HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – National Guard pro Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla., crossed the stage with a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds, 1 ounce to lead day three of the Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart on Lake Ouachita. Martin, with a three-day total of 15 bass for 46-12, holds a 4-pound, 14-ounce lead over Chevy pro Luke Clausen of Spokane, Wash., who weighed five bass weighing 16-3 for a three-day total of 15 bass for 41-14. The Forrest Wood Cup, a tournament featuring 58 of the world’s best professional bass anglers, will be decided between the top 10 pros fishing Sunday.
Martin led the first day of competition but lost his lead to Diet Mountain Dew pro Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., after Friday’s competition.
“I fished clean today, so that was good,” said Martin, who is competing in his 11th Forrest Wood Cup. “Yesterday I had a co-angler that was really dialed in on what he was doing, and he was catching some really nice fish out of my area, but that’s just the way the game’s played.
“Today I just buckled down,” Martin added. “The weather changed back to what it was on day one, which was easier for me to catch them and a little harder for my co-anglers because I’m doing something special on the cloudy days.”
Martin said he’s targeting fish using his electronics and concentrating on about 20 areas and moving around and hitting the same areas as they are reloading with fish. Martin lost a couple of fish during Saturday’s competition but still managed to boat seven keepers during the course of the day.
“Most of the guys are up shallow and I’m sure they are going to catch them again tomorrow,” Martin said. “I keep hearing these crazy stories of big fish cruising the banks, but there’s also some big ones out deep that I’m catching.”
Clausen said topwater baits have played a key role in his success during the week, including a prop bait and a couple of different walking baits.
“Today I lost the first three that bit and then I caught 10 in a row and then I missed three more after that,” said Clausen, who won the 2004 Forrest Wood Cup and could become the only angler to win two championship titles. “You just go on streaks where it seems like they’re eating it better and you catch them.
“I’m just going to go out and fish hard all day,” Clausen added. “That’s all I can do. I’m going to go out and grind it out and hopefully I’ll get five of those better bites like I had today. The potential to catch 20 (pounds) is there. You see them swimming down the bank. They’re just incredibly smart and hard to catch.”
Rounding out the top 10 pros after day three on Lake Ouachita are:
3rd: EverStart pro Randall Tharp, Gardendale, Ala., 15 bass, 41-6
4th: National Guard pro Mark Rose, Marion, Ark., 15 bass, 41-5
5th: Diet Mt. Dew pro Jason Christie, Park Hill, Okla., 15 bass, 40-12
6th: Todd Auten, Lake Wylie, S.C., 15 bass, 38-9
7th: Cody Meyer, Grass Valley, Calif., 15 bass, 37-13
8th: Castrol pro David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., 15 bass, 37-13
9th: Andy Montgomery, Grover, N.C., 14 bass, 37-12
10th: Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 12 bass, 37-3
Overall there were 82 bass weighing 205 pounds caught by pros Saturday. The catch included eight five-bass limits.
The third day of competition marks the cut to the top 10 pros and the crowning of the co-angler champion. Pros are competing for the title of Forrest Wood Cup champion, the most prestigious award in professional bass fishing, as well as a top award of up to $600,000 — the sport’s biggest award.
Paul Mueller of Southbury, Conn., won the Co-angler Division with 13 bass weighing 28-7. The win earned Mueller $60,000.
“This is a dream come true,” said Mueller, whose Forrest Wood Cup victory was his first FLW Outdoors win. “It’s what we fish for. I’m so blessed to actually do it.”
Mueller said he caught the majority of his fish Saturday on a 7-inch Margarita Mutilator-colored Roboworm on a drop-shot rig with a 7-foot medium-light Dobyns Champion Extreme rod.
“The rod was the key for me,” Mueller said. “I needed the sensitivity of the rod to feel the strikes, but also the backbone because I was fishing brush and had to get them out of the brush.
“The other key was the weight I was using,” Mueller added. “I was using a real heavy weight for a reaction bite. We were fishing the brush and my bigger fish came when the bait would almost hit the bottom.
Mueller said his three biggest fish Saturday came while slow-rolling a 4-inch bluegill-colored Reins Fat Rockvibe Shad on a 3/8-ounce jighead matched to a Dobyns Champion Series swimbait rod and 15-pound-test line.
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers are:
2nd: Chris Hults, Vancleave, Miss., 13 bass, 27-5, $15,000
3rd: Jeffrey Cummins, Marion, Ohio, nine bass, 27-3, $12,500
4th: Spencer Shuffield, Bismarck, Ark., 11 bass, 26-15, $10,000
5th: Patrick Stines, Granger, Ind., nine bass, 24-15, $9,000
6th: Shane Winchester, Glasgow, Ky., 10 bass, 22-4, $8,000
7th: Mike Helton, Jeffersonville, Ind., nine bass, 21-11, $7,000
8th: Matthew Nadeau, Grass Valley, Calif., nine bass, 20-12, $6,000
9th: Ralph Mulleins, Cumberland, Va., nine bass, 18-13, $5,000
10th: Matt Hults, Gautier, Miss., 10 bass, 18-8, $4,000
Overall there were 42 bass weighing 82 pounds, 3 ounces caught by co-anglers Saturday. The catch included one five-bass limit.
Anglers will take off from Brady Mountain Resort & Marina located at 4120 Brady Mountain Rd. in Royal, Ark., at 6:30 Sunday morning. Sunday’s weigh-in will be held at Summit Arena & Hot Springs Convention Center located at 134 Convention Blvd. in Hot Springs beginning at 5 p.m.
Fans will be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at the Summit Arena & Hot Springs Convention Center prior to the final weigh-ins on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The first 1,500 kids 14 and under on Sunday will receive a free Zebco rod and reel combo compliments of US97. Fans can also register to win a fully rigged Ranger Z520 courtesy of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette which will be given away following the final weigh-in. 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.
Coverage of the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS. “FLW Outdoors” will air Sept. 25 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET. “FLW Outdoors,” hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to more than 500 million households worldwide.
For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow FLW Outdoors on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWOutdoors.
About FLW Outdoors
FLW Outdoors is the best in fishing, on and off the water. Anglers worldwide can compete for millions over the course of 191 tournaments in 2011. FLW Outdoors has taken fishing mainstream with the world’s richest fantasy sports game, FLW Fantasy Fishing presented by Straight Talk, where competitors can play for free as well as sign up for Player’s Advantage to gain an edge. For more information about FLW Outdoors and FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FLWOutdoors.com or FantasyFishing.com.