Booming Interest In Bassmaster Opens Brings First Live Coverage, More Angler Opportunities For Rest Of Season

 

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The excitement of sportfishing kicks off again in June with seven tournaments remaining in the hotly contested Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens Series. With fan interest at an all-time high and a stacked field of anglers that includes some of the sport’s biggest names, B.A.S.S. officials announced plans today to expand live coverage and make it easier for additional pro anglers to compete in the Opens.

“Our anglers, fans and sponsors are excited to get back to the fun and excitement of tournament fishing when the season resumes this summer,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. “The 2020 Bassmaster Opens has set up to be among the most competitive in history, and we were thrilled to get the season rescheduled.

“While it was disappointing to postpone events, our team worked diligently during the unexpected downtime to improve Opens Series coverage options and implement additional technology that fans and anglers alike are sure to love. Now we just have to wait and see what these talented anglers catch!”

Over the course of January’s Bassmaster Eastern Open at Harris Chain, the leaderboard was visited an astounding 392,000 times as fans tuned in to follow the progress of their favorite anglers! Now, fishing fans will have two new options for following the on-the-water action. Beginning June 18 with the Basspro.com Bassmaster Central Open at Arkansas River, both boaters and co-anglers will use BASSTrakk for real-time updates. Plus, fans can follow the final-day drama by streaming Nationwide Bassmaster Opens LIVE presented by Grizzly as camera boats provide coverage of the leaders.

But it is not just fans who will have more access to on-the-water action. More anglers will also have an opportunity to compete for the coveted Falcon Rods Angler of the Year title!

While Opens tournaments have traditionally seen a pro angler and co-angler competing from the same boat, new rules going into place when the season restarts on the Arkansas River in June will allow for some pros to compete without a co-angler on one of the first two full-field days of the tournament on a random basis. Those pro anglers currently on the waiting list for tournaments will be added to the field. Registration for the first Bassmaster Central Open on the Arkansas River has been extended through May 29, 2020 and all late fees will be waived. Registration information can be found at Bassmaster.com/Opens.

“In these unprecedented times, it’s understandable that fewer co-anglers may want to commit to a tournament and be in close proximity to others,” said Chris Bowes, Tournament Director for the Opens Series. “But we wanted to ensure that pro anglers still have an opportunity to compete and collect valuable points toward the Falcon Rods Angler of the Year race as well as qualify for a spot on the Elite Series.”

Adding to the drama of the 2020 Bassmaster Opens, the new Falcon Rods Bassmaster Opens Angler of the Year title awards $10,000 to the overall points winner in the pro division. The top co-angler will have the pro division entry fees into the 2021 Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens division of his or her choice paid for — a value of approximately $7,200!

The 2020 Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens features four events in two divisions — Eastern and Central — with the winners of each event earning an automatic berth into the 2021 Bassmaster Classic, provided he or she has fished all four events in that division. The Top 4 anglers from each division’s final points standings will receive an invitation to fish the 2021 Bassmaster Elite Series. As a new addition, Elite Series invitations will also be extended to the Top 4 anglers from the cumulative standings for both divisions for a total of 12 invitations.

Among those fighting for those coveted Elite Series invitations are 46 anglers who have registered to fish all eight Opens Series tournaments plus two current Elite pros, Brandon Palaniuk and Gerald Swindle, who are fishing the entire season to help ensure they requalify for the Series.

Daisuke Aoki, Minamitsurugun, Japan
Cody Bertrand, Dyer, Ind.
Randy Blaukat, Joplin, Mo.
Wyatt Burkhalter, Coker, Ala.
Todd Castledine, Nacogdoches, Texas
Jason Christie, Park Hill, Okla.
Josh Douglas, Isle, Minn.
Anthony Dumitras, Winston, Ga.
Denny Fiedler, Wabasha, Minn.
Marc Frazier, Newnan, Ga.
John Garrett, Union City, Tenn.
Caleb Gibson, Locust Grove, Okla.
Cody Hahner, Wausau, Wis.
Bradley Hallman, Norman, Okla.
Charlie Hartley, Grove City, Ohio
Andy Hribar, Lakeville, Minn.
Cody Huff, Ava, Mo.
John Hunter Jr., Simpsonville, Ky.
Ken Iyobe, Tokoname, Japan
Rex Jaeger, Fairfield Township, Ohio
Teb Jones, Hattiesburg, Miss.
Seiji Kato, Outsu Shiga, Japan
Kenta Kimura, Osaka, Japan
Brad Knight, Lancing, Tenn.
Brian Latimer, Belton, S.C.
Greg Mansfield, Olathe, Kan.
Scott Martin, Clewiston, Fla.
Kenny Mittelstaedt, Minnetonka, Minn.
Bryan New, Belmont, N.C.
Brandon Palaniuk, Rathdrum, Idaho
Scott Pellegrin, Chippewa Falls, Wis.
Luke Plunkett, Pinson, Ala.
KJ Queen, Catawba, N.C.
Chad Randles, Elkhorn, Neb.
Dustin Reneau, Mckinney, Texas
Matthew Robertson, Kuttawa, Ky.
Garrett Rose, Pipecreek, Texas
Jake Rossi, Columbus, Ohio
Steve Sennikoff, Edgewood, Texas
Scott Siller, Milwaukee, Wis.
Bryant Smith, Roseville, Calif.
Chandler Stewart, Waco, Texas
Gerald Swindle, Guntersville, Ala.
Andrew Thomasson, Dublin, Va.
Andrew Upshaw, Tulsa, Okla.
Joel Willert, Prior Lake, Minn.
Tommy Williams, Shepherdsville, Ky.
Trait Zaldain, Fort Worth, Texas


The "Juice" and the "Squeeze"


 

This week Chris and the boys welcome in longtime listener Matt Lazenby to the show to join in on the interviews with FLW Pro Brad Knight and MLF BPT Pro's Justin Lucas and Matt Lee. Getting to the bottom of the Super Tournaments and the field size and dissecting how each of them feel about the changes.


Memorial Day weekend fishing tips from a pro

Alan McGuckin - Dynamic Sponsorships

 

With more than $600,000 in prize winnings to his credit, Team Toyota angler Brandon Lester has proven himself to be one of America’s most accomplished young professional bass anglers. The Tennessean is also one heck of a family man, and was gracious enough to lend some advice to parents who soon might be taking their children fishing for the first time.

 

Fishing license and life vests

 A lot of families overlook the fact adults who are handling a rod and reel are required to have a fishing license -- even if fishing is simply a brief part of your family camping trip or picnic.

“Don’t be intimidated by buying a license,” says Lester. “Most states offer a 1-day or 3-day license versus a full year to save new anglers money. And you can nearly always get a license over the phone with a fast Google search for the state fishing license sales center and phone number for wherever you plan to fish,” he explains.

In addition to making sure you have a valid fishing license for whatever day(s) you’ll be fishing – safety needs to be the absolute top priority. That said, Lester reminds us children are required to wear a properly fitted life jacket on a boat at all times, and common sense dictates it’s wise for them to wear one when fishing from a dock or pier too.

 

Bait and Tackle

 While everybody dreams of catching a fish the length of your arm, for kids it’s all about getting bites – and no species provides more easy action than bluegills and other shoreline oriented panfish sized about like your hand. Most know a container of red worms or Canadian nightcrawlers are the fast route to success, but where many beginning anglers go wrong is on the size of hooks and bobbers they buy.

“Bluegills are a ton of fun for kids. But keep in mind they’re not big fish, and they don’t have big mouths. So don’t buy a bobber so big they can’t pull it under. And make sure your hook is tiny enough for bluegills and other panfish to get their mouth around too,” says Lester.

As a rule of thumb, a typical round bobber should not be any larger than a golf ball at the very biggest. Hooks should be sized about like a nickel. Ideally, find a pack of hooks such as Mustad’s classic baitholder in a size #6 marked on the package, and you’ll be right on target.

 

Keep it fun, and don’t stay too long

“You shouldn’t expect your kids to fish for eight hours, because the reality is they often lose interest after 20 minutes if the fish aren’t biting. So the key is to keep them entertained – and if that means throwing rocks in the water – a short walk down the shoreline – watching for turtles - or whatever – that’s fine – keep it fun!” emphasizes Lester.

“Don’t wear them out. Make fishing a short adventure for them. Take some snacks and drinks, and a wet rag to wipe your hands on. If you catch a few for a photo, and make some great memories, there’s a good chance they’ll want to go again. If that’s the case, you’ve succeeded as a parent, no matter what your level of fishing experience was previously,” concludes the top pro.

 


McCaig and Hurst take the win at Weiss with a 6-pound lead over 2nd place

 

By Jason Duran

Photos Chris Brown

 

With anglers chomping at the bits to get back to fishing, the Alabama Bass Trail North Division was back in action this weekend. The previous two events have been re-scheduled for later this year, so anglers picked the season up with stop number 2 on Weiss Lake in Cherokee County, AL.

With 22.60 pounds of all largemouth, the team of Mark McCaig and Tim Hurst took a commanding win on Weiss Lake with 6-pound lead over the rest of the field along with $19,250 in winnings and bonuses.

Mark and Tim spent a day and a half practicing in separate boats where they both found their own areas they thought they could catch some fish. However, neither of them felt the areas they found were winning areas.  They both had a decent bite in one similar area and decided the night before they would go to that area to get started and try to fish something new in that area.

At the first stop, they caught a three and a half and a five pounder that “clued them in to what they had been missing in practice.” Mark said, that clue was “I felt like a lot of fish were still spawning but had expected this to be a post spawn bite with most of the fish out deep.” Once we realized it wasn’t a deep bite this morning “we started running around fishing similar areas upriver all the way down to the dam.”

The team said they “targeted fish in the spawning areas”- not necessarily bed fishing but primarily fishing shallow areas where fish were spawning or headed to and from spawning. Mark said, “we realized that the farther we went back in pockets, the smaller the fish were, so we targeted shallow areas instead of the backs of pockets.”  They caught their fish primarily on two baits; in the morning, they started with a Spro Poppin frog, and later in the day when it got tough, they used a Bass Pro Shops Green Pumpkin Senko.

The up and down temperature changes in the seasonal weather have broken up the spawn cycle on Weiss causing this lake to fish tough for a couple reasons. Mark said “there are fish in many different stages and there is a lot of shallow water in this lake, so when these fish get post-spawn, they can be 50 yards off the bank and still be in shallow water. You can go through an area and you might be around the better fish, but you can’t get them to bite because they are so spread out.” It is really hard to target and catch post spawn fish.

Mark said “winning a tournament with 225 boats is more about the decisions that you make during the day or the maybe decisions you make to start somewhere more so than fishing ability. This field is packed with great fishermen who all have the same fishing ability, and there are a lot of winners here.” Their key decision today was to “sit down before we made move, look at the map and say if the fish spawned here, this is where we are going and just try and catch them somewhere in between.”

 

Second place went to Stephen Mcavoy and Josh Butts with 16.14. They started their morning on a shad spawn point that was about two feet deep. Their second cast with a Booya Buzz Clacker in white caught a four pounder. On the third cast, they caught a three pounder. Within ten minutes they had a limit that was pushing 12 pounds. They described this point as a mid-pocket point with grass right next to a wooden seawall.

The shad spawn was over in about an hour, and from there they tried to fish docks, but it didn’t pan out. So, they went back to the grass and started catching fish and made a few culls using a Dirty Jigs White Sim Jig. They, like others, found them in the back of pockets, but they were the smaller fish. The team felt that the better fish were moving out of the pocket and heading to deeper water. So, they targeted them about mid-way out and caught better fish there.

 

Third place was separated by just two hundredths of an ounce with the team of Bryan Dowdy and Kyle Lewellen weighing in at 16.12 pounds. They caught them flipping a Strike King Rage Craw and swimming a Dirty Jigs 3/8 swim jig in white with a Strike King Menace trailer. They targeted shallow grass areas in the Yellow Creek area. They said they “didn’t catch a fish over two-feet deep. “First, we went to a couple bed fish spots we found in practice and caught one off the bed but couldn’t find the others.” They spent the rest of the day “junk fishing” their way into third place. They caught over 20 fish up until 11:00 when they got their last bite. They had a mixed bag of two spotted bass and three largemouth.

 

To review the top ten standings and a full list of results, visit https://www.alabamabasstrail.org/tournament-series/wel-results/

Download and listen to the ABT Podcast on your favorite Podcast app by searching for “Alabama Bass Trail Podcast.”  The Podcast is released each week on Tuesday.


209 Pros to Compete for $3.97 million in FLW “Super Tournaments”

56 MLF Pros Join the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Roster

BENTON, Ky. (May 18, 2020) – FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, released the expanded 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit roster, which now includes top Major League Fishing (MLF) pros like Jacob Wheeler and reigning REDCREST Champion Edwin Evers. When the season restarts June 23 on Lake Chickamauga, the final three regular-season Pro Circuit events will feature 209 boats and nearly $4 million in prize money. As previously announced, FLW extended invitations to all MLF anglers to compete in three “Super Tournaments” after MLF announced an abbreviated schedule due to the mid-season pause in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

All current Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit anglers have retained their spots on the roster, but the field size has now been expanded to include 56 additional MLF pros who have committed to compete in all three “Super Tournament” events by the May 15 deadline. A total of 209 anglers will compete in the following three events: June 23-26 on Lake Chickamauga, July 29-Aug. 1 on the upper Mississippi River (La Crosse, Wis.) and Aug. 11-14 on the Detroit River. MLF pros will not compete in the Tackle Warehouse FLW TITLE, Aug. 24-29 on the St. Lawrence River.

The expanded 2020 FLW Pro Circuit roster is headlined by some of the best pros in the world, including former FLW champions like Bryan Thrift, Justin Atkins, John Cox, Brad Knight, Anthony Gagliardi, Wheeler, Brent Ehrler, David Dudley and Darrel Robertson. They’ll be joined by bass-fishing superstars like Jordan Lee, Skeet Reese and the man many deem the FLW G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time), Andy Morgan.

“I truly believe that the anglers competing in the Super Tournaments make up arguably the most prestigious field of bass fishing pros of all time,” said Daniel Fennel, FLW Senior Director of Tournament Operations. “Not only are these tournaments a great opportunity for the anglers – it also will make for some very exciting events for the fans watching online at home. We look forward to getting back out on the water next month at Lake Chickamauga.”

Fans are encouraged to watch the tournaments and daily weigh-ins online from their homes through expanded live on-the-water broadcasts rather than attend weigh-ins, in an effort to avoid crowds. FLW will livestream all four days of competition, instead of only the final two days as previously done, and the on-the-water camera crew will also be expanded to help capture more of the action. Fans can catch the live actions as it unfolds on  FLWFishing.com, YouTube and Facebook.

With a field of 209 boats, the total purse in each tournament expands from $820,000 to $1,324,000, for an increase of $1,512,000 over three events. The first-place prize will increase from $100,000 to $125,000, and FLW will pay out $10,000 through 104th place and $5,000 to 105th place. Contingency prizes will also remain in effect, meaning qualified FLW PHOENIX BONUS pros fish for a top award of $160,000 in each tournament.

PAYOUT 

FLW + MLF Super Tournaments:

Place Pro FLW Phoenix Bonus 

1 $125,000 $35,000

2 35,000

3 30,000

4 25,000

5 22,000

6 21,000

7 19,000

8 18,000

9 17,000

10 16,000

11-20 14,000

21-30 11,000

31-104 10,000

105 5,000

Berkley Big Bass – Day 1 & 2 500

 

FLW + MLF SUPER TOURNAMENTS ROSTER

FLW Pros:

  • Jason Abram - Piney Flats, Tenn.
  • Barron Adams - Mineral Bluff, Ga
  • Randy Allen - Gilliam, La.
  • T.R. Andreas - Kerrville, Texas
  • Travis Archer - Covington, Wash.
  • Scott Ashmore - Broken Arrow, Okla.
  • Evan Barnes - Hot Springs , Ark.
  • Clayton Batts - Butler, Ga.
  • Bradford Beavers - Summerville, S.C.
  • Matt Becker - Finleyville, Penn.
  • Bob Behrle - Hoover, Ala.
  • James Biggs - Euless, Texas
  • Daryl Biron - South Windsor, Conn.
  • Greg Bohannan - Bentonville, Ark.
  • Terry Bolton - Benton, Ky.
  • Bailey Boutries - Daphne, Ala.
  • Christopher Brasher - Longview, Texas
  • Aaron Britt - Yuba City, Calif.
  • Grae Buck - Harleysville, Penn.
  • Miles Burghoff - Soddy-Daisy, Tenn.
  • Dennis Cameron - Travelers Rest, S.C.
  • Jon Canada - Helena, Ala.
  • Ryan Chandler - Hebron, Ind.
  • Glenn Chappelear - Acworth, Ga.
  • Joey Cifuentes - Clinton, Ark.
  • Ramie Colson Jr. - Cadiz, Ky.
  • Kyle Cortiana - Coweta, Okla.
  • John Cox – DeBary, Fla.
  • Preston Craig - Philadelphia, Tenn.
  • Mitch Crane - Columbus, Miss.
  • Lance Crawford - Broken Bow, Okla.
  • Alex Davis - Albertville, Ala.
  • Darrell Davis - Dover, Fla.
  • Randy Despino - Colfax, La.
  • Tommy Dickerson - Orange, Texas
  • Jeff Dobson - Bartlesville, Okla.
  • Scott Dobson - Clarkston, Mich.
  • Bradley Dortch - Atmore, Ala.
  • Josh Douglas - Isle, Minn.
  • Kurt Dove - Del Rio, Texas
  • Tony Dumitras - Winston, Ga.
  • Dakota Ebare - Denham Springs, La.
  • Jon Englund - Farwell, Minn.
  • Charlie Evans - Berea, Ky.
  • Ron Farrow - Rock Hill, S.C.
  • Mark Fisher - Wauconda, Ill.
  • Cole Floyd - Leesburg, Ohio
  • Tim Frederick - Leesburg, Fla.
  • Hunter Freeman - Monroe, La.
  • Nick Gainey - Charleston, S.C.
  • David Gaston - Sylacauga, Ala.
  • Kyle Gelles - Pingree, Idaho
  • Sam George - Athens, Ala.
  • Darold Gleason - Many, La.
  • Matt Greenblatt - Port St Lucie, Fla.
  • Chad Grigsby - Maple Grove, Minn.
  • Kyle Hall - Granbury, Texas
  • Chip Harrington - Olathe, Kan.
  • Dylan Hays - El Dorado, Ark.
  • Billy Hines - Vacaville, Calif.
  • Jamie Horton - Centerville, Ala.
  • Miles Howe - San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
  • Roger Hughes - Bartlesville, Okla.
  • John Hunter - Simpsonville, Ky.
  • Bill Hutchison - Bessemer, Ala.
  • Eric Jackson - Walling, Tenn.
  • Rob Kilby - Hot Springs, Ark.
  • Brad Knight - Lancing, Tenn.
  • Jeremy Lawyer - Sarcoxie, Mo.
  • Nick Lebrun - Bossier City, La.
  • Richard Lowitzki - Hampshire, Ill.
  • Terry Luedtke - Burton, Texas
  • Erik Luzak - Fenelon Falls, Ontario
  • Kevin Martin - Crown City, Ohio
  • Lendell Martin Jr - Nacogdoches, Texas
  • Michael Matthee - Centurion, GP
  • Billy McCaghren - Mayflower, Ark.
  • Chris McCall - Palmer, Texas
  • Johnny McCombs - Morris, Ala.
  • Bill McDonald - Greenwood, Ind.
  • Brandon McMillan - Clewiston, Fla.
  • Jared McMillan - Belle Glade, Fla.
  • Kevin Meeks - Smyrna, Tenn.
  • Jason Meninger - Saint Augustine, Fla.
  • Colby Miller - Elmer, La.
  • Kerry Milner - Bono, Ark.
  • Kurt Mitchell - Milford, Del.
  • Tom Monsoor - La Crosse, Wis.
  • Jake Morris - Mc Kee, Ky.
  • Troy Morrow - Eastanollee, Ga.
  • Brandon Mosley - Choctaw, Okla.
  • Jim Moynagh - Shakopee, Minn.
  • Shawn Murphy - Nicholasville, Ky.
  • Robert Nakatomi - Sacramento, Calif.
  • Chris Neau - New Orleans, La.
  • Corey Neece - Bristol, Tenn.
  • Ron Nelson - Berrien Springs, Mich.
  • Dicky Newberry - Houston, Texas
  • Cody Nichols - Fayette, Ala.
  • James Niggemeyer - Van, Texas
  • Lane Olson - Tigard, Ore.
  • Jake Ormond - Sterlington, La.
  • Jordan Osborne - Longview, Texas
  • Dave Parsons - Yantis, Texas
  • Tyson Patrick - Midland, Texas
  • David Perdue - Wirtz, Va.
  • Pete Ponds - Madison, Miss.
  • Drew Ratley - Shreveport, La.
  • Tom Redington - Royse City, Texas
  • Matt Reed - Madisonville, Texas
  • Clark Reehm - Elm Grove, La.
  • Jimmy Reese - Witter Springs, Calif.
  • Jason Reyes - Huffman, Texas
  • Darrel Robertson - Jay, Okla.
  • Troy Roder - Brookeland, Texas
  • Zell Rowland - Montgomery, Texas
  • Rusty Salewske - Alpine, Calif
  • Ryan Salzman - Huntsville, Ala.
  • Casey Scanlon - Lake Ozark, Mo.
  • Braxton Setzer - Wetumpka, Ala.
  • Alvin Shaw - Roaring Gap, N.C.
  • Spencer Shuffield - Hot Springs, Ark.
  • Charles Sim - Nepean, Ontario
  • AJ Slegona - Pine Bush, N.Y.
  • Blake Smith - Lakeland, Fla.
  • Derrick Snavely - Piney Flats, Tenn.
  • Matthew Stefan - Junction City, Wis.
  • Tyler Stewart - West Monroe, La.
  • Chuck Stratton - Chaffee, Mo.
  • Wade Strelic - Alpine, Calif.
  • Laramy Strickland - Bushnell, Fla.
  • Mike Surman - Boca Raton, Fla.
  • Rusty Trancygier - Hahira, Ga.
  • J Todd Tucker - Moultrie, Ga.
  • Jim Tutt - Longview, Texas
  • Jason Vance - Battle Ground, Ind.
  • John Voyles - Petersburg, Ind.
  • Jacob Wall - New Hope, Ala.
  • Chad Warren - Sand Springs, Okla.
  • Jimmy Washam - Covington, Tenn.
  • Joshua Weaver - Macon, Ga.
  • Joseph Webster - Winfield, Ala.
  • Kyle Weisenburger - Columbus Grove, Ohio
  • Chris Whitson - Louisville, Tenn.
  • Scott Wiley - Bay Minette, Ala.
  • Alton Wilhoit - Noble, Okla.
  • David G Williams - Maiden, N.C.
  • Barry Wilson - Birmingham, Ala.
  • Chance Woodard - Paris, Texas
  • Tyler Woolcott - Port Orange, Fla.
  • David Wootton - Collierville, Tenn.
  • Gary Yamamoto - Palestine, Texas
  • Andy Young - Isle, Minn.

 

MLF Pros:

  • Casey Ashley - Donalds, S.C.
  • Justin Atkins - Florence, Ala.
  • Adrian Avena - Vineland, N.J.
  • Josh Bertrand - San Tan Valley, Ariz.
  • Zack Birge - Blanchard, Okla.
  • Stephen Browning - Hot Springs National Par, Ark.
  • Dustin Connell - Clanton, Ala.
  • Brandon Coulter - Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Mark Daniels Jr - Tuskegee, Ala.
  • Mark Davis - Mount Ida, Ark.
  • Boyd Duckett - Guntersville, Ala.
  • David Dudley - Lynchburg, Va.
  • Brent Ehrler - Redlands, Calif.
  • James Elam - Cleveland, Okla.
  • Paul Elias - Laurel, Miss.
  • Edwin Evers - Talala, Okla.
  • Todd Faircloth - Jasper, Texas.
  • Anthony Gagliardi - Prosperity, S.C.
  • Shaw Grigsby - Gainesville, Fla.
  • Roy Hawk - Lake Havasu City, Ariz.
  • Brett Hite - Phoenix, Ariz.
  • Timmy Horton - Muscle Shoals, Ala.
  • Randy Howell - Guntersville, Ala.
  • Alton Jones - Lorena, Texas
  • Alton Jones Jr - Lorena, Texas
  • Kelly Jordon - Flint, Texas
  • Gary Klein - Mingus, Texas
  • Jeff Kriet - Ardmore, Okla.
  • Jason Lambert - Michie, Tenn.
  • Bobby Lane - Lakeland, Fla.
  • Russell Lane - Prattville, Ala.
  • Jordan Lee - Cullman, Ala.
  • Matt Lee - Bremen, Ala.
  • Dave Lefebre - Erie, Penn.
  • Justin Lucas - Guntersville, Ala.
  • Mike McClelland - Blue Eye, Mo.
  • Cody Meyer - Auburn, Calif.
  • Andy Morgan - Dayton, Tenn.
  • John Murray - Spring City, Tenn.
  • Britt Myers - Lake Wylie, S.C.
  • Michael Neal - Dayton, Tenn.
  • Cliff Pace - Petal, Miss.
  • Keith Poche - Troy, Ala.
  • Skeet Reese - Auburn, Calif.
  • Dean Rojas - Lake Havasu City, Ariz.
  • Fred Roumbanis - London, Ark.
  • Bradley Roy - Lancaster, Ky.
  • Terry Scroggins - San Mateo, Fla.
  • Gerald Sphorer - Gonzales, La.
  • Wesley Strader - Spring City, Tenn.
  • Bryan Thrift - Shelby, N.C.
  • Jonathon VanDam - Kalamazoo, Mich.
  • David Walker - Sevierville, Tenn.
  • James Watson - Lampe, Mo.
  • Jacob Wheeler - Harrison, Tenn.
  • Jesse Wiggins - Logan, Ala.

“My profession is to fish tournaments, and I love to compete,” said reigning MLF REDCREST Champion Evers. “I’m missing fishing really, really bad with this season break, and I am so excited to compete in the new Pro Circuit Super Tournaments. It’s three phenomenal fisheries. It’s going to be a lot of fun reconnecting with some old friends.”

MLF pros who choose to compete in the final three Pro Circuit “Super Tournaments” will fish for prize money only. No points will be awarded toward any championship or title to MLF competitors. Only the original Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit anglers will compete for the Angler of the Year (AOY) title throughout the remainder of the season. AOY points in the final events will be awarded based on Pro Circuit anglers finishing order. The top-finishing FLW pro will receive “first-place points” regardless of where he finishes in the overall standings, and so on.

“What matters to me is fishing against the best caliber of anglers that I can,” said FLW pro Josh Douglas. “Some of these guys, I’ve fished against them many times. Others, I probably won’t have. So, I’m excited to see that caliber of fishing, and I think it’s a way of turning lemons into lemonade with our seasons cut short. I look at it as opportunity. That’s what I live for. My dreams are to beat the best, and the more money that’s in the pot and the better the anglers are, that’s great.”

Beginning on July 3 and running through Dec. 27, FLW will air 312 hours of Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit action on the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel. New this season, episodes have been expanded to two hours long. Each show goes in depth to break down the final rounds of regular-season competition, with six unique episodes covering each day of the Tackle Warehouse FLW TITLE presented by Toyota. Each episode will premier in Friday night prime-time episodes on the Outdoor Channel, with additional re-airings on Outdoor Channel and Sportsman Channel.

In Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit competition, FLW anglers are vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the Tackle Warehouse FLW TITLE presented by Toyota, the FLW Pro Circuit Championship. The 2020 Tackle Warehouse FLW TITLE presented by Toyota will be held on the St. Lawrence River in Massena, New York, Aug. 24-29.

For complete details and updated information on the FLW Pro Circuit, visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the FLW Pro Circuit on FLW’s social media outlets at FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.


VanDam: Let’s take the Land Cruiser

Courtesy of Alan McGuckin - Dynamic Sponsorships

 

Kevin VanDam is not only the most accomplished professional bass angler in history, he’s also intensely adamant that his Toyota Tundra is the safest, most powerful truck he’s ever towed a boat with. In fact, he swears its oversized brakes helped save his life when chaos occurred in front of him while towing through a Chattanooga, TN construction zone a few years ago.

 

But when he’s not pulling his 21-foot Nitro all over America, and it’s time to chill out with family and grab a pizza from Fricano’s in his beloved hometown of Kalamazoo, “KVD” usually convinces his neighbor and uncle by marriage, Henry Kalkman to take the Land Cruiser.

 

Not just any Land Cruiser – an iconic 1975 FJ40 with less than 30,000 miles on it that Kalkman’s wife swears gets more looks amid a short hop around town than if they were driving a high-end muscle car.

 

VanDam certainly agrees with her. “I just think it’s super cool. I know its history, and there’s a nostalgia that surrounds it. Heck, I couldn’t wait to drive it last night to go pick up pizza,” he grins.

 

Born during WW II, Land Cruisers are actually Toyota’s longest running series of vehicles. By the 1950s both American and Japanese soldiers drove Land Cruisers in the Korean War. And since mass production of the iconic vehicle began, more than 5,000,000 have been manufactured and driven around the world. There’s even a Land Cruiser museum in Salt Lake City.

 

“My FJ40 is just a raw powerful vehicle that’s much the opposite of the creature comforts and technology in Kevin’s Tundra, but I think the rawness is also what he gets a kick out of,” says Kalkman, who owns a successful injection mold making facility that provides molds for the auto and medical industry, and escapes to Key West for an annual fishing trip with legendary guide “RT” Trosset.

 

Since taking ownership of the FJ40 two years ago, Kalkman has done little to alter its appearance of 45 years ago. In fact, he even added to its rugged authentic looks by adding an original bumper and steel wheel rims.

 

“I’ve seen old Land Cruisers just like it on TV in African safaris. And honestly, the fact it’s a 4-speed manual stick shift reminds me of the very first truck I drove as a teenager, so it’s definitely kind of nostalgic,” reflects VanDam.

 

He’s right, because of their reliability, Land Cruisers are hugely popular around the world including the vastly remote Outback of Australia, Africa, and wherever global adventure takes place – including trips to an Italian eatery in Kalamazoo, to pick-up pizza for the people pro bass fishing’s most decorated angler loves most.


B.A.S.S. Announces 2020 Dates For Additional Tournament Series

May 15, 2020

 

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — After announcing schedules for the Elite Series and Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens Series last week, today B.A.S.S. unveiled revised event dates for the remaining events on their 2020 tournament schedule.

Sixteen Bassmaster Tournament Series events originally scheduled between March and May had to be rescheduled, but officials highlighted that the new schedules allow for the full tournament circuit to be completed this year.

“We are excited to get back to the fun of tournament fishing in a safe and responsible way,” said Jon Stewart, B.A.S.S. Nation Tournament Director. “We appreciate our local hosts and staff, who worked diligently to find new dates so that every angler who has looked forward to this season can compete.”

B.A.S.S. has emphasized that it will heed each state’s mandates on crowd sizes and public spaces as well as monitor federal guidelines to ensure both competition and fan activities can resume safely. These sentiments were echoed by officials in the tournament host communities.

“We are confident in our ability to host a safe event in August. Everyone involved is committed to being prudent in our planning, making the changes that are necessary to adhere to the safety guidelines in place at that time,” said Mark Jeanneret, Executive Director of the Erie Sports Commission, local host for the B.A.S.S. Nation Northeast Regional Championship.

As schools around the country resume in late-summer, competition will also resume for college, high school and junior anglers.

“While it is disappointing for anglers and families anytime we have to postpone high school and college tournaments, I am thrilled that we were able to get events rescheduled so that the majority of teams who registered for these tournaments can compete,” said College and High School Series Senior Manager Hank Weldon.

TNT Fireworks Bassmaster B.A.S.S. Nation Series

Aug. 19-21, Northeast Regional, Lake Erie, Erie, Pa.
Aug. 26-28, North Regional, Lake Vermilion, Tower, Minn.
Sept. 30 – Oct. 2, Lake Mead, Henderson, Nev.
Oct. 14-16, Central Regional, Toledo Bend Reservoir, Many, La.
Nov. 11-13, B.A.S.S. Nation Championship, Lake Pickwick, Florence, Ala.

Bassmaster Team Championship

Dec. 9-12, Harris Chain of Lakes, Leesburg, Fla.

Huk Bassmaster B.A.S.S. Nation Kayak Series powered by TourneyX presented by Abu Garcia

Aug. 15, Mississippi River, La Crosse, Wis.
Aug. 29, Clear Lake, Lakeport, Calif.
Nov. 21, Chickamauga Lake, Dayton, Tenn.

Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops

Aug. 27-29, Lake Hartwell, Anderson, S.C.
Oct. 1-3, Lake Cumberland, Jamestown, Ky.
Oct. 29-31, College National Championship, TBA
Nov. 17-19, College Bracket Challenge, Lay Lake, Columbiana, Ala.

Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors

Aug. 8, Lake St. Clair, Detroit, Mich.
Oct. 4, Lake Cumberland, Jamestown, Ky.
Oct. 22-24, High School National Championship, TBA

Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster Junior Series

Aug. 8, Lake St. Clair, Detroit, Mich.
Oct. 4, Lake Cumberland, Jamestown, Ky.
Oct. 19-20, Junior National Championship, TBA


Water Safety Month – Set an Example

 

May is Water Safety Month, but realistically safety should be paramount everyday you launch a boat. Water Safety Month serves as a great opportunity to brush up on safety procedures as well as take an honest assessment of your personal approach to staying safe on the water.

Bassmaster® Opens angler Hunter Bland knows all too well the importance of safety. He and his college fishing partner were thrown from his boat due to a part in the hydraulic steering system coming loose in an FLW® College Fishing tournament on Lake Seminole in 2017.

Miraculously, Bland and his teammate Connor Young escaped serious injury, but the event changed Bland’s perspective and he’s currently a spokesperson for boating safety. Bland works with many of the top companies in the industry, including the Skeeter Boats and Yamaha Marine, to advocate for safety on the water.

“We all love to fish, but I’m confident we all could agree that making it back to the dock safely is the most important thing,” Bland said.

 

Wear your PFD and engine cutoff device

 While visions of big bass, tranquil scenery and euphoric sunsets likely come to mind when you think of your next day at the lake, it’s important to remember to keep safety first.

“An accident like I experienced changes your mindset instantaneously,” Bland said. “Everything can change in the blink of an eye, but so many accidents are avoidable if you follow simple safety protocols. The first step comes with strapping into a personal floatation device.”

Before you hook a boat trailer to your tow vehicle, you should ensure the vessel has every item listed in the U.S. Coast Guard Safety Checklist and complies with all state and federal laws or guidelines. The next and most important thing you should do is to always wear a PFD or lifejacket.

As Bland is happy to tell you, a PFD will absolutely save your life. Furthermore, sliding your PFD on as soon as you begin backing your boat down the ramp forces your brain to reckon with safety. Buckling your lifejacket reminds you to attach your engine cutoff device commonly referred to as a “kill switch,” and should prompt a boater to mentally run through safety precautions.

“Before your outboard is ever engaged you need to have your lifejacket on and your engine cutoff device operative,” Bland explained. “I owe my life to those two simple safety steps. There’s no gray area; whether you are idling slowly or running on plane to your next spot, you need to wear both of those devices.”

 

Set an example

Bland’s travels and experiences as a spokesperson for boating safety have illustrated the importance of leading by example. Bland has seen his efforts make a difference.

  “Whether you’re a professional angler or an avid weekend fisherman, there’s a good chance you have people who look up to you,” Bland explained. “They may know you personally or they might just be impressed with your efficiency of launching or loading your boat. Whatever the case, your actions can influence someone.

“By wearing your PFD, attaching your kill switch, and practicing safe, responsible boating, you’re teaching proper habits, and you may be unknowingly saving a life.”

Hunter Bland came into the outdoor industry through college fishing, and has seen the rapid growth of both high school and college fishing in just a handful of years. Right now, there are more young people interested in competitive fishing than ever before. With this explosion of popularity at the youth levels of fishing, ensuring safety remains “cool” has never been more important.

No matter what you grew up believing, it’s always cool to be safe. “Risk-takers” or “rule-benders” need to be left at the dock when it comes to boating and fishing. The margins for error and risks associated are too severe on the water. It’s simply not worth it.

So keep it cool by staying safe on the water this summer, and set an example in the process. A day on the water is good for the soul, but arriving home safely to your loved ones is even better.


Wolfson Tournament Boat Drawing THIS Saturday!

It’s mid-May and the AnglersChannel.com crew would be heading to Palatka, Florida to cover the huge Wolfson Children’s Hospital Bass Tournament for the web site as well as our TV Show and webcast but the fund-raising tournament is another casualty of efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.

But Saturday, May 16th will be a memorable day for one lucky individual.

While the Wolfson tourney has been canceled, there will still be a drawing for a brand-new Bullet Bass Boat! Check out the details from the Wolfson tourney web site:

Although the 2020 tournament has been cancelled, the chance drawing for the 2020 Bullet bass boat with a Mercury XR engine will still take place on May 16, 2020 via Facebook live and be promoted along with all of our sponsors.

The boat is a 21 foot bass boat in the classic bullet styling. It has a large front platform, ample storage, and great rough water handling. It is painted in a beautiful orange and black finish. The Mercury Pro X 250 engine is a V8, 250 hp/186kw engine with dual overhead cam and 32-valves. The boat also comes with a Boatmate trailer for hauling.

Special thank you to Bullet Boats and Mercury Marine.

No purchase, donation, or contribution necessary to win. A purchase, payment, or donation will not increase chances of winning. Suggested donation for tickets is $10 (ten and no/100 dollars) each. Winner need not be present to win.

 

To register for your chance to win, visit the following web site and scroll about 2/3 of the way down toward the bottom to find the blue REGISTER NOW button.

https://giving.baptistjax.com/event/31st-annual-wolfson-childrens-hospital-bass-tournament/e268890

We’re already looking forward to a great event in 2021!

 


Bassin' is Back!!! Well, Kinda......

 

This week CB and the boys welcome in current FLW Pro Circuit points leader Ron Nelson to the show to talk about the revamped schedule and the allowance of MLF Anglers to join the field. Chris tries hard to keep his mouth shut..... Chris also throws the boys a curveball when his good friend Michele Eichstead with Blond Girl Promotions joins the show in the opening segment. Check it out!


Stefan Calls Yamaha Power Pay a Precious Commodity

Courtesy of Dynamic Sponsorships

 

Kennesaw, Ga. – May 12, 2020 - Prior to turning full time FLW® pro five years ago, Matt Stefan made a living assuring commodities such as soybeans and gold were being traded in a fair and ethical manner. It’s no surprise the Wis. pro was quick to recognize the financial opportunities within the Yamaha Power Pay contingency program for tournament anglers, which has already paid anglers roughly $20,000 since its launch.

 

“I can’t remember if I first heard about Power Pay on social media or on an angling site, but as a longtime Yamaha owner, I could tell as soon as I learned more, it is an awesome program,” said Stefan. “The best part is it’s free to sign-up, and you don’t even have to win your event to get the Power Pay money.”

 

Stefan has already collected $1,500 in Yamaha Power Pay money in 2020 on the FLW® Tackle Warehouse® Pro Circuit, finishing fifth at the Harris Chain of Lakes and twentieth at Lake Martin. Although, he admits his dream day of bass fishing would take place near his home at Sturgeon Bay, Wis., where 30-pound limits of smallmouth are achievable in May and June.

 

“I’ll be honest, I’ve had offers from other outboard manufacturers for sponsorship deals, but I continue to buy my Yamaha outboards through my local dealer,” continued Stefan, whose total career earnings as a Yamaha angler come close to $500,000.  “Yamaha is all I’ve ever run. I just have so much trust and confidence in my Yamaha V MAX SHO® that I’ve never wanted to risk running anything else.”

 

When asked what he loves most about his V MAX SHO, Stefan rattled off pretty much every important feature anglers and boaters seek from their outboard.

 

“It’s a four-stroke engine that performs like a two-stroke, with tremendous reliability, great hole-shot, awesome top-end speed and no dealing with oil. It’s truly an incredible engine, and all the guys I know who run one are fired-up about registering for the Power Pay program,” said the Wisconsin pro.

 

For more information, complete terms and conditions or to register for Yamaha Power Pay like Matt Stefan, visit yamahapowerpay.com or email Chip with questions at [email protected].

 

Yamaha Marine products are marketed throughout the United States and around the world. Yamaha Marine Engine Systems, based in Kennesaw, Ga., supports its 2,000 U.S. dealers and boat builders with marketing, training and parts for Yamaha’s full line of products and strives to be the industry leader in reliability, technology and customer service. Yamaha Marine is the only outboard brand to have earned NMMA®’s C.S.I. Customer Satisfaction Index award every year since its inception. Visit www.yamahaoutboards.com.

 

REMEMBER to always observe all applicable boating laws. Never drink and drive. Dress properly with a USCG-approved personal floatation device and protective gear.

 

® 2020 Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. All rights reserved.

 

This document contains many of Yamaha's valuable trademarks. It may also contain trademarks belonging to other companies. Any references to other companies or their products are for identification purposes only, and are not intended to be an endorsement.


Nic Brown Takes the win on Seminole

Nic Brown from Chattahoochee, Fl. is one step closer to the Bass Pro Shops Fishing Tour National Championship with a first place win in the Bass Pro Shops Fishing Tour Seminole Division 114 2 day bass tournament held on Lake Seminole May 2&3, 2020. Nic’s 2 day limit weighed in at 39.74 pounds.  Big Bass was awarded to Sean Bierman for catching a 7.39 lb large mouth.

These anglers are acquiring valuable points to insure their birth in to the Bass Pro Shops Fishing Tour National Championship. Their points are also being used to determine the divisional angler of the year. The top angler by points earned in this division will represent the division in the Angler of the Year final round.

The top six anglers were:
1. Nic Brown           39.74  lbs.
2. Len Lindahl         28.34  lbs.
3. Lindsey Page        25.88  lbs.
4. David Howell        24.90  lbs.
5. Sean Bierman        23.27  lbs.
6. Steve Phillips      15.88  lbs.

Conditions: The day was very pleasant at the weight in! The lake water was stained to muddy.

Winning Strategy: Nic's pattern was bed fishing and Crank Baits!

Next Divisional Tournament: This division’s next tournament will be November, 2020 on Lake Seminole at Seminole Lodge. For more information on this or any future event in this division contact Mitch Oldnettle 850-376-2628 or Len Lindahl 850-272-5305.

These anglers earn valuable points toward the divisional Angler of the Year (AOY) title. The points champion from each division will compete in the annual American Bass Anglers (ABA) Bass Pro Shops Fishing Tour (BPSFT) Angler of The Year (AOY) Final Round at the BPSFT National Championship. In addition, the top 500 anglers from the various divisions will earn the right to compete in the three-day ABA, BPSFT National Championship tournament.

The Bass Pro Shops Fishing Tour offers low cost, close to home bass tournaments that are designed for the weekend angler.

All anglers fish for both money and points. The points advance the angler to their divisional championship and the top 500 anglers in the U.S. are invited to the Bass Pro Shops Fishing Tour (BPSFT) National Championship.


Brannon Hurst and Mike Freeman winning Alabama Bass Trail on Logan Martin Lake

By Jason Duran

The Alabama Bass Trail is back and Covid-19 has made for a very interesting time in our country. Stay at home orders, quarantines and social distancing are now all common practice in every home. The lack of social interaction has really take its toll on a lot of people. The Alabama Bass Trail worked closely with the state of Alabama make things as safe as possible in this new way of life. The  ABT team worked hard to adjust everything including  no pretournament meetings, using face coverings and limited contact during boat check, trailered weigh- in to allow for social distancing for anglers and staff, and no crowds at weigh-ins. This allowed for the Alabama Bass Trail to be back in action and still able to keep everyone as safe as possible.  At the close of scales on Saturday from Lake Logan Martin Brannon Hurst and Mike Freeman take home the win with 17.64.

The team of Hurst and Freeman made about a five minute run to fish boat docks in 1 – 10 feet of water. They were pitching a home-made white Jig on boat docks. They found this pattern late in the day in a tournament last weekend and this week they were able to build on it. Like many other anglers they were expecting a shad spawn to be a factor in this event. Though they weren’t really targeting the shad spawn, they did catch a fish off one dock that was probably a shad spawn fish.

The keys for them was “trying to flip as many boat dock piers as they can in a day and skipping the jig as far back into the shade of the dock as they could where the bass were.” They also said “you have to have a lot of places now because there are so many people fishing” They areas they target were from Stemley bridge to the dam.

It is important for them to “fish well together as a team for example; they both don’t fish the jig the same way, one might fish it deep and slower while the other will fish a little faster and higher up in the water column” The team has been fishing together for over 25 years and for the past four years they have fished the ABT south division.

The Dock and Jig pattern produced a mixed bag of spots and largemouth weighing in at 17.64. Fishing docks from 1 foot to 10 feet.  They both have fished Logan Martin their whole life and to win here was “unbelievable and incredible” Mike said it is hard to win against this level of competition and it really feels awesome. .

Their homemade jig set up was paired with Lew’s Reel, Fitzgerald Rod and 20 lb Seaguar fluorocarbon line.

The first-year team of Rickey Dunn and Trent Davis came in second place. Rickey is Trent’s father in-law and they have been fishing together for about 10 years. This year they decided to fish the ABT and at the second stop they had a really good day. They made a run up to Choccolocco Creek throwing topwater and spinnerbaits and targeting seawall and shallow points in the sun. Like many other anglers said the first thirty minutes of their day was really productive. Their second spot was up around Broken Arrow Creek and from there they ran small cuts that seemed to produce fish at every stop. Later in the day they worked their way back down river to their final stop on a boat dock where Rickey had caught one in practice the previous week. On this dock they both caught a keeper. Trent caught one over four pounds with one that Rickey believed he probably caught in practice and released. That four pounder helped them move up enough to make in to second place with 15.84.

The third place team of Todd Murphy and Kopeland Rosser caught a limit within five cast. They made a run up river towards the I20 bridge to a spot that Kopeland found in practice. It was really a flurry for about thrity minutes with about 15-20 fish catches and sometimes they were doubled up. Todd describes this spot as a flat and “can’t really explain why these spotted bass were stacked up there.”  That flurry of fish catches only lasted about 30 minutes. They left that spot with a limit of spotted bass and had two fish over three pounds. From there they went to another spot and caught two large mouth in back-to-back cast. When the wind picked up later in the morning they said it helped their fish set up on the cover better.

The baits that were productive were a Spook in bone color, black and blue swim Jig, swimbait and a drop shot. They said they just stuck to the basics and just went fishing.

Over all anglers were really excited to see the ABT family back out on the water. Next week the North Division gets back in action on Weiss Lake.

 

The top ten standings are below for a full list of results visit.

https://www.alabamabasstrail.org/tournament-series/lml-results/

 

Download and listen to the ABT Podcast on your favorite Podcast app by searching for “Alabama Bass Trail Podcast.”  The Podcast is released each week on Tuesday.

 

The sponsors of the 2020 Alabama Bass Trail include; Phoenix Bass Boats, Bill Penney Toyota, Garmin, Academy Sports & Outdoors, America’s First Federal Credit Union, Sweet Home Alabama, Alabama Tourism Department, Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association, T-H Marine Supplies, Wedowee Marine, Strike King, Buffalo Rock, Mountain Dew, Jack’s, Fish Neely Henry Lake.com, Alabama Power Company, Lew’s Fishing, Berkley, YETI, Power Pole, Big Bite Bait Company, E3 Apparel and Hydrowave.

For information about Alabama Bass Trail and for complete tournament standings visit www.alabamabasstrail.org.


AnglersChannel Extra Webcast Episode 2 - 50th Bassmasters Classic

On this episode, we recap the 50th Bassmaster's Classic on Lake Guntersville and Birmingham, Alabama. Follow along as we cover the event like no other outlet out there, from on the water to behind the scenes, you'll see it all!


Alabama Bass Trail Announces 2021 Schedule - No Increase in Entry Fee!

NO increase in entry fees for five straight years!
$1300 Entry fees
NO memberships
$100,000 total payout at the NO ENTRY Fee Championship!
Priority registration opens August 1st registration for new teams begins August 15th at 6:00am!

 


B.A.S.S. Announces Revised 2020 Tournament Schedule

May 7, 2020

 

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — After the coronavirus national health emergency forced the postponement of spring competition, B.A.S.S. officials have announced a new schedule for the remainder of 2020 designed to ensure all Bassmaster Elite Series and Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens tournaments can be completed.

“Any time we are forced to postpone a tournament it is disappointing to our anglers, fans, hosts, sponsors and staff,” said Bruce Akin, B.A.S.S. CEO. “After this break of nearly three months, our anglers are looking forward to fishing on these incredible waters, and we know fans are ready to see big bass being weighed in again.

“Our team has worked diligently alongside our local hosts to ensure that we are ready to get back to the competition and fun of tournament fishing in a safe and responsible way.”

B.A.S.S. has emphasized that it will heed each state’s mandates on crowd sizes and public spaces as well as monitor federal guidelines to ensure both competition and fan activities can resume safely.

Three Elite Series events and two Bassmaster Opens tournaments originally scheduled between March and May were initially postponed. An alternate date for the tournament originally planned on the Sabine River in Orange, Texas could not be identified, prompting an official reschedule of that event for Spring 2021. Instead, the Elite Series will compete on Cayuga Lake in Union Springs, N.Y., where last year Jamie Hartman won with a four-day total of 80 pounds, 13 ounces.

Competition resumes in June, when the Elite field heads to historic Lake Eufaula in Alabama June 10-13.B.A.S.S. hasn’t visited the fishery since 2006.

“We are so excited to welcome B.A.S.S. back to the ‘Big Bass Capital of the World,’” said Ann Sparks, Tourism and Main Street Executive Director for the City of Eufaula. “We are thankful (for) their dedication to rescheduling the tournament. Now we just have to wait and see what they catch!”

Competition for Opens Series anglers resumes in June as well, when the Central Open launches on the Arkansas River in Muskogee, Okla., for their first event of the season June 18-20.

“When originally setting up the schedule, B.A.S.S. took into account the times of year when each fishery would be at its best,” said B.A.S.S. Tournament Director Trip Weldon. “The revisions, while challenging, should present excellent catch opportunities for our field.”

Bassmaster Elite Series

June 10-13, Lake Eufaula, Eufaula, Ala.

July 14-17, Cayuga Lake, Union Springs, N.Y.

July 23-26, SiteOne Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River, Waddington, N.Y.

July 30-Aug. 2, Lake Champlain, Plattsburgh, N.Y.

Aug. 20-23, Lake St. Clair, Macomb County, Mich.

Oct. 8-11, Santee Cooper Lakes, Clarendon County, S.C.

Oct. 16-19, Chickamauga Lake, Dayton, Tenn.

Nov. 5-8, Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Lake Fork, Quitman, Texas
Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens Series

Eastern Division:

Aug. 6-8Oneida Lake, Syracuse, N.Y.

Sept. 23-25Lake Hartwell, Anderson, S.C.

Oct. 29-31Cherokee Lake, Jefferson County, Tenn.

Central Division:

June 18-20Arkansas River, Muskogee, Okla.

Sept. 10-12Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Jasper, Texas

Oct. 22-24, Neely Henry Lake, Gadsden, Ala.

Nov. 19-21Lewisville Lake, Lewisville, Texas


FLW Rookie Preston Craig!

 

This week Jason welcomes in FLW Rookie Preston Craig to talk about life as the "Living the Dream" Pro. Check it out!

 


NPFL's Hunter Baughman and Head Honcho Al McCulloch

This week Chris and the Boys welcome in the newest addition to the NPFL Roster, Arkansas' Hunter Baughman! NPFL Head Honcho Al McCulloch also joins the show to talk about the state of the union as it stands with the NPFL. All of this and more!


Harvey & Mauldin win Tennessee Team Trail Cherokee Lake Event with over 18 pounds!

 

 

Place Team Fish Weight Penalty Points Payout Triton
1.00 BRIAN HARVEY-MARK
MAULDIN
5/ 5 18.58 200.00 $7,500.00
2.00 JOHN NAPIER-TODD BAYLESS 5/ 5 18.04 199.00 $2,500.00
3.00 VON DILBECK-KEITH
MCDEERMAN
5/ 5 17.83 198.00 $2,000.00 $1,000.00
4.00 CORBAN ROOD-NICK HATFIELD 5/ 5 17.78 197.00 $1,500.00 $900.00
5.00 GARY PILKENTON-CLIFFORD
BUNCH
5/ 5 17.57 196.00 $1,200.00
6.00 MICHAEL BURDETTE-JORDAN
BURDETTE
5/ 5 17.07 195.00 $1,000.00
7.00 HUNTER HAMILTON-TY BALL 5/ 5 16.80 194.00 $ 900.00
8.00 PHILIP GORDON-JEREMY
GORDON
5/ 5 16.73 193.00 $ 800.00
9.00 BILL HUMBARD-DONNIE
HOLDER
5/ 5 16.55 192.00 $ 700.00
10.00 JACOB FOUTZ-BRIAN FOUTZ 5/ 5 16.54 191.00 $ 600.00
11.00 RUFUS JOHNSON-CRAIG
BREWER
5/ 5 16.38 190.00 $ 500.00
12.00 J.R. HENARD-TRAVIS
CARPENTER
5/ 5 16.37 189.00 $ 400.00
13.00 JOHN PHILLIPS-TYLER
PHILLIPS
5/ 5 16.33 188.00 $ 300.00
14.00 BRAD BROWN-CRAIG SMITH 5/ 5 16.28 187.00 $ 250.00
15.00 PAUL NAPIER-ZACH NAPIER 5/ 5 16.20 186.00 $ 200.00
16.00 JACOB BARTON-PAUL BARTON 5/ 5 16.15 185.00 $ 150.00
17.00 STEVE BARBEE-KEITH
BREWER
5/ 5 16.13 184.00 $150.00
17.00 BART HARRIS-CHARLES
SOUTHERLAND
5/ 5 16.13 184.00 $150.00
19.00 CHRIS COVINGTON-DOUG
PRESSLY
5/ 5 15.95 182.00 $ 150.00 $800.00
20.00 JONATHAN
PHILLIPS-DEWAYNE FOUST
5/ 5 15.91 181.00 $ 150.00 $700.00
21.00 ROBERT FRITTS-RONNIE
CAREY
5/ 5 15.75 180.00 $ 150.00 $600.00
22.00 CHRIS CARDEN-JACOB
MASHBURN
5/ 5 15.64 179.00 $ 150.00 $500.00
23.00 JON WRIGHT-BEN PARKER 5/ 5 15.62 178.00 $ 150.00
24.00 GREG MCDAVID-JUSTIN
WILLIAMS
5/ 5 15.60 177.00 $ 150.00
25.00 BRAD PADGETT-DANIEL
PADGETT
5/ 5 15.52 176.00 $ 150.00
26.00 TODD NIDIFFER-BENNY
ROBERTS
5/ 5 15.48 175.00 $ 150.00
27.00 MARK OWNBY-WANDELL LUSK 5/ 5 15.43 174.00 $ 150.00
28.00 KEITH PHILLIPS-ROGER
PHILLIPS
5/ 5 15.42 173.00 $ 150.00 $400.00
29.00 BRIAN COOPER-JOSEPH
BRAKEBILL
5/ 5 15.41 172.00 $ 150.00 $300.00
30.00 JAMES GOODIN-RANDY
BROWN
5/ 5 15.39 171.00 $ 150.00
31.00 KENT SMITH-PERRY DEWEES 5/ 5 15.32 170.00 $ 150.00
32.00 RICKEY EPPERSON-MATTHEW
WILLIAMSON
5/ 5 15.22 169.00 $ 150.00
33.00 SHAUN RAMSEY-DUSTIN
BUCKNER
5/ 5 15.18 168.00 $ 150.00
34.00 CODY GEORGE-JOSH PRINCE 5/ 5 15.14 167.00 $ 150.00 $200.00
35.00 KYLE SMITH-NEIL HARTLEY 5/ 5 15.12 166.00 $ 150.00 $150.00
36.00 JOSH CUPP-TONY MORTON 5/ 5 15.11 165.00 $ 150.00 $150.00
37.00 SAM ROSENBALM-JIM CLARK 5/ 5 15.10 164.00 $ 150.00
38.00 COREY WILLIAMS-JAMES
BAKER
5/ 5 15.03 163.00 $ 150.00 $150.00
39.00 TOMMY BREWSTER-LOGAN
BREWSTER
5/ 5 15.02 162.00 $ 150.00
40.00 CARL POST-JEREMY
HARRISON
5/ 5 14.82 161.00 $ 150.00 $150.00
41.00 MICHAEL SMITH-TYLER KIRBY 5/ 5 14.72 160.00 $ 150.00 $150.00
42.00 KEVIN MCKAMEY-CHRIS
BULLOCK
5/ 5 14.68 159.00 $ 150.00 $150.00
43.00 STEPHEN LOVEDAY-DANIEL
LOVEDAY
5/ 5 14.64 158.00 $150.00 $150.00
43.00 DALE PELFREY-NO PARTNER 5/ 5 14.64 158.00 $150.00 $150.00
45.00 DEWAYNE WILSON-CORY
OWNBY
5/ 5 14.61 156.00 $ 150.00 $150.00
46.00 SETH JOLLEY-DON CARR 5/ 5 14.60 155.00 $ 150.00
47.00 NICK TATE-DAMIAN WINSOR 5/ 5 14.45 154.00 $ 150.00
48.00 RANDY OLIVER-LARRY
MINNICK
5/ 5 14.41 153.00 $ 150.00 $150.00
49.00 RODNEY BEELER-MATTHEW
BEELER
5/ 5 14.40 152.00 $ 150.00
50.00 JAMES HUTCHESON-RONNIE
TAYLOR
5/ 5 14.30 151.00 $ 150.00
51.00 MIKE KINSER-> LOGAN
LINDSEY
5/ 5 14.25 150.00 $ 150.00 $150.00
52.00 DON MCCURDY-NANCY
MCCURDY
5/ 5 14.20 149.00 $ 150.00
53.00 JAMIE LAWSON-MICHAEL
FICKEY
5/ 5 14.05 148.00 $ 150.00
54.00 HUNTER SALES-BILLY SALES 5/ 5 13.92 147.00 $ 150.00
55.00 TAVIN NAPIER-JOHN DAILEY 5/ 5 13.91 146.00 $ 150.00
56.00 GRIFFIN HEFFINGTON-THAD
SIMERLY
5/ 5 13.88 145.00 $ 150.00
57.00 CORY SMITH-JESSE WEST 5/ 5 13.74 144.00 $ 150.00
58.00 SETH BARTON-JESSE
HOSKINS
5/ 5 13.54 143.00 $ 150.00
59.00 KENT LODARI-TROY BIGELOW 5/ 5 13.47 142.00 $ 150.00
60.00 JACOB BULL-SHAWN THIBAULT 5/ 5 13.46 141.00 $ 150.00 $150.00
61.00 CHRIS RAPER-COTY LANE 5/ 5 13.41 140.00
62.00 GREG MOORE-TERRELL
HENDREN
5/ 5 13.40 139.00
63.00 LUCAS MCDANIEL-NATHAN
BELL
5/ 5 13.36 138.00
64.00 RYAN INKLEBARGER-JACK
WADE
5/ 5 13.31 137.00 $150.00
64.00 TIM SMILEY-LYNN SPEARS 5/ 5 13.31 137.00
66.00 TRAVIS ANDERSON-CODY
BURKHART
5/ 5 13.16 135.00 $150.00
67.00 LEE VARNER-KEVIN BARBER 5/ 5 13.14 134.00
68.00 MIKE MILES-ROBERT ROCHE 5/ 5 13.11 133.00 $150.00
69.00 BILLY HALL-AUSTIN JAMES 5/ 5 13.05 132.00
70.00 MATTHEW STOMBAUGH-COLE
MILLER
5/ 5 13.02 131.00
71.00 RICK MAYBERRY-BRANDON
(RUTLEDGE) HARRIS
5/ 5 12.98 130.00
72.00 CHRIS TAYLOR-MIKE TAYLOR 5/ 5 12.84 129.00
73.00 TATE WALLACE-OLIVER
HALOUMA
5/ 5 12.79 128.00
74.00 AUSTIN PHILLIPS-AARON
SANDERS
5/ 5 12.75 127.00 $150.00
74.00 ROBBIE SNOW-CLIFF
ROWLAND
5/ 5 12.75 127.00
76.00 WILLIAM SENTELL-ROBERT
LAMOTTE
5/ 5 12.70 125.00
77.00 JUSTIN OWNBY-SPENCER
PETERS
5/ 5 12.68 124.00 $150.00
78.00 BUDDY PRICE-MASON
HUMANN
5/ 5 12.65 123.00
79.00 SCOTT WINCHESTER-KURT
HOPE
5/ 5 12.64 122.00
80.00 DREW NEWELL-DAVID KELLEY 5/ 5 12.54 121.00
81.00 CODY DISON-CODY SNYDER 5/ 5 12.51 120.00
81.00 JOHN GOODMAN-KARLIE
METZGER
5/ 5 12.51 120.00
83.00 TIMOTHY WYATT-DELMAR
WYATT
5/ 5 12.50 118.00
84.00 BRANT GRIMM-BOBBY
DRINNON
5/ 5 12.42 117.00
85.00 BRAD SNAPP-SHAUN RENFRO 5/ 5 12.25 116.00
86.00 BOYD BRUMFIELD-COREY
COOK
5/ 5 12.20 115.00
86.00 CASEY MAJNI-COREY BROOKS 5/ 5 12.20 115.00
88.00 TROY JONES-DENTON JONES 5/ 5 12.10 113.00
88.00 JOEL WHEELON-CLINT BOLING 5/ 5 12.10 113.00
90.00 TYLER ALBRIGHT-DEREK
TURNER
5/ 5 12.01 111.00
91.00 CHARLES LOWRY-LOGAN
LOWRY
5/ 5 11.93 110.00
92.00 BOBBY CHAMBERS-BILL HILL 5/ 5 11.91 109.00
93.00 JOSEPH ELLIS-RONALD ELLIS 5/ 5 11.82 108.00
93.00 NIK LEEVER-COLBY PARTIN 5/ 5 11.82 108.00
95.00 JIM GRACA-JEREMY HENRY 5/ 5 11.74 106.00
96.00 JAMES HEADRICK-BRAD
HEADRICK
5/ 5 11.64 105.00
96.00 NICK WELCH-VIC WELCH 5/ 5 11.64 105.00
98.00 ANDY WATSON-RONNIE
MUSGRAVE
5/ 5 11.61 103.00
99.00 ELIJAH DUNCAN-> HUNTER
CLARK
5/ 5 11.51 102.00
100.00 JOE COX-DAVID MCMURRY 5/ 5 11.50 101.00
101.00 TOMMY BROWN-SPENCER
BROWN
5/ 5 11.45 100.00
102.00 JASON MARSHALL-BRIAN
DORTCH
4/ 4 11.30 99.00
103.00 CHRIS HARNESS-DUSTEN
PADGATT
5/ 5 11.28 98.00
103.00 ANDREW MCKINLEY-KEN
PERFECT
5/ 5 11.28 98.00
105.00 TIM DAVIS-DENNIS HILL 5/ 5 11.25 96.00
106.00 TRINITY CAWOOD-ZACH
WALKER
5/ 5 11.19 95.00
107.00 CARL PRATER-TODD
HEMBREE
5/ 5 11.12 94.00
108.00 RICHARD WYATT-JOSEPH
WYATT
5/ 5 11.08 93.00
109.00 CHRIS PRYOR-DAVY FLOYD 4/ 4 11.04 92.00
110.00 TOM HELTON-BILL KISSINGER 5/ 5 10.82 91.00
111.00 CODY GREEN-TOM SPANGLER 5/ 5 10.80 90.00
112.00 LEE LANDS-HARLEY DAVIS 5/ 5 10.71 89.00
113.00 WENDELL COOPER-BRIAN
YARBROUGH
5/ 5 10.65 88.00
113.00 RYAN POPE-CHRISTIAN SMITH 5/ 5 10.65 88.00
115.00 JIM EDMONDSON-JAMES DIAL 5/ 5 10.62 86.00
116.00 LARRY ROLEN-DONNIE
STAMEY
5/ 5 10.61 85.00
117.00 DAVID KING-ROGER JONES 5/ 5 10.56 84.00
117.00 RUSSELL MURPHY-MIKE
LAWSON
5/ 5 10.56 84.00
119.00 DOUG BUTZINE-JOSH TRENT 4/ 4 10.49 82.00
120.00 CURTIS GWIN-GREG VINCENT 5/ 5 10.37 81.00
121.00 RANDY MCKEE-JASON POTTER 4/ 4 10.36 80.00
122.00 STEVEN REDMOND-JIMMY
CRUM
5/ 5 10.33 79.00
123.00 TIM LEE-JEFF RUSSELL 5/ 5 10.16 78.00
124.00 PAUL CURTIS-MICHAEL
WATKINS
5/ 5 10.14 77.00
125.00 SETH MOSER-CHRIS KEEBLE 5/ 5 10.03 76.00
126.00 SCOTT BERRIER-> PAUL
RIDENER
5/ 5 9.97 75.00
127.00 GEORGE WELLS-> PAUL
PALMER
5/ 5 9.95 74.00
128.00 BILLY BOYD-FOY ELKINS 5/ 5 9.91 73.00
129.00 GAVIN DANIELS-COLBY
NELSON
4/ 4 9.73 72.00
130.00 MATTHEW SPEIGHTS-ERIC
DAVIS
5/ 5 9.70 71.00
131.00 BRAD MUSGRAVE-TIM MCNEAL 5/ 5 9.39 70.00
132.00 FRED CASTO-SCOTT CRAIG 4/ 4 9.32 69.00
133.00 CADE SMITH-JONATHAN
HENLEY
5/ 5 9.09 68.00
134.00 WYATT WILSON-HEATH LEWIS 5/ 5 9.01 67.00
135.00 RANDY FAULKNER-BRAD
FAULKNER
5/ 5 8.91 66.00
136.00 BILL LEE-> TONY SCHRIMSHER 4/ 4 8.62 65.00
137.00 FRANK NEWCOMB-FRANKY
NEWCOMB
3/ 3 8.10 64.00
138.00 ALAN PARKER-AARON
PARKER
3/ 3 7.67 63.00
139.00 JONATHAN BULLARD-JAMES
BULLARD
5/ 5 7.65 62.00
140.00 DILLAN GODSEY-JEFF ROGERS 3/ 3 7.04 61.00
141.00 SHANE SLOAN-LEN SLOAN 3/ 3 7.00 60.00
142.00 ALLEN TADLOCK-GREG
TROLLBRIDGE
3/ 3 6.53 59.00
143.00 TYLER WADZINSKI-CLAY
WELCH
3/ 3 6.14 58.00
144.00 DOUG CARPENTER-NATHAN
DAGGS
3/ 3 5.85 57.00
145.00 CASEY BAKER-EDDIE BAKER 2/ 2 5.80 56.00
146.00 BRAD NAPIER-DENNIS NAPIER 2/ 2 5.55 55.00
147.00 TIM WACKER-RYAN HELKE 3/ 3 5.38 54.00
148.00 JOHN FRENCH-STACEY
NEWBERRY
2/ 2 5.01 53.00
149.00 STANLEY MCLEMORE-BRIAN
SCATES
2/ 2 4.76 52.00
150.00 DUSTIN WEAVER-TREY
WATSON
2/ 2 4.68 51.00
151.00 WAYNE MOYHER-NO PARTNER 2/ 2 4.31 50.00
152.00 DAVID MILLER-BILLY JR.
PERKINS
2/ 2 4.27 49.00
153.00 RICHARD MOORE-ANDREW
SMITH
2/ 2 3.83 48.00
154.00 J. DEVON MARLOW-D.
MICHAEL LOWE
2/ 2 3.43 47.00
155.00 THOMAS ALLMER-DEWAYNE
ALLISON
1/ 1 1.94 46.00
156.00 CARL GUFFEY-SCOTT
LONGMIRE
1/ 1 1.80 45.00
157.00 JAY ADAIR-JAMIE ROOP 0.00
157.00 DAVID ALBRIGHT-TANNER
HERNDON
0.00
157.00 JAMES BENTLEY-TED RIDLEY 0.00
157.00 KYLE BLAIR-DANNY STOLLINGS 0.00
157.00 WILLIAM BRIGHTMAN-JOE
SCEALF
0.00
157.00 TYLER BROWN-AUSTIN DUNN 0.00
157.00 TIM CAIN-ERIC CROLEY 0.00
157.00 RONNIE DAVIS-AARON TIPTON 0.00
157.00 JACK DUNAWAY-RANDY
HARRIS
0.00
157.00 BILL DUNN-ROB DUNN 0.00
157.00 ERIC FARMER-MIKE JEFFRIES 0.00
157.00 JEFF GRAVES-TYLER GRAVES 0.00
157.00 ROBERT HELTON-> NO
PARTNER
0.00
157.00 MICHAEL JENKINS-MIKE
JENKINS
0.00
157.00 DAN LONG-TOM WALKER 0.00
157.00 JAMES MCLEMORE-JEFF
WEBBER
0.00
157.00 GARY MINNICK-DAVID MINNICK 0.00
157.00 WAYNE NORMAN-JOHNNY
MASSENGALE
0.00
157.00 DOUG PLEMONS-NO PARTNER 0.00
157.00 RICHARD PLOWMAN-ALLEN
WHITE
0.00
157.00 DAVID PRESLEY-TOBY STEELE 0.00
157.00 TROY REDWINE-KOLBY
REDWINE
0.00
157.00 ANTHONY REVIS-JAMES
BURCHARD
0.00
157.00 CHARLIE ROLSTON-CLINT
NELSON
0.00
157.00 JAMES TIPTON-TODD
MALLICOAT
0.00
157.00 WILL VANETTEN-SCOTT
WALLACE
0.00
157.00 JIMMY WHITE-TIM WYLIE 0.00
157.00 TRAVIS WORMSLEY-JOHN
CARROLL
0.00

Jones & Satterfield win Joe Bass Team Trail on Lake Stockton with over 17 pounds!

Courtesy of Joe Bass Tram Trail:

 

After the COVID-19 crisis forced the cancellation of the season opener in April, 81 teams turned out at Orleans Trail Marina to treat a serious case of cabin fever.  Conditions had been fairly stable in the days leading up to the event, but a squall with high winds, rain, and hail churned things up during the mid-morning hours.  Nonetheless, a staggering 332 bass were brought to the scales where a limited number of weigh-in bags, extra tank spacing, and other considerations provided the proper social distancing.

Topping the heavily credentialed field was the team of Kelly Jones and Roger Satterfield.  They made the trip north to Stockton to catch five fish that pushed the scales to a winning weight of 17.52 pounds.  Roger noted their Sport Boats USA Key to Success was flipping jigs to shallow bushes in the upper river.  Kelly and Roger padded their winnings as they boated 10-12 keepers from Kelly’s FX21 Skeeter, netting them the Sport Boats USA Highest Finishing Skeeter bonus.

The runner-up position was taken by Justin Delk and Brandon Rummel.  Their best five bass rang in it 16.76 pounds.  Included in their bag was the Ozark Chevrolet Big Bass weighing 5.34 pounds.  Brandon shared they also flipped jigs in shallow bushes.

Rounding out the top three was the team of Eric Craft and Dominic Cavitt.  Mixing in soft plastics with jigs pitched to shallow bushes, Eric and Dominic netted a five fish limit good for 16.58 pounds.

The next event in the 2020 Stockton Division will be June 7th at Orleans Trail with a 6:00am takeoff.

Place Team Members Fish B/F TotWgt Pts Payout
1 Kelly Jones – Roger Satterfield 5 3.8 17.52 110 $3,140.00 $ Skeeter
2 Justin Delk – Brandon Rummel 5 5.34 16.76 109 $1,970.00 1BB
3 Eric Craft – Dominic Cavitt 5 3.94 16.58 108 $1,080.00
4 Jim Davidson – Mike Ashbacher 5 4.67 16.43 107 $700.00
5 Chad Allison – Jeff Moss 5 5.03 15.99 106 $920.00 2 BB
6 Luke Routh – Tyler Weaver 5 3.65 15.93 105 $550.00
7 Keith Hurd – Jeff Nelson 5 4.68 15.89 104 $500.00
8 Chris White – Kelly White 5 4.01 15.29 103 $450.00
9 Matt Roberts – Dalton Wilson 5 15.22 102 $400.00
10 Matt Garrett – Kaleb Rook 5 3.97 15.06 101 $350.00
11 Scott Tassi – Glenn Harrison 5 3.18 15.04 100 $300.00
12 Mark Thompson – Mark Thompson II 5 3.61 14.87 99 $280.00
13 Sam Morton – Dennis Edwards 5 3.11 14.7 98 $250.00
14 Ben Saubers – Nick Saubers 5 3.33 14.55 97 $230.00
15 Mark Moody – Kyle Kiister 5 3.05 14.53 96 $200.00
16 Kevin Shaffer – Doug Jagels 5 13.97 95 $180.00
17 Dan Cox – Tim Kastning 5 3.16 13.93 94
18 Rick Fishback – Denny Carver 5 3.28 13.68 93
19 Robert Cowan – Dallas Beasley 5 13.67 92
20 Justin Angel – Scott Angel 5 2.9 13.63 91
21 Robert Shackelford – Dusty Richardson 5 3.08 13.46 90
22 *Stacy Holland – Shane Long 5 13.44 89
23 Sean Bowling – Brandon Brown 5 3.37 13.36 88
24 Charley Thomas – Chris Thomas 5 13.24 87
25 David Rice – Elias Williams 5 3.31 13.23 86
26 Tom Statler – *Richard Eutsler 5 13.22 85
27 Tom Amershek – Paden Shaffer 5 3.09 13.19 84
28 Cody Hough – *Greg Blair 5 3.94 13.16 83
29 Shawn Crabtree – Theresa Patterson 5 4.04 13.1 82
30 John Bennett – *Bill Dennis 5 2.93 13 81
31 Levi Snow – Benjamin Hodgson 5 12.87 80
32 Jake Beem – Joseph Beem 5 12.79 79
32 Russ Hughes – Ronald Parker 5 12.79 79
34 Mike Hagensicker – Dillon Brock 5 12.61 77
35 Josh Busby – *Donovan Hensley 5 12.59 76
35 Todd Choate – Kent Whitaker 5 12.59 76
37 Danny Waite – Bryan Leonard 5 12.56 74
38 Jeff Bear – Quenton Bear 5 2.69 12.5 73
39 Rick Bowman – Jeff Moore 5 2.63 12.44 72
40 Dalton Saxon – James JD Dendy 5 3.35 12.32 71
41 James Altman – Kevin Altman 5 2.74 12.32 70
42 Steve Teske – Jon Wall 5 2.79 12.31 69
43 Mike Butcher – Justin Amershek 5 2.83 12.23 68
44 Richard Holibaugh – Colton Bailey 5 3.05 12.02 67
45 Chris Macy – Tim Lawyer 5 11.96 66
46 Dan Weber – Robert Leininger 5 11.89 65
47 Kenneth White – Ken White 5 11.64 64
48 AJ Wenzel – Patrick Dickerson 5 3.29 11.47 63
49 Kevin Jackson – Bryan Jackson 5 11.43 62
50 Danny Shinneman – Mike Cooley 5 2.28 11.42 61
51 Seth Glynn – Kelly (KJ) Hughes 5 11.28 60
52 Matt Underwood – Logan Underwood 5 11.25 59
53 Austin Lowrey – Derrick Wright 5 11.08 58
54 Jeremy Montgomery – Devin Pino 5 11.05 57
55 John Cates – *fished aalone 5 11.02 56
56 Bob Capps – John Williams 5 2.79 11 55
57 Sean Brashears – NIck Hulm 5 10.8 54
58 Wes Reger – Kirby Ricketts 5 2.72 10.75 53
59 George Spicer – Jeff Bledsoe 5 2.69 10.63 52
60 Greg Seiner – Rick Keeney 4 2.92 10.2 51
61 Ron Hills – Ray Holt 4 3.15 9.77 50
62 Marvin Kinyon – Chris Roberts 4 9.36 49
63 Jay Carden – Levi Carden 5 9.29 48
64 Blake Edwards – *Jamie Conrad 5 9.1 47
65 Cameron White – Kyle Boman 4 7.83 46
66 David Hughes – Lucas Fornelli 3 7.17 45
67 Leonard DeClue – Kelton Morris 2 5.18 44
68 Scott Clift – Briar Clift 2 4.82 43
69 Ryan Tucker – Ryan Heise 2 4 42
70 Khye Scoggins – Caden Leer 1 2.83 2.83 41
71 John Aleshire – Travis Aleshire 1 2.26 2.26 40
72 James Brown – John Campbell 0 10
72 Russell Butts – Willard Jordan 0 10
72 Kaleb Cooper – 0 10
72 Ronald Deckard JR – Sophia Spencer-Asbell 0 10
72 Jim Dopp – Harlin Husky 0 10
72 Mike Fornelli – Bob Fornelli 0 10
72 Dustin Keys – Doug Hainley 0 10
72 David McCormick – *Dene White 0 10
72 Gerald McDaniel – Jeff Pascoe 0 10
72 David Mulkey – Sean Mukley 0 10

Bass Champs to resume season on May 16th at Lake LBJ

Many tournaments have changed dates, see schedule below.

We will be taking extra social distancing measures until further notice
*We will be trailering at each event until further notice to avoid crowds
* On-Line registration with no required check-in at registration. You will receive a text Friday evening and Saturday morning that confirms your entry and provides fishing times.
If you do prefer to register on-site, please practice social distancing.
*Limited number of anglers in line for weigh-in at one time (two anglers per tub)
*No Flipping Contests or hot dogs
*Zero Bonus drawing at each event to reduce # of anglers at weigh-in
(you do not need to be present to win drawing)
*Extended weigh-in times.
*No awards ceremony, all checks will be mailed out on Monday
*If you feel sick, please stay home

Over $150,000 in Sponsor Incentive Bonuses available this year
How much do you qualify for?
2020 Bass Champs Schedules


All lakes and dates are subject to change due to weather, lake conditions, etc.
Please subscribe to our newsletter or text services to receive the latest updates

$20,000 Guaranteed for 1st Place at all regular season team events

East South Central North
1/11 Rayburn 1/18 Falcon 2/8 Belton 2/29- Fork
2/15 Toledo Bend 2/22 Amistad 3/14 LBJ 5/23 Cedar Creek
3/7 Rayburn 5/30 Falcon 5/16 LBJ 6/6 Ray Roberts
8/1 Toledo Bend 6/20 Amistad 6/13 Lake to Be determined asap 7/11 Lake to Be
determined asap
Special Events
7/19 Sunday - Mega Bass on Lake Fork
6/28 Sunday - TX Shootout on Rayburn
8/29-8/30 Northern Skeeter Owners
Gull Lake Minnesota
10/10 & 10/11 Team Championship
Location to Be Announced in August
10/17 & 10/18 Berkley Big Bass on Lake Fork

the 2020 Skeeter Owners tournament on Lake Fork
has been cancelled until 2021


Zaldain doesn’t think bass read textbooks

Courtesy of Alan McGuckin - Dynamic Sponsorships

 

Chris Zaldain wasn’t sure he was cut out for college. So to give it a test run, he enrolled in a local community college. Then he won a boat in a tournament on Clear Lake soon after, and pretty much shelved textbooks forever to focus on a pro career.

 

Now one of the top professional anglers in the world, Zaldain is convinced bass don’t read text books either – especially as related to the post-spawn.

 

Now look, understandably, if you live near Montgomery, Alabama, where most bass spawn in late March, then you may be more prone to seek Zaldain’s post-spawn advice immediately, compared to a bass buster in Minneapolis, Minnesota where they don’t build beds until late May.

 

Either way – listen up, because Zaldain is giving up the goods on a rarely thought about pattern that sooner or later will apply to post-spawners in your area all summer long.

 

“The textbook pattern after the spawn is for bass to migrate to deeper off-shore ledges, brushpiles, humps, or whatever. But I’ve learned there are a number of wise old female largemouth that never migrate deep,” he says.

 

“Instead, they stay really shallow around isolated reeds and cattails picking off the bluegills that come in to spawn in less than 2-feet of water soon after the largemouth finish spawning,” emphasizes the Carhartt-Yamaha pro who now calls Forth Worth, Texas home.

 

Zaldain is already seeing this overlooked pattern begin to play-out around North Texas. Hence a big bluegill imitating surface frog lure called the Megabass Big Gabot gets a seat at the front of his class. “The Big Gabot is fairly large and it has a cupped face to make it spit, walk and chug perfectly over those bluegill beds and around the reeds and other sparse vegetation,” says Zaldain.

 

No surprise his favorite colors are bluegill imitators called GLX perch and wild gill – and he says even the vertical bars on the side of the bait add a mental vote of confidence to the Gabot’s ability to get eaten by fat largemouth.

 

Like a game of backyard after school tackle football, this is certainly not a pattern for light line and wimpy sticks – but instead 50-pound Seaguar Smackdown braided line and a 7’2” rod like you’d use to pitch a Texas rigged craw into a flooded bush.

 

“Not only does this pattern work all summer long, but in addition to the low light periods of early morning, some of the best bites come in mid-afternoon once the high sun casts shadows, so don’t stop throwing it at midday,” warns Zaldain.

 

“In fact, running shaded pockets in the afternoon with the Gavot is how I caught a few good ones last year during the first week of May at the Toyota Texas Bass Classic on Lake Fork,” he recalls.

 

Perhaps the catalyst of this somewhat non-traditional early summer pattern would best be described in an ecology textbook.

 

Zaldain believes the magic of tossing frogs around isolated reeds and cattails lies in the ecosystem. He thinks the whips of vertical vegetation attract insects, which in turn attract bluegills, and guess what – next come big aggressive bass not willing to go deep when easy meals made of panfish swim nearby.

 

So whenever the post-spawn season is in your area, don’t be afraid to shun traditional knowledge for a shot at shallow water frogging action seldom discussed, but absolutely full of Valedictorian level success.


One Boat Challenge Winners!!

 

This Week Chris, Jason and the boys catch up with #Oneboat Challenge Winners Charlie Breitenbach and Seth Funt from Florida! They explain how they were able to capture the first ever OBC and what's ahead. Team Tournament Blogger Luke Estel joins us as well to talk about fishing in Illinois or the lack of it.


Three Combos Swindle Takes in his Tundra

Courtesy of Luke Stoner - Dynamic Sponsorships

 

While Gerald Swindle is eager for tournament competition to be given the green light, the hilarious Bassmaster Elite Series veteran is holding up all right. Between projects on his farm, working in the shop, ample time on the water, and chasing around grandbabies or the occasional turkey Swindle is staying plenty busy.

 

The Team Toyota pro usually averages a couple thousand miles a month behind the wheel of his Tundra this time of year, but like most of us Swindle’s travels have come to a halt.  The “G-man” and his faithful shotgun rider “LuLu” have compiled a few hundred miles in total during this whole deal driving back and forth from their Lake Guntersville home to their farm near Smith Lake in Northern Alabama.

 

His Phoenix bass boat stays loaded-for-bear, but don’t think for a minute that Swindle rolls around in his Tundra unequipped. Swindle keeps a small ‘emergency stash’ of fishing tackle, including three rod and reels, in his truck at all times and thinks you should, too.

 

With many of us having a little extra time on our hands, you never know when you’ll have the opportunity to wet a line. Swindle laid out what he hauls around in his Tundra as only bass fishing’s funniest man can.

 

A Chatterbait AND spinnerbait setup

 

When it comes to his mobile fishing supply, Swindle is pretty particular. He opts for versatility in both rod and reel combos and the baits he carries with him to avoid lugging around half a tackle store.

 

“I take the bare necessities only, I don’t try to take the whole tackle box,” Swindle said. “But whether I have some time to kill at a pond or my nephew Trey calls wanting me to hop in the boat with him for a few hours, I always keep some gear in the truck.”

 

I pushed him to narrow it down to one combo, but Swindle explained that “just ain’t true”. He keeps two baitcasting rod and reels with him at all times.

 

One being a 7-foot glass rod specifically for slinging chatterbaits, and the other is a 7’3 medium heavy Ark Rod he typically keeps a spinnerbait tied to. Though Swindle won’t hesitate to swap the spinnerbait for a 3/8-ounce Buckeye Ballin’ Out Jig if the conditions call for it and he’s feeling funky.

 

“If you don’t have a spinnerbait or a chatterbait tied on this time of year you’re messin’ up,” Swindle joked. “In all seriousness, those techniques cover a lot of your bases. They are good around grass, wood, or rock and they’ll catch a pond bass just as easily as they’ll fool a Lake Guntersville five pounder.”

 

Both of Swindle’s truck bed combos are paired with 6:4:1 Lews reels with spools full of 16-lb Sunline Shooter fluorocarbon. Swindle trusts those combos in any scenario and urges you to add something similar to your arsenal.

 

7-foot medium heavy spinning rod for shaky heads and wacky rigs 

 

In a perfect world Swindle would power fish everyday of the week, but when it comes to getting a bite he knows the power of a good spinning rod and reel.

 

“I don’t go anywhere without a spinning rod,” Swindle admitted. “I keep a 7-foot medium heavy Ark spinning rod with medium sized Lews reel for slinging shaky heads and wacky rigs with me at all times. Whether you’ve got clear water, pressured fish, or you just like setting the hook it’s hard to beat those presentations. Keep a few VMC Neko Weights with you and you’re ready for anything.”

 

As far as Swindle is concerned a 3/16-ounce shaky head, a few VMC Ike Approved Neko Hooks, a pack of Zoom Beatdown and Zlinky Stick worms paired with a can-do attitude will catch a bass anywhere. He prefers 10-lb Sunline braid for his base line and keeps a spool of 10-lb Sunline Shooter fluoro to tie for his leaders.

 

“I can have fun and keep myself occupied for hours with these setups,” Swindle explained. “Hey man, I might not win a tournament with those three rigs but they’ll catch fish anywhere in the entire country. I’ve even been keeping some 6-lb monofilament leader line and a handful of crappie jigs with me this time of year… just in case!”

 

You never know when an opportunity will arise to make a few casts and it’s certainly better to have it but not need it, than to need it and not have it. Follow Swindle’s lead and add some fishing gear to your vehicle this spring while we continue to #FishSmart, be responsible, and use common sense.


Arey guided by patience as teacher, angler and turkey guide

Courtesy of Alan McGuckin - Dynamic Sponsorships

 

When he’s not on the road competing as a Bassmaster Elite Series pro, a phone call with Team Toyota’s Matt Arey can cover a wide range of topics, and young daughters Reese and Wren can often be heard in the background.

 

Arey often plays the role of “Mr. Mom” to his two blonde-headed girls, while sweet wife Emily fulfills her full-time career obligations as Director of Records and Educational Partnerships at Cleveland Community College near their Shelby, NC home. But now, under C-19 virus stay-at-home orders, he’s added “distance learning” instructor for 7-year-old Reese to his daily obligations.

 

“I have to be honest, when I first started teaching her I got frustrated a fair amount, and it really tried my patience. I had to learn to slow down and be really repetitive,” admits Arey, who earned a degree in agriculture business and economics from NC State.

 

Things are going just fine now. In fact, on the morning of our call, Arey had already successfully covered a reading comprehension worksheet, math fractions, and an adjective project in which Reese had to use various words to describe bubble gum.

 

Away from the makeshift in-home classroom, Arey has tested his patience in the turkey woods, as well as trying to perfect his skills with the relatively new category of lures referred to as glide baits.

 

Extremely realistic looking in their highly detailed design, glide baits are hard baits with a single mid-body hinge that allows them to swim with a very lazy “wide S” motion to tempt aggressive bass. They typically range from 4 to 12 inches long, and cost anywhere from $35 to $235 each. Arey often favors throwing a 6.5” version called the Hog Father Jr. on 20-pound P Line fluorocarbon.

 

“A glide bait is definitely a specialized bait that’s probably not going to get you 40 bites a day, but the bass that commit to eating it are generally bigger fish,” says Arey.

 

Weather and water conditions have to line-up well to precipitate glide bait success. For Arey that includes fairly clear water that allows big bass to see the lure, but also wind and sunshine to increase visibility and mask their shyness.

 

“Glide baits are a great bait for drawing strikes from big female bass suspended around boat docks either right before the spawn, or seeking their first good meal right after the spawn. But you have to exercise a lot of patience until you catch your first bass of the day on a glide bait, as well as patience to carry you through to that second bite of the day. But again, the bites you get are going to be good ones,” he says.

 

Few outdoor adventures teach patience more so than turkey hunting, but Arey has proven himself savvy on four successful hunts this spring. He shot one in North Carolina, one in South Carolina, called one in for a buddy, and his most rewarding time in the turkey woods was calling one in for daughter Reese.

 

“Turkeys are born paranoid, and they die paranoid, because their whole life is spent avoiding their many predators. So walking into the woods, sitting next to a tree, calling a few times, and killing one, only happens about 10% of the time,” he says.

 

Arey says for starters you need an in-depth understanding of the terrain you’re hunting because that dictates a gobbler’s potential travel path to your call. He also warns that too many hunters try to ‘take their call to the gobbler’ by walking closer to where they believe the bird to be, rather than waiting on the bird to come to them.

 

“Let the gobbler work. Let him do his thing. Don’t over call, and don’t get in a game of chase with him. Have patience and make the gobbler come to you,” he says.

 

From bubble gum based adjective lessons with daughter Reese, to luring gobblers over a ridge top and big fat bass from under docks on glide baits – patience is indeed the central fiber to success in Matt Arey’s life these days.


Hobie TOC Set for Knoxville, Tennessee

Top Kayak Bass Anglers Compete this November for Tournament of Champions Crown

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (April 28, 2020) - The dates are set and the location has been determined. The 2nd Annual Hobie Tournament of Champions (TOC) - the final chapter of the 2020 Hobie Bass Open Series (BOS) - will be held November 14-15 in Knoxville, TN.

That’s right, Knoxville. It’s an international travel center that played host to the 1982 World’s Fair and gave Elvis Presley and Dolly Parton their first big career breaks. Renown for great music, terrific food and brews plus an atmosphere both artsy and friendly, it’s bordered by vast and picturesque parklands including Great Smokey Mountains National Park, which makes it an excellent destination for just about any outdoors activity.

“Knoxville is also a bass angler’s dream and that’s what really turned our heads,” says Hobie BOS tournament director A.J. Mcwhorter. “The Tennessee River runs right through downtown and the city is nearly encircled by more than half-a-dozen large lakes and rivers filled with smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass. It’s an ideal setting for kayak fishing with plenty of structure, weedy expanses, deep channels, rivers that snake through beautiful country, and two primary lakes to anchor the action. I think our participants are really going to put on a show here.”

It’s no secret that bass run big and plentiful in the Knoxville area, or that the local residents welcome anglers. The 49th Annual Bassmaster Classic was held here in March of 2019 and fans turned out in droves to watch the competition. In fact, they broke the all-time Classic attendance record as the entire community welcomed visiting fans from every state in the U.S.A.

“We are thrilled to welcome the Hobie Tournament of Champions to these East Tennessee waters,” said Chad Culver, Senior Director of the Visit Knoxville Sports Commission. “We know these anglers and their families will be appreciated in Knoxville, a place where big bass and southern hospitality await. We’re expecting a super tournament and a great turnout as well.”

This fall’s TOC will provide competitors the opportunity to work within the same basic boundaries as last year’s Classic event, focusing on the headwaters of the Tennessee River, the Holston River below Douglas, French Broad River below Cherokee, Fort Loudon Lake and Tellico Reservoir.

“That’s a lot of water to cover,” says Eric Thomason, 47, a BOS competitor and Knoxville native, “so be sure to bring your full bassin’ arsenal because you never know what patterns will develop here. Although it’s likely to still be warm, it can get cold in these parts during November and fishing conditions can change from hour-to-hour. I plan on packing my Hobie Pro Angler 14 to the max.”

Thomason finished 7th in last year’s inaugural TOC at Arkansas’ Lake Ouachita and is working hard to get back in the mix this year. “I’m pumped already,” he revealed. “It would be so sweet to qualify again for the TOC on familiar waters. I think I can put some quality numbers on the board if I get the chance - and I’d love to do it in front of a hometown crowd.”

In terms of where to fish, Thomason stresses that every stretch within the tournament boundaries has potential to produce a winning haul. Still, he’ll probably focus on the two big lakes. The waters of Fort Loudon Lake, he noted, offer abundant grass, timber, laydowns, islands and creeks to probe but tend to be a bit on the greenish side. “Expect 3- to 4-foot visibility here and a nice mix of bigmouths and bronzebacks,” he advises. “Throw big topwater lures like a Whopper Plopper, Buzz Bait, Pompadour, Spook or Lucky Craft Sammy. Large swimbaits, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and crankbaits produce well, too, but you’ll want to go with bright colors to help the bass spot these offerings.”

Tellico Reservoir, by comparison, sports clear water with 9- to 10-foot visibility, so you’ll need to adjust your colors. “Since the fish are likely to get a real good look at your baits, it’s important to match the hatch as much as possible by using silver skirts or natural shad patterns,” Thomason advises. “Try throwing a big bull shad or gizzard shad. If you like a muskrat imitation, throw something big and brown. In addition to largemouths and smallmouths, you’ll find spotted bass at this location. Also, be aware that a small passage joins the two lakes. Put in at the launch ramp off Tellico Parkway and you can fish both on the same day.”

While Thomason loves the lakes, 24-year old Jordan Marshall of Maryville, TN, favors the rivers. “The Holston and French Broad are probably my two favorite places to fish in this region,” he states, “and both are less than an hour from my home. They are fantastic smallmouth waters that can hold their own with any bronzeback hotspot I’ve ever fished, and the French Broad has plenty of big largemouths as well. If you are coming from out of town, expect to be impressed because the bass in these rivers are just as mean as they are in any big lake.”

Marshall suggests anglers should expect to find river bass on an early fall pattern that will see them aggressively targeting shad to bulk up for the winter ahead. That can set up an awesome topwater bite, but Marshall says competitors should keep a collection of spinnerbaits and crankbaits handy just in case.

 “I’d spend the most time casting around grass and plant life just outside shallow flats,” explains Marshall, who also fishes from a Hobie Pro Angler 14. “The bass often stack up in such areas when focused on shad. If the topwater theme doesn’t hold, basic shad colors and willow-bladed spinnerbaits are a good combination. Keep in mind that the French Broad is wider and slower than the Holston, making it the better choice for bigmouths. My Hobie gives me a real edge on either river. It’s great for covering a lot of water on the French Broad and, with new Kick-up fins, I don’t have to worry about hitting rocks if I push into the shallows on the Holston.”

Marshall qualified for last year’s TOC by picking up a roll-down spot in the final BOS tournament of the season. This year, he’s intent on qualifying right up front. “I’ve been fishing these rivers since I was a kid, so I really want to be part of this,” he revealed. “Because it’s easy for spectators to get up close to see what goes on, this is a great opportunity for all of us that make the TOC, and it’s a terrific venue for kayak fishing in general.”

To qualify for the TOC, anglers must compete in the Hobie Bass Open Series. There are eight two-day open events plus a one-day Shootout, spread across the country, which allow the 50 top anglers in the series based on accumulated points to showcase their skills to the nation, compete for the toughest title in kayak fishing, and gain the final qualifying spot for the Hobie Fishing Worlds of 2020. Anglers are also fishing for cash that has been building within the series structure all season. The total TOC payout, dispersed to the top 10 anglers (or 20% of the field), should approach $60,000.

BOS anglers can also compete for Hobie’s BOS Angler of the Year (AOY) crown, which is based on the culmination of points from their three highest finishes in the current BOS season, points for the largest daily limits or big fish of the day, plus points earned at the TOC.

TOC qualifying anglers will enjoy three complimentary meals and the comforts of the Farragut Community Center as their tournament headquarters. The first-class accommodations are central to everything in the Knoxville area, so if you want to enjoy the city or the great outdoors with family and friends after the competition has ended, this is the perfect jumping-off spot.

“Hobie really does a fantastic job with the TOC,” says Marshall. “They go above and beyond any other tourney trail I’ve been on. The contests are well-run, competitive events with great payouts and every serious kayak bass angler wants to enter. They knocked it out of the park last year, so we are all excited to see what they can do with another season under their belts.”

“The combination of top-shelf competition, bass-filled waters, easy access, quality payouts, camaraderie and a host city ready to roll out the welcome mat all help build anticipation for this premiere kayak bass fishing championship,” said Mcwhorter. “Naturally, we’ll be keeping an eye on the coronavirus pandemic as we get deeper into the season, and we’ll be following whatever safety regulations are in place at the time in all of our events. We want everyone to be competitive and have a lot of fun, but the health of our participants is our greatest concern.”

Anglers can view the remainder of the Hobie B.O.S. schedule and check for updates here.


College Fishing Builds Foundation for Success Part 2

Luke Stoner - Dynamic Sponsorships

 

Part one of this story gave a quick glimpse into the last 10+ years of Drew Sanford and Dalton Wilson’s lives. Two former Carhartt Bassmaster College Series anglers turned propane industry entrepreneurs who in many ways embody the American dream.

They both credit a love of the outdoors, specifically their dedication to bass fishing, with helping establish the tireless work ethic necessary to expand one local propane business into four burgeoning companies. All while raising beautiful families and remaining active in the outdoors. They don’t just talk about the impact fishing had upon them either; Dalton and Drew live it.

The Green-LP wrapped Toyota Tundra you see in the picture above is Dalton’s personal vehicle. He bought it and became a Toyota Bonus Bucks member largely based on Toyota’s support of the fishing industry. Furthermore these two, along with their co-workers, proudly wear Carhartt on the job site as a “thank you” for what Carhartt has done for college fishing throughout the past 8 years. Fishing is woven into their lives as well as their work, and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

A passion project

The “fishing division” of James River Manufacturing was started two years ago as a pure and simple passion project. Drew had experience in making his own lead jig heads and had enough connections within the fishing industry he believed he could produce them for tackle companies in the Ozarks region. Drew thought if nothing else, it would keep him connected to bass fishing.

“I have a lot of moving parts in my life, but I needed to feed the hobby part of my brain,” Wilson laughed. “Fishing has always been a part of my life and I figured this was a way I could spend a few minutes of my day playing with fishing lures.”

After doing some research on the equipment needed to scale his production process and bring his vision to life, Drew realized it was more of a financial commitment than anticipated. So he brought in Taylor Baker – a friend and recent graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute who happened to be adept with a 3D printer and CNC machine.

Using some “redneck engineering” and a can-do attitude Drew, Taylor, and Dalton helped piece together a one-of-a-kind mold production outfit in the corner of their Green-LP warehouse. They use a CNC machine to construct any type of lead mold an angler or a tackle company could think of; from ned and shaky heads to swimbait and ball jigs.

Their distinctive manufacturing machine then mass produces the jig heads, sandblasts them, and applies a powder coat before “cooking them” to finish the process. Lastly, the jig heads are painted to order before shipping out to a tackle company near you.

With a little elbow grease and some TLC, their passion project was operative.  After seeing their creation run smoothly and efficiently, Drew started thinking about applying a similar system to another piece of equipment he was innately familiar with; propane tanks. And thus a new endeavor began…

 

 

James River Manufacturing expands

Drew and his Green-LP technicians have a lifetime of experience in the propane industry, and knew that restoring old equipment was a service in high demand. The biggest issue was, renovating old propane tanks proved to be a time consuming and costly process.

With their newfound jig head production system up and running, Drew began thinking he could apply a similar procedure on old propane equipment instead of football jigs. Between sandblasting, applying primer and paint, then heating the assets to an ideal temperature, many of the steps were comparable. They just needed to expand the size of their machine to fit propane equipment and add some fine-tuned details. So that’s exactly what they did.

Ultimately, the techniques and experience learned from producing lead fishing lures helped Drew’s team make a business out of refurbishing old truck barrels and propane tanks. The deep-rooted knowledge of the propane industry Drew’s team possessed was imperative of course, but they aren’t afraid to give credit to the small fishing division for many of the finer details.

James River Manufacturing now has its very own warehouse dedicated to making old propane tanks look as good as new, for commercial and residential uses. JRM is one of the largest outfits of its kind in the entire Midwest, and they perform their services with quality and the customer top of mind. Something Drew; Dalton, and their crew of associates have become known for across all of their business endeavors.

 

 

(Writers note: We were introduced to Drew Sanford and Dalton Wilson after they served as photography talent on a Nitro Boats shoot for Michael Engelmeyer. Engelmeyer owns and operates Great Outdoor Studios, which produces breathtaking imagery for a myriad of outdoor industry leading companies like Toyota trucks, Bass Pro Shops, Carhartt, and Nitro boats among many others.)


John Cox - Sharing his Love of Bass Fishing with his Family

Vance McCullough

 

“Hey, you’re gonna get eaten by an alligator there! Get in the boat,” instructs John Cox as we talk on the phone. The warning/instruction isn’t for me, but rather, his daughter whom he is fishing with on the St Johns River, home to grande gators for sure, as well as a bunch of big bass.

Cox is doing what most of our favorite professional anglers are during their quarantine-induced downtime – taking the opportunity to share his love of the sport with his family.

So, what does one of the best pros on Tour throw when there’s no tournament pressure and he just wants to have fun?

Topwaters.

And why not, it’s that time of year across the southern region and beyond. Bass are spawning, guarding fry, terrorizing bream beds and generally just hanging out in warm, shallow water. Big bass especially like to trap a meal on the surface. But sometimes the goal is to jerk on a bunch of fish, regardless of size. Cox has a trio of favorite lures to get the fun going.

“The other day I went to this stocked pond and they were schooling on shad. It was incredible. My three main topwaters were the Berkley Cane Walker – I really like that one when there’s a little bit of a chop on the water because it’s a little bit bigger. That was my one  for when the wind was blowing. In calmer areas I would throw the Berkley J-Walker, just walking the dog with it really fast. In the early morning and in the evening when it started getting cloudy, right before the storm rolled through, I’d go to that Choppo. It was unreal. So much fun.”

Side note: to learn about the lake Cox had so much fun on recently, check out his Instagram @johncox_fishing. Maybe plan yourself a trip there!

Cox favors the Choppo for fishing in 3 feet or less, the J-Walker for deeper water. “I feel like the J-Walker gives them a little bit more time to come up to it so I’m kind of throwing that in three-to-ten-feet of water.”

Cox works the J-Walker at brisk pace but because it doesn’t make a lot of forward progress fish will commit to it from a distance. “I feel like when they see it walking, it’s a little bit more like ‘oh, I can catch that thing’ because it’s back and forth compared to the Choppo on a straight wind. They smoke that Choppo in shallower water, but the J-Walker, they’ll come out of deep water and bust it.”

Cox is excited about the new size of Choppo that Berkley has rolled out. “We only had the 120 and the 90. I really like the 90. Now we have the new one, the 105, and that one has got to be one of my favorites.

“The 120 is awesome when you’re around giant fish, but that 105 is the perfect in-between size. I mean, the 90 is great. Anywhere you go you’ll catch them on it, but when you’re going after a little bit bigger ones and the fish are wolfpacking, I like the 105 because when there are four or five fish coming behind it the smaller ones kind of stay off of it and the better ones get it.”

What if Cox had to be quarantined with a single lure for pond hopping and just having a blast, in general? “Aw man, the 90 is so much fun. That’s what we’ve got tied on now is the 90,” says Cox of his now-gator-safe kids as they ease the boat into the river.

One frequent complaint that shows up in online forums and reviews is that the stock hooks on the Choppo are light. Some people prefer to swap them out for heavier models. In this writer’s experience, they look a lot like the hooks we’ve always used on prop baits and jerkbaits – and landed plenty of big bass on. I’ve had no problem with them and have had to reach for pliers to dig them out of the fish that usually get both sets of trebles buried. Cox likes them just fine.

“I actually like light trebles; I don’t like really heavy trebles. I think the guys that are complaining are the ones that got the Whopper Plopper back in the day, throwing it on 60lb braid and a flipping stick. I throw all my Choppos on the rod I throw the Frittside crankbait on, the 7’6” medium-heavy Veritas Winch, and I throw the 90 on 15lb Big Game (monofilament). I don’t even throw it on braid.

“But yeah, if there’s one bait I’m gonna pond fish with, topwater-wise, that Choppo 90 would be it.”


Cody Huff’s Rolling with the Changes

Courtesy of Luke Stoner / Dynamic Sponsorships

 

As is the case for most of us right now, the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed Cody Huff’s short-term plans. Fortunately, Huff’s long-term goals remain as steady as the Bethel University wrapped Toyota Tundra he’s driving throughout the 2020 tournament season.

 

After a strong showing at the 50th Bassmaster Classic, Huff had his eyes set on the remaining Bassmaster Opens and graduating from Bethel. The 2019 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Bracket champion experienced an incredible start to his 2020 fishing campaign; which included two major wins in February as well as a day three appearance at the Classic. Not bad for a 22-year old full time college student.

 

While he would have preferred to keep his momentum rolling, Huff’s plans were adjusted when fishing tournaments across the country were postponed or cancelled, and social distancing requirements became the new norm.

 

“When reality hit me and tournaments started getting affected I was definitely a little disappointed,” Huff admitted. “There were a lot of cool places I planned on traveling to this spring, but to be honest the biggest bummer is missing out on my final year of college fishing. With that being said, there are more important issues going on in the world right now than a few fishing tournaments.”

 

 

With maturity beyond his years, the young man from Ava, Missouri has come to terms with a few personal disappointments while maintaining a positive mindset.

After an extended Spring Break, Huff learned he would not return to his Alma Mater to round out his senior year. Instead with 12 credit hours left to receive his Business degree, Huff is completing online courses to finish his college education.

 

And even though tournament competition has been put on hold, Huff knows most dates will be rescheduled and has been spending as much time on the water as possible. He has been sure to #FishSmart - practicing safety, responsibility, and common sense anytime he heads to the boat ramp. Taking advantage of the break to sharpen his fishing skills, optimize his equipment, and spend time with family.

 

“On the bright side I’ve been able to use the time off to get out on the water as much as possible,” Huff said. “I haven’t been able to spend a spring around home since leaving for college. So it’s been great to have the extra family time along with fishing our local lakes. There are always some positives if you look at it the right way.”

 

Famed Ozark fisheries like Bull Shoals and Table Rock Lake have been Huff’s regular stomping grounds as he prepares for the new dates of the Opens to be announced. While Huff is making the most of the downtime in Southwest Missouri, he is hopeful he’ll be able to spend a few days scouting some of the fisheries left on the Bassmaster Opens schedule; another advantage of looking at the glass half full.

 

For now though, Huff refuses to remain idle and continues to work hard at whatever task he has in front of him. Whether that includes submitting online assignments, chores around the house, chasing after turkeys, or improving his fishing skills – It’s all the same to Huff. He’ll lean into his Midwestern roots and roll with whatever changes 2020 throws his way with his eyes looking forward.


High School Fishing Digital Tournament from Lew’s and Strike King Underway

12-week Long Event Shows Impressive Early Engagement

Lexington, S.C. – April 15, 2020 – This past Sunday, April 12 brought the completion of the first round of the 12-week High School Fishing Digital Tournament from Lew’s and Strike King.

Announced March 24, the series, using the Hook’D Fishing Tournaments app, high school fishing teams from around the country can compete against other teams in their region for weekly big bass prizes as well as accumulating inches with each submitted catch to count toward the grand prize at the end of the 12-week period.

Each week, teams are eligible to win prizes from Lew’s and Strike King. The round one big bass winners from each of the South, North and West regions will each receive a Lew’s Mach Smash Combo for their high school fishing team.

Round one saw a total of 13,281 inches of bass submitted with a total of 842 bass caught.

The following are the round one big bass prize winners for each region:

South: Spring Valley High School - 22”

North: Providence Catholic Bass Team - 21.75”

West: Delta High School - 22.25”

Weekly big bass winners for each region win a Mach Combo for their team (specific model changes by the week). Grand prize winners for each region (most cumulative inches submitted over full 12-week period) will win two Mach Combos and $200 worth of SK product.

With essentially all fishing tournaments and team sports being cancelled for spring 2020, the team at Lew’s and Strike King is excited to offer an avenue for high school anglers to stay active, engaged and get on the water this spring.

It is highly encouraged and recommended that all anglers practice safe social distancing while fishing and follow all local laws and health guidelines while on the water.

Round 2 of competition runs through this Sunday, April 19, with the full 12-week program completing on Sunday, June 28. For more information about the High School Fishing Digital Tournament from Lew’s and Strike King, go to https://www.lews.com/digital-fishing-tournament.

For more information about how high school fishing teams can get involved with Lew’s and Strike King, go to https://www.lews.com/academicprograms or https://www.strikeking.com/resources/academic-programs.

 


DURASAFE ANNOUNCES REBRANDING AND LAUNCH OF NEW WEBSITE

New Berlin, Wis. – April 15, 2020 – DuraSafe, a leading manufacturer of trailering, towing and boating-related locks, unveiled the company’s new look following a complete rebrand and website overhaul. The project marks a new era for the Wisconsin-based organization and will allow consumers to conveniently shop for security devices for their boats and trailers and take advantage of DuraSafe’s unique Keyed-Alike offering.

Since 2003, DuraSafe has been a one-stop-shop for securing the products that fuel outdoor adventures. Now, a more streamlined shopping experience on the new Shopify-based website will allow consumers to choose from DuraSafe’s numerous locks including the popular E-LOCK®, trolling motor locks and numerous trailering locks, which can all be conveniently keyed alike.

Also included in this rebranding project was an update to the original DuraSafe logo. The new design offers a modern and bold look to match the company’s strong passion for innovation and the power of American manufacturing.

“This exciting brand refurbishment reflects our vision to deliver dependable and powerful security in a simplified manner,” said Vice President Cathy Frantz. “We aim to provide our loyal customers with a convenient place to shop for all their boating and trailering security needs while enhancing the overall visual aspects of our brand.”

Known for their innovative marine security solutions, including the Keyed-Alike system, DuraSafe is constantly searching for better ways to offer greater peace of mind to outdoor enthusiasts. To experience the new website or learn more about DuraSafe products, please visit www.durasafelocks.com.


Pro angler Matt Lee discovers another dream job

Courtesy of Alan McGuckin - Dynamic Sponsorships

 

Carhartt pro Matt Lee admits he’s discovered himself to be in a bit of a career identity crisis during the Covid-19 pandemic. His heart is torn between his Yamaha powered Ranger and a bright orange piece of heavy equipment.

 

While Lee is certainly finding great pleasure in fishing safely five minutes from home at Smith Lake, the pause in organized pro events has also provided a chance to do a lot of work around the house with wife Abby this spring – and that includes piloting a Kubota skid steer loader his good buddy Grant Hopson loaned him.

 

In fact, Lee admits he loves the skid steer about like fat Smith Lake spotted bass love to eat a platinum white colored 3.8” 6th Sense swimbait. “Abby is spending a lot of time inside doing her woodwork projects, and I’m constantly outside on the 24 acres we bought next to Smith Lake riding the skid steer,” says the former Auburn engineering major.

 

So far he’s used the Kubota to clear nuisance brush he replaced with rye grass for an expanded lawn, and pushed a ton of dirt around with hopes of restoring an old dried-up pond on their property. But his most admirable effort on the Kubota came last week when deadly tornadoes tore up Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.

 

“I don’t normally get too nervous about tornadoes. I’ve grown up with them as part of life in Alabama. Plus, Abby and I have a basement to take shelter in. But when the TV weather radar shows you’re directly in the path – it’s a whole different level of anxiety – and last week it was headed straight for us,” says Lee.

 

The great news is their home was not damaged, but a large pine fell across their front road, and took out their power lines too.

 

In a dark pouring rain, Lee launched into action with the skid steer, and once he and others determined the electrical lines were dead, he cleared the fallen pine off rural highway 222 to free passage of local traffic.

 

“Abby jokes that I became the newest member of the Brushy Pond, Alabama fire and rescue squad that night,” grins Lee.

 

But really, if you know Matt Lee, his willingness to provide help is really no surprise.

 

Make no mistake, he’s had a blast getting to fish so much more than normal on Smith Lake where tons of talented local anglers call home, including the formidable Wiggins brothers – but there’s just something about that Kubota that Lee loves too.

 

“Riding that machine, pushing dirt around, and making things better than I found them is the greatest therapy in the world,” says Lee. “In fact, aside from pro fishing, this unexpected time off from the tournament schedule has helped me realize a career as a heavy equipment operator would be my second dream job,” he concludes.

 


FLW Replaces High School Fishing Summer Camp, Announces Free Minicamps in Conjunction with Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit

 

BENTON, Ky. (April 20, 2020) – In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Murray State University announced that it will not host any summer camps this year. As a result, FLW is replacing its traditional High School Fishing Camp, scheduled for July 22-24, with a series of FREE minicamps held in conjunction with three Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit tournaments. Campers already registered will receive a full refund and are invited to participate in any of the FREE minicamps.

Each camp will be held on a Saturday in conjunction with a Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event and will provide valuable instruction from top pros and industry executives for students, coaches and boat captains.

Participants will check in on site and receive a free camp t-shirt, free product from participating sponsors and a free lakeside cookout. Campers will have time to practice their newfound skills with some fishing from the bank and will be invited to help mentor grade-school children during an FLW Foundation Unified Fishing Derby held at the same location. Each of the first two camps will conclude at the start of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit weigh-in with participating campers recognized on the popular FLW LIVE webcast. The third camp will be held at the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit TITLE championship with camp integrated into opening-day festivities. FLW is hosting these exciting new camps to help encourage high school anglers throughout the country to pursue their passion for fishing.

“We are disappointed to announce the cancellation of our annual High School Fishing Camp, but we are excited to replace it with three minicamps that will allow many more young anglers the opportunity to attend,” said FLW Executive Vice President and General Manager Kathy Fennel. “We believe the minicamps will provide students, coaches and boat captains a fantastic opportunity to learn and network.”

Registration for the minicamps is now open. To sign up for each camp, or for more information visit FLWFishing.com/camp.

Minicamp Locations:
Sat., June 13 – TVA Dam Boat Launch (Cherokee) - 2805 TN-92, Jefferson City, Tenn.

Sat., July 25 – Lake Dardanelle State Park (Dardanelle) - 2428 Marina Rd, Russellville, Ark.

Sat., Aug. 8 – Massena Intake Boat Launch (St. Lawrence) - 1415 State Hwy 131, Massena, N.Y.

Saturday Minicamp Tentative Schedule:
10 – 11 a.m.                            Registration and check-in

  • Collect your camp t-shirt and swag from participating sponsors
  • Meet your fellow campers

11 – 11:15 a.m.                       Welcome address

11:15 – 11:45 a.m.                  Session 1: Finding fish in all seasons & practice strategies

11:15 – 11:45 a.m.                  Adult Session 1: Best practices for sanctioned teams

11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.          Lakeside cookout with the pros

12:30 – 1 p.m.                         Session 2: Flipping & pitching instruction

1 – 1:30 p.m.                           FLW Foundation Unified Fishing Derby

  • Free fishing time and help youth in attendance

1:30 – 2 p.m.                           Session 3: Lure building

2 – 2:30 p.m.                           Session 4: Sight fishing with Wiley X sunglasses

2:30 – 3 p.m.                           Session 5: Backing a boat trailer

3 – 3:30 p.m.                           Session 6: Off the water fishing careers & resume building

  • Explore careers in marketing, PR, editorial and social media

3 – 3:30 p.m.                           Adult Session 2: Fish care at weigh-ins

3:30 – 4 p.m.                           Session 7/Adult Session 3: Ethics & etiquette on the water

  • What’s cool and what’s not when tournament fishing
  • Practical applications of the Golden Rule

4 – 6 p.m.                                Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit weigh-in

  • Campers recognized from the stage during FLW LIVE

For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow FLW’s social media outlets at Facebook, TwitterInstagram, and YouTube.

 


First College Angler Cashes in on Yamaha Power Pay

 

Jake Mims Places 18th, Takes Home $500

 

Kennesaw, Ga. – April 21, 2020 – Jake Mims, a student at Brewton Parker College in Central Georgia, recently became the first official competitive college angler to take home Yamaha Power Pay cash. Mims, who admits he hates to fish in a crowd, ran 34 miles away from the official launch on Lake Sam Rayburn to flip the flooded bushes that eventually led to an 18th place finish in the Collegiate Bass Fishing Series event. Impressively, his long run paid off in Power Pay winnings.

 

The 21-year-old sophomore may purposely distance himself from other anglers during competition, but that doesn’t mean he’s opposed to soaking up all the wisdom he can from more experienced anglers away from the water.

 

“I have an older boat, and when it was time to put a new outboard on it, I asked a lot of the seasoned guys I look up to around Lake Seminole what brand I should buy,” says Mims. “The majority of them told me a Yamaha V MAX SHO® was the best because of its reliability, fuel economy, and its awesome hole shot – all of which are super important given the sandy, weedy, really shallow waters we fish a lot.”

 

Guided by the input of his dad Roy, a very active member in the Georgia B.A.S.S. Nation®, along with fishing mentor Angelo Koundarakus and others, Mim’s decision to repower with a 225 horsepower Yamaha V MAX SHO® also qualified him for $500 in Yamaha Power Pay cash following his respectable performance pitching a Big Bite Baits Trick Stick to the flooded bushes on Rayburn.

 

“I saw videos Chris Zaldain and Brandon Palaniuk posted about signing up for Yamaha Power Pay on their social media channels, and I’m obviously glad I took their advice and got registered,” says Mims.

 

The great thing about the Yamaha Power Pay program is anglers don’t have to win tournaments to take home Power Pay cash.  Anglers simply have to be the highest finishing registered participant in a Power Pay supported tournament. Power Pay is not just for bass anglers, it also includes saltwater, walleye, high school and college anglers through hundreds of events.

 

For more information, complete terms and conditions or to register for Yamaha Power Pay, visit yamahapowerpay.com or email Chip with questions at [email protected]


Mustang Survival "Get out of Quarantine" Giveaway!

 

AnglersChannel.com is proud to team up with Mustang Survival to keep you safe this Spring with the "Get out of Quarantine Giveaway" Featuring a Mustang survival dry Bag Mustang Survival Inflatable PFD Giveaway!  Make sure you listen to the most recent "AnglersChannel Insider Podcast" for the "Phrase that Pay." - Add the Secret Word in the comments below and get an extra entry into the contest, Share this post on Your social media channels and get an extra entry as well!

Get signed up to win today!!

Winner will be chosen on May 1st, 2020

 

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Terms & Conditions

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Presented by AnglersChannel.com, 2927 Devine Street Suite 100, Columbia, SC 29205. Presenter’s decisions concerning all matters related to this giveaway are final. This giveaway begins on April 22, 2020. To enter click the link provided. Limit of one entry per person, per day. No responsibility is assumed for late or misdirected entries or prize acceptance responses. Entries must be received by Midnight, April 30, 2020. Odds of winning depend upon the number of entries received. One winner will be chosen to receive the Mustang Survival Dry Bag and Inflatable PFD. No cash substitution, transfer, or assignment of prizes allowed, except by AnglersChannel.com, which reserves the right to substitute prizes of equal or greater value. Please allow 1-2 weeks for delivery of prizes as product is brand new and not yet released to the public. Winners must pay all costs and taxes other than those specifically identified in the prize description. Limit of one (1) prize per person. One (1) winner will be randomly selected on or about May 1, 2020, and notified by e-mail. If attempted notification is returned as undeliverable, if a potential winner cannot be verified, or if a potential winner is otherwise unable or unwilling to accept the prize, then the prize will be forfeited and may be awarded to an alternate winner in AnglersChannel.com’s discretion. Open to all AnglersChannel.com Viewers and Readers. Void where prohibited by law. Winner must be at least sixteen (16) years old. AnglersChannel employees and their immediate family members are not eligible to win. Winner gives AnglersChannel.com the right to use their name, photograph, and likeness in advertising and promotion without compensation or permission except where prohibited by law. Winner releases AnglersChannel.com from any liability arising out of participation in this giveaway or the acceptance, use or misuse of a prize. Winner will be posted on AnglersChannel.com as well as AnglersChannel’s Social media sites including, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


Runnin' & Gunnin' with Darien is Fishin!

 

This week Chris and the boys welcome in Social Media and YouTube guru Darien Craig aka "Darien is Fishin" to the show to talk about his recent YouTube videos, Social influencing, Tik Tok and so much more, Check it out and make sure you listen for the "Phrase that Pays"!!!


College Fishing Builds Foundation for Success

Courtesy of Luke Stoner - Dynamic Sponsorships

Photos provided by Michael Engelmeyer https://www.greatoutdoorstudios.com/

 

Part 1

Out of all the college fishing success stories circulating the outdoors industry nowadays, the story of Drew Sanford and Dalton Wilson should rank as high on your list as any. The southwest Missouri natives still bass fish competitively on the regional circuit, and Dalton’s Tundra qualifies him as a proud Toyota Bonus Bucks member, but that’s not what makes their story special.

Dalton and Drew are young men, but they are salt of the earth type dudes who embody the American dream. The kind of guys who helped grow one local propane business into a rapidly expanding enterprise, who have their company logo embroidered onto Carhartt shirts for their employees to proudly wear; reciprocating the support Carhartt gave to college fishing in their formative years.

These bygone Carhartt Bassmaster College Series anglers may have impressive fishing careers, but the true success story lies in the incredible progress their businesses have realized since 2014. And it all began with bass fishing.

 

Connecting and college fishing

 Drew and Dalton have roots in central Missouri, but the two didn’t get to know each other until joining the University of Alabama fishing team. Growing up in Missouri wasn’t the only thing these fellas had in common; they also loved to bass fish. Drew, a few years Dalton’s elder, actually transferred to Alabama from Drury University in Springfield, Missouri where he helped start Drury’s college fishing team.

The Missouri transplants decided they could stand one another, and lived together in Tuscaloosa while attending school and competing in college fishing derbies. Things were going fine up until Mother Nature decided to drop a bomb in the form of the horrific F5 tornado that devastated parts Alabama and Mississippi in the spring of 2011 before leaving several other states in its wake of destruction.

The 2011 Super Outbreak was one of the largest, deadliest, and costliest tornado events ever recorded. Drew and Dalton’s Alabama living quarters, their college home, was destroyed. This series of events changed their futures immediately and sent both young men on different paths.

After returning to Missouri and dusting themselves off, Dalton ultimately received a scholarship to college fishing powerhouse Bethel University; while Drew graduated before heading to chase his bass fishing dreams at the next level, competing in the Bassmaster Opens.

Dalton went on to have an incredible college fishing career, winning major events and remaining a threat at any tournament he entered. Drew excelled at his pursuits, too. While near misses and mishaps plagued his Elite Series goal, Drew continued to be competitive in the Opens and FLW Costa Series competition. That progressed until 2014 when Sanford decided it was time to go to work; so he headed back to Rogersville, MO to run MS Propane.

 

Green-LP is born and quickly grows

 MS Propane is a retail propane store that handles residential propane delivery. By the end of 2014, Drew owned and operated MS Propane. His honest, hardworking nature helped the local store experience continued growth when he hired Dalton at the beginning of 2015. Dalton had a similar unrelenting work ethic as Drew.

Dalton was hired to paint residential propane tanks, but he would keep a change of clothes in his car and go door-to-door handing out flyers in search of new business when he finished painting. Drew took notice of Dalton’s above-and-beyond efforts, along with new clients he was bringing to the store. After only two weeks, Dalton was promoted to manage sales for the company.

“In all honesty fishing is what helped instill that work ethic in both of us,” Sanford said. “Look at any successful professional fisherman and beneath their logo filled jerseys you’ll find a serious work ethic. Whether it’s propane business or bass fishing, you have to put in the time and effort to set yourself apart.”

Dalton’s list of responsibilities wasn’t the only thing growing. When they struggled to find quality propane hauling trucks to best service their customers, Drew began having them manufactured in-house out of necessity; and thus Green-LP was born. Green-LP produced bobtail trucks that were among the best on the road. With an already rock-solid reputation from their work at MS Propane, word quickly spread about Green-LP’s services and quality.

Green-LP began building bobtail and service trucks for neighboring outfits as well as performing regular maintenance and repairs. Their dedication to producing quality equipment now finds them selling Green-LP trucks nationwide.

The reality is, I could stop this article right here and it would be a sure-enough Americana success story. A couple young men finding success in their employment through diligence they credit bass fishing and the outdoors with disseminating into them… But the tale doesn’t stop there. At 32-years old Drew Sanford has gone on to open Green-LP Transport, building tanker semis to haul propane, ethanol, and biodiesel to a four state area surrounding Missouri.

Drew has also launched James River Manufacturing, a two-division business that started producing fishing lure components like jig, swimbait, and shaky heads. This small passion project Drew began to keep himself connected to bass fishing has now grown to refurbishing residential and commercial propane equipment; using the same processes he learned producing and painting jig heads. But we’ll save the rest of that story for part two.

 

(Editors note: We were introduced to Drew Sanford and Dalton Wilson after they served as photography talent on a Nitro Boats shoot for Michael Engelmeyer. Engelmeyer owns and operates Great Outdoor Studios, which produces breathtaking imagery for a myriad of outdoor industry leading companies like Toyota trucks, Bass Pro Shops, Carhartt, and Nitro boats among many others.)


Plano KVD Designed Speedbags™ and Signature Series Bags

Grand Prairie, TX (April 15, 2020) Kevin Van Dam didn't get to the pinnacle of the bass fishing world by being disorganized. Quite the contrary! KVD is known for being meticulous and thorough, almost obsessed with everything he does when it relates to bass fishing, but especially tackle storage. The thought and attention KVD put into designing the Plano KVD Series Wormfile Speedbags™ and Signature Series Bags gives you a glimpse as to why KVD is the world's most successful competitive angler.
Pictured above: KVD Wormfile Speedbag™
Plastics have always been a pain to store. There are no uniform bag sizes between manufacturers, and the explosion in clam packaging has complicated storage options even more. The Plano KVD Series Wormfile Speedbags™simplifies plastic storage. The patented fold-down feature of the Wormfile Speedbag™provides easy access. The Wormfile Speedbag™ folds along a threaded line to expose the wide interior, and the bright red interior color of the bag provides contrast and improves visibility in low light situations. A TPE coating surrounding the bag ensures water-resistant protection. Sturdy side-carry handles facilitate easy transport.

 

  •   Patented fold-down, easy-access bag
  •   Fold along threaded line to reveal wide interior
  •   TPE coating surrounds bag with water-resistant protection
  •   Bright red interior improves visibility in low light
  •   Side carry handle for easy transport

 

The Wormfile Speedbags™ are available in two sizes:

 

Model PLAB11700
Capacity- 20 magnum bags
Dimensions- 9.5"L x 4.5"W x 6.25"H

 

Model PLAB 12700
Capacity- 40 bags
Dimensions-14"L x 4.5"W x 5.5"H

 

Plano's KVD Signature Series Tackle Bag appeals to the angler who wants to head out the door for a day of fishing and know that he has everything he needs. The bag-style tackle storage system comes with four StowAway® boxes and is capable to hold up to six StowAway® boxes that are perfect for hard baits. One StowAway® is secured to the top of the bag by an elastic bungee for quick, easy
Pictured above: KVD Signature 3700 Tackle Bag

access. The waterproof base has elevated, rubberized feet that keep the bag high and dry. The Utili-Tackle™ rail system includes 34 accessory attachment points plus tie-down slots, and MOLLE attachment points offer additional storage. A perfectly sized water resistant pocket safely stores a wallet or cell phone. The large Plano KVD Series Signature Tackle Bag has a mesh back pocket and compartmentalized front pocket for flexible storage of all your fishing tackle.

 

  • Molded top holds one StowAway® secured by elastic bungee
  • TPE coating surrounds bag with water-resistant protection
  • Utili-Tackle Rail™ System includes 34 accessory attachment points, plus tie-down slots
  • Waterproof base with elevated rubber feet
  • MOLLE attachment points offer additional storage options
  • Water-resistant pocket specially sized for cell phone, wallet
  • Hook and loop plier holder
  • Bright red interior improves visibility in low light
  • Large mesh back pocket and compartmentalized front pocket

 

KVD Signature Series Bags are available in two sizes:

 

Model PLAB37700
3700 Series
Dimensions- 19"L x 11"W x 10.50"H

 

Model PLABB 12700
3600 Series
Dimensions-14.5"L x 10"W x 11"H

 

For more information, visit www.planomolding.com

One-Boat Challenge Results in Donation to Support Conservation Efforts

Captains for Clean Water and Coastal Conservation Association Awarded Funds for Continued Conservation Work

RACINE, Wis. (April 17, 2020) — As winners of the first ever Humminbird® and Minn Kota® One-Boat Challenge, Charlie Breitenbach and Seth Funt claimed bragging rights among their fellow competitors and a $10,000 first-place prize to be split between the two fishing-related charities of their choice. Breitenbach chose Captains for Clean Water and Funt chose the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) to each receive $5,000 in funding from the two organizing companies.

The One-Boat Challenge brought together eight anglers from a variety of fishing backgrounds to compete in bass fishing-related challenges on Mexico’s iconic Lake El Salto. In a reality-style four-episode show, the winning duo fought off the other teams to ultimately find the sunken prize in the final episode, which initially premiered on April 9, 2020.

With help from Humminbird and Minn Kota products that make up the One-Boat Network™, the four teams competed for charities that support the fishing community and the resources anglers enjoy. Both Breitenbach and Funt felt strongly about giving back to the fishing community in order to help solidify the ability of future generations to continue to enjoy the sport they've always loved.

“I chose Captains for Clean Water because they are fighting for Florida waters. I want my kids to have the same opportunities I had growing up – fishing, surfing and just enjoying the water with my family,” Breitenbach said. “I am also friends with a lot of Captains all over Florida – this is their livelihood!”

Funt shared a similar passion for the work of the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), his chosen charity.

“I support Coastal Conservation Association because of its large-scale governmental and fundamental oversight towards managing fisheries. CCA’s approach is science-based in the effort to manage fisheries in a sustainable manner across the country,” Funt said. “I am a very big advocate of the sport fishing industry and believe that CCA has a core philosophy of preserving our sport for future generations.”

The two charities will make good use of the donations made possible by the One-Boat Challenge by continuing to work for the sport of fishing and the habitats that support the fisheries enjoyed by so many anglers.

“We are stoked to find out Captains for Clean Water is a benefiting organization from the One-Boat Challenge. The prize will go to fund our critical outreach and educational programs,” said Capt. Chris Wittman, co-founder of Captains for Clean Water. “Thank you to Minn Kota, Humminbird and Charlie Breitenbach for your generosity and support.”

Much like Captains for Clean Water, the CCA will use money donated to it through the One-Boat Challenge to continue its important mission of preserving fishing opportunities in some of the country’s most important fisheries.

“It is great partners like Humminbird and Minn Kota that move our conservation and habitat efforts forward. Without strong corporate partners, we would not be able to accomplish the vital mission of marine conservation,” said Coastal Conservation Association President Pat Murray. “We congratulate and thank Seth Funt for designating CCA as his charity recipient. Beyond his expert angling skill, his vision for conservation puts him in an elite class.”

The entire One-Boat Challenge series is currently available to stream on OneBoatChallenge.com and Minn Kota’s YouTube channel. The series highlights the ups and downs of the competition as well as key features and benefits of the One-Boat Network.

The teams were outfitted with gear from fishing’s most esteemed brands, including AFTCO, Abu Garcia, Berkley, Gerber, Old Town Kayak, Rapala, Plano, Shimano, St. Croix Rods, StrikeKing and VMC. Vexus Boats, rigged with the One-Boat Network, were towed by Toyota USA trucks and SUVs throughout the competition. The entire show was filmed on location at Angler’s Inn on Lake El Salto.

For more information visit www.humminbird.com or www.minnkotamotors.com.

About Humminbird and Minn Kota
JOHNSON OUTDOORS FISHING is comprised of the Minn Kota®, Humminbird® and Cannon® brands. Minn Kota is the world’s leading manufacturer of electric trolling motors, as well as a complete line of shallow water anchors, battery chargers and marine accessories. Humminbird is a leading global innovator and manufacturer of marine electronics products including fish finders, multifunction displays, autopilots, ice flashers, and premium cartography products. Cannon is the leader in controlled-depth fishing and includes a full line of downrigger products and accessories.
Visit Humminbird at www.humminbird.com
Visit Minn Kota at www.minnkotamotors.com

JOHNSON OUTDOORS is a leading global outdoor recreation company that inspires more people to experience the awe of the great outdoors with innovative, top-quality products. The company designs, manufactures and markets a portfolio of winning, consumer-preferred brands across four categories: Watercraft, Fishing, Diving and Camping.
Visit Johnson Outdoors at www.johnsonoutdoors.com


FORMER BASSMASTER CLASSIC CHAMPION MIKE IACONELLI PLANS FREE ONLINE FISHING CLINIC FOR FAMILIES

Clinic is designed to help people interested in learning to fish get started as a way to be both active and socially responsible during the COVID-19 pandemic

What: Planned in partnership with Berkley Fishing, Ike’s Fishing 101 is a free entry-level fishing clinic, designed to give families and young anglers the information they need to be successful when fishing. Though fishing is ideally an activity to bring people together, during the COVID-19 pandemic fishing also serves as an ideal social-distancing activity that gets participants outdoors where they can reap the benefits of fresh air and sunshine. Sales data from the last month shows that sales of entry level rod and reel combos are soaring, indicating that more people are embracing fishing during this time. This clinic is meant to help them be more successful—and have more fun—on the water.

When: 2 p.m. (Eastern) daily beginning on Monday, April 20 and running through Friday, April 24. Each episode will last approximately one hour.

Where: Live episodes will be broadcast via Facebook Live on the Mike Iaconelli Fishing Facebook page (@MikeIaconelliFishing) and the Mike Iaconelli Instagram page (@mikeiaconelli). A Facebook and/or Instagram account will be needed for access to live episodes. There are no costs or fees associated with participation in the clinic.

Host: Mike Iaconelli, a native of southern New Jersey, is a fan favorite professional angler with more than 20 years of professional competition to his credit. Iaconelli competes on the Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour and is the only angler to ever win the Bassmaster Classic, Bassmaster Angler of the Year and the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Championship. In addition to competing at the highest levels of professional bass fishing, Iaconelli is driven to grow the sport of fishing with his own entertainment, education and charitable organizations: The Bass University, Ike Live Podcast, Going Ike YouTube Series and The Ike Foundation®. Iaconelli is host of the television show, “City Limits” on the Pursuit Channel and “Fish My City with Mike Iaconelli” on NatGeo Wild.

Curriculum:  Episode 1 — Let’s Try Fishing
Fishing provides a great connection to nature and the outdoors. Fishing teaches lots of basic skills as well as important life lessons. Fishing can also be the ultimate form of social distancing. Fishing is easy to learn and a lot of fun

Episode 2 — Basic Fishing Gear
The great thing about fishing is you don't need a ton of specialized gear or a lot of money to get started. Just a rod and reels, some fishing line and a little bit of tackle. This episode will explain fishing gear and where to get it.

Episode 3 — Preparing Your Fishing Gear
Before heading out for your first fishing trip, prepare gear for a great day on the water by setting up a rod and reel, learning to attach bobbers and weights with basic knots and how to hold a rod and reel correctly. Practicing at home is fun, too!

Episode 4 — Finding a Fishing Spot
Finding a fishing spot near your home can be easy. Doesn't matter if you live in the country, in the suburbs or in a city. The great thing about both freshwater and saltwater fish species is that they are highly adaptable and can live in a wide variation of places. And don't worry if you don't have a boat as there are plenty of places where you can fish from the bank.

Episode 5 — Let’s Go Fishing
In the final episode, Mike Iaconelli takes his family to the water to put into use all the information learned throughout the course. Topics will include what to do once you get to your fishing location, picking a spot, making the cast, detecting bites, setting the hook and reeling in the fish.


State-By-State Breakdown of Boating Access As of Thursday April 16, 2020

The National Marine Manufacturers Association has developed a national map showing access for recreational boating and fishing. The latest update is as of yesterday at 3:00 p.m. eastern time and the organization has said it will frequently update the map.

Updated as of Wednesday, April 15 3:00PM ET

Alabama

Access Impacts: Most Alabama State Parks and associated facilities remain open except for the following: Beaches and beach access areas (including those in Gulf State Park and others located on lakes throughout the state). All swimming pools and designated swimming areas, museums, arcade areas, fitness centers, nature centers, planetarium, and bike-share programs are closed or suspended. Playgrounds and playground equipment are closed or suspended. Read more here.

Boating access areas remain open. For a complete list, click here.

NOTE: The White’s Bridge facility on Lake Harris (Wedowee) is currently closed for maintenance.

Contact: Lee Gatts ([email protected])

Alaska

Access Impacts: The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is informing the public that Health Mandate 012 – Intrastate Travel states “all instate travel between communities, whether resident, worker, or visitor, is prohibited unless travel is to support critical infrastructure, or for critical personal needs”. Sport and personal use fishing have not been identified as supporting critical infrastructure or a critical personal need. The purpose of this mandate is to control the movement of individuals to communities within Alaska in order to prevent, slow, and otherwise disrupt the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Alaska state parks remain open however and according to state boating officials, residents are encouraged to go boating and fishing if they can do so without leaving their community.

Contact: David Dickerson ([email protected])

Arizona

Access Impacts: Arizona parks and other outdoor venues are open, although most visitor centers are closed. Read more here. Lake Powell National Recreation area is closed.

Contact: David Dickerson ([email protected])

Arkansas

Access Impacts:  Wildlife management areas, boat ramps, lakes and fishing accesses controlled by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) remain open during the day only to allow people to get outside during this time of social distancing. The AGFC suggests the following: keep it local, plan ahead, spread out, avoid crowded access points and keep it friendly but keep it quick. To read the AGFC’s full release, click here.

Contact: Libby Yranski ([email protected])

California

Access Impacts: The state Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet April 15 to consider adopting a rule to create a faster, streamlined ability to be responsive to local counties and Tribes.

  • The proposal is specific and narrowly tailored. For a short time (only until May 31, 2020), CDFW would have an improved ability with limited authority from the Commission to respond to local counties and Tribes. This emergency regulation would expire far sooner than emergency regulations are typically effective (which is 180 days).
  • The CDFW Director could only act in consultation with the Commission President, and only after considering public health and safety guidance from local and Tribal governments.

State officials have closed parking lots at all parks and boating access locations in order to prevent the crowded parking lots experienced recently. While access to these facilities are open, getting to them, in many cases, will be very difficult. A full list of closures can be found here.

Contact: David Dickerson ([email protected])

Colorado

Access Impacts: Colorado state parks will remain open for all outdoor recreation, but all Colorado Parks and Wildlife park visitor centers, playgrounds, picnic areas and campgrounds are closed to the public until further notice. Boating and fishing are allowed in State Parks during the Stay in Place order as long as boaters follow government guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Watercraft Inspection and Decontamination Stations to prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species in State Parks are open and staffed during the Stay at Home order. Curecanti National Recreation Area is closed to all boating.

Contact: Libby Yranski ([email protected])

Connecticut

Access Impacts: Connecticut State Parks and Forests are open for solitary outdoor enjoyment. Outdoor facilities remain open including boat launches, state parks, and forests, with guidelines that when using trails and parks to keep a safe distance from others per the Governor’s order.  However, the buildings at all state facilities are closed to the public. Kent Falls State Park (Kent) and Seaside State Park (Waterford) have both been closed to the public.

Contact: Libby Yranski ([email protected])

Delaware

Access Impacts: Delaware’s state parks and wildlife areas have plenty of space for you to get outside and get some needed fresh air and exercise while maintaining that socially-acceptable distance of six feet or so. And there are no entrance fees until April 30. All state park offices, nature centers, campgrounds, cabins, cottages, beaches and bathhouses are closed. Out-of-state visitors must self-quarantine for 14 days before engaging in fishing, hunting, golf, visiting state parks and wildlife areas.

Contact: Libby Yranski ([email protected]) 

Florida

Access Impacts: In Executive Order 20-91, Governor DeSantis has closed all public Boat ramps, marinas and other public access points to the public in the entire state, including State Parks. Marinas may only be open to support law enforcement service, accommodate commercial fishing, liveaboards and emergencies. However, some counties have kept open their boat ramps and other access facilities. The FWC has issued a ruling that prevents boater from anchoring within 50 feet of one another and limiting occupancy to no more than 10 persons. Nevertheless, many of the boat ramps throughout the state remain open to the public. The FWC’s Florida Public Boat Ramp Finder is updated every 24-hours to include information regarding boat ramp open/closed status.

The National Park Service has prohibited all beaching of boats on the beaches of the Florida section of the Gulf Island National Seashore.

Contact: David Dickerson ([email protected])

Georgia

Access Impacts: Georgia state parks remain open but with limited use to public facilities. Visitor Centers and museums are temporarily closed. Rangers will continue to staff the visitor centers and museums and provide assistance over the phone and through web-based resources.

For a complete list of boat ramp closures, click here.

Contact: Lee Gatts ([email protected])

Hawaii

Access Impacts: All of Hawaii state parks and facilities are now either fully or partially closed. All Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) district and harbor offices across the state are closed to public, in-person access. All public restrooms within DOBOR harbors are closed.  For more information, click here.

Contact: Lee Gatts ([email protected])

Idaho

Access Impacts: No statewide executive orders have been taken in regard to recreational activities. Idaho state parks and boating access points remain open for daytime use. However, the Department of Parks and Recreation states in its website that access to parks may be restricted if visitors regularly violate social distancing guidelines. The Idaho Fish and Game Commission adopted a rule that temporarily suspends the sale of several types of nonresident fishing and hunting licenses, tags, and permits.  The action is effective immediately and lasts until the rule is repealed consistent with relevant state of Idaho public health orders.

Contact: David Dickerson ([email protected])

Illinois

Access Impacts: All Illinois Department of Natural Resources State Parks, Recreational Areas, Fish & Wildlife Areas and Historic Sites are closed to the public until further notice.

Contact: Jill Sims ([email protected])

Indiana

Access Impacts: Currently all DNR properties including state parks, state forests, fish and wildlife areas, nature preserves, and state recreation areas are open. Entrance fees have temporarily been suspended. Lakes, dams and waters managed by the U.S. Army Corps are closed. All fishing tournaments on DNR owned and operated property are canceled through April 30. Any fishing tournaments that are not on DNR property but requires a permit are canceled through April 20.

Contact: Jill Sims ([email protected])

Iowa

Access Impacts: Iowa state parks, forests, preserves and wildlife management areas remain open.

Contact: Libby Yranski ([email protected])

Kansas

Access Impacts: On April 8, Governor Kelly began prohibiting prohibit any activities likely to draw together more than 10 persons outside of immediate family. In Executive Order 20-16, Kansas Governor Kelly allows outdoor activity as long as people stay six feet apart and in groups of 10 or less. EO 20-16 does not restrict boating or boating access. Kansas state parks, fishing lakes and wildlife areas are currently open to the public.

Contact: David Dickerson ([email protected])

 Kentucky

Access Impacts: State park lodges, cottages, restaurants and campgrounds are closed. Park grounds will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. effective April 3, 2020. This includes hiking trails and picnic areas. Golf courses remain open; please check the park for course hours. Group and park events are cancelled through April 30. Patrons may want to check with individual parks to find out about park services. Historic homes, museums and gift shops are closed for the time being. Park grounds are open for hiking, picnicking and exploring. Tours of homes are also suspended at this time as well as tours of the two pioneer forts at Fort Boonesborough and Old Fort Harrod state parks. All state park playgrounds are closed. Anyone camping with reservations between now and April 30, 2020, will receive a full refund. Anyone wishing to cancel a reservation after April 30, 2020, until May 15, 2020, needs to call Reserve America at (888) 459-7275. For Park closures, click here.

Some boat ramps operated by the U.S. Corps of Engineers may be closed. Please check by visiting corps websites:

Louisville District

Nashville District

Huntington District

Contact: Lee Gatts ([email protected]) 

Louisiana

Access Impacts: None for state run facilities. The Governor is encouraging residents to be in nature but maintain social distancing. All Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) offices, facilities and public restrooms are closed.

Contact: Libby Yranski ([email protected])

Maine

Access Impacts: All inland waters have been opened to recreational boating and fishing as of March 20, 2020.

Contact: Libby Yranski ([email protected]) 

Maryland

Access Impacts: Governor Hogan closed all boating, beaches and state park facilities under Executive Order Large Gatherings, and further specifically clarified here are closed 03-30-01.  In a question and answer document updated April 8, boats can be moved by water to repair facilities. “You can have your boat moved or delivered to your residence or boat slip. While it is not necessary for drivers in Maryland to have documentation about the purpose of [boat] travel, having such documentation may help. General recreational boating is not allowed. Recreational fishing is prohibited. Limited fishing is allowed only if you are seeking food for you or your family, but the social distancing guidelines and the prohibition on social gatherings must be strictly followed.

Contact: David Dickerson ([email protected])

Massachusetts

Access Impacts: Wildlife management areas, state parks and comfort stations across the Commonwealth remain open and available for the public to utilize, however visitor centers and offices are closed. MassWildlife cautioned boaters not to share a boat unless it is large enough so that all persons aboard can always remain at a minimum distance of six feet apart.

Contact: Libby Yranski ([email protected])

Michigan

Access Impacts: Michigan state parks, recreation areas, trails and other state-managed lands remain open, provided all visitors adhere to the requirements for proper social distancing. Boating impacts: state harbors are closed through at least May 15. There will be no services available including bathroom buildings, electrical, fuel, pumpouts, etc and no slip reservations can be made. At this time, boat launches and parking lots at access sites remain open but fishing piers and vault toilets are closed. Use of powerboats is now forbidden. Under the governor’s revised “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order 2020-42, physical outdoor activity, such as kayaking, canoeing and sailing, remains permissible. However, the use of a motorboat, jet ski or similar watercraft (includes gas and electric motors) is not permitted for the duration of the Executive Order, which is currently set to expire April 30. Prohibition on the use of motorized watercraft is reflected in the governor’s Frequently Asked Questions document that explains and interprets Executive Order 2020-42. Physical outdoor activity like kayaking, canoeing, and sailing is permitted under the order

Charter and fishing guide operations that involve boats, canoes and other marine vessels are not currently permitted.

Further FAQ re outdoor activities in Michigan can be found on the DNR’s website here.

Contact: Jill Sims ([email protected])

Minnesota

Access Impacts: State parks, recreations areas, campgrounds and other public lands remain open to the public, however visitors will experience some changes in services available. Grand Portage State Park has been closed. Per MN DNR, Wabanica and Wheeler’s Point public water accesses on Lake of the Woods County are currently closed, by local emergency action.

Contact: Jill Sims ([email protected])

Mississippi

Access Impacts: State parks, lakes, park lakes, and the Clark Creek Natural Area are closed to the public effective April 3rd until further notice. Wildlife management areas remain open.

The National Park Service has prohibited access to the offshore islands of the Mississippi section of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, including beaching of vessels.

Contact: Libby Yranski ([email protected])

Missouri

Access Impacts: Missouri state parks remain open. Boat ramps are operating normally. The Department of Conservation reminds people that it is still critical for everyone to continue to heed all recommendations for physical distancing, avoiding overcrowding, hand-washing, and other public-health measures during outdoor activities.

Contact: David Dickerson ([email protected])

Montana

Access Impacts: Montana State Park campgrounds will be closed starting on March 28th. All State Parks will remain open for day use recreation. Additionally, Visitor Centers and group use facilities, park playgrounds, fishing piers and some latrines will be impacted by the closure. All State Park campgrounds and lodging facilities are closed. This includes cabins, yurts, and tipis. Additionally, Visitor Centers and group use facilities, park playgrounds, fishing piers and some latrines will be closed. Visitors are reminded to bring their own supplies when recreating on our state lands while practicing social distancing guidelines and adhering to Leave No Trace principals. Supplies should include hand sanitizer as it may not be available in all parks. All park events and programs have been cancelled until further notice. For a list of Park and boat ramp closures, click here.

Contact: Lee Gatts ([email protected])

Nebraska

Access Impacts: Nebraska state parks remain open with some facilities closures.

Contact: Libby Yranski ([email protected])

Nevada

Access Impacts: Governor Sisolak’s Executive Directive 10 allows outdoor recreation. Nevada state parks remain open for day use only and it is asked individuals practice social distancing when visiting. Lake Mead National Recreation Area is closed, however those keeping their boats at marina facilities have access to their vessels to check on their property.

Contact: David Dickerson ([email protected])

New Hampshire

Access Impacts: New Hampshire state parks, boating and boating access points are not restricted under Governor Sununu’s Executive Order. Toilet facilities are closed at NH Fish and Game boat ramps until further notice due to the COVID1-19 outbreak. Docks will not be installed until the social distancing restrictions are lifted. Anglers are urged to continue practicing social distancing recommendations from state and federal health agencies.

To check the status of individual Parks, click here.

Contact: David Dickerson ([email protected])

New Jersey

Access Impacts: All New Jersey state and county parks and forests are closed, wildlife management areas are still open for outdoor recreation. The Round Valley Reservoir boat ramp is closed. Boaters are reminded they cannot congregate in parking lots, at boat ramps or at popular fishing locations.

Contact: Libby Yranski ([email protected])

New Mexico

Access Impacts:  All state parks are temporarily closed to the public as a public health precaution due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus). These closures are part of the larger effort by state government to minimize public exposure. Visit New Mexico State Parks for more information. The closures will remain in effect until April 30, unless an extension of closures is deemed necessary.

Common spaces, museums, bookstores, and visitor's centers at many of New Mexico's National Parks are also closed, though other park spaces remain open and accessible. Check with the National Park Service website for more information, as well as individual park pages for information on total closures. All Department of Game and Fish offices, all Department hatcheries, Bernardo WMA Tour Loop, Bear Canyon Reservoir, Bill Evans Lake WMA, Colin Nebliett WMA, Rio de los Pinos WMA, Morphy Lake Open Gate property, Monastery Lake Open Gate property and Rio Costilla Open Gate property are closed to the public.

Contact: Libby Yranski ([email protected])

New York

Access Impacts: In a guidance issued by Gov. Cuomo, marinas and boating access points are now closed.

State parks, trails and grounds of historic sites are open for open air however visitors are encouraged to recreate locally, practice social distancing, and use common sense to protect themselves and others. Entrance fees have been waived. The New State parks, trails and grounds of historic sites are open for open air outdoor recreationhowever visitors are encouraged to recreate locally, practice social distancing, and use common sense to protect themselves and others. Entrance fees have been waived. Boating access sites are open. The state has issued request for caution by all visitors.

Contact: David Dickerson ([email protected]) 

North Carolina

Access Impacts: Several North Carolina state parks have been closed. Parks that adhere to social distancing guidelines may remain open. All Park offices, visitor centers, restrooms, bathhouses, campgrounds, and cabins are closed statewide. For a full list of Park closures, read more  here

For a list of boating access area closings, click here.

Contact: Lee Gatts ([email protected])

North Dakota

Access Impacts: North Dakota outdoor recreational facilities, including boat ramps that are accessible to the Missouri River and wildlife management areas remain open. Game and Fish offices are closed until April 6. State operated marinas may be closed.

Contact: Libby Yranski ([email protected])

Ohio

Access Impacts: Ohio state parks, wildlife areas (with exception of Magee Marsh Wildlife Area) forests and nature preserves remain open – including trails, dog parks, and non-marina docks. Other facilities, including lodges, campgrounds, cabins, golf courses, restrooms, shower houses, playgrounds, APV areas, horse camps and state park marina buildings are closed.

Clarification on fishing: Non-resident fishing license sales have temporarily been suspended. Individuals who currently possess a non-resident fishing license may fish in Ohio if they abide by ODH guidance to self-quarantine for 14 days before they do so.

Contact: Jill Sims ([email protected]) 

Oklahoma

Access Impacts: Oklahoma state parks remain open and encourages effective social distancing.

Contact: Libby Yranski ([email protected]) 

Oregon

Access Impacts: All Oregon State Parks are closed. Many county and city parks with fishing locations are closed. Beach access is closed in many areas. National forests have closed most established recreation sites including campgrounds, trailheads and restrooms. Campgrounds, day-use sites and restrooms are also closed on BLM lands. Wildlife areas remain open for wildlife viewing, fishing and hunting but are closed from 10 pm – 4am. The salmon and steelhead fisheries are closed on the Columbia River. Boaters still required to stop at aquatic invasive species inspection stations.

The Oregon State Marine Board (OSMB) maintains an interactive map of boat ramps that shows the location of Oregon boat ramps and who owns them. OSMB advises users to contact the owners of the ramps to find out whether they are open or closed.

Contact: Libby Yranski ([email protected]) 

Pennsylvania

Access Impacts: Pennsylvania boating facilities, trails, lakes, roads and parking are open but state park and forest facilities are closed. Boating is a currently acceptable forms of outdoor activities per the stay-at-home guidelines from the Governor and PA Department of Health when social distancing is practiced.

Contact: David Dickerson ([email protected])

Rhode Island

Access Impacts: Rhode Island state parks and beaches are closed as of April 3 until further notice.

Contact: Libby Yranski ([email protected])

South Carolina

Access Impacts:   All state parks in South Carolina will be closed through Thursday, April 30, to support the state’s response to COVID-19. This includes the State House Tour Service and gift shop.

All public boat ramps and beaches are closed. The closure is designed to keep visitors and employees as safe as possible by mitigating the spread of the Coronavirus.  For more information click here.

Contact: Lee Gatts ([email protected])

South Dakota

Access Impacts: South Dakota state park offices are closed or have limited staff, but the parks themselves are open. Public boat launches remain open to the public. Depending on ice, water levels and other weather conditions, it may take additional time to place more docks in the water as additional open water opportunities become available. For more information click here.

Contact: Libby Yranski ([email protected])

Tennessee

Access Impacts:  All 56 state parks and natural areas are closed indefinitely to the public in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Click here for more information.

If going to any location to boat or fish, be sure to check with the managing authority to make sure that place is open for recreation. There are several localities and counties that have closed some parks and boat ramps.

For a complete list of boat ramps in Tennessee, click here.

Contact: Lee Gatts ([email protected])

Texas

Access Impacts: Texas state parks were closed April 7 by Governor Abbot. However, some boat ramps remain open. For additional information, click here.

Contact: David Dickerson ([email protected]) 

Utah

Access Impacts: Utah state parks remain open, but some state park visitor centers are closed. It is important to note, state parks remain open only to visitors residing in the same county where the state park is located.

Contact: David Dickerson ([email protected])

Vermont

Access Impacts: Vermont state parks and boating facilities are free and open, however outdoor activities should take place within 10 miles of home to minimize travel and potential risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Contact: David Dickerson ([email protected])

Virginia

Access Impacts: Virginia Wildlife Management Areas and Dept. Of Game and Inland Fisheries lakes and rivers are still open. Boating is still allowed. However, please check with your local county and city for any additional closures of parks, lakes or piers.  Burke Lake Park parking area and boat launch are closed. Please find additional statewide guidance here.

Contact: Libby Yranski ([email protected])

Washington

Access Impacts: Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission (Parks) and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced the temporary closure of all state-managed parks and lands, boat launches, day-use recreation areas, wildlife areas, water access areas, fisheries and shellfisheries until May 4th. AIS check stations are still active, and WDFW staff are inspecting watercraft for invasive species. Read more here.

Contact: Libby Yranski ([email protected]) 

West Virginia

Access Impacts: Park lodges, cabins and campgrounds are closed. New camping reservations have been suspended through April 30. To modify an existing reservation, call 1-833-WVPARKS. Restrooms are closed. Lodge services have been suspended. Park restaurants have been closed and curbside and carryout services are not available. Spa services at Berkeley Springs State Park have been suspended. Nature centers and museums are closed. The walkway to the falls at Blackwater Falls State Park and the overlook at Coopers Rock State Forest have been temporarily closed. Special events have been cancelled through April 30 or postponed to a later date. View our event calendar for more information. Day-use areas, including hiking and biking trails and fishing lakes, remain open for public use. Visitors are reminded to Leave No Trace by cleaning up their trash, waste and belongings before leaving a park or forest. For more information, click here.

Contact: Lee Gatts ([email protected])

Wisconsin

Access Impacts: Effective April 10, Governor Tony Evers has closed 40 state parks due to high volumes of visitors. Some Wisconsin state parks and trails remain open, including boat launches. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has waived entrance fees. Read more here.

Contact: Jill Sims ([email protected]) 

Wyoming

Access Impacts: Wyoming state parks remain open, but visitor centers are closed. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is encouraging social distancing and to avoid congregating with others in parking lots, public access areas and trailheads. Do not meet up with friends for hunting, fishing or boating; go out with people in your household only.

Contact: Libby Yranski ([email protected])


VanDam talks Favorite lures, lakes and recipe

Courtesy of Alan McGuckin - Dynamic Sponsorships

 

Kevin VanDam clearly understands the stress, sadness and long-termeconomic threats of the times we’re living in. But in true superstar fashion, he’s made it a point to stay engaged with fans through a number of social media Live stream interactions, and he’s working hard to find the goodness in each day until we’re back to better days ahead.

 

Q: Fishing has been a favorable way for a lot of Americans to maintain sanity and safe distancing the past few weeks. Let’s start with you recommending two lures every bass angler should consider fishing with right now.

 

KVD: I’ll choose a Strike King 1.5 squarebill crankbait, and a KVD 300 suspending jerkbait. Both are great choices throughout the country during springtime.

 

The squarebill is like a 4-wheeler. I can take it anywhere – especially in off colored or dirty water. Through shoreline rocks, laydowns, stumps, whatever. It hunts that shallow zone where most bass want to be right now.

 

In clear clean water, the jerkbait will suspend as deep as 6 feet on 12-pound line to pull bass up to bite that may be a little deeper before heading ultra shallow to spawn.

 

Q: Amid the Live sessions you’ve done on social media lately, a lot of fans asked about your all time favorite places to fish. Give us your top two of all time.

 

KVD: Man, it’s nearly impossible to only choose two, but I’d say St. Clair, Michigan because I love to catch smallmouth bass, and they eat there from now through November. It’s full of big ones – and it’s not one of those places where they only bite a couple months a year.

 

Secondly, I’d say Table Rock Lake, MO. It’s sort of a sentimental pick because I’ve had such an awesome relationship with Bass Pro Shops and Nitro my whole career – and their headquarters are near Table Rock. I’ve shared so many cool experiences on Table Rock and at Big Cedar Lodge. Plus, it’s a great fishery – it holds quality sizes of all three species of bass – smallmouth, spotted and largemouth. And they’ll dang sure eat a squarebill and jerkbait there.

 

Q: Lastly, tell us two things or experiences that have served as really positive compensation to the tough times we’re moving through right now.

 

KVD: Well, my twins boys and I have been pretty inseparable the past couple of weeks. So when we haven’t been raking lawns for my in-laws, or mulching around our house – my two favorite things have been fishing with them, and grilling with them.

 

When I was growing up in the 70s and 80s, we ate every meal as a family, and the challenges of recent weeks have brought us back to that.

 

My son Jackson is actually in a culinary arts institute in Grand Rapids, but one of our all time favorite recipes is a grilled wings recipe from Davy Hite’s wife Natalie that includes teriyaki marinade, hot sauce and brown sugar. It takes about 2.5 hours to smoke them on the grill – and they’re world class awesome!

 

I really believe these tough times have made us all think about what matters most in life. And mostly, that’s time with family in the outdoors. Whether it’s raking a lawn, chasing big smallmouth, watching gobblers strut, hunting wild mushrooms, or grilling – it’s about time in the outdoorswith family.

 

So my hope is one of the greatest things that will come forth from all these challenging times is way more people will reconnect to the outdoors.

 


AC Insider with Bassmaster Emcee Dave Mercer!

 

This week Chris and the boys welcome in Bassmaster Elite Series Emcee and TV funny man Dave Mercer to the show to talk about Quarantine Life in Canada, a look back at the Bassmaster's Classic and more!


Major League Fishing Announces Tulsa To Host REDCREST In 2021

 Tulsa To Host REDCREST in February 2021:
REDCREST Kicks Off the 2021 Bass Pro Tour Schedule

April 14, 2020 (Tulsa, Okla.)  Major League Fishing (MLF) announced that Tulsa, Oklahoma and Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees will host REDCREST 2021, the Bass Pro Tour Championship on February 23 – 27, 2021. The field of the top 30 MLF Pros, based on points accumulated during the 2020 Bass Pro Tour season, will compete for the REDCREST title and top prize of $300,000. In addition to the five-day tournament streamed live, the event will feature a consumer Outdoor Sports show in the 350,000-square-foot River Spirit Expo at Tulsa’s Expo Square February 26-28, 2021.“We’re thrilled to bring our premiere event and the top 80 Pro anglers in the world to our hometown, Tulsa,” said Jim Wilburn, President and CEO of Major League Fishing. “Northeastern Oklahoma offers exceptional bass fishing as well as a central location for our fans from across the country to gather and celebrate the best in competitive bass fishing. We look forward to showcasing Tulsa to the world in over 60 hours of live and linear broadcasts.”Major League Fishing partnered with VisitTulsa and the Tulsa Sports Commission, divisions of Tulsa Regional Tourism, to host REDCREST 2021.

“We are excited to announce that Tulsa was selected as the host city for REDCREST, the MLF Bass Pro Tour Championship,” said Ray Hoyt, President, Tulsa Regional Tourism. “Hosting clearly has a huge economic impact for Tulsa. Luring in thousands of fishing fans from across the U.S., Tulsa will create a significant boost to our hotels, restaurants and shops, as well as taxes that will benefit Tulsans regionally. We’re honored to partner with the great team at Major League Fishing and look forward to showing attendees and viewers alike all that Tulsa has to offer.”

MLF will stream REDCREST live over 50 hours on MLFNOW! and MyOutdoorTV. In addition, MLF produces 11 hours of original television programming to air on Discovery and CBS Network as well as over 100 hours of re-airs on Sportsman Channel and CBS Sports, which amounts to significant exposure to the host community.

REDCREST includes five days of competition using the Major League Fishing, catch-weigh-and-immediately-release format, where every bass over a variable minimum weight counts toward a cumulative weight total for the day. Variable minimum weights are determined by fishery, akin to a golf course handicap. The championship field of 30 anglers competes in the Qualifying Round (Feb. 23-24, 2021) where a two-day cumulative weight total determines the top 20 who will advance to the Knockout Rounds. In the Knockout Rounds (Feb. 25-26, 2021), the field is divided into two groups of 10 with each group fishing one day only.  The top five from each group in the Knockout Rounds compete in the Championship Round on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021 and a shot at the $300,000 top prize and title of “REDCREST Champion.”

According to MLF rules, the REDCREST field of 30 is determined by points ranking at the end of the eight-Stage, 2020 Bass Pro Tour, which was originally scheduled February through July 2020. MLF paused the 2020 season earlier this year in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic by postponing events through April. MLF leadership is monitoring the national situation and will follow the advice of medical and Public Health officials to resume the 2020 Bass Pro Tour season as soon as safely possible.

“As our nation shelters to protect our neighbors and our families from this unprecedented situation, we find comfort knowing that we have the 2021 REDCREST to look forward to,” said MLF Co-Founder Boyd Duckett.  “Fishing is inherently a socially distancing sport and with proper precautions can be at the forefront of our nation’s economic recovery.”

“We are excited to welcome Major League Fishing to Tulsa,” commented Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum. “At a time when our tourism industry, and those around the world, are struggling, this news is a welcome reminder that our community will bounce back quickly as a visitor and event destination.”

After the first three Stages of the 2020 Bass Pro Tour, the following 10 anglers lead the REDCREST 2021 points race: Ott DeFoe(227 points); Brent Chapman (209); Andy Montgomery (204); Fletcher Shryock (200); Michael Neal (198); Jacob Powroznik (198); Jacob Wheeler (196); Jeff Sprague (196); Jordan Lee (196); Alton Jones, Jr. (185). Kevin VanDam, the winningest angler in competitive bass fishing history, currently sits in 18th place with 166 points while reigning REDCREST Champion and Northeastern Oklahoma resident Edwin Evers sits at 29th place. With a $700,000 total purse on the line, MLF pros strive to earn an appearance in the Bass Pro Tour Championship.

“I’m really excited for our biggest event to be in Tulsa and on Grand Lake, where I personally have had a lot of success,” said VanDam. “And when it’s all said and done, one of us will walk away with a check for $300,000 and the prestige and notoriety that goes along with the title ‘REDCREST Champion’.”

“REDCREST is our biggest event of the year and we all work hard all year long to put as many fish on the SCORETRACKER® as possible to make it to the Bass Pro Tour Championship,” said Evers. “Northeastern Oklahoma has a huge community of competitive bass fishing fans and I have no doubt they will all come out of the woodwork to support us!”

REDCREST 2021 will launch from Wolf Creek Park and Boating Facility on Grand Lake in Grove, Oklahoma.

“The City of Grove is very excited to be chosen as the launching site for a tournament as prestigious as the 2021 REDCREST Championship,” said Mayor Ed Trumbull. “We will be looking forward to having the best anglers in the world utilizing Wolf Creek Park and fishing on Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees.”

In addition to the competition, REDCREST 2021 will feature an outdoor sports consumer expo at Tulsa’s Expo Square February 26-28, 2021. The three-day, family-friendly celebration will feature meet-n-greets and seminars from MLF pros and other celebrity guests, entertainment, as well as the latest in outdoor gear with the top fishing, hunting, boating, and consumer brands showcasing new products and offers.

“Expo Square is enthused to be selected as the host venue for Major League Fishing’s Bass Pro Tour Championship, REDCREST in February 2021,” said Mark Andrus, Expo Square President and CEO. “We strive to provide excellent customer service, throughout our clean and family-friendly facilities. Our teams are ready to build a partnership with Major League Fishing and look forward to developing an impactful event to the sport.”

The full lineup of exhibitors and schedule of events will be announced later this year. Fans, sponsors, and exhibitors alike welcome the fact that Major League Fishing has built its competition format to enable 50+ pros to be on-site, meeting fans each day of the expo. The festivities will culminate into Sunday’s celebration – a first for competitive bass fishing - when the full field of 30 REDCREST competitors, including the newly crowned Champion, will be in attendance. All activities, including interaction with the MLF pros, are free and open to the public.

REDCREST kicks off the Major League Fishing 2021 Bass Pro Tour schedule. As always, Bass Pro Tour events will be streamed live on MLFNOW! to fans around the world:

“Since announcing the Bass Pro Tour in 2018, our team has worked diligently to build the most robust schedule possible while giving our anglers holidays at home with their families as they desire,” said Don Rucks, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Major League Fishing.  “The 2021 tournament schedule demonstrates our commitment as a League to bringing the best in competitive bass fishing to our fans, sponsors, and host communities.”


DeFoe doesn’t miss his diesel

Courtesy of Alan McGuckin - Dynamic Sponsorships

 

Few professional bass anglers in the world have collected more top trophies the past year than faith and family centered pro Ott DeFoe. Subsequently, he’s also collected an impressive amount of Toyota Bonus Bucks incentive money, thanks to his purchase of a 2018 Tundra, with which he’s already logged 72,000 miles of seat time.

 

“My Toyota has been the most dependable truck I’ve ever owned, and that’s coming from a guy who always towed with a big diesel prior to buying this Tundra,” says DeFoe.

 

“Not only does it have awesome pulling power, it’s also got great braking and stopping power, and that’s a quality a lot of people don’t consider when buying a tow vehicle for their boat, but they absolutely should,” advises the 2019 Bassmaster Classic Champion and recent 2020 MLF Bass Pro Tour Stage Three Champion.

 

A do-the-right-thing guy at heart, Ott DeFoe bought a Toyota to support the brand of trucks that supports the sport he derives a living from, and also because the Toyota Bonus Bucks program makes so much sense. “Nearly everybody who tows a boat needs a truck, so why would you buy any other brand but the one who offers you a cash incentive program, especially one of this quality?” he asks.

 

In addition to his confidence in the towing and braking power of his Tundra, DeFoe also describes its turning radius as awesome, and says the interior comfort is on par with a smooth riding family sedan more so than a typical truck.

 

Towing power, stopping power, reliability, comfort, a tight turning radius, and Toyota Bonus Bucks checks in the mailbox --- all mighty good reasons why one of the nicest and most decorated anglers in professional bass fishing doesn’t miss his diesel trucks one bit.

 

However, you don’t have to be a pro like “Otter” to cash in on Toyota Bonus Bucks. You just have to own or lease a 2016 or newer Toyota Truck, sign up free for Bonus Bucks, and be the highest finishing registered participant in one of the hundreds of tournaments supported by the Program. To learn more, please visit www.toyotafishing.com.


FLW AOY Leader Nelson Relaxed, Productive During Downtime

Vance McCullough - Photo Courtesy of FLWFishing.com

Some guys flat out know how to catch fish. Ron Nelson is one of them. He followed up his strong 2019 rookie season by leading the 2020 FLW Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Angler of the Year race after the completion of three events, placing 5th, 11thand 2nd on Rayburn, Harris Chain and Lake Martin, respectively.

Then the motor fell off the boat of the tournament fishing world - as it has for the larger world, in general - leaving it dead in the water just as the Pro Circuit was winding its way into Nelson’s wheelhouse. “I am a huge believer in momentum. I’m also a huge believer in knowing your personal strengths. My personal strength, and my history, is that during that spawning season, prespawn, postspawn and closely thereafter, I really excel so, yes, I was looking forward to that streak of tournaments.”

The springtime tournaments, during which he planned to separate himself from the field, have now all been rescheduled to take place later in the season when conditions will differ from those that had Nelson chomping at the bit last month. He expected Lake Martin to be a high hurdle. Instead, it was a high finish - a bonus that Nelson now enjoys even more, given the cloud of uncertainty that hangs over the remainder of the schedule. “I was like, ‘well, Martin is going to be the hard one for me’. It’s not my style of lake. I had no history there. Once I got past Martin, I figured it would be pretty good from Cherokee to South Carolina.

“I’m still looking forward to that stretch but now things have changed, and I’m fine with that. I’ve got zero anxiety about it. The only thing I’m anxious about, in reality, is I’m looking forward to getting back to the balanced life we had before the virus. This is a new thing for everybody, not being in the workforce, everything coming to a halt.”

Most pros are enjoying the break, hanging out with family and generally taking things as they come. By nature, fishermen possess more patience than the average person, but as we enter the 2nd month of relative solitude many are getting antsy because, by nature, professional anglers also possess a stronger competitive drive than the average person. Nelson tempers that drive by doing things now that he would have done this summer, as he will be fishing this summer when he had planned to be home. “I’ve been real busy taking care of the chores around the house, things that I could have done in June and July, getting them done now. That’s nice - getting the home front taken care because the home front, to me, is always first.

“It is nice to spend more time at home and not be on the road. That being said, we’re very competitive as fishermen. We enjoy the challenge, the adventure, the new lakes.”

Nelson will embrace the new challenges when the time comes. One big challenge will be to reestablish the momentum he carried home from Lake Martin. “I’m looking at hitting that reset button like we have to do a lot of times in tournament fishing, whether you’re getting through a tough patch or you’ve got to reset, mentally, just to figure out what’s going on. If they change the dates on a couple more tournaments, I’m fine with it.

“I am glad that we did fish Martin, not just because of how I finished, but because we were already there. As fishermen we’re already self-quarantined as it is. In the boat by yourself. In the truck by yourself. I’m glad they didn’t say ‘go home’ and not fish.”

When FLW made the decision to fish the Martin tournament they also decided to not have marshals in the boats, social distancing being the big consideration. Nelson is a friendly conversationalist. Due to his performance he didn’t lack company for long. “I think I was in the Top 5 on Day 3 and Day 4 so two of the days I had a camera guy so it was kind of like having a marshal because we talked all day as he was in the back of the boat.”

If you watch Nelson, or most any pro, on FLW Live and he’s not talking, you can bet he’s dialed-in on a fish or looking hard for one. “When I’m bird-dogging it, looking for any little sign, then I’m kind of quiet but when I’m in dead water or not in my sweet stuff, I’ll have a conversation but when I’m in the juice, I don’t talk much. I kind of get on point because any little sign - I don’t want to miss it.”

Nelson didn’t miss many signs on Martin where he displayed the type of decision-making prowess needed to make a run at the AOY title on a major tour. “I knew they were dropping the water. On days 2, 3 and 4 I fished all new water. I started off fishing down lake where the water was clear. I knew those deeper fish, I could still see them when the water was high. And they would get pressured, whereas up the lake it was dirtier in practice and the water was still higher but when it dropped, those fish became visible and a lot of guys had already fished those areas and didn’t catch those fish because they couldn’t see them.”

Nelson says sight fishing isn’t his favorite way to do business, though he’s figured out that he’s good at it. “I love punching and flipping. That’s one of my favorite ways of fishing, fishing Florida style in the heavy stuff. Give me braid and a one-or-two-ounce weight and let me go to work. That’s combat fishing. I don’t do that a lot, so I make a lot of mistakes, but to me that’s a blast!”

Nelson gained a lot of experience in his rookie year on Tour, but his cross-country education began back when he decided to travel out of his comfort zone during his AAA days. He grew up with the spinning rod but knew there was a world of diverse waters and techniques to explore. “That’s what drove me to go fish the Toyota Series. I wanted to fish the Southeast Division down in Florida and South Carolina and fish different bodies of water and fish a shad spawn and fish for big fish and stuff,” Nelson rattles off in his quick paced Michigan accent. “It’s been a neat adventure. But if you look at my track record, as far as wins, the win on Champlain, the win on Smith Mountain Lake, yeah, it’s clear water, it’s around the sight fishing time. I think I know how to manage my time well and catch those fish faster than a lot of guys know how to catch them maybe.”

The versatility that Nelson has sought is starting to pay dividends and will likely serve him well during the most unpredictable tournament season we’ve ever seen. “I’m ready for any situation whether it’s a deep brush pile bite with shaky heads or a topwater bite, beating the bank with a buzzbait, I’m ready to do it all. I don’t have any fear about something not being in my wheelhouse. I’m rounded enough, seasoned enough now, comfortable now.”

As we all pass the time during the COVID-19 quarantine, are there constructive ways use the time, to prepare? Or should we just relax, spend time with the family and recharge the proverbial batteries? “Well, I think by recharging the batteries and spending time with the family you are being constructive. I feel like I live a double life as far as having a wife at home and being on the road. When things at home are taken care of, it’s a lot easier to stay focused while on the road. Now I feel like ‘let’s take care of the home life and when it’s time, we’ll get the ball rolling again and get back to fishing’. It’ll be a lot easier to just put my head down and not have to worry about things I should be doing at home because they are already done.

“It’s not going to be constructive as far as - I’m not wasting my time retying baits and restringing rods, not even trying to focus on one given tournament until we actually get the ok to go. I’m just going to keep fishing on the back burner and then approach it like it’s the first tournament all over. The next one’s our first tournament, in my mind.”

That’s not to say Nelson isn’t wetting a line with his wife, Karla. “We’ve had really nice weather the last three days, so we went out and did some crappie fishing and some bass fishing together.”

Aside from fun fishing, Nelson is staying in something of a routine by maintaining a regular sleep schedule and getting exercise by hiking with Karla and their two dogs in the wooded areas near their Berrien Springs, Michigan home. “I don’t go to the gym, don’t exercise like I should, but hiking is something I enjoy, and it builds endurance. When you stand, like the last tournament we fished, when you made the cut it was seven days straight. There was no off day. There was no break. On the last day my legs were getting a little tired,” shares the 45-year-old. “Instead of sitting on the couch and watching movies we try to stay active.”

Many people across the country are off their normal sleep schedule these days for a variety of reasons related to the pandemic. When Nelson’s head hits the pillow, he is sleeping well. If he has concerns, tournament fishing isn’t a major one right now. “The pressure is only what you create for yourself. I just don’t create any pressure for myself like that. It doesn’t even cross my mind as far as the anxiety of it. I recognize that it’s not happening, so I don’t have to worry about it until it does.”

Nelson is calmly focused on the job to come, whenever, wherever it comes. “(The schedule) has shifted. I’m still in the hunt to do well and I expect to do well, one check at a time, one fish at a time. You can’t get ahead of yourself. The points race is never decided until the last tournament. Makes it fun.”


KVD’s 3 Favorite Crankbaits for Spring Bass

Courtesy of Luke Stoner - Dynamic Sponsorships

While we are all doing our best to stay close to home and quarantine ourselves due to COVID-19 protocol, bass are in different stages of the spawn. Whether they are pre-spawn for those up north, post-spawn for folks deep in the south, or in the process of spawning one thing is certain; there are bass to be caught up near the bank.While many anglers reach for soft plastics or their favorite bottom-bouncing bait, Team Toyota’s Kevin VanDam loves covering water with crankbaits this time of year. VanDam’s knowledge and prowess with crankbaits of all varieties is unparalleled. Fortunately “Dr. Crankenstein” wants you to catch more bass and offered his top three spring crankbaits you need to have tied on right now.

  1. Strike King KVD HC Squarebill 1.5

If VanDam were forced to choose a single crankbait for springtime fishing, it would hands down be the Strike King KVD 1.5 squarebill. VanDam has employed this little plug to win literal millions of dollars in competitions and says this is the time of year it really shines. 

“There is no place in the country I go without a 1.5 tied on in the spring,” VanDam admitted. “From Michigan to Texas to California and everywhere in between, you can catch fish on this crankbait while they are in relatively shallow water.”

What VanDam likes most about this crankbait is its versatility. The KVD 1.5 is a player around a myriad of cover types. Whether you are hunting around laydowns, bouncing off rocks, or ticking the top of deeper grass lines the 1.5 performs flawlessly. KVD decides which color(s) to employ based upon the forage he believes bass are feeding in on.

And by varying the line size he throws this squarebill on VanDam efficiently and effectively covers a wide depth range with this single crankbait. The shallower he needs the bait to dive, the heavier line he’ll use, up to 20-lb Bass Pro Shops XPS KVD 100% Fluorocarbon. If he needs to dive a little deeper, KVD will drop his line size down until his bait is digging at the opportune depth.

 

  1. Strike King KVD HC Shallow Squarebill 1.5

When bass are in super skinny water and on the cusp of performing their spawning ritual, VanDam favors the KVD 1.5 Shallow sqaurebill. While this crankbait is similar in name to his first choice, these are very different tools for VanDam based on diving depth. 

The 1.5 Shallow only runs about twelve inches below the surface and is the perfect bait to cover water when bass get dirt shallow,” VanDam explained. “I throw it on heavy 17-lb. line and fish it close to shallow cover or around docks. If you keep your rod tip high on your retrieve this crankbait practically doubles as a wakebait and will draw some aggressive strikes.”

VanDam almost exclusively chooses bluegill or sunfish color patterns when fishing the 1.5 Shallow. He knows bass are thinking about spawning and bluegills are one of their primary targets this time of year whether they are feeding or protecting their spawning beds.

Whether it’s due to green slime moss, a bad bottom, or extremely shallow water – the 1.5 Shallow is VanDam’s player when he needs a crankbait to hunt in the top of the water column.

 

  1. Strike King Series 5 Crankbait

As the bass in your area finish spawning and start sliding from the shallows to their deeper offshore haunts, VanDam’s go-to crankbait becomes a Strike King Series 5 crankbait in Sexy Shad. As soon as bass finish spawning they will often gorge on shad and the Series 5 consummately matches the hatch.

“Simply put, the Series 5 dives in the depth zone the bass are in during this transitional period,” VanDam said. “Bass don’t go extremely deep immediately after spawning. When they finish spawning they work their way out of the shallows; stopping at secondary points, road beds, shallow ledges, or main lake points.

“That 8-10 foot depth range and these type of stopping points are where a Series 5 does its best work.”

Many bass anglers want to pull out their favorite deep diving crankbaits as soon as they get the inkling bass are moving off the bank. VanDam’s experience has shown meeting them in the middle with a slightly less intrusive Series 5 will produce better than more aggressive deep diving plugs when bass are freshly post-spawn.

Take it from The Man himself; one of these crankbaits, or a combination of the three will help you catch bass on your local fishery right now. Stay close to home and use these plugs to cover water and catch some fish in the weeks to come. As KVD often says, “It’s all about the attitude.”


Humminbird® and Minn Kota® to Air One-Boat Challenge Finale on April 9

 

RACINE, Wis. (April 8, 2020) — Humminbird® and Minn Kota® will release the fourth and final installment of the One-Boat Challenge web series on Thursday, April 9. In the series finale, the two remaining teams get a surprise when a bass fishing legend and another special guest show up to take them on in a battle of who can catch the single biggest fish in just 90 minutes. The winning team earns an advantage for the mother of all final challenges, a treasure hunt that takes them above and below Lake El Salto. Guided by a series of clues, the teams race to complete their tasks using all the technology available from the One-Boat Network™ along with their fishing skill to be declared the first ever One-Boat Challenge Champions. The team who completes the series of challenges first and finds the final clue will win the competition as well as $10,000 to split between the winning team’s charities.

In last week’s episode, the teams competed against each other using their AutoChart® Live map on their SOLIX® fish finder to catch the most fish within their assigned boundaries. Tyler Anderson and Mike Roy came in first place with 34 fish followed by Seth Funt and Charlie Breitenbach in second with a solid 24 fish. Willie Young and Louie Vito came up short with a total of 14 fish which resulted in their elimination.

The team who survives all the challenges and avoids elimination will win $10,000 for their fishing charity of choice. Contestants and their charity of choice include:

The teams were outfitted with gear from some of fishing’s most esteemed brands, including AFTCO, Abu Garcia, Berkley, Gerber, Old Town Kayak, Rapala, Plano, Shimano, St. Croix Rods, StrikeKing and VMC. Vexus Boats, rigged with the One-Boat Network, were towed by Toyota USA trucks and SUVs throughout the competition. The entire show was filmed on location at Angler’s Inn on Lake El Salto.

The first three episodes are currently available to stream on OneBoatChallenge.com and Minn Kota’s YouTube channel. The fourth and final episode will air on Thursday, April 9. The series highlights the ups and downs of the competition as well as key features and benefits of the One-Boat Network.

Tune in on Thursday, April 9 to find out which team gets sent home and follow along with the series by tracking #ONEBOATCHALLENGE. The episodes can be viewed at www.OneBoatChallenge.com.

For more information visit www.humminbird.com or www.minnkotamotors.com.


Zona talks silver linings, 6-pounders, and Han Solo

Courtesy of Alan McGuckin - Dynamic Sponsorships

 

Mark Zona graciously took a few minutes to frame up these challenging times in America with a personal perspective rich in gratefulness for family, fat bass, and even talk of werewolves and Star Wars characters.

 

Q: The C-19 virus has obviously created a fairly dark time in America’s history we all hope will end really soon. Give us something to smile about, Z.

Zona: As Americans, we’re never going to forget these days, but the silver lining right now is getting to spend exponentially more time with my wife and kids. In fact, as soon as we’re done with this interview, we’re jumping on the family pontoon boat. And trust me, under normal circumstances, I never get to spend a weekday afternoon on a pontoon boat with my family.

 

 

Q: Fishing and time outdoors with family is definitely a very popular thing to do right now. Give the parent who may be taking their kid fishing for the first time some Z-Train wisdom.

Zona: It’s all about action. We’re not trying to catch trophy bass here folks. We’re trying to have a good time – and for kids, that means worms on a hook under a bobber for anything that will bite. And listen to me, when they show signs of boredom – move on – pack it up – don’t force them to stay if the fish aren’t biting.

 

 

Q: You get to choose three bass lures to fish with anywhere in America for the next 30 days – what three are you picking?

Zona: A half-ounce green pumpkin Strike King Thunder Cricket, second --- a 4.75” Rage Swimmer swimbait on a ¼ ounce belly-weighted 5/0 Trokar hook, and are you ready for the silver bullet I plan to take down the werewolf with? Number three – a green pumpkin purple fleck tube on a spinning rod with a 5/16 ounce jig head.

 

 

Q: What’s been your best fishing experience the past three weeks?

Zona: That’s easy, because it was one of the best fishing experiences of my life. I was with Martin Truex Jr. on a private lake in Arkansas, and with zero exaggeration, we caught 200 bass between 6 and 8 pounds on a Thunder Cricket for a Zona Live show on Bassmaster.com.

 

 

Q: A lot of people are spending an exceptional amount of time kicking around the house in pajama pants these days. What is the one Carhartt garment you wear so often your wife Karin is nearly tired of seeing it?

Zona: That’s an easy one too. My black Carhartt vest, of course. In fact, I absolutely plan to wear it today on our family pontoon cruise. No shirt beneath, with my 1991 tattoos blazing. To be real honest, I think I look a lot like Han Solo when I wear it.


AC Insider Podcast - Episode 130 with Stetson Blaylock

This week Chris and the boys welcome in Stetson Blaylock to talk about how he's using this time off to prepare for the next event and how he stays busy. Chris gets excited about his new boat and more!