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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

  • Slow start for Chapman; Martens stuck a 7

    Brent Chapman thinks a couple more warmer days could trigger a massive movement of bass at Table Rock Lake. Today, however, was a bit slow for the Kansan as practice got underway for the third Bassmaster Elite Series stop of the year. Meanwhile, Aaron Martens thought the water would've been warmer by now. He still managed to catch a 7-pounder.

    To read both pros' take on the first day of practice, click here.

  • CBS Sports to air MLF finals

    Major League Fishing announced today that the championship rounds of the Shell Rotella Challenge Cup and General Tire Summit Cup will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network later this year.

    The Challenge Cup finals, the culmination of the competition held in Denton, Texas, will air at 3 p.m. EST on Sunday, May 11. The finals of the Summit Cup, held in Alpena, Mich., will be shown at 1 p.m. EST on Saturday, Aug. 9.

    “There has never been a show like Major League Fishing, and because of the tremendous response we’ve gotten, we want to take this outstanding television series to as broad an audience as possible,” said MLF general manager Jim Wilburn said. “We are delighted to accomplish this through a partnership this year with CBS Sports, and we can’t wait to showcase our championships in front of Saturday and Sunday afternoon network audiences. The added exposure will be good for our product, and it will also be good for the entire fishing industry.”

  • Kennedy's big 'un on video

    The 8-14 behemoth that Steve Kennedy caught on day 2 of the Sam Rayburn Reservoir FLW Tour was the second-biggest fish of the event, trailing only a 9-00 by Mark Rose that same day. Kennedy's battle with his bruiser was captured on video and has been posted on YouTube.

    The fish took a Kinami Flash that was attached to spinning gear and skipped between two cypress trees. The fight isn't extremely long, but contains some anxious moments – particularly the point at which Kennedy is forced to pass the rod around one of the trees.

    "That's 'the one that got away' a thousand times over, and I put that sucker in the boat," he said. "I'm proud of it. It's one of the most awesome catches I've ever been a part of."

    To see it, click below.


  • Tharp best of the busy pros so far

    Tharp best of the busy pros so far

    Randall Tharp is off to the best start among the 14 pro anglers fishing both the Bassmaster Elite Series and FLW Tour this season.

    The reigning Forrest Wood Cup champion had yet to finish outside the Top 25 until a 41st at the Sam Rayburn Reservoir FLW Tour this past weekend dropped his average finish to 18.80 through five events, not counting the Bassmaster Classic, where he placed 5th.

    He's currently 9th in the Elite Series Angler of the Year chase through two events and 3rd in FLW Tour points at the halfway point of that season.

    Jason Christie, who posted three tour-level victories a year ago, has an average finish of 28.80 so far with four checks in five outings. Brett Hite, who's posted two wins already, is 3rd on the list with a 29.40 average outcome. Finishes of 49th and 90th the last 2 weeks have put a dent in his average.

    Greg Hackney, Matt Herren, Hite and Tharp are the only anglers to score money finishes in all five derbies across both tours this season. The fifth stop of the grueling 6-week odyssey that began at Lake Hartwell the first week of March comes this week at the Table Rock Lake Elite Series.

    Below is a ranking of the pros fishing both tours this year and their average finish in the five tour-level events so far, with their Bassmaster Classic result in parenthesis:

    1. Randall Tharp: 18.80 (5th)
    2. Jason Christie: 28.80 (18th)
    3. Brett Hite: 29.40
    4. Matt Herren: 34.80
    5. Casey Ashley: 36.40 (11th)
    6. Andy Montgomery: 37.20
    7. Greg Hackney: 38.00
    8. Steve Kennedy: 56.40 (44th)
    9. Ish Monroe: 57.60 (20th)
    10. Fred Roumbanis: 62.60 (21st)
    11. John Murray: 73.00 (37th)
    12. Jason Williamson: 79.40
    13. Zell Rowland: 88.00
    14: David Smith: 115.60

  • Sonar: Busy like never before

    Sonar: Busy like never before

    Miles Burghoff checks in today with his first Sonar Sound-Off column in a while. He didn't intend for his absence to be so lengthy, but some new opportunities within the industry and his ongoing quest to become a tour-level competitor have kept him scrambling.

    To read his piece, click here.

  • Retirement National backs Faircloth

    Retirement National backs Faircloth

    Bassmaster Elite Series veteran Todd Faircloth has partnered with Retirement National for the 2014 season. Retirement National offers retirement planning services to people throughout east Texas and southwest Louisiana.

    “Being a professional angler doesn’t come with a great retirement plan which is why I have relied on Retirement National to help me plan my retirement and future," Faircloth said. "This allows me to focus on what I enjoy most – my family, fishing and being in the great outdoors."

    Added Clark Shofner of Retirement National, “Todd is an incredible angler and is very wise with his money. When we looked at his situation we were able to put a retirement plan together that gives Todd the confidence in his retirement and future he needs to allow him to focus on fishing. We were able to help Todd prepare for a retirement he can count on.

    "We like to do business with people who are just like us. People who enjoy family, friends and the outdoors. This describes the fans and supporters of professional bass fishing, which makes partnering with Todd a great opportunity for us. With Todd, we know we have an outstanding person and angler supporting us and sharing his experiences around the country. We believe that can and will help other individuals find us for help in planning their retirement.”

    For more information, visit http://retirementnational.com/.

  • Balog: MLF format has lots of positives

    Balog: MLF format has lots of positives

    In the latest installment of Balog's Bass War, Joe Balog addresses Major League Fishing's recent announcement that its tournament format is now available for local derbies. He thinks it has great potential, particularly for big-water events that put a great deal of stress on fish in livewells, but would likely need a few tweaks before it's accepted.

    To read the column, click here.

  • Big Bite Lookback: St. Johns River

    <b><font color=green>Big Bite Lookback: St. Johns River</font color></b>

    When an angler misses the final cut by a mere ounce, he's usually left scratching his head, wondering what he could've done differently to effect a more favorable outcome.

    Not Randall Tharp.

    At the St. Johns River Elite Series, he balked at the crowds of competitors in Lake George and opted to fish isolated eelgrass mats in 2 to 4 feet of water in the river with a ChatterBait. He caught all of his fish within 10 miles on either side of the takeoff in Palatka, Fla.

    "I think I was the only one that did any good that didn't go to Lake George," Tharp said. "Based on the conditions we had, there was no way I could've won doing what I was doing. If we had had some rain and wind, I'd have had a really good chance because it would've taken away the advantage the other guys had over me and given me more of an edge.

    "It was rewarding for me to finish 13th doing what I was doing."

    He said the tide greatly influenced when the fish would become active.

    "When current was ripping hard between the tides was when I was catching them the best," he said. "It was more of a reaction bite than anything else, like when it would pop free from the grass. The fish would position in eddy pockets and points in the eelgrass."

    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.

  • BoatU.S. saves Bowes from floundering

    BoatU.S. saves Bowes from floundering

    Chris Bowes makes a living managing B.A.S.S. tournaments. It’s a job that involves way more than enforcing rules and weighing fish for thousands of participating anglers. Add working with local chamber of commerce folks, and making sure all fishermen get back to weigh-in safely, and you’ll be closer to completing Bowes’ long list of responsibilities.

    But on a recent leisurely fishing trip it was Bowes that needed assistance en route to the boat ramp.

    “I arrived at the ramp on a recent Sunday morning and realized I had a pretty serious problem with my trailer tire,” said Bowes.

    His boat trailer’s hub was shot, and he quickly called BoatU.S. Trailer Assist.

    “It was early on a Sunday morning and I was just hoping someone would answer the phone and be willing to help,” Bowes said. “Not only did they answer my call, but the first thing they asked was if we were safe, and then began searching for a local accredited BoatU.S. partner to dispatch.”

    Workers from On-Site Truck Repair Inc. in Bradenton, Fla., brought Bowes a hub, installed it, and sent him on his way. While he waited, Bowes confessed that he fished from the shoreline adjacent to the boat ramp and even caught a couple of flounder.

    “I am so glad to have had the membership to BoatU.S. Angler,” said Bowes. “It’s the first time I’ve ever had to use it myself, and the membership saved me $125 for the service call and mileage. That alone paid for the membership, not to mention the goodness of having somebody come to help me when I found myself stranded on a Sunday morning.

    “Having witnessed BoatU.S. take incredible care of the participating anglers in our B.A.S.S. events, I’ve long been an advocate, but I’m easily one of their biggest supporters now that I’ve used them myself."

    To learn more about how to sign up for for a BoatU.S. membership, click here.

  • New gear: More hard bait hits from Rapala, Storm

    New gear: More hard bait hits from Rapala, Storm

    At this year's Bassmaster Classic, Rapala and Storm introduced new additions to their growing lineups of hard baits.

    The popular Scatter Rap series got two new additions with the Scatter Rap Crank Deep and Shallow while Storm unveiled rattling versions of the Arashi Square 3 and 5.

    To learn more, click here.

  • Cecil found new ones each day

    Cecil found new ones each day

    Russell Cecil sight-fished all the way en route to winning the Toledo Bend Reservoir Texas Rayovac, but it wasn't like he was bouncing from one waypointed fish to the next. Every fish he caught was one that he'd found on that particular day, and he won despite being unable to boat any of the big ones he pestered on day 3.

    To read more, click here.

  • Report: Elites returning to St. Lawrence in '15

    A brief report on the website of Watertown, N.Y. TV station WWNY today says the town of Waddington, N.Y., and B.A.S.S. have signed a contract that will bring the Bassmaster Elite Series back to the St. Lawrence River in August 2015.

    The Elite Series stop at the St. Lawrence last August drew the largest crowds ever to an Elite Series tournament and showcased the river and the eastern end of Lake Ontario as a world-class smallmouth bass fishery.

    To read more, click here.

  • Gallery: Scenes from St. Johns

    There was no shortage of big fish or big stringers at the St. Johns River Elite Series. To check out our photo gallery from the event, click here.

  • Donna Menendez dies

    Bassmaster.com posted a note today about the passing of Donna Menendez, wife of veteran pro angler Mark Menendez, following a battle with pancreatic cancer. To see it, click here.

  • Was chain device built for cheating?

    A contraption built from a tire chain – the type used for traveling on snowy roads – was recently pulled from the bottom of a lake near San Diego by a couple of anglers practicing for a tournament. Some who've seen it up close think it's a device built for retrieving lost lures, but others believe its purpose is to hold pre-caught fish for later pick-up on tournament day.

    To read the story, click here. At the bottom is a link to an opinion piece by veteran Western scribe George Kramer, who competed in a tournament at the lake just days later and got a first-hand look at the contraption. He believes the thing was fashioned with nefarious intent.

  • Sunline Strong Performer: St. Johns River

    <b><font color=green>Sunline Strong Performer: St. Johns River</font color></b>

    One of the worst things that could happen to an angler in a tournament where sight-fishing is expected to be a predominant pattern is to draw a late boat number.

    Fred Roumbanis was the 106th of 108 boats to leave the dock on day 1 at the St. Johns River Elite Series last week and it's safe to say, all of his desired stopping points were covered up by other competitors or local anglers.

    "It was devastating," he said. "The few fish I had pegged on beds when I ran down to the other end of George were already gone. The other stuff I had, Greg Hackney was on it. I had another fish on bed about 100 yards and a local was on it, but it wasn't there any more."

    He scraped around throwing a frog and wound up boating five males that weighed 9-10 that put him in 85th.

    He was third out of the gates on day 2 and his luck turned almost immediately.

    "I stumbled across a 7 that ate my (Gene Larew) Hoodaddy out of nowhere," he said. "Then I caught an 8-14 in the eelgrass. After that, I went looking for new water for day 3."

    It was the third 8-pounder he's weighed in so far this season and it anchored his 20-11 stringer that earned him a paycheck. He followed it up with 18-08 on day 3 to finish 23rd with 48-13. He was one of two anglers to weigh a sub-10-pound bag on day 1 and bounce back to earn a check.

    "I'd found an area I had to myself and caught a limit on the (Larew) Three-Legged Frog," he said. "Then I flipped blindly in the eelgrass and wound up catching two almost 5 pounds and another 4."

    He said he had one 40-minute stretch where he caught 25 bass just fishing around.

    "Once I figured that out, oh my goodness," he said. "When you get on them there and they start biting, it's the most insane thing ever."

    Bouncing back to earn a solid finish put some salve on the wound created by his 95th-place result at Lake Seminole the week prior.

    "The thing about Seminole that hurt me was I had the best practice of my life there," he said. "I had 32 pounds one day. Everywhere I stopped had a giant bite. Then, the wind blew and it bit me bad.

    "This game is so much about momentum and when I had lost my momentum there and started St. Johns feeling down, I was pretty grumpy. It was great to have my family there to remind me what it was all about and I went out and had fun the next day."

    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.

  • Seeing 'em is difficult at Rayburn

    Jay Yelas expected to catch fish at the Sam Rayburn Reservoir FLW Tour this week the same way he did last week at the Toledo Bend Texas Rayovac – by sight-fishing. When he arrived at Rayburn for practice, however, he found the lake dirtier than he's ever seen it and he's convinced that looking won't play well during the third Tour stop of the campaign.

    To read his mid-practice report, click here.

  • Two new deals for Dove

    Two new deals for Dove

    Texas Bassmaster Elite Series has picked sponsorship deals for 2014 with Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT) and Border International Semi Truck Dealership. Both companies are based in the Texas/New Mexico region.

    “I am pleased to be associated with a dedicated and economical-minded company such as MVT," he said. "People overlook the importance of transportation in society and the impact it can have. Efficient transportation reduces cost of goods, while inefficient transportation increases cost.

    “I am also thrilled to have Border International join me as well, with their long-standing commitment to quality and customer service for all your trucking needs. The company provides products and services that you can rely on.”

  • Report: TVA to pay for Guntersville weed control

    According to a report on AL.com, the Tennessee Valley Authority announced it will fund weed control initiatives on Lake Guntersville for the next three years, then cede control of the issue in 2019 to a new local Aquatic Stakeholder Group that will work with a new Alabama Board for Aquatic Plant Management on strategies to find permanent funding solutions.

    “We are actively working to develop a long-term plan where local communities will contribute to the cost of this program that is so critical to our economy and the preservation of our lake,” state Rep. Wes Long (R-Guntersville) said in a TVA statement.

    To read the complete report, click here.

  • Bullet offering chance to fish with Morgan

    Bullet offering chance to fish with Morgan

    Bullet Boats is conducting a contest for a fishing excursion with reigning FLW Tour Angler of the Year Andy Morgan.

    "Andy fished out of a 21XRS in his 2013 championship season and we wanted to celebrate his accomplishments," said Bullet president Bill Hill. "The launch of our 21 XRS is a proud moment for us, as was Andy's championship season.

    The contest is open to anglers age 18 and older and entering is as simple as visiting BulletXRS.com to register and read the contest rules. The entry deadline is Aug. 29.

  • Evan Williams to sponsor Toledo Bend event

    Evan Williams to sponsor Toledo Bend event

    Evan Williams Bourbon, which for several years has sponsored at least one Bassmaster Elite Series event a season, is following suit in 2014. The whiskey manufacturer has signed on as the title sponsor of the May 1-4 tournament on Toledo Bend Reservoir out of Many, La.

    We are proud to have Evan Williams Bourbon as an event sponsor once again,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. “Their continuing commitment to the fishing market, and especially to Bassmaster events, shows they have made market inroads through their site activation and involvement. We expect that trend to gain momentum in 2014 as Elite Series fan attendance and viewership grows.”

  • Davis joins Phenix staff

    Davis joins Phenix staff

    FLW Tour pro Clent Davis has joined the Phenix Rods pro staff.

    "I have used rods from at least a dozen different manufacturers over the past few years, and these Phenix Rods are the best yet," he said. "I know we are supposed to say that, but it's true. Working at TheFishRanger.com, I have been able to test a lot of rods and I chose Phenix because they are the best I've tried. They're sensitive, strong and durable."

    Said Phenix director of sales and marketing Vince Borges: "We are extremely happy to sign yet another great angler and soon to be ambassador to the industry. With Clent's early career success and continued consistency, I think it's safe to say we will be seeing more and more of him on the big screen for years to come."

  • BoatUS, Triton form partnership

    BoatUS, Triton form partnership

    A new partnership between Triton Boats and BoatUS Angler will bring roadside breakdown assistance benefits to buyers of 2014 model year Triton boats. The benefits program provides a membership in BoatUS Angler and its “Trailer Assist” program, which provides a full year of roadside tow vehicle and boat trailer breakdown assistance, including towing both the tow vehicle and boat trailer up to 100 miles to the nearest repair facility, safe area or home.

    BoatUS Angler’s Trailer Assist program also includes 24-hour dispatch, flat tire, jump start and lock out assistance, fuel delivery and ramp winch service, all of which are provided through a nationwide network of 18,000 roadside towing service providers. There is no cost to the boat buyer for the benefits program.

    “Most roadside assistance clubs don’t service boat trailers, and none offer the membership benefits that BoatUS Angler does to help you catch more fish,” said Triton Boats VP of marketing Adam Adkisson. “We think that giving our customers a little help when they need it shows that we care, and combined with a great boat purchase, this partnership will improve their boating and fishing lifestyle.”

    Said BoatUS Angler brand manager Steve Levi: “Triton boat buyers can focus on fishing and having fun with family, while we’ll take care of the unexpected problems. Our Weigh-to-Win cash contingency program, which is offered complimentary with the Trailer Assist program, also helps our angling members earn extra cash while competing in Triton Owners Tournaments, B.A.S.S., FLW and PAA tournaments and the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship.”

    Additional benefits of the Trailer Assist program include BoatUS Angler Magazine and a nationwide ramp locator.

  • Legend picks up Roumbanis

    Legend picks up Roumbanis

    Oklahoma pro Fred Roumbanis is running a Legend boat this year in Bassmaster Elite Series, FLW Tour and PAA Tournament Series competition.

    "This boat is the perfect combination of speed, smooth ride and fishability," he said. "It screams, rides incredibly well, and this front deck is huge. As the old saying goes, a boat doesn't catch fish, but it will certainly get me there faster, safer, and make fishing a lot more comfortable."

    Said Legend brand manager Kody Bradbury: "We couldn't be more excited to have Fred running the all new V-20. This is the most exciting product launch in the history of our company, and to be able to have Fred showing it off on all three major tours this year worked out perfectly."

  • Bullet expands on FLW side

    Bullet expands on FLW side

    Bullet Boats has expanded its FLW Tour pro staff for 2013, adding Michael Neal and Ramie Colson to join reigning Angler of the Year Andy Morgan. All three are running the Bullet 21 XRS.

    "The XRS was a huge contributor to my success in 2013, and this boat is getting a lot of attention from other professional anglers," Morgan said. "I'm excited to have Michael and Ramie on the Bullet team and spreading the word about this great boat."

    The XRS was designed by tournament anglers to maximize storage space and functionality. It combines fishability, handling and fuel efficiency to proved the tournament angler with a total performance package.

  • Ozarks Bash set for April 5-6

    Ozarks Bash set for April 5-6

    The annual Lake of the Ozarks Big Bass Bash is set for April 5-6, with a top prize of $51,200 for caching the largest bass of the weekend.

    The Big Bass Bash is for amateurs only. Its unique format allows the weekend angler a chance to win big money like the professionals. Unlike most fishing tournaments that have a team arrangement with prizes are based on total weight, the Big Bass Bash format is distinctive in that it only takes one big fish to win.

    The Top 3 heaviest bass of the weekend will win the following cash prizes: 1st place overall - $50,000; 2nd place overall - $20,000; 3rd place overall - $10,000. In addition, there will be more than $72,000 in guaranteed cash prizes for the 20 largest bass caught during each bi-hourly weigh-in period, for a total of 160 bi-hourly payouts. There is also a division for kids 12 and younger, and a $1,000 bonus for the lady who hauls in the biggest bass.

    Anglers who enter by March 24 will be eligible to win one of 10 $500 cash prizes and a lifetime entry to all Big Bass Bash events.

    Weigh-ins will be conducted at PB2 (Grand Glaize State Park), Red Oak Resort, Alhonna Resort and Red Fox Bar & Grill. For more information, click here.

  • Balog: The Classic aftermath

    Balog: The Classic aftermath

    In this week's edition of Balog's Bass War, Joe Balog delves into some of the peripheral aspects of Randy Howell's Bassmaster Classic win. Howell hasn't had any big non-endemic companies beating down his door, but he's grateful that his primary sponsor has benefited from his triumph and that he's a man in demand with other faith-based organizations.

    To read the column, click here.

  • Thornhill stuck to what he knew at Santee Cooper

    Thornhill stuck to what he knew at Santee Cooper

    Linwood Thornhill relied on his decades of experience fishing Santee Cooper Lake in posting a victory in the Southeast Rayovac Series there last weekend.

    To read how the 68-year-old fishing guide went about his business, click here.

  • Shots from the stage at Seminole

    We've put together a photo gallery of weigh-in shots from the Lake Seminole Bassmaster Elite Series involving some anglers who turned in notable performances in the 2014 season opener. To see it, click here.

  • Project Z: Episode 5

    Find out the winning bait for Challenge 3 of Project Z, a heads up competition between Luke Clausen, Stephen Browning and David Walker.

    Here’s a hint, the bait and pattern were very similar to the one Paul Mueller employed to finish 2nd at the recent Bassmaster Classic, also on Lake Guntersville.

    Check out episode 5 of Project Z below:

  • BassFan shirts now available

    <b><font color=green>BassFan shirts now available</font color></b>

    BassFan long-sleeve t-shirts are now available for purchase.

    We have two different styles – a pre-shrunk 100% cotton version and a moisture-wicking style, both featuring the well-known BassFan logo in a distressed blue finish.

    Quantities are limited. To find out more, click here.

  • IGFA examining potential record spot

    IGFA examining potential record spot

    The International Game Fish Association is examining the case of a potential all-tackle world record spotted bass caught by Powell Rods president Keith Bryan while competing in a tournament Feb. 22 at New Melones Lake in Northern California.

    The fish weighed 10.48 pounds on the tournament scale, then several hours later it registered 9.91 on a certified scale at a grocery store. Bryan thought this fact would nullify his claim to a potential record, but would later learn that scales can be certified by IGFA after the fact. The tournament scale was sent to the organization and has been certified as accurate by IGFA officials.

    Bryan's fish has been recorded by the IGFA as the original 10.48 pounds, and is in the process of being considered for world-record status. The process will take a mandated 60 days from the date of the catch, so sometime in April, Bryan's fish could become the new all-tackle standard

    "This is just an unbelievable experience," said Bryan. "I could never have, in my wildest dreams, imagined catching a world record of any sort. But to have it happen in a tournament is amazing.

    "I can only wait now and hope that the IGFA has enough documentation to certify it as a record. But even if it doesn't happen, this has truly been a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

    Bryan caught the giant spot using a wacky-rigged 5-inch green-pumpkin/purple and copper flake (color 330) Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits Senko in approximately 10 feet of water. He'd inserted a 3/32-ounce Lunker City nail weight in the nose and rigged it on a size 2 wide-gap weedless finesse hook. He threw the rig on a 6103mef Powell Inferno spinning rod and size 3000 Shimano Sahara reel filled with 8-pound PowerPro braided line, tipped with a leader of 8-pound Seaguar Invizx fluorocarbon.

  • Sunline Strong Performer: Seminole

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

    Greg Hackney had never been to Lake Seminole prior to a day he spent there before off limits just riding around. After rallying for a 38th-place finish following a miserable day 1 of the Elite Series season opener, he can't wait to get back.

    Hackney, who's also fishing the FLW Tour this season, has posted progressively better results in the three tour-level events so far in 2014.

    Things didn't start so well for him at Seminole, though, as he was mired in 100th after day 1 with two fish for 5-00. He climbed to 42nd after catching 23-15 on day 2 and capped his 62-place rally with 14-03 on day 3.

    "I had a really good practice, but the weird thing was the place I caught those fish on day 2, I never had a bite there on day 1 or 3," he said. "I ran everything I had on day 3 and never had a bite so I went to the bank and caught what I caught."

    He said his key mistake on day 1 was continuing to circle around his primary area, thinking the bites would eventually come. They never did.

    "That was a bad choice on my part," he said, "but that's bass fishing for you. It definitely changes day to day and more so there than any place I've ever seen."

    He was initially focused on high spots on the main lake, places he said are typical offshore spawning haunts.

    "In some grass lakes, it's my opinion that the majority of fish never go to the bank to spawn," he said. "They just spawn in the grass. That lake sets up a lot like Guntersville and Toledo Bend where it's all about the shallow stuff on the main lake. It was getting fished and I had confidence in it, plus I had it to myself."

    He said the areas he was in would seem to replenish every other day rather than every day or in shorter intervals.

    "The fish were slow to come to those places," he added. "I'm not sure if it was because it was the tail end of the spawn or if it was that cold front we had. That was just a disaster because it muddied up a lot of water.

    "I was targeting hard spots in the grass, anywhere I could find an opening. It had to be a clean spot on a hard inside edge or a high spot with no grass on top."

    He said the fish were mostly positioned on the inside edge of the grass and he alternated between a 3/8-ounce Strike King Pure Poison bladed jig and a 1/2-ounce Strike King Red Eye Shad, with the latter being his most productive option.

    "Usually, it's a little late for that bait, but I felt like I could target females with it," he said. "I could slow down and drag something around and catch some, but they were all little ones. The big ones wanted something moving."

    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.

  • Poll: Want to compete the MLF way?

    We had to come up with a new BassFan Opinion Poll question sooner that we'd anticipated since Brett Hite took care of the whole "tour pro most likely to win multiple events this year" business over the weekend at Lake Seminole. Fortunately, Major League Fishing has provided us with a timely topic.

    MLF announced today that its scoring technology, which allows all legal bass caught during a tournament day to be counted and provides real-time updates of an angler's standing in relation to other competitors, is now available for local tournaments (see Dock Talk item below). Would you prefer to use that format for all or most of your local events, or would you rather stick with the traditional format of weigh-ins at the end of the day?

    To vote, go to the home page and scroll down the right side.

  • Big Bite Lookback: Seminole

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

    After finding himself in an area with more than a dozen other competitors on day 1, all vying for some of Lake Seminole's bedding bass, Jared Lintner decided to shift his focus to a backwater area where he could fish his favorite technique – punching.

    The move paid off as the Californian averaged just shy of 18 pounds per day to post a 13th-place finish at the Elite Series season opener. It's his best finish to open a season since 2009 when he was 3rd at Lake Amistad.

    He was boat 92 on day 1 and when he got to his first spot, there were 13 other boats in there.

    "I caught a small limit of males there, but I don't like sight-fishing in groups like that," he said. "It kind of sucks."

    He moved to some other bedding areas, but the fish were no longer there. It was then that he moved into a backwater area where he'd gotten some flipping bites in practice.

    "I went in there and punched three in 20 minutes," he said, adding two were good enough to cull.

    On day 2, he committed to the same backwater and caught two in the 5 1/2- to 6-pound range right away.

    "I decided to grind it out there," he said. "I never started the boat all day. It was about a quarter-mile stretch and I just went back and forth over it."

    He tried throwing a ChatterBait and swimbait on the edges of grass, but punching and flipping a Beaver-type bait under a skirt and a 1- or 1 1/2-ounce weight around hyacinth proved to be more effective as he finished the day with 21-05.

    On the final day, that main stretch didn't produce all that well.

    "I don't know what happened," he said. "It just didn't feel the same. The hyacinth I'd been flipping had floated away from the bank, probably because of the wind from day 2. There just wasn't as much good stuff to flip."

    He left with three fish and ran to another area down the lake and quickly caught a 6 1/2-pounder on a ChatterBait before finishing his limit. He went back to his starting spot and culled two more times to get up to 17-01.

    "Looking back, the only thing I wish I would've done in practice was found another spot like the one I wound up punching in," he said. "That place is so big that there's probably five or 10 more areas that are as good or better than there.

    "Again, it was a deal where we only have 2 1/2 days to practice and you're trying to do so much, then with the weather that came in, it moved some fish off the beds, especially the bigger females. If I had had another spot to flip, I probably could've caught some more nice fish."

    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.

  • MLF format available for local derbies

    MLF format available for local derbies

    Major League Fishing’s innovative every-catch-counts competition format – complete with an in-boat leaderboard for all competitors - is now available to local tournament anglers through an Internet-based program called MLF Scoretracker Live. MLF commissioner Don Rucks announced today that the league has built technology that will allow any angler with a smartphone or tablet to download and utilize the same scoring system that MLF employs.

    "The one thing we’ve heard over and over, since the first round of the first Major League Fishing telecast, is that anglers around the country want to fish in their own MLF-style tournaments," Rucks said. "They want to be able to count every scoreable fish they catch, and they want to see a live leaderboard showing where they stand against the other anglers at any time. So we built the technology to make it happen. To put it simply, Major League Fishing at the club level is now here.”

    When anglers utilize Scoretracker Live, real-time results will display competing anglers by name, show where they rank in comparison to other anglers in the event and offer their total weight and number of scoreable bass caught. The leader board also displays the average weight of each catch and the weight of the anglers’ heaviest fish.

    All information is updated instantly and will be viewable on MajorLeagueFishing.com via smartphone, pad, tablet and/or computer.

    “I truly believe that Scoretracker Live is the most progressive idea that has happened to local tournament fishing since catch-and-release was introduced,” Rucks said.

    The cost for utilizing the Scoretracker Live technology is $5 per angler, per day.

    Allen Martin, a regional fisheries administrator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said he hopes that Scoretracker Live is a model for future bass tournaments.

    “I like the fact that it encourages the almost immediate release of the fish and eliminates hauling fish around in a livewell. That’s a lot of stress on fish, especially in the warm weather we have in Florida,” Martin said.

    “Up until a couple of years ago, I wouldn’t have thought we’d ever see this format We had talked about e-tournaments and even came up with some plans. But we concluded that until local anglers see the pro anglers do it, it’s never going to happen. Now Major League Fishing is doing it, and they’re providing the technology.”

    Scoretracker Live has been tested in Florida and Oklahoma, and the software “worked flawlessly,” said Florida Bass Network representative John Mobley, who directed a tournament on the St. John’s River near Palatka, Fla.

    "I gave everyone my cell phone number just in case they ran into problems, and I didn't get a call all day. That speaks for itself,” Mobley said. "The weights were super-easy to put in, the page refreshed quickly, and I really liked how it broke down the number of fish, the average weight and the biggest fish.”

    For detailed information about Scoretracker Live, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.

  • Bobby Lane contest winner announced

    We'd like to congratulate Cody Tumlin of Ozark, Mo., for winning our Bobby Lane Bassmaster Classic giveaway courtesy of Berkley, Sébile, Abu Garcia and Spiderwire.

    Tumlin was one of three BassFans to accurately guess Lane's total weight (56-07) at the Classic. As a tiebreaker, the contest was carried over to the Lake Seminole Elite Series. Tumlin guessed Lane would catch 28-06 at the season opener this week. Lane's actual weight was 24-08, meaning Tumlin was the closest of the three finalists. The other two guesses were in the 62-pound range.

    For winning, Tumlin will receive a $500 prize package that includes a new Abu Garcia Revo Rocket casting reel, a 7-foot Abu Garcia Veracity casting rod along with an assortment of Sébile Action First hard baits, Berkley Havoc soft baits and SpiderWire Glow-Vis braided line.

    The other two finalists, James Elders and George Myers, will also receive prize packs.

    Again, thanks to everyone who participated and stay tuned for additional BassFan giveaways and contests in the future.

  • SI.com article hits the mark

    Got about 45 minutes to digest some good stuff about the Bassmaster Classic from a mainstream sports media source? An excellent piece went up on SportsIllustrated.com on Friday in which writer Steve Rushin addresses just about every aspect of the event. It's written for the non-enthusiast, but even hardcore BassFans will likely discover a thing or two they didn't know before.

    Embedded within the piece is an superb 5-minute video on Kevin VanDam's long-term dominance of the sport.

    To see it all, click here.

  • Day 4 at Seminole shortened

    The final day of the Lake Seminole Bassmaster Elite Series has been shortened due to an approaching afternoon storm expected to produce lightning and high winds.

    The 12 pros who qualified for Sunday’s championship round are competing on Lake Seminole as planned, but will check in at 1 p.m. instead of at 3:45 p.m. ET. The field took off at 7:30 a.m. as scheduled.

    The weigh-in will begin at 1 p.m.

  • Breakfast at Betty's

    Breakfast at Betty's

    (Editor's note: This comes from industry rep Alan McGuckin, who's on-site this week at Lake Seminole.)

    > Five lures Shaw Grigsby will have tied on today as he tries to follow-up the 30-pound limit he caught on day 1 – His selection includes a Red Eye Shad, a swimjig, a Rage Blade, a Cut R worm, and a white Strike King Rage Craw on a 7/0 Trokar hook.

    > Four colors of Red Eye Shad lures that KVD is carrying on Lake Seminole – Carp (a great early spring color when water is stained; chili craw (anywhere in early spring from Michigan to Texas); sexy shad (for slightly stained water when shad are present); gold sexy shad (for clear water when shad are present). He typically throws these lures on 17-pound fluorocarbon with a Quantum TKVD705MB rod.

    > Three things Terry Scroggins will try to do better Friday on the heels of a bad day q that left him in 75th place – 1. Get an earlier takeoff number that will hopefully help him avoid sharing bedding fish with competitors. 2. Take advantage of warmer temps that should lead to improved fishing. 3. Adjust quicker to whatever weather changes take place throughout Friday.

    > Two set-ups that helped Casey Ashley win $100,000 last week at the Lake Hartwell FLW Tour – His biggest fish bit a green-pumpkin jig thrown with a Quantum EXO baitcaster, but a size 30 Smoke spinning reel rigged with a shaky-head was critical to completing his 5-bass limit each day.

    > One place that Grigsby eats breakfast nearly every morning he’s at Lake Seminole – Betty’s Cafeteria. Located at 1500 Dothan Highway in Bainbridge, Ga., just a short hop from the launch ramp, you’ll find Shaw there nearly every morning, along with founder Betty, her daughter Lois and son Mike (pictured). An old Field & Stream story autographed by Grigsby hangs framed on the wall, along with lots of Florida State signage. They’re also open for lunch.

  • Sunline Strong Performer: Hartwell

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

    After day 1 of last week's Lake Hartwell FLW Tour, West Virginia rookie Ryan Davidson appeared headed for his second straight finish in the bottom half of the standings. That all changed on day 2.

    After weighing a paltry 8-15 sack on opening day, he popped a 19-09 stringer the following day to climb 85 places in the standings (from 92nd to 5th). He ended up finishing 9th.

    "I basically caught them in the same areas that I fished on day 1," he said. "In practice I'd found some largemouths in creeks with stained water, but that water had cleared up when the tournament started.

    "We had that rain that moved in between the end of day 1 and the morning of day 2. I was afraid the creeks would be blown out with mud, but it had created some really good mudlines in the backs of all of them. That pushed a bunch of fish up extremely shallow – like less than 2 feet."

    He had four decent fish within the first half-hour on day 2, then left and caught a 5-pounder from an offshore locale he hadn't been able to work on day 1 due to the strong winds. After that, he went back to the shallow stuff and boated a 3 1/2 and a 6 in short order.

    "When the sun came out later in the day, that put them right back in the mudlines. I did that the rest of the day and culled a 12- or 13-pound limit."

    He tricked those shallow fish with a 3/8-ounce Elite Bait Shop spinnerbait (chartreuse/pearl skirt with tandem No. 3 gold Colorado and willow-leaf blades).

    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.

  • College: Minnesota went deep

    College: Minnesota went deep

    Conditions at South Carolina's Lake Keowee last week kept pushing the bass farther down in the water column, and the University of Minnesota team of Austin Felix and Chris Burgan just kept fishing deeper to catch them.

    To read about the victory that gave the Golden Gopher duo berths in the Foorest Wood Cup, click here.

  • Morgan aligns with iRod

    Morgan aligns with iRod

    Reigning FLW Tour Angler of the Year Andy Morgan has aligned with iRod Fishing for the 2014 season. Morgan is using iRod fishing rods and will be designing several signature series models, including a light flipping/junk-fishing rod that is in the production stage now and a heavy flipping stick that's already on the market.

    "The very first time I held an iRod I knew they were going to be good," he said. "In fact, the very first day I had them I used them to fish in the Forrest Wood Cup on the Red River last year. After only a few tournaments I've already used the iRods in a wide range of applications."

    Said iRod owner Matt Newman: "I've always been an Andy Morgan fan. He is at the very top of the bass fishing world, and his current No. 1 status on the BassFan.com World Rankings confirms that. Andy's skills and knowledge of fishing will be a huge asset to iRod moving forward."

  • Big Bite Lookback: Hartwell

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

    Stacey King couldn't think of anything he might've done differently in order to slip inside the Top-10 cut at last week's Lake Hartwell FLW Tour. The Missouri veteran was thrilled to finish the event in 11th place.

    "I was very fortunate to do as well as I did," he said. "I had motor problems and lost a good part of my practice, and when I did practice I didn't find very much.

    "I found one area that I'd fished one of the other times we were there where I got a few bites on the last afternoon. I didn't know I was on as many fish as I was until the first tournament day came around and I started catching them."

    He used a ChatterBait and a worm to compile a 3-day total of 32-10. His weights were up and down as he went from 10-14 to 14-01 to 7-11.

    "I would've done better on that third day if we hadn't had the (3-hour) fog delay. I was running 45 minutes and it was almost 11 o'clock when I got there, so I only had 3 hours to fish. They wouldn't bite the ChatterBait, so I slowed down with the worm to scratch out a small limit.

    "I caught a lot of bass the first 2 days – at least 20 keepers each day. It was good fishing and I really had a lot of fun."

    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.

  • Balog: Step-by-step on Howell's big day

    Balog: Step-by-step on Howell's big day

    Joe Balog recently interviewed 2014 Bassmaster Classic champion Randy Howell in a quest to unearth some of the fine details of what it's like to win the sport's premier event. He learned that even hours after being handed the trophy, sitting through the winner's press conference and attending the Champion's Toast, Howell still had a difficult time believing that it was all real.

    To read the newest edition of Balog's Bass War, click here.

  • Big changes in FLW communications

    Big changes in FLW communications

    The communications department at FLW underwent a major shake-up today as public relations director Chad Gay and veteran staffers Brett Carlson and Gary Mortenson were let go. The organization confirmed that Joe Opager, formerly a communications specialist under Gay, has been named the new PR director.

    Julie Huber remains in charge of social media and Jody White will work alongside Opager in the PR department. FLW Bass editor-in-chief Colin Moore, managing editor Curtis Niedermier and staff writer Kyle Wood will handle website content and coverage.

    FLW said it will not release an official statement on the changes and the organization declined to comment on the restructuring when contacted by BassFan.

    Combined, the trio of Gay (8 years), Carlson (10) and Mortenson (12) had served FLW for 30 years.

    Gay, reached by telephone, said he doesn't know why the organization opted to go in a new direction.

    "All I can say is that I loved my time at FLW," he said. "I thank them so much for what they've done for me and I've only got good things to say about the years I spent there."

    Carlson posted the following quote on his Facebook page: "I wanted to let everyone know I no longer work at FLW. It has been 10 good years and I have no regrets. No matter where I end up, fishing will always be an important part of who I am."

    Opager becomes the fifth person to hold the top PR job in the organization since 2006, following Dave Washburn, Jeff McCoy, Andie Belfry and Gay. Washburn is now FLW's VP of operations, but the other three departed the company when they left the PR role.

  • Classic clued in Kilgore for Open

    Classic clued in Kilgore for Open

    Before he began practice for last week's Smith Lake Bassmaster Southern Open, David Kilgore surmised that the fish at Smith would be reacting to weather changes in much the same way they were in last month's Bassmaster Classic at Lake Guntersville. He was correct, and he went on to post a victory that'll put him in his second consecutive Classic.

    To read about it, click here.

  • Elite rookie Lester is a DIY rod guy

    Elite rookie Lester is a DIY rod guy

    Bassmaster Elite Series rookie Brandon Lester is finding a lot of satisfaction as a do-it-yourself custom rod-builder.

    “I’ve accumulated over a hundred fishing rods from both big and small rod companies over the years," said the 2013 Bassmaster Southern Opens Angler of the Year. "I own a flipping stick from one brand, a cranking rod from one company, and a jig rod from another rod company. You learn that not every company makes the perfect rod for each technique.

    "I’m excited about Mud Hole Custom Tackle (his title sponsor for 2014)because they’ve taught me how to build my own rods to exact specifications and shown me how enjoyable it is.”

    He handed out Mud Hole's tackle catalog and “Rod Building 101 DVD” to fans at the Bassmaster Classic Expo.

    "It’s taken on a life of its own. Custom rod-building and tackle crafting has such a broad appeal because people of all ages and fishing abilities can enjoy it. It’s a great way to bring families together."

    He laughed about his own winter activities at his home in Fayetteville, Tenn.

    “With each passing Arctic system of ice and snowstorms that prevented me from practicing on the water, I spent valuable time crafting the rods. It’s fun! I’ve designed over a dozen I’ll be using this year on the tour and frankly, I’m proud of each one I’ve built."

    Said Mud Hole president Tom McNamara: “Brandon has a very engaging personality and he loves talking with other anglers – novices to pros – about the attributes and advantages of crafting their own rods. It’s just one of the reasons Mud Hole will be his primary sponsor on the Elite series. We’re excited about the opportunity this partnership represents.”

  • Merc renews as B.A.S.S. premier sponsor

    Merc renews as B.A.S.S. premier sponsor

    B.A.S.S. announced today that engine-maker Mercury has renewed its premier-level sponsorship for the 2014 season.

    “B.A.S.S. and Mercury have one of those enduring relationships that just gets better every year,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. “We place a very high value on our longtime partnership and look forward to continuing our joint efforts to further grow the sport of bass fishing.”

    Mercury has been a sponsor of Bassmaster events for almost two decades.

    “We’re very pleased to continue our sponsorship with B.A.S.S.,” said Mark Schwabero, president of Mercury Marine, “not only because we understand and support the powerful relationship between the people of this country and fishing, but perhaps even more so because nothing better defines the relevance of speed on the water than a Mercury engine on a bass boat. That is the essence of tournament fishing.”

  • Six team trails now eligible for Bonus Bucks

    Six team trails now eligible for Bonus Bucks

    The Toyota Trucks Bonus Bucks cash reward program is now open to six of the country's top team circuits: the Alabama Team Trail, Bass Champs, Nichols Marine Tournament Series, Platinum Team Trails, Priority Fishing Team Series, Skeeter XFL, Texas Team Trail and the B.A.S.S. Team Championship.

    Both the highest and second-highest finishing Bonus Bucks-eligible anglers will win $250 in each regular-season event and $750 each at their respective championship events – except for the higher entry-fee Platinum Team Trail, where the highest and second-highest finishing Bonus Bucks-eligible anglers will each receive $1,000.

    To be eligible, an angler must own or lease a 2010 or newer Toyota Tundra, Sequoia, 4Runner, FJ Cruiser or Tacoma, and register on-line at www.ToyotaFishing.com or by calling (918) 742-6424.

  • Project Z: Episode 4

    In the fourth episode of Project Z, Stephen Browning, Luke Clausen and David Walker duel it out on the mid-lake section of Lake Guntersville as each contestant attempts to catch keepers using four different categories of baits. Walker is at a bit of a disadvantage, as his equipment has been tampered with by a fellow competitor.

    The 15-minute episode is embedded below.


  • Parks & Rec deal for Hawk

    Parks & Rec deal for Hawk

    Bassmaster Elite Series pro Kevin Hawk has signed a 2-year sponsorship deal with Cullman County Parks and Recreation to promote tourism and fishing in the county and at Smith Lake.

    "This is the largest promotion that Cullman County Parks and Recreation has ever done to promote tourism to Cullman County and our parks," said director Doug Davenport. "As fishing gains more followers from the professional, college, and high school levels, along with the amateur fishing that takes place on Smith Lake, we thought this was the perfect opportunity to join with Kevin Hawk in promoting our area.

    "As the Bass Hall of Fame Museum comes to Cullman, and with more fishing tournaments taking place on Smith Lake, we knew that we made the right decision for this new venture."

    Said Hawk: "I live close to Smith Lake Park and love fishing and spending time with friends in Cullman as often as I can. Doug and his staff are passionate about building Smith Lake Park's popularity and attracting anglers from all over the country. I'm looking forward to representing Cullman County and Smith Lake Park, and helping bring more anglers to the park."

  • A.R.E. to sponsor two Elite events

    A.R.E. to sponsor two Elite events

    B.A.S.S. announced today that truck-cap manufacturer A.R.E. Accessories will title-sponsor this year's Bassmaster Elite Series events at Table Rock Lake in Missouri (April 3-6) and Cayuga Lake in New York (Aug. 21-24).

    “Long-time leaders in their respective industries, A.R.E. and B.A.S.S. are a great fit,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. “Both companies know and serve their markets very well. As B.A.S.S. kicks off its 9th Elite Series season this month, we are proud to combine that expertise for the benefit of our 500,000-plus B.A.S.S. members and fishing fans worldwide.”

    Said A.R.E. director of marketing Bryan Baker: “We look forward to the Bassmaster events because they bring together a large population of outdoor sporting enthusiasts who truly value high-quality trucks, accessories and sporting gear."

    The highest-finish angler at both Elite events who has an A.R.E. truck cap or cover on his tow vehicle will receive a $2,500 bonus.

  • Talon vs. flamethrower

    Talon vs. flamethrower

    Minn Kota has launched a new microsite to demonstrate the toughness of its Talon shallow-water anchor. At the Talon Torture Chamber, viewers can watch short video clips in which a Talon is matched up against a flamethrower, a shotgun, a cage fighter and more.

    “Talon was designed to endure the harshest environments an angler can find,” said
    product manager Brad Henry. “We want to invite anglers to experience how we test Talon in our lab, as well as subject it to extreme torture tests – then deploy the same Talon to prove it still works like new.”

    To visit the site, click here.

  • Berkley trailer hits Palm Bay

    Berkley trailer hits Palm Bay

    The Berkley Experience Trailer will be at the Bass Pro Shops in Palm Bay, 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 succeeding stop will be March 21-23 at the St. Johns River Bassmaster Elite Series in Palatka, Fla.

  • Kilgore Classic-bound again

    Kilgore Classic-bound again

    At 6-foot-9, David Kilgore appears better suited for basketball than bass fishing. His victory at the Smith Lake Bassmaster Southern Open was an impressive slam dunk.

    Kilgore led the tournament from start to finish. His 3-day tally of 54-11 outdistanced Todd Auten by 6 pounds and earned him his second straight trip to the Bassmaster Classic.

    A Strike King Tour Grade Titanium umbrella rig dressed with Strike King KVD Perfect Plastic Swim'n Caffeine Shads accounted for most of Kilgore’s fish. He was targeting docks that were the farthest from the main lake in short pockets – the bigger females were staging there prior to moving shallow.

    Full details of his winning pattern will be posted soon.

    Here are the final totals for the Top 12:

    1. David Kilgore: 54-11
    2. Todd Auten: 48-11
    3. Michael Murphy: 47-15
    4. Jordan Wiggins: 46-12
    5. Justin Lucas: 46-12
    6. Jesse Wiggins: 43-11
    7. Brandon Lester: 40-01
    8. Woo Daves: 38-10
    9. Jon Englund: 38-03
    10. Kyle Fox: 38-00
    11. Carl Jocumsen: 34-10
    12. Derek Cummings: 32-09

  • Kilgore remains on top at Smith

    Kilgore remains on top at Smith

    David Kilgore held onto his lead today at the Smith Lake Bassmaster Southern Open in his home state of Alabama, catching a 17-15 stringer to give himself a 2-day toal of 37-14.

    “The sun helped me a lot today,” who's vying for his second straight Bassmaster Classic berth via an Open victory. “It was just what I wanted. I’m super-psyched for tomorrow. I’ll sleep well tonight.”

    Kilgore leads his friend Todd Auten by a little more than 3 pounds. Although the two anglers are sharing information, Kilgore is catching mainly largemouth bass while Auten has weighed only spotted bass.

    Jordan Wiggins made the biggest move today, leaping from 14th to 3rd with a 19-09 bag – the second-heaviest of the tournament.

    Here are the totals for the 12 anglers who advanced to the final day:

    1. David Kilgore: 37-14
    2. Todd Auten: 34-09
    3. Jordan Wiggins: 34-01
    4. Michael Murphy: 33-12
    5. Jesse Wiggins: 32-10
    6. Justin Lucas: 31-06
    7. Jon Englund: 29-10
    8. Brandon Lester: 29-06
    9. Kyle Fox: 26-08
    10. Woo Daves: 25-14
    11. Carl Jocumsen: 25-13
    12. Derek Cummings: 25-04

  • Sonar to cover college scene

    Sonar to cover college scene

    Collegiate bass fishing is arguably the sport's fastest-growing segment, and today BassFan launches a new regular feature devoted to that level of competition. Miles Burghoff, who many BassFans know from his popular Sonar Sound-Off column, will be the primary contributor, often getting help from his former University of Central Florida teammate, Casey O'Donnell.

    In the inaugural installment, Burghoff gives a bit of background on the collegiate game and points out the differences between the major sanctioning organizations. To read it, click here.

  • Kilgore early leader at Smith Lake

    David Kilgore is taking care of business in his backyard again.

    The two-time B.A.S.S. Open winner who hails from Jasper, Ala., and is coming off an 8th-place finish at the Bassmaster Classic caught 19-15 today and is the day-1 leader at the Lewis Smith Lake Bassmaster Southern Open.

    He's more than a pound ahead of Todd Auten, who caught 18-05. Brandon Lester, a week away from making his Elite Series debut, is 3rd with 17-15.

    Here's a rundown of the Top 12 after one day of competition:

    1. David Kilgore: 19-15
    2. Todd Auten: 18-05
    3. Brandon Lester: 17-15
    4 (tie). Clifton Coffey: 17-06
    4 (tie). John Figl: 17-06
    6. Warren Barnes: 17-03
    7. Derek Cummings: 16-02
    8. Jesse Wiggins: 15-10
    9. Greg Pugh: 15-04
    10. Michael Murphy: 15-03
    11. Sam George: 15-01
    12. Craig Daniel: 14-15

  • Dove partners with Dixie Electric

    Dove partners with Dixie Electric

    Dixie Electric, the largest oilfield electrical and automation contractor in the United States, has announced it will sponsor Bassmaster Elite Series angler Kurt Dove for the 2014 season.

    “It is exciting and a pleasure to be working with a company based in West Texas with a national reputation.” said Dove. “Providing recognition and doing PR work for Dixie Electric on and off the water will be fun and refreshing. After all, they love to fish.”

    Rich Fontenot, Dixie’s Electric’s sales manager, added, “The sponsorship is a natural fit for our business, employees and clients. The oil and gas industry is made up of outdoors men and women and many of them enjoy bass fishing. Our association with a respected professional angler like Kurt Dove will be beneficial to increase our brand awareness and position our company to continue its growth.”

  • Balog: A talk with Tak

    Balog: A talk with Tak

    Joe Balog spent some time chatting with Takahiro Omori prior to the recent Bassmaster Classic, and the former Bassmaster Classic champion spoke candidly about the practice of tour pros obtaining information from locals prior to upcoming events. He emphasized that in order to be competitive in the modern version of pro bass fishing, every possible advantage must be utilized.

    To read this week's edition of Balog's Bass War, click here.

  • Riceland becomes Rook's title sponsor

    Riceland becomes Rook's title sponsor

    Arkansas Bassmaster Elite Series pro Scott Rook announced that Riceland Foods will be his wrap sponsor for the 2014 campaign. His truck and boat wraps will feature Riceland's Fish Fry Oil.

    “I'm a frying guru, and I carry a fish-cooker with me everywhere I go," he said. "I love to cook. In addition to fish, you can fry venison, wild turkey and ducks in Riceland Fish Fry Oil.

    "I look forward to promoting and using Riceland’s Fish Fry Oil and Riceland Rice products on the tournament trail this year.“

    Said Riceland president and CEO Danny Kennedy: “Scott is a good fit for our Fish Fry Oil product. We are headquartered in Stuttgart, Ark., in the heart of the country and the heart of U.S. rice farming. Our area is known across the country for its fishing, duck hunting and other outdoor sports. We are pleased that Scott will help us get the word out about this exceptional cooking oil produced in Arkansas."

  • Weigh-to-Win now includes team trails

    Weigh-to-Win now includes team trails

    Anglers participating in some of the country's top team trails will be eligible to earn contingency money from the BoatU.S. Angler Weigh-to-Win program. The program was previously limited to B.A.S.S., FLW, PAA, LBAA and the Association of College Anglers.

    Participating team circuits are the Alabama Team Trail, Bass Champs, Nichols Marine Tournament Series, Platinum Team Trails, Priority Fishing Team Series, Skeeter XFL, Texas Team Trail and B.A.S.S. Team Championship.

    Both the highest and second-highest finishing “Weigh-to-Win” anglers in the above-mentioned trails will win $150 in each regular season event, and $250 each at their respective championship events – except for the higher entry fee Platinum Team Trail, where the highest and second-highest finishing Weigh-to-Win anglers will each receive $250.

    BoatU.S. Angler is the nation’s largest association of recreational boaters, and it offers boat-owning anglers roadside and on-the-water towing assistance as well as boat insurance. Benefits begin at $38 for a BoatU.S. Angler membership and Unlimited On-the-Road Towing, which provides services such as fuel delivery, jump-starts, flat tire assistance, lockout service, ramp winching and tow-truck service for both your trailer and tow vehicle while trailering your boat.

    To get a BoatU.S. Angler membership with on-water or on-road towing and sign up for the Weigh-to-Win program, call (918) 742-6424. For complete details regarding towing services, call BoatU.S. Angler membership at (866) 906-0013 or visit www.BoatUS.com/towing.

  • Missile adds two on FLW side

    Missile adds two on FLW side

    Bassmaster Elite Series pro John Crews announced today that his soft-plastics company, Missile Baits, has added FLW Tour anglers Robert Pearson of Virginia and Rich Lowitzki of Illinois to its tour-level pro staff, joining Crews, Ish Monroe and Chad Morgenthaler.

    "Robert and I have known each other since I was in college,” Crews said of Pearson. “We met at a regional team tournament championship and immediately became friends. We keep in touch and both fished the FLW Tour together for a few years.

    "Robert always represents himself in a very professional manner and is a great representative for any company. We are glad to have him on and know that he will bring Missile Baits very positive exposure.”

  • Flambeau signs on with MLF

    Flambeau signs on with MLF

    Major League Fishing announced today that tackle organization-product manufacturer Flambeau has joined the MLF sponsor roster.

    “Flambeau is a great name in outdoor equipment," said MLF GM Jim Wilburn. "The products are excellent, their people are tremendous and we’re especially happy to welcome Flambeau to Major League Fishing."

    Added Flambeau VP of sales and marketing David Faulkner: “Flambeau is delighted to have found a tremendous partner in Major League Fishing, which is proving to be one the most talked-about television shows that the fishing industry has ever seen. We believe Major League Fishing gives us a great forum for our products and to promote our patented rust protection product called ZeRust. The commercials we co-produced with MLF will feature Skeet Reese and Shaw Grigsby and the benefits of the ZeRust technology."

  • Lane's Mustang deal includes kids' camp

    Lane's Mustang deal includes kids' camp

    Chris Lane today announced a sponsorship deal with Mustang Survival that runs through the 2014 season and also makes the company the official sponsor of his annual Reeling in Future Pros Kids Camp.

    “Chris Lane and the whole Lane family promote water safety, boating education and the joy of fishing together as a family at the camp," said Mustang director of business development and marketing Shannon Ward. "The event showcases some of the values that Chris and Mustang have in common, including quality, integrity and respect. Our entire team is excited to work with him on both product design and community initiatives. Our goal is to make products that people want to wear so we can keep on saving lives for a living.”

    Said Lane: "Companies like Mustang that promote safety are very high on my list of respected companies. Mustang’s products are head and shoulders above their competition. Their support of the Kids Camp means everything to my family. I’ve personally worn Mustang for many years and am proud to announce this official partnership.”

    The 2014 camp will take place July 26 at Lake Guntersville. Sign-ups will begin in April at www.ChrisLaneFishing.com.

  • Minn Kota launches Talon contingency program

    Minn Kota launches Talon contingency program

    Minn Kota announced today the launch of its Anchor Down with Talon Rewards, a contingency program aimed at grassroots tournament anglers who own and use a Talon shallow water anchor during competition.

    The program will provide tournament anglers the opportunity to win $250 to $1,000 at sanctioned events on multiple tournament trails.

    “Minn Kota has supported large, regional and smaller tournaments for numerous years,” said Brad Henry, Minn Kota/Talon product manager. “This program is designed to go further and directly reward the anglers who trust and support our Talon shallow water anchor.”

    Unlike some contingency programs, “Anchor Down with Talon Rewards” guarantees a payout at each selected event no matter what the place finish. A cash payout will be awarded to the highest placing angler among participants who own a Talon and pre-registered for the program. At many of the events, the angler can win an additional cash bonus for winning the tournament.

    The sanctioned tournament trails for 2014 are:

    > Oakley Big Bass Tour (14 events)
    > Bass Champs (27 events)
    > Crappie USA (16 events)
    > HT Redfish Series (Championship only – $1,000 one time payout)

    Minn Kota plans continued sponsorship and expansion of its Talon Rewards program in the coming seasons.

    For more information, click here.

  • Poll: Who's this year's Christie?

    Even with a dozen or so anglers fishing both major circuits, the odds are against any competitor winning three tour-level events this year, as Jason Christie did in 2013. Two is a much stronger possibility, but there's a good chance that won't be achieved, either.

    If it does happen, who's most likely to pull it off? We had room for 18 names on our ballot, plus slots for "somebody else" and "nobody". To vote, go to the home page and scroll down the right side.

  • Reed: PAA schedule will be summer-fall affair

    Reed: PAA schedule will be summer-fall affair

    Matt Reed, a Texas Bassmaster Elite Series pro who serves as president of the Professional Anglers Association (PAA), said this week that the organization is still putting the final touches on its 2014 PAA Tournament Series schedule. He said the four-event slate will get under way during the summer and conclude in the fall.

    The organization avoided scheduling springtime events this year because the tour-level schedule is so tightly packed during that timeframe. Also, with the Toyota Texas Bass Classic having been moved from October to May, there was no rush to have the PAA events in the books by September.

    He said the loss of Bass Pro Shops as the title sponsor has been a big hurdle to overcome, but will not be the death knell for this year's circuit that some had feared.

    "We're going to be okay," he said. "That situation has been a battle, but we're still working on some other stuff. That one lump sum (of sponsorship money) we're not sure is going to happen, but it's definitely not the end of the world."

  • Howell pockets another $8,500

    Howell pockets another $8,500

    Randy Howell’s victorious week at the 2014 Bassmaster Classic was filled with hard-to-explain inner voices predicting positive outcomes. It seems he heard the first hint of success on an escalator at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center complex prior to Tuesday’s official angler registration meeting.

    Randy and wife Robin were headed down the mechanical staircase and Kendell Callaway Mooney (shown with Howell in accompanying photo), a long-time representative of the BoatUS Angler “Weigh-to-Win” and Toyota Trucks Bonus Bucks cash contingency programs, was headed up. In her hands were two oversized cardboard bonus checks to be awarded to the highes- finishing eligible angler at the Classic’s conclusion.

    “Randy and Robin were the first two members of the pro angling community I saw that day, “ said Callaway Mooney. “Randy being the fun guy that he is, spotted the checks, smiled and told me I’d be writing his name on the checks later in the week.” Callaway Mooney grinned at Howell and told him, “If you say so," and then traded a high-five hand slap with Robin and Randy.

    Howell wasn’t being arrogant. He’s plenty well-grounded in his faith and life’s challenges. In fact, he humbly reminded reporters in the post Classic press conference that he’d only won three times in 21 years as a pro. But much like the game-winning, last-minute, intuitive decision he made to turn his boat and fish Spring Creek the final day instead of Mill Creek, through an inner voice, he just seemed to know the bonus checks might very well have his name scrolled on them 5 days later.

    “Randy was one of the very first anglers to sign up for Bonus Bucks in 2008, and later was quick to register for Weigh-to-Win,” said Callaway Mooney. “He’s always so genuinely nice and appreciative. He’s a good heart, and he’s always there to support our efforts with enthusiasm."

    Unlike Howell, you don’t have to win the Bassmaster Classic to win the cash bonuses; you simply have to be the highest eligible finisher in your event. To learn the specific details of each program, check out BoatUSFishing.com and ToyotaTrucksBonusBucks.com, or call (918) 742-6424.

  • Hartwell not red-hot

    The FLW Tour is back at South Carolina's Lake Hartwell this week for its third March visit in the past 4 years. The weather has turned chilly and both Jay Yelas and Luke Clausen have had a pretty tough go of it during the first 2 days of practice.

    To read more, click here to visit BassFan's Pro View Reports.

  • G. Loomis expands, simplifies warranties

    G. Loomis expands, simplifies warranties

    G. Loomis announced today it has expanded its Xpeditor service program and simplified its limited lifetime warranty.

    Here are the highlights:

    > Every rod that's returned to the Woodlands, Wash., factory is examined for problems or breaks due to material or workmanship. If an angler is submitted a warranty claim, G. Loomis will no longer charge a claim review fee. If the rod is covered by warranty, a replacement rod will be sent at no charge.

    > If it's not covered under warranty, anglers can pay $95 ($120 CAN for service to Canada) to replace any broken rods in the GL2 or GL3 series. The fee to replace any NRX, GLX, Pro4X, IMX or blended graphite rods is $120 ($145 CAN).

    > If the rod broke due to accident, misuse or under normal wear and tear, anglers can use the Xpeditor service. For GL2 and GL3 series rods, the Xpeditor service fee is reduced to $75 ($100 CAN). The fee for all other G.Loomis rods – casting, spinning or fly - is $100 ($125 CAN).

    > Anglers who have a G.Loomis ‘Wildcard’ from buying an NRX or GL2 rod will be allowed a one-time Xpeditor service replacement for no charge.

    For more information, click here or call (877) 577-0600.

  • Solunar data easy to get from anywhere

    Does Solunar data, which identifies the periods each day when fish and game are likely to be most active, have any bearing on when, where or how you fish? If so, the folks at In-Fisherman magazine have made it easy for you to access that data whenever you choose – for wherever you happen to be.

    Using an auto-detect system, In-Fisherman's online calendar delivers the best times based on the latitude and longitude (of the nearest city or zip code) where the anglers who search the website are located. In short, it automatically delivers personalized best times to online users.

    “Mobile users can download a web app for the Solunar Calendar to their homepage on their phones or tablets," said In-Fisherman online editor Jeff Simpson. "Lots of people are doing this. We also offer moonrise and moonset, sunrise and sunset. I use it all the time for both fishing and hunting.”

    To get the free app, use your smartphone and go to www.In-Fisherman.com/solunar-calendar.

  • Survey: KVD favored by a wide margin

    Survey: KVD favored by a wide margin

    One of BassFan's sister publications, Game & Fish/Sportsman magazines, recently released the results of its annual Readers' Choice survey. More than 2,000 readers and online visitors contributed in the bass-related categories.

    Seven-time B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year and four-time Bassmaster Classic winner Kevin VanDam was the overwhelming choice for favorite tour pro, garnering 69.1 percent of the vote. Skeet Reese was 2nd with 9.8 percent and Brandon Palaniuk was 3rd with 9.2 percent.

    “He’s the best at figuring out conditions, baits and how to win,” said voter Grant Lehman of VanDam.

    Added Kyle Cortiana of Oklahoma: “I like all of these guys. Jason Christie is from my home state and an awesome person of character. I love watching Brandon because I believe he will be the next VanDam. However VanDam is still the one to watch and the one who will hold all the records.”

    Game & Fish/Sportsman had asked manufacturers to submit new gear nominees in 28 categories, from rods and reels to raingear and sunglasses. To be considered “new,” gear must have been introduced in the last 3 years. The magazine then queried a sampling of subscribers and e-newsletter recipients to determine favorite picks.

    Results of the voting are in the current March issue of Game & Fish/Sportsman magazines and can be found online by clicking here. Awards will be presented to winners July 15-18 at the 2014 ICAST show in Orlando.

  • 'Ike Live' tonight

    Newly-crowned Bassmaster Classic champion Randy Howell will be among the guests tonight on Ike Live, the live web-based talk show hosted by Mike Iaconelli.

    The show will stream live from 9 to 11 p.m. EST and can be accessed here. Other guests tonight include Pete Gluszek as well as a professional barber who will shave Iaconelli's beard after he lost a bet with his wife. Had he won the Classic, the beard would've stayed.

  • Project Z: Episode 3

    In the second episode of Project Z, Stephen Browning topped Luke Clausen and David Walker in the first challenge at Lake Guntersville. In the second challenge, the three pros were given 5 hours to catch the heaviest three-fish limit using Z-Man products on the northern end of the lake from BB Comer Bridge to Nickajack Dam.

    Want to see how it unfolds? The third 15-minute episode Project Z is embedded below.

  • BassFan Crossword Puzzle

    BassFans once again have a chance to test their knowledge by attempting to solve a fishing-themed crossword puzzle. This one is brought to you by the folks at Quantum.

    The puzzle interface is simple, and in case of confusion, just click the "Help" button for a full set of directions.

    To get started, click here.

    Good luck!

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