Sportsman's Warehouse Grand Opening - Fredericksburg, VA

We had the pleasure of getting to see Sportsman's Warehouse's newest and LARGEST location, Fredericksburg, VA, for ourselves over the Grand Opening Weekend.  WOW, may be an understatement.  It was like it's own mini-mall of all things outdoors, and the bass fishing section was hard to beat.


Anglers can find aisle after aisle of all the big names, with a wide variety within each category.  They aren't just stocking bass gear of course, there are sections for crappie and pan fisherman, fly fishing as well as saltwater/inshore.

Here is an interview with the Fishing Manager, who gives us all the details:

The hunter and outdoorsman certainly has plenty to check out as well.  We saw everything you need to get set up for bow season, a day at the target range, or a weekend of camping.


Check out the store page here.  You'll find everything you need to plan your visit.

Seviin Features I’m liking right out of the box!

By AC Insider, Danny Blandford

The folks behind the legendary St. Croix brand have been in business for over seven decades now and we all know of their iconic reputation as rod builders and passionate anglers.  Now, they are bringing all that experience to the world of fishing reels under the brand name Seviin.  I’ve gotten my hands on two of their new GF Series baitcasting reels and plan to put them to work for some fall fishing.  I’m pairing a GFC811 (8.1:1) with fluorocarbon and my flipping stick, and a GFC731 (7.3:1) with braid and a topwater rod.

Now admittedly, I’m writing about these prior to putting them through the paces, but I’ve handled a ton of reels over the years, and have slung plenty of baits, so this first review is just that “new out of the box impression.”

Here are “Seviin” features I’m digging after getting my hands on the GF Series of baitcasters

I:  Fit and finish – This thing is rock solid!  The frame is listed as “reinforced composite” and you can feel it in both the material used and the way the frame is all tied together.  I put some pressure on it from side to side, as well as a firm twisting motion to see if the torque would show up as weakness somewhere, and I couldn’t find any flex in the frame or components.  It also has a nice matte finish that should wear well and hold up to the elements with no problems.

II:  Overall size – I don’t have big bearpaw hands by any means, yet these reels are very easy to comfortably wrap my hands around.  The frame mentioned above lays in a way that my thumb naturally contacts the reel for the full length and I find that my index finger wants to wrap around the front side as well.  My other models of reels don’t lend themselves to this grip, which I think I’m going to really prefer, especially on my flipping set up.  I feel like the more contact I have with the reel and rod seat, the better I feel the “tick tick”.

III:  Easy adjustment and access – Your magnetic brake dial is easy to see, feel, and hear adjustments and the mechanism itself feels solid.  As far as getting to the guts, I really like the latch system for the side plate.  It’s tucked into a convenient spot on the side and it makes getting in to clean, lube, and/or swap spools simple.  This is also where you’re magnetic braking components are and that side is very clean and self-contained.  There are no pins or internal settings to mess with or malfunction, and all your adjustments can be done externally with a large easy to read and hear dial.

IV: Easy ID system – Not a critical thing, but it does show that “anglers” have put a lot of thought into the Seviins.  Each reel has a gear ratio stamp in bold lettering right on the back side, so when you have several set ups on the deck like I do, knowing which is which can come in handy.  Likewise, they have a smart little line indicator tucked away right there with it.  It was tough on my “middle-aged” eyes, but still very useful.  It can be dialed to whatever line size you are using so you’ll know what you’re picking up.  In my case I keep a couple identical crankbait combos on the deck, but one is rigged with 10 and one is rigged with 12 lb. line, for different applications.  This makes identifying those types of things simple, and I’m a big fan of KISS - “Keep it simple, stupid”.

V:  Solid handle/drag combination – I didn’t think I’d care about a “carbon fiber” handle, but I have to admit, it’s a nice feature.  It was thicker than I was expecting and that results in a very rigid feel, which I like, especially the way it looks like I’ll be gripping this reel for flipping.  The locknut system seems like it should be solid and worry free, and the EVA foam grips feel good to the touch and should provide a good grip.  Regardless of where your hand is on the handle, it’s an easy reach to the drag star, so making adjustments in the heat of battle feels natural.  You can also hear the drag adjustments with audible clicks as you work the star, and I like that.

VI:  The drag itself – I’ve mentioned audible adjustments on the side, which I like, but the carbon fiber/stainless steel drag system itself is also audible, like we’re accustomed to on spinning reels.  Now, I haven’t had the opportunity to test that out on the water yet, but hopefully it’s coming soon.  I’m “thinking” I’m going to like that too.  Hearing that drag should be a good indication of how much heat I’m putting on a fish, or better yet, how much heat it is putting on me, and I’d think it would help with making adjustments on the fly…we’ll have to see, but I’m optimistic on this one!

VII:  The price!  I was recently on the $100-$120 reel hunt with my young nephew prior to the introduction of the Seviin.  Undoubtedly, we had a lot to choose from and we didn’t come away empty handed, but I’m not sure that we got the bang for our buck that comes with these new GF Series of baitcasting reels.  He and I will be on the water together this weekend and I’m looking forward to slinging some baits with both and getting a real world feel for the Seviin.

In today’s world a hundred bucks doesn’t get you very far, but my first impression is that it goes farther with these Seviins than it does with some of the other products out there.  More to come after we get ‘em wet and put them through the paces!

Here are the full specs:

• One-piece reinforced composite frame and side covers
• 4 + 1 stainless steel bearing system
• Rock-solid one-way clutch anti-reverse
• 32MM forged aluminum spool holds 110 yards of 12 lb mono
• Custom designed carbon fiber handle with EVA grips
• Multi-stack carbon fiber drag / stainless steel drag system
• Micro-adjustable magnetic cast control
• Precision hobbed hard brass pinion and drive gear
• Line memo indicator dial

Check out the website HERE

Travel Tuesday - The Ten Commandments of Tough Times - El Salto Edition

By Pete Robbins - Half Past First Cast

Lake El Salto is a remarkably fertile and prolific fishery, but that doesn’t mean you can throw out just any lure at any time and expect to get blasted by your new PB. There are times when it may seem that way, and the Florida-strain bass can be voracious, but they don’t grow big by being dumb. Furthermore, there are times when the bite is tough. Fortunately, that’s not often. In approximately 20 fishing trips South of the Border, we’ve had approximately 10 that were “trips of a lifetime,” maybe seven that were very good to exceptional, and three where we had to work for our bite. Unfortunately, the one we just completed was in that last trio.

While I just characterized the trip as “tough,” that statement deserves a bit of context. One day on this last trip, Hanna and I caught 70 bass, including one almost 8 pounds. Our new friend Sara Smith caught an 8+ PB on her first cast, and then beat it with an 8-15 a short time later. Two other members of our group topped the 9 pound mark. What it came down to was that the bite existed in windows and you had to offer up the right presentation at the proper time in the perfect place to have some success.

I hope that your next trip to Mexico is as good as or better than one of our best ones, but in case it’s not – here’s how to turn unmet expectations into a successful trip.

FIRST, remember that the fish didn’t go anywhere. At some point during each day you will be within a long cast or two of a double digit, possibly a teener. You can sulk over the fact that the bite is tougher than usual, or you can put that energy into positive thoughts and focus.

SECOND, pay MORE attention than usual. On our June 2013 trip to El Salto we stopped taking pictures of fish under 6 or 7 pounds after a few days because they were taking time away from keeping our baits wet. On those types of trips, you can take a few chances with your gear. On a trip like this one, however, where every five-plus is a reason to high-five, it’s easy to get distracted and fail to retie or change lures or set the hook properly. That inattention will bite you in the ass, because just when you least expect it, that’s when gigantor will strike.

THIRD, trust your guide. Some of them may be quiet and non-demonstrative, but they want you to catch fish. Their livelihood literally depends upon it. They all know the lake well after years of guiding it. Some of them even walked the lake’s floor before it was impounded. You may think they’re fishing too fast, too slow, too deep or too shallow, and indeed it might not be your preferred pace or strategy, but their methods are time-tested. More often than not they’re doing it right.

FOURTH, start early and stay late. On this most recent trip, 80 percent of our fish came on soft plastics fished slowly. Each morning and evening, though, there was a brief window when a few big’uns would absolutely crush a Rio Rico or in some cases a smartly-presented jerkbait. Those who dicked around too long at breakfast or came in early for happy hour often ended up missing those chances – and those time periods often produced the biggest fish of the day or the trip.

FIFTH, if you’re gonna upsize, you’ve gotta mean it. If you’ve got balls the size of grapefruits, one strategy for combatting a tough bite is to go exclusively to really big baits – giant swimbaits and the like – in search of one or two mega-bites. It sounds good on paper, but it’s a commitment physically and mentally. Are you prepared to go back to dinner, or back home after the trip, and tell everyone that you blanked? Or had one blowup that clobbered it and got off? If so, go for it. If not, steer clear.

SIXTH, remember that finesse has variations. We caught lots of fish this week on smallish baits like 5-inch Senkos and even shakey heads, but that doesn’t mean you could throw little plastics at every bank and expect to get consistent bites. Hanna did better on the shakey head than on the Senko, while I found the opposite to be true. Our friends Sara and Stuart Smith switched from green pumpkin and watermelon Senkos to blue ones, and suddenly their catch rate increased. Others found that they had to use some tungsten to get the desired fall rate, but anything more than an 1/8 ounce was less effective. Don’t go crazy, but don’t get stagnant, either.

SEVENTH, remember that finesse has limitations. We were throwing our shakey heads on 17-pound test line. I’ve never gone lower than 14 there. I suppose that you could, but the size and strength of the fish, combined with their razor-sharp (by bass standards) teeth and the abundance of heavy cover, would make me nervous to go any lower. I’m sure that there are times you could massage a giant or two through the trees, but I feel like it’s more apt to end in heartbreak.

EIGHTH, don’t suck the energy out of the camp with your negativity. Yes, I know that your friend just caught his PB. The group before you averaged over a hundred a day. You didn’t expect it to be this tough. If you’re a Negative Nancy, though, it’s going to screw things up for everyone. Not only does it make you less likely to succeed (for the reasons explained in Number Two, above), but it detracts from everyone else’s enjoyment. You’re on site, you’ve planned for this event, now make the most of what’s in front of you. To be totally honest, I need to follow my own advice on this one. I don’t get pissy or angry when the bite is tough, but I tend to get inside myself and stew quietly. I’ve been lucky to go to one of the greatest bass fisheries on earth a ridiculous number of times and if I never catch another bass I’ll still be equally fortunate.

NINTH, an actual fishing tip: Give your lure a little stop n go. I have caught dozens of El Salto fish on a Carolina Rig as I reeled it back to the boat, usually when I made a quick pause. At other times I’ve lost them on that semi-unexpected strike when I failed to pause. Even when I’m fishing the Rico fast, I’ll integrate some stoppages. The best jerkbait bite this past week came on long pauses. I’m not sure what it is about these fish, but many of them are late to commit and you can use that to your advantage.

TENTH, just because it was tough at this particular time, under these particular conditions, don’t avoid rebooking at the same time. This is a weird lake, in a good way. There’s not necessarily a magic formula – strong wind, no wind, high water, low water, etc. – that causes excellence or struggles. There’s a reason it’s booked year after year and most of the clients are return customers.

Remember, most of the time El Salto is like pizza and sex – even when it’s “bad” it’s good. If you’d like to book a trip and see for yourself, email us today and we’ll get you there.

Fishin' Tip Friday - Shaw Grigsby on the Swimming Worm

By Vance McCullough

“One of my favorite lures to have any time, any place is a plastic worm,” declares Shaw Grigsby, member of the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame.

“You can rig it weedless. It comes through all types of cover. You catch them everywhere with a worm,” continues the host of the ‘One More Cast with Shaw Grigsby’ TV show, brandishing a Strike King Mag Cut R Worm that features a beefy body and a sickle-shaped ‘cut’ tail.

“That tail is going to paddle and wiggle. It’s got a lot of kick and that makes it good for a swimming worm technique, similar to a swimming jig.”

His rig is simple. “I put a little 1/16 ounce, or 1/8 ounce tungsten sinker in front, put it on 17-to-20lb fluorocarbon or maybe 30lb or 40lb braid, put a big ole TK120 hook in there (made by Trokar).”

As for the technique, “You’re just going to throw it, and the cool thing about a plastic worm is you can let it sit and guess what – they eat it! You can put it on the bottom and guess what – they eat it. But where it really works with that light weights is you just swim it. Keep your rod tip at about 10 o’clock so that when one eats it you can drop your rod, reel the slack and then hammer them!

“That’s the trick with a swimming worm – don’t just pull into them immediately. Drop your rod, hammer them hard and you’ve got them!”

Deep Dive with Bernie Schultz - Dissecting Vegetation

This week we wrangled Bassmaster Elite Series Angler Bernie Schultz.  Bernie has had a long successful career and one common denominator has been vegetation, so we dive all the way to the "root" of his tips and techniques in this week's AC Insider "Deep Dive".  Check it out!

Sportsman's Warehouse Grand Opening - Cape Coral, FL

AC Insider, Vance McCullough takes a road trip to Florida's newest Sportsman's Warehouse location.  Surrounded by popular fishing locales such as Boca Grande, Pine Island, and other Gulf treasures, the Sportsman's Warehouse Cape Coral has everything for that "Salt Life".  In addition, the location has plenty of freshwater supplies for the inland guys, and impressive hunting and shooting departments top it all off.  For all the details on the new addition, click here and be sure to c heck out what the Store Managers had to say about the area.

SEVIIN GF Series Baitcasting Reels Available Now

Park Falls, WI – Backed by seven decades of design and manufacturing expertise, industry-leading customer service, and unbroken private ownership by the Schluter family dating back to 1977, SEVIIN reels are meticulously engineered and purpose-built to help anglers conquer every species on every piece of water on the planet. Wherever and however you fish, SEVIIN reels help create better experiences by enhancing your abilities, never holding you back.

A foundational offering in SEVIIN’s inaugural product launch for 2024, GF Series baitcasting reels deliver an optimal balance of castability, smoothness, and comfort. Each of six available GF models is packed with features, meticulously engineered and crafted to optimize performance without sacrificing durability. Introduced at ICAST 2023 in July, SEVIIN GF Series reels are available to anglers at SEVIIN dealers and online beginning September 1.


“GF Series reels were conceived to provide anglers with smooth, reliable, and failsafe performance that exceeds their $120 price point,” says SEVIIN Reels Product Manager, Robert Woods. “Components that increase performance in GF reels include a 4+1 stainless-steel bearing system – the two bearings on the spool shaft being Japanese stainless steel – and carbon and stainless-steel drag componentry. These features alone result in noticeably smooth casting, retrieves, and drag operation. Hardened brass pinion and drive gears offer great gear feel and excellent durability,” Woods continues, adding that GF Series reels also feel light, comfortable, and solid in the hand. “GF reels feature ported aluminum spools and carbon fiber handles to minimize weight, while a strong, one-piece graphite frame and side plates yield excellent rigidity that further enhances the satisfying way GF reels feel and perform. Anglers will also appreciate GF’s micro-adjustable magnetic cast control that makes it easy to dial-in maximum casting performance depending on the specific line and lure they’re using.”

MLF Bass Pro Tour angler, Jesse Wiggins, is one of several SEVIIN Analytical Pro-Team members who tested and provided input on the GF Series’ design. “I’ve been able to fish the GF reels and test them over the past couple of months, and my initial impressions are really positive,” he says. “These reels are easy to set up, fast and simple to tune, and will cast a mile. I’ve also been really surprised at how smooth they are – both the gears and the drag,” Wiggins adds. “I really notice it compared to some of the other casting reels I own and use at this price level. I also like how the drag adjustment clicks like a spinning reel so it’s easy to make and keep track of small adjustments, while the line memo indicator dial helps me keep track of what line is on each reel.”

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SEVIIN Analytical Pro Team member, Matt Frazier of California, says feel and versatility are two hallmarks of the GF Series that anglers are going to appreciate. “We’re fishing straight braid out here on the Delta, make a lot of casts, and are very hard on reels,” he says. “Right out of the box, the size and feel of the GF is just right. It’s got a bit smaller frame and a little larger handle, which is ideal for what we do out here. These reels have plenty of power and speed. I love the texture and matte finish; it makes it really easy and comfortable to grip and just feels exceptionally solid. The castability of these reels is insane,” Frazier adds. “I throw a lot of 3XP and other small, light crankbaits and they cast effortlessly, and it’s the same with the larger swimbaits. The GF handles everything very well with the versatility to go small or big depending on how you set it up. For a $120-class reel this reel kills it. Anglers will feel the quality immediately. It feels solid, smooth, and bulletproof.”

SEVIIN’s GF Series consists of six low-profile baitcasting models in three available gear ratios with right-hand and left-hand retrieve configurations.

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SEVIIN GF Series Low-Profile Baitcasting Reel Features

• One-piece graphite frame and side covers
• 4 + 1 stainless steel bearing system
• 32MM forged aluminum spool holds 110 yards of 12-lb. mono or 100 yards of 30-lb. braid
• Custom designed carbon fiber handle with EVA grips
• Multi-stack carbon fiber / stainless steel drag system
• Micro-adjustable magnetic cast control
• Precision-hobbed hard brass pinion and drive gear
• Line memo indicator dial
•  One-year warranty backed by no-questions-asked accelerated replacement program
•  Designed in Park Falls, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
•  Retail price $120

SEVIIN GF Series Low-Profile Baitcasting Reel Models

• GFC166-L – LH retrieve, 6.6:1 gear ratio, 19 lbs. max drag, 7.3 oz. / Retail $120
• GFC166-R – RH retrieve, 6.6:1 gear ratio, 19 lbs. max drag, 7.3 oz. / Retail $120
• GFC173-L – LH retrieve, 7.3:1 gear ratio, 17 lbs. max drag, 7.3 oz. / Retail $120
• GFC173-R – RH retrieve, 7.3:1 gear ratio, 17 lbs. max drag, 7.3 oz. / Retail $120
• GFC181-L – LH retrieve, 8.1:1 gear ratio, 15 lbs. max drag, 7.3 oz. / Retail $120
• GFC181-R – RH retrieve, 8.1:1 gear ratio, 15 lbs. max drag, 7.3 oz. / Retail $120

As a company, SEVIIN is committed to the highest standards of customer service, with all service calls, emails, questions, and other inquiries fielded by our team of dedicated customer-service representatives in Park Falls, Wisconsin, USA. Like all SEVIIN reels, new GF Series reels are backed by SEVIIN’s accelerated, no-questions-asked, one-year return and replacement policy for any SEVIIN reel owner who registers their reel after purchase.

No matter the fishing situation or technique, there’s a SEVIIN GF Series reel delivering the perfect balance of castability, smoothness, versatility, and comfort. Each model is loaded with features that are engineered to optimize performance without sacrificing durability.

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New SEVIIN GF Series Low-Profile Baitcasting Reels are available for purchase at SEVIIN dealers worldwide and online at

Interested in becoming a SEVIIN dealer? Email [email protected].

About SEVIIN Reels

Wherever and however you fish, the reel in your hand should help create better experiences. Born from St. Croix’s seven decades of design and manufacturing expertise, industry-leading customer service, and unbroken private ownership by the Schluter family dating back to 1977, SEVIIN reels are meticulously engineered and purpose-built to help anglers conquer every species on every piece of water on the planet. SEVIIN focuses on reels and reels only, designing and crafting products that improve the angling experience, regardless of the rods anglers choose. Seven seas, seven continents, seven days a week, SEVIIN reels are fueled by a collective love of fishing surpassed only by a passion to deliver the most reliable and advanced reels on the water. Learn more at

Fishin' Tip Friday - Bill Dance on the Slip Sinker

Bill Dance: An All-time Great Angler on an All-time Great Technique

By Vance McCullough

The old ‘rubber worm’ as we often called them back in the day, will catch bass year-round but it really shines during the dog days of summer when nothing else seems to work.

Following is Bill Dance’s best tip on how to catch bass any time, anywhere with Texas-rigged soft plastics:

Bill Dance wrote the book – literally – on worm fishing. Published by Bass Anglers Sportsman Society of America in 1973. “It was titled ‘There He Is’,” notes Dance, “because when you feel a bass pick up the worm, that’s what you say.”

While Dance nods to improvements in equipment and materials – tungsten weights, lighter, stiffer rods, advanced lines and hooks – he notes that a couple of things have not changed. First is the effectiveness of what has come to be known as the Texas rig, which Dance still calls the ‘slip sinker rig’.

The other constant is the need to pay attention and s-l-o-w down.  Years before Dance would catch the first bass ever boated in a Bassmaster tournament on a worm, he met a man named Stan Mason, a crop duster pilot from Hughes, Arkansas. Dance recalls that day on the shore of Horseshoe Lake in the 1950’s. “Stan asked, ‘you fish the slip sinker rig?’. I said, ‘what’s that?’. He put a few sinkers in my hand, and I asked, ‘well, how do you fish this?’ He looked at my boat in the parking lot and said, leave that here and come fishing with me’. I did.

“If I learned one thing that day, Stan taught me, ‘If you think you’re fishing slow, fish slower’.

“We were fishing, and Stan looked at me and said, ‘what did I tell you?’ ‘Fish slower,’ I said. ‘Then why aren’t you doing it? You’re hard-headed!’.” Dance laughs at the memory. He laughs harder about what happened next.

“I tossed that worm between a couple of cypress trees and let it sink.  Then I felt ‘thunk!’ I caught a 3-pound bass. I went crazy! I peed my pants three times!”

“If you think you’re fishing slow, fish slower,” – Stan Mason, via Bill Dance

Deep Dive with Matt Becker - Dropshots

We caught up with BPT Angler of the Year Matt Becker.  He credits the dropshot with his recent AOY title, so we took a deep dive on the technique that put him on top.  We talk line, hooks, rods, and techniques to help you improve your dropshot game!  Check it out!

Travel Tuesday - What is the Best Time to Go on a Fishing Trip?

By Pete Robbins

 Well, duh. The best time to go on a fishing trip is “any time you can.”

But that maxim doesn’t tell the whole story. Our plan has always been to fish “the best places at the best times.” Of course, fishing is an inexact science with no guarantees. Even at the purported best times, under the assumed best conditions, it can be a struggle. On other occasions, when it’s expected to be tough, you can load the boat. To our way of thinking, by stacking the odds in our favor – best places, best outfitters/guides, best times, and so forth – we maximize our chances of success.

But perhaps you can’t or won’t go at the generally-accepted optimal times. Maybe the tuna fishing in a certain location is best from April through June, and that’s the heart of your bass tournament season. Or perhaps you know that the St. Clair muskies are fattest in the late fall, but you can’t handle the thought of casting a “Pounder” all day as sleet pours down.

How do you know whether it makes sense to spend your hard-earned cash (and energy and vacation time) to go during an off-peak period?

Rule Number One: Do Your Research

When it comes time to plan a trip, figure out what you want to catch and how you want to catch them. If your goal is a sockeye salmon on a dry fly, make sure: (a) that the salmon will be in the river at that time; (b) that the season will be open; and (c) that they will be feeding in your desired manner. Obviously, the more flexible that you are, the better. Some simple internet research should answer your most basic questions. Beyond that, call a guide or outfitter and ask blunt questions – don’t ask for guarantees, but rather the type of inquiries that will help you make an informed decision.

Rule Number Two: You Can’t Catch Them When They’re Not There

As noted above, certain fish are migratory and won’t be in notoriously prime fisheries during certain months. You can fish for them at that time, I suppose, but you ain’t going to catch any. Or they could be lethargic in a manner that makes fishing vastly subpar. If a guide or outfitter does not operate during certain stretches of time, there’s likely a reason for that. One corollary to this is that just because certain conditions don’t exist doesn’t mean that the species won’t bite. Several years back we went ice fishing for big brown trout in Milwaukee Harbor. When the ice goes away, you can’t catch them that way, but you can certainly chase them with other tactics.

Rule Number Three: You define success

Again, the more flexible you are, the better. Our April and November trips to Sport Fish Panama Island Lodge were similar in more ways than not, but there were some key differences. For example, the average tuna size was much bigger in November, but we caught a much higher percentage on poppers in April. If you cared more about size, the first trip might’ve been a bust. If you cared more about topwater fishing the second trip might have been a bust. Fortunately we just cared about action, so we were thrilled both times but your mileage might vary.

Even after following those rules, you still have to differentiate between different trips to the same place.

Again, get on the phone or on the web and figure this stuff out. A guide or lodge looking to fill a calendar might not give you the straight skinny (or they might tell the truth and you won’t believe them), but there are other places to get information. Look for YouTube videos or TripAdvisor reports from the month/s in question. Call a fishing travel agent who deals with multiple properties and ask what it’s like during the time that you are available and interested in going.

Sometimes, the unlikely nature of fishing success will make your preferred dates a non-starter. At other times, there may be a complicating factor – for example, the fishing might still be just as good, but you can expect daily rains or heavy but non-threatening winds. If you can legitimately withstand those conditions without losing any level of enjoyment, by all means go ahead.

Occasionally outfitters or lodges will run “off season” specials. Again, figure out if that’s because the fishing is going to suck, or because there’s some other reason that keeps people away. If it’s the latter, you can save a chunk of change, or squeeze more easily into your preferred days of the week. That’s a win on multiple levels.

If indeed you determine that only “prime dates” will do, remember that at any established and top-producing operation those dates can fill up a year or two in advance. Make your reservations early. Then again, just because you can’t get on the calendar early doesn’t mean you can’t go fishing. Just don’t compromise unnecessarily on an expensive, bucket list trip.

One final note: If there are preferred dates or date ranges that you’d like to travel, and they’re filled up by the time you get on the list, don’t hesitate to call back occasionally and see if there have been any cancellations. Don’t be annoying about it, but let them know that you’re ready to get on a plane at the drop of a hat.

We’re here to help you figure out the best time or times for you to go on the trip of a lifetime. Check out Half Past First Cast or email us and let’s figure out where you should go next!

AC Insider Extra - St. Lawrence River Elite Series

We've partnered up with Bass365 to bring in some AC Insider "Extras" for these last two Bassmaster Elite Series Events.  Last week we had plenty of extras featured on our social platforms.  If you want the deets on the Lake Champlain Smallmouth Smackdown, click HERE.  As always, Greg Hackney's preview was a hit on TikTok  so we asked for another How's Hack Gonna Attack This.  We've started adding these pieces as YouTube Shorts, so if you haven't subscribed to our channel yet...DO IT!  Stay tuned all week for more tidbits and give us a follow on: Facebook  Instagram  TikTok  YouTube  and sign up for our newsletter Here.


Fishin' Tip Friday - Cranking with KVD

AC Insider, Vance McCullough, gets the chance to talk with LOTS of anglers and he's been sitting on LOTS of short, sweet, and simple fishing tips from some of the best in the business.  We're going to start dropping some of these on Fridays so that you too can become a better angler!  We're kicking it off with one of the greatest of all time, Strike King Pro Kevin VanDam.

Bass fishing’s all-time leading money winner, Kevin VanDam recently fished his final regular season tournament. After a career that included numerous championship titles and Anger of the Year Awards, VanDam reflects on a technique that helped him amass well over $7,000,000 in winnings – cranking.

“When cranking, in almost every situation, the most important thing is to make sure you’ve got the right bait for the depth zone that you’re fishing so you can hit the bottom or the cover.

“Ninety percent of the time, it’s the bottom. Whether it grass, gravel, rocks, a crankbait is most effective when it deflects. You want to make sure that you’re hitting something with it.

If you can’t, then it’s all about stopping and starting it. Erratic movements, out of any bait, are what trigger bass. With a crankbait, stopping and starting it and speed reeling it on the bottom as it’s deflecting is that trigger.”

VanDam is known for his ability to manage a tournament clock as much as his understanding of fish behavior. A crankbait suits his fast-paced style. “The reason I love it so much is it’s one of the most efficient lures for a specific depth zone.

“I use line size to help control the running depth. If you need the bait to run a little shallower, use heavier line. If you want it to run deeper, go with lighter line.

“The most important thing is understanding the depth it runs and making sure you’re in contact with something.”

Travel Tuesday - Ultimate Guide to El Salto and Picachos

Half Past First Cast, a fishing travel website and travel consultancy, has compiled 150 articles about traveling to and fishing Mexico’s best bass fisheries. Their “Ultimate Guide to El Salto and Picachos” includes travel hacks, packing tips, gear guides and extensive trip reports that will help anglers whether they’re making their first trip South of the Border or their fiftieth.

“It’s hard to have a bad trip to any Anglers Inn property down there,” said outdoor writer Pete Robbins, one of the co-founders of the site. “At the same time, every trip can be made slightly better with more information. We keep track of flight schedules and fares, changes in the customs process, and the gear that is proven to work. Without any tackle advertisers, we’re beholden to no one, so you can make sure that your luggage always contains the right items.”

When Robbins and his wife Hanna started the website, they’d already been to the Sinaloan lakes a dozen or so times, but with at least a couple of additional trips each year, they continue to amass information. They’ve also launched a YouTube channel that includes many of their best tips and tricks.

“We made some mistakes in our early trips,” Hanna said. “Maybe we flew the wrong routes or depended on a layover that was too short, or we didn’t bring enough of a certain lure. We don’t want anyone to go through that – ever. Sometimes we’ll go back and look at our notes and it’ll jar our memories and help us, as well as our friends, to maximize every minute.”

Since starting the guide, the couple has attracted the attention of other lodge owners. Now they host trips in Alaska for trout and salmon, in Guatemala for sailfish, and in Panama for saltwater species including tuna and billfish. They’re building up a library of articles on those locales as well, and since many of their fellow travelers are less fluent in those types of fishing, even articles about the “basics” are critical to making the most of what might be a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

“Fishing is supposed to be fun,” Hanna concluded. “We’ll hold your hand as much as needed, or simply encourage you to try something new. Most of our traveling friends feel the need to go back to Mexico as often as possible, as we do. We learn from them and there are ways to embrace what’s new while also feeling like you’re returning home. At the same time, we want to see the world with a rod and reel in hand, and we’re looking for likeminded people to join us.”

To Visit Half Past First Cast, go to:

To View the Ultimate Guide to El Salto and Picachos, go to:



Pete Robbins Phone: (703) 282-2722

Hanna Robbins Phone: (703) 932-6299

Email: [email protected]

Do Not Fly List: These Items Should NOT Go in Your Checked Fishing Luggage

By Pete Robbins- Half Past First Cast

If you’re flying to an epic fishing trip, in most circumstances you’ll have to check a bag at some point. While TSA does provide some vague guidance allowing for some hooks to be in your carry-on luggage, ultimately the US government, foreign governments and individual airlines will interpret the regulations differently. The TSA website, for example, makes clear that “the final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint.” That means no appeals (no calling manager, even if your name is Karen). Let discretion be the better part of valor -- sharp stuff should get checked.  Here are their details.

Also, remember that TSA has the final word in America, but when you’re on foreign soil you’re playing by a whole different set of rules.

Let’s start with lures. Before you place your sharp items in your checked luggage – not just hooks and lures, but also items like fillet knives and other tools – put them in cases or shroud them in bubble wrap. Assume that your luggage will be searched, and it’s not fair to the people working to keep us safe to put them at risk. Besides, if you do end up injuring them, that just increases the likelihood that your gear will be “misplaced” or confiscated.

Beyond that, there are both practical and logical “rules” about what you can, should, can’t and cannot put in your checked luggage.

First, be prepared to lose anything and everything. Unlike some of you, I don’t think most baggage handlers and TSA agents are thieves, and I’ve been fortunate not to lose anything, but at the same time I’m sure there are some bad apples out there. Don’t tempt them. That means that any small items you can carry on your person should stay with you at all times – for example, cash, medications and fine jewelry (the latter of which begs the question: Why the hell are you bringing fine jewelry on a fishing trip?).

What other things should you not place in your checked luggage?

If you answered “firearms,” you might be wrong. As long as you pack them correctly, declare them properly, fly with an airline that allows them, and comply with local, state and/or international guidelines, you CAN bring a firearm on a fishing trip. That may be important if you’re headed out on a “cast and blast” expedition. Flare guns, however, are not allowed.

Definitely do not pack illegal narcotics – you do not want to end up in any jail, least of all a foreign one. I would recommend as a general matter bringing seeds, produce or meat into a foreign country, or back from a foreign country, with the one notable exception being bringing home fish fillets under certain circumstances. If you want to do that, make sure you have a proper container (both hard-sided and soft-sided coolers can be checked) and that the fish and is fully frozen. Freezer packs are OK as long as they are frozen solid when presented for screening. The inclusion of dry ice is up to the airline, and even if it is allowed you’re maxed out at 5.5 pounds.

Surprisingly, you may be allowed to bring live fish in your carry-on bags (but not your checked luggage): “Live fish in water and a clear transparent container are allowed after inspection by the TSA officer.” I assume this is intended for tropical fish, not your trophy tarpon. Certain locations and countries may frown upon you taking home their prized resources, and the introduction of non-native species is a problem as well, so use discretion if you try this one. [Note: live coral is allowed in carry-on luggage, but not checked luggage.)

I was surprised that TSA’s list prohibited “English Christmas Crackers” in both checked and carry-on luggage. I figured this was some continuing animus against British food dating back to the Revolutionary War, but a quick Google search revealed that they are not baked goods, but rather a snapping table decoration.

That brings us to a good point – you don’t want anything that is going to explode in your luggage, causing damage to your gear or – worse yet – the plane itself. That means many aerosols are banned, including WD40 and other flammables. On the other hand, non-flammable aerosols like shaving cream and whipped cream (what kind of kinky angler brings whipped cream on a fishing trip?) are allowed. Also, both the FAA and TSA specify that flammable liquids, gels and paints are not allowed.

The Mexican bass guides all swear by chartreuse dipping dye on their soft plastics. Are the dips and aerosols like Spike-It flammable? Tackle Warehouse’s site states that “This product is flammable and can not be shipped Air. It CAN ONLY be shipped UPS Ground.” Other products, like Dyeing2Fish, do not have that same disclaimer. Use your discretion here – a dye pen might be your safest option.

I can tell you without a doubt that you should not fly with JJ’s Magic, one of the most effective scent/dye products. It will build up pressure and crack the jar. Luckily, when I made this mistake I’d had the foresight to double-wrap the jar in a couple of Ziploc bags which prevented all of my luggage from smelling like a spaghetti dinner.

What about inflatable life jackets? I’d always heard stories about them inflating when placed in pressurized situations and assumed that they would be banned. Surprisingly, TSA states that you may bring a life vest with up to two CO2 cartridges inside, plus two spare cartridges in your carry-on or checked bag. You may not transport CO2 cartridges without the associated lifejacket. Still, if you need a PFD and your outfitter does not provide them, I’d first recommend finding another outfitter, and second recommend that you bring a standard non-inflatable.

Aerosols are a huge area of concern and confusion. For example, aerosol insecticides are not allowed in carry-on bags, but they are allowed in checked bags as long as they are not labeled as hazardous material (HAZMAT). My advice: bring a lotion or liquid. If you’re headed to Alaska, remember that bear spray is not allowed on any US commercial flights

but limited quantities of other self-defense sprays (like mace, pepper spray) may be allowed

Finally, in case you were wonder, hand warmers and toe warmers are allowed – Hanna will be happy.

If you’d like more advice on how to fly efficiently and safely, check us out at If you have specific questions, feel free to email us anytime at [email protected].

Sell a Man a Fish? FishTips Exclusive

The guys kick off a fresh round of podcasting with Austin Neary of to discuss the platform and services.  For more information on FishTips, check 'em out here

Sportsman's Warehouse Grand Opening - Tampa, FL

AC Insider, Vance McCullough, got the chance to check out the brand new Sportsman's Warehouse in Tampa, FL.

Located with the Gulf of Mexico to the West, and countless freshwater lakes to the North and East, this location caters to both fresh and saltwater anglers alike.

If you want to the details on the store, you can find them right here.  You can also shop from the comfort of your own home at

Travel Tuesday - Get Your Ducks In A Row Before A Fishing Trip

By: Hanna Robbins - Half Past First Cast

After a week of world-class fishing at Anglers Inn El Salto, you might expect that my first blog back would be all about the trip. but for now I’m going to head back to BEFORE the trip even started to help you plan for your next trip.

If you don’t plan properly, you’ll never be able to fully enjoy your time away. I’m a list-maker, even when we go away for just a short weekend, but on longer trips it’s even more important to cover everything. I use a list so nothing gets forgotten.

Number one, at the top of our list, is to make sure your dogsitter is available at the time you will be away. Don’t assume. You don’t want to be scrambling for a place at the last minute. You don’t want to worry about the quality of the care that your baby is getting. Pete and I don’t have kids, so our Australian Shepherd Rooster is our child, and I worry about him constantly.

Not just anyone will do, either. When my prior Aussie Riley was diagnosed with cancer, we still had to make some short trips. I wanted to know that she’d be comfortable, and that if a situation arose the sitter would know what to do.

It’s probably a high-stress moment for your dog, too. If Rooster sees us packing our suitcases he tends to get jittery and occasionally misbehaves.

Here’s one sign that things are good -- Make sure when you get to your sitter’s house or facility that your dog can’t wait to go inside. The minute there is any hesitation you should think twice and find another provider.

The only reason we feel safe and sound when we vacation is because of our “Aussie Whisperer,” Kristina Shaw Whetzel. The minute we get off the highway, still two miles way from her home, Rooster whines. He knows where he’s headed and can’t wait to see his friends and the “camp director.” He’s excited to play with his “pack.” We open the gate of the SUV and Rooster never looks back. It’s actually a bittersweet moment for me. I want him to be at least a little bit sad that we’re going away.

While a responsible dogsitter is the most important factor, it’s even better if you can get someone who is familiar with the specific health and behavioral quirks of your breed. I’m not sure how many Aussies Kristina has, but it’s probably at least eight, and she knows how they play, how they interact, and why they do certain things.

Kristina, you are our godsend and have become a true friend, THANK YOU. Without you our vacations would be a lot more stressful and less enjoyable, even though you may be thousands of miles away.

Other list items:

  • Stop your mail from being delivered (
  • Call the number on the back of your credit card and make sure they know the dates and places you will be vacationing so no charges get declined or fraud alerts raised.
  • Contact your home alarm system, if applicable. Let them know the timeframe of your trip and your emergency contacts
  • Figure out which lights, inside and outside, you should keep on to make it look like you are home (change the light bulbs if you haven’t in a while to make sure they don’t go out)
  • Position the cars in the driveway to make it look like you aren’t away
  • Regulate the inside temperature for the time of year you are away. Make sure if you live in a cold environment and will be away not to set the temp too low or the pipes may freeze. Keep the cabinet doors open on all cabinets on outside walls. Perhaps make the faucet have a small drip so there is constant water flow.

Don’t wait for the last minute to set up a ride to the airport, bus depot or train station prior to the day you leave. Check on that ride to make sure it will show up. During our recent trip, I had a problem with my Uber app that required some quick thinking. And if you are a tightwad like me, look for coupons for that ride.

We will assume you are taking your kids with you on all your vacations, if not make sure Grandma and Grandpa spoil them silly.

Even with all these items crossed off you list you can still end up with some issues. We came home from Mexico one year to find out that our freezer had crapped out. We entered a stinky house and we lost the remainder of our sockeye and king salmon we caught, processed and brought home with us from Alaska – nearly 50 pounds.

That’s ok, it just means that we will had to go back to Alaska – and start the travel prep process all over again

Safe travels made easy, that’s why you travel with Half Past First Cast.

Kayak Bass Fishing - Honing In on the Right Kayak

By Danny Blandford

In my research on kayak selection, I had the opportunity to catch up with another Old Town kayak pro, Casey Reed, of Virginia.  Casey, like me, had started kayak bass fishing in a sit-in fishing “style” kayak he picked up at big box store.  Also like in my experience, it left a lot to be desired.  The difference was Casey went to work on improving his setup with a DIY approach and got hooked on kayaks and the sport of kayak bass fishing.  With close to a decade of experience under his belt, some of which included tournament directing, I’d landed on a wealth of knowledge for the project.

Personally, I’m not ready to go “all in”…so I got the details on basics, but I took the opportunity to learn about a “professional” rig as well.

I started my questioning with my first hang-up…electric or pedal?  I know I don’t want to deal with the paddles all the time, so it has to be one or the other; that much I’m sure of.  Casey has the Old Town Autopilot 136, just like the one in my previous interview with Anthony Garcia.  Both anglers swear by the benefits of Autopilot, but Casey offered up a great tip.

“You can always start with a pedal drive and then add a bow mount trolling motor in the future…lots of guys go that route and they end up with the best of both worlds.”  Now that was something that made sense to me - start out as a peddler and “if” I need to do something different in the future, I’ve got options.  Casey went on to add, “Today’s kayaks are strong and durable and there are lots of options for mounting with backing plates, and nut and washer set-ups that make for solid connections should you want to add an electric motor later.”

Apparently adding a bow-mount trolling motor "later" is a thing and a quick internet search and I find all kinds of examples, so that is a win for me.  I love to have options and I hadn't given any consideration to that kind of setup.  I'm a Minn Kota guy and they have several options that would work well with a little rigging.

We got into electronics and the story was the same.  You don’t “need” any, but you can have about anything you want.  To make that point, I introduce Casey’s rig.

Talk about loaded up…wow.  Casey and I crunched some quick numbers and we came up with a tournament load of about 300 “ish” pounds including him and his gear.  The boat is rated for up to a “usable weight” of 502 lbs, so he could still carry more.  He pointed out that with scupper plugs and one-way valves, he stays dry and comfortable all day, and has no problem fishing sitting or standing, which is a huge must for me.  Being able to stand up and pitch and flip to shoreline cover has been one of the biggest motivators in this search and the

With a rig like that, a trailer is a must for Casey, he was quick to add, “After a 12-hour day on the water, the last thing I want to do is wrestle my kayak.  I load it onto my trailer and pull it with a Honda Passport.  Fishing three national trails, I cover some miles at this point in my career, but it didn’t start that way.  As a matter of fact, when I first got into kayak fishing, a Toyota Camry was my official tow vehicle.”

Personally, for me, I’m thinking most of my fishing will be done within miles of the house and probably won’t be twelve-hour trips, so I’m most likely to wrestle, not trailer.  I think the truck bed will be a fine first hauler for the time being.

As far as the kayak, I’m definitely honing in on the right choice.  I think a 12-footer would fit my needs and I want to peddle, not paddle, and I want to be able to go electric at some point.  The Old Town 120 series is where I need to be and there are a few models to think through, but a couple of interviews have led me to a can’t lose decision.   I have to give a big shout-out to the Old Town Team for helping me navigate the process!

With a little luck, I’ll have some kayak fish pics as a follow-up soon!

Anglers Channel Bass Wrap Up Show, Brought to you by Sportsman’s Warehouse, adds the Pursuit Channel

Columbia, SC (June 30, 2023) - The Anglers Channel Bass Wrap Up show, brought to you by Sportsman's Warehouse, continues to grow its distribution with the addition of the Pursuit Channel, starting January 2024.  The 14th season of the show will still debut on Discovery with Saturday airings in the fall of 2023 for the fifth consecutive year.  The program will then move to Pursuit for multiple airings per week, throughout the first quarter and beyond.  The Anglers Channel Bass Wrap Up show is an informative recap of professional, amateur, and grassroots-level bass fishing tournaments across the country. Bringing tournament trails of all sizes to the spotlight, by capturing the anglers who fish and finish well in these events. The program also mixes in informative segments on new techniques, new products, and share useful information to help the weekend angler learn about all things fishing.

Since 2008 Pursuit has been delivering extensive high-quality outdoor content to millions of viewers unserved by any other full-time outdoor network.  The unique basic tier package delivery with the major satellite distributors, plus major recent additions in the cable sector, provides access to an audience that is ripe with outdoorsmen and women for its content partners.  In addition to joining the network, The Anglers Channel Bass Wrap Up show will also be featured on Pursuit’s digital platforms.  Look for The Anglers Channel Bass Wrap Up program beginning in 2nd quarter 2024 on the Pursuit UP streaming channel available to over 90 million users, or available 24/7 on Pursuit UP’s VOD/App platforms.

According to Danny Blandford, AC Director of Business Development, “Moving our program to Pursuit in the first quarter of 2024 will be another milestone in the growth of our Anglers Channel platform.   The weekend premiers with Discovery deliver a vast reach and the additional airings with Pursuit will help us reach up to 30 million additional households.  It will be great to see our program and partners featured alongside so many popular outdoor television programs during the peak fishing television season on Pursuit.  We look forward to showing our program to viewers who may not have seen us on the Discovery Network in years past.”

The 2023/24 season of the AnglersChannel Bass Wrap Up Show, Presented by Sportsman’s Warehouse, will kick off again this fall with highlights from the Bassmaster Classic, the Inaugural Minn Kota/Humminbird Owners Tournament, as well regional events, fishing tips, and much more. If you want to catch the action as it unfolds this summer, visit, and be sure to follow along on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.

About multimedia platform combines the web, social media platforms, podcasts, on-site event coverage and The Anglers Channel Bass Wrap Up Show on Discovery and Pursuit to bring you the No. 1 resource in tournament bass fishing. Anglers Channel features the web’s most robust tournament database, used by thousands of anglers daily, including schedules, results and searchable details by body of water. Anglers Channel also delivers industry news as it happens, along with coverage of all tournament bass fishing, from BASS and Major League Fishing to the weekend warriors. Visit Anglers Channel via the web, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.


About Pursuit

Pursuit Media, LLC, the industry leader in total home and user delivery, has its linear feed Pursuit Channel, active nationally to 30+ million homes via DIRECTV, AT&T U-verse HD, DISH Network, Sling TV HD, Comcast Xfinity, Fios by Verizon HD, Centurylink Prism HD, Cox Communication HD and the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC).  PursuitUP, is active to 90+ million users through Samsung’s TV Plus, Sinclair’s STIRR, Xumo, Glewed TV, Vidgo, Kloud TV, Select TV, TCL Smart TVs, Plex, and many more. Additionally, PursuitUP’s VOD library is readily available online to anyone at, or by downloading the PursuitUP app available on most devices.


For more information contact Danny Blandford at [email protected]

Throwback Thursday - Quest for the World Record

By Terry Battisti - Bass Fishing Archives

The bass fishing world was rocked on June 23, 1973, when southern California resident Dave Zimmerlee caught the first fish weighing more than 20 pounds since George Perry set the record 42 years earlier at Montgomery Lake, Ga.

Tiny 183-acre Lake Miramar yielded the then-California record. Weighing in at 20-15, the fish dwarfed the existing record of 17-14 caught by James Bates of out of Lake Murray one year earlier.

James bates with his 17-04 Florida bass taken out of Lake Murray San Diego in July 1974.

In 1959, the California Department of Fish and Game joined forces with the Florida Fish and Wildlife to transport and release 20,000 Florida bass fingerlings into San Diego’s Upper Otay reservoir. Upper Otay would act as the brood pond for the Floridas which would then be transplanted into area lakes. The Floridas were chosen because they exhibited a growth rate almost twice as fast as their northern brethren and City Parks officials wanted a fish that would offer a sustainable population for its patrons.

Little did they know what would happen in the near future.

By 1965, the 12-year-old state record of 10-03 had been broken with a 10-10 Florida. The record was again broken in ’66 with a 13-00, in ’68 with a 13-07, in ’69 with a 15-04 and again in 71 with a 16-11. San Diego was on the map as being a likely place for the world record to be broken.

The 1971 record fish, caught by Randall Danio, has some interesting information regarding the catch. He was reportedly fishing for trout at Lake Miramar with a spinner when the big fish ate.

Then, in July of 1972, James Bates caught the next state record, as mentioned above. This fish was the first of the last three state records actually caught by a bass fisherman – the others being caught by trout anglers. He caught his fish on a Grape Mann’s Jelly worm.

California State biologist Larry Bottroff, who was instrumental in the planting of the Florida bass in California’s waters, shed some light on the explosion of trophy largemouth in the state in the Sept/Oct 1972 issue of Bass Master Magazine. Here is an excerpt from that interview with writer Chuck Garrison.


“I believe there are bass of 18 and 19 pounds in some of these waters now! I also believe bass of this size will be taken by 1975. Possibly sooner. The largest I have observed weighed 17-03 and was only 10 years old. The condition of some 12-year-old Floridas I have observed is good. It appears as though they will live four or five more years. If they do and remain in good condition, 20 pound plus bass might become a reality! Time will tell.”

Then came June, 1973.

Dave Zimmerlee poses with his California State Record largemouth bass and his rinky-dink rod and reel. Photo from the cover of Bass master magazine 1973 Sept/Oct Issue.

Dave Zimmerlee had never fished Miramar before that fateful day. He had just relocated to San Diego from Missouri after being in school and the military for eight years. While in Missouri, he had become a bass angler having taken a 12-04 out of Bull Shoals reservoir. Little did he know his next trophy would cause such a stir.

Zimmerlee reported that he hadn’t had any luck fishing the shore in the morning and around noon decided to go rent a boat from the concession. Here are his words from an interview that was printed in the Sept/Oct 1973 issue of Bass Master Magazine, as written by Chuck Garrison.

“… I went up and got a boat and went and fished about three different spots. I got a few little bass but threw them back. Then I started to move up to another spot with the boat and I saw this big fish swimming in the water.”

He dropped the anchor and threw a live nightcrawler at the fish – and it ate it.

The rest is history.

Larry Bottroff was again interviewed for an article published in the 1974 Bass Master Fishing Annual, this time by writer Myron R. Fischer, called Quest for a SUPER BASS. This time Bottroff was again asked why he thought the San Diego lakes produced such giant fish. In Fischer’s words, here was the answer:

“An interesting sidelight, is the fact that fertility of both [Lake] Miramar and [Lake] Murray is low. Bass have attained their size and condition, due to their feeding on trout.”

An interesting fact considering Bottroff, only a year earlier, stated in an interview with Garrison the main diet of the San Diego Floridas was threadfin shad.

Since this time California has produced nine documented largemouths over the 20-pound mark. One of those fish, nicknamed Dotty, was caught at least 5 times by anglers including Jed Dickerson and Mac Weakley – of which three of those catches the fish weighed over 20 pounds. The last time, of course, Dotty weighed an astonishing 25-01 but was released because she was unintentionally snagged.

Mac Weakley’s 25-01 largemouth.

Although biologists and anglers predicted the world record bass would come from some San Diego lake in the 70s, it didn’t happen. Throughout the 80s and 90s the prediction was still being made. Many anglers got close but it wasn’t until 2009 the record would again be challenged and this time broken.

Manabu Kurita’s world record tying largemouth.

The fish didn’t get caught in one of the “usual” lakes guessed by experts, either. The record was broken 77 years to the day later by Japanese big-fish hunter Manabu Kurita from Lake Biwa, Japan. So much for the odds.

Flipping the RELiON Lithium Battery Switch - Part Two: On the Water

By Danny Blandford

In early June I flipped the switch on Relion Lithium batteries and you can read about that here.  Since the install I’ve been able to sneak in about 40 hours on the water…a handful of short pre-fishing days, two LONG days, and two tournament days.  Cumulatively, the tournament results were “meh”, but that was the angler, not the equipment that lead to those mediocre results.  The electrical equipment, on the other hand, performed flawlessly.

My Observations

Long days and tournament days are the ones that test your equipment, so I started right there, with a solid 6 am to 6 pm fishing day, fishing with my original bass fishing mentor, Dad.

We managed to capture a couple along the way

It was windy and we spent the first half of the day on the main lake with the bow into the wind, the foot on the trolling motor, and the screens on.  I was using live sonar on the bow, as well as mapping and 2D/side-scan sonar running nonstop.  One thing that jumped out at me was how little current drop I noticed.  My bow screens consistently showed 13.0 V (volts).  On occasion, I’d see a dip to 12.9 V, but any time I fired up the outboard to move, I’d drop the trolling motor on the next spot to see it right back at 13.0 V.

The second half of the day Pops and I headed “up the river”, a narrower stump-filled upper reach of the lake.  Being that I hadn’t been up there in quite some time, I spent a lot of the time covering water on the trolling motor, dialed to anywhere from 20% to 60% for the remainder of the day…still with all electronics going full bore.

The fishing picked up and the batteries stayed strong.  One thing that jumped out at me regarding trolling power is that I didn’t see that speed dial creeping up as the day wore on.

A setting of 20% on my Minn Kota is the sweet spot for moving about and fishing my style; it’s extremely quiet there and it’s a comfortable pace to pick apart targets and make plenty of casts.  Prior to switching to the Relions, I’d have to bump that up to as high as 50% for the same speed that 20% would give me at the start of the day.  With the new setup, I was at the 20% setting when I started and I was STILL at 20% at the end of the day.

Day 1 on the water was a success.  We ended up stumbling on to a few good fish and the Relion Lithium certainly passed the tests.  No voltage drop was noticed over 12 hours on either the RB100HP cranking battery or the RB100 trolling motor batteries.

End-of-the-Day Testing

The first thing I wanted to see was the voltage, so I used a multi-meter directly on the batteries, and just like the graphs said, they were still giving 13+ volts after a nearly daylight-to-dark fishing excursion.

Regardless of the punishment, I've yet to see less than 13 V!

I was impressed, but then I was really impressed when I plugged up the Dual Pro Professional Series Charger.  My batteries were at 50% discharge, but still giving me 100% to the devices that relied on them.

After a long day on the water, two things were in order, a good charge for the boat and a good meal for the anglers.  Ironically, they both took about the same time.  After testing, we plugged in the boat, packed the rods and graphs inside for safekeeping, and went to dinner.  Dinner did take a while, but when we returned a few hours later, I was shocked to see the charger showing 90% already!  I went ahead and respooled a few reels, tied on a few baits for day two, and then went back out to check before bed.  I had three green lights in less than 4 hours, after 12 hours on the that's a good set of batteries AND a good charger!

The Weight Loss Journey

I can’t wrap the article without discussing what happens when you drop 80 pounds out of the back of an aluminum boat; I found the results surprising.  Since its first day on the water with the Relions included an extra passenger and gear, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the boat didn’t drop in speed or lift with Dad and his gear joining me, as a matter of fact, I got to top-end speed quicker and noticed the boat was just more “peppy”.  What did surprise me was that top-end speed was basically the same as it had always been, although it used to have to just be one person to get those numbers, now I’m getting it with two.  The weight savings of lithium allowed me to offset the drag created by passengers and gear with ease.  I didn’t gain speed, but I could carry more at the same speeds, whereas before, more gear meant less speed.

The Light Load

Subsequent trips found me out by myself on a few occasions where I was able to check the metrics with a light load and that is where I was surprised.  The boat jumped onto plane in a much shorter distance, I could get to max RPMs much quicker, and overall it felt more responsive to the throttle, but I didn’t pick up any top-end speed.  My thought is removing the weight from the back has changed the balance of the boat while carrying a light load.  I noticed the spray line had moved farther forward towards the bow, regardless of how much trim I used.  In simplest terms, the on-pad balance of the boat was designed around a certain amount of weight in the back, in the absence of said weight; the boat rode flatter on the water.  A flat running boat has more running surface experiencing friction (drag) from the water, and drag reduces speed.   I "may" be able to play with props and find the best of both, but I'm certainly better off than I was.

In summary, the weight savings of lithium provided me with a better hole shot and better throttle response, and it allows the rig to carry a load better at higher speeds.  It did not turn my aluminum boat into a rocket, unfortunately…but it does have some new pep in its step.  I also noticed my old scum line was about an inch higher than my new scum line, so I’ve reduced my overall draft in the water.

From a power perspective, the Relion Lithium Batteries are ridiculous.  You can drink from the well all day and not see a power drop.  They charge quickly enough your big motor can help maintain your 12V system while running, and a great charger can bring them back to 100% in hours, not overnight.

At this point, my only concern is that I “could” theoretically run them down and I wouldn’t know I was about out of power until I was actually out of power.  Since the Relions give full voltage up until the end, you don’t get those tell-tale clues that you’re running out of juice that lead-acid batteries provide.

I now clearly see the need to better monitor how much juice I’ve used, and most importantly how much juice I have left.  The Dual Pro Lithium Battery Gauge and its ap will address this issue.  I just need to find a good hole saw for aluminum and the courage to put one more hole in the river rig.  That’s going down soon and I’ll be back to share the experience.

Throwback Thursday - Bagleys - 1977

By Terry Battisti - Bass Fishing Archives

We’ve written a couple of pieces on the Jim Bagley Bait Company over the course of the last couple of years, but I personally never get tired of looking at their ads from days past. Recently I was scouring all my 1977 magazines for another piece and noticed after a while, how many ads Bagley had placed in the various magazines at the time and decided to scan them all. Here’s Bagleys – 1977

The years 1976 and ‘77 were banner years for the company due to Rick Clunn winning back-to-back Bass Masters Classics and catching some of his fish in each event on Bagley’s baits. This seems to have done a couple of things – namely provide a bunch of sales for the company which, in turn, allowed them to step up their ad campaign to sell more.

1977 Bagley's Honey B Ad

After going through nearly 75 magazines, I would say I could count on one hand the number of issues that didn’t have a Bagley ad in them. Most of those ads were the same ad placed over and over but this ad-year they really stepped up in the marketing department by designing several new ads.

Most of the ads that were placed in Bassmaster Magazine are fairly well known. It’s the ads that were placed in magazines such as American Angler, American Bass Fisherman, and National Bass that are really cool – ads I’d never seen before. Maybe you haven’t either?

The first ad, at the top of the article, is one I’d never seen. Although the baits weren’t really known as saltwater lures, you can get the gist of the ad in that the baits were little treasures. After two big wins within a year, who could argue?

That ad featured BB2s, KB2s, Honey Bs, Bang-O-Lures, Balsa Shiner, and what appears to be the full line of DBs, lead pellet in the lips to boot.

The second ad, one we’ve all seen, is of Rick Clunn and makes special note of his 1976 Classic win using the Honey B. The curious thing about the ad is Clunn reported in Bassmaster Magazine that he caught his fish on a crawdad-colored Honey B. Yet, there’s a picture of a Tennessee Shad model in the ad, model HB1-TS to be exact.

The ad reflects on Clunn’s Classic, how he was in 3rd place on the first day but rallied the second day with a 33-pound 5-ounce sack the second day to take a commanding lead. They then state that Clunn relied heavily on the Honey B the third day to bring in another limit (16-01), win the event and break the all-time record for total weight in a Classic.

The third ad, again a Honey B ad, was showing customers that they didn’t just have to throw the shallow-running Honey B. If they needed to go a little deeper, they could fish the Diving Honey B.

This is a great ad in that it shows a number of Bagley’s color patterns complete with their model/color number. Out of that bunch of baits, my favorite color pattern was the Golden Shiner (DHB1-GOS). It mimicked the color of a certain species of crawdad we had on one of the local lakes to a tee. The fished chewed that color.

1977 Bagley's Ad featuring the Diving Honey B

The fourth ad in the mix is another ad I’d never seen and came from American Angler. It was a picture of a coloring book, opened to a page featuring a bass. The ad was featuring Jim Bagley’s new “little bass” color pattern on the new KB2, or Kill’r B II. The text says:

“Nothing could be more appealing to a largemouth bass than another bass – fingerling size. That’s why Jim Bagley has just introduced his newest color, the “little bass,” to his complete line of famous balsa wood lures. This new life-like color combined with the fantastic action of the Kill’r B II is the most taste-tempting morsel ever to swim thru a brush top. Try it…you’ll it. The bass will too!”

I have to say that the color baby bass was not in my top-5 or even my top-10 color choices. I can count on one hand the number of fish I have caught on that color over the 50 years I’ve been casting for bass. But that probably has to do with the lakes I fished. Your results may vary.

I do wish I had this coloring book – if it ever existed.

The final ad is yet another I don’t recall ever seeing. It again featured the “NEW” Kill’r B II but also another not-so-well-known bait, the new Balsa Shiner – their version of the Cordell Spot and soon-to-be popular Rattle Trap.

The writeup for the Kill’r B II says that it is a smaller brother of the 3-inch Kill’r B, or what should have been called the Kill’r B III. I need to go back and investigate whether the original Kill’r B was given a number or if that came after the advent of the KB2.

Then there’s the Balsa Shiner. Advertised as the newest in the balsa wood family, the Shiner was designed for both fresh and saltwater. The bait would dive no deeper than 2-1/2 feet and was touted as a great fats bait to be fished over grass.

As we find more Bagley ads we’ll post them up. In the meantime, if you remember one we haven’t touched upon, send us a note and let us know about it.

Kayak Bass Fishing…Take Two

By Danny Blandford

My first attempt was for the birds!

I’m starting to dig “back” into kayak bass fishing more and more, but I’ve had to do some homework.  I bought a sit-down/sit-in “fishing” kayak as an impulse buy years ago, but the purchase missed the mark and left a lot to be desired.  I love the concept, the access the kayak provides, and the simplicity it brings to bass fishing.  I didn’t like the kayak…that was a huge roadblock to moving forward, so I shelved it…all of it.  My first attempt has made a great birdhouse, not so much of a great fishing platform, so I’ve recently decided to revisit that project.  Coming at it from a more informed perspective this time should certainly help with the results.

Fortunately, at, we can get plugged into experts pretty quickly when we’re looking to learn more.  I got a chance to chat with Old Town Kayak Pro, Anthony Garcia, of Los Angeles, CA.  What an awesome conversation; two anglers from completely different environments and backgrounds, tied with the common thread of bass fishing.  It was evident from the start, that Anthony’s California rivers and my local Ohio River, don’t have many parallels, but shallow water bassin’ is shallow water bassin’ regardless of locale, so we hit it off.

Anthony shared his fishing story of going from “Bait and weight” fishing with family as a kid, to getting into kayaks, then fishing kayaks and ultimately, national tournaments.  Ironically, he was fresh off his first co-angler bass event, the WON Bass CA Open, on Clear Lake.  He was just starting to dive into “our” world, as we were diving into his.  He ended up with a 5 bass limit each day and a 15th place finish, so I’d say kayak angling absolutely develops tournament anglers, and he knows his stuff.  Curious if I will take to a kayak as well as he did to the back of the boat…

We started with the basics of boat selection.  Anthony’s advice was simple, “Get in kayaks…find buddies, or stores that have demos, and get in every style you can access.  What works for me is specific to me…my size, my fishing style, even where I fish dictates “why” my boat is right for me.  In my case, the Old Town AutoPilot 136 was right for me”

Garcia's Old Town Sportsman AutoPilot 136

“What you’ll learn by getting in them is what style feels stable to you; stability equals comfort out there on the water.  Choosing that first will set you on the right path.  You can check out different brands, price points and features once you know what kind YOU like.”  Although simple, it was sound advice.  I had skipped step one and as a result, I felt like kayak fishing wasn’t a good fit for me…in actuality it was having my butt below the water line and sitting all day that was just too foreign to me.  The opportunity to stand up and move around, like I do on the front deck of the boat is likely to make a huge difference.  Old Town has a Kayak Selector, but it sounds like seat time is the next step after online research.

Simple DIY solutions to set up your boat.

The conversation drifted from which boat to which “power”.  I found dealing with the paddles for positioning, while also dealing with the rods, to be cumbersome and pretty inefficient to be honest.  Anthony had solutions for that as well.  “Over the years, we’ve dealt with a lot of those issues, some through our own innovation…things like bungees, milk crates, and pvc tubes can help provide some creature comforts to help with on the water organization.

With my current Old Town setup, I keep 6 to 10 rods rigged and ready, have tackle storage, the whole deal.  A while back, pedal drive kayaks really helped things jump forward for us bass guys by freeing up the hands and increasing our range.  Now with the addition of Minn Kota Autopilot, lightweight batteries, and electronics we’re pretty set up.”

“These days, when I’m out there, I’m focused completely on fishing, not navigation”, added Garcia.


Bass boat comforts all within reach

So I’m sure you’re wondering, and of course I had to ask, How Fast & How Long??  According to Anthony, his Old Town Auto Pilot 136, with a “tournament load” gets about 4 mph at full speed and could run that way for a couple of hours and he could paddle to boost that speed.  “I seldom just get in and go full speed ahead, but you can cover some water.  I reserve a lot of my juice for moving around throughout the day, in both moving between spots and positioning the boat for good presentations and fishing.  In my longest tournament day, I covered about 14 miles, between fishing and moving around the lake.”

14 miles kind of blew my mind; I’m not sure I cover that much water some days with electric and gas at my disposal.

The power to move comes from lithium, Anthony’s is spread around, with some thought put into it.  Diving into his setup, he explained, “I do a 100 Ah (Amp/hour) lithium dedicated to my trolling motor and that’s usually all I need, BUT, I run my transducers from a 54 Ah lithium that can be used for the Minn Kota if I deplete my main battery unexpectedly.  The graphs themselves are powered by a small 18 Ah that I can easily swap out.”

I can see where the lithium is the way to go for kayak bass fishing, in my earlier article, Flipping the Relion Lithium Battery Switch I dropped in a Relion RB100-HP.  This is the same rating as discussed by Anthony for powering his Minn Kota, and it weighed in at 27 pounds, so that’s a lot of power at minimal weight.

It was clear to me that after talking with Anthony, there are fishing kayaks and then there are FISHING kayaks.  Thinking about being able to cover MILES of backwater, some that’s inaccessible to my current aluminum boat and being able to do it standing up, with electronics at my disposal has my wheels turning for sure.

In closing, special thanks to Old Town Pro, Anthony Garcia for sharing some insight I should have sought a long time ago.  If you’re looking to dive a little deeper like me, the Old Town Website and their blog has some good stuff to check out.

Travel to El Salto to Dial in Your Crankbait Bite

By Pete Robbins - Half Past First Cast

We just returned from our annual May-June trip to Mexico’s Lake El Salto. I’ve only missed this tradition twice since 2013 – first in 2019 when I had a conflicting trip to Alaska, and second in 2020 when COVID hit. We made up for that latter missed opportunity that November by returning for two full weeks, but I hope to never miss the summertime bite again as long as I live.

That’s because it gives me the opportunity to do something I don’t get to do at home: Deep cranking. I’d guess that well over 90% of the tournaments on my home waters of the Potomac River are won in less than 6 feet of water, many of them in less than 4, and some in less than 1. By the time each new boat is a month old, I’ve banged up the bottom of my trolling motor and worn the paint off the outboard skeg. Shallow water is my comfort zone. That’s why it’s a treat to go and do something that’s out of my wheelhouse.

One of many crankbait bass from a recent trip!

We actually started going before there was a crankbait that went deep enough for some of the schools. For years, the Fat Free Shad was the gold standard down there – anything deeper and you had to use a jig or a Carolina Rig or a Texas Rig. Then came the 10XD and my mind was officially blown. You’ll need specialized gear to crank it comfortably all day (and bring some Advil), but it fires up fish like nothing else. It produced my El Salto PB in 2017, and I look forward to cranking it every year. Cranking hasn’t always been the dominant ticket for our summer trips, but it’s usually a big part of the show.

The great part of going for a week (go however long you can afford to be there, but more is always better), you can get a crash course in offshore cranking. How do different colors affect the bite? The fish usually want it super-fast, but sometimes slowing down is important, or they’ll eat it almost exclusively on the pause. There are times when the 6XD does the job as well as the 10XD, in the same areas, but there are times when one is clearly better than the other. There are times when a no-rattle bait works best, and times when a loud knocker is superior. By fishing shoulder-to-shoulder with another angler on one of the best fisheries on earth, you can figure all of that out much more quickly.

It's the same sort of education we’ve gotten at other times about the changing bite. One January the fish crushed a Chatterbait on the first day, but wouldn’t react similarly in those same areas on Day Two until we switched to a swim jig. On Day Three, we had to go even more subtle, with a plain ribbed swimbait like a Keitech or Rage Swimmer.

Hanna with an El Salto Special!

That’s the beauty of going to such a fertile fishery – you can work on whatever technique or techniques you desire, or just go on a “catching” trip.

I’ve been South of the Border to fish in October, November, January, February, May and June, and I can say that not all months are created equally for all techniques. For example, while we’ve had a great plopper bite on occasion in June, on this trip I caught the grand total of one topwater fish. December would be better for that. February, too. The high water months are my favorites for a swim jig and flipping heavy brush. In fact, if you live where there’s an “offseason” those are great months to fine-tune your game before local tournaments start.

If you’d like to book a trip, or inquire about the best time for a particular technique, email us. It’s fishing, so there are no guarantees, but we’ll steer you in the right direction -- as soon as our thumbs and wrists heal from all of that fast-paced cranking. We have some spots on our trip next June, but we’re happy to arrange your trip to bass fishing Disneyland at any time that suits your schedule and your preferences.

Sportsman's Warehouse Grand Opening: Wausau, WI

We had a chance to check out the all new Wausau, WI Sportsman's Warehouse, and all we can say is WOW. Over 65,000 square feet of all things outdoors! Located just blocks away from the Wisconsin River, and Bluegill Bay County Park, the fishing department was...well, stuffed to the gills.

Aisles and aisles of fishing tackle

Our very own, John Byrne, got the opportunity to catch up with Store Manager, John Shafer and talk about the area, as well as the store.  Check it out below:

Want the details on the store itself?  Get 'em right HERE  If you can't make it to Wausau, can bring it right to you!

Throwback Thursday - Before There was 360-Imaging

By Terry Battisti - Bass Fishing Archives

As with many of the articles we post here on the Bass Fishing Archives, here’s another example of something new that really isn’t new. Before there was 360-Imaging, there was, in 1976, 360-imaging. Believe it or not.

When side-scanning sonar was “reintroduced” around 2005 by Hummingbird, the angling community again was split down the middle. As with other technological advances, some anglers said it was too much and made the art of fishing too easy. The other half embraced the technology and ran with it. Then came Hummingbird’s 360-Imaging.  Now, as with any other gadget used in the industry, anglers far and wide realize the utility of side-scanning sonar but more so, they realize that these units aren’t going to make the task of catching fish any easier.

1976 Aquascan picture from article

So when did 360-imaging and side-scanning sonar really come out? Well, if you look back in history it was developed in the late 40s and early 50s and was used by the Department of Defense to detect ocean-borne mines. The first functioning side-scanning sonar was developed by a German scientist by the name of Dr. Julius Hagemann while working for the U.S. Navy Mine Defense Lab in Florida. His 1954 patent went unknown to the public until 1980 when the classified project was finally released.

The interesting thing about the above paragraph is in 1976 – four years prior to the release of the classified reports – Bill Stembridge (of Flip Tail Lure fame) and Dr. Roger Woodward, developed a unit called the Aquascan, which featured the ability to see under the water in a 360-degree pattern. What I find interesting with this is if the DoD’s use of side-scan was classified, Stembridge and Woodward must have come up with the thought of this technology on their own or, heaven forbid, someone in the DoD leaked the information to a couple of fishermen who then took the technology and developed it for use in fishing.

Reading through the article in the February 1976 issue of Bassmaster Magazine, I found some interesting details about the Aquascan and thought I’d share them with you.  “It can show bottom structure and fair-sized fish up to 300 feet away from the boat.”  “The Unit consists of three basic parts. The transducer sends out sonar signals and receives echoes. The computer interprets the echoes and transforms them into ‘pictures’ of the objects scanned. The cathode ray tube (CRT) displays the picture.” “On a 300-foot scan, the device covers 6-3/4 acres of water per scan.”

“Bill Stembridge admits that the Aquascan has its limitations. It will not tell you exactly where a fish is located. It will show the fish to be, for example, 40 feet away at a given direction from the boat. The angler does not know if the fish is at the surface 40 feet away or several feet below the surface and much closer to the boat.”

Actual reading from the Aquascan showing fish and various forms of structure

“Aquascan will show you a 12-inch bass at 300 feet if the fish is broadside to the scan. If it is facing head-on, a larger bass can be missed.”  Looking at the “images” – I hate to call them images because they aren’t true images but more like a circular line graphs – in this article, it’s safe to say it would take a lot of experience with the unit to make it of value in a bass boat. Not only that, the unit was quite large (larger than today’s side-scanning units) and difficult to place on the boats of the day.

The biggest drawback of the unit was the cost, though. At $1,000 (that’s equivalent to roughly $4,800 today) not many anglers could afford them.  Today, though, it seems anglers are willing to go the extra mile when it comes to outfitting their boats with high-end electronics.  Believe it or not, today’s incredible 360-Imaging by Humminbird as well as Sidescan, Downscan and forward-facing real-time imaging from all manufacturers are all byproducts of this early technology. The difference today being anglers are a lot more willing to spend more than $10k on electronics to aid in their pursuit of bass.

Anglers Channel Bass Wrap Up Show, Brought to you by Sportsman’s Warehouse, Now Streaming

The AnglersChannel Bass Wrap Up show brought to you by Sportsman's Warehouse, entering its 14th Season, is now available on the Outdoor Action TV streaming network.  After four years of being featured on the Discovery Network, fishing enthusiasts can tune into the last three seasons anywhere anytime.  The AnglersChannel Bass Wrap Up show is an informative recap of professional, amateur, and grassroots-level bass fishing tournaments across the country. Bringing tournament trails of all sizes to the spotlight, by capturing the anglers who fish and finish well in these events. The program also mixes in informative segments on new techniques, new products, and share useful information to help the weekend angler achieve their goals of learning about all things fishing.

Outdoor Action is a 24/7 streaming network that’s free to download on any connected device or to watch on a variety of channels.   You’ll find your favorite hunting, fishing, outdoor programming, and more. This platform was built for the avid outdoorsmen and women who crave adventures, stories, tournaments, tips, and tricks from the field and on the water!  Currently available via Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, iOS, and Android as well as, this is the go-to place for desired outdoor content, on-demand at no cost to the viewer.  You can also find Outdoor Action on the TCL Channel and Sports.TV streaming apps for 24×7 entertainment.

According to Danny Blandford, AC Director of Business Development, “We’re excited to join the Outdoor Action platform alongside so many popular outdoor television programs.  As the TV viewer gets more sophisticated we are making sure to stay in touch with them through these new ways to watch.  We look forward to showing our program to viewers who may not have seen us on the Discovery Network in years past.”

The 2023/24 season of the AnglersChannel Bass Wrap Up Show, Presented by Sportsman’s Warehouse, will kick off again this fall with highlights from the Bassmaster Classic, the Inaugural MinnKota/Humminbird Owners Tournament, as well regional events, fishing tips, and much more. If you want to catch the action as it unfolds this summer, visit, and be sure to follow along on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.

About multimedia platform combines the web, social media platforms, podcasts, on-site event coverage and The Anglers Channel Bass Wrap Up Show on Discovery to bring you the No. 1 resource in tournament bass fishing. Anglers Channel features the web’s most robust tournament database, used by thousands of anglers daily, including schedules, results and searchable details by body of water. Anglers Channel also delivers industry news as it happens, along with coverage of all tournament bass fishing, from BASS and Major League Fishing to the weekend warriors. Visit Anglers Channel via the web, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.


For more information contact Danny Blandford at [email protected]

Flipping the RELiON Lithium Battery switch – Part One: Shop Work

By: Danny Blandford

I’ve been in the bass tournament scene in one capacity or another for most of my adult life.  I’ve worked with major boat and motor manufacturers, boat dealers, and brands throughout most of my professional career.  With that said, at heart, I’m still just a weekend warrior who loves the competition that comes with bass fishing.  A Thursday nighter at home with our local river rats or something bigger, I do my best to show up and be in contention.  It doesn’t always work out, but that is the nature of the beast we call bass fishing.

I’ve been fortunate over the years to win some events and most of those winnings are redeployed on more bass fishing gear, boat accessories, and electronics.  I’m kind of a “bass geek” so I play to pay for the latest and greatest…partly out of curiosity, and partly to make sure I’ve got any edges that may be available.  In recent years I’ve added a Humminbird 360, a TH Marine Hydrowave, an electric shallow water anchor, an additional forward facing sonar setup, as well as a few USB ports to keep cameras and electronics charged for “work”.  What I hadn’t done yet was address the old heavy lead-acid batteries in the back of my aluminum boat.  For the last year I was feeling like I was underpowered AND overweight.  I knew I could make it all better by flipping the lithium battery switch, but I was suffering from analysis paralysis, unsure of some details and if I’d be happy with the investment.

Prior to making the switch I did my charger research by visiting our partners at Pro Charging Systems, where I learned WAY more than I expected.  Having been a boat guy for years, I have seen plenty of factory rigs leaving with Dual Pro chargers and thought I was very familiar with them.  As a matter of fact, I had been running a Dual Pro Sportsman Series Charger for over 10 years without so much of a hiccup.  What I learned was I had a great charger, but not the best charger for the new lithium batteries, so a swap was in order there too.

The Dual Pro Professional Series PS3 Auto was the perfect tool for the job.  15 amps for each of three banks, the intelligence to know what “kind” of battery it was charging, AND the ability to charge lead-acid, AGM, and lithium…even if I chose to have different types in the same system.  The Autoprofile system was sharper than me for sure.  I really like the idea that if I ever end up having to replace a battery while out on the road, I’m not limited on what I can use in a pinch.

Pairing the Relion Batteries with the Dual Pro Charger

In regards to the process in the shop, any reasonable DIYer would feel very comfortable with what was required.  A couple hours in the garage, a 13 millimeter socket, and a screwdriver was all it took to repower the Angler’s Channel River Rig.  Older deep cycle Group 27s were replaced with Group 31 Relion RB100s.  I also swapped a group 27 sized cranking battery, with a Relion RB100-HP.

In my case, I unhooked all my various leads from the old setup and kept them together and labeled.  Popping the latches on my TH Marine battery trays and getting the old batteries out was the most work, since they weighed in at 54 lbs each.  Prior to dropping in the Relion batteries, I ran them across the scales and the RB100s weighed in at 27 lbs each.  In total, I shaved off around 80 pounds from the transom area of the boat.  When you’re talking tin rigs built for shallow water access, that’s a BIG deal.

Mounting the charger was as simple as hanging a picture on the wall.  Since it was about 25% bigger than the Sportsman Series, I had to add a few new holes in the rigging plate where it was mounted, but otherwise, plug and play comes to mind.  It even included the stainless steel screws and hardware required to mount it.   I’ll be adding a Dual Pro Lithium Battery Gauge to the project next, and will follow up with more details on this addition soon.

Overall, my wiring setup was already good to go, it was just the juice that was lacking.  I do have to say I love the terminals on the Relions…I know that seems like a silly thing with such sophisticated power, but they’re simply better.  Instead of traditional posts, these come with studs/bolts that securely thread into the battery itself and they feature a plate to ensure solid connection, and have a lock washer to ensure they stay that way.

The RB100-HP has the added benefit of having three pairs of terminals, which I REALLY like.  In my case, Terminal Set 1 has the charger and the engine hooked up, Terminal Set 2 has all the standard 12v factory boat wiring for accessories, leaving me a third terminal to run my electronics feed exclusively with nothing else interfering.

Rigged and Ready

Overall, it was an easy switch and a pretty simple project.  I knocked it out quickly the night before heading out for a long tournament weekend.  I plugged everything in around 6 pm and all three batteries climbed from 50% to 100% by 10 pm and I was ready to roll.  I have some tidying up to do with some of my wires and cabling, but I plan to clean that up when I do the Gauge Project.

In the next installment, I’ll report on my first 24 hours on the water with this new set-up.  Spoiler Alert: I’m JUICED!

Throwback Thursday - Season at a Glance: 1970 Bass Master Trail - Part Two

By Terry Battisti - Bass Fishing Archives

Editor’s Note: This is part two of the 1970 Bass Master Trail. To read part one, click here.

In the first part of the 1970 Bass Master Trail we covered the first three events of the season and also talked a bit about the new rookie on the tour, Roland Martin. Bill Dance had been the tour’s reigning champion since the inception of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society with four Bass Master wins to his credit between 1968 and ’69.  It was obvious that Martin had placed a target on his head when he came to play in 1970.

The 1970 Bass Master Trail started at Toledo Bend in Texas where Martin quickly showed his dominance by placing second in his first-ever event. The second event saw the anglers move on to Lake Seminole in Georgia, where Martin would come away the winner. The third event at Ross Barnett would be a different story, though. Martin missed the event, which gave Dance some breathing room. Dance ended up the victor of the tournament.  By the end of three tournaments, Dance was in the lead for the new Bass Master Angler of the Year award by 7500 points.

That’s where things really started to get interesting.


Bill Adair strains over his stringer of bass that helped him win the Henshall Memorial. Photo Fall 1970 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

The fourth event of the 1970 Bass Master Trail was the Henshall Memorial tournament held on Walter F. George Lake (GA) or, Lake Eufaula. It was the fourth event held on the lake and since the past year, when Blake Honeycutt won with 138-06, anglers were chomping at the bit to fish.

Unfortunately, heavy rains and high water prior to the tournament scattered the fish. The 108 anglers who entered would have their work cut out for them.

Bill Adair found the fish in practice that would lead him to victory. But things didn’t start out as he would have liked. Adair’s spot was located by a stump and he placed a marker on the spot for reference. Unfortunately, when he came back on the first day of the tournament, he didn’t realize that his marker had floated about 100 yards off the spot. It took him two hours before he realized the mishap and when he did, he moved to the right spot and proceeded to boat 14 fish that weighed 22-12.  That was good enough for the 6th spot going into day two. Billy Lewis of Alabama was in the first position with 39-09.

Roland Martin was still giving Bill Dance a run and placed second with 94-07, while Bass Master veteran John Powell placed third with 93-06. Rounding out the top 5 were Kentucky angler Ralph Polly with 85-04 and Texas football player Harold Hays with 80-11. With his spot confirmed, Adair set out on day two to redeem himself. By the end of the day, he’d boated 13 fish that pushed the scales down to 64-14, topped by an 8-01 largemouth.  That gave him the lead with 87-10. The next day Adair added another 28-12 to win the event with 116-06.

Adair’s fish all came on plastic worms and cemented the soft bait as the number-one lure in Bass Master competition. Bass Master magazine stated that, “In 18 tournaments some 47,000 pounds of bass have been weighed-in with over 41,000 falling victim to plastic worm fishermen.”

In the non-pro division, J. S. (Shy) Powell of Georgia took top honors with 104-06. Had he fished the pro division he’d have placed second. Second place in the non-pro division was Larry Blakey (GA) with 61-04 and third place went to Wyndell Black (GA) with 56-08. The fourth spot went to H. W. Settles (GA) with 47-06 and Jim Hefner (KY) rounded out the top 5 with 37-05.

In all, 1,208 bass were weighed in for 2,940-02. Although this was one of the best “big fish action contests” to date, there were only five full limits weighed in. Clark Gable caught the big bass of the event, a 9-07 largemouth, and received $10 per pound plus a Motor Guide trolling motor.

For the top 20 see the table below.

Clark Gable with his big fish from the Henshall Memorial. Photo Fall 1970 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.


John Hadad III received his 1st-place trophy from Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor George Nigh. Photo Fall 1970 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

The fifth event of the 1970 Bass Master Trail was held for the first time at Oklahoma’s Lake Eufaula. Temperatures pushed well past the 100-degree mark at the event and nearly all of the 110 contestants swore the winning fish would be caught in deep water. John Hadad III’s opinion would differ, though.

Hadad won the event by nearly 13 pounds (29 fish for 82-15) fishing a plastic worm in 5 to 7 feet of water. He concentrated on stick-ups and brush he’d located on a ridge along the North Canadian River channel. His technique was to make fast casts to the stick-ups, peel line off his reel so the bait would sink vertically, and then wait for the line to move or jump. It was reported he made 3 to 5 casts a minute.

“I’d just let the bass chew on the worm, jerk it away, and mark the spot to come back when the tournament gun fired.”Another interesting thing about Hadad’s victory was his practice technique. He reportedly practiced for five days and during that time used a plastic worm without a hook.

That was pretty advanced thinking for back then and that technique is widely used in today’s competitive fishing.

The 2nd-place angler was Oklahoma resident Don Siebert with 20 bass that weighed 68-00. He also caught his fish on plastic worms. Third-place went to another Oklahoman, Ron Hagler with 67-04 and the fourth spot went to John Dixon (OK) with 62.-01. Al St. Romain (LA) filled out the top 5 with 51-09.

The heat really made the conditions difficult and the total tally proved that. Overall, the 110 pro and non-pro anglers weighed in 834 bass for 1,788-07. Big fish of the event went to Tommy Payne and Wes Woosley who both weighed in a 5-15 largemouth.

In the non-pro division, Butch Stevenson (OK) took top honors with 20 bass that weighed 43-01. Gerald Maxwell (OK) weighed in 30-06, good enough for 2nd place. Fourteen-year-old Chip Morris (GA) took 3rd place with 23-07. In the fourth spot was possibly the youngest angler to ever compete in a Bass Master event, 13-year-old Greg Dorris (OK), who weighed in 22-15. David Lockhart (AL) rounded out the top 5 with 21-06.

The top 20 of the pro division are shown in the table below.

Sports Afield editor Homer Circle takes a picture of Tommy Payne’s big fish from the Oklahoma National. Photo Fall issue of Bassmaster Magazine.


Bill Dance poses with his 1st-place trophy and fish from the Sam Rayburn event. Photo January/February issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Prior to the 1970 Bass Master Trail, there was only one angler in the history of B.A.S.S. that had won more than one tournament in a season. That angler was Bill Dance. In 1968 Dance won three events – Ross Barnett, Sam Rayburn and Smith Lake (AL). In 1970 Dance had already won the Ross Barnett tournament, would he be able to win again on old Sam Rayburn?

As had happened throughout the 1970 season, bad weather hurt Sam Rayburn’s famed fishing. Wind and rain kept the fish count down to 1,379 bass and only five limits were weighed for the entire event.

Veteran B.A.S.S. angler Blake Honeycutt (NC) weighed in 38 fish for 57-02 and 2nd place, while Jimmy Harris (MS) took 3rd-place honors with 55-01. Charles LeFevor (TN) weighed in 54-02 for 4th-place and Roland Martin (SC) rounded out the top 5 with 52-12. Honeycutt reported that he caught his fish on drop offs by vertically jigging Hopkins spoons. Still, over the course of three days, Dance was able to haul in 22 fish that tipped the scales 62-06, giving him his 6th career win with B.A.S.S. It also gave him two wins on Rayburn out of three contests. Dance caught over half of his fish (12) and nearly half of his weight (30-06) on the last day of the event and jumped from 5th place to the winner’s circle. He reported catching his fish on purple plastic worms fished along a drop located on the Angelina River channel. His fish came from 27 to 45 feet of water.

Elroy Krueger (TX) weighed in the big bass of the event, a 7-05 largemouth, which netted him $80 and a new Motor Guide trolling motor. There was no report on the non-pro division so I am not sure if it was dropped after the Oklahoma National.

The top 20 are presented below.

Blake Honeycutt finished in 2nd place by jigging Hopkins spoons over deep water. Photo January/February issue of Bassmaster Magazine.


Anglers try to retrieve a sunken bass boat at the 1970 All-American event held on Table Rock Reservoir. Photo January/February issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

For the final event of the year, B.A.S.S. ventured to a lake never before fished on the Bass Master Trail – Table Rock Reservoir. The last event on the 1970 Bass Master Trail would greet anglers with more than adverse weather. High winds swamped at least one boat and the cold November weather was less than ideal.

In the end, it was a two-horse race between Roland Martin and Bill Dance – not just for the tournament win but for the first Angler of the Year award. It came down to the last day.

Going into the final round, Martin had a 6-06 advantage over Dance. It looked like Martin would become only the second angler in B.A.S.S. history to win more than one event in a season. Martin was first to weigh in with six fish that topped the scales at 11-05, giving him 51-15 total. Then Dance came to the scales with nine fish that weighed 18-02 totaling 52-06. Dance won by a mere 7 ounces.

For those of you who actually check my math, you might have noticed that over the course of seven events, Martin had more weight (points) than Dance. Still Dance was crowned the first Angler of the Year. It’s a bit confusing from reading the 1970 and ‘71 Bass Master Magazines. In the Jan/Feb issue the author (assumed to be Bob Cobb) specifically states, “A victory would give either the point championship.” It’s obvious from the math that Martin should have been the AOY but in another part of the article it states Dance won based on money earned ($6,635 to Martin’s $5,689) that year. In any event, we have Harold Sharp working on this to straighten it up.

The 3rd-place angler was local Jimmy Winchester (AR) who weighed in 39-06. Another local, Dave Livingston (MO) captured the 4th spot with 36-13. Veteran angler Tom Mann of Alabama rounded out the top 5 with 36-03.

Alabama angler Dennis Townsend weighed in big fish for the event, a 7-13 largemouth. In all, 97 anglers caught 661 bass – a testament to how tough the event was.

A fact about this tournament was Dance and Martin practiced together. Each also reported that they caught their fish on yellow singlespins – a lure that Martin had shown Dance in practice – around brush in 2 to 5 feet of water. Dance said that everyone expected the fish to be deeper but the cloudy conditions kept the fish shallow in the flooded brush.

The top 20 for the tournament are listed in the table below.


Travel Tuesday - Is It Safe to Take a Fishing Trip to Panama?

By Hanna Robbins - Half Past First Cast

You’re considering a trip to Panama. Before putting down your deposit, you probably want to know “Is it safe?”  That’s almost always the first question I get when I speak to people about traveling to Panama to fish at one of our most favorite resorts, Sport Fish Panama Island Lodge.

Look it up on any travel site and you’ll see that Panama City is considered one of the safest countries in the region. In fact, the UK’s travel advice page states that most visits to Panama are “trouble-free.”

The country has a low crime rate and strong economy, but you still need to be careful to avoid trouble. Make sure that you always have ID, as it is legally required and when paying with US currency in denominations larger than $20 you may be asked to show it and sign a register. Some places won’t even take anything over a twenty, so bring a credit card, one that doesn’t charge foreign fees. Counterfeit money is an issue in this country. Wear a money belt to avoid the infrequent pickpockets.

Safe and beautiful lodging awaits.

Now for the good news: Unlike some other countries in Central America it is safe to drink the tap water. SFPIL has nearly unlimited bottled water, but we brush our teeth from the sink. Same with the Hilton in Panama City, where we overnight on the way to the lodge.

Ladies may have particular concerns. We’re just as strong as the men, but we may be targeted. I would have no problem walking in Panama City, and certainly no issues at the lodge, but if you have concerns take measures to avoid bringing attention to yourself. Don’t wear expensive jewelry, clothing or anything that would make you stand out. No matter what, stay alert of your surroundings and stay exclusively in populated areas of town.

Panama City reminds me of a little Miami, Florida (yet, probably safer) – big buildings, cosmopolitan people, an overall happy vibe.

Now that I have taken the first steps to put your mind at ease, let’s talk about what makes the Half Past First Cast trip to Panama especially safe and simple.

Go For the All-Inclusive Panama Fishing Package

The lodge’s “Premium Package” includes pick up and drop off at the David Airport – basically you are on your own from YOUR HOME to the DAVID AIRPORT. That means you have to:

  • Get through the large airport
  • Transit customs and immigration
  • Work out in-city transportation
  • Book an overnight stay
  • Purchase domestic airline tickets from Panama City to David
  • If anything goes wrong, you need to solve it on your own.

By contrast, for a relatively small amount extra, the “VIP Package” covers everything once you land at the Panama City, Panama Airport.

  • Diplomat service at Tocumen International Airport by English speaking agents. They meet you at the gate, take you through immigration and customs and help with your baggage
  • If you arrive shortly before some of your group, they’ll plant you in a private lounge with a drink and take care of the details for you
  • Transfers from the Tocumen International Airport, by English speaking drivers, to the 4-star Hilton Panama for your overnight stay
  • There is an “on-call” personal travel agent to assist you if you have any issues our want assistance with dinner reservations or any other tours
  • Transfers back to the airport for the domestic flight to/from David Airport and the drivers make sure everything is on time and you get to your flight before leaving the airport
  • Upon arrival at the David Airport -- A SFPIL representative meets you right outside the airport door and takes you to the marina to get aboard the boats that take you to your final destination, the lodge on Isla Paridas.

Several Tripadvisor write ups stated that the Panama City, Panama (PTY) airport is huge and you could walk forever to find immigration, customs and baggage claim. You might as well pay a little more and play it safe and treat yourself.

A VIP experience awaits!

Public transportation, including Uber, is reasonably cheap but since you are in a foreign country it may be worth a little more to take the known route and car service that can be arranged by the SFPIL advisor.

Forget something? There is a pharmacy walking distance (5 min) from the Hilton hotel and it’s “very very safe” – per Tripadvisor testimonials.

On our first trip, Pete and I had an afternoon in a new city and weren’t going to sit in the hotel room so we decided to walk, explore and observe. We found a little league baseball game going on in the center of town, people were friendly when passing by and there was even a dog park with agility equipment and the convenience stores were equivalent to the 7-Elevens we have on every corner in the US. Panama City feels like home.

No country, city, or state is completely protected from crime and each and every one of us should take precautions wherever we travel, including to the grocery store.

Pete isn’t going to take me to unsafe places. If something happened who would take care of Rooster? Take that as our endorsement of Panama as a primary place for even skittish travelers.

If you’d like to join us on our next hosted trip to Sport Fish Panama Island Lodge in May of 2024, please email me as soon as possible. I can also get you set up with a trip at any other time there is availability.

Throwback Thursday - Season at a Glance: 1970 Bass Master Trail - Part 1

By Terry Battisti - Bass Fishing Archives

Editor’s note: This is part one of a two-part series on the 1970 Bass Master Trail. Part one will cover the first three events of the season while part two will cover the last four events.

The 1970 Bass Master Trail was the third full year of Bass Master tournament competition and would be the year of a number of firsts. To start off it was the year when the Bass Master Angler of the Year would begin. Although this award didn’t offer much more than bragging rights and a nice piece of hardware, it’s become arguably the most-cherished award on any tour.

Second, it would be the first year where a single angler would win three events in the season. For those of you that know your history, I’m sure you can figure that one out pretty easily. But for those of you who either don’t remember or just don’t know, I’ll save it for later.

Third, and this would become pretty significant, was that Roland Martin would make his Bass Master tournament debut. Martin’s debut almost didn’t happen after he saw the weights posted at the Eufaula National in 1969. It took some cajoling from Ray Scott to get Martin to test the waters that year – Martin never looked back.

The 1970 Bass Master Trail would feature seven events starting in the state of Texas and finishing in Missouri. To date, it was the most tournaments held by the fledgling Bass Anglers Sportsman Society in one year. 1969 had six events and 1968 featured only four. Here’s a chronological list of the tournaments:

  • January 29-31, 1970 – Toledo Bend Invitational, Many, LA
  • March 19-21, 1970 – Seminole Lunker Hunt, Bainbridge, GA
  • April 30 – May 2, 1970 – Rebel Invitational Ross Barnett, Jackson, MS
  • June 11-13, 1970 – Lake Eufaula Henshall Memorial, Florence Landing, GA
  • August 5-7, 1970 – Oklahoma National Lake Eufaula, Eufaula, OK
  • September 24-26, 1970 – Texas National Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Jasper, TX
  • November 12-14, 1970 – All-American Table Rock Lake, Kimberling, MO

Back in the 1970 time frame, Bassmaster Magazine was a quarterly publication.  It focused on teaching anglers to be better bass fishermen. Unfortunately, its tournament coverage doesn’t provide much knowledge of the anglers other than the winners. Still, we’ll give you what we know of the events from reading the reports.


Toledo Bend Reservoir, dubbed as the “hottest bass lake in the country,” would kick off the 1970 Bass Master Trail season with 79 contestants. It’s reported that the weather had been cold but turned for the better with three “June in January days.” This played a significant role in the outcome of the event.

Local angler Mike Bono would catch his limit all three days of the tournament (45 fish total) and take the top honors with 94-04. Bono, not only knew the fish at Toledo Bend, he also knew the lake probably better than anyone in the derby, having walked the lake countless times prior to its being filled. He won the event fishing in 55 feet of water using silver jigging spoons and Fliptail worms.

For his efforts, Bono won $2000 worth of cash and prizes, which included a new Skeeter Hawk boat powered by an 85-hp Chrysler motor and a V.E.T. trailer.

In the second spot was rookie angler Roland Martin of Cross, SC with a total of 77-06. There are two things that stick out in that sentence. One, the word rookie and two, he hailed from South Carolina. Martin would show bass anglers that year he was far from a rookie and the next year he would move from South Carolina to Montgomery, AL. Martin would become somewhat of a nomad, living all over the United States in order to learn as much as he could about bass and their habits.

Third place went to B.A.S.S. veteran Gerald Blanchard (TN) with 72-10, Carlos Mayo (AR) took 4th-place honors with 70-15. Rounding out the top 5 was Elroy Krueger (TX) with 69-00.

Unfortunately, Bass Master Magazine didn’t post the results below 20th place. At this time B.A.S.S. was giving 10 points per ounce and live fish were not worth any extra points.

Tournament totals for the Toledo Bend event were 1791 bass that weighed 2715-08. Gerald Blanchard took big fish with a 7-15 largemouth.

The top 20 for the Toledo Bend Invitational are shown in the table below.

Bass Master Toledo Bend Invitational Tournament Scoreboard - Jan 29-31, 1970


The title of the Spring issue of Bass Master Magazine’s Tournament Trail report says it all. “Roland Martin Bright New Star On BASS Horizon.” In his second event, Roland Martin would become B.A.S.S.’s new star. He followed up his second-place finish at Toledo Bend with a win at Seminole against 115 other pros from 19 states.

Roland Martin didn’t do it wire-to-wire by no means, though. He wasn’t even in the top 20 on the first day of the event. But on the second day, he caught the tournament’s only 15-fish limit and propelled himself into the number-1 spot. On the last day, he brought 13 bass to the scales and took top honors by over 3-1/2 pounds.

After the dust had settled, Martin weighed 32 fish for 53-14. He reported catching spawning fish in water 18 inches or less on black Mann’s Jelly worms and a local topwater bait known as a Diamond Eye Rattler made by Capt. Jim Strader. He won $2000 in cash along with Motor Guide foot-controlled trolling motor.

Mac B Greer weighing one of his three big fish for the event. Photo: Spring 1970 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Second place went to R. C. Billingsley (AR) with 50-03 and third place went Howard Holmes (MO) with 48-10. In the fourth spot was veteran Bill Dance with 47-14 and the fifth spot was taken by Mac B. Greer (AL). Greer also caught big fish each day of the event, a first at the time and may still be. His big fish were 6-13, 8-05 and 8-05.

Overall, there were 1109 fish weighed for a total of 1956-02. The top 20 anglers from the Seminole Lunker Hunt are presented below.

Bass Master Seminole Lunker Hunt Scoreboard - March 19-21, 1970


In 1970, AOY standings were not even a consideration. But this would change at the end of the year with what has become a bit of a controversy. If one were tracking AOY at this time, by the start of the third tournament, rookie Roland Martin leading by nearly 5000 points over 2nd-place angler Bill Dance. But Dance wouldn’t be a pushover this year. He would make Martin work for his acclaim on the trail.

Charles Redding (L) and Joe Kennedy (R) bring their fish to the scales with the aid of a boat paddle. Photo: Summer 1970 issue of Bassmaster Magazine

The Ross Barnett tournament featured a new twist to bass tournaments with a non-professional division. From the “letters to the editor” in the 1969 and ’70 Bass Master Magazines, anglers had been complaining that the pro entry fees were too high for the weekend angler and B.A.S.S. complied by making another division. There is no mention of what the cost was for the non-pro entry or whether or not the non-pros fished with pros. Maybe someone out there knows and can clear that up for us.

The tournament report about the first two days of the event provided little information other than Bill Dance was in a “disappointing 11th place” at the start of day 3. It also mentions he had weighed “almost limits” (15 fish) the two prior days.

The last day featured nasty weather, which kept many of the anglers off the areas they’d fished the prior two days. But Dance had an ace up his sleeve. He’d located fish on both ends of the lake and on the last day caught his limit within sight of the tournament launch. His 15-fish limit that day went 33-12 and gave him a 2-03 lead over the second-place angler, New Orleans Saints Football player, Harold Hays (TX).

In all, Dance weighed 43 fish for a total of 75-12. He caught his fish on a blue plastic worm fished with the “weedless slip-sinker rig in a ditch located with his depthfinder.” It was his 5th Bass Master win at the time.

Professional football player Harold Hays brings his fish to the scales. Photo: Summer 1970 issue Bassmaster Magazine

As stated previously, Harold Hays took the 2nd-place honors with 73-09 and local favorite Bob Ponds, Pete Ponds’ father) took third with 72-09. Fourth place went to Ralph Polly with 65-00 and Emmett Chiles rounded out the top 5 for the pros with 63-14.

Pete Henson (GA) won big bass with a 7-09 largemouth. He won $75 and a “Herschede Clock Company (Motor Guide) foot-controlled electric trolling motor.”

In the non-professional category, Jess Farmer (IL) took top honors with 26-15. He beat out Ron Johnson who weighed 23-03 for second. Third place went to John Stacey (OH) with 22-00 and Earl Williamson (OH) took 4th place with 21-13. The fifth spot was taken by Fred Looper (TN) 19-15. For his win, Farmer earned a 4-day trip to Dick Malloy’s Club de Pasca Novillo in Mexico along with a Lowrance Fish Lo-K-Tor, Fishthometer, a lifetime membership to B.A.S.S. and the $125 entry into the next professional tournament.

By the end of the Ross Barnett event, Dance had racked up $16,025 in B.A.S.S. winnings. The highest winnings of anyone on the Trail. He was also the first repeat champion on the same lake – he’d also won the 1968 tournament on Ross Barnett.

After the event, Dance announced that he’d be leaving the Creme Worm Company. He moved on with Charles Spence as a partner with the Strike King Lure Company.

Overall results for the event showed 129 anglers (pros and non-pros) from 18 states weighed 1617 bass for 2787-14. There were only 18 limits weighed throughout the event.

It was also stated in the tournament report that by now the public had started complaining that professional tournaments were hurting the fish populations at lakes. B.A.S.S. stated that “To further protect against the loss of young fish, the BASS tournament rules have been strengthened to ‘issue penalty points’ for any undersized fish checked in. The Society imposes a special 12-inch minimum limit on all tournament bass.”

The top 20 for the Ross Barnett event are shown in the table below. Also shown are the AOY standings through the third event of the season as far as we could figure out.


Bass Master Ross Barnett Rebel Invitational Scoreboard. April 30 - May 2, 1970
Bass Master Angler of the Year, after three events. 19

In Part Two of the Season at a Glance: 1970 Bass Master Trail we’ll talk about the second half of the season, which included the events held at Eufaula, GA, Lake Eufaula, OK, Sam Rayburn, TX and Table Rock, AR.



Bass Fishing Archives, Half Past First Cast Newest Angler’s Channel Contributors

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The two leading websites for fishing travel and bass fishing history — Half Past First Cast and the Bass Fishing Archives — have joined Anglers Channel to provide more content opportunities for the top tournament site in the country.

“We’re excited to add Terry, Pete and Hanna to our growing AC Insider content offerings,” said Danny Blandford, Director of Business Development for Anglers Channel. “They have strong, deep backgrounds in the bass fishing world, along with cool experiences fishing for other species, and I know will provide more benefit to our site’s visitors. We’re always looking for ways to add more to Anglers Channel.”

Terry Battisti and the team at Bass Fishing Archives chronicle the history of bass fishing. It is the only site dedicated to the history of the sport. It has scads of old advertisements, catalogs, and stories from some of the biggest names with a great depth of institutional knowledge. From the big bass wars and new techniques of the West Coast to the origins of lures from small companies that grew into behemoths, Bass Fishing Archives has the details.

"When Danny approached me about a collaboration between our sites, I thought it would be a great opportunity for both the Bass Fishing Archives and the Anglers Channel," Battisti said. "It gives the Bass Fishing Archives a chance to reach a wider audience who may not know about us and gives the Anglers Channel some historical content, too.

"Our sport has a lineage that dates back to the late 1800s.  Most anglers today can't even name the stars of the ‘70s and ‘80s, much less the giants from the turn of the 19th century through the 1950s.  Having a platform like Anglers Channel hopefully will show the younger anglers how important the history of their sport is."

Pete and Hanna Robbins have taken Half Past First Cast to new heights with tried-and-true information about fishing-related travel including tackle, lures, apparel and more. They visit El Salto in Mexico a couple of times a year, along with other trips for saltwater species including sailfish and deepwater fish. They’ve tangled with everything from thumb-rasping smallmouth on the Niagara River and Lake Erie to muskies in the Midwest, bass across the border and more.

Their Half Past First Cast motto is, "Providing you with the tools and information to keep fishing fun and make the most of your remaining casts, through travel hacks, equipment advice, trip reports and unfiltered opinions." They seek the best operators on the best fisheries at the best times, and are keen on enjoying life experiences while also sharing them with others.

“Through my connections in the world of bass fishing, I'd seen the power of AnglersChannel and we are eager to spread our word through similar-minded outlets,” Pete said. “After nearly 20 fishing trips to Mexico, I realized no one had written extensively about how to make the most of that experience, so we set out to do that with Half Past First Cast. Also, I became a much better and much more satisfied bass angler when I started chasing other species. It made me appreciate all the things that are great about bass fishing through a decent lens.”

A trip to Panama for big tuna on giant topwater poppers almost made Robbins lose his bass-fishing soul. But it was more of an awakening than anything.

“When we came back from popping for tuna in Panama, I told Hanna that I'd sell my bass boat if I could do that 30 days a year,” he said, laughing. “Fortunately, it didn't come to that. But it made me realize that there are lots of fishing experiences I've yet to try that are on my ever-growing bucket list.

Talk about a topwater bite!

Hanna agrees, and says their goal is to help others on Anglers Channel with new information, destinations and booking the trip to get there for a successful, fun adventure.

“I love seeing some of the places we go through newcomers' eyes — introducing them not just to the fishing, but also to the culture, the food and everything we've grown to love about places like Mexico, Panama, Guatemala and Alaska,” she said. “My goal is to make your travel as easy as possible. We have trips for a variety of budgets and physical abilities, and we only work with the best of the best. I am particularly interested in getting women involved in the sport. As someone who came to fishing relatively late in life, I know that you need a mentor or two and a helping hand to get started.”

Hanna with a Mexican Special!

Throwback Thursday - The Advent of the Football Head

By Terry Battisti - Bass Fishing Archives

Along around the 2000 timeframe, I was reading an article in In-Fisherman regarding a “new style” leadhead called the Rocker Head. As I read about how this jig would rock-and-roll over rocky structures and fall straight to the bottom quickly, I thought of a jig that I’d grown up fishing and had all these same attributes.  A few paragraphs into the article, I came to realize that the jig they were describing was indeed the jig that had been invented in the mid-60s in southern California – the football head.

I’d always assumed that the football head was invented by a close friend of mine, Rip Nunnery, who owned Bandit Bass Tackle. It wasn’t until I started this website and began talking to the old timers of southern California fishing lore that I found out who actually came up with the head.  Recently I was talking with one of southern California’s early bass heroes, Pete Gardner, and we got on the subject of early jig fishing. Talk eventually led to the football head and that’s when he told me of Larry McCain – the person who developed the football head.

Pete gave me Larry’s contact information and I quickly called to talk with him. What transpired out of our conversation was a definite learning experience for me and I hope you enjoy reading this bit of bass fishing history.

McCain’s History

Some of Larry's head designs from the late 60s and early 70s. Note the
football head on the bottom left and the barrel head in the upper right. Photo Winter issue
of Western Bass Magazine.

McCain started bass fishing while in junior high school in the early 50s with close friend Don Siefert. By the time the two were in their early 20s, they’d gone from fishing Reseda Park to Lake Sherwood, another close by lake in the Valley.

By the early 60s they began meeting other bass anglers, two of which would become instrumental in their bass fishing, Norm Dye (operator at Lake Sherwood) and Bud
Walsh, the local bass expert. “Bud was the most advanced angler of all of us at the time,” McCain said. “He’d fish the lake for a month at a time and he learned so much about the structure of the lake. This was before the time of depth finders and he wouldn’t tell us anything unless we figured it out on our own first. When we got our first depthfinders, the Lowrance Green Box, it opened up everything that was going on under water. I got my first one when I was 30 years old around 1967.

“We fished a lot of jigs back in those days and Bud made a twin spin called the Jungle Bum that was a little heavier than the Shannon. He made his own molds out of potatoes.  “We primarily fished pork on the jigs back then,” he said. “We used Pedigo and the only place we could get it was at Lake Isabella (about 250 miles from his home). We’d but 25 or 30 cases at a time all in black and purple.

“Around the mid-60s, Siefert and Dye began asking the local anglers if they’d be interested in starting a bass club. They got enough interest and we formed the Southern California Bass Club – or SoCal Bass. Before this time, the anglers wouldn’t talk to each other or share any of their knowledge. After forming the club, anglers began teaching each other within the club what they’d learned over the years.”

Larry not only developed the football head but also the Matty, a tailspin jig
designed on a unique head and named after his daughter, Madeline or Matty. Photo Terry

Development of the Football Head
Other than teaching each other bass tactics, they’d also get together and make lures.  “I was the only machinist in the group and because of that I’d make molds for pouring leadheads,” McCain said. “We’d get a bunch of guys to come over to my garage at night and we’d set up an assembly line for pouring. One guy would load the molds with wire weedguards and hooks, another would pour and another would pull the heads and trim them.

More Larry McCain head designs. Photo Terry Battisti.

“One of the early molds I made was a barrel head. That mold didn’t last too long, though, because it was difficult to pull the head from the mold. That’s when I decided to taper the barrel head, in order to allow it to release from the mold easier.  “I got the mold done and had the guys over for a pouring session. When the first few heads came out of the mold, one of the guys said, ‘That looks like a football.’” The name stuck. This was around 1965.

“We started fishing the head and noticed that it wobbled when it fell and when it came across the bottom. Those first heads were around 5/8 ounce, which was the most popular head size during those days.

“By the late 60s and early 70s I was making molds for Rip (Nunnery) and the Miller brothers (Mike and Dick) for their tackle companies. The Millers made a single-spin jig called The Boober and Rip had me make him a mold for his twin spin called the Double Bass Boober.  Each guy wanted something slightly different in their heads and I’d make them the way they wanted. For example, some guys wanted the eye of the hook more forward in the head and others wanted eyeballs. Each configuration, especially the hook eye placement, made the jig fish differently."

McCain is now 76 years old and lives in Florida. Not only is he credited with the development of the football head, he and partner Jack Loyd were the winners of the first Western Bass Fishing Association TriState team championship in 1976.  “I live in Florida now and fish whenever I can,” he said. “I just grab some worms, put them in my bag, get on my bicycle and fish pond to pond. I went out the other day and my first couple of fish were 2-pounders and then I caught a 4-1/2 and then followed that with three more 4-pounders.”  Asked how he feels about his head, he said; “All these years later the football head has become a big deal. To us, it was just a jig head. It caught fish and that’s all we cared about.”

Want more history of how we got to here??  Check out Bass Fishing Archives

Travel Tuesday - Why Should a Bass Angler Go Popping for Tuna?

By Pete Robbins - Half Past First Cast

I get it, you’re a hard-core basser. You drink Bait Fuel and breathe metalflake.

I was once in your shoes. I couldn’t think about, or even consider another species. I lived from derby to derby. All of my friends were bass anglers. It was my identity.

I was happy – but eventually, you get to a point where you’ve seen a lot and done a lot. I was never going to be Kevin VanDam, Brandon Palaniuk or even a lower-level tour pro. I was ok with that, but I needed something to fire me up about fishing again, and I found it in topwater tuna fishing.

Imagine the biggest strike you’ve ever seen on a Whopper Plopper or a Spook or a buzzbait and multiply it by a hundred. Make the fish 20 or 30 times bigger, too. And imagine acres of them blowing up everywhere. That’s my drug. I didn’t know it until I was 51 years old and had spent a lifetime chasing bass, but only after experiencing it multiple times did I realize how much it helped rekindle my love of bass fishing.

Remember the first time you found the winning tournament fish in practice? And then you drew out boat number one? Racing down the lake at 70 miles per hour, you knew you were going to have them all to yourself and it was going to be amazing. That’s the feeling I get when the captain in Panama sees birds diving on bait three miles away, yells “Hold on!” and guns the outboards to get there – heart pumping through my chest, can barely breathe, sweat behind my knees. Then you get there, and maybe you hook up on the first pop, or maybe the fish go down and you have to chase them another three or four miles, and then do it again.

All in a days work!

After the first trip, I told my wife Hanna that I’d sell my bass boat if I could do the tuna deal 30 days out of the year. Fortunately, it didn’t come to that, but it takes a special experience to even get me to say that. Even if you’re a hard core bass-head, I guarantee this trip will reinvigorate you and help you be a better tournament angler. Here are some of the lessons that got drilled into me:

  •  The critical importance of making the first cast count. Even when fish seem to be feeding indiscriminately, a simple change of mood can end the frenzy. Don’t push the panic button;
  • The value of matching the hatch. For the same reasons, sometimes it may look like the fish willveat anything that moves, but you’ll be surprised at how often they won’t;
  • The need to master spinning gear. I know you’re a Bubbafied power angler with a trained thumb. You may not even own any spinning rods. Now that I’ve conquered big tuna, sailfish and other far more powerful species with the old eggbeater, I know what they can do. I never would have caught my PB 6.40 pound smallmouth in October of 2021 if I hadn’t gone tuna fishing first; and finally
  • The need to keep fishing fresh and new. Seeing the sport through new eyes, in new places, where you may not have any expertise at all, makes it fun and keeps you mentally and physically ready. Besides, if you don’t like topwater fishing I don’t want to be your friend. I’ve caught big peacock bass in the Amazon on them, but they don’t hold a candle to a hard-charging 80 pound yellowfin.

I hope that my excitement is infectious. I’ve taken three groups of bass anglers to Panama and most have committed to go back, or are trying to figure out how to get there. If you’d like more information or want to join us in May of 2024 (PRIME POPPING SEASON) email me at [email protected] and let’s talk tuna.

Throwback Thursday - Flippin’: A Concept Not Just A Technique – Part 3

By Terry Battisti - Bass Fishing Archives

This is part three of a three-part series on the concept of flipping and the effect it had on the sport. In this final installment, we talked with Hank Parker and Denny Brauer about how the technique changed their careers. To read Part One click here and to read Part Two click here.

Hank Parker flipping his way to a 1979 Classic Victory. Photo BassMaster Magazine February 1980.

Hank Parker
Although Hank Parker may not have designed a lure or piece of equipment having to do with flipping, he is arguably the angler who put the technique on the map for good.

Up until the ’79 Classic on Lake Texoma, flipping wasn’t much more than something serious anglers kept to themselves. Yes, it had been the determining technique to win national events and had been written about in Bass Master Magazine – a six-part series in 1976 –still few anglers had adopted the long rod into their repertoire.

That all changed when Parker won the ’79 Classic – flipping had finally come of age.  Parker’s introduction to flipping came early. He was first introduced to it in 1976 when, as he says, “Klein was still in diapers.”

“I saw Dave Gliebe catch 95-15 on Lake Okeechobee in an American Bass event in 1976,” he said. “The conditions for that tournament were horrible and it blew my mind that he could catch that much weight.

“Then six weeks later he won another event on Kentucky Lake under perfect conditions and that really made me think twice about the technique. It was something that worked in all conditions.  “After those two events, I started doing a lot of research on the technique and found out that it was invented by Dee Thomas."

“What really intrigued me about it was how well the technique could illicit a reaction strike,” he said.  “My dad had always taught me that fish won’t chase a bait down all the time. Sometimes you have to hit them on the head and make them strike out of aggression or territorial rights.  Plus, in muddy water, where their field of vision is limited, you sometimes have to hit them on the head – get in their face. There’s never been a better method than flipping for doing that."

“A lot of times during cold-front conditions, the fish bury themselves in the cover and they’re not in an aggressive mood. Back before flipping, who knew you could take a 7- or 8-foot rod and place a lure right on top of their head and get a reaction strike out of them?”

As stated earlier, Parker’s ’79 Classic victory put flipping on the national map. Although Basil Bacon got second, also flipping, the event could have had a different result for a couple of reasons.

“That Classic would have turned out a lot differently if not for two events,” Parker said. “First, the water was perfect for throwing a blade and that’s a bait I’d had great success with over the years."

"I’d been throwing it without much success and then I ran into Forrest Wood. He told me he’d caught two fish flipping and lost a couple of others.  After that, I fished an incredible area and didn’t get a bite on the blade. I thought to myself, ‘They had to be there.’ I went back and flipped the same area I’d just gone through and caught three fish on four
flips. I had 11 or 12 pounds which was amazing for Texoma at the time."

“By 10:30 in the morning, I had 16 pounds and left it alone. In the process, I’d also broken my only flipping stick, a prototype that I was testing, and had to switch to a 6-foot pistol-grip rod. I caught a couple fish using that rod but it was by no means the right equipment."

“After the weigh-in, I went to Harold Sharp and asked him if I could get another rod. Back in those days, you were given a weight limit on tackle and a limit on the number of rods you could use. Because I had brought a flipping stick with me, Harold decided it would be okay if I went out and got another rod. Back then, though, you couldn’t find a flipping stick at most tackle shops."

“I knew Gary [Klein] had a few so I went and asked him if I could borrow one of his. He said yes and that’s what helped me win. Gary really came to my rescue. I really doubt I could have won it if I had to fish that 6-foot rod.”

Denny Brauer

Denny Brauer flips a fish out of heavy cover in 1984. Photo BassMaster Magazine May/June

Dee Thomas may have invented the technique, Dave Gliebe may have been the first person to really utilize it east of the Mississippi, Gary Klein and Basil Bacon may have made strides in tackle developed specifically for the technique and Hank Parker may have been the angler who really cemented its place in the sport. It would be tough to argue, though, if there’s ever been another angler over the course of time that’s made more money flipping than Denny Brauer. He’s third on the all-time winners list with 17 Bass Master victories and 37 top-3 finishes. Not only that, he designed the first tube specifically for flipping.

Brauer’s career started in Nebraska as a Federation angler and fishing the now-defunct U.S. Bass circuit in the mid-to late-70s. He learned of the flipping technique from a six-part series published in Bass Master Magazine written by Dee Thomas and Dave Gliebe through Dave Myers. Although he wouldn’t know it for some time, that series would change his life.

“Flipping first came to my attention in Bass Master Magazine around 1976,” he said. “I couldn’t get a Flippin’ Stik but a friend of mine made a couple of them out of long rods and I went out with him in his boat and used one. Then I bought my first flipping stick, a Bass Pro Shops rod called The Dabbler."

“There weren’t many people around here that flipped so I had no choice but to learn it on my own through trial and error,” he said. “I practiced flipping and pitching a bunch and within a year got fairly decent at it. It played a part in a lot of bass club wins right off the bat.  “It was deadly on the chain of lakes I was fishing at the time,” he said. “I was fishing for fish that a lot of anglers weren’t targeting."

"The watersheds lakes we competed on in Nebraska back then had lots of cover and were great for the flipping method.”

The technique helped him make the ’78 and ’80 Federation Nationals, which is what jump-started his national debut with BASS. It’d take him two years to make the Classic and another two to win his first event but he was sold on the power of flipping.

“When I started fishing the BASS events in 1980, almost everyone was flipping,” he said. “I remember the first national event I won on Sam Rayburn (TX, 1984). All the fish I caught were on flipping and pitching techniques. The fish were on the deeper willows and you had to be really precise. I landed a very high percentage of my bites that event”

Brauer was never content with the status quo with the technique, though.  “The main baits we used back in the early days were jigs, worms, and lizards,” he said. “Tubes were out but no one liked to fish them because they were too short and they were single-walled baits and that didn’t stay on the hook very well. They’d always want to slide down the hook. You had to improvise a lot in order for them to be effective."

“Then I won the ‘98 Classic on High Rock and that changed everything.  “I’d been on a good flip bite with jigs and worms before the lake went off limits but when I went back for the one-day official practice, the fish wouldn’t eat the jig. I don’t know what happened but the fish changed. It really surprised me because the fish were locked on the jig the month before."

“I changed up to a tube and they ate it. The forage the fish were eating was the same size as the tube and they keyed in on that size difference.  “After the Classic, I met with the folks down at Strike King and they let me design the first flipping tube.

The ’98 season provided more than his Classic win, though. In all, he won four BassMaster events in which flipping played a role in two of them. He became known as the preeminent flipper. During the interview, I had a chance to ask him how he felt the technique has changed over the years.

“The gear has made it a lot easier to flip all day compared to what we had when I first started,” he said.  “My first actual flipping stick was that Bass Pro Shops Dabbler.’ I broke that rod so many times but it was a great rod. The only problem was it was so heavy. You had to be in shape to fish it all day long.  The funny thing right now is I’m meeting with a major retailer about a new line of rods I’m launching with Ardent. They’re so much lighter than that old Dabbler. Today’s rods are at a completely new level now compared to the old days."

“Also back then there was only one flipping stick size, action, and power. Today anglers can choose from a number of different rods to fit what they need at the time.  For example, I’ve designed four separate flipping sticks for Ardent ranging from a 7’-4” light flipping stick to a 7’-10” heavy action rod."

“The reels have also come a long way,” he said. “The Ardent F700 has a Perma-Lock Drag System and nose cone (no level wind) that allows anglers to pitch a jig a lot farther than a standard-style reel. Plus, the narrow spool doesn’t waste a lot of line."

“With the tackle today anglers are spoiled with how light, sensitive and responsive the gear is. It used to be the rod would work against you.”

Brauer will forever be known in the world of bass fishing as one of the best flippers the sport has ever produced. I was interested in hearing from him how he felt the technique played a role in his career.

“Without a doubt, it did a lot for me,” he said. “Not just for winning and placing but it also played a major role in marketing myself. Flipping has made my career a lot easier. In fact, when I started out I figured I’d be a blade guy.  I guess it didn’t turn out that way.”

Blandford New Director of Business Development for

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Fishing industry veteran Danny Blandford has been hired as Director of Business Development for

Blandford, 43, brings more than two decades of industry experience to the No. 1 resource in tournament bass fishing. Blandford previously worked with the Professional Anglers Association, Careco Multimedia and as an owner and consultant to several fishing companies. He began working with Anglers Channel in April.

With the PAA, Blandford helped secure television partnerships that put “FishPAA Television” into more than 100 million households, oversaw event creation and execution, including numerous Toyota Texas Bass Classic events. At Careco, Blandford was director of the Association of Collegiate Anglers and the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship Series, where he also aided in the development and implementation of the ACA’s School of the Year Program.

“I’m excited to bring Danny and his years of experience to the team at Anglers Channel,” said CEO John Byrne. “Danny is known in the industry, and has the contacts, passion and determination we have needed to continue to grow.”

Blandford has fished competitively for more than 20 years and recreationally since he was a child. He was president of the Indiana University Bass Club, has fished in FLW (now MLF) and B.A.S.S. Nation events, and competes in local club events with his wife. He continues to hold an affinity for young anglers and collegians seeking a path to follow their dreams.

“I’m excited to join the team of AC Insiders,” Blandford said. “Their team has been providing great coverage of our sport for decades and I look forward to bringing more than 20 years’ experience to the project. is a strong platform and we’re already hitting new records in terms of users and engagement. I believe we can continue to build that out for our readers and advertisers as we add additional content partners, social platforms and fresh ideas under my leadership.”

About multimedia platform combines the web, social media platforms, podcasts, on-site event coverage and The Anglers Channel Bass Wrapup Show on Discovery to bring you the No. 1 resource in tournament bass fishing. Anglers Channel features the web’s most robust tournament database, used by thousands of anglers daily, including schedules, results and searchable details by body of water. Anglers Channel also delivers industry news as it happens, along with coverage of all tournament bass fishing, from BASS and Major League Fishing to the weekend warriors. Visit Anglers Channel via the web, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.

For more information contact Danny Blandford at [email protected]


By Terry Battisti - Bass Fishing Archives

This is part two of a three-part series on the concept of flipping and the effect it had on the sport. In this installment, we talked with Gary Klein and Basil Bacon about their involvement with the early years of the technique. To read part one, click here.

Dee Thomas congratulates Gary Klein on his first Bassmaster win at Lake Powell in 1979. Photo from Bassmaster Magazine, July/August issue of 1979

In part one of this piece, Dave Myers talked about the three factors that came together to form the concept of Flippin’. He also talked about how an angler could thoroughly pick apart a shoreline in half the time it’d take an angler using conventional methods.

For parts two and three, I had the pleasure of interviewing four other anglers who took the ground rules, developed by Thomas, and added considerably to its foundation. Gary Klein, Hank Parker, Basil Bacon, and Denny Brauer all played pivotal roles in the progression of flipping and the way anglers approach shallow targets today.

These four anglers not only helped flipping progress, but they also helped design new equipment, terminal tackle, and baits to increase the effectiveness of the technique.


When you think about the anglers who were there when flipping was invented – Thomas, Hauck, Gliebe, and Myers – if you leave out Gary Klein, you’ve left out one important part of the puzzle.

Klein, still a high school student and working at Lake Oroville in northern California, was making a name for himself fishing the Western Bass circuit. He and Thomas became fast friends, Thomas taking him under his wing.

“I was fortunate to meet Dee at a young age,” he said. “In the beginning, it wasn’t like Dee handed me things. He was smart in only giving me enough information so I had to go and do my homework. He was really smart about that – he made me work for it – and I appreciate it to this day.

“To be a part of the technique since its inception and watching it evolve has been an important part of my career. It’s because of this single technique that I decided to leave California and try to make a career fishing the B.A.S.S. circuit.

“Flipping wasn’t just a new technique – it was a new philosophy,” he said. “It was about how to catch a certain type of fish that’s relating to cover. To sum it up, the technique is just a way to present a lure in shallow water. But it also teaches you to learn patterns within patterns. For example, when I see a log in the water, I don’t just see a log – I see where it enters the water, each individual branch, where the sun is casting shadows, etc. I don’t just cast to a bush. Flipping has taught us to analyze more about what’s going on with respect to cover than any other technique. It made us a lot more efficient.

“Anglers today confuse flipping with pitching,” he said. “Flipping is NOT pitching. To me the flipping technique is all about having the line in your hand and swinging the bait. It’s more efficient and much more precise. If I’m pitching, I can miss fish [miss as in not placing the bait near them]. When I’m flipping, I won’t miss them.

“I said before that Flipping was the number one reason I left California. It wasn’t that I thought I wasn’t as good as the stars of the time – anglers like Roland, Dance, Tommy [Martin] – I just knew that with a Flip Stik in my hand, I was better than any of the other anglers with that type of fish.

“Dee and Dave [Gliebe] had already gotten the word out but the media was slow to cover it. By ’79 when I came out, there was still virtually no one doing it or anyone who really understood it. No one had a Flip Stik in their boat. That’s what gave me the mentality that I could do better against the others.

“When I came out east, I brought seven rods with me – all Flip Stiks,” he said. “I knew I could compete and in my first year on the B.A.S.S. circuit, I finished 10th, 1st, 6th, 26th, 18th and 7th. I missed Angler of the Year in the last event to Roland [Martin] by a little over a pound. Eighty-percent of the fish I caught that year were caught flipping.”

Klein wasn’t just one of the first anglers to utilize flipping on the national circuits, either. He was also a tackle developer with close friend Rich Forhan.

“In the first years when I came on the circuit, my number-one bait was a black 6-inch lizard,” he said. “Over the years, though, I’ve flipped everything.

“Then Rich Forhan and I got together to design a jig. The Weapon Jig and hook evolved because Rich was trying to get the best equipment in my hands.

An original Weapon Jig, Circa 1981.

“We found the original hook through Herters,” he said. “It was a round-bend needle-point hook design, completely contrary to what was popular back then, made by Partridge of England. When I was 18 years old, I met with the owner of Eagle Claw and tried to talk him into making it for us. He didn’t want to do it. So we bought our hooks from Herters.

“The jig head came from a lot of testing. We wanted the head to slide out of the fish’s mouth easily in order for better hookups. We fashioned a number of head shapes out of steel and tested them. What we came up with, coupled with the flat hook eye, was the result.

“A while into making the jigs, we found out that Herters was going to discontinue selling them so we bought all they had left. That’s when Rich went over to England and met with Partridge. That’s when they came up with the black Weapon flipping hook made out of Sheffield steel.

“Mustad later bought the company and they came out with the Ultra Point hook. It’s because of this single technique that we have round needle-point hooks. The hook companies were forced to make them because of flipping. In 1979 when I lost Angler of the Year to Roland, it was because I lost fish due to the wrong hook.

“Another thing that happened right off the bat was the flipping switch,” he said. “Basil Bacon gets the credit for that. In fact he used to work on all my reels in his garage back when we used to hang out together.

“Still today I won’t fish a reel without a flipping switch. In fact, because of me, Zebco still makes a reel model with one on it – and they kid me about it all the time.

“Now we’re seeing all sorts of different tools, maybe not designed for flipping but have made it much more efficient. Tungsten weights, punch skirts and braid have all had an effect on flipping.”

Although Klein is one of the most decorated anglers in the sport, he still hasn’t forgotten his roots.

“I’ll always be indebted to Dee because he let me get close to him and Dave [Gliebe]. He and flipping are why I was so successful. Dee has never received the credit he deserves.”


Another angler who was there almost from the start was Basil Bacon. Although Bacon wasn’t from California, he was lucky enough to have competed in the Bull Shoals event in ’75 – the event that Thomas won and put flipping on the map.

Basil Bacon with the BIG stick. Photo, Bassmaster Magazine, Feb 1980.

“I met Dee at the Bull Shoals event,” he said. “Dee didn’t come back much after that but [Dave] Gliebe did and that’s how I got to know Dave.

“Gliebe and I ended up at a PSI (Project Sports Inc.) event on Rend Lake in Illinois. There was a small grocery store in town and they had an attic above it where they sold beds for the night. Dave and I each rented a bed and that’s where we got acquainted.

“We’d been talking about flipping but nothing came of it.

“The first day of the tournament I did pretty well and was close to the leader. The second day I didn’t do too well and on the third day, I couldn’t even catch a fish. Dave came in with a sack and I think he won it.

“After that, we headed to Lake Cordell Hull in Tennessee. Before we left I asked him about the long pole and that I’d like to spend some time with him and learn about it.

“During practice, we had a thunderstorm roll through and we couldn’t fish. After it cleared I asked him to show me how to flip. He pulled the boat into the back of a cove and flipped this bog ole’ jig into some grass growing on the bank. I’m not talking emergent vegetation, I’m talking lawn-type grass on the shore that was flooded.

“He shook the jig a little and then flipped a 3-pounder in the boat. He ruined me.

“He showed me just enough to get me in trouble and it took me a year to figure out all the mechanics of it. Of course, I developed a lot of my own techniques during that time – as I still do.

“Until ’79 I had flipping all to myself in this part of the world,” he said. “Then at the Classic in ’79, Hank Parker, who didn’t know what flipping or a flipping stick was, got on it and won.


“Flipping was almost 100% of my fishing once I learned how to do it,” he said. “I lived with the theory of how fish position themselves on structure. Current, wind current, no wind, the shade, time of day – all that stuff. A lot of people would come up to a piece of cover and just throw at it. Then maybe they’d get closer and flip it.

“That wasn’t my approach at all. What I’d do is look the cover over, taking all the conditions into account, and then decide how and where I wanted to place my first flip. There was nothing haphazard about what I did. The first flip was the most important.”

Bacon wasn’t just a learner when it came to flipping, he was an innovator.

“Back when Dee and Dave [Myers] were coming back east, Dave showed me how to take the free spool release springs out of an Ambassadeur to make it a flipping reel,” he said. “After that, I’d do the same but always thought there was a better way.

“Gary Klein was following me all over the country at the time and we came to my house here in Springfield [MO]. We were talking and I said, ‘There are too many times we’re flipping and we want the reel to be a casting reel. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a switch on the reel so it could do both?’ He thought it was a good idea too.

“I got a hold of a Langley, an Ambassadeur and a Diawa Millionaire, took them apart and made the parts for a flipping switch for each of them. The Ambassadeur was the best of the bunch.

“I took the reel to Johnny Morris – we’ve been friends since before he opened Bass Pro Shops – and it tripped his trigger. We worked out a deal that we could share and then we went to Ambassadeur (ABU) with it. They were the first to pick up on it in ‘80-‘81. We never patented the idea but sold it to ABU.”

Bacon not only invented the flipping switch, he also had his hands in the development of baits.

“The jigs I used back then were primarily Gary’s Weapon Jig,” he said. “There were a couple of things I thought could be improved on it so I went to a friend, Al Dunning, who had been bugging me to design a jig for him. We designed the jig and it became the Basil Bacon Super Jig manufactured by Al-Ron Lures.

“The jig was designed to come through wood, specifically wood here on Truman Reservoir,” he said. “The thing about Truman wood is one year the lake froze and then dropped two feet while still frozen. When that happened, the trees broke in a downward fashion at it was tough to get a jig through. The design of my jig helped an angler get through it. Every angler who came to fish the lake would by my jigs because they worked.

“In the early days I primarily flipped the jig,” he said. “Then after Hank [Parker] won the Classic in 79, I started using plastics. I won a couple of tournaments using lizards and worms and then developed a bait called the Bacon Rind – one of the first creature baits.

Basil Bacon's Bacon Rind.

“What drove me to that was the fact I didn’t like to flip tubes because I liked to fish deeper in the trash and the old tubes hung up a lot. The bait was designed like a tube but was solid and had tails and flappers. I’d take and rip the back tails off the bait and it fished just like a tube on the fall. It allowed me to fish heavier cover without getting hung up.”

Bacon feels today’s anglers are confused about what the technique really is.

“Most anglers today pitch instead of flip and that’s been one of the big misconceptions since the beginning. When I first started flipping, an angler by the name of Bill Ward came to me to talk about it. I showed him what I was doing and he said, ‘I do that with a spinning rig.’ What he was actually doing was pitching with a spinning rod.

“An angler who flips has more control than an angler pitching. That’s what is so critical about the technique. You have control of where the lure is going, control of the lure when it’s in the cover and, most importantly, control over the fish once you hook him. Pitchers don’t have this kind of control of the entire situation.”

Overall flipping was a learning process,” he said. “It was very good to me over the course of my career. The only problem was I should have fished other baits and techniques more. I was a diehard with the flipping stick.”

In all Bacon has won 11 big events with the big stick and finished second in the ’79 Classic on Texoma flipping.

In part three of this series, we’ll be talking with Hank Parker and Denny Brauer and how flipping helped their careers.

If we’ve piqued your interest and you’d like to read ahead, check out the rest of the story at Bass Fishing Archives with the link below:


Travel Tuesday Extra - Hooked On: Bonefish

In keeping with our Travel Tuesday theme, check out this recent Costa | Films project!  The scenery is first class, the fishing looks amazing, and the video production...well, see it for yourself!  IF you're like us, you can feel the sun and taste the salt after this short story!  It's got us thinking about a different kind of fishing #SeeWhatsOutThere

Travel Tuesday - Enjoy the Mexican Combo Plate

By Hanna Robbins - Half Past First Cast

As many of you may know, I am from Chicago. Up there, the word “Combo” refers to a very special high-calorie, high-fat sandwich -- an Italian sausage under thin-sliced roast beef, slow-cooked in garlic au jus, topped with spicy or sweet peppers, all on an Italian-style roll.

My first thought on "Combos"

When I moved to the DC area 16 plus years ago, no one here seemed to have heard of the real combo. There’s plenty of good food here, but you’ll have to go to the Windy City if you want a true taste of the combo. That doesn’t really matter in our household, anyway. My sandwich days are pretty much behind me, and at our dinner table conversations aren’t about our workday, they aren’t about date night, they are about bass fishing.

“When is our next Anglers Inn bass fishing trip?”

“Which lake do we want to go to, Picachos or El Salto?”

I have a severe case of FOMO (fear of missing out) so it’s lucky that Anglers Inn provides the only “Combo” that matters at this stage of my life: Two similar but distinct lakes that both offer great service and great food, but which can fish differently on any given day.

If Anglers Inn is on your bucket list and you aren’t sure which lake to choose now you don’t have to, choose both.

Coming ashore at Lake El Salto

The best of both worlds: three nights, and two and a half days at each location.

The “conventional wisdom” tells us that Lake El Salto is known for trophy bass and Lake Picachos is known for numbers.

Bungalows await at Picachos

That can be true, but it’s not always the case. My largest bass was a 9 pound 12 ounce bass out of Lake Picachos and Pete and I have caught 103 fish off one spot in an afternoon at Lake El Salto.

Neither lake will disappoint.

What more can you ask for?

If that’s not incentive enough for you, I’ll present you with a special challenge: Try to one-up my personal best day of fishing. On one day in May of 2014, I caught a 9 pound 5 ounce bass at Lake El Salto in the morning and a 9 pound 12 ounce bug-eyed beast that same afternoon at Lake Picachos. Maybe you’ve caught two 9-pounders on the same day, but I doubt you’ve done it on two different lakes. That puts me in a special “combo club.”

Think of it as a double bucket list trip.

For any and all questions please contact me at [email protected]. Let’s get you to the lake…or lakes!


By Terry Battisti - Bass Fishing Archives

Thomas accepting the trophy for a win at Havasu in 1977

Although the first responses to Flippin’ weren’t too positive, it didn’t take long for anglers to realize its effectiveness. The technique was winning nearly all of the early tournaments in the West and even though anglers hated this form of “tule dippin’,” what they didn’t realize was this form of fishing was way more than just a technique.

Yes, Flippin’ is a technique in which to catch bass but, more so, it was a complete lure-presentation concept. The concept, once fully embraced, allowed the angler the utmost in lure control and speed.

In contemporary bass fishing, the phrase ‘power fishing’ means to cover a lot of water quickly, effectively, without any waste of motion while keeping the lure in the bass’ strike zone for the longest period of time. Flipping, and nowadays pitching, defines this better than any other form of bass fishing.

“Flipping embraces three basic concepts,” Dave Myers said. “First, there are always some fish in shallow water, second, most shallow fish are biting fish, and third, the key to getting these shallow fish to bite is a precision presentation.

“But there’s more to the concept than just flipping a lure out to cover,” he added. “It was a lot of other things put together. The fact that the anglers made Dee fish a shorter rod helped a tremendous amount in the development of this concept.

“Dee found that by using the short flip, he could fish the visible targets along with any other unseen targets between the bank and the boat and his lure was always in the strike zone. He could completely pick apart a shoreline in less than half the time it would take an angler fishing by conventional casting methods. There was no wasted portion of his cast.

“Not only that, he was always in position to have total control over a fish should it strike. The anglers that complained about his long rod, which eventually led to him to fish a shorter rod, actually helped in the development of the concept and technique.”

After Thomas and Myers concluded the development of the first Flippin’ Stik, Myers convinced Thomas to take his concept national. Off they went to the 1975 Bassmaster Toledo Bend Invitational.

Dee Thomas looks on as his fish are weighed on Bull Shoals. Photo Courtesy of Ray Scott.

Upon getting to the lake, Thomas was completely overcome by the amount of visible cover. It didn’t look like anything he’d ever seen in his native California. He went out the first day and tried flipping everything and it didn’t work out. The next day he went back to conventional methods but by that time, he was out of the race. The effectiveness of the Flippin’ rod and concept didn’t even get noticed. The second Bassmaster event of Thomas’ career, though, wouldn’t go unnoticed.

In April of that same year, Thomas and Myers traveled to Bull Shoals, AR for the second Invitational on the Bassmaster schedule. Bull Shoals, unlike Toledo Bend, resembled the California waters he was so accustomed to. It had steep banks, clear water, and a lot of visible cover. Not only that, a severe cold front had moved through the area right before the start of the event. All of these variables coupled together set up an event that would play directly into Thomas’ strength.

Thomas went out and in three days put together a combined sack that weighed nearly 10 pounds more than second-place angler Tommy Martin’s catch. What’s even more amazing is out of the 175 anglers in competition, 100 blanked the first day. Thomas weighed in 16 bass (10 bass per day was the limit back then) for a total of 35-06 and Martin weighed in 12 bass for 25-10. Thomas clearly ran away with the event.

At this point, Harold Sharp and Ray Scott had a situation on their hands. Anglers were complaining of the method in which Thomas had won and Sharp and Scott had to do something fast.

“Harold [Sharp] and Ray [Scott] came and asked me to tell them about this technique,” Myers recalled. “All the big guns were all complaining and they needed to get ahead of it. So we explained the method to them, how it differed from tule dippin’, and that the technique was based on the accurate presentation of a jig using a long rod. We told them about the 7’ 6” length restriction we’d instilled in the west and they thought about it. After that, they decided that the western restriction was good and then they went with an 8-foot restriction after that.”

Sharp has a little different recollection of what happened.

“The first we were aware of Dee was when he entered the Bull Shoals tournament in April 1975,” Sharp recalled. “Because Dee won this event with a new style of tournament fishing, it made much more impact than if he had just finished in the money – it was new and different and a winner.

“B.A.S.S. had no rules on the length of the rod,” he said. “In fact, at the time we had a contestant that fished with a standard fly rod with a spincast reel attached to the butt end loaded with mono line. He did very well with it and used it to fish plastic worms without a weight. At that time, our rules stated that only casting, spinning or spincasting equipment could be used, but his rig was more spincasting than flyfishing so we let him use it.

“Although Dee introduced the long rod in April, ’75, B.A.S.S. didn’t change rules mid-season,” Sharp said. “But we could see where it could create a problem as most angling in those days was done several yards from the target and Flippin’ moved the boat up on the target, which handicapped one angler, unless both were Flippin’.

“We also saw a problem with the use of longer rods so as to outreach your partner,” Sharp said. “So we took a long look at Flippin’ and decided to install the 8-foot rod rule the following year [Jan 1976]. We didn’t see that an 8-foot rule would stop or hurt Flippin’ and we always promoted new stuff. Our concern was to keep tournament fishing equal to all contestants, so we installed the length limit to keep everyone in the boat on an equal basis. We hadn’t heard of the restriction on the west coast, we made our decision on what we thought best for BASS events and keep the BASS rules equal for all contestants.”

Dave Gliebe would take over Thomas' reign of the Eastern flipping world.

Thomas ended up finishing high enough that year to qualify for the 1975 Bass Masters Classic held on the Currituck Sound in North Carolina, where he finished in 9th place.

In 1976, Thomas took western stick Dave Gliebe back east with him but unfortunately, neither did well enough to qualify for the 1976 Bass Master Classic. That year Thomas stopped fishing the Bass Masters circuit in order to stay closer to home but Gliebe would continue to fish through 1979, making three consecutive Classics (1977-79), namely on the Flippin’ technique.

In the next installment of this feature, Basil Bacon, Hank Parker and Denny Brauer talk about how flippin’ changed the face of tournament angling.

If we’ve piqued your interest and you’d like to read ahead, check out the rest of the story at Bass Fishing Archives with the links below:



Throwback Thursday - The Birth of Flippin'

New Western Technique Controlled Structure Fishing sure to sweep the country

By Terry Battisti - Bass Fishing Archives

This is the first installment of a series of articles, highlighting the technique we now know as Flippin', and the pioneers who brought it to bass fishing! Check back every Thursday for more insight into how we got here as a sport and industry.

May 19, 1974

Paso Robles, CA – A new technique, coined “Controlled Structure Fishing,” has been introduced and it’s been met with mixed reviews. The technique’s given the duo of Dee Thomas and Frank Hauck a trip to the winners' circle in five out of the last seven events. Why has it been met with mixed reviews? Some may say it’s jealousy, others say it’s a banned form of tule dippin’. Whatever you say it is, it’s been mighty successful for Thomas and Hauck, and even though they had to adjust their equipment for the latest Western Bass Fishing Association's event on Lake Nacimiento, they were able to pull off another win even after chopping 4-1/2 feet off their preferred Lew’s Hawger rods and flipping their boat halfway through the first day of the event.

BFA Headquarters - In the late spring, early summer of 1974, Thomas’ form of fishing had yet to reach outside the West. But in the West, it was creating a lot of conversation and discontent amongst anglers competing against him and his tournament partner. Most anglers that own a Flippin’ Stick know Thomas was the originator of the technique but few have heard or read about its origins. Below is an article, possibly the first article, ever written about Dee and his new method in which to target bass. The funny thing about it is Dee didn’t call it Flippin’ back then. His name for it was “Controlled Structure Fishing.”

Click Here to Enlarge the Article

If we've piqued your interest and you'd like to read ahead, check out the rest of the story at Bass Fishing Archives with the links below:





Why We Go to El Salto in May and June

Why We Go to El Salto in May and June

By Pete Robbins - Half Past First Cast

Doubles...just one good reason!

I believe that the first time I ever heard of El Salto was when I was crappie fishing on the California Delta in 2003 with former Bassmaster pro, Kenyon Hill. He mentioned that he’d been to the lake several times, and had absolutely crushed the big fish. I don’t know why, but I assumed that the best time to go was during the winter months when the climate in his home state of Oklahoma was cold as it was near my home in Virginia.

“No,” he said. “We go at the end of May. That’s when the big ones get ganged up.”

I suppose I always kept that in the back of my head, because even though our first trip to the lake was in December 2009, our next one was in May of 2013, and we’ve been back every May or June since then. Actually, Hanna has been back every May or June since then. I scheduled a “work trip” with Keith Combs to Alaska in the summer of 2019 which left me without enough vacation time to go to El Salto as well, so Hanna took Keith’s wife Jennifer instead.

Hanna and the gals get it done!

Friends are often surprised to hear that we go to Mexico during the warmer months. Indeed, there are several prejudices working against making such a trip. First, fishing is good just about everywhere then. The spawn is over in the deep south, but the fish are lined up on a couple of different patterns. In the far north, the seasons are just starting. Where we live in the mid-Atlantic, I consider April through June the best period to catch not just numbers of fish, but also big fish. So yes, you may be giving up a few days of exceptional fishing at home, but in all but a few instances, it’s likely to be better South of the Border. That’s because the water is at its lowest point of the year and the fish are schooled up on textbook offshore structure.

At home, on the local tidal rivers, I rarely fish deeper than 6 feet deep, so the offshore game at El Salto is a special treat. I get to throw lures like swimbaits and Strike King 10XDs and even the dreaded “ball and chain” (Carolina Rig). Even more importantly, I’m throwing them at SCHOOLS of fish, not individual specimens.

Summertime Slaunch!

The next question is, “Isn’t it HOT?”

The truth is that it’s not more than a few degrees warmer than it is at home. The most uncomfortable part of the day is from about 10 am until you go in for lunch at 11. That’s when the temps have warmed up and the wind hasn’t started blowing. By the time you go back out in the afternoon, the wind is usually howling at a pretty good clip. Not only does that make it much more comfortable to be outside, but it also positions the fish. Many of the guides have areas where you can tie up to a tree, make a cast with the wind (be sure to have enough line on your cranking reel), and catch bass after bass after bass with the same lineup.

That mention of the siesta is another key point – it stays light LATE. When we go in December of January, it gets dark early, so if you’re going to get in a decent afternoon session you need to be out on the water by 1:30. After getting in at 11, cleaning up, and eating lunch, that doesn’t leave much time for a siesta. In June, on the other hand, there’s lots of daylight. Take a nap, cool down, and restore your energy for the long evening bite.

If you’re someone who believes that the tilapia nets have an adverse impact on the fishing (note: I am not one of those people) this is also a prime time to go because the tilapia cooperative does not operate in the summertime.

Furthermore, if you want to bring the family, this is a time when you can take the kids without having to pull them out of school. Hanna and I often try to come during Memorial Day week so we have to take one less day of vacation.

Great guides and great bass!

Obviously, my track record of visiting at this time of year should speak for itself, but in the interest of full disclosure, I’ll reveal a few more things:

(1) our best trips have been in May/June, but we’ve also had a couple of clunkers.

(2) if a great topwater bite is your goal, I’d recommend a different time of year. We’ve had some killer days with a Rico and a Whopper Plopper in June, but we’ve also had a couple of otherwise great trips when the surface bite was minimal.

(3) I’ve been to El Salto in October, November, December, and January as well. We’ve had mostly great trips those months, but a couple of tough ones, too. I have several friends who swear by February/March/April, months when I have not been there. I also know several trusted anglers, including TV show host Joe Thomas, who frequently go in July, when the water is still low but you start to get a few overcast days, to extend the shallow bite. My only recommendation, if you do that, would be to skew toward the first half of the month, because in the waning days, you might lose some fishing time to lightning; and

(4) If you want to see different areas every day, go when the water is higher. Because the lake is at its lowest in May and June, the total acreage is also at its smallest footprint. Your guide will likely follow a milk run of proven spots. For some, that’s a negative. For me, it’s a positive, because at some point in the day, you are going to intercept the largest school of bass of your life, and perhaps the largest single bass of your life.

The bottom line is that there’s no “best month.” Anyone who tells you that “this is the best time to catch a 10-pounder” is full of it. Those fish show up every day of the year and they’re caught in a wide variety of ways. Get there when you can, but take into account all of the other factors that make a trip feasible and great for YOU.

If you’d like to learn more about fishing in Mexico, check out our “Ultimate Guide to El Salto and Picachos.” If you’d like to book a trip, email us any time at [email protected].

Introducing Half Past First Cast!

About the Half Past First Cast Team
By Pete and Hanna Robbins

Pete & Hanna Robbins of Half Past First Cast

Before we get into describing ourselves, let’s answer your first question: “What the heck does ‘Half Past
First Cast’ even mean?”

There’s a pretty simple answer. By the time both of us turned 50, we’d had a lot of great fishing and travel experiences. We’d gone to Tahiti on our honeymoon, been to Lake El Salto in Mexico a bunch of times, and fished all over the US. Our careers were established and we were reasonably secure from a financial standpoint.

But that number, fifty. It hit us like a lead balloon.  We were almost certainly past the midpoint of our lives, and with finite time left, we wanted to make the most of it. We were literally half past our first cast. We wanted to make the most of the casts we had
left – and we realized that there are lots of people like us. They’re out there living responsible lives, with happy families, fun vacations, and decent fishing experiences – but there could be so much more.

First, we applied the concept to our own lives – making fishing more fun, more productive, and more memorable – and as we did that we had the realization that we had a lot of good information to share.  Thus we started our website.

Another successful day on the water

About Pete
I come from a non-fishing family. Some distant cousins I never met were into the offshore game, but my dad has no interest. I took my brother to El Salto once and he had a great time, but I doubt he’ll ever go again. Nevertheless, it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. I fished tournaments in my twenties and thirties, but after going to El Salto, Brazil, and Africa, I realized that I’d rather spend my limited time on the water on the best fisheries at the best times, rather than competing. You may not make the same decision,
that’s your right, but for me, it’s been mind-blowing. From Alaska to Panama to Guatemala I’ve repeatedly renewed my love of the sport.

Pete and Strike King Pro Keith Combs catching dinner!

I’m also a pretty serious outdoor writer – a Senior Writer for Bassmaster, published in dozens of other publications. I love telling stories and helping people with words. It could be recounting an experience in the Amazonian jungle, or describing how to better hook Zambian tigerfish – or just why watching a
bobber go down under the weight of a bluegill remains so much fun. Even after we “retire,” I’ll still write every day. In fact, I’ll almost certainly write more.




About Hanna
When Pete and I first met online two decades ago (!), I knew nothing about fishing. I thought he stood on a bridge all day with a bobber. I had a lot to learn. Fortunately, I’m a fast learner and hyper-competitive. There were some frustrating early days in the boat, but now I’ve caught a lot of trophy fish using the tactics and techniques I’ve learned – and I usually beat Pete.

Hanna proves she outfishes Pete!

Writing isn’t my first love, but I’m willing to endure it because I want to share this passion. Had it not been for the chance encounter with Pete, I might never have wet a line, and that seems tragic. Now I get excited to show people new places, especially women and first-time anglers. Seeing the wonders of the
world through their eyes is amazing, and along the way not only have I developed an interest in fishing, but also in how to help women best enjoy the sport, along with photography.






About Half Past First Cast
So, besides sharing our tips, tricks, and experiences, we love putting groups together to head to far-flung places around the world. It’s the people we meet that make the trips special, and we’ve developed some of our strongest lifelong friendships with people we never would have otherwise met. That’s the magic of fishing. It brings people together.

We know a lot of bass anglers who’d never consider fishing for something else, but when they join us it opens up their world. It’ll make you a better bass fisherman (or woman), a better overall angler, and it’ll expand your world in ways you’ve never before considered.

Please check out our site, and if you’d like to join us in Mexico or Alaska or Panama or Guatemala, email us at [email protected]. Even if those places aren’t on your personal bucket list, drop us a
line, and let’s talk fishing.

Wheels on the Bus........

This week David & Kenneth get back in the Drivers Seats and dive into a discussion on the upcoming Big Bass Tour Schedule, changes in the National Professional Fishing League, rosters for the MLF Invitationals and the Bassmaster Opens. Check it out and Happy Holidays!!