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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

  • Hackney: Big reels are better

    Hackney: Big reels are better

    (Editor's note: Here's a reel-related piece featuring Greg Hackney written by longtime industry rep Alan McGuckin.)

    Greg Hackney won the 2014 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year race by doing things his own way. The fishing reels he uses are no exception. The spools Hackney prefers are larger than those of pretty much every other Elite Series angler on tour, and most likely the ones you’re using, too.

    Thirty years ago, most baitcasting reels were comparatively larger than present-day models. Then the fishing industry got on a weight-loss program achieved mostly by designing sleeker, lower-profile reels that also feature smaller spools.

    That’s where Hackney’s do-it-my-way mentality motivates him to seek something most people often don’t – like using much larger-spooled-reels with the same lightweight comfort.

    “Honestly, when Quantum came out with the EXO reel in 2011 it changed the way I looked at reels, because now I could get a really large-spooled reel that was lighter than a lot of the smaller reels and I knew that could offer some serious advantages,” he said. “There’s three huge advantages to using a larger, 200-size spool versus a 100, or even a 150. You’ve got everything to gain and nothing to lose with a bigger reel.

    “First, you’ll cast more accurately with a larger spool. Second, you can feather a larger spool with your thumb easier, and it’s not gonna burn your skin on a long, hard cast, and because of that, you’ll cast harder and farther without hesitation. Most importantly, you can retrieve a lure a lot faster with a 200-size EXO or Smoke that you can a smaller reel.

    “Now, what a lot of people don’t realize is that a reel is only at its true retrieve ratio if the spool is full. I don’t care what reel you're talking about – the spool needs to be full in order for it to perform optimally.

    “That said, a larger 200-size reel is always going to retrieve faster than a smaller spool. I can use a 5.3:1 in a 200 EXO and it’s got more power, casts farther and still retrieves as fast or faster than a 6.6:1 reel with a 100-size spool.”

    When 200 isn't Big Enough

    Most consider a 300-size baitcasting reel to a perfect fit for musky or steelhead. However, Hackney packs one as his ideal winch for big swimbaits and Alabama Rigs.

    “As a rule of thumb, anything I’m throwing that weighs more than an ounce is gonna get tied to a 300 EXO, he said. “If you try to throw an Alabama Rig or a big swimbait on a 200- or 100-size spool, you’ll burn your thumb and you might run out of line, so you’ll hold back. But with a larger spool, it’s not turning as fast on the cast, so you can throw it as far as you want."

    Hackney is best known for his shallow-water power fishing dominance, but he’s not afraid of spinning reels. And when he reaches for one, it’s a big one!

    Hackney is currently using size 50 spinning reels, like the one he held for cameras in the accompanying photo the day he won the AOY on Lake Michigan. Most top pros don't employ anything bigger than a size 40, with a 30 being much more common.

    “Spinning reels have always been comparatively heavier than casting reels, but with new super-lightweight reels like the size 50 EXO that I use, weight is no longer an issue,” he said.

    Memory Loss is Good

    Less weight is wonderful, but the undisputable advantage of using a large spinning reel is the elimination of tangles and nasty loops that cause extreme frustration. The larger spool results in far less line memory.

    Hackney not only loves larger spinning reels for the improved line behavior they bring to his game, but also because he can use larger, stronger fluorocarbon and eliminate the need for a knot to join thin braid to a fluorocarbon leader.

    “Fluorocarbon by its nature is difficult to manage on a spool – especially a size 20, 25, or 30 spool. If you used anything larger than about 8-pound fluoro as your main line on a standard-sized spinning reel you were asking for problems, so we’d always use thin braid as the main line and then have to tie a knot to a fluorocarbon leader.

    “By using a size 50 spinning reel, I can use stronger 10- or 12-pound fluorocarbon as my main line with no issues and eliminate a leader knot that always carries some level of risk.

    "Here's the bottom line," he continued. "Most people fish for fun – I fish for a living. If was a farmer, I’d want the biggest equipment I could get to help me plant and harvest my fields as efficiently as possible. Big reels help me do that. They make me the most efficient angler I can possibly be.”

  • Martens subject of Runner's World feature

    It's not uncommon for Aaron Martens to follow up a 10-hour day on the water during practice or a grueling tournament day with a five-mile run. Two years ago, he ran the Philadelphia Marathon. He's competed in the Ragnar Relays, a 200-mile team relay race, and says running helps him stay fit for the inevitably long days on the water.

    Recently, Runner's World magazine caught up with Martens for a Q&A and shot a video of the two-time Elite Series Angler of the Year describing why he's so passionate about running.

    To check out the piece, click here.

  • Balog: It's just business

    Balog: It's just business

    Joe Balog takes a look at FLW's recent sponsorship changes in this week's edition of Balog's Bass War. In his view, what the organization is experiencing is just part of the normal course of doing business in an ever-changing environment, and he believes that it could emerge stronger than ever after making some tweaks to its model.

    To read the column, click here.

  • Swamp guy Broussard to fish FLW Tour

    T-Roy Broussard, who stars on the History Channel's TV show "Swamp People," will compete as a professional on the FLW Tour in 2015. The alligator hunter fished the Rayovac Texas Division this year and finished 10th on the points list with finishes of 7th at Toledo Bend and 13th and 62nd in two events at Sam Rayburn.

    For more, click here.

  • Parker aligns with Lew's

    Parker aligns with Lew's

    Lew's announced that it's signed a promotional agreement for 2015 with outdoors TV icon and two-time Bassmaster Classic champion Hank Parker.

    "Lew's and Hank Parker's images and brands have closely paralleled one another over the past three decades, meaning we take our fishing seriously but have a lot of fun in doing it," said Lew's CEO Lynn Reeves. "While the sport will always be about the sheer pleasure of spending time together on the water with family and friends, it's the avid fishing enthusiasts like Hank who help inspire and educate all ages to get involved in the activity. Our goal is to introduce more people to fishing."

    Said Parker: "Knowing the get-it-right product sincerity and passion behind industry veterans and Lew's partners Lynn Reeves and Gary Remensnyder like I do, I couldn't be more thankful to have this opportunity to be part of their team. Like our television show, they have something for all ages, skills and levels of fishing enthusiasts. We're a great match and I'm pumped to get the new season started with Lew's."

    Lew's launched its American Hero initiative out of respect for America's military veterans and with a sincere promise to never forget them. The Lew's American Hero baitcast combo, retailing for around $89.99, was named "Best of Show" in the combo category at the 2014 ICAST fishing tackle trade show.

    American Hero was developed to help organizations that that use fishing as part of their programs to help veterans return to life after military service. The Lew's program has already provided fishing gear support to several such groups, including FOCUS Marines Foundation, Reel American Heroes Foundation, Operation HOOAH, Kentucky Pro Bass Warrior Foundation and more.

    "Hank is as sincere as we are in his thank you to our American veterans. He'll be making that quite clear on episodes of his television show and during public appearances across the country, including at the 2015 Bassmaster Classic and Forrest Wood Cup championship bass events," added Reeves.

  • Five Spot: Brandon Palaniuk

    Brandon Palaniuk isn’t a fan of carnival rides, but he’d like to skydive again sometime. Makes sense, right?

    See what else the Elite Series angler has to say about his first tournament experience and who’d he’d like to take fishing for a day in the latest edition of the BassFan Five Spot (embedded video below).



    If you missed last week's Five Spot with James Watson, you can click here to check it out.

  • Crews, Mueller join Ike Sunday

    Crews, Mueller join Ike Sunday

    Bassmaster Elite Series pro John Crews and B.A.S.S. Nation champion Paul Mueller will be Mike Iaconelli's guests for the next edition of Ike Live!, which will be streamed at 8 p.m. ET Sunday (Nov. 23) at www.Mike Iaconelli.com.

    The second half of the show, dubbed "Ike After Hours," will be devoted exclusively to questions and comments from viewers.

  • Review: Price's new book a winner

    Review: Price's new book a winner

    Some pretty decent books on bass fishing have been turned out in recent years, but none that could be considered "definitive" for the modern age of the sport. Steve Price has stepped up to fill that void here at the close of 2014.

    Price, the longtime writer for Bassmaster, Field & Stream and other hook-and-bullet outlets, has covered bass fishing for nearly four decades and has been an eyewitness to almost every major advancement it's undergone since Ray Scott held his first All-American Invitational in 1967. When combined with his superb writing skills, that long association with the sport made him uniquely qualified to pen "The Fish that Changed America."

    If Price weren't already a Bass Fishing Hall of Famer, this book would make him worthy of induction. It's packed with interesting anecdotes about how many aspects of the sport came to be what they are today, and almost all of them are presented in the words of the men who made them happen.

    For each chapter (there are 42 of them, including an introductory stanza), Price presents the full backstory and then lets the principals take over from there. The book is divided into seven parts (fish, tackle, lakes, boats, pros, business and trophies) and his interviewees run the gamut from Scott to Alex Langer, the man who invented (and much more significantly, marketed) the Flying Lure.

    Price makes no claim that the book will make anyone a better bass fisherman. It's strictly fireside reading material to entertain and inform those whose passion for the sport is well developed. If you're at all interested in how this seemingly simple but actually quite complicated puzzle came together, you'll enjoy it.

    Each chapter is entirely independent of those that precede or follow it, which makes the book easy to consume in small portions. The only downside is that if you love bass fishing and enjoy reading, it's only going to last you a few days – maybe a week at the outside. Chances are good, however, that you'll devour it more than once.

    To order the book direct from the publisher, click here.

    -- John Johnson
    -- BassFan Senior Edtior

  • Bridgford Foods to back Clausen in 2015

    Bridgford Foods to back Clausen in 2015

    Bridgford Foods announced today that it will replace Chevy as the title sponsor for FLW Tour angler Luke Clausen starting in 2015, marking the first significant move among anglers who stand to be affected by the looming FLW sponsor departures.

    "Innovation, high quality, and consistency are major attributes of the Bridgford Foods company and those are qualities I value in a company I represent," Clausen said. "I am looking forward to working with Bridgford's marketing team to increase their sales of their premium pepperoni and beef jerky products as well as continue to elevate their overall brand awareness."

    Clausen is one of just five anglers to win both the Bassmaster Classic (2006) and Forrest Wood Cup (2004). Bridgford's will be the main logo on Clausen's boat, truck and jersey next season.

    "It might take some getting used to because I have been with Chevy for so long," he said. "I really like the people at Bridgford Foods and think this is a great fit. I will be proud to represent them as I look to qualify for my 10th Forrest Wood Cup in 12 seasons."

    Said Allan Bridgford, "We are excited and honored to have reached a long-term agreement with Luke Clausen. In the future, Luke will be an integral part of Bridgford's professional angling team. In addition to being a FLW Cup and Bassmaster Classic champion, Luke's business savvy and impeccable reputation, embodies Bridgford Foods' commitment to integrity and our reputation, of being the premium brand. Bridgford's industry-leading sales growth in the pepperoni and beef jerky business has been phenomenal the last few years. We attribute a large part of this success to our unique marketing program and association with professional bass fishing."

    For more information, visit www.Bridgford.com.

  • FLW Tour payouts unchanged in 2015

    FLW Tour payouts unchanged in 2015

    FLW today published the payout breakdown for its six Tour events next year and the amounts are unchanged from the 2014 levels.

    The winner of each event will pocket $100,000 plus an additional $25,000 if the angler is Ranger Cup-compliant. The runner-up will win $30,000 with third place taking home $25,000.

    Winning the Angler of the Year title also carries a $100,000 cash prize.

    To see the complete payout rundown, click here.

  • Howell's boat to be given away Saturday

    Randy Howell will be giving away the fully-loaded 2014 Triton that he used during his win at the Bassmaster Classic on Saturday as part of the Kampfire for the King Festival at King's Home in Chelsea, Ala.

    For more information on how to get involved and how to have a chance to win Howell's boat, visit http://www.kingshome.com/news-events.

  • FFF auction items include lunch with Wood

    FFF auction items include lunch with Wood

    The Future Fisherman Foundation announced today that its annual online auction is scheduled for Dec. 1 - 8. It again boasts an impressive lineup of outdoor products and guided fishing trips (fresh- and saltwater), with the door still open for more to be added.

    The fundraiser for the non-profit organization is managed on eBay and helps support Future Fisherman's "Ensuring the Future of Fishing" mission and its programs such as "Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs" and "Physh Ed."

    The auction opens at 8 a.m. CST, Dec. 1. Participation requires only an online visit to
    www.FutureFisherman.org, clicking on the "F3 Auctions" tab, and following the links to the eBay non-profit auction site for viewing and bidding on the list of items.

    A top prize repeating from last year's event is a lunch outing with Ranger Boats icons Forrest and Nina Wood in Flippin, Ark. Accompanying the lunch package is a half-day fishing trip on nearby Bull Shoals Lake, with the guide handpicked by the Ranger founder.

    "The number and quality of fishing trips from all across the country on the auction list are amazing, with many being hosted by top professional anglers and fishing celebrities," said Future Fisherman's Mark Gintert. "The donated products are equally impressive, ranging from lure assortments to rod and reel outfits to foul weather gear to top-of-the-line electronics. With holiday season gift-buying top of mind for many right now, this is definitely a put-it-on-the-calendar activity."

    The auction closes at 5 p.m. CST, Dec. 8. Gintert said the prizes are awarded in a timely manner after the auction's end so that those who have purchased them as gifts will have them in time for Christmas.

    Gintert also said the Foundation is still accepting donations for the auction. Those interested in providing fishing trips, products and memorabilia can sent an email to info@futurefisherman.org.

  • Gift Guide: List of Must-Haves

    The BassFan staff has compiled a list of items we wouldn't mind giving or receiving as a gift this holiday season. From rods and reels to handy accessories, there figures to be something for the BassFan in your life.

    To check our Holiday Gift Guide, click here.

  • Hackney using live bait?

    Big bass continue to find their way to Greg Hackney's line, even when he's not pursuing them.

    According to an account published on the Louisiana Sportsman website, the reigning Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of the Year was at Sam Rayburn Reservoir last week filming a segment on crappie fishing with Wally Marshall and a local guide. They were targeting brush piles in 30-plus feet of water.

    As the story goes, Hackney hooked his first crappie of the day and the fish was quickly devoured by a 9-pound largemouth. The crappie became lodged in the bass' mouth and Hackney was able to reel them both in.

    “By the time I got him, the bass had three inches of the crappie already in his stomach. He had his head down past the crushers in his throat,” Hackney said. “The crappie wasn’t coming back out. He was going to eat it, but big fish like that eat big stuff.”

    Click here to read the entire story of Hackney's bass, err, crappie outing.

  • Balog: Winning still matters – a lot

    Balog: Winning still matters – a lot

    In the newest edition of Balog's Bass War, Joe Balog writes about sponsorships and how there are many more factors involved in acquiring them these days than there was a generation ago. On-the-water performance is not the overriding determinant that it once was, but he argues that it still can't be understated.

    To read the column, click here.

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