Quick Bites: FLW Series East-West Fish-Off, Day 1 - Major League Fishing

Quick Bites: FLW Series East-West Fish-Off, Day 1

Image for Quick Bites: FLW Series East-West Fish-Off, Day 1
Eastern Series pro Mark Rose dedicated his day-one 26-pound, 1-ounce stringer to his late grandfather Walter Rose who recently passed away. Photo by Rob Newell. Angler: .
February 7, 2008 • Rob Newell • Archives

Wal-Mart FLW Series

East-West Fish-Off

Lake Amistad, Del Rio Texas

Thursday, Day 1

These are for you, Grandfather Rose … FLW Series Lake Pickwick winner Mark Rose recently lost one of the proudest supporters of his fishing, Walter Rose, his 99-year-old grandfather who was always present at the FLW Tour weigh-ins whenever his grandson would make a top-10 cut. “I’m fishing with a heavy heart this week,” Rose said. “I’m sure going to miss him. He’s a big part of the reason I ended up fishing professionally. As a kid he kept me in a johnboat fishing and in the woods hunting, and he really planted the seeds for me to do this for a living.” Rose dedicated his day-one catch at Amistad of 26 pounds, 1 ounce to his grandfather. Rose’s catch put him in fourth place over all and gave him a solid 12-pound, 11-ounce lead over his bracketed competitor, Clayton Meyer of San Diego.

Biggest legends = smallest margin … One of the most anticipated matchups of the FLW Series Two of the sport's biggest legends, Larry Nixon and Mike Folkestad are separated by just 4 ounces after day one.shootout was that of two huge legends: Mike Folkestad of Yorba Linda, Calif., and Larry Nixon of Bee Branch, Ark. Both of these industry giants are first-class pros who have made innumerable contributions to the sport of professional fishing. And as fate would have it, their two weights fell closest to each other at the day-one weigh-in, with Nixon posting 15 pounds, 5 ounces and Folkstead bringing 15 pounds, 1 ounce, a separation of just 4 ounces. “I thought it might be close, but not that close,” Folkstead said. Nixon replied, “We’re the two oldest guys in the tournament, and we ended up squaring off with each other.”

National Guard pro Scott Martin goes ahead of fellow National Guard pro Clifford Pirch with this 7-pound, 13-ounce bass.Keeping Guard … Another duel that is being watched closely this week is between two National Guard team members who happened to get matched up: 14th-seed BP Eastern Divsion pro Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla., and 17th-seed National Guard Western Divsion pro Clifford Pirch of Payson, Ariz. Martin got the jump on Pirch on day one with 19 pounds, 1 ounce over Pirch’s 15 pounds, 9 ounces thanks in large part to a 7-pound, 13-ounce bass caught by Martin.

Big bass touche … Popular BP pro J.T. Kenney of Port Charlotte, Fla., has made a living Western Division pro Clint Johanson springs an 11-pound, 9-ounce bass on BP pro JT Kenney.delivering big-bass blows to his competition in his home state of Florida. He certainly knows what it’s like to stick a dagger in his competitor’s heart with big Okeechobee lunkers as he did at his most recent FLW Series win at the Big O. Well, today Kenney got a taste of his own medicine as he watched 24th-seed Western Division pro Clint Johanson of Benton City, Wa., pull out an 11-pound, 9-ounce Amistad beast – the biggest bass of the day – to gain a 6-pound lead over Kenney.

Welcome to the world of swimbaits: Kellogg's pro Dave Lefebre show off two of the first bass he ever caught on a swimbait.Swimbait newbies … Lake Amistad made a believer out of two swimbait novices today: Snickers pro Pat Fisher and Kellogg’s pro Dave Lefebre. Both anglers admitted to catching their first bass on swimbaits this morning. Fisher’s first swimbait bass helped anchor his 19 pounds, 4 ounces, which still was not enough to best his competitor, 28th-seed Western Division pro Rob Riehl, who weighed in 22 pounds, 8 ounces. Lefebre’s 24-pound, 5-ounce swimbait catch put him in fifth place overall and helped him gain a 7-pound, 12-ounce advantage over his bracketed competitor, Rusty Salewski of Alpine, Calif.

Throwing back keepers … Two well-known pros, Gary Dobyns of Yuba City, Calif., and Tommy Biffle of Wagoner Okla., both owned up to throwing back keeper fish this morning before they secured a limit. “I boxed my first keeper, but then I probably threw back a dozen other pound-and-a-half keepers before I kept another one,” Dobyns said. “Those small fish are not going to do you anyEastern Division pro Tommy Biffle weighed in day one's lightest catch, three bass for 5 pounds, 7 ounces while his competition, Western Division pro Jimmy Reese recorded the day's heaviest catch of 26 pounds, 12 ounces. good on a lake like this.” In the end, Dobyns did not need any of his “throwbacks” en route to sacking 14 pounds, 2 ounces for the day. Biffle, on the other hand, may have wished he had held on to a few of his early-morning throwbacks. “I was fishing a place where I had caught some giants in practice,” he said. “It’s a tiny ledge where the bottom drops from 30 to 100 feet, and if you get blown off it, it takes forever to get lined back up on it. So when I caught three or four little ones off it first thing, I just threw them back so I could make another immediate cast to the area instead of trying to put them in the livewell and risk blowing off the spot.” Consequently, Biffle ended up with just three bass for 5 pounds, 7 ounces – the smallest pro catch of the day – and suffered a crushing blow from his matchup, Western Division pro Jimmy Reese, who leads the event with 26 pounds, 12 ounces. “I don’t have any regrets about not keeping those rats,” Biffle scoffed. “They weren’t going to help me catch up to Reese anyway.”

Quick numbers

60: Number of pros competing in the FLW East-West Fish-Off.

30: Number of pros who will earn an invitation to the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup after the East-West Fish-Off.

17: Number of Western Division pros who lead their brackets after day one.

13: Number of Eastern Division pros who lead their brackets after day one.

21-5: Weight, in pounds and ounces, with which Western Divsion pro Jimmy Reese leads Eastern Division pro Tommy Biffle after day one.

4: Number of ounces that separates fishing legends Larry Nixon and Mike Folkestad in their bracket.

2: Number of fishing minutes lost by Western Division pro Jimmy Reese at day-one takeoff because he sent his co-angler, Brian Tidwell, running back up the ramp to retrieve the landing net, which Reese forgot, out of Reese’s truck.

26-12: Weight, in pounds and ounces, of bass that co-angler Brian Tidwell netted in aforementioned forgotten net for tournament leader Jimmy Reese on day one.

Sound bites

“I didn’t just dig myself a hole, I dug myself a grave.” – Tommy Biffle, describing his 21-pound, 5-ounce deficit to bracketed competitor Jimmy Reese, who now leads the tournament with 26 pounds, 12 ounces.

“I thought I found a big school, but as it turns out, it was a big herd, because they were all cows.” – Chevy pro Dion Hibdon, explaining his four-bass catch of 20 pounds, 10 ounces, which he caught in the first 10 minutes of the morning.

“Unless he has a heart attack in the next two days, I think I’m doomed.” – Eastern Division pro Joe Thomas, on his 16-pound deficit to Western Division pro Jason Hickey.

“My biggest goal in coming here was to get Larry Nixon’s autograph. This is incredible to be here fishing with all my childhood heroes. The only one who is not here is my dad – he’s the one who taught me how to fish, and I sure wish he was here with me.” – Western Division pro Brent Lyon of Reno, Nev., who took an early lead over another of his childhood heroes, George Cochran, by 8 pounds.

Day two of the FLW Series East-West Fish-Off continues at Friday’s takeoff at 7 a.m. CST at the East Diablo boat ramp on Lake Amistad.