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Posted By The Bass Hog
North Carolina Pro Bags Largest Stringer of Tourney on Final Day to Clinch Victory
 
ROGERS, Ark. (April 26, 2015) – Quaker State pro Matt Arey has been crowned the new “Mr. Beaver Lake.” After winning this same event in 2014, the Shelby, North Carolina, native caught a five-bass limit Sunday weighing 17 pounds, 13 ounces – the largest stringer weighed in the four-day tournament – to win the Walmart FLW Tour at Beaver Lake presented by Rayovac. Arey’s four-day total of 20 bass weighing 55 pounds, 6 ounces earned him the top prize of $125,000.
 
Arey became the third angler to win multiple events at Beaver Lake in the 17 visits the Walmart FLW Tour has made to the White River impoundment, as FLW Tour pro Clark Wendlandt won there in 1999 and 2001 while former pro Andre Moore won in 2002 and 2005. Arey became the first to win in consecutive years.
 
“This is an incredible feeling,” said Arey, who has won $250,000 on Beaver Lake in just the past 379 days. “To win two years in a row here is just unthinkable. Experience is everything as a professional angler. The more I do this, the more comfortable and confident I am becoming.”
 
Arey displayed that confidence Sunday when he dramatically boated his largest fish of the day, an estimated five-pounder. As he casted out and retrieved his swimbait, he noticed the huge fish following his bait all the way to the boat. Out of line, Arey had no choice but to kneel low and drag his bait along the side of the boat. The big bass hit, and Arey immediately boat-swung the fish in a dramatic fashion.
 
“First, that normally doesn’t happen,” Arey said. “But, back in the day when I was a rookie, I would have stayed standing and just kept winding my bait and the fish would have went back under the dock. Instead, I was able to keep my composure, knelt down and got the fish to bite and in the boat. It’s experience. You just have to block everything else out and fish against the fish.”
 
“Each day I would start in Prairie Creek and work my way six to eight miles up the river,” Arey said. “On the third day I went all the way to the Rocky Branch and Van Hollow areas and caught some key bed fish that really saved my tournament.
 
“Momentum is huge in this sport, and I really hope that I can carry some of it over into our next event in two weeks on Lake Eufaula.”
 
Overall there were 47 bass weighing 110 pounds, 3 ounces caught by pros Sunday. Eight professionals weighed in five-bass limits.
 
Luke Dunkin of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, won the co-angler division and $20,000 Friday with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 18 pounds, 2 ounces, followed by Todd Lee of Jasper, Alabama, who finished in second place for the second consecutive tournament with 10 bass weighing 17 pounds, 15 ounces worth $7,500.
 
Courtesy of FLW Outdoors.

 
Posted By The Bass Hog
COLUMBIA, S.C. (April 18, 2015) – The University of South Carolina team of Patrick Walters of Summerville, South Carolina, and Gettys Brannon of Columbia, South Carolina, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 17 pounds, 1 ounce to win the 2015 FLW College Fishing National Championship on Lake Murray presented by the Lowrance Insight Genesis College Cup. The Gamecock duo beat out 44 teams in front of their hometown crowd to win the top award of a new Ranger Z117 with a 90-horsepower outboard and entry into the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing.
 
 “I don’t know what the greatest part of this moment is,” said an overwhelmed Patrick Walters, a sophomore majoring in Business. “This has been the most amazing week. We had so much support from our family and friends it is just incredible.”
 
The University of South Carolina duo knew that consistency in the tournament was going to win the race and no other team in the tournament was as consistent as U.S.C. They brought 17 pounds, 6 ounces to the scale on day one, followed that up with an 18-11 stringer on day two and today claimed victory behind the strength of a 17-1 sack.
 
The team spent the week running to as many points as they could find following the blueback herring spawn. “We couldn’t reel in our lines fast enough,” said Walters. “We would cast, reel in and if nothing bit we moved to another point.
 
Wind was another key factor for the team this week. They said that if the wind wasn’t blowing then the fish weren’t biting.
 
“My advice to you (fans) is to go out and buy as many bags of flukes as you can find,” continued Brannon. “I would suggest white, maybe some silver with a little shine…maybe some chrome.”
 
This is the first FLW College Fishing National Championship title for the University of South Carolina who will now advance to the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup to compete on Lake Ouachita in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
 
Overall there were 47 bass weighing 126 pounds, 1 ounce caught by 10 college teams Saturday. The catch included eight five-bass limits.
 
The FLW College Fishing National Championship awards the top team a $30,000 prize package, including a Ranger Z117 with a 90-horsepower engine and an entry into the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup. The team member fishing as a pro in the Forrest Wood Cup also receives the use of a wrapped Ranger Boat. All prize money earned in the Forrest Wood Cup goes directly to the individual who earns it. The Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing, will be held August 20-23 on Lake Ouachita in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and will offer the collegiate anglers the opportunity to compete for a top award of $500,000 – professional bass fishing’s richest prize.
 
College Fishing is free to enter. All participants must be registered, full-time students at a college, university or community college and members of a fishing club recognized by their college or university.
 
Couretsy of FLW Outdoors.

 
Posted By The Bass Hog

PRATTVILLE, Ala. — Tearful stories about big fish being lost are common at any bass tournament. But woeful tales were legion on Thursday at the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open #2 presented by Allstate on the Alabama River.
 
Even anglers that caught heavy limits lamented that they lost big bass that would have allowed them to cull up in weight. This is due mainly to the notoriously hard fighting Coosa River spotted bass that teem in the Alabama River where the second of three 2015 Southern Opens is taking place this week.
 
Tournament leader Dustin Connell, a local Alabama angler, avoided the lost bass jinx. His 22 pounds, 3 ounces of spotted bass was the only limit to top 20 pounds.
 
Connell is a hot stick that regularly fattens his bank account by fishing tournaments in this area of Alabama. He culled through 10 bass today to catch his impressive limit.
 
“I did about what I expected to do today,” Connell said. “I feel good about tomorrow.”
 
If Connell follows up with more limits that exceed 20 pounds, he is likely to run away with this one. However, he said that there are other competitors fishing his water. Also, that the water “dirtied up more today, and the bite might change tomorrow.”
 
The other anglers fishing on the pro side of this event are hoping that happens.
 
Alabama’s Jamie Horton had a tough practice, catching limits in the 11- to 12-pound class. That might get a small check here, but it won’t get a sniff at the Top 12 cut to fish Saturday.
 
Today Horton lugged a bulging sack to the scales. It held five fat spotted bass that totaled 19 pounds, 5 ounces. The largest of these weighed 4 pounds, 15 ounces. That is a seriously big spotted bass.
 
Horton’s outboard never had a chance to cool down today. He said he fished 60 different places to land the seven bass that he boated. Why did Horton catch bigger spotted bass today than in practice?
 
“I stayed away from my better stuff in practice,” he said.
 
Drew Benton, a Florida angler, chose to concentrate on largemouth bass. His day got off to a bad start when his rear running light was accidentally knocked off by another competitor’s boat prior to takeoff. B.A.S.S. rules state that both running lights must be on before any boat is allowed to take off in the morning.

Benton believes the glitch may have cost him a few good bass because he is on a morning bite. Despite the late start, Benton boated an 18-pound, 5-ounce limit by 9:30 a.m. Then he left his fish and looked for productive water elsewhere.
 
North Carolina’s Taylor Schneider leads the co-angler side of the tournament with a three-bass limit that weighed 9 pounds, 15 ounces. All of his bass were largemouth. The heaviest, 6 pounds, 5 ounces, was the big bass of the day for the co-anglers.
 
“I caught the big one in the first 15 minutes,” Schneider said. “I was about to jump out of the boat when that bass jumped.”
 
Take off for Day 2 Friday will be at 6 a.m. CT at Cooters Pond. The weigh-in Friday will take place at the same location at 2 p.m. CT.


The final weigh-in Saturday will take place at Bass Pro Shops in Prattville, Ala., at 3 p.m. CT.
 

Courtesy of BASS Communications.


 
Posted By The Bass Hog
Reese wins co-angler title
 
HENDERSON, N.C. (April 13, 2015) – Rick Chenoweth of Fredericksburg, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division tournament of 2015 on Kerr Lake. For his victory, Chenoweth earned $5,241.
 
“It was a good day of fishing,” said Chenoweth. “I couldn’t have asked for a better tournament.”
 
Chenoweth earned top honors by fishing secondary points between spawning pockets in the Nutbush area. He said he was expecting other boaters to be waiting for him by the time he arrived, but ended up having the spot to himself.
 
“There were four points between five pockets,” Chenoweth said. “I worked up and down the sides for a long time. You could troll between the points they were so close together.”
 
Chenoweth said he used a Dave’s Tournament Tackle green pumpkin football-head jig to catch his five keepers.
 
“I just dragged it along the bottom. If you hopped it, shook it or added any type of movement at all other than a drag the bass wouldn’t touch it,” Chenoweth said. “I had a limit in the boat within 30 minutes of takeoff.”
 
Marty Warren of Elon, North Carolina, caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the pro division, a fish weighing 6 pounds, 9 ounces, and earned the day’s Big Bass award of $825.
 
Marvin Reese of Gwynn Oak, Maryland, weighed in a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win $2,507 in the co-angler division.
 
Adams caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division and earned the day’s Big Bass award of $382.
 
The top 50 boaters and 50 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 8-10 Regional Championship on Potomac River in Marbury, Maryland. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard.
 
Courtesy of FLW Outdoors.

 
Posted By The Bass Hog

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. — When Skeet Reese arrived in Alabama last week for the Diet Mtn Dew Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville, he had a solid plan in place for how he wanted to fish.

His plan didn’t work.

So instead, he just followed the lead of his friend and roommate on the tour, Byron Velvick.

Velvick told Reese about the 7-inch Basstrix Swimbait — the largest version of a 15-year-old soft plastic bait that has seen a recent resurgence in popularity — and Reese used it to win with a four-day catch of 92 pounds, 11 ounces. He entered the final round in second place, more than 2 pounds behind Michael Iaconelli, but vaulted himself to the $100,000 victory with a Sunday catch of 25-5.

His buddy, Velvick, placed second with 88-1.

“You just couldn’t have scripted this any better,” said Reese, a California native who now has eight victories in B.A.S.S. events. “I had a really tough practice. I was going out with the anticipation of catching 13 to 14 pounds a day — unless maybe I could find a big bite and come in with 16 to 17. But Byron turned me on to a bait, and it evolved into something special, a win.”

Reese spent most of his week fishing in or near Seibold Creek, targeting a variety of shallow and midrange structure along the banks and on offshore flats. He believes he caught fish from all phases of the spawning process — prespawn, spawn and postspawn.

He said the slow-retrieve reel was particularly important because the bait had to be fished painfully slow.

Velvick, who spent a lot of time fishing the Basstrix Swimbait around Guntersville’s many bridges, wasn’t quite as consistent as Reese all four days of the tournament.

While Reese brought in 24 pounds or better three of the four days, Velvick managed only 18-plus pounds on Day 1 and Day 3. But his Sunday catch of 24-7 was enough to lift him from eighth place into second with 88-1.

Despite earning $25,000 –$75,000 less than the check given to Reese — Velvick was happy to see his friend win.

“You’ve got to help your friends out,” said Velvick, who lives in Texas. “You’ve got to be honest with the guys you fish with. I actually went and found him some more baits this morning.

“I felt like a NASCAR guy with extra tires in my trailer, and my driving partner needed tires to win the race. Even though I was in the race, too, if I couldn’t win it, there was no one else I’d rather see win.”
Besides the assist from Velvick, Reese benefited from New Jersey pro Michael Iaconelli finally running out of fish.

The leader for the first three days of the event, Iaconelli insisted things had gotten tougher for him each day. But good decisions had helped him maintain the lead, and he was hoping for one more solid limit from the area he was fishing in Seibold that had been so good to him.

His primary area fizzled, along with his backup plan, and he managed only one fish that weighed 2 pounds, 15 ounces. He finished 12th with 72-7.

“I look back at today, and I don’t know if I would really change anything,” Iaconelli said. “It just didn’t work. I had a B plan, and it didn’t work. I had a plan C, and it didn’t work. What are you going to do?”

Alabama angler Derek Remitz finished third with 85-5, and might have placed higher if not for losing a 5-pounder Sunday. Tennessee pro David Walker was fourth with 84-8, and Texan Keith Combs was fifth with 83-6.

Rookie Carl Jocumsen placed sixth with 81-15 and became the first angler from Australia to qualify for an Elite Series Top 12.

 

Courtesy of BASS Communications.


 
Posted By The Bass Hog
MINNEAPOLIS (April 7, 2015) – Walmart FLW Tour pros Guido and Payden Hibdon, both of Sunrise Beach, Missouri, informed FLW of their decision to withdraw from the remaining four regular-season FLW Tour events in the 2015 season. Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, and Jeremy Starks of Scott Depot, West Virginia, have agreed to replace the Hibdons on Tour and will fish the remaining four events this season. The full tournament field will remain at 154.
 
Guido’s son and Payden’s father, Dion Hibdon, the 2000 Forrest Wood Cup champion, will continue to fish the Tour. He’ll travel to tournaments with his younger son, Lawson, 18, who is fishing the Tour as a co-angler.
 
“It’s up in the air right now, but we want to continue our fishing careers,” says Payden. “It’s just been difficult to get sponsors now, the way everybody got dropped all at once. It was too late in the year to pick up anybody new.”
 
In FLW Tour competition, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing. The 2015 Forrest Wood Cup will be in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Aug. 20-23 on Lake Ouachita and is hosted by Visit Hot Springs. The Forrest Wood Cup Champion could win as much as $500,000 – professional bass-fishing’s richest prize.
 
Courtesy of FLW Outdoors.

 
Posted By The Bass Hog

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala — After opening the season on the Sabine River where daily limits of 14-inch keepers were impossible for some anglers to come by, the Bassmaster Elite Series pros are now headed for the land of giants, Alabama’s Lake Guntersville.

The Diet Mountain Dew Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville, scheduled for April 9-12 with daily takeoffs and weigh-ins at Guntersville City Harbor, will offer anglers a chance to attack one of the nation’s premiere fisheries under near-perfect conditions.

With water temperatures still in the low 60s, the lake’s giant female bass haven’t completed their spring spawning rituals. That means they’re still carrying eggs and the extra layers of fat they packed on during the winter months in preparation for the spawn — and that could mean fishing fans will see some gigantic fish brought to the scales during the four-day event.

Many anglers have been predicting a “slugfest” at Guntersville. But Lane, whose fishing vernacular includes the catchphrase “Pow!” when he catches a big bass or wins a tournament, has another word for what he believes it will be like.

“It’s gonna be a smashfest,” Lane said. “I haven’t always done well in tournaments like that, but I’m trying to learn how to deal with it. You just have to keep telling yourself that 2- and 3-pounders aren’t going to help you any. You need big fish, because 18 or 19 pounds a day might not even get you paid.”

Guntersville’s vast beds of milfoil, hydrilla and coontail grass will likely play a role as the Elite pros begin forming strategies during the official practice period Monday through Wednesday. With fish moving into shallow water for the spawn, heavy limits could be caught on a wide variety of lures.


Like all B.A.S.S. events held in Alabama, the field will include a host of in-state anglers with extensive knowledge of the venue.

Lane, who lives close enough to the lake that he can have his boat in the water in just minutes, finished 36th in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic and 40th in the 2010 Elite Series event on Guntersville – his two most recent events on the fishery.

Justin Lucas, who relocated to Guntersville from his native northern California, will be fishing a professional event for the first time on his new home lake.

Aaron Martens, another California native who now makes his home in Leeds, Ala., has a rich history on Lake Guntersville that includes a win in the 2009 Elite Series event on the lake. He also finished 13th in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic, 17th in a 2006 Elite Series event and 14th in Bassmaster Tour events in 2004 and 2005.

John Crews, a Virginia angler who finished third in the 2010 Elite Series event on Guntersville, elected not to pre-fish before the lake was declared off-limits because he already knows it so well. He expects the grass to play a big role in the outcome.

“I’ve been to Guntersville 15 times,” Crews said. “The grass changes from year to year, but that’s true of any lake with grass in it. That’s what you have to be ready for.

“I think there will be a ton of 6- to 7-pounders caught. I’m really looking forward to it.”
 

Launches are scheduled for 6:15 a.m. CT each day from Guntersville City Harbor with weigh-ins also set for the ramp each day at 3:15 p.m. CT. Launches and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.
 

Courtesy of BASS Communications.


 
Posted By The Bass Hog
GROVE, Okla. (April 7, 2015) – The Rayovac FLW Series is headed to Grand Lake April 16-18 for a tournament presented by Power Pole when as many as 300 pros and co-anglers will take to the water for the first stop of 2015 in the Central Division.
 
“It’s going to be a great tournament,” said Walmart FLW Tour rookie Zack Birge of Blanchard, Oklahoma. “The lake is full of fish and the bite is better than it has been in a couple of years.”
 
Birge, the 2014 Rayovac FLW Series champion, said anglers will be able to catch fish in a variety of ways. He said that he predicts that the tournament winner will be fishing in the Grand River.
 
“With the warmer weather we’ve had, the river is where this tournament will probably be won,” Birge said. “There’s a lot of big fish up there in the wood right now in the smaller pockets. You’ll be able to throw a spinnerbait or square-billed crankbait up and down the banks around laydowns and catch a ton of fish.
 
“I could also see anglers choosing to head south to the dams,” Birge continued. “There’s been some nice stringers caught from that direction, but I think the bigger and more consistent bags are going to come from the river.
 
“Fish are going to be caught all over the lake. Some bass are already up on beds spawning, and some are still in the prespawn phase waiting to make the move. There are a lot of options for competitors in this tournament.”
 
Birge said that Bandit Lures 200 Series crankbaits and Rapala Shad Raps will be dominant forces in this tournament. He predicted that competitors would need to bring a three-day total of at least 55 pounds to the scale to have a shot of winning the tournament.
 
“At this time last year, Grand Lake was in a funk,” said Birge. “But this year they’re biting real well and we’re seeing some really impressive stringers being brought in.”
 
Anglers will take off from the Wolf Creek Park marina located at 963 N. 16th St. in Grove at 7 a.m. CDT each day. Weigh-in on days one and two will be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. On day three, weigh-in will be held at Walmart, located at 2115 S. Main St. in Grove, beginning at 4 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public. The event is being hosted by the Grand Lake Association.
 
Pros will fish for a top award of $40,000 plus a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. Co-anglers will cast for a top award consisting of a Ranger Z117 with 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $5,000 if Ranger Cup guidelines are met.
 
Courtesy of FLW Outdoors.