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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

  • Horton to host high school event

    Horton to host high school event

    Bassmaster Elite Series pro Tim Horton will lend his name to a no-entry-fee tournament open to all high school bass clubs in his home state of Alabama and offering scholarship monies to the winning teams. The Timmy Horton High School Bass Anglers Championship will be held at Pickwick Lake on May 18, 2013.

    The tournament will be sponsored by the Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau.

    “Our plans are to allow each club (there are currently 46 in the state) to send teams to the tournament," Horton said. "Scholarship money will be awarded in two age categories – grades 7 through 9 and grades 10 through 12. This is the first statewide high school club tournament we know of that will pay out scholarship monies.

    "The event is also going to be televised, which is a huge plus for the students to showcase their skills. Also, what an opportunity it is to compete in an event and know these anglers have a chance to help continue their education. It doesn't get any better than that.”

    During the 2010 Alabama Legislative Session, Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow introduced a bill that was subsequently signed by Gov. Bob Riley to create the Alabama Student Angler Bass Fishing Association.

    Said Morrow: “I just want to thank the Colbert County Tourism office and bass pro angler Tim Horton, who have joined together in a partnership to put this tournament together. This should help tremendously in bringing attention to the prolific fishing opportunities that Alabama, and especially north Alabama, has to offer.

    "Fishing is a sport that both boys and girls can participate in while having fun and while taking advantage of our great outdoors. We invite the Alabama Athletic Association to join with us to promote this event throughout the state."

    For more information about the tournament, go to www.ColbertCountryTourism.org or www.FishPickwickLake.com.

  • Denali seeks anglers for pro staff

    Denali seeks anglers for pro staff

    Denali Rods is accepting applications for positions on its 2013 pro staff. Those interested should visit www.denalirods.com and click on the "Join Pro Staff" link.

    Questions can be submitted via phone to (870) 492-2231 or by email to sales@denalirods.com. Résumés can be sent to the email address or mailed to Pro Staff, Denali Rods, P.O. Box 1420, Mountain Home, AR 72654.

  • 'Bassdozer' takes PAA position

    'Bassdozer' takes PAA position

    The Professional Anglers Association (PAA) announced that it's tabbed fishing media veteran Russ "Bassdozer" Comeau to serve as the organization's communications director, effective immediately.

    "We are very excited to have Russ, his knowledge and expertise join the ranks of the PAA," said president Dave Mansue.

    The PAA operated during 2012 with that position unfilled. Alan Clemons previously held the post before leaving to become the editor of a deer-hunting publication.

    Comeau (pictured interviewing Harold Allen at the 2012 Toyota Texas Bass Classic) began a career on Wall Street in the late 1970s before moving into the sportfishing industry in 2000. He helped Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits become a household name among bass anglers in the U.S. and also aided Sebile during its quick rise to prominence in the American market.

    His role with the PAA will include increasing the organization's social media presence and website traffic, writing weekly stories for the website, covering PAA Tournament Series events and helping to gain new sponsors.

    “I’ve been attending PAA events and forging relationships with PAA members for several years now, leaving no doubt that this is an organization that’s growing quickly and that I wanted to be a part of,” he said.

  • Daves declines tour-level return

    Daves declines tour-level return

    For Chris Daves, tour-level fishing is a proposition that's no longer worth the risk.

    The Virginian, son of former Bassmaster Classic champion Woo Daves, was the 5th-place finisher in the 2012 Bassmaster Northern Opens points chase, which secured him an invitation to fish the Elite Series next year. It's an offer he's decided to turn down.

    "It's hard to make a living at it nowadays because it costs so much to do it," said the 40-year-old who runs a successful landscaping operation. "If I had a couple of bad tournaments, I could get into debt pretty quick."

    The two-time Classic qualifier began competing in high-caliber B.A.S.S. events while still a teenager and logged several tour-level campaigns. The risk/reward scenario of the venture looked a lot better to him back then than it does now.

    "The entry fees have gone up and the payouts haven't kept up with them. When I fished the Top 100s, I paid $1,500 to fish for a hundred grand, and now they want 5 grand to fish for that same amount. That doesn't make sense to me.

    "Another thing is next year's schedule – they've got you running all over the place. That's too much traveling for me. I've got a pretty good business and it's hard to be away for that long."

    He'll go back to work and wait for next year's Northern Opens to roll around.

    "I'm glad there's still a few guys who can do it and I hope they fill up all of (the Elite slots) and have a good year," he concluded. "But if I tried it and went out and had a bad year, I'd be in trouble."

  • Crews: Drink right, eat right

    Bassmaster Elite Series pro John Crews, Jr. is one of the more well-conditioned anglers on tour, so it's no wonder that he stresses proper nutrition and hydration during competition.

    Among other tidbits he shares in the below video, he says he tries to consume between 2,500 and 3,500 calories a day – even a banana! – when he's on the water.

  • Sandy: Ike, Avena, Gluszek OK

    The megastorm Sandy that came ashore yesterday in New Jersey has left millions without power and devastated the northeast with record flooding and strong winds. It’s still churning its way across parts of more than a dozen states and it’ll be days, weeks even, before the full measure of the damage done can be realized.

    Bassmaster Elite Series pro Mike Iaconelli lives in Pittsgrove, N.J., about 40 miles inland from where the storm made landfall. He reported to BassFan via text message this morning that he and his family were unharmed and his property escaped any major flood or wind damage.

    “We’re good over here,” he wrote. “We had power out for about 15 hours. We’ll be doing some yard clean up today, but everything is minimal.”

    FLW Tour pro Adrian Avena wasn’t as fortunate.

    His family owns a vacation home in Cape May, N.J., which took a direct hit from the storm. When reached via text message, Avena told BassFan the house had been “flooded out. We are not allowed back on the island to see how much damage was done. Our property is right on the bay.”

    Avena said two boats were moored at the house – a 28-foot center console and a 43-foot Egg Harbor yacht – but he was unsure if either were damaged.

    Avena provided an update to BassFan this evening after his family was allowed to examine the damage.

    "We are extremely blessed," he wrote. "We have 2 1/2 feet of flooding throughout our house, but no astronomical damage. Boats have minor damage, but nothing compares to those just north of us."

    Pete Gluszek, another Jersey-based pro, reported via Facebook that he and his family made it through the worst of the storm unscathed.

  • Indiana attorney wins Fed Nation title

    Indiana attorney wins Fed Nation title

    Mark Dove, an attorney from North Vernon, Ind., qualified for his second Bassmaster Classic Saturday by winning the Bassmaster Federation Nation Championship at Alabama's Wheeler Lake. He caught a 20-01 bag on the final day for a 3-day total of 39-00, outdistancing runner-up Mark Pierce of Tennessee by 1-02.

    “I crossed the Bassmaster Classic off my bucket list back in 1997,” said Dove, referencing the previous time he qualified for the event through the Federation Nation. “I am looking forward to going back again. But the best thing for me is to be able to say that I was at the top of my peers here at the Federation Nation, at least for a period of time. For me, it was more about winning the tournament.”

    Joining Dove (front row, center in photo) at the Classic in February will be Jonathan Carter of Maine, representing the Eastern division; Andy Bravence of Arizona, representing the Western; Pierce, Southern; Jared Knuth of Nebraska, Central; and Gerry Jooste of Zimbabwe, Mid-Atlantic.

    Dove employed three baits on the final day – a spinnerbait, a buzzbait and a topwater plug. Details of his winning pattern will be posted soon.

    In the 1-day Junior World Championship conducted at nearby Wilson Lake, Nik Autrey of Washington won the 15 to 18 age group with 10-03 and Alex Goff of West Virginia topped the 11 to 14 age group with 8-00. Each caught a fish that weighed 3-07.

  • JVD aligns with Shimano, G. Loomis, PowerPro

    JVD aligns with Shimano, G. Loomis, PowerPro

    Bassmaster Elite Series pro Jonathon VanDam, who notched his first Elite Series win this past season, will fish with Shimano reels, G. Loomis rods and PowerPro line going forward, Shimano announced today.

    “Not only are we pleased to support an angler who has used our tackle for most of his young life,” said Brian Nolte, Shimano American Corp.’s retail services senior manager, “but he also knows the Shimano, G. Loomis and PowerPro products well and will be a great product advocate on the tournament trail and when helping anglers at D&R Sports Center, his family’s tackle shop in Kalamazoo, Mich.”

    In addition to using the products in competition, VanDam will help promote the brands at events and shows and assist in new product development.

    VanDam credits his father and grandfather for introducing him to fishing many years ago.

    “And because of that family support and the opportunity to learn about tackle from working in the family business, I now am able to represent three of the best brands in the fishing industry,” VanDam said. “I look forward to throwing big crankbaits with Calcutta D reels on GLX rods, working a dropshot rig with a Sustain reel on a NRX rod – and bringing a few additional Elite wins back to Kalamazoo.”

  • EverStart Championship: Ouachita Recon

    EverStart Championship: Ouachita Recon

    Last November, Jamie Horton picked apart a tiny stretch of shallow water near a spillway at the Ouachita River to win the Federation Nation Championship and clinch a berth in the Bassmaster Classic.

    What’ll it be Thursday, when the EverStart Series Championship gets under way out of Monroe, La., on the same winding tract of water?

    According to Ken Covington, a local angler who’s fished many events on the river, including some Bassmaster Weekend Series tournaments, the popular gathering spot will likely be Bayou D'Arbonne, a maze of backwaters and sloughs not far off the main river. But it’s unlikely that the winner will be able to camp there for the duration.

    “A lot of fish can be caught on the main river,” he said. “With this being a 4-day tournament, I’m really not sure if the bayou can hold up for 4 days. I still think it can be won on the main river. If I were fishing it, I’d take my chances on the main river.”

    The Top 40 point-earners from each of the five EverStart Series divisions earned invitations to fish the event so the potential exists for a 200-boat field. Last year, 167 fished the championship at Kentucky Lake.

    While Covington doesn’t believe crowding will be an issue, he figures half of the boats will wind up fishing the bayou, which features some hard-to-access backwaters. He's predicting 44 to 48 pounds will win the 4-day derby.

    “That’s a lot of pressure even though there are a lot of miles of water,” he said. “I’d say 70 percent of the fish are in 20 percent of the water. Those guys are going to just pound it.”

    He noted that anglers who were able to access skinny-water backwater areas in small aluminum boats won the last two 2-day events he fished on the river.

    “The only problem that could crop up is for those guys going to D’Arbonne and trying to get into a backwater with those big boats,” he said. “The sloughs off of there are hard to access with a 21-foot boat with 250-horse motors. That’s going to play a factor. Whoever can make a backwater area accessible where no one else can might find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.”

    The region is in post-frontal mode right now, which should turn on the spinnerbait bite. Expect flipping and pitching and shallow cranking to be popular programs as well.

    “When the waters cools off, there’s a strong, strong spinnerbait bite," he said. "I think the shallow cranks and spinnerbaits are going to be really strong, especially on the main river. The bayou is where a lot of the guys are going to be pitching and flipping.”

    Only a handful of anglers from Louisiana qualified and FLW Tour pro Jim Dillard, who hails from Monroe, will be considered one of the early favorites.

    “I think local knowledge will help him,” Covington said, “because it gives him the ‘Hey, if they do this, then I can do that,’ advantage or if boat traffic is heavy in certain areas, he can go somewhere he knows he can catch fish.”

    In addition to a cash prize and a new boat/motor package, the winner will earn a berth in next year’s Forrest Wood Cup.

  • MLF competitors battling elements in Fla.

    MLF competitors battling elements in Fla.

    Major League Fishing is closing out its third production on Lake Istokpoga, a South Florida venue known regionally as one of the state's top big-bass factories. All week, competitors have been dealing with rain and high winds accompanying nearby Hurricane Sandy.

    Anglers were greeted with 30-plus mph wind gusts on Monday’s initial day of competition. Despite the occasionally howling winds and rain, competition on the 28,000-acre lake has been fierce, according to MLF commissioner Don Rucks.

    “We have been watching weather patterns all week. If necessary, we can always suspend competition because of dangerous conditions," Rucks said. "But we also know that these great anglers have been in these conditions plenty of times, and they can handle extremely strong wind. We’ve had no problems."

    Aside from the curveball thrown by Mother Nature, Rucks said the week has been “nothing short of fantastic.”

    “It’s been a truly outstanding week of competition and production. Our anglers are tickled to death to be fishing on Lake Istokpoga, and the fact that it’s been a little windy has certainly not detracted from the quality of competition.

    "This is a terrific venue, the lake is absolutely beautiful, the fishing has been dramatic, and I can’t think of a thing that could have made it better.”

    Competition will wrap up on Saturday.

  • Little room for error

    <b><font color=maroon>Little room for error</font></b>

    When the action is hot and heavy and tournament anglers are making frequent culls, they have no time to mess around with cumbersome scales that may or may not be accurate. The Berkley 35-Pound Digital Scale can solve that issue in a compact package that’s durable and easy to use.

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

  • Sunline fall promotion under way

    Sunline fall promotion under way

    Sunline America's 2nd annual fall promotion gets under way today and runs through Nov. 4. To reward loyal customers and encourage other anglers to try Sunline products for the first time, it offers the company's top-selling products at "buy one, get one free" pricing with instant redemption.

    The deal is available at participating Sunline dealers and includes the following products: Super Natural monofilament (330-yard spools), Super Fluorocarbon (200 yards), Super FC Sniper (200 yards) and FX2 braid (all spool sizes and colors).

    For more about Sunline, click here to visit the company's website.

  • Phoenix adds Hite

    Phoenix adds Hite

    Phoenix Bass Boats announced today it has agreed to a sponsorship deal with Bassmaster Elite Series pro Davy Hite.

    “Davy and I have a relationship that goes back decades in the boat business,” Gary Clouse, Phoenix Boats President, said in a release. “He has an outstanding reputation and an equally impressive list of angling credentials. We are proud to be bringing someone with Davy’s experience and perspective into our family.”

    The two-time B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year and winner of the 1998 Forrest Wood Cup and 1999 Bassmaster Classic is excited about the switch to Phoenix.

    “After 20 years as a pro angler, I know bass boats and I am blown away by Phoenix’s quality and passion for building the best boats possible,” Hite said. “I am also amazed by the success and growth they have achieved in the tough economic times we’ve seen the past few years.”

    Phoenix Boats is currently in the process of unveiling their 2013 lineup from their new headquarters in Winchester, Tenn., where it recently moved into a modern, 75,000-square-foot facility on 10 acres in central Tennessee.

  • BU Halloween discount offered

    BU Halloween discount offered

    The Bass University is offering a $31 discount through Halloween (Oct. 31) on all 2-day passes purchased for the 2013 seminars. The instructor lineup for the coming year includes BU co-founders Pete Gluszek and Mike Iaconelli, along with Brent Ehrler, Greg Hackney, Larry Nixon, Shaw Grigsby, David Fritts, Ish Monroe, Gerald Swindle, Randy Howell, Mark Davis,
    John Crews, Jacob Wheeler and Paul Elias.

    For more information about specific seminars, click here.

  • FLW done with walleye

    The formation of a new walleye tournament trail was announced Wednesday night, effectively signaling FLW’s exit from the walleye tournament business.

    The new trail, called Cabela’s National Walleye Tour, will offer three 2-day tournaments plus an entry-fee 3-day championship event in 2013.

    So far, boat companies Ranger Boats, Triton and Stratos – all Fishing Holdings brands – as well as Evinrude have signed on as sponsors and will offer incentives to anglers using their equipment.

    The announcement was made, oddly enough, at the rules meeting prior to what will prove to be the final FLW Walleye Tour Championship at the Mississippi River in Quad Cities, Iowa.

    FLW’s exit from walleye tournaments fuels speculation that the National Guard has drastically reduced or ended its sponsorship presence with FLW as it had served as the title sponsor for the Walleye Tour the last 2 years. It also adds to the list of cutbacks FLW has made for 2013, which already included elimination of the Tour Opens and EverStart Series Championship on the bass side.

    At its height, FLW’s walleye offerings rivaled the tournament options for bass anglers, but the economic downturn in recent years saw the tour level trimmed to four events plus a championship the last 2 seasons.

  • Beer deal for FLW?

    Beer deal for FLW?

    BassFan has been told by several sources over the past week that FLW is about to announce a sponsorship deal with a major beer-maker. That would mark a big departure from the organization's previous policy, which was to allow no alcohol or tobacco signage to be displayed at its events.

    FLW added alcoholic beverages to its lengthy list of "exclusive categories" prior to the 2011 season, meaning that anglers cannot display logos that compete with FLW-affiliated brands on days 3 and 4 (the TV days) of Tour events. Until now, there were no reports of a deal in that category being imminent.

    When asked about the rampant scuttlebutt regarding the deal, FLW communications director Chad Gay responded, "I can't speculate on potential sponsorships."

    Tobacco advertising is still prohibited by the organization in any form.

  • PAA schedule taking shape

    PAA schedule taking shape

    The 2013 PAA Tournament Series schedule remains a work in progress, according to PAA president Dave Mansue.

    After receiving several inquiries about next year’s slate of events, the PAA issued a press release with an update on its efforts to complete next year’s schedule. It'll again be a four-event schedule followed by the Toyota Texas Bass Classic.

    Here is the release as it was provided to BassFan:

    Following another great season of Bass Pro Shops PAA Tournament Series presented by Carrot Stix events and another awesome Toyota Texas Bass Classic, anglers from across the country have been inquiring about the 2013 PAA schedule.

    We at the PAA are working feverishly to complete a very attractive schedule for our anglers in 2013.

    Unfortunately, there is work remaining to complete the schedule and until all the "i's" are dotted and "t's" are crossed we are unable to make a full announcement.

    We are able to share with you the weeks that are available once all other tournament organization events are taken into consideration. We are currently looking at 5 weeks to schedule 4 events. Those weeks are:

    > Jan. 13-19
    > March 25-30
    > May 19-25
    > July 14-20 (conflicts with Lake Champlain Northern EverStart)
    > Aug. 25-31
    > Toyota Texas Bass Classic (TBD)

    We appreciate everyone's patience as this is a difficult and time-consuming process. However, we hope this helps with your scheduling decisions.

    Angler participation at a PAA event is extremely important to the Association, as is a qualifying spot in the prestigious Toyota Texas Bass Classic, the only true World Championship. We hope to see you in 2013.

  • Ready for launch: Lew's BB1

    Ready for launch: Lew's BB1

    Brace yourselves, BassFans. The new Lew’s BB1 baitcaster reel is about to hit store shelves and since its unveiling at ICAST back in July, the engineers at Lew’s have made it even better by upgrading the cast control from four brakes to a six-pin SmartPlus centrifugal braking system.

    Any or all brakes can be turned off or on according to angler preferences and casting conditions. A Quick-Release spring-loaded pin affords easy removal of the left side plate for access to the brake system. The BB1 is loaded with other cool features and the end result is a reel that will improve casting distance and feel no matter what bait’s tied on.

    According to Lew's CEO Lynn Reeves, the BB1s will ship to wholesalers and retailers on Oct. 26 and should be on shelves by mid-November.

    In the below video, Bassmaster Elite Series pro Kevin Short demonstrates how the BB1 performs with a big crankbait and talks about how easy it is to access and alter the braking system to suit your needs.

  • Dudley with Lamiglas

    Dudley with Lamiglas

    David Dudley, the No. 1 angler in the BassFan World Rankings and two-time reigning FLW Tour Angler of the Year, will fish with Lamiglas rods in 2013.

    "It was just like Christmas opening up my first shipment of Infinity, XP and Excel rods from Lamiglas," he said. “In the past I thought I felt every bite, but after using these rods, I know I’m feeling every bite and I’ll never know how many bites I used to miss.

    "These rods are light, sensitive and most importantly, strong. As anyone who knows me will attest, I have a very hard hook-set and a good, strong rod is a must. The fact that the rods are light and sensitive is a bonus."

    Said Lamiglas national sales manager John Posey: "We've really put a lot of time and effort into our new line of bass rods. The technology in these rods is superior to anything we have made in the past."

  • Two tours, two boats for Monroe

    Two tours, two boats for Monroe

    Ish Monroe will fish both major professional circuits in 2013, and he'll employ a different boat for each. He'll run his familiar Cocoons-wrapped Ranger on the Bassmaster Elite Series and will sport a River2Sea wrap on the FLW Tour.

    The River2Sea deal was announced today.

    "I'm really happy to be doing more to help further expose the River2Sea brand to the industry," said Monroe, who explained that he'll tow the Cocoons boat to Elite tournaments and that the River2Sea boat will be transported by an FLW Tour co-angler. "They are a great partner, they produce great baits, as we have proven with my Biggie series crankbaits and Bling spinnerbaits, and the expanded FLW Tour coverage allows me to further show the brand to anglers across the country."

    Said River2Sea CEO K.K. Chan: "Ish has been, and continues to be, a great asset to River2Sea in his tireless work and skill as an angler and promoter. But, more importantly, he has become a true partner of this brand and using him to further push River2Sea in the marketplace was an easy decision."

    The jersey and cap that Monroe will wear in FLW events will also feature River2Sea branding.

  • Sonar: Good ending to a busy year

    Sonar: Good ending to a busy year

    Sonar Sound-Off columnist Myles Burghoff wrapped up his 2012 competitive season with a couple of strong showings in Oakley Big Bass Tour events, and now he's trying to fight off his annual case of "winter depression," which won't be cured until the new campaign gets under way in January.

    To read more, click here.

  • Swindle's guide to fishing, football

    Swindle's guide to fishing, football

    Fall is the favorite time of the year for bass fishing’s funniest man, Gerald Swindle. The former waterbug-quick Locust Fork High School running back and kick returner finds peace in a tree stand following a long Bassmaster Elite Series season, and he finds bass returning to a variety of shallow-water patterns where he enjoys catching them most. Not to mention, Swindle makes his home in the heart of college football’s Southeastern Conference, and that always leads to a truckload of smack-talk debates with his fellow football lovin’ brothers of bass.

    While piloting his Tundra northwest to a Nebraska deer hunt, the G-Man took time to share his wisdom for finding and catching bass throughout the remainder of football season.

    Late October

    > What to Watch: Georgia vs. Florida and Notre Dame vs. Oklahoma

    > How to Catch ‘Em: “It’s spinnerbait time, and there ain’t a more fun lure out there at this time of year. After fishing slow and deep all summer long, I finally get to go to the back of a creek and cast a spinnerbait. I’m throwing a spinnerbait to match the shad they’re feeding on, and I’m not expecting to catch a school of 5-pounders, but I know I’m going to catch a bunch of fish, with a few 3- or 4-pounders mixed in. You can catch them from a wide variety of habitat, ranging from laydown trees to riprap.”

    > Equipment Notes: 20-pound Sunline Shooter spooled on a 6.3:1 Quantum SL100SPT Smoke reel.

    Early November

    > What to Watch: Alabama vs. LSU and Oregon vs. USC

    > How to Catch ‘Em: “The bass are transitioning to rocks, because rocks hold heat even during the cooler nights of late fall. This is the time when shallow square-bill crankbaits like the RC 1.5 shine. I may start my day toward the back of the creek, but my main focus will be mid-way toward the front of the creek on all rocky banks and riprap shorelines.”

    > Equipment Notes: Swindle makes an interesting note, that while he loves the slower 5.3:1 Quantum Cranking Classic reel in the spring and summer, speedier reels like a 6.3:1 Energy PT simply seem to trigger more strikes with shallow crankbaits during football season.

    Late November

    > What to Watch: Pick a rivalry – Auburn vs. Alabama, Ohio State vs. Michigan or Florida vs. Florida State

    > How to Catch ‘Em: “The water is getting cold enough that they aren’t chasing cranks and spinnerbaits as effectively as they were earlier in the fall. So instead, the jig comes into play. I'm going to pitch a 3/8-ounce jig to brush around shallow docks, riprap or laydowns.”

    > Equipment Notes: Swindle says he uses a 3/8-ounce jig 90 percent of the time because it has the right rate of fall, descending just slow enough in colder water.

    Bowl Season

    > What to Watch: As many of the 35 bowl games as you can. From the Idaho Potato Bowl on Dec. 15, 2012, to the BCS National Championship on Jan. 7, 2013, see as many as you can, because football season will soon be over.

    > How to Catch ‘Em: “I’m going to look for as many sun-drenched rocky banks on a creek channel swing as I can find. Even in the South, the water will likely be in the high 40s or low 50s, so instead of casting, I’m going to drag that same 3/8-ounce Arkie jig from the rocky, sunny shoreline out to 15 or 20 feet deep, where the creek channel kisses the bank. I’m just dragging it along the bottom until a bass picks up on it. It’s key to maintain constant feel and bottom contact.”

    > Equipment Notes: Swindle stresses using a quality rod like the 7’4” Quantum EXO that affords ultra-sensitive feel for bites that are sure to be non-aggressive and feather-light in early winter’s cold water.

  • Day's promotion: 'Race to 200'

    Day's promotion: 'Race to 200'

    Day's Boat Sales and Service of Frankfort, Ky. has announced its inaugural “Race to 200” retail promotion. The goal is to reach 200 boats sold for the calendar year.

    In an effort to facilitate financing while working with retail finance partner RecLending, the promo offers special low interest rates and $200 vouchers to be applied toward any extended service contract or warranty extension for new and eligible used boats purchased during the event.

    Here are the highlights:

    > A 20 percent discount off installation charges for accessories such as electronics, black lights, rod holders, etc., will apply to any boat purchased during the event.

    > Every boat sold will include a $200 voucher for The Bass University at the venue of the consumer's choice, or $200 worth of BassADX clothing, plus a $200 voucher for Ranger Wear for every new Ranger ordered or delivered during the event.

    > All purchasers of boats sold during the promotion will qualify for a $200 discount on Power-Pole shallow-water anchors installed at Day's.

    The event runs through Dec. 31. To visit the Day's website, click here.

  • Florida hawgs will chomp

    There's an interesting piece on the Fishing Wire today by editor Frank Sargeant. Based on the early findings from a trophy bass study by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, it suggests that as many as 40 percent of bass weighing 8 pounds or more could be caught in the span of a year.

    Nearly a third of the tagged giants that've been caught thus far were enticed by live shiners, but almost a quarter have gone to the scale during tournaments.

    Significantly, the study (which began last spring) does not yet encompass the winter months, which are prime time for catching big largemouths in the Sunshine State.

    To read the article, click here.

  • Thin, strong and sensitive

    <b><font color=maroon>Thin, strong and sensitive</font></b>

    Do you think that all attempts to create a super-monofilament result only in a product that lacks manageability and sensitivity? The new SpiderWire UltraCast Ultimate Mono will make you think again.

    Ultimate Mono delivers on all counts – thinness and strength are combined with the ability to feel the slightest tug on the business end. To learn more, click here to visit the Catch More Fish page.

  • Fishing for Freedom still needs boats

    Fishing for Freedom still needs boats

    A few boats are still needed for the 7th annual Fishing for Freedom event, which takes place Saturday at Lake Belton in Texas. The no-entry-fee tournament allows military veterans and active-duty personnel to enjoy a day on the water.

    For more information, click here.

  • Porche hopes to pursue Elite opportunity

    Porche hopes to pursue Elite opportunity

    Chip Porche knows the call or email could come at any time. He also knows there’s a chance it won’t come at all. If it does, though, and the person on the other end said they’d be thrilled to be his title sponsor during the 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series, then the 24-year-old from Bixby, Okla., will get to live out his childhood dream and compete at the top level of the sport.

    For now, he’s in a holding pattern, a nerve-wracking state as he waits for the companies he’s appealed to for support decide if he’s the right fit for them.

    He earned a pass to the Elite Series next year by virtue of his 4th-place finish in the Bassmaster Central Open Division points. He wanted badly to win an Open, which would’ve triggered a berth in the Bassmaster Classic at his home waters of Grand Lake, but he’s thrilled to have the opportunity to compete against some of the best anglers in the world.

    “It’s something I’ve been wanting to do since I was 8 or 9 years old,” he said. “Pretty much everything I’ve strived for and wanted to do is to get to fish.”

    The obvious hurdle he needs to clear now lies on the financial side. Entry fees total more than $40,000 and expenses can easily double that figure. Without a wrap deal in place and with the first Elite Series deposit due next week, Porche was approached by a close friend who said he’d be will be willing to help him with the initial deposit. That would allow Porche until February 10, 2013, when the next installment is due, to line up sponsorship.

    “I’ve had two or three deals that are swirling right now that I think could potentially happen, but it’s tough,” he said. “It has to be something that works out for them and for me. That’s what makes fishing tough because I don’t have a proven track record as far as being on tour. Somebody’s going to need to look at me and look at their situation and determine if it’s the perfect match.”

    He got an up-close look at the Elites this past season as he worked for Dynamic Sponsorships, assisting with the on-site Toyota Trucks booth at each tournament stop. He also attended the three Northern Opens and two Southern Opens. He gets how things work at that level.

    “It really made me appreciate it from a different angle,” he said. “I’ve grown up around fishing and just love the sport and I’ve paid so much attention to it. I know the downsides of it and some of the things you learn. You’re like, ‘Maybe this wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be,’ when you get around some of the anglers and you see the situations and the money that’s involved. You have to weigh your options because when you look at it being that much money, the average man can’t look at it so it has to make sense for him to do it.

    “I’m single and 24 and it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. If I can get a little bit of backing, this is as good of an opportunity as any to go do it. If not, then I won’t do it.”

  • Berkley Havoc giveaway

    <b><font color=green>Berkley Havoc giveaway</font></b>

    How well do you know your Berkley Havoc baits? Well enough to tell us the names of seven different baits and the pro angler who designed each one?

    We'll see about that.

    We've teamed up with the folks at Berkley on a new giveaway contest through the BassFan Facebook page. If you correctly identify the baits and the pro who designed it, you could win a shipment of Havoc baits.

  • All-Star champ Martens gives back

    All-Star champ Martens gives back

    Bassmaster Elite Series pro Aaron Martens, the winner of last month’s Toyota Trucks All-Star Championship, has donated $15,000 of his winnings from the event to the Tackle the Storm Foundation.

    Prior to the All-Star event, he had pledged to donate 25 percent of his winnings to Tackle the Storm, a charity founded by outdoors writer Don Barone that helps provide fishing tackle to children whose families have suffered catastrophic loss due to natural disasters.

    In addition, four fans were randomly selected to receive various gear from Martens, including Megabass baits and rods and a 1-day fishing trip with the veteran pro.

    “It was almost more rewarding being voted in instead of qualifying in the Top 8,” Martens said. “It means a lot to have the fans support me. I narrowly missed qualifying in the Top 8, but to get over 17,000 votes really blows me away and I can’t thank the fans enough.”

  • MESU Bait Co. lands Chapman

    MESU Bait Co. lands Chapman

    Reigning Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of the Year Brent Chapman has added Kansas-based MESU Bait Company to his list of sponsors.

    The Kansas native began using MESU’s during the 2012 season and the deal jives well with his connection to Tightlines UV since MESU is licensed by Tightlines to use their UV-reflective technology in their skirted jigs.

    "MESU makes great baits that catch fish,” Chapman said. :I am such a firm believer in the UV-reflective technology that it makes perfect sense to use it with as many baits as possible. The anglers I fish against are the best in the world and I need to take every advantage I can. I truly believe UV technology has given me an edge that other anglers are missing and I am going to ride that advantage as long as I can. These baits have already put fish in my boat and I am sure they will continue to in the years to come.”

    Plans are in the works for a Chapman-designed flutter spoon to be released under the MESU brand name in January.

    "Having Brent on our staff offers our company huge benefits,” said MESU’s John Young. “Brent is already a great spokesperson for UV technology, and having him promote our baits is a perfect fit. Besides the promotion factor, Brent will help us design new products like the flutter spoon and more. It's also a benefit to have the B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year out there using our product and giving us feedback to help us continue to improve what we offer anglers at all levels."

    To celebrate Chapman’s signing, MESU is planning a product giveaway through its Facebook page. To find out more, click here.

  • Howell boat raffle concludes next month

    Howell boat raffle concludes next month

    For the second straight year, Bassmaster Elite Series angler Randy Howell is raffling off his tournament boat, with proceeds going to King's Home for abused, neglected, abandoned and homeless children and teens. The winning ticket will be drawn Nov. 18 at an event in Chelsea, Ala.

    Every donation of $100 results in one entry into the drawing for the Triton/Mercury rig (a $1,000 donation garners 10 entries). Nov. 16 is the final day to enter.

    To learn more about the raffle and King's Home, click here.

  • Lucas back with Lamiglas

    Lucas back with Lamiglas

    FLW Tour pro Justin Lucas has has rejoined the Lamiglas pro staff.

    "When I started fishing tournaments in my teenage years, my first sponsor was Lamiglas rods," he said. "I loved their rods then and I think they are even better now. I couldn't be more pleased to be associated with one of the best rod manufacturers in the world and I can't wait until anglers get to see these new lines of rods."

    Said Lamiglas national sales manager John Posey: "Just like Justin Lucas is a major part of the future of bass tournament fishing, we believe these rods are the future for bass rods. We knew Justin had a future in the tournament business many years ago and we are very excited to work with him again. Justin is a great angler, but what impresses us the most about him is the passion he has for the sport. He continuously reaches out to fans and other anglers to educate and improve their fishing."

  • Snapcast: Weather is Tulsa's lone X-factor

    I'm sort of pessimistic by nature, and the first thought that enters my head when I hear of any plan to do anything is: Okay, what's the worst-case scenario here? That's followed shortly thereafter by: What are the most dire consequences possible if the worst-case scenario plays out.

    After spending most of last week in Oklahoma, I have to credit B.A.S.S. with a gutsy call to stage the 2013 Bassmaster Classic at Grand Lake. Due to the potential for logistical nightmares created by bad weather, it's undoubtedly the organization's riskiest play involving the sport's premier event since the derby became a late-winter affair in 2006.

    The weather in the greater Tulsa area during the third week of February might be downright peachy and everything could come off without a hitch. Or, being that far north on the latitudinal scale, conditions could be extremely nasty and big problems could arise.

    In February 2011, the weather station at the Tulsa International Airport recorded 23 inches of snow, including more than a foot in a single 24-hour period. The inch count for the second month also reached double digits in 2003. Only twice in the past decade has the city gone the entire month without snow.

    It's every inch of 90 miles from the small hamlet of Grove, where Classic competitors will launch their boats out of a brand new facility, to the BOK Center in Tulsa (site of the daily weigh-ins). If Interstate 44 is littered with snow or ice, that trip could become extremely treacherous (or, in the worst case, impossible). Alternate routes exist, but they might not be any more feasible.

    There's also a bunch of ripped-up highway accompanied by a plethora of orange cones, barrels and detour signs in and around the city right now. They'll create difficulties if they're still prevalent come February.

    Tulsa itself seems more than ready to host the event. The business community and the local media are solidly behind it and there's little doubt that the many fishing fans in that region will turn out in big numbers. The gleaming, ultra-modern BOK Center will be a splendid weigh-in venue.

    Throw in the potential for 25-pound sacks from Grand, and everything surrounding the whole deal is a slam-dunk – except for the weather. All we can do is hope that that final puzzle piece drops into place.

    But until it does, it'll cast a very large shadow.

    ––John Johnson
    ––BassFan Senior Editor

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

  • G. Loomis event in KY

    BassFans in the Lexington, Ky., area will have an opportunity Thursday to check out the introduction of the new lineup of G. Loomis GLX jig and worm casting and spinning rods as well as the new ShakyHead rods at Backwater Outfitters.

    Bassmaster stage emcee Dave Mercer, along with Bassmaster TV analyst Mark Zona and Elite Series pro Jonathon VanDam, will be on hand for the event, which runs from 5 to 8:30 p.m. A casting and pitching tournament will take place in the store parking lot and a rod auction will be held to benefit Children’s Miracle Network before a Q&A session with Zona and VanDam.

    The store is located at 1066 New Circle Road in Lexington. For additional details, check out the Backwater Outfitters Facebook page.

  • Big Bite Lookback – Rayburn

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

    John Cox wasn’t planning to fish the Sam Rayburn Reservoir FLW Tour Open. The Floridian missed the money cut at Wheeler Lake last month and wasn’t going to commit another $4,000 to entry fees and make the drive to Texas. Despite leaving Wheeler in 4th place in the Open points, he was willing to let a potential berth in next year’s Forrest Wood Cup slip away.

    That’s when Cox’s friend, Billy Taylor, intervened and floated his pal a loan for the entry fees.

    “He was pretty confident I was going to do well I guess,” Cox said.

    Cox didn’t let his friend down, nailing down an 11th-place finish with 37-05 and clinching a berth in next year’s Cup by closing the year 2nd in Open points.

    “That was the one main thing I wanted,” he said of next year’s Cup at the Red River. “I really feel like I have a shot at a Top-5 finish. That’d be a amazing. It’s like Lake Monroe by my house. You can catch them in 2 feet. No one really knows where they’re going to be.”

    At Rayburn, he tried to dial in an offshore cranking pattern, but the fish had fled the areas he was in so he focused his efforts on nearby grass mats and pads.

    “The first day I decided to start deep and the fish weren’t there,” he said. “I went to the next patch of grass closest to it. I hadn’t gotten a bite there in practice, but I had a feeling that maybe they’d swam that way.”

    His senses were correct and he put together consecutive 14-pound days to open the tournament and make the weekend in 9th.

    “I was flipping the outside edge of the grass,” he said. “Where it was matted out, it was 5 feet and the scattered clumps were about 8 feet deep. They seemed to be in the thicker parts of the grass.”

    While he caught a 5-pounder on a frog on day 1, he missed a couple opportunities to have a much better day.

    “I got my one lucky bite, but lost a big one there in the morning and another big frog fish later,” he said. “There were some giants in there.

    “I think a lot of people were missing them. The grass is so deep there. You’d drop down in it and you’re letting your bait fall and you’re thinking it’ll go down 8 feet and then all of a sudden it keeps going. By the time you click it over and set the hook and the line cuts through the grass, it’s already 10 feet out in the front of the boat and you’ve missed them. I heard that happened to a lot of people.

    “I just didn’t have bites,” he continued. “The opportunities I had were on the first 2 days to have been up there a little bit farther. The third day was just tough on me because I wanted to stay in the area where I had the bigger bites because of the wind. I knew if I could get two of those bites in the boat, I’d be right there where I needed to be. I just never got them. It wasn’t meant to be.”

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

  • Rankings: Dudley's lead at 8 1/2

    Rankings: Dudley's lead at 8 1/2

    David Dudley took over the top spot in the BassFan World Rankings in May, and he'll hold that position through the offseason. His lead over Brent Chapman, which was once more than 20 points, is down to 8 1/2, and former No. 1 Bryan Thrift will also be within striking distance when the 2013 season gets under way in February.

    To see the complete final list for 2012, click here.

  • Auten's team wins Bonus Bucks event

    Auten's team wins Bonus Bucks event

    FLW Tour pro Todd Auten teamed up with Pat Tierney to win the inaugural Toyota Trucks Bonus Bucks Owners Tournament last weekend at North Carolina's Lake Norman as their 13-01 sack outdistanced the rest of the 75-angler field by 2 1/4 pounds.

    “I was just hunting and pecking all day,” said Auten, a resident of Lake Wylie, S.C. “The fish were scattered. You couldn’t pin them down, so you just had to fish the whole area once you found a good spot.”

    The team fished docks and brush piles in main-channel pockets in the upper and midsection of the lake. They ran only 20 to 30 minutes from the launch and stayed in the same general area all day.

    “We fished a lot of good stuff and never got a bite,” said Tierney. “It was really hard out there.”

    Auten and Tierney were among the 32 boats that brought in a five-fish limit, while 17 teams zeroed. Many of the anglers had a hard time catching fish that measured at least14 inches, and several – including the winners – complained of missed fish and breakoffs.

    Auten and Tierney caught their two biggest bass on a white homemade buzzbait. The other three came on a Shooter jig with a green-pumpkin Zoom Super Chunk or a shaky-head rig with a 4-inch Zoom Finesse Worm (green-pumpkin).

    The winning team took home a check for $5,000. Auten’s cash winnings didn’t stop with his 1st-place prize – he also picked up a $500 "Weigh-to-Win" bonus because of his membership in the BoatUS Anlger-supported program.

    Auten and Tierney also tied for the big-bass award, with a 4-02. Shane Lineberger and Hank Cherry, who came in 3rd with 10-10, caught the other big fish. The 2nd-place team of Joel Ross and Jerry Goble brought in a limit weighing 10-13.

    The event required no entry fee. Instead, competitors simply had to be a participant in the Toyota Trucks Bonus Bucks program.

    “This is a great deal here,” said Auten. “You don’t get the opportunity to fish free hardly ever.”

    Said Toyota rep Alan McGuckin: “This is our way of thanking the working guy for buying the truck. This has really been great.”

  • OHI taking online registration

    OHI taking online registration

    Outdoor Heritage, Inc. (OHI), the new tournament organization that recently announced the establishment of Western pro-am and team tournament trails, has launched a website allowing interested anglers to register or place deposits for the upcoming season. The website (www.OutdoorHeritageInc.com) also contains sample payback schedules and tournament rules.

    OHI has formed an Angler Advisory Board to provide guidance with future tournament policies, procedures and decisions. The board consists of over two dozen anglers, including past U.S. Open Champions John Murray and Mike Folkestad.

    Those interested in learning more about OHI tournaments are encouraged to visit the website or the organization's Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/OutdoorHeritageInc). Anglers are also invited to submit questions to Jim Markham at jmarkham@outdoorheritageinc.com.

  • MLF adds Ram Truck to sponsor list

    MLF adds Ram Truck to sponsor list

    The Ram Truck brand has become the latest major company to sponsor Major League Fishing.

    “We couldn’t be more pleased to bring one of the great names in trucks on board at Major League Fishing,” said commissioner Don Rucks. “Ram trucks are everywhere at fishing tournaments all over the country, and we believe their brand is a natural fit for Major League Fishing.”

    Said Ram president and CEO Fred Diaz: "Ram trucks are designed to meet the towing capabilities and durability that anglers demand. We know anglers are passionate about their trucks and loyal to the sport’s sponsors. That is why there is a Ram truck to fit every need and lifestyle and why we are proud to sponsor Jack Link’s Major League Fishing.”

  • Sunline Strong Performer – Rayburn

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

    Ray Hanselman is a full-time guide at Lake Amistad and was thrilled about the opportunity to fish last week’s FLW Tour Open at Sam Rayburn Reservoir, another Texas lake known for its big-fish potential.

    While he didn’t collide with any giants, he recovered from a sluggish first day that saw him come in with a limit for 8-07, which put him in 62nd place. He changed the sequence of his fishing spots on day 2 and his stringer nearly doubled to 16-09, helping him to climb 45 spots to 17th place. He jumped another seven slots on day 3 with 12-07 and wound up finishing 10th in his first tour-level tournament with 46-05.

    “I’m happy,” he said. “I wish they’d have these Opens more. I can compete with these guys. I’ve fished the EverStarts and some B.A.S.S. Opens when I can. I wish I could fish more, but I can’t take off that much time from my business because if I leave my customers hanging, they’re going to go fish with somebody else.”

    The first 3 days of the tournament, he picked up a good bite throwing an oversized topwater bait over shallow water. He’d then focus the bulk of his fishing time around the outside edges of grass mats. He had a productive 100-yard stretch where the bottom dropped sharply from 6 feet under the mat to 9 or 10 feet. He flipped a beaver-style bait in there and roped close to 50 fish during the tournament.

    “There were some other guys fishing it, but they were fishing more of the edge and the fish seemed to be more back in it a little bit,” he said. “I don’t know if it was due to the pressure of the boats. They weren’t holding to the edge. They were back in it a ways. I did that the first day. My timing was bad. I left the area too early and tried to do some other things and ended up with what I had. I caught a lot of fish, but the big ones weren’t there.

    “It seemed like they moved in or turned on in the afternoon the first 3 days. The last day, with the weather change, they were active and moving around all day. I’m happy. I wish I’d done a few things different. I’d found some deep stuff, but it’s hard to leave fish that are biting to go do that. I went out there on the last day and caught an upgrade, but then went back to the grass.”

    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.

  • TTBC broadcast set for Nov. 11

    TTBC broadcast set for Nov. 11

    The hour-long broadcast of the 2012 Toyota Texas Bass Classic will debut at 9 a.m. EST on Nov. 11 on the NBC Sports Network. There will also be one weekday re-broadcast of the program, which will be announced at a later date.

    The tournament, which took place Sept. 28-30 at Lake Conroe, was won by Bryan Thrift.

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

    TTBC officials also announced that the ShareLunker Club Tournament, which offers anglers a chance to win $100,000, is still open for interested participants. The competition runs through Oct. 21.

    Only pre-registered members will be eligible to win and a $100 fee is required to register. Portions of the proceeds will benefit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s youth outreach programs.

    For more details and a downloadable registration form, click here.

  • Zeko Shoes ties up Horton

    Zeko Shoes ties up Horton

    Zeko Shoes announced recently that it's added Alabama Bassmaster Elite Series angler Tim Horton to its pro staff.

    "I look forward to promoting Zeko Shoes to the fishing market," Horton said. "I've used the shoes all fall and they are ideal for boating and fishing. They dry quicker than any shoe I've ever worn."

    Said Zeko's Mike Cox: "We here at Zeko are excited to have Timmy Horton on our pro staff and we look forward to a new and exciting year."

  • Ex-ShareLunker manager honored

    Ex-ShareLunker manager honored

    David L. Campbell, a retired employee of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and long-time manager of TPWD’s ShareLunker program, will be inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, Wis., in recognition of his contributions to the sport and heritage of freshwater fishing.

    Campbell worked for TPWD for 46 years, retiring at the end of March 2012. He was inducted into the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in 2011.

    He was associated with the ShareLunker program since its beginning. He picked up the first fish entered into the program in 1986 and most of the more than 500 entered since.

    As manager of the Tyler Fish Hatchery, Campbell was instrumental in the introduction of Florida largemouth bass into Texas and helped stock fish into almost every public reservoir in the state.

    Through his years of experience of caring for trophy largemouth bass, Campbell contributed a great deal to the knowledge of how best to care for big fish and communicated this information to the public through countless interviews with media from newspapers, magazines, radio and television.

  • Can you count to 10(XD)?

    Can you count to 10(XD)?

    For a product that’s not scheduled to have its public unveiling for another 4 months, Phil Marks sure did a bang-up marketing job for the Strike King Series 10XD crankbait at the Sam Rayburn Reservoir FLW Tour Open last week.

    While he caught just four of his weigh fish on the bait during the event, it accounted for four of his biggest bass, including an 8-pounder on Sunday when he lapped the field with a 32-12 stringer that gave him an 82-00 total and propelled him to a 16-plus pound victory over fellow Texan Keith Combs.

    “I’d have loved to have caught all 20 on it because if I’d have caught 20 on it, I’d have weighed, I don’t know, a lot, because you don’t catch any little ones on it,” said Marks, who works for Strike King in product development and sales.

    The genesis of the bait (shown to right above a Series 6XD) dates back to last year and, in an ironic twist, Combs was the first angler to be given a prototype to test in the field not long after signing on as a member of Strike King’s pro staff. He was also given strict orders to not show it to anyone or mention its existence, but to report back with how it fished and how deep it got, etc. Combs took it to Falcon Lake and caught an 8-pounder on his first cast.

    “You can catch them on anything at Falcon, but he said it was incredible,” Marks said. “There were places he knew had fish but he couldn’t bit on with the 6XD. He’d throw the 10XD in there and they’d start crushing it and it’d fire up the school. He was real impressed with it.”

    The bait is based off the frame of the 5XD and will dive to 25 feet on 15-pound fluorocarbon line.

    “We wanted it to displace a lot of water and make a lot of noise,” Marks said. “It has a little wider wobble and it dives hard. For as big of a bait as it is, it doesn’t pull too terribly bad. There are other deep divers out there that don’t sell particularly well because they’re so hard to fish and you can’t pull them real fast. The key is to work those baits erratically and work them fast. I was burning that thing.”

    Initially, Marks was inclined to keep talk of the bait under wraps this week, but once FLW cameras caught footage of him catching giant Rayburn bass with it, he got the blessing of Strike King president John Barns to laud its performance publicly. It’ll have its official public unveiling the Bassmaster Classic in February at Grand Lake.

    “We had the final prototypes done last December and had the body and weighting and production tool done this past June,” Marks said. “We couldn’t have had it ready for ICAST this year because we hadn’t done the final testing on it.

    “Really, we kept it quiet because we didn’t want it knocked off, quite frankly. We wanted to make sure we were first to market with it and we will be. What better time to launch it than having a Strike King employee win a major tournament with it?”

    More details about Marks' pattern will be published soon.

  • Shimano breaks ground on addition

    Shimano breaks ground on addition

    Shimano American Corporation today broke ground on a 99,000-square-foot addition to its current 102,000-square-foot Ladson, S.C., distribution center and the plan is for the project to be completed by August 2013. The new space will better allow Shimano to meet its growing distribution needs across all of its brands.

    “Taking our original investment in 2003 in a 25,000-square-foot distribution center in Ladson’s Benchmark Industrial Park to another level again, this a needed positive step in order to increase services to our business partners up and down the East Coast, and throughout the Midwest and Southern states,” said Dave Pfeiffer, president of Shimano American Corp. “We look forward to our South Carolina facility playing a larger role in Shimano’s operations in the U.S., and we appreciate the cooperation we’ve received from local, regional and state agencies in our expansion plans.”

    The renovated facility will also include nearly 3,000 square feet of new office space, according to Allen Johnston, Shimano’s senior manager of operations. He noted that along with Shimano bicycle components and fishing tackle, the company distributes its G. Loomis fishing rods and PowerPro fishing line from the Ladson facility. When the improvements are complete, Shimano will add the distribution of its Pearl Izumi technical cycling and running products, and also Jackall fishing lures, to the facility.

  • '13 Weekend Series schedule released

    '13 Weekend Series schedule released

    The schedule and details for the 2013 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series were released Wednesday. The structure is unchanged from this year with 20 divisions offering four 1-day Saturday events followed by a 2-day divisional championship. Anglers then advance through four separate regional championships to reach the Weekend Series championship, which will be at Old Hickory Lake Nov. 6-9, 2013.

    The winner of the Weekend Series championship earns a berth into the 2014 Bassmaster Classic.

    Here's a quick look at the venues for the regional qualifiers:

    > Lake Hartwell – Oct. 4-5, 2013 (Divisions: Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama South, Florida, East Tennessee)

    > Neely Henry – Oct. 4-5, 2013 (Divisions: North Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Louisiana, Central Tennessee)

    > Ft. Gibson Lake – Oct. 4-5, 2013 (Divisions: Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas East and Texas Southeast)

    > James River – Oct. 11-12, 2013 (Divisions: Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia)

    To check out the complete schedule and other details, click here.

  • FLW officials visit Shreveport/Bossier City

    The Shreveport (La.) Times caught up with FLW tournament director Bill Taylor on Monday after he and FLW operations director Mark Dorn toured the three facilities (marina, arena and convention center) that will be used when the Forrest Wood Cup comes to the Red River next August. This week’s Sam Rayburn Reservoir FLW Tour Open, based out of Zavalla, Texas, is less than a 3-hour drive from Shreveport.

    To read the report, which includes a video interview with Taylor, click here.

  • World Series of Bass show debuts this week

    World Series of Bass show debuts this week

    The reality fishing show “World Series of Bass, The Dream” makes its debut Thursday, Oct. 11 at 10:30 a.m. EST on NBC Sports Network, kicking off a 13-week run for the show that will serve as a lead in to a series of tournaments next year that will culminate in a no-entry fee championship called the Main Event in October 2013.

    The dates and locations of the three regional qualifier tournaments in 2013 will also be announced tomorrow in conjunction with the debut of the reality show.

    Each week's episode will provide a different look at how tournament bass anglers think, prepare and react to the constantly changing conditions they encounter during pursuit of their favorite activity. Included in the program are a behind-the-scenes look at tournament bass fishing in general, a series of fishing skill challenges, and a peek into the planning for next year's World Series of Bass tournaments.

    Among the show's participants are some of the country's top pro bass anglers, including Elite Series pros Mike McClelland, James Niggemeyer, Jared Lintner and Brandon Card. The show also involves anglers from other pro levels and collegiate and amateur fishing programs who are following their dreams to make it big in professional bass fishing.

    "Right from the start with episode one, viewers get a look into the minds of those who are already successful in competitive fishing - guys like McClelland and Niggemeyer," said Joe Habib, WSOBASS founder. "These anglers leave no doubt as to their skills, passion and competitive spirit when on the water. Five episodes later, we start showing a different group of fishermen, those who are working hard to climb to that next level of competition. Each show is a program in itself, where emotions are worn on sleeves, and everyone has the same common goal of winning The Dream."

    The eight anglers participating in the latter episodes were selected through a national video application and selection process. The anglers chosen were James Biggs, Brandon Dickenson, and Allison Shaw of Texas; Ken Mah and Travis Moran from California; Kentucky's Tyler Moberly; Matt Pangrac of Oklahoma; and Alabama's Ryan Salzman.

    "It's hard to describe the passion that fuels the love for bass fishing, but each of our eight qualifiers did an amazing job in their application videos and also on The Dream. You can watch their videos on our World Series of Bass web site, but you have to watch our show to see how it all unfolds as Mike McClelland and James Biggs secure the first two entries into the WSOBASS tourneys for next year," Habib added.

    Habib and Sondra Rankin host the new weekly TV program. Rankin, from Paducah, Ky., has experience as both a professional bass angler and television host. She and Habib bring a refreshing perspective to competitive bass fishing that really is more about living the dream than it is having a lucrative career.

    "As in any sport, only a select few ever hit it big at highest level, but our World Series of Bass program allows anglers of all skill levels to compete on a level playing field," Habib said. "One pro and one amateur will advance from our television series with a free entry worth $10,000 to compete in our WSOBASS qualifiers. The individual who ultimately wins our championship tournament will indeed have the kind of payday that would allow him or her to pursue the pro fishing dream."

    WSOBASS has three regional qualifying events planned for 2013, each with more than 100 openings for anglers and requiring a $10,000 entry fee. The top 35 anglers from each full-field tournament will make the money cut, earning $15,000 and an invitation to compete in the no-entry-fee WSOBASS Main Event.

    The Main Event is a televised championship in which the 105 anglers who advance from the qualifiers come together and compete for a total purse of $3 million and its payouts of $600,000 for first place, $150,000 for second and $100,000 for third. The cash prize amounts are based on 100 percent payback from the three qualifiers having full-field participation of 100 anglers each.

    All three regional qualifying events and the Main Event will be nationally televised on NBC Sports Network, The Pursuit Channel and Time Warner's Texas Channel. "The Dream" reality show also will air on Time Warner's Texas Channel beginning next week. The show will run again on the Texas Channel and the Pursuit Channel in the first and second quarters of 2013.

    For more information on the reality show, the anglers participating and WSOBASS tournaments, click here.

  • Go to school with the Hibdons

    Go to school with the Hibdons

    The Hibdon family name has been synonymous with bass fishing for decades. Whether winning premier events at the highest level of tournament fishing or developing techniques that put more and bigger fish in the boat, there’s no mistaking the impact the Hibdons have had on bass fishing.

    Now, they’re offering up the chance to learn the family secrets when it comes to fishing. The Hibdon’s School of Fishing will offer its first course “Fishing 101” on Oct. 20-21 at the Lake House Inn in Laurie, Mo.

    “For years, people have been asking us to teach something like this,” said Guido Hibdon, winner of the 1998 Bassmaster Classic and member of the Professional Bass Fishing Hall of Fame. “They said that there must be something to what we’re doing for there to be so many good fisherman in one family. People want to know what we do and how we do it. This class is a shortcut to learning the things that have brought us a lot of success over the years, things that will make anyone a better angler.”
 


    Students will take part in round-table lectures given by three generations of Hibdons – Guido, Dion and Payden. Among the topics that’ll be covered:

    > How to break down lakes and tidal rivers
    > Map study
    > Patterning lakes
    > Fishing boat docks
    > Acquatic vegetation
    > Cold fronts
    > Using soft plastics
    > Winning tournament techniques
    > Sponsorships/business side of fishing

    Tuitition for the 2-day course is $500 and lodging options are also available. To learn more about the event, call (813) 444-2366 or click here.

  • Dragging plastics was key for Ferguson

    Dragging plastics was key for Ferguson

    Ritter Ferguson is batting 1.000 in EverStart Series events.

    He led wire-to-wire in winning the Lake of the Pines Texas EverStart Series last week and he did it by keying on an out-of-the-way point near some timber as well as school fish. To read how the Diana, Texas, native led start to finish in his EverStart debut, click here.

  • B.A.S.S. adds Wild Card event in 2013

    B.A.S.S. adds Wild Card event in 2013

    Anglers who fail to qualify for the 2014 Bassmaster Classic will have one last shot at it next year.

    B.A.S.S. announced today it will host the Bassmaster Classic Wild Card, a 3-day tournament scheduled for Dec. 5-7, 2013 at a yet-to-be-announced fishery. The event will give 175 anglers the chance to compete for one last berth in the following year’s Classic.

    The event format will follow that of a Bassmaster Open, with the full field fishing the first 2 days and the Top 12 advancing to the final day. The winner will clinch a berth in the Classic while the rest of the Top 30 finishers will receive a cash prize of no less than $2,000.

    The entry fee will be $2,000 and priority entry will be given to Elite Series pros who didn’t make the Classic cut via Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings or an Elite event win. Additional slots will be filled by Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens pros who entered and paid for all three events in the respective circuits, until the 175-angler field is full.

    B.A.S.S. Senior Tournament Director Trip Weldon is looking forward to the shootout, which he anticipates being a heavyweight slugfest.

    “I will say this: The Wild Card will be held on a phenomenal fishery,” he said. “It’s going to be entirely possible to make up a lot of ground and come back from a long way down the standings. Since there are no points involved and there’s a lot at stake, this event is kind of like the Classic itself – you let it all hang out and go for the glory.”

  • Ron Weber dies

    Ron Weber, the man who built the company responsible for introducting Rapala lures to U.S. anglers died late last week, according a report in the Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune. He was 85. Weber built the company that would later become Normark Rapala Group. The cause of death was not immediately known. He is surived by his wife, Mary Ann.

    Weber’s death comes just 4 months after the death of Ray Ostrom, who became Weber’s business partner after Weber happened upon some Rapala baits at Ostrom’s sporting goods store in Minneapolis in the late 1950s. The two partnered to bring Rapala’s Finnish-made products to the American market for the next several decades.

    To read more about Weber’s life and philanthropy, click here.

  • Classic field filling up

    Classic field filling up

    With the conclusion of the Bassmaster Opens schedule last weekend at Lewis Smith Lake in Alabama, the field for the 2013 Bassmaster Classic is nearly set.

    As of today, 46 anglers are locked in with seven spots remaining to be filled. The six division champions from the upcoming Federation Nation Championship, set for Oct. 25-27 at Wheeler Lake in Decatur, Ala., as well as the winner of the Bassmaster Weekend Series Championship at Sam Rayburn Reservoir on Nov. 7-10, will claim those.

    Hank Cherry secured the final win-and-you’re-in slot through the Opens by virtue of his 1-ounce triumph at Smith Lake over Craig Daniel. Additionally, all of the multiple-qualifier berths have been claimed, as Jared Lintner will be the last man in via the Elite Series points. The spot that would’ve gone to Jason Christie for his Ft. Gibson Central Open win will remain unfilled because he didn’t fish all three Central Opens.

    Chris Lane and Brent Chapman were triple qualifiers as Lane won the Harris Chain Southern Open, the Classic and finished among the Top 28 in Elite Series points. Chapman won the Lewisville Lake Central Open, the Toledo Bend Elite Series and the Toyota Tundra B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year (AOY) title. Todd Faircloth was the other multiple qualifier based on his Mississippi River Elite Series win and Top-5 finish in AOY points.

    The five additional berths went to Elite Series rookie Cliff Prince, Jason Quinn, Mike Iaconelli, Mike McClelland and Lintner based on their placement in Elite Series points.

    Here’s a snapshot of who’s slated to compete (and how each qualified) at Grand Lake in Grove, Okla., on Feb. 22-24, 2013:

    > Alton Jones – St. Johns River Elite Series winner
    > Ish Monroe – Lake Okeechobee Elite Series winner
    > Brandon Palaniuk – Bull Shoals Lake Elite Series winner
    > Jeremy Starks – Douglas Lake Elite Series winner
    > Todd Faircloth – Mississippi River Elite Series winner
    > Jonathon VanDam – Lake Michigan Elite Series winner
    > Boyd Duckett – Oneida Lake Elite Series winner
    > Chris Lane – Harris Chain Southern Open winner
    > Tracy Adams – Lake Norman Southern Open winner
    > Hank Cherry – Lewis Smith Lake Southern Open winner
    > Brent Chapman – Lewisville Lake Central Open winner
    > Casey Scanlon – Table Rock Lake Central Open winner
    > Jason Christie – Detroit River Northern Open winner
    > Joshua Wagy – James River Northern Open winner
    > Pete Gluszek – Cayuga Lake Northern Open winner
    > Matt Lee – College winner
    > Ott DeFoe – Elite Series points
    > Terry Scroggins – Elite Series points
    > Randy Howell – Elite Series points
    > Matt Herren – Elite Series points
    > Kevin VanDam – Elite Series points
    > Edwin Evers – Elite Series points
    > Bill Lowen – Elite Series points
    > Aaron Martens – Elite Series points
    > Skeet Reese – Elite Series points
    > Bobby Lane – Elite Series points
    > Greg Hackney – Elite Series points
    > David Walker – Elite Series points
    > Dean Rojas – Elite Series points
    > Nate Wellman – Elite Series points
    > Cliff Pace – Elite Series points
    > John Crews, Jr. – Elite Series points
    > Mark Davis – Elite Series points
    > Yusuke Miyazaki – Elite Series points
    > Brandon Card – Elite Series points
    > Gerald Swindle – Elite Series points
    > Takahiro Omori – Elite Series points
    > Shaw Grigsby – Elite Series points
    > Marty Robinson – Elite Series points
    > Tommy Biffle – Elite Series points
    > Russ Lane – Elite Series points
    > Cliff Prince – Elite Series points
    > Jason Quinn – Elite Series points
    > Mike Iaconelli – Elite Series points
    > Mike McClelland – Elite Series points
    > Jared Lintner – Elite Series points

  • Cherry 'open' to fishing Elites

    Thanks to his win at last week’s Lewis Smith Lake Bassmaster Southern Open, Hank Cherry will participate in his first Bassmaster Classic next February. That has him excited beyond belief.

    Another perk of his victory was it moved him into 4th place in points in the Southern Open division, meaning he’s guaranteed a spot in the Bassmaster Elite Series in 2013 if he wants it (the Top 5 earn invites). The Maiden, N.C., resident who fished the FLW Tour in 2007 and 2008, told BassFan on Monday that he’s very much open to joining the Elites next year if he can put together enough sponsorship support.

    “Everybody I know who knows somebody started working on that right after I found out that I’d qualified through the points,” he said. “They know how important it is and it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. We’re going to try to give it a run if we can round up enough sponsor money and get it right.

    “I’m 110 percent open to it. I told everyone I don’t care – it can be cat food or Tampax. If someone wants to pay to wrap my truck and boat, we’ll do it.”

    Details of Cherry's winning pattern will be published Wednesday.

  • Triton extending aluminum production

    Triton Boats announced this week that it will soon begin manufacturing two new series of aluminum boats. The newest line of X Series and Utility Series aluminum boats will be manufactured in a new dedicated facility in Flippin, Ark.

    Initially, three Triton X Series models and four Triton Utility Series models will be built. They’re designed to reach a wide variety of anglers and hunters with a broader line of aluminum models to follow. Production is expected to begin during the fourth quarter of 2012. 
 


    “The decision to extend our reach in aluminum boats was simply a matter of listening to our customers, who were looking for an alternative to the current market offerings,” said Triton founder Earl Bentz. “We continually strive to offer our customers a top-of-the-line aluminum boat. Triton aluminum boats have been designed to exceed boating industry standards, and we look forward to giving our customers the same unparalleled stability and performance that they have come to rely upon with all of our boats.” 


    To find out more about the new models, click here.

  • Clausen, Yelas on the hunt at Rayburn

    Luke Clausen had no trouble finding and catching fish today as practice got underway for the Sam Rayburn FLW Tour Open. The issue he ran into was triggering the quality fish to bite. He thinks a recent cold snap may have the fish in a funk. Meanwhile, this week is a bit of a homecoming for Jay Yelas, who also caught plenty of fish – just not the right ones. To read their full day-1 practice recaps, click here to Go On Tour With BassFan Big Sticks.

  • Cherry wins by an ounce at Smith

    Cherry wins by an ounce at Smith

    North Carolina's Hank Cherry earned a berth in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic today as he won the Lewis Smith Lake Bassmaster Southern Open in Leeds, Ala. by a single ounce over local stalwart Craig Daniel. His 11-15 stringer today gave him a 3-day total of 38-13.

    Cherry, a former FLW Tour pro, also earned an invitation to fish the Bassmaster Elite Series next year with a 4th-place finish in the final points standings. Day-1 leader Kevin Hawk, the former Forrest Wood Cup champion who ended up 4th in the tournament, captured the points title.

    Cherry threw a 3 1/2-inch swimbait on 5-pound Sunline FC Sniper fluorocarbon line. “You sometimes have to go that light to make a long enough cast to avoid spooking the fish," he said.

    Full details of his winning pattern will be published soon.

    Here are the totals for the 12 anglers who competed today.

    1. Hank Cherry: 38-13
    2. Craig Daniel: 38-12
    3. Adam Hock: 38-01
    4. Kevin Hawk: 37-13
    5. David Walker: 37-13
    6. Brent Crow: 33-11
    7. Gerald Swindle: 32-09
    8. Andy Montgomery: 31-14
    9. Jason Williamson: 31-07
    10. Chris Lane: 29-11
    11. Greg Vinson: 29-04
    12. Drew Benton: 22-14

  • Ferguson closes out wire-to-wire win

    Ferguson closes out wire-to-wire win

    Ritter Ferguson weighed a 13-04 sack today to finish off a wire-to-wire victory at the Lake of the Pines Texas EverStart. His 46-09 3-day total left him 2 1/2 pounds in front of runner-up John Tanner.

    "The good Lord was shining down on me this week and made everything happen,” he said. “Lake of the Pines is known for schooling fish and I was lucky enough to find five or six good schools of fish during practice that held out for me all week."

    He threw a Zoom Brush Hog today and also caught fish on a Texas-rigged Zoom Trick Worm earlier in the week. Details of his winning pattern will be published soon.

    Below are the final totals for the Top 10:

    1. Ritter Ferguson: 46-09
    2. John Tanner: 44-01
    3. Harold Allen: 43-14
    4. Kris Wilson: 42-12
    5. Brian Clark: 39-00
    6. Austin Terry: 36-00
    7. Stewart Herndon: 33-11
    8. Joe Don Setina: 33-03
    9. Russell Cecil: 29-12
    10. Bert Thompson: 26-09

  • Daniel takes over top slot at Smith

    Daniel takes over top slot at Smith

    Longtime Alabama stalwart Craig Daniel caught a 13-11 sack today to move to the top of the standings at the Smith Lake Bassmaster Southern Open with a 2-day total of 27-02. He'll carry a lead of 4 ounces over North Carolina's Hank Cherry into the final day.

    Cherry bagged 11-05 for a 26-14 total. Three other anglers – day-1 leader Kevin Hawk, Brent Crow and Gerald Swindle – are all within a pound and a half of the lead.

    Here are the totals for the 12 anglers who'll be back on the water for the final day:

    1. Craig Daniel: 27-02
    2. Hank Cherry: 26-14
    3. Kevin Hawk: 26-12
    4. Brent Crow: 25-15
    5. Gerald Swindle: 25-12
    6. Adam Hock: 23-05
    7. Chris Lane: 23-04
    8. Drew Benton: 22-14
    9. Andy Montgomery 22-13
    10. Greg Vinson: 22-12
    11. David Walker: 21-09
    12. Jason Williamson: 21-08

  • Ferguson boosts EverStart edge

    Ferguson boosts EverStart edge

    Ritter Ferguson increased his lead to slightly more than 3 pounds today at the Lake of the Pines Texas EverStart with a 13-11 stringer that gave him a 2-day total of 33-05. He has a lead of 2-02 over 2nd-place Joe Don Setina, with former Bassmaster Elite Series pro Brian Clark another pound back.

    Here are the totals for the 10 anglers who advanced to the final day:

    1. Ritter Ferguson: 33-05
    2. Joe Don Setina: 30-03
    3. Brian Clark: 29-03
    4. Kris Wilson: 28-04
    5. Austin Terry: 27-14
    6. Russell Cecil: 27-13
    7. Harold Allen: 26-08
    8. John Tanner: 25-06
    9. Stewart Herndon: 25-02
    10. Bert Thompson: 24-15

  • All Star gets specific

    <b><font color=maroon>All Star gets specific</font></b>

    All Star has produced a new line of micro-guide rods with technique-specific lengths and actions to fit any situation. Twelve casting and five spinning models are included.

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

  • Tietje adds two

    Tietje adds two

    Louisiana's Dennis Tietje announced that he's acquired two new sponsors for his return to the Bassmaster Elite Series in 2013 – Granger Chevrolet and Gopher Industrial, both based in Orange, Texas (site of the season's first event at the Sabine River).

    "When they announced this exciting news for Orange, we knew that we had to participate and do something huge" said Granger Chevrolet owner Dean Granger. "We are so excited about the opportunity Gopher Industrial has given us by allowing us to join with them in sponsoring a Louisiana native in this nationally known series."

    "We have worked with Al and Dean Granger on various Orange County Chamber events the past few years, and it is great that we are able to take our passion for our community to the next level and get Orange, Texas national recognition through this sponsorship," said Gopher co-owner David Jones.

    Said Tietje: "It's going to be awesome to kick off the 2013 Elite Series here in Orange! Not only is it close to home, but having a hometown crowd behind you is so powerful! This also gives us a chance to show the world how hard the community of Orange has worked to roll out the red carpet for this event."

  • Chapman gets the keys – and another win

    Chapman gets the keys – and another win

    Life just keeps getting better for Brent Chapman.

    The Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of the Year took time out of his ultra-busy schedule this past Monday to attend the city council meeting in his hometown of Lake Quivira, Kan. Little did he know that Mayor Wayne Hidalgo would be presenting him with the keys to the city in recognition of his brilliant season on the water.

    “It was really a show of support by the community I live in,” Chapman told BassFan. “It’s been truly amazing the amount of well wishes I’ve received. It’s just another way of my community to say. ‘Congratulations.’

    “It was really a surprise. I went to the meeting and was just expecting them to say, ‘Congrats.’ It was just a nice token of appreciation. I joked with them, ‘Does this mean I don’t have to pay our dues or property taxes for a year?’ It was just an awesome deal.”

    From there, he was off to Denver for the Lazer TroKar Hook Summit where he did some promotional work for the hook maker with other pro staffers. At previous Eagle Claw gatherings, the conversation always seemed to meander to hunting, so the pros were asked to bring their bows along this week.

    Arrangements were made for a target-shooting competition among some of the anglers – Chapman, Shaw Grigsby, saltwater pro Blair Wiggins and walleye pro Tony Roach – as well as a few Eagle Claw reps, Mathews pro staff manager Derrick Phillips and a member of the Mathews pro staff.

    Long story short – Chapman won that, too.

    “That was very exciting for me,” he said, noting the winner will receive a new Mathews bow “It was pretty cool to go and win that. I think I’m a pretty good shot, but I didn’t know I’d be able to hold my own with those guys and win a competition.”

  • Bobby Lane shifts to Phoenix

    Bobby Lane shifts to Phoenix

    Phoenix Boats announced that it's added five-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier Bobby Lane to its pro staff.

    “We’re very honored that Bobby is joining the Phoenix family," said Phoenix president Gary Clouse. “Bobby’s reputation and performance meshes perfectly with our goal of quality and performance. He’s a great fit for our team."

    Lane, who was formerly with Skeeter, said: “I am excited about this new opportunity with Phoenix Boats. The growth of my sponsors has always been important to me. Phoenix has the right product and I look forward to helping them promote and getting their brand in front of bass fishing fans this coming season.

    "It's never easy making major changes in sponsorship, but I look forward to a great season and to fulfilling my obligations with my new sponsors, and also the ones that have supported my career."

  • Sonar: Good decisions pay off

    Sonar: Good decisions pay off

    Sonar Sound-Off columnist Miles Burghoff is in the midst of a multi-tournament road trip that's resulted in a win and another Top-5 finish so far. For the details about his BFL Super Tournament victory at High Rock Lake, including the roundabout way that he entered the event in the first place, click here.

  • Ferguson leads at Lake of the Pines

    Ferguson leads at Lake of the Pines

    Ritter Ferguson boxed 19-10 today and holds better than 1 1/2-pound lead over 2nd-place Chris Brasher after day 1 of the Lake of the Pines Texas EverStart.

    Brasher caught 17-13 today while Alton Wilhoit is 3rd with 16-11. Kris Wilson is 2 ounces back in 4th, followed by Zack Birge and Russell Cecil, who are both tied for 5th with 16-01.

    Here’s how the Top 10 shapes up with 2 days remaining:

    1. Ritter Ferguson: 19-10
    2. Chris Brasher: 17-13
    3. Alton Wilhoit: 16-11
    4. Kris Wilson: 16-09
    5 (tie). Zack Birge: 16-01
    5 (tie). Russell Cecil: 16-01
    7. Darold Gleason: 15-05
    8. Timothy Griffin: 15-03
    9. Austin Terry: 15-00
    10. Brian Clark: 14-09

  • Hawk perched atop Smith Lake Open

    Hawk perched atop Smith Lake Open

    Kevin Hawk bypassed the Wheeler Lake FLW Tour Open a couple weeks ago so he could focus more on preparing for this week’s Lewis Smith Lake Bassmaster Southern Open. It turns out the additional prep time has paid off – so far.

    Hawk posted a day-1 weight of 16-07 and leads the field of 149 pros.

    “The bass I weighed in came from every level of the water column,” Hawk said. “The deepest were in 35 feet of water.”

    Entering the event, Hawk ranked 2nd in the Southern Open points standings and if he can remain among the Top 5, he’ll earn an invitation to fish the Elite Series in 2013. A victory would also clinch a berth in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic.

    “I think I can catch them again tomorrow,” Hawk said, “but I know it can go either way.”

    Hank Cherry is 2nd with 15-09 as most of his fish fell for smaller homemade swimbaits cast on light line.

    “I’m mostly putting the boat in 60 feet of water and making long casts on 4- and 6-pound-test line with 3- and 4-inch swimbaits,” Cherry said. “The key seems to be making a really long cast and getting the bait out away from the boat.”

    Drew Benton is 3rd with 15-06, followed by Gerald Swindle with 14-14 in 4th and Brent Crow with 14-04 in 5th.

    Here’s a look at the Top 12 after day 1:

    1. Kevin Hawk: 16-07
    2. Hank Cherry: 15-09
    3. Drew Benton: 15-06
    4. Gerald Swindle: 14-14
    5. Brent Crow: 14-04
    6. Rodney Jones: 13-12
    7 (tie). Craig Daniel: 13-11
    7 (tie). Bruce Holcombe: 13-11
    9. Greg Pugh: 13-02
    10. Chris Lane: 13-00
    11. Greg Vinson: 12-12
    12. Adam Hock: 12-07

  • Missile forming Bomb Squad

    Missile forming Bomb Squad

    Missile Baits is looking for anglers to become part of its regional pro staff, which will be called the Bomb Squad. The company is seeking a small group of avid anglers from across the country to help spread the word about Missile Baits and their proven ability to help anglers "destroy their competition."

    "The Bomb Squad will be essential to help Missile Baits continue to grow at a rapid pace," said company owner and Bassmaster Elite Series pro John Crews. "In turn, Missile Baits will help give anglers publicity and supply them with the baits they need to succeed.”

    The Bomb Squad program, named after the D Bomb bait, is open to any avid angler or guide who can "promote the brand properly, speak intelligently and catch fish. "The company will take 1- or 2-page résumés from now through October 18 for the 2013 staff, which will be limited in size for the first year.

    The deal will include product, apparel, media exposure and potential bonuses. In the first year of the program, there will only be a select number of anglers from around the country.

    Résumés should be sent to bombsquad@missilebaits.com.

  • MLF: No tolerance for fish abuse

    MLF: No tolerance for fish abuse

    Major League Fishing announced today that it's instituted rules that will penalize anglers who allow fish to touch the deck of their boat or haphazardly toss them back into the water during MLF competition.

    "There won’t be a lot of fish hitting the carpet, because when fish hit the carpet, anglers get penalized,” said commissioner Don Rucks. “That’s actually one of two significant new rules for us that are aimed at protecting the fish our anglers catch.”

    The new fish-handling rules are:

    > Anglers will be penalized with 2 minutes of inactivity if they allow a fish to touch the carpet of their boats:

    > When releasing fish back into the water, anglers’ hands must be no higher than the boat’s gunnel above the water's surface. Failure to properly release a fish will also result in 2 minutes of inactivity.

    “It is not anyone’s first instinct to keep a bass suspended in the air after a catch," said Rucks. "But frankly, we’re asking our anglers to play at a higher level. And conservation is something we’d like to stress. If you keep fish from hitting the deck and if you gently put them back into their environment, they’re healthier."

    “But I have to add that, even though our anglers were in full agreement with the rule change, we had to dish out a few penalties.”

    The Major League Fishing Summit Cup was filmed Aug. 27 through Sept. 1 on Chautauqua Lake in Western New York. The event will air in its entirety on Outdoor Channel beginning in January.

    The Summit Cup’s championship round will also be broadcast on NBC Feb. 9 at 1 p.m. ET. An extended time, web-based pay-per-view version – Extended Cast – will be offered shortly after the television broadcasts.

  • Pipkens to fish Elites

    Pipkens to fish Elites

    Michigan's Chad Pipkens, winner of this year's Bassmaster Northern Opens points race, told BassFan today that he will step up to the Elite Series next year. The money he earned by winning the Beaver Lake FLW Tour Major as a co-angler and finishing 3rd in the Detroit River FLW Tour Open on the pro side were factors in his decision, as were the presence of the Thousand Islands and Detroit River events on next year's Elite schedule.

    "Sponsor-wise, I don't have anything set in stone, but I'm working on a few things," said the 29-year-old, who works in the investment sector and runs a paint company, and also officiates amateur ice hockey. "The way things worked out, now's the best time for me to give it a shot.

    "Whether I get a lot of help or not, I'm ready to take a calculated risk."

    He finished 28th at the James River, 16th at the Detroit River and 19th at Cayuga Lake en route to winning the Northern Opens points, edging out tour pros Clifford Pirch, Jason Christie and Stephen Browning for the title.

  • Wong remembers Berryman

    Wong remembers Berryman

    Judy Wong launched her competitive bass-fishing career in the late-1970s, then took a hiatus to focus on raising a family. By the time she returned several years later, Penny Berryman was the star of the Bass 'N Gals circuit.

    "When I came back, she was the person we all idolized and the one we aspired to be like," Wong said of Berryman, who died this week at age 62 after a battle with cancer. "Shortly after we met we became friends, and at one of my first Classic championships, my husband and son had come with me, and she came over and introduced herself to them and sat with us.

    "That was her – she was a competitor and a true pro, yet she had a heart of gold. And when somebody else won, she was one of the first to come up and congratulate them."

    Wong recalled a summer tournament – likely at Bull Shoals – at which the weather was stiflingly hot and the action extremely slow. On her way back to the dock from the weigh-in, she overheard another competitor calling home.

    "The girl was telling whoever she was talking to that she hadn't done very well, but neither had Penny Berryman or Judy Wong. The thing that meant the most to me wasn't that she'd mentioned my name, but she'd put me on the same level as Penny.

    "It's a shame that people's lives get so busy and we don't take the time to stay in contact with the people we should and keep up with what's going on with them. Numerous times over the last couple of years I'd thought about how I needed to call Penny and talk to her, and now it's too late, and that's very unfortunate for me.

    "We need to take more time and spend it with out family and friends."

  • Rankings: 9-place jump for Thrift

    Bryan Thrift's victory at last week's Toyota Texas Bass Classic propelled him from 12 to 3rd in the newest edition of the BassFan World Rankings. Meanwhile, top-ranked David Dudley saw his lead over Brent Chapman tighten up following Dudley's 39th-place showing at Lake Conroe.

    To see the full list, click here.

  • Evinrude announces fall promotion

    Evinrude announces fall promotion

    BRP US Inc. has announced the Experience More Sunsets Fall Sales Event for its Evinrude outboard engine brand. During the promotion, qualified U.S. consumers who purchase and take delivery of an eligible Evinrude E-TEC engine from a participating dealer will be able to select either a special financing offer or an extended warranty offer.

    > Special Financing Option: Loose engine consumer financing as low as 3.9 percent APR.
    > Extended Warranty Option: 5-year factory-backed limited warranty (3-year BRP factory warranty plus an additional 2-year B.E.S.T. coverage).

    “The Experience more Sunsets fall sales event provides great incentives for consumers to visit any authorized Evinrude dealer and learn first-hand about the unmatched benefits that Evinrude E-TEC brings to the boating experience,” said Christopher Berg, director of marketing and strategic planning for Evinrude.

    For full details and conditions about the promotion, which runs through Dec. 1, consumers can visit an authorized, participating Evinrude dealer. For full promotional details and conditions, or to find a local Evinrude dealer, visit www.evinrude.com.

  • Stone staying at Bass Cat

    Stone staying at Bass Cat

    Back in late July, Marty Stone announced that he was leaving the Bass Cat pro staff and was looking for a new boat sponsor. A little more than 2 months later, he's right back where he started.

    The North Carolina FLW Tour pro told BassFan today that he'll again run a 'Cat in 2013.

    "(Bass Cat owner) Rick Pierce and I had many conversations shortly after I left and we found out we weren't as far apart as we'd thought," he said. "We have a relationship that's almost like older brother/younger brother, and I'm sure we'll continue to get on each other's nerves from time to time because we're both very strong-willed.

    "In this case, we did what people should do more often and checked our personal feelings at the door, and we found out that a good conversation would cure all that was ailing us."

    Said Pierce: "Marty's a quality individual, but the whole game changed for all the anglers in 2008 (due to the economic downturn that hit the boat industry particularly hard), and my relationship with them changed. I no longer had the time to spend with them one-on-one that I'd had in the past, and I feel like that was part of his frustration, but we've worked our way through that."

  • Penny Berryman dies

    Penny Berryman dies

    Arkansas' Penny Berryman, one of the most influential female anglers in the history of competitive bass fishing, has died after battling cancer for several years. George Cochran, a longtime friend of the family, confirmed the news for BassFan this morning.

    "She went to sleep (Sunday night) and never woke up," Cochran said.

    Berryman was a member of the Bass Pro Shops national team and qualified for championship events on numerous trails. She was the 1997 Bass 'N Gals Angler of the Year and won that circuit's Classic in 1992 and its U.S. Invitational 3 years later. She had four Top-10 finishes on the Women's Bassmaster Tour from 2006-08.

    "Penny always was nice to me when I covered the women's tours," said longtime outdoor journalist Alan Clemons. "She was very professional, accommodating and always appreciative."

    She's survived by her husband, Dick, and children Sam and Lisa.

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