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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

  • Snapcast: When strategy backfires

    Snapcast: When strategy backfires

    Every tournament angler heads out in the morning with some semblance of a strategy. Whether it’s to fish a certain area at a specific time or to only target a certain species or depth, each pro has an outline in their mind of how they want to go about their day on the water.

    Edwin Evers’ strategy last Sunday during the Bassmaster Elite Series All-Star final against Aaron Martens centered around accessing the same water in the Sangamon River that produced for him the previous day when he beat Gerald Swindle in the semifinal round. He had it to himself and felt it gave him the best shot at winning.

    There was one hitch, though. There was an extremely shallow stretch that made navigation from Lake Decatur into the river a challenge, especially as water levels dropped through the day. So part of his strategy was to lighten the load in his boat the best he could. Instead of filling his fuel tank right to the top, he opted to leave it where it was after the semifinals. Risky? Of course. Strategic? Definitely.

    To make a long story short, as he tried to exit the river Sunday afternoon, he got hung up in the shallows and in the process of trying to plow over and/or through the shoal – you guessed it – he ran out of fuel or clogged his intake with debris to the point his engine quit.

    A backup boat was dispatched so Evers could finish the competition and he ultimately lost by a little more than a pound – his second straight runner-up finish in the All-Star event.

    Now, the question is: Should have he been forced to live with the consequences of his strategy/mechanical failure, or was B.A.S.S. okay to allow Evers to hop in a backup boat and finish the day?

    I’m aware the Elite Series rules give tournament director Trip Weldon a fair amount of latitude in interpreting what’s deemed an emergency, and I’m also aware this was the final round of a season-ending All-Star event, so maybe the regular Elite rules were more loosely applied. I may be way off base here, but this is a slippery slope, no?

    Either way, it wouldn’t have looked good for emcee Dave Mercer to take the stage and after Martens weighed his catch, inform the crowd that Evers had incurred a late penalty because he ran out of gas and took a zero for the day. Where’s the drama in that?

    But what if Evers had jumped in the backup boat, stuck a 3-pounder and overtaken Martens for the win? If he’d left his flipping rods or box of lipless crankbaits in his truck, would someone have brought them to him? Probably not, but what we do know is he made a decision based on strategy, and it backfired on him.

    – Todd Ceisner
    – BassFan Editor

    Snapcasts are brief opinion pieces produced by BassFan staff members. The views presented are the author's alone.

  • TTBC: Bass, cash and tunes

    TTBC: Bass, cash and tunes

    Editor's Note: The field of 50 anglers hit the waters of Lake Conroe amid some fog this morning for the start of the Toyota Texas Bass Classic (TTBC). Industry rep Alan McGuckin filed the following piece after he caught up with three of them – Kelly Jordon, Gerald Swindle and Terry Scroggins – to get their take on what makes the event so cool.

    In its brief 6-year history, the TTBC has grown in stature and is considered to be one of the best events in all of professional bass fishing by top pros like Kelly Jordon, Gerald Swindle and Terry Scroggins.

    The 3-day tournament invites the top 15 anglers from the Bassmaster Elite Series, FLW Tour, and PAA Series trails to compete against one another for a top prize of $100,000 plus a new boat.

    Held each autumn, it’s actually far more than a tournament. It’s an outdoor event that includes several vendor booths in a fair-like venue, plus each day’s weigh-in is followed by a concert from a top country artist. This year’s concert lineup includes Dierks Bentley, Gary Allan and Jake Owen.

    In addition, the proceeds benefit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and its youth outdoor programs.

    The event was born through Gulf States Toyota’s desire to host an event that would raise conservation funds to assure the continued reputation of great bass fishing that Texas is famous for. That’s when Jordon, a Texas native, offered to help Gulf States Toyota plan the first TTBC held on Lake Fork in 2007.

    Today, Jordon takes great pride in how the TTBC has gained the respect of his pro angling peers, and the fun it provides to fishing fans that love country music.

    “The midway with all the vendor booths is outstanding, plus everybody loves the concerts,” said Jordon, who packs more songs in his smartphone than most radio stations. “If fans manage to take in the midway, the weigh-in, and the concert all in one day, I’d say they’ve really accomplished something.”

    Speaking of big bass, the chance to catch a 9-pounder on any cast is never out of the question on Lake Conroe, and Swindle, the 2004 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year, ranks the big-bass potential as one of his favorite things about the TTBC.

    “I love the fact that all three major pro circuits send their top guys to compete against one another, and I love the fact that this lake has some giants swimming in it,” he said. “Plus, I’m a music lover, so the concerts put the icing on the cake each day.”

    Scroggins, who rooms with Swindle, says there are so many perks to the tournament.

    “How can you not see it as one of the greatest events in our sport,” he said. “First off, we have the best anglers from all three major pro tours competing here, there’s no entry fee, no points on the line, so it’s kind of laid back and filled with camaraderie, but yet we’re fishing for $100,000.

    “I love everything about the TTBC. You practice hard here, you fish hard here, and whether you catch ‘em or not, you get to go to great concert at the end of the day. About the only bad thing I can think of is that they have a bunch of cowboy boots for sale around here, and my girlfriend loves cowboy boots. Now, that can cost a man a lot of money.”

  • New plumage for Cardinal

    <b><font color=maroon>New plumage for Cardinal</font></b>

    Cardinal spinning reels from Abu Garcia have long had a reputation for delivering superb reliability at a value-conscious price. For 2013, the reels are packed with even better components and a new, sleeker look.

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

  • Bonus Bucks: Time running short

    Bonus Bucks: Time running short

    There's just a little over a week left to sign up for the Toyota Bonus Bucks no-entry-fee team tournament, set for Sunday, Oct. 14 at Lake Norman near Charlotte, N.C. The tournament, which will include a series of seminars by Bassmaster Elite Series stars the prior evening, was created in an effort to show appreciation for anglers who have purchased a Toyota truck and registered for the Toyota Trucks Bonus Bucks program.

    All registered Bonus Bucks participants are invited, and only one of the team members must be registered in the Bonus Bucks program to be eligible to compete in the tournament. Officials from B.A.S.S. will be on site to help orchestrate the event.

    The Top 30 teams are guaranteed a paycheck. The first 100 teams to sign up will receive a gift pack including a custom-made “Tundra Fishing Team” rod from Quantum, as well as a tackle pack and clothing from Carhartt.

    Pre-registration by Oct. 6 is required. B.A.S.S. tournament staff will be on site on the afternoon of Oct. 13 for angler check-in, followed by a series of “Tundra tailgate seminars” conducted by Elite Series anglers Kevin VanDam, Terry Scroggins, Mike Iaconelli, Gerald Swindle, Britt Myers, Marty Robinson and Casey Ashley. The first 50 teams to sign up will enjoy a free dinner cruise with the Elite anglers Saturday evening; however, the pros will not be eligible to fish the tournament.

    To register for the tournament, visit or call (918) 742-6424.

    Signing up for Bonus Bucks is simple. Own or lease a 2008 or newer Toyota Tundra, Sequoia, 4Runner, FJ Cruiser or Tacoma and register at the Web address or phone number above (callers should ask for Kendell). Then be the highest-finishing eligible participant in your FLW- or B.A.S.S.-affiliated tournament, and you win the Bonus Bucks.

  • Mechanical issue derails Meyer's journey

    Mechanical issue derails Meyer's journey

    Cody Meyer is at home in Northern California this week instead of competing in the Toyota Texas Bass Classic at Lake Conroe. He began the journey to Conroe last Friday, but had to call it off after about 100 miles – still 1,500 miles short of his destination.

    "I had truck problems," he said. "I have a high-mileage vehicle that I was trying to sell, and the transmission went out. It started before I even got to Reno (Nev.).

    "I don't know what I could've done – it's 1,600 miles each way. I just had to bail out. It would've been different if it wasn't such a long drive."

    Meyer qualified for the TTBC by finishing 5th in this year's FLW Tour Angler of the Year race.

  • Semi-homecoming for Yelas

    Semi-homecoming for Yelas

    Jay Yelas spent the better part of two decades living in Texas before relocating back to Oregon, where he attended college, a few years ago. He's returned to the Lone Star State for the first time in several years to compete in this week's Toyota Texas Bass Classic at Lake Conroe.

    "It's been fun for me to come back," he said. "I've never fished a tournament on Conroe, but I did fish here once years and years ago just for fun. When I got the invite (for the TTBC) this year, I decided that I'd like to go."

    Official practice for the event wrapped up Wednesday afternoon and the 50 anglers will compete in a pro-am on Thursday before the derby gets under way Friday. Yelas said he caught some nice fish over the previous 3 days, but doesn't think he's on anything spectacular.

    "My take on the lake is it's fishing pretty good. I've been catching bags in the mid-teens each day, 13 to 17 pounds a day, but I don't think that's winning material here.

    "This place has got some big ones. I've caught a 5-pounder each day, and if you can get two of those in one day, you're off to the races. I've fished both shallow and deep, but deep is what most guys are pursuing because that's usually how tournaments are won here. I haven't had a great big bag yet, but maybe I will in the tournament."

  • Rankings: Rose rockets upward

    David Dudley slightly stregthened his hold on the top slot in the newest edition of the BassFan World Rankings, but the big story is the climb of Wheeler Lake FLW Tour Open winner Mark Rose, who jumped 28 places to 7th. He's gained back almost all of the ground he lost during a poor start to the 2012 campaign.

    To see the full list, click here.

  • B.A.S.S. releases '13 Open schedule

    B.A.S.S. releases '13 Open schedule

    B.A.S.S. today revealed the schedules for its 2013 Bassmaster Open circuits. Once again, competition will take place in three divisions – Southern, Central and Northern. The widespread rumor that the Western Opens would be back for the first time since 2005 did not come to fruition.

    Here's a look at the slates:


    > Jan. 31-Feb. 2 -- Lake Toho -- Kissimmee, Fla.
    > April 4-6 -- Douglas Lake -- Dandridge, Tenn.
    > May 16-18 -- Lake Logan Martin -- Pell City, Ala.


    > April 25-27 -- Red River -- Shreveport, La.
    > Sept. 19-21 -- Arkansas River -- Muskogee, Okla.
    > Oct. 17-19 -- Ross Barnett Reservoir -- Jackson, Miss.


    > June 13-15 -- James River -- Richmond, Va.
    > Aug. 1-3 -- Oneida Lake -- Syracuse, N.Y.
    > Sept. 12-14 -- Lake Erie -- Sandusky, Ohio

    For the third consecutive year, Open winners will gain a berth in the following year's Bassmaster Classic (provided they compete in all three events in the division). Also, the Top 5 in the points will receive invitations to the 2014 Bassmaster Elite Series.

    Weigh-ins at each 2013 Open will be held lakeside on the first 2 days. The 12 anglers who make the cut will weigh in on the final day at a nearby Bass Pro Shops store.

    Priority online registration for all divisions begins Oct. 16. B.A.S.S. Federation Nation and Lifetime members can register online beginning Oct. 23, and other B.A.S.S. members wishing to fish all three tournaments in a division may register online on Oct. 30.

    Additional dates have been set for call-in registration and for anglers wishing to fish only one or two events. A complete schedule is available on

  • Still time to get BU discount

    Still time to get BU discount

    The Bass University's early registration promotion, which offers 20 percent off the admission fee for all 2013 sessions, will expire this Sunday (Sept. 30). That's also the final day to enter the Ultimate Smallmouth Bass Fishing Destination Sweepstakes on Lake Champlain in October for two anglers with co-founder Pete Gluszek.

    To enter the sweepstakes, simply “like” The Bass University’s Facebook page. For an additional entry, follow Bass U on Twitter @BassUniversity.

    For more registration info, click here.

  • Dyer signs with ORCA

    Dyer signs with ORCA

    The Outdoor Recreation Company of American (ORCA), makers of high performance coolers, has agreed to a deal to sponsor Clay Dyer.

    “It isn’t every day you get the opportunity to work with a person the caliber of Clay Dyer,” said Jim Ford, ORCA owner. “Clay’s motto for life is, ‘If I can, you can.’ Clay expects a lot from himself and he has told us we should expect a lot from him as well. He has never allowed his disabilities to be an obstacle and we respect his philosophy on life, his capabilities as an angler and his abilities to help us grow ORCA.”

    Dyer, who was born without legs, no left arm and a partial right arm, will sport the ORCA logo at tournaments he competes in as well as trade shows and his many speaking engagements.

    “ORCA’s plan is to manufacture top-quality, 100 percent American-made products and that makes me extremely proud,” Dyer said. “I have spent time with the owners, the management team and the folks who work in the plant and feel so blessed to represent all of them as part of what I do everyday.”

  • Fat Papa giveaway

    <b><font color=green>Fat Papa giveaway</font></b>

    With fall now officially underway, we’re excited to offer BassFans a chance to win some great fall fishing baits – the new SPRO Fat Papa 70, a crankbait designed by Elite Series pro Russ Lane.

    We’ve launched a contest on our Facebook page where all we ask is that you take your best guess at what Lane’s final weight will be at this week’s Toyota Texas Bass Classic. The three closest guesses will receive a Fat Papa in the honey craw color (right). We'll be accepting entries until 7 a.m. EST Friday.

    Click here to visit our Facebook page now. If you're a mobile user, click here. Good luck!

  • Snapcast: Brauer the hairdresser?

    Snapcast: Brauer the hairdresser?

    My favorite memory of dealing with the recently retired Denny Brauer for the past 7 seasons occurred shortly after a 2007 tournament in which he didn't fare well. I don't recall the basis of our conversation, but somehow it drifted to the Bassmaster Elite Series event at the Potomac River that year, which was won by Skeet Reese.

    Brauer, who finished 69th in that derby, mentioned that he'd found the same fish during practice that Reese exploited en route to victory. But instead of divvying them up or bickering over them, he conceded them to the Californian and went and fished (not too successfully, obviously) somewhere else.

    Then he added that if the same situation ever arose again and Reese didn't return the favor, Reese would "have a different color of hair." I laughed audibly, but Brauer didn't.

    What he'd threatened to do was obviously figurative, but he was dead-serious about the point he was trying to get across. He'd made a sportsmanlike gesture toward Reese, and he fully expected the latter to remember it and repay it in kind if he got the opportunity. It didn't seem like it was anything personal against Reese – he just happened to be the other principal in that particular situation, and the hair thing (Reese sported a spiky blond 'do back then) was just a way to further emphasize how adamant he was.

    Brauer, like a lot of pros who entered the game prior to the advent of six-figure winner's purses and the idea that anglers needed to put on a show for the TV cameras by doing something other than just catching fish, believes in a code of ethics that includes invisible lines in the water that should not be crossed. Perhaps there are some much-younger Elite competitors who are secretly glad to see such a "dinosaur" go.

    His absence alone will blur some of those unseen lines considerably.

    --John Johnson
    --BassFan Senior Editor

    Snapcasts are brief opinion pieces produced by BassFan staff members. The views presented are the author's alone.

  • Red Dirt tabs manager for pro staff

    Red Dirt tabs manager for pro staff

    Indiana-based Red Dirt Bait Company, which specializes in tunable spinnerbaits and buzzbaits, has selected Vermont's Skip Sjobeck as its national pro staff manager. Sjobeck is a four-time B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Championship qualifier who won the Eastern Divisional in 2011.

    The company is looking to expand its pro staff, which includes FLW Tour angler Todd Hollowell.

    “The Red Dirt Bait Company’s products have a very unique wire, which not only gives off tremendous vibration, but it makes them more durable than standard stainless steel wire baits," Sjobeck said. "The wire used for their spinnerbaits and buzzbaits consists of approximately 70 percent titanium, and these elements, combined with some of the best components in the industry, create some of the toughest baits on the market.

    "I know that using their products has improved my tournament results, and now I’m proud to be representing them and assembling the pro staff across the country.”

    Those interested in applying to become a member of the Red Dirt pro staff can send an email to

  • B.A.S.S. partners with Big Bass Splash

    B.A.S.S. partners with Big Bass Splash

    B.A.S.S. announced today that it's partnered with Sealy Outdoors to market and promote the popular Big Bass Splash series of events.

    Under the agreement, Sealy’s big-bass tournaments beginning in 2013 will be named the “Big Bass Splash Presented by Sealy Outdoors and B.A.S.S.” In addition, Big Bass Splash weigh-ins will be streamed live on, and the events will be covered in B.A.S.S. media.

    Founded in 1984 by Texas angler Bob Sealy, the organization conducts five tournaments a year, attracting thousands of participants to weekend contests on some of the country’s best trophy bass lakes. Guides on those lakes and top-level professional anglers are not allowed to compete. Instead, Sealy targets everyday anglers, including children, with his fun and festive tournaments.

    Weigh-ins are held hourly, with as many as 12 big bass each hour earning a share of the prize money.

    “We are joining forces with B.A.S.S. in order to help bass fishing grow,” said Sealy. “We want to get more people involved in fishing, and so does B.A.S.S. We’re very family-oriented.” To that end, separate prizes are awarded in the Little Anglers Division.

    Sealy noted that in one event a few years ago, an 11-year-old boy, fishing with his father and grandfather, boated an 11.57-pound bass and won the $100,000 grand prize package, including a bass boat and SUV. “Ever since then, we’ve had more sons and daughters fishing with fathers and mothers at every event,” he said.

    Bruce Akin, B.A.S.S. CEO, said the partnership will strengthen B.A.S.S.’s already extensive reach into the grass roots of sportfishing, expanding it to wider audiences, especially recreational anglers, youngsters and those new to the sport.

    “Through and Bassmaster Magazine, we intend to increase awareness of the Big Bass Splash tournaments and grow participation in bass fishing,” Akin said. “At the same time, we expect that our members and online viewers will enjoy our coverage of these fun, exciting, family-friendly fishing events.”

    The Big Bass Splash, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2014, is the world’s largest amateur big bass fishing tournament, and it was featured in a recent National Geographic television special. Proceeds from the events benefit the Ronald McDonald House and select McDonald’s children’s charities. Sealy now has five events in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Tennessee, with plans to reach Arkansas, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina in the next few years.

  • USA Today chronicles rise of fishing, hunting

    USA Today published a front-page article this week noting the national increase in fishing and hunting participation in recent years, reversing a 20-year trend. To read it, click here.

  • Sonar sizzles at High Rock

    Sonar sizzles at High Rock

    BassFan columnist Miles "Sonar" Burghoff compiled a 36-09 total for 2 days to win the BFL North Carolina Division Super Tournament at High Rock Lake over the weekend. For his victory, Burghoff earned $4,604.

    It was the Orlando, Fla. resident's second win in a Super Tournament – he also captured one at Lake Okeechobee in 2010.

    Targeting floating docks in Abbotts Creek with a combination of swimbaits and swimjigs, Burghoff said that moving fast was key to his win. He said he hit about 50 docks a day and didn’t spend any time waiting on the bass; they either bit on a fast retrieve or didn’t bite at all.

    “I was using three primary baits,” Burghoff said. “Secret Lures' MVP Swim Jig in white and candy craw with a paddle-style swimbait trailer, a 5-inch Yum Money Minnow swimbait and the Berkley Split Belly swimbait, both in natural shad.

    “This was my first time on High Rock Lake. I was basically looking for docks that fit my pattern. There seemed to be a big population of bluegill and gizzard shad hiding out around the floating docks that were about 20 feet deep and the bass were suspending underneath the docks, feeding on the baitfish."

    He outdistanced runner-up Chris Baldwin of Lexington, N.C. by 3 1/2 pounds.

    “I know this sounds cliché," he added, "but I really have to give thanks to Oakley for my polarized sunglasses. I had to set the hook so fast and without them I wouldn’t have been able to see the bass bite.”

    Look for more details in an upcoming Sonar Sound-Off column.

  • Baksay buys rod-sleeve company

    Baksay buys rod-sleeve company

    Veteran Connecticut bass pro Terry Baksay announced today that he's acquired the Stor’s It company – maker of the fishing industry’s original rod sleeve.

    “They do the job better than any other rod cover on the market,” said Baksay, who's competed in two Bassmaster Classics and three Forrest Wood Cups. “They’re made out of a heavy-duty perforated vinyl material which is breathable. The inverted tubular design is protective of your guides and line, too. Unlike other models out there, it attaches to the reel, so it will not move or come off in the rod locker.”

    With the Stor’s It rod covers in place, an angler can fit up to 40 rods in an average-sized rod locker and “still pull the bottom rod out,” Baksay said.

    He purchased the company from longtime team-tournament partner Dave D’Alessandro, so he’s familiar with its inner workings, which will allow production and distribution to continue seamlessly.

    Stor’s It covers are available in 10 different models specific to spinning and casting applications and a wide range of rod lengths – everything from 5 1/2 feet up to monster flipping sticks. Each retails for $7.95 and they're available from many leading retailers as well as from the company’s website (

  • Berkley amateur event set for Oct. 21

    Berkley amateur event set for Oct. 21

    The 7th annual Amateur Big Bass Challenge, presented by Berkley and Sebile, will take place at Lake Fork, Texas on Oct. 21. Last year, more than 800 anglers vied for over $90,000 in cash and prizes, including two Skeeter bass boats.

    While all competitors seek to catch the biggest bass over and under the slot limits to win the boats, most checks are for fish in the 2- to 4-pound range and several were handed out for smaller fish. The rules do not allow anglers who have paid a tournament entry fee of $2,500 or more to fish the tournament, and this opens the field for weekend and recreational anglers to win some money and have fun.

    Each hour an angler can bring one fish to the scales to try and stay in the running for a chance to receive one of the hourly cash awards. The unique aspect of the tournament is that only Berkley baits can be used.

    “This fun format lets anglers enjoy the full spectrum of Berkley baits,” said Berkley marketing director Andrew Marks. “It is challenging to not only adjust to some of the new baits that are being used, but also the added strategy of when to weigh in your fish that lends a unique twist, making it fun for everyone.”

    The Berkley Experience trailer, a 60-foot event center, will be on site for the entire event. The trailer features interactive presentation screens, educational seminars on line selection, reel maintenance, rod selection and choosing the right bait, a knot-tying station and competition, bait demonstration tanks and many other elements. Lake Fork Marina will have a good selection of Berkley baits for sale if anglers have not already stocked up prior to the tournament.

    More information can be found at

  • Ultimate bass angler's rig to be unveiled

    Ultimate bass angler's rig to be unveiled

    Toyota posted a press release on its website today about the "Ultimate Fishing Tundra" put together by Bassmaster Elite Series pro and custom car-builder Britt Myers, with some help from other Toyota-sponsored anglers. It'll be unveiled next month at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas.

    To find out what the rig will feature, click here.

  • Classic-bound Lee gets a boost

    Classic-bound Lee gets a boost

    Auburn University student and Bassmaster College Classic bracket-winner Matt Lee says he can’t stop using the term “surreal” in referring to winning a berth in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic.

    Things got even more mind-bending for 23-year-old Lee during Toyota Trucks All-Star Week when he was presented a Toyota Tacoma Truck and a Triton Boat with a Mercury Optimax motor, all beautifully wrapped to represent Auburn and the sponsors that have given him this opportunity.

    “How do you put the way you feel into words,” Lee said. “The wrap is awesome. It’s impressive. Carhartt and Toyota have made me look good for the Classic. Now I’ve got to concentrate on my fishing so I’ll look like I know what I’m doing in Oklahoma.”

    The package was awarded to Lee on Day 3 of the All-Star derby in Decatur, Ill. During the event, Lee had an opportunity to speak to a group of Illinois high school student anglers about the opportunities they’ll have in the sport of bass fishing.

    “I told the kids this morning that even with the economy not performing well, high school and college fishing are growing exponentially,” Lee said. “That’s because sponsors like Carhartt are supporting this sport. It’s a company kids think of as ‘cool.’ With that kind of backing, it’s going to change the sport. Bass fishing is just going to continue to grow.”

    Lee says he’s aware that the Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees in Oklahoma – site of the 43rd Classic – will be a proving ground for him. He actually hopes the fishing is difficult.

    “I like my chances better when the fishing is tough,” said Lee, who competed in 100-plus degree weather on a grueling schedule to win the Classic berth. “If there’s ice on the lake, it’s going to make it more difficult. I want to face that challenge. For a lot of these (Elite Series pros), it was a tough road to get to this point. I’m not just going to be happy to be at the Classic. I want to perform well and earn their respect.”

    Lee said he doesn’t expect the Bassmaster TV cameras to be following him at blast-off on the first day of the Classic, and that’s okay.

    “I hope they’ll be following me on Day 2, because that will mean I smoked them the first day,” Lee said. “The Classic is a 3-day tournament, and it will be over with before you know it. I’m going to enjoy every minute. It’s just such an honor to be there.”

    Lee said he knows he’ll take a lot of good-natured ribbing from his friends when he pulls up on campus with his flashy new Tacoma. Use of the truck and boat rig will enable Lee to compete in the Classic and other Bassmaster tournaments through the next year, and BoatUS Angler provided free boat insurance.

    “I’m going to be driving this Tacoma to class, which will be great exposure for Carhartt and Toyota,” Lee said. “I hope it’s going to encourage other students to take an interest in Auburn’s bass fishing team. I know my best friends are going to give me a hard time for having such great gear. They’ll keep me grounded, because this is all such an amazing experience.”

  • Big Bite Lookback – Wheeler

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

    Russ Lane got off to a strong start at the Wheeler Lake FLW Tour Open, catching his best fish from a school located on some deep, offshore structure. The only problem was he was unable to pinpoint other schools that he could pull a SPRO Fat Papa 70 crankbait through and connect.

    He remained in the Top 10 the first 2 days after weighing 15-10 on day 1 and 11-04 on day 2, but an 8-01 limit on day 3 dropped him to 11th and he missed the final-day cut by 1-01.

    “This was a weird tournament because you had such drastic condition changes between practice and the tournament,” he said. “In practice, it was almost impossible to find fish out deep. It was really cool and the skies were dark all 3 days. The wind was blowing – it was just not the conditions to find fish deep.

    “But on the Tennessee River, nine times out of 10, the tournament is going to be won out there on a ledge somewhere. That’s just how it is. This one was setting up perfect for that with the bright skies and the conditions that were coming in. I’d finally found one school on the last day of practice, but I was going to have to find more during the tournament to have an opportunity to win.”

    He caught some early fish on day 1 flipping a Big Bite Baits Coontail Worm around docks and laydowns in creeks. He then moved out to his schooling area and immediately culled up to 16 pounds within 30 minutes.

    “I thought, maybe I can make this last for 2, days so I went out and started looking for more deep fish, but I never found any the rest of the day,” he said.

    Day 2 started with a 4-pounder out deep followed by a couple other short strikes that felt like good fish. Then came the turning point.

    “I finally slowed my retrieve down and a dang giant just ate it – like a 6- or 7-pounder,” he said. “He came up and jumped and had the bait completely inhaled and as he was pulling back down deep, the bait just came out of his mouth. I don’t even know if I ever had the hooks in him. That bite right there is what did me in.”

    He went back to flipping to finish his limit and felt he likely would’ve made it through to Sunday if he’d committed to shallow areas on day 3, but he was hung up making a charge to the top of the leaderboard.

    “Looking back, I probably could’ve gone back and pitched the Coontail to laydowns and docks in creeks and caught 11 or 12 pounds pretty easily and made the cut, but it still wouldn't have given me the opportunity to win,” said the Prattville, Ala., resident. “So I just stayed on the ledges and kept looking for another school of fish. In June, that’s probably the better plan when the fish are coming out to you, but I was actually behind them as they were already going to the bank. Looking back, I probably should’ve gone to the bank with them, but that tournament still was going to be won on the ledges so I’m okay with what I did.

    “I know I’m not the only one, but I’m so consumed with trying to win one of these tour-level events that I let that affect my decisions when I feel like I’m in a position to be close.”

    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 – Wheeler

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

    Dave Lefebre thought he had Wheeler Lake figured out. In fact, he was almost sure of it.

    But when the weather conditions changed for day 1 of last week’s FLW Tour Open, the area he’d gained so much confidence in during practice went cold and he brought just four fish for 5-06 to the scale. He was mired in 69th in the standings.

    “I had one of those practices where I was kind of excited,” he said. “It was one of the best practices I’ve had in a long time. It was rainy and windy and pre-frontal conditions.”

    By Thursday, the weather had cleared and a high-pressure system had settled in over northern Alabama with bluebird skies and little wind.

    “We hadn’t seen those conditions in practice and I had all of my marbles in one basket in one little area,” he said. “I had a bunch of different spots in there, but it was all one pattern.”

    He lost a couple quality fish, but he was expecting everyone else to struggle due to the drastic change in weather.

    “I stuck with it all day and didn’t adjust at all,” he said. “I adjusted in the area, but I didn’t leave. I stayed and tried to figure out where the fish would go or where they went or what would trigger them to bite. It was just a rare mistake. I don’t usually stay long, but I had so much going on there in practice and there were so many big fish around that area and no other competitor was around there. I knew I just couldn’t leave.”

    After a disappointing day 1, he capitalized on the wind that picked up the next day and nearly tripled his catch by dredging open-water shellbeds with a Rapala Clackin’ Crank, the same bait that helped him finish 17th at the Detroit River Tour Open. His 15-06 stringer carried him from 69th to 31st on the leaderboard and allowed him to stay in the Top 5 in Open points with one event remaining.

    “I decided to basically start over and cover water,” he said. “I was fortunate to catch a small limit and just about the time I caught my fifth one, the wind started to blow. Instead of adjusting completely, I knew I needed a big bite, so I went back to where I was on day 1. Lo and behold the fish were on everything. I culled everything I had and had an opportunity to weigh in a 19-pound bag, but lost a real big one.”

    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.

  • Cochran to retire after Rayburn

    <B><font color=red>Cochran to retire after Rayburn</font color></b>

    George Cochran told BassFan today that he will retire from tour-level competition following the Sam Rayburn Reservoir FLW Tour Open next month.

    The two-time Bassmaster Classic champion (1987 and 1996) and 2005 Forrest Wood Cup winner from Hot Springs, Ark., will step away after a 32-year career that saw him collect nine victories, 60 Top-10 finishes and amass more than $2 million in winnings.

    The 62-year-old Cochran, known as one the top shallow-water anglers of his time, said that he’d been giving retirement serious thought since winning the Cup 7 years ago.

    “I guess everybody has their time when all good things come to an end and there’s nobody who’s enjoyed it more than I have,” he said. “I loved what I’ve done all these years and I still love it, but this is a time I’ve been getting ready for. I’d set a goal to retire when I was 62.

    “I plan to spend more time with my family and grandkids and see the stuff that I missed with my kids because I was gone so much when they were growing up. I’m just ready to retire.”

    His retirement announcement comes on the heels of the retirement of one of his contemporaries and friends, Denny Brauer, who announced over the weekend he was calling it a career on the Bassmaster Elite Series.

    BassFan will publish a complete story on Cochran’s decision and career in the coming days.

  • Z-Man completes move to new facility

    Z-Man completes move to new facility

    Z-Man Fishing Products announced that it's moved to a new state-of-the-art facility in Ladson, S.C. to better accommodate growth and allow for future expansion.

    Located midway between the renowned Santee Cooper Lakes and the inshore fishing mecca of Charleston, S.C., Z-Man's new 37,000-square-foot corporate headquarters now houses the company's executive offices, warehouse, product showroom, manufacturing facility and research and development lab under one roof, consolidating six separate prior locations. The move also provides Z-Man with expanded manufacturing capacity thanks to the addition of supplemental injection molding equipment and custom-designed pressurized air, chilled water and electrical systems.

    The new space is located within Palmetto Commerce Park, which is home to companies such as Daimler Vans Manufacturing, Cummins Turbo Technologies and Shimano American Corporation. It occupies only half of the 75,00-square-foot, company-owned complex, ensuring ample room for future growth and expansion.

    "We're thrilled to bring all of our operations under one roof with this move into our new state-of-the-art facility," said Z-Man president Jonathan Zucker. "We've expanded our manufacturing capacity to meet growing demand for our ElaZtech plastics, and our upgraded warehouse is designed to service our customers of all sizes around the world, from individuals ordering online and independent dealers, to national retailers and international distributors."

  • Snapcast: An affinity for wood

    Do you have anything that sits around on your desk or somewhere that you just pick up and fiddle with every now and then? For me, it's an unpainted wooden crankbait body sent to me by Dieter Stanford of Stanford Cedar Lures.

    I've always had an affinity for sporting objects made of wood. Whenever someone shows me a shotgun or rifle I haven't seen before, the first thing I check out is the stock (and if that piece is synthetic, my interest in the gun wanes dramatically). As a kid, I insisted on using wooden baseball bats until I was about 14 and finally conceded the fact that the ball jumped off of aluminum versions at a considerably higher velocity. I'd throw in my affection for bamboo fishing rods, too, but bamboo is actually a grass.

    Unlike my brothers, I have no talent for working with wood. The younger one is a high school woodshop teacher who can seemingly build a quality doghouse in less time than it takes me to write one of these commentaries. The older one creates art with a chainsaw, including some fine largemouth bass depictions (although he always seems to make the tails just a little too big).

    Likewise, the lacquered square-bill body that Mr. Stanford sent me (along with some finished samples of his wares) is imperfect. When I run my finger down either side, I feel several small dents and pockmarks. That's as it should be, though, and how it must be. After all, it's an object that a man produced with his hands from something that grew out of the ground, not a molded former liquid that rolled off an assembly line.

    "All Stanford Lures are meticulously hand-tuned in a 40-foot pool by me," he wrote in the accompanying note. "Each bait must pass rigorous testing and inspection before it is deemed good enough to be sold as a Stanford Lure. This is why we can guarantee that each lure will satisfy the angler and run true out of the box."

    I'll testify that they work, although I'll skip the details of how I know that. You've all heard enough fish stories to last you a lifetime.

    ––John Johnson
    ––BassFan Senior Editor

    Snapcasts are brief opinion pieces produced by BassFan staff members. The views presented are the author's alone.

  • Martens tops Evers for All-Star win

    Martens tops Evers for All-Star win

    Aaron Martens saved the best for last today, catching a 13-06 stringer to beat Edwin Evers and win the Bassmaster Elite Series Toyota Trucks All-Star championship at Decatur Lake in Illinois.

    Martens’ catch was the heaviest bag of the 4-day event which played out across two lakes in central Illinois. It’s the second straight All-Star runner-up finish for Evers, who lost to Ott DeFoe in last year’s final.

    Martens, one of four anglers voted into the 12-man All-Star field by fans, caught his fish today pitching and flipping near stumps and laydowns and throwing crankbaits around riprap banks.

    “I really want to thank everyone who voted for me,” Martens said. “It’s an honor, and I’m glad I was able to vindicate that support.

    “I caught most of my fish on a Bagley Balsa B – chartreuse-and-blue – and a black-and-blue jig with a blue sapphire (Netbait) Paca Chunk trailer,” he added. “I covered a lot of water and focused on riprap and shallow cover with good access to deeper water.”

    He fished the crankbait on a prototype Megabass cranking rod, a Shimano Metanium reel (7:1 gear ratio) and 14- and 16-pound-test Sunline FC Sniper fluorocarbon line.

    Evers, who finished with 12-04, had a tough day getting around. He had a tricky run up the Sangamon River just to get to his best area as dropping water following Saturday’s semifinal round forced him to plow through a silted-in stretch of water today as part of an hour-long trip up the river.

    In an effort to lighten his boat as much as possible, he did not top off his fuel tank today and had to request a backup boat later in the day today after running out of gas while trying to exit the river.

  • Martens, Evers in All-Star finals

    Martens, Evers in All-Star finals

    Aaron Martens and Edwin Evers advanced to Sunday's final of Toyota Trucks All-Star Week with semifinal wins on Saturday at Illinois' Lake Decatur over Ott DeFoe and Gerald Swindle, respectively.

    Martens, the No. 3 seed for the semifinals, caught the day's lone limit en route to defeating 2nd-seeded DeFoe 8-13 to 2-12. Evers, the runner-up to DeFoe at last year's event, downed Swindle 8-06 to 1-12.

    Evers brought four fish to the scale and DeFoe and Swindle weighed just one each. DeFoe reported losing a fish that was in excess of 5 pounds.

    Martens fished extremely shallow and covered as much water as he could. “The water’s really dirty ¬– zero visibility – and it’s pretty scary to motor through to get to my fish,” he said.

    Evers ran for an hour and 20 minutes through silt and mud to get to deeper water on the upper end of the lake. “I don’t think I can get back to my fish,” he said. “That north wind dropped the water level so low that I’m sure I can’t get through.”

  • SK reports Brauer is retiring

    <b><font color=red>SK reports Brauer is retiring</font></b>

    According to an article posted on the Strike King website tonight, Denny Brauer has announced his retirement from Bassmaster Elite Series competition, effective at the end of the 2012 season. The story is dated September 24, 2012, but it was visible on the site this evening and links were posted to the story from the company's Twitter and Facebook pages.

    "While I will not ever fully retire from this great sport that has been my passion for so many years, it is time for me to step down from competing on the Bassmaster Elite Series," said the 63-year-old Brauer in the report. "The last 32 years have been tremendous, Shirley and I are so appreciative of all that this sport has been for us."

    His retirement brings to a close one of the most successful careers in tournament bass fishing history. He registered 17 B.A.S.S. victories and competed in four Forrest Wood Cups and 21 Bassmaster Classics, winning the 1998 event at High Rock Lake. He retires as one of just 12 anglers to have won both the Classic and the B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year title. He won more than $2.5 million during his career between B.A.S.S. and FLW events.

    To read the story, click here.

  • Evers, DeFoe shine at All-Stars

    Evers, DeFoe shine at All-Stars

    Considering the way Edwin Evers and Ott DeFoe dominated the opening round of Toyota Trucks All-Star Week at Lake Shelbyville in Illinios, perhaps B.A.S.S. should skip the semifinals and let those two duel for the top prize for the second consecutive year

    Both caught double-digit bags for the second straight day to far outdistance the other 10 anglers in the field. Evers' 10-pound sack gave him a 2-day total of 23-01 and DeFoe, last year's champion, was just 2 ounces back after catching 11-12 today.

    Their totals were more than double that of 3rd-place Aaron Martens, who weighed two fish for 3-06 today to give him a 10-13 aggregate. Gerald Swindle will round out the field for the semis, which take place Saturday at Lake Decatur, as he weighed four fish for 6-10 today, improving his total to 10-06.

    “I caught four of the 10 bass I weighed on an XCalibur Xr50 One Knocker lipless crankbait (chrome with a blue back),” Evers said. “I was targeting isolated stumps in the middle of flat, shallow pockets – 1 1/2 to 4 feet deep. The bass were suspended and eating shad, and they wanted the bait moving fast.”

    Evers’ other pattern involved a 5-inch green-pumpkin Yum Dinger fished on a Yum Pumpkin Ed standup jighead and a Booyah Finesse Jig. He fished the Dinger around isolated rockpiles and caught two of his best bass with the bait. He used the Finesse Jig around isolated stumps.

    DeFoe caught almost all of his bass fishing shallow with a flat-sided, square-bill crankbait of his own design. He calls the bait “Butch,” and he fished it around laydowns and stumps. He caught one keeper largemouth on a spinnerbait.

    “I fished Butch in pearl white and chartreuse with a black back,” DeFoe said. “I was casting it with a Revo Premier baitcasting reel and 7-foot medium-heavy rod on 15-pound-test Trilene 100% fluorocarbon line. It dives about 2 feet and has really done well for me. It’s definitely a bait I’ll be throwing in the next round on Lake Decatur.”

    Both the semifinals and Sunday's finals will feature head-to-head competition. Top-seed Evers will face No. 4 Swindle in the semis, while No. 3 DeFoe takes on No. 2 Martens.

    Mike Iaconelli departed the competition during the afternoon for the impending birth of his child. He had not caught a keeper when he was notified that wife Becky had gone into labor.

    Here are the final numbers for the opening round:

    1. Edwin Evers -- 5, 13-01 -- 5, 10-00 -- 10, 23-01
    2. Ott DeFoe -- 4, 11-03 -- 5, 11-12 -- 9, 22-15
    3. Aaron Martens -- 4, 7-07 -- 3, 3-06 -- 6, 10-13
    4. Gerald Swindle -- 1, 3-12 -- 4, 6-10 -- 5, 10-06
    5. Skeet Reese -- 2, 5-11 -- 1, 3-07 -- 3, 9-02
    6. Matt Herren -- 1, 1-13 -- 2, 5-00 -- 3, 6-13
    7. Randy Howell -- 0, 0-00 -- 4, 6-11 -- 4, 6-11
    8. Brent Chapman -- 1, 1-09 -- 3, 4-12 -- 4, 6-05
    9. Kevin VanDam -- 2, 4-00 -- 1,2-02 -- 3, 6-02
    10. Terry Scroggins -- 1, 1-06 -- 1, 4-07 -- 2, 5-13
    11. Todd Faircloth -- 3, 4-05 -- 1, 1-04 -- 4, 5-09
    12. Mike Iaconelli -- 1, 4-00 -- 0, 0-00 -- 1, 4-00

  • Pit Chunk: Short, stout and lively

    <b><font color=maroon>Pit Chunk: Short, stout and lively</font></b>

    Want to add some life to your jigs? Try sticking a Berkley Havoc Pit Chunk on the back. With its oversized pinchers, the new Skeet Reese-designed trailer is built for action.

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

  • All-Stars: Evers catches only limit

    All-Stars: Evers catches only limit

    According to a B.A.S.S. press release sent out earlier this week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently rated the bass fishing at Illinois' Lake Shelbyville as "excellent." Judging by the performance of the 12 anglers on the first day of Toyota Trucks All-Star Week, that might've been a bit of an overstatement.

    Edwin Evers was the only competitor to bring a limit to the scale, and he leads with 13-01. Defending All-Star champion Ott DeFoe is 2nd, nearly 2 pounds back after weighing a four-fish, 11-03 sack.

    “I’m doing something that I don’t think anyone else is doing,” Evers said. “If I can catch five more keepers tomorrow that weigh 7 or 8 pounds, I’ll feel really good about my chances.”

    Nobody besides Evers and DeFoe even got close to a double-digit bag. Half the field weighed no more than a single keeper.

    The full field will be back on Shelbyville again tomorrow. From there, the four anglers with the most cumulative weight will advance to a seeded 2-day "match play" tournament at nearby Lake Decatur.

    The two winners from Saturday's head-to-head duels will compete for the victory on Sunday.

    Here are the totals for day 1:

    1. Edwin Evers: 5, 13-01
    2. Ott DeFoe: 4, 11-03
    3. Aaron Martens: 4, 7-07
    4. Skeet Reese: 2, 5-11
    5. Todd Faircloth: 3, 4-05
    6. Kevin VanDam: 2, 4-00
    7. Mike Iaconelli: 1, 4-00
    8. Gerald Swindle: 1, 3-12
    9. Matt Herren 1, 1-13
    10. Brent Chapman: 1, 1-09
    11. Terry Scroggins: 1, 1-06
    12. Randy Howell: 0, 0-00

  • New Revos arriving at stores

    New Revos arriving at stores

    Ever since Abu Garcia launched the new Revo reels at this year’s ICAST show in Orlando, Fla., anglers have been champing at the bit to get these lightweight reels on the water. Abu Garcia is now delivering Revo reels to retail outlets across the country.

    You can see them put to the test at the world’s premier bass fishing destination in the YouTube video embedded below. The Abu team partnered with Angler’s Inn at Lake El Salto, Mexico, to field-test the reels against the lake's big bucketmouths.

    “I really believe anglers will love these reels more than the Revo predecessors,” said Abu Garcia product manager Andrew Wheeler. “Abu Garcia listens to anglers and wants to give them reels they can trust. The newest Abu Garcia Revo reels push the envelope of extremely lightweight reels designed and built to perform and last.”

    The new Abu Garcia Revo baitcast reels captured the Best of ICAST in that category. Included in the family are the Premier, STX, SX, S, Winch and Inshore models.

    Here are a few features that highlight each reel offered:

    > Revo Premier – At 5.87 ounces this reel crosses into the sub-6-ounce ounce realm and has been upgraded with the same IVCB-IV brake system included in the Revo MGX.

    > Revo STX – 29 percent lighter than the previous model and now available with a full complement of gear ratios, including 6.4:1, 7.1:1 and a new super high-speed 8.0:1.

    > Revo SX – By utilizing advanced materials such as C6 carbon, the SX has dropped 25 percent of its weight, coming in at 6.66 ounces.

    > Revo S – 15 percent lighter, and the new white appearance is the ideal match for the Abu Garcia Veritas rod.

    > Revo Winch – 19% lighter and has a new upgraded Infini brake system. This reel is perfectly matched with the Abu Garcia Veritas Winch rod series.

    > Revo Inshore – Featuring an X2-Cräftic frame with increased corrosion resistance and lightweight C6 carbon sideplates, pair this reel with the inshore actions of the new Volatile rod for the ultimate inshore system.

    Watch the video and see complete specs for all new Abu Garcia reels by visiting

  • TTBC field complete

    TTBC field complete

    Gerald Swindle, Kelly Jordon, Rick Clunn and Takahiro Omori have received the four sponsors exemptions for the Toyota Texas Bass Classic, completing the 50-angler field. The tournament, which will also feature defending champion Keith Combs and 45 of the top points-earners from the 2012 tour seasons, will be held Sept. 28-30 at Lake Conroe.

    Mike Iaconelli, last year's runner-up, was originally offered one of the exemptions, but declined due to the impending birth of his fourth child. Omori will fill that slot instead.

    “We have a strong mix of former champions, fishing legends and up-and-comers,” said tournament director Lenny Francoeur. “It’s going to be a very exciting world championship. In addition, we’re providing fans with a weekend full of free family entertainment, and it’ll be a great time”

    The TTBC's tournament functions are operated by the Professional Anglers Association (PAA), with technical assistance and support from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Inland Fisheries Division. Fans can obtain free tickets online at, while supplies last. Tickets are available for Friday, Saturday and Sunday individually. Fans can also pick up TTBC tickets at any Toyota dealership or Academy Sports + Outdoors location in the greater Houston area. Walk-up tickets the day of the event will require a donation to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and all days are subject to sell out.

    The daily tickets are valid for admission into the festival grounds for angler weigh-ins and the concert on that particular day. All activities, including concerts, weigh-ins and expos, will take place at the Lone Star Convention & Expo Center’s festival grounds in Conroe. Concert headliners are Dierks Bentley, Gary Allan and Jake Owen.

    Following is a list of competing anglers.

    Defending Champion
    Keith Combs

    FLW Tour
    David Dudley
    Jacob Powroznik
    Ron Shuffield
    Jim Moynagh
    Cody Meyer
    Luke Clausen
    Bryan Thrift
    J.T. Kenney
    Matt Arey
    Dave Lefebre
    Clifford Pirch
    Wesley Strader
    Clent Davis
    Jim Tutt
    Jay Yelas

    Bassmaster Elite Series
    Ott DeFoe
    Terry Scroggins
    Todd Faircloth
    Randy Howell
    Matt Herren
    Edwin Evers
    Bill Lowen
    Aaron Martens
    Bobby Lane
    Greg Hackney
    Chris Lane
    David Walker
    Cliff Pace
    John Crews
    Brandon Card

    PAA Tournament Series
    Gary Clouse
    Steve Kennedy
    Mark Rose
    Greg Vinson
    Mike McClelland
    Gary Yamamoto
    Matt Reed
    Russ Lane
    Mark Menendez
    David Hendrick
    Keith Caka
    Guy Eaker
    Harold Allen
    Brian Snowden
    Fred Roumbanis

    Sponsor Exemptions
    Gerald Swindle
    Kelly Jordon
    Rick Clunn
    Takahiro Omori

  • Snapcast: No female disadvantage

    A guy who knows a heck of a lot about tournament bass fishing contacted me last week, wondering why there was no hoopla over Christiana Bradley's Top-10 finish at the Potomac River Northern EverStart. As you might guess by the name, Bradley is a woman.

    Here's my take on that: There's simply no competitive disadvantage for females in this sport. It's not golf or tennis, where the ability to strike an object with tremendous force counts for a great deal. Any angler of either gender with sufficient experience, using high-quality equipment, can cast far enough to succeed. The ability to summon physical strength for short bursts of action is of very little consequence.

    Success in tournament fishing is about making smart decisions and using one's allotted time wisely, and as far as I can tell, women have no less natural ability in those departments than men do. I can't speak for anybody else, but I can say that my own decision-making abilities are not on par with either the woman who gave birth to me or the one I married. Oh, I could probably out-fish them on most days, but only because (a, they had a lot less fishing experience, and/or (b, they just didn't care.

    When Janet Parker made a serious run at qualifying for the Bassmaster Elite Series via the Central Opens last year, that was a big deal. She was taking on all comers on a multiple-event circuit and if not for a bomb in the final derby, she would've achieved a significant "first." Parker or some other woman (maybe the aforementioned Ms. Bradley) may eventually clear that hurdle. If it happens, it will be covered on this site. But after that initial feat goes into the books, it'll be no major whoop the next time.

    I don't know Christiana Bradley and I couldn't pick her out of a police-style lineup, but I feel like I do know a little bit about her. She's sponsored by insurance giant Geico, and the company contracts with a media agency to produce press releases on her competitive exploits. The releases are always well-written and informative.

    She appears to be extremely serious about this pursuit and always seems to know precisely why she succeeded or failed. She should be congratulated for her fine showing at the Potomac, but not on the basis of her gender. Somehow, I don't think she'd appreciate a back-slap of that nature.

    ––John Johnson
    ––BassFan Senior Editor

    Snapcasts are brief opinion pieces produced by BassFan staff members. The views presented are the author's alone.

  • Cooler-maker is newest MLF sponsor

    Cooler-maker is newest MLF sponsor

    Major League Fishing announced today that Yeti Coolers has joined the organization's list of sponsors.

    “Yeti Coolers is a natural fit for Major League Fishing, and we welcome the sponsorship and support of this terrific company,” said league commissioner Don Rucks. “Yeti Coolers makes a product that many of our anglers and fans love, and we’re delighted to welcome the company to Major League Fishing.”

    Said Yeti president and co-founder Ryan Seiders: “In Major League Fishing, we see a fresh avenue for brand awareness and to display our high-quality products to outdoor sports fans across the nation.”

    Now entering its 2nd season, Major League Fishing is a partnership between Outdoor Channel and 24 of the world’s best anglers. The league features made-for-television bass fishing events designed to bring high-level challenges to participants and entertainment, as well as insight, to audiences.

    Major League Fishing is filming two events this year. The first, the Summit Cup, will be televised in its entirety beginning on Jan. 1, 2013, on Outdoor Channel. The Summit Cup’s Championship Round will be broadcast on NBC on Feb. 9. The league also offers an extended pay-per-view option – Extended Cast – which will be available shortly after the television broadcasts.

  • Folkestad, Lowrance, Wingate to Hall

    Folkestad, Lowrance, Wingate to Hall

    Legendary Western angler Mike Folkestad, electronics innovator Darrell Lowrance and renowned guide, educator and lodge owner Jack Wingate have been elected to the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame. The trio will be inducted during a ceremony on Feb. 24, 2013 at the Hilton Doubletree Hotel in Tulsa, Okla.

    Folkestad is one of only two anglers who've won the WON Bass U.S. Open three times (Aaron Martens is the other). He's claimed titles on all major Western circuits, holds the record for the lowest winning weight in a Bassmaster Invitational (14-10 at Florida's Harris Chain in 1992) and set a 1-day weight record at Lake Havasu in 2010 (26.63). He's made one appearance each in the Bassmaster Classic and Forrest Wood Cup.

    Lowrance, along with his father, Carl, and brother, Arlen, set out to design a portable electronic device that would help fishermen and boaters determine depth of the bottom and other underwater objects. The famous ‘Little Green Box’ was introduced in 1959, and it revolutionized bass fishing. As president and CEO of the Lowrance company, he was responsible for many breakthroughs in marine electronics, including the first sonars capable of high-speed performance (1965), the first graph recorder (1974), the first integrated sonar/GPS unit (1995) and many others. During 1983-84, he served as president of the American Fishing Tackle Manufacturer’s Association (AFTMA), and was also a director of the National Association of Marine Products and Services in 1989. He retired in 2007 following the company’s acquisition by Navico.

    Wingate, who died earlier this year, supplied the names of many bass anglers who fished Ray Scott’s first tournament in 1967. He competed in several of Scott’s early events and soon decided that he could make a living for himself and his family by guiding and teaching fishing. As the long-time owner of Wingate’s Lunker Lodge, as well as a popular fishing guide on Lake Seminole, he helped promote both tournament and recreational bass fishing in its formative years. For more than 33 years he operated a summer camp on Seminole for youngsters, where he taught them the basics of fishing and outdoor appreciation.

    “Expectations are high for the Tulsa Classic, and we’ll be going all out this year to make the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame induction dinner one of the highlight events of the weekend,” said BFHOF president Sammy Lee. “Along with our program to recognize the new inductees, we’ll again bring back our exceptional silent auction featuring bucket-list fishing trips, premium rods and reels, hunting gear and special fishing celebrity memorabilia.”

  • Sonar: The big jump

    Sonar: The big jump

    Miles Burghoff has long aspired to become a professional bass fisherman, and now that college is out of the way, he's ready to take a shot at fulfilling that goal. He's filled with optimism, but he's not wearing rose-colored glasses – he's fully aware that plenty of uncertainly lies ahead.

    To read his latest Sonar Sound-Off column, click here.

  • Sparse field expected at Wheeler

    The Wheeler Lake FLW Tour Open, set to get under way Thursday out of Decatur, Ala., will fall well short of a full field. In fact, it’s likely less than 100 boats will blast off in the morning.

    Early indications are that the field will be in the high 80s, but the final count won’t be known for sure until official registration takes place later this afternoon. Since FLW went to the Opens format at the start of 2011, the smallest field for an Open was 135 boats at Lake Champlain last year.

    Pros whom BassFan contacted during the practice period remarked that mid-September isn’t typically a great time for a tournament in the South. Others opted to skip it to prepare for upcoming tournaments or because of other schedule conflicts.

  • Docks were 'the deal' at Ozarks EverStart

    Docks were 'the deal' at Ozarks EverStart

    Missouri's Dennis Berhorst, a six-time winner at the BFL level, captured his first triple-A victory last week at the Lake of the Ozarks Central EverStart. He focused on shallow docks in a couple of the major creeks, where bass had congregated to gorge on the migrating shad and were all feasting on the resident bluegill.

    For full details of his winning pattern, click here.

  • BFL schedule out

    BFL schedule out

    FLW has announced the 2013 Bass Fishing League (BFL) schedule, which includes 120 regular-season tournaments spread across 24 divisions, six regional competitions, a wild card and the prestigious BFL All-American.

    Each division features four 1-day qualifying tournaments that offer top boater awards of up to $6,000, as well as a $2,000 bonus for those who are Ranger Cup-qualified, and top co-angler awards of up to $3,000. Each division also offers a two-day Super Tournament as the final qualifier, offering top boater awards of up to $9,000, along with a $2,000 Ranger Cup bonus, and top co-angler awards of up to $4,500.

    Anglers finishing the season in the top 40 in each division advance to one of six no-entry-fee regional championships. The top six boaters and six co-anglers from each regional advance to the All-American for the chance to win top awards of up to $120,000, including contingency awards. Anglers who enter all five tournaments in a division but do not qualify for a regional championship may fish the Wild Card Regional for a second chance to qualify for the All-American. The winning boater and co-angler at the All-American advance to the Forrest Wood Cup.

    The Angler of the Year (AOY) in each division will receive a $1,000 award, and the Co-Angler of the Year in each division will receive $500.

    Entry fees are $200 per qualifier for boaters and $100 per qualifier for co-anglers. Super Tournament entry fees are $300 per event for boaters and $150 per event for co-anglers.

    The complete 2013 BFL schedule can be found by clicking here.

  • R2S grabs Biffle

    R2S grabs Biffle

    California-based bait-maker River2Sea announced today that it's inked veteran Oklahoma angler Tommy Biffle to its pro staff.

    "It's an honor to have a legend like Tommy (Biffle) join the River2Sea pro staff," said CEO K.K. Chan. "We have worked hard to build a strong team that to this point included some of the top young guns in the business, and he brings true legendary status with him. We look forward to working with him and developing lures from his years of experience."

    A Tommy Biffle signature series will be added to the River2Sea lineup in the near future.

  • Monroe signs with Smart Battery

    Monroe signs with Smart Battery

    Ish Monroe told BassFan today that he's signed a sponsorship agreement with lithium ion battery manufacturer Smart Battery. The deal runs through the remainder of 2012 and throughout 2013.

    "I bought my first set before the FLW at Okeechobee (last February), and after fishing with them for a year, I know I never want to fish with anything else again," he said. "People might think they're a little pricey, but they're the last batteries you're ever going to buy and you won't have any issues. I fish more than anybody and I had no problems all year long."

    He said the company (its website URL is is offering an "Ish Monroe Package Discount" to consumers who purchase the same four-battery setup that the runs.

  • Some skinny on Shelbyville

    Some skinny on Shelbyville

    Even though Illinois' Lake Shelbyville is a heavily fished tournament lake, it hasn't had a tour-level event on it maybe ever. That means most folks, aside from local and some regional anglers, don't know much about it. Here's what the web-based patterning tool tells us about the lake in advance of Thursday's kickoff of Toyota Trucks All-Star Week.

    First of all, it's what BassGold calls a "lowland reservoir." That is one key piece of information because BassGold's data has proven that waters of the same type – even many states apart – fish very similarly. So even if that's all you had to go on, you could make some conclusions
    about how to fish it this time of year.

    A BassGold Pattern Report for summer and early fall shows on the Macro Factors (generally where on a lake) bar graph a roughly even split between "shoreline" and "main lake offshore structure." But when you surf the winning and placing (2nd through 5th) pattern details in BassGold, you see that deeper patterns have been winning more of late. Either way, it looks like whatever the All-Stars' style, they can find fish with it on this lake.

    When it comes to Habitat Factors, on Shelbyville you usually want wood, as in stumps, laydowns and brushpiles. Dropoffs and ledges are the second-most cited structure, so it's likely that if you find both together, it's gold.

    For baits, a look at the historical data in BassGold indicates that you are 300 percent to 500 percent more likely to win on Shelbyville fishing a jig, even deep. This is true recently as well as historically. But bait choices are made with an eye to current conditions, and if the lake
    is in a solid fall pattern, shad-mimicking baits might be the deal.

    For more information on BassGold, head on over to

  • Clausen junking it up at Wheeler

    A September tournament in the South usually doesn't lend itself to big stringers of bass and Wheeler Lake is no different this week. Luke Clausen says it's been a struggle so far as he prepares for the FLW Tour Open, but the soaking rain that came through on Monday and are expected to continue through today will present more challenges.

    To read his day-2 practice report, click here to Go On Tour With BassFan Big Sticks.

  • BRP will stop building boats

    BRP will stop building boats

    Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) announced Friday it will exit the sport boat business in the coming months.

    The Quebec-based parent company of Evinrude and Sea-Doo cited the continuing decline in global sales across the marine industry, especially in the sport boat segment, as the main reason.

    "This is a difficult but necessary decision for BRP," said José Boisjoli, president and CEO of BRP. "We worked hard to grow our sport boat business through a serious sales decline that began in 2007. But now, we must focus our research and development resources and capital investments in areas of our business that offer greater growth potential."

    BRP entered the boat manufacturing business in 1994 and purchased the assets of Celebrity Boats in 1995, at which time it moved its facility to Benton, Ill.

    Boisjoli said BRP attempted to sell off its sport boat business, but couldn’t find a buyer.

    "Consequently, we decided not to resume production of the upcoming model year due to seasonal production planning requirements," he added.

    All impacted employees will receive a transition package and BRP will continue to provide parts and honor warranties for its customers.

  • HT Enterprises founder, wife die in crash

    According to a report in the Fond du Lac (Wis.) Reporter, HT Enterprises founder and owner Paul Grahl and his wife Joanna died last Thursday when their vehicle was struck head on by a driver who police say had been drinking prior to the accident.

    Grahl was 73. Joanna Grahl was 59. The couple’s 13-year-old daughter, Esther Grahl, suffered serious injuries in the crash and was taken to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, the report said.

    According to the report, the accident occurred in the town of Auburn, Wis. The driver of the other vehicle, a 24-year-old male, crossed the center line and collided with the Grahl vehicle, according to the report. The other driver was treated for his injuries and is being held on charges of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and causing injury by intoxicated use.

    HT Enterprises, based in Campbellsport, Wis., is a leader in the ice fishing tackle business and had branched out on the bass side with a line of Jimmy Houston signature series rods and reels.

    To read more about the crash, click here.

    Outdoors writer Gord Pyzer penned a tribute piece to Grahl for the World Fishing Network's website. To read it, click here.

  • Rod Sox adds four

    Rod Sox adds four

    The Original Rod Sox has signed sponsorship deals with Bassmaster Elite Series anglers Todd Faircloth, Jeff Kriet and Fred Roumbanis along with television host Mark Zona.

    Rod Sox manufactures polyethylene rod protection sleeves that help reduce hook snags and guide snags.

    “Simply put, the Rod Sox are the best available rod protectors on the market,” said Roumbanis. “I want my rods protected but I also want easy storage and a product with a hook snag solution. Rod Sox provides it all with the tightest weave on the market.”

  • Yelas unsure so far

    It's been a solid 10 years since Jay Yelas last fished Wheeler Lake. He spent the first day of practice for the FLW Tour Open "trying to figure out what's going on," and expects the tournament to play out as September events tend to – tough. To read his complete day-1 practice report, click here to Go On Tour With BassFan Big Sticks.

  • Berhorst prevails at Ozarks

    Berhorst prevails at Ozarks

    Dennis Berhorst, a six-time winner at the BFL level, captured his first EverStart victory today as he caught a 14-09 stringer to close out the win in the Central Division event at Lake of the Ozarks with a 3-day total of 47-08. His winning margin over runner-up Tim Gaskill was a little more than 2 pounds.

    “I wasn’t even sure that I would be able to catch five each day,” he said. “You’d have a few good days of practice, and then you’d have a real bad day. I had a couple of bad days even in the BFL last weekend. I just kept my head up and fished a lot of areas.

    "I concentrated on 10 feet of water or less, and I actually caught a lot of my fish suspended right at that 10-foot depth. I really just concentrated on fishing the way that I like to fish.”

    He caught all of his fish flipping docks with a Zoom Brush Hog. Full details of his winning pattern will be published soon.

    Here's a look at how the Top 10 finished up:

    1. Dennis Berhorst: 47-08
    2. Tim Gaskill: 45-07
    3. Jeremy Lawyer: 44-09
    4. Dan Morehead: 44-00
    5. Robbie Dodson: 43-05
    6. Andre Dickneite: 40-08
    7. Guido Hibdon: 36-13
    8. Ray Meredith: 36-11
    9. Mark Wiese: 36-02
    10. Tom Silber: 34-15

  • Biffle wins at Arkansas

    Biffle wins at Arkansas

    The Arkansas River has been extremely kind to Tommy Biffle in September.

    Almost a year to the day after winning a Bassmaster Central Open at that venue, the veteran Oklahoman closed out a victory at the final PAA Tournament Series event of the season. He weighed a 15.96-pound sack today to boost his total for the derby to 46.45, outdistancing runner-up Mark Tyler by more than 7 1/2 pounds.

    Meanwhile, Phoenix Boats founder Gary Clouse wrapped up the circuit's Angler of the Year (AOY) title and heads the list of 15 anglers who qualified for the Toyota Texas Bass Classic via the series.

    Biffle went through about a dozen keepers and his sack was topped by a 4 1/2-pounder.

    "They bit pretty early, but the bad thing was the first two bites I had were a (4-pounder) and a 3, and I lost both of them," he said. "I was thinking, 'This ain't good,' but then I went to catching them and I didn't miss anymore."

    He locked up to pool 17 from Muskogee, Okla. He started fishing at about 9 o'clock had all of his weight by 11:30, and then fished around the lock for awhile while waiting for a barge to get through.

    He enticed his fish by flipping his own Gene Larew Biffle Bug. Details of his winning pattern will be published soon.

    Here are the totals for the final Top 10:

    1. Tommy Biffle: 46.46
    2. Mark Tyler: 38.75
    3. Mark Rose: 38.64
    4. Steve Kennedy: 36.61
    5. Jason Christie: 35.19
    6. Greg Vinson: 32.67
    7. Chris Jones: 31.96
    8. Harold Allen: 30.75
    9. David Hendrick: 26.24
    10. Mike McClelland: 25.68

    Below is a list of the Top 15 finishers in the AOY race, along with their point totals:

    1. Gary Clouse: 486.52
    2. Steve Kennedy: 465.70
    3. Mark Rose: 461.54
    4. Greg Vinson: 461.31
    5. Mike McClelland: 460.55
    6. Gary Yamamoto: 450.78
    7. John Crews: 446.27
    8. Matt Reed: 443.80
    9. Russ Lane: 440.19
    10. Bobby Lane: 414.56
    11. Mark Menendez: 413.30
    12. David Hendrick: 407.80
    13. Keith Caka: 399.46
    14. Guy Eaker: 393.93
    15. Harold Allen: 393.26

  • Berhorst is new Ozarks EverStart leader

    Berhorst is new Ozarks EverStart leader

    Dennis Berhorst moved from 2nd place to the top of the leaderboard today at the Lake of the Ozarks Central EverStart as he caught a 16-02 stringer to give him a 2-day total of 32-15.

    Fellow Missourian Jeremy Lawyer caught the day's best bag (18-01) to move into the No. 2 position, just 1 ounce back. Day-1 leader Robbie Dodson weighed just 11-05 – nearly 8 pounds less than the previous day – and fell to 3rd.

    Here are the totals for the 10 anglers who'll return to the water tomorrow.

    1. Dennis Berhorst: 32-15
    2. Jeremy Lawyer: 32-14
    3. Robbie Dodson: 30-06
    4. Tim Gaskill: 29-15
    5. Dan Morehead: 29-08
    6. Guido Hibdon: 29-04
    7. Ray Meredith: 27-06
    8. (tie) Andre Dickneite: 27-05
    8. (tie) Tom Silber: 27-05
    10. Mark Wiese: 27-02

  • Biffle moves to top at PAA event

    Biffle moves to top at PAA event

    Tommy Biffle boxed a tournament-best 16.37-pound stringer on rainy day 2 to take over the lead at the Arkansas River PAA Tournament Series out of Muskogee, Okla. with a 30.49 total. He'll take a lead of more than 4 1/2-pounds over 2nd-place Mark Rose into the final day.

    "I'm catching them flipping and there's some good-quality fish where I'm at," he said. "I lost a 5-pounder yesterday or I would've had a better day.

    "I've got two different things I can do tomorrow – I can take an aluminum boat and go into the Grand (River), or I can go back to where I've been fishing. Today they didn't bite until this afternoon and that kind of worried me, but I think I can catch them either way."

    Day-1 leader Guy Eaker brought just three fish to the scale for 6 pounds and fell to 15th place.

    Here are the totals for the Top 10:

    1. Tommy Biffle: 30.49
    2. Mark Rose: 26.13
    3. Mark Tyler: 26.11
    4. Steve Kennedy: 25.14
    5. Chris Jones: 23.55
    6. Mike McClelland: 23.17
    7. Harold Allen: 22.45
    8. Jason Christie: 22.26
    9. Greg Vinson: 21.65
    10. David Hendrick: 20.89

  • Aetos: Best of both worlds

    <b><font color=maroon>Aetos: Best of both worlds</font></b>

    Fenwick's Aetos rods are packed with all the traditional features that have made the company's name legendary, but they also have a high-tech side that puts them squarely on the cutting edge. And with 26 actions, there are certainly a lot of versions to choose from.

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

  • U.S. Open is a 'killer' event

    Longtime Western writer George Kramer penned a tongue-in-cheek piece about his participation in this week's U.S. Open at Lake Mead. In case anyone should take it too literally, we can pretty much guarantee that it won't be the last thing he ever writes.

    To read it, click here.

  • Dodson out front at Ozarks

    Dodson out front at Ozarks

    Robbie Dodson not only finds himself on a familiar lake this week, but he's also in a familiar spot on the leaderboard after day 1 of the Lake of the Ozarks Central EverStart.

    The Harrison, Ark., native who already has an EverStart win to his credit this year (Table Rock Lake) boxed a 19-01 limit today and enjoys a 2-plus pound lead over Dennis Berhorst, who caught 16-13. Ralph Laster, Jr. caught 16-03 and sits in 3rd. The rest of the Top 10 is separated by just 1-05. Cloudy conditions were prevalent throughout the day and are expected to last through tomorrow when the field cuts down to the Top 10 before Saturday's final round.

    Here's a look at the Top 10 after day 1:

    1. Robbie Dodson: 19-01
    2. Dennis Berhorst: 16-13
    3. Ralph Laster, Jr.: 16-03
    4. Mark Wiese: 16-01
    5. Tom Silber: 15-12
    6. Jim Young: 15-05
    7 (tie). Guido Hibdon: 14-13
    7 (tie). Jeremy Lawyer: 14-13
    7 (tie). Ray Meredith: 14-13
    10. Sam Rosefsky: 14-12

  • Time running short to win Klein trip

    Time running short to win Klein trip

    Fans have only until the end of this month to enter the Repel "Get Out There" Sweepstakes for a chance to win $5,000 and a fishing trip with Gary Klein. Entrants are asked to go to the company's Facebook page 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.

  • Eaker leads PAA at Arkansas River

    Eaker leads PAA at Arkansas River

    With a 14.39-pound bag topped by a 4 1/2-pound fish, 72-year-old Guy Eaker bolted to the day 1 lead at the Arkansas River PAA Tournament Series. He had a lead of about a quarter-pound over 2nd-place Tommy Biffle, who weighed 14.12.

    "I actually thought I had a better practice than what I did today," he said. "I think the storm coming in might've changed things because I'd been seeing big balls of baitfish where I've been catching these fish, and I didn't see those today. I still caught them, but I thought it was a little tougher than it had been in practice.

    "I'm not catching them deep, I'll say that. I'm fishing points and logs and stumps and things like that, throwing stuff I like to fish. I've got five or six places I can go and hopefully they'll be there again tomorrow."

    Here's a look at the Top 10 with 2 days left to fish:

    1. Guy Eaker: 14.39
    2. Tommy Biffle: 14.12
    3. Chris Jones: 12.73
    4. Mark Rose: 12.37
    5. Chad Morgenthaler: 12.25
    6. Mark Tyler: 12.22
    7. Billy McCaghren: 11.87
    8. Harold Allen: 11.86
    9. Jason Christie: 11.31
    10. Greg Vinson: 11.22

    Morgenthaler weighed only four fish, but one was a 5-pounder. Dale Hightower had his day-1 weight disqualified for inadvertently fishing in an off-limits area (he weighed an 8.27 bag and would've been in 30th place in the 42-angler field).

  • B.A.S.S. taking marshal registration

    B.A.S.S. taking marshal registration

    B.A.S.S. announced today that it's begun the process of registering marshals for the 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series

    “The Bassmaster marshal program’s popularity has grown immensely since its inception,” said B.A.S.S. tournament director Trip Weldon. “Imagine getting 8 hours of one-on-one, on-the-water classroom instruction from the best bass anglers in the world. Bassmaster Elite Series pros have embraced the program, and they are willing to share a wealth of information that is sure to help their marshals become better anglers once they return home.”

    Marshal registration for B.A.S.S Federation Nation and Life members opens Sept. 25 at 9 a.m. CST for online applications and Sept. 27 at 9 a.m. CST for phone applications. All B.A.S.S. members can register online Oct. 2 beginning at 9 a.m. CST and by phone Oct. 4 at 9 a.m. CST.

    According to Weldon, scoring a marshal slot can be a challenge as B.A.S.S. members play a beat-the-clock game to submit their entries to serve as marshals for their favorite tournament locations.

    “We have many serious and dedicated fans, and some tournaments have all marshal spots filled within 15 minutes of registration opening,” Weldon said.

    Before each event, participating marshals attend a registration and briefing by B.A.S.S. officials, who provide them with copies of Bassmaster tournament rules. The marshals’ familiarity with the rules helps ensure the integrity of the highest level of professional fishing. Marshals, who must be at least 16 years old to participate, are randomly paired with Elite Series pros.

    Marshals will also have the opportunity while on the water to operate BASSTrakk, a cell-phone-based scoring technology, which broadcasts data to the website, allowing fans to follow up-to-the-minute tournament action.

    All Elite Series marshals participate on the first 2 days of Elite Series competition, and some are selected to observe the pros on days 3 or 4.

    B.A.S.S. members who are interested in becoming marshals can register at or by calling (877) 227-7872. The enrollment fee is $125, which includes marshal shirt and hat.

    Here's a look at the schedule:

    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

  • TBF Championship headed for Grand

    TBF Championship headed for Grand

    The Bass Federation (TBF) announced today that Oklahoma's Grand Lake will be the site of the 2013 TBF Federation National Championship. The event will be held April 8-13 and will launch out of the new Wolf Creek Park in Grove, Okla.

    Grand will also be the site of next year's Bassmaster Classic.

    “We are excited to be hosting another National Championship in Grove at our new Wolf Creek Park Launch Facility,” said Bruce Johnson, city manager of Grove. “This is another great tournament that will continue to enhance our region as a top fishing destination.”

    The TBF Championship will be held in conjunction with the FLW Tour event at Beaver Lake, located just across the state line in Arkansas.

    “We’re excited to return to Grand Lake, as it holds a special place in the Federation’s history,” TBF national president Robert Cartlidge said. “Grand Lake was the site of the first national presidents meetings, and host to the last six-man team national championship in 1980. The Federation hasn’t been back to the fabled fishery for a national championship since that event 33 years ago.”

    That 1980 event was won by Ken Cook, then a young Oklahoma Fisheries biologist. Cook went on to compile a distinguished pro career that included a Classic victory.

    "Thirty-three years is a long time not to visit such a great fishery, but to be honest we had outgrown the facilities,” Cartlidge said. “Until recently, when the City of Grove had the vision to build a new state of the art facility at Wolf Creek Park. This is definitely a case of 'build it and they will come.' I applaud the city and lake association leaders for their vision. We are thrilled to be on our way to Grand Lake in April.”

  • Shimano, Jackall enter partnership

    Shimano, Jackall enter partnership

    Beginning in January, Shimano will take on sales, marketing and distribution responsibilities in the U.S. and Canada for Jackall Lures, the companies announced today.

    Jackall’s parent company already shares a partnership with Shimano Inc. on the development of bass fishing rods for the Japan domestic market.

    “We look forward to bringing the strengths of Team Shimano to help Jackall become the leading player in the premium bass lure market,” said Dave Pfeiffer, president of Shimano American Corporation.

    Formed in 1999, Jackall products have been available in North America since 2003, but this new partnership will allow for more effective distribution.

    “While this new agreement will be a solid benefit for both our companies, it will be bass anglers throughout North America who will benefit the most from this relationship,” said Jackall president Toshiro Ono. “Tackle dealers will become more aware of our lures, and will be able to stock the right models, sizes and colors most effective for the bass fishing waters in their areas.”

    Jackall’s North American operations will continue to be based in Los Alamitos, Calif., under the direction of Curt Arakawa, Jackall’s vice president of sales, marketing and operations. Shimano’s Ted Sakai will handle product management responsibilities for Jackall.

    Warehousing and shipping logistics will be handled through Shimano’s distribution centers in Irvine, Calif., and Ladsen, S.C.

  • Halo Fishing picks up Davis

    Halo Fishing picks up Davis

    Reigning FLW Tour Rookie of the Year Clent Davis has signed on as a member of Halo Fishing’s pro staff. Coming off a strong 2012 season in which he cashed four checks in six events and finished 12th at the Forrest Wood Cup, the Alabama native is excited about the switch to Halo rods and reels.

    "I've been keeping an eye on Halo Fishing for a while,” Davis said. “Their rods are incredible for any price, but in that $150 price range, nothing touches the Halo rods. The first thing I noticed about the rods is that they have excellent balance, are lightweight and are very sensitive. What surprised me most were the reels. These reels are light, cast great and have flawless drag systems. I can't wait for the season to get started so I can put these rods and reels to work."

    He joins fellow FLW Tour pros Randall Tharp, J.T. Kenney, Koby Krieger and Brandon McMillan on the Florida-based company’s pro staff.

    "Adding Clent Davis to our pro staff was an easy choice for us,” said Halo Fishing co-owner Alex Pappas. “He's not only an excellent angler, he's a great speaker and knows his stuff when it comes to equipment. We know he'll represent our product well and he will be an instrumental part of our future designs. Clent's career got off to a great start in 2012 and we know his best years are still ahead of him. We are excited to be a part of that."

  • Meyer joins Typhoon staff

    Meyer joins Typhoon staff

    California FLW Tour angler Cody Meyer is the latest addition to the Typhoon Polarized Optics pro staff.

    What I really like about Typhoon is they have a great product and they are more than reasonable on the price," said Meyer, who has three finishes of 7th or better and an 11th in the last four Forrest Wood Cups. "In fact, their quality ranks up there with polarized sunglasses that are four times the price of the Typhoons.

    "As professional anglers we agree to get up on the stage and talk about all of our great sponsors. It's not that we don't believe in the products we use – we do. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford a $70,000 boat, a $20,000 motor or a several-hundred-dollar pair of sunglasses. I really feel good that I can promote a product that almost anyone can afford."

  • Bonus Bucks team tournament set

    Bonus Bucks team tournament set

    Toyota announced that it will host a no-entry-fee team tournament Sunday, Oct. 14 at Lake Norman near Charlotte, N.C. The 1-day tournament was created in an effort to show appreciation for anglers who have purchased a Toyota truck and registered for the Toyota Trucks Bonus Bucks program.

    “The support we’ve received from anglers who have purchased our trucks has both humbled and excited us," said Toyota engagement marketing manager Jim Baudino. "This no-entry-fee event is designed to offer our sincere appreciation for the hundreds of anglers who have supported our brand and signed-up for Bonus Bucks. We’re hoping to see several of them at Lake Norman."

    All registered Bonus Bucks participants are invited, and only one of the team members must be registered in the Bonus Bucks program to be eligible to compete in the tournament, which will be held out of Queen’s Landing. Tournament officials from B.A.S.S. will be on site to help orchestrate the event.

    The Top 30 teams are guaranteed a paycheck. The first 100 teams to sign up will receive a gift pack including a custom-made “Tundra Fishing Team” rod from Quantum, as well as a tackle pack and clothing from Carhartt.

    Pre-registration by Oct. 6 is required. B.A.S.S. tournament staff will be on site on the afternoon of Oct. 13 for angler check-in, followed by a series of “Tundra tailgate seminars” conducted by Elite Series anglers Kevin VanDam, Terry Scroggins, Mike Iaconelli, Gerald Swindle, Britt Myers, Marty Robinson and Casey Ashley. The first 50 teams to sign up will enjoy a free dinner cruise with the Elite anglers Saturday evening; however, the pros will not be eligible to fish the tournament.

    All participating teams will be treated to a complimentary barbecue at Queen’s Landing immediately following the weigh-in on Sunday.

    To register for the tournament, visit or call (918) 742-6424.

    Signing up for Bonus Bucks is simple. Own or lease a 2008 or newer Toyota Tundra, Sequoia, 4Runner, FJ Cruiser or Tacoma and register at the Web address or phone number above (callers should ask for Kendell). Then be the highest-finishing eligible participant in your FLW or B.A.S.S. affiliated tournament, and you win the Bonus Bucks.

  • Swindle, Martens, Ike, Reese voted in

    Swindle, Martens, Ike, Reese voted in

    B.A.S.S. announced today that Gerald Swindle, Aaron Martens, Mike Iaconelli and Skeet Reese have won the fan balloting for the four at-large spots for Toyota Trucks All-Star Week, which kicks off next week at Lake Shelbyville in Illinois. The quartet of former Anglers of the Year will join the Top 8 from the 2012 AOY race: Brent Chapman, defending All-Star champion Ott DeFoe (pictured), Terry Scroggins, Todd Faircloth, Randy Howell, Matt Herren, Kevin VanDam and Edwin Evers.

    In the first stage of the event, Sept. 20-21, all 12 anglers will compete on Lake Shelbyville for 2 days. The Top 4 will advance to the first championship round on Sept. 22 on Lake Decatur, where the No. 1 seed will face off against No. 4, and No. 2 will be paired against No. 3 in a modified match-fishing format.

    On Sept. 23, weights will be reset to zero for the final competition round – also on Lake Decatur – which will feature the two advancing seeds, one of whom will be crowned the 2012 Toyota Trucks All-Star champion.

    Reese said he would've preferred to qualify for the event via the points race, but appreciates his fans choosing him for the competition.

    “I came close, but not close enough,” said Reese, who finished the year 11th in points. “I’m very grateful and thankful to have the fan base out there that wants me to participate. I’m glad to be in.”

    Said Swindle: “It’s very humbling that the fans of bass fishing think enough of me to vote me in. You put all this time and effort into your career, and people appreciate that. It makes me step back in awe about the whole deal. The fans said I’m going, so I’m going. If I do leave there with a trophy, I owe it to the fans, and I’m not going to forget that.”

  • TTBC field taking shape

    TTBC field taking shape

    The Toyota Texas Bass Classic is fast approaching and the field has started to take shape over the past several weeks with the completion of the FLW Tour and Bassmaster Elite Series schedules.

    The Top 15 finishers in each tour’s respective Angler of the Year (AOY) standings earned invitations and the balance of the field for the Sept. 28-30 event at Lake Conroe will be comprised of last year’s winner, Keith Combs, four sponsor exemptions and the Top 15 finishers in this year’s PAA Tournament Series AOY standings. The final PAA tournament is slated to get underway Thursday at the Arkansas River in Muskogee, Okla.

    However, according to the list of participants published by the PAA, some prominent Elite Series pros will miss this year’s event.

    Reigning Elite Series AOY Brent Chapman and 7-time AOY Kevin VanDam confirmed for BassFan today they have prior sponsor commitments and won't be fishing. Skeet Reese, the 2007 AOY, also won’t compete. The trio has accounted for the last six Elite Series AOY titles.

    Since Chapman, VanDam and Reese declined invites, additional invitations were extended to Dean Rojas, Cliff Pace and John Crews, Jr. as they were the next eligible anglers in the AOY points. Nate Wellman finished ahead of Pace and Crews in the AOY standings, but he is barred from participating as he continues to serve a 1-year suspension from PAA events.

    Below is a list of confirmed participants:

    Elite Series qualifiers

    > Ott DeFoe
    > Terry Scroggins
    > Todd Faircloth
    > Randy Howell
    > Matt Herren
    > Edwin Evers
    > Bill Lowen
    > Aaron Martens
    > Bobby Lane
    > Greg Hackney
    > Chris Lane
    > David Walker
    > Dean Rojas
    > Cliff Pace
    > John Crews, Jr.

    FLW Tour qualifiers

    > David Dudley
    > Jacob Powroznik
    > Ron Shuffield
    > Jim Moynagh
    > Cody Meyer
    > Luke Clausen
    > Bryan Thrift
    > J.T. Kenney
    > Matt Arey
    > Andy Morgan
    > Dave Lefebre
    > Clifford Pirch
    > Wesley Strader
    > Clent Davis
    > Jim Tutt

    2011 Champion

    > Keith Combs

  • McKinnis: Big changes in store by 2014

    McKinnis: Big changes in store by 2014

    B.A.S.S. co-owner Jerry McKinnis recently conducted a Q&A interview with Although he provided no specifics, he hinted that big changes are in store for the Bassmaster Elite Series and Bassmaster Opens by 2014.

    To read the piece, click here.

  • McMillan to fish Tour

    McMillan to fish Tour

    Florida's Brandon McMillan, winner of the 2011 Lake Okeechobee FLW Tour Open, will become a full-time Tour pro for the 2013 season. The 29-year-old will compete in all six Majors next year.

    "It's just time," he said. "I'd made my mind up earlier in the year that I was going to do it whether I had to quit my job (as a UPS driver) or not, and luckily I don't have to do that. I'll be able to get the time off I need to travel and do all that stuff.

    "I'm not getting any younger and it seems like it's getting harder and harder (to launch a pro career), so I might as well get in while I can."

    It's been a trying year for his family, as his father Jimmy (winner of the 2009 Okeechobee Eastern FLW Series) was killed on New Year's Day during a holdup at his grocery store in Belle Glade. Just a few weeks after that, Brandon put up a strong defense of his Okeechobee Tour Open crown with a 5th-place showing, then went on to finish 2nd in the Southeastern EverStart points race after winning the event at Lake Seminole.

    The 2013 Tour will kick off at Okeechobee in early February.

    "It really works out pretty good. Before the schedule came out (last month) I'd planned on fishing the six Majors and the one Open on Okeechobee, and now I've got an extra week to play around with. Maybe I'll take my wife on vacation."

  • N.C. college to host Eaker seminar

    N.C. college to host Eaker seminar

    The Gardner-Webb University Fishing Club will host "Stories and Fish Tales" with Bass Fishing Hall-of-Famer Guy Eaker on Oct. 11 at the Boiling Springs, N.C. campus. The event is a fund-raiser in the club's quest to purchase a bass boat.

    The event, presented by Abu Garcia and Berkley, is free and open to the public. Numerous prizes will be distributed via raffle and dinner will be provided courtesy of Bojangles. The event is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. in Stewart Hall, which is located in the new Tucker Student Center.

    Eaker will share stories from his long professional career, from fishing in foreign countries such as Cuba and Mexico and from sharing a day on the lake with former U.S. presidents. He'll also provide fishing tips for all levels of anglers.

    Proceeds from the sale of raffle tickets will go toward purchase of a boat. Tickets will be available for $5 each, five for $20 or 15 for $50 and prizes include an Abu Garcia Revo MGX reel, Minn Koto Traxxis 45 trolling motor, two guided fishing trips, a custom Gardner-Webb Fishing Club jersey and a Wright & McGill Rick Clunn Signature Series rod.

    For more information, call Jeremy Fern at (704) 406-3988, or email To visit the club's website, click here.

  • Muscle up with new Calcutta 200D

    Muscle up with new Calcutta 200D

    A round baitcaster that fishes and feels like a low-profile reel? Yup, it exists. Thanks to Shimano, the new Calcutta 200D offers anglers a combination of power and comfort in a sleek and trim package able to take on both freshwater and saltwater finned creatures.

    To read the newest BassFan Product Review, click here.

  • New GLX crankbait rod: Ultra sensitive, powerful

    New GLX crankbait rod: Ultra sensitive, powerful

    There is no shortage of great features in G. Loomis’ new series of GLX crankbait rods – they’re feather-light, perfectly balanced and incredibly comfortable, allowing anglers to get their cranking fix all day long. Who said the best couldn't get better?

    To read the newest BassFan Product Review, click here.

  • Christie wins another Open

    Christie wins another Open

    FLW Tour pro Jason Christie won his second Bassmaster Open of 2012 on Saturday, catching a 15-15 sack to top the field in a Central event at Fort Gibson Lake in his home state of Oklahoma. He won a Northern Open at the Detroit River earlier this summer to gain a berth in the 2013 Classic, but no Classic slot will accompany this win as he did not compete in all three events on the Central circuit.

    His 40-15 total for 3 days was slightly less than 2 pounds better than runner-up Kevin Short. None of his fish came from water that was more than 2 feet deep.

    “I knew a lot of guys would be looking deeper, but deep-water bass just aren’t as reliable for me," he said. "You catch ‘em today, and they’re gone tomorrow.

    “I’m an old-school bass fisherman. I don’t carry a lot of different baits in my boat. This week I used three baits to catch all my bass: an old Rebel Wee-R crankbait, a Heddon One Knocker Spook and a Yum Wooly Bug.”

    Full details of his winning pattern will be published soon.

    Here are the final totals for the Top 12 finishers:

    1. Jason Christie: 40-15
    2. Kevin Short: 39-00
    3. Seth Feider: 38-12
    4. Tommy Biffle: 35-05
    5. Brian Clark: 34-11
    6. Scott Dean: 33-03
    7. Wayne Diffee: 32-15
    8. Nathan Kawlewski: 29-05
    9. Kelly Power: 29-03
    10. Derek Remitz: 26-08
    11. James Elam: 25-08
    12. Greg Ryan: 24-12

  • Hutchins goes wire-to-wire at Potomac

    Hutchins goes wire-to-wire at Potomac

    John Hutchins caught an 11-03 sack under rainy, windy conditions Saturday to complete a wire-to-wire win at the Potomac River Northern EverStart with a 3-day total of 46-12.

    “I have 7 years of tournament fishing experience,” he said. “This is definitely the biggest event that I have ever fished. I really had to stay focused out there."

    Hutchins, who tied for first in a BFL at the Potomac earlier this year, concentrated on hard cover on the final day, throwing plum apple-colored Yamamoto Senko on a shaky-head. Full details of his winning pattern will be published soon.

    Below are the final numbers for the Top 10:

    1. John Hutchins: 46-12
    2. Cory Johnston: 44-11
    3. Walter Snider: 44-03
    4. Jimmy Kennedy: 39-11
    5. Micah Frazier: 37-09
    6. Matt Greenblatt: 37-06
    7. William Shelton III: 36-04
    8. Christiana Bradley: 35-10
    9. Chris Dillow: 34-14
    10. William Kramer: 32-07

  • Dean moves to forefront at Fort Gibson

    Dean moves to forefront at Fort Gibson

    Pre-tournament favorite Tommy Biffle isn't leading the Fort Gibson Bassmaster Central Open, but a guy throwing his bait is. Texan Scott Dean used a Gene Larew Biffle Bug attached to a Biffle HardHead to catch 13-11 today and take over the top slot with a 2-day total of 29-06.

    He has a 1-07 lead over 2nd-place Seth Feider, who caught 14-00 today. Day-1 leader Kevin Short fell to 3rd after catching a 10 1/2-pound bag and Biffle made a big move up to 4th with a 14-13 haul.

    Five anglers will be within 5 pounds of the lead when action resumes tomorrow. Here's a look at the totals for the 12 anglers who survived today's cut:

    1. Scott Dean: 29-06
    2. Seth Feider: 27-15
    3. Kevin Short: 27-03
    4. Tommy Biffle: 25-08
    5. Jason Christie: 25-00
    6. Kelly Power: 24-14
    7. Nathan Kawlewski: 24-04
    8. James Elam: 22-05
    9. Wayne Diffee: 22-02
    10. Brian Clark: 21-07
    11. Greg Ryan: 21-01
    12. Derek Remitz: 20-15

  • Hutchins retains Potomac edge

    Hutchins retains Potomac edge

    Virginia resident John Hutchins weighed a bag at the Potomac River Northern EverStart today that was more than 5 pounds lighter than the one he caught on day 1, but he added an ounce to his advantage. His 15-02 stringer gave him a 35-09 total and a 2-13 lead with 1 day to fish.

    Here's a look at the Top 10:

    1. John Hutchins: 35-09
    2. Walter Snider: 32-12
    3. Cory Johnston: 32-04
    4. Chris Dillow: 30-01
    5. Matt Greenblatt: 29-11
    6. Jimmy Kennedy: 28-07
    7. William Kramer: 28-05
    8. William Shelton III: 26-12
    9. Christiana Bradley: 26-12
    10. Micah Frazier: 26-10

  • Solutions for casting

    <b><font color=maroon>Solutions for casting</font></b>

    The new Berkley Solutions monofilament lines can take a lot of the guesswork out of line selection for less-experienced anglers. They're engineered for manageability, ease of use and durability to eliminate a lot of the hassle for those who can't get out on the water as often as they'd like and don't have a lot of time to tinker with their equipment.

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

  • B.A.S.S. offers event for high-schoolers

    B.A.S.S. offers event for high-schoolers

    High school students will have a chance to interact with Bassmaster Elite Series pros and learn fishing techniques during the Bassmaster High School Elite Experience, to be held Saturday, Sept. 22 in Decatur, Ill.. The event, intended to instill in youths a passion for fishing, is free to students in grades 9 through 12 and is part of the Bassmaster Toyota Trucks All-Star Week.

    “The Elite Experience in Decatur will give these students a chance to see many aspects of bass tournament fishing as B.A.S.S. makes its first-ever visit to the Decatur area,” said B.A.S.S. co-owner Jerry McKinnis. “Along with the 4-day All-Star competition, there will be plenty of activities for the kids, including special seminars on fishing crankbaits, soft plastics, finesse tactics and more – all presented by Bassmaster Elite pros and geared toward high school anglers. Meeting the pros and learning from them will be a truly memorable experience.”

    Introduced during the 2012 Bassmaster Elite Series tournament trail, the Bassmaster High School Elite Experience will be a regular feature of Elite events in 2013.

    According to Jon Stewart (pictured), senior manager of B.A.S.S. Federation Nation and head of the high school program, “These kids will have a chance to talk to the top pros, ask questions, and see B.A.S.S. tournament operations behind the scenes. That’s a real thrill for them, and the anglers like to encourage them to keep fishing for the love of the sport. We have fans who stand in long lines just to get autographs from these expert bass fishermen. The high school students will have the opportunity to actually learn from the sport’s greats.

    The High School Elite Experience will begin at 9 a.m. and will continue through weigh-in at Nelson Park in Decatur. For information or to register, contact Stewart at or call (205) 313-0900.

  • 2013 EverStart Schedule announced

    2013 EverStart Schedule announced

    FLW today announced that the EverStart Series will again consist of five divisions – Southeastern, Central, Northern, Texas and Western – in 2013 with four tournaments in each division, including several repeat fisheries from this year.

    Entry fees remain unchanged at $1,000 for pros and $400 for co-anglers, but the payouts have increased for winners and runners-up on the pro side. Pros will compete for a $40,000 top prize with 2nd-place finishers bagging $15,000 next year. The winning co-angler will take home a Ranger Z117 with a 90-horsepower outboard. If the angler is Ranger Cup-qualified, the winning pro will also receive a new Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower outboard and the co-angler will receive an additional $5,000 in each tournament.

    At the same time, payouts for finishers in 31st to 50th (based on a full 150-boat field) have been eliminated. This year, those finishing in between 31st and 40th took home $1,200 each while 41st to 50th paid $1,100.

    In addition, the EverStart Series championship has been eliminated as have the cash bonuses ($5,000 pro, $2,000 co-anger) for the Angler of the Year (AOY) in each division. Next year, the AOY from each division on the pro and co-angler side will qualify for the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup, provided they’ve fished all four events in that division.

    Here’s the schedule:

    Central Division

    > March 14-16 – Lake of the Ozarks (Osage Beach, Mo.)
    > May 2-4 – Pickwick Lake (Florence, Ala.)
    > June 13-15 – Kentucky Lake (Hardin, Ky.)
    > July 25-27 – Detroit River (Trenton, Mich.)

    Northern Division

    > Apr 25-27 – Smith Mountain Lake (Huddleston, Va.)
    > June 20-22 – Potomac River (Marbury, Md.)
    > July 18-20 – Lake Champlain (Plattsburgh, N.Y.)
    > Sept. 12-14 – Chesapeake Bay (North East, Md.)

    Southeastern Division

    > Jan. 10-12 – Lake Okeechobee (Okeechobee, Fla.)
    > Feb. 28-March 2 – Lake Guntersville (Guntersville, Ala.)
    > April 4-6 – Lake Seminole (Bainbridge, Ga.)
    > May 9-11 – Wheeler Lake (Rogersville, Ala.)

    Texas Division

    > Jan. 24-26 – Lake Amistad (Del Rio, Texas)
    > Feb. 14-16 – Toledo Bend Reservoir (Hemphill, Texas)
    > April 18-21 – Lake Texoma (Pottsboro, Texas)
    > Oct. 3-5 – Sam Rayburn Reservoir (Sam Rayburn, Texas)

    Western Division

    > Jan. 17-19 – Lake Oroville (Oroville, Calif.)
    > Feb. 21-24 – Roosevelt Lake (Roosevelt, Ariz.)
    > May 16-18 – California Delta (Bethel Island, Calif.)
    > Oct. 10-12 – Clear Lake (Lakeport, Calif.)

  • Hutchins grabs Potomac lead

    Hutchins grabs Potomac lead

    Virginia's John Hutchins won a BFL at the Potomac River earlier this year. Now he's got his sights set on a higher-level victory.

    Hutchins weighed the only 20-pound bag on day 1 of the Potomac River Northern EverStart to build a lead of more than 3 1/2 pounds. Maryland's Walter Snider was 2nd with 17-11.

    Here's a look at the Top 10 with 2 days left to fish:

    1. John Hutchins: 20-07
    2. Walter Snider: 17-11
    3. Chris Dillow: 17-01
    4. Cory Johnston: 16-09
    5. Michael Hall: 16-04
    6. (tie) William Kramer: 16-03
    6. (tie) Barton Wines: 16-03
    8. Mike Hoskings: 15-11
    9. Edwin Jackson: 15-09
    10. Matt Greenblatt: 15-08

  • Short on top at Fort Gibson

    Short on top at Fort Gibson

    Kevin Short, seeking his third career Bassmaster Classic berth and first since 2010, grabbed the early lead at the Fort Gibson Lake Central Bassmaster Open today with a 16-11 bag that put him a pound clear of the field.

    “I’m working the fish-my-butt-off pattern,” he said. “I fished about five different areas and caught seven or eight bass – all keepers – but I had to work for every bite.”

    Short won last year's Central finale at Table Rock, but couldn't claim the accompanying Classic slot because he hadn't fished the two previous events on the circuit. That's not the case in 2012, as he competed at both Table Rock and Lewisville earlier this year.

    The 153 anglers were confronted by tough conditions – air temperatures that exceeded 100 degrees and water temps in the 90s. Twenty-three competitors failed to catch a keeper.

    Texan Scott Dean sacked 15-11 to claim the No. 2 spot. Wayne Diffee of Oklahoma was the only other angler to top the 15-pound mark – his 15-05 stringer left him in 3rd.

    Elite Series Angler of the Year Brent Chapman put himself in position for a run at an unheard-of fourth qualification for next year's Classic at Oklahoma's Grand Lake as his 14-06 stringer was good for a tie for 5th place.

    Here are the totals for the current Top 10:

    1. Kevin Short: 16-11
    2. Scott Dean: 15-11
    3. Wayne Diffee: 15-05
    4. Gerald Brown: 14-14
    5. (tie) Nathan Kawlewski: 14-06
    5. (tie) Brent Chapman: 14-06
    7. Bradley Hallman: 14-03
    8. James Elam: 14-03
    9. Jason Christie: 14-00
    10. Seth Feider: 13-15

  • Early check for Scanlon

    Early check for Scanlon

    On an auditorium stage inside the Wagoner (Okla.) Civic Center, Casey Scanlon was awarded a paycheck in front of hundreds of his fellow competitors long before anybody made a cast at the Fort Gibson Bassmaster Central Open

    Scanlon posed quickly for photographers and accepted a round of applause at the pre-tournament meeting while holding the oversized check for $300. He received the bonus from BoatUS Angler for his participation in its Weigh-to-Win program and his win at the Central Open on Table Rock Lake.

    “You can’t beat Weigh-to-Win for the price of the membership,” said Scanlon, who mowed lawns and did landscape work in Kansas City before turning pro, and tags Lake of the Ozarks' November buzzbait bite as his idea of the perfect day of bass fishing.

    The 28-year-old Scanlon demonstrated wisdom beyond his years by signing up for both the BoatUS Angler Unlimited On-the-Road and On-the-Water Towing Services for just $72.

    While thankfully, he’s yet to need mechanical or towing assistance, Scanlon fishes and travels to and from tournaments with confidence knowing BoatUS Angler will be there should he need them, and with $300 in “Weigh-to-Win” money he’s already quadrupled what spent to become a member.

    His win at Table Rock not only put $300 worth of “Weigh-to-Win” money in his pocket, but qualified him in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees. If he wins the Classic, he’ll put an additional $1,500 in his pocket, courtesy of the “Weigh-to-Win” program.

    Scanlon is proof that it pays to buy a highly affordable BoatUS Angler membership, regardless of which B.A.S.S., FLW, LBAA, College Bass or PAA events you compete in, especially when you’re registered for the “Weigh-to-Win” bonus program. To make sure you are eligible, just dial (918) 742-6424 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CST Monday through Friday and ask for Kendell.

    To learn more, click here to visit the BoatUS Angler website.

  • Kentucky BU session added

    Kentucky BU session added

    Day's Boat Sales of Frankfort, Ky. announced today that it'll host a session of The Bass University Jan. 19-20 at the Capital Plaza Hotel and Convention Center in, Frankfort. The session will be headed by BU co-founders Pete Gluszek and Mike Iaconelli, who'll be joined a list of Bassmaster Elite Series and FLW Tour pros.

    The event will also include an in-house boat show featuring the newest Ranger and Stratos models. It's limited to the first 175 registrants.

    To sign up or obtain more information, click here.

  • Brauer bonus

    Brauer bonus

    A couple weeks ago, BassFan chatted with veteran Bassmaster Elite Series pro Denny Brauer about his season and how much longer he sees himself competing at the top level of the sport.

    We covered several topics in addition to those featured in the August 17th article, including how impressed he's been by the stable of young pros that are starting to carve out a niche at the tour level and his perception of where the industry’s heading from a business sense.

    Here are his thoughts on those topics:

    Crop of young pros

    “We have some excellent talent coming up. The learning curve, obviously, is shorter than it used to be just because of all the knowledge that’s available to the anglers – all of the new techniques and electronics. Some of them do a lot of homework ahead of time and go pre-fishing. They still have to go out and catch ‘em. It’s hard to compare different generations. Obviously the equipment is a lot better and it’s easier for any of us now than it used it to be.

    “There are so many more opportunities tournament-wise. They can get started at an early age fishing youth events and then with college fishing and the Federation and on and on, it’s a neat deal for the guys coming up. I think in every sport, as it matures, the age of the individuals that really star becomes younger and younger.”

    State of the industry

    “I think the industry is a true reflection of what the overall economy is. We have glimmers of hope in the economy – it’ll get on a surge and the markets get on a surge and I think the buyers get a little more on a surge and our tackle industry has a little bit of a spurt.

    “I don’t think we’re totally out of the woods yet and I don’t think we are economy-wise. We need to get some things behind us. Hopefully, after the election, things will stabilize a little and there’ll be a little more direction for these corporations. We have too many people out of work. When you have this many people out of work, sure it gives them more time to fish, but it also takes away the income to go buy fishing tackle, boats and motors and rods and reels.

    “Our industry is a true reflection of the economy and might be one of the industries that gets hit a little harder because we are an industry that is an option for most people.”

  • Bass gaining campus stature

    BassFans have witnessed the rise of competitive bass fishing at the collegiate and high school levels in recent years, and a couple of occurrences this week bear witness to its progress.

    Bass fishing was No. 1 on the list of "10 unusual sanctioned high school sports" in a piece published by, the nationwide leader in the coverage of high school sports. At Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, an actual pep rally will take place today as three teams from the school prepare to compete in the Central Conference Championship at Lake Carlyle.

    To see the piece, click here. For the press release about the pep rally, click here.

  • The rise of Falcon

    The rise of Falcon

    Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine published an article in its August/September issue that details how Falcon Lake rose to become the top big-bass venue in the country and the steps being taken to ensure it retains that status.

    To read it, click here.

  • Z-Man: Browning speaks

    Z-Man: Browning speaks

    The 2012 Bassmaster Elite Series season didn’t go how Z-Man pro Stephen Browning had planned – he missed four straight cuts in the middle of the year and finished 63rd in points – but he picked up steam toward the end of the season and that momentum has the Arkansas native anxious for 2013 to get here.

    Check out what Browning had to say about his second-half surge, his offseason plans and next year in the newest Skype-isode from Z-Man Fishing. To watch the video, click here.

  • Pirch leaving options open

    Pirch leaving options open

    Clifford Pirch may make the jump to the Bassmaster Elite Series in 2013. But he may also choose to stay put and continue fishing the FLW Tour. Then again, he might fish both.

    It’s all going to boil down to scheduling for the Arizona pro, who’s coming off a 9th-place finish in the FLW Tour Major points this season.

    He earned an invitation to fish the Elites in ’13 by virtue of his 2nd-place finish in points through the Bassmaster Northern Opens. He’s also the points leader in the Southern Division with one event remaining. The Top 5 finishers in each of the three Open divisions earn invites to fish the Elites the following year.

    He won’t make the decision until he’s had some time to get back home and look at the schedules and determine what’s going to benefit him and his sponsors the most.

    “Obviously, being a Skeeter/Yamaha guy, my exposure would be better with B.A.S.S. than with FLW,” he said.

    He chose to fish the two Open divisions this season to fill gaps in his schedule between FLW Tour events, but he also knew that if he placed well in the Opens and earned an Elite invitation, there was a higher likelihood that the Elites might fish closer to home next season.

    He said he’s spent the equivalent of about a week at his Arizona home in the past 4 months.

    While the ‘13 Elites schedule doesn’t include any stops in Arizona or California, it does open with a pair of events in Texas, but will remain in the eastern portion of the country the rest of the way. The FLW schedule for next year includes a stop at Grand Lake in Oklahoma, but nothing farther west.

    “B.A.S.S. is a little more apt to go west than FLW. When it’s all said and done I’m going to have spent 9 months on the road this season,” he said.

  • Reins adds Tharp, Kenney

    Reins adds Tharp, Kenney

    Tungsten manufacturer Reins Fishing announced that it's added FLW pros Randall Tharp and J.T. Kenney to its pro staff. They join Bill Lowen, Ott Defoe, Cliff Crochet, Bradley Roy, David Walker, Michael Murphy and John Voyles.

    "I don't settle for second-best which is why Reins is my choice when it comes to tungsten," Tharp said. "All of their weights are made of the highest quality, most dense tungsten available, making Reins the smallest of all tungsten weights. Reins offers a variety of sizes, shapes and colors to cover all of my fishing needs."

    Said Kenney: "When asked what I think about Reins tungsten, I have to be completely honest, it is the smallest tungsten weight out there with an insert already in it. It is the very best tungsten weight on the market for punching grass, period."

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