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

Bassmaster Southern Open Wrapup Insider Vance McCullough recaps a great week of bass tournament action from the Kissimmee Chain, site of the first Bassmaster Southern Open of 2011!

'g Man' Gets First Win! The Rest Of Us Get A Lesson.

In his long, successful angling career Gerald Swindle had won Angler of the Year and finished 2nd a number of times. He had never finished 1st in a Bassmaster sanctioned event. He changed that this week.

Swindle found fish offshore and dragged a Carolina rig - something he has often said he would never do - to pile-up 80 pounds, 13 ounces over 3 days. Swindle's fish were staging in 5-foot depths. "Fourteen-pound fluorocarbon on top and bottom (of the C-rig) and a trick worm - redbug when the sun was out, junebug when it wasn't," said swindle of his tackle. Alternately he used a gold lipless crankbait throughout the week.

So strong was Swindle's spot that his partner for the day, Marlon Crowder, won the co-angler division when he blew the rest of us away with a 21-pound, 3-fish limit. Hats off to Crowder who fished well, capitalized, and seized a wonderful opportunity.

As for yours truly - I jumped from 11th to 4th (on the co-angler side) on the strength of one fish. If you're only going to catch one, it needs to be big. Mine was. She weighed 8 pounds, 3 ounces. I decided to swing big on the last day and make a charge at the lead so I threw a 6.5-inch Strike King Shadalicious Swimbait. The big girl swiped at it and missed but I threw right back into the vanishing swirl and she blasted it on top. Swimbaits work best with a light belly weight on the hook to keep them upright and swimming instead of spinning and twisting your line. I also used another trick to help ease the lure through grass and pads - a plastic nose cone with a screwlock attachment similar to a scewlock worm weight. This keeps the soft plastic lure from sliding down the hook and also helps it wedge through cover.

After seeing Crowder's huge fish I don't regret my decision to fish for big ones instead of trying to catch a smaller limit with a worm or something. It turns out that the only way I could have won was to connect with two more like the one I caught. So, I am satisfied with the decisions I made all week. Especially on the final day.

My insider's perspective on this event helped me sharpen my thinking about multiple day tournaments in Florida.

Strategies for winter tournaments in Florida often come down to the question of whether the big females have moved up to spawn. If they are still staging a step deeper, then that's where the winning stringer swims. If they scatter up onto the flats, then that's where you need to look for them. Looking became difficult in the high winds of day 3. Down on Kissimmee the biggest bass moved up on day 2 and a handful of guys made huge leaps into the top 12 with those fish. But wind made it tough to control a boat, much less fish on the east side of the lake where many top finishers fished.

"I was catching them offshore," said Chris Lane who fished Kissimmee. "The big ones moved up and my fish started running smaller." So shallow fish were hard to target and most of the big ones went shallow.

Bobby Lane mixed sight-fishing with an offshore trap bite to put a ton of pressure on Swindle. Bobby caught at a 9-pounder each day plus a 10-11 and a 9 in the final round.

Toho fish were just a little behind their Kissimmee cousins in the spawning ritual. Offshore concentrations remained strong. Crowder had his 3 before 8a.m. And then Swindle followed suit.

The lesson I take away from this event is that with changeable weather and moving fish, multi-day tournaments in Florida are generally won with offshore fish, and furthermore, the best bet is to find fish that are still in a truly prespawn mode and, therefore, less likely to run up and bed during the event.


I'm In! - Or - Bassmaster Open Day 2 From Big Toho Marina On The Kissimmee Chain

I've got to blow my horn a little here. I made the Top 12 cut in the co-angler division and qualified to fish the final round tomorrow! I slid in there at 11th place when I weighed 5-5 today for a 2-day total of 14-12. I have to make up 3 pounds, 5 ounces to catch leader, Chris Lewis (18-01 total).

My pro partner, Lee Boutwell, took us to my spot twice today. I caught one fish there. Yesterday I threw back 4 and weighed a 9-07 limit out of there. She gave me just enough to squeak into the finals. Again, Thanks to Chuck at Kissimmee Boat Rentals out of Big Toho Marina for loaning me a boat to practice from. Four of my five fish came from the spot I found while practicing from one of his boats. That's the biggest reason I made the cut.

On the pro side it took a little more weight to make the cut. Chris Lane is 12th with 31-11. JP Prouty is the first guy out of the cut with 30-12 after he caught 21 pounds of Toho bass today to rally from 46th yesterday.

Andy Montgomery almost caught the 8-pounder that pushed JP up the leader board. "He got there 2 minutes before I did," said Montgomery who finished out of the money as a result. "I watched him catch that fish."

Gerald Swindle still leads with 55-05 followed by Bobby Lane (51-13) and Trevor Fitzgerald (50-04). Larry Cahan and Ott Defoe round out the top 5.

Rumor has it that the leaders are throwing lipless crankbaits in hydrilla. I'll try to confirm that tomorrow.

Weigh in tomorrow begins at 4p.m. at the Bass Pro Shop in Orlando. Live video coverage at I will be there, not as a correspondent, but as a contestant. Wish me luck! (And hope I don't need it.)

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

Swindle Swings Big Bag To Lead Bassmaster Open On Kissimmee Chain

Roland Martin got off to a good start in his first BASS event since coming out of retirement. The star angler put 18 pounds on the scales and sits in 8th place.

Gerald Swindle leads the 193-boat field with 30-13. Trevor Fitzgerald is close behind with 29-15. Terry "Big Show" Scroggins is in 3rd with 25-5.

Fishing was slow for most today as high skies dominated. The big waves of huge females have not shown in the shallows as many had hoped. Obviously, a few guys found them. Tomorrow will be a different deal, though, with wet windy weather. Look for the leaderboard to change.

Yours truly got in on the action in the co-angler division. With 9-07 I trail leader, John Avalos and his 12 pound, 4 ounce 3-fish limit. I am currently in 4th.

I enjoyed a wonderful day on the water with Mike Hall who guides on the Potomac. If you're headed that way, call him at 571-236-1918 or email [email protected] - tell him Vance sent you.

Mike and I owed huge THANK YOU to Tony Dante who gave us a ride to weigh in when Mike's motor wouldn't crank. I had a good limit and we were running out of time. Tony got us there with all of 30 seconds to spare. Thanks Tony!


Prefishing Fun With Insider Vance Mccullough insider Vance McCullough had a fun and productive practice day ahead of the Bassmaster Southern Open on Kissimmee Chain of Lakes in Central Florida.

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!!

Some Practice Notes From The Bassmaster Open On Lake Toho

As fog lifted from Lake Toho's surface this morning, I stood conversing with Roland Martin who has come out of retirement to fish the Southern Opens this year. "I just thought it would be fun," said Martin.

I had fun this morning when I found a group of bass that choked down the Strike King Red Eye Shad. Fishing has been very tough here lately - Florida bass do not like cold snaps - so I felt really good about the 10 bites I got, including one that weighed about 5 pounds. Under these conditions that's good enough to make Roland say "Son!".

I enjoyed the day in a G3 bass boat from Kissimmee Boat Rentals which operates out of Big Toho Marina. Imagine hopping a flight or just driving down to Lake Toho, parking the truck and, 10 minutes later, you are mobile on one of the best bass factories in America. No monthly boat payment, no maintenance issues, just show up and enjoy! Trust me, it's that easy. Vacationing in the area? Sneak away for a day and catch some fish.

Water in one pocket reached 64 degrees by late afternoon. Moon is full tomorrow. Might we see a wave of bass beds across the shallows? A lot of folks expect so. If so, the fish will have to move up fast because there weren't many fanning beds out there today.

This tourney could be tougher than anticipated.

Stay tuned.

Bassmaster Open On Kissimmee Chain Could Be "off The Chain"

Bassmaster Open on Kissimmee Chain - Practice underway; underwater

Rain dumped on Central Florida today - and on the anglers who practiced for the upcoming Bassmaster Southern Open on the Kissimmee Chain.

Air and water temps are trying to climb to that magic mid-60's range that will bring swarms of big female bass to the beds with the full moon on Wednesday. Tourney begins Thursday. Bright sun will result in some monstrous bags at the weigh-in stage.

But, as always in Florida, the winter weather is likely to change as the week progresses and another round of showers should roll through sometime during the competition. If so, look for the Strike King Rage Toad to play a big role in the fortunes of those who do well.

Stay with us at AnglersChannel as we cover this event all week!

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