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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

  • Day 1 a head-scratcher for Chapman

    Reigning Elite Series Angler of the Year Brent Chapman came away from the first day of practice for this week's tournament at West Point Lake a bit mystified. He struggled there in 2011 when the Elite Series was there about the same time of year and it was more of the same today. To find out more about his first day on the water, click here to read BassFan's Pro View Report.

  • GPS on its way out?

    A recent blog post at OutdoorLife.com reports that the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) is developing a navigation system to replace GPS that's not dependent upon satellites. It could also help you quickly find your misplaced car keys, too.

    To read the post, which contains a link to a more in-depth article, click here.

  • Nelson prevails at Smith Mountain EverStart

    Nelson prevails at Smith Mountain EverStart

    Ron Nelson of Berrien Springs, Mich., weighed a 16-pound bag Saturday to win the Smith Mountain Lake Northern EverStart in Virginia with a 3-day total of 48-15

    “I feel great right now,” said Nelson, who was making his EverStart debut and his first visit to the venue. “Today was really a struggle. I didn’t catch my kicker fish until 5 minutes before I had to weigh-in. It was a 3 1/2-pounder, and ended up being the difference-maker for me.”

    Nelson targeted bedding fish throughout the week, and said that 14 of the 15 bass that he weighed in came off of beds. Details of his winning pattern will be published soon.

    Here's how the Top 10 finished:

    1. Ron Nelson: 48-15
    2. Joseph Wood: 48-04
    3. Chris Johnston: 46-02
    4. Derik Hudson: 45-13
    5. Philip Jarabeck: 44-12
    6. Donald Sheffey: 44-11
    7. Cory Johnston: 43-07
    8. Luke Nichols: 41-13
    9. Matt Stoupa: 38-12
    10. Russ Simpson: 34-06

  • Browning leapfrogs 11 to win Red River Open

    Browning leapfrogs 11 to win Red River Open

    Stephen Browning was the last angler into the 12-cut Friday at the Red River Bassmaster Central Open. On Saturday, he surpassed all 11 anglers who began the final day in front of him to claim the trophy, the top prize package and a berth in the 2014 Classic.

    The veteran Arkansas pro caught a 16-10 sack on day 3 to finish with a 40-10 total.

    The good Lord blessed me to even be standing here today,” he said said. “(Friday), with about 5 minutes left, I caught about a 5-pounder and only had two (other) fish. I don’t know why, but during the last two tournaments, right at the end of the day when I really needed one, sometimes I would just say a prayer, and He answered them. He answered them today because I was struggling big-time.”

    Retrieving a square-bill crankbait at high speed in an erratic fashion, he keyed on driftwood laydowns in 3 to 5 feet of water close to sandbar drops. “I crashed it into everything I could possibly crash it into,” he said.

    Most of his strikes came after the lure deflected off the wood. Earlier in the week, he caught some of his keepers on a Z-Man ChatterBait. Full details of his winning pattern will be published soon.

    Below are the final totals for the Top 12:

    1. Stephen Browning: 40-10
    2. Wesley Strader: 38-12
    3. Ken Iyobe: 38-08
    4. Randall Tharp: 37-10
    5. Mike Pedroza: 36-00
    6. Chad Morgenthaler: 35-14
    7. Justin Lucas: 35-13
    8. Mike Iaconelli: 34-06
    9. Roy Sanford: 33-04
    10. Peter Daniels: 33-04
    11. Craig Schuff: 29-04
    12. Roger Richter: 27-01

  • Pedroza sacks 17 to take lead at Red

    Pedroza sacks 17 to take lead at Red

    Mike Pedroza, a part-time guide on the Red River, caught a 17-01 bag today to pull into the lead at the Bassmaster Central Open at that venue with a 2-day total of 29-02.

    “I have a lot of local knowledge here, and that helps,” said Pedroza, who moved up from 20th place.

    With only three keepers in the boat, Pedroza decided to change locations in the afternoon.

    “When the sun popped out at about 2 o’clock, I moved to another location ¬– a duck blind – and caught two off of that to complete my limit. I came back there at about 4 o’clock and caught my biggest fish (a 5-pounder).

    “That last fish was just a gift. I was just kind of bumping the duck blind and turned around to talk to my partner. When I looked back, my line was just moving out so I set the hook, and I was just hanging on then.”

    Chad Morgenthaler weighed 15-05 today to move into 2nd with 27-01. Day-1 leader Jimmy Johnson brought in just 7-07 and fell to 14th, missing the cut.

    Here are the totals for the anglers who'll return to the water for the final day:

    1. Mike Pedroza: 29-02
    2. Chad Morgenthaler: 27-01
    3. Randall Tharp: 26-15
    4. Justin Lucas: 26-08
    5. Peter Daniels: 25-13
    6. Craig Schuff: 24-12
    7. Roy Sanford: 24-09
    8. Wesley Strader: 24-07
    9. Roger Richter: 24-05
    10. Mike Iaconelli: 24-03
    11. Ken Iyobe: 24-02
    12. Stephen Browning: 24-00

  • DeFoe to host Goodwill benefit

    DeFoe to host Goodwill benefit

    Bassmaster Elite Series pro Ott DeFoe will host the Goodwill Bass Tournament June 8 at Tennessee's Doubls Lake. The event will launch out of the Shady Grove ramp and the top prize is $1,200. Payout will be one place for every six boats, based on a field of 40 boats.

    The tournament will get under way at safe light and weigh-ins will begin at 3 p.m. Anglers can register at anytime until 4:30 p.m. on June 7. The registration fee is $100 per boa – late registration is available on the morning of the tournament for $125 per boat. Departure times are determined by order of registration.

    Anglers interested in a chance to practice with DeFoe or to be his partner in the tournament should visit www.odfishing.net and look for those options to be auctioned soon. DeFoe will donate all funds generated by the auctions to Goodwill Industries-Knoxville, Inc.

    Proceeds raised from the tournament will support Goodwill’s mission of providing vocational training and employment opportunities to individuals with barriers to employment. To register for the tournament or to review the rules and regulations, call Goodwill at (865) 588-8567 or visit www.gwiktn.org.

  • A bigger Boss

    <b><font color=maroon>A bigger Boss</font></b>

    Berkley trotted out the Pit Boss a couple of years ago, and now the company has produced a larger version. The Skeet Reese-designed Papa Pit Boss is ideal for situations when only a big bite will do.

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

  • Johnson grabs early lead at Red River Open

    Johnson grabs early lead at Red River Open

    The Red River’s dropping water level created problems for some anglers on day 1 of the Red River Bassmaster Central Open, but Jimmy Johnson of Ganado, Texas, found the conditions to his liking.

    “I think it actually helped me,” said Johnson. “It let me see a little bit more of the stuff I was fishing. Visibility is only about 4 inches, so when it dropped about 3 inches, I saw something new to fish.”

    The Texan relied on the newly revealed cover to catch a 16-05 sack.

    “The big fish were a surprise,” he said. “The fish just grew a little bit. I had a limit before 8:30 and had a 4-pounder by then. When you get that limit early, you just relax, and then you just go to work.”

    FLW Tour pro Randall Tharp grabbed the No. 2 slot with 15-14. His bag contained a 7-pounder.

    “I have a place where I can catch a limit fairly easily, and today it took until about 9 o’clock,” Tharp said. “I feel like I can go back there and do that again, which will get me fishing another day. Where the big ones are, though, is just hard to get a bite. I fished for 4 hours in that area and had two bites, but both (of those) fish came to the weigh-in.”

    Here are the totals for the initial Top 12:

    1. Jimmy Johnson: 16-05
    2. Randall Tharp: 15-14
    3. Chad Wiley: 14-12
    4. Mike Iaconelli: 14-09
    5. Roy Sanford: 14-07
    6. Craig Schuff: 14-02
    7. Jerry Hester: 13-14
    8. Lucas Ragusa: 13-10
    9. Scott Martin: 13-08
    10. Clark Wendlandt: 13-04
    11. (tie) Duane Pittman: 13-00
    11. (tie) Roger Richter: 13-00

  • Mixing it up key to UL-M's national title win

    Mixing it up key to UL-M's national title win

    Two weeks ago, the umbrella rig was all the rage at Beaver Lake during the FLW Tour event there. How quickly things can change, especially in the spring.

    While the u-rig was part of their winning arsenal, the University of Louisiana-Monroe team of Paul Clark and Brett Preuett picked off the winning fish with crankbaits and jigs as well to capture the FLW College Fishing national championship last weekend.

    To read more about how the soon-to-be graduates broke down the lake, click here.

  • Balog: What's Christie's secret?

    Balog: What's Christie's secret?

    Joe Balog interviewed Jason Christie this week in a quest to find out what's setting him apart from every angler on both major tours right now. One of the points that Christie stressed is that it's better to listen to your gut than your brain when making tournament-day decisions.

    To read the latest installment of Balog’s Bass War, click here.

  • Elias: Shut up and fish!

    Elias: Shut up and fish!

    Paul Elias, the man who introduced the competitive bass fishing universe to umbrella rigs when he dominated the Lake Guntersville FLW Tour Open in October 2011, has checked in with an opinion piece on the current controversy over their use in high-level tournaments. It's his belief that the pros who've spoken out against them haven't brought forth any relevant information as to why they should be banned.

    To read his submission, click here.

  • Sunline Strong Performer – Bull Shoals

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

    It's not easy to advance 42 places in the standings at a tournament in which the weights are tightly bunched and no bag heavier than 18 pounds comes to the scale. That's just what Ish Monroe did, however, at last week's Bull Shoals Bassmaster Elite Series.

    The Californian was in 53rd place after day 1, when he weighed a very pedestrian 11-09 sack. He followed that up with a day-best 15-08 on day 2 to catapult all the way to 11th place.

    "With the weather change (a strong storm caused a 24-hour postponement of day 1), I didn't make the adjustment to what the fish were doing," he said. "I was fishing way up the White River, 70 miles from the blast-off, and the day I caught them up there in practice we had warm weather before the rain. They were actually schooling, just like the ones (winner) Jason Christie caught on the last day.

    "I was fishing all the little cuts in the backs of pockets where water was coming in, and after the rain, some of the places that had clean water got muddy and some that had muddy water got clean. The key was you had to have a mix – either dirty water coming into clean water, or vice versa."

    He discovered that the fish in those scenarios were suckers for his River2Sea Bling spinnerbait. His big bag contained a 5-04 bruiser and a quartet of 2 1/2-pounders.

    "On day 1 I went up past where I wanted to go, where it was really muddy, and I figured out that spinnerbait pattern in the last couple hours on the way back."

    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.

  • 'Attack of the Bass' concludes Sunday

    'Attack of the Bass' concludes Sunday

    Sportsman Channel will wrap up its month-long series of Sunday bass marathons this weekend. The final 4-hour segment of "Attack of the Bass" will get under way at 8 a.m. ET.

    Here's the lineup:

    8:00 – Big Bass Battles
    8:30 – One More Cast – New Episode!
    9:00 – Strike King’s Fish Hard
    9:30 – G3 Sportsman
    10:00 – In Fisherman – New Episode!
    10:30 – Jarrett Edwards Outdoors
    11:00 to 12:00 pm – BASS: The Movie – Part Two

    Visit TheSportsmanChannel.com for show descriptions and a brief video of that week's episode.

  • Big Bite Lookback – Bull Shoals

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

    Skeet Reese thinks he might've fished just a bit too shallow on day 3 of last week's Bull Shoals Bassmaster Elite Series, and that's what left him 3 ounces shy of making the final-day cut.

    "Looking back now, there weren't enough fish that had moved up into the pockets," he said. "The weather just hadn't warmed up enough. If it had been a little warmer, I think what I did would've been good.

    "I'm pretty sure the fish were just staging out a little bit farther."

    After a lackluster practice, he took advantage of the windy conditions on day 1 to weigh a 15-13 bag, which was second-best of the day, on a crankbait. He dropped off by nearly 5 pounds on day 2 (10-14) and then caught a similar sack (11-00) on day 3.

    "The second day I knew the lake would fish completely opposite from what it did the first day because there wasn't a breath of wind. I hadn't fished slow all week, but I picked up a Carolina rig, which is something I hate to do, because I knew that's what I had to do to get some bites, and I caught a limit.

    "It wasn't a big limit, but I did what I needed to do. I did go shallow for awhile, and maybe if I'd stayed out longer I could've caught 12 or 13 pounds."

    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.

  • Horton's high school event adds essay contest

    Horton's high school event adds essay contest

    The prizes at the Timmy Horton High School Bass Anglers Challenge 2013 on Pickwick Lake May 18 are not limited to the students with the heaviest catch. Student-anglers can also compete for a $500 prize that will go to the competitor who writes the winning essay about conservation or fishing.

    Horton, the veteran Alabama Bassmaster Elite Series pro, said the essay contest encourages students to put their love of the outdoors in writing.

    “Fishing and conservation have had a big influence on my life,” he said. “I want to see what the kids in the tournament have to say about how they have influenced them.”

    The tournament, which will be staged out of the Rose Trail Park boat ramp west of Cherokee, offers $20,000 in college scholarships. Students will compete in two divisions, grades 7-9 and 10-12.

    To submit an essay, students must be in grades 7-12 at a public, private or home school in Alabama; fish the Timmy Horton High School Challenge; attach proof of a 3.0 GPA or higher; attach three letters of reference from their fishing coach, a current teacher and a community leader; and attach proof of at least 5 hours of community service.

    Students must choose one of the following topics for their essay:
    > What role have Alabama fisheries played in you becoming the conservation-oriented person you are today?
    > How has participation in Alabama high school tournament fishing shaped you as an individual?
    > How has Alabama high school fishing contributed to your high school academic success?

    Entry is free for both the tournament and the essay contest.

    For more details about the event, contact the Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau at (256) 383-0783 or (800) 344-0783. You can also send an email to colberttourism@comcast.net or visit www.FishPickwickLake.com.

    Essays should be mailed to Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau, P.O. Box 740425, Tuscumbia, AL 35674.

  • Power-Pole backing Bass U

    Power-Pole backing Bass U

    The Bass University announced that Power-Pole, manufacturer of the shallow-water anchor, has become an official sponsor of the educational series.

    "Power-Poles are an important tool utilized by many Bass University instructors, including myself, for effective and quiet boat positioning when fishing in shallow water," said Bass U co-founder Pete Gluszek. "We are proud to be partnered with such a forward-thinking company that shares our passion for growing our sport.”

    For registration, upcoming schedule announcements and additional information, click here.

  • Browne signs with Warrior Baits

    Browne signs with Warrior Baits

    Warrior Baits announced that it's signed FLW Tour pro Glenn Browne to a sponsorship deal.

    “Warrior Baits is the kind of bass fishing company that I enjoy representing to the fullest," he said. "From the Quiver Bug and Warrior Craw to those unique buzzbaits, Warrior Baits creates highly innovative bass fishing baits that will help me compete at the highest level.”

  • Flat at the ramp? No worries

    Flat at the ramp? No worries

    There’s a BoatUS Angler "Weigh-to-Win" decal on the gunnel of Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Champion Matt Lee’s bass boat. He believes in the goodness of the association that makes it its mission everyday to take care of anglers and boaters in need. And a couple of months ago, Lee became an angler in need.

    He was 500 miles from his college town of Auburn, Ala., about to launch to pre-fish Louisiana’s Red River, when he discovered his trailer tire was softer than a pack of plastic worms long forgotten in the sun. So Lee did what any intelligent senior engineering major would do: He made good use of his resources and dialed the toll-free number on his BoatUS Angler membership card.

    “I called BoatUS Angler from the boat ramp, and the people who answered my call were super nice and began to dispatch assistance immediately,” he said. “Within minutes, while I was still in the boat ramp parking lot tying on lures, Mericle's Towing Service from Shreveport showed up to help me.”

    “They told me to launch my Triton and go fishing, that they’d fix the flat tire and leave the paperwork under my windshield wiper. I was sort of amazed at that level of service they were promising, but that’s exactly what they did.

    "Sure enough, I got back in from a long day of fishing, the tire was fixed and all the needed paperwork was tucked under my windshield wiper.”

    As a member of BoatUS Angler, Lee is also eligible to win cash bonuses as part of the “Weigh-to-Win” program when he does well in his tournaments.

    “For the cost of a BoatUS Angler membership, and given the miles I put on my Tacoma and Triton, being able to call those folks if anything goes wrong is more than worth the 38 bucks a year to sign-up,” he concluded.

    Getting a BoatUS Angler membership with on-water or on-road towing and signing-up for the Weigh-to-Win program like Lee did, is easy. Memberships are as affordable as $38. Just dial 918-742-6424 and ask for Kendell. For complete details regarding Towing Services, call BoatUS Angler membership at 866-906-0013, or visit www.BoatUS.com/towing.

  • Rankings: Christie rules

    Rankings: Christie rules

    Jason Christie's victories on the FLW Tour and Bassmaster Elite Series in back-to-back weeks have pushed him to the top of the BassFan World Rankings. To see the new list, click here.

  • La.-Monroe wins FLW College title

    Paul Clark and Brett Preuett thought for sure they'd squandered their shot at winning the FLW College Fishing national championship Sunday when they hauled four fish to the scale.

    As it turns out, it was just enough.

    After catching 17-06 on day 2 to climb into the Top 5, the team from the University of Louisiana-Monroe caught a final-day 12-04 to finish the 3-day event at Beaver Lake with 40-03 and claim the title for their school, which just recently added the fishing team to its list of recognized student organizations.

    Clark and Preuett both earned berths in the Forrest Wood Cup, which is set for the Red River in Shreveport/Bossier City, La., in August. Clark will fish on the pro side while Preuett will compete as a co-angler.

    UNC-Charlotte's team of Shane Lehew and Adam Waters took 2nd with 39-10 and Auburn's Jordan Lee and Shane Powell were 3rd with 34-03.

    Details of Clark's and Preuett's winning pattern will be published soon.

  • Reneau claims Texoma win

    Tim Reneau closed with a 16-04 stringer on Saturday, his smallest of the event, but it was more than enough to seal the win at the Lake Texoma Texas EverStart. His winning total was 58-10.

    After seven previous Top-10s in EverStart competition, he finally corralled his first victory. He did it by throwing a variety of baits to catch mostly pre-spawners – the new titanium Strike King umbrella rig, a Jerry Rago swimbait and a square-bill crabnkbait.

    Jeff Cade took second with 55-03 while Troy Lindner, who held the lead after days 1 and 2, settled for 3rd with 54-01. Here's how the Top 10 looked at the end.

    1. Tim Reneau: 58-10
    2. Jeff Cade: 55-03
    3. Troy Lindner: 54-01
    4. Chris McCall: 52-09
    5. Spencer McAlester: 52-06
    6. Donnie O'Neal: 50-03
    7. Eric Wright: 49-09
    8. Rob Burns: 47-11
    9. Stephen Johnston: 46-06
    10. Chris Russell: 41-10

    Details of Reneau's winning pattern will be published soon.

  • Blaukat: Credibility at stake

    Blaukat: Credibility at stake

    Veteran tour pro Randy Blaukat, who penned on an outspoken opinion article on the state of professional fishing a couple of years ago, has submitted a new editorial on umbrella rigs. In his view, they're great for fun-fishing, but have no place in competition.

    To read the article, click here.

  • BPS founder Morris plans Florida resort

    BPS founder Morris plans Florida resort

    According to a report on KeysNet.com, Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris has bought up all of the property on Florida's Valhalla Island with the exception of a single residential parcel. The assumption is that Morris will build some type of fishing resort on the island.

    For the full report, click here.

  • Iaconelli jersey added to St. Jude benefit auction

    Iaconelli jersey added to St. Jude benefit auction

    The annual Jerseys for St. Jude fund-raising drive has received a late donation from Mike Iaconelli, and Ike's shirt will be up for bid until April 28. All proceeds from the auction benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

    To visit the auction, click here.

  • Berkley trailer to visit Eau Claire

    Berkley trailer to visit Eau Claire

    The Berkley Experience Trailer will be at Scheels in Eau Claire, Wis., from April 26-28th. The 60-foot trailer provides fun and fishing education to all levels of anglers.

    The trailer features updated videos, interactive product demos, contests and the popular knot-tying seminars to help ensure attendees do not lose that fish of a lifetime. The Berkley Experience staff will be on hand to answer questions.

    “We are excited about having the Berkley Experience Trailer on the road, its 8th year, in 2013 and we have many new locations across the country”, said Berkley marketing director Andrew Marks. "The Berkley Experience Trailer team is ready to help anglers of all ages and skill levels learn about our broad spectrum of products and how best to use them to catch more fish.”

    Each stop has special retail promotions only available while the trailer is at the location. These include not only line and bait, but rods, reels and combos.

    The store is located at 4710 Golf Road. The phone number is (715) 833-1886.

    Upcoming stops are scheduled for Scheels in Fargo, N.D. (May 2-4) and Bismarck, N.D. (May 9-11).

  • Day 1 at Bull Shoals ppd; event will conclude Monday

    Day 1 at Bull Shoals ppd; event will conclude Monday

    (Editor's note: B.A.S.S. issued the following press release Thursday morning regarding day 1 of the Elite Series event at Bull Shoals. It's reprinted verbatim.)

    BULL SHOALS, Ark. — Strong storms heading straight toward Bull Shoals Lake early Thursday morning forced B.A.S.S. officials to postpone the start of the Bassmaster Elite Series Ramada Quest.

    Instead of beginning on Thursday at 6:15 a.m., the Ramada Quest will begin Friday at the same time. A full four days of competition will extend the tournament to Monday. The entire field of 100 Elite Series pros will compete Friday and Saturday, and the Top 50 who make the cut will continue on to Sunday. Only the Top 12 will advance to the final round, now set for Monday.

    “Severe storms west of Bull Shoals are going to train through here this morning,” said B.A.S.S. Tournament Director Trip Weldon, on site at Bull Shoals Lake Dock.

    Weldon said he’d been watching the weather closely Wednesday and was awake and tracking conditions since 2:30 a.m. Thursday.

    “Oklahoma (directly to the west of Bull Shoals) got hit. Here on the docks we’re already having gusts of wind close to 30 mph. The safety of anglers, staff and fans is of paramount importance. Lightning, rough boating conditions and heavy rains are conditions we take seriously,” Weldon said as lightning flickered in the still-dark skies.

    Eilte Series pro Charlie Hartley, waiting on the docks for his turn to pull his boat out of the water, said he was disappointed.

    “We’re missing a great bite today. And we didn’t fish in practice for the bluebird skies we’ll get tomorrow. Today would have been a power-fishing day. Tomorrow will be like a practice day as we turn to different techniques,” said Hartley, who is from Grove City, Ohio.

    Reigning Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Brent Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kan., described his feelings in one word: “Frustrating.”

    “It is what it is,” he said, “but this lake doesn’t get rough. The safety concern is there, I realize that. But they’ll bite today. I guess I’ll go get started re-rigging for postfrontal conditions. Under bluebird skies, the bite gets tough.”

    For 12 of the Elite pros, the postponement was a familiar experience. On March 24, the Top 12 finalists in the Rigid Industries Falcon Slam on Falcon Lake had a forced day of rest when a wind storm hit Zapata, Texas, the tournament’s host city. The championship round was postponed until the next day.

    Looking on the bright side, Hartley said that once the weather system passes through, he could pursue his new fishing love.

    “I’ll go trout fishing,” he said, excited about the rainbows he’d been pulling from the White River on lightweight spinning gear. Although the pros were banned from Bull Shoals Lake Thursday, other waters are open to them.

    The third event of the Bassmaster Elite Series season, the Ramada Quest offers a first prize of $100,000 and an instant qualification for the 2014 Bassmaster Classic. All participating anglers earn points toward securing a Classic berth. The top points’ earner will win the prestigious Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year title at season’s end.

  • Balog: Enough with the umbrella rigs

    Balog: Enough with the umbrella rigs

    In the newest installment of Balog's Bass War, Joe Balog checks in on the umbrella-rig debate. He likens them to trolling or live-bait fishing – tactics that've been deemed to effective for use in competition.

    To read the column, click here.

  • Trio will don jerseys for charity

    Trio will don jerseys for charity

    Bassmaster Elite Series anglers Brent Chapman, Randy Howell and Aaron Martens will be flying new colors on the first day of the Bull Shoals event. All three professionals will be wearing their jerseys designed with colors to represent nearby sports teams. The jerseys will be sold on eBay over the next week with all proceeds going to charities that fans can help select.

    Proceeds from Howell's jersey, in the colors of the St. Louis Rams, will go to the King's Home in Alabama. "Timmy Horton came up with the idea for many of us to wear green jerseys at Falcon Lake for the Sandy Hook Elementary School, and that was a great idea," he said. "We thought it would be nice to extend that to other fantastic charities and have some fun with local team colors as well."

    Chapman, whose jersey is in the colors of the Kansas State Wildcats, will also add a Facebook poll that will allow his fans to pick the charity that will receive the proceeds. "There are so many charities out there doing extraordinary things for people, and they all need financial assistance," he said. "If we can help one of them even a little bit, it's worth it. I hope the Kansas-based fans of mine get on eBay and bid this jersey up for a great cause. The best part is they can also pick the charity it will help on my Facebook page."

    Martens will be wearing the colors of the Arkansas Razorbacks. Like Chapman, he'll be conducting a Facebook poll to choose the charity that will receive the money raised from the eBay auction. "(Wife) Lesley and I try to help as many charities as possible each year. We know every dollar matters to these charities, and if wearing a local team color on the first day of the event can help, we are all for it."

    You can visit the following Facebook pages for links to the eBay auction:

    Martens – https://www.facebook.com/AMartFishing

    Howell – https://www.facebook.com/RandyHowellFishing

    Chapman – https://www.facebook.com/BrentChapmanFishing

  • C. Lane inks deal to wear Frogg Toggs

    C. Lane inks deal to wear Frogg Toggs

    Frogg Toggs, the manufacturer of outerwear and cooling products, has signed 2012 Bassmaster Classic champion Chris Lane to a sponsorship deal.

    Frogg Toggs is firmly entrenched in the area surrounding Lake Guntersville, where Lane lives. The company first became aware of Lane 5 years ago as word spread of a professional angler hosting a day camp for kids. As Lane’s “Reeling in Future Pros” event grew in siz,e the company began supporting the event.

    In 2012 all 150 campers received Frogg Toggs products with more planned for the 6th edition of the event. The date was recently set for July 20 at the Guntersville Harbor, which is also the site of the 2014 Bassmaster Classic launch.

    “The relationship with Chris is first and foremost a personal relationship with a man of good moral standing, family values, competitive mindset, and winning attitude," said Frogg Toggs president Drake Maples. "These are all important to Frogg Toggs as a business and employer, so having Chris associated with our products and business was a natural decision."

    Said Lane: “The companies I work with all have a strong desire to help kids get involved in fishing. Frogg Toggs is all about passing along the outdoor tradition and I am happy to now be officially part of their family.

    "Frogg Toggs is a strong brand that holds a special place in the hearts of American outdoorsmen. The products have earned their reputation for being highly functional and affordable. I’ve spent a lot of time over the years picking out new items from the company showroom and putting them to use."

  • Daniels made nice adjustment at Grand

    Daniels made nice adjustment at Grand

    Mark Daniels Jr. expected to sight-fish during the Federation Championship at Oklahoma's Grand Lake, but he ended up winning the event on an umbrella rig.

    For details of his victory, which will allow him to fish the FLW Tour next year, click here.

  • Bass U to open in Raleigh next year

    Bass U to open in Raleigh next year

    The Bass University announced that its first session of 2014 will take place in, Raleigh, N.C. The event will be held at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds as part of the Raleigh Bass & Saltwater Fishing Expo.

    Bass U co-founders Mike Iaconelli and Pete Gluszek will head the list of instructors.

    “We have received many requests from passionate North Carolina anglers wanting to attend a Bass U event in their area," said Gluszek. "We are very pleased to make this announcement and look forward to meeting and working with all the dedicated Tar Heel and Wolfpack bass anglers.”

    The seminars will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Prices for a 2-day pass are $199 for adults and $175 for students and kids ages 17 and under. Single-day passes go for $109 and $97, respectively.

    Bass U is currently offering a 25 percent discount on registrations during April. To sign up, click here.

  • Poche signs with Eco Pro Tungsten

    Poche signs with Eco Pro Tungsten

    Eco Pro Tungsten has announced the addition of Bassmaster Elite Series angler Keith Poche to its pro staff.

    “In a short time, Keith has proven he can compete with the best in the world," said Tyler Brinks, who manages the company's pro staff. "We are glad to have him not only for his fishing skills, but also for his unique ideas on developing new products."

    Said Poche: “I have been using Eco Pro Tungsten weights for a while now, but I am really excited about all of the new things they are doing with tungsten. It’s really cool to be part of a company that is innovative and continues to look for new ways to use tungsten."

  • Sonar: Time to man-up on U-rigs

    Sonar: Time to man-up on U-rigs

    Sonar Sound-Off columnist Miles Burghoff is not fan of umbrella rigs, as he believes they remove some of the "artistry" from competitive fishing. However, he's now resigned to the idea that he'll have to add them to his tournament arsenal.

    To read his latest submission, click here.

  • Big Bite Lookback – Beaver Lake

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

    Running down Beaver Lake, Austin Terry couldn't help but think how much the topography reminded him of Lewis Smith Lake in north-central Alabama with all the steep banks and bluff walls.

    That's about where the similarities ended between the two most recent FLW Tour venues.

    "It fished a lot shallower than Smith," he said after catching 37-08 to finish 11th at Beaver, his second straight Top-15 effort following a miserable opener at Lake Okeechobee.

    While the umbrella rig got plenty of attention (and use) at Beaver, he worked his way to 2nd place after 2 days working a crankbait through pockets where largemouth had pulled up before heading back into spawning areas.

    "In practice, I started throwing it and I caught a 4-pounder and another solid keeper in one pocket," he said. "It was the best thing I'd figured out so I ran with it on day 1 and caught a 5 and another keeper. I thought maybe I was onto something. I tried to duplicate it in other areas and caught two more big ones.

    "On day 2, I did the same thing on new water. It was a very specific thing. I was fishing staging pockets and areas where they were pulling up to spawn. All of my big fish came out of pockets near the last steep bank. It needed to have trees and wood real close in the 8- to 10-foot range. If it was too flat or too steep, they weren't there."

    After averaging about 15 pounds over the first 2 days with a Norman Deep Little-N (chili bowl), he figured he'd need another 15 to secure a Top-10 finish or stay near the top of the leaderboard. He continued with his crankbait strategy, but the wind slacked off from the previous days and the fish didn't seem to be in a feeding mode.

    "I think it was the wrong weather for the largemout to bite," he said. "It wasn't windy. It's hard to get anything to bite 3 days in a row on that lake. There were other guys fishing for largemouth in the same general area and they didn't catch limits."

    He punted and ran to the other end of the lake to scrape together a small limit on a shaky head, using a Reaction Innovations Flirt to catch 7-05.

    "The only thing I could've done differently was scrap the largemouth pattern earlier and just fish for fish," he said.

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

  • Sunline Strong Performer – Beaver Lake

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

    Todd Hollowell came into the Beaver Lake FLW Tour in 85th place in Angler of the Year points. He knew if he were to start making a move upward, he'd need to leave northwest Arkansas with at least a Top-20 finish.

    Things didn't look so good after day 1 as the Indiana native found himself in 124th place after catching four fish for 6-14. His fortunes turned around completely on day 2 as he bagged a historic 22-15 that carried him to 3rd place, a jump of 121 spots.

    He slipped to 12th after day 3 finishing with 36-07, but accomplished what he set out to do – he rescued his season. He's now 47th in points with three events left.

    "It turned it around for me and that's what I was looking for," he said. "Typically, I struggle early on until they make it to the bank. For some reason, they just don't speak the same language as me until they move shallow. Unfortunately for me, we've had a cold spring. The water temperature in a lot of these lakes is still in the 50s.

    "These first three events have just been a grind, but the second half really suits my strengths. We've got a Tennessee River lake, some grass and off-shore stuff. I feel like I'm back in contention for the (Forrest Wood) Cup now."

    He wouldn't be if not for a key 100-yard stretch of docks in the back of a creek that contributed to his massive day-2 catch that stands as the heaviest stringer weighed in during Beaver Lake FLW Tour competition.

    "It was just a transition bank and it was the last deep water in a creek," he said. "A lot of guys overlooked it. Some of the docks had timber around them. It didn't look like much, but some docks also had brush piles on them, too. I caught them off four or five docks, but on this one little stretch, for whatever reason, they were suspended on docks."

    His chosen bait for the week was a Castaic Jerky J School Flash umbrella rig from which he hung an assortment of shad-colored swimbaits.

    "There wasn't anybody fishing any further back than me," he said. "A lot of guys were focused on spotted bass and smallmouths. It was an interest event because all three species came into play. That spread the field out a lot. I was focused on largemouth in this creek."

    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.

  • BoatUS Angler: Security plus 'side pots'

    BoatUS Angler: Security plus 'side pots'

    An affordable BoatUS Angler membership provides many tournament competitors with a double-whammy of benefits. Not only does it cover on-the-road and on-the-water breakdowns, but it also allows members to vie for contingency money that can be won with a less-than-stellar finish.

    To learn more, click here.

  • Megabass to unveil Orochi XX series

    Megabass to unveil Orochi XX series

    Guided by the vast tournament experience of Aaron Martens and Luke Clausen, and the functional artistry that is the company’s trademark, Megabass of America will introduce the Orochi XX series of rods later this month. There will be 11 rods in the series, each purpose-built to the exacting specifications of Megabass’ national pro staff and tailored to the key lure types and presentations required on the tournament trail.

    “We developed the Orochi XX series in order to build a set of rods which would comprehensively cover all major U.S. tournament applications and earn a place on Luke and Aaron’s front decks at each and every tournament,” said Yuskei Murayama, VP of Megabass of America. “It wasn’t easy, but when you pick up a Double-X rod and fish it for 14 hours straight, you’ll know that Aaron and Luke have systematically and flawlessly led us to the ultimate rod for every tournament application.”

    Inspired by the Orochi, the ancient dragon god of water, through these rods Megabass seeks to capture the raw power and precise control of the rods’ namesake, while also capitalizing on the company’s existing cutting-edge blank technology.

    Each rod in the series will retail for under $300 and will feature the same attention to detail, craftsmanship and quality that have been hallmarks of Megabass’ manufacturing tradition. Each rod is made with premium Japanese components and materials, and features a six-axis blank with low-resin carbon up to the 40-ton class. This multi-axis manufacturing process adds significant strength without adding unnecessary weight, and is paired with the latest Fuji components for an uncompromising level of performance.

    Additionally, each rod features Megabass-custom guide settings, a Megabass custom ITO Head Locking reel seat, a rubber/cork composite end cap, a unique Megabass hook keeper and fit and finish unmatched in the industry.

    The rods will feature a 3-year limited warranty, with a one-time, no-questions-asked replacement policy the first year, and fee-based replacement coverage thereafter. They are expected to be in stores and in selected online retailers no later than the end of April.

    Descriptions of each Orochi XX rod can be found by clicking here.

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