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Dock Talk

Welcome to BassFan's Dock Talk section, where you will see brief, newsworthy items that for one reason or another can't be made into full-blown news articles. Despite the name, and in keeping with BassFan's editorial policy, every effort will be made to avoid publishing outright rumors.

More dock talk articles

  • Murray's 3rds

    Murray's 3rds

    Take a look at John Murray's record this year and one thing immediately jumps out – back-to-back 3rds this summer in New York. The first was at the Erie/Niagara Bassmaster Elite Series, the second came the next week (and a few hours down the road) at the Memorial Major at Lake Oneida. Notable too is that he made five of 13 Top 12 cuts so far this season.

    About his back-to-back 3rds, he said: "I think the biggest thing was, going into New York, I felt like I had to have good finishes to solidify myself for a good year, and to make sure I get into the (Bassmaster) Classic. I did plenty of research and got lots of background information on the lakes. And I had experience on Oneida from the year before.

    "I just think it was the effort," he added. "I spent some hard time in practice on Erie particularly and really found a lot of spots. For me, it all just kind of came together. Sometimes you work hard and nothing happens. That time, I worked hard and it did."

  • Good rods, good value

    Today on The Bass Buzz we take a look at the new Berkley Tactix series of rods – pretty serious rods without a serious price. Click "The Bass Buzz" above to read the article.

  • Watch the Waker

    Is it a buzzbait or is it a crankbait? Good question. The Mann's Waker Elite Series is actually sort of both, and will help you put more fish in the boat. To take a look at this killer new bait, click here.

  • Two kids, two trails

    Californian Robert Faaborg enjoys fishing bass tournaments with his two sons. But since all three can't fish together in the same events, he competes on a different trail with each boy, and both teams qualified for their respective championship tournaments this year.

    For more, click here to visit the BassFan Army site.

  • Hawkes 2nd in F&S event

    Texas FLW Tour angler Mike Hawkes took 2nd place in the 2007 Field & Stream Total Outdoorsman Challenge. The finals were held last weekend in Springfield, Mo.

    Hawkes, who works as a hunting and fishing guide during the off season, finished behind two-time champion Paul Garrett Thompson, a fly fishing and hunting guide from North Carolina. There were 16 competitors from around the country in the finals.

    The competition tested the participants' acumen in seven outdoor skills – fly fishing, baitcasting, air rifle, shotgun, endurance, archery and ATV handling. Versus will air highlights of the event in three 1-hour shows during September and October, with the first segment set to debut Sept. 9.

    Hawkes won three events – fly fishing, air rifle and endurance. He was 2nd in baitcasting and ATV handling.

    "I had a great time," he said. "I lost the whole thing because I can't shoot a shotgun. I run probably the biggest dove-hunting operation in the state of Texas, and I don't own one. But I'm going to go out and buy one tomorrow so I can practice for next year.

    "And not winning the baitcasting was ridiculous. That was a 'gimme.'''

    For more, including photos and competitor bios, click here.

  • Reese loses ground

    The BassFan World Rankings presented by Tru-Tungsten were recently updated to reflect the Bassmaster Legends Major. The biggest news is that a 3rd-place finish at the Legends helped Kevin VanDam re-extend his lead over 2nd-ranked Skeet Reese.

    To view the updated Rankings, along with notes on significant movement, click here.

  • Ray's personal best

    Ray Scott recently caught a 13-09, which was his personal best. It triggered within him a rush of emotions, then recollections, and he writes about it in a new Scott On-Line. To read Ray's latest column, click here.

  • Norman revisited

    Skipping swimbaits under docks anyone? Today on The Bass Buzz Jay Yelas talks about how he caught the fish that landed him 2nd at this year's Lake Norman FLW Tour event. Click "The Bass Buzz" above to read it.

  • Recon: Champlain

    New Jersey pro Pete Gluszek won last September's northern Stren Series tourney on Lake Champlain. This year he's fishing the FLW Series there – and tells us how he's approaching the lake for this week's Bass Recon article on BassFanArmy.com. Click here to read it.

  • LMBV found in Winnipesaukee

    The New Hampshire Fish and Game Dept. (FGD) reported today that regular testing has detected largemouth bass virus (LMBV) in Lake Winnipesaukee smallmouths. Testing since 2006 had not previously detected LMBV in New Hampshire waters.

    "Finding largemouth bass virus in smallmouth bass is not surprising, as this virus is known to be carried by other fish such as smallmouth bass, pickerel and some sunfish species," noted FGD pathologist Dr. Joel Bader. "As we continue to test more bass from Lake Winnipesaukee, it's likely that we'll find largemouth bass virus in largemouth bass, as well."

    Presence of the virus in a fish population does not necessarily mean fish will develop LMBV disease. Most fish carrying largemouth bass virus appear completely normal, but largemouth bass kills sometimes result in waters that test positive for LMBV.

    FGD biologist and warmwater project leader Gabe Gries said: "Based on the information we have about the virus, it's unlikely that largemouth bass virus poses a serious threat to the long-term health of New Hampshire's bass resources. However, because the virus can sometimes kill or negatively impact largemouth bass and can be spread or influenced by anglers, it's important to test fish to learn where the virus is present in New Hampshire, inform anglers about the virus, and try to minimize its spread."

    Gries added: "It's of the utmost importance for anglers to help keep this virus from spreading by cleaning their equipment after use and by not transferring fish, including baitfish, from one waterbody to another."

  • What Morgenthaler learned

    What Morgenthaler learned

    FLW Tour pro Chad Morgenthaler cut his tournament teeth on some of the ultra-tough fisheries in Illinois – places where it's common to be the third or fourth boat to a bush or tree. It's interesting that he said Lake Ouachita, where he fished the 2007 Forrest Wood Cup, shared a lot of traits with the fisheries he grew up on. Not in terms of size, but in the way it fished. The lake was tough, and the fish temperamental. He sacked 9 pounds on day 1 of the Cup and was just 2 pounds in back of the cut, but then faded with a 6-pound day 2 and finished 24th.

    About his Ouachita experience – specifically, what he learned at the event – he said: "I guess I took away the confidence of knowing that in those tough conditions, I was able to find enough fish to do very well. It sure was a lot like Illinois fishing. I just didn't capitalize on the bites I got. I learned a lot about focus too. Under those extreme conditions, with the heat and the very few bites you got per day, I had to train myself mentally to stay fired-up and focused. I just kept telling myself that a million dollars was at stake."

  • Duckett's bucket

    Sure, Scott Suggs is guaranteed to be the big winner this year. He pocketed $1 million at the Forrest Wood Cup. But Boyd Duckett's bottom line is pretty healthy too. He banked $500,000 in February at the Bassmaster Classic, then another $250,000 yesterday at the Bassmaster Legends Major. All told, Duckett's winnings bucket this year totals $834,000. That's not too far from $1 million.

    To check out BassFan's Money Rankings for the current tour season, click here. Note the pull-down menu at the top of the Money Rankings, which allows you to tweak the display, as well as the column headings, all of which can be clicked to re-sort the display.

  • Erie's shallow secrets

    It wasn't surprising that Mike Trombly won the recent Detroit River Northern Stren. He's a stud in those parts. What's surprising, though, is that he did it all shallow. For the details of his winning pattern, click here to visit BassFanArmy.com.

  • FLW climbers

    The 2007 FLW Tour season is of course over, but FLW Tour pros will continue to move up and down in the BassFan World Rankings presented by Tru-Tungsten based on the movement of BASS pros.

    The Rankings will be updated soon to reflect yesterday's Bassmaster Legends Major, but in the interim, here's a brief glimpse at some of the FLW Tour pros inside the Top 50 in the world who climbed significantly this season. Movement is noted by position prior to start of season, followed by current position.

    > Shinichi Fukae -- 11th to 4th
    > Andy Morgan -- 15th to 7th
    > David Dudley -- 25th to 9th
    > Jay Yelas -- 27th to 10th
    > Mark Davis -- 92nd to 18th
    > Gabe Bolivar -- 240th to 19th
    > Darrel Robertson -- 50th to 29th
    > Clark Wendlandt -- 40th to 32nd
    > Brent Ehrler -- 102nd to 38th
    > Katsutoshi Furusawa -- 124th to 41st
    > Jacob Powroznik -- 88th to 42nd
    > Chris Baumgardner -- 135th to 43rd

  • Clausen sidelined

    Clausen sidelined

    Luke Clausen's season ended prematurely a few weeks ago when he underwent surgery to repair a damaged tendon in his right elbow. The former Bassmaster Classic and FLW championship winner will miss the final Eastern and Western FLW Series events of the season, but is confident his elbow will be in great shape for the start of the 2008 season.

    About the surgery, which was performed 2 weeks ago in Spokane, Wash., he said: "They cut and reattached the tendon on my elbow. It was fraying off the bone. It was basically a case of severe tennis elbow. I'll be laid up for the rest of the fall. I'll be at the (FLW) Series tournaments for my sponsors, but I won't be able to fish them."

    Notable too is he said the injury affected his fishing this season. He was often forced into using a spinning rod because flipping was too painful.

    More on that, plus details on the injury and his thoughts about next year will be published in an upcoming Tour Insider feature on BassFan.

  • Master the Chatter

    Bryan Thrift has made a lot of noise the past few years. After three Stren wins in 2 years (two as a co-angler, one as a pro), he went on this year to finish 5th at the Forrest Wood Cup. He accomplished a lot of that with a ChatterBait. In fact, he's one of the guys most credited with the bait's breakout.

    In the newest BassFan Pro Fishing Tip, Thrift talks about the ChatterBait – specific instances when it's deadly, and the different ways he fishes it. For more, click here.

  • Baseball/boat winner

    Baseball/boat winner

    The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation recently announced the winner of its national Take Me Fishing contest. The lucky guy of the contest, which was held in conjunction with Triple-A Baseball, was George Hans of Ankeny, Iowa. Hans, 74, was presented with the grand prize – a fully equipped, 17-foot Triton VT 17 bass boat powered by Mercury.

    "I was completely in shock when they told me," said Hans, a Des Moines-area resident for the past three decades and a professional truck driver for more than 40 years. "Although I'm not a big angler, it looks like I'll be doing a lot more fishing."

    Hans entered the contest at an Iowa Cubs game earlier this season. He was randomly selected from nearly 20,000 entries.

  • Radio: all via podcast

    Radio: all via podcast

    This is just a quick note to let BassFans know they can now receive every new BassFan Radio program via podcast. This includes BassFan Radio with Terry Brown, BassFan Radio Today, plus Legends and Tipped Off episodes.

    To subscribe to the podcasts, or the podcast RSS feed, click here.

    If you already know all about podcasting, you can stop reading here. If you don't, here's the scoop.

    Podcasting works just like a subscription – you sign up, and your audio player automatically searches for new episodes. When it finds one, it downloads it in the background. The advantage is you then have the BassFan Radio episode on your computer, which means you can listen to it there, or burn it to CD then play it in the truck. You can also move it to your MP3 player. It's a heck of a lot better than listening to the streaming broadcast.

    To sign up for the BassFan Radio podcast, you'll need an audio player that supports podcasting. Apple's iTunes is one of many examples. (To download iTunes, click here.)

    Note that just because you sign up for the BassFan Radio podcast series, it doesn't mean you'll suddenly be flooded with data. You can adjust your media player's preferences in various ways. For example, you could set your preferences to download only those episodes you choose.

    BassFan Radio podcasts are also available through the iTunes Music Store, which is accessed through the iTunes application.

    Happy listening.

  • 'Hot' tips on radio

    The latest installment of BassFan Radio with Terry Brown features Joe Crosby of Sworming Hornet Lures, who gives up some tips on how to boat fish in extreme summertime heat. The show is also playing on InshoreFan Radio. To listen, click here.

  • Our Revenge test

    Have you checked out Revenge spinnerbaits – specifically, the compact Deep Runners? They're pretty hot in tournament circles right now, and the BassFan Staff recently tested the 1/2-ounce tandem-willow model. For the results of that test, click here.

  • Putin's fishing trip

    Putin's fishing trip

    For the second time in the past month and a half, Russian President Vladimir Putin and fishing have made the news. First it was his fishing trip with President Bush and former president George Bush, Sr. More recently, it was a boat trip with Prince Albert II of Monaco down the Yenisei River. Check out the photo – that's a grayling.

  • Hornet-vision

    Here's a timely YouTube segment. Anglers all over the country are chasing "schoolies" right now, and one of the best ways to catch 'em is with Sworming Hornet's line of baits. Check out the video.

  • Faircloth's teens

    Faircloth's teens

    Todd Faircloth's 9th-place standing in the Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of the Year (AOY) race is proof that he's had a consistently solid season. He's been ridiculously consistent since summer began.

    In the last four regular-season events, the Texan has finished 17th, 14th, 16th and 16th.

    "I really can't explain why it's been like that, but it's been good and kind of upsetting at the same time," he said. "That's four straight finishes right outside the Top 12.

    "In one way, I'm happy with the Top 20s. But in another way, I'm a little disappointed."

    He said he was on good enough fish to make the Top 12 in two of those events. In the other two, his finishes were higher than he'd anticipated.

    "At Champlain, I definitely felt I should have made the cut, but I managed my time real poorly," he said. "I got worried about the wind and afraid I wouldn't be able to get back in time (from Ticonderoga, and the southern end of the lake), and I ended up getting back an hour and a half early.

    "I did better than I expected to at the Potomac, but after the second day I ran out of fish. I had to just go fishing on the third day."

    With his 2008 Classic berth all but in the bag, he might take a few more chances in the final Elite event next month at Toho. The same goes for the week's Legends Major at Dardanelle.

    "Both of those are kind of freebies for me, and I'll probably fish with a little bit different mindset. As I'm accumulating points through the season, my main goal is to catch a limit every day.

    "At these tournaments, I'll concentrate on fishing where I think the potential to win is."

  • Frog contest winner

    The BassFan Army's "It's Frog Time" contest is officially a wrap, and the winner is Brad Patterson of Bryant, Ark. He correctly identified our two past Weekend Warrior Championship winners and was drawn from the list of correct entries.

    For the record, the correct answers were Marty Sisk (2005) at Eagle Mt. Lake in Texas, and Rick LaPoint (2007) at Guntersville, Ala.

    Congratulations Brad! Your prize package, which includes the following, will be on the way soon.

    > Three Spro Dean Rojas BronzeyeFrogs in rainforest black
    > Three Spro Dean Rojas BronzeyeFrog Jrs. in natural red
    > One bag of Zipper's new Lump N Legs in white
    > One Snag Proof Pro T-Frog in wild bullfrog
    > One Snag Proof Bleeding Frog in chartreuse
    > One Snag Proof Bobby's Perfect Frog in green
    > One Snag Proof Moss Master Tournament Frog in pumpkinseed
    > One bag of Kicker Fish Bait Co. Xplodin' Toads in watermelon-red/pearl

    Thanks to all those who participated in the contest, and keep an eye out – a new contest will be announced shortly.

    Not a BassFan Army member yet? Click here to sign up for FREE lifetime membership, which makes you eligible for many free programs, including giveaways, contests and qualifying for the Weekend Warrior Championship.

  • Recon: Fork

    Bassmaster Elite Series pro James Niggemeyer had to re-embrace his California roots to do well in tournaments on Texas' Lake Fork. So he's a good person to give a little advice on the upcoming Media Bass tournament there. Read what he says here on the Bass Recon section on BassFanArmy.com.

  • B. Hite on Cup

    B. Hite on Cup

    Western BassFans likely watched this year as Arizona's Brett Hite returned to pro fishing. He'd fished the Bassmaster Tour for 4 consecutive years, but opted out of the Elite Series in 2006. During the interim, he fished western events and rebranded from Triton to Ranger and from Mercury to Evinrude. This year, he re-entered tour-level competition on the FLW Tour.

    He's known for his deep-water and dropshot skills, which made him one to watch at Ouachita for the Forrest Wood Cup. But he opened with a pretty miserable three-fish day 1. He then rebounded with 12-14 on day 2, which was the fifth-heaviest limit that day. It wasn't enough though and he finished 15th – about 3 pounds in back of the cut.

    So two more fish on day 1 would have probably put him inside the Top 10, and his big sack on day 2 probably shows more of what he's capable of in a tough, clear-water bite.

    "I (was) a little disappointed," he said of his Cup finish. "I was on some pretty good fish – a structure bite, worm fishing, which is how I like to fish. I don't know, I didn't get around them that first day. I kind of ran the same pattern (on day 2) and ended up catching a 4-pounder, and a nice 3-pounder. I thought I'd be able to catch 10 to 14 pounds a day, which is what I'd been getting in practice. Missing the cut was definitely disappointing."

    Also notable was he felt it was an accomplishment to make the Cup during his first year fishing the FLW Tour, although he added: "It's not like I'm a rookie fisherman. I should pretty much expect to do that with how many years of experience I have. But it was a great deal to get there – to make the championship in my first year – and hopefully with the (Western FLW) Series I'll make next year's."

  • Fowler's Divisional pattern

    Michigan angler Don Fowler won the recent BASS Federation Nation Northern Divisional at Lake Erie. His location was key, but just as important was his dropshot technique, which was a lift-and-drop, rather than a shake. For the full details of his winning pattern, plus final standings, click here to visit BassFanArmy.com.

  • Ashley = angler + artist

    Ashley = angler + artist

    BASS reported an interesting development yesterday: Elite Series rookie Casey Ashley has been asked to contribute to a new country music compilation of fishing songs.

    "I don't know when it'll fall together," Ashley said of project, which will be produced in Nashville, Tenn. "I don't know much about it yet, except that one of the other contributors won the Nashville Star (contest) this year."

    Ashley has sung the National Anthem at two Elite Series events this year. About his penchant for vocals, he noted: "I've been singing all my life, but fishing's what I have my eye on now."

  • Hite out of Legends

    Davy Hite told BassFan today that he has withdrawn from the Bassmaster Legends Major at Arkansas' Lake Dardanelle due to a family issue back home in South Carolina. He informed BASS tournament director Trip Weldon of his decision to pull out this morning.

    "I need to go home and be with my family," he said. "It was a very tough decision, especially since I won here last time, but I felt that I needed to be at home the next few days, for sure."

    He chose not to elaborate on the situation, but said he'll definitely compete in the Elite Series finale at Toho next month.

    He won the last time the Bassmaster Tour visited Dardanelle – an Elite 50 in 2005.

    "Having won there, that made it extra-tough. This is the first time (in my pro career) that something came up where I really felt I needed to leave.

    "Family comes first, and it has to be something really important to make me do what I did. But there'll be another tournament in a couple of weeks, and I'll be there."

  • Radio: fish survival

    Now playing on BassFan Radio with Terry Brown, Dennis Clark of O2 Marine Technologies talks about the latest in livewell technology, and how it can help you keep your bass alive. To listen, click here.

  • Save your eyes (and $)

    For the next 2 weeks, BassFan Army members can get the same sunglasses worn by Mike Auten, Joe Thomas, and Edwin Evers for $10.00 off the regular retail price of $49.99. These shades feature top-of-the-line AES CR 39 lenses. They offer high-quality, low-cost sun protection, and they look darn cool.

    You must be a BassFan Army member to receive the discount, and you can order the sunglasses direct by visiting AESOutdoors.com. To receive the discount, type BFArmy in the coupon code field when ordering.

  • Roland to Nitro?

    Roland to Nitro?

    Although unconfirmed, it looks like Roland Martin will be switching from Triton to Nitro and Mako for the 2008 season. Rumors are rampant about the deal, which would bring Martin more fully under the Bass Pro Shops umbrella. Bass Pro this year became the title sponsor of his Fishing with Roland Martin TV show, and since Bass Pro owns Tracker Marine (and Tracker's Nitro and Mako brands), the move probably made sense.

    Both Walt Reynolds, who's marketing director of Roland Martin Productions, and Triton pro-staff manager Jeff Rashid, declined to confirm or comment on the rumored switch, but did state that Martin is under contract with Triton through the 2007 calendar year.

    Tracker Marine could not be reached for comment before this Dock Talk item was published.

  • Taming the Monster

    Noticed the recent tournament trend back toward big worms? They've played a big role in events all summer long. In that spirit, the BassFan staff recently tested a classic – the Zoom Ole Monster. For the results, click here.

  • Hawkes a finalist

    Hawkes a finalist

    Texas FLW Tour angler Mike Hawkes is among the 16 finalists in the 2007 Field and Stream Total Outdoorsman Challenge. The finals will take place this Friday and Saturday (Aug. 24-25) in Springfield, Mo.

    The competition consists of seven events – flycasting, baitcasting, air rifle, shotgun, archery, ATV handling and endurance. The competitor with the best combined score will win $25,000 in cash and prizes, including a new Artic Cat 700 EFI 4x4 Automatic ATV. The national championship carries a total purse of $38,000, with all 16 competitors receiving a cash prize.

    The 48-year-old Hawkes qualified for the finals by winning a regional event in Nashville, Tenn. in May. During the offseason, he works as a fishing and hunting guide in Texas and Mexico.

    The competition will be broadcast on Versus in three half-hour shows, each of which will be aired several times. The first installment will be shown Sept. 9 at 2 p.m. EST.

    Sean Hoernke, another Texas FLW Tour pro who competed in the Total Outdoorsman Challenge last year, is serving as the emcee this year. For more about the competition, click here

  • The long dropshot

    Today Erie stick Joe Balog tells how he fishes long dropshots in huge waves on the big lake, and how he's experimenting with stroking a dropshot. Neat stuff. Read about it only on The Bass Buzz – helpin' you catch more fish!

  • Tending to business

    The marketing of professional anglers is becoming a big business, and Professional Fishing Management's J.D. Blackburn knows it. In a new BassFan Radio interview with Terry Brown, he talks about what he's doing to help anglers reach their goals. To listen, click here.

  • Grigsby's sun shield

    Grigsby's sun shield

    BassFans who've seen Shaw Grigsby, Jr. fishing this year likely noticed his protective head covering. The full headscarf looks a little strange at first, but when you learn more about it, it's darn cool.

    He said: "It's a mask that almost all the saltwater guys wear now. And if you remember what they wore on Survivor, it's the same deal. It's extremely comfortable, it protects you from harmful rays, and it's not hot at all. In fact, it's amazing how cool it keeps you. And when you pull it off at the end of the day, you feel like a million bucks."

    He said he knows of two companies that make such a product, and he uses both. One's company's Buff, and the other Had.

    Grigsby also noted:

    > "Our new shirts have a lower collar, and this really protects your neck."

    > "It also protects your ears, which is one place a lot of anglers forget to apply sunscreen. I'm not talking about on top of the ears, but inside. I've known a few people who've had cancers removed inside their ear."

    > "If you're out in the sun like we are, making sure you're protected is the most important thing. I wear long sleeves, long pants, and also sun gloves that protect everything but my fingers."

    To check out some of the Buff products, click here to view the company's on-line catalog.

  • Biffle's road

    Bassmaster Elite Series stalwart Tommy Biffle talks about "going against the grain" to gain success as a pro in a new BassFan Radio interview with Terry Brown. To listen, click here.

  • Remitz with massive lead

    The BassFan Rookie of the Year (ROY) Race has been updated to reflect the recent Potomac River Bassmaster Elite Series. After a 19th-place finish there, Derek Remitz has pulled even further ahead of the pack, and now leads the Rookie Race by about 30 points. He's all but a lock to win the title.

    To view the updated standings, click here.

    Note that BassFan's ROY award recognizes the best true rookie in fishing, and incorporates both Bassmaster Elite Series and FLW Tour finishes. In order to be considered a true rookie, an angler must not have fished a tour-level event in previous years (the 2006 FLW Series is considered tour level).

  • Reverse Bug

    Today on The Bass Buzz Berkley bait designer Mark Sexton talks about the development of the Power Sabertail Bug – and why it's imperative that you rig this (and every) bait backwards.

  • Bishop bearing down

    Bishop bearing down

    Who's the biggest threat to chase down leader Andy Morgan in the FLW Series Eastern Division Angler of the Year (AOY) race? It's probably Kevin Bishop.

    Never heard of him, you say? Well, the Hilton, N.Y. angler is 2nd in the points (11 behind Morgan) with finishes of 10th at Dardanelle and 22nd at Okeechobee. And now, after a hiatus of more than 3 1/2 months, the circuit is heading right into his wheelhouse.

    The event at Champlain gets under way Sept. 5. He doesn't fish Champlain all that often – he spends more time on Erie and the Finger Lakes – but he has a sparkling record there. He's compiled two Stren Top 10s (last year and 2002), a BFL victory (2001) and three other BFL Top 10s.

    "It's pretty exciting," said the 40-year-old owner of an industrial painting firm. "It's going to be a slugfest for sure. It might be a couple weeks early for prime time for the smallmouths, but they'll definitely play into the mix.

    "The lake kind of suits my style, but it suits just about anybody's style because you can do whatever you want to do."

    His preferred mode is pulling largemouths out of the slop.

    "I probably should have grown up in Florida because that's what I enjoy the most. That should play big-time in the southern end."

    He was 2nd behind Dave Lefebre in the 2006 Northern Stren points, but he'd never fished a tour-level event prior to this year. He got into the final two FLW Tour regular-season tournaments and finished 158th at the Potomac River and 57th at the Detroit River.

    "I've taken this at kind of a slow pace because of my business, and also because I have an 11-year-old daughter. I've just kind of worked by way up through the BFLs and the Strens.

    "But Jason Knapp and Dave Wolak are both really good friends of mine, and I talk to them almost daily. (Turning pro) is something I'd definitely like to work my way into as time goes on."

    There are some familiar names behind him in the Top 10 on the points list. Bud Pruitt is 3rd, followed by Wesley Strader, Chris Elliott, David Dudley, Andy Montgomery, Scott Martin, Clark Reehm and Jason Knapp.

    The Top 30 in the points will advance to face their Western Division counterparts in a bracketed fish-off. Winners of those head-to-head matches will gain berths in the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup.

  • Pilot grabs NAMG

    It's been a crazy year for outdoor publishing. In summary, Intermedia bought Primedia Outdoors (including In-Fisherman and other properties) and later purchased BassFan. The Bonnier Group of Sweden purchased Outdoor Life and Field & Stream. Now, North American Fisherman is the latest title to shift into the "sold" column.

    It had been known for at least a month, but the news is now official. The Pilot Group has acquired the North American Membership Group (NAMG) – a Minneapolis-based affinity marketing and publishing company that owns and operates North American Fisherman (official publication of the North American Fishing Club) and North American Hunter (official pub of the North American Hunting Club).

    Pilot Group, described as "a brand-focused NY-based private-investment firm," purchased the company from Doughty Hanson. Pilot Group was formed in 2003 by a group of operating executives that included Robert Pittman, who was co-founder of MTV and CEO of MTV Networks, later president and COO of America Online, Co-COO then COO of AOL Time Warner, and CEO of Century 21.

    Other Pilot Group partners include Mayo Stuntz (Blackstone, Six Flag Theme Parks), Howie Lipson (Blackstone, Six Flag Theme Parks), Robert Sherman (NBC-owned radio stations, AOL president of interactive marketing, Time Warner Cable sales chief), and Marshall Cohen (research head for MTV networks, AOL VP of brand marketing and research).

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    NAMG, founded by the Burke family, was first sold to Cendant. Doughty Hanson & Co acquired NAMG in Oct. 1999. NAMG was recapitalized in May 2005.

  • Hear it from Horton

    Bassmaster Elite Series Pro Tim Horton talks with Terry Brown on BassFan Radio about his dominating win at Champlain, fishing with his heroes and the importance of his work with kids and the Professional Anglers Association. To listen, click here.

  • Spro member review

    BassFan Army member Sam Russell of Prattville, Ala. recently tested the Spro Bronzeye65 through the Army's Member Product Test program. To read about his results, click here.

  • Hite high on move

    Hite high on move

    Bass hasn't staged a top-level event at Arkansas' Lake Dardanelle in more than 2 years, and the most recent winner on that venue is anxious to get back. The Legends Major, which was originally scheduled to take place at the Arkansas River for the second straight year, was moved to Dardanelle due to what bass deemed "unsafe conditions" on the river.

    "I've got nothing against the Arkansas River, but when they made that change, it didn't break my heart," said Davy Hite, who won the 2005 Elite 50 at Dardanelle. "It's a different time of year (the E50 took place in May) and the fish will be in a different stage, but success in this sport, like most others, has a lot to do with momentum and confidence and that sort of thing.

    "I always look forward to going back to a place where I've had a win."

    The Top 5 from the '05 E50 will fish the Legends. Mike Iaconelli was the runner-up in that event, followed by Aaron Martens, Rick Clunn and Gary Klein.

    Also, there are a few on the Legends roster with more recent experience at Dardanelle. Rookie Derek Remitz finished 5th at an Eastern FLW Series event there this past spring. Steve Kennedy was 40th, Chris Lane was 91st and Takahiro Omori was 125th.

  • Lane on flipping mats

    How has Bobby Lane done so well on the FLW Tour? Two words: flipping mats. Learn to catch more fish with his tips (like why he shines his weights), featured today on The Bass Buzz.

  • Recon: Truman

    This week veteran tour pro Randy Blaukat gives some insight on this weekend's Central Pro-Am derby on the lake. Read about it here on the Bass Recon section on BassFanArmy.com.

  • Murph on the mic

    Today on BassFan Radio with Terry Brown, FLW Tour pro Michael Murphy talks about his experience in lure design, the importance of his fisheries education, and his new Ima Japan jerkbait. To listen, click here.

  • Jacobs' other water

    Irwin Jacobs is well known for his water-based businesses Genmar Holdings Inc. and FLW Outdoors. But last year he branched into another sort of water business – the bottled kind. A recent story in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune covered Jacobs' purchase of Cole Water Co. – a Peru, Ind. business founded in 1859.

    Jacobs told the Star-Tribune that, because Cole spring water contains about 65mg of calcium per half-liter, "It was almost like finding oil, except that it was water. And not just any water – the healthiest water anywhere. It's something magical. It's almost like you hit the lottery with it."

    Target will reportedly market the water and soon carry it exclusively in many of its stores. A six-pack sells for about $3.29.

  • Hamilton benefit update

    The benefit dinner and tournament for paralyzed angler and industry friend Chris Hamilton is just around the corner. The tournament's scheduled for Sat., August 18 at Paris Landing State Park on Kentucky Lake. The dinner and auction will begin at 2:30 p.m. at nearby Lakewood School. Note that the dinner and auction are open to everyone, not just tournament contestants.

    > More details about the tournament, as well as a list of the items up for auction (which includes hunting products in addition to fishing trips and gear) can be found at www.HelpChrisHamilton.com.

  • Post-Potomac kids event

    Post-Potomac kids event

    This past Sunday, as the Top 12 fished the final day of the Potomac Bassmaster Elite Series, some Elite Series pros who didn't make the cut took time to fish a special fun tournament with 21 novice anglers from Boys & Girls Clubs around the country. The event was co-hosted by BASS and the Future Fisherman Foundation.

    Pros who participated included: Kurt Dove, Steve Kennedy, James Kennedy, Jim Murray, Ben Matsubu, Peter Thliveros, James Charlesworth, Dave Wolak, Rick Morris, and Kevin VanDam.

    The grand-prize-winning team led by Steve Kennedy included Ingrid Camberos and Suzette Martinez from the Boys & Girls Clubs of the South Bay (Calif.), with a total catch of 13-09.

    Notable too is that the Future Fisherman Foundation, which is the angling-education arm of the American Sportfishing Association, is currently in the first year of a partnership with the Department of Justice Law Enforcement and Youth Partnerships for Crime Prevention. The goal of the partnership is to implement a national program that brings fishing and aquatic education to Boys & Girls Clubs across the country through the Future Fisherman Foundation's Hooked on Fishing - Not on Drugs program. Each Club selected its youth participants for this event based on solid leadership, good behavior and demonstrated angling skills.

  • Battle's back for No. 1 rank

    Battle's back for No. 1 rank

    The latest edition of the BassFan World Rankings presented by Tru-Tungsten is now live, and it looks like the battle for the No. 1 spot is back. Prior to last week's Potomac River Bassmaster Elite Series, Kevin VanDam led Skeet Reese in the Rankings by more than 20 points. In fact, VanDam's lead margin the past few months has been the widest ever in the history of the Rankings (dating back to early 2001). But after Reese won the Potomac, he closed that gap to 5 points.

    Some BassFans have written in to question why Reese isn't ranked No. 1, given his hot streak this year. Note that the Rankings are a multi-year, statistical measure. For example, VanDam continues to benefit from his strong start in 2006, when he finished 5th at the Toho Bassmaster Classic, then 6th, 3rd and 4th in three of his next four events. Reese, on the other hand, finished 24th at that Classic, and was Top 5 in just one of his next five events.

    To view the latest edition of the BassFan World Rankings presented by Tru-Tungsten, click here.

  • Rook talks buzz

    Scott Rook's got a lot of good stuff to say about a buzzbait. Key for him is how to dial in a buzzbait bite when things slow down, rather than abandon it. For more of Rook's thoughts on buzzing, click here to read the newest BassFan Pro Fishing Tip.

  • Tabu debut

    Tabu debut

    Remember all the mystery surrounding the Tabu logo on various tournament shirts? Turns out it's a new tackle company formed by five tour pros in order to bring their custom-tweaked baits to market. Tabu pros include Anthony Gagliardi, Matt Herren, Kelly Jordon, Dave Lefebre, and Michael Murphy.

    BassFan spoke with Lefebre, who said the first baits might be available this fall, and the company's still looking to add one more pro from the Bassmaster Elite Series.

    Lefebre also noted: "Tabu means Tackle Approved By Us. The company is the fishermen, and we design all the baits. Everything's tweaked to the max by us. There's no compromise. Everything's exactly the way we want it, and we all have to be in exact agreement on the products before they come out."

    According to Lefebre, the first product launch will be jigs that'll "cover the jig spectrum from top to bottom."

    Dan Davidson serves as the company's sales director.

    For a little more about Tabu, visit TabuTackle.com.

  • Sharp on tech

    Harold Sharp recently submitted a lengthy FeedBack letter in response to the newest BassFan poll. Due to length, it was published as a BassFan Opinion. To read it, click here.

  • More on FLW fantasy

    BassFan previously reported that FLW Outdoors would expand its fantasy fishing program in 2008, with prizes that largely mirror those of the FLW Tour. Below is what FLW Outdoors chairman Irwin Jacobs said about the program while onstage at the recent Forrest Wood Cup.

    Jacobs: "I have a special message to give to you (the Hot Springs audience) and the rest of world out there. Next year, not only will we give $1 million to someone on the stage, we're (also) going to give away $100,000 in every single tournament of the FLW Tour to someone at home, or to you in the audience, and $1 million in cash at the end of the season, at the same time we pay $1 million onstage.

    "Someone who doesn't fish (the Forrest Wood Cup) is going to win a million dollars. All I'll leave you with is, it's going to happen."

    Jacobs added: "We'll be putting out a complete program for next year, either in late October or early November. Everybody's going to want to know, 'What do I have to do?' You don't have to spend a dollar, if you don't want, to win $1 million. Wait to see what happens. I think you'll enjoy it."

  • Global warming worries

    Most anglers and hunters are concerned about global warming, according to a national poll of 2,602 sportsmen and women conducted by AnglerSurvey.com and HunterSurvey.com in July.

    More than half of hunters surveyed (58%) and 66% of anglers reported that they consider global warming to be a threat. Following are the survey questions and the percentage of affirmative responses.

    > Global warming is a threat and is a natural cycle that is accelerated by human activities (hunters 38.1%, anglers 46.1%).

    > Global warming is a threat and is primarily a natural cycle not accelerated by human activities (hunters 13.5%, anglers 10.1%).

    > Global warming is a threat and is fully caused by human activities (hunters 6.6%, anglers 10.2%).

    > Global warming is not an issue. It is being made into an issue by others (hunters 24.0%, anglers 16.1%).

    > I am uncertain if global warming is really happening or not/no opinion (hunters 17.8%, anglers 17.5%).

    HunterSurvey.com and AnglerSurvey.com are monthly online surveys that provide the outdoor industry and policymakers with information on fishing and hunting market trends. For more information, click here.

  • It's frog time!

    Nothing beats the explosion of a bass on a topwater frog, and this is a good time of year to see it happen. Whether you enjoy fishing frogs already or would like to start, we have a new BassFan Army contest that is sure to get you hoppin'.

    We have a prize package of the ultimate fish-catching frogs to stock your tackle box. It consists of:

    > Three Spro Dean Rojas BronzeyeFrogs in rainforest black
    > Three Spro Dean Rojas BronzeyeFrog Jrs. in natural red
    > One bag of Zipper's new Lump N Legs in white
    > One Snag Proof Pro T-Frog in wild bullfrog
    > One Snag Proof Bleeding Frog in chartreuse
    > One Snag Proof Bobby's Perfect Frog in green
    > One Snag Proof Moss Master Tournament Frog in pumpkinseed
    > One bag of Kicker Fish Bait Co. Xplodin' Toads in watermelon-red/pearl

    Okay, so how do you win this package? You have to be a BassFan Army member (lifetime membership is free), and then send us an email with the location and winners' names from the last two BassFan Army Weekend Warrior Championships.

    Send your entry to memberservices@bassfanarmy.com. One winner will be drawn from the correct responses, and the deadline is Aug. 22 at noon CT.

    Not a BassFan Army member yet? Click here to sign up for FREE lifetime membership, which makes you eligible for many free programs, including giveaways, contests and qualifying for the Weekend Warrior Championship.

  • Buckeye winner from Texas

    The lucky winner of the BassFan Army Buckeye Lures Spot Remover contest is Ken Mayfield of Burleson, Texas. He correctly identified two FLW anglers on the Spot Remover pro staff, and his entry was drawn from many others that also contained the correct answers.

    In case you're wondering, Burleson likes to use a watermelon/candy Zoom Finesse Worm or Zoom Baby Brush Hog on his Spot Remover jigheads. For more on Buckeye Lures, click here.

    Thanks to all who participated.

  • Suggs on FSN show

    Forrest Wood Cup winner Scott Suggs is scheduled to appear as a guest on the Fox Sports Net program the Best Damn Sports Show Period on Thursday. The sports and entertainment show, which airs nationwide at 11 p.m., will feature highlights from Suggs’ recent victory at Arkansas' Lake Ouachita, and he'll visit on the set with hosts Chris Rose and John Salley.

    “I never imagined the media attention would be like this,” Suggs said. “The past week has been more thrilling than anything I could have ever imagined. It’s hectic, but I love people, so I’m having a ball.

    "Just the number of calls I’ve received is incredible. Even our state senator stopped in for a visit. It’s truly unbelievable what all is going on as a result of the win.”

  • Get your weather

    Get all (or most) of your weather needs taken care of at OutdoorsFanWeather.com:

    > Get outdoors-related weather fast (on the homepage), without waiting for tons of ads to load (weather.com) or lots of time spent wading through NOAA data.
    > Check out radar and satellite images, also without lots of clicking or waiting for ads to load.

    Also:

    1) Have a web site? Want a weather box on it? Just click here to go to OutdoorsFanWeather.com and grab the code you need. Remember to type in your hometown or zip code at the top of that page or on the OutdoorsFanWeather homepage first.

    2) To see your weather pop up on the homepages of all OutdoorsFan Media sites (BassFan.com, BassFanArmy.com, InshoreFan.com and ShotgunFan.com), just go to OutdoorsFanWeather.com and enter your zip code or hometown. You're done!

  • AOY/Legends list

    Quick note: To view the BASS Angler of the Year standings, updated to reflect today's Potomac Bassmaster Elite Series, click here.

    Also, BASS released its list of Bassmaster Legends Major qualifiers shortly after today's weigh-in. To view the list, click here for today's Potomac coverage, then scroll to the end of the story.

  • A bigger football

    A bigger football

    The football-head jig has been around for decades, but it's really taken off recently as a tournament-winning bait. One of the early innovators of the football-style jig was Missouri-based Jewel Bait Company.

    The company's success has been parlayed into some major tournament wins, most notably by Jewel and BASS Elite pro Mike McClelland. Sizes had ranged from 1/4- and 3/8-ounce in the early days to 1/2- and even 3/4-ounce, but Jewel believes there is a place for an even heavier product and has developed a 1-ounce football-head this year.

    "By announcing the new Jewel Bait Company 1-ounce Football Jig, we believe we have added another dimension to the angler's arsenal," said Jewel sales chief Bryan Head. "It has all the fish-catching qualities of the current Jewel Football Jigs that have been catching fish on tournament trails across the country – it's just heavier."

    The secret to the bigger jig is the new and even sharper black-nickle custom Mustad hook (5/0). It will allow anglers to ply the depths needed to catch those fish that live in the deeper waters of their favorite fishing hole.

    It'll be available in all the popular Jewel Football Jig colors, with a couple of new ones added for 2008. They'll be coming soon to a tackle store near you.

    For more about Jewel, click here.

  • A primer on mono

    At this point, everyone sort of takes monofilament lines for granted – yet new and improved mono lines come out every year. To learn more about the development of mono and how new mono lines get developed now, click here to read the latest article on The Bass Buzz.

  • Premier performance

    The BassFan staff recently had the chance to put Abu Garcia's new Revo Premier to the test, and the results were published today in a Product Review. To read the review, click here.

  • BBZ: Tucker was 'the fuel'

    The Big Bass Zone today takes a moment to remember Tim Tucker – "The Fuel," and a man who could make things happen. Other remembrances of Tucker are forthcoming on BassFan, but this is a good one – Michael Jones knew him (and his work) well. To read the column, click here.

  • Zebco buys 4 lines

    Zebco W.C. Bradley, best known as a rod and reel company, announced today that it has acquired four brands of fishing line from Shakespeare Co. LLC of Columbia, S.C. The brands are Cajun Red, Omniflex, Supreme and Outcast. Details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

    "We are pleased to have this opportunity to enter the fishing-line market," said Zebco president Jeff Pontius. "The acquired business is a small but growing 'beachhead' for us in the line market, and we plan to expand on it over time."

    The transaction is a result of a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) decision. Shakespeare's parent company, K2 Inc., is owned by Jarden Corp., which recently acquired Pure Fishing Inc. Because Pure Fishing already has the leading market position on fishing line with brands like Berkley Trilene, Stren and Spiderwire, the FTC required Shakespeare to sell its fishing-line business.

    "We are excited about the line opportunities," said Bob Bagby, Zebco VP of marketing. "Cajun Red pioneered the idea of red line, which quickly becomes less visible in use since red is the first color absorbed by water. The red line continues to grow in popularity
    and we're confident we can further build on its momentum."

    Pontius said that although transfer of ownership to Zebco has already occurred, the change will not be apparent to consumers for awhile as the existing inventory moves through distribution. "The brands we acquired will remain the names on the product," he said. "They are good, popular brands. The transition should be relatively seamless for all customers."

    Zebco will ultimately move the line business to its facilities in Tulsa and Claremore, Okla., but does not foresee any changes to its workforce needs during that timeframe.

  • Spro site update

    Just a quick note: Spro completely redesigned and relaunched its website. Also notable is Bill Siemantel's Advanced Swimbait Tactics DVD is now available on the site. To check it all out, visit Spro.com.

  • Post features Reese

    The Elite Series pros are fishing near the Capitol today and BASS Angler of the Year leader Skeet Reese got some good national press in a Washington Post feature article. To read the feature, click here.

  • Murray's report

    The Potomac River's like an oven right now, and John Murray just hopes he get out of Maryland with a check. To read his Elite Series practice report, click here to go On Tour With the BassFan Big Sticks.

  • Kid Zach Talks

    Zach Alexander, a 15-year-old BASS and FLW Junior State Champion, talks to BassFan Army Radio about his aspirations and goals, and about fishing the TBF Junior Championship at Lake Hamilton. Kids like Zach are the future of bass fishing! To listen to this bright young man, click here.

  • Fishing's steroids?

    In the midst of all the hoopla surrounding Barry Bonds' just-completed quest for the all-time home run record and the suspicion that steroids have helped him along the way, veteran FLW Tour angler David Walker has come up with what he thinks is a parallel situation in tournament fishing. He believes that cell phones and GPS units are the "performance-enhancing drugs" of his profession.

    Bonds, of the San Francisco Giants, broke Hank Aaron's career mark with his 756th homer on Tuesday night with a 400-foot-plus blast off of Washington Nationals pitcher Mike Bacsik. On Saturday, he tied the mark with a homer off of San Diego Padres pitcher Clay Hensley, who ironically served a suspension in 2005 for violating baseball's steroids policy.

    Walker's main point is that steroids weren't readily available to players when Aaron surpassed Babe Ruth 33 years ago, but their use became prolific during the 1990s, when home-run totals skyrocketed. Bonds has denied using them knowingly and has never tested positive for them, but there's a considerable amount of circumstantial evidence (including leaked grand jury testimony) to suggest that he used them.

    Cell phones and GPS units have never been illegal, but in Walker's view, they've paved the same type of shortcut to success for some anglers that steroids have for certain sluggers.

    "Is that why the new guys today are as good at finding (fishing spots) as the guys who've been around for 30 years?" he asks. "How do they show up at a lake for the first time and go straight to that stuff?

    "We live in an age where everybody's connected instantly. It's not like the old days where somebody drew you an X on a map and you went out to try to find that spot. Now it's just like having that guy (who knows precisely where the honey hole is) in the boat with you the whole time."

    What do you think? Does technology play too big of a role in pro fishing today, and were the anglers of past generations better because they didn't have tools such as cell phones and GPS units in their arsenal?

    Scroll down to the new poll on the lower right-hand side of the homepage to voice your opinion.

  • IMA arrives

    IMA arrives

    Premier Japanese bait manufacturer IMA has entered the U.S. market with a new line of baits that was showcased last month at ICAST. The company has coupled the design and characteristics of high-quality Japanese products and has teamed with a trio of bass professionals on the new signature series.

    The first bait introduced is a jerkbait (the Flit, top right) that flutters and darts. Most jerkbaits do one or the other, but IMA has made one that can handle both jobs equally well. It was designed by Michael Murphy, an FLW Tour angler with a fisheries and aquatic sciences background.

    There's also a wakebait designed by Bassmaster Elite Series pro Fred Roumbanis called the Roumba (bottom right). The bait works great over vegetation and is perfect for shallow-water applications where spinnerbaits have been the norm.

    The third bait in the series is the Shaker, designed by Bassmaster Elite Series pro and tackle-shop owner Bill Smith. It's a balsa crankbait designed for shallow water with an magnetized weight system. It can be thrown long distances and works well where casting accuracy is critical.

    Smith also designed another bait called the Pudgy Shad for warmwater applications around stumps or rocks, and on points. The unique vibration will bring fish from long distances.

    All told, IMA Japan offers 10 models in 50 colors. They can be purchased from Optimum Baits.

    For a limited time (4 weeks), you have a chance to win a $200 selection of these baits by registering as an email subscriber at IMALures.com.

  • Recon: Erie

    This week Erie stick Joe Balog gives some insight on this weekend's BFL tourney on the lake. Read about it here on the Bass Recon section on BassFanArmy.com.

  • USA accepts first members

    The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA), a hunting and fishing club designed exclusively for union members and their families, formally opened its doors in July.

    The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) and its 21 AFL-CIO affiliated trade-union partners have collaborated to provide more than 3.2 million union workers across the U.S. and Canada who hunt, fish and recreate in the outdoors with their own dues-based, union-dedicated sportsman’s club. The USA is a program of the TRCP and will allow the organization to reach millions of union members who can lend their voices to TRCP’s efforts to guarantee everyone quality places to hunt and fish.

    Inspired by the conservation legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing.

    “Millions of union members love to hunt and fish, and they are some of the most active conservationists found anywhere in the country,” said TRCP president and CEO George Cooper. “But most of them are not affiliated with hunting, fishing or conservation organizations. USA gives them a unique affiliation opportunity and will bring them into our fight to insure policymakers are better addressing the priorities of our nation’s sportsmen-conservationists.”

    Said United Steel Workers president Leo Gerard: “An independent opinion survey revealed that a majority of our members hold a deep-rooted passion for the outdoors. Hunting and fishing is often a part of their very lifestyle. We’re thrilled to offer these dedicated men and women their very own club to enhance their time spent off the job.”

    The USA will help union members plan trips, learn tips, swap stories and save money on hunting and fishing gear for an annual membership fee of $25 or a charter membership fee of $40. Plus, their USA membership will support the TRCP’s efforts to protect and maintain access to quality places to hunt and fish in America.

    For more, click here to visit the USA's newly launched website.

  • Ranger expansion

    Ranger expansion

    With a year-long 40th Anniversary celebration beginning with the release of the 2008 models, Ranger Boats has also announced the launch of Phase II of its capital expansion program. The improvements to the factory in Flippin, Ark. will help Ranger remain efficient in its manufacturing processes while providing the space to develop new technologies.

    Phase II will include renovation to existing plant facilities, additional new manufacturing space and equipment. Scheduled for completion in spring 2008, the cost of the expansion project is estimated at more than $7 million.

    Phase I included expanding loading-dock facilities to expedite shipments and increase efficiency within the factory.

    Ranger president Randy Hopper said that the need for expansion has been brought about by the growth of Ranger’s market share, the increase in size of the average boat produced by Ranger, and the company’s ongoing quest to continually improve product quality and customer satisfaction.

    “At the root of our growth are satisfied customers,” he said. “We have to stay ahead of the curve and continually seek out and integrate better, more efficient technologies into our process.

    "For example, the latest robotic water-jet cutting machinery will replace the current method of trimming and drilling fiberglass using hand drills and templates, resulting in a much more dust free environment and a more efficient, higher-quality operation.”

  • Prayers needed

    Nathaniel Luebke and his family need your prayers. To learn more about their situation, click here to visit BassFan's prayer list.

  • Two (three?) threw Brian's Bee 3

    Two (three?) threw Brian's Bee 3

    Three of the Top 5 finishers at the recent Forrest Wood Cup threw a propbait in the morning, and two of them (Clark Wendlandt and Bryan Thrift) confirmed they threw the exact same bait – a Prop Bee 3 from Brian's Crankbaits. It's pictured to right.

    Mike Surman, who finished 4th, declined to specify which propbait he threw, but Brian's posted a note on its website that says Surman threw the Prop Bee 3 as well.

    The color Wendlandt and Thrift threw is called baby bream, and it's meant to be fished around bream (sunfish) beds. For more about the bait, click here.

    > To red BassFan's coverage of Cup patterns 2–5, click here.

  • ICAST report – part 2

    The second part of BassFan's 2007 ICAST report is now posted. For the lowdown on all the hot new bass gear, click here.

  • Bolivar's progression

    Bolivar's progression

    Arizona's Gabe Bolivar has fished 2 seasons on the FLW Tour. He finished 7th in the Angler of the Year (AOY) race in 2006 and 5th this year.

    That kind of early track record would seemingly make him a prime candidate to win an Angler of the Year (AOY) before too long. But he insists there's still a big bend in his learning curve.

    "I think every year I learn more and get better," he said. "I can't say that I'm definitely going to win it, but I'd sure like to. To me, it's the most coveted award there is because it's based on pure consistency. And being a pro, that's what you shoot for."

    His results don't show it, but there were times during the course of the last two Tour campaigns when he almost felt overwhelmed.

    "I didn't realize how much knowledge you had to have to compete out here," he said. "You have to know just what to do when the weather changes, or when the water level rises or falls.

    "Guys like Jay Yelas and Larry Nixon, they've been there and done that, and they know how to make the right adjustments. I'm finally starting to get better at that. I'm allowing myself to fish in the moment more often instead of being afraid to make a change."

    He's discovered that being apprehensive about switching locations or techniques is usually a losing proposition. If what he was doing originally was working, he wouldn't need to think about adjustments.

    "I used to get too locked into what I was doing in practice or on the first day, and I didn't have enough confidence to change because I thought I would tank. But I was going to do bad anyway if I stuck with what I was doing. I've started to believe in myself and let myself make those changes rather than holding back, and I want to continue to expand on that. "

    He's competed in 14 FLW Tour events (including two championships) thus far, and his best finish was a 9th this year at Norman. More indicative of his consistency is that he's finished no worse than 107th and in triple digits just twice.

    He'd like to win a tournament soon, but he realizes that the right circumstances will have to present themselves.

    "I've never thought I had a chance to win yet because I've never been on the right type of fish, and some of that comes from not knowing the lakes. You've got to be so dialed in and you really have to have something going, and I just haven't felt that yet."

  • New contingency winner

    We'd like to congratulate our latest winner in the BassFan Army contingency program – Paul Rausch of Prior Lake, Minn. He won a Big Bass Bonanza event on June 24 and was drawn as that week's contingency winner.

    Congratulations Paul, and your prize package is on the way.

  • Costa/BASS scholarships

    Outdoor-eyewear maker Costa Del Mar and BASS are teaming up again to help fund the studies of future natural resource professionals with the 2007-08 Costa Del Mar/BASS Conservation Scholarship Program.

    Six $2,000 awards will be made to undergraduates, and one $5,000 scholarship will be awarded annually to a post-graduate student.

    “BASS and Costa Del Mar offer the scholarship program because it is absolutely critical that our natural resources are managed by professionals who can effectively meet the challenges our resources will face in the future,” said Chris Horton, BASS director of conservation.

    To be eligible for a scholarship, a student must be seeking a degree in the natural resources field. An applicant must be a BASS member and must belong to the BASS Federation Nation or have an immediate family member who belongs to the BASS Federation Nation.

    To download an application, click here. The deadline is Aug. 31.

  • Suggs speaks

    Forrest Wood Cup champion Scott Suggs talks about getting the "W," the techniques he used at Lake Ouachita and his preparation for the tournament on BassFan Radio with Terry Brown. To listen, click here.

  • Longshank joins Army

    Tennessee-based Longshank Baits, the inventor of the Longshank spinnerbait and buzzbait, has joined the BassFan Army as a contingency sponsor. Its uniquely designed baits have an extremely long-shanked hook that fishes extremely well in heavy cover and is designed to put more fish in the boat.

    "We have seen bass that normally would come up and smack a regular spinnerbait get hooked on the Longshank," said company president Scott Smith. "We are excited about being a BassFan Army sponsor and hope Army members will try our products, as they will help them hook and land more fish."

    To learn more, click here.

  • Practice overrated

    Practice overrated

    David Walker practiced for 10 days leading up to the Forrest Wood Cup at Arkansas' Lake Ouachita – the most pre-fish time he'd ever put in for a tournament. A lot of good it did him.

    The Tennessee veteran finished 79th in the 81-angler field. Mechanical issues prevented him from weighing in on day 1 and forced him to take a bagel that put him at the very bottom of the standings, but that didn't really matter: He didn't have any fish to take to the scales anyway.

    He'll never put himself through a marathon practice period like that again.

    "I think it was the worst thing for me, and it had a lot to do with not being used to that much practice," he said. "If I'd been accustomed to that, I think I would have done better.

    "But by the time it was over, I was sick of it. The fishing was poor, and it was under the worst conditions possible with the heat and everything. But I stayed out there because of that million-dollar carrot."

    The lower unit on his boat failed him at about 2:30 on day 1.

    "I still had time to catch something at that point, but that was the final nail in my coffin. I just said, 'Let's get out of here and come back out and try it again tomorrow.'''

    Day 2 was slightly better – he caught two keepers for 2-05 and moved up two places.

    Now he'll shift his focus back to the FLW Series Eastern Division, where he's coming off a 3rd-place finish at Dardanelle in May and is 12th in the Angler of the Year (AOY) standings. That circuit visits Lake Champlain the first week of September, and then Pickwick in mid-October.

    But before that, he'll compete in an FLW Redfish Series Western Division tournament with his father-in-law, Jeff Simes of Florida. They're 4th in the Team of the Year race.

    "I think I'm probably the best redfish fisherman in Tennessee," he joked.

  • AOY outlook

    The 10th event on the 11-tournament Bassmaster Elite Series will take place this week at the Potomac River, and the hotly contested race for Angler of the Year (AOY) comes back into focus. Skeet Reese, who's seeking his first AOY, holds a 20-point edge over three-time winner Kevin VanDam, and nobody else is currently within 200 points of either.

    The Potomac event took place during the same calendar week a year ago. Reese finished 2nd, just 7 ounces behind winner Kelly Jordon. while VanDam's 30th-place showing broke a string of four consecutive Top 10s.

    Reese is also the hotter of the two right now, as he's finished 2nd, 13th and 7th in the last three tournaments (including the Memorial Major). VanDam, meanwhile, hasn't cracked the Top 15 since his victory at Grand Lake in June, but he hasn't turned in any stinkers either – he's finished 27th, 16th and 22nd.

    The big bite eluded VanDam here last year. His bags on the first 2 days were in the 12s, and he managed just two fish for 6-13 on day 3.

    Reese also struggled on day 3, with three fish for 8-15. But his other stringers weighed 16-05, 17-00 and 17-14.

  • Cancer benefit set

    The Vicious Fishing Elite Team will host the Fishing for Smiles team tournament Sept. 23 at Logan Martin Lake. Proceeds will benefit Camp Smile-A-Mile – Alabama's Program for Children with Cancer.

    The entry fee is $200 per boat. The top prize is $7,500, and $200 payouts extend down to 50th place. The prize purse is guaranteed regardless of the number of entries.

    The tournament will launch from Lakeside Landing at safelight. Weigh-in will start at 3 p.m.

    The Vicious Fishing Elite Team consists of Jeff Reynolds, Pete Ponds, Brian Snowden, Jason Quinn, Robin Babb, Russ Lane, Lee Bailey, Britt Myers, Stephen Browning, Eric Nethery, Doc Merkin, and Kurt Dove.

    For more information, call Randy McBride at (334) 799-0007 or visit www.vicious-fishing.com or www.campsam.org.

  • They cometh to the Cup

    Just an observation on the way into the Summit Arena in downtown Hot Springs, Ark. today – the place is a mob scene. All the parking's used up and the overflow is out into the surrounding neighborhoods. Two hours prior to weigh in, the arena's nearly full.

  • Ranger's 40th: pics

    The pics are in and the recent story on Ranger's 40th Anniversary model year has been updated. To view Ranger's new boats, including the throwback 177TR and new bass flagship Z520, click here.

  • Wendlandt's Cup numbers

    Wendlandt's Cup numbers

    This fact was included in today's Forrest Wood Cup coverage, but it's worth repeating. Clark Wendlandt will fish the final day of the Cup for the third year in a row. And in his nine Cup (FLW Tour Championship) appearances, he's made the Top 10 six times. In percentage form, he makes the Top 10 66% of the time. Wow. That said, he's never won it. Maybe things will be different this year.

  • TEC culling system

    There's a new culling system out, and you can read about it and a few other new TEC tools today on the Bass Buzz (click here).

  • Ranger's new Z520

    BassFans have already read about some of Ranger's new offerings for its 40th Anniversary model year, but news was scarce about the new Z520 bass boat. Some news is now in, and here's a look.

    Ranger described the Z520 Comanche as a "cross-pollination" of the Z Boat and VX lines. Ranger president Randy Hopper noted: "The history of Ranger Boats is intertwined with professional bass fishing, and the future will be, too. This design has all the features and styling of Z Comanche and the hull of the 520VX and lots of extra features that no other boat has. This boat was built for competing in bass tournaments at the highest levels. No other boat delivers the power, the space, the performance, fishability and features that this boat delivers."

    Ranger Z520 Specs
    Overall Hull Length: 20'9"
    Beam: 95"
    Maximum HP: 250
    Transom Height: 23"
    Inside Depth: 21"
    Fuel Capacity: Two 24-gallon tanks
    Total Persons/Motor/Gear: 1,650 lbs.
    Approx. Boat Weight: 1,825 lbs. (single console); 1,850 lbs. (double console)

  • Murray: tales of suspension

    In the newest BassFan Pro Fishing Tip, John Murray breaks down the method he used to catch suspended smallmouths at the recent Erie/Niagara Bassmaster Elite Series. He finished 3rd in that event, and was the only one of the final Top 12 who focused on suspended fish almost exclusively. To read about his system, click here.

  • Local Cup coverage

    Rare is the daily newspaper writer who understands and embraces the sport of bass fishing. Alabama has Alan Clemons, but Arkansas has a good one too in Bryan Hendricks. He writes for the Arkansas Democrat Gazette and is onsite for every major championship. To check out the story he published today on Arkansans fishing the Cup, click here.

    The unfortunate truth is that nationwide, newspapers are rapidly cutting or eliminating their coverage of the outdoors. Your hometown paper may have already slashed its outdoor coverage. It's always worth it to take a moment to respond to an outdoor reporter, or the editorial board of a newspaper, and let them know you value outdoor coverage. Become more than a squeaky wheel, and maybe we'll all get a bucket of oil, instead of a drip.

  • Moynagh's consolation

    Minnesota's Jim Moynagh ended up 60th in this year's FLW Tour Angler of the Year (AOY) race and was the highest finisher on that list who didn't qualify for this week's Forrest Wood Cup at Arkansas' Lake Ouachita. However, he hasn't been just sitting around his house and sulking.

    Last week, he and partner Joe Thrun won the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship (FFCBC) at Rainy Lake for the third time and picked up a $50,000 check for their efforts. Their total of 58.36 pounds over 3 days was just a few ounces shy of their own tournament record, set in 1998.

    For more, click here to visit the FFCBC website.

  • Berkley Power winner

    Congratulations to James Whittman of Ruther Glen, Va., the winner of our BassFan Army Berkley Power Fisherman contest. His story brought a tear to our eye and made us laugh at the same time (you'll understand when you read it).

    The victory earned him a power-fishing package provided by Berkley, which includes a Fenwick HMG GT66MH rod, an Abu Garcia Revo SX reel, a spool of 20-pound Trilene fluorocarbon line and packs of Berkley Chigger Craws, Mud Critters and Sabertail Tubes.

    We want to thank everyone who entered. The judging was tough, as they were all great stories.

    To read Whittman's winning entry on BassFanArmy.com, click here.

  • What Yelas thinks

    BassFan Big Stick Jay Yelas has filed his practice report from the Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Ouachita in Hot Springs, Ark. He's got a good morning bite, but thinks it'll be over by the time he gets there. Also notable is he thinks the event's being served "on a platter" to Mark Davis. To read his full report, click here to go On Tour With the BassFan Big Sticks.

  • Final Major moved

    Due to recent unsafe conditions on the Arkansas River, BASS announced today that it will move the Bassmaster Legends Major to Lake Dardanelle in Russellville, Ark. The tournament, the last of three Majors this year and possibly the last ever due to BASS' decision to discontinue the series, is set for Aug. 23-26.

    Dardanelle hosted a Women’s Bassmaster Tour event in March and was the site of a 2005 Bassmaster Elite 50 tournament.

    The Legends is held in honor of BASS founder Ray Scott, who will attend the event. Daily launches (9 a.m. CT) and weigh-ins (6 p.m.) will take place at Lake Dardanelle State Park, (100 State Park Drive in Russellville).

    The full field of 51 qualifying anglers will fish Dardanelle during the first 2 days of competition. Once the field is cut to the Top 12 anglers after day 2, the tournament will move to a six-hole course, with anglers fishing each hole in rotating fashion.

    The Top 6 will compete on the final day for the 1st-place prize of $250,000.

    The list of qualifiers will be set after the upcoming Bassmaster Elite Series event at the Potomac River (Aug. 9-12). Reigning Bassmaster Classic champion Boyd Duckett, 2006 Elite Series Angler of the Year (AOY) Mike Iaconelli and defending Legends champion Scott Rook are assured of berths.

  • The ultimate 'fantasy'

    Check this out. Last month, at the registration meeting for the Detroit River FLW Tour, FLW Outdoors president and CEO Charlie Evans told the field that the company will expand its Fantasy Fishing Program in 2008. It appears that the winning Fantasy payouts will closely mirror the winning pro payouts for the FLW Tour. Nope, that' not a typo. FLW Outdoors will reportedly award $100,000 to the Fantasy winner for each Tour stop (perhaps more for Opens), and potentially $1 million at the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup. An FLW Outdoors official did confirm that Evans announced the Fantasy expansion, and that a full announcement is expected in October, but declined to elaborate further.

  • Ranger turns 40

    Ranger begins its 40th Anniversary celebration this week at the Forrest Wood Cup. For the scoop on the anniversary and the four new boat models announced, click here.

  • Recon: Rayburn

    This week the Bass Recon section on BassFanArmy.com has insight from Texas stick Russell Cecil about the upcoming Media Bass tourney on storied Sam Rayburn. Click here to read it.

  • Bass Cat rods?!

    Bass Cat rods?!

    Nope, that headline's not a mistake. Bass Cat Boats is now offering high-performance BCB Rods. Eleven different models will soon be available, each marked with individual serial numbers. The rods boast components like Fuji Alconite Concept guides and blank-through reel seats. Other bonuses are grade-1 Portuguese cork and 55-million-modulus backbone stiffener with a 33-million-modulus tip structure. The blanks have been made to BCB specs with custom mandrels and winding.

    Bass Cat head cheese Rick Pierce said in a message to Bass Cat owners: "We've enjoyed a fantastic affiliation with many rod companies in the fishing industry. They make some good stuff, though back about a year ago we saw a change in the marketing of rods – Chinese production and more. We continue to have the utmost respect for Falcon, American Rodsmiths, Castaway, Powell and others, though as we saw the changes in marketing, we decided that improvements could be made and a USA product could continue to be available. So we moved forward."

    Prices range from $109.99 to $154.99 For more, click here to visit the BCB Rods page.

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