David Williams’ has dreamed of this moment all his life; but even he couldn’t have dreamed how well his first major victory would come together.
Topwater frog & jig key to win. (Photo: FLW)
While many anglers struggled to cull, the Maiden, N.C., pro was catching more than 25 bass a day and upwards of 50 on some days. Best of all, he was doing it on one of his favorite patterns from back home – skipping a swim jig around docks to capitalize on a shad spawn.
The end result rarely seemed in question after day one, as he sacked up a tournament-leading 18-11 by 10 a.m. and never looked back. He extended his lead by roughly 2 pounds each of the next two days, and then simply shut the door with a 13-13 limit on day four to win the FLW Tour presented by T-H Marine on Smith Lake with 64-9 total. For the win, Williams takes home $102,700.
“It’s been a long-time coming,” says Williams of his first major win. “I’m glad people didn’t give up on me.”
Williams’ dream week actually didn’t get off to the best start.
He began practice with the mindset of fishing toward his strength: targeting largemouths up shallow. The recent rains had raised the lake up to create miles of flooded cover and trash piles far up the various creek arms. Plus, with the full moon and water temps, there was still a chance to find fish on beds. That seemed to line up perfectly for what Williams wanted to do.
After looking at the map for areas he felt would offer the most flooded cover, he began looking for water with just the right amount of color. The best combination was in White Oak Creek, but while everything looked perfect, bites were hard to come by as the water may have come up too much. Still, it was his best bet going into day one. Little did he know everything would change Thursday morning.
25th BASS Victory for KVD! By Thomas Allen BASS PRESS RELEASE
KVD in a league of his own! (Photo: BASS)
Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., relied upon large female prespawn bass to claim a record-breaking 25th title on the Bassmaster Elite Series, and a $100,000 payday at the 2018 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite at Grand Lake in Grove, Okla. During Championship Sunday, VanDam put up 18 pounds, 7 ounces to push his four-day total to 83-4, which outscored Tommy Biffle of Wagoner, Okla., by more than 5 pounds. The 50-year-old VanDam will place an unprecedented 25th Bassmaster trophy on his mantle — a feat many believe may never be broken.
This isn’t his first victory on the famous Oklahoma lake. He won an Elite Series event on Grand Lake back in 2007 with 78-2. The bass VanDam was targeting this time were primarily in the prespawn phase and were positioned along transition zones where one type of bottom met another. “The male bass were all in shallow along the bank and pretty easy to catch,” VanDam said. “I knew that to win, I needed to catch the larger females that were staging farther offshore — around 8 to 10 feet of water.” After an unproductive practice, the four-time Bassmaster Classic champion said he was forced to adapt and experiment on Thursday’s opening round of competition. “I really didn’t think I could win this thing after the tough practice I had,” he said. “But I knew I had to cover water to find active fish. The female bass that were moving in to spawn were not yet on beds, but they would still hit a reaction bait like a crankbait or a spinnerbait.” VanDam said he fished at least 50 spots per day early in the tournament, but dialed in to the best locations during Saturday and Sunday, which meant less traveling from one to the next. “Today was a tougher bite for me. I caught fewer fish, but I was focusing on the locations that were producing the largest bass. It proved to be the right decision,” he said.
Covering water key to Williams domination. (Photo: FLW)
David Williams looks pretty unstoppable right now. After weighing his third bag over 15 pounds, the Maiden, N.C., pro is on the verge of his first major win at the FLW Tour presented by T-H Marine on Smith Lake. Weighing 16 pounds, 12 ounces today, Williams’ total is a whopping 50-12, which gives him a 6-10 edge over Jordan Osborne in second place.
Check back soon for more from Williams and the rest of the top five pros.
Top 10 pros
1. David Williams – Maiden, N.C. – 50-12 (15)
2. Jordan Osborne – Longview, Texas – 44-2 (15)
3. Matt Arey – Shelby, N.C. – 43-15 (15)
4. Cody Meyer – Auburn, Calif. – 43-12 (15)
5. John Cox – DeBary, Fla. – 43-12 (15)
6. Jason Reyes – Huffman, Texas – 41-10 (15)
7. Jimmy Reese – Witter Springs, Calif. – 40-1 (15)
KVD early morning rampage key to lead. By Thomas Allen BASS PRESS RELEASE
KVD on the prowl for 25th win. (Photo: BASS)
After catching his heaviest limit of the tournament on Day 3, bass fishing superstar Kevin VanDam took over the lead at the 2018 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite at Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees. VanDam's 22 pounds, 4 ounces was his third exceeding the 20-pound mark — a benchmark in professional bass fishing -- the only angler to do so. His three-day total is 64-13 gives him a 3-4 lead heading into the final round of the four-day Elite tournament. VanDam is looking to add to his record 24 titles on the Bassmaster tournament trail, including four Bassmaster Classic wins and seven Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year awards. With $100,000 on the line for first place, and win No. 25 for the Kalamazoo, Mich., resident, VanDam is confident his fishing areas are only getting better. “It’s going to take another bag of 20 pounds or better to win this thing,” he said. “I think where I’ve spent my time this week has the right fish, but as the standings will show, the other Top 12 anglers are also catching them. I’m not comfortable yet.” The field will be cut down to the Top 12 anglers with VanDam leading them out on Championship Sunday. “Each of us are focusing on spawning bass,” VanDam said. “And with the weather and moon phase both factors, the spots are reloading by the hour. The bass are fat and very healthy looking — plus I feel like my pattern is only getting stronger.”
Docks and wood key to Williams' pattern. (Photo: FLW)
Almost every pro who crossed the weigh-in stage today said things changed today. David Williams was not one of them.
Just as he did on day one, the Maiden, N.C., pro ran a simple pattern he loves from back home and milked it for another big sack. This one went 15 pounds, 5 ounces and it extended his lead to more than 4 pounds at the FLW Tour presented by T-H Marine on Lewis Smith.
“This is fun,” says Williams with a toothy smile.
For him, yes, it’s been a lot of fun so far.
The bright sunshine and dropping water levels made life tougher for just about everyone, with weights dropping like stones for many. Yet, while Williams’ weight dropped, he still caught 50 keepers and had 15 pounds by 10 a.m. Plus, had he not lost the biggest fish he’s hooked all week – a for-sure 5-pounder, he says – he actually could’ve brought in another 18 pounds.
A big reason for his success is his pattern.
“I fish all over North and South Carolina,” says Williams. “We fish a lot of docks in the Carolinas, and there are a lot of lakes with flooded cover. That’s what I’m fishing here. So this is right up my alley. It’s just nice to not be fishing grass.”
One species or the other – that’s how the last two FLW Tour events have shaped up, and it may go down that way again here at Lewis Smith.
At Lanier, the top pros were divided into either the largemouth camp or the spotted bass camp. At Cumberland, it was smallmouth versus largemouth. Now at the FLW Tour presented by T-H Marine on Lewis Smith, it’s back to largemouth or spots, with largemouths taking the early edge thanks to David Williams.
The Maiden, N.C., pro sacked up 18 pounds, 11 ounces of largemouths to take nearly a 3-pound lead over Blake Smith.
Now, it’s worth noting that Williams caught his fair share of spotted bass on day one, though, they were all “babies.” In fact, may pros’ bags were mixed, but it’s clear they’re typically targeting one or the other.
Williams is a shallow-water, largemouth guy at heart, and he did his heart right today.
“Today went just like I’d dreamed it,” Williams says. “I culled a few times and was basically done fishing by 10:30 a.m. I actually gave my rod to my co-angler so he could catch some.”
10 limits over 20 pounds! By Thomas Allen BASS PRESS RELEASE
Tak on the path to second win in 18. (Photo: BASS)
Japanese angler Takahiro Omori, who now calls Emory, Texas, his home, recently earned his seventh Bassmaster title at the first event of the 2018 Bassmaster Elite Series season on Alabama’s Lake Martin. Today his dominating streak continues thanks to a pair of 6-pound bass that anchored a 23-pound, 12-ounce five-bass limit at the 2018 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite at Grand Lake in Grove, Okla. “I didn’t have a very good practice earlier this week,” he said. “I knew the fish were about to spawn, but I was surprised with what I caught today. The rest of the field also caught quite a few big fish, and that’s going to keep things interesting for the next three days.” The 47-year-old angler has been fishing with B.A.S.S. for over 27 years, and he said this was his best day ever on Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees. “The best finish I’ve had on this lake was 30th place, so I’m very happy with how I did today,” said the 2004 Bassmaster Classic champion. “I know more fish are moving to shallow water, but it will be tough to catch this much again tomorrow.”
Get ready for some serious bass fishing overload starting Thrusday. Both BASS and FLW will have tournaments this weekend with live feeds on the weekend (BASS Live starts Friday). What to watch first? Depends on what you wish to see. FLW Tour anglers will be on Smith Lake which should be in full spawn mode. Watching guys bed fish can be a snooze but if the pre-spawn topwater bite is hot, you'll be in for some epic coverage.
Bass Elite guys will be on Grand Lake in Oklahoma. April equals fishing the bushes and trees. Christie won Grand Lake in April by catching schooling bass in bays with buck brush. Expect the shallow bite to be good again as this long winter should have many of the bass thinking about spawning.
Either way, get ready for some fever pitched bass fishing. IBASSIN will have you covered with all the results and press releases.
The bucktail jig is a bass and walleye classic. Big Jim McLaughlin has tied tens of thousands of bucktails in his life, so he knows how to fish them. Listen to this Canadian living legend as he explains why bucktails are so good along with some hot colours.
On March 20th, Ralph
Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness tabled Bill C-71,
the federal government’s long anticipated gun bill. While the intent of this
Bill was to target illegal guns and gang violence in Canada, it is abundantly clear
that this Bill adds numerous additional restrictions to licensed firearms
The OFAH continues to
work with as many MPs as possible across the province, including Minister
Goodale’s office, and has requested to appear before a government committee on
Bill C-71 in an effort to minimize unnecessary restrictions on law-abiding
We need your feedback
on Bill C-71 to help drive our messages home. Your participation in a short survey on the Bill is
extremely important to the OFAH, and we appreciate you taking a few minutes to
provide us with your feedback.
Linking your Minn Kota trolling motor to your networked Humminbirds will allow you to precisely navigate your boat right on the juice. Listen to Bassmaster Classic qualifier Charles Sim as he explains the importance and benefits of linking your Humminbird electronics to your Minn Kota trolling motor.
Smallmouth and swimbaits make Thrift a champion. (Photo: FLW)
So long as Bryan Thrift fishes the FLW Tour, for anyone else, winning a tournament will never come easy. Winning means beating Bryan Thrift. Beating Bryan Thrift is a feat.
The Shelby, N.C., pro proved once again that if he’s in the hunt on the weekend, he’s not going to have a bad day. He’s purely lethal. Today, Thrift put the finishing touches on his sixth FLW Tour victory and his 10th FLW win overall. This one came on a cold, rainy, miserable day in central Kentucky at Lake Cumberland for stop No. 4 of the 2018 Tour. The tournament was presented by General Tire, and Thrift won with a 70-pound, 2-ounce total and pocketed $125,200 for his efforts.
Thrift squashed an impressive run by 2017 The Bass Federation National Champion Allen Boyd, who gave one of the tournament’s best performances, catching 18 pounds, 2 ounces of largemouths despite losing a couple of hours this morning to a mechanical issue. Boyd charged ahead hard, but he couldn’t keep pace with Thrift, whose 18-10 stringer gave him a four-day margin of victory of 1 pound, 10 ounces.
Surely, if there’s a conversation about who’s the best bass angler alive right now, Thrift deserves consideration. Andy Morgan, another of bass fishing’s best, said on stage today in Somerset that he thinks Thrift is the best there is. There couldn’t be a much better commendation than that.
“Who’s the best?” is a fun debate, but the facts are what matter now. Thrift closed out the tournament with his fourth consecutive stringer of Cumberland smallmouths. He weighed in 15-9 on day one, improved the following two days with 17-4 and 18-11, and finished with 18-10. Top 10 Below
FLW PRESS RELEASE
All FLW Tour events are exciting, but this week’s tournament has been exceptional thanks to a showdown among A-list pros who are flat out smashing fish on Lake Cumberland. We’re on the cusp of what could be one of the greatest Sunday slugfests in FLW Live history on the final day of the season’s fourth Tour stop, which is presented by General Tire.
Morning smallmouth key to Thrift pattern. (Photo: FLW)
Bryan Thrift is in the lead with 51 pounds, 8 ounces, but Andy Morgan is only 7 ounces back, Allen Boyd is a pound and 2 ounces back, and Greg Bohannan is 1-15 back. The entire top 10 is within 6 pounds of Thrift’s lead. With many in the top 10 catching 30 or more fish a day – and a lot of good ones – there’s no predicting the outcome, except to guarantee that Sunday at Cumberland will be one to remember.
Aside from the pro showdown, there’s also a very interesting species showdown going on. The main patterns are targeting staging and spawning smallmouths with swimbaits, and targeting staging and spawning largemouths with spinnerbaits. The two patterns seem to be producing at about an equal rate.
Thrift is in the smallmouth camp. He’s weighed in 15 brown bass, and brought in 18-11 today for his 52nd consecutive limit in FLW Tour competition, extending the record that he broke yesterday.
“Today was fun,” Thrift says. “The first two days were a little bit of a struggle, but I caught a lot of fish today.
“You can’t feel safe with Morgan behind you,” he adds. “Hopefully they bite again tomorrow. I caught a lot of them, so we’ll see.”
The fact that he caught so many today is the only thing that worries Thrift. He’s simply not sure if his “home area” can last for another day.
All three days he’s fished a variety of targets in his area, from the main lake to primary and secondary points to some of the lead-in banks in pockets. About the only thing he’s not fishing is the backs of the pockets where other pros are targeting largemouths. TOP 10 BELOW
Chris Johnston 17th, Cory Johnston 93rd, Richardson 114th, Gussy 125th
by Curtis Niedermier
FLW PRESS RELEASE
For the second consecutive day, tournament leader Andy Morgan has a 1-pound, 6-ounce lead over second place at the FLW Tour event presented by General Tire on Lake Cumberland.
Sling a spinnerbait is what Andy does best. (Photo: FLW)
Consistency is nice when you’re in the lead, but Morgan knows he left the door open today. A rash of lost fish, short strikes and bad breaks prevented him from fulfilling his potential. He weighed in 15 pounds, 12 ounces to back up 18-15 on day one, and likely could’ve come close to repeating his day-one weight had he managed to land a few more of the Cumberland smallmouths that slapped and toyed with his spinnerbait this morning.
“I think it was just bad luck,” says the Dayton, Tenn., pro about his misfortunes today. “I had some pretty good opportunities today to have a really, really nice bag.”
Among the heartbreak bass was a 5-pound-class smallmouth that gobbled Morgan’s spinnerbait. He says the fish had almost the entire bait in its mouth; only the top blade was hanging out. Morgan got a good look at it when the fish “gave up” the fight and wallowed on the surface. With his co-angler poised and ready with the net, Morgan believed the fish was as good as caught. Then the spinnerbait shot free. That fish alone would have been a big help.
As it stands, Morgan has 12 anglers within 5 pounds of his lead. Five pounds is a healthy cushion on some lakes, but Cumberland’s smallmouths are really starting to fire, and the forecast for tomorrow is for rain and overcast skies at least part of the day, which should make the smallmouth bite even better.
Richardson 40th, Chris Johnston 71st, Cory Johnston 105th, Gussy 154th
by Curtis Niedermier
FLW PRESS RELEASE
All largemouths for Andy. (Photo: FLW)
Today, Andy Morgan did what he’s previously
failed to do all season long: He stuck with what he knows, fished ways that
he’s comfortable fishing and hammered a tournament-leading stringer of bass
that weighed 18 pounds, 15 ounces.
Morgan, who came into the tournament 109th in
the standings, was the only pro to break the 18-pound mark on day one of the
FLW Tour event presented by General Tire on Lake Cumberland, and he has a
1-pound, 6-ounce lead over Jason Meninger in second place.
Morgan admits that he’s tried a little too
hard this season to fish the patterns that are “supposed to be” good, instead
of sticking with the shallow-water, power-fishing approach that has
historically landed him in check range at tournaments, and Forrest Wood Cup
range at the end of the season. He wasn’t making that mistake here this week.
“I knew coming in here I was gonna fish my
way,” he says. “I don’t give a darn if the smallmouths are biting, or if
they’re biting off the hook. I’m gonna fish my way.
“I made a run, and the lake’s flooded,” he
adds. “There’s a lot of stuff to throw at. The fishing’s good. It’s not like I
smoked ’em, but I got quality bites.”
The smallmouth bite certainly was good today,
too, with most of the top five pros keying on brown bass, which are starting to
spawn on Cumberland’s lower end. Morgan and the rest of the largemouth crew
mostly worked moving baits in flooded trees and bushes.
The Dayton, Tenn., pro says he needed a couple
hours this morning to relocate the largemouths he’d found during practice.
There are real giants in his areas, but he thinks the fish are in a bit of a
funk due to the fluctuating water levels and air temperatures that have ranged
from the mid-20s to mid-70s over the last few days. He anticipates big bags of
fish at tomorrow’s weigh-in.
“I think they’re right on the cusp [of spawning],”
Morgan adds. “The five fish I caught today were all females, and were all full
“It’s really, really random,” he adds. “I
don’t know what the next one is going to be beside or when the next bite is
going to come. But it’s my kind of fishing. It ain’t no dragging around.”
Top 10 pros
1. Andy Morgan – Dayton, Tenn. – 18-15 (5)
2. Jason Meninger – St. Augustine, Fla. – 17-9
For the first time in its 49-year history, the Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods will be held on the Tennessee River out of Knoxville, it was announced today by B.A.S.S. and the host organization, Visit Knoxville.The prestigious championship bass tournament — widely known as the “Super Bowl of Bass Fishing” — will be held March 15-17 in downtown Knoxville and on The University of Tennessee at Knoxville campus.
“Knoxville meets and exceeds all the requirements we have for the Bassmaster Classic — great fishing on the Tennessee River, first-class facilities to accommodate crowds of fishing fans, a vibrant city with plenty to see and do, and a corps of state and local tourism professionals who will ensure its success,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin.
“Bass fishing is hugely popular in this part of the country,” he added. “In fact, 10 of our 109 Bassmaster Elite Series pros are from the Volunteer State, and most live in east Tennessee. This is going to be a very exciting Classic.”
Spring time is jerkbait time. Actually, these is no bad time to jerk a jerkbait. Listen to FLW Tour pro and BASS winner Cory Johnston as he explains why you need to buy a Jackall Rerange jerkbait for bass fishing. It comes in a 110 and 130 sizes perfect for all your needs.
Fluorocarbon lines can be hard to see in dirty water. If your local lake
or river is muddy this Spring, Flipping FC can be a great choice for helping
you see your line better. Sunline pro angler Jason Christie says,"Flipping
FC has been great for me in dirty water to allow me to better see my
features 30" of clear line followed by 12" of high vis yellow
repeating thru the entire spool. Tie your lure on in the clear like a
leader and get the benefits of high vis for easy bite detection.
The Outdoor Recreation
Roundtable (ORR) celebrated the passage of wildfire funding reform as part of
the FY18 Omnibus Spending Bill. This new legislation will support long-term
wildfire mitigation practices and safeguard important forest programs including
recreation, ensuring Americans continue to have access to healthy, active
outdoor recreation on their public lands.
Wildfire costs have risen out of control, constraining other
federal agency efforts and jeopardizing public lands recreation programs and projects
vital to an outdoor recreation industry that accounts for two percent of the
nation’s Gross Domestic Product and $673 billion in Gross Output according to the Bureau of Economic
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that wildfire
suppression costs surpassed $2.3 billion this year, with more than 8.5 million acres burned. In addition to the
tragic loss of lives and homes, vital recreation infrastructure has been
destroyed. Fire suppression activities continue to rise as a percentage of the
U.S. Forest Service’s (USFS) budget. This rise has reduced investments in
trails, campgrounds and other recreation infrastructure, much of which needs
modernization and expansion.
The Crestliner PT 20 is a huge aluminum bass boat. Constructed with seamless welds, tremendous storage, wide casting platforms at a fraction of the price and weight of a glass boat. Learn as Crestliner pro Mike Williams gives up a walk through on his new rig.
Citing recent heavy rains and high water in the Sabine River watershed, B.A.S.S. has decided to postpone the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Elite presented by Econo Lodge that had been scheduled to begin in Orange, Texas, next week.
“The safety of our anglers and others on the waters of the Sabine River system are our primary concern,” said B.A.S.S. Tournament Director Trip Weldon. “Weather and water conditions are expected to create potentially hazardous boating conditions, and we feel compelled to postpone the event until conditions are more favorable.”
The tournament originally was to begin Friday, April 6, and conclude Monday, April 9. As conditions began to deteriorate, Weldon told Elite Series anglers Thursday the tournament would be delayed at least one day. “We became convinced today that conditions would not improve in time for the tournament to be held in the coming days.”
The tournament will be rescheduled for another time during the 2018 Elite Series season, which concludes with the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship in September. Officials from B.A.S.S. and local host organizations in Orange will be meeting in the coming days to select a suitable date to reschedule the event.
B.A.S.S. has conducted Elite Series tournament at Orange twice before, in 2013 and 2015. Both generated tremendous crowds of spectators, including some of the best attendance figures in tournament history.
Local organizers were hoping to set new records next week and had planned concerts following the afternoon weigh-ins to further entertain bass fishing fans.
The Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce (GOACC) said in a statement it has been made aware of B.A.S.S.’s decision to postpone the Bassmaster Elite Tournament on the Sabine River, based on the safety of the anglers. “As a result of this decision the Orange County River Festival will also be cancelled,” it said.
Tad McKee, Chairman of the GOACC Board, stated, “This was a hard decision, but we support B.A.S.S.’s commitment to the safety of the anglers and participants. We look forward to a rescheduled tournament in the near future."
The Ontario Federation of
Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) supports firearms legislation measures that increase
the public safety of Canadians, as long as it doesn’t implement further
unnecessary restrictions or barriers on law-abiding firearms users.
government’s stated intention of Bill C-71 is to prioritize public safety and
respond to increasing trends in gun crime and violence, yet it would seem that
the majority of the proposals are focused on lawful firearms users. The
government is painting a picture of alarming trends in firearms-related crime
and violence to justify the proposed measures and to show action on election
platform promises of 2015. Unfortunately, targeting lawful firearms users will
not help them achieve their intended goals.
The stats being used to support the need for Bill C-71 reference
2013 (lowest criminal homicides in 50 years) as a baseline to suggest we have a
growing problem with firearms in Canada. However, the facts show a long-term
decline in firearm-related crime.
For decades, the OFAH has been
pushing the federal government to invest in programs and policy that targets
illegal firearms and actual criminal activity, rather than policy that has the
effect of making criminals out of law-abiding firearms owners.The investments announced by the Government of Canada in 2017 to
fight gangs and gun violence are a step in the right direction; however, this
‘complementary bill’ will do little to achieve the government’s stated goals.