The 2010 FLW Tour season kicked off on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Mo. While most of the 150-boat field struggled in frigid weather, National Guard pro Brent Ehrler thrived. Putting on a prespawn clinic, Ehrler dominated the four-day tournament with a total of 20 bass weighing 69 pounds, 11 ounces. Complete coverage of the opener will air April 18 from 12:30-1:30 p.m. ET on VERSUS as part of the weekly “FLW Outdoors” program.
During practice, Ehrler struggled mightily. He did, however, identify one spot with potential up the White River. Ehrler saw it as the inside turn of a creek-channel bend that formed a point. And surrounding it was a bed of standing timber. While many pros fished similar areas, Ehrler’s was different in that the timber was completely submerged. The lion’s share of his catch came on two baits – a 5-inch Yamamoto grub and a Yamamoto Swimming Senko. Ehrler presented these baits over the top of birch trees. His boat was sitting in 30 to 35 feet of water, and the fish were positioned in 15 to 25.
Ehrler didn’t know what he had found until he fished the area hard on day one – catching 16 pounds, 6 ounces. On day two he sacked 22-2, the heaviest limit of the entire tournament. On day three he calmly put 14-6 in the boat, and on the final day he sealed the deal with 16-13. For his fifth FLW Outdoors win, the Redlands, Calif., native earned $125,000. His 13-pound, 2-ounce margin of victory was the second largest in FLW Tour history.
In second place was Bismarck, Ark., pro Ron Shuffield, who finished with a four-day total of 56-9. Shuffield was the only finalist who fished the James River and not the White. His key lure was a jerkbait. Shuffield would twitch the jerkbait twice and then pause it for five or six seconds before repeating the process. This successfully emulated a struggling shad. He focused on channel-swing banks and transition banks where one type of rock changed to another. His consolation was $40,000.
Mike Wurm of Hot Springs, Ark., took third and earned $30,000 with a total weight of 46 pounds, 6 ounces. Wurm dragged a small Eakins’ jig with a Zoom Critter Craw on the bottom of the White River. At times he worked the jig so slow he was barely moving it. This was the exact method he used to win the 1999 FLW Tour qualifier on Lake Murray. One of his keys was using 10-pound braided line with a fluorocarbon leader. It helped him pull fish out of the timber and improved his hook-set ratio.
VERSUS Country broadcasts “FLW Outdoors” in high-definition (HD) Sundays from 12:30-1:30 p.m. ET. FLWOutdoors.com also provides an online guide listing upcoming episodes of “FLW Outdoors.” In addition, each episode of “FLW Outdoors” will be available on demand in its entirety on FLWOutdoors.com.
ABOUT FLW OUTDOORS FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world offering anglers worldwide the opportunity to compete for millions over the course of 189 tournaments in 2010. FLW Outdoors has also taken fishing mainstream with FLW Fantasy Fishing awarding the largest prizes in the history of fantasy sports. FLW Outdoors memberships are available featuring numerous benefits including Player’s Advantage. For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FantasyFishing.com. FLWOutdoors.com