Sportsmans Warehouse 2011 Week 2 Report Part 1

Ac Pro Staffer Dearal Rodgers showcases some great shallow water baits at Sportsmans Warehouse and talks about the keys to winning on area lakes this time of year-Part 1

Lake Guntersville Winter Bass Fishing - 5 Bass Over 30 Lbs!!

Yes, a caption like that will get your attention! Why? Even on Guntersville lake largemouth bass fishing has been very tough since the beginning of the New Year began. So any "Big Bass" caught at all is very deserving! Well we did it. How? I do not how we stumbled on five big bass in one days time.

We only had 10 decent bites all day on a cold, cloudy winter day with lows near the low 30's and highs in the low 50's. Water temps were 45 degrees like they are today. This past weekends warming trend brought up the lakes water temps about 10 degrees -- from the low 40's to 50 degrees -- by yesterday Monday, February 2. But with this weeks cold spell of highs only in the 40's and lows in the 20's, the water temps will drop again.

If you came by my Reeds Guide Service booth at the January, 2011 40th Annual Birmingham Boat Show (about a week ago) I'm sure you saw the pictures of these huge bass we caught on Guntersville lake, prior to the boat show. I'm only writing about it now because since the boat show I've been fishing!

Like said, it was a rather cold day with cloudy conditions and cold, northerly winds of 5-10 m.p.h. at dawn and the early morning hours. Not a good way to start your day. But we did manage to catch 2 nice bass that morning in a small creek. Both were nice bass, a 3 pounder and a 5 pounder. But afterwards the long dry spell had us on the move looking for even bigger, bass bites fishing deeper water along the lakes old river channel drop-offs.

We mostly used 10 inch worms (plum colored) and jig combos (black & blue with matching plastic crayfish trailers) to practically seine every spot we fished. Well, to make a long story short...we found the mother lode!

Earlier, I had released a 3 pounder. I had kept a 5 pounder for pictures later, hopefully with a bigger bass to go with it! After an hour I had that bass. A nice 7 pounder that hit the jig combo, but it did not come easy. After we fished one particular stumpy, weed-infested drop-off, (that fell into 30 feet of water along an old Tennessee River channel), for over an hour...then the next big bass hit. Now, it was 3 bass weighing 15 pounds. A good day by any anglers standards.

Then we made a short move, idling the boat to a spot nearby that we fished for another 30 minutes, one special spot that produced a 9 pounder for my partner! Caught on that big, 10 inch worm. Now, in all, we had 3 bass in the live well, weighing 5, 7 and 9 pounds each (I had let go a 3 pounder), all 4 bass that would have easily totaled a weight of 24 pounds! Incredible! I could have went home happy, along with my partner as well,...ahhh but there was more. An even bigger bass awaited us!

We fished this spot for over 2 hours, then left. Nothing but one small bass. We fished a few miles away but always, "the two big bass spots" we had recently fished that day were in the back of my mind. So as the day went on we slowly fished back to where the 9 pounder had came from. It had been over 3 hours, maybe another big bass awaited us! When we arrived I took a short break with a drink and a snack. Then we fished this spot real hard, with many lures, fished from many different angles. Still no takers.

As I readied myself to go, donning my life jacket and kill switch, the boat suddenly rocked. It was my partner setting the hook on what later showed to be a 10 pound 2 ounce largemouth bass, that looked to be about 12-13 pounds as we netted it, following a very lengthy battle! Now we had caught 5 big bass in all that totaled close to 34 pounds!

The best day I've seen in a long, long, time and probably the best day fishing for big bass for another long, long time...before it ever happens again.


* GUIDE SERVICE - Always call on Reeds Guide Service...first! "Alabama's oldest, professional "bass fishing only" guide service for over 40 years guiding on all Alabama lakes for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass and some huge, striped bass! " Booking trips now for spring on Guntersville lake and all other Alabama lakes. Call (205) 663-1504 or e-mail [email protected] for rates and booking trips info! See my website for fishing tips and lake reports on all Alabama lakes for all seasons!

* NEW AND USED BOATS & TOURNAMENTS! - Check out for new, used or close-out model boats of all kinds! Expert mechanic work, great service dept. and parts dept. too! Also see their tournament trails and annual events website link First tournament on Lake Martin Feb. 19 2011!

* FISHING TACKLE AND EQUIPMENT FOR FISHING AND HUNTING - See for bargains you will not see elsewhere! Visit their kind and very informative salesman in their new, remodeled store in Vestavia, Alabama or go online for all your fishing and hunting needs!

* NEW WEBSITES IN ALABAMA - Check out and for Alabama lakes info and more!


Thanks and Good Fishin'!

Reed Montgomery / Outdoor Writer

Owner / Reeds Guide Service
Alabaster, Alabama (205) 663-1504
E-mail: [email protected]
" Over 40 Years Guiding, Fishing and Exploring Every Lake in Alabama For Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Spotted Bass and Striped Bass "

Always Call on Reeds Guide Service...first!

Alabama's Oldest Professional, Freshwater Fishing Guide Service!


Veteran guide Reed Montgomery with two NICE Guntersville bass!!Veteran guide Reed Montgomery with two NICE Guntersville bass!!


Bass Biting Good In Seminole As Georgia Bws Gets Ready For Season Opener

Over the last five weekends it has taken 26 pounds to win a tournament on Lake Seminole and that's probably what it will take for the Bassmaster Weekend Series Georgia Division tournament Feb. 12, said BWS angler Sam Moody of Albany, Ga.

“The fish are biting really good when you find them and you can catch them about any way you like to fish – cranking, throwing a Carolina rig, a lipless crankbait, a jerkbait, however you want to fish you can catch them. When you find a good school you can catch some big fish, and a bunch of them,” said Moody who noted that the winners of a tournament on Sunday had a near 6-pound average at 29 pounds.

“That 26 pounds for a winning weight has been for team tournaments, but I think 26 pounds can win this tournament if it stays warm, If we get a cold snap the day before it could drop down,” said Moody, a 25-year veteran of tournament fishing, “but they have been catching some pretty good weights even when it was cold, so I would say 26 pounds will win it.”

In BWS tournaments the boater fishes as an individual and he is paired with a non-boater who competes with other non-boaters.

“We've had a really cold winter, colder than normal, so the water temperatures have been a lot colder than normal. It's taking the fish longer to start moving shallow, but they are starting to go that way now, so that is a good thing,” said Moody who has been practicing on Seminole for the past three or four weekends.

“With the fish starting to move up you can find them in about 10 feet of water. They are kind of bunched up so when you do find them you usually find some good ones.”

Moody, who fishes Seminole about 15 times a year – “maybe more, depending on tournaments” – said he will practice the same areas this weekend that he has fished the last few weekends.

“I am still looking there because I know that sooner or later the fish I want are going to be there,” he said. “I am just looking for areas where the fish should be moving up.”

While he will be targeting fish that are moving up to get ready to spawn, Moody said actual spawning is probably several more weeks away.

“I'd say we still have probably until the end of February. There is a full moon around the 18th or 19th and you might see some up trying to bed then if we get three or four days of warm weather, but I think it will really be toward the end of the month before spawning really gets going.”

Following the Georgia Division BWS tournament Feb. 12 out of the Bainbridge Boat Basin on Lake Seminole the series will continue March 19 on Lake Sinclair out of Little River Park; April 30 on Lake Eufaula out of Lake Point State Park; June 18 on Lake Lanier out of Laurel Park; and Sept. 10-11 on Lake Oconee out of Sugar Creek Marina.


Bassmaster Weekend Series – Georgia Division

Sat. Feb 12, 2011

Lake Seminole

Bainbridge Boat Basin

Warming Trend, Rain Could Help Bite For Lake Murray Catt Saturday

CJ Freeman and Scott Farmer won the last CATT tourney on Murray!

In his only day of practice last Saturday for the inaugural 2011 Carolina Anglers Team Trail series on Lake Murray this Saturday Randall Driggers managed to catch only one fish – a 3-pound bass – not a good omen for the opener for Driggers who, with his partner, Josh McGregor, dominated the Lake Murray spring series in 2010.

“This has been the most severe winter weather we have had in quite some time so I was only able to practice that one time last Saturday,” said Driggers who will be fishing without McGregor on Saturday because of a schedule conflict. “With not much practice because of the cold weather all I can do is go out and do what I like to do and hope for the best.”

Driggers and McGregor averaged 17 ½ pounds per tournament in the CATT spring series on Lake Murray last year and won more than $6,000.

“We had a phenomenal year last year,” Driggers said. “Things just seemed to go our way. We put in a lot of time and stayed with the fish. In a bunch of those tournaments we did not always get to catch the fish the same way – we changed when the fish changed.”

It was also a great year for CATT on Lake Murray, said CATT director Brett Collins.

“We paid back more than $37,000 at Murray last year, the largest amount of cash we have paid at Murray since we started there,” Collins said. “That's because the number of boats has picked up. Last year we have over 40 teams at a couple of spring qualifiers.”

Collins said bass fishing also picked up considerably last year despite the loss of aquatic grass in the lake.

“We had one winning weight over 30 pounds last year so Lake Murray still has some big bass in it, even with the grass missing. This should be a very good year on Lake Murray.”

Fishing has been tough so far this year, Driggers said, because of the extreme cold, the clear water and a lack of rain.

“I don't feel like the fish have pulled up yet. Last Saturday I was fishing 45-degree water and doing the things I like to do – I jig a lot and crankbait a lot – and I was only able to catch that one 3-pounder cranking.”

He said he plans to do the same thing Saturday. Collins said weights have picked up in recent tournaments on the lake and he hopes the warmer weather this week will help the fishing Saturday. Driggers agreed that the warming trend this week can only help, along with heavy rain towards the weekend.

“I can only hope this weather we have had this week will spur them to pull up close where we can catch them. Last Saturday was behind the front and there was a high pressure system,” he noted. “I think a little bit of warm weather and the rain will help the bite.””

The rain and cloudy skies will be a big help, he said.

“I looked at the weather and they are calling for a chance of rain Saturday, partly cloudy and the temperature won't be so bad. That type of weather favors you to catch fish on Lake Murray more so than sunny weather.”


Carolina Anglers Team Trail – Murray Division

Sat, Feb 5, 2011

Lake Murray

Dreher Island State Park

Day Two practice on Okeechobee at FLW Open

Those of you that followed my blogs last year welcome back.  The new guys and gals out there, welcome.  This is my 3rd year fishing on the FLW trail, my second sporting the FrogTape Boat and Truck.  It has been a great pleasure to be sponsored by FrogTape and being able to promote the BEST painters tape on the market.

This was our second day of practice for the first FLW open on Okeechobee.  The weather has been perfect and the future forcast looks awesome.  The only thing is that someone forgot to tell the fish that, or atleast the big ones.  Fishing on Okeechobee can be very frustrating. Those of you that have been here can understand. Those who havn't, well lets just say these fish are very tempermental to weather changes of all kinds.   Okeechobee bass are also all about location.  You can fish miles of the exact same type water. Same grass, same bottom, same clarity, temperature and you see and catch nothing. Then all of a sudden there  they are. The area of a swimming pool or if you are lucky the size of  football field.   They will be piled in there. Not sure why this is but thats Okeechobee. Thats the tuff part trying to find those sweet spots when everything looks the same.

The fish are biting its just that are all small, pound and pound and a halfers.  The big question on everyones mind is where are all the big ones.  You see empty beds every where, and today a lot of bucks moved up. But with the water temps hitting 70, you would think the sows would be ready to move in.  I have seen a few, but not the big wave you would think.  Its starting to look like maybe all the big ones have already done there thing. We have one more day of practice.  So check back in tomorrow and I will let you know what I find.

And if you are doing any painting, go get you a few rolls of FrogTape, its nation wide at Wal-Mart, Lowes, HomeDepot, Sherwin Williams, and Ace Hardware.  Trust me when I say this, once you have used FrogTape you will never use any other.  It keeps paint out and keeps lines sharp, its the only painters tape on the market treated with Paint Block.   You can check it out at and on FaceBook.

Bassmasters Weekend Series Jan. 29Th Lake Murray Champions

Bassmasters Weekend Series Jan. 29th Champs Co Angler Ed Parker and Boater Ryan McMurtury takes all and heads to the Classic with full momentum.

2011 Tom's Marine TT and Ranger Z119 Preivew with TT Director Richard McMaster

Tom's Marine Team Trail Director Richard McMaster takes a break from the Open House today to talk about the upcoming season for Tom's Marine as well as walk us through one of the most popular new Ranger models-the new Z119!!

2011 Santee Open Team Tournament Preview With Vic Sykes

AC Insider Vic Sykes helps us peek ahead to late April when the 2011 Santee Open Team Tournament returns to HIGH EXPECTATIONS after one of the great weigh-in's of the year in 2010!!

New Wrapped Fetha Styx Truck and Boat Debut with Andy Montgomery for 2011

Elite Series and Fetha Styx Rods Pro Andy Montgomery takes us on a quick walk-around of his new wrapped rig and one word describes it-IMPRESSIVE!!

Lay Lake Bass Stuck In Wintertime Mode

After the 40th Annual 2011 Birmingham Boat Show ceased last Sunday I immediately started booking fishing trips to various Alabama lakes for the remainder of the winter and the upcoming spring season. Yesterday, we went to Alabama's Lay lake. As we launched the boat I noticed the cold, morning water temperature at 41 degrees. I told them we were in for a very slow day of fishing.(See:

My clients, a young man and his buddy were loaded for bear. Between them both they had 6 tackle boxes and about 15 rods. They both also had some lures in a sack they had not even opened yet. Obviously they had been shopping before our trip!

We started the day fishing main river flats, all around a few islands (featuring standing timber) and the mouths of creeks. By 10 a.m. they had caught 3 bass. One spotted bass about 2 pounds that had hit a shaky head pumpkinseed (with dyed chartreuse tail), 6 inch zoom trick worm. Two more bass, both largemouth bass, came out of 2 feet of water, both were caught on a chrome / black back 1/2 ounce rattle trap.

As midday came around they had not even had another bite. Three bites all morning in 41 degree water temps. We needed warmer water for more active bass!

So as we returned from fishing far upriver, I decided to stop and fish the warm water discharge coming from Wilsonville Steam Plant, located on the main lake just below the mouth of Yellow Leaf Creek. I'm glad we did! From 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. they had 11 bass off of those rocks, located just below the Wilsonville Steam Plant main water discharge. Most bass were in 5 feet or less depths.

Nine of those bass were spotted bass, with some close to 3 pounds, fighting very hard in the swift, main river current. Two were largemouth bass, weighing about 2 pounds each. Some bass came on worms, jig combos and mid-running crankbaits. Variety! I was just glad to see those young men learn something and catch some bass! In all they had 14 bass, nothing real big, but lots of fun on a day I was expecting much less...

With 60 degree air temperatures predicted for all of Alabama this weekend, its time to get out the boat and go fishing! By Sunday, Lay lake's water temps could be near 50 degrees! More reports coming soon as spring arrives, Reeds Guide Service will be reporting from fishing tournaments and guiding on most of Alabama's lakes!


* GUIDE SERVICE - Always call on Reeds Guide Service ...first! Alabama's oldest, professional, "bass fishing only" guide service, guiding on all Alabama lakes for over 40 years! E-mail me to book a trip [email protected] or call (205) 663-1504 for fishing any lake in Alabama!


* FISHING AND HUNTING ITEMS - See for all your hunting and fishing needs!


* NEW AND USED BOATS -  Go by Airport Marine in Clanton, Alabama or see their website for new and used boats, close out boat sales, expert mechanic work and parts! Also see their tournament trail info at new schedules now out for 2011! First tournament is on Lake Martin, Feb. 19!


* NEW ALABAMA WEBSITES - Check out and


* See my website for more guide service info, winter and spring lake reports, winter and spring fishing tips, pictures, fishing articles and fishing links!


Thanks and Good Fishin'

Reed Montgomery / Outdoor Writer

Owner / Reeds Guide Service
Alabaster, Alabama (205) 663-1504
E-mail: [email protected]
" Over 40 Years Guiding, Fishing and Exploring Every Lake in Alabama For Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Spotted Bass and Striped Bass "

Always Call on Reeds Guide Service...first!

Alabama's Oldest Professional, Freshwater Fishing Guide Service!

Bass Slowed By Unseasonable Cold On Lake Okeechobee As Anglers Prepare For Flw Open

FrogTape Pro Brian Travis is hoping for some warm weather for the FLW Open on Okeechobee

Bass fishing in Florida is either hot or cold. When it's hot, it's hot. When the weather is cold the fishing is cold.Pro angler Brian Travis is eying the weather reports and hoping the winter chill that has settled across the Southeast, including Florida, is replaced with some warmer weather by the first FLW Open tournament of the year Feb. 3-6 on Lake Okeechobee.

“I've been down here since Wednesday two weeks ago and practiced the last three days before the cutoff began,” Travis said. “Fishing was tough. A cold front came through and dropped the temperature about 10 degrees. I talked to some guys those three days and nobody was catching a whole lot.”

Travis said he could see places where bass had already been up bedding, so there had been some spawning going on already.”

Then conditions changed, Travis said, while he was in Orlando appearing for his main sponsor, Frog Tape, at a national sales show for the paint producer, Sherwin Williams.

“Last week after the cutoff the temperature got up into the mid-70s and close to 80 degrees all week and the nights were warm, too, in the upper 50s and close to 60 degrees. I am sure that water warmed back up and they were laying everywhere.”

But, just as quickly as things change, they can change back, he noted.

“Through next Friday it is supposed to be very cool here in Orlando and I am sure there is not much difference in the temperature from here to Clewiston which is only about 2 ½ hours south. I was looking at the extended forecast and it is shaping up to be another cold front. So the fish are not going to be where they should be.”

However, he noted, that the tournament is nearly two weeks away and the weather could change again.

“The beauty of this place is that it warms up really quick if we get two days in the 70s and it's not cold at night. Hopefully, that will happen the Monday of the week of practice or at least when the tournament starts.”

If the weather does stay colder than normal, Travis said he would not look for sight fish during practice before the tournament.

“I've got areas marked and if they move up shallow I can go to them. I am going to be flipping if the cold conditions prevail,” he said.

Although he had a pretty good year on the FLW circuits in 2010, Travis said he is seeking a little redemption at Okeechobee.

“Last year I had my ups and downs. I did not cash a check in the FLW Series last year and that bothered me because I finished 10th in the points the year before, so I have some work to do in the Opens this year and that's why I want to start out good on Okeechobee.”

While he seeks redemption for the FLW Series, now the FLW Opens, Travis had a banner year on the FLW Tour in 2010 – his second year on the top circuit – making the top four at Lake Norman, finishing 33rd in the points for the year and capping it with a 15th place at the Forrest Wood Cup. He's also added to his list of sponsors, signing a clothing deal with Dickies just last week.

But now all his focus is on the weather and what it might do to the bass in Okeechobee for the FLW Tour Open next week.

Florida bass get a big head start on spawning over their cousins located in waters even just a little to the north. But even a little cold snap will put them back out in the deeper water and make them sullen.

“Florida fish do not react like northern strain fish. These fish are so temperamental that when the water gets cold they bury up and don't want to do anything. It's hard to even catch them flipping then for me,” he said.

“It could be a good tournament or it could be a tough one, depending on the weather. I am keeping my fingers crossed and hope for warmer weather.”


FLW Tour Open

February 3-6, 2011

Lake Okeechobee

Roland & Mary Ann Martin's Marina & Resort

Bass In Lake Kissimmee Spawning Or Getting Ready To In Time For Accent Marine Tournament

If the Bassmaster Southern Open last weekend is any indication, the winning anglers in the Accent Marine Tournament Trail opening tournament Sunday on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes will need at least 22 pounds, maybe even 30 pounds, said Accent Marine's Ted Meyer.“It took an average of about 25 pounds a day to win the Bassmaster Open and the fishing is still good,” said Meyer. Actually, Gerald Swindle of Warrior, Ala., won the Open with a 27-pound daily average, totaling 80 pounds, 13 ounces, for the tournament.

“The fish should be going on the bed here real quick,” said Meyer. “If they are not there already, the full moon should make them come on up.”

Meyer said the two top tactics for bass right now are throwing a Rat-L-Trap or fishing off the beds with a craw or pitching into the beds. Swindle relied on a lipless crankbait and a Carolina rig for his winning weight.

“We've had real cold weather, down in the teens for most of the month of January,” Meyer said Monday. “Then yesterday morning it was in the 30s. Tomorrow morning it's supposed to be nasty again, but it is warming up to about 70 degrees in the afternoons, so that is going to push them in – or out.”

Meyer said he is expecting about 70 to 75 boats to enter the tournament Sunday which will kick off a 10-tournament series culminating with the Classic Oct. 30, all out of Camp Mack’s River Resort near Lake Wales, Fla. The series includes tournaments February 27, March 27, April 17, May 22, June 26, July 31, August 28 and September 25.

Entry fee for the tournaments is $65 and teams must fish seven of the nine regular season tournaments to qualify for the classic. Teams that qualify do not pay an entry fee to fish in the classic.

Entry fees must be received by 5 p.m. On the Friday before a tournament; no entries are accepted after that deadline. The tournament payback is 75 percent, with 20 percent held for the classic purse.

Accent Marine, a Stratos dealership owned by Ted and Maxine Meyer, is located on Highway 92 East at Tampa, Fla. The dealership is also a full-service provider for Evinrude.

“If a team is fishing out of a 2009 or newer Stratos, Stratos will match the win pot up to $10,000 so they will double the purse for first place in out tournaments,” Meyer said.

Maxine Meyer said the 18th Annual Stratos Boat Tournament will be held April 30-May 1 out of Camp Mack's resort.

“Entry fee is $120 per boat with 100 percent payback,” she said. “The tournament is for Stratos owners only, or if they have a Javelin they can also fish.”

For details on the Accent Marine tournaments, call (813) 620-1042 or (813) 620-1309, or email: [email protected] or [email protected].


Accent Marine Tournament Trail

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Kissimmee Chain of Lakes

Camp Mack’s River Resort

Cold Temperatures Have Lake Eufaula Bass Suspended Out Deep As Bws Tournament Nears

The story is the same all across the South: This is a cold, cold winter and fishermen can't wait until spring arrives with some warmer temperatures.Gary Galloway, who lives just 25 minute north of Lakepoint Marina on Lake Eufaula, fished an ABA tournament on the lake Saturday and found the bass are still out deep.

“The temperature in the morning was 44 degrees and by mid-afternoon it was up to 46 degrees. It gained a couple of degrees, but it was not enough to put them up shallow,” said Galloway who finished fourth. “The fish I caught were real light in color because they all came from the deeper water.”

And, said Galloway, the way the weather patterns are developing he expects the bass in Eufaula to stay out deep for some time to come.

“The average temperature has been down about 8 to 10 degrees cooler than the normal mean temperature for the area. If the weather stays the same, the bass will remain down deep and suspended,” said Galloway.

“This winter and last winter, too, were both exceptionally colder winters than the norm here. The mean temperature normally is in the upper 40s, low 50s this time of year. When we have only mid 40s for highs and the upper 20s and low 30s at night the mean temperature has dropped into the lows 40s.”

Galloway has entered the Bassmaster Weekend Series Alabama South Division tournament on Feb. 5 as a co-angler, so he faces the prospect of developing a winning strategy based on how the boater he draws fishes.

“I've fished all my life and I have been fishing Lake Eufaula for about seven years now, but I just seriously got into the weekend club type tournaments,” he explained. “I traveled in the military for a lot of years and never settled in one place, but since I got out of the Army and settled here I have been able to enjoy it a lot more.”

Galloway caught his bass Saturday on a Shakey Head, but he may have to change tactics in the BWS tournament fishing out of the back of the boat.

“If my partner is out fishing ledges I am going to have to look for some kind of deep water structure on his screen that I can target and maybe throw a deep diving crankbait or a jig and craw, or possibly a jigging spoon,” he said.

“It all depends on what his pattern is. Sometimes it's just he luck of the draw., who you draw and what kind of thing they do that is relative to what you like to do,” Galloway said. “Right now I just throw my name in the hat and hope I get somebody who likes to fish like I do.”

The BWS Tournament Feb. 5 is the first in a series of five tournaments on the schedule for the Alabama South Division in 2011. It will be followed by tournaments March 5 on Lay Lake, out of Beeswax Landing; April 2 on the Alabama River, out of Cooters Pond; May 21 on Lake Logan Martin, out of Lakeside Park; and September 24-25 on Lake Martin, out of Wind Creek State Park.

Bassmaster Weekend Series Alabama South Division

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Lake Eufaula

Lake Point Resort State Park

FLW Outdoors announces Strike King as Newest Sponsor

FLW Outdoors announces Strike King as the newest sponsor for the Everstart Series Angler of the Year. The winner in each of the five divisions will receive $5000.00.  On the Co-angler side from each division, will receive $2000.00. "Strike King Lure Company is proud and excited to be the newest sponsor of FLW Outdoors." said Chris Brown. Strike King has been providing fishermen with great products for over 40 years.

Countdown to Blastoff 2011 Week 1

Special Guest Justin Kijak from Sportsmans Warehouse helps us break down a HUGE WEEKEND of Tournaments coming up across the region-its the first Countdown of the 2011 Season, and we're ready to Blast Off!!

2011 Greene Boat And Motor Team Trail Preview

AC Pro Staffer Brett Collins breaks down this weeks 1st Greene Boat and Motor Team Trail Event on Wylie with some great tips for what he thinks will take the prize............

Bassmaster Weekend Series Kicks Off 2011 With A Solid Showing In La Despite Cold Temps!!

ATHENS, Ala. – Mike Bock took the Louisiana Division 13 early points lead by winning the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series, operated by American Bass Anglers, tournament held Jan. 22, 2011, on the sprawling Atchafalaya Basin near Morgan City.

On a cold day, the 45-year-old angler from Meraux landed five bass weighing 16.43 pounds with a 3.28-pound kicker to win the division season opener and landed $2,559.

“I jumped around a lot in pre-fishing,” Bock said. “Today, I just went to my area and sat on them. We bounced jigs and watermelon flukes down ledges. I caught five fish, but they were all keepers. They were all about the same size.”

The tournament launched out of Doiron’s Landing in Stephenville just north of Morgan City at the southern end of the longest river swamp in the nation. The Atchafalaya Basin covers more than one million acres of natural lakes, cypress-lined bayous, canals and swamps.

Taking second in the Boater Division, Wayne Tucker, 62, of Lafayette also caught a five-fish tournament limit weighing 15.44 pounds with a 3.85-pound kicker. He caught about 25 fish in all, but only those five keepers to win $1,292.

“I practiced one day and went into some old pipeline canals,” Tucker said. “I caught all my fish on willow-leaf spinnerbaits run slowly off secondary ledges in about three feet of water. Boat traffic actually helped me. As boats ran up and down the canal, the bass got tighter to the stumps and hit a little better. The bigger fish started hitting later in the day. I caught my last weigh fish at 1:30 p.m.”

Taking the division points championship for the past two years, Brett Sellers, 32, of Denham Springs weighed five bass going 14.74 pounds to pick up 248 points. Catching more than 40 bass including 13 keepers.

“We ran toward the back of the canals where the fish were getting ready to spawn. I had a limit by 9 a.m., and then went looking for big ones. They really turned on at noon. I threw a black and blue beaver on a Texas rig with 20-pound fluorocarbon by cypress trees and laydowns on the Lake Verret side of the landing. I just kept working it slowly.”

Sandy Gaudet of Belle Rose finished fourth with five bass weighing 13.65 pounds including one 3.36-pounder. Fishing his home waters, Robbie Percle of Morgan City landed five bass for 13.54 pounds and fifth place. Tommy Robichaux of Erath took sixth place with five bass going 13.12 pounds, but anchored his bag with a 4.95-pound tournament lunker.

Matthew Bates did very well for fishing his first ever bass tournament. Teamed with Bock, the 35-year-old Pineville angler won the Co-Angler Division with three bass going 10.21 pounds to win $1,279. He also took the division big bass title with a 4.84-pounder.

“I only caught three fish all day,” Bates admitted. “The conditions were really cold, so we knew we were going to fish slow. We caught some on flukes and tube jigs in hydrilla mats. Then, we got on a point and I caught a big fish on a black and purple jig and pig. The key was working the jig slow over the grass. The fish were a lot shallower than I would have thought on such a cold day. We threw the jig into about two feet of water and worked it into deeper water. I’m looking forward to my next tournament.”

Mike Templeton of Denham Springs also brought in a three-bass division limit for 8.05 pounds and second place. Justin Suchy of Baton Rouge landed three bass going 6.94 pounds to take third among the co-anglers. Britt Cavalier of Houma landed two fish for 6.80 pounds with one going 4.28 pounds. Rounding out the top five co-anglers, Anthony Plescia of Slidell brought in three bass at 6.75 pounds with one 2.54-pounder.

For more information, call ABA at (888) 203-6222. On line, see

About American Bass Anglers: The Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series provides weekend anglers a professionally operated competitive tour with a path the world championship of bass fishing the Bassmaster Classic. American Bass Anglers commitment is to provide low cost, close to home tournaments for the weekend angler and at the same time offer each competitor an upward path for individual angler progression. For more information about American Bass Anglers and the American Fishing Tour, The Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series, The American 150 Series or the American Couples Series, visit

Rake Ready For Sc Bassmaster Weekend Series To Start On Lake Murray Next Saturday

A lot has happened since Kevin Rake finished second and weighed in the big fish in a tournament on Lake Murray right before Christmas – like two snowstorms and more than a week of persistent below freezing temperatures.

But, the lake could be just about back to normal for the Bassmaster Weekend Series' first South Carolina Division tournament of the season Saturday, Jan. 29.

“There was a club senior tournament up there yesterday (Thursday) and they weighed in several bags of fish at 14 to 15 pounds. But I talked to a buddy who was on the lake today and he caught nothing. That front that came through last night might have messed it up a little bit,” the Early Times pro staffer said.

“The water is pretty clear and the water temperature is about the same as before, 42 to 46 degrees. We had that super cold and then the sun popped out for a few days. If the sun stays on the lake a little bit it will warm up some.”

With the lake returning to normal, the same pattern Rake fished in late December could be the ticket for the BWS tournament next Saturday.

“I caught those fish on a ShadRap, fishing the steeper banks going into the mouths of secondary coves. I was targeting the steepest banks and cranking down real slow off them,” he said.

Although the fish were not schooled up, he said they were generally holding in the area.

“I never hit anything with the ShadRap. I'd just pause it every once in a while. I'd catch one here and one there. I didn't run all over the lake, but as far as catching one and throwing back to the same spot and catching another or seeing one come up with one I was reeling in, I never did do that.”

There was one unique facet of the fishing pattern that day, he said.

“It was a charity tournament for a wounded Marine and I was fishing with his dad. He was throwing the same thing I was. We caught a lot of jackfish. It seemed like we'd catch a jackfish and then we would catch a bass.”

With the water temperature in the low to mid-40s it is a perfect time to bring out a spoon, Rake said.

“I think if somebody goes out and gets on the bigger fish with a spoon they could catch them pretty good. But that is kind of iffy. You can catch them like that one day and the next day you can't find one.”
One thing is certain, he said. Somebody will catch fish.

“I think they will probably average 10 to 12 pounds – unless somebody gets onto some big ones by dropping a big spoon down.”

Rake finished fourth in the S.C. Division in 2010 and made it to the divisional, then on to the championship where he missed the cut for the final day. He said he looking forward to returning to Santee Cooper for the second S.c. Division tournament in March.

“The tournament this year is only a week different from when I was down there last year and placed third and my co-angler won his side and had big fish. The fish were just moving up on this flat and we were throwing spinnerbaits and going round and round in a 200-yard circle and fan casting.”

Santee Cooper will also be the site of the BWS National Championship Nov. 6-12, but Rake said he is not nearly as excited about fishing down there at that time of year.

“November can be pretty tough at Santee and it has always been a feast or famine lake for me. I can go down there and have a good sack or I won't have anything,” he said.\

“But I am just hoping those fish will move back up on that flat I was fishing on when we go there in March. My only problem,” he said with a chuckle, “is that about 15 guys know exactly where I was fishing last March. I'll just have to try to beat them there.”


Bassmaster Weekend Series South Carolina Division

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Lake Murray

Dreher Island State Park

'keowee Limit' Will Be Needed For First Fish The Fall Tournament Of Second Half Season

The second half of the Fish the Fall Team Trail kicks off Jan. 29 on Lake Keowee and points leaders Brian and Mike Tidwell have a bullseye on their backs, said tournament director Dennis Landrum.

“They are under the gun and they have quite a few chasing them,” said Landrum, “because they have won the points championship the last two years in a row.”

But it might take more than one tournament to chase them down because the best finish the Tidwells have had this season was also on Keowee – first place. They started the current season off with a fourth place finish in September on Lake Hartwell, took first on Keowee in October, and followed that with a seventh place finish in November on Lake Greenwood and 10th in December on Lake Russell.

After the Jan. 29 tournament on Lake Keowee, the second half of the season will include Feb. 25-26 on Lake Hartwell, March 26 on Lake Murray and April 23 on Lake Jocassee. The Fish the Fall Championship will be held May 20-21 on a lake to be selected by a drawing later in the season.

Landrum said the second half of the season is highlighted by the fact that Carolina Lunker Sauce and U.S. Reels have come aboard as sponsors of the trail.

He said he is planning to split the season next year so there will be a first half points champion, a second half champion and an overall points champion.

“We have 62 teams and we are averaging 50 to 55 boats per tournament with payouts running around $9,000 per tournament,” Landrum said. Each team pays a $200 membership fee and the entry fee is $200 per tournament.

“I look for it to take 13 to 14 pounds to win the Keowee tournament next week,” Landrum said. “It's been tough up there the last couple of weeks with the temperature dropping. The water temperature is running from the high 30s to the low 40s. The temperature dropped 7 or 8 degrees with that cold spell that came through last week.”

Landrum said it will take a “Keowee Limit” to win the tournament.

“Whoever has four small fish will need a 3 1/2- to 5-pound kicker fish. That's what we call a Keowee Limit. You have to have a kicker fish to win at Keowee.”

The name of the trail has an interesting history, said Landrum, who bought the trail three years ago.

“I think the name of the trail came from 'Fish the Fall, Winter and Spring',” he said. “The trail, which is the largest team trail in South Carolina, is not run in the summer when it is to hot, so it came up 'Fish the Fall' and that is what it is.”


Fish The Fall Team Trail

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Lake Keowee

South Cove

Fat Stringers Expected For First Greene Boat & Motor Trail Tournament On Lake Wylie

You can expect some nice stringers to be weighed in the first tournament of the year for the Greene Boat & Motor Tournament Trial on Lake Wylie next Saturday, according to tournament director Brett Collins.

“Lake Wylie has been producing 15- to 17-pound limits lately,” Collins said. “South Fork is popular now with the warmer temperatures there and the jerkbait bite should kick in pretty soon.”

Lake Wylie has two hot holes, the Allen Steam Station, located on the North Carolina side of the lake east of the South Fork Catawba River, and the Catawba Nuclear Station, located on the South Carolina side of the lake near Big Allison Creek. Because of the heated water discharge from the nuclear power plants, Lake Wylie is known as a particularly good bass lake in the winter.

“The water level is where it usually is this time of year so we look to see some good limits caught,” Collins said.

The Greene Boat & Motor Trail schedule includes the trial opener Jan. 29 out of South Point Access on Lake Wylie; Feb. 19 out of Pinnacle Landing on Lake Norman; March 5 out of Buster Boyd Bridge on Lake Wylie; April 23 out of Pinnacle Landing on Lake Norman; May 21 out of Dutchman Creek Marina on Lake Wateree; and June 4 out of Whittenburg Access on Lake Hickory. The 2011 Greene Boat & Motor Championship will be held Oct. 8-9 out of Pinnacle Landing on Lake Norman.

“We dropped lake Murray and added a qualifier at Hickory hoping to add local teams who would want to enter the championship on Lake Norman in October,” Collins said.

“The Greene Trail will consist of six qualifiers this year instead of seven and a team only has to fish four qualifiers to be eligible to enter the championship,” said Collins, adding that a team can use a sub and count the sub toward the four qualifiers to be eligible for the championship.

“This will make it a little easier to qualify,” Collins said.

The points champions will win $1,000 and second place in points will win a Minn Kota trolling motor. Membership is $15 per angler and entry fee is $120 per team in advance, $130 the morning of the event. Payback will be one in every six places. There will also be an optional $20 entry fee for big fish, with 100 percent payback for first and second big fish.

Collins pointed out that there will be several contingency opportunities, including Stratos 2X, Bass Cat Quest program and the Nitro Tournament Rewards program.

Collins said the trail paid out more than $40,000 in 2010, the first year of the trail, and hopes to increase the total payout with more entries this year.

“We averaged between 35 and 40 teams in 2010 and look for more new teams to join up this year. First Place at the Championship last year took home over $6,000 with only 25 teams entered in the Championship,” Collins said.


Greene Boat & Motor Tournament Trail

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Lake Wylie

South Point Access

Could The 2011 Bassmaster Open On Toho Be Won On A Strike King Red Eye Shad?

AC Insider Robby Byrum takes a detailed look at the STRIKE KING Red Eye Shad-a bait that could be worth lots of moeny this weekend on Toho and throughout the year!!

Cold Weather Just Fine For Fishers Of Men Open On Lake Keowee

Last year the Fishers of Men Upstate Division opening tournament of the year had to be postponed because of severe winter weather, but this year the winter storm came a week early and everything should be ready to go for the Division's first open tournament of the year on Lake Keowee Saturday.

“This open tournament is a predecessor of our first Upstate Division event on Lake Keowee,” said Tournament Director Rodney Floyd. “It's a good way to get new folks to come out and see what Fishers of Men is all about and hopefully draw a little bigger crowd to the regular tournaments in 2011.”

Floyd said participation fell off slightly in 2010, mainly due to the poor economy, but he is hoping for it to pick back up this year.

“There is a little bit of travel involved with Fishers of Men. Guys are still fishing tournaments, but most are focusing on one or two lakes near their home. But we are getting new people calling us, so we hope to see our division start growing back this year.”

With plenty of snow and ice still covering much of the South Carolina upstate, fishing will be cold Saturday, but that will be okay, Floyd said.

“Before this front came through I talked to some folks and fishing was kind of tough, but Keowee is a winter lake. Some say the colder it is the better the fishing is. If you can stand to be out there you can catch the fish down deep.”

Those who fish the FOM Open on Keowee and sign on for the regular season will find plenty of incentive with more sponsors stepping up and expanding the payout program, he said.

“I think the biggest attraction of Fishers of Men for a weekend angler is that there are some good payouts,” said Floyd who noted that Skeeter and Yamaha have signed on as national sponsors this year and Markel Insurance has launched a points reward program for FOM anglers, providing $10,000 to the national points champion team and $5,000 to the runner-up points team.

Participants must get a boat insurance quote from Markel Insurance prior to competing in their second tournament, and then compete in at least 5 Fishers of Men Team Series tournaments with 30 or more competing teams. Points awarded at the Regional Championships this fall will be added to the team's regular season best five finishes for their final points total.

But the main attraction for fishing Fishers of Men, Floyd said, is the Christian emphasis at the tournaments.

“I hear over and over from our anglers that they fish this trail because of the attitudes of the people involved. The anglers see and understand and appreciate what is going on through Fishers of Men on a much bigger level than just the competitive side.”

Floyd said that in the regular season on the Friday night before a tournament there is a meeting of anglers usually at a local church. However, this is an open tournament and there will be no pre-tournament meeting and anglers do not have to be members of Fishers of Men. They can just show up at the ramp on Saturday morning and pay their $120 entry fee before fishing.

Following Saturday's Open tournament, the Fishers of Men Upstate Division schedule will include tournaments Feb. 5 on Lake Keowee, March 5 on Lake Russell, April 2 on Clarks Hill, April 30 on Lake Greenwood and June 4 on Lake Hartwell.

For details, call Floyd at (843) 283-1230 or (843) 756-3719, or email him at: [email protected].

Fishers of Men SC Upstate OPEN

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Lake Keowee

Mile Creek

2011 Product Preview with Great Outdoor's David Hendrick

David Hendrick from the Great Outdoors joins us to preview some hot new crankbaits that are flat out catching fish early in this 2011 season............

2011 Tournament Season Preview With Guy Eaker

BASS and Elite Series Pro Guy Eaker helps us preview the 2011 Professional Tournament season-including his big time support of the PAA!!

2011 Bait Preview with Bass Pro Guy Eaker Part Two

Bass and Elite Series Pro Guy Eaker continues his preview of hot baits for 2011............

2011 Bait Preview with Bass Pro Guy Eaker Part One

Bass and Elite Series Pro Guy Eaker takes us through some of the hot baits going into this 2011 season!

Ac Exclusive: Ryan Newman One On One

Ryan Newman joins us from his offices in Statesville, NC to re-cap and talk about the success of his 5th Annual Ryan Newman Foundation Tournament on Lake Norman this past weekend...

Sportsman's Warehouse 2010 December Report

Sportsman's Warehouse Fishing Manager Justin Kijak showcases some great cold water/weather baits that will have success over this Holiday season....and of course, they are all in stock right now at SPORTSMAN'S WAREHOUSE!!

Coutdown to Blastoff 2010 Week 30

Robby B helps us on Week 30 with some great tips and baits to throw over the Holidays in this especially cold weather-you may be suprised what he says!!

2010 Ryan Newman Tournament Preview

AC Pro Staffer Rob Digh gets us all ready for the 5th Annual Ryan Newman on Lake Norman this Sat....he highlights 3 baits he thinks you must have to catch enough quality to crack the 16 Plus LB mark-which is what he thinks it will take to win the new NITRO Z-9 awarded to the winner!!

2011 Ranger 620 VS Walk Around

Ranger Rep George Liddle takes us on a great tour of the brand new Ranger 620 VS and all the new features that make this one heck of a new boat!!

2010 Ranger Product Knowledge FLW COO Kathy Fennell Part 2

FLW Outdoors President of Operations Kathy Fennell continues her speech on why things are really looking up not only at FLW Outdoors, but for most of the Industry as well-

2010 Ranger Product Knowledge FLW COO Kathy Fennell Part 1

FLW President of Operations Kathy Fennell speaks about some of the major impacts that the Wal Mart partnership will bring as well as her upbeat feel regarding 2011

2010 Ranger Product Knowledge Tour Forest Wood Video

Ranger Founder Forest Wood Speaks about all the change and positive signs he see's moving fwd into 2011-

TBF of SC 6 Man Team Tournament on Clarks Hill Results

Clarks Hill lake was the site of the last regular points tournament of the year for The Bass Federation of SC. This tournament was of  significant importance because it would decide the points champions for the year as well as the top finishers to make up the state team and represent South Carolina at the Southern Divisional next spring.

Clarks Hill has been very stingy lately in giving up big bass but a few showed up this day that would be a deciding factor. The abundant vegetation is usually of importance here and was to many. However some of the top finishers reported fishing shallow rocky areas with success. With water temps in the lower 60’s the sun warming these areas may have been a factor. There is also a great deal of shad moving into these shallows. The day started with air temp at 30 degrees. One of the first frosty mornings of the year.

Pat Whaley of Lexington would come out on top in the boater division. His 5 bass limit included a 4.78 lb. largemouth that was caught in the last hour of the day. A last stop at some riprap with a crank bait proved to be a good decision. Pat would not only win this tournament but also take the Angler of the year title by a mere 2 points.

Second place with 4 bass was John Sturkie of  Swansea weighing in at 8.60 lbs. John also caught the big bass of the tournament at 5.77 lbs. Third place was Calvin Hewitt with 8.08 lbs. fouth Matthew Teets at 6.23 lbs. and rounding out the top five Robert Rikard with 5.55 lbs.

In the Co/Angler division Kenny Grimes would take the win. Kenny has led the points race all year and sealed the deal with a four bass bag of 8.09 lbs. It included big bass for this division at 2.86 lbs. Second was Tom Rubbo weighing five bass at 6.88 lbs. third Bryan Beaudrot 6.14 lbs. fouth Terry Thomas 5.71 lbs. and fifth DJ McEachern 4.21 lbs.

TBF of SC has announced it’s schedule for 2011 and it can be seen at and are welcoming new members to join.

Countdown to Blastoff 2010 Week 28

Robby B joins us this Thanksgiving Week to preview the Toys for Tots on Clarks Hill as well as the 5th Annual Ryan Newman coming to Lake Norman on Sat, Dec 11th!!

Sportsman's 2010 Nov Product Preivews with AC Pro Staffer Dearal Rodgers

AC Pro Staffer Dearal Rodgers gets you ready for the next 3 weeks on Clarks Hill with some key BAITS that he thinks you will have to have to be competitive-live from Sportsmans Warehouse in Columbia, SC!!

Countdown to Blastoff 2010 Week 27

Robby B helps us go through some great upcoming Tournaments on Clarks Hill as well as the 5th Annual Ryan Newman Foundation Tourney going out of Blythe Landing on Lake Norman on Sat, Dec 11th!!

Tom's Marine Tt Championship

Champions Pete Ling and Bobby Cardwell of Knoxville, TN win the 2010 Championship and take home a brand new Ranger Z118! Tournament Director Richard McMaster helps us wrap up one great year and one great weekend!!

Anglers Praying For Warmer Weather Before Bassmaster Classic On Lay Lake

Everybody knows Randy Howell has a strong Christian faith and the Elite Series angler says he has been doing a lot of praying lately.

Not for a win in the Bassmaster Classic on Alabama’s Lay Lake next weekend, but for the rain to stop and the weather to warm up a little

North Carolina native who now calls Springville, Ala., home.

“We’ve had extremely cold weather here. We’ve had a lot of rally cold rain and that is what has been killing the lake more than anything.

“It rained three inches here the other day and the temperature was 43 degrees while it was raining. It flooded the lake out, made it dirty and muddy – and muddy, cold water is a lot harder to fish than muddy warm water,” said Howell who is busy this week preparing for the Classic.

“I’m down here on my boat, working, putting blue LED lights in the boat, getting my tackle ready and trying to get prepared. And I’m praying the weather will warm up and the rain will stop – a big, big prayer.”

Weather forecasters say Howell’s prayer may be answered – but probably not in time for the Classic.

The first official practice day for the Bassmaster Classic is this Friday, a day when the forecast on calls for “rain/snow showers” in the Birmingham area, including Lay Lake. The high is predicted to be 38, the low 29, and the chance of that slushy precipitation occurring is 40 percent.

By Feb. 17, the final practice day, highs should be 52 and skies partly sunny (although low temperatures Feb. 17 might be in the low 30s). But even one or two sunny days may be too little, too late, to heat up a Lay Lake largemouth bite.

“I think it definitely is going to depend on the week before the Classic, the week of the event” Howell said. “It’s going to have to warm up tremendously that week to make the lake rebound at all.”

The problem is that water temperature which has been hovering in the low to mid-40-degree range, he said.

“If it makes it up to 50-52 degrees or more it won’t be so bad, but if it says in that 40-degree range it can be really challenging.”

Strategy for Howell and the other fishermen will depend greatly on the weather over the next week and a half, he said

“The lake is full of fish, including big Florida strain bass which are the most affected by the cold. The spotted bass bite in the cold, so they will be the target fish if the water stays cold.”

Although there will be some shallow spotted bass, if they become the primary factor during the classic, he said, fishing will primarily be deep with Shakey Heads, football jigs and other deep water tactics.

“I’m hoping I don’t have to do that,” Howell said. “I’d rather fish fast and shallow, but who knows if we will be able to do that. It’s just up to the Good Lord above.”

If the weather changes dramatically and the water warms up, the largemouth bass will start to move to the shallow areas, he said.

“That’s when the bigger bite really comes on. The pre-spawn females will move up and get in 1 to 2 feet of water and you can flip them out of the grass,” he said. “That’s what everybody will be looking for, but it definitely will depend on the water temperature.”

Howell has qualified for eight previous Bassmaster Classics, two of them on Lay Lake. He finished 34th on Lay Lake in 2002, but his second highest finish in a Classic was in 2007 on Lay Lake when he was 13th.

“The 2007 Classic was about the same time of year, but the water temperature was 52-56 degrees then. Right now it is 10 degrees colder that that,” he said.

“But I am still excited about it and staying positive. I’m just hoping that stuff will start to work out during the time it needs to.”

Lay Lake

Birmingham, AL

Hite Looking For "right Group Of Fish" In Elite Series On Lake Dardanelle

It’s late March, the water temperature has warmed up to the high 50s-low 60s, and the bass in Arkansas’ Lake Dardanelle have moved up to spawn, so you’d expect the fishing to be easy for the Bassmaster Elite Series Diamond Drive tournament starting Thursday.

But, you’d be wrong.

“I’ve talked to a lot of the other pros and most are kind of saying the same thing,” said 1999 Bassmaster Classic Champion Davy Hite of Ninety Six, S.C. “The fishing is a lot tougher than I thought it would be.”

Normally when bass move up to spawn they come ready to eat and ready to fight anything that disturbs their spawning area, but for some reason the Dardanelle bass have not responded like normal fish this year.

Elite Series pro Clark Reehm, who lives just a few minutes from the boat ramp on Lake Dardanelle, said local tournament anglers are not even catching a lot of smaller fish for some reason.  He added that the pros who have been to Dardanelle in the past might rely on 40 to 50 fish caught a day, but the bounty won’t be that plentiful in the Diamond Drive.

“Granted this is the Elites, but if the fish aren’t there, they aren’t there. Even the short fish – usually you catch 20-50 short fish, and it doesn’t seem like people are catching even that many.”

While Hite said he has been catching a good many fish in practice this week, most of them are small bass.

“This is a good lake and I’ve had some success here in the past,” said Hite, who won the Arkansas CITGO Bassmaster Elite 50 Pro tournament on Dardanelle in 2005 with a whopping total of 58 pounds, 9 ounces.

“I found those fish during the tournament,” he said, adding hopefully, “so, maybe tomorrow.”

Hite’s game plan in the tournament is to just go fishing.

“I think the better fish are up shallow where I’ve been catching a lot of smaller fish. I’m going to change baits and see if they like something different from what I’ve been throwing,” he said.

He’d love to repeat that success and get back into the Angler of the Year race, a title he’s won twice in his career.

“We’ve only had one tournament and I did not have the kind of tournament that I wanted in that first event,” said Hite, who finished 81st two weeks ago on Lake Amistad on the Texas-Mexico Border. “But, hopefully I can do better here. This is more my type of shallow water fishing and a lot of those fish last week were caught out extremely deep.”

Jason Williamson of Aiken, S.C., won the Lake Amistad Elite tournament and is leading the Bassmaster AOY Points race going into the second tournament of the year. Williamson bagged more than 68 pounds of bass the last two days of the tournament to surge into first place for the title with a four-day total of 96 pounds, 6 ounces.

“A South Carolina boy won it, but he was doing something totally different than what he is used to fishing and what I am used to fishing, but he found the right group of fish and that is what it is all about,” Hite said.

Now, he’s hoping to find that “right group of fish” this week on Lake Dardanelle like he did four years ago and repeat that 2005 Arkansas win.

Diamond Drive

Bassmaster Elite Series

Lake Dardanelle

Russellville, AR

Mar. 26-29, 2009