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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

  • Sebile A.T. – A new twist on worms

    <b><font color=maroon>Sebile A.T. – A new twist on worms</font></b>

    New innovations in the tried-and-true plastic-worm category don't come along every day, but Sebile has produced one with its new A.T. Worm. Its double tail gives it an erratic action when twitched and its hollow body produces better hooksets.

    For more, click here to visit the Catch More Fish page.

  • Rook’s, Clunn’s Classic hopes ride on Opens

    Once all the dust settled from the Oneida Lake Bassmaster Elite Series season finale, the field for next year’s Bassmaster Classic began to take shape.

    As of right now, 31 Elite Series pros have locked up berths. There are two remaining Bassmaster Opens – one Southern and one Central – and a couple scenarios exist that would see the Top 36 in AOY points make it to Grand Lake next February.

    To best explain, let’s take a look at the Top 36 in the standings.

    Locked In

    1. Brent Chapman (Lewisville Central Open winner, Toledo Bend Elite Series winner)
    2. Ott DeFoe
    3. Terry Scroggins
    4. Todd Faircloth (Mississippi River Elite Series winner)
    5. Randy Howell
    6. Matthew Herren
    7. Kevin VanDam
    8. Edwin Evers
    9. Bill Lowen
    10. Aaron Martens
    11. Skeet Reese
    12. Bobby Lane
    13. Greg Hackney
    14. Chris Lane (Harris Chain Southern Open winner, 2012 Bassmaster Classic champion)
    15. David Walker
    16. Dean Rojas
    17. Nate Wellman
    18. Cliff Pace
    19. John Crews, Jr.
    20. Mark Davis
    21. Yusuke Miyazaki
    22. Brandon Card
    23. Gerald Swindle
    24. Takahiro Omori
    25. Shaw E. Grigsby, Jr.
    26. Marty Robinson
    27. Tommy Biffle
    28. Russ Lane

    > The above anglers qualified based on points accumulated through the eight Elite Series events.

    Mutiple-Qualifer Berths

    29. Cliff Prince
    30. Jason Quinn
    31. Mike Iaconelli

    > These three anglers are locked in as they qualified through berths that were available because Brent Chapman, Todd Faircloth and Chris Lane were all double-qualifiers via their points finish and victories during the season.

    Contingent Multiple-Qualifier Berths

    32. Mike McClelland
    33. Jared Lintner

    > The Classic hopes of these two rest solely on whether Chapman and Chris Lane fish the final Opens of the respective divisions in which they’ve won events this year. Chapman (Central) and Lane (Southern) have indicated they will fish the final Opens, and by doing so each would be considered a triple-qualifer for the Classic, thus opening up two additional Classic spots for McClelland and Lintner.

    Help Wanted

    34. Scott Rook
    36. Rick Clunn

    > The Classic hopes of Scott Rook and Rick Clunn are a total crapshoot at this point.

    Both have a bit of control over their own destiny, as they could gain an automatic berth with a victory in the final Central Open at Ft. Gibson (both fished the first two events on the circuit). If that doesn't occur, they'll have to hope for victories by Classic-qualified Elite pros to get in (Clunn would need wins by pre-qualified anglers in both remaining Opens, as the first spot would go to Rook).

    Clunn is seeking his record 33rd Classic berth and first since 2009.

    Boyd Duckett finished 35th in points, but since he won the Oneida Lake Elite Series, he’s assured a Classic spot.

  • BoatUS College finals at Pickwick through 2017

    The Association of Collegiate Anglers and Florence, Ala., have entered into a long-term partnership, making Florence and Lake Pickwick the host of the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship through 2017.

    "We're ecstatic to secure such a great host as Florence for many years to come,” said Danny Blandford, program director for the ACA. “Traditionally this type of long-term partnership is unheard of in the fishing world, but in this particular case, it was an easy decision for both sides and we are all very excited."

    Said Debbie Wilson, the executive director of Florence/Lauderdale Tourism, "College anglers are the future of bass fishing and Florence/Lauderdale Tourism is excited to be part of this growing sport. We are honored to have the opportunity to host the BoatUS Collegiate Championship on Pickwick Lake for the next five years. This event has a tremendous economic impact for the City of Florence and we would like to extend a warm welcome and our Southern Hospitality to all the participating students as well as their friends and family."

    To learn more, click here.

  • Lane's transition tips

    Lane's transition tips

    (Editor's note: The folks at Boomerang Tool Company provided the following summer-to-fall transition fishing tips from Bassmaster Elite Series angler and Boomerang pro-staffer Russ Lane.)

    When to Start Changing Your Strategy

    According to Lane, when the days start to shorten, it's time to make the switch from summer strategies to fall techniques.

    “The water temps will still be high, but the shorter duration of daylight always corresponds with fall patterns,” he said. On most lakes, a good time to start employing fall tactics is late August to early September. That’s when the water temps begin to cool and bass move from their deeper summer haunts to shallower water.”

    Where to Find ‘Em

    Lane points out that there are two primary patterns during late summer and early fall.

    “Bass on the main body of a lake will suspend and school around shad and alewives near long points, humps and breaks,” he noted. “The depth of these suspended schools will be relative to the water color. Typically, the clearer the water, the deeper the schools of bait and bass will suspend.

    "Good numbers of bass can also be found toward the backs of major feeder creeks at this time of year. Concentrate on stained water near the creeks and depths of 1 to 4 feet. That’s where the threadfin and gizzard shad tend to bunch up.”

    What to Throw

    Lane likes to use bladed swimjigs to entice bass during the summer/fall transition.

    “The bass are usually very aggressive, said Lane. “All of their habits and movements are based around pursuing baitfish, so I like to work a ChatterBait with a fast, erratic retrieve.

    "That’s not to say this technique works in every situation. If it doesn’t produce, experiment and let the fish tell you what type of retrieve best gets their attention.”

    Stay Focused on the Bait

    “Remember, for bass, it’s all about chasing schools of bait during this period,” said Lane. “And since baitfish are constantly on the move, you’ll need to cover a lot of water to find and keep up with them. Don’t waste your time working areas with no signs of forage fish. If the shad aren’t around, you probably won’t put any fish in the boat.”

  • Frazier gets Pic-A-Lure deal

    Frazier gets Pic-A-Lure deal

    Georgia FLW Tour pro Micah Frazier has signed a sponsorship deal with Pic-A-Lure, a chart-based system that helps anglers choose the right lures.

    "The Pic-A-Lure system is the perfect answer for anglers who don't get out very often," he said. "It'll help get the right lure in your hand fast, and then all you have to do is find the fish.

    "However, I can see a need for it by even the top-level anglers. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten off the water and had one of those 'I should have tried X' thoughts. The Pic-A-Lure system will cross-check my thinking and keep me from missing something obvious I might have overlooked."

    Said Keith Cooper of Pic-A-Lure: "Having an incredible angler like Micah Frazier on our staff will definitely help us get the word out about our system. I really think Frazier will also benefit from using the system. He's a great young angler and working with him has already been a pleasure."

  • MLF at Chautauqua this week (photo update)

    MLF at Chautauqua this week (photo update)

    The Major League Fishing (MLF) crew this week has invaded southwestern New York, where they’re filming an event at Chautauqua Lake.

    This is the second MLF series – it’s being called the Summit Cup – and another is planned for later this year (that location has not been disclosed). MLF commissioner Don Rucks made the announcement at the Athenaeum Hotel on the grounds of the Chautauqua Institution today alongside local officials.

    The competition began Monday after many of the contestants finished up at the Oneida Lake Elite Series. Filming will wrap up Saturday, when the championship round will take place. The television programming for this event will begin airing on the Outdoor Channel on Jan. 1, 2013, with the championship round set to air on NBC on Feb. 9, 2013.

    New rules were implemented for the Summit Cup with conservation in mind, including penalties assessed for fish hitting the carpet of the boat. Contestants are also required to release the fish beneath the gunwale.

    The 18-mile-long lake that covers 13,000 acres is about 90 minutes south of Buffalo and has hosted BFLs and Federation events in the past, but is often overlooked as a bass-fishing destination since it’s situated just a few miles east of Lake Erie.

    To see a group shot of who's competing this week, check out our Facebook page.

  • Butcher: A costly mental lapse

    Butcher: A costly mental lapse

    Terry Butcher had been late for check-in at a tournament once before. It was at an EverStart back in the 1990s and he'd been bed-fishing, and he simply lost track of time. There was no real consequence for that indiscretion, since he wouldn't have earned a paycheck whether he'd been punctual or not.

    It was a different story last week at the Oneida Lake Bassmaster Elite Series, though. A "brain lock" regarding his check-in time cost him a $10,000 check for the event, several thousand dollars in Angler of the Year money and a slot in next year's Bassmaster Classic, which will take place at Grand Lake in his home state of Oklahoma.

    "I'm sure I'll get over it at some point," he said. "But I'll remember that until I go to my grave."

    He said he flat-out knew his check-in time was 3:45 and responded with those numbers when asked by a B.A.S.S. official when he launched. But somehow, at some point during the day, the deadline became 4 o'clock in his own mind.

    "I was just doing the normal deal, coming in with the second flight while thinking it was the first. I waved at the guy in the check-in boat just to let him know it was me, and he started waving me over. I thought that was odd because he could see who I was from there.

    "When I got close to him, I realized what had happened. I started to turn around and just leave, but then I came back and asked him how late I was. He told me 11 minutes and I knew I had more than 11 pounds, so I was just hoping it would be enough to keep me in the Top 50 (in the points race) for the Angler of the Year money.

    "I ended up 51st, so I missed that, too."

    The 11-pound penalty dropped his weight for the day from 13-15 to 2-15. Without it, he would've been in 22nd place at the midway point of the event and would've needed only about 10 pounds on day 3 to secure a Classic berth.

    He's a member of the Bass Cat Boats pro staff, and Bass Cat owner Rick Pierce has launched a campaign to try to get him elected to fill one of the four at-large spots for next month's Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Elite Series All-Star Week. Pierce has put out the word on his own company's owner's board, along with other popular forums such as Bass Boat Central and the Bass Fishing Home Page.

    "I'm hesitant to say that he's 'deserving' because he did make a mistake," Pierce said. "But it was an honest mistake and he's just such a good guy."

    Butcher could still get into the Classic by winning next month's Central Open at Fort Gibson Lake, but that's admittedly a longshot. All the money he left behind at Oneida is gone for good.

    Nonetheless, he was able to find a tiny bit of humor in the ordeal.

    "I've seen guys write down their check-in time on their hand and stuff like that, and I'd better start writing it somewhere. I'm 41 years old now, and they say that the memory is the first thing to go."

  • FLW in 2013: Opens are out

    <b><font color=red>FLW in 2013: Opens are out</font></b>

    FLW released its 2013 Tour schedule today and it consists of only the six Majors. The four Opens have been scrapped due to what the organization called "an adjustment to the current market demand."

    For more, click here.

  • Card plans to build on ROY season

    Card plans to build on ROY season

    Brandon Card had a chance to put away the Bassmaster Elite Series Rookie of the Year award last Friday during the second day of the Oneida Lake season finale. He was hooked up with a 4-pound smallmouth, but while bringing the fish in, it decided to jump one last time and shook the hook and swam off.

    It left Card with four fish for the day and caused him to finish 60th, missing his third straight weekend cut. It also forced him to endure a day of not fishing while knowing fellow rookie Cliff Prince was out on the water on day 3 trying to make up the 15 points between he and Card in the standings.

    “Saturday was terrible,” said Card, who punched mats the first 2 days with soft plastics rigged under a 1 1/2-oz. Jethro Baits tungsten weight pegged with a Jethro Stop-itz. “Having only four fish on Friday, I was pretty mad to be honest. On Saturday, I just took it easy. I was fine it and wasn’t aggravated anymore. I didn’t watch BassTrakk or anything until I got to the weigh-in because I didn’t want to get all keyed up about it.”

    When Prince came on stage with only two fish in his bag, Card knew the ROY title was his.

    “It means the world to me,” he said today while fishing the St. Lawrence River in northern New York, which will host an Elite Series event next year. “It’s what all the rookies shoot for. What was cool is that I had the lead early and held on to win. Cliff came on strong, though, from Toledo Bend to the end. He really put the heat on me.”

    In the end, Card leaned on the strength of his first five tournaments (average finish of 25th) to capture the title. When asked about the possibility of slipping into some sort of sophomore slump next year, he was quick to mention fellow Tennessean Ott DeFoe, who won ROY honors as well as the All-Star event last year, then finished 2nd in the AOY race this season.

    “Everybody’s going to step up their game now,” he said. “I don’t want to show up next year and be a slouch and turn into a guy who had a good first season and then was never heard from again. I’m going to put in my work this offseason and go into next year as if it was my first year.”

    The main obstacle he had to overcome this season was finding fish and formulating a tournament strategy in the 3 days of practice prior to Elite Series events.

    “That’s something that takes some getting used to,” he said. “It can be pretty difficult to get a tournament plan together in that time. Another part of the learning curve was getting used to the northern lakes and figuring out how to catch them up here since I don’t have a whole lot of experience with that.”

    The icing on the cake this season, though, was securing a trip to his first Bassmaster Classic next February at Grand Lake in Oklahoma. He earned it by finishing 22nd in AOY points.

    “It’s unbelievable,” he said. “That was probably my first goal when I came out here this season. I’m glad I accomplished that and won Rookie of the Year.”

    He recalled attending the 2004 Classic in person when Takahiro Omori mounted a furious rally to capture the title at Lake Wylie.

    “That had to be one of the best Classics ever,” he said. “Being there in person and watching that, it’s been something I’ve been dying to get into.”

  • Rankings: Chapman closes gap

    B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year Brent Chapman took a small chunk out of his deficit margin from top-ranked David Dudley in the latest edition of the BassFan World Rankings and recent winners Boyd Duckett and Larry Nixon both jumped more than 50 places. For the full list, click here.

  • Merc to expand in Fond du Lac

    Merc to expand in Fond du Lac

    Boating trade publication IBI reported today that Mercury will undergo a $20 million expansion at its headquarters and outboard engine factory in Fond du Lac, Wis. The project, scheduled for completion by the end of 2013, will result in more manufacturing jobs and new positions in engineering and product development.

    The company has added about 950 jobs at Fond du Lac over the past 3 years.

  • Sunline Strong Performer: Oneida

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

    Takahiro Omori is taking this dramatic comeback thing to a whole new level now.

    Last season, with one Bassmaster Elite Series tournament left, he knew he likely needed a Top-12 finish to qualify for this year’s Bassmaster Classic. He went to Lake Wheeler and delivered just that – a 12th-place finish that moved him up 10 spots to 32nd in the Anger of the Year points, and that allowed him to fish the Classic at the Red River.

    This season, with fewer Elite Series anglers qualifying for the 2013 Classic through the points standings, Omori found himself behind the 8-ball again heading into the season finale. He went to Oneida Lake in 39th place in the points and figured he’d need a Top-5 to be Classic-bound this time around.

    He delivered again, but it wasn’t without a little late-day drama on day 2.

    After weighing 12-08 on day 1, which had him in 53rd place, he knew he had to swing for big bites the rest of the way. His weight came down to 11-15 on day 2, but he snuck inside the weekend cutline by 5 ounces in 48th place.

    He wouldn’t have made it, though, without a surprise 3 1/4-pound smallmouth that inhaled his creature bait about 30 minutes before he needed to check in. It allowed him to cull and gave him the ounces he needed to fish day 3.

    “I was deep flipping in 12 feet of water on outside edges of grass and I caught him almost by accident,” he said.

    He turned it up on day 3, catching 18-13 to make the 12-cut in 10th place, a jump of 40 places. Having not seen a 4-pounder all week, he bagged a 4 1/2-pounder and a 5-06 brute on 60-pound Sunline FX2 braid line to keep his season and Classic hopes alive.

    He closed out the weekend with a 14-00 catch to rise to 4th in the final standings, a leap of 49 spots overall from day 1. More importantly, he accomplished his goal, which was to earn a Classic berth.

    “It was a grind mentally and was really tough,” he said. “It was a grueling and tough week. I’m glad it ended the right way for me. To be honest, in the weigh-in line on the 2nd day, I was telling guys that I didn’t think I was going to (Grand).

    “It sucks if you miss the Classic by a few points,” he said. “You have 7 months to think about it. I don’t want to miss it by a few points. I’d rather miss it in a big way, but I was really happy to make it. The next 7 months I’ll stay motivated for Grand Lake.”

    The Sunline Strong Performer, which focuses on the angler who makes the most significant single-day move in the standings at each tour-level event, is brought to you by the great people at Sunline.

  • Polls open Tuesday

    Polls open Tuesday

    The voting for the remaining four spots in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Elite Series All-Star Week will begin on Tuesday.

    The Top 8 are locked in based on their finish in the Toyota Tundra B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year (AOY) standings. Those heading to Lake Shelbyville, Ill., for the semifinal round on Sept. 20-21 are:

    > Brent Chapman
    > Ott DeFoe
    > Terry Scorggins
    > Todd Faircloth
    > Randy Howell
    > Matt Herren
    > Kevin VanDam
    > Edwin Evers

    Fans are asked to vote for four other Elite pros to round out the 12-man field. Pros will be campaigning for votes during a live Twitter chat from 1 to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. Twitter users can participate by tweeting with the hashtag #basschat.

    Some have already taken to Facebook with their requests for fan support.

  • G. Loomis does it again

    For years, G. Loomis has been among the pace-setters in the fishing rod business. But they never seem to rest on their laurels and past successes.

    That much is evident in the new GLX series of rods introduced at ICAST last month. By utilizing the first graphite made strictly to build rod blanks, G. Loomis has created a whole new set of options for crankbait fishermen and those who prefer to flip.

    The highlights of the 12 new crankbait rods (available in 6’6”, 7’, 7’1” and 7’11”) and six new flipping rods (available in 7’5” and 7’11”) is they’re anywhere from 23 to 35 percent stronger than previous GLX models, but the designers made sure to preserve the trademark feel and sensitivity G. Loomis rods have come to be known for.

    BassFan has been field-testing the new 7’ 843CBR crankbait rod for a couple weeks now and will be publishing a more complete product review in the near future.

    To see the new GLX rods in action, check out Mark Zona giving them a workout in the video below.

  • Big Bite Lookback: Detroit

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

    Indiana's Ryan Chandler missed the Top-10 cut at the recent Detroit River FLW Tour Open by 5 ounces. He caught 19-pound sacks on each of the first 2 days, but was limited to 18 1/2 on day 3, and that half-pound prevented him from fishing the final day.

    "On day 3, the biggest thing was I lost a lot of fish," he said. "They weren't biting the tube real well – they were just swimming with it. They were aggressive, but not real aggressive."

    He also wishes he'd stayed with his fish on Lake St. Clair for another 15 minutes or so on that day. He didn't feel as if he could afford to at the time due to the long run back to the launch down the Detroit River (which is always clogged with recreational traffic on Saturdays during the summer), but he ended up getting there about 20 minutes ahead of his check-in time.

    "I was working four little areas within a 500-yard stretch, and when you found the sweet spot you could just jack on them. I'd just caught a 4-pounder and there were another 10 of that size with it."

    He was fishing within half a mile of winner Larry Nixon, runner-up Bill McDonald and 5th-place finisher Shinichi Fukae.

    "I would've liked to have seen what would've happened on Sunday (had he made the Top 10). I couldn't have won, but I think I could've busted 20 pounds and moved up."

    The Big Bite Lookback, which focuses on the angler who's first out of the final cut at each tour-level event, is brought to you by the great folks at Big Bite Baits.

  • Sunline Strong Performer: Detroit

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

    A change of lakes was the key to Skip Johnson's major move up the standings list on day 2 of the recent Detroit River FLW Tour Open.

    The Goodells, Mich. resident went to Lake St. Clair on day 1 and caught a run-of-the-mill 16 1/2-pound bag of smallmouths that left him in 56th place. Just a day later, he found himself in the Top 10 following an excursion to Lake Erie.

    "I needed a little bit of wind on my spots on St. Clair and it was just flat-calm on day 1," he said. "The bigger fish just didn't cooperate. I was only about 700 feet away from (eventual winner Larry) Nixon and I caught them real good there in practice.

    "The next day I went to Erie and just fished old stuff. I only got five bites, but they were the right ones."

    He threw a Nemesis Baits goby imitation on a dropshot rig that day. His 22-03 stringer was topped by a 5 1/2-pounder and the smallest fish he weighed was a 4.

    "It was a 'go big or go home' kind of thing where I tried to get myself back into range for a good check. I got real lucky, I guess."

    His fortunes took a hard turn in the other direction the following day, though, as he weighed just one fish for 3-11 and ended up with a 20th-place finish.

    "I should've gone to St. Clair that day. My Erie fish had totally moved out and a bunch of catfish, walleye and drum had moved in.

    "I went fun-fishing with my kids on St. Clair (Sunday) and caught 21 pounds. I just shot myself in the foot."

    The Sunline Strong Performer, which focuses on the angler who makes the most significant single-day move in the standings at each tour-level event, is brought to you by the great people at Sunline.

  • Big Bite Lookback: Oneida

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

    Jared Lintner couldn’t afford to force the issue at Oneida Lake last week. He wanted to fish the way he’s most comfortable, which was probably the best decision since he needed at least a Top-20 finish at the final Bassmaster Elite Series event to pull into contention for a Bassmaster Classic berth.

    His decision to target just largemouth paid off with a season-best 13th-place finish that moved him into 33rd place in points, which should be good enough to grab a Classic berth based on the number of anglers ahead of him who’ve earned multiple qualifications.

    “One of the things I battle with all year long is sometimes you have to fish the way you’re maybe not comfortable with,” he said, “so coming into here where there are both smallmouth and largemouth and you can fish them in two totally different ways, I made a conscious decision before I even showed up here that I was going to fish for largemouth and I was going to fish the way I’m comfortable fishing.

    “I’ve been here four times and there’s plenty of grass so I just went flipping and frogging. That’s how I wanted to fish,” the Californian added. “In the past, I had a few smallmouth spots where I caught them pretty good and they just didn’t pan out at all. If I couldn’t catch them off the area I knew then I wasn’t going to chase them.”

    He spent the entirety of his practice locating areas that were holding largemouth because he felt that was his best chance at catching those crucial 4-pounders that can make up a lot of ground in the standings.

    He’s flipped enough mats back home to know not every bite is going to result in a clean retrieve with the fish winding up in the livewell. It’s a high risk, high reward way to fish.

    “You’re going to lose some and I knew that going into it,” he said. “It’s part of the game. If you ever get every fish in the boat when you’re flipping a 1-ounce weight in heavy mats, you’re going to win that tournament. You have to fish perfect. I knew the risks and I was happy it got me to where it did, but obviously I would’ve liked to have a Top-5 or 6.”

    He had two areas he ran back and forth to and worked over grass in 3- to 7-foot depths flipping a Jackall Sasuteki Craw and Berkley Havoc Pit Boss under a Paycheck Baits Punch Skirt with a 1-ounce Eco Pro Tungsten weight.

    His day-1 stringer of 12-14 had him in the middle of the pack in 47th place, but he made a strong move from there, advancing to 15th on day 2 before his 13-01 bag on day 3 gained him two more positions.

    “Looking back, if everything would’ve went perfectly, I wouldn’t have won because I wasn’t on the fish to win,” he said. “I may have had an outside chance, but each day I lost a 3-pounder, which is huge when you can cull out a 2. If I’d have caught those key fish, I’m fishing (Sunday) and probably sitting in fifth or sixth.”

    The Big Bite Lookback, which focuses on the angler who's first out of the final cut at each tour-level event, is brought to you by the great folks at Big Bite Baits.

  • Martens on the run

    Martens on the run

    Bassmaster Elite Series pro Aaron Martens turned 40 years old last Friday and he says he’s in the best physical shape of his life.

    One of the main reasons for that is he started on a steady running regimen last year and he’s to the point now where he’s in the midst of training for his first marathon – the Philadelphia Marathon on Nov. 18.

    “I’ve been talking about doing a marathon for 2 or 3 years,” he said.

    He completed a half marathon in Birmingham, Ala., back in February, finishing in 1 hour, 42 minutes (a sub 8-minute-per-mile average) and that’s given him the confidence to take the next step.

    “It was a hilly course and my goal was to get an under 8 (average),” he said. “Considering I couldn’t run and was terrible last year when I started, where I’m at now, it feels good.”

    He said he picked up running as a way to stay fit since he’s not burning calories fishing the way he used to.

    “It’s a good way to clear your mind,” he said. “I needed to get out there and do something besides fish. I need to stay in shape.”

    He sticks to his regimen, refusing to take days off even during tournaments. For example, he ran 6 miles after day 1 of the Oneida Lake Elite Series at “race pace,” then had an “easy run” on Saturday before getting in 13 miles on Sunday.

    When he lived in California, he used to mountain bike 50 miles a week and he’s been working that into his routine now as well. As for turning 40, it’s just a number to the two-time Elite Series winner.

    “If you know me, it doesn’t mean anything,” he said.

  • Zilla designed to tame the big ones

    The new Zilla braid from Spiderwire was engineered specifically for battling big fish. It's an ideal line for big baits and perfect for umbrella rigs, when multiple hookups are inevitable.

    To learn more, click here to vist the Catch More Fish page.

  • Chapman finishes the job

    Chapman finishes the job

    Brent Chapman credits a trip to Oneida last month for the success he's having this week. Without it, he may not have been able to close out the Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of the Year title like he did Saturday.

    “That trip was everything," he said. "The area I’m fishing this week I’m fishing because of what I saw a month ago here. My practice this week was horrible. Everything I figured out a month ago is why I’m here today."

    To read more about his AOY triumph, click here.

  • BU contest: Fish with Gluszek

    BU contest: Fish with Gluszek

    The Bass University today announced a new contest, with a fishing trip for two to Lake Champlain with Pete Gluszek as the grand prize. The winner will be determined by random drawing from among those who "like" BU on Facebook and follow BU on Twitter (those who do both will have two entries in the drawing).

    The top prize includes one night of lodging and a full day of fishing. Entries close at midnight Eastern Time on Oct. 1.

    For more about BU, click here.

  • Le leads at Detroit

    Thanh Le caught a 22-14 sack to grab a 1-ounce lead over Lake Erie stalwart Joe Balog on day 1 at the Detroit River FLW Tour Open. For full coverage, click here.

  • Early returns positive on ’13 Elites sked

    Early returns positive on ’13 Elites sked

    BassFan spoke with a handful of Bassmaster Elite Series pros Wednesday, shortly after B.A.S.S. released the 2013 Elite Series schedule. They were all on the water at Oneida Lake wrapping up practice for the final event of this season and some weren’t aware the schedule was due to come out.

    On first glance, the reaction to the schedule was positive. Most noted the season opener at the Sabine River will be a question mark as it’ll be new water for just about everyone. B.A.S.S. has never held an event there before. Others are anxious to get a look at the Alabama River in the spring rather than late summer or fall, which is when the most recent Elite events have been held there.

    The Westerners hoping to see a California swing will have to wait at least another year, but Falcon Lake is back on the slate for the first time since 2008, when Paul Elias set the 4-day B.A.S.S. weight record with 132-08 in an event that saw everyone in the Top 12 crack the 100-pound mark.

    The season will wrap up with three Northern summer events, including the St. Lawrence River with Ogdensburg, N.Y., serving as the host. The St. Lawrence was the site of the 1980 Classic (held in late September), which was won by Bo Dowden. It was a regular host for the New York Invitational back in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s and hasn’t hosted a B.A.S.S. event since 2003.

    The pay-in/pay-out structure hasn’t been released yet and there’s no word whether the post-season event(s) will be continued. Following is a look at the schedule and brief summaries of the thoughts of the pros we spoke with:

    2013 Elite Series Schedule

    > Feb. 22-24 – Bassmaster Classic – Grand Lake – Tulsa, Okla.
    > March 14-17 – Sabine River – Orange, Texas
    > March 21-24 – Falcon Lake – Zapata, Texas
    > April 18-21 – Bull Shoals Lake – Bull Shoals, Ark.
    > May 2-5 – West Point Lake – LaGrange, Ga.
    > May 9-12 – Alabama River – Montgomery, Ala.
    > June 20-23 – Mississippi River – La Crosse, Wis.
    > Aug. 8-11 – St. Lawrence River – Ogdensburg, N.Y.
    > Aug. 22-25 – Lake St. Clair – Detroit, Mich.

    Classic Champ Was Hoping For More

    When told what the schedule was, Chris Lane’s immediate reaction was, “Hmmm.”

    That was because he heard a few names of fisheries that he’s not been to in the past. Not that that worries him, but

    “There are a few I haven’t been to yet,” he said. “It looks like a completely different schedule than what we’ve been fishing. We’ve fished a lot of grass lakes recently and this schedule has a lot of deep water and river systems on it. I just wish we had more (events).”

    Going back to Falcon intrigues him because of the size potential that exists there.

    “I don’t know anything about the St. Lawrence,” he said, “but most of them from what I know and the ones I’ve fished before, we’ll catch a lot of fish, so it’ll be fun from that standpoint.”

    Faircloth Cool With It

    There were a couple eyebrow-raisers for Todd Faircloth – in a good way – on the schedule, which will take him back to La Crosse, Wis., where he notched his third career Elite victory this year at the Mississippi River.

    “It doesn’t sound too bad,” he said. “I don’t know much about the Sabine River. That’ll be a new one for everybody. It’s not really known for its bass fishing. I live an hour from there, but I’ve never fished down there.”

    He said Falcon is really low right now and it’s going to take a wet winter to bring the water back up. Otherwise, it could be a question mark come next March.

    He’s amped up to get back to Bull Shoals, but not so much for the Alabama River.

    “Bull Shoals is a really good fishery,” he said. “We caught a lot of fish there. From what we had heard, we fished it at the best time of year, but at that time the lake can be flooded an can make for some tougher fishing.

    “I’m not looking forward to (the Alabama River). It’s not one of my favorite venues. Maybe it’ll be better in May because we’ve always fished there later in the summer.”

    Menendez Signs Off

    Mark Menendez likes the look of the schedule with the mix of old and new venues. Among them is West Point Lake, where he won a Southern Open in 2005 and finished 18th in the 2011 Elite event.

    “There are some great venues, some challenging venues and an unknown,” he said. “I’d heard some rumbling about the Sabine River, but nobody fishes it so either we’re going to go there and it’ll be great or it’ll be a complete bust.”

    He was expecting a tournament to be placed somewhere up north, but the St. Lawrence could prove challenging based on where they’re launching.

    “I figured it was time to head back north, but being stuck that far up the river, it might take the mouth of the river and (Lake Ontario) out of play,” he added. “Bull Shoals is so good. I probably caught 300 fish in 4 days there. It’s just fun to go there and catch a lot of fish. On the Alabama River, we’ve always been restricted to the Montgomery pool. It’ll be nice to be able to lock through and spread out some. The lower pool doesn’t get as much (fishing) pressure. It’s good to see we’re going back to the Mississippi. I just wish Wisconsin and Minnesota would get their acts together with all of their rules and restrictions.”

    Two Close To Home For Vinson

    The closest Elite Series event to Greg Vinson’s home this year was a 6 1/2-hour drive. Next year will be a little easier on the travel budget as the Alabama River (25 minutes) and West Point Lake (an hour) are both an easy drive from his house in Wetumpka, Ala.

    “It looks like a good variety and everybody will get a fishery that suits their style,” he said. “(The Alabama River) is a really good fishery. It’s a good time of year, too, and we should see some good weights. It’ll more conducive to a variety of patterns. In the late summer, you’re limited to what you can do. The catch rates will definitely be higher. There’s good largemouth fishing and the spots are always biting. I’m looking forward to it. I know it well, but have fished that pool once in the last 2 years. I’ll be able get some homework done there in the offseason.”

  • Sportsmanship defined

    Sportsmanship defined

    As part of the coverage of the Forrest Wood Cup, BassFan reported that Arkansas FLW Tour pro Mark Rose was named as the recipient of the inaugural Forrest L. Wood. Sportsmanship and Community Leadership Award. At the time, few details were available about the criteria for the award.

    FLW published an story on its website today that details why Rose was selected for the honor. To read it, click here.

  • What's on Biffle's mind?

    What's on Biffle's mind?

    (Editor's note: Industry rep Alan McGuckin conducted the following question-and-answer session with Tommy Biffle prior to today's start of the Oneida Lake Bassmaster Elite Series).

    The 2013 Bassmaster Classic on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake is only 65 miles from Tommy Biffle’s home. He won his share of tournaments on Grand Lake before turning pro a quarter of a century ago, but he enters the Bassmaster Elite event on Oneida Lake ranked 38th in the Toyota Tundra Angler of the Year points, putting him on the fragile bubble of a Classic berth and a chance to enjoy a little home cooking next February. The grey-beard graciously shared his thoughts on the eve of the Oneida event that began today.

    Tommy, you won the Bassmaster Elite Series event here at Oneida in July of 2006 and shocked a lot of people with your ability to catch largemouth ultra-shallow in a lake better known for its offshore smallmouth fishing. How does this week compare to 6 years ago?

    The lake is a lot lower, a lot cleaner, has a lot more vegetation in it, and there’s a whole lot more people fishing real shallow than there was before I won by fishing shallow 6 years ago.

    What’s the best meal you’ve had since you came to Oneida?

    Chicken fried steak at the Cracker Barrel, 500 yards from my hotel.

    You averaged nearly 16 pounds a day when you won here in 2006. What do you think it’ll take to assure yourself a spot in the Top 12 this year?

    Twelve pounds a day.

    What rod and reel will get the most work in your boat this week?

    My 7-foot-6 Quantum Tour Biffle pitchin’ stick with a 7.3:1 EXO reel.

    How many spinning reels will you carry with you this week?

    None. I had one in the boat for practice, but I took it out of the boat for the tournament.

    When’s the last time you won a tournament on Grand Lake, Oklahoma?

    It’s been a long time. I caught ‘em flippin’ a jig.

    Have you ever won a tournament on Grand Lake on the very popular early-spring suspending jerkbait pattern?

    Nope. And I probably won’t, unless I win the Classic with a jerkbait, but I gotta qualify for it first. Jason Christie is the one they all better watch out for at Grand.

    This is the last regular-season Bassmaster Elite tournament of 2012. What are you looking forward to most when you leave here?

    There's no break for me. I’ve got three tournaments in a row when I leave here. I’ve got the Major League Fishing event, followed by the Bassmaster Central Open on Fort Gibson, and then the PAA event on the Arkansas River at Muskogee.

  • Frazier signs on with PowerTeam

    Frazier signs on with PowerTeam

    FLW Tour pro Micah Frazier of Georgia has signed a sponsorship agreement with PowerTeam Lures.

    "We pride ourselves on being creative and providing excellent fish-catching baits to anglers at all levels," said PowerTeam's Bob Bernotsky. "Having a young up-and-coming angler like Micah Frazier fishing our baits on tour will be great for our company. Not only has Micah proven that he can be very competitive at any level, we also feel that he can help us create new and exciting baits for the future.”

    Said Frazier: “Their products are exceptional. I have tried several of them and I already have confidence that they will give me a competitive advantage over the other anglers. The Craw D’oeuvre is just so versatile and the JP Hammer Shad is my new go-to dropshot bait. Plus that Finicky Tickler just puts them in the box … period.”

  • Strike King, Lucas Oil form partnership

    Strike King, Lucas Oil form partnership

    Strike King announced today that it's formed a strategic partnership with Lucas Oil. Lucas, a relative newcomer to the fishing industry, will be the title sponsor of the Strike King Pro Team Journal and Strike King's Fish Hard.

    “We are excited to promote the Lucas brand," said Strike King sales and marketing VP Doug Minor. "They offer superior products that apply to almost everything that we do as anglers. From outboard motor oil to products that enhance the performance of your tow vehicle, Lucas is serious about the outdoors."

  • UPDATE: '13 Elite schedule released

    UPDATE: '13 Elite schedule released

    B.A.S.S. unveiled its 2013 Elite Series schedule today.

    Like this year, it's an eight-event circuit, but the season will get underway in Texas rather than Florida as has been the case the last 2 years. There are a couple repeat venues from this year, no “mystery lake” and two sets of back-to-back events.

    The schedule released by B.A.S.S earlier today contained the wrong dates for the Alabama River event. It's now slated for May 9-12, meaning it'll take place immediately after the West Point Lake tournament.

    Here's a look at the slate:

    BASSMASTER CLASSIC 

    Dates: Feb. 22-24 

    Venue: Grand Lake 

    Host: Tulsa, Okla.

    ELITE #1 

    Dates: March 14-17 

    Venue: Sabine River
    Host: Orange, Texas

    ELITE #2 

    Dates: March 21-24 

    Venue: Falcon Lake 

    Host: Zapata, Texas

    ELITE #3 

    Dates: April 18-21 

    Venue: Bull Shoals Lake 

    Host: Bull Shoals, Ark.

    ELITE #4 

    Dates: May 2-5 

    Venue: West Point Lake 

    Host: LaGrange, Ga.

    ELITE #5 

    Dates: May 9-12 

    Venue: Alabama River 

    Host: Montgomery, Ala.

    ELITE #6 

    Dates: June 20-23 

    Venue: Mississippi River 

    Host: La Crosse, Wis.

    ELITE #7 

    Dates: Aug. 8-11
    Venue: St. Lawrence River 

    Host: Ogdensburg, N.Y.

    ELITE #8 

    Dates: Aug. 22-25 

    Venue: Lake St. Clair 

    Host: Detroit

    As you can see, return trips are being made to Bull Shoals Lake and the Mississippi River out of La Crosse, Wis., at virtually the exact same time as this year’s events.

    The schedule concludes with three northern stops from mid-June through late August, including a visit to the St. Lawrence River in northern New York, which last hosted a B.A.S.S. event in 2003, but had been a regular stop through the late 1980s and 1990s and was the site of the 1980 Classic. The season will wrap up at Lake St. Clair the final week of August 2013 where the Angler of the Year (AOY) will be crowned and 2013 Classic berths will be determined.

    FLW is expected to announce its schedule shortly so it’s not known yet what events will overlap, if any.

  • Family first: Martin opts out of Opens

    Family first: Martin opts out of Opens

    Scott Martin had a little fun at the expense of fellow FLW pro Jonathan Newton this week. Newton, who like Martin is part of the National Guard team, was practicing for the Detroit River FLW Tour Open and called Martin to see how his preparation was going.

    Little did Newton know Martin was still at home in Florida and not actually on the water in Detroit.

    “I told him, ‘Yeah, I’ve got about 25 pounds today. Things are great,’” Martin said. “I had him going for about 5 minutes.”

    Martin has decided to skip the final three FLW Opens of the season so he can devote more time to his family. He and wife, Suzanne, have four school-age children (two boys in middle school and two girls in elementary school) and he wants to be able to do the things other parents do like drive them to school and help out with homework.

    “It’s extremely important to me,” he said. “Growing up in the industry, I know what it’s like to have a dad who’s gone 300 days a year fishing tournaments and doing appearances.

    “Since winning the Forrest Wood Cup (in 2011), my schedule has gotten really busy with promotions and I’ve been blessed that the TV show (“Scott Martin Challenge”) has continued to be a success. With my tournament obligations on top of that, it eats up a lot of time. When I looked at this year, I know my wife and kids have sacrificed so much and I wanted to give back this fall. I want to be able to take them to school and make their baseball games and watch their soccer matches.”

    His television obligations haven’t changed and he has a full slate of trips scheduled this fall for his show, but from a family standpoint taking a break from the tournament grind was necessary.

    “When you look at it, I’m gone 14 days for an average tournament and then you get home and unwind and before you know it, you’re packing up again,” he said. “I love tournament fishing, but my boys (Jacob and Reed) are at an age where school is really important right now and things are changing in their lives and I need to be a good example for them.”

    He was instrumental this summer in the formation of a fishing club at The King’s Academy school his sons attend in Clewiston, Fla. At the recent open house, about 15 students signed up to participate. The club will benefit from the guidance of Martin as well as from guide trips and clinics at Lake Okeechobee.

    “The best part of the whole high school and college fishing thing for me is it’s getting the younger generation involved and getting the love instilled in them at an early age,” he said. “There are so many great things about fishing. Some people look at it and say, ‘Well, what can a child really gain from fishing?’ Some say it’s just fishing. It’s a lot more than that. With the youth fishing group, we’re seeking out sponsorships from businesses so we’re writing letters and asking for donations and we’re working on being organized and looking professional. There are so many life skills young kids can get from being in a fishing club.”

  • Clapper is back

    Clapper is back

    Steve Clapper, winner of the 2007 FLW Tour Major at the Detroit River and seven BFLs at the venue, makes his return to tour-level competition this week in the FLW Tour Open there. He won the '07 event as a 'jackpotter' prior to FLW's stipulation in 2009 that competitors in the Majors had to register for all of that season's events. There are no such restrictions for the Opens.

    The 63-year-old has been absent from the tournament scene entirely for the past 2 1/2 years while waging a successful battle against cancer.

    "It's in remission," he said Tuesday evening. "I just had a scan about 3 weeks ago and it looks like the Lord's going to let me stay around a little longer."

    How about his prospects for another six-figure payday?

    "I've been struggling (in practice). We've had good weather so I've been running around and covering a lot of water, but I don't have them figured out."

  • Alan Report: Oneida

    Ex-B.A.S.S. emcee Keith Alan has submitted his Alan Report for this week's Bassmaster Elite Series regular-season finale at Oneida Lake. Like all BassFans, he's interested to see how Brent Chapman will perform with the Angler of the Year title on the line.

    To read it, click here.

  • Chapman's dream season

    Brent Chapman's pursuit of the Toyota Tundra B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year title has not gone unnoticed in his home state of Kansas.

    Outdoors writer Brent Frazee penned a lengthy feature on Chapman that ran in yesterday's Kansas City Star. To check it out, click here.

  • Win Howell’s boat

    Win Howell’s boat

    Bassmaster Elite Series pro Randy Howell along with his main sponsor, King’s Home, are teaming up to give away his 2012 tournament boat, motor and trailer.

    Anyone making at least a $100 donation to King’s Home will be entered in the drawing to win the 2012 Triton/Mercury combo that comes equipped with dual Power-Poles, Lowrance HDS electronics and a MotorGuide trolling motor.

    Anyone who donates $100 before 9 a.m. CST on Aug. 27 will also receive a King’s Home t-shirt autographed by Howell.

    “Triton Boats, Mercury Marine and I have worked out a deal so we could give the boat away,” Howell said. “Both Triton Boats and Mercury Marine have really helped this fundraiser a lot. Helping the King’s Home families is a big part of my year. I look forward to visiting their campuses and spending time with them. I think I get more out of it than they do, but I know they appreciate my visits and it’s always good to teach the kids how to fish when I get the opportunity.”

    The winner of the boat will be selected at the Kampfire for the Kings event on Nov. 18 in Chelsea, Ala., outside of Birmingham. To learn more about the giveaway, click here.

  • Central Pro Am bans umbrella rigs

    Central Pro Am bans umbrella rigs

    The Central Pro Am Tournament Association announced today that umbrella rigs will be disallowed in the organization's events for the 2013 season. The ban includes all qualifying events and championships.

    “We’ve had an unbelievable amount of feedback from our anglers,” said Mike Webb, the new owner of the circuit. “The response has been overwhelming; our anglers don’t want the rig used in competition and most feel the rig does not show the true skill of an angler.”

    The new rule will not go into effect until the kickoff for the 2013 season. The remaining tournaments on the 2012 schedule, including the championships, will not be affected.

    “Anglers can use an umbrella rig at the September qualifying event and both championships,” Webb said. “At the 2013 kickoff, the rig will not be allowed.”

    “I don’t have anything against the rig; I’ve caught the biggest stringers of my career on an umbrella rig with five Deadly Shad baits and love to fish it. The anglers have spoken out. They feel strongly that umbrella rigs remove skill from bass fishing.”

    The Central Pro Am decision is similar to that of B.A.S.S. earlier this year when multi-bait rigs were prohibited for Bassmaster Classic and Elite Series competition and practice. However, Central Pro Am’s rule is not as restrictive as the B.A.S.S. regulation.

    “We will still allow our competitors to use multi-fluke rigs, multi-bait dropshot rigs and multiple topwater baits, but umbrella-style rigs will not be allowed."

  • U.S. Open to go live on Internet

    U.S. Open to go live on Internet

    This year's WON Bass U.S. Open, the 30th edition of the event at Nevada's Lake Mead, will feature coverage via the Internet. The coverage will debut with the Sponsor Showcase on Sept. 9 and continue throughout the Sept. 10-12 competition, and will include on-the-water updates, live weigh-ins and a postgame show with expert commentary and angler interviews.

    Daily event coverage will begin following takeoff with five hourly updates beginning at 7 a.m. Pacific Time. Weigh-in coverage starts at 2 p.m., with the postgame show scheduled for 6 p.m.

    For more, visit the U.S. Open page at www.WONBass.com.

  • No more gaping holes

    California big bass guru Bill Siemantel has come up with a way to use traditional culling clips without tearing a massive hole in the underside of a bass' jaw. To see it, click below.


  • Court rejects E15 appeal

    Last Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit dismissed on procedural grounds the recreational boating industry’s challenge of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to allow E15 into the U.S. fuel supply. The dismissal brings E15 one step closer to being available at gas pumps across the country, a move that could be devastating to the recreational boating industry.

    To read more, check out this story from today’s Fishing Wire.

  • Yelas, Clausen still on the hunt

    BassFan Big Sticks Jay Yelas and Luke Clausen both caught lots of fish during the first 2 days of practice for this week's Detroit River FLW Tour Open, but both say they'll need to locate some better quality in order to contend for the victory. To read their mid-practice reports, click here.

  • Chapman: Oneida tougher this time

    Brent Chapman has wrapped up the first day of practice for the Oneida Lake Elite Series and he's finding the lake has toughened up since he stopped there for 4 days before it went off limits last month. The leader in the Toyota Tundra B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year (AOY) standings is hoping the final 2 days of practice have more to offer.

    To read his take on day 1 of practice at Oneida Lake, click here to On Tour With BassFan Big Sticks.

  • Rankin to serve as reality co-host

    Rankin to serve as reality co-host

    The recently launched World Series of Bass organization has named competitive bass angler and television personality Sondra Rankin as co-host of its "World Series of Bass, the Dream" reality television show that begins airing in October.

    Rankin, from Paducah, Ky., will work alongside WSOBASS founder Joe Habib on the new TV show that includes fishing skill challenges, a behind-the-scenes look at tournament bass fishing and its participants, and the competition days during the new high-stakes, high-payout WSOBASS tournament format.

    "Sondra is a great fit for what World Series of Bass is all about," said Habib. "We're a high-energy, put-the-fun-back-into-fishing organization with some unique opportunities for anglers everywhere who love to fish competitively, but don't have the time to make it a full-time profession. Sondra understands the sport, has a great personality, and is proof that bass fishing is not just a 'guy' sport. We welcome her to the staff."

    Rankin has fished 37 tournaments on FLW trails since 2004 and has had three Top-10 finishes. She is host of "Exposed. Pros on Tour," the online, on-demand video series that provides an in-the-boat perspective of tournament fishing strategies featuring some of the best bass anglers in the country.

    She also hosted "Operation Catch Bass," consisting of a 10-day trip to Iraq with a fishing theme in support of United States military troops serving there. She is producer of the popular Christian weekly television series in Paducah, "Awaken the Heart" and is also Western Kentucky youth director for the Fishing for Kids Foundation.

    Rankin also enjoys deer hunting, especially bowhunting, and her singing talents keep her close to Nashville, where she has recorded a single and continues to collaborate with recording labels on new material.

    WSOBASS' The Dream consists of 13 half-hour episodes and will air weekly. It'll make its debut airing on Oct. 8 on the NBC Sports network and will run on the Pursuit Channel starting in January 2013.

    Included in the program are appearances by some of the country's top pro bass anglers, such as Mike McClelland, James Niggemeyer, Jared Lintner and Brandon Card. Additional segments involve college anglers, local pros and rising pro stars, who earned their appearances through a video application process.

    All anglers will be vying through a series of fishing and casting challenges for two free positions into the $10,000 entry fee qualifying event that leads to the opportunity to fish in the World Series of Bass Main Event. To qualify for the WSOBASS Main Event and its $600,000 top cash prize, contestants need only to fish one qualifier and finish among the top 35 percent.

    Registration for entry into the WSOBASS qualifiers will open in October. For more information about the qualifying events, The Dream TV show and the Main Event, visit www.WorldSeriesOfBass.com.

  • Cayuga was hit (and miss) for Gluszek

    Cayuga was hit (and miss) for Gluszek

    Pete Gluszek had one objective this year when he decided to fish the Bassmaster Northern Opens – a Top-5 finish in points, which would guarantee an invitation to the fish the Elite Series in 2013.

    While his win this past weekend at the Cayuga Lake Open didn’t clinch him an Elite Series invite, he’s plenty satisfied with the parting gift – a spot in the Bassmaster Classic at Grand Lake next February. It’ll be his third career Classic.

    “That was my objective – to qualify for the Elites next year. That’s the direction I want to go in,” he said. “It’s hard to be disappointed with a Classic berth. I got really what I wanted which was a Classic berth. I’ll be forced to sit out the Elites next year, but that’s fine with me. I’ll fish the Classic and the B.A.S.S. Opens again next year and cherry-pick some tournaments here and there.”

    Not fishing the Elites does have an upside, though.

    “The silver lining of not qualifying for Elites is that I have a 3-year-old son and I’m going to be fishing close to home all next year with the exception of the Classic and that’s real good news for me,” he said. “It means I get a whole other year to spend with my son.

    “I get to fish the big dance and still get to hang out with my boy.”

    As far as Grand Lake is concerned, he’s never been there, but as a northerner he’ll be ready for anything once late February rolls around. He intends to make at least one scouting trip to take a look at the lake prior to the off-limits period.

    “I don’t know anything at all about Grand Lake, but what I do know is that February that far north can sometimes be a monster,” he said. “But that’s okay. I’m good at cold-water fishing. I fish in February where I live. I’m really excited about the event. I love going to lakes I’ve never been to before because you have a blank slate to create your tournament on. I’m looking forward to starting my research and getting prepared.”

    Details of his Cayuga Lake winning pattern will be published tomorrow.

  • First TTBC invitations are out

    First TTBC invitations are out

    Two-time reigning Angler of the Year David Dudley and 2009 Toyota Texas Bass Classic champion Dave Lefebre are among the FLW Tour pros who've received invitations to compete in this year's TTBC, scheduled for Sept. 28-30 at Lake Conroe.

    “I’m excited to be fishing in what is considered the Pro Bowl of bass fishing, where all the top anglers from every circuit come together to compete,” Dudley said. “I can’t wait to get out there.”

    Other FLW pros who've qualified by virtue of finishing among the Top 15 on the final points list are Jacob Powroznik, Ron Shuffield, Jim Moynagh, Cody Meyer, Luke Clausen, Bryan Thrift, J.T. Kenney, Matt Arey, Andy Morgan, Clifford Pirch, Wesley Strader, Clent Davis and Jim Tutt. The remaining spots will be filled by 2011 champion Keith Combs and the Top 15 from each of the Bassmaster Elite Series and PAA Tournament Series points lists.

    “These first qualifiers to the 2012 TTBC are an impressive group of anglers,” said TTBC tournament director Lenny Francouer. “All 15 make for an exciting and talented field and just demonstrate why the Toyota Texas Bass Classic is a world-class bass fishing tournament.”

    Fans have a shot at a limited supply of free tickets for the event by going to www.ToyotaTexasBassClassic.com.

  • Contest: Fish with Klein

    Contest: Fish with Klein

    Insect-repellent manufacturer Repel today announced a sweepstakes offering a $5,000 prize and a fishing trip with Gary Klein to the winner. Entrants are asked to go to the company's Facebook page (www.facebook.com/repelinsectrepellents) and click the sweepstakes button. They can then submit a photo of themselves "enjoying the summer."

    Other prizes include tackle packs and an autographed Klein jersey.

    “I think it’s outstanding that Repel is involved in the fishing industry and is offering this group of prizes,” Klein said. “I hope we get great participation in this sweepstakes.”

  • Of lobsters, golf and such

    Of lobsters, golf and such

    Terry Scroggins, Kevin VanDam and Dean Rojas all sit in the Top 10 of the Toyota Tundra B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year (AOY) race heading into the final regular-season Elite Series event at Oneida Lake this week. Here’s a quick Q&A with that trio, conducted by industry rep Alan McGuckin.

    Coolest thing you did this summer during the long break between the Green Bay and Oneida Elite events?

    > Scroggins: I went to the Florida Keys to catch lobster with Kelly Jordon, my family and friends.
    > Rojas: I caddied for my 10-year old son in a Junior PGA Championship event.
    > KVD: I spent four days chillin’ with family and friends, and smashing the smallmouth on Torch Lake.

    Number of hours you drove to get to Oneida?

    > Scroggins: I’ve been in that Tundra for 2 days – about 21 hours of driving all together.
    > Rojas: Not far, my rig was in Buffalo.
    > KVD: I worked a charity event 2 hours this side of home, and then drove another 8 hours to get here.

    Three lures you won’t dare leave the dock without at Oneida?

    > Scroggins: Pad Crasher frog, 1-ounce jig, and 3/8 ounce Texas-rigged Wooly Bug.
    > Rojas: I ain’t sayin’.
    > KVD: Frog, Sexy Dawg topwater and a Strike King Rodent for pitching.

    What percentage of the winning angler’s creel will be largemouth?

    > Scroggins: 70% of the winning creel will be largemouth.
    > Rojas: I’m saying 50/50.
    > KVD: Smallmouth will dominate. Only 25% of the winning creel will be largemouth.

    How many pounds per day will you have to catch to assure yourself a Top-12 finish?

    > Scroggins: 14 pounds
    > Rojas: 13 to 14 pounds
    > KVD: 14 1/2 pounds

    What do you enjoy most about this particular tour stop?

    > Scroggins: There’s so many fish in this lake.
    > Rojas: We always come here at the end of summer and it’s nice and cool and refreshing outside.
    > KVD: Catching smallmouth, and eating the walleye we catch in practice.

    Most memorable Oneida moment?

    > Scroggins: I broke down and was trolling back toward the dock for service when smallmouth started schooling around me. I caught enough of them to finish in the Top 25 despite my engine issues.
    > Rojas: Winning here in August of 2008.
    > KVD: Catching 75 smallmouth off of one spot in one tournament day.

  • Lucarelli edges Izumi at EverStart

    Lucarelli edges Izumi at EverStart

    Joe Lucarelli spoiled Bob Izumi's bid for back-to-back victories at the 1000 Islands Northern EverStart by catching a 22 1/2-pound bag on Saturday to win by half a pound over the defending champion with a 63-13 total.

    "My execution was very, very good," Lucarelli said. "I made all the right moves at all the right times and I was able to stay ahead of the game – not scramble at the end trying to make something happen. It was a good day."

    He used dropshot rigs with Yamamoto Shad Shape Worms and X Zone Slammers in water that was 32 to 47 feet deep. Full details of his winning pattern will be published soon.

    Below are the totals for the final Top 10:

    1. Joe Lucarelli -- Center Harbor, NH -- 19-06 (5) -- 21-15 (5) -- 41-05 (10) -- 22-08 (5) -- 63-13 (15) -- $27,842

    1. Bob Izumi -- Milton, On -- 21-15 (5) -- 18-09 (5) -- 40-08 (10) -- 22-07 (5) -- 62-15 (15) -- $9,546

    1. Jacob Powroznik -- Prince George, Va -- 18-12 (5) -- 20-06 (5) -- 39-02 (10) -- 23-01 (5) -- 62-03 (15) -- $7,955

    4. Derek Strub -- Elora, On -- 20-10 (5) -- 21-13 (5) -- 42-07 (10) -- 19-07 (5) -- 61-14 (15) -- $7,159

    5. Jason Ober -- Johnstown, Pa -- 20-15 (5) -- 18-15 (5) -- 39-14 (10) -- 20-11 (5) -- 60-09 (15) -- $6,364

    6. Chris Flint -- Potsdam, NY -- 18-08 (5) -- 20-11 (5) -- 39-03 (10) -- 21-02 (5) -- 60-05 (15) -- $5,568

    7. Jamie Hartman -- Newport, NY -- 22-07 (5) -- 19-08 (5) -- 41-15 (10) -- 18-03 (5) -- 60-02 (15) -- $4,773

    8. Tom Belinda -- Holidaysburg, Pa -- 20-00 (5) -- 18-11 (5) -- 38-11 (10) -- 20-11 (5) -- 59-06 (15) -- $3,977

    9. Bill Chapman -- Salt Rock, Wv -- 21-14 (5) -- 18-07 (5) -- 40-05 (10) -- 16-04 (5) -- 56-09 (15) -- $3,182

    10. Howard Hammonds -- Westport, NY -- 19-09 (5) -- 18-02 (5) -- 37-11 (10) -- 14-01 (5) -- 51-12 (15) -- $2,386

  • Gluszek closes out Cayuga win

    Gluszek closes out Cayuga win

    Former tour pro Pete Gluszek of New Jersey earned his third career Bassmaster Classic berth Saturday when he completed a wire-to-wire victory at the Cayuga Lake Bassmaster Northern Open out of Seneca Falls, N.Y.

    Gluszek, who'd averaged 20 pounds over the first 2 days, caught a 16-00 bag on the final day for a 56-01 total. He outdistanced runner-up Stephen Browning by more than 4 1/2 pounds.

    “Amazing!" he said, referring to his first shot at a Classic title since 1999. "It’s the biggest thing in fishing. It’s why I started fishing as a professional.”

    He employed a shallow/deep combo attack that involved Senkos at both ends. Full details of his winning pattern will be posted soon.

    Here are the final totals for the Top 12:

    1. -- Pete Gluszek -- Mount Laurel, NJ -- 15, 56-01 -- 120 -- $49,800
    Day 1: 5, 19-03 -- Day 2: 5, 20-14 -- Day 3: 5, 16-00

    2. -- Stephen Browning -- Hot Springs, AR -- 15, 51-05 -- 119 -- $11,520
    Day 1: 5, 15-00 -- Day 2: 5, 20-07 -- Day 3: 5, 15-14

    3. -- James Niggemeyer -- Van, TX -- 15, 47-12 -- 118 -- $8,640
    Day 1: 5, 18-13 -- Day 2: 5, 12-15 -- Day 3: 5, 16-00

    4. -- Todd Cole -- Geneseo, NY -- 15, 47-08 -- 117 -- $7,680
    Day 1: 5, 16-13 -- Day 2: 5, 17-09 -- Day 3: 5, 13-02

    5. -- Michael Iaconelli -- Pittsgrove, NJ -- 15, 45-07 -- 116 -- $6,720
    Day 1: 5, 17-08 -- Day 2: 5, 12-15 -- Day 3: 5, 15-00

    6. -- Skip Johnson -- Wales, MI -- 15, 44-10 -- 115 -- $5,760
    Day 1: 5, 17-09 -- Day 2: 5, 13-11 -- Day 3: 5, 13-06

    7. -- Brian Bylotas -- Scott Township, PA -- 15, 44-09 -- 114 -- $4,800
    Day 1: 5, 16-01 -- Day 2: 5, 19-10 -- Day 3: 5, 08-14

    8. -- Deron Eck -- Kittanning, PA -- 15, 44-05 -- 113 -- $3,840
    Day 1: 5, 15-14 -- Day 2: 5, 17-05 -- Day 3: 5, 11-02

    9. -- Chris Daves -- Hopewell, VA -- 15, 40-13 -- 112 -- $2,880
    Day 1: 5, 17-08 -- Day 2: 5, 15-07 -- Day 3: 5, 07-14

    10. Kyle Kempkers -- Hamilton, MI -- 15, 39-10 -- 111 -- $2,640
    Day 1: 5, 17-11 -- Day 2: 5, 12-04 -- Day 3: 5, 09-11

    11. Robert Parmer -- Linden, PA -- 13, 37-08 -- 110 -- $2,400
    Day 1: 5, 17-13 -- Day 2: 5, 12-06 -- Day 3: 3 -- 07-05

    12. Jim Bianchi -- Rush, NY -- 13, 36-05 -- 109 -- $2,304
    Day 1: 5, 15-06 -- Day 2: 5, 14-13 -- Day 3: 3 -- 06-02

  • Strub leads by 8 ounces at 1,000 Isles

    By the looks of it, it’s going to take 20 pounds and then some to find yourself in contention to win at the Thousand Islands Northern EverStart.

    Derek Strub weighed 21-13 today to take over the lead after 2 days with a 42-07 total. He displaced day-1 lead Jamie Hartman, who dropped to 2nd with a 19-08 effort today that gave him 41-15.

    Joe Lucarelli had the day’s heaviest stringer (21-15) and it carried him to 3rd with 41-05. Bob Izumi saw his weight fall off more than 3 pounds from day 1, but he only fell two spots to 4th with 40-08. Bill Chapman was also 3-plus pounds lighter, but made the cut in 5th with 40-05.

    Here’s a look at the 10 anglers who’ll compete in tomorrow’s final round:

    1. Derek Strub: 42-07
    2. Jamie Hartman: 41-15
    3. Joe Lucarelli: 41-05
    4. Bob Izumi: 40-08
    5. Bill Chapman: 40-05
    6. Jason Ober: 39-14
    7. Chris Flint: 39-03
    8. Jacob Powroznik: 39-02
    9. Tom Belinda: 38-11
    10. Howard Hammonds: 37-11

  • Gluszek adds to Cayuga Lake lead

    Pete Gluszek strengthened his hold on the top spot at the Cayuga Lake Northern Bassmaster Open today, catching a 20-14 stringer to push his total to 40-01 through 2 days.

    He’ll take a 4-plus pound lead into the final day of competition over Brian Bylotas, who caught 19-10 today for a 35-11 total. Stephen Browning is 3rd with 35-07 after bringing the only other 20-pound sack (20-07) to the scale today. Todd E. Cole is 4th with 34-06 and Deron Eck holds onto 5th with 33-03.

    Here’s how the Top 12 will look heading into the final day:

    1. Pete Gluszek: 40-01
    2. Brian Bylotas: 35-11
    3. Stephen Browning: 35-07
    4. Todd E. Cole: 34-06
    5. Deron Eck: 33-03
    6. Chris Daves: 32-15
    7. James Niggemeyer: 31-12
    8. Skip Johnson: 31-04
    9. Michael Iaconelli: 30-07
    10. Jim Bianchi: 30-03
    11. Robert Parmer: 30-03
    12. Kyle Kempkers: 29-15

  • PR guru Mike Walker dies

    Mike Walker, a longtime outdoor industry veteran and public-relations specialist who founded the Walker Agency and worked with the late Tim Tucker on a number of bass-related projects, died this week after an extended illness. For a report from the Fishing Wire, click here.

  • Echelon always easy and durable

    <b><font color=maroon>Echelon always easy and durable</font></b>

    The Pflueger Echelon casting reel has a reputation for being smooth and tough, and the latest edition is no exception. When it becomes available this fall, consumers will be able to purchase it separately or as part of a combo with an IM-8 graphite rod.

    For more, click here to visit the Catch More Fish page.

  • Gluszek early leader at Cayuga

    Gluszek early leader at Cayuga

    Veteran New Jersey pro Pete Gluszek, a two-time Bassmaster Classic competitor, got a leg up on a third berth in the event today as he caught a 19-03 sack on day 1 of the Cayuga Lake Bassmaster Northern Open in New York.

    He holds a 6-ounce lead over Elite Series pro James Niggemeyer, who can't claim the event's accompanying Classic slot because he didn't fish the previous two events on the circuit.

    Here's a look at the current Top 10:

    1. Pete Gluszek: 19-03
    2. James Niggemeyer: 18-13
    3. Gregory DiPalma: 18-10
    4, Robert Parmer: 17-13
    5. Kurt Dove: 17-12
    6. Kyle Kempkers: 17-11
    7. Skip Johnson: 17-09
    8. (tie) Chris Daves: 17-08
    8. (tie) Mike Iaconelli: 17-08
    10. Gary Klein: 17-00

  • Palaniuk, Christie join Amphibia

    Palaniuk, Christie join Amphibia

    Eyewear-maker Amphibia Sports announced today that it's added Bassmaster Elite Series angler Brandon Palaniuk and FLW pro Jason Christie to its pro staff.

    “Amphibia is new, innovative and the best fishing sunglasses that I've ever worn," said Palaniuk. "Joining Amphibia was the easiest decision that I've had to make this year."

    Said Christie: “Amphibia lenses are the best that I've worn and the fact that they float gives a bonus to them that no other elite-style frame offers. I was sold the moment I tried them on.”

    Added Amphibia president Bill Eisenmann: “We understand that the younger group of fishermen demand a high-quality lens, but also demand a fashionable look previously not provided in the fishing-specific market. Brandon and Jason appreciate our vision and it is great to have them on our team. The current demand for our product from fishermen at this level has been overwhelming.”

  • Reins nabs Walker

    Reins nabs Walker

    Tennessee Bassmaster Elite Series pro David Walker has signed a sponsorship agreement with Japanese tackle manufacturer Reins Tungsten.

    "It's really cool to be on board with them because I feel like they make the best tungsten products out there," he said. "The weights are the smallest diameter and the highest density, and they have sizes all the way up to 2 1/2 ounces. They also have all the in-between sizes like 5/16, which is probably the one I use most often.

    "They have the shiny ones, but that's not all – there's green-pumpkin, watermelon, black and so on. The matte finish really matches the baits you're flipping around there."

  • Opinion: Segregation stinks

    In the latest BassFan Opinion piece, Senior Editor John Johnson notes how the PGA Championship, which took place during the same timeframe as last week's Forrest Wood Cup, brought all the world's best golfers to the same venue for the fourth time this year. It sure would be nice if that could take place in pro bass fishing.

    To read more, click here.

  • Hartman leads at 1,000 Islands

    Hartman leads at 1,000 Islands

    Jamie Hartman set the early pace at the Thousand Islands Northern EverStart today with a 22-07 stringer to take the day-1 lead. His total leads a pretty cramped Top 10 that’s separated by less than 2 1/2 pounds.

    Bob Izumi brought in 21-15 and sits in 2nd, followed by Bill Chapman 1 ounce back in 3rd and Jeff Magee 1 ounce behind him in 4th with 21-13. Trevor Knight is 5th with 21-07.

    Here’s a look at the top 10 after day 1 of the third of four Northern EverStarts:

    1. Jamie Hartman: 22-07
    2. Bob Izumi: 21-15
    3. Bill Chapman: 21-14
    4. Jeff Magee: 21-13
    5. Trevor Knight: 21-07
    6. Franklin Janzen: 21-02
    7. Jason Ober: 20-15
    8. Derek Strub: 20-10
    9. Jonathan Case: 20-01
    10. Tom Belinda: 20-00

  • Berkley/Sebile Big Bass Challenges set

    The third annual Berkley/Sebile Big Bass Challenge is scheduled for Oct. 13 at Lake Murray in South Carolina. The 1-day event will feature six hourly payouts and a grand prize of $5,000.

    The following week, the focus will shift to Texas’ Lake Fork Reservoir for the seventh annual Texas Berkley Big Bass Challenge on Oct. 20-21. There will be 14 hourly payouts over 2 days up for grabs as well as two new Skeeter/Yamaha boat and motor packages.

    The catch to each event is that anglers will be required to use only Berkley or Sebile baits. Bonuses will be available for exact-weight catches using Abu Garcia rods or reels at the Lake Fork tournament.

    For more about the events, click here.

  • Big Bite Lookback: FWC

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

    California's Cody Meyer turned in his worst-ever finish in the Forrest Wood Cup last week. It was the first time in four outings that he failed to crack the Top 10, but he only missed that mark by a single placement.

    He's a deep-water light-line, spotted bass expert who finished 2nd the last time the Cup visited Lanier in 2010. He again fished to his strengths this time around, but now wishes he'd taken at least a quick look in the other direction during practice.

    "Two years ago the water was up and the largemouth weren't really a player," he said. "This time (with the water level about 8 feet down) they were, and I wish I'd spent at least a day of practice looking for them eating bream off the beds or whatever.

    "I'd like to have had a place where I could go fish around for an hour or 2 to try to catch a big largemouth, and then go deep. It wasn't the ideal weather for fishing deep with all the overcast (skies), and if I'd have had a Plan B, I might've had a better chance of making the Top-10 cut."

    The Big Bite Lookback, which focuses on the angler who's first out of the final cut at each tour-level event, is brought to you by the great folks at Big Bite Baits.

  • Rankings: Dudley pads his cushion

    David Dudley, the 5th-place finisher at last week's Forrest Wood Cup, added a couple of points to his already hefty lead in the latest edition of the BassFan World Rankings. For the full list, click here.

  • Morgenthaler event set for Oct. 6

    Morgenthaler event set for Oct. 6

    The 7th annual Chad Mogenthaler Benefit Bass Tournament will be held Oct. 6 at Rend Lake in Illinois. Proceeds will go to the Illinois Conservation Foundation, Five Star Industries, Inc. (a charitable organization in southern Illinois that provides services to people with developmental disabilities) and local high school fishing clubs.

    The entry fee for the team tournament is $175 per boat if signed up prior to Oct. 5 ($200 for those who register onsite on that day). First-place payout is $5,000, based on a full field of 125 boats.

    Online registration can be done at www.ILCF.org (follow the links). For entry-related questions, contact Gordon Barnhill at (773) 988-5685 or send an email to gordon.barnhill@illinois.gov.

  • Sunline Strong Performer: FWC

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

    Jason Christie was the final angler to qualify for the Forrest Wood Cup at Georgia's Lake Lanier via the FLW Tour Majors points list. After day 1 of the event, it looked as if he'd be one of the first guys sent packing.

    The Oklahoman caught a lackluster 7-14 sack on opening day and was in 38th place in the 46-angler field. He boxed 13-08 on day 2, however, and moved up to 18th to survive the midway cut. That was the position where he'd eventually finish.

    What was the difference between day 1 and day 2 for him? On the latter, he kept his biggest bites hooked up.

    "The first day I lost a 5-pounder, the second day I caught everything, then the third day I lost another 5-pounder," he said. "I had pretty much the same amount and same quality of bites every day."

    He did his damage on the surface with a Heddon One Knocker Spook.

    "The bigger ones seemed to bite in the first couple hours of the day, although I did catch one good one late on the second day. They were a little more aggressive early in the morning, and one or two of those kind of bites a day would make a huge difference."

    The Sunline Strong Performer, which focuses on the angler who makes the most significant single-day move in the standings at each tour-level event, is brought to you by the great people at Sunline.

  • Yelas, Clausen put a bow on Cup

    BassFan Big Sticks Jay Yelas and Luke Clausen, both Top-10 finishers at the recent Forrest Wood Cup, have checked in with the competition wrap-up reports. To read them, click here.

  • Scott applauds Romney's pick

    Scott applauds Romney's pick

    B.A.S.S. founder Ray Scott admitted that he knew little about Paul Ryan before Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney picked him as his running mate last week. Now, after learning more about the congressman from Wisconsin, he wholeheartedly applauds the selection.

    To read more, click here.

  • Danese, Gulliams top juniors

    Danese, Gulliams top juniors

    Last weekend was a life-changer for Forrest Wood Cup winner Jacob Wheeler, but it also marked a milestone in the fishing careers of youngsters Andrew Guillams and Max Danese.

    They were the winners in their respective age divisions at the National Guard Junior World Championship, which was also held at Lake Lanier, on water that was deemed off-limits for Cup competitors. Each led their divisions after day 1, but the weights were zeroed for the final day and they both delivered winning stringers.

    Danese, 14, who hails from Franklin, Mass., took home the title in the 11-to-14 age group by catching two fish for 6-12, including a 5-02 brute that would’ve rivaled any fish caught by the pros this week. His key dropshot bait was a Berkley Gulp! Minnow.

    “Winning the National Guard Junior World Championship means the world to me,” he said. “I look forward to coming back again.”

    Gulliams, 18, a native of Springfield, Mo., caught a limit for 7-12 to win the 15-to-18 age bracket. The 2011 Missouri State High School Fishing champion caught four of his fish on a shaky-head in anywhere from 5 to 25 feet. His first fish came on a topwater plug.

    “Winning this tournament is unbelievable,” he said. “I have been having dreams about this for several weeks now.”

    Each champion took home a $3,000 scholarship award for their wins.

  • D Bomb in action

    We all found out about Missile Baits’ D Bomb earlier this year when Ish Monroe broke the 100-pound mark at Lake Okeechobee with it to win the Elite Series event there in March.

    Now that it’s been available to the fishing public for a few months, it’s proving to be an effective fish-catcher just about anywhere it’s thrown. Check out the below video to see how it made easy work of these largemouths at the New River in Virginia.


  • New poll: Top (young) gun

    If there’s been an underlying theme to the tour-level season in 2012, aside from the dazzling efforts put forth by veterans David Dudley and Brent Chapman, it’s been the performance of some of the young anglers on both tours. We saw the latest display last week when 21-year-old Jacob Wheeler captured the Forrest Wood Cup in historic fashion, leading wire to wire and winning by a record margin. We want your thoughts on who the best young stick is across both tours.

    To cast your vote, scroll down the right side of the home page.

  • Bird offers thanks to Taylor, FLW

    Bird offers thanks to Taylor, FLW

    Imagine Cody Bird’s excitement as daylight broke on day 1 of the Forrest Wood Cup. He and 45 other anglers were primed to blast off to all corners of Lake Lanier in FLW’s signature event. The anticipation rivaled a kid on Christmas morning coming down the stairs to see what was left under the tree.

    “I was all hyped up and ready to get up one of those rivers and start catching ‘em,” he said. “You know how it is on the first morning of a big event like that.”

    His excitement quickly turned to concern when he felt something mechanical go wrong about 5 miles into his run. His initial suspicion was a lower-unit problem.

    “It just stopped all at once,” he said. “I put it in gear and it wouldn’t go.”

    At the registration meeting the night before day 1, FLW tournament director Bill Taylor had informed the anglers that a couple of back-up boats would be available should someone experience mechanical problems on the water. Typically at Tour events, anglers are on their own to deal with boat or motor trouble.

    “They’ve never done that before,” Bird said.

    Bird immediately called Taylor to inform him he was having some sort of motor problem.

    “He said, ‘How can I help you in the quickest way,’” Bird recalled Taylor asking.

    Bird told him he was going to take a closer look at the issue to see if he indeed needed to switch boats.

    “I’ll bring you one as quick as I can. Tell me where you’re at and I’ll bring it to you and then you can swap your stuff over,” Taylor told him.

    After further inspection, Bird discovered he’d actually spun a hub. He let Taylor know, but Taylor had gone ahead and had the back-up boat in the water and ready to go just in case.

    “Man, that was a huge relief knowing I was going to get to fish,” Bird said. “I figured out it was the hub and I had an extra prop. I actually had to beat the other one off with a hammer. It was fried so bad. I called Bill back and told him I had fixed it. He said the boat was in the water already and was ready for me. That was the biggest thing they’ve ever done for me. I was so happy to know that he’d done that.

    “He never hesitated, so I wanted to thank Bill Taylor and the whole FLW crew. He was Johnny on the spot and was ready to help me.”

    Bird said he lost about an hour of fishing time, but he went on to catch 14-11 on day 1, which had him in 5th place. He eventually finished 17th, his second-best result in four career Cup appearances.

  • Central Pro Am circuit sold

    Central Pro Am circuit sold

    Mike Webb, president of K.A.ST. (Kids Are Special Too), announced recently that he is the new owner of the Missouri-based Central Pro Am Tournament Association. Effective immediately, Webb will take over all operations and tournament functions of Central Pro Am.

    “This is a great opportunity for everyone involved with Central Pro Am,” Webb said. “Several changes to benefit the anglers and set CPAA apart from other circuits are in the works. We’ll be making more announcements very soon.”

    The remainder of the 2012 season will continue as planned, with final events of the regular season on Table Rock Lake in September and championships set for October.

    Yet to be released, Webb indicated the 2013 schedule will return to the 2-day pro-am format.

    “We’ll return to the format that built CPAA – traveling to a different lake for each qualifying event and a championship on a lake the circuit hasn’t visited during the regular season. In 2013, Central Pro-Am will give anglers multi-day events, close to home with a solid payback.”

    K.A.S.T. will continue its mission to promote fishing and the outdoors as an alternative to drugs.

    “K.A.S.T. will continue to visit schools, NHRA and NASCAR events, delivering our anti-drug message and reaching more kids than ever before.” Webb noted. “Eventually we hope to develop the kids' tournament series we always dreamed of. Now we have the tools to give more kids the opportunity to fish.”

  • 2013 Cup: Red River

    FLW announced today that the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup will be held next Aug. 15-18 at the Red River out of Shreveport/Bossier City, La. It'll be the first time the Cup has visited that venue, which has hosted two of the past four Bassmaster Classics.

    The Classic, which is now conducted in February, has drawn immense crowds for the weigh-in and outdoor expo in Shreveport/Bossier.

    FLW scheduled a Tour event for the Red in early 2010, but that tournament was canceled due to dangerous conditions caused by high water levels.

    The announcement of the 2013 Cup site was made prior to the day-3 weigh-in ceremony for this year's Cup in Gwinnett, Ga. Next year's schedule for the Tour Majors and Opens has not been announced.

  • Reality show contestants picked

    Reality show contestants picked

    The World Series of Bass has chosen eight anglers from across the United States for its reality fishing show called "World Series of Bass, The Dream." The anglers were chosen from among more than 100 video applicants and will convene at Oklahoma's Grand Lake in September to compete in a number of skill-based fishing competitions. The overall winner will receive a free $10,000 entry into one WSOBASS qualifying event of his or her choice.

    The eight anglers are: James Biggs, Richland Hills, Texas; Brandon Dickenson, Flower Mound, Texas; Ken Mah, Elk Grove, Calif.; Tyler Moberly, Berea, Ky.; Travis Moran, Carmel, Calif.; Matt Pangrac, Norman, Okla.; Ryan Salzman, Owens Cross Roads, Ala.; and Allison Shaw, Fairview, Texas.

    "We were overwhelmed not only by the number of video applications we received in such a short amount of time, but also by the creativity and quality of what came in," said WSOBASS founder Joe Habib. "We'll post the 'Lucky 8's' videos on our web site so you can get to know the anglers better and to see how much time and thought they put into making their videos."

    Mah's video opened with a light-hearted Andy Griffith parody, but turned serious when it was time to showcase his fishing skills on film. Dickenson took a different approach by shooting his video from inside his home. He didn't let a phone call from a well-known professional angler stop him; in fact, he used that downtime to show a video clip from one of his college fishing competitions.

    "Some videos were funny and others were serious, but all the applicants put their hearts into what they turned in," Habib said. "They're definitely worth watching."

    Aside from focusing on the Lucky 8's fishing skill challenges, The Dream will provide a behind-the-scenes look at tournament bass fishing and its participants, plus a look at what goes into the planning for WSOBASS events.

    The show will also feature another skills-based competition among pro bass anglers Mike McClelland, James Niggemeyer, Jared Lintner and Brandon Card. They competed against one another in July, also vying for one free entry into a WSOBASS qualifying event.

    "The bottom line is that all of these anglers, whether or not they're considered true bass fishing professionals, share a common dream," Habib said. "Listening to their stories and watching them try to make those dreams into a reality is what this show is all about."

    The Dream's 13 half-hour episodes will air weekly on NBC Sports and will also air on The Pursuit Channel starting in January 2013. For more information about the reality series and WSOBASS events, visit www.WorldSeriesOfBass.com.

  • Sebile bags 700th species

    Sebile bags 700th species

    Patrick Sebile has long been on a quest to catch as many different fish species as he could. At the age of 14, he began tracking his catches that quickly grew with each passing year. Recently, with the landing of a sergeant-major fish, the renowned lure-maker's list has reached 700 species.

    Locking down No. 700 is quite a feat for the international angler who has traversed the entire world, totaling 64 countries, in pursuit of his goal.

    “That is so good, so sweet,” said Sebile. “When I was only 14, in the southwest of France, I never thought my dreams would take me so far. I’ve fished 64 countries, held many records, created a brand that has revolutionized the fishing industry and joined the top fishing tackle company in the world – Pure Fishing. And now I have had the opportunity to catch 700 different fish species. This is a little story from a kid who was a dreamer then, and who is a dreamer still.”

    Sebile landed the fish while on location testing a new line of Sebile lures that will be featured at ICAST 2013. All told, he's held more than 300 International Game Fish Association (IGFA), European and French records.

    “To be honest, nothing will make me more proud than if my species number quest drives other anglers, especially young anglers, into this venture, perhaps starting their own fish species count.”

  • PF, ACA partner for industry recruitment

    PF, ACA partner for industry recruitment

    Pure Fishing and the Association of Collegiate Anglers (ACA) have entered into a strategic partnership to identify college anglers looking to enter the fishing industry. The partnership is designed to support the college anglers' passion for the sport as well as to recognize and develop the next wave of industry leaders.

    Pure Fishing (parent company of Berkley, Abu Garcia, Fenwick and other brands) and the ACA will be proactively sending out communication to college anglers regarding open positions, summer internships and other potential work-related opportunities, along with posting them on their website.

    “This is an exciting opportunity for graduates who have shown a passion for the industry as well as excelling in their studies," said Pure Fishing marketing director Andrew Marks. “Stephen Britt from the University of South Carolina was one of our first recruits, and he has been with us 1 year and is already brand manager for Berkley rods and terminal tackle. The knowledge and passion he has brought to our company helped win one of our 'Best in Show' awards at ICAST this year."

    Wade Middleton, one of the founders of the ACA, said: "I'm excited about reaching this major milestone in college fishing with our partners at Pure Fishing. Since starting the ACA, I've always envisioned it as more than just collegiate bass fishing tournaments. Our programs and participation have grown and it's very satisfying to see people within the industry come to us to help fill key roles within the business side of our sport.

    "Companies will find very talented young men and women who are passionate about the outdoors, and now students have a direct link to employment opportunities within the business as well. The ACA is proud to help make those connections for everyone involved and I really look for this program to grow in the coming years."

  • Lowen looks for redemption

    Lowen looks for redemption

    In 2009, Oneida Lake was the site of one of Bill Lowen's lowest moments as a professional angler. He went there hoping to leapfrog a few guys in the points standings and gain a 2010 Bassmaster Classic berth with a second straight strong finish at the venue (he'd logged an 8th there in 2008). He likely would've accomplished that objective had his day-1 weight not been wiped off the books.

    He incurred the DQ for having six fish in his livewell at one point during the day – a violation that he self-reported to tournament director Trip Weldon. With a limit already in possession, he put a fish he'd just caught on his culling beam along with one he'd boated earlier, and then dropped both into the box.

    The resulting 98th-place showing left him far below the Classic cutoff.

    Things have gone much more smoothly in the interim, as he's competed in the past two Classics and is a cinch to make a third straight. At No. 5 in the points, he still has a shot at the Angler of the Year title if he fares well and some of those ahead of him stumble.

    "I'm absolutely looking forward to getting back," he said of Oneida. "I like the way it fishes and I typically do decent there. I've been there quite a few times and I've seen the whole lake, but I'm going to practice like it's my first time there and let the fish tell me what's going on. Hopefully I can get out of there in one piece."

    He pays a great deal of attention while culling these days and uses tags much more frequently than he did back then.

    "I've had marshals ask me why I check my livewell so many times. I tell them, 'Well, I have a history.'''

  • Drought may impact Elite All-Star event

    A report in today’s Decatur (Ill.) Tribune states the ongoing drought that’s impacting much of the Midwest may force B.A.S.S. to shift all 4 days of fishing during its Elite Series All-Star event to Lake Shelbyville.

    The first 2 days of the competition are currently scheduled for Lake Shelbyville with the final 2 days set for Decatur Lake. However, Decatur is reportedly 3 feet below normal levels currently and is dropping a half-inch per day.

    “It’s looking like now, that unless we get a lot of rain soon, the fishing will take place in Lake Shelbyville all four days instead of just two days as planned,” Jeff Hendricks, Executive Director of the Decatur Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, told the paper.

    The Top 8 finishers in the Toyota Tundra B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year (AOY) standings will automatically qualify for the All-Star competition with the balance of the field to be determined by a fan vote.

    A e-mail sent to B.A.S.S. regarding the matter was not immediately returned.

    To read the complete report, click here.

  • Power up with new Calcutta D series

    Ever wanted a reel that could stand up to the heftiest freshwater beasts, but also hold its own against, say some tarpon?

    At ICAST last month, Shimano unveiled its new Calcutta D Series baitcasting reels and already they’ve created a buzz across the industry – and rightly so. They just might redefine the round baitcaster market.

    The new design maintains Calcutta’s classic round look, but offers the cranking power and torque of a big reel in a much smaller, comfortable package. We don’t want to pull back the curtain too far as BassFan has been testing a 200D version of the Calcutta around Western New York and will be publishing a more complete product review in the future.

    For a quick taste of what you’re in for with the new Calcutta, check out the video below of Mark Zona overpowering some Falcon Lake largemouth, Dave Mercer showing no mercy on some smallmouth and Larry Dahlberg taking it to a few tarpon.

  • FWC: Yelas finds bonus, Clausen will mix it up

    BassFan Big Sticks Luke Clausen and Jay Yelas have seen enough of Lake Lanier for now. They're ready for a day off the water. With an off day today, they'll get a chance to make final preparations for the Forrest Wood Cup, which starts tomorrow.

    In their practice recaps, Yelas says he likes his chances while Clausen will do a little bit of everything.

    To read their final Cup practice reports, click here.

  • Halo’s Daylite contest

    The folks at Halo Fishing are giving away $3,000 worth of fishing gear to a college fishing team that can drum up the most Facebook “likes” for Halo.

    Here’s the lowdown on Halo’s Daylite Series Sponsorship:

    To enter, click here to visit Halo’s Facebook page and then click on “Like.” Details of the giveaway will then appear and participants can click on “Enter Now” in the lower-left corner to proceed to the entry form.

    The college or university that generates the most likes/entries before midnight on Sept. 16 will receive a set of four rods, caps, shirts and other accessories for six anglers on the fishing team for that school.

    To learn more, click here.

  • Dobyns-backed Western circuit to launch in '13

    Dobyns-backed Western circuit to launch in '13

    Some details of the long-rumored new Western circuit backed by Gary Dobyns, the region's all-time leading money-winner, were revealed in a press release today. The circuit, dubbed Outdoor Heritage, will feature Northern and Southern pro-am divisions, along with a team division conducted at five Northern California venues.

    In addition to Dobyns, the investment group backing the project includes Dobyns' son Richard, Tony Franceschi, Roderick Lee, Jim Markham and Craig Gottwals.

    "Flat out, this circuit will attract the best of the best," said Dobyns. "This is just the beginning – our vision is to build upon this and deliver an elite-level circuit for the West."

    Said Franceschi: "We’ve been offered a wide variety of tournaments in the past, but never one that provided anglers the opportunity to chase the dream of making a living fishing out West. Our plan is to build this organization so that in the future, whether you are just starting out or have been competing for years, there will be the opportunity to make your dreams a reality."

    Outdoor Heritage will provide media coverage of all of its circuits, including TV for the pro-ams. Additional details, including sponsorship and payout, will be announced later.

    Entry fees are set at $1,200/$400 for the pro-ams and $250 for the team events. To see a video clip, which mentions the organization's plans to expand through the Pacific Northwest and into Texas over a 3-year period, click here.

    Below is a look at the 2013 schedule:

    North Pro-Am

    > Feb. 8-10 -- Shasta
    > March 15-17 -- Oroville
    > April 26-28 -- Don Pedro
    > May 31-June 2 -- Clear Lake

    South Pro-Am

    > Feb. 1-3 -- Roosevelt (tentative)
    > March 8-10 -- Havasu
    > April 19-21 -- Pleasant
    > June 7-9 -- Mead

    Team

    > Jan. 26 -- Oroville
    > March 2 -- Berryessa
    > April 6 -- Folsom
    > May 11 -- California Delta
    > June 29 -- Clear Lake

  • Lane confident heading to Oneida

    Lane confident heading to Oneida

    After a 3-day getaway to the beach with his family, Russ Lane is recharged and ready to lock in on preparations for the final Bassmaster Elite Series event at Oneida Lake, which gets underway in a little more than 2 weeks.

    “It’s the first and probably only time this year that we were able to get away with the kids for 3 days and get some rest. It was a good trip,” he said.

    Now, his focus shifts back to fishing and the central New York lake that’s going to determine the Toyota Tundra B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year (AOY) and a majority of the field for next year’s Bassmaster Classic.

    “Oneida’s definitely on my mind,” he told BassFan today. “I’ve started to write down notes and do the things I always do when I’m preparing for a tournament. It’s really good that we have a couple weeks to prepare. I really like these stand-alone events where they’re not back-to-back. This is the perfect setup. I can take my time and tinker with my tackle and keep an eye on the weather.”

    Having fished Oneida a handful of times previously, he has the luxury to either fish memories or go at it like he’s never been there before.

    “Earlier in my career, I think memories may have influenced my decisions a lot more,” he said. “Now, I’m older and hopefully a bit wiser and I try to really get focused in on the current conditions. It’s good to know when you figure a little something out on a body of water like Oneida where I’ve fished five or six times that there’s another little place that I hadn’t checked yet.”

    While it looks nothing like the Coosa River lakes round his Alabama home, Oneida fits right in Lane’s wheelhouse because it offers so many options in terms of where and how to fish, not to mention the choice of largemouth or smallmouth.

    “I love to fish lakes where you can win with either species or a combination and I love lakes that are small that fish big,” he said. “A lot of the lakes around home (Coosa River) are small lakes, but they fish big and that’s because they have spotted bass that you can catch offshore on humps or ledges or timber. Oneida’s a totally different fishery, but tournament-wise, it’s still very similar to the lakes I grew up fishing and I think that’s why I’m comfortable there.”

    He’s currently 28th in AOY points, so he’s on the proverbial bubble, but isn’t letting that consume him as he figures out how to attack Oneida. He has three Top-32 finishes there in the past so another quality result should take care of the Classic berth. He’s more concerned with winning.

    “I’m not even thinking about the points,” he said. “I’m going to keep fishing the way I’ve been fishing for the last year. I’ve not had that great of a year in my eyes. I’m going into this tournament just like I have the rest of them – I’m trying to figure out how to win. That’s my ultimate goal. I’ve been out here long enough, it’s time to start putting together a win. If I’m thinking about points or the Classic, that’s never going to happen. I’m not going to change my thinking.

    “If I go up there and do my job and stay focused and put the odds in my favor where I might have a chance to win, I’ll end up making the Classic anyway.”

  • Drought hammering Midwestern fish

    The Associated Press produced a story today about the lethal effect on fish of the severe drought that's enveloping most of the country. Conditions are particularly bad in the Midwest, where many largemouth and smallmouth bass are among the victims.

    To read the story, click here.

  • FWC: Clausen, Yelas still sniffing around

    BassFan Big Sticks Luke Clausen and Jay Yelas spent day 1 of practice for the Forrest Wood Cup getting a feel for Lake Lanier and the differences from 2010. The main difference is the water's 8 feet lower, which could take a good many brush piles out of play. They're each hoping to get on something a little different from the rest.

    To read their initial reports, click here.

  • Arey ready to get over the hump

    Arey ready to get over the hump

    There’s no arguing that Matt Arey had the finest season of his career this year. The sixth-year FLW Tour pro from Shelby, N.C., logged five finishes between 23rd and 37th in six Majors and finished 9th in points.

    When BassFan caught up with him earlier today as he finished preparations for next week’s Forrest Wood Cup, he was quick to point out how close he was to having a spectacular season.

    “It was great. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take 9th any year, but it was frustrating at the same time,” he said. “I executed perfectly all year and was around the right fish all year. I just felt like I was one bite away.”

    He pointed to Lake Hartwell (23rd), the Potomac River (24th) and Lake Champlain (23rd) as tournaments where a few more ounces would have earned him an additional day on the water. He missed the Top-20 cut by a combined 13 ounces at those three events.

    He’s hoping to avoid another close call at Lake Lanier next week when he competes in his second Cup as a pro. He took 42nd last year at Lake Ouachita.

    “I’m really stoked,” he said. “I learned a lot at the last one and I’m going into this one with a different mindset. I have some different ideas about fishing to win and trying not to treat it like another points tournament. You have to get that out of your head.”

    He spent 4 days at Lanier during the last week before it went off limits. He marked countless brush piles on his graph, but found the fishing to be on the tougher side and he anticipates the same next week.

    “I think it’s going to be a grind,” he said. “It’s typical August fishing. What makes it tough at that lake is the timber and blueback (herring). The lake being down 8 feet changes things, too. The majority of the fish are out beyond where even the deepest piles are. Those fish are just roaming around with the bluebacks. What I noticed, though, is you could catch one, but it’s hard to catch another because the school tends to break up.”

    He said someone who has a milk run of productive brush will put himself in a good position to contend, a la Kevin Hawk, who won the 2010 Cup at Lanier by maxing out his GPS unit’s waypoint storage.

    “I think I have 40 to 60 (piles) that have potential to hold fish in the right place,” he added.

    He knows dropshotting will be one of the major techniques that’s going to be in play next week and it’s something he’s worked on religiously this season, especially in local tournaments around home.

    “I’m extremely comfortable doing it,” he said. “I’ve worked really hard to perfect it.”

    He and his wife, Emily, are expecting their first child – a girl – in September, right around when the Toyota Texas Bass Classic is scheduled for Lake Conroe, so he knows what a Cup win would do for his family and his future.

    “I’m one of the few guys in the Top 10 (in points) who doesn’t have a team or wrapped-boat deal,” he said. “This could be a huge deal for me. To win could solidify my career and just be a huge boost for me.”

  • New Villain on the prowl

    Abu Garcia has introduced a series of micro-guide rods to its Villain lineup, and the result is decreased weight along with increased sensitivity. The casting models check in as light as 4.3 ounces, and the heaviest spinning version weighs just 4.8 ounces.

    To learn more, click here.

  • Prince held up well as Elite Series rookie

    Prince held up well as Elite Series rookie

    It’s understandable that Cliff Prince put a lot of pressure on himself this year as a rookie on the Bassmaster Elite Series. For the most part, he’s been up to the challenge, posting back-to-back Top-10 finishes at Toledo Bend and the Mississippi River to push himself into contention for a berth in the 2013 Classic.

    The season started in his backyard at the St. Johns River (his home water) and Lake Okeechobee. He finished 16th and 51st, respectively, in his first two Elites Series events. Not overwhelmingly good or bad, but disappointing nonetheless for the Floridian.

    “I wish I’d done a little better at a couple tournaments, but I guess that goes with being a rookie,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed it. It’s been fun. I’m looking forward to seeing what the schedule’s going to be next year.

    “I’d have liked to have done a little bitter at my home water and I wasn’t expecting to not make the cut at Okeechobee. These guys, when they pull into a body of water, there’s not a stone that goes unturned. There were people on stuff that I’d planned on fishing, but that’s fishing when you’re up against the caliber of guys I’m up against.”

    He’s presently 27th in the Toyota Tundra B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year (AOY) standings, but he’ll need another respectable showing at the Oneida Lake finale in order to lock up a trip to his first Classic. He's also 30 points behind Brandon Card in the chase for Rookie of the Year honors.

    He was able to spend a day at Oneida a few weeks ago to get a feel for what’s in store later this month.

    “It’s full of fish, that’s for sure,” he said. “We caught plenty of fish, just not many big ones, but I do see the potential there for some 4-pound largemouths.”

    About the potential of fishing the Classic, he added, “That was my goal for the year. I think that would really solidify my year. It would give me some ammunition to go to people and say, ‘I made it here in my first year.’ It’ll also give me some recognition.”

    He owes a lot to longtime friend and fellow Elite Series pro Terry Scroggins, who’s lent his help on and off the water this season.

    “He’s been a Godsend,” Prince added. “He helped me with a few sponsors. He’s stepped up and vouched for me and helped me. I use him as a reference when I talk to people.”

  • Martin anxious for another shot at Lanier

    Martin anxious for another shot at Lanier

    Scott Martin has been at both ends of the spectrum – and leaderboard – at the Forrest Wood Cup. Last year, he conquered Lake Ouachita and sailed off with the Cup and $601,000 in prize money. He also has a runner-up finish to this credit from the 2004 Cup at Logan Martin Lake.

    But he also knows what it feels like to qualify for FLW’s signature event and just plain not catch ‘em. It happened in 2010 at Lake Lanier, site of next week’s Cup. Two years ago, he finished 77th out of 78 boats, weighing just one fish for 1-07.

    After a recent 4-day scouting trip, he feels like he’s in a better frame of mind this time around.

    “Finding brush wasn’t a problem, but I learned some things there,” he said of his 2010 experience. “I camped out too much and fished some wrong sections of the lake.

    “I’m almost glad (I didn’t do well) because it was a shock to me and it has me laser-focused on what I missed. I understand the lake better now and why I didn’t catch them. My confidence is high right now. I’ve figured out a rhythm and how to approach it. I didn’t know what I was getting into 2 years ago.”

    Since the ’10 Cup, he’s devoted more time to refining his deep-water finesse skills and even caught a few fish at Ouachita last year on a dropshot. While he thinks he’s got the right mindset for Lanier this time around, fishing a championship-style event with no points on the line also takes a different approach.

    “It’s all or nothing,” he said. “Second place is no fun. I’ve been there. I’ve had a lot of opportunities and first place is the only thing that matters. It’s stressful for that reason, but not for a bad reason.

    “I was very blessed to win it and I want another one for several reasons. That anxiety of ‘Am I ever going to win one?’ is gone. Some guys have qualified for the first time this year and there’s a different kind of pressure on them. I don’t have any of that. There are a lot of psychological things involved with a tournament like this and I think I might have a bit of an edge in that regard.”

  • Kriet almost showed 'em

    Kriet almost showed 'em

    The prevailing theory at Oneida Lake is that high-level tournaments can't be won strictly with smallmouths. Jeff Kriet nearly proved otherwise in 2009, when he caught bronzebacks exclusively en route to a 2nd-place finish – he ended up 2 1/4 pounds behind winner Chad Griffin.

    He'll go back to Oneida this month in search of another high placement, and perhaps that long-awaited initial Elite Series win. He's currently 26th in the Toyota Tundra B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year (AOY) race, which is several spots above where the cutoff for the 2013 Bassmaster Classic will fall, so he'd like to punch his ticket for Grand Lake in his home state of Oklahoma next February and also conclude an inconsistent year with a strong finish.

    He caught an 18-02 bag of smallmouths on the final day in '09 to challenge Griffin. He'd found that large school of 3 1/2- to 4-pounders during practice, but they didn't cooperate until that Sunday.

    "The conditions have to be perfect for that to work, and they were only right for part of the tournament," he said. "If they'd been right the whole time, I'd have blown it away. Those suspended fish are an opportunity deal.

    "I thought it could be won on all smallmouths and (Kevin) VanDam and I argued about that. I ended up getting beat by a guy who caught a couple of big largemouths."

    He's missed the 50-cut four times in seven events this year, but has thus far been saved by a pair of single-digit finishes. He vows to alter his pre-tournament preparation routine prior to next year.

    "I'm going to do a lot more organization and research ahead of time," he said. "I'm not saying anybody's breaking the rules and maybe I'm naïve to believe that nobody is on our circuit, but a lot of the younger guys are coming in a lot more prepared because they've done more Internet research and stuff like that.

    "I always assumed I could figure things out in 3 days (of official practice). Sometimes you get to a lake and you burn a practice day trying to figure out what's going on when a lot of other people already know."

  • Thrift won't fish memories

    Thrift won't fish memories

    Bryan Thrift thinks next week's Forrest Wood Cup at Georgia's Lake Lanier will play out in similar fashion to the 2010 event there, at which he finished 10. He won't waste time investigating a lot of the places where he caught fish 2 years ago, however.

    "I'd imagine it's still going to be an offshore, suspended-fish bite," he said. "But with the water being down, the fish might be in different places. Last time I caught them from 18 to 25 feet, and this time when I went and pre-practiced, all that brush was in 10 to 15 feet."

    He said there's plenty of brush in the proper depth range for the current conditions. The key, of course, will be finding the piles that are holding the larger specimens.

    "Just about all the brush there has fish on it, but most of it has a lot of 12-inchers. I'm just going to take it like it's a new lake and forget everything from last time and go look for new stuff. Hopefully I can find something that's good enough to win."

    He said he was joined by a lot of his fellow Cup competitors on his pre-practice visit, which occurred the week after ICAST.

    "We could've just had the tournament right then and gotten it over with."

  • Shuffield bummed he'll be in the back

    Shuffield bummed he'll be in the back

    Next week at Lake Lanier, Spencer Shuffield will fish his sixth Forrest Wood Cup as a co-angler. He’s hoping it’s his last out of the back of the boat.

    The Bismarck, Ark., native and son of longtime pro Ron Shuffield had hoped to qualify as an FLW Tour rookie and fish from the bow against his dad and 44 other pros vying for the $500,000 payday. A 56th-place finish in points kept him from bringing his own boat to the Cup, a result that’ll eat at him until next season.

    He earned the back-seat slot by virtue of his Tour Co-Angler of the Year title in 2011.

    “It’s definitely going to be weird fishing out of the back of the boat,” he said. “I’d rather be fishing out of the back, though, than not at all. It’s a bummer for sure.”

    He opened his initial season as a Tour pro with a 77th at Lake Hartwell, then scored a runner-up finish at Table Rock Lake. His Cup hopes went south, however, at the Potomac River in May.

    He’d uncovered an area of brackish water that was holding 4- and 5-pounders in practice, but come tournament time, the winds made it virtually unfishable and he wound up finishing 130th.

    “Having looked back it, all I needed was an 80th at the Potomac and I would’ve made it,” he said. “I thought that would be my best tournament this year.

    “The way this year turned out, it makes me want to get back out there and get back at it a lot harder,” he said. “I’m very disappointed how this year turned out. I look back and see places where I could’ve made up ground.”

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