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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

  • Wingate ailing

    Wingate ailing

    The people at Ray Scott Outdoors have passed along some sad news – Jack Wingate of Lunker Lodge at Lake Seminole is battling stage 4 prostate cancer. He'd been in ill health recently and had difficulty breathing, and the cause was found during an exploratory operation.

    Wingate played a major role in getting B.A.S.S. up and running, providing Scott with the names of many anglers who would become legendary and helping to kick off the All-American Tournament at Beaver Lake (Scott's first event).

    Cards can be sent to: Jack Wingate, Lunker Lodge, 149 Hutchinson Ferry Road, Bainbridge, GA 39819.

  • Scott touts virtues of carp

    Scott touts virtues of carp

    B.A.S.S. founder Ray Scott will be in upstate New York next month for the Carp Angling World Championship on the St. Lawrence River. In an article in the Watertown Daily Times, Scott praised carp as a kid-friendly fish.

    To read the article, click here.

  • Two new KVD Triple Grips

    Two new KVD Triple Grips

    Mustad has added two new versions of the wildly successful UltraPoint KVD Elite Triple Grip Treble to meet angler needs for a broader range of applications. Both were designed by the world's top-ranked angler and Mustad pro-staffer Kevin VanDam.

    “The trebles have made all the difference in my ability to win back-to-back Classics and Angler of the Year titles,” VanDam said. “In the last year alone, I’ve won more than a million dollars using these hooks.”

    The hook design features a unique wide bend and power angle point that makes it virtually
    impossible for fish to throw.

    “In both Classic victories, I never lost a fish. The hooking and holding ability of this treble design is by far the most advanced I’ve ever fished. But there are some topwater and longer stick-bait applications where a lighter wire and longer shank are more desirable.”

    The Triple Grip Trebles are now available in three options (click the image to see a larger version):

    > Standard wire diameter, standard shank length, sizes 1/0 through 8 (great for topwater, jerkbaits, finesse and suspending baits).

    > 1X strong wire, standard shank length, sizes 1/0 through 8 (an excellent option for larger baits and topwaters in situations in which hook-tangling is not an issue).

    > 1X strong wire, 2X short shank, sizes 3/0 through 8 (avoids tangling, beefier wire adds strength to help pull fish out of heavy cover).

    The company has also developed a round-bend UltraPoint replacement treble at the request of Denny Brauer and other pro-staffers.

    “I’m a big fan of this treble design for bigger, diving crankbaits,” said Brauer. “It doesn’t compromise lure action and for folks who prefer a round-bend treble, it doesn’t get any better than this.”

    Created as an all-purpose replacement treble, it features a standard wire diameter and a standard shank length. It's available in sizes 2 through 8.

    For more about Mustad, click here.

  • 2012 Elite Schedule

    <b><font color = red>2012 Elite Schedule</b></font>

    B.A.S.S. released its long-awaited 2012 Elite Series schedule today. Like this year, it's an eight-event circuit that gets under way with two Florida events in March. It's a bit more spread out – both geographically and on the calendar – with just two sets of back-to-back events, and it includes a "mystery" stop in late June.

    Here's a look at the slate:

    BASSMASTER CLASSIC
    Dates: Feb. 23-26
    Venue: Red River
    Host: Shreveport-Bossier City, La.

    ELITE #1
    Dates: March 15-18
    Venue: St. Johns River
    Host: Palatka, Fla.

    ELITE #2
    Dates: March 22-25
    Venue: Lake Okeechobee
    Host: Okeechobee, Fla.

    ELITE #3
    Dates: April 19-22
    Venue: Bull Shoals Lake
    Host: Arkansas

    ELITE #4
    Dates: May 3-6
    Venue: Douglas Lake
    Host: Dandridge, Tenn.

    ELITE #5
    Dates: June 7-10
    Venue: Toledo Bend Reservoir
    Host: Many, La.

    ELITE #6
    Dates: June 21-24
    Venue: Mississippi River
    Host: La Crosse, Wis.

    ELITE #7
    Dates: June 28-July 1
    Venue: Mystery
    Host: Mystery

    ELITE #8
    Dates: Aug. 23-26
    Venue: Oneida Lake
    Host: Syracuse, N.Y.

    Notable is the Mississippi River event out of La Crosse, Wis. in June. Wisconsin this year got rid of its prohibition against culling in bass tournaments, opening the door for the state to host high-level events. The mystery event (the location of which will remain secret until just before the official practice period) is the following week, so it's certain that it'll also take place in the Upper Midwest.

    The series wraps up with a third northern stop at Lake Oneida in late August, where the Angler of the Year (AOY) will be crowned and 2013 Classic berths will be determined.

    The April tournament at Bull Shoals in Arkansas will mark the first time that B.A.S.S.'s top trail has visited that venue since 1991.

    Two events directly overlap with FLW Tour Majors, which will again prevent anglers from fishing full schedules on both major circuits. Those dates are June 7-10 (Toledo Bend Elite Series and Kentucky Lake FLW) and June 28-July 1 (Elite Series mystery event and Champlain FLW). Also, the Aug. 23-26 Elite finale at Oneida coincides with the Detroit River FLW Tour Open, which is a non-points event.

  • Junior Worlds to La.

    Junior Worlds to La.

    Junior Bassmasters, ages 11 to 14 and 15 to 18, will compete against each other within their age groups Saturday, Nov. 5 on Bayou DeSiard out of Monroe, La., for the 2011 Bassmaster Junior World Championship. The competition will be held in conjunction with the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Championship at the Ouachita River.

    Six competitors from each of the two age groups will vie for bragging rights, and all participants will receive scholarships to be used for education, with amounts determined by their finish.

    Six new Skeeter/Yamaha rigs — which will be driven by adult Federation Nation volunteers — will be provided for the championship. The volunteers are not permitted to provide any information to the young anglers; they can observe and drive only.

    Young anglers advance through a number of qualifying rounds on the local, state and divisional levels to qualify for the Junior World Championship. Competitors are paired according to the divisions from which they qualified.

    “I think these young competitors are really going to enjoy Bayou DeSiard and Monroe, La.,” said Jon Stewart, B.A.S.S. Federation Nation tournament manager. “Bayou DeSiard is a unique fishery. It is a public fishery but has limited access and no public boat ramps. These Junior Bassmasters should have the time of their lives."

  • B.A.S.S. letter, schedule

    B.A.S.S. letter, schedule

    Pros and BassFans have been waiting for B.A.S.S. to release its 2012 Elite Series schedule.

    B.A.S.S. has had a mixed history with early and late schedule releases. During the early part of the last decade, schedules were typically released late, partly because of the constant format changes. More recently, though, the Elite Series schedule has been much more timely, with announcements in early to mid-summer.

    A recent communication from B.A.S.S. ownership partner Jerry McKinnis to Elite Series pros, quoted by several pros in conversations with BassFan, hints that the schedule will be released soon, and that part of the delay was the need to wait for ESPN's approval because the network "could insist on some changes to work into (its) T.V. schedule."

    Also of interest in the communication is a warning from McKinnis to anglers who might previously have skirted the no-info rule. "As I've said before, for the few of you who disrespect the no-info rule that's in place, I would suggest that you get better at breaking it because we're going to get better at enforcing it. If we catch someone it will be more than just a 'slap on the hand,'" McKinnis wrote.

    McKinnis also wrote of the new Major League Fishing and referenced it as "competition" to B.A.S.S., while adding: "It may be a bold statement, but I think I know what it will take to grow bass fishing and it's not another fishing-format or purse/entry-fee change and it's not more television. When I feel the time is right, we'll talk about it and then I'll enlist you Elite anglers to help me, and we'll attack."

  • Joplin benefit at TR

    A group of anglers from southwest Missouri will conduct a team tournament at Table Rock Lake on Sept. 24, with proceeds going toward helping victims of the tornado that devastated Joplin, Mo. last spring. Major sponsors include Lew's, Ranger Boats and MotorGuide. Ozark Mountain Team Trail will conduct the weigh-in and Springfield Web TV will air it live on the Berry's Outdoors show.

    The tournament will launch out of Ahoy's ramp at the Kimberling Inn. To visit the event website, click here.

  • Salesperson sought

    Professional Edge Fishing Inc., a cutting-edge sport-fishing company, is seeking a full-time national salesperson. Candidates should have a desire to work in the outdoor/fishing space, and sports marketing or outdoor sales experience is a plus. The company is looking for an individual with an outgoing personality and aggressive sales attitude who is willing to grow with a fast-growing company.

    Detailed résumés and reference lists can be sent to jobs@professionaledgefishing.com.

  • Wellman prevails at Erie

    Wellman prevails at Erie

    Michigan Bassmaster Elite Series angler Nate Wellman secured a 2012 Bassmaster Classic berth and his first major victory on his home water today as he closed out a wire-to-wire win at the Erie Bassmaster Northern Open out of Sandusky, Ohio.

    His 18-04 sack gave him a 3-day total of 63-11. He threw a deep-diving ABT Lures crankbait on days 1 and 2, but caught his final-day fish on a dropshot rig tipped with a Berkley Gulp! Minnow or a Poor Boys Baits Erie Darter.

    “I can’t even explain what this means to me," he said. "To come here and win means an awful lot, but to get to go to the Classic means the world."

    Full details of his winning pattern will be posted soon.

    Here's a look at the numbers for the final Top 12.

    1. Nate Wellman -- Newaygo, MI -- 15, 63-11 -- 315 -- $53,333
    Day 1: 5, 22-04 -- Day 2: 5, 23-03 -- Day 3: 5, 18-04

    2. Jared Rhode -- Port Clinton, OH -- 15, 61-15 -- 295 -- $12,500
    Day 1: 5, 17-11 -- Day 2: 5, 21-09 -- Day 3: 5, 22-11

    3. Michael Murphy -- Gilbert, SC -- 15, 61-00 -- 290 -- $10,417
    Day 1: 5, 19-10 -- Day 2: 5, 19-04 -- Day 3: 5, 22-02

    4. Chris Malone -- Ironton, OH -- 15, 60-08 -- 285 -- $8,333
    Day 1: 5, 21-00 -- Day 2: 5, 20-07 -- Day 3: 5, 19-01

    5. Kurt Dove -- Del Rio, TX -- 15, 58-12 -- 280 -- $7,500
    Day 1: 5, 18-00 -- Day 2: 5, 20-00 -- Day 3: 5, 20-12

    6. Kyle Kempkers -- Hamilton, MI -- 15, 58-08 -- 276 -- $6,667
    Day 1: 5, 20-05 -- Day 2: 5, 18-04 -- Day 3: 5, 19-15

    7. John Devries -- Fishers, IN -- 15, 58-03 -- 272 -- $5,833
    Day 1: 5, 16-05 -- Day 2: 5, 26-07 -- Day 3: 5, 15-07

    8. Derek Remitz -- Grant, AL -- 15, 56-10 -- 268 -- $5,000
    Day 1: 5, 20-00 -- Day 2: 5, 19-03 -- Day 3: 5, 17-07

    9. Brian Metry -- Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 15 -- 56-03 -- 264 -- $4,167
    Day 1: 5, 18-14 -- Day 2: 5, 20-02 -- Day 3: 5, 17-03

    10. David Reault -- Livonia, MI -- 15, 56-03 -- 260 -- $3,750
    Day 1: 5, 19-14 -- Day 2: 5, 18-15 -- Day 3: 5, 17-06

    11. Art Ferguson III -- St. Cloud, FL -- 14 -- 51-06 -- 257 -- $3,333
    Day 1: 5, 19-06 -- Day 2: 5, 19-06 -- Day 3: 4 -- 12-10

    12. Kyle A. Fox -- Lakeland, FL -- 15, 49-14 -- 254 -- $2,917
    Day 1: 5, 20-11 -- Day 2: 5, 18-00 -- Day 3: 5, 11-03

  • Elite Tech: bronze rods

    News finally broke on the highly anticipated suite of smallmouth rods in the Fenwick Elite Tech line. Check out all the details on these hot new rods over at the Catch More Fish page.

  • Menendez helps R. McDonald

    Menendez helps R. McDonald

    Mark Menendez wants BassFans to know about a cool charity event that he's hosting tomorrow (Saturday) – the 4th annual Menendez Ronald McDonald House Fishing Event.

    "This idea came from my wife Donna," Menendez said. "She wanted to give back to the Ronald McDonald House after our stay with our son Max. He's a healthy and happy 5-year-old. We were sent to Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville, Ky. immediately after Max was born. Our son was going to be fine."

    The event has grown from a few friends to this year's gala for which Menendez anticipates up to 70 children. Invited families are asked to donate to the Ronald McDonald House and each child receives a tackle pack and fishing hat from Strike King. They'll also receive a free McDonald's burger.

    "Our hope is to help other families in their time of need," Donna noted. "We'll never forget our time at the Ronald McDonald House. We're truly grateful for a resource such as this."

  • A perfect replica?

    A perfect replica?

    Great Lakes smallmouth guru Joe Balog is always on the leading edge of tackle trends and refinements. He was one of the first Erie pros to embrace and exploit the dropshot, and was the first to develop a dropshot goby bait.

    His newest creation is likewise a goby, but it's truly unique because it's a swimbait. The Joe Balog Goby Replica weights at least 1 ounce and is meant for heavy tackle – 17-pound line is about right, he said. The baits first became available last week.

    "I've been working on it for about 7 years," Balog told BassFan from the Sandusky Bassmaster Northern Open, where he's near the top with 19 1/2 pounds after a brutally windy day 1. "I'm still testing it, but I finally got the right swimbait guy in California to build it like I wanted. It's heavy enough – it weighs over an ounce – so you can fish it in 30 feet of water, and it lays flat on the bottom just like a real goby sits. In essence it's a trophy smallmouth swimbait."

    A few more tidbits from Balog about the bait:

  • "I caught the biggest stringer I've ever caught in St. Clair with it this spring – a 28 1/2-pound stringer. They were swimming off the bed to eat it. It was really neat."

  • "It's not an everyday bait. When it's calm and sticky and the dropshot bite's on, you need to be dropshotting. But in spring and fall when the big fish are eating, it's phenomenal."

  • "We're waiting to hear feedback from guys testing it in Sturgeon Bay and the Thousand Islands."

  • "The package includes a diagram of how to rig a stinger. We're still trying to perfect the stinger hook."

  • "The best way to fish is it to drag it and let it sit. I don't wind it. The fish come along, it's sitting there and thump, they slam it."

    Balog added that he did catch some practice fish on the Goby Replica at Sandusky, but didn't use it today – he was in scramble mode because of the blow. And the dropshot bite is best now in the Western Basin anyway.

    For more about the bait, or to order, visit GobyReplica.com.

  • Chappelear at Bristol too

    Chappelear at Bristol too

    In addition to Mike Iaconelli, FLW Tour pro Glen Chappelear will also be at Bristol Motor Speedway this week. In fact, Chappalear will display his wrapped truck and boat in tonight's Transporter Parade. He said he and his family plans to distribute 900 Christian DVDs and 1,800 gospel tracts during the 10-mile parade, in keeping with the mission of his Sportsmen's Outreach program.

    Additionally, Chappelear will speak tomorrow afternoon (Friday) at 2:30 p.m. in the Victory Village at an event sponsored by Steve Wingfield Ministry.

    Info here:
    > Transporter Parade
    > Victory Weekend

  • Ike is Bristol-bound

    Ike is Bristol-bound

    Last October, the folks at Toyota Racing issued Mike Iaconelli a custom-fitted fire suit for a 120-mph hot lap with NASCAR driver Martin Truex Jr. around Charlotte Motor Speedway. Later that autumn day, the two shared time catching bass on shakey-head-rigged finesse worms at Lake Norman.

    This week, Ike is jumping into his Toyota Tundra and towing his boat from his New Jersey home to famed Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee. It’s doubtful he’ll be wearing a fire suit on the 516-mile drive, but he's nonetheless blazing with excitement to return to NASCAR’s inner circles.

    In the case of Bristol, it’s a small circle that provides the most exciting short-track race of the year. Iaconelli will be there to sign autographs for race fans, as well as to get an inside look at Truex’s world on an actual race weekend. His Tundra and boat will also be on display for the 160,000 or so fans that fill one of the largest sports venues in the world.

    “I gotta be honest, until recently, I wasn’t much of a NASCAR fan,” said Iaconelli. “But based on my experiences with Martin Truex Jr. last year in Charlotte, and what some of my buddies have told me about Bristol, I can’t wait to get there.

    “I’m also excited just to go and observe how they've grown their sport so big in a fan-friendly way. My goal at Bristol is to watch, learn, have a good time and bring some of that experience back to fishing. I also know that a ton of NASCAR fans love to fish, so I’m looking forward to talking fishing with the race fans too.”

    Truex, driver of the Michael Waltrip Racing No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, reciprocates excitement for Ike’s return to NASCAR.

    “Mike is a pretty intense guy when he’s fishing and it will be pretty cool to bring him into our world at an actual race and show him just how intense NASCAR racing is, especially at Bristol,” said Truex, who like Iaconelli is a New Jersey native.

    In addition to sharing the same home state, Truex shares Ike’s love of fishing.

    “I caught a lot of smallmouth in Traverse City before the Michigan race last weekend. I do pretty good fishing on my own, but of course he’s a pro, and he’s real good."

    Truex, who heads to Bristol sitting 21st the Sprint Cup standings, continued, “If anything, I’d like to ask Mike when he wants to go fishing again. He’s a lot of fun to hang out with; he’s a good dude. Plus, he’s a Phillies fan, and he’s from Jersey, too.”

  • Rose now No. 2

    Rose now No. 2

    Mark Rose is oh so hot. His five most recent events include finishes of 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 6th, and he's now ranked 2nd in the world. Who's behind him? To see the rest of the post-Forrest Wood Cup rankings, click here.

  • Rapala links with AP Outdoors

    Rapala links with AP Outdoors

    Rapala announced that it entered into a strategic manufacturing and distribution partnership with Goldleaf Plastics, another Minnesota-based firm and the parent company of AP Outdoors. AP's product lineup, which includes the portable fish-cleaning stations pictured at right (click the photo to see a larger version), complements Rapala's knife, tool and accessory offerings.

    “We are excited to align our two companies,” said Rapala USA president Tom Mackin. “Our combined product offerings will enhance both of our businesses and provide an unbeatable resource for our customers in the trade and for anglers around the world.”

    Added Goldleaf president V. Joel Meyer: “Rapala is an industry leader and its products are top of the line. We are thrilled to combine our engineering and manufacturing strengths with Rapala’s strong distribution network to provide anglers with an industry-leading, all-encompassing product offering.”

    For more about Rapala, click here.

  • App traffic

    App traffic

    Ever wonder how many people actually use those fishing apps for the iPhone, iPad and Droid phones? BassFan was curious, so we asked Sammy Lee, who heads up Connected LLC, which developed the FishMate, FirstMate, HuntMate and new Bill Dance apps.

    To use the free Bill Dance app as an example, Lee said that after the app launched in early July, it surpassed 100,000 pageviews in its first 34 days on the market and is now approaching 1 million minutes of owner use. Wow.

    Clearly, Bill Dance still draws a crowd, but just as clearly, anglers are becoming increasingly mobile and wired.

    The Bill Dance app can be found at BillDanceOutdoors.com. The FishMate app can be found here.

  • Tuff stuff

    The new Stren Brute Strength co-polymer truly is tough stuff. It may run thicker than other lines in comparably labeled break strengths, but it reportedly handles well and is nearly impossible to break. For the scoop on this new ultra-tough line, check out the newest BassFan Product Review.

  • TTBC invites go out

    TTBC invites go out

    Angler of the Year (AOY) Todd Auten heads a list of 15 PAA Tournament Series anglers who received invitations to compete in the Toyota Texas Bass Classic in late October at Lake Conroe in Texas. The Top 15 from the Bassmaster Elite Series and FLW Tour points lists have also been invited.

    Defending champion Brian Snowden and four sponsor invitees will round out the 50-angler field. The tournament will be conducted Oct. 28-30.

    “We’re treated like professional golfers when we’re there,” said Auten. “I think the TTBC is run very well and very professionally.

    “It’s a different kind of tournament. I wouldn’t say that it’s low-key, but it’s fun and comfortable fishing that kind of tournament. You qualify to get into it, there’s no entry fee and everyone in it wants to win. It’s a fun week and competitive event.”

    Others who qualified via the PAA events were Mike McClelland, Takahiro Omori, Chad Morgenthaler, Gary Yamamoto, Derek Remitz, Tommy Biffle, Terry Butcher, Cody Bird, Brian Travis, Chris Brasher, Shane Long, Gary Clouse, James Watson and Harold Allen.

    Steve Kennedy, the winner of last week's PAA season finale at Lake Neely Henry, had already secured a TTBC berth via his 5th-place finish in the Elite Series points. To see the final Elite Series and FLW Tour lists, click here.

    For more about the TTBC, click here.

  • VanDam wins

    VanDam wins

    Apparently No. 1-ranked Kevin VanDam brooks no quarter even in charity competition. Yesterday he and NASCAR driver Ryan Newman won the Fish Your Bass Off tournament – a fundraiser for MIS Cares, which is Michigan International Speedway's charitable arm. The event raised more than $40,000.

    Click here for a little more info and photo.

  • Meninger's Japan journal

    FLW Tour pro and cancer survivor Jason Meninger won Kota Kiriyama's American Dream tournament last fall. The grand prize was a trip to Japan with Kota to experience the culture and fish Lake Biwa. Meninger said the trip was incredible and he came back not only a better fisherman, but a better person.

    He filmed several portions of the trip and recently uploaded highlights in a two-part video log. The first part appears below. Part 2 can be viewed here.

    Additionally, the 2011 American Dream tournament will take place Dec. 3 at Lake Wheeler in Alabama. Details can be found at KotaAmericanDream.com.


  • Color: background, angle, more

    Ever fret about the minute details in lure color? You're not alone. But according to Dr. Keith Jones, you should probably pay more attention to how a bass actually sees the lure – from what angle, and against what background. Those are just a few of Dr. Jones' professional thoughts on color. For a few more, head on over to the Catch More Fish page.

  • The deal on J. Wheeler

    The deal on J. Wheeler

    An interesting TV note: BFL All-American champ Jacob Wheeler found a mentor a while back when Joe Thomas took a liking to him. The two first met when the up-from-nothing Wheeler made the final showdown of the Ultimate Match Fishing Federation championship. Thomas later told BassFan several times that he thinks Wheeler's "the real deal" and is destined for the very top in the sport.

    BassFans who want to know a little more about Wheeler should tune into Thomas' Reel in the Outdoors tomorrow on the Outdoor Channel – some of the show will feature Wheeler. It airs at 1:00 Eastern, just prior to the Bassmasters.

  • Scott's swimbait

    Scott's swimbait

    The swimbait played a huge roll in Scott Martin's recent Forrest Wood Cup win. He threw two – a 3 1/2" Gary Yamamoto and a Basstrix-style. Interestingly, he said the Yamamoto was the more productive of the two, and it's about as simple as it gets. The swimbait itself looks a lot like a Mister Twister Sassy Shad, which is largely considered to be the first swimbait.

    The Yamamoto appears to right in the same color (blue-pearl/silver-flake) that Martin used. He rigged the bait on a 1/2-ounce Sworming Hornet Fish Head Spin, also shown to right.

    For those keeping track, the Fish Head Spin was also a factor in Kevin Hawk's 2010 Cup win at Lanier in Georgia.

  • Tharp talks braid for props

    Tharp talks braid for props

    After reading about Forrest Wood Cup runner-up Randall Tharp's prop-bait pattern in Wednesday's top story, BassFan Jonathan Edwards of Tennessee submitted the following questions:

    "Randall Tharp threw a prop bait on 30-pound braid with a 6-foot co-polymer leader. I wonder why? Prop baits are notorious for the line wrapping on the front blade. Does this setup minimize this? I assume the clear water prohibited tying directly to braid, but it seems like a knot 6 feet from the bait would be difficult to cast on a 6 1/2-foot rod. What about it, Randall?"

    We passed the questions along to Tharp, and here are his responses:

    "Prop baits are indeed notorious for the line wrapping around the front blade. I used 14-pound some in practice and it did wrap around the front blade more, but when I moved up in line size, it eliminated this. If I had tied directly to the braid, it would have been worse due to how limp braided line is.

    "Water clarity was also a factor in my decision for the entire setup. As far as the knot, it has never been an issue for me and I have gone to the braided line, fluoro or mono leader for a lot of different techniques that I use to do my job. In the entire setup, the bait itself and hooks were the weakest link.

    "Casting distance was critical and I was able to make long, accurate casts in order to not spook fish, or to lead a fish that I saw. Another huge benefit was that the braid allowed me to maintain direct contact with my bait while my boat was moving at a high rate of speed. If my line got a bow in it, I simply lifted up on my rod tip and took up the slack, allowing me to cover more water. Straight mono tends to have more drag and does not float like braid, and therefore affects the action of the bait.

    "I hope this helps. I believe if you give this setup a try, you will not be disappointed."

  • Neely Henry: shallow's the deal

    Neely Henry: shallow's the deal

    According to a competitor who'd prefer to fish offshore, this week's PAA Tournament Series event at Lake Neely Henry in Alabama is likely to be won close to dry land.

    "I've tried to get out on the breaks and ledges and it just isn't panning out," said Mike McClelland, who's in 3rd place in the Angler of the Year (AOY) race heading into finale of the three-event circuit. "There's a lot of fish roaming and following bait and they're just not set up on the (offshore) stuff.

    "I'll be doing what kicked my butt most of the year (on the Bassmaster Elite Series) – going to the bank and fishing shallow. That's what I did in the Northern Open at the James River, so at least I'm in that groove. I'm actually looking forward to it. I've definitely devoted enough practice time to the deeper stuff that I can really focus on the shallow water and not think twice about it."

    He trails AOY leader Todd Auten by 7 points and 2nd-place Tommy Biffle by 3.

    "We're all going to be on the same page and we'll all be doing pretty similar things, and the guy who puts it all together this week will walk away with it. At least I won't be wondering how they're catching them up shallow – I'll be right there with them."

    The tournament runs Thursday through Saturday.

  • Biffle seeks 2nd crown

    Biffle seeks 2nd crown

    Tommy Biffle, who had a difficult year on the Bassmaster Elite Series, will seek his second straight PAA Tournament Series points title when the three-event circuit wraps up this week at Alabama's Lake Neely Henry. The Oklahoma veteran goes into the tournament in 2nd place in the Angler of the Year (AOY) standings with 347 points – 4 behind leader Todd Auten.

    Mike McClelland, with 344. points is the only other angler whose deficit to Auten is in single digits. Stacey King is 4th with 323.

    Coosa Landing in Gadsen will serve as the launch site. Weigh-ins are set for 2:30 p.m. CT Thursday and Friday and 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.

    The Top 15 in the final points standings will earn berths in October's Toyota Texas Bass Classic, joining their counterparts from the Bassmaster Elite Series and FLW Tour. For the full points list, click here.

  • TTBC: free concert tix available

    TTBC: free concert tix available

    The Toyota Texas Bass Classic (TTBC), set for Oct. 28-30 at Lake Conroe in Texas, will feature a concert each day at the Lone Star Convention & Expo Center. Headliners will be Billy Currington, Pat Green and Robert Earl Keen.

    Limited quantities of tickets for the music festival are free this year through exclusive tournament partners. Free tickets are only available while supplies last via respective sponsor promotions or by visiting Houston-area Toyota dealerships. Tickets will be available beginning Aug. 22 in stores and online.

    Tickets are available for Friday, Saturday and Sunday individually. Walk-up tickets the day of the event will require a donation to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and all days are subject to sell out. Fans interested in attending can visit www.ToyotaTexasBassClassic.com for complete details on how to obtain free tickets in advance.

    The daily tickets are valid for admission into the festival grounds for angler weigh-ins and the concert of that particular day.

    The 2011 TTBC will also host a 50-angler field assembled from the PAA Tournament Series, Bassmaster Elite Series and FLW Tour.

  • Big Bite Lookback – FWC

    <b><font color=green>Big Bite Lookback – FWC</font></b>

    Jay Yelas had the quality issue licked for last week's Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Ouachita in Arkansas – the 10 fish he brought to the scale averaged better than 3 pounds a piece. It was quality that gave him some trouble and left him one spot outside the Top-10 cut for the final day.

    "Something like that's really unusual for August – I had big enough fish to win the tournament, but I couldn't fill a limit," said Yelas, who weighed only five fish combined on days 2 and 3. "I needed something I could fall back on for some smaller fish. That would've at least gotten me to the last day, and you never know what can happen there."

    In hindsight, he wishes he'd have put down the topwater baits and big plastics for awhile each day and gone with more of a finesse-style presentation. That's easier said than done, though, when every bite you're getting has some big shoulders.

    "I probably should have thrown a dropshot or a shakey-head a little more. I might've been able to catch some of those smaller fish out of the grass when I was working my shallow pattern. I can't look back or second-guess too much, though, because I felt very good about being on the right fish to have a chance to win."

    The Big Bite Lookback is brought to you by the great folks at Big Bite Baits.

  • Sunline Strong Performer – FWC

    <b><font color=green>Sunline Strong Performer – FWC</font></b>

    Andy Morgan failed to catch a limit on day 1 of last week's Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Ouachita in Arkansas and it appeared as if the Tennessee veteran, who was buried in 35th place in a field of 58 anglers, would merely fish another day and then bow out.

    Not so fast.

    He walloped an 18-15 sack on day 2 and catapulted all the way to 4th. He struggled again on day 3, but staged another rally on the final day to end up 5th in the final tally.

    He said he fished pretty much the same way on day 2 that he had on day 1 (primarily throwing a Reaction Innovations Vixen topwater bait), but the conditions helped him. He needed the sun.

    "That was definitely a factor, and I also got out closer to the main lake," he said. "The first day I fished the creeks a little more and I had some good bites – I could've had a big stringer – but I lost a couple.

    "When the sun came out they took the bait better and it positioned them closer to the bank. I only moved about a half mile that second day, but one key was that I didn't lose any of the bigger fish. I was just lucky enough to run into five or six of those wolfpacks and catch a good fish out of each of them."

    The Sunline Strong Performer is brought to you by the great people at Sunline.

  • Stefan starts used-boat site

    Stefan starts used-boat site

    Matthew Stefan of Illinois, a rookie on the FLW Tour in 2011, recently launched a website called UsedBoatMall.com and is offering BassFans a free listing for 1 year. All they have to do is use the coupon code "bassfan" in the payment portion of the listing.

    "The site was created to allow boat owners an easy-to-use website to buy or sell their boat without dealing with the advertising clutter and hard-to-use search engines," Stefan said. "Additionally, each user will have their own dashboard, which gives them the ability to update their ad, change price, mark the boat sold, etc."

    To visit the site, click here.

  • One hook, fewer snags

    The new Sebile D&S Crank may look a little odd with its lone, extra-wide gap hook, but don't let its appearance turn you off. That single hook, and the way it's been engineered to function, will prevent a lot of hangups in nasty cover and won't do anything to discourage a fish from devouring the bait.

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

  • Lurenet.com offers classics

    Lurenet.com offers classics

    Lurenet.com is producing a "Made in the USA" series of lures that are produced here in the U.S. and available only on the company's website.

    "We're looking to accomplish several things," said brand manager Kimberly Blaylock in a story today on the Fishing Wire. "People were paying a lot of money for these lures at Internet auction sites, so we've simply provided what they want at a reasonable price. These are not antique lures – folks were buying them to fish with, not to put on a shelf."

    The lineup includes the Rebel P70 Pop-R, Bomber 9A, Cotton Cordell CF23 Super Spot, Bomber Speed Shad and an updated version of the Cordell Big O. Coming soon is the Bomber Fat Free Shad BD7F in a hot rod pattern (pictured).

    "That's a solid start, but we've only just scratched the surface of the program," Blaylock said. "The sky's the limit. We're looking at different paint schemes, new manufacturing techniques and we're listening to customers to come up with line additions."

  • Berkley tank off to La.

    Berkley tank off to La.

    The Berkley Bass Tank will be at the Academy Sports & Outdoors store in Lafayette, La. next weekend (Aug. 20-21), featuring demonstrations and technique seminars.

    Berkley sends the 4,000-gallon tank all over the country to help out the everyday angler. Kids and adults alike will enjoy learning about new Berkley products and tips on how to use these innovative baits along with rods, reels and line.

    "The Berkley Bass Tank is on the road, giving all anglers the opportunity to hone their skills," said Berkely marketing director Andrew Marks. "Not only will attendees learn to catch more fish, they will also learn about new products that will help them become a better angler."

    The store is located at 4232 Amassador Caffery Pkwy.

    Upcoming tank stops are set for God's Country Outfitters in Albemarle, N.C. (Sept. 3-4) and the Academy store in Springfield, Mo. (Oct. 1-2).

  • Weigh-to-Win boosts Wheeler

    Weigh-to-Win boosts Wheeler

    BFL All-American champion Jacob Wheeler is one of 58 anglers competing for the $500,000 top prize this week in the Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Ouachita in Arkansas. He got off to a strong start with a 14-10 sack on day 1.

    The 20-year-old Wheeler, who has temporarily put college on hold to chase dreams of becoming a pro angler, has already created a financial pillow for himself through the $100,000 top prize he won at the All-American in May. In a case of good timing, the Indianapolis young gun also signed up and became eligible for the BoatUS Angler contingency program days before his six-figure triumph. Consequently, he collected an additional $1,000 in BoatUS Angler Weigh-to-Win cash.

    If he wins this week at Ouachita he'll get a $1,500 bonus from BoatUS Angler. And while that may seem like peanuts compared to the half-a-million top prize, Wheeler, who started fishing tournaments at age 9 with his dad and uncle, will tell you the peace of mind alone from his BoatUS Angler membership is worth the college-student friendly registration fee.

    "You're foolish to go out on the water or tow your boat down the highway without a membership to BoatUS Angler," he said. "If something goes wrong – and things do happen out there – you have the security of knowing BoatUS will dispatch somebody to help you."

    Wheeler lists BoatUS Angler Weigh-to-Win members Kevin VanDam, David Dudley and Edwin Evers as his favorite pros, and he will actually compete against Dudley this week. "There's nothing in the world to me like tournament fishing," he said. "Every day on the water is different, and the guy who puts all the pieces of the puzzle together the fastest gets the prize."

    If Wheeler is the fastest puzzle-builder at Lake Ouachita this weekend, not only will he get the half-a-million top prize and the BoatUS Angler Weigh-to-Win" bonus, but also a likely extension on his collegiate sabbatical.

    Getting a BoatUS Angler membership, and signing-up for the Weigh-to-Win program is easy. Memberships start at just $38. Just dial (918) 742-6424 and ask for Kendell. She'll make sure you're registered.

    To visit the BoatUS Angler website, click here.

  • Optima sweepstakes winner picked

    Optima sweepstakes winner picked

    Alesha Thweatt of Carrollton, Texas was recently announced as the winner of the Optima Batteries/Bass Pro Shops Tour sweepstakes and will fish for a day with Bassmaster Elite Series angler Edwin Evers on a lake near Evers' home in Oklahoma.

    Thweatt's name was randomly selected from among 435 entries. The sweepstakes was part of Evers’ 2011 Bass Pro Shops Tour, which took place from March 26 to June 4 and included visits to eight select Bass Pro Shops across the U.S. Individuals who visited participating Bass Pro Shops during Evers’ personal appearances were eligible to enter the sweepstakes.

    “I am really looking forward to meeting Alesha," said Evers. “I had a great time on the water with our 2010 winner Brian Jamison, and this time I’m hoping to catch even more fish in my Optima-powered Nitro Z9.”

    Thweatt’s grand-prize package also includes airfare, lodging and $200 cash.

    Runners-up who'll receive a gift certificate for an Optima battery are Scott Haywood (Leeds, Ala.), Steven McKee (Nashville, Tenn.), Robbie Pelt (Prattville, Ala.), Wayne Rasmussen (Broken Arrow, Okla.), Chad Robinson (Atlanga, Ga.), Doug Shumate (Orlando, Fla.), Rusty Stover (Pearl, Miss.) and James Tiner (Grapevine, Texas).

    For more about Optima, click here.

  • Sonar: Back from the wilderness

    Sonar: Back from the wilderness

    Sonar Sound-Off columnist Miles Burghoff has just returned from his annual summer gig as a fishing guide in Alaska and is attempting to get his mind re-oriented toward tournament competition. That's not as easy as one might think.

    To read his latest column, click here.

  • Follow Hite online

    Follow Hite online

    Arizona pro Brett Hite recently launched a new website and will be updating the blog throughout this week's Forrest Wood Cup.

    "It's a new deal, but it's something I'm going to be doing all the time now," he said. "I put (a post) up this morning that was from practice. There will be video entries, too."

    To visit the site, go to www.BrettHite.com.

  • B.A.S.S. tabs CEO

    B.A.S.S. tabs CEO

    Veteran publishing industry executive Bruce Akin of Birmingham, Ala., has been named CEO of B.A.S.S., the company announced today.

    Akin, who currently serves as president of ChipRewards Inc., a healthcare incentive and rewards company, previously held several key positions at Birmingham-based Southern Progress Corp., a subsidiary of Time Inc., between 1985 and 2008.

    At Southern Progress, he worked for Don Logan, then CEO and later chairman of Time Inc., who purchased B.A.S.S. in 2010 along with partners Jerry McKinnis and Jim Copeland.

    “Bruce is a resourceful leader who has achieved success in digital media, events and magazine and book publishing, all of which are key components of B.A.S.S.,” Logan said. “He was a key part of the team that grew Southern Progress for 20 consecutive years, and I’m confident he will grow Bassmaster Magazine, Bassmaster.com and our other media properties.”

    Said Akin: “B.A.S.S. and its related brands have a storied history and a bright future. I have followed and admired the B.A.S.S. organization over the past 40 years and look forward to working with the talented, passionate B.A.S.S. team to expand and support the already successful brands, media properties and tournaments.

    “I am thankful for and excited about the opportunity to lead B.A.S.S. as we serve our members, anglers, viewers and sponsors.”

    Akin will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of B.A.S.S. beginning Aug. 22 and will report directly to the owners. He will divide his time between B.A.S.S. headquarters in Celebration, Fla., and the JM Outdoors division in Little Rock, Ark. As previously announced, B.A.S.S. headquarters will be relocated to Birmingham in November.

    “We have been searching for just the right person to lead B.A.S.S. in these challenging economic times, and I believe we have found that person in Bruce Akin,” said McKinnis. “I’m confident he will help us be even more effective in serving B.A.S.S. members and fans of the sport in general.”

    Copeland added, “Bruce is an excellent operations manager with a history of successful leadership in the media business. We are fortunate to have him take the helm at B.A.S.S.”

    Akin was hired by Logan in 1985 as manager of corporate planning for Southern Progress. He rose to VP and GM of the book publishing division, Oxmoor House, in 1991, and became executive VP of Southern Progress in 1995.

    In 2006, Akin was promoted to president of the newly formed SPC Digital Division, while still maintaining oversight of the company’s corporate development, brand licensing, magazine consumer marketing and commerce groups. He was awarded the Time Inc. President’s Award in 1993 for innovations in direct marketing.

    A graduate of the University of Alabama, Akin is active in civic affairs, serving on the board of directors of the St. Vincent’s Hospital Foundation and working to raise cancer awareness through the media.

  • Ranger military incentive

    Ranger military incentive

    In recognition and appreciation of the thousands of service men and women across the country, Ranger Boats has announced an expansion of its Operation Troop Salute retail incentive program. Through Oct. 21, any current or former member of the U.S. Armed Forces is eligible to receive a deluxe incentive package with the purchase of a new, qualifying Ranger from an authorized dealer.

    The program includes a factory rebate of $2 per engine horsepower, $100 RangerWear clothing and accessories coupon card and an exclusive military appreciation jacket, T-shirt and decals. To be eligible, customers must either be currently serving, retired from or have previous service in the United States Armed Forces. Qualifying boats include any new Ranger boat, motor and trailer package that has not been previously registered and the program is not limited to the current model year.

    For more details, contact a Ranger Boats dealer or visit www.RangerBoats.com.

  • Ehrler: missing Ollie

    Ehrler: missing Ollie

    Unlike at last month's FLW Tour regular-season finale at Lake Pickwick, Brent Ehrler can fish the Forrest Wood Cup with his mind free of the thought that his wife could go into labor at any moment. The couple's first child, a 7-pound, 15-ounce boy they named Oliver (he'll be called Ollie), was born on July 23.

    But even though the proud papa's body is in Arkansas, much of his mind is still back home in California.

    "This one isn't much easier – I'm just as anxious to get home from here as I was at Pickwick," he said following the final practice day. "I miss the little guy so much and it was the hardest thing to leave and come out here."

    To his dismay, he was absent for the big event despite weighing in early on day 3 at Pickwick and skipping day 4 entirely (he ended up with a 10th-place finish). He tried to catch a plane out of Alabama that evening, but couldn't get to the airport in time and thus ended up driving to Memphis, Tenn. and flying out the following morning.

    He would've been late either way – the baby was delivered by Caesarean section on the evening of the missed flight.

  • Yelas feeling good

    BassFan Big Stick Jay Yelas finished an abysmal 76th in the 2007 Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Ouachita, which came right on the heels of him winning his second FLW Tour Angler of the Year (AOY) title. He won't fare so poorly there this time – he can't, since there are only 58 pros in this year's field.

    All kidding aside, he expects to do a lot better. He caught fish several different ways during practice and is at least somewhat confident that he's on to some quality. To read his practice report, click here.

  • MLF: What do you think?

    Based on the information that's been released thus far, are you excited about the prospects for Major League Fishing? That's the subject of the latest BassFan Opinion Poll.

    To cast your vote, go back to the homepage and scroll down the right-hand side.

  • Forrest Wood frying pan

    Forrest Wood frying pan

    The Forrest Wood Cup field is literally frying in Arkansas right now. The actual air temperature today is about 103 or 104. Some clouds and a breeze make it a touch more bearable, but overall, it's hot like Hades.

    Pro Matt Arey said he's dealing with it, but it takes a toll both mentally and physically.

    "It's been over 100 every day," Arey said. "The humidity hasn't been too terrible, so you can kind of deal with it. You just need to stay hydrated. I've fished a couple in August and they're tough mentally and physically. The physical part is the hardest to deal with, but the mental part gets real tough too when you're not catching them."

  • YOU can win $100K

    YOU can win $100K

    Check this out: The Toyota Texas Bass Classic just announced a tournament on Lake Conroe in Texas for the average Joe with a $100,000 prize. Here's the deal.

    Up to 1,000 people can enter the ShareLunker Club Tournament. Then, from Oct. 1-21, the entrant who catches the largest ShareLunker (which is a bass over 13 pounds) will win the $100,000. Pretty cool. For the details, visit www.ToyotaTexasBassClassic.com.

  • Need an uplift?

    Need an uplift?

    Any BassFans out there having a down day, or maybe a bad week? Feeling a little glum or sorry for yourself? Then it's time to reacquaint yourself with a very special person, Clay Dyer, who has every excuse to be down or glum. A dose of Dyer always cures our ill. Whether you're in need or not, check out this recent piece with Dyer in the Raleigh News & Observer.

  • Stone: FLW, too

    Stone: FLW, too

    Former Bassmaster Elite Series angler Marty Stone is coming out of retirement to not only participate in Major League Fishing (MLF), but he also plans to fish as many tour-level events with FLW Outdoors as he can in 2012. He said he's spoken with Operations Division president Kathy Fennel and was told that he should be able to get into each of the four Opens, and he was given guidelines for applying to compete in the six Majors.

    "What a lot of people don't realize is that my career started at FLW, and now I'm going back to familiar ground," he said. "I've always looked at it as a purely fishing tournament trail. They do a great job of putting on quality events and the (entry fees) are a fair price for what the payout is.

    "I've had a year to sit back and re-evaluate some things. I really thought that I was done and that all I wanted to do was be home with my family. But the way FLW has things set up, my family can be with me a lot more. (FLW doesn't) have back-to-back events and the season's spread out over the full year."

    He said he has some unique sponsorship proposals in the works that won't conflict with FLW's restrictions, but he can't reveal their nature at this point. "It's going to be heavily interactive with a lot of digital data," he said.

    Meanwhile, he's extremely excited about MLF's potential.

    "Never before have the anglers had an ownership stake in the product – we've always fished for the entry fees that we paid ourselves. With this, we've got a 50% ownership with the Outdoor Channel.

    "Plus, I'm just thrilled that we'll have (MLF commissioner) Don Rucks and (MLF GM) Jim Wilburn on our side of the table, negotiating for us. (Rucks) was one of the best sponsors I ever had when I was with Citgo. If he told me there was a tournament tomorrow on the moon, I'd pack my bags and not ask any questions."

  • First MLF event: Amistad

    First MLF event: Amistad

    Major League Fishing commissioner Don Rucks revealed in an article today in his hometown Tulsa (Okla.) World that the initial Major League Fishing event, scheduled for this fall and dubbed the MLF Challenge Cup, will take place at Texas' Lake Amistad. The dates for the weeklong event remain under wraps.

    BassFan confirmed the location with MLF communications director Randy Coleman. The venues for ensuing events, which will commence in fall 2012, will be kept secret from the participating anglers until just a few days beforehand.

    To read the Tulsa article, click here.

  • What's Dudley doing?

    What's Dudley doing?

    Here's the radar update on what David Dudley's been doing this week: He's been fishing Smith Mt. Lake in his home state of Virginia. He wasn't out roasting under the sun for fun. The lake fishes a lot like Ouachita, he said, so he's trying to gauge the state of the bite in anticipation for next week's Forrest Wood Cup.

    In particular, he's trying to judge the viability of a bedding-bream bite.

    Is it there? Well yes, and no, he said. What does that mean? Dudley didn't want to expand, but it's clear that he's doing his homework for this one. Stay tuned.

  • Throw a Lateral?

    Throw a Lateral?

    Before every major championship there's always a buzz about a niche bait that could play a factor. For next week's Forrest Wood Cup, there's a pretty substantial buzz around the Lateral Perch from Power Tackle. That's because the bream-bed bite is expected to be a big factor at Ouachita, and the Lateral Perch is basically what the name says – a bluegill-like bait that's actually a jig, so it lays on its side (lateral). Some pros went out and purchased a bunch for about $14 a pop. Check out the photo to right.

    Check out the baits here at the BassFan Store.

  • Bigger Chigger

    Been wanting a beefier bait for bigger fish or muddy water? Then head on over to the Catch More Fish page to check out the new, bigger Chigger.

  • Scroggins, Swindle on MLF

    Scroggins, Swindle on MLF

    Terry Scroggins and Gerald Swindle told BassFan that their decisions to forego participation in Major League Fishing were not entirely due to conflicts with their Toyota sponsorship, as was reported in today's main story.

    "In my own best interest, I made a personal decision not to do it," Scroggins said. "It's not solely on Toyota, but for all my sponsors – I thought it was the best thing for me and my career. It was my personal decision because I didn't think it was the right thing to do at this time."

    Swindle cited similar reasons and also mentioned a timing conflict with his new hunting show (Moultrie's The Hit List).

    "It's not just my relationship with Toyota – I didn't want to take the chance of jeopardizing any of my sponsors," he said. "I've worked hard to get them and that's where my allegiances are. When you combine that with my schedule, it's just something that didn't work out."

  • Rose on being No. 3

    Rose on being No. 3

    Mark Rose is now ranked 3rd in the world – the highest he's ever been ranked across his 12-year career. Only KVD and Edwin Evers stand in front of him.

    Rose has told BassFans several times that he's not a typical pro in that he doesn't set goals to win or clinch titles, or measure himself in that way.

    When asked if he feels the same way about the World Rankings, and being ranked No. 3, he said: "Anytime you're recognized, yeah, it's a good feeling. But I don't try to chase things like that, as I've said. It's not exactly what makes me tick. But for all the people who stand behind me, it's just a good thing for them to get recognized and show how their support has gone a long way, and how much I appreciate it."

  • Schultz a Fuji Ambassador

    Schultz a Fuji Ambassador

    Veteran Bassmaster Elite Series angler Bernie Schultz of Florida has been selected a Fuji Amassador to help educate anglers on the advantages of well-designed, high performance fishing rods.

    “I can say, without reservation, that there are a lot of fisherman who have no idea what a rod is capable of until they cast a rod built with Fuji components that utilizes Fuji's latest layout concepts," he said. "It’s like night and day.”

    Schultz was selected along with famed fly fisherman, TV host and writer Flip Pallot.

  • Hite to Trigger X

    Hite to Trigger X

    Veteran Bassmaster Elite Series angler Davy Hite has signed a sponsorship deal with Trigger X and will also represent sister companies Rapala, VMC hooks and Terminator spinnerbaits.

    “I am thrilled to be joining the Trigger X, Rapala, Terminator and VMC pro staff,” said Hite. “The innovation and design behind these brands is amazing and I look forward to lending my knowledge and expertise to further enhance the stellar line of Trigger X soft baits.”

    Said Rapala field promotion and media relations manager David James: “It’s an honor to have Davy on our pro staff. Davy is an outstanding angler and respected promoter. We know he’ll have a strong influence on our brands.”

    The Trigger X sponsorship replaces Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits – Hite's previous softbait sponsor. Interestingly, John Murray, also a former Yamamoto pro-staffer, announced a change this week as well. In Murray's case, he inked a deal with Wave.

  • Duckett's venture unveiled Thursday

    BassFan has learned that the long-awaited details of the new competitive fishing venture spearheaded by Bassmaster Elite Series angler and 2007 Classic champion Boyd Duckett will be revealed on Thursday. Stay tuned.

  • Hefty Sportsman at BFS

    Hefty Sportsman at BFS

    The Hefty Sportsman One-Zip bags with Bassmaster Elite Series angler Mike McClelland's picture on the box are now available at the BassFan Store. The bags, which come in sizes from quart all the way up to 22-gallon, are great for storing all sorts of gear and clothing, and the smallest size is ideal for adding scent to baits.

    For more, click here.

  • FLW TV change: Puris moves on

    Jason Puris will no longer produce segments of FLW Outdoors television. Although listed by FLW Outdoors as executive producer of the program, he was one of four producers to work on the show. His final project will be next week's Forrest Wood Cup, after which production of FLW Tour programming will change hands.

    Production of the remaining two FLW Tour Opens will fall to other contracted television producers who currently film FLW Outdoors circuits such as College Fishing or the Walleye Tour, according to FLW Outdoors.

    FLW Outdoors director of public relations Andie Belfry confirmed Puris' departure and said she spoke with him today.

    "Jason is moving on but will be covering the Cup, which will be his final show," Belfry told BassFan. "In talking with Jason, he mentioned he's very proud of his work and happy to have had a great relationship with FLW, but I think he felt like it was time to move on."

    When asked about who would produce Tour television segments for the 2012 season and beyond, Belfry said: "I can't speak to that yet. Obviously the Cup is a huge event and we're covered there through working with Jason. I think only time will tell."

    Puris, who joined FLW Outdoors in April 2009, is based in New York City. He succeeded David Kiviat.

  • The Star on Joplin

    Good coverage in the Kansas City Star about how the sport got together to help Joplin, Mo. in the wave of the devastating tornado. Click here to read.

  • Wave welcomes Murray

    Wave welcomes Murray

    Wave fishing announced that it signed Arizona pro John Murray to its pro staff. Murray was previously associated with Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits, although over the past few years the Yamamoto deal declined to become minor in nature.

    Under the new Wave sponsorship, Wave will be Murray's exclusive plastics company. Murray noted he's fished Wave products for years and is especially excited to begin product-development work with Wave.

    "I'm really excited about this opportunity," Murray added. "It's a chance to be part of the best of the best."

  • Simms enters bass market

    Simms enters bass market

    Montana-based Simms, a longtime powerhouse in the wading-gear and fly-fishing technical apparel segment, has expanded its product line and is now making premium-quality jackets, bibs, pants and shoes for the tournament competitor. The company has inked six tour-level anglers to its pro staff and is sponsoring B.A.S.S. Federation Nation and American Bass Anglers (ABA) events, including the Bassmaster Weekend Series.

    The star-studded pro staff consists of Gary Klein, Shaw Grigsby, Aaron Martens, Kelly Jordon, Ish Monroe and Brent Ehrler.

    “We’re very excited to have this veteran group of tournament-tested professional anglers be a part of Simms as we expand our offerings,” said president K.C. Walsh. “They have put a lot of faith in us to make products that meet and exceed their demands and expectations.”

    Martens said he is impressed by the depth and breadth of Simms’ product line.

    “Simms is the perfect company for me to partner with when you consider I spend 300-plus days a year outside in the elements,” he said. “Simms has everything I need to protect my skin from the sun, wind and more.”

    The new lineup will be in retail outlets in early 2012.

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