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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

  • Pace paid moderate attention to Classic

    Pace paid moderate attention to Classic

    Cliff Pace, the 2013 Bassmaster Classic champion, stayed abreast of the proceedings of last week's Classic at which he would've been the defending champion, but was forced to miss due to an injury suffered when he fell out of a deer stand in December. He certainly didn't obsess over it, however, as he continued recuperation and rehabilitation of his surgically repaired leg at home in Mississippi.

    "I did watch the final weigh-in and saw (winner Randy Howell) have his moment, and that was good to see," he said. "That really made me regret not being there, but it's something I've come to terms with. Now I just look forward to getting back out there."

    He said he's reached the point at which he's fairly proficient at transporting himself on crutches and the pain has begun to lessen. He hopes to get back into his boat by late spring and fish competitively at some point this year – event if it's just in a local derby.

    He'll sit out the upcoming Elite Series campaign on a medical exemption and his 2014 Classic slot has been rolled over to next year's event at Lake Hartwell in South Carolina.

    "I saw three doctors and two therapists trying to figure out a way to allow me to fish (the Elite Series) this year, but that wasn't going to happen. But I started physical therapy this week and on my latest X-rays, the plate and the pins haven't moved and my body hasn't rejected anything. You can see where one of the bones is starting to mend and the one that was crushed has started to grow back.

    "As the pain gets less and less, I'm wanting to get out there more and more every day, but I'm at the mercy of the doctors and what they tell me. They don't want me to do too much before I can handle it."

    The only fishing-related activity he's done since his surgery is sort through some tackle.

    "I had my wife bring a bunch of it into the house and I had it all scattered around the table. I was just looking for anything to do to make the day go by."

  • Quantum's TourMg honored by F&S

    Quantum's TourMg honored by F&S

    The first time Gary Klein picked up Quantum's new 5.4-ounce TourMg baitcasting reel, he reacted much like an avid bowler might if he or she where handed a ball that weighed less than a pound. The editors of Field & Stream Magazine eventually became believers, too, as they've given it their “Best of the Best” award among all new freshwater baitcasting reels.

    Magnesium is the fourth most common element in the Earth, but until now, its price has made it prohibitive for use in most reels. Quantum’s new TourMg finally makes a magnesium baitcasting reel affordable for avid anglers. As stated in the March issue of Field & Stream, “Good luck finding another genuine magnesium baitcaster for under $300.”

    The TourMg is built with an extremely lightweight magnesium frame and gear-side cover (along with a carbon palm-side cover) for a retail price that’s as much as $300 less than some of the magnesium baitcasters on the market. Loaded with 11 PT bearings, an Internal Centrifugal cast control system not only helps dial in spool tension to changes in lure weights and wind direction, but also helps reduce weight by taking heavier magnetic controls off the reel. Field & Stream editors stated the TourMg even delivered small lures without a hint of backlash.

    Anglers won’t need to fear a drag failure when they slam home the hook with a TourMg in their hands, as Quantum’s exclusive Performance Tuned ceramic drag system will be there to endure the fight.

    Priced at around $279 and available in both a high-speed 7.0:1 and an all-purpose 6.3:1 gear ratio, the TourMg’s feather-like 5.4 ounces is among the absolute lightest of any reel in its category, at a savings of $60 to $300 when compared to other magnesium baitcasters.

    “It seems like during my 30 years of fishing with Quantum that every year I swear it can’t get any better,” said Klein. “That’s how I thought about Smoke, then came EXO, and now the TourMg – it’s really amazing. You’d think I’d learn to trust our product managers when they tell me they’re working on something even better than we have right now.”

  • What is Torzite?

    What is Torzite?

    A recent email exchange with veteran Florida pro Bernie Schultz led to an interesting discussion about guide-ring technology. Fuji, one of his sponsors, has teamed with Japanese ceramics manufacturer Kyocera to create a material called Torzite, which results in what the company says is the "thinnest, lightest, smoothest casting ring ever developed."

    Jim Ising of Anglers Resource (the U.S. distributor for Fuji products) explained that Torzite is the first material created specifically for use as guide rings on fishing rods. All other materials that've performed that function, including the current industry standard Silicon Carbide (or SiC), were spawned by the abrasives and/or bearing industries.

    "Torzite makes a big difference on the water," said Schultz. "Gram for gram, it’s a much stronger ring material, making it perfectly suited for braided lines. And the lighter, thinner rings increase sensitivity, which applies to so many techniques involving light line and various soft plastics."

    The Torzite ring accepts a higher level of polish than any previous material, making it nearly five times less abrasive to braid, fluorocarbon and monofilament lines. It'll soon be available in Fuji's high-end titanium frames in the popular K-Series, as well as other leading spinning and casting guide models.

    Ising said the price point for Torzite is about 20% to 30% higher than SiC.

  • Browne adds Superchips, Gamma

    Browne adds Superchips, Gamma

    Florida pro Glenn Browne, who's transitioning from the FLW Tour to the Bassmaster Elite Series this year, announced that he's picked up two new sponsors – Superchips and Gamma line.

    Superchips is a manufacturer of performance programmers used in vehicles.

    “Partnering with Glenn Browne is exciting for our brand, our customers and our employees," said Jim McGinn of Superchips. "Glenn represents an important segment we service on a daily basis. In addition to towing his boat to tournaments and events with his truck, Glenn also drives a Jeep Wrangler and participates in local enthusiast events. Glenn uses our products on his personal vehicles."

    " We feel like Glenn is a fantastic ambassador to relay key brand principles – adding real-world towing power, economy and performance to a wide variety of consumers seeking unmatched value. We wish Glenn the best of luck in 2014 and look forward to helping him get to and from events with enhanced vehicle performance, safety and economy in his truck.”

    Said Gamma's Dale Black: Gamma Lines is proud to add Glenn to an already potent staff. Glenn's skill and knowledge of both fresh and saltwater were crucial in the pursuit of our Hollow Core Braid and its uses."

  • Berkley trailer hits Florida

    Berkley trailer hits Florida

    Berkley Experience Trailer is poised to set up at the Bass Pro Shops in Orlando, Fla. this weekend (Thursday through Sunday). In its 9th year, the trailer has been completely redesigned to provide anglers with a better hands-on experience.

    Four highly trained Berkley professionals will be available to provide in-depth knowledge on products, knot tying, line selection and bait choice.

    “We are extremely excited about the upgrades to the trailer and the experiences that anglers of all skill levels will have this year,” said Berkley marketing director Andrew Marks. "Our Experience Trailer team is ready to answer your questions and help anglers of all ages and skill levels learn about fishing, our passion and our company’s heritage."

    The trailer's next stop will be March 7-9 at the Bass Pro Shops in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

  • Balog: A look at Ish in Action

    Balog: A look at Ish in Action

    Joe Balog rode with Ish Monroe on day 1 of last week's Bassmaster Classic – a day on which Monroe got the bites that he'd hoped for, but failed to capitalize on several of them. Balog watched him deal with some of the same types of issues that plague anglers at lower levels, but also gained some insights as to why he's among the top competitors in the sport.

    To read the latest installment of Balog's Bass War, click here.

  • Power-Pole renews with FLW

    Power-Pole renews with FLW

    FLW announced today that JL Marine Systems, manufacturer of Power-Pole shallow-water anchor systems, has extended its partnership through the 2014 season. The agreement marks the 4th consecutive year that Power-Pole will be part of the FLW sponsor lineup.

    As part of the agreement, Power-Pole will again offer FLW anglers at all levels the opportunity to participate in its Captain’s Cash rewards club program. Anglers competing at the FLW College Fishing, Bass Fishing League (BFL), Rayovac FLW Series or FLW Tour levels can claim a Captain’s Cash bonus simply by registering and winning an FLW-sanctioned tournament while using a Power-Pole shallow-water anchor. Captain’s Cash details can be found by visiting www.power-pole.com.

    Terms of the sponsorship deal were not disclosed.

  • TTBC searching for volunteers

    TTBC searching for volunteers

    The Toyota Texas Bass Classic (TTBC) is seeking volunteers for the tournament and outdoor music festival. The 8th annual event is returning to Lake Fork, May 9-11. Fishing knowledge is not required.

    Volunters will receive exclusive tournament gear, including an official TTBC T-shirt, hat, lunch, volunteer badge (serves as general admission Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and a parking pass. Below is a list and brief description of the TTBC committees.

    > Admissions/Will Call: Admissions volunteers will be responsible for supporting the admissions gate and assisting security to ensure that all spectators have the proper tickets for entry. Will Call volunteers will be responsible for staffing a ticket booth at the event entrance for ticket buyers to pick up previously purchased tickets.

    > Media/PR: Assist Tournament and PAA staff with the general operations of the Media Center and promotion of the tournament. Assist with sponsor requests and angler appearances.

    > Tournament office: Assists tournament staff with answering the phones, greeting visitors, receiving and logging deliveries, along with other administrative duties as requested by tournament staff.

    > TPWD Outdoor Adventures Area: Assist the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department with various activities in the TP&W Outdoor Adventures Area.

    > Volunteer Services: Responsible for staffing the volunteer headquarters, handling uniform distribution and maintaining a comfortable working environment for the volunteers.

    For additional information, visit www.ToyotaTexasBassClassic.com or call 1-866-907-0143.

    For a volunteer application, visit click here.

  • Bertrand secures tire deal

    Bertrand secures tire deal

    Josh Bertrand, a second-year Bassmaster Elite Serie pro from Arizona, has inked a sponsorship deal with Georgia-based tire manufacturer Maxxis.

    "As a western-based angler traveling to fish the Elite Series, I put over 50,000 miles a year on my Toyota Tundra and Nitro trailer," he said. "With tight timelines everywhere I go, I can't afford a blowout or flat tire. I've been running Maxxis All Terrain tires on my truck all year and love the performance. Maxxis trailer tires are known as the best in the industry, and I look forward to spreading their popularity among my fellow anglers."

    Said Brad Williams, a territory sales manager with Maxxis: "Josh Bertrand is one of the fastest-rising pros in his sport and we're thrilled to sponsor him."

  • Rapsody picks up Sancho

    Rapsody picks up Sancho

    Bassmaster Elite Series rookie Joe Sancho has garnered a sponsorship deal with Rapsody Rods. Rapsody’s headquarters in Troy, N.Y. are just a couple of hours upstate from Sancho's home town of New Windsor, and it was that Empire State connection that kick-started their relationship.

    Rapsody has been supporting the New York B.A.S.S. Nation since 2009, and that was where Sancho was first introduced to the company and its products.

    “We are extremely pleased to have a fellow New Yorker representing our company and fishing our rods on the Elite Series," said Rapsody owner Bob Penicka. "While all rookies on the Elite Series have an uphill battle, we are confident that Joe will surprise a few people. On a couple of venues, we view him as the darkhorse favorite.”

  • Classic record book rewritten

    While the Bassmaster Classic winning weight record went unbroken at Lake Guntersville, there was an all-out assault on the Classic record book last week.

    For example, 14 of the top 24 single-day five-fish Classic weights were registered at Guntersville, including Paul Mueller's 32-03 haul on day 2. Randy Howell's 29-02 Classic-clinching effort on the final day ranks third.

    Here's a look at the updated Top 10 single-day weights since the Classic adopted a five-fish limit:

    1. Paul Mueller: 32-03 (2014, Lake Guntersville)
    2. Luke Clausen 29-06 (2006, Kissimmee Chain)
    3. Randy Howell: 29-02 (2014, Lake Guntersville)
    4. Preston Clark: 29-01 (2006, Kissimmee Chain)
    5. Boyd Duckett: 28-13 (2011, Louisiana Delta)
    6. Terry Scroggins: 28-06 (2006, Kissimmee Chain)
    7. Kevin VanDam: 28-00 (2011, Louisiana Delta)
    8. Randall Tharp: 27-08 (2014, Lake Guntersville)
    9. Edwin Evers: 26-13 (2014, Lake Guntersville)
    10. Derek Remitz: 26-05 (2011, Louisiana Delta)

    Prior to this year, only Kevin VanDam (69-11 in 2011) and Rick Clunn (75-09 in 1984) had caught more than 60 pounds in a Classic, with VanDam the only one to do it with a five-fish creel limit. This year, there were eight anglers who broke the 60-pound mark at Guntersville.

    Here's an updated list of the top weights in Classic history:

    1. Rick Clunn: 75-09 (1984)
    2. Kevin VanDam: 69-11 (2011)
    3. Randy Howell: 67-08 (2014)
    4. Paul Mueller: 66-08 (2014)
    5. Edwin Evers: 65-11 (2014)
    6. Ott DeFoe: 63-06 (2014)
    7. Randall Tharp: 62-12 (2014)
    8. Jordan Lee: 62-01 (2014)
    9. David Kilgore: 60-07 (2014)
    10. Doug Thompson: 60-03 (2014)

    Also, Kevin VanDam caught 33-04 to pass Rick Clunn for highest cumulative weight caught in Classic competition. VanDam now has 784-05 in 24 Classics.

    Here's an updated rundown of the career leaders in terms of cumulative weight at the Classic:

    1. Kevin VanDam: 784-05
    2. Rick Clunn: 772-02
    3. Gary Klein: 757-13
    4 (tie). George Cochran: 751-01
    4 (tie). Larry Nixon: 751-01
    6. Tommy Biffle: 508-10
    7. Aaron Martens: 508-08
    8 (tie). Denny Brauer: 450-04
    8 (tie). Roland Martin: 450-04
    10. Mike Iaconelli: 447-15

  • Sunline Strong Performer: Classic

    <b><font color=green>Sunline Strong Performer: Classic</font color></b>

    A simple bait change on day 2 helped Paul Mueller mount a historic comeback at last week's Bassmaster Classic.

    He began the tournament fishing a lipless crankbait like many competitors, but a couple lost fish on day 1 prompted him to switch to a Z-Man ChatterBait, which is usually an effective option when fishing around grass as he was.

    He attributes his success, including a Classic-record 32-03 five-fish limit on day 2 that helped him climb from 47th to 2nd, to his decision to switch baits.

    "The difference was this: We didn't have as much wind," he said. "We had a little bit of current the second day and that's why that second day bag came through. The deal with the trap is when you're reeling it in you had to reel it so slow that it would get buried in the grass. When the wind blows, they'd be on that and you can cover more water. That's the positive. The negative is you can't fish it slow enough when the current slows down."

    When fishing the ChatterBait, he'd slow-roll it and tick the top of the eelgrass beds.

    "For me it was surprise looking back," he said. "If I ever get in that situation again, I'll have it tied on for the first day. That was just my inexperience fishing this type of lake. I had to learn as I went along. The thought literally came into my head on day 2 at takeoff to get some ChatterBaits ready.

    "I had one tied on with a different trailer and I didn't like how it looked in the water. I put the Reins (Fat Rockvibe Shad) on it to see how it looked because I don't throw ChatterBaits much back home. I was like, 'Man that looks really good. I bet they'll eat that.' Then I caught a 4 1/2 and decided to roll with it. Thirty two pounds later …."

    The Sunline Strong Performer, which focuses on the angler who makes the most significant single-day move in the standings at each tour-level event, is brought to you by the great people at Sunline.

  • Project Z: Episode 2

    Project Z: Episode 2

    In the first episode of Project Z, former Bassmaster Classic winner Luke Clausen and 2014 Classic qualifiers Stephen Browning and David Walker got their first taste of Lake Guntersville as the opening challenge of the series unfolded.

    In the first challenge, the three pros were restricted to fishing the lower end of the lake and had limited tackle options. The conditions were cold and breezy with water temperatures in the 40s. Each angler had 5 hours to catch as many bass as they could. The angler with the heaviest cumulative weight would win the challenge.

    The second 15-minute episode is embedded below.

  • Rankings: Morgan moves to the top

    Andy Morgan's incredible consistency has landed the veteran FLW Tour pro at the top of the BassFan World Rankings for the first time in his career. He supplants Jason Christie, a three-time tour-level winner in 2013 who'd held the No. 1 position since June.

    To see the first new edition of the Rankings for 2014, click here.

  • Classic: Day 3 photo gallery

    Classic: Day 3 photo gallery

    From the water to weigh-in, BassFan had the Classic covered from many different angles this year. On the final day, our crew launched at South Sauty Creek in an effort to get an up close look at where the leaders were doing their work.

    To check out our photo gallery from the final day, click here.

  • Classic: Day 2 field notes

    David Walker felt like his cadence with his rattlebait was off on day 2 of the Bassmaster Classic, and that was the primary reason he dropped from 3rd place to 24th. To read more about his day and reports from some other anglers not featured in BassFan's main story, click here.

  • Classic: Day 3 Live Coverage

    Welcome to BassFan's live coverage of the 2014 Bassmaster Classic.

    BassFan editor Todd Ceisner will be on the water all 3 days bringing you closer to the action as it unfolds. Today, he's back on the water with Tim Carini. They've decided to follow Randall Tharp as he makes a run at history today.

    Also, be sure to follow our coverage on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

    > 9:14 am: Tharp just swung and missed. We're getting ready to head in. Have to meet with the folks from Shimano and try out the new Curados. Tharp just caught a short.

    > 9:01 am: Ott DeFoe just ran up the lake with not one spectator in pursuit. Huh.

    > 8:50 am: Tharp has moved again. He's now in the main river in front of the entrance to Goose Pond. Things have slowed for him. Still about 25 boats on him.

    > 8:38 am: Up the lake toward BB Comer Bridge we can see a wad of boats. Word is it's day-2 star Paul Mueller.

    > 8:33 am: Tharp is off and running to spot 2. We will stick with him. It's a short run out into the main river. Looks like he might be after more current.

    > 8:04 am: Tharp is throwing a lipless crank and the current seems to turn on and off in this area. Another drone camera helicopter is in the area. It's so close to the water that it's throwing a ripple on the surface where he's casting.

    > 7:45 am: Tharp hooks up on consecutive casts. The first was short, the second one he lipped and threw into the boat as let out a big "YES!" Looked to be a 3 1/2-pounder. It's now in the livewell and he's off and running. And he's landed another keeper. That's two for Tharp.

    > 7:35 am: Tharp hooks up, but it's a short. Tharp's throng has swelled to 50 or so.

    > 7:25 am: Evers whizzed by and headed toward Goose Pond with 15-20 boats in pursuit while Tharp headed right and sat down on a hump on the edge of the main river channel. Tharp has about 30 boats on him and to this point we don't see anyone fishing.

    > 7:02 am: Here comes the calvary. We can hear the the din of engines heading this way.

    > 6:13 am: We've arrived at Langston City Park in South Sauty Creek as we believe it'll put us closer to where Tharp will be fishing without having to battle the mass of boats that'll surely follow him from blast-off. Just waiting for Tim to get here so we can get going. It's 42 degrees and looks to be another stellar day weather-wise.

  • Classic: Day 1 field notes

    Ish Monroe said a number of mishaps on day 1 of the Bassmaster Classic prevented him from compiling a bag that was considerably larger than the 18 1/2-pounds he took to the scale. For more about his day and reports on some other anglers not featured in BassFan's primary day-1 story, click here.

  • Classic: Count 'em down

    Classic: Count 'em down

    Alan McGuckin of Dynamic Sponsorships got some numbers-oriented info from a few Classic competitors prior to the day-2 launch at Lake Guntersville.

    Five lures KVD says he will have tied on during day 2: Red Eye Shad, KVD 1.5 squarebill crankbait, a 3/8-ounce pitching jig, a KVD jerkbait and a Strike King Rage Blade.

    Four Ingredients KVD says are in Sherry VanDam’s lucky cookies: Sugar, peanut butter, chocolate chips and brown sugar.

    Three things 30-time Classic qualifier Gary Klein says he’ll do Saturday to make up for a horrible one-keeper Friday: “Catch ‘em. Catch ‘em and Catch ‘em. That’s three, isn’t it? No really, I’m not sure I would change a thing about what I did yesterday – it’s just that the bites I had in those areas during practice never materialized.”

    Two things Terry Scroggins learned on day 1: “These fish are highly location-specific, they ain’t just scattered all over the lake. And secondly, I didn’t fish shallow enough yesterday.”

    One thing Quantum pro Casey Ashley says he did right yesterday to catch 23 pounds and land in 4th place after day 1: “I stuck with the same bait all day long – a red/orange lipless crankbait.”

  • Classic: Day 2 live coverage

    <b><font color=blue>Classic: Day 2 live coverage</font color></b>

    Welcome to BassFan's live coverage of the 2014 Bassmaster Classic.

    BassFan editor Todd Ceisner will be on the water all 3 days bringing you closer to the action as it unfolds. Today, he's tagging along with Athens, Ala., resident Chris Rose. We're scheduled to be on the water for a couple hours together so we'll try to bring you as much information as we can in that time frame.

    Also, be sure to follow our coverage on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

    > 9:40 am: Faircloth with another keeper on a lipless crank. We had the GoPro rolling so hopefully we'll have some video to show ya. We're about out of time with Chris Rose on the water. Be sure to check back later for our coverage of Day 2 of the Classic.

    > 9:15 am: Lane has decided to concede the area to Faircloth and just motored his Phoenix out of the area and up the lake.

    > 9 am: Just watched Faircloth swing a good keeper into the boat. Lane saw it, too. He's still lobbing a lipless crank around. By the way Cherry picked up and left about 5 minutes before Faircloth landed that keeper.

    > 8:45 am: We've seen Lane pick up three different rods. Now, he's working a jerkbait and he's about 200 yards to Roumbanis' right. We've ID'd the other angler in here: It's Cherry. Seibold is a popular place this morning.

    > 8:35 am: We left Roumbanis and idled over to where Bobby Lane and Faircloth are fishing 100 yards apart. It's the same exact cove Cherry and Faircloth were in Friday. We can see another Classic boat but can ID him just yet. Haven't seen any hook sets yet.

    > 8:20 am: After a bit of searching we finally found a classic competitor. It's Fred Roumbanis and he's got a sizable crowd looking on. Maybe 30 boats and growing. He's throwing what looks like a big swimbait.

    > 7:15 am: The boats are all gone heading out across the lake. Couple observations so far - Randall Tharp said he was mostly on his own yesterday. He invited folks to come watch him today but he also said he has a bunch of one-cast spots so those who decide to tag along may be on the move a lot. Also, this could be the day someone breaks out a 30-pound bag. The vibe was yesterday was that Thursday night's storm was a speed bump for these fish and they might get back on the gas today.

    > 6 am: We have arrived at the Guntersville City Harbor. Great venue for fans to watch blast-off and they're out in droves already this morning. Interested to see what boat traffic is like on the water today.

    > 5:45 am: Rolling into Guntersville, we notice cars with frost on their windows. It's 34 degrees, much cooler than it was at this time yesterday. The sun has some work to do today to warm things up. The anglers sounded confident that wouldn't be a problem after weigh-ins yesterday.

  • Photo gallery: Day 1

    BassFan was on the water and at the Expo on day 1 of the Bassmaster Classic. We'll be at the weigh-in, too, to hear from the competitors about the opening day of competition went. To take a look at some of the sights from the day, click here.

  • Classic: Five questions

    Classic: Five questions

    (Editor's note: Here's a quickie from industry rep Alan McGuckin.

    Casey Ashley, Terry Scroggins, Gerald Swindle and Gary Klein were asked to answer the same five Bassmaster Classic-related questions at Media Day. Their responses differed, of course, except when asked which lure will be most popular on Lake Guntersville this weekend during the 44th Bassmaster Classic.

    Name the one lure that will get the most work among the entire Classic field?

    > Ashley: Lipless crankbait
    > Scroggins: Lipless crankbait in some shade of red/orange craw
    > Swindle: 1/2-ounce lipless crankbait
    > Klein: Lipless crankbait

    Estimate the daily average weight the winning angler will need to catch to win this Classic?

    > Ashley: 25 pounds a day
    > Scroggins: 27 pounds a day
    > Swindle: 25 pounds a day
    > Klein: 27 pounds a day

    Your favorite personal Classic memory thus far in your career?

    > Ashley: The 2008 Classic at Lake Hartwell, S.C. It was 40 miles from my hometown, and it was my very first Classic to qualify for. It doesn’t get much better than that.
    > Scroggins: I’d say day 2 in the 2006 Classic at Lake Toho, Fla. I caught a 30-pound limit that day pitching a YUM Dinger to lily pads. The next day, the wind blew 40-mph and messed-up the whole area where I caught ‘em the day before.
    > Swindle: Can I choose two? First would be the very first Classic I qualified for at High Rock Lake, sitting there in that tunnel, backstage at the weigh-in, hearing that loud music and the fans cheering. You never forget that. Second, 2011, learning what it feels like to share the weigh-in stage with a true champion – Kevin Oldham.
    > Klein: 2003 in New Orleans, the tournament officials checked our livewells backstage, and indicated they were pretty sure I was going to win. I allowed myself to believe that long enough to experience all the emotions of finally winning a Classic – before reality came moments later when I finished 2nd.

    Amid the sensory overload of the Bassmaster Classic, what do you do in the 10 minutes before your boat number is called at morning take-off to clear your head?

    > Ashley: I clear my head on the way to the ramp by listening to Kenny Chesney or Eric Church.
    > Scroggins: Ten minutes before take-off, I’m thinking about whether I need to go to the restroom – that depends how strong the coffee is that morning.
    > Swindle: I pray, and not for fish. God has way more to take care of than me catching a bass. I pray for peace and safety during the competition day.
    > Klein: Idling out to blast-off is one of the greatest parts of my job. The loud music fades, Dave Mercer’s voice fades, and mentally you start leaving it all behind.

    There are a lot of weather risks associated with having a Classic in late winter. If you were a one-man planning committee, which week of the year, and on what fishery, would you host a Classic?

    > Ashley: The second week of September, anywhere in the southeastern U.S. except Florida.
    > Scroggins: Mid-June. The kids are out of school, so more families could attend the Classic. We could go anywhere that time of year and the fishing should be good, but if I was picking one, it might just be Guntersville.
    > Swindle: Early April on Lake Guntersville. The weather would be better. It’s my favorite lake. And just about anybody could win on Guntersville at that time of year because there are a lot of patterns that work well then.
    > Klein: There are so many factors to consider when picking a Classic site – hotels, weigh-in arenas, the fishery. But, honestly, aside from the long commute and the added expense of tow vehicle fuel – this one right here is hard to beat. Birmingham is a great host city – and it’s a privilege to compete for a Classic title on Lake Guntersville.

  • Classic: Day 1 live coverage

    <b><font color=blue>Classic: Day 1 live coverage</font color></b>

    Welcome to BassFan's live coverage of the 2014 Bassmaster Classic.

    BassFan editor Todd Ceisner will be on the water all 3 days bringing you closer to the action as it unfolds. Today, he's joined in the boat by BassFan sales executive Tim Carini, a former B.A.S.S. pro and frequent visitor to Guntersville. As some BassFans are aware, Tim had an other-worldly day of fishing last weekend just up the Tennessee River at Lake Chickamauga, where he and guide Rogne Brown teamed up to catch a 5-bass limit weighing 49 pounds. To read Tim's account of the experience, click here.

    Otherwise, we'll be updating this space throughout the day as we jump around Guntersville to bring you inside the Classic.

    Also, be sure to follow our coverage on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

    > 12:58 pm: We're back at the Sheraton in Birmingham, peeling off our outerwear and getting prepped to head over to the Expo before the weigh-ins get rolling. Weather turned out great today. Breezy and cool, but that big fireball in the sky finally made an appearance. Can't wait to hear the anglers' thoughts on how that may affect the fishing on the weekend.

    > 10:30 am: The wind has picked up but the sun is still blazing. Tim and I are coming off the water for the day as both our phones died while out on the lake. Sorry to cut it short today but we'll have complete coverage from the weigh-in later.

    > 10 am: Lane picked up and moved to a flat next to an island. On the way there we encountered KVD and his throng of followers as well as Mike Iaconelli and his Ike-onites.

    > 9:45 am: We vacated Rojas' cove and found Chris Lane fishing a jerkbait along a steep, rocky bank. He has about 15 boats in his group.

    > 9:31 am: Rojas now has about 10 spectator boats on him as Lee pulled up and left and took his followers with him.

    > 9:08 am: Rojas is focusing now on a little culvert in a causeway. It's not big enough for a bass boat to slide through, but it would appear to act as a funnel for fish to get to a pond just on the other side. And Jordan Lee just pulled up a few hundred yards to Rojas' right.

    > 9:05 am: Rojas just caught a decent fish and it allowed him to cull.

    > 8:53 am: Rojas appears to be slinging a shallow-running crank right against the rocks. He's making several casts then turning around and heading back over the stretch.

    > 8:45 am: Lee is fishing open water but we see Dean Rojas fishing some sun-soaked riprap. Heard he's doing well so we're heading over there now.

    > 8:36 am: We've found Jordan Lee and he promptly catches a keeper.

    > 8:15 am: Cherry had decided to split and leave. Faircloth is locked in a small area he continues to move across.

    > 8 am: B.A.S.S. couldn't have asked for better day 1 weather. It's clear and sunny with just a hint of a breeze. Cherry continues to move back and forth across a point. He's throwing a lipless crank.

    > 7:47 am: Just watched Cherry and Faircloth hook up within seconds of each other. Cherry threw his back while Faircloth put his in the box. Cherry just caught another short. Faircloth has his Power-Poles down and is winding his bait slowly.

    > 7:41 am: We've moved off Crews and slid back further into Seibold Creek where Hank Cherry and Todd Faircloth are fishing within 100 yards of each other.

    > 7:30 am: We've found John Crews fishing a flat with about 20 boats watching. Bright sun this morning and 48 degree water temps.

  • Photo gallery: Media Day

    BassFan was on the scene at Regions Field in Birmingham today for Bassmaster Classic Media Day. Anglers chatted with reporters while working on tackle and making all the last-minute adjustments they needed before competition begins at Lake Guntersville tomorrow.

    To check out BassFan's photo gallery, click here.

  • Outlooks differ among Nation qualifiers

    Two of the six B.A.S.S. Nation qualifiers for the Bassmaster Classic have considerably more top-level experience than the others, and they're setting their sights high this week. For those getting their first taste of competing against some of the world's top anglers, one of the highlights has been listening to the comedy routine of Elite Series pro Cliff Crochet.

    For more, click here.

  • Game & Fish: Additional Classic coverage

    Our friends at Game & Fish Magazine examined the 10 baits that could be a factor at the Bassmaster Classic this week. There are some no-brainers, but also some surprises. To check it out, click here.

    Also, Game & Fish contributor Jeff Samsel took a look back at 10 of the biggest wins in Classic history, from Robert Hamilton's win down the road at Logan Martin Lake to Rick Clunn's first Classic triumph at Guntersville in 1976. To give it a read, click here.

  • You like trucks?

    Any more the trucks pro anglers use to travel around the country and nearly as impressive to look at as the boats they fish out of to make a living. Get a load of some of the rides the Classic anglers are driving these days.

    Check out our tow vehicle photo galleries: Part 1 and Part 2.

  • Project Z launched

    Project Z launched

    Adventure Advertising, an agency specializing in the development, execution and measurement of integrated marketing solutions for the outdoors market, announced this week its new video entertainment network, OutdoorFlics. The outdoor industry’s first video-focused digital content marketing and distribution business, OutdoorFlics launches with the premiere of Project Z, a competition mini-series featuring professional anglers using only Z-Man products.

    Inspired by shows like Bravo’s Top Chef, History Channel’s Swamp People and CBS’s The Amazing Race, Project Z will feature former Bassmaster Classic winner Luke Clausen and 2014 Classic qualifiers David Walker and Stephen Browning. The anglers will participate in three challenges that will put their decision-making and angling skills to the test.

    The main focus of the series is the process by which each competitor goes about completing the challenges. Offering valuable tips for anglers, the pros break down their decision-making on why, how and where they are fishing with the Z-Man bait they've selected.

    Throughout the show, the Project Z body of water, Alabama’s Lake Guntersville, will emerge as an additional character as the anglers determine the best approach to interact with it in their pursuit. As the anglers break down all 69,000 acres of the lake in only 15 hours, the series will offer a sneak peek into how it will fish during this year's Classic.

    The first 15-minute episode is embedded below.




  • Balog: Watch out for Walker

    Balog: Watch out for Walker

    In this week's edition of Balog's Bass War, Joe Balog lists some anglers he expects to contend for the Bassmaster Classic title. His pick to win is quiet veteran David Walker.

    To find out why he's so high on the Tennessean, click here.

  • Classic: Media Day coverage

    <B><font color=blue>Classic: Media Day coverage</font color></b>

    Welcome to BassFan's live coverage of the 2014 Bassmaster Classic.

    Today is media day in Birmingham and BassFan editors John Johnson and Todd Ceisner will be on the scene at the brand-new Regions Field to get a feel for how the 55 competitors plan to tackle Lake Guntersville in the morning.

    There's a threat of severe weather late Thursday into early Friday morning across much of central and northern Alabama, so there's that to contend with. Hopefully, it'll move through swiftly and quietly and not pose a danger to anyone or delay the action.

    We'll be posting news and notes and interesting tidbits here throughout the anglers' media availability.

    Also be sure to check back during the tournament for our on-the-water coverage. In addition, be sure to follow our coverage on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

    11:55 a.m.: Bruce Akin, CEO of B.A.S.S., announces that the Toyota Angler of the Year championship in September will be held at Bays de Noc on Lake Michigan in Escanaba, Mich. Also, the Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Trail championship will be held in December at Bismarck, Ark., at DeGray Lake. B.A.S.S. will also host a high school championship July 16-19 at Kentucky Lake and Henry County Reservoir in Paris, Tenn.

    11:45 a.m.: B.A.S.S. officials and local leaders address the gathered media at Regions Field regarding bringing the Classic back to Birmingham. Angler availability will begin shortly.

    4:05 p.m.: Our apologies for the lull in posting. We were quite busy running from one end of the concourse at Regions Field during trying to get some final input from the Classic anglers. We'll be heading to the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame induction dinner tonight before heading to the lake bright and early tomorrow.

  • River2Sea feaatured on Monroe's Elite wrap

    River2Sea feaatured on Monroe's Elite wrap

    Ish Monroe revealed a couple of weeks ago that the boat he'll use on the FLW Tour this year will feature a Lowrance wrap. The two-tour pro announced this week that his Bassmaster Elite Series wrap will highlight bait-maker River2Sea.

    "River2Sea and I have really developed a great working relationship and friendship since I joined the team in 2011," he said. "Being able to do a little more to represent the brand and the products we have worked together to build is something I am very proud of. I look forward to flying these colors on the Bassmaster Classic stage and into the Elite Series this year."

    Simon Chan, president of River2Sea said that the partnership makes sense for a lot of reasons.

    "Ish has totally invested himself into being a part of the team here," said Chan. "He works very hard on his fishing, on his products and on the business and having him feature the R2S logo this way is a great value because we know how much it means to us in a promotional sense. Ish is one of the hardest workers out there and we are glad he is a part of the team and the River2Sea family."

  • Lew's will showcase old and new

    Lew's will showcase old and new

    With Lew's back in its birth state of Alabama this week for the 2014 Bassmaster Classic, the rod and reel company has planned a party to celebrate the occasion.

    Lew's booth activities will take place at the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo held in the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex Friday through Sunday. The Lew's booth is located in the convention center's lower level at the base of its escalator.

    A fully restored 1975 Ranger bass boat will serve as the landmark for the Lew's booth. The boat will be outfitted with Lew's tackle of the era. It was in 1974, one year earlier than the Ranger on display was built, that the Lew's BB1 Speed Spool was introduced with a number of industry firsts. Among them were the reel's low-profile design, disengaging level-wind and palming side cover. As a result, the new baitcaster forever changed the way people fished for bass.

    Also featured in the Lew's booth will be a glass-enclosed display with many other vintage items that the brand's late founder, Lew Childre, developed when the company was first located in Foley, Ala. Among the showcased items are Lew's reel prototypes, frog gigs, fillet knives, hooks, advertising and an assortment of the company's earliest baitcast and spinning reels.

    Former Bassmaster Classic champion David Fritts, who helped make the BB1 famous originally and was also instrumental in its recent redesign, will be among several Lew's pro staff members making appearances in the booth throughout the Classic. Other Team Lew's pros include Kevin Short, Peter Thliveros, Glenn Browne, Marty Robinson, Mark Menendez, Michael Simonton and Mark Rose.

    The professional anglers will be available for autographs and photo mementos, plus will assist with Lew's daily contests for prizes that include the all-new BB1 Pro baitcast reels and the just-introduced Fritts Speed Stick Cranking Series rods, Speed Spin reels, aluminum fishing pliers, hooded sweatshirts and more. The daily drawings start over each day and registration is free with no purchase necessary. Prizes will be awarded at 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and at noon on Sunday. A Lew's T-shirt toss will also take place each day at those same times.

    Lew's has 10 pro-staffers competing in the Classic – Stephen Browning, Jason Christie, Mark Davis, John Murray, Terry Scroggins, Patrick Bone, Richard Howes, Chad Morgenthaler, Rick Morris and Paul Mueller.

    The Classic Outdoors Expo is open to the public and admission is free. General admission hours are: Friday, Feb. 21, noon - 8 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 22, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 23, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. CST.

  • Z-Man re-ups with FLW

    Z-Man re-ups with FLW

    FLW announced today that Z-Man Fishing Products, manufacturer of the Original ChatterBait bladed jig and ElaZtech soft plastics, has renewed its sponsorship agreement with the organization. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

  • Klein has Classic plans for Zebco 33

    Klein has Classic plans for Zebco 33

    Industry rep Alan McGuckin passed along this piece on Gary Klein's plans to have a Zebco 33 reel ready to go for the Bassmaster Classic this week as a way to honor the reel's heritage and durability.

    More than 60 years ago, a Texas watchmaker named R.D. Hull watched packaging string flow tangle free from a spool at a local supermarket and thought it might make a good idea for a fishing reel.

    In an effort to honor Hull's life-shaping invention, Gary Klein will carry, and possibly compete, with a Zebco 33 at the Bassmaster Classic later this week at Lake Guntersville.

    To sentimental types, Klein’s decision to carry a Zebco 33 in his boat is an admirable act. To serious fishermen, the idea of competing with a $29 spincast reel for a Bassmaster Classic title, that has eluded Klein in 29 previous attempts, may seem crazy.

    “I think it’s important to remind everybody that freshwater fishing’s most basic roots are hugely tied to one reel. I know mine are,” Klein said. “The Zebco 33 was born in 1954, and I was born in 1957. If I wasn’t walking the shoreline of Lake Oroville as a kid, then I was at the family cabin on Lake Almanor using marshmallows and salmon eggs under a bobber to reel in trout with a 33.

    “My dad was a fireman, and if he was busy fighting a forest fire then mom would take my two younger brothers and myself fishing,” Klein continued. “Maybe she just thought it was easier to take care of us if we were fishing, but I can tell you for sure that pretty much every weekend of my childhood was spent hiking, fishing or camping, and a Zebco 33 was part of every trip,” he fondly remembers.

    But again, setting aside warm and fuzzy memories, is Klein really sure he wants to chase his first Classic championship with a reel made mostly for beginning anglers?

    “At a minimum, yes, I hope to make a few casts with it during Classic competition,” he said. “I’m serious enough about using it during the Classic that I won’t do it cold turkey, so I’ve already been practicing with it.

    “In fact, I put the 60th Anniversary model 33 on a 7-foot medium-action Quantum Smoke rod, with a 1/4-oz. red crankbait tied to it, and made several casts while practicing for the Bassmaster Open on Lake Amistad."

    Klein says that like a free flowing packaging string in a grocery store, castability is not a concern. But being the consummate technician, he worries a bit about speedy line pick-up. The 19.1 inches per turn of the handle in the brand new Anniversary model Zebco 33 should help alleviate some of that apprehension.

    “There’d be nothing more gratifying than weighing in a fish at the Bassmaster Classic that I caught on a Zebco 33,” Klein said.

    Other than winning the Classic title in his 30th try, of course.

  • NITRO unveils Classic experience platform

    NITRO unveils Classic experience platform

    NITRO Boats announced today that it has developed the NITROClassic fan experience platform for the Bassmaster Classic later this week at Lake Guntersville.

    NITROClassic will provide the public with access to a wide range of activities, contests and giveaways from the event’s launch to the final day of competition. Online, NITROClassic.com will act as the event’s digital hub, providing event schedules, maps and directions, social media feed and registration information for promotions.

    One of the many promotions will be the NITRO Check-In Challenge, which allows fans to check-in at various locations to receive free merchandise and gain exclusive access during the event. Also available is Blast Off with the Pros, in which fans are provided a chance to upgrade their test drive of a NITRO into a ride in a chase boat during the takeoff at the Classic.

    NITROClassic shuttle rides have been designed to elevate the public’s experience. During the ride from the Bass Pro Shops in Leeds, AL, to the Bassmaster Classic venues in downtown Birmingham, fans can take part in the Shuttle Showdown, an interactive game in which fans can put their knowledge to use during the ride to win exclusive prizes.

    From a social media perspective, NITROClassic will provide live updates and behind-the-scenes content through Facebook and Twitter. Contests will include the Guess the Weight weigh-in challenge and the Catch of the Day user-submitted photo contest.

    To enhance the on-scene experience at Lake Guntersville, NITRO will have an exclusive viewing area available in the NITRO Zone. The space will provide for an optimal view of the team and boats as the action unfolds.

  • Two new deals for Martens

    Two new deals for Martens

    Reigning B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year Aaron Martens' sponsorship portfolio continues to grow as two more deals were announced today: one with Lowrance and the other with ELF Holdings.

    Of the Lowrance deal, Martens said: “Since my early days of fishing, I have relied heavily on my sonar to help me find and catch fish. The advances Lowrance has made over the past decade have literally changed fishing. Lowrance has made deep-water fishing, and finding fish at any depth, much easier."

    ELF Holdings is a multi-state investment conglomerate that focuses on, among other things, providing non-conventional financing opportunities and venture capital support.

    "The principals (of the company) are avid fishermen who saw this as an opportunity for exposure for their companies while also supporting one of the all-time great anglers, who also happens to be a good, Christian individual," said ELF co-owner Joseph Durham Jr.

  • Scanlon links up with restaurant chain

    Scanlon links up with restaurant chain

    Bassmaster Elite Series angler Casey Scanlon has signed on with restaurant chain Texas Roadhouse for the 2014 tournament season.

    Community Relations manager Diania Ciresi says of Scanlon joining the team, “We wanted to work with Casey because we love his story. He realized at the age of 12 what he wanted to do and through hard work and determination he achieved his dream.

    "We were founded on the same principles. Our founder had a vision – to serve a legendary meal at a price a family could afford.”

    Said Scanlon: “Texas Roadhouse has amazing food. Their steaks are the best you’ll find. They have over 420 locations in 49 states and they focus on making the dining experience special for the whole family. I look forward to working with them and spreading the word about their great food and awesome atmosphere."

  • Blaylock gets DECKED

    Blaylock gets DECKED

    FLW Tour angler Stetson Blaylock has signed a sponsorship deal with DECKED, the maker of truck-bed storage systems, for the 2014 season.

    “For years I've tried to find a way to organize my truck to keep things protected and easy to find," he said. "When I discovered what DECKED has to offer, I had to have it. Their systems are perfect for any angler, or anyone looking to organize the bed of their truck for carrying a lot of stuff in the best possible way. I can’t believe how much more I can carry, and how easy it is to access anything I need quickly with my new DECKED storage system.”

    Said company founder Lance Meller: "After talking with Stetson about his truck storage issues, I am convinced we offer a product that will benefit anglers of all levels. Not only can anglers utilize our storage system for their fishing gear, but they can utilize it for work gear, hunting gear or anything else they want to carry in their trucks.”

  • Deal to retire from Mann's on March 1

    Deal to retire from Mann's on March 1

    Lanny Deal, who's held a variety of positions at Mann's Bait Company over the past three decades, will retire on March 1, the company announced in a press release. He will continue to assist the Alabama-based company in a consulting capacity for the remainder of 2014.

    Deal joined Mann’s in 1984, and with the exception of 1 year, he has served the company continuously for almost 30 years in a number of roles, including in manufacturing, field sales, sales administration and marketing. He's been in his present position since 2004.

    The company said Deal's replacement will be announced soon.

    Mann’s Bait Company, a leading fishing lure manufacturer, produces a broad range of fish catching products for both fresh and saltwater markets, consisting of spinnerbaits, crankbaits, soft plastics, lead lures and hollow body baits.

  • Martin announces revamped site for show

    Martin announces revamped site for show

    FLW Tour standout Scott Martin announce that the website for his TV show, the Scott Martin Challenge, has been revamped as the show enters its 10th season.

    The new website, developed by Pro Sites Unlimited, allows visitors to watch current and past episodes, as well as get exclusive tips and techniques from Martin, news from the tournament trail, guide services on Lake Okeechobee and the Florida Everglades, Bass Class information and access to Martin’s social network.

    “After seeing what Pro Sites Unlimited has done with some of the top names in the industry, including Randall Tharp and Brandon Palaniuk, we were confident they could give our brand the presence it needed," Martin said.

  • B.A.S.S., Booyah together again

    B.A.S.S., Booyah together again

    B.A.S.S. announced today that it's reached a sponsorship agreement with bait-maker Booyah, rekindling a relationship that's been on-again, off-again since 2009.

    “We’re pleased Booyah is again part of the Bassmaster sponsor family,” said B.A.S.S. VP of sales Joe Higgins. “The brand is returning with a season-long activation program that fans are going to love.”

    Booyah’s Bassmaster activation program will kick off at the Bassmaster Classic. At its booth at the Classic Expo, Booyah will display a new, fully loaded, Booyah-wrapped Toyota Tundra, the grand prize in the 2014 Booyah Truck Giveaway Sweepstakes.

    At the Classic and each event during the upcoming Elite Series campaign, one sweepstakes finalist’s name will be drawn and that person will receive a key. All 11 finalists (one will be selected from online entries) will be Booyah’s guests at the 2015 Classic in Greenville, S.C. The one with the key that fits the ignition to the truck will win it.

    The deadline for sweepstakes entries is Oct. 31. For more about the contest, go to www.BooyahBaits.com/Truck.

  • Classic contest: Win a Rocket (and then some)

    <b><font color=red>Classic contest: Win a Rocket (and then some)</font color></b>

    Need a new reel? How about a new casting rod? New baits and line?

    We've got you covered in our Bassmaster Classic giveaway, thanks to the great people at Berkley, Abu Garcia, Sébile and SpiderWire, you have the opportunity to win more than $500 worth of new gear. All you have to do is try to figure out what Bobby Lane's final tournament weight will be at Lake Guntersville.

    To learn more, click here.

  • Larew adds Roumbanis

    Larew adds Roumbanis

    Bassmaster Elite Series pro Fred Roumbanis, a native Californian now residing in Oklahoma, has signed on with Oklahoma-based soft-plastics maker Gene Larew Lures.

    "We're always crossing paths with Fred and having this opportunity to work together makes perfect sense," said Larew owner Chris Lindenberg. "We know he's a great ambassador for the sport of bass fishing, and we know he will be that for Larew as well."

    Said Roumbanis: "Without a doubt, Larew has introduced a number of innovative baits in the last 4 or 5 years. "(Fellow Elite angler Tommy) Biffle has proven the Larew Biffle Bug is the real deal all across the country, and my experiences with their Rattlin' Crawler, TattleTail and Salt Flick'R this winter have been eye-openers. Larew fits right into my wheelhouse."

  • Vinson switches to Phoenix

    Vinson switches to Phoenix

    Bassmaster Elite Series angler Greg Vinson announced that he'll run a Phoenix boat in 2014. The 6th-year pro from Alabama had formerly been with Skeeter.

    "When I decided to change boats it was with the idea that I would fish out of the best,” he said. “As a professional angler, you hear a lot from other anglers and from your fans
    about the quality of certain products.

    “One of the biggest reasons I contacted Phoenix was because all I ever heard about their boats was positive, on and off the record. And I can tell you that after running one on Toho during the first Southern Open about a week ago, I’m confident that I made the right decision. My boat was fast and it handled the rough water without a hitch, and it was designed and built by fishermen, so everything is well-built and is in the right place.”

    Said Phoenix president Gary Clouse: “We’re pleased to have an angler with Greg’s work ethic, morals and professional skills in one of our boats. We build first-class boats and we’re proud when first-class anglers fish out of them. We consider it a privilege to have Greg on board."

  • FLW rookie takes matters into own hands

    FLW rookie takes matters into own hands

    Michael Wooley, a first-year FLW Tour competitor from Collierville, Tenn., logged a 29th-place finish in his debut event at Lake Okeechobee last week and picked up a $10,000 check. He then headed straight to South Carolina to get in some pre-practice for the next derby at Lake Hartwell and drove right into the powerful winter storm that's pounded the region recently.

    He was motel-bound for several days due to iced-over launch ramps, but he remedied that today with a purchase from a local hardware store and a good bit of hard labor. He'd decided he could no longer wait on Mother Nature.

    "I went and bought a snow shovel this morning and cleared off the ramp so I could get on the lake," he said. "It took 3 hours, but I'm fishing now! I wasn't going to spend another day in the motel room – I was going to do whatever I had to do to get on the lake."

    Before and after photos of the ramp are shown here.

  • Martens to use Lithium Pros batteries

    Reigning Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of the Year Aaron Martens will run Lithium Pros Batteries for both his main battery and his trolling motor batteries for his 2014 season.

    Martens is one of the first tour level anglers to use lithium-based batteries in his boat.

    “I switched to Lithium based batteries several years ago," he said. "There are so many advantages to using lithium batteries. They are lighter, charge faster, last longer, and they don’t lose power throughout the day. Lithium Pros offers the best batteries you can put in your boat, and I am happy to be relying on them in 2014. Their warranty is an incredible 4 years or 800 cycles. Each cycle is a fishing day. Any angler knows a typical battery doesn’t last 4 years or 800 fishing days. Lithium Pros batteries do and they guarantee it.”

    Lithium Pros is currently offering an online discount to anyone making a $2,000 purchase. Use the code "AMART" at check to save $100 off a purchase at www.lithiumpros.com.

  • Roumbanis signs with gun company

    Roumbanis signs with gun company

    Pro angler Fred Roumbanis today announced that he has aligned with gun manufacturer and retailer CMMG for the 2014 season.

    Roumbanis will be promoting CMMG as well as gun safety while on tour and at tackle and boating shows around the country.

    “CMMG manufactures incredible guns 100 percent here in the United States and they offer tons of cool accessories," Roumbanis said. "I am looking forward to promoting their products and sales as well as gun safety. Guns have a played a huge part in American history and I believe any law-abiding citizen should have the right to own them. However, I do believe they should be handled and stored correctly and young adults should be taught the proper and safe use of guns and most importantly, learn to respect them.”

    Said Billy Doak of CMMG, “I have been fishing and hunting my entire life. Recently, I have been fishing tournaments, like the FLW Rayovac Series and I’ve found most of the anglers I meet are also hunters and avid outdoorspeople. In fact, most of them fish spring, summer and into the fall and then hunt all late fall and winter. Fred is a great ambassador for the sport of fishing and we believe working with him will help us reach these great people. We look forward to what we believe will be an outstanding 2014 season for Fred starting next week at the Bassmaster Classic.”

    In addition, CMMG will soon be announcing details on its Facebook page about a giveaway involving a day of fishing with Roumbanis.

  • Crochet gets in on the Action

    Crochet gets in on the Action

    Action Industries today officially announced its sponsorship of “The Cajun Baby” Cliff Crochet in his quest to win the prestigious Bassmaster Classic while in turn highlighting the company’s diverse services in the oilfield and petrochemical industries.

    Action Industries was founded in 1981, two years before Crochet was born, and he’s been familiar with the company his whole life.

    “I like doing business with people I know and trust,” said Crochet. “Action Industries and its subsidiaries keep Louisiana running smoothly. Businesses respect the work they do. Sponsorship is not something I take likely. I’ve had adequate time to feel comfortable representing them to the folks both in and out of Louisiana.”

    Action Industries is headquartered in White Castle, La., along the Mississippi River and not far from Crochet’s hometown of Pierre Part.

    “Pierre Part is well-known these days as the home of the Landry’s (Troy, Jacob, and Chase) from the History Channel’s Swamp People, crawfish and the Cajun Baby,” said Michael Medine, Jr., president and CEO of Action Industries. “We are proud of Cliff and happy to see him doing well on the BASSMASTER Elite Series. We want to help Cliff drop more weight on the scales at every tournament and allow him to be seen by more people for the genuine original he is.”

  • Triple play: Baits that could win the Classic

    Swim, rattle and jerk?

    It's not quite an Elvis song, but that combination of baits could help put someone in contention to win the Bassmaster Classic at Lake Guntersville next week.

    Former BassFan editor Jon Storm penned a piece for Game & Fish Magazine on the three baits – rattlebait, swimbait and jerkbait – that could play major roles on the Tennessee River impoundment.

    To check it out, click here.

  • Giveaways, activities planned for Berkley booth

    Giveaways, activities planned for Berkley booth

    A lot will be going on at the Berkley booth at next week's Bassmaster Classic Expo in Birmingham, Ala.

    Visitors will see top pros doing seminars and signing autographs. Live demonstrations on how and why fish hold onto PowerBait 18 times longer will be conducted Friday through Sunday. Berkley bait, line and rod managers will also be doing seminars, taking anglers behind the scenes of the company. Free product samples, the new Berkley Experience trailer and much more will be included in the program.

    Berkley is offering two special promotions. The first gives visitors to the booth an opportunity to appear on their own Bassmaster magazine cover and a chance to win one of four $500 Berkley prize packs. Simply upload your picture with the giant Bassmaster magazine cover to the contest site or tweet the photo out using the hash tag #BerkleyCoverShot and you will be entered to win.

    The other is free spooling for any one reel. To be eligible, potential recipients must be B.A.S.S. life members or high school students. Each will get their choice of new Trilene Professional-grade lines to be spooled. Spooling will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. each day of the expo.

    Berkley is also handing out 250 of the newest PowerBait shapes each day. As an added bonus, the company will also be handing out baits at the launch each morning.

    Abu Garcia is giving away two Revo Rockets each day with no purchase necessary. Consumers can enter the giveaway by using their smartphones in the booth.

    The new baits from Sebile will be on display. To show its appreciation to Classic fans, Sebile will be handing out 500 of the new Action First baits each day.

    “We have so much going on in the Berkley booth this year,” said director of field marketing Andrew Marks. “We’re located in the highest traffic area of the Expo, right at the top of the escalator. We encourage all attendees to stop by to see what is going on and also check out some of the new baits that are being introduced at the Classic.”

    Stren will be testing anglers' knots with a knot machine, giving away prizes for the best knots. Mitchell will have new reels on display, as well as cases of historic reels that document the brand's rich history.

    Although items won’t be on sale at this year’s Berkley booth, many vendors will be at the Expo selling Berkley, Abu Garcia, Sebile, SpiderWire, Stren, Fenwick, Pflueger and Shakespeare products. With some of those purchases, consumers can redeem their receipts for promotions only available at the Berkley booth.

  • Balog: The evolution continues

    Balog: The evolution continues

    In this week's installment of Balog's Bass War, Joe Balog weighs in on last week's FLW Tour opener at Lake Okeechobee – focusing primarily on the less-than-pleasant aspect of three competitors being disqualified. He finds it somewhat amazing that, more than 40 years after it started, pro bass fishing still hasn't worked through all of its "growing pains."

    To read the column, click here.

  • FLW pro Loyd forced to resign Ill. post

    FLW pro Loyd forced to resign Ill. post

    Travis Loyd, who has fished the FLW Tour since 2012, was forced to resign from his post as deputy director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources last week after a report by a Chicago TV station alleged that he misused sick leave in order to compete in fishing tournaments last summer.

    Loyd said there's more to the story that what was originally reported.

    To read BassFan's reporting on the situation, click here.

  • Zippo Outdoor picks up Chapman

    Zippo Outdoor picks up Chapman

    Gear manufacturer Zippo Outdoor has signed Bassmaster Elite Series pro Brent Chapman to a sponsorship deal for the 2014 campaign. The company indicated that Chapman was selected because of the lifestyle he and his family live, which includes many nights spent in campgrounds at tournament venues.

    "Brent, (wife) Bobbi, and the kids reflect a lifestyle congruent with the Zippo brand; a recognized and trusted brand known for integrity, longevity, reliability and genuine experiences," said Zippo Outdoor marketing manager Chris Funk.

    Added Chapman: "Bobbi and I are equal partners in this business. I couldn't possibly do this without her running the business side of things, and my kids being my greatest fans. We are very happy that Zippo chose us over everyone else out there. They have great gear."

  • Daiwa inks Ehrler for 3

    Daiwa inks Ehrler for 3

    Rod and reel manufacturer Daiwa has signed FLW Tour standout Brent Ehrler to a 3-year sponsorship deal.

    "Daiwa produces excellent rods and reels," he said. "I fish for a living and can't rely on equipment that isn't at the top of the game. Everything they produce from the new Tatula line through the Steez lineup is fantastic.

    Said Daiwa marketing manager Curt Arakawa: "Adding Ehrler was an easy decision. He's a proven winner who prides himself in using the best equipment available. He will give us additional exposure on both the FLW Tour and in Major League Fishing. It'll be fun watching his career continue to grow with Daiwa rods and reels in his hand."

  • Halo becomes Tharp's title sponsor

    Halo becomes Tharp's title sponsor

    Rod-maker Halo Fishing announced today that it's signed reigning Forrest Wood Cup champion and two-tour pro Randall Tharp to a title sponsorship agreement through the 2014 season.

    “In 2012 I won my first FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee with the first Halo rods ever made,” he said. “I was so impressed with their product, I wanted to become a part of the company and I’ve been with them ever since. They have a knack for building rods that compliment my favorite big-fish techniques of pitching, punching, frogging and swim-jigging.”

    Alex Pappas, co-owner of Halo Fishing, says Tharp is a fishing company’s dream spokesperson.

    “We are honored to have Randall running the Halo Fishing wrap this year,” Pappas said. “He has been an integral part of our Halo Team since before we began making rods.

    :Randall is a great fisherman and a great person. He is a people’s pro, a genuine down-to-earth person. He listens to people and engages them in conversation. People can relate to him. His passion for this sport is immeasurable.”

  • Vicious Vision, Velvick team up

    Vicious Vision, Velvick team up

    Vicious Vision Premium Polarized Eyewear has announced the signing of Bassmaster Elite Series angler Byron Velvick.

    Velvick, a three-time B.A.S.S. winner, is due to return to the tour this season after sitting out 2013 due to injury.

    "I was very fortunate to meet the guys at Vicious Vision," Velvick said. "What they have brought to market is the best pair of glasses I have ever worn. Not only do they allow me to see more in the water, but they deliver the best available protection from the sun and they feel great too. I had an opportunity to visit their lab in Springfield and it was very cool to see the personalized work that goes into every pair of glasses. There’s more to it than I could have ever imagined and I have a new appreciation for this phenomenal eyewear."

    Vicious Vision will also sponsor Velvick's television series Guides’ Eyes, which focuses on fishing guides around the country.

    “When we looked at what Byron brought to the table, it just made sense to get him on the Vicious Vision team," said Vicious Vision owner Dr. Doug Jordan. "He’s not only a known sight fisherman on the tour, but he also has the Outdoor Channel exposure he brings with Guides’ Eyes and Major League Fishing. Add to that the exposure he still receives from his appearance as ABC’s "The Bachelor," and he fills a significant role in driving impressions for our brand. We are very glad that he agreed to come on board with us.”

    To learn more, visit www.vicious-vision.com.

  • DeFoe pairs up with ORCA

    DeFoe pairs up with ORCA

    The Outdoor Recreation Company of America (ORCA) announced today it will sponsor Bassmaster Elite Series angler Ott DeFoe, whose tow vehicle will feature the company’s eye-catching whale tail branding.

    “I tested the ORCA 26QT cooler all last summer because honestly I didn’t understand why people were investing in these premium coolers," DeFoe said. "As a family we found more uses for that cooler than you would believe, and as a fisherman I make sure I have it with me every day now."

    Said Jason Baggett, ORCA vice president of marketing, “Ott DeFoe exemplifies ORCA’s core values and ethics as a person, family man and professional angler. He understands the pride we have in our products, and can demonstrate their full usefulness while on the road with his family for the Bassmaster Elite Series.”

    To learn more, visit www.orcacoolers.com.

  • Vinson to run combo wrap

    Vinson to run combo wrap

    Here's a photo of the wrap that Alabama Bassmaster Elite Series angler Greg Vinson will run in 2014. The primary real estate is split between NetBait and Royal Purple synthetic lubricants.

  • AutoZone renews Winning Ways sponsorship

    AutoZone renews Winning Ways sponsorship

    B.A.S.S. announced today that AutoZone will continue in 2014 with its title sponsorship of AutoZone Winning Ways, a spinoff of the ESPN2 fishing show, The Bassmasters.

    The hour-long AutoZone Winning Ways, which delves into the secrets of Bassmaster tournament champions, will begin Sunday, April 27, 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Eastern time, directly following an episode of The Bassmasters.

    “AutoZone is proud to renew its partnership with B.A.S.S.,” said director of marketing Brenda Hudson. “We’ve seen how Winning Ways is an excellent place to show our support of this great sport.”

    Entering its 8th season, Winning Ways focuses on the techniques and lures used by winners of Bassmaster Elite Series events and reveals how pros approached a fishery. The show is hosted by Tommy Sanders and Mark Zona.

    Five hours of AutoZone Winning Ways are scheduled to air on ESPN2 in 2014:

    > The April 27 debut show will re-air Sunday, May 18, from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.

    > A new edition will air Sunday, July 13, from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. It will re-air Sunday, Aug. 24, from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.

    > The third showing of the season will air Nov. 1 from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m.

  • New logo for Strike King

    New logo for Strike King

    Strike King today unveiled a new logo – gone are the words "Lure Company" and "No. 1 In Fishing Lures." They've been replaced by two fish hooks in an oval "S" shape.

    "Our brand has grown and transformed from a somewhat narrowly dimensioned product line into a multi-faceted, lifestyle type of entity,” said VP of sales and marketing Doug Minor. “From our surge into the eyewear market to our multi-species lure offerings to our apparel and accessories, today Strike King means so much more than just fishing lures, and this has led us to rethink and redesign our age-old logo."

    Minor was quick to point out, though, that the company's primary focus is still producing baits for bass anglers.

    "We are very fortunate to have experienced growth in these other categories. However, our passion has always been and will always be bass fishing. That is what brought us to the dance and we will never neglect that."

  • Sunline Strong Performer: Okeechobee

    <b><font color=green>Sunline Strong Performer: Okeechobee</font color></b>

    Peter Thliveros' track record in Florida is as strong as any, but after an extremely tough start last week at Lake Okeechobee, he reversed his fortunes by simply reversing the order of the spots he fished.

    He caught 10-01 on day 1 and that had him mired in 129th place, well out of check range. On Day 2, he backtracked through his day-1 spots and came back with 25-15, the second-heaviest bag of the day to climb into 18th and make his first Top-20 cut since 2011. He caught 15-08 on Day 3 and finished 14th.

    "I knew the areas I had had a lot of fish in them and I was fishing the right kind of water. It was just a matter of timing when those fish would show up and bite," he said. "On Day 1, you always start where you think you'll do your best and if that doesn’t work you start running other stuff. I'd only caught a couple early on and I just didn't trust where I was fishing. As the day went on, the bite got better, but I never went back to my starting spot."

    He said it was one of the few times he's flip-flopped the order of his spots in a tournament.

    "Usually, I'll punt and go look for different things," he added. "I just stuck with what I knew and figured out how to catch what was there and the best time to catch them."

    He fished open areas around scattered hydrilla, "in between the thick stuff of what I consider deeper spawning flats," he said. "I couldn't seen them down there, but I figured that's what they were doing."

    He mostly fished a Zoom Speed Worm like a swimbait, but also threw a Zoom Fluke on a Petey rig, the latter of which produced an 8-15 that stood up as big fish of the tournament.

    "This is the best finish I've had in a couple years so it's definitely a good start to the season," he added. "It's always hard to climb out of a hole and with just six tournaments, the holes get deeper. It felt good to get out of the blocks fast this year."

    The Sunline Strong Performer, which focuses on the angler who makes the most significant single-day move in the standings at each tour-level event, is brought to you by the great people at Sunline.

  • Big Bite Lookback: Okeechobee

    <b><font color=green>Big Bite Lookback: Okeechobee</font color></b>

    With back-to-back strong finishes at Lake Okeechobee, Brent Ehrler thinks the light bulb has finally gone on in terms of what it takes to compete in Florida.

    After posting a runner-up finish a year ago, the five-time Tour winner averaged more than 17 pounds a day to finish 11th with 52-14. It's the third straight season opener in which he's placed 11th or higher.

    "I finally feel like I've figured a few things out," he said. "I'm getting better at deciphering what to look for now."

    At Okeechobee, he was not as fast to write off an area that didn't produce bites in practice as he would be at another lake.

    "You have to have a good feeling about a spot even though it may not be good at the time," he said. "Any lake we go to, we have a short practice period and if you don't catch a fish in a particular area, you tend to write it off. In Florida, it has to look right and even if you don't catch them, you feel like you have to go back and check those spots. That was the difference between last year and this year. I went back to places that didn't produce and I got bites there during the tournament."

    While many of the anglers who finished ahead of him benefitted from having a 6-pound fish or bigger in their bag at some point during the event, Ehrler didn't weigh anything heavier than 5 1/2 pounds, including on day 2 when he hauled 23-11 to the scale.

    "Normally when you have 20 pounds here, you'll have a 6- or 8-pounder," he said. "I just didn't catch any of those big ones."

    The Big Bite Lookback, which focuses on the angler who's first out of the final cut at each tour-level event, is brought to you by the great folks at Big Bite Baits.

  • Lefebre excited for PWL debut

    Lefebre excited for PWL debut

    What started as a passing thought FLW Tour angler Dave Lefebre had 6 years ago will come to life tonight as the Pro Web Live online seminar series makes its debut.

    Bassmaster Elite Series angler Ott DeFoe will be the first PWL presenter with a presentation on getting the most out of electronics on the water.

    BassFan was invited to participate in a sneak peek session Monday night with DeFoe, and while Lefebre said there was some scrambling behind-the-scenes, the end product came across smooth and well-organized.

    There were 99 virtual seats, but Lefebre said the actual audience was more than 200 as several groups gathered to watch the presentation on large-screen televisions at various locations.

    Attendees will be able to chat live with the host and other viewers while at the same time watching a live video feed of the host as he goes through the presentation, which is expected to last 90 minutes. Viewers can follow along with screen shots from the host and will have one-click shopping options related to the products mentioned during the session.

    It's the culmination of years of ideas and planning for Lefebre.

    "I had the initial thought maybe 6 years ago and it was enough of a thought that I talked about it with a few people," he said. "That's about the time social media was starting to infiltrate the bass fishing world.

    "Three or four offseasons ago, I started to try to make it possible just because I started to be very busy with seminars and trying to be in two places one time. It was a very obvious solution for me and I began researching webinars."

    He attempted to launch it 2 years ago, but financing became an obstacle. Last year, he brought additional people into the fold with technology and programming backgrounds, and they began to pull everything together.

    DeFoe said he had some reservations about being involved because of his relative lack of computer IQ, but after a couple test sessions, he discovered how simple it was to participate. Now, he's just excited to share some of his knowledge and tips with fans.

    "The coolest part of it is the fact that you can be at your house and I'm at my house and we'll be able to interact live and I can answer any questions people may have live," DeFoe said. "If you're looking for new information, hands down, PWL is the most efficient way to get it."

    Lefebre will be involved mostly behind the scenes, working on musical and graphic elements, but he will be among the presenters as well. Other presenters include Jason Christie, Aaron Martens, Brent Ehrler, Shaw Grigsby, Mark Rose, Edwin Evers and Brandon Palaniuk.

    "It's kind of like pulling all of my other loves into this," Lefebre said. "I have a music background and I had an art scholarship out of high school that I didn't take so I could go fishing. It's a combination of things I love to do in life."

    Tonight's event starts at 8 p.m. EST. To learn more, click here.

  • New poll: Which records will fall?

    All indications point toward this year's Bassmaster Classic at Lake Guntersville being a record-setting event for total weight. Many BassFans know there are actually two Classic weight records on the books – Rick Clunn's overall mark from the Arkansas River in 1984 (when the daily limit was seven fish) and Kevin VanDam's tally from the Louisiana Delta in 2011 (the standard for the five-fish era).

    A new BassFan Opinion Poll asks which of those records will be eclipsed this year. To vote, go to the home page and scroll down the right side.

  • '71 Classic boat headed to Expo

    '71 Classic boat headed to Expo

    A Rebel Fastback boat that was used in the inaugural Bassmaster Classic in 1971 will be displayed in the Carlisle Tire booth at this year's Classic Expo in Birmingham, Ala. The fully restored boat, powered by a 90-hp Mercury MerCruiser inboard/outboard engine and originally equipped with a Lowrance Fish-n-Temp electronics unit and bow-mounted MotorGuide electric motor, will be at booth No. 1936.

    B.AS.S. founder Ray Scott ordered 24 identical boats built for anglers selected to fish the first Classic.

    “Secrecy was essential,” he said. “I shopped around to find the least conspicuous boat manufacturer that would build a designated number of identical bass boats all equipped with the same components, and do it in such a way that no one had a clue that the boats were even being built. Rebel was a brand new company in northern Arkansas. Not many people knew about them. The company was sworn to secrecy and the movement of the boats was done in such a way as to keep everyone completely off guard.

    "Even the drivers were only provided limited information and set out from the factory on mysterious routings. They had to stop at given locations along the way and get further instructions for their destination.”

    In 1971, the then state-of-the-art bass boats cost approximately $4,000 each, and reached a top speed of 37 mph. After the Classic, the boats were sold – including one to golf great Sam Snead. Another, boat No. 17, sat in North Carolina for decades under good care until Doyle Hodgin happened to discover it.

    “In June 2011, I was driving on a road that I hardly ever go on and happened to look to my left,” Hodgin said. “I saw a boat there with the word ‘Classic’ and a big ‘17’ on it. I didn’t know what that meant, but it was for sale so I pulled in to look. I went home and did some homework. Then I realized that this boat was used in the first Bassmaster Classic in 1971.”

    “The boat had been sitting in a building for years, so it was in amazing shape. I’ve taken it out on the lake and fished from it. Everything original on it runs like new.”

    The Classic Expo runs Feb. 21-23 at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. Doors open at noon Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

    To learn more about Hodgin's boat, watch the YouTube video embedded below.

  • Ashley aligns with Hi-Seas

    Ashley aligns with Hi-Seas

    Casey Ashley, a South Carolina resident and two-time winner on the Bassmaster Elite Series, has joined the pro staff of line-maker Hi-Seas.

    "We're excited to have Casey Ashley join our team of successful anglers and represent Hi-Seas in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic," said sales director Steven Miller. "He brings a great dynamic of skill and finesse to the sport of professional bass fishing and we're looking forward to watching him succeed with our Hi-Seas lines."

    Said Ashley: “I've fished with Hi-Seas 100% fluorocarbon line, and it's definitely the most sensitive line I've ever used. I need a line to help me win tournaments, and Hi-Seas has proved to be a winning line.”

  • Livingston extends B.A.S.S. sponsorship

    Livingston extends B.A.S.S. sponsorship

    B.A.S.S. announced today that Livingston Lures will return as a sponsor of the organization for 2014.

    “We’re delighted Livingston will be back with us in 2014,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. “Livingston’s activation activities at tournaments throughout 2013 have been a model of how to reach anglers – and how worthwhile such one-on-one contact with anglers can be.”

    Fred Battah, CEO of Livingston Lures, said that Livingston’s brand-activation vehicle and trailer logged 50,000 miles in 2013 traveling to all Bassmaster events.

  • MLF expands, adds anglers

    MLF expands, adds anglers

    Major League Fishing will double in size in 2014 by adding two events and 24 new anglers, the organization announced today. The new events will be sponsored by GEICO.

    Called the GEICO Selects, the new events will be filmed this year and televised early in 2015. Prior to their television run, the two events – the Summit Select and the Challenge Select – will be aired as extended-coverage, web-based broadcasts.

    The new MLF anglers are: Scott Ashmore, Brent Chapman, Jason Christie, Keith Combs, Ott DeFoe, Kurt Dove, Paul Elias, Todd Faircloth, Randy Howell, Andy Montgomery, Cliff Pace, Brandon Palaniuk, Keith Poche, Marty Robinson, Mark Rose, Casey Scanlon, Morizo Shimizu, Kevin Short, Fletcher Shryock, Michael Simonton, Scott Suggs, Gerald Swindle, James Watson and Jacob Wheeler.

    “Major League Fishing has been successful beyond our most hopeful expectations,” said MLF general manager Jim Wilburn. “In fact, I’ve never seen a sports property gain the kind of momentum that Major League Fishing earned in such a short period of time. Our ratings, sponsor support and fan reaction are off the charts."

    GEICO vice president of marketing Ted Ward added, “Fishing is one of America’s favorite pastimes, and the sport of angling has grown immensely. We are excited about the possibilities of working with Major League Fishing and promoting the GEICO brand to the vast community of anglers nationwide.”

    The Selects will serve as companions to the MLF Summit Cup and Challenge Cup. Wilburn also announced that six anglers from the Summit Select event will advance to compete in the companion MLF Summit Cup, which will feature the original 24 MLF anglers, meaning the traditional MLF events will grow to 30 anglers. Also, six anglers will advance from the Challenge Select to compete in MLF Challenge Cup.

    MLF angler Gary Klein said that the original 24 league anglers unanimously endorsed the addition of the Selects and 24 new anglers.

    “We believe that we always need to make sure we keep Major League Fishing moving forward, and we think the Selects will be great for both Major League Fishing and the fishing industry as a whole,” Klein said. “I can’t wait to see what happens, and I’m also looking forward to bringing six more anglers into our field.”

  • Minnesotan wins at Amisad as Allen collapses

    Minnesotan wins at Amisad as Allen collapses

    Randy Allen, a former Elite Series pro who'd dominated the Lake Amistad Bassmaster Central Open through the first 2 days, weighed just a single 1 1/2-pound fish on the final day. That allowed Andy Young, a guide at Minnesota's Lake Minnetonka, to move up from 2nd place and claim the victory.

    “This is a lifelong dream,” said Young of his win and of qualifying for the 2015 Bassmaster Classic (provided he competes in the two remaining Central Opens). “I've been telling all my friends back home that I"m living a dream and I'm afraid someone is going to pinch me and wake me up.

    “I thought I was fishing for 2nd. The local hammer (Allen) had 18 pounds each day, and I was about 11 pounds behind. I just went out and did the best I could.”

    He caught a 13-10 sack to give him a 39-06 total, edging out Elite pro Stephen Browning by 1 ounce. Allen ended up 3rd.

    Young compiled most of his weight with an umbrella rig and a dropshot. Full details of his winning pattern will be published soon.

    Here are the final totals for the Top 12:

    1. Andy Young: 39-06
    2. Stephen Browning: 39-05
    3. Randy Allen: 37-12
    4. Cody Greaney: 34-03
    5. Jordan Lee: 31-09
    6. Carl Jocumsen: 30-06
    7. Matt Lee: 30-04
    8. Ray Hanselman: 29-12
    9. Dave Mansue: 28-05
    10. Troy Broussard: 26-02
    11. Kurt Dove: 26-00
    12. Edwin Evers: 21-11

  • Shimano set to introduce new Curado

    Shimano set to introduce new Curado

    Shimano announced recently it will officially introduce a new series of Curado baitcaster reels on Friday, Feb. 21 at the Bassmaster Classic Outdoor Expo in Birmingham, Ala.

    The Curado I series will also be available at select tackle shops in the U.S. and Canada beginning on Feb. 21. The Curado I release comes on the heels of a clandestine tour by Shimano product development and sales staffers, who spread the word to key tackle dealers around the country since early January.

    “Their interest in the new reels has been off-the-chart strong – and as much as we’ve tried to keep info on Curado under wraps until our official launch at the Bassmaster Classic,” said Shimano marketing manager Bob Mahoney, “certain details about the new reels have filtered out – and of course, that has many anglers buzzing with interest.

    “With our commitment to this somewhat legendary baitcasing reel series at Shimano, we can assure anglers that will definitely get more with the new Curado I series.”

  • BOOYAH giving away tricked-out Tundra

    BOOYAH giving away tricked-out Tundra

    BOOYAH has announced the launch of a giveaway that will see someone drive home in a custom, BOOYAH-wrapped Toyota Tundra valued at nearly $70,000.

    The BOOYAH Custom Truck promotion launches Feb. 21 at the Bassmaster Classic in Birmingham, Ala. Visitors to the Classic Expo can see the truck and enter the sweepstakes at the BOOYAH booth, and one finalist will be selected at the end of the tournament. Then, one finalist will be selected from those who enter at each of the 2014 Bassmaster Elite Series events. Another finalist will be selected from entries received online for a total of 11 finalists. The contest runs through midnight on Oct. 31, 2014.

    The 11 finalists win a trip to the 2015 Bassmaster Classic and each will be given a key. The holder of the key that starts the ignition will win the custom Tundra, which will include the following features:

    > 6-Inch Lift Kit
    > 20-Inch BMF SOTA Wheels
    > Nitto Trail Grappler Tires
    > Fab Four Pre-Runner Bumper system
    > Warn 8000K Winch System
    > Rigid Industries Grill with Light Bars
    > Rigid Industries Rear Bed Lighting and Flush Mount Rear Bumper Lighting
    > Custom Bed Slide System
    > Custom Fishing Rod Tubes Mounted in Overhead Surco Roof Rack System
    > Security system

    “Our market research provided extensive consumer insight about avid anglers,” said John Skrabo, vice president of marketing for PRADCO Outdoor Brands, which owns BOOYAH. “They’re bold. They’re competitive. They want the best. They like having something that nobody else has. And, they like to win.”

    For more information, click here.

  • First PWL event set for Feb. 11

    First PWL event set for Feb. 11

    Ott DeFoe will be the featured speaker during the first Pro Web Live online seminar, which is scheduled for 8 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Feb. 11.

    DeFoe's presentation will offer an in-depth, but simple approach to setting and reading today's advanced electronics (specifically a Humminbird 999 and 1199 models) to find and catch more bass.

    "In my mind, this is a one-on-one presentation between me and you," DeFoe said. "You're in my house, and I'm telling you exactly what I do every time I get on the water. And since you're watching from your home or any comfortable setting, you can be snowed in or in the middle of dinner and still get the full benefit of the presentation, with a front row seat."

    For the 2014 PWL seminar schedule and to purchase tickets, visit ProWebLive.com.

  • Allen now up by double digits

    Allen now up by double digits

    Randy Allen reached the 18-pound mark for the second straight day at the Lake Amistad Bassmaster Central Open and will carry a lead of nearly 10 1/2 pounds into the final day. Thee 18-03 sack he weighed today gave him a 36-03 total.

    “It’s just been one of those weeks," the Louisianan said. "When it's your time, it's your time."

    “Tomorrow, we could see 20-pound sacks come in. I just hope I can hang in there with them.”

    Minnesota's Andy Young scaled a four-fish, 13-11 stringer to move into 2nd place with 25-12.

    “I fought and scratched all day to get that fifth bite, but it never happened,” said Young, who guides on Lake Minnetonka. “I'm doing a lot of dropshotting in deep water and around rocks. We fish deep rocks on Minnetonka all the time.”

    Arkansas Elite Series pro Stephen Browning caught the biggest limit of the day (20-14) to take over 3rd place with 24-15.

    Here are the totals for the 12 anglers who'll be back on the water Saturday:

    1. Randy Allen: 36-03
    2. Andrew Young: 25-12
    3. Stephen Browning: 24-15
    4. Jordan Lee: 23-05
    5. Cody Greaner: 22-14
    6. Kurt Dove: 22-03
    7. Ray Hanselman: 22-01
    8. Matt Lee: 21-02
    9. Edwin Evers: 20-01
    10. Troy Broussard: 19-03
    11. Carl Jocumsen: 18-11
    12. Dave Mansue: 18-11

  • Opinion: FLW needs to make a few tweaks

    In a new BassFan Opinion piece, senior editor John Johnson examines the trifecta of disqualifications at the FLW Tour season-opener at Lake Okeechobee. His conclusion is that the rules are fine as they are, but that the organization should make some procedural changes to protect its competitors.

    To read it, click here.

  • Big kicker boosts Allen at Amistad

    Big kicker boosts Allen at Amistad

    Former Bassmaster Elite Series pro Randy Allen grabbed the lead on day 1 of the Lake Amistad Bassmaster Central Open by catching an 18-pound stringer that included a 10-01 kicker. He'll take a lead of more than 2 1/2 pounds into day 2.

    “I knew that we could catch a big fish, but it is just luck of the draw on those big ones,” he said. “I knew that I was around some fish. I just had to keep throwing and hope for the best.”

    As expected, the weather was cold (iced-up rod guides were an issue early in the day) and the overall bite was slow. Forty-three of the 166 competitors zeroed, and the goose-egg crowd included Rick Clunn, Brent Chapman and Kevin Short.

    Everything worked out well for Allen, despite 2 days of practice in which he never got a bite. Through previous scouting trips, he'd mapped out a series of stops where he believed he would find bass.

    “Today was just going on a milk run where I knew these fish were and trying to catch them. It was a nightmare trying to figure them out. It was just one here and one there. I would catch a couple and then not catch anything for an hour and half. Then I would catch two or three. I just had to hit 10 or 12 spots to get my limit.”

    Fellow Louisiana angler Brent Bonadona also got off to a slow start but recovered to catch four keepers weighing 15-06 to move into second place. After fishing shallow until about noon and not catching a bass, he decided to work a jig 35 feet deep, and that paid off.

    Here are the numbers for the initial Top 12:

    1. Randy Allen: 18-00
    2. Brent Bonadona: 15-06
    3. Chris M. Jones: 15-04
    4. Cody Greaney: 15-03
    5. Troy Broussard: 12-13
    6. James Stricklin: 12-10
    7. Andy Young: 12-01
    8. Aaron Johnson: 11-13
    9. (tie) Josh Douglas: 11-12
    9. (tie) Edwin Evers: 11-12
    11. Jordan Lee: 11-10
    12. Ken Iyobe: 11-01

  • Tire-maker to title-sponsor first Elite event

    Tire-maker to title-sponsor first Elite event

    B.A.S.S. announced today that Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels has signed on as the title sponsor of the season-opening Bassmaster Elite Series event, set for March 13-16 at Georgia's Lake Seminole.

    The Ohio-based company, founded in 1963, designs and markets truck, SUV and 4x4 tires and wheels for off-road enthusiasts.

    “Dick Cepek was a true outdoorsman,” said VP of marketing Ken Warner. “He was an adventurer, and he developed tire and wheel products that could conquer any terrain he and his friends encountered. The Bassmaster Elite Series shares that same spirit, and we’re looking forward to being a part of it.”

  • GoPro becomes Classic's presenting sponsor

    GoPro becomes Classic's presenting sponsor

    B.A.S.S. announced today that GoPro has come on board as a presenting sponsor of the 2014 Bassmaster Classic.

    “GoPro and the Classic are a perfect fit,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. “With its name on Bassmaster’s highest-profile event of the year, GoPro will be reaching the most avid fishing fans in the world. More anglers will soon be learning a new way to preserve and share their fishing memories, cast-by-cast and catch-by-catch.”

    Said GoPro VP of marketing Paul Crandell: “We are thrilled to be the exclusive camera of the Bassmaster Classic. "And with GoPro on the scene, not only will viewers get a new look and firsthand access to the greatest fishing event in the world, it will also introduce the fishing world to more ways to capture all the excitement of their own fishing adventures.”

  • Monroe to fly Lowrance colors on FLW circuit

    Monroe to fly Lowrance colors on FLW circuit

    Ish Monroe employs separate truck-and-boat setups to accommodate his two-tour schedule. He announced today that his FLW rigs will feature Lowrance graphics.

    "I wouldn't have been as effective as an angler without Lowrance Electronics on my boats all these years," he said. "Being able to see the smallest changes in bottom depth or composition has been very important to me as a shallow-water specialist, and my Lowrance HDS and HDS Touch Fishing Systems have always given me that ability.

    "When I won the Bassmaster event on Lake Okeechobee in 2012, I found deeper water in the areas I was fishing. My Lowrance Fishing Systems picked up the depth and I was able to see that they were abandoned tilapia beds that the bass were using; that was a huge part of my win.

    "I am truly honored to be representing Lowrance with my jersey, boat and truck this year on the FLW Tour," he continued. "They (Lowrance) have been a major part of my career, they are true partners and I'm proud to be representing them in this way."

  • Palaniuk, Tharp catch on with VMC

    Palaniuk, Tharp catch on with VMC

    Hook manufacturer VMC has added Bassmaster Elite Series pro Brandon Palaniuk and reigning Forrest Wood Cup champion and two-tour angler Randall Thap to its pro staff. Tharp has also signed on with one of VMC's sister companies under the Rapala umbrella – Trigger X soft plastics.

    “Not only are VMC hooks extremely sharp and extremely strong, the company is extremely innovative,” Palaniuk said. “They’ve got a lot of hook designs that a lot of other hook companies don’t have. They take things into consideration that a lot of the other hook companies don’t. I think that attention to detail sets them apart.”

    Said Rapala pro-staff manager Dan Quinn: “After working with Brandon over the past few years, and having his promotional support for Rapala, Storm, and Terminator, it is clear that Brandon is at the top of his game and one of the very best in the industry. Brandon is the kind of angler we want representing our brands in the field, and adding VMC to that list was an easy decision. Brandon’s passion for the sport and his desire to use the best products available is clear, and that is the ideal scenario when growing a pro-staff relationship.”

    Tharp, meanwhile, joins fellow Cup champion Jacob Wheeler on the VMC and Trigger X staffs.

    "I talked with Jacob quite a bit about a lot of the hooks and baits,” he said. “I’m very fortunate at this stage of my career that I can pretty much pick and choose the companies that I want to be involved with, and VMC and Trigger X were definitely at the top of my list. I’m excited about their product line-ups and by the opportunity I have with those companies.”

  • Balog: Old-school pick to win at Big O

    Balog: Old-school pick to win at Big O

    In this week's installment of Balog's Bass War, Joe Balog makes his prediction as to who will win the FLW Tour season-opener at Lake Okeechobee. Here's a hint: The guy hails from Florida and has been in the game for a long time, but his last name isn't Martin.

    To find out who it is, click here.

  • A Havasu hammer-down

    A Havasu hammer-down

    Billy Skinner won last week's Lake Havasu Western Rayovac by doing what most in the field wouldn't even consider – fishing the dirtiest water he could find. He averaged nearly 20 pounds a day and stomped a 152-angler field by 12 pounds.

    To learn more, click here.

  • McMillan DQ'd at Okeechobee

    FLW announced Wednesday afternoon that it has disqualified Brandon McMillan for the FLW Tour season opener at Lake Okeechobee.

    McMillan, who lives in Clewiston, Fla., and is a threat to win every time he competes at Okeechobee, was found to be in violation of Rule 5 of the FLW Tour rules, which states in part:

    "Pros and co-anglers may practice alone, with another contestant or with a member of their immediate family (mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, grandparent, grandchild or spouse), approved sponsor representatives or an approved youth age 18 or younger, provided the practice companion has also observed the off-limits period and procedures."

    It's believed McMillan practiced with another angler who thought he was signed up as a co-angler, but actually wasn't registered for the event.

    FLW said in this case the rule violation was inadvertent, but it's the same rule that was cited in the disqualifications of Anthony Gagliardi and Frank Clark.

    It's a shocking turn of events for McMillan, who won the FLW Tour Open at Okeechobee in 2011 and entered this year's event as one of the favorites.

    Messages left with FLW officials and McMillan were not immediately returned.

  • Expanded MLF show set for Saturday

    Expanded MLF show set for Saturday

    For the first time ever, Outdoor Channel will broadcast a 2-hour Major League Fishing episode Saturday as Brent Erhler, Shaw Grigsby, Greg Hackney, Tim Horton, Aaron Martens and Kevin VanDam compete for the title at the General Tire Summit Cup from northern Michigan.

    The show, which was filmed last summer, airs at 2 p.m. Eastern time (check local listings).

    “Outdoor Channel has made a tremendous commitment to Major League Fishing and our fans,” said MLF GM Jim Wilburn. "The 2-hour televised event is monumental for the sport of tournament bass fishing. It is a huge deal, and we are proud to present the in-depth coverage in a way that has never before been seen on television."

    The show will feature action from Grand Lake, a popular, 5,700-acre body of water located roughly 20 miles north of Alpena, Mich. It's heavily populated with smallmouth bass.

    “A lot of people not from here seem to think that Michigan lakes are all alike, but that’s not the case,” said VanDam, a lifelong Michigan resident. “We’ve gotten a completely different feel from Hubbard to Long (lakes that hosted the first two rounds of the Summit Cup), and Grand Lake is going to be something entirely different.”

  • Reins picks up quartet

    Reins picks up quartet

    Premium Japanese tungsten manufacturer Reins Fishing announced that it's added four prominent anglers to its pro staff – 2012 Bassmaster Classic champion Chris Lane, former Forrest Wood Cup winner Brent Ehrler, two-tour pro Brett Hite and FLW Tour stalwart Wesley Strader.

    The foursome joins David Walker, Ott DeFoe, Randall Tharp, J.T. Kenney, Michael Murphy, Bill Lowen, Cliff Crochet, Bradley Roy, John Voyles and Paul Meuller.

  • Big Mouth Billy thwarts thief

    Big Mouth Billy thwarts thief

    The Minneapolis Star-Tribune posted an article this week about how a Big Mouth Billy Bass, the singing replica mount that's ubiquitous at outdoor sports stores and in many anglers' homes across the country, scared off a would-be robber recently at a tackle shop in Rochester, Minn. The intruder got spooked when he accidentally knocked Billy from the wall and it began singing "Take Me to the River."

    To read it, click here.

  • Bass U. announces topics for Worcester

    Bass U. announces topics for Worcester

    The Bass University today released the list of instructors and topics for this weekend's session in Worcester, Mass.

    Saturday, Feb. 8

    > Mike Iaconelli: 1, Finesse Plastics; 2, Locating and Catching Bass with Crankbaits.
    > Paul Elias: 1, Power-Fishing Techniques for Offshore Bass; 2, Deep-Water Tactics and Strategies.
    > Pete Gluszek: 1, Ultra-Shallow Tactics; 2, The Carolina Rig.

    Sunday, Feb. 9
    > Randy Howell: 1, Topwater Baits; 2, Lipless Crankbaits.
    > John Crews: 1, Dropshot vs. Shaky-Head; 2, Tools to Help Catch More Fish.
    > Ott DeFoe: 1, Breaking Down a New Lake 101; 2, Using Electronics Deep and Shallow.

    Participants can register at the door or online. For more information, click here.

  • Humminbird sweepstakes runs through Friday

    Humminbird sweepstakes runs through Friday

    Humminbird's Bassmaster Backstage Pass Sweepstakes, which will reward the winner with an expenses-paid trip to this year's Bassmaster Classic, will conclude Friday (Feb. 7).

    The prize package includes all-access VIP passes, Humminbird apparel and a custom Gibson Epiphone Coronet guitar emblazoned with the Humminbird logo. The winner will have an opportunity to get the guitar signed by Humminbird pro-staffers such as Kevin VanDam.

    To enter, visit the Humminbird Facebook page.

  • Berkley trailer's first stop in Tennessee

    Berkley trailer's first stop in Tennessee

    The redesigned Berkley experience trailer kicks off its 9th year of touring the country this week with a stop at Watson Marine in Bristol, Tenn. It'll arrive Thursday and stay through Saturday (Feb. 8).

    Inside the trailer, kids and adults can experience the rich history of Berkley. A new feature this year is a look inside the Berkley labs, where many of the innovative products in use today were first researched and studied.

    There is also a timeline of key products, an updated fish biology section and all new educational videos on Berkley products. The walk-through will also display how the products were developed from the ground up.

    Four Berkley professionals will be on hand to provide in-depth knowledge of products, knot-tying and line and bait selection.

    “We are extremely excited about the upgrades to the Trailer and the experiences that anglers of all skill levels will have this year,” said Berkley marketing director Andrew Marks. "Our Experience Trailer team is ready to answer your questions and help anglers of all ages and skill levels learn about fishing, our passion and our company’s heritage."

    The trailer will be at four Bassmaster Elite Series events this year. Complete information about the trailer and its travels and be found on by clicking here.

    Here's a list of 2014 stops:

    > Feb. 6-8 -- Watson Marine -- Bristol, Tenn.
    > Feb. 14-16 -- Van's Sporting Goods -- Cullman, Ala.
    > Feb. 21-23 -- Bassmaster Classic -- Birmingham, Ala.
    > Feb. 28-March 2 -- Bass Pro Shops -- Savannah, Ga.
    > March 7-9 -- Bass Pro Shops -- Port St. Lucie, Fla.
    > March 14-16 -- Bass Pro Shops -- Palm Bay, Fla.
    > March 21-23 -- St. Johns River Elite Series -- Palatka, Fla.
    > March 27-29 -- Rogers Sporting Goods -- Liberty, Mo.
    > April 11-13 -- Cabela's -- Rogers, Minn.
    > April 17-19 -- D&R Sports -- Kalamazoo, Mich.
    > April 25-27 -- Scheels -- Sioux Falls, S.D.
    > May 1-3 -- Scheels -- Fargo, N.D.
    > May 8-10 -- Scheels -- Bismarck, N.D.
    > May 29-31 -- Scheels -- Minot, N.D.
    > June 5-7 -- Denny Dennis -- Fenton, Mo.
    > June 13-15 -- B.A.S.S.Fest -- Dayton, Tenn.
    > June 19-21 -- Scenic Sports -- Williston, N.D.
    > June 27-29 -- Black Sheep -- Couer d'Alene, Idaho
    > July 11-13 -- Ranch & Home -- Kennewick, Wash.
    > July 18-20 -- Sunbirds -- Chehalis, Wash.
    > July 25-27 -- Sportco -- Fife, Wash.
    > Aug. 8-10 -- Delaware River Elite Series -- Philadelphia, Pa.
    > Aug. 15-17 -- Bass Pro Shops -- Finger Lakes, N.Y.
    > Aug. 22-24 -- Cayuga Lake Elite Series -- Auburn, N.Y.
    > Oct. 17-19 -- Berkley Big Bass Challenge -- Lake Fork, Texas

  • Blaylock to run Livingston wrap

    Blaylock to run Livingston wrap

    Stetson Blaylock, the runner-up in the 2013 FLW Tour Angler of the Year race, will run boat and truck wraps this year featuring Livingston Lures and 13 fishing.

    “From the first fish, I knew the technology in these baits gave me an advantage over other lures," he said of Livingston. "It didn’t take long for me to develop confidence in Livingston Lures. The new lineup for 2014 is shaping up very well – I know it’s going to make a difference for me this season.”

    Basil Battah, COO of Livingston Lures, expects a big year for Blaylock in 2014.

    “Stetson is an excellent angler and we are proud to be giving him tools that will help him continue to escalate his career," Battah said. "We share a lot of values with Stetson that go well beyond the water: he’s a family man, works hard and believes in using the best equipment on the market.”

  • Keystone Light renews deal with FLW

    Keystone Light renews deal with FLW

    FLW announced today that Keystone Light will return as a featured sponsor of the organization throughout the 2014 season.

    “Keystone Light’s return in 2014 is great news for the entire outdoors industry,” said Trish Blake, president of FLW's marketing division. “It is evidence of the buying power and marketability that professional bass-fishing fans can offer. We’ve always considered our core FLW audience to be among the most loyal and passionate consumers in the country, and we are proud to partner with leading companies such as MillerCoors to feature brands that are committed to help advance our sport.”

    Anglers Chad Grigsby and Casey Martin will represent Keystone Light during the FLW Tour season.

    “We’re excited to continue our partnership with FLW,” said Brendan Noonan, Keystone Light brand manager. “FLW aligns us with our fans’ passion. Wherever guys kick back with their buddies for a day of fishing, Keystone Light wants to be there.”

  • Palestine produces another 13-pounder

    Texas' Lake Palestine produced its second 13-plus pound bass in less than a year last Saturday when Casey Laughlin of Rowlett, Texas, caught a 13.22-pounder while fishing a Media Bass tournament.

    The fish initially weighed 13.02 pounds by tournament officials, but later registered 13.22 pounds when reweighed on an official certified scale. The difference was significant, since it made the fish eligible to be submitted as the new record for Lake Palestine. The fish was 26.25 inches long and had a girth of 20.75 inches.

    The current Lake Palestine water body record of 13.14 pounds was set by Lindell Booth in 2013.

    To read more about Laughlin's catch and why Palestine seems to be able to produce such giant fish, click here.

  • Chamber of Commerce honors Faircloth

    Chamber of Commerce honors Faircloth

    Bassmaster Elite Series angler Todd Faircloth was named the Citizen of the Year by the Jasper, Texas-area Chamber of Commerce at the organization's annual banquet last Friday.

    Faircloth is a four-time Elite Series winner, including a victory at the Sabine River to open the 2013 season, and is preparing for his 12th Bassmaster Classic later this month at Lake Guntersville.

  • Slow go at Big O

    With temperatures starting to stabilize in the 80s, the fishing should start to warm up as well as Lake Okeechobee this week. However, after day 1 of practice for the 2014 FLW Tour season opener, both Jay Yelas and Luke Clausen had a slow start to the week with the hope that things will pick up come Thursday.

    Click here to read BassFan's ProView Report.

  • G'ville kicks out 32-pound bag

    G'ville kicks out 32-pound bag

    Alabama's Lake Guntersville, which will host the 2014 Bassmaster Classic in 3 weeks, surrendered 16 bags of 20 pounds-plus in the inaugural Alabama Bass Trail event over the weekend despite water temperatures in the low 40s and many smaller bays and coves that were covered by ice. The winning team weighed a massive 32-pound sack.

    On the flip side, more than half of the 200 teams blanked or brought just one fish to the scale.

    For a report on the event, click here. For full results, click here.

  • Toray adds seven to pro staff

    Toray adds seven to pro staff

    Blackwater International, importer of Japan's Toray line, announced that it's added seven FLW competitors to its national pro staff, joining Bassmaster Elite Series pros John Murray, Kurt Dove and Chad Morgenthaler.

    The newcomers are J.T. Kenney, Wesley Strader, Adrian Avena, Michael Murphy, Michael Neal, Randy Haynes and Marcus Sykora.

    “We are so excited about the new additions to our pro-staff this year," said Blackwater/Toray brand manager Tracy Kuroye. "We have tremendous confidence that they will be great ambassadors for the sport both on and off the water."

  • DUO picks up Goldbeck

    DUO picks up Goldbeck

    Japanese lure-maker DUO/Realis announced that it's added Bassmaster Elite Series pro Grant Goldbeck to its pro staff.

    Goldbeck has been a follower of Japan Domestic Market (JDM) products since the 1990s.

    “I am ecstatic to work with DUO," he said. "It’s no secret, DUO is one of the only completely vertical JDM companies in Japan (no outsourcing) and their product line is very sophisticated. I am also very familiar with the tournament finesse technique, spybaiting, and I will leave it at that."

    Said Martin Bakos, who manages DUO’s international logistics: “Grant comes with extensive references. He is professional and puts others before himself. He is a very competent angler and possesses the innate ability to align with a company’s vision and produce measurable results.”

  • FLW strikes deal with iON America

    FLW strikes deal with iON America

    FLW announced today that it's signed a sponsorship agreement with POV camera-maker iON America. The company will be represented on the FLW Tour by veteran Indiana angler Bill McDonald.

    "We are very excited to announce our partnership with iON America,” said FLW president of marketing Trish Blake. “The iON brand is an extremely high-quality line of cameras with great innovation and reasonable pricing. They were the first to offer Wi-Fi connectivity and free cloud storage to users. The possibilities of what this partnership can do across our various media channels and for our sport is endless.”

  • Arkansas teen is handy with a brush

    The Times-Record of Fort Smith, Ark. recently published an article about a high school sophomore who's turned his passion for painting lures into a business. The boy, who sells his lures on Facebook for $10 each, hopes the venture becomes the foundation for operating his own tackle shop.

    To read the piece, click here.

  • Skinner wins Rayovac at Havasu

    Skinner wins Rayovac at Havasu

    Billy Skinner averaged nearly 20 pounds per day en route to a dominating victory at the Laka Havasu Rayovac Western FLW Series.

    Skinner, a resident of Lake Havasu City, prevailed by 12 pounds over runner-up Jason Borofka of Salinas, Calif. Skinner's final-day sack weighed 17-15. Details of his winning pattern will be published soon.

    Here are the totals for the final Top 10:

    1. Billy Skinner: 59-05
    2. Jason Borofka: 47-05
    3. John Fuqua: 46-08
    4. Shaun Bailey: 46-05
    5. Ed Arledge: 42-15
    6. Kevin Hugo: 38-09
    7. Ed Arledge: 42-15
    8. Jimmy Reese: 37-10
    9. David Kromm: 30-11
    10. Chad Martin: 30-07

  • Bagley giveaway

    Bagley giveaway

    We have teamed up with Bagley Bait Co. to offer BassFans a chance to win a pack of five Bagley crankbaits. With the Lake Okeechobee FLW Tour season opener this week, Drew Benton will be looking to defend his title.

    Give us your best guess as to what Benton's final tournament weight will be. The BassFan closest to the actual weight without going over will win.

    You can enter on the BassFan Facebook page or drop us an email with your guess (entries submitted through Feedback won't be accepted).

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