LUFKIN, Texas – Despite a nasty storm on Friday evening that muddied the water and changed the lake conditions, the best bass-fishing anglers in the world still managed to catch them at the Walmart FLW Tour at Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Chevy. Veteran angler Walmart pro Mark Rose of West Memphis, Ark., brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 16 pounds, 1 ounce to increase his lead heading into the final day of competition. The tournament, hosted by the Lufkin Convention and Visitors Bureau, features 176 of the world’s best bass-fishing anglers competing in the four-day event for a top cash award of up to $125,000.
Rose’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 59 pounds, 1 ounce gives him a 2-pound, 14-ounce lead over second-place Chevy pro Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., who has weighed in 15 bass for 56-3.
“I’m just riding what I’ve got, and riding it hard,” said Rose, who has two career victories in FLW Tour competition. “I’ve been so blessed in the mornings to have enough wind and clouds to produce one or two big fish for me. But it’s very hard to win a tournament basing it on one spot where you’re only getting one big fish each day. If I don’t get those wind and clouds, you’re going to see me coming in here tomorrow with a bunch of little spotted bass.”
Rose said that he will remain committed to his grass lines in the mid-lake area, no matter what happens with the weather tomorrow. He has weighed in fish this week throwing soft plastics, crankbaits and a Strike King Red Eye Shad. Today, he said that he mixed in a drop-shot rig as well.
“I’m going to do the same thing tomorrow,” Rose said. “I have spent most of my time the last few years trying to work on my off-shore game and I feel like I’d be shooting myself in the foot by trying to fish shallow against the best shallow-water fisherman in the business. I need to just keep doing what I know best.
“I’m not even thinking about winning right now,” Rose went on to say. “I’m thinking about going out tomorrow and producing to the best of my ability. I fish hard, honor God, and leave the results up to Him and that’s what I want to do tomorrow. If it’s my time to win, I’ll win.”
The top 10 pros advancing to the final day of competition on Sam Rayburn Reservoir are:
1st: Walmart pro Mark Rose, West Memphis, Ark., 15 bass, 59-1
2nd: Chevy pro Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 15 bass, 56-3
3rd: Steve Kennedy, Auburn, Ala., 15 bass, 55-8
4th: Greg Hackney, Gonzales, La., 15 bass, 53-4
5th: Jayme Rampey, Liberty, S.C., 15 bass, 53-1
6th: John Cox, Debary, Fla., 15 bass, 50-11
7th: Jason Meninger, Gainesville, Ga., 15 bass, 49-10
8th: Andy Montgomery, Blacksburg, S.C., 15 bass, 49-7
9th: Tony Davis, Williston, Fla., 14 bass, 47-10
10th: Rick Cotten, Guntersville, Ala., 15 bass, 46-14
Finishing in 11th through 20th are:
11th: Rob Kilby, Hot Springs, Ark., 15 bass, 46-4, $12,000
12th: Richard Peek, Centre, Ala., 15 bass, 45-3, $12,000
13th: Jonathan Newton, Rogersville, Ala., 12 bass, 44-10, $12,000
14th: Tom Monsoor, La Crosse, Wis., 15 bass, 44-4, $12,000
15th: Austin Terry, San Angelo, Texas, 15 bass, 42-13, $12,000
16th: Shad Schenck, Waynetown, Ind., 15 bass, 42-7, $12,000
17th: Castrol pro Mike Surman, Boca Raton, Fla., 13 bass, 40-12, $12,000
18th: Gary Yamamoto, Palestine, Texas, 14 bass, 40-5, $12,000
19th: Brad Knight, Wartburg, Tenn., 14 bass, 37-2, $12,000
20th: Cheez-It pro Shinichi Fukae, Palestine, Texas, 11 bass, 35-8, $12,000
Final results for the remaining field can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.
Overall there were 90 bass weighing 246 pounds, 11 ounces caught by pros Saturday. The catch included 15 five-bass limits.
Pros are competing for a top award of up to $125,000 this week plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing. The top 35 anglers in the point standings from the six events on the 2014 Walmart FLW Tour will qualify. The 2014 Forrest Wood Cup will be in Columbia, S.C., Aug. 14-17 on Lake Murray and is hosted by Capital City Lake Murray Country. Anglers could win as much as $500,000 – professional bass-fishing’s richest prize.
Eric Self of Lawndale, N.C., won the co-angler division and $20,000 Saturday with a three-day total of 13 bass weighing 33 pounds, 11 ounces, followed by Kerry Barnett of Waldron, Ark., in second place with 11 bass weighing 33 pounds, 8 ounces worth $7,500.
“I can’t believe that I won this thing,” said Self, a former FLW College Fishing standout who had seven top-10 finishes competing for the University of North Carolina-Charlotte bass club. “I had all of my weight today by 10 o’clock, but I couldn’t catch a big one. I never thought that I was going to win.
Self said that he caught his fish this week throwing a Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap and Z-Man Original ChatterBait on Thursday and Friday, then switching to an E.R. Lures football jig and a shaky-head rig.
“I would not be here today if it were not for College Fishing,” Self said. “The FLW College Fishing program is a real good deal. I fished them every year that I was in college. This year I decided to take it to the next step and fish the FLW Tour as a co-angler.”
Self’s rookie season as a co-angler has been very successful thus far. After finishing in 6th-place at the FLW Tour event earlier this month at Lake Hartwell, Self now finds himself looking forward to the Forrest Wood Cup.
“I’ve been thinking about that Forrest Wood Cup all year. I’ve fished on Lake Murray quite a bit and I feel like I can do pretty good if I can get in there.”
The top 10 co-anglers finished:
1st: Eric Self, Lawndale, N.C., 13 bass, 33-11, $20,000
2nd: Kerry Barnett, Waldron, Ark., 11 bass, 33-8, $7,500
3rd: Stephen Crawley, Bush, La., 14 bass, 33-5, $5,000
4th: Billy Billeaud, Lafayette, La., 10 bass, 32-10, $4,000
5th: Chuck Kavros, Grass Valley, Calif., 14 bass, 30-15, $3,000
6th: Spiro Agouros, Ontario, Canada, 13 bass, 30-12, $2,500
7th: Bryan New, Belmont, N.C., 11 bass, 30-2, $2,000
8th: Dennis Cameron, Travelers Rest, S.C., 13 bass, 29-9, $1,800
9th: Rob Hicks, Lula, Ga., 10 bass, 29-5, $1,700
10th: Bryan Partak, Marseilles, Ill., eight bass, 28-2, $1,600
For a full list of results visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Overall there were 50 bass weighing 121 pounds, 4 ounces caught by co-anglers Saturday. Only two co-anglers were able to boat a five-bass limit.
In addition to the top award of $25,000, co-anglers were also fishing this week for valuable points that would help them qualify for the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. The top 35 co-anglers in the point standings from the six events on the 2014 Walmart FLW Tour will qualify.
The final 10 anglers will take off from Cassels-Boykin County Park located at FM Road 3123 (off State Highway 147) in Zavalla, Texas, at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday. Sunday’s final weigh-in will be held at the Walmart located at 2500 Daniel McCall Drive in Lufkin beginning at 4 p.m.
Fans will also be treated to the FLW Expo at Walmart on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. prior to the final weigh-ins. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public. Also on Sunday, country music star Michael Ray will perform a free live concert on the Walmart weigh-in stage at 3 p.m.
Coverage of the Sam Rayburn Reservoir tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when “FLW” airs June 7 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. ET. The Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.