After many attempts to crack the final day roster at an FLW Tour event, Ishama Monroe finally achieved his goal – netting a total three-day catch of 42 pounds, 2 ounces to grab the fifth and final qualifying spot heading into the finals.

“I really wanted to make the top five,” said Monroe. “I always wanted to make the top 10 and I finally did it at Lake Norman. But then you guys changed (the format) to the top five. So it’s a good feeling to finally make it.”

Monroe said that he’s using a Paycheck Bait Repo Man top-water and Snag Proof Phat Frog to land the majority of his catch. He said that he’s targeting schooling post-spawn bass and that most of his catch is coming in 2 feet of water or less.

“The shade has been the whole key,” said Monroe. “I’ve been fishing pockets, the whole pocket, because the bass are staging all over the place.

“I actually should be in a better position than I am,” Monroe continued. “Yesterday I had an opportunity for 20 pounds. And I lost a 5-pounder this morning. But overall I feel pretty good.”

Day four of FLW Tour competition on Lake Ouachita resumes during tomorrow’s takeoff, scheduled to take place at 6:30 a.m. at the Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa, located at 994 Mountain Harbor Road in Mount Ida, Ark.

Prior to today, Monroe had won a Stren, a Western FLW Series and two BFLS, but he'd never made an FLW Tour cut over the 2 1/2 years he fished the Tour. That changed today when he made the cut in 5th.

"Yeah, I finally made one on the Tour side," he said. "This is my third year fishing the tour – basically my 15th event. My run with FLW has been pretty strong – I think in 60 tournaments I've had like 18 Top 10s with four wins and $450,000 in winnings – but it feels good to make it on the Tour." Complete Story

FLW Outdoors
Two-tour pro Ish Monoe is "okay" with his finish, simply because it shows he's back on track. He had a disastrous home-state campaign the past few weeks with BASS's California swing, but a 7th-place finish here put him back on the right path. And he did it on a single day of practice.

"I told my co-angler today that I think I used up all my luck in '06," he said. "That year I qualified for both championships by one place and won two tournaments. I just think I used it all up.

"A good example is today. I got snagged on a stump and I was trying to pop it off and it wouldn't come. I moved up and looked down and a 4- or 5-pounder was staring at my crank. It I'd had any luck, the crank would have popped off and the fish would have smacked it.

"But I'm okay with the finish because like I said, I knew my mindset in California was wrong, and this has got me back into the mindset of not fishing one event, but a whole season. Championships are what's most important, and you can't win championships if you're not in them." Read More

FLW Outdoors
California two-tour pro Ish Monroe was a favorite to win one of the two California Elite Series events the past 2 weeks. Instead he imploded and posted finishes of 49th and 75th (no checks).

That messed with his head real bad, he said, and it took a long cross-country trip to chase it out.

"My head was real messed up. My good buddy Aaron Coleman rode back with me, and having that 38-hour drive gave me time to clear it out. Aaron asked me what happened in California. I told him I had areas where I knew I could be consistent, but I didn't go to those areas. I was fishing with a different mindset – I was fishing for big ones and trying to win an event and break records. I didn't have that focus you need to fish a full tour. Now that I'm back here, I have that mindset now." Read More

Some people who've seen Ish Monroe recently for the first time in awhile have had a hard time recognizing him. His physique has been transformed from one reminiscent of a nose tackle to more of an outside linebacker look.

The Californian has been on a strict diet and workout regimen since early November and he's dropped 23 pounds. He didn't wear a tournament jersey during his seminars at the recent Sacramento edition of The Bass University because the ones he has would've have hung over his slimmed-down frame like the skirt on a mop jig.

"I told (the producer of his jerseys) that at some point this year I'm going to want a tight muscle shirt with all the same sponsor logos," he said. "And I'm not going to have anything hanging out on the sides. Read More