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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

  • New gear: Big Bite Baits new colors, sizes

    New gear: Big Bite Baits new colors, sizes

    At ICAST earlier this summer, BassFan stopped by the Big Bite Baits booth to check out what was new. Elite Series pro Dean Rojas took us through some of the new colors that will available in his signature series baits like the Fighting Frog, Cane Thumper and Warmouth.

    To hear more from Rojas, click here.

  • Poll: Past winner's exemptions?

    The last time a Bassmaster Classic took place without Kevin VanDam in the field was 1990. Another one will occur at South Carolina's Lake Hartwell in February as the four-time Classic winner failed to qualify for the sport's premier event for the first time in his illustrious career.

    That occurrence has sparked a debate among fans as to whether the Classic should follow the lead of golf's Masters tournament and offer exemptions to all former winners. How about multiple-time winners?

    To vote in the new BassFan Opinion Poll, click here to return to the home page and scroll down the right side.

  • Nixon, Yelas reminisce

    Nixon, Yelas reminisce

    The Bass Fishing archives has launched a series of stories and videos that will interest longtime fans. It features Larry Nixon and Jay Yelas looking back to the early stages of their careers and recalling some of the most memorable tournaments of a bygone era.

    In the first installment, they talk about the 1990 Megabucks derby at Florida's Harris Chain – a 6-day marathon that Nixon won by nearly 10 pounds. He and Yelas were paired together on day 1 and Yelas lip-landed the largest fish Nixon ever caught in competition, a 10-10 brute.

    To see it, click here (the video is embedded at the bottom).

  • Watson aligns with Waft

    Watson aligns with Waft

    FLW Tour pro James Watson has joined the pro staff of South Africa-based rod manufacturer Waft Fishing.

    "We are excited about James joining our team and helping us to promote the rods in the U.S.," said Waft's Dan Mathisen. "We appreciate James being proactive about introducing them to other anglers."

    Watson, a Missouri resident, has been using Waft rods for over a year.

    "I love my Waft rods," he said. "These high-performance carbon fiber rods are bulletproof. They are hard to break but super lightweight and sensitive."

  • TTBC returns to Fork in '15

    Lake Fork will again be the host venue for the 2015 Toyota Texas Bass Classic, which is scheduled for May 23-25, 2015.

    “After a world-record setting event in 2014 we are very excited to return to Lake Fork in 2015,” said tournament director Lenny Francoeur. “This community has been so welcoming and the bass fishing at Lake Fork is world-class. We can’t wait to get back there next spring.”

    The field size will be reduced from 50 to 38 and will include the top 15 finishers from the Bassmaster Elite Series and FLW Tour angler of the year standings along with seven exemptions and defending champion Keith Combs. The full field will compete for two days before being reduced to 10 anglers for the final round on Memorial Day (May 25).

    Through a continued partnership with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), TTBC will continue to focus on conservation efforts and adhere to a strict catch, weigh and immediate release format. Over the last eight years, the Toyota Texas Bass Classic has donated over $2 million to the TPWD, an effort that will continue in 2015.

    “We were proud to see the record-setting fish catches at the 2014 event," said Dave Terre of the TPWD. "Those catches were a direct result of our progressive fisheries management practices, including special fishing regulations, fish stocking, and fish habitat improvements with the Sabine River Authority.

    “This tournament, including its unique catch-weigh-immediate release format, gives us the opportunity to show the world just how good Lake Fork really is. We are thankful for the opportunity to do this again in 2015 and also for all the benefits this event provides to TPWD.”

    In addition to the bass fishing competition, TTBC organizers plan to include a full line up of premier country music acts, vendor expo showcases, outdoor family activities and more in 2015. For more information and event news, visit

  • Cayuga Lake Photo Galleries

    Cayuga Lake Photo Galleries

    It was a fast and furious morning on day 4 of the Cayuga Lake Elite Series as the 12 finalists spanned out up and down one of New York's famed Finger Lakes.

    > To check out BassFan's photo gallery of the final morning, click here.

    > To check out BassFan's gallery of leader Greg Hackney on the water on Sunday morning, click here.

    > Don't forget to check out previous galleries from this week's event (Day 2 and Day 3).

  • Snapcast: Where does KVD go from here?

    Snapcast: Where does KVD go from here?

    "Unless your name is Kevin VanDam, you're eventually going to have a bad year."

    I've heard that statement, or something very similar to it, at least a dozen times from anglers coming off a sub-par Bassmaster Elite Series campaign. Now the qualifier can be removed.

    The great KVD has had a bad year – for the first time ever. He won't be one of the 50 anglers competing in the AOY Championship next month at the Bays de Noc in his home state of Michigan, where he would've been a prohibitive favorite. More shockingly, he won't be a contestant in next year's Bassmaster Classic at South Carolina's Lake Hartwell.

    A Classic without VanDam in the field has not occurred since 1990. George Bush – the older one – wasn't even halfway through his Presidency then. The most popular TV shows that year included "Cheers," "Roseanne," "The Cosby Show," and something aptly called "A Different World." Indeed, just about everything was much, much different than it is today.

    There's no need to get sappy here, as VanDam's record speaks for itself – loudly. In the most competitive era this still-young sport has ever seen, he's captured 11 major titles (seven Angler of the Year awards and four Classic championships). No other current, full-time pro has even half that many and nobody is within smelling distance of the more than $6 million he's won in B.A.S.S. and FLW competition.

    When contrasted against his stellar record, his struggles this year were simply stunning. He finished in the bottom third of the field four times in seven Elite points events – something he'd never done even once in the 8 prior seasons of the circuit (one disqualification not withstanding). He was his old self on a couple of occasions (2nd in the inaugural BASSFest at Chickamauga and 5th at Table Rock), but he was a boom-or-bust guy and the busts were far more frequent. His incredible consistency – which produced a phenomenal 29 straight Top-50 cuts prior to this year's St. Johns River stop – was nowhere to be found.

    VanDam, who'll turn 47 this fall, has vowed to bounce back stronger than before. That quest alone will make the 2015 season one of the most compelling ever. Was this year just an unexpected but inevitable downtick, or was it the end of his reign as the most feared competitor in the game?

    At this point, anyway, the smart money is staying away from the latter scenario.

    --John Johnson
    --BassFan Senior Editor

  • Schmitt picks up 5th Rayovac win

    Schmitt picks up 5th Rayovac win

    Maryland's Bryan Schmitt caught a 15-05 sack on Saturday to win the James River Northern Rayovac with a 3-day total of 52-12.

    “I caught 90 percent of my weight in the first 15 minutes every day,” said Schmitt, who is now tied with FLW Tour pros Koby Kreiger and Randy Haynes for most career Rayovac wins with five. “I would catch a few giants in the morning and then work as hard as I could to fill my limit the rest of the day.”

    Schmitt said that he targeted two key outside bends of a creek channel that had a mix of grass and pads on them for his early morning weight before targeting thicker vegetation the rest of the day. He reported catching most of his fish on a 6th Sense Core X Swimbait and he also caught a few on a Strike King KVD HC 1.5 square-bill crankbait.

    Full details of his winning pattern will be published in the coming days.

    Here are the final totals for the Top 10:

    1. Bryan Schmitt: 52-12
    2. Wayne Vaughan: 50-03
    3. Kelly Pratt: 48-01
    4. William Shelton III: 42-07
    5. Chris Baumgardner: 37-03
    6. Bo Boltz: 33-06
    7. Shayne Berlo: 33-06
    8. Frank Poirier: 31-11
    9. Robert Whitehurst: 30-05
    10. J.T. Kenney: 28-07

  • Life-jacket design contest will pay $10,000

    Life-jacket design contest will pay $10,000

    The BoatUS Foundation has teamed up with the Personal Floatation Device Manufacturers Association (PFDMA) and the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) to seek out the newest technologies and design ideas with the “Innovation in Life Jacket Design Competition,” which began this week.

    “We believe there are some creative folks out there who can help us rethink a 100-year-old design with fresh, out-of-the-box ideas,” said BoatUS Foundation president Chris Edmonston.

    A $10,000 cash award goes to the winning designer and inventors have until April 15, 2015 to submit their idea.

    Entries will be judged based on four criteria: wearability (level of comfort), reliability (potential for failure), cost and innovation (originality or utilization of new technologies).

    The BoatUS Foundation will post entries on its website and Facebook page for public voting. The winner will be announced at the September 2015 International Boat Builders Exhibition and Conference in Louisville, Ky.

    Additional cash prizes are offered for 2nd and 3rd place. For more information or to enter, visit

  • Opinion: Bass interference?

    Opinion: Bass interference?

    Steve Chaconas, a guide and fishing media personality from the Washington, D.C. area, has contributed several opinion pieces to BassFan over the years. Today he offers up a new one on the incident between Anthony Gagliardi and a local fisherman at the Forrest Wood Cup. In his view, all of us who fish recreationally and at lower competitive levels owe something to the pros, who help us become better anglers.

    To read the column, click here.

  • Balog: Cup is different, and that's fine

    Balog: Cup is different, and that's fine

    Joe Balog is back in Minnesota after attending the Forrest Wood Cup for the first time. His assessment is that it's no Bassmaster Classic, but that's not a knock – it's a worthy championship event in its own right.

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

  • Report: Elites going to Chesapeake

    Report: Elites going to Chesapeake

    Reports that the Bassmaster Elite Series will visit the Chesapeake Bay in 2015 were validated today when the Cecil (Md.) Whig ran a story on such an announcement by Cecil County's tourism director.

    The event, which will take place Aug. 13-16, is one of five 2015 stops that have been confirmed either by B.A.S.S. or via local news outlets. The others are the Sabine River, Sacramento River (California Delta), Lake Havasu and the St. Lawrence River.

    To read the Whig's article, click here.

  • Martin had encounter similar to Gagliardi's

    Martin had encounter similar to Gagliardi's

    Scott Martin told BassFan today that he had a run-in on day 3 of the Forrest Wood Cup with the same gentleman that Anthony Gagliardi encountered the following morning.

    Martin said he started days 2 and 3 on the same point that Gagliardi eventually fished on the final day, just up from the northern end of the Saluda Dam. Upon arriving at the area on day 3, Martin noticed a man fishing in a red and white Nitro.

    "These schools of fish we were fishing, they don't just randomly come up 100 yards from here or there, it's roughly the same spot," he said. "I came off plane and made sure to swing wide off in the deep water and I was probably 100 yards from the guy. He was down the side of the point more.

    "A habit I have in a situation like that is I always ask before I make a cast," Martin continued, "but I noticed he turned his trolling motor and started coming out at me. I said, 'Do you mind if I make a few casts across this point?' From where I was, I would be casting 90 degrees away from him."

    Martin said the man leaned over and increased the speed of his trolling motor, but was still a distance away.

    "He says, 'You might as well because it doesn't matter anyway,'" Martin recalled. "'You guys get to fish every day. I wish you guys weren't here.'"

    As Martin informed him the tournament would be over on the following the day, the man continued to get closer to his boat.

    "I didn't say anything and I was throwing completely away from him," Martin said. "So I kept casting and casting, but he was still coming at me and I didn't know what he's going to do. He started throwing at my boat, staring at me the whole time. Just then, some fish came up on the other side of where he come from so I turned out to open water to steer away from him. I was going out 100 yards on the other side and the minute I turned, he turns and comes right at me again and starts casting at my boat.

    "I told him I was trying to get around him and give him plenty of room. I asked him where he wanted to fish. He said, 'I'm fishing all of this.' At that point, I asked him if he was going to ram my boat."

    Martin said he finally steered clear of the man and fished a dock that was near where the man had been before.

    "I didn't want to fight, but he eventually left," Martin said. "The minute he left Anthony went over there and started catching them. It was a spot Anthony said he'd seen them breaking out of the corner of his eye on day 2. I fished it later that afternoon, but didn't catch anything."

    Martin said at the Top-10 meeting Saturday night he warned Gagliardi about a guy in a smaller boat who was not happy that we were there.

    "I've never had a guy chase me around like that," Martin said. "I've had guys not want to leave, but it's an argument both ways. It is what it is. Later on, when I was on a different spot, the same guy came by on half plane. People in boats that were watching me were yelling to him to slow down, but he just kept coming.

    "The guy was definitely aggressive. When I stop 100 yards away from you and you troll at me cussing and then start casting at me when I try to go around you, he made me uncomfortable enough where I left."

    BassFan is attempting to reach the local angler in question in an effort to get his view on what transpired last weekend.

  • Sunline Strong Performer: Cup

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

    Scott Canterbury's tournament didn't end when he weighed four fish for 10-00 on day 1 of the Forrest Wood Cup. His Lake Murray adventure was just getting started.

    "Twelve to 13 pounds a day is what everybody wanted to do," he said. "I felt like I was on the right pace. I was right there. I fished so clean. It was a strange thing."

    There's no telling how day 1 or his tournament for that matter would've gone had he not hand-lined a fish back to the boat after his line broke in his reel upon setting the hook. His 10-pound bag had him in 16th, but he moved up the ledger each day after that.

    "Eighty percent of the time you're going to lose that fish," he said. "It was one of those deals where strange things happened."

    He made a critical decision toward the end of day 2 to scrap his plan to target schooling fish on the lower end of the lake and instead power-fish shallow water with a buzzbait and jig.

    He targeted shallow grass with a clean bottom out in front on days 2 and 3 before focusing more on dock piers on the final day when he caught 13-14 to finish 2nd to Anthony Gagliardi.

    "It was all about covering new water," he said. "If there was a fish up there that hadn’t seen a bait it would bite. They were so aggressive, but if you went to a place where you'd catch one, it seemed like the others would just look at your bait and not bite.

    "If I could've figured that out during practice, I could've won by 5 or 6 pounds. If we went to new places fish would just choke the bait."

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

  • Big Bite Lookback: Cup

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

    Philip Jarabeck went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows at the Forrest Wood Cup.

    After rebounding from a three-fish stringer on day 1 to catch 17-00 on day 2 and take the lead at the halfway point of the tournament, his momentum came to a screeching halt on day 3. He weighed in two fish for 4-00 and missed the Top-10 cut at his first Cup as a pro by 1 ounce.

    He was visibly shaken after the day-3 weigh-in, but later said the whole experience will serve as a teaching tool.

    "It was definitely a positive experience," he said. "Look at the field I was surrounded by. There were some of the best guys in fishing. I can't walk away with any bitterness finishing 11th in that field. I feel very blessed to finish where I did.

    "I want to be at that championship even more now because once you have the opportunity and you can sit in that seat, you envision it even more and it gives you more drive, so I'm excited for the years to come."

    On day 2, he'd caught a couple big fish shallow on a buzzbait, and then retreated to stumpy, rocky humps and brush piles in 20 to 25 feet of water to finish off his limit.

    "At one point, my co-angler said to me that I was making it look easy," Jarabeck said.

    Day 3 was anything but easy.

    "I felt comfortable going out Saturday," he said. "I had enough deep holes where I felt like I could catch three good fish. We had an extended morning with the cloud cover so I decided to go shallow to try to catch some big ones and I caught just one 2-pounder."

    He moved out to some brush piles, but couldn’t get bit with a dropshot.

    "Of the 15 places, I'd say 10 of them I really had confidence that they were there," he said, "but they weren't there. I just didn't get bit. There were definitely some fish on my graph, but the problem was the number of trash fish in that lake like white bass and gar make it hard to tell for sure if they were bass. I knew that if he lived there, I was dropping it down on the right place. I couldn't tell if I caught all of the resident fish.

    "My theory is that those fish were feeding on herring in the morning, then they'd find their way back to the cover when it got hot. With the cloud cover, instead of roaming and feeding in say a 200-yard radius, maybe they went further that morning and didn't com back until later. Either way, it was an absolute light switch that got turned off."

    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.

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