A few short takes from the ever-evolving world of competitive bass fishing, where size means everything and green-pumpkin is the dominant color:

We're not even two tournaments into the Bassmaster Elite Series season and I already miss Kevin Wirth. When you asked Wirth a question, the answer you got may not have been what you wanted to hear or even what he wanted to tell you, but you could be sure it was the God's honest truth as he knew it. That characteristic is just too rare in today's world.
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When I read in a press release that Harvard will enter a team in the Collegiate Big Bass Bash this weekend at Lake Lavon in Texas, all sorts of images popped into my head. My apologies to the Crimson anglers (and the entire institution, for that matter), but the one I just can't seem to shake is of a younger version of Charles Emerson Winchester, the well-to-do surgeon on M*A*S*H, standing on the front deck of a boat and getting increasingly agitated by his inability to "walk the dog" with a Zara Spook.
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Yeah, it's easy to say this now, but after speaking with Brent Ehrler following the day-1 weigh-in at the Hartwell FLW Tour, I was pretty sure he was going to win the event. He seemed genuinely surprised that he'd had such an "easy" time catching a 20-pound sack and he sounded extremely confident that he could compile three more like it. When somebody that accomplished gets onto something like that, it's a lot of fun to watch the day-by-day proceedings unfold. I'd seen it before with Kevin VanDam, and Ehrler had that same air of self-assuredness.
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It was good to see Shaw Grigsby have a great day 2 at the St. Johns River and rise from the depths of the standings sheet to make the 50-cut. After he zeroed on the second day and finished dead-last at the Bassmaster Classic, he came to the media room and stayed around until every question that anybody had for him had been asked and answered. If you think every other angler in the field would've done the same, you're nuts.
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Seen those new gear boxes from Bass Mafia called Bait Coffins? Greg Hackney (whose wrap sponsor this year is BM) and Stephen Browning showed them to me at the Classic. Yeah, $28 seems like a lot to pay for a tackle tray with a lid, but maybe that's not so bad if it's protecting $1,000 worth of hardbaits from just about everything that could harm them. Worth a look, anyway.
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Hackney delivered the best on-stage line I've heard in a long time Ė maybe ever Ė as he pulled that 10 1/2-pounder out of his bag on day 1 at the St. Johns: "Back home, this is what we call a tree-shaker." Classic!
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B.A.S.S. should institute a 1-pound penalty for any Elite Series angler who reveals on stage anything about the bag of a fellow competitor who has yet to weigh-in. That ceremony is the whole show for the fans and those premature revelations about giant fish and such kill some of the drama and excitement.
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I didn't know much about Glen Lau until he became one of this year's inductees into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame. After reading his bio for that accolade, I ordered the 35th anniversary edition of his seminal film, "Bigmouth," from his website (www.GlenLau.com), Even if there was no video, just listening to the late, great Rod Serling (of "Twilight Zone" fame) talk about bass was worth the 20 bucks I paid. The videography, however, is superb, especially considering that it was shot during the Nixon Administration.
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The Elite Series Rookie of the Year race will actually be fun to follow this year, considering that all 10 candidates are actually first-year pros. Nothing against 2011 winner Ott DeFoe, who's a fine angler and an even better human being, but his rookie campaign occurred on the FLW Tour in 2007.
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A streak that'll hopefully end at Okeechobee this week: Brent Broderick has finished 90th or lower in nine straight Elite Series events dating back to the start of the 2011 season. Ouch!

John Johnson is BassFan's Senior Editor.