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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

  • Sunline Strong Performer: Cayuga

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

    Jeff Kriet's season was on the line heading into day 2 of last week's Cayuga Lake Bassmaster Elite Series. He'd caught a pedestrian 12-pound bag on day 1 and sat in 73rd place in the standings.

    He came into the tournament at No. 43 in the Angler of the Year race and was poised to slide out of the Top 50 – and thus fail to qualify for the AOY Championship, which would cost him an opportunity to compete for a 2015 Classic berth. He needed to bounce back with a much stronger sack.

    He did just that, bringing a 16-11 stringer to the scale. It moved him up 29 places in the standings and he gained two more the following day to finish 42nd. That moved him up to 41st on the final points list and secured his spot in the AOY Championship next month at Michigan's Bays de Noc.

    "My biggest problem the first day was I had two or three different deals going on," he said. "I thought I could catch them cranking, I thought I could catch them casting around some deep grass and I thought I could catch them flipping the deep grass with a big weight. I think I tried to do too much.

    "I knew on the second day that if I didn't pull it together, it was going to cost me my chance at the Classic. I just picked up the big rod and flipped grass all day."

    He flipped a Big Bite Baits Yo Mama under a punch skirt and 1-ounce weight, all attached to 65-pound braided line.

    "I felt like I could've done it the third day, too. I had two 4-pounders, but it was real cloudy and windy and I couldn't see the grass heads and I basically had to blind-flip.

    "The fish were in clusters. You could go a long time with no bites and then you'd get around them and you might flip up six or seven."

    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: Cayuga

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

    Day 1 was Mike McClelland's best day at the Cayuga Lake Bassmaster Elite Series. It could've been better, though, and if it had been, he might've qualified to fish the final day instead of setting for a 13th-place finish.

    "That first day was really what bit me, as bad as that is to say," he said. "I caught them real good but I didn't realize the potential of the fish I'd found.

    "I had what I weighed (17-12) by 12:15 or 12:30 and I elected to go practice the rest of the day. If I would've stuck with it, I might've been able to cull up a little bit."

    He pitched a creature bait under a punch skirt and a 1-ounce weight into deep grass.

    "We heard those pre-tournament predictions of how it was going to take 25 pounds a day to win and a lot of us snickered and laughed at that. We knew there was a fair number of fish in there, but with the pressure we were going to on it we thought it would fish pretty small and guys would really have to manage their fish.

    "By the third day of competition I had a new respect for how good of a lake it really is. That was the day the wind blew hard and I just went to the bank and I saw more fish that day than I could've expected. I caught 15 or 18 keepers and I saw 30 or 40 more chase my bait or roll on it or come out from under docks."

    He fished the shallows with a homemade vibrating jig with a fluke-style trailer.

    "I was throwing the shad color rather than the bream. I really didn't see a lot of shad, but the fish reacted better to that."

    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.

  • Toledo Bend yields 14 1/2-pounder

    Toledo Bend yields 14 1/2-pounder

    A Texas woman caught a 14.66-pound largemouth bass at Toledo Bend Reservoir last Saturday while on a scouting trip with her husband for an upcoming Fishers of Men tournament.

    Judy Cagle and husband, Randy, launched their boat at 944 Park Marina and settled on fishing submerged hydrilla in 15 feet of water in the Housen Bay area, according to a report in the Beaumont (Tx.) Enterprise newspaper.

    Cagle said the fish inhaled a wacky-rigged soft-plastic stickbait on her second cast and after a brief battle came to the surface. The fish registered 14.4 pounds on the couple's hand-held scale and they quickly transported it to a nearby lakeside resort and then to a nearby convenience store to be weighed on a certified scale.

    The fish weighed 14.66 pounds, was 26 inches long and had a 21-inch girth. Pending certification, it will rank as the fifth-largest bass in the Toledo Bend record books and is the largest bass caught at the Bend since 2009.

    Despite efforts to keep the fish alive, including keeping it in a large aerated tank overnight to help it stabilize and recover, the bass did not survive.

    To read more about the epic catch, click here.

  • Balog: The new reality

    Balog: The new reality

    Joe Balog weighs in this week on the controversy that surrounded Anthony Gagliardi's recent Forrest Wood Cup victory, which included a less-than-amicable exchange on the final day with a local angler who was allegedly concerned about that particular spot on Lake Murray being exposed. Balog writes that it's time we all faced the new reality: Due to technological advances, offshore bass haunts are no longer in the realm of the unknown and multiple boats gathering on the best of those places will be the norm for the foreseeable future.

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

  • Rankings: Christie's lead reduced

    Rankings: Christie's lead reduced

    Jason Christie remained in the No. 1 slot in the newest edition of the BassFan World Rankings, but the two-tour pro's mixed results over the past 3 weeks caused his lead over 2nd-place Andy Morgan to shrink a bit.

    To see the full list, click here.

  • Texan buys Kick'n Bass

    Texan buys Kick'n Bass

    Longtime Texas tournament angler Ron Risenhoover notified BassFan this week that's he's purchased the attractant manufacturing company Kick'n Bass from founder Ken Kross and relocated it from Arizona to Texas.

    Risenhoover's company, R-Scientific Enterprises, bought Kick'n Bass under the stipulation that the formulas not be altered.

    “We are very proud to have been entrusted with this company," he said. "For over 18 years Kick’n Bass has picked up a loyal following with its proven products and we do not plan to make any changes in the formulas. We are currently contacting the past field reps and pro staff to inform them of the ownership change and to expect a 'grass roots earthquake' as we revitalize the visibility of all of our products."

    Kick'n Bass comes in three bass formulas (garlic, crawfish and shad) as well as versions for crappie, trout, walleye and saltwater species.

  • 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

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