLW Series on Clear Lake presented by Ranger Boats. Grover’s three-day... 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 »

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 »

Burroughs Dials Blueback Spawn

Burroughs Dials Blueback Spawn

Jason Burroughs of Hodges, South Carolina, brought five bass to the scale Saturday weighing 16 pounds even win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Savannah River Division tournament on Lake Hartwell. For his efforts, Burroughs was awarded $3,572. READ MORE »

Wagner Makes it a Dozen

Wagner Makes it a Dozen

Adam Wagner of Cookeville, Tennessee, brought five bass to the scale Saturday weighing 18 pounds, 10 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Music City Division tournament on Tims Ford Lake. Wagner took home $4,013 for his efforts. READ MORE »