DECATUR, Ala. (Sept. 23, 2012) – National Guard pro Mark Rose again brought the largest stringer to the scales Sunday – for the third time in four days – to win the Walmart FLW Tour Open on Wheeler Lake presented by Ranger Boats. Rose weighed in a five-bass limit worth 16 pounds, 14 ounces to win the $125,000 prize after leading wire-to-wire, besting the bass-fishing pros from all across the United States.
The West Memphis, Ark., native weighed in 20 bass totaling 71 pounds, 6 ounces during four days of fishing competition. Chevy pro Luke Clausen of Spokane, Wash., weighed in five bass Sunday totaling 11 pounds, 13 ounces to leapfrog pro Blake Nick and finish in second place.
“I’ve been mad at these fish ever since I didn’t make the Forrest Wood Cup,” said Rose, who now has over $1.6 million dollars in career winnings with FLW. “That’s the Superbowl of our sport, and I want to be there every time. It was really tough for me to have to miss, so this is just a good cap for me on a tough year.”
Rose dominated the event by targeting mussel beds using a crankbait and a Texas-rigged worm. He also credited a green pumpkin-colored Strike King Football jig as catching the key fish for him Sunday, but said the crankbait was the key for him throughout this event.
“The fish were sitting in 21 to 23 feet of water, and it’s hard to get a lot of crankbaits down there,” Rose said. “I used a lot of different crankbaits this week. I’ve modified a few so I can really get down to those depths, and that was the key for me. The bigger fish wanted that crankbait more than anything else. When they weren’t eating my crankbait, I knew I could pick up my worm and really slow down and catch them. It took me some time to figure them out, but I eventually did.
“My key fish for me today came on the Football jig,” he continued. “I didn’t have any in the boat until I started throwing that. I also used a jigging spoon this week, because it can fire them up. It may sound weird, but I’m not always trying to catch one when I throw that spoon. I’ll use it to break them up and get them all fired up, and then I’ll ease my boat back and throw the crankbait. It’s like bed fishing, but 20 feet deep.”
Rose fished in two main areas throughout the tournament, around fifteen miles from the takeoff site. He was finally able to fish a third primary areas that he had located in practice on Sunday.
“I wasn’t able to get into one of my key areas the past couple of days because another guy had been fishing on it,” said Rose. “He had a really good tournament, but didn’t make the day four cut. I was finally able to fish there today and I caught three off of it.
“I made a conscious effort about four or five years ago to get offshore and I have to thank one of the best ledge fisherman in the country, Randy Haynes, for the time that he spent with me,” Rose went on to say. “He taught me a lot. I also want to thank the locals out on the lake today. There were a lot of people watching me, and they could have came out and hammered my areas. They left it alone for me, and I really appreciate them. First and foremost, though, I have to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He means everything to me, and I want to honor him with every moment of my career and my life. On my truck it reads, Faith, Family, Fishing. That’s what it’s all about.”
The top 10 pros finished the tournament in:
1st: National Guard pro Mark Rose, West Memphis, Ark., 20 bass, 71-6, $125,000
2nd: Chevy pro Luke Clausen, Spokane, Wash., 20 bass, 58-12, $20,070
3rd: Blake Nick, Adger, Ala., 20 bass, 57-2, $17,104
4th: Shane Long, Willard, Mo., 20 bass, 55-0, $14,637
5th: National Guard pro Brett Hite, Phoenix, Ariz., 20 bass, 51-6, $11,170
6th: EverStart pro Randall Tharp, Gardendale, Ala., 20 bass, 50-13, $9,390
7th: Michael Williamson, Fort Smith, Ark., 20 bass, 49-9, $8,797
8th: Chevy pro Larry Nixon, Bee Branch, Ark., 20 bass, 47-6, $8,204
9th: Folgers pro Scott Suggs, Bryant, Ark., 20 bass, 45-10, $7,610
10th: Jerry Lawler, Athens, Ala., 15 bass, 36-4, $7,017
A complete list of results can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.
Overall there were 45 bass weighing 101 pounds, 15 ounces caught by pros Sunday. The catch included nine five-bass limits.
Pro Jerry Lawler of Athens, Ga., had his day four weight zeroed after inadvertently returning to the check-in with six fish in his livewell.
Nick Loeffelman Jr. of Valles Mines, Mo., won the co-angler division and $20,000 Saturday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 33 pounds, 7 ounces, followed by Jonathan Henry of Grant, Ala., in second place with 14 bass weighing 28-2 worth $4,309
In FLW Tour Open tournaments, pros and co-anglers are competing for valuable points that could help them qualify for the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing. The top five anglers in the point standings from the four Walmart FLW Tour Open tournaments will qualify.
The Tour stop on Wheeler Lake presented by Ranger Boats was hosted by the Decatur Convention & Visitors Bureau and was the third of four Walmart FLW Tour Opens of the 2012 season. The Walmart FLW Tour Open at Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Mercury Marine will be the final tournament of the 2012 season and will be held Oct. 11-14 in Lufkin, Texas. The event will be hosted by the Lufkin Convention & Visitors Bureau and boats will launch from Cassels-Boykin County Park in Zavalla, Texas. For a complete schedule, visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Coverage of the Wheeler Lake tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when “FLW” airs October 28 from 1 – 2 p.m. ET. “FLW” is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 559 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.
ABOUT FLW FLW is the industry’s premier tournament-fishing organization, providing unparalleled fishing resources and entertainment to our sponsors, fans and host communities. FLW is offering anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money nationwide in 2012 over the course of 191 tournaments across five tournament circuits, each providing an avenue to the sport’s richest payday and most coveted championship trophy – the Forrest Wood Cup. FLW is committed to providing a lifestyle experience that is the “Best in Fishing, On and Off the Water,” through a variety of platforms including tournaments, outdoor expos and the world’s richest fantasy sports game – FLW Fantasy Fishing. For more information about FLW and FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FLWOutdoors.com or FantasyFishing.com and look for FLW on Twitter and Facebook. FLWOutdoors.com