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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

  • PAA winner will get boat

    PAA winner will get boat

    Professional Anglers Association (PAA) president Matt Reed announced today that the winner of next week's PAA Tournament Series event at Douglas Lake in Tennessee will receive a boat package. Final negotiations were completed today to award the winner a Stratos 294 XLE powered by a 200-hp Mercury OptiMax XS motor.

    The other venues on this year's slate are Kentucky Lake (Oct. 9-11) and Toledo Bend Reservoir (Nov. 20-22).

    "It was a real challenge this year to get it all put together, but we're glad to have it done and we look forward to a good series," Reed said. "The events should be a lot of fun on the fishing side and the purses have been secured. It's been a long road and I wish we could've gotten everything done earlier, but it's here now and it's all okay."

    The Top 3 finishers from the circuit's points list will gain berths in next year's Toyota Texas Bass Classic.

    Reed also announced that Fish Fishburne, the highly popular former B.A.S.S. emcee, will be on the microphone for the Douglas event.

    Sign-ups for the Douglas tournament will be taken until the registration meeting next Wednesday. Anglers planning to enter should contact the PAA office by calling (270) 527-2030.

  • Ashley's smallie spinout

    Ashley's smallie spinout

    Industry rep Alan McGuckin passed along this piece today about Elite Series pro Casey Ashley's love-hate relationship with smallmouth bass.

    Pro anglers are expected to have all the answers, know all there is to know about bass, but Casey Ashley confesses that when it comes to smallmouth, they’ve got his number.

    “I’ve never sniffed a 20-pound limit in a smallmouth tournament, and best I can remember, I’ve never even cashed a check in a smallmouth dominated event,” said Ashley not long after weighing in a respectable 15-pound limit on day 1 at the Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of the Year Championship at Lake Michigan.

    Rest assured the likable South Carolina pro isn’t complaining that today's round was canceled due to high winds, and he probably won’t even spend much time tweaking tackle during this unplanned day off.

    A glance at his Triton’s front deck revealed nine rods and reels after the opening day of competition; four of them baitcasters decorated with jerkbaits, the other five were all size 30 Quantum Smoke and Energy spinning reels sporting standard smallmouth fare such as tubes and drop shots – leaving no doubt Ashley knows what to throw. It’s more of a struggle of where to throw.

    “My big struggle with smallmouth is they’re so random,” he explained in a frustrated tone. “With largemouth, I can pretty much tell you what cast is gonna get a bite based on the fact that largemouth live in predictable places, but with smallmouth, I swear sometimes I could do just as well casting over my shoulder, as when I try to pinpoint them.”

    Ashley may struggle with smallmouth, but his 10th-place standing in the Toyota AOY race entering this tournament proves his 2014 season has been anything but a struggle. He was in the select group of anglers that only needed to register a single fish catch this week in order to cement his berth in next year's Bassmaster Classic, which is slated for his home waters at Lake Hartwell.

    “I’m not even sure I had to catch a bass here to stay qualified for the 2015 Classic, but I’ll admit I screamed like (Mike) Iaconelli when I caught that first keeper today, just knowing for certain at that moment that I had locked myself in for Hartwell,” said Ashley.

    Fishing alongside father Danny, Hartwell’s waters baptized the young Ashley’s penchant for competitive angling 15 years ago, and his recent wire-to-wire $100,000 FLW Tour win at Hartwell just seven months ago left no doubt how dominant he can be there at the very same time of year he’ll compete for a life-changing Classic win in 2015.

    It could happen, but with no thanks to smallmouth.

  • Day 2 of AOY event cancelled

    After initially shortening day 2 of the Angler of the Year Championship at Lake Michigan due to a threatening weather forecast, B.A.S.S. just announced that competition for today has been canceled.

    B.A.S.S. had originally informed competitors this morning that weigh-ins for day 2 of the AOY Championship at Escanaba, Mich., would begin at 1:45 p.m. EST, rather than the scheduled 4 p.m. start time.

    The forecast for today was the main factor for the move as winds are expected to increase throughout the day with the heaviest sustained blows coming this afternoon.

    The National Weather Service issued a small craft advisory overnight that will be in effect through Saturday afternoon for the Bay de Noc area. According to the latest marine forecast for upper Lake Michigan, south winds are expected to be 10 to 15 knots this morning with waves ranging from 2 to 3 feet. By mid afternoon, gusts up to 33 knots are expected with waves swelling to 4 to 7 feet.

    “In the interest of safety, today’s fishing has been canceled,” said Trip Weldon, B.A.S.S. tournament director in a release announcing the cancellation. “We will err on the side of caution and the safety of our anglers and their marshals."

    Weldon said he and other officials plan for competition to continue on Saturday, weather permitting.

    “We will make that call in the morning,” he added. Current weather forecasts show some improvement by Saturday.

  • Johnson leads at La Crosse

    Johnson leads at La Crosse

    Jimmy Johnson caught a massive bag of smallmouths that averaged 4 pounds apiece en route to grabbing the day-1 lead at the Mississippi River Central Rayovac, which is being staged out of his hometown of La Crosse, Wis.

    Johnson's stringer left him more than 4 pounds clear of the 126-angler field. His closest pursuers were a couple of grizzled veterans – Mark Tucker with 16-02 and Gary Yamamoto with 16-00.

    Here's a look at the initial Top 10:

    1. Jimmy Johnson: 20-04
    2. Mark Tucker: 16-02
    3. Gary Yamamoto: 16-00
    4. Mike Brueggen: 15-15
    5. Terry Fitzpatrick: 15-13
    6. (tie) Peter Cherkas: 14-10
    6. (tie) Casey Gallagher: 14-10
    8. Doug Stanton: 13-15
    9. Corey Smith: 13-14
    10. David Ryan: 13-11

  • Talk fishing with Shimano pros

    Fan attending the Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of the Year Championship this week will have the opportunity to enhance their bass fishing skills at the Shimano seminars taking place Saturday in Escanaba, Mich.

    The seminars are part of the Bassmaster Fan & Military Appreciation Day Expo at Ludington Park. Elite Series pro Jonathon VanDam will be doing a ‘It’s Smallmouth Country’ presentation at noon, followed by Jared Lintner with a 'Tackle It On Top’ seminar at 12:30 p.m. Dave Mercer and Mark Zona will follow with a joint presentation – ‘Northern Smallmouth Tactics.'

    VanDam will give his seminar again at 1:30 p.m. and Lintner will do an encore on topwater techniques at 2 p.m. Additionally, the Shimano Experience Team will have a target course set-up for fans to test their skills.

  • Balog: What keeps you from cheating?

    Balog: What keeps you from cheating?

    The conviction and sentencing of two bass-tournament cheaters in Alabama this week has prompted Joe Balog to pen his latest column on the topic that everyone who loves this sport detests. As he points out, there will always be dishonest people out there willing to go to great lengths to get half a million dollars – or even a fraction of that amount.

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

  • Christie Needs a Fan

    Christie Needs a Fan

    Top-ranked bass angler Jason Christie recently installed a ceiling-mounted LEER Locker and filled it full of many expected items such spools of Sunline, spare Lew’s reels and bags of YUM lures.

    But one item Christie made sure to pack has nothing to do with fishing – a small, portable electric fan.

    “I carry it everywhere I go. I can’t sleep without a fan running, so I made sure to pack it in my LEER Locker,” says Christie, who spends well over a hundred nights a year away from home as a two-tour pro. “Even when it’s not real hot, I still want a fan running. Just the noise helps me sleep better, and apparently it’s hereditary because my daughters need to have one running, too.”

    The LEER Locker is a ceiling-mounted storage system that utilizes the wasted space of your truck cap to organize and secure your valuable property. Think of it as an overhead sliding drawer that’s ready to use anytime you need it – and out of sight when you don’t.

    Not just for anglers, it’s also ideally suited for hunters to safely and securely store guns, boxes of ammunition, and a multitude of hunting accessories in a dry and locked-up tight carpeted overhead vault.

    Christie is also a "fan" of LEER because of the company's fast-growing “Cover Cash” program that pays cash bonuses to tournament anglers who purchase a LEER, sign-up for the free program and win money when they do well in events. And certainly, as the world’s top-ranked angler, Christie has already cashed in often.

    LEER has also made it easy for anglers to save money on their initial purchase of a new truck cap or tonneau cover by making exclusive angler coupons available. Simply carry the coupon into your local LEER dealer, save money up front and then get ready to win additional funds when you do well in supported tournaments.

    You can register online at or by calling (918) 742-6424.

  • Duke headed to FTR

    Duke headed to FTR

    BassFan has learned that Ken Duke, a senior editor of B.A.S.S. publications, will leave the organization at the end of this month to become managing editor at Fishing Tackle Retailer.

    "It's something I'm really excited about," he said. "I think FTR is already a solid publication and a player in this industry and it'll be a lot of fun to have a hand on the wheel to see where we can take it."

    The 52-year-old Florida resident signed on with B.A.S.S. in 2004 after working for Game & Fish Publications. Due to his vast knowledge of the sport's history, he became the organization's unofficial historian after the death of longtime Bassmaster writer Tim Tucker in 2007.

    "I've enjoyed my relationship with B.A.S.S. over the years – I've worked for them for 10 years and I've been a member for 38. I certainly hope to find opportunities to do some things with them in the future, as well as other publications and other parts of the industry."

  • Jail time for Guntersville cheaters

    Two Alabama men charged with cheating in a bass tournament at Lake Guntersville earlier this year were found guilty and sentenced Monday to 30 days in jail, according to a report on the website of TV station WAFF-48.

    After a four-hour trial, Gary Lee Minor Jr. of Albertville and Robert Scott Gillaspie of Boaz were ordered to the Marshall County Jail after they were found guilty of theft by deception and tampering with a sporting event.

    The charges stemmed from their involvement in a scheme to win the Tuesday and Thursday Night Owls Fishing Tournament on April 22. FLW Tour pro Richard Peek testified Monday he witnessed the two men stop off at a boat dock and emerge with a large bass in a net that had come from inside the boat dock.

    They were ordered to a year suspended jail sentence, provided they serve 30 days, serve 400 hours of community service at Lake Guntersville State Park, two years probation, and each pay $1,000 and court costs.

    To read more, click here.

  • Texas veteran Gregg dies

    Texas veteran Gregg dies

    David Gregg, a two-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier who competed on both major circuits, died over the weekend at age 67 after reportedly falling ill at the Arkansas River Bassmaster Central Open in Oklahoma and returning home to Palestine, Texas.

    Gregg, who was the pastor at Trinity Church in Palestine, fished in the Classic in 1983 and 1999. Funeral services will take place on Thursday in Haltom City, Texas.

    To read his obituary on the website of the funeral home handling the services, click here.

  • Mud Hole seeks custom rod photos

    Mud Hole seeks custom rod photos

    Mud Hole Custom Tackle is seeking photos of custom-built bass rods for its 2015 Calendar Contest. The deadline is Oct. 1.

    “Because Mud Hole provides over 45,000 fishing products and parts to anglers in every U.S. state and over 100 countries worldwide, we receive hundreds of great photo submissions showing off artistic creations," said Mud Hole VP Scott Gimbert. "We’ll whittle those down to the 12 calendar months and the cover, in time for the winners to be announced on Oct. 8.”

    Entries can be composite or individual photos that have something to do with the art of custom rod building and/or tackle crafting. Photos can feature handles, thread work, guides, feather inlays, decorative wraps, lure painting, etc.

    “The photos are judged on a combination of artistic value, originality, technical difficulty, photography and aesthetic preference," Gimbert said. "The winners, who each win $100 in Mud Hole gift certificates, come from all walks of life and areas of the globe."

    For contest rules, go to To upload your photos, go to 2015-calendar-contest/.

  • FLW executives among FWFHOF inductees

    FLW executives among FWFHOF inductees

    Trisha Blake, president of FLW's marketing division, and Kathy Fennel, who heads up the organization's operations division, are among 17 people in the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame's 2015 class of inductees. The Bass Federation (TBF) will also be inducted.

    The FWFHOF bills itself as the international headquarters for education, recognition and promotion of freshwater sport fishing. Each year it recognizes individuals, groups and organizations for their impact benefiting freshwater angling.

    In addition to Blake and Fennel, the list of people to be enshrined consists of artist Chris Armstrong, Canadian writer Daryl Choronzey, longtime In-Fisherman writer Dave Csanda, Illinois walleye angler Mike Gofron, California angler and media personality Joseph "Sep" Hendrickson, Wisconsin guides Ray Kennedy and Dick Lapp, Canadian muskie legend Mike Lazarus, Illinois newspaperman Bob Maciulis, Michigan walleye competitor Mark Martin, Minnesota guide, rod-maker and casting instructor Bob Nasby, C.A.S.T. for Kids founder Jim Owens, Canadian conservationist and writer Gordon Pyzer, Oregon promoter and journalist Bill Rice and Minnesota fishing instructor Tom Zenanko.

  • Breezy start at Lake Michigan

    Aaron Martens said he caught a 7-pound smallmouth today as practice got under way for the Elite Series Angler of the Year Championship at Lake Michigan. Other than that giant bite, he said the wind made it difficult to be efficient on the big water of Little and Big Bay de Noc.

    To read more of his day-1 practice recap, click here.

  • Tyler victorious at Arkansas River

    Tyler victorious at Arkansas River

    Former Bassmaster Elite Series pro Mark Tyler cashed in his home-water advantage to win the Arkansas River Bassmaster Central Open out of Muskogee, Okla. on Saturday.

    The Vian, Okla. resident hadn’t fished the river since last year’s Open at Muskogee, so he relied on 5 previous years of experience to catch the winning weight of 42-14. Since he didn't fish the two previous Central Opens this year, he can't claim the accompanying Bassmaster Classic berth

    “It was simple river fishing,” Tyler said. “I just fished pretty much laydowns, little weed points and shallow-water cover – just like you would expect in a river system. The difference was I ran a bunch of spots that I have a lot of confidence in. From years of experience I knew a piece of wood I pulled up on would be a key piece.”

    Full details of his winning pattern will be published soon.

    Bassmaster Elite Series pro Stephen Browning clinched the Central Opens points title with 584 points. The rest of the anglers who qualified for an invitation to the Elites are Jordan Lee, who finished 2nd with 555, followed by Carl Jocumsen (the first Australian angler to qualify for the Elites), 544; Brian Clark, 4th, 536; Randy Allen, 5th, 530; and Ken Iyobe, 6th, 528.

    “Making the Elites is something I have always dreamed about since I was in 8th or 9th grade watching The Bassmasters,” said Lee, a former Bassmaster College Series champion. “This is what I have always wanted to do. This is the first year I fished the Opens, and I fished all nine to try and reach the Elites.”

    Here are the final totals for the Top-12 finishers at Muskogee:

    1. Mark Tyler: 42-14
    2. Kenta Kimura: 41-03
    3. Tommy Biffle: 40-09
    4. Jordan Lee: 39-07
    5. Brian Potter: 37-12
    6. Rick Clunn: 35-08
    7. Vu Au: 33-15
    8. Gary Klein: 33-11
    9. Scott Barnett: 33-01
    10. Justin Margraves: 30-03
    11. Gary Clouse: 28-03
    12. Mark Goines: 26-13

  • Tyler takes over at Muskogee

    Tyler takes over at Muskogee

    Mark Tyler's strategy of relying on past history and “winging it” is giving the former Bassmaster Elite Series pro an edge at the Central Open finale on the Arkansas River out of Muskogee, Okla. Tyler, a resident of nearby Vian, caught a 14-12 bag on Friday to take over the lead with a 2-day total of 30-05.

    Tyler said he's been so busy with his cattle ranch this year that he hasn’t been able to fish the river much, so he had to rely on his extensive experience on his home waters.

    “Over the past 5 years, I have probably spent a hundred days a year on the river,” said the 41-year-old, who estimated he spent only about 6 hours practicing for this event. “I'm just fishing in the moment and reading the conditions and not tying myself down to a bank where I got bit in practice or anything. I'm just reacting and I think it's really helping me.”

    A cold front and north wind has caused him to make changes both days. “I’ve just been flying by the seat of my pants from the first day,” he said. “I am just going where the conditions seem right, where the water clarity is right and where I can make a presentation the way I want.”

    Vu Au of Tucson, Ariz. has never fished the river before, but he's found one primary area that's produced 30-04 and he trails Tyler by just 1 ounce. The 32-year-old auto repair shop owner said he missed a couple of quality fish on day 1, but made up for the lost opportunities today with a 17-15 sack.

    “I had to mix it up a bit,” he said. “I don’t know what it was today, but they didn’t eat the same thing they ate yesterday.”

    The field was cut to the Top 12 after Friday's weigh-in. Rounding out the Top 5 were Elite Series veterans Gary Klein and Tommy Biffle, along with Oklahoman Brian Potter.

    Here are the totals for the 12 anglers who'll compete on the final day:

    1. Mark Tyler: 30-05
    2. Vu Au: 30-04
    3. Gary Klein: 29-13
    4. Tommy Biffle: 28-00
    5. Brian Potter: 27-01
    6. Kenta Kimura: 26-15
    7. Rick Clunn: 25-06
    8. Jordan Lee: 25-02
    9. Scott Barnett: 25-01
    10. Mark Goines: 24-15
    11. Justin Margraves: 24-11
    12. Gary Clouse: 24-03

  • Dudley recovering from shoulder surgery

    Dudley recovering from shoulder surgery

    David Dudley is an active guy – the kind who rarely lazes around the house on days he's not fishing or tending to his Virginia farm.

    His active lifestyle is partly to blame for the condition of his left shoulder, which required surgery earlier this week. It was a procedure that could've and probably should've been done last year, but he fished through the discomfort and pain this season.

    "I've been an active guy my whole life," he said. "I played football, basketball and baseball since I was 6 years old. I never missed a season. Then I played 11 years of racquetball all the while I was fishing. That's all shoulders and swinging. That combo doesn't set up for good shoulders when you get older.

    "It was one of those things where it hurt, but I have such a high tolerance of pain. Last winter, I finally went to the doctor and he did an MRI and basically, he found that my left shoulder was worn out. The collarbone and shoulder bone were rubbing together."

    At the time, it was too late for surgery since the recovery would have cut into the 2014 FLW Tour season. Instead, Dudley received two cortisone shots (one before the season and one during) to help with pain relief.

    "It got to the point where if I was out deep and fishing slow like dragging a worm or jig, anything where I had to hold the rod upright, it was torture," he said. "It was non-stop pain. I would hear the pops and grinding in my shoulder.

    "At Kentucky Lake, it got to hurting again pretty bad," he added, "so I took another shot to get through the Cup. The doctor then had me on the books for both shoulders because they both have wear and tear pretty bad. Right before I went in for surgery, he double-checked everything and decided to hold off on the right shoulder for now."

    During the operation, the doctor shaved the collarbone and shoulder bone to create a space between the two.

    "I'm still a little sore and I'm trying to sit around," Dudley said, "but that's hard to do. It's hard to just sit around and not do anything. I'm doing a lot of terminal tackle work and cleaning my fishing room out and catching up on sponsor stuff now. I can't just sit down. I'm a busy guy."

    He thinks, eventually, he'll have the same surgery done on his right shoulder and fears he may need back surgery down the road as well.

    "I don't think this will be my last surgery," he said. "I know my back is in horrible condition and I know if I go there, what he's going to say. I just turned 39 last week, but I feel like I have the body of a 50-year-old."

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