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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

  • Report: Jens' body discovered

    The body of Alabama fishing guide Troy Jens was discovered Saturday in a wooded area near where he was last seen, according to a report on the website of Huntsville, Ala., TV station WAFF-48.

    Jens, 51, had not been seen since June 4 when he was dropped off at a boat ramp near Waterfront Grocery off of Highway 79. Rescue workers were certain it was Jens' body because it was found with a bag of his belongings.

    To read more, click here.

  • Lindner bass video just $3.95

    Lindner bass video just $3.95

    In-Fisherman is offer the DVD "Largemouth Bass: Day in the Boat" for just $3.95 (plus shipping and handling). The 60-minute video puts you in the boat with Al Lindner as he takes you through his strategies for locating and catching bass. Topics include: covering water; rods, reels, lures and lines; fan-casting and dead-sticking, and much more.

    To order, click here.

  • AOY: Morgan in select company

    AOY: Morgan in select company

    Andy Morgan finally prevailed over Cody Meyer on Saturday in a tight FLW Angler of the Year duel that played out over the majority of the season. The Tennessean, who finished no lower than 22nd in any of the six regular-season events, joined David Dudley as the only anglers to have won consecutive points titles.

    Morgan became the 15th angler across both major tournament circuits (FLW and B.A.S.S.) with two AOY titles to his credit. He's the fourth FLW angler to capture at least two FLW AOY trophies. Clark Wendlandt and Dudley each have three and Jay Yelas has two.

    Here's a rundown of anglers with multiple AOY trophies on their mantel.

    > Roland Martin: 9 (all B.A.S.S.)
    > Kevin VanDam: 8 (7 B.A.S.S., 1 FLW)
    > Bill Dance: 3 (all B.A.S.S.)
    > Mark Davis: 3 (all B.A.S.S.)
    > David Dudley: 3 (all FLW)
    > Jay Yelas: 3 (2 FLW, 1 B.A.S.S.)
    > Clark Wendlandt: 3 (all FLW)
    > Denny Brauer: 2 (1 B.A.S.S., 1 FLW)
    > Guido Hibdon: 2 (both B.A.S.S.)
    > Davy Hite: 2 (both B.A.S.S.)
    > Jimmy Houston: 2 (both B.A.S.S.)
    > Gary Klein: 2 (both B.A.S.S.)
    > Aaron Martens: 2 (both B.A.S.S.)
    > Andy Morgan: 2 (both FLW)
    > Larry Nixon: 2 (both B.A.S.S.)

    For more, click here.

  • New gear review: M-Pack Lures Flipp'N Jig

    New gear review: M-Pack Lures Flipp'N Jig

    Mark Pack has had a long history of success as a tour pro, trophy bass guide at Lake Fork and as a bait designer. Recently, he launched a new company called M-Pack Lures and among the first product offerings are a series of jigs featuring a new weed guard called the Structure Guard.

    BassFan sales executive Tim Carini has been fishing with the new Flipp'N Jig for a few weeks now and he was impressed with how the jig performed, especially around some gnarly cover.

    To read his review of the M-Pack Lures Flipp'N Jig, click here.

  • Sunline Strong Performer: Kentucky Lake

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

    A lackluster conclusion to a difficult season appeared to be inevitable for Randy Blaukat at the Kentucky Lake FLW Tour. The veteran from Missouri weighed a pedestrian 13-13 bag on day 1 and sat in 106th place.

    Day 2 was a lot better, however, as he caught a stringer that exceeded his day-1 haul by 8 1/2 pounds. It moved him up to 37th place and garnered him a $10,000 check. Perhaps more importantly, it allowed him to close the campaign on a high note with the hope that he can start 2015 with some good mojo.

    He said his bites, both in terms of quantity and quality, were similar on both days. It was the conclusion of those man-vs.-fish encounters that was different on day 2.

    "Basically I just got them in the boat the second day," he said. "The first day I lost three that were over 5 pounds.

    "It was really the story of my season – I just lost a lot of key fish all year."

    Unlike the vast majority of the 162-angler field, he spent his time in shallow water – 3 feet or less. He threw a Zoom Ol' Monster worm and a prototype Megabass vibrating jig called the Wild Header.

    His day-2 bag contained a 5 1/4-pounder and four fish that were at or slightly over 4 pounds each.

    "With everybody else fishing offshore, I had everything I wanted to fish to myself. I really wish I could've gone back out on day 3 because I think I could've caught them again."

    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.

  • Youthful finale for UMF

    Youthful finale for UMF

    The 2014 Ultimate Match Fishing championship duel between young FLW Tour standouts Jacob Wheeler (left) and Stetson Blaylock will air at 9:30 a.m. Sunday on Outdoor Channel.

    “It is by far one of the most exciting finishes in the history of competitive bass angling," said UMF host and former tour pro Joe Thomas. “It is the one episode viewers will be talking about for years to come."

    Wheeler was the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup champion. Blaylock was the runner-up to Andy Morgan in the 2013 Angler of the Year race. The winner takes home $50,000 in addition to the championship belt.

    Go to OutdoorChannel.com for additional broadcast times.

  • Forrest Wood Cup field set

    While the FLW Tour season finale at Kentucky Lake is merely half over, the field for the Forrest Wood Cup is virtually locked in. Sure, there's some incredible drama behind who's going to win Angler of the Year – Andy Morgan or Cody Meyer – but the 45 anglers who are heading to Lake Murray in mid-August have been determined.

    There were three double qualifiers this year – reigning AOY Morgan, defending Cup champ Randall Tharp and Dan Morehead, who won the Rayovac Series Central Division AOY last year – meaning the Top 38 in AOY points are South Carolina-bound, along with the other Rayovac Series division AOYs from 2013, the BFL All-American winner, the TBF Championship winner and the College Fishing champion.

    The Forrest Wood Cup is Aug. 14-17 in Columbia, S.C. Here's a rundown of the Cup field (* indicates double qualifier).

    2014 Forrest Wood Cup qualifiers

    2014 FLW Tour Points (listed alphabetically)
    > Matt Arey
    > Casey Ashley
    > Stetson Blaylock
    > Scott Canterbury
    > Jason Christie
    > Ramie Colson Jr.
    > Robbie Dodson
    > David Dudley
    > Brent Ehrler
    > Shinichi Fukae
    > Anthony Gagliardi
    > Matt Greenblatt
    > Randy Haynes
    > Matt Herren
    > Brett Hite
    > Charlie Ingram
    > Philip Jarabeck
    > Steve Kennedy
    > Brad Knight
    > Jason Lambert
    > Scott Martin
    > Cody Meyer
    > Tom Monsoor
    > Dan Morehead *
    > Andy Morgan *
    > Michael Neal
    > Richard Peek
    > Mark Rose
    > Shad Schenck
    > Spencer Shuffield
    > Matthew Stefan
    > Wesley Strader
    > Austin Terry
    > Randall Tharp *
    > Bryan Thrift
    > Jacob Wheeler
    > Barry Wilson
    > Michael Wooley

    2014 BFL All-American Champion
    > Marcus Sykora

    2014 TBF National Champion
    > James Biggs

    2014 College Fishing Champion
    > Austin Felix (Univ. of Minnesota)

    2013 Rayovac Series Anglers of the Year
    > Central Division: Dan Morehead
    > Northern Division: Joseph Wood
    > Southeast Division: Tony Davis
    > Western Division: Jeff Michels
    > Texas Division: Stephen Johnston

    2013 FLW Tour Angler of the Year
    > Andy Morgan

    2013 Forrest Wood Cup Champion
    > Randall Tharp

  • Work ongoing at '15 Classic launch site

    Work has begun on transforming Green Pond Landing on the shores of Lake Hartwell into a first-class launch facility in advance of the 2015 Bassmaster Classic, according to a report in the The State (Columbia, S.C.) newspaper.

    More than million pounds of concrete has already been poured and Anderson County officials are confident the $4.1 million development project will be completed well in advance of the Classic next February.

    "Our anticipated completion date is Dec. 1, but our real goal is the Classic in 2015," county parks director Matt Schell told the newspaper.

    When it's built out, there will be 168 parking spaces for trailers and 100 more for day visitors at the 34-acre site, land leased from the Corps of Engineers that lies between S.C. 24 and the Western Carolina Sailing Club on the east shore of Hartwell Lake.

    To read more about the project, click here.

  • Christie best among two-tour pros so far

    Christie best among two-tour pros so far

    Jason Christie is one of five anglers to compete in all 13 major tour-level bass tournaments this season and his average finish of 29.31 is tops among the 14 pros pulling double duty this year.

    The top-ranked pro in the BassFan World Rankings posted his fourth tour-level win in 14 months at the Lake Dardanelle Elite Series and also made the final-day cut at the Bassmaster Classic and Toyota Texas Bass Classic. He's cashed a check in 11 of 13 events so far.

    Greg Hackney, on the strength of five final-day qualifications and a win at the Pickwick Lake FLW Tour, has an average finish of 30.27 across his 11 tournaments this year and is in the midst on a string of three straight Top-6 placements.

    Casey Ashley has qualified for the final day in six of the 12 events he's fished, the best percentage among the two-tour pros, and boasts an average finish of 31.17 with 11 checks cashed.

    Here's a rundown of the average finishes for the pros fishing the Elite Series and FLW Tour this season.

    Rk. Name                         Total     Finals     Wins     Avg.
    1. Jason Christie                 13          3          1           29.31
    2. Greg Hackney                 11          5          1           30.27
    3. Casey Ashley                  12          6          1           31.17
    4. Randall Tharp                 13          3          0           34.54
    5. Brett Hite                          11          4          2           35.18
    6. Matt Herren                      11         2          0           37.18
    7. Steve Kennedy                12         1          0           44.75
    8. Fred Roumbanis             13         1          0           54.38
    9. Andy Montgomery          11         2          0           56.55
    10. Jason Williamson         11         2          0           71.09
    11. Ish Monroe                     13         1          0           75.00
    12. Zell Rowland                  11         0          0           84.09
    13. John Murray                   13         0          0           85.23
    14. Dave Smith                    11         0          0         101.64

  • Can bass recognize, avoid lures? Study says yes

    Dallas Morning News outdoors writer Ray Sasser wrote a piece in Wednesday's editions highlighting the findings of a study done by University of Florida graduate students, who dealt with the issue of lure avoidance in largemouth bass.

    The study was conducted over 4 weeks in 2012 on a private, 27-acre lake in Florida that received very little fishing pressure from its owners. The researchers used two baits – a Rat-L-Trap and a Texas-rigged Senko – and found that the probability of recapturing a bass on the worm was much higher than on the lipless crank.

    To read more about the study, click here.

  • Duckett, Vicious team up on baits

    Duckett, Vicious team up on baits

    Vicious Fishing will be launching a new series of baits at ICAST next month as part of a partnership between its licensee, Trophy Technolgies, and pro angler Boyd Duckett.

    The new BD Series will include crankbaits, jerkbaits, topwater lures, frogs and spinnerbaits that were designed and tested by Duckett.

    “Having Boyd join our team is simply amazing," said Kris Reibel of Trophy Technologies. "This guy has won over $1.4 million as an angler and has proven time after time that he knows how to build successful products. It has been a pleasure developing the new line of baits with him. Our customers, and consumers, are going to love what the new Vicious BD Series offers."

    Duckett added, “I am very excited to be a part of this venture. The combination of the Vicious brand and the manufacturing capabilities of Trophy Technologies is already a winning proposition. My role is to push it to the next level by delivering on 20-plus years of tournament angling experience and bait development. The new Vicious BD Series of baits will be tournament grade and run true right out of the package, meaning anglers can spend more time catching fish.”

    Nearly 50 SKUs will be offered under the BD Series.

    “It’s this type of collaboration between brands, manufacturers and professional anglers that make great things happen," said Vicious president Jeff Martin. "The continued brand growth in the bait category is beyond exciting and we look forward to the introduction at ICAST."

  • Balog: A much-welcomed escape

    Balog: A much-welcomed escape

    Joe Balog watches a lot of TV fishing shows, and two of his favorites are the programs hosted by Hank Parker and Mark Zona. In his view, those shows provide an escape from the "real world," along with reassurance that fishing is a wholesome, fun, family-friendly activity.

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

  • Platinum Equity unloads four brands

    According to a report in today's edition of The Fishing Wire, Platinum Equity Group has sold four of its boat brands to The Beneteau Group of France.

    Four Winns, Glastron, Wellcraft and Scarab were the brands sold to The Beneteau Group, which is attempting to grow its North American market share in the sub 12-meter category.

    Platinum still owns Fishing Boat Holdings, maker of Ranger, Triton and Stratos boats.

    To read more, click here.

  • Yelas, Clausen weighing options

    Jay Yelas has logged some high finishes at Kentucky Lake FLW Tour events by venturing into Lake Barkley, but he's foregoing that option for this week's season finale. Conversely, Luke Clausen has spent very little time in Barkley over the years, but he's thinking about exploring it on the final practice day because he's not thrilled with what he's found on the big lake.

    To read their mid-practice reports, click here.

  • Bass are looking for Hackney

    Bass are looking for Hackney

    (Editor's note: Here's another short feature from industry rep Alan McGuckin. The topic this time is Greg Hackney's strong two-tour campaign.)

    Greg Hackney’s exterior often plays like 60-grit sandpaper. But beneath the beard and a bit of loner’s independence there's a generous heart for sharing as many deep details about how to catch a bass as you’ve got time to sit and listen to. Hackney has a gift for teaching the sport he loves.

    However, as much as he loves it, he also unapologetically takes a day of rest from the water when his mind and body tell him to. Even at times when his competition is in the midst of yet another 12-hour practice day.

    And it’s working.

    Fact is, it’s worked well for Hackney for a decade now, but it’s working better right now than ever. He’s notched three Top-6 finishes this year, cashed a check in every Elite Series tournament, won an FLW Tour event and sits 1 point behind Mark Davis in the Toyota Tundra B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year (AOY) race.

    “I feel good mentally. I feel good physically. I’m just having a good time,” said Hackney minutes after weighing another fat limit at BASSFest. “You see momentum a lot in our sport. Clunn did it many times. Look at the roll Skeet was on in 2010, and Kevin in 2011.”

    Asked if he’s had a magical lure or technique this year as he sat relaxed beside two of his favorite large-spooled Quantum EXO reels, Hackney confirmed that was definitely not the case. He then rattled off a list of lures he’s succeeded with long enough to fill a tackle store. Most of them are shallow-water lures, but range greatly from topwaters to Strike King’s Hack Attack Heavy Cover Swim Jigs and crankbaits, too.

    “I talked to Clunn in the tackle store the other day and he said sometimes it seems like the fish are looking for you, rather than you looking for them, and that’s so true when you’re on a roll,” said Hackney, who will be quick to tell you that watching Clunn win the 1984 Bassmaster Classic in Pine Bluff, Ark. as a youthful spectator was the moment that inspired him to become a pro.

    Thirty years later, Hackney, now age 40, can’t wait to get out of bed to compete. “I rolled over in my sleep at 2:30 in the morning looking forward to fishing today.”

    But as far as practice, sometimes he’d rather sleep in.

    “I’m fishing two tours, that’s a lot, and I fish really well when I’m competing that much, but it definitely wears you out. I ain’t afraid to take a practice day off to rest, and I don’t care what anybody thinks.”

    And that’s what we admire most about Hackney – gutsy, unapologetic, scruffy-bearded independence, complimented by a love of his craft and powerfully good results, especially this year.

    “Hackney is on fire right now. Heck, he caught two bass in the ice box at the convenience store on the way to the ramp this morning."
    – Gerald Swindle (Hackney's friend and Quantum teammate) onstage at BASSFest.

  • New gear: LEER Locker

    New gear: LEER Locker

    Truck cap and tonneau cover maker LEER has developed a new accessory that will help truck owners maximize the unused space on the ceiling of their truck cap.

    The LEER Locker is an aluminum drawer that is capable of holding 100 pounds worth of gear, tackle, supplies or whatever you need it to. To learn more about the LEER Locker and see how it's helped Elite Series pro Mike McClelland stay organized on the road, click here.

  • No towing for Zona

    No towing for Zona

    (Editor's note: Here's the latest BoatUS Angler blog entry from fishing TV host and part-time comedian Mark Zona.)

    Not only was I not … not … voted the 2013 Tower of the Year. Heck, I’m not even allowed to drive this giant red TowBoatU.S. boat. 
 


    But at BASSFest on Lake Chickamauga last week, I met the people who are, and they rock louder than Nikki Sixx. 
 


    Shane and Stacey O’Neal own and operate TowBoatU.S. Lake Chickamauga and not only do they sign a ton of people up for BoatUS Angler memberships, but they also do some awesome things to support tournament bass fishermen, and that’s how they earned the Tower of the Year award last year among a network of 300 locations.
 


    Ready for this? In addition to Shane being the certified captain of the ‘the big red boat’ that I’m not allowed to drive, he and Stacey put up a $100,000 prize for anybody who could catch the new Lake Chickamauga record bass in one of the Chattanooga Bass Association tournaments they sponsor. Plus, they also sponsor the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga bass fishing team and operate towing services on eight bodies of water including Chickamauga, Nickajack, Watts Barr and Guntersville, where they assisted multiple spectator boats that called for their towing service assistance during the most recent Bassmaster Classic. 
 


    Look man, yes, you can buy your boat insurance from BoatU.S. – but it’s all the other cool stuff this company does for bass fishermen that makes me proud to call them friends. They’ve saved the day for numerous Bassmaster Nation, Open and Elite Series anglers, and there’s hardly a weekend throughout the year that they aren’t engaged in assisting a tournament angler somewhere.
 


    So while they’re never gonna give me the keys to this tougher-than-Ditka tow boat, they can’t stop me from telling you that you’re a knucklehead if you haven’t considered signing-up for a membership to BoatU.S. Angler and registering for their Weigh-to-Win tournament cash bonus program that’s free for members.
 


    I say "knucklehead" in a loving way, my brothers and sisters – but seriously, the folks who run around in these hugely helpful red boats are doing great things for their members. Check ‘em out at www.BoatUS.com/Angler/.

    And frankly, it’s probably best that they don’t let me drive.

  • Berkley trailer to visit Idaho

    Berkley trailer to visit Idaho

    The Berkley Experience Trailer will be at Black Sheep Sporting Goods in Couer d'Alene, Idaho this Friday through Sunday (June 27-29). 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."

    Upcoming stops will be at Ranch & Home in Kennewick, Wash. (July 11-13) and at Sunbird Shopping Center in Chehalis, Wash. (July 18-20).

  • A.R.E. signs four Elite pros

    A.R.E. signs four Elite pros

    Truck cap and tonneau cover manufacturer A.R.E. announces that it's entered into sponsorship agreements with Bassmaster Elite Series Anglers John Crews, Justin Lucas, Britt Myers and Brandon Palaniuk.

    The company's partnership with the anglers includes providing customized truck accessories for their Toyota Tundra tow vehicles. Each pro's premium A.R.E. fiberglass Z Series truck cap, which is engineered to provide the best fit and finish to match the Tundra's style, features splashy graphics and bold colors to create a distinctive, personalized brand image for the team members.

    "We're proud to be supporting a team of very talented anglers and look forward to an exciting season of competition," said A.R.E. director of marketing Bryan Baker. "Pro anglers have valuable fishing tackle, as well as other important gear, stowed in their trucks. Our caps provide extra storage space and keep their possessions secure and dry."

  • North Carolinian wins Potomac Rayovac

    North Carolinian wins Potomac Rayovac

    William Kemp of Scotland Neck, N.C. caught a 15-15 bag on Saturday to win the Potomac River Northern Rayvac with a 3-day total of 45-09. Kemp, who weighed a tournament-best 19-02 on day 1, moved up from 5th place on the final day to earn his second win in FLW competition.

    “I caught most of my fish in the morning on a topwater bait,” he said. “I was throwing a fry-colored Lobina Lures Rico. I threw it around matted grass at low tide. I fished all the way around the mat and caught one flipping and one on a ChatterBait, then I picked that topwater up and probably caught 30 fish on it.

    “I flipped grass in the middle of the day and culled for ounces,” he added. “Then, at the very end of the day, I hit one spot with some wood and I caught a 5-pounder and a 3-pounder on a black and blue-colored Strike King Bitsy Flip Jig with a NetBait Paca Craw trailer. After I caught my two big fish at the end of the day today, I thought I had a shot to win. I wasn’t sure, but I knew I had a chance. It’s unbelievable to win. I have to thank my wife. I was considering not fishing this event, but she pushed me and it just worked out.”

    Full details of his winning pattern will be published soon.

    Here are the totals for the final Top 10:

    1. William Kemp: 45-09
    2. Gregory Wilder: 44-05
    3. Chris Baumgardner: 44-04
    4. Dave Lefebre: 43-15
    5. Michael Hall: 42-06
    6. Chris Novack: 42-03
    7. Otis Darnell: 41-10
    8. Robert Grike: 41-09
    9. Mike Hicks: 40-03
    10. Walter Snider: 36-10

  • Mystik contest offers trip with Dance

    Mystik contest offers trip with Dance

    The 2nd annual Bill Dance Best Catch Contest hosted by Mystik Lubricants is live on the company's Facebook page, giving entrants the chance to win an all-expense paid fishing trip with the tournament and TV legend. The contest also includes smaller weekly prizes, with the grand prize winner announced in late July.

    A “grand prize post” is pinned to the top of the Mystik Facebook page. To enter the contest, fans can comment on the post with a picture of their best catch and a short story describing its significance. Once the submission period closes, Dance will select his 10 favorite entries and the winner will be chosen at random from the pool of finalists. In addition, fans will have a chance to win a smaller “Mystik Prize Pack” every Monday during June by commenting on the post of the day.

    “Bill’s reputation on the water is unmatched," said Mystik GM of petrochemicals and lubricants Karl Schmidt. "He’s not only an expert fisherman, but also a passionate and talented instructor. Giving Mystik fans the opportunity to fish alongside Bill and learn some of his tips and tricks firsthand is just another way for us to show our appreciation for the Mystik social media communities and our dedication to serving marine enthusiasts.”

    Dance will host the grand-prize winner in his hometown of Memphis, Tenn., for 2 days of bass fishing at some of his favorite spots. Mystik will capture video footage of the trip to share with fans on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

    “I’m excited to team up with Mystik Lubricants and host a fishing trip again this year,” said Dance. “We had some pretty incredible submissions last year, so we’re eager to see what kinds of photos and stories our fans will serve up this summer.”

    To enter the contest, go to www.facebook.com/mystiklubes.

  • Sonar: BASSFest a winner

    Sonar: BASSFest a winner

    Miles Burghoff got an up-close look at the festivities that were a big part of last week's BASSFest at Lake Chickamauga as part of the Shimano Experience Team. To him, the best part was how fans in attendance had numerous opportunities to interact with the biggest names in the game.

    To read the newest Sonar Sound-Off, click here.

  • Lane: Two fires in boat, cause still unknown

    Lane: Two fires in boat, cause still unknown

    Bassmaster Elite Series angler Chris Lane, whose boat was destroyed by fire hours before day-1 takeoff at the Lake Dardanelle tournament last month, released the following statement today after the investigation into the possible cause of the fire was completed by representatives of his insurance companies. The conclusion was that there were two separate fires, one in the rear of the boat and another in a rod locker up front. Investigators were unable to find a link between the two.

    Following is Lane's statement regarding the investigation:

    "Boater's Insurance Agency and International Marine Underwriters have completed their investigation of the fire that totaled out the boat. The belief by all four investigators who performed inspections was that there were two separate fires that could not be linked to each other. There were two fires; one in the back of the boat and the other up front. We first became concerned this was the case when the fire marshal stated the front cover of the boat was pulled up and the left-side rod locker was open and burning when they arrived.

    "Boater's Insurance Agency did a fantastic job of handling the claim and finalized the process last week. We really appreciate their help during this. We all put insurance in place for situations like this and it really helps to have a hands-on insurance company when misfortune occurs.

    "We are very appreciative that sponsors stepped up like they did. Legend delivered a new boat the next day rigged with a Mercury 250 ProXS, Motor Guide trolling motor, Raymarine electronics, Power Poles and upgrades from TH Marine. All Star Rods, Abu Garcia, Stren, Luck E Strike, Bass Pro Shops, Frogg Toggs and Mustang Survival all provided everything needed to compete last week at BassFest.

    "Special thanks go to Kevin Bennett with Lithium Pros for all of his extra help. Kevin jumped in the car and drove 11 hours to see us at Dardanelle. Then he came down to Guntersville and installed brand new batteries. Anytime new technology like lithium-ion batteries are implemented some are inclined to point the blame in that direction. We can safely say the batteries did not cause this fire and are 100 percent convinced the technology is here to stay.

    "Thanks also to the fans for their outpouring of support as well as the fellow anglers who voiced their support and offered assistance. It is great to be a part of an industry that looks out for one another."

  • Balog: BASSFest here to stay?

    Balog: BASSFest here to stay?

    Joe Balog followed last week's inaugural BASSFest from long distance and was impressed by much of what transpired. He fails to see the point of the 1-day "second chance" derby in the middle of the event, but feels that some of the other elements combine to further advance the sport.

    To read his full take, click here.

  • KVD first member of $6 million club

    Kevin VanDam is bass fishing's first $6 million man.

    With his second-place finish at last week's BASSFest at Lake Chickamauga, VanDam pulled down a $60,000 payday and moved past the $6 million mark for career tournament earnings between B.A.S.S. and FLW. He's far and away the sport's all-time leader in tournament winnings.

    He's earned $5,660,476.33 in B.A.S.S. events and another $370,950 in 18 career FLW Tour events.

    He came into this season with $5,556,476 in B.A.S.S. winnings, more than twice that of Skeet Reese, who is 2nd on the B.A.S.S. list.

  • TTBC to air on NBCSN

    The Toyota Texas Bass Classic (TTBC) will air on NBC Sports Network on Saturday, June 21 at noon EST. It will re-air on Sunday, June 22 at the same time.

    This year's TTBC was held in Quitman, TX May 9-11 at Lake Fork, where Keith Combs won his third TTBC title by catching 110 pounds over 3 days.

    “Being able to air on NBC Sports Network is a great showcase for the world’s top anglers,” said tournament director Lenny Francoeur. “Sharing TTBC with such a large number of people is exciting, and it provides Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s conservation and education efforts with a broader audience.”

  • Gallery: Scenes from BASSFest

    The atmosphere around Dayton, Tenn., was certainly festive for the first BASSFest tournament. The fishing was just as good at Lake Chickamauga, which kicked out some of the giant fish it's come to be known for in recent years.

    To look at some images from the week in Dayton, click here.

  • Sunline Strong Performer: Lake Chickamauga

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

    Russ Lane is pretty sure that if he or Jeff Kriet or Kevin VanDam would've had exclusive access to the spot they all shared pretty regularly during BASSFest at Lake Chickamauga that one of them would've had a legitimate chance at winning the event, possibly by a wide margin.

    VanDam came close, finishing 2nd by 5 1/2 pounds, which goes to show just how good the area was. Lane, on the other hand, rebounded from a so-so day 1 (he said he gave up too soon on the community hole) that had him in 46th place and came away with a 10th-place finish, his best Elite Series finish since a 7th at Wheeler Lake in June 2011.

    "I was disappointed in practice that I couldn't get a crankbait bite going," he said. "That's pretty rare on a TVA lake in early June. The water was clearer than it normally is, plus a lot of places were pretty obvious and the fishing pressure was way up."

    Instead, he got the lion's share of his bites on a 10-inch Big Bite Baits Kriet Tail Worm and a 3/4-ounce Buckeye football jig with a Big Bite Baits Yo Daddy or Swimming Craw trailer.

    All but three of his weigh fish came from the community hole. The key to the area was the presence of large boulders and irregularities along the hard bottom. The fish would then group up and feed when the current got to a certain point in the area.

    "You could idle over it and see all of the boulders and dips and depressions," he said. "There were a lot of little things going on with the hard bottom. There's hard bottom throughout the lake, but it's mostly mussel beds. That spot was unique because it's mostly rock."

    Timing was a big key to the area as the current needed to be moving at a good clip for the fish to get active.

    "On day 1, it seems like the water turned on a little while after Kriet and I left and that's when Kevin did most of his damage," Lane said. "When I left, I had a small limit and one decent one and Kevin only had two. I gave up on it too quick, but came back with 30 minutes left and caught a good one. I felt then that I was going to be all-in on that spot."

    He caught 20-14 on day 2 to move up to 18th heading into the off day.

    "On day 3, I knew it was going to be a tougher day and I wanted to make sure I wasn't the first one to leave," he said. "Kevin and Jeff both left and 30 minutes later I caught a 7-pounder."

    That carried him to an 18-10 day that pushed him into 9th place entering the final day.

    "I don't know if it was one of the bigger schools, but it definitely had the quality that was as good as any other place on the lake," he said. "If any of us had it to ourselves, it could've been won there."

    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: Lake Chickamauga

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

    After posting a 117th-place finish a year ago at the Lake Chickamauga FLW Tour, Fred Roumbanis made a pact with himself that he wouldn't fall into the shallow-water trap again at the Tennessee River lake. He figured the best chance at quality bites this year would be offshore, on the ledges.

    "The last time I fished shallow here I bombed," he said. "I'd just come off the Mississippi River (Elite Series) where I finished 4th and thought I could keep it going."

    When he arrived at Chickamauga for BASSFest, there were certain factors that had him thinking a shallow pattern might emerge much to his surprise – the water was higher, the extended winter had delayed the spawning cycles and he'd just come from the Pickwick Lake FLW Tour where he didn't catch his fish all that deep.

    "I couldn't catch squat out deep (at Chickamauga)," he said. "It's a good thing there was a good mayfly hatch going. I was able to capitalize on that a couple of times."

    He had a 20-pound bag on day 1 to get off to a strong start, then followed up with 16-10 and 14-14 to finish in 13th, missing the final-day cut by 15 ounces. And he did it fishing shallow.

    "I never fished the same stuff twice," he said. "I covered a lot of water and just went fishing and it fished to my strengths because I could junk-fish and catch them a variety of ways."

    He missed a couple opportunities on day 3 that could’ve put him inside the Top 12, but overall he was pleased with his results.

    "I was seeing fish come up on my frog and there were times I reeled in too fast and saw some giants chase it," he said. "There were some stragglers up shallow that helped some guys, but you had to dedicate to it because you had to cover water to get bit. I liked that challenge because it kept most of the people away from the bank."

    He have to overcome another challenge through the course of the week – a blown engine in his tow vehicle. Steve and Kim Pruitt, who own a custom cabinetry company in Dayton, Tenn., loaned him their truck for a few days as did Ott DeFoe's father. Luckily for Roumbanis, his engine was still under warranty and he's due to get a full replacement.

    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.

  • College: No practice, no problem

    College: No practice, no problem

    The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga team of Lance Geren and Robbie Moore had no chance to practice in the days leading up to the College B.A.S.S. Eastern Regional at Watts Bar Lake, but they relied on limited experience on the venue to capture the victory.

    To read more, click here.

  • Evinrude unveils G2

    Evinrude unveils G2

    Evinrude revealed its much-ballyhooed G2 outboard lineup over the weekend at a media event in Wisconsin. The sleekly designed motors definitely look different than any of the predecessors and the company touts that they achieve up to 75% fewer total regulated emissions, with 15% better fuel efficiency and 20% more torque than leading four-stroke engines (based on internal tests).

    “BRP’s Evinrude brand is an integral part of one of the most innovative powersports companies in the world,” said Alain Villemure, VP of the company's marine propulsion systems division. “Our reputation for inventing and reinventing the playgrounds we’re in dictates that a new era in outboard engine technology and design would originate from BRP.”

    Available this fall at BRP dealers in ranges starting at 200 H.O. to 300R.A.V.E., the G2 engine offers the first and only customizable look, the only clean rigging and fully integrated digital controls. These innovations allow consumers to choose the perfect combination of boat and engine by selecting top and front panels, as well as accent colors that match the boat.

    “This engine stands alone in the industry and on the water,” said Chris Dawson, VP and GM of global sales and consumer experience. “Until now, achieving these levels of performance and integration was unheard of. Add to this the fact that this engine produces, by far, the fewest emissions of any outboard engine on the water, and it's clear to see why the new Evinrude E-TEC G2 engines will change the face of boating.”

    To learn more, go to www.Evinrude.com.

  • Berkley trailer to hit Williston

    Berkley trailer to hit Williston

    The Berkley Experience Trailer will be at Scenic Sports in Williston, N.D. this Thursday through Saturday (June 19-21). 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."

    Upcoming stops will be at Black Sheep in Couer D’Alene, Idaho (June 27-29) and Ranch & Home in Kennewick, Wash. (July 11-13).

  • A milestone for soft-plastics

    The Tyler (Texas) Morning Telegraph has published a story to mark the 65th anniversary of Nick Creme's invention of the plastic worm. The piece contains some interesting tidbits, such as one of the worm's most popular early uses being as a party prank – people would drop them into salads and other dishes to shock their unsuspecting friends.

    To read it, click here.

  • Are gar devouring Falcon bass?

    Are gar devouring Falcon bass?

    Veteran Dallas Morning News outdoor writer Ray Sasser produced a piece over the weekend discussing the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's plan to determine whether alligator gar are a big factor in the 65-percent decline in the bass population at Falcon Lake. Decades-old studies in the Lonestar State indicated that gar don't eat many bass, but one completed recently at Mexico's Lake Guerrero determined that bass constitute about half of the average gar's diet.

    To read the article, click here.

  • McClelland getting there, slowly but surely

    McClelland getting there, slowly but surely

    (Industry rep Alan McGuckin passed along this piece about Elite Series pro Mike McClelland from BASSFest over the weekend).

    Few men in professional bass fishing have won more Bassmaster Elite Series tournaments than Mike McClelland.

    The recognizable blue trophies have stacked up slowly, but really, really, surely on the mantel of his Northwest Arkansas home. And BASSFest reflected well “Pee Paw’s” slow, methodical, but very successful, approach.

    Ten minutes before official blast-off, he finally arrived at the launch ramp. He was literally the last pro to back his boat in the water.

    Actually, his best friend and bride of 12 years, Stacy, backed their LEER-covered Tundra down the Lake Chickamauga boat ramp at 6:52 Saturday morning, grinned, and said, “We’re always last, we’re gonna have to get with it.”

    McClelland already “got with it.”

    After a great practice on Lake Chickamauga, Wednesday and Thursday’s derby days weren’t so kind and he missed the cut, earning him a trip to Nickajack on Friday for the “Second Chance” round. He caught 13 pounds, finished 10th, and secured a another day of competition at Chickamauga.

    As a result, McClelland was literally the last angler officially entered into this weekend’s final rounds of competition.

    His traveling partner and fellow pro, Jeff Kriet, nicknamed him “Pee Paw” based on McClelland’s highly-organized, way-more-mature-than-his-46 birthdays, approach to life.

    Kriet has a point, but know this: McClelland might move faster if his life’s daily travels weren’t slowed by his penchant for taking care of others. McClelland’s nature is to make sure everybody around him has what they need. That takes time. That takes heart.

    Heart could've lead to a 30-pound limit at Chickamauga.

    “He caught a 6-pounder and watched a 10-pounder spit his lure out in practice,” Stacy said. “He had a great practice here on Chickamauga. He just had a horrible day Wednesday, but he loves this BASSFest format. There’s no points to get stressed out about, and by making it back into the cut, we’re assured a check for at least $10,000 – it’s awesome.

    “As soon as he weighed his fish at Nickajack, a huge storm approached, and we hurried away from weigh-in to drive back to Dayton, so we had no idea that his 13 pounds would make the cut,” Stacy continued. “Our son Justin was back home watching the leaderboard, and told Mike, 'Dad, you made the cut.' Mike’s face just got flushed when Justin told him, and I’m getting goosebumps just telling you about it."

    Don’t be shocked if the short on height, big on heart, Pee Paw makes a run at another blue trophy this season. And don’t be surprised if he’s the last one to arrive at the ramp either.

    “It stresses me out, but it doesn’t stress him out at all,” says Stacy. “He says it’s good to get here last because there’s nobody in line, no standing around listening to dock talk and gossip. Oh trust me, it doesn’t bother him one bit.”

    Apparently not – he’s got seven B.A.S.S. wins and $1.5 million in prize money to prove that slowly but really surely works just fine.

  • 'Hiring Our Heroes' Tundra at BASSFest

    'Hiring Our Heroes' Tundra at BASSFest

    Toyota wants to make sure corporations do not overlook the uniquely admirable skill sets our military heroes bring to the civilian workforce, so on 5-foot tall tires, they’ve wheeled-in the Hiring Our Heroes Monster Tundra to BASSFest on Lake Chickamauga near Dayton, Tenn. this week, to make the presence of the program known to fishing fans.

    In 2013, Toyota and Hiring Our Heroes, a division of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, launched the Personal Branding Résumé Engine – a free online tool that translates a veteran’s military service and produces a résumé in civilian terms.

    “I’ve spent a lot of time with veterans at Hiring Our Heroes job fairs around the country and the consistent challenge I see everywhere is the need for a skills-translation tool,” said Don Esmond, senior advisor, Toyota Motor Sales, Inc. USA. “By partnering with the U.S. Chamber, we’ve been able to produce a Résumé Engine that will have a direct, positive impact on lowering the unemployment rate among veterans.”

    The Résumé Engine walks veterans through the process of building a résumé, step by step. Users create a profile by selecting and describing their specialties, education, jobs, duties, awards and qualifications, with tips to help along the way. The user’s military career history is then translated into more familiar terminology, or “civilian speak,” in the form of a fully-formatted, email-ready résumé that they can then add to a database of 4,000 veteran-friendly employers nationwide.

    BASSFest is not the first place the 10,000-pound, 525-hp 2014 Tundra "monster truck" has been seen touting the Résumé Engine and Hiring Our Heroes program to proud Americans. The truck has a huge presence at NASCAR, NHRA, Supercross and Dew Tour events as well as hiring fairs, but this week at BASSFest on Lake Chickamauga, is the first time fishing fans get to touch its 600-pound tires and be reminded that the best way you can thank our heroes is to help them get a job.

    To learn more, go to www.HiringOurHeroes.org.

  • VanDam fishing off the map

    VanDam fishing off the map

    (Editor's note: Here's another short feature filed by industry rep Alan McGuckin while on the road with the Bassmaster Elite Series.)

    Kevin VanDam has been accused of being from another planet. He’s actually from Kalamazoo, Mich.. but this week at BASSFest on Lake Chickamauga he’s fishing off the map, and it’s a huge reason why he slapped a 22-pound limit on the scales to begin the tournament while others have battled for smaller limits from well-known community holes.

    VanDam says he hasn’t competed on “The Chick” since the famed Bassmaster Megabucks events of the early '90s, yet he was wise enough to realize the obvious would not be overlooked this week – in turn, grouping huge numbers of competitors on a handful of select "honey holes" along this 58-mile stretch of the Tennessee River.

    In fact, his Toyota teammate, Terry Scroggins, says this lake is “fishing smaller” than any he has ever competed on. That’s a pretty strong statement considering Scroggins has fished in 170 B.A.S.S. events.

    Lost in VanDam’s extraterrestrial fishing accomplishments are the intangibles that stretch far beyond the speed at which he covers water, or the casting distance he achieves when he launches a Strike King 6XD with a 7-foot, 10-inch Quantum TourKVD rod.

    Wisdom, strategy and raw intelligence are hard to measure on the water, but seven Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year titles prove he’s got way more than most, and those qualities are much the reason he chose to look for magic spots not found on today’s incredibly detailed electronic maps.

    “I spent most of my practice time looking for the more obscure stuff that other guys couldn’t see on their electronics,” said VanDam prior to day 2 takeoff. “The Humminbird Lakemaster chips are incredibly freakin’ detailed – you can zoom-in to look at every 20 feet of the lake in incredible detail.

    “I could see guys riding the contour lines in practice, and that’s when I knew that instead of fishing the highly defined places on the map, like where a creek mouth entered the river, that I had to rely more on what I was actually seeing with sonar as opposed to the super-obvious stuff that’s marked on the map. I looked for the super-subtle stuff and I’ve got fish located as shallow as 5 feet and as deep as 35 feet."

    “The Lakemaster maps are crazy good in terms of detail. Sometimes, too good,” he added with a wink.

    Too good – much like VanDam himself.

  • Bass U has Father's Day deals

    Bass U has Father's Day deals

    Mike Iaconelli and Pete Gluszek, co-founders of The Bass University, are thankful for all the dads out there who take their kids fishing and put forth the effort to pass on their passion for the sport. They've teamed up with Fishidy, Tackle Warehouse and Mustang Survival to create some cool Father's Day deals for dad.

    To see them, click here.

  • Big Bite Lookback: Pickwick

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

    Two-circuit pro Steve Kennedy has made three consecutive 20-cuts in FLW Tour events. Last week at Pickwick Lake, he narrowly missed his second Top-10 showing of the season.

    "I'd have been there if I could catch my bites," he said. "There were quite a few I didn't catch, but that's the nature of that swimbait I like to throw."

    He would've preferred to fish below the Wilson Dam, where Davy Hite won a Bassmaster Elite Series event in 2011, but that area was off-limits for the derby. He fished as close to that vicinity as he could get – he was one of a very few competitors who made long runs in that direction.

    He had 19-09 on day 1, but had a 16-inch fish among the quintet he brought to the scale.

    "The other four were good ones – 4 to 4 1/2 pounds each," he said. "I had those at 10:30 and I never got another one."

    He focused on water in the 4- to 6-foot depth range. In addition to the swimbait, he threw jigs and a couple of other offerings.

    "By (day 3) I was just out of fish. I had some that might show themselves once, but they wouldn't bite."

    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: More from Florida

    Balog: More from Florida

    In this week's installment of Balog's Bass War, Joe Balog continues his look at Florida's efforts to enhance its trophy bass population. He focuses on two key elements: the lucrative prize packages awarded to anglers who release hawgs and the state's recently launches study of the impacts of bed-fishing.

    To read it, click here.

  • Sunline Strong Performer: Pickwick

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

    Shad Schenck's pre-tournament estimate of the average daily weight required to cash a paycheck at the Pickwick Lake FLW Tour was a bit on the light side. As a result, his name was a bit farther down the day-1 standings sheet than it probably could've been.

    The Indiana pro pulled away from his main area at about noon on the first day. He had nearly 16 pounds in his livewell – well above the 12- to 13-pound "money mark" he'd formulated. He spent the rest of the day on a fruitless quest for a big kicker.

    As it turned out, the Top 50 all weighed at least 15 pounds that day. He found himself in 40th place.

    No real worries, though. He stayed on his primary locale throughout day 2 to move all the way up to 10th. Solid sacks in the 18-pound class on each of the final 2 days gave him a 9th-place finish – his best since 2011 and his third of 16th or better in the last four outings.

    "I should've just stayed there and kept fishing on day 1," he said. "I was catching a lot of keepers, but I wasn't getting anything over 3 pounds."

    When he returned on day 2, the big ones had moved off the ledge and were sitting in about 25 feet of water. He popped a 4-pounder on his second cast, he and his co-angler each caught a 7-pounder and the back-seater boated another one that was close to 6.

    "They'd set up where I needed them to be," he said. "I could see them (on his graph) and I could catch them with a dropshot. I should've had close to a 30-pound bag – I had that on."

    He thought the area would eventually peter out, but he lost a 5-pound smallmouth and caught a largemouth of the same size in the final half-hour of day 4.

    "It wasn't a regular Pickwick ledge where you have a couple of hard places and a shell bed in 13 to 15 feet. It was a softer, rounded point and it wasn't a place that was real obvious on a map. I wanted to pick a place that was down the ledge that didn't stick out like a sore thumb.

    "Between me and the two other anglers on there (plus all of their co-anglers), we probably caught 250 pounds worth of fish off that place."

    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.

  • Sykora cranked his way to A-A win

    A magical spot not far from Wilson Dam that Marcus Sykora stumbled upon the first day of practice carried the Missouri angler all the way to victory at the BFL All-American last week at Wilson Lake.

    To read how he did it, click here.

  • Bonus Bucks derby headed to KY Lake

    Bonus Bucks derby headed to KY Lake

    The 3rd Annual no-entry-fee Toyota Bonus Bucks Owners Tournament will be held out of Paris Landing at Kentucky Lake in Buchanan, Tenn. on Sept. 27-28

    “This event has become one of our favorites," said Toyota engagement marketing manager Jim Baudino. "It is a great way to celebrate with our owners and express our appreciation for the humbling support and loyalty they have shown Toyota."

    All eligible registered Bonus Bucks participants are invited to participate, with the exception of Bassmaster Elite Series and FLW Tour pros. Only one of the team members must be registered in the Bonus Bucks Program to be eligible. Tournament officials from B.A.S.S. will be onsite to help orchestrate the tournament portion of the event.

    The Top 30 teams are guaranteed a paycheck. A gift bag will be given to the first 200 anglers to sign up for the tournament, and all teams will have a chance to visit with Team Toyota and Bassmaster Elite Series pros who will be on hand to help with the event.

    Anglers must pre-register by Sept. 19th. B.A.S.S. tournament staff will be onsite on Sept. 27 at 4 p.m. for official angler check-in.

    To register, visit www.ToyotaFishing.com or call (918) 742-6424.

  • Best of the rest: Pickwick

    Best of the rest: Pickwick

    The 2nd- through 5th-place finishers at the Pickwick Lake FLW Tour primarily utilized standard ledge-fishing tactics. There were some differences in their approaches, however – particularly in how often they changed locations.

    For more, click here.

  • Remembering Ethel

    The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has produced a 7-minute video (embedded below) about the most famous largemouth bass ever caught in the Lonestar State. “The Legend of Ethel” tells the story of how a 17.67-pound bass caught in November 1986 became the first fish entered into TPWD's ShareLunker Program and went on to become the featured attraction at the original Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Missouri.

    Ethel became the “poster fish” for catch-and-release fishing and was viewed by an estimated 20 million people before her death in 1994. Her memorial service was attended by 1,500 people and made national news.

    The video includes interviews with Mark Stevenson, the angler who caught Ethel; TPWD biologists who cared for the fish; and Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops. It features video of Ethel in the aquarium in Springfield.

    To read an obituary for Ethel that ran in the Lehigh Valley Morning Call 20 years ago, click here.

  • Chick's gonna be good

    Aaron Martens said he didn't fish a whole lot on Sunday, the first day of practice for the Lake Chickamauga Elite Series/BASSFest. When he did wet a line, though, he was impressed with what he caught. To read his day-1 recap, click here to check out BassFan's ProView Report.

  • Sykora closes out All-American victory

    Sykora closes out All-American victory

    Marcus Sykora of Osage Beach, Mo. went wire-to-wire to win the BFL All-American on Alabama's Wilson Lake after bringing five bass weighing 12-05 to the scale Saturday. Sykora’s 3-day total of 66-04 bested runner-up Jayme Rampey of South Carolina by 4 1/2 pounds.

    Sykora took home $100,000 and earned a spot in the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup, to take place at South Carolina's Lake Murray Aug. 14-17.

    “Since I’ve gotten here to start my practice, this has been a dream come true,” he said. “My first 2 days were unbelievable. Today was very nerve-wracking. I’m so exhausted. I haven’t slept. There was no wind and it was hotter than a sauna. I didn’t know if I had enough weight to cover everybody. Now I feel awesome.

    “I had found a good school. The first 2 days of the tournament, my co-anglers and I caught more than 100 pounds of bass off of one area. Today the schools were completely gone. I was thrilled that my 12 pounds was enough to get the win.”

    Sykora said that his key baits over the first 2 days of the tournament were 6th Sense Crush 300DD and 500DD crankbaits. On the final day he caught his fish on a Chompers football jig and Zoom Ol’ Monster worm.

    Here are the totals for the Top-10 finishers:

    1. Marcus Sykora: 66-04
    2. Jayme Rampey: 61-12
    3. Dino Moutogiannis: 61-08
    4. Todd Castledine: 54-15
    5. Kevin Edwards: 53-05
    6. Lloyd Pickett Jr.: 53-05
    7. David Nichol: 52-14
    8. Bobby Padgett: 52-11
    9. Mark Richardson: 50-00
    10. John Talton: 49-04

    For complete results listing all 49 competitors, click here.

  • Bass U TV: Howell on topwaters

    The Bass University announced that a new 1-hour class featuring Randy Howell discussing topwater baits is now available to members. A preview is embedded below.

    Bass U TV memberships are $15 a month, with savings available for annual memberships. To sign up, click here.

  • Former Marine wins LT/BoatUS contest

    Former Marine wins LT/BoatUS contest

    Russell Scanlan, a former Marine and a retired civil servant from Katy, Texas, will enjoy a day of fishing with Bassmaster Elite Series pro Stephen Browning after he was randomly selected as the winner of a sweepstakes offered by LiveTarget and BoatUS Angler. His prize package also includes a $1,000 travel allowance, a BoatUS Angler On Road and On Water membership and a custom selection of LiveTarget lures.

    Scanlan has been bass fishing since childhood and he's a regular on the ABA circuit.

    "What a surprise … I’m thrilled to be the grand prize winner,” he said. "I know of Stephen Browning and his success and style of fishing. It will be great to share a day with him soon.

    "I’ve used some LiveTarget frogs in the past and it will be interesting to get a pro's perspective on other lures in this lineup. I’ve heard about the BaitBall lures.”

    Scanlan and Browning will post results and photos of their day on the water on the BoatUS Angler and LiveTarget Facebook pages and websites after the trip takes place later in the year.

  • Crews searching for Ala. guide Jens

    Crews searching for Ala. guide Jens

    Authorities in Marshall and Jackson (Ala.) counties are currently searching for bass fishing guide Troy Jens, who went missing Wednesday afternoon, according to a report aired on Huntsville TV station WAFF-48.

    Jens, 51, of Scottsboro, Ala., was last seen near Waterfront Grocery off Highway 79. According to the report, authorities said Jens was dropped off at the boat ramp near the store on Wednesday and when family members couldn't reach him, they contacted Scottsboro Police. He was last seen wearing tan shorts, a black t-shirt, and a ball cap.

    Jens' family members are concerned about the man who they say suffers from depression. Scottsboro police chief Ralph Dawe told WAFF that video footage shows Jens at the store and efforts are being made to track him through his cell phone.

    Jens, who has a passion for conservation and habitat management initiatives, operates the Angling Alabama guide service that offers instructional and consulting trips on Tennessee River lakes.

    To read and watch the WAFF report, click here.

  • Balog: Florida gets proactive

    Balog: Florida gets proactive

    This week's edition of Balog's Bass War takes a look at Florida's recently announced proposal to limit the number of large bass harvested from the state's hawg-filled fisheries. If enacted, the plan would undoubtedly result in more trophy-size largemouths for anglers to catch, but there might be some hurdles to overcome in regard to tournaments.

    To read the column, click here.

  • Lambert, Rose couldn't have enough schools

    When it came to catching fish at the Kentucky Lake Central Rayovac Series last week, it was about finding schools of fish – lots of them – and then being able to get on them at the right time. For runner-up Jason Lambert and 3rd-place finisher Mark Rose, everything they caught was set up on offshore ledges.

    To read more about how they racked up their weights, click here.

  • Ranger re-ups with FLW

    Ranger re-ups with FLW

    FLW and Ranger Boats announced today that Ranger has signed a multiyear extension of its exclusive sponsorship with the tournament organization.

    FLW and Ranger have enjoyed the longest-running boat sponsor relationship in the sport, with a history that dates back to FLW’s formative years in the early 1980s as Operation Bass.

    “We’re proud of our relationship with FLW and excited about the future,” said Ranger Boats president Randy Hopper. “From Tour level events and championships like the Forrest Wood Cup, to weekend tournaments across the country, FLW provides an incredible venue for Ranger customers of all skill levels and delivers a competitive experience that’s second to none. We look forward to supporting Ranger anglers and FLW for years to come.”

    Complete terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but Ranger Boats will continue its lucrative Ranger Cup program, offering Ranger owners valuable contingency awards in FLW tournaments.

    “We’re extremely proud of our long-term partnership with Ranger Boats,” said Trisha Blake, president of marketing at FLW. “We’ve enjoyed building the sport of competitive bass fishing with them, and look forward to many more successful years working alongside the unquestioned leader in premium fishing boats.”

  • ICAST 2014: Rat Attack

    ICAST 2014: Rat Attack

    Bill Siemantel has built a strong reputation as a swimbait designer and specializes in luring big bass into biting. His latest project is called the SPRO BBZ-1 Rat, a walking/wake bait featuring a segmented tail that trails behind the 5 1/4" jointed lure.

    It'll be introduced at ICAST next month. To learn more about the Rat and other upcoming products, click here to check out our ICAST preview gallery.

  • PAA: Douglas for sure, 3 others pending

    PAA: Douglas for sure, 3 others pending

    The Professional Anglers Association announced on its website that it will hold a PAA Tournament Series event at Tennessee's Douglas Lake the week of Oct. 13-18. It plans to conduct three additional events between late August and mid-November, but none have yet been confirmed.

    To read the full announcement, click here.

  • Sonar: Downer at Douglas

    Sonar: Downer at Douglas

    The calendar has turned to June and Miles "Sonar" Burghoff is not in the position he'd hoped to be in the points standings in either the Northern or Southern divisions of the Bassmaster Opens. He got off to a decent start in last week's event at Douglas Lake, but a miniscule sack on day 2 sunk his hopes of a strong finish.

    For more on the event and a self-analysis of his season to date, click here.

  • College: Big week for the Bulldogs

    College: Big week for the Bulldogs

    Just a week after winning an FLW College event at Lake Guntersville, the University of Georgia's Byron Kenney and Will Treadwill captured the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship on Lake Pickwick to complete a dominant week on the Tennessee River chain.

    To read about their victory, click here.

  • ICAST 2014: First Look

    Over the next several weeks, we'll be reporting on new products that will be introduced at ICAST next month in Orlando, Fla. As information and images become available, we'll be trying keep up with the buzz leading into the event.

    To check out the new products we've learned of so far, click here.

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