Goodwin Wins at Lake of the Ozarks - Major League Fishing

Goodwin Wins at Lake of the Ozarks

Topwater bite key for three days of BFL Regional competition
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A buzzbait and Whopper Plopper, both towpaters, were key to Shonn Goodwin's Lake of the Ozarks BFL Regional victory. Photo by Marc Rogers. Angler: Shonn Goodwin.
October 25, 2015 • Marc Rogers • Archives

Day-two leader Shonn Goodwin of Moore, Okla., held on to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Regional presented by Mercury at Lake of the Ozarks Oct. 22-24 by bringing four bass to the scale on the third and final day. Those fish weighed 8 pounds, 11 ounces. His three-day total of 14 bass weighed 43-13. For the win, Goodwin earned $20,000 and a new Ranger bass boat.

Goodwin focused on the lower main-lake area between the dam and the 15-mile marker and targeted main-lake points.

On day one, he weighed a five-bass limit of 15-3, landing him in third place. During day two, he continued his success by weighing in another five-bass limit that tipped the scale at 19-15 and secured the lead going into the final day.

“I was a little worried about my chances of winning without catching a limit,” Goodwin says of his final day.

However, many boaters in the top 12 struggled due to a cold front, and his weight was enough to survive.

Goodwin found a strong topwater bite during practice and reports that the key to his victory was using two topwater lures all three days.

“I was throwing a black buzzbait and a [River2Sea] Whopper Plopper on main-lake points,” he says. “I stayed with this pattern the whole tournament and never put down a topwater. That is the only reason I won, because if I ever put it down, I felt like I was not in contention to catch a big one. Any fish I caught on topwater was likely to be a 3- to 6-pound fish.”

He stayed busy by running about 100 main-lake points each day and would go between one and a half to two hours between bites.

“This is one of my favorite lakes. I love the lake, and it sets up really well for me,” Goodwin told the crowd at weigh-in. “I love to fish topwater and move really fast, and today it paid off for me.”


Fitzpatrick Relies Mostly on Clear Water, Topwater for Second

Roger Fitzpatrick of Eldon, Mo., weighed in one of only three five-bass limits on the final day. His 16-pound, 1-ounce limit was the heaviest stringer that day as well, pushing his three-day total of 12 bass to 41-13. Fitzpatrick earned a second-place finish worth $5,000.

Fitzpatrick keyed on the main-lake area from the Grand Glaize Bridge to the Gravois arm, and fished up in the Gravois, for the entire tournament.

“Most of my better fish came from the Gravois,” he says. “The water was clearer up there.”

On day one, Fitzpatrick presented a five-bass limit at the scale weighing 17-14. He had a limit by 10:30, and all of his fish came on a buzzbait.

On day two, Fitzpatrick struggled, bringing just two bass to the scale weighing 7-14. He dropped to eighth place.

“I caught one fish on the second day that weighed about 5 pounds on an Omega Structure Jig. The other came on topwater,” he says.

On the final day of competition, Fitzpatrick switched back to topwater full time and made a big charge up the leaderboard.


McDuffie Fishes Docks, Winds Buzzbait for Third

Leroy McDuffie of McLeansboro, Ill., took third place with a three-day total of 13 bass weighing 39 pounds, 3 ounces. The finish earned him $4,000.

McDuffie says he had never been on Lake of the Ozarks prior to practicing for this tournament.

“I didn’t think I had a snowball’s chance to do any good,” he admits.

Flipping docks near the Hurricane Deck Bridge in practice ended up turning around McDuffie’s luck.

“I flipped the same set of docks every day and caught a few of my fish around these docks,” he says. “I had a horrible practice, but I caught three keepers on this set of docks, so I stuck with it every morning.

“When the bite slowed around the docks, I moved to the backs of pockets that held shad,” he continues. “I don’t know much about this lake, but I know in the fall bass will follow shad.”

In the backs of the pockets he used a black buzzbait to catch the majority of his fish.


Barnard Wins Co-angler Title

Co-angler Bryan Barnard of Harrison, Ark., started day three in 10th place, nearly 7 pounds behind the leader. But on the final day, he caught a five-bass limit weighing 10 pounds, 7 ounces and vaulted up the leaderboard and into first place. The victory earned him a new Ranger bass boat and secured his place to compete in the Walmart BFL All-American.

Barnard reports that all three days presented him with tough conditions, and bites were few and far between. He says his most effective technique was throwing a buzzbait and Whopper Plopper, and when things got real tough, he fished soft-plastic jerkbaits around the front ends of boat docks to catch a few keepers. Barnard stuck with these techniques all three days of the tournament.

“The quality fish I caught all came on topwater regardless of the area of the lake,” he says. “I have fished every direction on this lake, from the dam area to the upper Osage River area. The most productive areas all had shad close by.”


Click here for complete results.


All-American Qualifiers

The Lake of the Ozarks Regional featured the top anglers from the Cowboy, Okie, Arkie and Illini divisions. The top six boaters and co-anglers qualified to compete in the 2016 Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American, which is a televised event with a six-figure payday and a boater berth in the Forrest Wood Cup on the line.

Here are the qualifiers.



1. Shonn Goodwin, Moore, Okla.

2. Roger Fitzpatrick, Eldon, Mo.                  

3. Leroy McDuffie, McLeansboro, Ill.

4. Derek Jenkel, Pinckneyville, Ill.                

5. Chris McCall, Brookeland, Texas  

6. Andre Dickneite, Freeburg, Mo.



1. Bryan Barnard, Harrison, Ark.

2. Jamie Eynard, Holts Summit, Mo.

3. Matt Duvall, Atkins, Ark. 

4. Steven Dowty, Claremore, Okla.               

5. Cody Glaze, Bald Knob, Ark.                   

6. Randy Pewthers, Pearland, Texas