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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

  • Xcite signs a pair

    Xcite Baits, which manufactures "Texas-sized" soft-plastics, signed Elite Series pro Grant Goldbeck and former Elite pro Brian Clark to its pro staff this week.

    About Goldbeck, Xcite president Lloyd Walker noted: "He's very versatile. He's demonstrated that he's dangerous with our big plastics, but he's also extremely talented with finesse presentations, and we'll be coming out with some products to showcase those strengths in the near future."

    About Clark, Walker added: "Everybody in north Texas knows Brian. He's dangerous on all of the lakes up here and we expect that he'll be fishing nationally again in a year or two."

  • Kurita to tour Montgomery

    Kurita to tour Montgomery

    George Kramer blogs about an interesting news bit today: World record co-holder Manabu Kurita's going to visit Lake Montgomery, where George Perry caught the original stand-alone world record. Perry biographer Bill Baab helped put it all together.

    For Kramer's full entry, click here.

    Kurita's visiting the U.S. to attend the Bassmater Classic, where he's expected to reveal the new owner of his world-record mount.

  • Ashley adds Jewel

    Ashley adds Jewel

    Elite Series pro Casey Ashley will now officially throw Jewel jigs as part of a new sponsorship agreement with the company.

    Jewel president Gayle Julian noted: "We've had a lot of anglers singing the praises of Jewel baits over our 20-plus years in this business, but Casey brings that meaning to a whole new level. He's an excellent angler who's really good with a jig rod in his hands and that makes him a perfect fit for our interests. We're pleased to welcome him to the team."

    Ashley noted that he's long used Jewel jigs. In fact, he used the company's 7/16-ounce Eakins jig when he won Smith Mt. in 2007.

    In other Ashley news, he's not fishing next month's Bassmaster Classic, but will still participate. He'll sing on the stage prior to Friday's weigh-in. Likely to be among his selections is "I am a Fisherman" – a song he recorded in 2008.

  • Attraxx adds seven

    Seven more pros are now affiliated with Attraxx and its parent company Mystic Tackle Works – Ramie Colson, Brandon Coulter, Steve Daniel, Keith Monson, Jason Ober, Jacob Powroznik and Nicolas Supik.

    Mystic president Howard Hammonds noted: “We’re very fortunate to put together such a great team of anglers at the top of their game. Each of these experienced anglers will design the kind of baits they want to use – the kind that really catch fish.”

  • BassFans choosing Biffle

    BassFans choosing Biffle

    According to the new BassFan Poll, Tommy Biffle is the favorite among readers to win the Bassmaster Classic. As of this morning, he led the voting with 19% of all votes cast (nearly one of every five).

    To check out the results (and to vote if you haven't already), visit the homepage, then scroll down the right-hand side to find the poll.

  • Brody: saga of the hand

    Brody: saga of the hand

    BassFans probably noticed Brent "Brody" Broderick's name within the 2011 Elite Series field. Brody fished the Elite Series in 2009 as a rookie, but never fished last year. What happened?

    According to Broderick, he sat out 2010 with an injury, and now he's back in the Elite Series under a medical exemption. It's yet one more example of the injury epidemic that plagues the sport, especially at the pro and semi-pro level.

    Brody told BassFan the injury actually occurred just prior to his rookie 2009 Elite Series season. The tour that year kicked off at Amistad and he fun-fished at Twin Butte for a few days prior. "I set up on what was probably a good 10-pounder and for some reason – I must have done something quirky with the rod or reel – she went one way and the rod came out of my hand," he said. "She stripped the gears in the reel and the whole time I'm telling to my buddy, 'She's breaking my stuff!' My hand swelled up that night. I iced it, then went on fishing and never looked back. My hand hurt the whole season."

    Later that year, around Christmas, he pushed a box together and his hand popped. At first he felt a little relieved – he thought maybe there'd been a dislocation in his hand the whole year. But then things got bad. When he woke up the next morning his hand has swelled up to the size of a football, and his palm was "black to the core," he said. That's when he went to see a sports-injury specialist in Cincinnati.

    The diagnosis? "What I'd done was, when I set up on that fish, I tore the collateral ligament," Brody said. "Me not treating it caused my strap muscle to overwork and it finally gave way and detached from the bone plate. So I wound up with two massive injuries – a grade-3 sprain, which was a ruptured collateral ligament, and a grade-3 strain, which was the muscle tear. I was in a cast and a sling and two different rehab programs for 7 almost months. They gave me the option of surgery and new ligaments, but when they give you a 50-50 chance that it might fail and your hand is never going to be better than it is right now, that scared me. I decided to go with the full-fledged rehab and it was 7 or 8 months before I could even pick up a gallon of milk."

    Right now, he estimates his hand to be at about 70%. He hasn't set up on any big fish like the one that caused the injury, but fished in and around Ohio as much as he could. His rehab's over, and "mentally and physically, I think I'm more prepared going into this season than I was 2 years ago," he said. "I've probably shed 15 pounds since then because I know what it takes to do the tour. It's a do-or-die year for me. Even though I didn't fish last year, I still consider myself a third-year pro and it's a do-or-die year for a lot of guys, because (B.A.S.S.) is going to cut the field, which I think is a good thing. Come next year, the boot will be there, but I'm not going to be one of those guys – I'm going to qualify again."

    > BassFans can check our Brody's Angler Profile here.

  • Redneck navy?

    Interesting story recently by Fred Bonner in the Garner (N.C.) News. He remembers fishing a tournament in southern Florida a few years back, when two bass boats gave him a spash-by. Mounted on the deck of each boat was a semi-auto Browning machine gun.

    Bonner goes on to talk about how well defensed America is against foreign invasion, in large part because of hunters and anglers. To read his story, click here.

  • Jordon: faster is better

    <b><font color = maroon>Jordon: faster is better</b></font>

    Bassmaster Elite Series pro Kelly Jordon is thrilled with the new high-speed version of the Abu Garcia Revo Premier baitcasting reel and is looking forward to putting it to work in the Bassmaster Classic and during the upcoming Elite Series campaign. To find out why he's so fired up, click on over to the Catch More Fish page.

  • New poll

    Thanks to all the BassFans who pointed out that the BassFan poll was a little outdated. There's a new poll up that asks: Who do you think will win next month's Bassmaster Classic?

    To participate in the poll and view the results, visit the homepage, then scroll down the right-hand side to find the poll.

  • Tyler takes a hiatus

    Tyler takes a hiatus

    Bassmaster Elite Series veteran Mark Tyler told BassFan today that he's taking a break from tour-level fishing to focus on a couple of non-fishing businesses he's started. Finances are the main reason – he lost his primary sponsorship deal with Travelodge this year and was unable to replace it.

    "The last few years have been pretty mediocre for me," said the California native who relocated to Oklahoma several years ago, "and I don't think B.A.S.S. has changed enough (under new ownership) to justify $43,000 in entry fees when I'm playing on my own money. It's not the right business model for me right now.

    "I made it work for 5 years with a good non-endemic sponsor, but that ran its course and now the economics don't make sense. I'm not doing much in the fishing industry right now except I still have my signature series rods with Denali, and I'll be helping to promote that. I'd love to get back out there at a later date when the economics make more sense."

    He finished 74th on the points list last year and 65th in 2009, logging just one Top 20 finish over that span.

    He won't be getting away from competitive fishing – he plans to enter at least 15 events in his home region, and he'll also fish the Bassmaster Central Opens and perhaps two of the FLW Western EverStarts (the California Delta and Clear Lake). He caught the largest bass ever weighed in B.A.S.S. competition (14-09) in an Open at the Delta in 1999.

    "I would've liked to have done the whole (Western EverStart) circuit, but Shasta in January was just too much. It was too close to the holidays."

  • Palaniuk gets clothing deal

    Palaniuk gets clothing deal

    Reigning B.A.S.S. Federation Nation national champion and 2011 Bassmaster Elite Series rookie Brandon Palaniuk of Idaho has signed a sponsorship deal with fishing-themed clothing manufacturer Topwater.

    “We are excited to add another great member to the Topwater Clothing team," said Brad Altman, owner of the California-based company. "Brandon brings to the table an extremely strong track record of success at a young age, which in combination with humility and good sportsmanship, paves the road to a bright future. He embodies the Topwater Clothing vibe and style as a true athlete on and off the water.”

    Said Palaniuk: "I'm excited because this is something different in the industry. Brad's clothes are super-modern, they're made from high-quality materials, they fit well and they're comfortable. I think they're the best out there."

  • Strike King joins FLW

    Strike King joins FLW

    FLW Outdoors announced Thursday that Strike King Lure Company has signed on as a sponsor and will serve as the title sponsor of the Angler of the Year award in the EverStart Series. The points leader at season's end from each of the five divisions – Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western –will receive $5,000. In addition, the Co-Angler of the Year from each division will receive $2,000.

    “We truly value our endemic sponsors; they’re essential to the lifeblood of the sport,” said FLW Outdoors Marketing Division president Trisha Blake. “We’re particularly proud to be associated with a premier company like Strike King. This new agreement will bring them added exposure and give EverStart anglers an additional incentive.”

    Added Strike King marketing manager Chris Brown: "Strike King Lure Company is excited and proud to be the newest sponsor of FLW Outdoors. Our association with FLW Outdoors will compliment Strike King's well-known and trusted brand, as well as generate significant exposure for our extensive product line to all levels of tournament anglers."

    As with the Zebco agreement announced earlier this week, the deal does not include exclusivity in any sponsorship categories.

  • TWC + ESPN3

    The news comes too late for some BassFans: Time Warner Cable finally struck a deal with ESPN to offer the Internet-based ESPN3 to its subscribers.

    Last year, B.A.S.S. weigh-ins aired exclusively on ESPN3, but Time Warner customers, and many other cable customers, couldn't tune in.

    The point is fairly moot, though, because B.A.S.S. confirmed today that weigh-ins will stream through Bassmaster.com this season, where anyone and everyone can watch.

  • Wolak with Jackall

    Wolak with Jackall

    North Carolina's Dave Wolak, a two-time winner on the Bassmaster Elite Series, is the newest member of the Jackall pro staff.

    “I’m excited to work with Jackall going forward,” Wolak said. “They are incredibly innovative. Not only do they use cutting edge technology, but they are also renowned for developing entirely new techniques.”

    Curt Arakawa, who runs the U.S. operations for Japan-based Jackall, added: “Dave is extremely well-rounded. He’s an accomplished fisherman and is very knowledgeable about the industry.

    "We look forward to getting him involved in testing new products for the U.S. market. In fact, I have already devised some projects that are right up his alley. His participation will bring immediate credibility to those new lures.”

    Wolak, a noted tackle tinkerer, is pleased that he’ll have a chance to contribute to Jackall’s U.S. product lineup.

    “Conceptualizing new products and helping to improve existing products is the most sought-after opportunity for any professional angler who is passionate about the tackle he or she uses,” he said.

    Jackall was founded by legendary Japanese designer Seiji Kato, who over the course of nearly three decades in the business has created many top-selling and top-producing lures. He partnered with top tournament angler Toshiro “Ty” Ono to form the company.

    The pro staff also includes Elite Series pros Kota Kiriyama, Cliff Pace and Jared Lintner, and FLW Tour anglers Cody Meyer and Scott Canterbury.

  • Clunn's new weapons

    Clunn's new weapons

    Rick Clunn now has an official rod-and-reel sponsor again. He signed a deal this week with Wright & McGill (W&M) to fish and promote the company's Skeet Reese S-Curve and S-Glass bass rods and Victory reels.

    He joins Reese and Brent Chapman on the bass pro staff.

    "I'm very excited to be part of the W&M team and look forward to fishing the very best rods on the market during 2011 and beyond," Clunn said.

    W&M marketing director Chris Russell noted: "Rick's the ultimate addition to the W&M team. With his years of experience and unmatched knowledge, Rick's the perfect pro to fish W&M rods and reels. He demands the very best in his fishing equipment and will not settle for products that don't live up to his requirements. Rick's also very in tune with what anglers and fans are looking for to help them be more successful out on the water. We're excited to have Rick fishing our S-Curve and S-Glass rods and performance reels and are looking forward to incorporating his knowledge into new items in the future."

  • More Ike: cool vid

    All right, there's a lot of bass-oriented video out there (of varying quality), but the stuff we're seeing out of Bass Parade has a polish and edge that's worth noting. And the Parade just unleashed a new vid with Mike Iaconelli that's pretty classic. Check it out below.


  • Ike writes new book

    Ike writes new book

    Mike Iaconelli's biography – Fishing on the Edge – was a great read that resonated with a lot of fans. Ike's back with a new book, co-written by legendary bass writer Steve Price, but this time it's a how-to. And you guessed it: The topic is finesse fishing.

    Ike told BassFan: "I've been working on the project for over 2 years with Steve Price and it's finally hitting the presses this week. The book covers everything you ever wanted to know about finesse fishing from baits to techniques, to equipment, to location and much more."

    The book will be available for purchase at the Bassmaster Classic outdoor show (cost is $19.99). Additionally, autographed copies are now available for a special pre-release price of $14.99 at MikeIaconelli.com.

  • Zebco sponsors FLW

    Zebco sponsors FLW

    FLW Outdoors announced another endemic sponsor today in Zebco. The deal covers this season. Under the agreement, Zebco will offer its trout pond in Walmart parking lots (described at "retailtainment") and at the traveling FLW Outdoors Expo.

    FLW Outdoors marketing-division president Trisha Blake noted: "The name Zebco invokes images of fishing, as everyone remembers their first time fishing, and the chances are they made their first cast with a Zebco. We're excited to have them as a partner and look forward to building a relationship that will be beneficial to both parties."

    Zebco president Jeff Pontius said: "Whether it's being part of a child's first catch at the Zebco Trout Pond this spring, or the chance to visit face-to-face with an angler who caught their first fish with a Zebco reel as a kid in the 1950s, our partnership and presence at the FLW Outdoors events creates a special opportunity for interaction with valued consumers."

    The sponsorship does not grant Zebco exclusivity within any sponsor categories.

  • Denali grabs Gluszek

    Denali grabs Gluszek

    Denali Rods announced that it's added veteran New Jersey pro and The Bass University co-founder Pete Gluszek to its pro staff. He joins Terry Bolton, Ray Scheide, Michael Murphy, Preston Clark and Mark Tyler.

    “Performance and durability, these are the features I always focus on when selecting my tournament equipment," Gluszek said. "The Denali rod line has an abundance of both – a great selection of rod actions to meet each fishing situation and components that are second to none.”

    Said Denali owner Scott Estes: “Pete is a great advocate for the sport of fishing. He is extremely active in the sport and very popular amongst fishermen, and I think he is a perfect fit for Denali Rods.”

  • Wendlandt's combo wrap

    Wendlandt's combo wrap

    Texas FLW Tour pro Clark Wendlandt has a new wrap for 2011. It features Cabela's, which was his primary sponsor last year, along with newcomer Mountain Dew (click the photo to see a larger version).

    "It's a partnership between Cabela's, Mountain Dew and myself that's not tied to FLW in any way," he said. "I think it's going to be a good, positive thing for all of us."

    Other changes to his portfolio include a return to Evinrude after a 9-year stint with Yamaha and the addition of Typhoon sunglasses.

    Along with the Tour Majors, the three-time Angler of the Year will fish a couple of Tour Opens, the Bassmaster Central Opens and some PAA Tournament Series events.

    "I want to be a true bass professional and compete on all three tours, and I'm excited about all of them."

  • Jerseys for St. Jude

    Jerseys for St. Jude

    Here's a cool fundraiser that a lot of BassFans should take a look at. Several tour jerseys are being auctioned to benefit the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. In addition, there are drawings for free fishing gear and memorabilia.

    It's for a great cause. St. Jude is unlike any other pediatric treatment and research facility. Discoveries made there have completely changed how the world treats children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. With research and patient care under one roof, St. Jude is where some of today's most gifted researchers are able to do science more quickly.

    Four to six jerseys will be auctioned each week through mid-February, including autographed jerseys of tour pros like Kevin VanDam, Mike Iaconelli, Clark Wendlandt, Dave Lefebre, Byron Velvick, Kim Bain-Moore and others.

    Prospective bidders should visit eBay and search "Jerseys for St. Jude."

    For those anglers who wish to contribute to St. Jude outside of the EBay auctions, donations will be accepted through MyStJudeEvent.org/jersy4jude. For every $25 donated, one entry will be placed under the donor's name for a drawing featuring prizes like a Dobyns and American Rodsmiths rods, All-Terrain tackle packs, autographed photos, discount coupons and more. Several other prizes will be added in the upcoming weeks. The actual date of the drawing will be announced in mid-February.

    Pros, companies or other individuals who want to contribute to this rewarding effort can email jerseysforstjude@hotmail.com.

  • Murphy joins Faculty

    Murphy joins Faculty

    There's an interesting learning product out there called Faculty of Fishing. It was developed by Terry McClymont, a tournament angler and commercial-airline pilot and is based on his successful Faculty of Flight learning program for pilots. Essentially, Faculty of Fishing offers quick but hard-hitting video lessons that are formatted to help anglers retain the information.

    Also of note, Faculty of Fishing this week announced a partnership with FLW Tour pro Michael Murphy. Murphy noted: “I'm proud to be a part of Faculty of Fishing and working with Terry. What he and his team have done with Faculty of Fishing is incredible. The Faculty of Fishing programs have made learning things about fishing, that has taken me years to learn, fast and effective. Each lesson lasts between 15-30 minutes and provides detailed, instructional and animated content. Best of all it's extremely easy to use and follow."

    BassFans can get a good overview of the product by visiting FacultyofFishing.com and entering the promotional code Murphy 2011 (after creating an account). The code will unlock four free mini-lessons.

  • Goodwill extends FLW deal

    Goodwill extends FLW deal

    Goodwill Industries International announced that it's extended its partnership with FLW Outdoors, with Minnesota pro Chad Grigsby (pictured) continuing to represent the organization on the FLW Tour.

    Goodwill will collect donations at each 2011 Tourevent. Sales in those local Goodwill stores will help fund job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs for people who need them most.

    “The relationship formed between FLW Outdoors and Goodwill has demonstrated how a unique partnership can benefit both organizations and our communities,” said FLW Outdoors Marketing Division president Trisha Blake. “Goodwill provides skills training and support services to hundreds of people every day through its multiple programs, and we are honored to be a part of that.”

    Said Goodwill president and CEO Jim Gibbons: “The partnership between Goodwill and FLW Outdoors will increase awareness of Goodwill’s job training and career advancement programs. Thanks to the generosity and cooperative spirit of FLW Outdoors, Goodwill has the opportunity to reach future donors and shoppers. As a result, we will be able to serve more people in communities across the country.”

  • PAA All Star details

    PAA All Star details

    Fifty pro anglers will attack Lake Ray Hubbard in April in the inaugural Bass Pro Shops PAA All Star Series tournament. The no-entry fee tournament will be held April 21-23 and based at Bass Pro Shops in Garland, Texas, right off of I-30 at the lake.

    Free daily launches from the store’s docks and weigh-ins each afternoon will provide fans with great access to the star-studded field. Invited anglers include the top 44 pros from the 2010 PAA Tournament Series point standings, PAA Angler of the Year (AOY) Tommy Biffle of Oklahoma and PAA Legends qualifier Harold Allen of Texas.

    Also invited will be Kevin Van Dam of Michigan, the 2010 Bassmaster Classic champion and Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of the Year, along with 2010 Forrest Wood Cup champion Kevin Hawk of Alabama and 2010 FLW Tour Angler of the Year Bryan Thrift of North Carolina.

    After more than a year of planning, the inaugural PAA All Star Series is the culmination of one of the goals of the organization when it was founded 6 years ago.

    “It’s exciting for a couple of reasons, one being that it will be held in a great state known for its fisheries and passion for fishing, and also because we have a great partner with Bass Pro Shops,” said PAA president Chad Morgenthaler. “But the All Star Series will set a standard for the sport with a move toward no-entry fee events. Packed with a great field, it will be an exciting and highly competitive tournament for the anglers and fans.”

    Garland served as the host for the 2010 PAA Tournament Series event on Lake Tawakoni, won by Keith Combs.

    “We’re thrilled to host the inaugural Bass Pro Shops PAA All Star Series tournament for the 2011 season featuring some of fishing’s top pros,” said Lucia Arrant, director of the Garland Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. “Last year’s PAA tournament at Garland’s Bass Pro Shops had a great turnout. We look forward to hosting more tournaments in the future and continuing our strong partnership with Bass Pro Shops and the PAA.”

    full field will compete the first two days and then be cut to the Top 12 for the final day. Fans will be able to meet the pros during official registration on Wednesday, April 20, and on Saturday, April 23, and attend free seminars both days at Bass Pro Shops featuring some of the top pros.

    “We’re thrilled to be bringing the inaugural All Star Series tournament to Garland, which was a wonderful host last season,” said PAA Program Director Danny Blandford. “Not only is the Bass Pro Shops perfectly situated on the lake and near great attractions for the fans and anglers, but the pros will be competing on a super lake at one of the best times of the year.

    “This is a big step for the PAA and one of the things the anglers have wanted, a true no-entry fee tournament featuring the best anglers. We look forward to visiting the great state of Texas once again and should have a fantastic week in Garland.”

  • Record spot in TX?

    Record spot in TX?

    Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) geneticist Dijar Lutz-Carrillo is conducting DNA analysis on a 5.62-pound bass caught from Lake Alan Henry on Jan. 15 to determine if it is a spotted bass. If the test results are positive, the fish will become the new state-record spotted bass, eclipsing the previous mark of 5.56 pounds caught from Lake O’ the Pines in 1966.

    The fish was caught by Erik Atkins of Lubbock in a tournament and measured 22.75 inches in length and 15 inches in girth.

    “I was fishing in 3 to 5 feet of water with a shakey-head worm, looking for a fish coming up to feed on the rocks,” Atkins said. “I turned the reel two cranks and she took it.”

    TPWD stocked 150 adult spotted bass from Alabama in Lake Alan Henry in 1996.

    “These bass are native to the Mobile Bay drainage in Alabama and were stocked experimentally in Texas since their growth rate is similar to largemouth bass and they live longer than the spotted bass known as Kentucky bass (Micropterus punctulatus) native to the Ohio and the central and lower Mississippi River valleys,” said Charlie Munger, TPWD Inland Fisheries biologist for Lake Alan Henry. “Alan Henry has the only population of Alabama spotted bass (Micropterus henshalli) in the state.”

    Kentucky spotted bass are commonly found in East Texas streams. “Since there is no way for anglers to visually differentiate between the species of spotted bass, they are both considered to be simply spotted bass for record purposes,” Munger said.

    The lateral line on spotted bass is broken, and spots on their lower sides form rows of spots. The closed mouth of a spotted bass does not extend beyond the back margin of the eye.

    Munger said a study of the spotted bass in Lake Alan Henry shows that there has been no hybridization of spotted bass with largemouth bass. “We detected no hybridization at all,” he said.

    Following a quarantine period the fish will be placed on display at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center.

  • Lew's hires president

    Lew's hires president

    Longtime outdoor-industry executive Lew's Gary Remensnyder has been named president of Lew's, effective immediately. He arrives with 16 years of relevant experience, 13 of which were spent helping to build the Shakespeare, Ugly Stik and Pflueger brands, among others.

    "I've worked with Gary for over 10 years in building businesses and brands together in the fishing industry," said Lew's CEO Lynn Reeves. "His leadership style is a perfect fit for the culture we are developing for the new Lew's."

    Remensynder will concentrate on driving the sales, marketing and the financial planning efforts of the company during the next few months, allowing him to continue to focus on developing the all-new generation of Lew's products and to oversee the day-to-day operations of its Springfield, Mo. facilities.

    "Our respective strengths make us a great team to lead this company to new heights to the benefit of anglers and the fishing tackle trade," Reeves added.

    Said Remensnyder: "Lynn has a great vision for the future of the Lew's brand. I am so pleased to have the opportunity to work with him and the entire Lew's team to help rebuild what is a great American fishing tradition.

    "Our goal is to be true to the heritage of the brand founded by the legendary Lew Childre, building quality and innovation into our products just like he did, while also providing outstanding service and value to our customers."

  • Swindle: win + in

    Swindle: win + in

    Gerald Swindle edged Bobby Lane by exactly 3 pounds at the Toho Bassmaster Southern Open and thus became the first "win & you're in" pro of the 2011 season.

    B.A.S.S., under new ownership, recently revamped its Bassmaster Classic qualifying criteria. Winners of Bassmaster Opens and Elite Series events now each receive a Classic berth.

    In addition to his Classic berth, Swindle also pocketed the $57,000 1st-place boat prize.

    It was his first B.A.S.S. win (he won the 1998 FLW Tour Walmart Open).

    "I about froze to death out there on the first day of practice," Swindle said. I was cold. I was wet, and I only got two bites that day. I don't mean three. I'm telling you, I had two bites using a Carolina Rig, but my gut, my intuition, told me they were the right bites. I caught a few small fish in different areas during the other 2 days of practice, but my confidence was in those two bites. And those are the fish I won on in the tournament."

    Details of his winning pattern will be posted soon.

  • Combs bags jumper-maker

    Combs bags jumper-maker

    Texan Keith Combs, who'll compete in the Bassmaster Classic next month and then make his Bassmaster Elite Series debut in March, has signed a sponsorship deal with automatic battery-jumper manufacturer Tournament Saver Pro.

    "I've used their product for a couple of years now and I'm excited about the new one coming onto the market," said Combs, who logged two Top-10 finishes on the FLW Tour last year. Any serious tournament fisherman or anybody who uses a boat a lot will benefit from this product. Eventually we're all going to have problems with our cranking battery, and this totally eliminates that."

    Company owner Cliff Brown said the Tournament Saver Pro Elite should hit the market by mid- to late April.

    "We're really excited to have Keith on board," he said. "He's a local guy and he'll do a great job representing our product."

  • It's right for night

    Nighttime fishing isn't for everybody, but devotees of angling after dark often catch bigger fish than their daytime counterparts. Also, night fishing can be a nice break from the overpowering heat during the warmest months of the year.

    There's always been a big drawback to nighttime fishing, though – seeing your line is difficult, if not impossible. If you wanted to pursue pigs with braided line, there wasn't a braid out there that "glowed" in the dark.

    Stren has remedied that with the introduction of a clear/blue fluorescent color to its Sonic Braid lineup. To find out more about it, click on over to the Catch More Fish page.

  • Classic data

    Here's some random Bassmaster Classic numbers using this year's field.

  • 15 – Number of Classic rookies in the 50-boat field.
  • 23 – Age of youngest angler in the field (Brandon Palaniuk)
  • 3 – Number of anglers who'll fish their first Classic followed by their first Elite Series/Bassmaster Tour event (Ryan Said, Keith Combs, Andy Montgomery).
  • 59 – Age of oldest competitor in the field (Paul Elias).
  • 58 – Age of second-oldest competitor (Federation Nation qualifier George Crain).

  • Roland's rollin'

    BassFans excited for the return of Roland Martin take note: He's in 8th place after day 1 of the Toho Bassmaster Southern Open with 18 pounds. The bad news for Roland is Gerald Swindle leads with about 31 pounds and Roland's fishing under the new "win and you're in" Bassmaster Classic qualification format.

    The Lane brothers and Terry Scroggins are predictably in the mix.

    B.A.S.S. is running some on-the-water coverage of Roland and other pros at the Open. You can check it out here.

  • KVD, Skeet weigh in

    KVD, Skeet weigh in

    The two anglers most affected by the 2-year experiment of deciding the Bassmaster Angler of the Year (AOY) via a two-event, post-season shootout were Skeet Reese and Kevin VanDam. Reese was atop the points list at the end of the regular season in both 2009 and '10, but KVD copped the titles in the post-season.

    Neither could be reached in time for inclusion in the reaction story to B.A.S.S.' decision to return to the previous format of determining the AOY solely by regular-season points, but both checked in today. Below are their comments.

    Kevin VanDam (6-time AOY)
    "I've been doing this for 20 years and the system has gone through a lot of changes in that time. The first year I won it was under some other format, then it was points over six events and points over eight events and points over 11 events and then the post-season. I've won it pretty much every way and the times I finished 2nd or whatever, maybe I would've won it under a different format.

    "People are going to make changes, trying to do things differently. The last 2 years they tried to create some excitement with the post-season, and I think they did that. We all knew the format going in and we all played by the same rules. In that regard, I don't see how any angler can have much to say, but it's great for fans because it gives them something to talk about.

    "All of the (AOYs) I've won, I value them all the same because I won them under the rules we were fishing under. I'm sure there are going to be even more changes to come at some point."

    Skeet Reese (2007 AOY)
    "I think they made the right decision and I'm happy to see it go back to the traditional format that was used for so many years. It takes it back to its purest form, and I'm excited about that.

    "It's bittersweet – I'm not going to deny that. I'm torn about the last 2 years because I was, so to speak, the sacrificial angler. But in the big picture, if I had to be that one angler who people looked at and realized that this format wasn't working and that we needed to go back to where we were, then so be it. I know what I've done and most other people know what I've done. It's just that I won't have those trophies on the mantel to look at when I'm old and crippled.

    "It is what it is and what's happened has happened. Am I a little sour about it? Absolutely, but it's done. Kevin did what he had to do and played within the parameters he was given, and it's certainly not his fault. All I can do is go out this year and try to do it again."

  • 'Little Alton' triumphs

    'Little Alton' triumphs

    Alton Jones Jr., who spent many years traveling the top pro circuits with his father, logged his most significant angling achievement to date last weekend when the Baylor University freshman teamed with David Ridley to win a Bass Champs event at Lake Amistad. The victory was worth $20,000 to the duo, along with a $5,000 bonus from Skeeter.

    "As his dad and his fishing buddy, I'm really proud of him," said Alton Sr., the 2008 Bassmaster Classic champion. "He's had a pretty unusual look at this sport, having traveled to every tournament I was in from when he was a little kid until he graduated from high school (last spring). Until B.A.S.S. quit allowing you to have (a non-competitor) practice with you, he was out there every day, and he's got the fish-finding exercise down pretty good."

    "Little Alton," as he was known on the tours, and Ridley weighed a 32.47-pound sack to win the event by more than 2 1/2 pounds. It included a 10.67-pounder that Ridley caught and a 9-pound-class fish caught by Jones. They reported that most of their fish bit XCalibur crankbaits.

  • ProPatterns offers incentives

    ProPatterns, the online info-sharing community for serious anglers, has announced an incentive program for 2011 that will feature cash payouts of up to $5,000 to anglers who win tournaments and provide their winning information to the ProPatterns public journal.

    “We feel it’s very important to reward anglers who offer credible data to our database," said CEO Chad Ekroth. "Our service is only reliable and useful to others when our members are providing accurate accounts of their experiences. To our knowledge there are no other service providers in this industry offering this type of incentive."

    Visit ProPatterns.com for the rules and to discover which events are associated with the program. There's also an opportunity to compete in a fantasy fishing contest for a South Dakota pheasant hunting trip with members of the ProPatterns pro staff.

  • Burly Ike

    Burly Ike

    Mike Iaconelli's sported several different looks over the years, from clean-shaven to goateed to other facial-hair varietals. But check out his new look, which seems a better fit for ice fishing than flipping in the Louisiana Delta.

    Thanks to Bass Cat's Rick Pierce for the photo.

  • Prof. Menendez

    Prof. Menendez

    Did you know that Elite Series pro Mark Menendez has a degree in fisheries biology from Murray State? It's served him well over his long pro career, and now he's combined two of his loves – fish biology/behavior and fishing how-to, and he's teaching a unique course designed to improve your angling success.

    The course is held at West Kentucky Community & Technical College in Paducah, Ky. The classes began this week but you can jump in anytime or make a mental note for the future. Cost is only $65. For all the info, including course description, click here.

  • B.A.S.S AOY: like it was

    <b><font color = red>B.A.S.S AOY: like it was</b></font>

    Today's B.A.S.S. announcement concerned the Toyota Trucks B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year (AOY) title. Effective this season, the AOY title will be decided across the eight regular-season events, not during the post-season.

    The divisive post-season structure, instituted first for the 2009 season, struggled to gain acceptance among fans and most pros.

    B.A.S.S., however, will still conduct activities in the Montgomery, Ala. area. At stake will be a $100,000 prize, plus a fully rigged boat for one lucky fan. Here's how the new Toyota Trucks All-Star Week will work.

    > The Top 8 in the AOY race will be invited to All-Star Week, plus four additional "wildcard" pros as voted on by fans.

    > Twelve fans will be selected randomly and paired with the pros as virtual competitors. These 12 fans will be able to follow their angler daily online. The fan paired with the All-Star Week champion will win a fully rigged bass boat.

    > Following a 2-day preliminary round at Lake Jordan, the top eight All-Stars (based on cumulative weight) will be seeded and will move to the Alabama River in Montgomery for a bracket-style, head-to-head format over 3 days of competition. After 2 elimination days, the two anglers left standing will compete for a winner-take-all prize of $100,000.

    B.A.S.S. ownership partner Jerry McKinnis told BassFan: "We've changed the title back to where it belonged, and I'm sure everybody's going to be happy about that."

  • Not flyin', fryin'!!!

    Not flyin', fryin'!!!

    Chad Grigsby signed an associate sponsorship agreement for one of the cooler products we've seen in a while. He now endorses and helps market the Fryin' Saucer.

    BassFans probably don't cook their bass, but when they get into a mess of crappie, bull bluegills, walleye or perch, we're betting they release them right into Lake Crisco. And the Fryin' Saucer seems like a convenient, compact way to work a shore lunch.

    "JT Kenney and I use our Fryin' Saucer all the time," Grigsby said. "It was invented by Mike Bizal in Minnesota and it's great because it's so portable. It collapses down into a bag and runs off portable 1-pound bottles of propane."

    To right is a photo of Bizal (center), Grigsby (right) and Mike Bizal, Sr. pointing to the new Fryin' Saucer logo on Grigsby's tournament jersey.

    Grigsby noted that FryinSaucer.com isn't fully functional yet, but if anyone's interested in ordering or has any questions, they can email him directly at chadgrigsby@hotmail.com. A Fryin' Saucer costs about $100.


  • Mega Megabass!

    Mega Megabass!

    All right, a lot of BassFans know that Megabass is one of the two largest Japanese lure companies. Its stuff is ultra hot, and baits such as the Vision 110 utterly windmill fish at clear-water lakes like Table Rock. But to tell the truth, Megabass baits have been hard to come by in the U.S. One store has them, then sells out and doesn't get any more for months. That's the bad news. The good news is there's a new Megabass online store dedicated exclusively to Megabass. Even better, it's run by a tournament bass angler.

    Chad Randles is the owner of Chad's Megabass Warehouse and he wants BassFans to know they can count on him.

    "Chad's Megabass Warehouse is the first and only Megabass-exclusive warehouse providing all Megabass products," Randles said. "My mission is to provide anglers with all of the finest Megabass products and give anglers a wider and more reliable selection than any other dealer in the U.S. I'm committed to helping each Megabass user realize the full potential contained in each Megabass product. My goal is to enhance your fishing experience on the water, and to help you catch more fish."

    Randles added: "What sets Chad's Megabass Warehouse apart from all other Megabass dealers is my personal commitment to tournament bass fishing. The serious tournament angler, at any level, is my customer. Since I'm a competitor myself, and many of my friends and associates fish tournaments all over the U.S., it gives me the opportunity to stay up on the latest hot colors and specific Megabass lures anglers are using. If you want to know the best Megabass lures and colors for Table Rock or Lake of the Ozarks, I can help. If you want to know which Megabass lures and colors the big smallmouths are hitting on Lakes Erie and St. Clair, I have the contacts to help you, and the same goes for any lake in the country. You'll not find better customer service anywhere."

    To check out the Warehouse selection and discount pricing, visit ChadsMegabass.com.

  • Classic: Ray speaks

    Classic: Ray speaks

    Ray Scott issued some sentiments today about B.A.S.S., the Classic and a few other topics. Here are some highlights.

  • Ray on the change in B.A.S.S. ownership: "I think businesses are always redirecting their course in some fashion and we all see through a different lens – thank goodness or life would be pretty dull. I believe our course now will be more toward the grassroots membership, and as noted by Jim Copeland, B.A.S.S. will be smaller and more nimble and better able to better respond to our stakeholders."

  • Ray on B.A.S.S. membership: "When I started the organization over 40 years ago, I wanted the fishermen to know they were indeed part of a unique community – a community totally dedicated to bass angling. People thought I was crazy to focus on one specie. But we are a special breed. It's hard for us to explain ourselves – just ask our spouses. We wanted above all to help members be better anglers and to protect and improve their fishing environment. And when they saw a B.A.S.S. decal on the back of a vehicle, it said 'I'm one of you.' I hope we recapture and grow that spirit."

  • Ray on new emcee Dave Mercer: "We'll be welcoming a new face to the Classic and that is new weighmaster/emcee Dave Mercer. He's a big fishing celebrity from the North – a real yankee from Canada – and he comes with a big thumbs-up from all who know him. After several visits with him, I'm confident he'll be eating grits and saying y'all in no time. The weigh-in's very special to me. I emceed the first 26 Classics and B.A.S.S. blazed the trail for all the formats we see today. I still chuckle when I think about that first 1970 Classic weigh-in on the rooftop of a Las Vegas marina. I had a bullhorn and we had a handful of spectators – mostly press and wives. We should all be proud of how far we've come."

  • More from Ray about Mercer: "He's an authentic bass angler. You can hear the passion in his voice. So much of what he's told me reminds me of fishing greats like Kevin VanDam and Rick Clunn. Even as kids they spent every spare moment on the water and couldn't wait to get their Bassmaster magazines. That's Dave. He's the real deal. He relates to both the competitors and the anglers in the audience. He talks their language. He understands that unlike many other sports, standing on the Classic stage is an attainable dream thanks to B.A.S.S."

  • Ray on the Classic venue: "New Orleans is my favorite city. It's got friendly people, great food, fascinating history and sights. I go there frequently during the year – I was there only a couple weeks after Katrina. It's an easy driving distance from my home and it's always like going home."

  • TTBC: Back to Conroe

    TTBC: Back to Conroe

    The Toyota Texas Bass Classic will return to Lake Conroe and the Lone Star Convention & Expo Center this fall. Dates for the 3-day tournament and outdoor music festival are Oct. 28-30.

    Event proceeds benefit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and its outdoor recreation programs.

    “We are proud to bring the TTBC back to Conroe and continue to raise awareness for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department,” said TTBC founder Dan Friedkin. “This event has become the premier bass fishing tournament for anglers across the world while having a positive impact on this community and the state of Texas.”

    The tournament features a 50-angler field, assembled from the PAA Tournament Series, Bassmaster Elite Series and FLW Tour. Professional anglers must be members of the PAA to compete. Missouri Elite Series pro Brian Snowden was the 2010 winner.

    The TPWD has received $1 million in donations from the event over the past 4 years and the 2011 donation will be a minimum of $250,000.

    “The focus of these programs is to expose kids and non-traditional users to the sport of fishing and the conservation efforts upon which all good fishing depends,” said Texas Bass Classic Foundation president JC Fassino.

    The concert lineup will be announced by summer. For more information, click here to visit the TTBC website or call (866) 907-0143.

  • B.A.S.S. announcement coming

    Jerry McKinnis, part of the new B.A.S.S. ownership group, will deliver a special video announcement Wednesday regarding Bassmaster tournaments in 2011 via Bassmaster.com. The event is scheduled for 2 p.m. EST.

  • Stratos unveils promo

    Stratos has introduced its Step Up or Step Back retail sales promotion, which runs through March 31. It offers customer incentives of up to $1,000 on select new, previously unsold models.

    The promo is limited to eligible Stratos boats sold within the promotional timeframe powered by Yamaha, Mercury or Evinrude outboards. Program incentives include:

    > A $750 discount or down payment assistance plus a $250 Stratos apparel credit on eligible boats powered by outboards of 150 horsepower or more

    > A $500 discount or down payment assistance plus a $250 Stratos apparel credit on eligible boats powered by outboards of 135 horsepower or less.

    For more information on the promo or to see the 2011 Stratos lineup, visit www.StratosBoats.com.

  • 3 more for Lew's

    3 more for Lew's

    Reel manufacturer Lew's has added three more prominent anglers to its pro staff – David Fritts, Peter Thliveros and Terry Scroggins.

    "I am so honored to have such a great team representing the Lew's brand." said Lew's owner Lynn Reeves. "What makes this team special is that they approached us after fishing with our reels or hearing about the quality of the equipment we are bringing to market.

    "We want individuals who are passionate about winning, but also willing to share their knowledge with others. The late Lew Childre was known for being passionate about fishing and showed it through his mentoring ways and dedication to product improvements. To me, that's what Lew's is still all about."

    Of the group, Fritts has the most history with the Lew's brand, having been a primary spokesman for the Lew's name over much of his nearly two decades of tournament fishing. Fritts helped put the Lew's BB1N Speed Spool on the map through his prowess at throwing big-lipped crankbaits.

    Fritts is responsible for Lew's again introducing bigger line-capacity reels with low gear ratios and larger cranking handles among its 2011 baitcast series during a time when other manufacturers are focusing on the high-speed models. Lew's features 5.4:1, 6.4:1 and super-fast 7.1:1 models in its lineup.

    "This is a great team of quality individuals, all having proved their character over time," said Reeves. "These are the kind of guys who spend extra time signing autographs, giving seminars and making other public appearances. I'm proud to have them associated with the Lew's name."

    Reeves also teased that one other well-known and highly successful angler has committed to joining the pro staff, to occur sometime before the next month's Bassmaster Classic. "We can't tell you who it is yet, but he's a popular guy and a great fit with our company. We're looking forward to making our signing with him official and public very soon."

  • As light as they come

    <b><font color=maroon>As light as they come</font></b>

    A lot of BassFans are familiar with the Pflueger Patriarch baitcasting reel, but have you seen the new spinning version? It's the lightest reel in its class, with one model weighing just 5.6 ounces.

    To learn more, click on over to the Catch More Fish page.

  • Ram to sponsor Said

    Ram to sponsor Said

    The Ram Truck Brand announced that it has reached an agreement in principle to sponsor Michigan's Ryan Said, a Chrysler engineer and the 2010 Bassmaster Northern Open points champion who'll be a rookie on the Elite Series this year.

    “Bass anglers are passionate about their trucks,” said Ram Truck president and CEO Fred Diaz. “They demand unsurpassed capability and proven reliability. They’re also very loyal to their sponsor. The introduction of the new Ram Outdoorsman and Ram’s sponsorship of Ryan Said are two of the ways we’re sharing our passion for the sport and connecting with anglers like ourselves.”

    Added Said: “I have two goals for 2011. The first is to further cement the bond between fishermen and Ram Trucks. Our Ram Outdoorsman and our boat are going to get a lot of attention on the road and on the water. It means a lot to our sport and our fans to have Ram here.

    “The second is to finish close enough to the top of the standings to earn a qualifying spot for next year’s Bassmaster Elite Series. My stretch goal is to win Rookie of the Year. The series has a very strong rookie field this year with more than 20, several of whom are already full-time pros from other series."

  • MWC unveils MBC

    MWC unveils MBC

    The news broke last fall that the Masters Walleye Circuit (MWC) would launch a new bass series. The North American Membership Group, which owns and operates the MWC, unveiled the new Masters Bass Circuit (MBC) today.

    Note that the series is somewhat of a test run, and if successful, might follow the MWC model with additional divisions like East and West.

    The MBC will function under a team format, with three 1-day qualifiers (50-boat limit) capped by a 2-day, 31-boat championship. First-place at the championship pays $20,000, while each qualifier pays $10,000 for a win. Anglers will also be eligible for contingencies.

    MWC/MBC executive director Dan Johnson noted: "We're planning four tournaments in 2011. With sponsor contingencies like Cabela's Angler Cash, Stratos 2X Double Your Winnings and Ranger Cup, our payouts increase by more than $50,000."

    An MBC Update with results, photos and sponsor recognition will appear in North American Fisherman magazine.

    2011 Masters Bass Circuit Schedule
    > June 11 -- Lake Winnebago Chain -- Oshkosh, Wisc.
    > July 30-31 -- Bays de Noc -- Escanaba/Gladstone, Mich. (weather day built in)
    > Aug. 19 -- Lake Minnetonka, Minn. (weather day built in)
    > Sept. 24-25 -- World Bass Championship -- Leech Lake, Walker, Minn.

    Registration opens Tuesday, Jan. 18. For details, visit MastersBassCircuit.com or call (877) 893-7947.

  • BU MA: bring your maps!

    BU MA: bring your maps!

    Mike Iaconelli and Pete Gluszek want to do a quick shout-out to anglers who plan to attend this weekend's Bass University in Framingham, Mass. Bring your maps!

    Gluszek said: "We encourage students to bring maps of their favorite bodies of water. The pros offer advice and teach them how to break down their lake. The pros attending the Massachusetts class have all competed on the waters in this region and offer the students a tremendous insight into smallmouth and largemouth patterns in the Northeast."

    For example, one of Iaconelli's seminars this weekend details how to break down a new lake and find fish fast on new bodies of water. Ike noted: "I love when students bring a map of their favorite body of water and we get to incorporate it into class."

    It's not too late to sign up for the Framingham series. For details, visit TheBassUniversity.com.

  • Wave Away looking

    Wave Away, maker of sonar- and GPS-screen cleaning products, is looking for field-staff members to help with promotion. According to the company, members will be eligible for product and cash incentives. Wave Away is now available at Cabela's, Gander Mountain, and Scheels as well as other retailers.

    Interested folks can apply through WaveAway.com.

    > Brent Ehrler and Brandon Palaniuk are currently Wave Away pro-staff members.

  • Anyone an inventor?

    Anyone an inventor?

    If so, BoatUS wants to hear from you. Its Innovation in Life Jacket Design Competition is calling for out-of-the-box life-jacket design entries. But there's not a lot of time – Feb. 1 is the deadline to submit ideas.

    The BoatUS Foundation, along with Underwriters Laboratories and the Personal Floatation Device Manufacturers Association, have teamed up to seek out the newest technologies and design innovations that could rethink a 100-year-old design. "The interest in new, more comfortable designs are always important to waterway users," said BoatUS VP of boating safety Chris Edmonston. "While current models of life jackets save lives every day, many are still bulky and uncomfortable, leaving boaters reluctant to wear them. This competition hopes to challenge that mindset."

    The entries will be judged based on four criteria: wearability, reliability, cost and innovation. Wearability relates to the level of comfort. Reliability will take into account the chances for potential failure, while cost will look at the affordability of the design. Innovation will take into account originality or the employment of new technologies.

    In early February, video of all entries will be posted online at the BoatUS Foundation's channel at YouTube.com, and the public will be asked to select a group of finalists. The finalist entries will then be reviewed by a special panel of judges convened at the International Boating and Water Safety Summit in Savannah, Ga. on March 6-9, 2011, and the winner announced. A $5,000 cash award goes to the winning designer.

    For more information on how to enter and for contest rules, click here. BassFans may also contact Chris Edmonston at (703) 823-9550 x8356.

  • Lew's adds Short

    Lew's adds Short

    Reel manufacturer Lew's has added another notable angler to its expanding pro staff – two-time Bassmaster Elite Series winner Kevin Short of Arkansas.

    “I’ve been using the Lew’s Tournament Pro and Tournament reels since July of last year and they have performed far beyond my expectations," he said. "The Tournament Pro has become my favorite because of its incredible light weight (6.7 ounces) and the durability that I’ve seen.

    "One of the fastest ways to wear any reel down is cranking, and I have made many, many thousands of casts with the Tournament Pro since July. The only way I can tell that first Tournament Pro reel from a new one is to look for the dirt on the line guide – it’s still as smooth as the first cast."

    Said Lynn Reeves of Lew's: “We at Lew’s are excited to have Kevin with Team Lew’s. Kevin brings a wealth of knowledge regarding the needs of the tournament angler and also has a great grasp on where the tackle market is headed today. We feel that he will be an asset in promoting the Lew’s brand and that Lew’s Speed Spool and Speed Spin reels will help him perform at the upper level of the Bassmaster Elite Series.”

  • Oakley BBT begins

    Oakley BBT begins

    The Oakley Big Bass Tour, which includes several stops titled after Oakley tour pros like Kevin VanDam, Gerald Swindle and Kelly Jordon, is ready to begin a new season. The first stop's at Lake Conroe (Texas) March 5-6. Based at Papas on the Lake, this open big-bass tournament will offer amateur anglers the chance to compete for over $150,000 in cash and prizes during the 2-day event.

    The angler with the largest overall big bass of the tournament will take home a $25,000 2011 Nitro Z7 powered by a Mercury 150 horsepower motor. As an added bonus for 2011, a second Nitro Z7 will be drawn from the remaining hourly winners for both days, bringing the total guaranteed grand-prize payouts to $50,000.

    For details on the event, as well as the other stops, click here.

  • Brody's entrance music?

    Brody's entrance music?

    At the Bassmaster Classic, the pros get to choose their entrance music. Some of it's good, some of it's hokey. But we're betting that if Brent "Brody" Broderick ever makes the Classic, his entrance music will be something to remember. Why? Check out his website here and listen to the background music.

    Now go get your halberd and chainmail!

  • Ranger launches its promo

    The boat-selling season is underway and manufacturers are announcing their 2011 sales incentives. Ranger unveiled its incentive program today and here's a look.

    The Gotcha Covered retail program returns and will run through March 31. Buyers who purchase a specific freshwater boat model from an authorized Ranger dealer will receive a custom-matched deluxe boat cover valued at $900, plus a Ranger Owners Group membership that includes $100 credit towards premium, member-specific merchandise available only through Ranger's online store.

    The $1,000 Gotcha Covered incentive is limited to new, eligible Ranger boats sold during the promotion's timeframe and powered by Yamaha, Mercury, Evinrude or Suzuki engines. Freshwater models eligible for the Gotcha Covered promotion include:

    > Z-500 Comanche Series
    > Fisherman Series
    > Z-100 Series
    > Reata Series

  • Finances forced Tucker's hand

    Finances forced Tucker's hand

    Missouri veteran Mark Tucker, a seven-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier, badly wanted to fish the Elite Series this year now that B.A.S.S. is under the ownership of a group headed by Jerry McKinnis. However, his inability to secure a primary sponsor has caused him to step back for at least a year.

    "It was the worst thing in the world to have to do because I really had no intentions of quitting, but you just can't do it out of your own pocket," he said. "I'm so aggravated to be in this situation because of how much I love it and I do plan to get back.

    "If the economy was better, I think I could find a sponsor. But with the way things are right now, you have to try to go outside the industry, and it's as brutal out there as brutal gets."

    He's returned to his former occupation as a concrete finisher, but hasn't been working recently due to the spate of inclement weather in his region.

    He'll fish the Central Opens this year and possibly some other events. He missed qualifying for this year's Classic by two places on the points list when he lost a 6 1/2-pounder on day 2 of last year's Elite Series finale at Fort Gibson.

    He thinks that if he'd landed that fish, his situation might be different today.

    "If you make the Classic, then you can usually afford to go on through the next year. I had that fish right to the boat, and to have it get off was just sickening. But things happen for a reason, and we'll see what happens from here on."

  • Fantasy Fishing: beefier

    Fantasy Fishing: beefier

    FLW Outdoors today announced details of its 2011 Fantasy Fishing game and opened the game for play. While there's still no $1 million prize like in the past, the prizes are beefier this year.

    The game, which is played across the 10-event FLW season, is partly underwritten by presenting sponsor Straight Talk – a Walmart-exclusive, pay-as-you-go TracFone wireless service.

    The prize structure looks like this:

    > Each Tour event offers a $25,000 purse with a $15,000 1st-place prize.

    > Cumulative grand prize is $100,000.

    > Cumulative 2nd-place prize is a Ranger Z-520 with a Ranger Trail Trailer, 250 Mercury outboard, Minn Kota Maxxum 80 trolling motor, Lowrance electronics and trolling motor batteries (all valued at $54,000).

    > Cumulative 3rd-place prize is a Chevy 1500 Silverado valued at $38,000. Cumulative 4th place is a FinCraft 17 Dual Console boat with a 115 Evinrude valued at $27,000. Cumulative 5th place is a BRP Can-Am Outlander 400 ATV valued at $8,000. Cumulative 6th- through 10-place prizes are Walmart gift cards ranging from $9,000 to $5,000.

    FLW Outdoors chairman and CEO Irwin Jacobs said in announcing the news: "Fantasy Fishing is something we've put a lot of time and effort into and feel it's one of our best undertakings. The participation from the fans is unbelievable, and with the game being played all over the world, it's helped build the sport and bring recognition to the anglers and our partners."

    The announcement included confirmation that Scott Canterbury and JT Kenney had been named to the Straight Talk/TracFone fishing team.

    Players can sign up for the game at FantasyFishing.com.

  • Exclusive reports: Velvick, Stone

    Two significant stories today on the front page of BassFan: Marty Stone retires and Byron Velvick undergoes back surgery after a season of severe pain and numbness.

    For coverage of Stone, click here.

    For coverage of Velvick, click here.

  • McCall's new gig

    McCall's new gig

    Former FLW Tour pro Chris McCall of Texas (at right in photo) has joined forces with veteran guide Scott Soisson to open a tackle shop and guide service at Lake Sam Rayburn. The operation is called the Sam Rayburn Tackle Monkey and Guide Service and is headquartered in the Stump Plaza between The Stump restaurant and Piney Point on the south end of the lake.

    McCall will fish the Texas EverStarts this year. To contact the shop, call (409) 698-9664.

  • Lew's lures Browne

    Lew's lures Browne

    Florida FLW Tour pro Glenn Browne announced today that he's inked a sponsorship deal with reel-maker Lew's.

    "I just got the reels and I've been fishing with them for the last couple days at Okeechobee," he said. "They're one of the best I've ever put in my hand – I can't believe how far I can throw and how smooth they are. They've come out with a fantastic product."

    He added that the fishing at Okeechobee has been superb as the Tour opener (Feb. 3-6) approaches.

    "A cold front could show up and throw everything for a loop, but it looks like we could start the year with a bang."

  • Clough back with B.A.S.S.

    Former B.A.S.S. conservation director (2004-07) Noreen Clough is back with B.A.S.S. in the same capacity. Chris Horton held the position from Clough's retirement until last fall, when he left to join the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation.

    Clough previously served 20 years with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and was director of the FWS Southeast Region.

    BASS ownership partner Jerry McKinnis noted: "I've known Noreen for many years, and I'm excited about the enthusiasm and dedication to sportfishing she brings back to B.A.S.S. Anglers contribute so much time and money to conservation already. It's great to have her providing leadership for bass fishermen on behalf of our resources."

    B.A.S.S stated that Clough will work closely with state conservation directors and other leaders in the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation, and will represent sportfishing interests on national conservation and natural-resource boards, in addition to other responsibilities.

    She said her first priorities will be to help "re-energize the state conservation-director program and help them establish meaningful, exciting conservation priorities. They've done a remarkable job over the years, and they're respected for the work they've done throughout the sportfishing industry."

    She identified the efforts to make large areas of key fisheries off-limits to sportfishing, such as Marine Protected Areas, as a major threat to recreational angling. "The whole idea that giant areas need to be set aside as protected areas — in freshwater as well as saltwater — violates good fishery management," she noted. "I want to ensure that B.A.S.S. stays connected to the larger fisheries and sportfishing community and will remain a player at the table when key decisions are made regarding the future of fishing."

    She resides in Clermont, Fla.

  • Clunn: Razor edge

    Clunn: Razor edge

    Interesting story on Rick Clunn this week from Brent Frazee of the Kansas City Star. The focus is Clunn's decline: Frazee describes him as an athlete in the "twilight of his pro-fishing career."

    Clunn gets in a nice quote when he says: "People don’t realize that the difference between where I was and where I am now is a razor edge. At this level, you’re constantly walking the tightrope between greatness and mediocrity."

    To read the full piece, click here.

    BassFan recently published a piece with Clunn about scheduling. In case you missed it, it's here.

  • FLW & Leer

    With Charlie Evans gone from FLW Outdoors, the company needed new hosts to replace him on the show and onstage. Regarding the bass side, they re-hired Chris Jones and hired Laura Schara to assist continuing host Jason Harper.

    It took a little longer to rebuild the walleye side, but this week FLW announced that Upper Midwest industry personality Chip Leer will perform hosting duties for the FLW Walleye Tour.

  • All-Terrain re-ups two

    Both Todd Faircloth and Jim Moynagh renewed their sponsor agreements with All-Terrain Tackle this week. Both have been with the company for a long time.

    All-Terrain owner Steve Hauge stated: "We couldn't be more pleased to have Todd and Jim back with All-Terrain Tackle for 2011. They've been with the company for a number of years now and exemplify what a true pro bass fisherman is. "

  • Edwards 'Operation' gets news ink

    Edwards 'Operation' gets news ink

    Good story today in the Denver Post on Jarrett Edwards and his Operation Outdoors campaign for soldiers. Check it out here.

  • 2011 Elites: who dropped?

    A quick analysis of the just-announced 2011 Elite Series field shows that seven pros are not returning. They're listed below. In cases where a reason is known, it's noted in parentheses.

    Byron Velvick (medical)
    Guy Eaker (retired)
    Mark Burgess
    Mark Tucker
    Mark Tyler
    Marty Stone
    Vince Fulks
    Wade Grooms

  • 2011 Elite Field

    B.A.S.S. just released its final 2011 Elite Series field. The Elite Series will run 101 boats – up significantly from last year's 93-boat field. Anglers represent 25 different states plus Japan. Texas has the most competitors with 16, followed by Alabama with 13.

    New to the Elite Series for 2011 are Dean Alexander, Keith Combs (Central Open points champion), Ott DeFoe, Travis Manson, Andy Montgomery, Brandon Palaniuk (2010 B.A.S.S. Federation Nation champion), Ben Parker, Russell Parrish, Ryan Said (2010 Northern Opens points champion), Craig Schuff, Lee Sisson, James Stricklin, Jonathon VanDam and Nate Wellman.

    David Walker returns after a period of fishing the FLW Tour.

    Dean Alexander, Florence, Texas
    Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C.
    Scott Ashmore, Broken Arrow, Okla.
    Tommy Biffle, Wagoner, Okla.
    Denny Brauer, Camdenton, Mo.
    Brent Broderick, Oregonia, Ohio
    Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark.
    Terry Butcher, Talala, Okla.
    Brent Chapman, Lake Quivira, Kan.
    Rick Clunn, Ava, Mo.
    Keith Combs, Del Rio, Texas
    Jeff Connella, Bentley, La.
    John Crews, Salem, Va.
    Cliff Crochet, Pierre Part, La.
    Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark.
    Ott Defoe, Knoxville, Tenn.
    Boyd Duckett, Demopolis, Ala.
    Paul Elias, Laurel, Miss.
    Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla.
    Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texas
    Jami Fralick, Martin, S.D.
    Grant Goldbeck, Boerne, Texas
    Pat Golden, High Point, N.C.
    Matt Greenblatt, Tequesta, Fla.
    Chad Griffin, Cresson, Texas
    Shaw Grigsby, Gainesville, Fla.
    Greg Hackney, Gonzales, La.
    Bradley Hallman, Norman, Okla.
    Charlie Hartley, Grove City, Ohio
    Byron "B.J." Haseotes, Centerville, Mass.
    Matt Herren, Trussville, Ala.
    Kenyon Hill, Norman, Okla.
    Davy Hite, Ninety Six, S.C.
    Tim Horton, Muscle Shoals, Ala.
    Randy Howell, Springville, Ala.
    Michael Iaconelli, Pittsgrove, N.J.
    Alton Jones, Woodway, Texas
    Kelly Jordon, Mineola, Texas
    Steve Kennedy, Auburn, Ala.
    Kotaro Kiriyama, Moody, Ala.
    Gary Klein, Weatherford, Texas
    Jeff Kriet, Ardmore, Okla.
    Bobby Lane, Lakeland, Fla.
    Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala.
    Russ Lane, Prattville, Ala.
    Jared Lintner, Arroyo Grande, Calif.
    Bill Lowen, North Bend, Ohio
    Travis Manson, Green Bay, Wis.
    Aaron Martens, Leeds, Ala.
    Billy McCaghren, Mayflower, Ark.
    Mike McClelland, Bella Vista, Ark.
    Mark Menendez, Paducah, Ky.
    Yusuke Miyazaki, Forney, Texas
    Ish Monroe, Hughson, Calif.
    Andy Montgomery, Blacksburg, S.C.
    Rick Morris, Lake Gaston, Va.
    John Murray, Phoenix, Ariz.
    Britt Myers, Lake Wylie, N.C.
    James Niggemeyer, Van, Texas
    Takahiro Omori, Emory, Texas
    Cliff Pace, Petal, Miss.
    Brandon Palaniuk, Rathdrum, Id.
    Ben Parker, Springville, Tenn.
    Russell Parrish, Riesel, Texas
    Keith Poche, Troy, Ala.
    Pete Ponds, Madison, Miss.
    Jason Quinn, York, S.C.
    Matt Reed, Madisonville, Texas
    Clark Reehm, Russellville, Ark.
    Skeet Reese, Auburn, Calif.
    Derek Remitz, Grant, Ala.
    Marty Robinson, Lyman, S.C.
    Dean Rojas, Lake Havasu City, Ariz.
    Scott Rook, Little Rock, Ark.
    Fred Roumbanis, Bixby, Okla.
    Zell Rowland, Austin, Texas
    Bradley Roy, Lancaster, Ky.
    Ryan Said, Wixom, Mich.
    Craig Schuff, Watauga, Texas
    Bernie Schultz, Gainesville, Fla.
    Terry Scroggins, San Mateo, Fla.
    Morizo Shimizu, Suita, Japan
    Kevin Short, Mayflower, Ark.
    Lee Sisson, Winter Haven, Fla.
    David Smith, Edmond, Okla.
    Brian Snowden, Reeds Spring, Mo.
    Jeremy Starks, Charleston, W.Va.
    James Stricklin, Jasper, Texas
    Gerald Swindle, Warrior, Ala.
    Peter Thliveros, St. Augustine, Fla.
    Dennis Tietje, Roanoke, La.
    J. Todd Tucker, Moultrie, Ga.
    Jonathon VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich.
    Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich.
    Greg Vinson, Wetumpka, Ala.
    David Walker, Sevierville, Tenn.
    Nate Wellman, Newaygo, Mich.
    Dustin Wilks, Rocky Mount, N.C.
    Jason Williamson, Wagener, S.C.
    Kevin Wirth, Crestwood, Ky.
    Dave Wolak, Wake Forest, N.C.

  • Chevy extends with FLW

    Chevy extends with FLW

    Chevy has extended its sponsorship of FLW Outdoors under what was termed a "multiyear" agreement.

    The Chevy team will continue largely as is with only one change: Bryan Thrift replaces Dave Lefebre, who switched to Kellogg. Returning Team Chevy members are Luke Clausen, Anthony Gagliardi, Dion Hibdon, Jimmy Houston, Larry Nixon and Jay Yelas.

    FLW Outdoors marketing-division president Trisha Blake said: “Chevy has been with FLW Outdoors since its inception. Their continued partnership exemplifies Chevy’s longstanding commitment and support of the anglers, fans and the FLW organization. We will continue to build upon our unique relationship including an enhanced emphasis at our grassroots events in 2011.”

    Chevy promotions manager Phil Caruso noted: “Chevrolet is proud to continue our longstanding relationship with FLW Outdoors and actively support the sport of fishing in communities across the country.”

    Under the agreement, Chevy will continue as presenting sponsor of the BFL All-American and title sponsor of the Chevy BFL Wild Card.

  • Barone on Bassmaster

    BassFans who lamented Don Barone's recent absence from Bassmaster.com will no doubt be happy with today's news that the popular writer's agreement with B.A.S.S. has been extended and he'll still be covering the Elite Series onsite this year and providing other content for B.A.S.S.

    Want to connect with Barone? Look him up at DonBaroneOutdoors.com.

  • What's up at Tru-Tungsten?

    Several months ago, it became clear that Tru-Tungsten and sister companies Mihatchii and Picasso – all of which fall under the purview of the Fish Harder Co. – were in trouble. The rumblings started in media sales offices and among pro anglers. Outstanding debt mounted and several parties, including tour pros, filed suit against Fish Harder.

    Fish Harder closed its corporate offices and according to sources close to the company, leaders are now operating out of their homes until a sale of the companies can be completed. Word is the Picasso brand will not be part of the sale, and that a sale could be completed within a month.

    Who's a potential buyer? No word yet, although if recent history can offer a suggestion, Rapala, Pure Fishing and Pradco Fishing would have certainly at least sniffed around. As well, Strike King was rumored to have taken a look.

  • Classic draws conservation eyes

    The upcoming Bassmaster Classic will be held at the Louisiana Delta outside New Orleans. B.A.S.S. stated it will use the Classic to help draw attention to perils that threaten the entire Louisiana Delta ecosystem – an area the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) lists as a "Vanishing Paradise."

    B.A.S.S., in partnership with the NWF and Louisiana Wildlife Federation (LWF), will campaign to promote the restoration and protection of Louisiana's imperiled coastal wetlands and reconnect the Mississippi River to its delta.

    The problem according to the NWF? Levees and navigation projects along the Mississippi River have isolated Louisiana's wetlands from the freshwater and sediment that once built them, while allowing saltwater to penetrate far inland and destroy once healthy coastal forests and freshwater swamps. As a result, more than 2,300 square miles of coastal lands and estuaries, an area nearly the size of the state of Delaware, has washed away or subsided in the last 80 years. An area of land the size of a football field becomes open water nearly every half-hour along the Louisiana coast.

    River diversion projects already in place have dramatically improved delta bass fishing since the Classic last visited New Orleans in 2003. LWF's Sportsmen for the Coast campaign and NWF's Vanishing Paradise effort are aimed at gaining federal approval of additional projects to restore the vast marshland.

    B.A.S.S. ownership partner Jerry McKinnis stated: "B.A.S.S. supports these efforts to protect and improve this great fishery that's so important to bass fishermen and other sportsmen. Unless something's done to protect these coastal wetlands, the fantastic fishing we have now won't be around for our children to enjoy."

    LWF coastal outreach coordinator Chris Macaluso added: "The best bass fishing, and arguably even the best saltwater fishing in Louisiana over the past 10 to 15 years has been in the coastal areas near the Caernarvon and Davis Pond diversions. Bringing the river back into those areas has increased the aquatic vegetation, made the food chain healthier and made both the bass fishing and the saltwater fishing much better. The Mississippi River built this delta, and it only makes sense that it needs to be used to restore and rebuild it."

    More information about the campaign can be found at VanishingParadise.org and LAWildlifeFed.org/coastal.

    The below video features leaders from Ducks Unlimited talking about the crisis.


  • Altitude buys half of WFN

    Altitude buys half of WFN

    Colorado-based Altitude Sports & Entertainment – a sports network that's the television home of the Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets – recently concluded a 50% purchase of interest in the World Fishing Network (WFN). As part of the transaction, WFN will consolidate its U.S. operations in Denver, Colorado - including technical operations at Altitude's network operations center in Centennial, Colo. WFN's Canadian operations will remain headquartered in Toronto, Ont.

    Altitude is a subsidiary of Kroenke Sports Enterprises, while WFN is a subsidiary of Insight Sports. The split interest effectively creates a partnership between the two in terms of WFN.

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    Altitude president and CEO Matt Hutchings stated in the announcement: "We're thrilled to join with Insight Sports as partners in the World Fishing Network. WFN is a first-class operation, and its team, led by Mark Rubinstein, has done a fantastic job in the launch and roll-out of this high-quality network. We look forward to working alongside them to build the WFN business and expand its brand. We're also excited that, in order to further enhance the viewing experience, WFN's U.S.-based technical operations will be headquartered at Altitude's state-of-the-art network operations center."

    WFN president and CEO Mark Rubenstein commented: "By partnering with Altitude Sports, WFN will have access to enhanced programming, marketing, sales, technical and other benefits that will enable us to provide the leading cross-platform media experience for the large and underserved community of passionate anglers. More people fish than play golf and tennis combined, and only WFN offers viewers a high-quality, diverse, 24/7 television channel dedicated to this passion. Our partnership with Altitude will further power our TV-network distribution roll-out and the ongoing positive growth of our online and mobile communities."

    Also quoted in the announcement was Kroenke president and CEO Jim Martin, who stated: "This is an incredible opportunity for WFN to reach the tens of millions of avid anglers in the United States who have never had access to a network devoted solely to one of America's favorite pastimes – fishing. We believe cable and satellite companies will be enticed by this opportunity to provide their subscribers and sponsors with unprecedented coverage in the multibillion-dollar fishing industry."

    WFN's current distribution was cited as over 20 million households.

  • Controversial site ready to launch

    Controversial site ready to launch

    The car-buying process changed profoundly more than a decade ago when consumers began to research invoice pricing online. These educated consumers then walked into a dealer essentially knowing how low a sales manager could go in price to earn his or her business. While some salespeople and dealers lamented the availability of the information, others didn't mind: Front-end profit went down considerably on vehicle sales, but settling for a lower front-end profit often helped close a deal, and the true profit was then made in the finance department and later in the service lane.

    There's a new boat-buying site ready to launch that wants to arm boat-buyers with the same type of information. It's called SeeDealerCost.com, but so far, the impending launch has been laced with controversy.

    A press release announcing the site states: "Similar to sites in the automotive market, See Dealer Cost is not a selling site, but provides product information, including prices, features and specifications. Site users will be able to configure products and save configurations in their account, or print them out. In addition, a wide range of supportive information will be available, including financing, insurance, relevant articles, and pre-owned value information. For participating companies, See Dealer Cost is a lead generation and/or advertising site. Today's buyer requires high-value, technologically advanced products, great service, ease of doing business and the best deal possible. The problem is customers don't know what the best deal possible is. The auto industry, however, reports a higher closing rate when the customer is better informed."

    Who's behind the new site? The Marine Retailers Association of America (MRAA) issued a letter to manufacturers to warn of the new site and identified the founders as former marine executives Jack Malone (Mercury) and Dave Taylor (U.S. Marine).

    The letter urges manufacturers not to cooperate with SeeDealerCost.com and states the MRAA's belief that "the harmful effects that will result from the publication of actual dealer costs to the retail public are self evident. It is axiomatic that dealer profit margins will shrink to marginal levels as consumers, armed with actual dealer costs, will 'low ball' dealers with purchase offers slightly above dealer actual costs. In an already historically poor economic environment for the retail sales of boats, the negative resulting effects can be catastrophic as dealers, who sell less and less boats, will be forced to even lower and lower profit margins while still maintaining high overhead costs for labor, rent, insurance and floorplan interest charges. We can certainly foresee the scenario in which dealers will also be routinely compelled to try and explain to their potential customers that numerous other expenses, other than the actual purchase price of the boat from the manufacturer, must be factored into the retail price of a boat as set forth herein."

  • Tietje bags two

    Tietje bags two

    Second-year Bassmaster Elite Series pro Dennis Tietje of Louisiana has picked up two new sponsors for 2011 – the Coolze Heat Relief Towel and Omega Custom Tackle.

    “This is the coolest product on the market,” Tietje quipped about the Coolze towel. “They have a great product for any outdoorsperson and they’re from right here in south Louisiana.”

    Part of Tietje’s appeal to Coolze was his Louisiana background and the breadth of his outdoor interests.

    “He’s a good old boy living the dream,” said Coolze owner John Broussard. “As his career grows, we hope to grow with him and we expect that he will create a market for our products among outdoor sportsmen across the country.”

    Tietje said the addition of Omega fills an important niche in his tackle arsenal. The company is known primarily for its jigs.

    “I met company president Todd Barnes on tour last season and we’ve created a great relationship,” he said. “Omega is a proven element in the fishing world. You simply cannot compete on the Elite Series if you do not have quality jigs, and Omega makes products that cover everything from swimming and pitching jigs in a foot of water all the way down to dragging a football jig on deep ledges.”

    Said Barnes: “We are excited to welcome Dennis aboard the Omega nation. He’s a hardcore jig fisherman and fishes a jig 12 months out of the year. We know that he has already enjoyed tremendous success with several of our products and he is extremely knowledgeable about our products and their applications.”

  • First FYI of 2011

    A new world record, a giant tuna, FLW's new on-air personality and the KVD video game are featured in the first Facts of Fishing FYI episode of the new year. To see it, click below.

  • Conroe sack tops 45

    Conroe sack tops 45

    BassFan Ron Gunter passed along info on a lake-record limit caught recently in a Sunday morning tournament at Texas' Lake Conroe out of Stow-A-Way Marina. The 45.10-pound sack brought in by Rusty Lawson and Dusty Schultz contained two fish that topped 10 pounds each and three others that averaged more than 8 pounds apiece.

    The behemoths were caught off brushpiles in more than 20 feet of water and bit Paydirt jigs.

    Bassmaster Elite Series angler Dean Rojas holds the all-time B.A.S.S. record for a one-day catch with a 45-02 bag from Florida's Lake Toho in 2001.

  • Shop-Vac joins FLW

    FLW Outdoors announced that wet/dry vacuum-maker Shop-Vac has rejoined the organization as a sponsor.

    Said Marketing Division president Trisha Blake: “We are delighted to welcome Shop-Vac back into the ranks of FLW Outdoors. Shop-Vac is a natural fit and we look forward to further building upon our past successes.”

  • Site for back-seaters

    Site for back-seaters

    Californian Robert Faaborg, a veteran photojournalist and a 2010 Forrest Wood Cup qualifier as a co-angler, has launched a website (BackDeckPro.com) that focuses solely on the co-angler's perspective of tournament fishing.

    The site is anchored by “At The Tanks," a column dedicated to event coverage ranging from pre-tournament preparation to post-tournament analysis. Other topics will be fishing destinations, a tips and techniques column directed toward co-anglers, an angler profile feature and a health and fitness column provided by Ken Hoover of Athletes Outdoors.

    “I have photographed numerous sporting events ranging from high school football to Olympic events.” said Faaborg, who spent 15 years in the newspaper business. “Not too much can get me excited, but bringing a big bass to the stage ranks right up there with shooting Steve Garvey’s walk-off homer in the 1984 World Series.”

    To visit the site, click here.

  • Rook joins Jewel

    Rook joins Jewel

    Jewel Bait Co. announced that it's added Arkansas Bassmaster Elite Series angler Scott Rook to its pro staff.

    "Scott has dominated tournaments on the Arkansas River system for the past several years on Jewel products, and he's taken our baits and his skills all across the country to become one of bass fishing's million-dollar winners," said Jewel national sales manager Bryan Head. "He's a true expert with all of our jigs and we appreciate the way he shares his fishing knowledge with anglers of all ages, everywhere he goes."

    Said Rook: "It's never been a secret in my case – I'm a river guy who relies heavily on my jig. I've been using the Eakins 5/16-ounce finesse jig ever since it first came out, but more recently I've become a big fan of the J Lock Flip 'N Jig and Jewel's football jigs.

    "Football jigs have greatly enhanced my offshore, deep-water fishing the last couple of years. I'm also liking what I see in their new Hole Punch skirts and Swim It jigs, and I'm confident they'll play a role, too, in what I do best."

    Rook will join fellow Jewel team members Jeff Kriet and Mike McClelland and next month's Bassmaster Classic.

  • Rugged Shark snags Roy

    Rugged Shark snags Roy

    Footwear manufacturer Rugged Shark announced that it's signed second-year Bassmaster Elite Series pro Bradley Roy to a sponsorship deal.

    “Becoming part of the Rugged Shark team alongside Bill Dance is an honor for me,” he said. “Being from Kentucky, I was always a basketball-shoe guy until I started wearing Rugged Shark last year. I’ve found these shoes to be every bit as comfortable and stylish and certainly much more suited to being in a boat all day.”

    Said Rugged Shark VP of sales Mike Wilkes: “Bradley is a level-headed young man and quite a role model as he balances his professional bass fishing career with college. We are very excited to have him join Bill Dance and a growing list of professional anglers and captains representing the Rugged Shark outdoor footwear and apparel brand in the coming year.”

  • Platinum Pistons?

    Just 2 weeks after Platinum Equity finalized its acquisition of American Commercial Lines (a deal with an enterprise value of about $777 million), it looks Platinum might be making a play for the Detroit Pistons. According to several reports, Platinum chief Tom Gores, who was raised in the Flint, Mich. area, has a 30-day exclusive-bid window for the NBA franchise.

    Check out reporting in the Detroit Free Press here.

    Platinum acquired the Ranger, Stratos and Champion bass-boat brands during the Genmar bankruptcy, and later acquired the Triton brand.

  • Mass animal deaths: what gives?

    It's pretty strange, but there have been numerous mass animal deaths reported around the globe – fish in the Chesapeake Bay and Arkansas River, birds in Louisiana and Texas, and turtle doves in Italy are a few of the examples. The news is all over the media, and there's some conjecture that a shifting magnetic north pole could be a part of the problem.

    Here's one story on the deaths, published in the UK's Daily Mail.

  • Light, sensitive and durable

    Fishing rods have gotten dramatically lighter in recent years, but there are some on the market that have paid a price in durability for that reduction in weight. Not so with the Abu Garcia Veritas, which capitalizes on the availability of space-age technology to produce a rod that's not only light and sensitive, but also tough. And the price is nice, too.

    To learn more about it, visit the Catch More Fish page.

  • 'Bird seminars at BU

    'Bird seminars at BU

    BassFans attending one of the final two Bassmaster University (BU) stops – this weekend in Shreveport, La. or next weekend in Framingham, Mass. – will benefit from one additional topic of study. Minn Kota and Humminbird signed a support agreement with BU, and courtesy of Humminbird, each BU event will now include seminars on Side Imaging, Down Imaging, GPS and sonar. Students will be exposed to topics like how Side Imaging works, how to interpret Side-Imaging/Down Imaging displays, how to use this information to catch more fish, and how GPS is used to complement sonar technology.

    BU co-founder Pete Gluszek stated: "For years we've been limited by the constraints of standard sonar operation. Now we have the opportunity to see so much more and do it in half the time. I'm very excited that Humminbird has made this available to our students and look forward to sharing this technology at all of our BU events."

    For more information on BU, visit TheBassUniversity.com.

  • Howell hooks King's Home

    Howell hooks King's Home

    Bassmaster Elite Series pro Randy Howell's primary sponsor for 2011 will be King's Home, a non-profit organization based in central Alabama. His boat, truck and jersey will all sport the King's Home logo (click on the photo for a larger view of his truck).

    He began volunteering at King’s Home 2 years ago, after learning about the organization’s mission to provide hope and healing to mothers, children, youth and women seeking refuge from abuse, neglect and homelessness. He connected instantly with the residents, sharing his love of fishing while teaching them about the sport at one of the campus lakes.

    “Fishing is therapeutic for these kids and motivates them to get outside and explore,” he said. “And watching their faces as they catch their first fish is a wonderful experience, not just for them, but for me as well.”

    He served as keynote speaker for the group’s largest fundraising event last April, and in November he signed a contract to promote King’s Home nationwide.

    “Our partnership with Randy has been a wonderful blessing,” said King's Home president Lew Burdette. “His engaging personality, media savvy, talent as a world-class angler and tremendous heart for helping children, youth and moms make him a perfect fit as our spokesperson.”

    The program operates 19 homes located in Jefferson, Shelby and Tuscaloosa counties in Alabama.

  • Kellogg back with FLW

    Kellogg back with FLW

    FLW Outdoors announced today that cereal and convenience-food giant Kellogg has returned as a sponsor of the organization. The company's 1-year hiatus coincided with that of Walmart.

    “We are excited that Kellogg has rejoined the ranks of FLW Outdoors,” said marketing division president Trisha Blake. “They have been a strong supporter of the fishing industry, and we are delighted they will continue to showcase their products at the FLW Outdoors Expo and other events all around the country.”

    Said Kellogg senior VP of Walmart sales Gary Gatton: “Kellogg has a long-standing relationship with FLW Outdoors. The 2011 season should be very exciting, and we are proud to have some of the best anglers in the world representing our iconic brands.”

    The four-angler team includes two pros who formerly represented the company – Dave Lefebre, who'll wear a Frosted Flakes jersey this year; and Jim Tutt, who'll represent Rice Krispies. They'll be joined by Shinichi Fukae (Cheez-It) and Greg Bohannan (Pop-Tarts).

    "I'm extremely happy to be back with the Kellogg's family," said Lefebre, who sported the Chevy banner in 2010. "They gave me my first break in the sport back in 2004 and they were so instrumental in helping to launch my career. It'll be great to kick off the new year wearing their colors again.

    "We've got a stout team as always, and the addition of Shin Fukae makes it even stronger."

    A notable absence is Clark Wendlandt, who was formerly the Kellogg flag-bearer on the FLW Tour. Wendlandt had an FLW team deal with Cabela's last year, but Cabela's has not renewed with the organization for 2011.

  • Elite field?

    Elite field?

    If you're wondering what the final Bassmaster Elite Series field will look like this season, your wait's almost over. According to B.A.S.S., the final 2011 field will be released shortly.

  • Guntersville meeting set

    A public meeting to form the Lake Guntersville Anglers Association will take place Jan. 29 at 11:30 a.m. at the Best Western Plus, 2140 Gunter Ave., Guntersville, Ala. The primary purpose will be to determine the degree of interest and commitment to the association, and to create temporary organizational committees.

    Topics will include slot and creel limits, stocking, vegetation, tournaments, ramp fees, etc. Everyone is welcome.

    For more information, send an email to Joe Majka at bernabob703@aol.com.

  • Abu, Berkley grab Palaniuk

    Abu, Berkley grab Palaniuk

    Idaho's Brandon Palaniuk, the 2010 B.A.S.S. Federation Nation national champion who'll be a rookie on the Bassmaster Elite Series this year, has entered into sponsorship agreements with Abu Garcia (reels, rods) and Berkley (line, soft baits).

    “We are very excited to have Brandon sign with Abu Garcia and Berkley,” said Pure Fishing VP of Marketing David Lund. “He is currently the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation champion, and has represented the sport of fishing very well. It will be a pleasure to work with him throughout the upcoming year.”

    Said Palaniuk: “To fish this season with the Elites will be exciting. I think it will be a great year to be a rookie. The series of lakes we are fishing play to many of my strengths, which should lead to a solid season.

    "I’m also excited to have the finest sponsors on the water. Abu Garcia and Berkley have been great to work with, and their products lead the way in innovation and performance.”

  • FLW, Blaukat to promote Pickens Plan

    FLW, Blaukat to promote Pickens Plan

    FLW Outdoors announced today that the Pickens Plan, a program designed to help gain energy independence for the United States, will become a prominent fixture on the FLW Tour in 2011. The plan will be represented on the Tour by veteran Randy Blaukat (pictured), who returns to competition this year after a one-season absence.

    Developed by financier T. Boone Pickens, who last year became an equity partner in FLW, the plan is a collection of coordinated steps that form a comprehensive approach to addressing the energy concerns facing the country. A major component is ensuring that the public’s voice will be heard by Congress and the White House.

    Trisha Blake, president of FLW Outdoors Marketing Division, said: “The Pickens Plan is dedicated to gaining energy independence for the U.S., and we want our anglers and fans at the front of efforts to greater utilize domestic energy resources and conservation efforts. Educating the public is the first step in improving our energy independence, and by using the resources of FLW Outdoors, we can help in numerous ways.”

    Said Pickens: “I’m grateful that FLW is working to expand the reach of our initiative. This is a key audience for us and will ultimately help expand the effectiveness of our program.”

    Blaukat, who's often outspoken on environmental issues, is an ardent supporter of the Pickens Plan. He and his family reside in an off-grid solar home in Joplin, Mo.

    "As a lifelong environmentalist and professional angler, being able to represent the Pickens Plan for FLW is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he said. "The initiatives that Boone is laying out have tremendous bipartisan political support and have received praise from both the environmental and business communities alike.

    "In addition to being in the best interests for the U.S. on a national-security level, the Pickens Plan also has tremendous potential to create a huge new sector of environmentally sustainable jobs, while securing domestic, long-term, green, alternative energy sources for the U.S. and the rest of our planet."

  • Horton aligns with Duckett

    Horton aligns with Duckett

    Veteran Bassmaster Elite Series angler Tim Horton of Alabama has joined the Duckett Fishing pro staff. The Demopolis, Ala.-based rod company is owned by fellow Elite pro Boyd Duckett.

    “Timmy is obviously a great angler," Duckett said. "He engraved his name forever in our sport by winning Angler of the Year (in 2000), something every angler covets. But what’s even more important to us, Timmy’s a professional on and off the water.

    “Another thing that’s truly important about Timmy is that he’s a hands-on guy when it comes to product development. He’s like our other pro staff guys in the fact that he will help us develop leading products in the future.”

    Said Horton: “I’ve known Boyd Duckett for years, and I have tremendous respect for him as an angler and a businessman. He’s a leader that you can trust. He’s also savvy. What has really impressed me is that he takes no shortcuts when it comes to developing rods."

    He joins a staff that includes Kelly Jordon, Terry Scroggins, Byron Velvick, Jason Williamson and Pete Ponds.

  • Bolton to Denali

    Bolton to Denali

    Denali Rods announced that it's added FLW Tour veteran Terry Bolton to its pro staff

    “Denali is extremely excited to have Terry on our pro staff,” said president Scott Estes. “Through many years of professional fishing, he's been the model of consistency. Terry is a great fisherman, a great guy, and will represent us well.”

    Said Bolton: “I am really excited to be with Denali Rods and I feel they are a real up-and-coming company. I have been real impressed with the way they build rods that fishermen can use with the proper actions and sensitivity. With the help of Denali, my job will be a lot easier this year.”

    Bolton joins Ray Scheide, Michael Murphy, Preston Clark and Mark Tyler on the Denali staff.

  • Dealing with doubt

    In his newest Sonar Sound-Off column, Miles Burghoff recounts the lessons he learned while attending the Kissimmee, Fla. session of The Bass University. He picked up a lot about baits and techniques, but thinks the tips he garnered from the pros about the mental side of the game might have even more long-term benefit for him.

    To read the column, click here.

    There are two BU sessions remaining this season – this weekend in Shreveport, La. and Jan. 15-16 in Framingham, Mass. For more information and registration details, click here.

  • Ex-Classic host canned

    Broadcaster Ron Franklin, a longtime college football and basketball voice on ESPN and the anchor of the network's Bassmaster Classic coverage back in the days when it aired live weigh-ins, was fired Tuesday for allegedly making inappropriate comments to a female colleague in a meeting prior to a college bowl game last Friday.

    For a report from the Washington Post, click here.

  • Attraxx sponsors FLW

    Attraxx, a new line of bio-baits from Mystic Tackleworks, has been in the news quite a bit this week and there's more Attrax news today. The bait company signed a sponsorship agreement with FLW Outdoors.

    Mystic Tackleworks president Howard Hammonds said, "We at Mystic Tackleworks welcome the opportunity to be part of the FLW family of sponsors and to promote our Attraxx baits to a great bunch of fishermen – especially the BFL fishermen. The BFLs are where I got my start in the fishing business."

  • Lefebre's rod move

    Lefebre's rod move

    Dave Lefebre's with a new rod company, and it's a pretty interesting story. Interesting because it's his third rod-sponsor change in recent memory, but it's not a jump-around, grass-is-greener type of thing, he said.

    Instead, he's followed the same group of rod designers – when they left a company, he left too and followed them. He started with G. Loomis, then followed the group when they left to start Rogue. After disagreements at Rogue over rod breakage, the group left to form Setyr, and Lefebre followed. He stuck with Setyr, but after a communication breakdown – he hasn't been able to reach the company president in a while, he said – he decided to emigrate.

    He chose Dobyns Rods. Why?

    "There have been some problems communicating with Setyr going back on 2 1/2 years or more for me," Lefebre said. "Last season I started thinking about it and whenever I came across people with different rods, I asked them what they were and how they like them. Honestly, everybody seemed to mention Dobyns or Duckett rods. Then last year I finally got to touch a Dobyns rod – Derek Yamamoto had one – and I was like, 'Man, these are sweet.' Then I knew I had to make a move.

    "I didn't make the decision just because of the quality, though," Lefebre added. "It was all the recommendations from people too. Dobyns was pretty much always the top of the list."

  • Parker takes his shot

    Parker takes his shot

    (Editor's note: The following news item came over the wire from B.A.S.S. It's an excellent introduction to Elite Series rookie Ben Parker.)

    Two years ago, Ben Parker earned his living as an investment banker. Today, he's a rookie pro in the 2011 Bassmaster Elite Series. That may seem like an improbable leap, but it is true to his outdoor roots on Reelfoot Lake in northwestern Tennessee.

    "On my father's side of the family, we've been hunting, fishing and guiding in the area of Reelfoot for years and years. My life growing up revolved around that," said Parker, who now lives in a cabin on Kentucky Lake near Springville, Tenn., not too far from Reelfoot.

    Influenced by his schoolteacher mother, Parker left home after high school to attend the University of Memphis. He earned a degree in business and finance. Right out of college he got a job as a stockbroker. He stayed in the investment field for more than 8 years, traveling the country, but he never gave up fishing or hunting – he continued to guide duck hunters almost every season.

    And then one day about 2 years ago, he decided to chuck the investment job. He said he could no longer deny that pro fishing was what he really wanted to do.

    "I didn't want to wake up one day, 80 years old and kicking myself for not doing it," said Parker, now 33.

    He aimed for the Bassmaster Elite Series.

    "All the bass fishermen I idolized growing up – B.A.S.S. is what they all fished. The Elite Series and Bassmaster Classic — that's what bass fishing is all about. It's the highest level of competition in my opinion."

    To finance his fishing, he geared up his guiding business, Parker's Outfitting. Meanwhile, he acquired the Kentucky Lake cabin and worked on his fishing skills.

    He'd fished B.A.S.S. Federation Nation tournaments and the 2010 Bassmaster Opens, and by the end of his first season, he was in 10th place in the points standings, not quite good enough for the Elite Series invite.

    But he didn't give up hope that, as duplicate or declined qualifications were determined, B.A.S.S. would work down the list to 10th place and offer him a spot in the 2011 Elite Series field.

    It happened. The call came December 1. Parker said he didn't hesitate and accepted "in about half a second."

    His wrap sponsors will include Parker's Outfitters and, he hopes, another deal now in the works.

    "I'm hoping to get my name out there and pick up some sponsors so I can continue fishing," he said. "Right now, I'm taking a big chance and financing myself. I want to see how good I am. I'm putting everything on the line, but fishing the Elite Series is what I want to do."

    In reaching the upper echelon of competitive fishing, Parker also can count himself as a member of another exclusive set – former B.A.S.S. Federation Nation competitors who fished their way up into the Elite Series ranks. Members of the club include Mike Iaconelli, Jami Fralick, Russ Lane and one of Parker's fellow Elite Series rookies, 2010 B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Championship winner Brandon Palaniuk.

    Although Parker won his state Federation Nation event again in 2010, qualifying him to compete in the Southern Divisional, he'll have to pass because of a scheduling conflict with the Elite Series.

    "But that's part of it," he said. "The Federation was what really got me excited about tournaments, and I really enjoyed it. Not everyone's goal in fishing the Federation is to get to the Elites, but it's a great platform to use to work your way up."

  • CP, Kreiger happenings

    CP, Kreiger happenings

    Interesting news from buddies and travel partners Koby Kreiger (left) and Craig Powers: Both signed their own deal with different bait companies to design signature baits. And as previously reported, both will return to tour-level fishing this year. The two have earned storied places in the sport. Powers is regarded as one of the most accurate casters on either tour, while Kreiger is regarded as one of the best sight-fishermen in the sport. Many peers consider them to be the best in their respective specialties.

    Powers has been marketing his own homemade CP Series crankbaits this year at CPBaits.com. But now, CP Series cranks are marketed through tackle company Mystic Tackleworks. Industry veteran Howard Hammonds is president of Mystic and Hammonds not only markets the baits for Powers, but signed Powers to the Attraxx pro-staff and made him pro-staff manager. (Attraxx is owned by Mystic.)

    Attraxx is a new, bio-engineered series of softbaits with patented Sci-X feeding stimulant, which was created by Dr. John Caprio of Louisiana State University. The Attraxx pro-staff currently boasts several tour-level pros in addition to Powers, including Randall Tharp, Greg Pugh, Jacob Powroznik and Ramie Colson, Jr.

    Kreiger, meanwhile, signed what he said is "a very important deal" with upstart company Ouzo baits. Debi Duplechain serves as president of Ouzo, and according to Kreiger, he'll be designing some sight-fishing baits for Ouzo.

    In fact, Kreiger's Uozo sponsorship, along with additional new sponsor RMC BoatWorks, helped him return to tour-level fishing this year.

  • Menendez throwing with Lew's

    Menendez throwing with Lew's

    Lew's was long one of the premier names in fishing. Its cutting-edge baitcasters time and again set new standards for innovation and quality. In fact, the late Lew Childre is credited with several advancements including the low-profile design, a palming side-cover and disengaging levelwind.

    The brand sat relatively idle for a while, but it's back in a big way with the introduction of six new reels alongside a new and growing pro staff.

    More on the new Lew's reels in coming weeks, but today the company announced it signed Mark Menendez to its pro staff. (Menendez was the subject of a feature story today on BassFan.)

    Menendez reminisced a little when he announced the new sponsor deal.

    "There are several important career highlights that a Lew's Speed Spool helped me accomplish," Menendez said. "Qualifying for the Bassmaster BP Top 100s, catching the largest bass in the first 31 years of B.A.S.S., making my first Bassmaster Classic and earning my first Bassmaster win were all earned with a Lew's Speed Spool on my rod. I'm so proud and honored to be part of the Lew's team and associated with the tradition of the Lew's name. I'd love to know how many miles of line I've cast with a Lew's."

    Lynn Reeves of Lew's noted, "We're extremely proud to be working with Mark. He brings an outstanding knowledge of product and history to the Lew's family. He's been fishing at the highest level of competitive angling for 20 years. We're confident that the new lineup of Lew's Speed Spool and Speed Spin reels will give him the extra edge."

    For more about Lew's, visit Lews.com.

  • Strader's record certified

    Strader's record certified

    A 6-07 spotted bass caught by FLW Tour pro Wesley Strader on the Ocoee River was recently certified as a new Tennessee state record. The resident of Spring City, Tenn. hooked the brute while fun-fishing below Parksville Reservoir last July with friend Brad Peterson.

    The big bite came on Strader's fifth cast of the day. It eclipsed the previous mark of 5-13, which was caught on the final day of 2008.

  • Ready for something BIGGGG?

    We all know the Rapala-Normark Group makes the funniest, most creative commercials in fishing. But have you seen the company's latest? It advertises Trigger X and asks: Are you ready for a truly big fight?!

    Click here to watch the new commercial.

    And FYI, we learned about the new commercial in the eRap-Up! email newsletter. It's a solid newsletter – not fluff, just cool stuff. We recommend everyone sign up for it here.

  • 'Rude's 2011 retail promo

    'Rude's 2011 retail promo

    The boat-show season's about to begin, which means a new round of retail promos from manufacturers. Evinrude announced its program today, titled Season's BEST Boat Show Sales Event, and here's the scoop.

    Qualified Evinrude E-TEC purchases between Jan. 1, 2011 and April 15, 2011 receive a free 5-year factory-backed limited warranty (3-year BRP factory warranty plus an additional 2 years B.E.S.T. coverage).

    In addition, if a consumer repowers his or her existing boat with a qualifying Evinrude E-TEC engine between Jan. 1, 2011 and April 15, 2011, he or she will receive up to an $800 discount off rigging equipment.

  • More PAA TV

    More PAA TV

    FishPAA Television, which features coverage of the PAA Tournament Series, will now be shown additionally on Sportsman Channel. The show will air each Monday at 5 p.m., Tuesday at 9 a.m. and Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. EST.

    PAA program director Danny Blandford noted: "We're excited to have this added distribution of FishPAA Television on Sportsman Channel. The 2010 season provided some great fishing content with some of the best anglers in the game, and we've captured it all in HD. This new opportunity with Sportsman Channel allows the PAA to showcase these great anglers, competing in one of the toughest seasons on record, to a whole new audience of fishing enthusiasts."

  • Meet McKinnis: Shreveport BU

    Meet McKinnis: Shreveport BU

    Brief note: The Bass University makes a stop at Shreveport, La. this weekend and Jerry McKinnis will make a special appearance there. On Saturday (Jan. 8) McKinnis will address the BU students regarding the importance of the grassroots angler and will also share some stories.

    It's not too late to sign up for the Shreveport stop or the final stop in Framingham, Mass. For registration and schedule info, visit TheBassUniversity.com.

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