UPCOMING EVENT: TACKLE WAREHOUSE PRO CIRCUIT - 2020 - Harris Chain of Lakes

Dudley, Schlarb Lead PanAm Championship

Dudley, Schlarb Lead PanAm Championship
Mark Schlarb & David Dudley

Florida-strain largemouth bass may leave David Dudley scratching his head from time to time, but the FLW Tour pro and his partner Mark Schlarb figured out enough of their fickle ways to take the day-one lead at the inaugural PanAmerican Black Bass Championship at Roland and Mary Ann Martin’s Marina & Resort on Lake Okeechobee. Their five-bass limit weighed 7.59 kg, or about 16 pounds, 12 ounces.

Sanctioned by the PanAmerican Sportfishing Delegation and hosted by USA Bass, a branch of United States Angling Confederation (U.S. Angling), the event is presented with assistance from FLW. Part of an ongoing effort by the Confederation Internationale de Peche Sportive (CIPS) to make bass fishing an Olympic sport, the tournament fields 22 teams of two anglers from the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica.

Spending most of their day in a popular area known as the Monkey Box on the lake’s west side, Dudley and Schlarb targeted patchy pencil reeds and worked the cane edges. Their morning started slower than they had anticipated, given the week’s warming trend and stable conditions, but once they got into a groove, they were able to maintain a steady roll.

“It was fairly steady from 10 o’clock on,” Dudley says. “I don’t think we hit any big flurries; it was just nickel and diming the whole time.

“This is my 23rd season of tournament fishing, and I still don’t understand Florida bass. Today was the same weather, the same wind, the same, same, same, same as practice. But we go out there today, and it’s like a whole other monster. I’ll never understand these fish.”

Dudley says the day’s productivity was just about evenly split with 15 fish caught by flipping, 15 winding a Zoom Ultravibe Speed Worm and 15 on topwater.

“You could get them on bottom baits, and then you’d hit a lull, so you’d pick up a topwater and they’d start biting, but then you’d hit another lull, and I’d be like, ‘OK, something has changed,’ so we’d try a Speed Worm,” Dudley says.

Schlarb says this diversity ended up revealing a trend that yielded several consecutive bites for him.

“We really worked well together,” he adds. “While he’s doing one thing, I’m doing another. After I caught a few fish on the Speed Worm, David told me I wasn’t allowed to put it down. He said, ‘You’re not putting it down, and you’re fishing it all day tomorrow.”

 

Persistent Lee and Chong place second

For second-place Canadians Rob Lee and Dave Chong, a limit catch of 7.48 kg (16-8) was the product of their resolute belief in their area. Fishing South Bay, they were not met with the cooperation they’d later experience, but sticking to their plan eventually yielded a productive day.

“The key probably was being stubborn,” Chong says. “We could have bailed on our area, but we believed there were fresh fish coming in, so we just stuck to it and they showed up. We got our better bites in the afternoon.

“I think this was due to a clearing trend. Because of the way the wind was blowing, the water where we were was actually getting clearer as the day went on.”

Expounding on his partner’s explanation, Lee says they expected the fish to be moving around in this time of prespawn and spawning. There was not a definitive line of water color; instead, it was a gradual progression.

“It wasn’t one specific water clarity level that was going to give us all of our fish, but I think it was more about waiting it out and sticking to what we definitely knew from our pre-fishing,” he says.

Lee and Chong caught their fish mostly on moving baits. Swimbaits, swim jigs, ChatterBaits and spinnerbaits produced for them.

“It was quite an experiment all day to find them, but we managed to get the ones we needed for now,” Lee says.

 

Agouros and Campeau swim to third

Working the South Bay area, Canadians Spiro Agouros and Fern Campeau weighed a limit catch of 6.81 kg (15 pounds). Their main bait was a black Eco Pro Tungsten swim jig with a black/blue Angler’s Choice swimbait trailer, which they fished through hydrilla, pads, reeds and boat trails.

“Fern was on them really good this morning,” Agouros says. “It seemed like it started right off the bat, but then it died down around 9 o’clock. Around 11:30 to 12 o’clock, it started getting really good again, but it was very sporadic.

“It wasn’t like it was first thing this morning; it was one fish here, one fish there. We just followed our pattern from practice and got lucky and got one big fish.”

Campeau says the key to his team’s success was water clarity.

“We started in really dirty water and weren’t getting our bites, but when it started to change, that changed everything for us,” he says. “The hydrilla filters the water, and it changes the color. So when we found that and we stayed on that line, we did very well.”

 

Time for teamwork

Individual two-person teams are competing for gold, silver and bronze medals, while a separate competition will award the top three countries with national team medals. Day one saw Team Canada notching five of the top 10 spots (second, third, fifth, sixth and seventh), Team USA taking four spots (first, fourth, ninth and 10th) and Mexico adding eighth place.

Team Canada Captain Bob Izumi, who sits in seventh with his son Darren Izumi, says he’s enjoying the rare camaraderie with anglers he usually calls competitors.

“All of our teams got in a fair amount of practice, and we compared notes at a team meeting after the first official day of practice,” Izumi says. “A lot of these guys I fish against in Canada, but it was really unusual to have eight teams, and all of us worked in concert together.

“We talked about areas, patterns, lures; we didn’t hold anything back. It really gave everybody confidence. For the most part, we all knew what everybody was going to do today because we all fessed up last night, and it worked out pretty well.”

The teamwork angle also rang true for 2016 Forrest Wood Cup champion and FLW Tour pro John Cox, who placed fourth with Keith Carson, despite having his day cut short by an engine failure that forced a boat switch. Distracted by the boat issue, Cox says the tournament’s team format left him and Carson with an outcome much different than he would’ve faced in individual competition.

“Keith carried us today. He got the bites, and I struggled today,” Cox says. “If this were a Tour event, I would have been in like 150th place. Keith was able to pick up the slack today and keep us in there for tomorrow, so this is an awesome event.”

 

Good things to come?

Past Forrest Wood Cup champion (2011) Scott Martin and his father, nine-time Bassmaster Angler of the Year Roland Martin, placed 10th with 4.97 kg (11 pounds). After a promising practice, the younger Martin says his home lake did not show her powerhouse potential, but could be in a more generous mood tomorrow.

“There are a lot of 2-pounders like we weighed in today, but to have that magical bag, you need two or three of those 5- to 8-pound fish,” Martin says. “We had a couple of those opportunities, but we kind of messed them up.

“But here’s the deal: You could easily get those bites tomorrow and have what we call a ‘mega bag,’ which is a 20- to 25-pound bag or bigger. I’m really shocked there wasn’t a big bag today, but that tells me those big fish just didn’t bite well today. These fish didn’t show out today, but tomorrow could be another story.”

The tournament continues tomorrow with a 7:30 a.m. ET takeoff at Roland and Mary Ann Martin’s Marina & Resort. The final weigh-in starts at 3:30 p.m. at the same venue.

Day 1 photo gallery

Complete details

 

Results

1. USA – David Dudley and Mark Schlarb – 7.59 kg (16-12)

2. Canada – Rob Lee and Dave Chong – 7.48 kg (16-8)

3. Canada – Spiro Agouros and Fern Campeau – 6.81 kg (15-00)

4. USA – John Cox and Keith Carson – 6.8 kg (15-00)

5. Canada – Cole Bailey and Bruce Leeson – 6.5 kg (14-5)

6. Canada – Hughes Brian and Anais Chaves – 6.13 kg (13-8)

7. Canada – Bob Izumi and Darren Izumi – 5.87 kg (12-15)

8. Mexico – Jorge Bruster and Luis Flores – 5.44 kg (12-00)

9. USA – Alan Boyd and Kyle Alsop – 5.26 kg (11-10)

10. USA – Scott Martin and Roland Martin – 4.99 kg (11-00)

11. Costa Rica – Ronny Villalobos and Maricio Monge – 4.97 kg (11-00)

12. Costa Rica – Carlos Cabero and Henry Marin – 4.87 kg (10-12)

13. Mexico – Victor Concha Jr. and Gerardo Ibarra – 4.75 kg (10-8)

14. Mexico – Richie Gonzalez and Arturo Saldana – 4.72 kg (10-7)

15. Canada – Joey Ford and Shawn McCaul – 4.65 kg (10-4)

16. Canada – Dave Bairstow and Matt Hubble – 4.34 kg (9-9)

17. Canada – Phil Hegarty and Stephen Hegarty – 4.22 kg (9-5)

18. Mexico – Gabriel Torres and Eduardo Yoshii – 3.9 kg (8-10)

19. Mexico – Alex Salinas and Fernando Salinas – 3.67 kg (8-1)

20. Mexico – Tomas Santos and Cruz Alejando Salinas – 2.95 kg (6-8)

21. USA – Shirley Crain and Michelle Jalaba – 2.84 kg (6-4)

22. Costa Rica – Jonnathan Arroyo and Vincente Naranjo – 0.94 kg (2-1)

Tags: headline-story  david-a-brown  2018-02-07-panamerican 

Guyot Catches 23-8 for Murray Win

Guyot Catches 23-8 for Murray Win

Boater Scott Guyot of Fayetteville, North Carolina, brought five bass to the scale Saturday totaling 23 pounds, 8 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake Murray in Prosperity, South Carolina. For his victory, Guyot earned a total of $4,359. READ MORE »

Flack Goes Finesse on Lewis Smith

Flack Goes Finesse on Lewis Smith

Local boater Jackie Flack of Cullman, Alabama, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 17 pounds, 3 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lewis Smith Lake in Cullman. For his victory, Flack earned a total of $6,011. READ MORE »

Fitzgerald Finishes Strong at St. Johns

Fitzgerald Finishes Strong at St. Johns

Trevor Fitzgerald of Belleview, Fla., moved ahead one spot in the standings on the final day of competition at the St. Johns River to earn his first Toyota Series victory. His three-day catch of 57 pounds, 12 ounces earned him the win by a 6-pound margin. READ MORE »

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 3

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 3

Day two of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener on the St. Johns River brought more fish, bigger fish and eight bags over 20 pounds – a marked improvement over what we saw on day one. Day three could go either direction, though, as a small cold front overnight left behind bluebird skies and abundant sunshine today. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 2

It’s been a question of when, not if: When is the first big wave of spawners going to move up on the St. Johns River? That question may have been answered on day two of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener, as more and more anglers brought big fish across the weigh-in stage, with many of the bass coming from beds or shallow cover where fish are staging to make their big move. READ MORE »

Big Day Puts Blair Ahead at St. Johns

Big Day Puts Blair Ahead at St. Johns

Jason Blair caught 22 pounds, 3 ounces – the biggest limit of the tournament so far – to take over the lead at the Toyota Series Southern Division season opener on the St. Johns River. The West Palm Beach, Fla., pro has a two-day total of 39-15 and a 1-pound, 11-ounce lead over yesterday’s leader, Trevor Fitzgerald. READ MORE »

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 2

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 2

After a warm but windy day to start the Toyota Series Southern Division opener on the St. Johns River, day two brought lower temperatures, rain and a shifting wind that blew right up the chute early this morning. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 1

The St. Johns River is fishing tough, and while weights were down across the board on day one of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener, the top five found a way to get the job done with some impressive stringers of big Florida bass. READ MORE »

Fitzgerald in Front on St. Johns

Fitzgerald in Front on St. Johns

Trevor Fitzgerald of Belleview, Fla., took the lead on day one of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener at the St. Johns River with a five-bass limit that weighed 21 pounds, 2 ounces. Fitzgerald has previously won a Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event on the St. Johns and is in contention to make his 12th top-10 finish with FLW. READ MORE »

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 1

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 1

As expected, the St. Johns River is still fishing pretty tough in the Toyota Series Southern Division opener, which kicked off this morning. The St. Johns holds plenty of good fish, but she’s not all that willing to give them up. READ MORE »

Littich Nets Big O Title

Littich Nets Big O Title

Boater Thomas Littich of Cape Coral, Florida, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 23 pounds, 14 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston, Florida. For his victory, Littich earned a total of $7,220, including a $2,500 FLW PHOENIX BONUS contingency award. READ MORE »

Dover Wins on Keowee

Dover Wins on Keowee

Boater Randy Dover of Buford, Georgia, brought five to the scale Saturday totaling 15 pounds, 10 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake Keowee in Seneca, South Carolina. For his victory, Dover earned a total of $5,627. READ MORE »

Robinson Slings a Blade on Martin

Robinson Slings a Blade on Martin

Boater Dusty Robinson of Eclectic, Alabama, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 13 pounds, 4 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake Martin in Alexander City, Alabama. For his victory, Robinson earned a total of $5,686, including a $1,000 Mercury contingency award. READ MORE »

Bethel Wins on Seminole

Bethel Wins on Seminole

The Bethel University duo of Brad Ableman of Latham, New York, and Wilson Smith of Southaven, Mississippi, won the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI event at Lake Seminole Friday with a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 1 ounce. READ MORE »

South Forsyth Wins on Seminole

South Forsyth Wins on Seminole

The South Forsyth High School duo of Brett Morlanne and Michael Landernaeu, both of Cumming, Georgia, brought four bass to the scale Saturday weighing 12 pounds, 5 ounces to win the 2020 FLW High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing Lake Seminole Open. READ MORE »

Johnson Gets No. 1 on Lanier

Johnson Gets No. 1 on Lanier

Boater Jason Johnson of Dawsonville, Georgia, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 19 pounds, 1 ounce to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine at Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Georgia. For his victory, Johnson earned a total of $13,596, including the lucrative $7,000 FLW PHOENIX Bonus contingency award. The victory was the first win of Johnson’s FLW career. READ MORE »

Huff Wins it on Toledo

Huff Wins it on Toledo

Cody Huff has had a heck of a run these last few weeks on Toledo Bend. It started when he and Dakota Pierce of Bethel University won the Bassmaster College Series event last week. This week, Huff went solo and loaded up a 61-pound, 11-ounce total for a $35,395  payday in the opening event of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Toledo Bend – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Toledo Bend – Day 2

Cody Huff has been red hot on Toledo Bend for the last week and with one more day to go it’s his tournament to lose. That being said, there is a laundry list of local pros looking to take full advantage of any slip he may have in the final round of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division season opener. READ MORE »

Huff Hauls Ahead at Toledo Bend 

Huff Hauls Ahead at Toledo Bend 

Cody Huff appears to be unstoppable on Toledo Bend. Last week, the Bethel University angler won the Bassmaster College Series event on Toledo with his partner Dakota Peirce. This week, he's weighed 43 pounds, 12 ounces through two days and appears to be cruising toward the win in the first Toyota Series Southwestern Division event of the year. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Toledo Bend – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Toledo Bend – Day 1

Everyone knew this tournament wouldn’t be the slugfest Toledo Bend is known for, but that didn’t stop the top pros from assembling some decent catches on day one of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division opener. READ MORE »