Casey Martin Takes the Lead at Chickamauga FLW Tour Tournament, Morgan is FLW Angler of the Year!
Even though there was a 2-hour delay to the start of the tournament Saturday morning due to fog, the anglers fishing FLW Tour event on Lake Chickamauga out of Dayton, Tennessee produced some fat limits. Topping them all was New Hope, Alabama pro Casey Martin who whacked a 27-pound limit today for a two-day total of 49 pounds 15 ounces. His near 5-pound average per bass over two days thrust him into the top spot heading into Saturday. Just over 7 pounds behind Martin is the legendary pro Larry Nixon from Bee Branch, Arkansas. Nixon popped a 22 pound 8 ounce limit to propel his two-day total to 42 pounds 6 ounces.
Rounding out the Top 5 are Michael Neal from Dayton, Tennessee with 40 pounds 4 ounces, Luke Clausen of Spokane, Washington weighing 39 pounds 11 ounces and Clark Wendlandt from Leander, Texas with 39 pounds 9 ounces.
Martin had fun.
"I love fishing the TVA lakes," said Martin. "I just wanted to have fun. Fishing Chickamauga is fun. The community is great and so are the people here. "It was a crazy day. I don't know why everything went right. When I arrived at my first spot, there were four boats on my spot. When I started fishing, I seemed to catch them on every cast. It seemed like everywhere I went, I caught them."
Martin said that he caught a limit on a Picasso School-E-Rig at his first area. For the rest of the day, he said he alternated between a Ozark Special-colored three quarter ounce Omega Custom Tackle Football Head jig and a Strike King Lures Sexy Blue Back Herring-colored 10XD crankbait.
"They will only bite the School-E-Rig at my first spot," Martin continued. "I caught around 17 pounds, and then I went to my second area. I caught a 6- and 7-pounder right away and got out of there. I'm going to try to save them for Sunday, if I make it. I haven't seen anyone else fishing it, so we'll see.
"When I made the cut at Okeechobee, I was star struck and just happy to be in the top 20," Martin went on to say. "Now that I've bombed a few times, I want to win."
Martin is the star of FLW's Internet reality show "Circuit Breaker" which can be viewed at FLW's YouTube channel. "Circuit Breaker" follows Martin at every FLW Tour stop and documents the rookie's ups and downs during his first season fishing the FLW Tour.
Chevy equals good luck for Nixon.
"I believe Chevy Opens are good luck for me," said Nixon. "This event is a Chevy Open and the last event I won on Lake St. Clair was a Chevy Open. There must be something about it.
"Yesterday I really didn't know what I had going on the spot I was fishing. I believe I figured it out today. Now I think I've got the lock on it."
Neal could've had more.
"They are mean fish here," said Neal. "I had one big fish and I lost another good one right at the boat."
Neal weighed in a fat 6-pound 5-ounce largemouth for his big fish today.
"It was a grind for me today," said Clausen. "I had zero fish at 1 PM. The fog delay this morning really hurt the shallow bite. I did a lot of running around and I finally found them."
Wendlandt bagged bigger bass.
"The fog delay didn't hurt the size of fish I caught," said Wendlandt. "I didn't catch as many bass today, just bigger ones. I left the area where I was catching the fish. I'll have to wait and see if they are there tomorrow."
Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., wrapped up his season-long quest for the Angler of the Year title in front of his hometown crowd on Friday. By advancing in the top-20 to the third day of competition, Morgan clinched the first Angler of the Year title of his career after finishing in the top 10 in each of the last seven FLW Tour seasons. Morgan, who received $100,000 for the title, also will receive an automatic berth into the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup.
Drew Benton of Panama City, Fla., was awarded the 2013 FLW Tour Rookie of the Year award Friday, which is awarded to the rookie pro angler who finishes the season with the highest point total.
The top 20 pros that will fish Saturday on Lake Chickamauga are:
1st: Casey Martin, New Market, Ala., 10 bass, 49-15
2nd: Chevy pro Larry Nixon, Bee Branch, Ark., 10 bass, 42-6
3rd: Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., 10 bass, 40-4
4th: Chevy pro Luke Clausen, Spokane, Wash., 10 bass, 39-11
5th: Clark Wendlandt, Leander, Texas, 10 bass, 39-9
6th: Walmart pro Wesley Strader, Spring City, Tenn., 10 bass, 38-13
7th: Cheez-It pro Shinichi Fukae, Palestine, Texas, 10 bass, 38-13
8th: Dan Morehead, Paducah, Ky., 10 bass, 36-6
9th: Todd Auten, Lake Wylie, S.C., 10 bass, 35-11
10th: John Voyles, Petersburg, Ind., 10 bass, 35-4
11th: Ray Meredith, Smiths Grove, Ky., 10 bass, 35-3
12th: Rayovac pro Jason Christie, Park Hill, Okla., 10 bass, 35-1
13th: Tom Redington, Royse City, Texas, 10 bass, 35-0
14th: Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 10 bass, 34-11
15th: Scott Martin, Clewiston, Fla., 10 bass, 34-7
16th: Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., 10 bass, 34-5
17th: M&M’s pro Jim Moynagh, Carver, Minn., 10 bass, 33-13
18th: Cody Meyer, Auburn, Calif., 10 bass, 33-10
19th: Ken Golub, Pittsford, N.Y., 10 bass, 33-9
20th: Matt Arey, Shelby, N.C., 10 bass, 33-9
Story by: Dave Landahl, OutdoorsFIRST Media