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've run well over a thousand photos on the front page of BassFan over the 6-plus years that I've worked here, but this one of Kyle Welcher from last week's Table Rock FLW Tour instantly became one of my favorites. Color that orange rod a light shade of brown and airbursh out the design on his T-shirt, and that shot would fit perfectly on the intro for the old Andy Griffith Show or even in a Mark Twain novel. It just goes to show that fish pay no heed to logos on a jersey.
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It's always a big whoop-te-do when a golfer shoots a round at or under his or her age, so maybe we should make a bigger deal about an angler catching a bag that equals or exceeds his or her age on a single day in a high-level event, as the 19-year-old Welcher did on each of the first 2 days at Table Rock. Of course, it's the polar opposite of the golf feat, which requires a linkster to be fairly well-advanced in years to have a shot at achieving it. For the most senior competitors in tour-level bass fishing (Rick Clunn, Denny Brauer, Larry Nixon, George Cochran, Stacey King, et al), catching their age usually constitutes a pretty good 4-day aggregate.
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I spoke with Brandon McMillan a couple of weeks ago, trying to pump him for some information about Lake Okeechobee in advance of the Bassmaster Elite Series event there. I caught him while he was practicing for the Seminole Southeastern EverStart in Georgia, and all he could talk about was how he wished he was fishing his home lake (the Big O) that week instead. He said he would've paid $10,000 (twice the Elite entry fee) to compete in that tournament instead of driving around Seminole looking for 2-pounders on beds. He was obviously able to keep his mind where his body was, though, as he won the derby and pocketed $35,000, plus a new boat.
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Funniest thing I've ever seen on a TV fishing show: Mark Zona, flopped in the passenger seat of his boat, using a 5-pound smallmouth as a makeshift guitar while gyrating his head around as if he were wailing out heavy-metal lyrics. I rarely laugh out loud at anything I see on television, but that scene from "Zona's Awesome Fishing Show" was an exception.
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That deal with Kevin VanDam burying the hooks of a jerkbait into the arm of a cameraman during the Major League Fishing Challenge Cup was nasty! After seeing that, I don't feel so bad about planting the back treble on a Rapala Fat Rap under the chin of my buddy a couple of years ago. We laugh about it now, but it wasn't real funny at the time especially for him.
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Speaking of KVD, it was 2 years ago that he was in the midst of his mini-slump (his average finish over the first half of the 2010 Elite Series season was 42nd). Such a run couldn't be termed a downtick for anybody else, but since it was him, people were scratching their heads. Now get a load of his numbers since then: In 17 events (including two Classics), he's logged two wins (including a Classic) and a mind-numbing 10 finishes of 12th or better. The worst he's done over that period is two placements in the 30s. If not for some real stout angling by Edwin Evers over the past 24 months, VanDam's already substantial lead in the BassFan World Rankings would be stupid-big.
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And speaking of streakiness, there seems to be no explanation for the mercurial ways of Elite Series angler Derek Remitz. He made the money cut in every event in 2010, ended up 4th in the regular-season points and went on to log a 3rd-place showing at the 2011 Classic. Then, just when it appeared he'd elbowed his way into the upper echelon of the circuit, he finished outside the Top 50 in every single 2011 tournament and a lot of them weren't close. Now he seems to have righted the ship again, with two solid outings in Florida. He's still only 29, so maybe consistency on the positive side will be part of his future.

John Johnson is BassFan's senior editor.