Humminbird Clearing the Path for Unrivaled Mapping with All-New LakeMaster Charts

Humminbird releases an upgraded premium mapping solution in Humminbird LakeMaster VX to help anglers understand what is under the water’s surface better than ever before.

RACINE, Wis. (Oct 3, 2022) – For decades, Humminbird LakeMaster® has led the charge with the most accurate and advanced mapping available for anglers. Now, LakeMaster is taking it to an entirely new level with the introduction of Humminbird LakeMaster maps with VX Technology.

The LakeMaster name has been praised among anglers for having the highest quality mapping for fishing, often collected by a team of GIS analyst cartographers. Now with VX Technology, LakeMaster maps are packed with more information than ever before, including five new customizable color palettes, exceptional map performance, and a powerful combination of features.

The new LakeMaster lineup maintains the same regions as the current lineup, but with two options per region: LakeMaster and LakeMaster Premium. Both products now include SmartStrike technology as a feature, allowing anglers to enter search parameters like season, time of day, temperature and targeted fish species to create a custom chart that highlights areas of the map where fish are most likely to be biting. LakeMaster and LakeMaster Premium also include customizable Chart Presets, four Depth Highlights with customizable colors, Shallow Water Highlight, Water Level Offset, and One-Boat Network capability. And for an added advantage, LakeMaster Premium includes two additional features: 2D Shaded Relief and Aerial Imagery.

“Anglers trust Humminbird LakeMaster to help them identify high-percentage areas to catch fish.” said Kyle Gilbert, Associate Brand Manager of Humminbird. “Now with VX Technology, the new Humminbird LakeMaster maps are packed with features designed to provide the angler with every advantage possible.”

LakeMaster has been the go-to road map for anglers, and compared to the competition, what you see on the map is actually on the lake bottom. With the introduction of LakeMaster with VX Technology, Humminbird LakeMaster solidifies its place as the most accurate and detailed fishing map on the market.

Humminbird LakeMaster Premium

  • VX Technology – Provides exceptional map performance and customizable color palettes.
  • SmartStrike – Highlights areas of the lake map where fish are most likely biting. (*Select HD Lakes Only)
  • Chart Presets – Simple and easy to change between your own custom view settings.
  • Depth Highlight – Highlight up to four depth ranges with customizable colors so you can target productive water and stay where the fish are.
  • Shallow Water Highlight – Easy-to-see red shading highlights shallow water areas on an adjustable range from 0 to 60 feet.
  • Water Level Offset – Synchronize the depth contours and shorelines of your LakeMaster charts with the actual water levels of lakes, reservoirs and rivers.
  • One-Boat Network – Connects your Humminbird LakeMaster chart and Minn Kota trolling motor, allowing your boat to automatically follow a depth contour line.
  • 2D Shaded Relief – Quickly identify fish holding areas with 2D shaded relief, which make bottom detail and depth changes easy to spot.
  • Aerial Imagery – Navigate confidently and find new fishing spots with the help of enhanced aerial imagery.
  • MSRP: $199.99

Humminbird LakeMaster

  • VX Technology – Provides exceptional map performance and customizable color palettes.
  • SmartStrike – Highlights areas of the lake map where fish are most likely biting. (*Select HD Lakes Only)
  • Chart Presets – Simple and easy to change between your own custom view settings.
  • Depth Highlight – Highlight a selected depth range so you can target productive water and stay where the fish are.
  • Shallow Water Highlight – Easy-to-see red shading highlights shallow water areas on an adjustable range from 0 to 60 feet.
  • Water Level Offset – Synchronize the depth contours and shorelines of your LakeMaster charts with the actual water levels of lakes, reservoirs and rivers.
  • One-Boat Network – Connects your Humminbird LakeMaster chart and Minn Kota trolling motor, allowing your boat to automatically follow a depth contour line.
  • MSRP: $149.99

Available: October 2022

To learn more about the advantages of Humminbird LakeMaster mapping, click here.


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – For Immediate Release – September 28, 2022 – ‘Celebrate Bass Fishing Week’ kicks off on Monday, Oct. 3 with the start of the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame’s annual online auction - - all leading up to induction of the 2022 class at the Hall’s annual plaque unveiling ceremony and dinner gala at the Wonders of Wildlife  Museum & Aquarium on Oct. 6.

            “This is the one night of the year when everyone in the bass fishing world gathers to celebrate our sport,” said Bass Fishing Hall of Fame Board president John Mazurkiewicz. “There’s a great deal of excitement over the exceptional support we’ve received for our online auction, and the induction dinner is on track to have its largest number of attendees in our history.”

To provide financial assistance to the Hall’s mission of celebrating, promoting and preserving the sport of bass fishing, the online auction (and live auction during the induction dinner with 2018 HOF inductee Kevin VanDam serving at auctioneer), will include a large selection of bucket list trips with Hall of Fame inductees, plenty of other fishing and hunting experiences, unique fishing art items and memorabilia, tournament jerseys from leading professional bass anglers, fishing tackle, and much more. Here’s just a short list of some of the major items up for bid:



  • Bass fishing trip in Tennessee with Bill Dance
  • Original artwork featuring Hall of Famer’s Ray Scott and Aaron Martens
  • Fishing trips with leading pro anglers including Skeet Reese, Johnathon VanDam, Edwin Evers, Jason Christie, Bobby Lane, Randy Howell, Tako Ito, and Hall of Famers Denny Brauer and Larry Nixon
  • Guitar signed by country music star Luke Bryan & Bill Dance
  • Grenada Lake (MS) guided crappie trip for 2
  • Rods, reels and lures from leading brands including Daiwa, Strike King, Lew’s, PRADCO, Rapala, Big Bite Baits, SPRO, Sunline, Gamakatsu, St. Croix, Shimano, Duckett Fishing, and more
  • Technical fishing clothing from AFTCO, Simms, HUK, and Marsh Wear
  • Handmade custom swimbaits and glide baits, some valued at up to $1,200
  • Fishing adventures for redfish on the Mississippi River Delta, big bass action at Grosse Savanne Resort in Louisiana, and crappie fishing with ‘Mr. Crappie’ Wally Marshall.

The online auction can be accessed by bass fishing enthusiasts throughout the U.S. and Canada on their smartphones, tablets and computers.

The Bass Fishing Hall of Fame wishes to acknowledge the financial support provided by presenting sponsors B.A.S.S., Major League Fishing, Phoenix Boats; gold sponsors PRADCO Outdoor Brands, Wired2fish, and Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s; silver sponsors AFTCO, Daiwa, Rapala, Rather Outdoors, Shimano; and bronze sponsors In-Fisherman, St. Croix, Simms Fishing, Bass Fishing Archives, Costa Compete & Conserve.

Catching up and moving forward


This week Chris & the boys welcome in Elite Series Toyota Pro Darold Gleason to talk about the upcoming Toyota Trucks Bonus Bucks Owners Tournament coming up in October. CB brings some Lithium vs Mercury news, they recap the Duckett Interview and Chris has a few words for those who think they can do his job better than him...... Short, fun show. Enjoy.

AC Insider Podcast - The Duckett Interview


In this special episode, Chris & the boys have the opportunity to sit down with Major League Fishing's President and CEO Boyd Duckett to talk about the new MLF Invitationals, removing the Pro Circuit and why, answering some listener questions along with some tough questions about the MLF Bass Pro Tour and more. If you want answers to some of the most recent questions about MLF, this should help clear some of those up.

AC Insider Podcast - "An Incredible Inspiration"


This week Chris & the boys are back, and excited to welcome back to the show your latest Toyota Series CHAMP, Arkansas' Hunter Baughman. Hunter has an incredible story to go along with being an incredible young man, husband and father. This one is worth the listen.

Jackson Roumbanis wins HOBIE BOS Event on Dardanelle in his FIRST ever Kayak Event!

The record breaking regular season of the Hobie BOS – Bass Open Series Anchored by Power-Pole Total Boat Controlconcluded in dramatic fashion on Lake Dardanelle today.
A 2- day cumulative total of 165″ was caught by the top two anglers! The champion was going to come down to a big fish tie-breaker in a stacked field of 141 anglers from all over the country!
Winning the tiebreaker and the event was 1st time kayak angler and 15 year old Jackson Roumbanis (AR). Jackson was a quick learner in the kayak game and it complimented his skills as a young angler well on his home lake. His longest fish in this Catch, Photo, and Release style tournament measured 18.5″ and was just enough! Jackson takes home $8,100 for this impressive showing.
On the short end of the Tie-breaker was BOS veteran Francis Tran (MS). While securing his 165″ his big fish only measured 18″. And although he was only .75″ from winning the tie-breaker, he was still able to take home $4,200 for his equally impressive total and a 2nd place finish.
Reigning Angler of the Year, Jordan Marshall (TN) battled hard today for a strong limit and 2-day total of 163.50″. His 3rd place finish was worth $2,300.
All 3 anglers earned the final automatic qualifying spots for the upcoming $100,000 Guarantee Tournament of Champions on Caddo Lake in Shreveport – Bossier City, LA.

Five Anglers Earn Automatic Qualification into 2023 ACA Championship

SAN ANTONIO, TX (September 20, 2022) – This past weekend, the Association of Collegiate Anglers hosted its first event of the 2022-23 season on the Bass Pro Shops Collegiate Bass Fishing Series.  Close to 500 anglers competed for two days at Kentucky Lake in Henry County and Paris, TN for the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley.  Each of the Top 5 finishing anglers in the overall standings earned automatic qualification into the 2023 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops at Lake Hartwell in Anderson, SC.  In this article, we will take a look at each of the anglers that finished in the Top 5 and punched their ticket to the 2023 ACA Championship.

Parker Brown – Dallas Baptist University

Parker won the 2022 Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley with a Kentucky Lake stud of a largemouth bass weighing 7.21 pounds.  Weighed in during Day 1 Session 3 presented by Bass Pro Shops, that seven plus pound fish went on to claim overall top prize in the near 500 angler field.  For the first-place finish, Parker earned over $5,500 in prizes.  Combined with the Day 1 Session 3 payout and the valuable contingencies he cashed in on, Parker went home with over $7,500 in prizes & contingencies.

This will mark the third time in which Parker Brown has qualified to participate in the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops.  Each of the last two years, he has competed in college fishing’s longest-running National Championship event with his brother Layton.  In 2021 the duo finished in 94th at Lake Murray in South Carolina, and at the 2022 ACA Championship on Pickwick Lake in Florence, AL they finished 77th overall.

Harper Burkeen – McKendree University

Harper Burkeen is one of two anglers from third ranked McKendree University to earn an automatic qualification to compete at Lake Hartwell next May.  Harper finished second overall at the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley with a bass weighing 5.43 pounds.

2023 will mark the first time that Harper has competed in the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops.

As a perennial top team in the country, the additional qualification spots could play a key role in McKendree University’s attempt to win the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia.  With the new addition to the points system of teams being eligible to earn triple points at the 2023 ACA Championship, the more boats a given school has qualified to compete in the event…the better their odds are to maximize the triple points opportunity.

Levi Mullins – Bethel University

Levi Mullins from Bethel University finished third overall at the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley with 5.40 pounds.  Like Harper from McKendree in second place, Levi is also one of two anglers from his school to place in the Top 5 and earn automatic qualification into the 2023 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops.

Levi has competed in the year-end Championship each of the last two years.  In 2021, Levi Mullins and Cody Gregory finished 18th overall at Lake Murray.  This past season at Pickwick Lake in Florence, AL, fishing with fellow teammate Matthew Cummings, Levi finished in 33rd.  At Lake Hartwell in Anderson, SC this upcoming May, Levi will be looking to secure his personal best finish at the ACA Championship.

Ethan Fields – McKendree University

Ethan Fields is the second angler from McKendree University to place in the Top 5 at the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley.  Ethan notched a fourth-place finish with a fish weighing 5.39 pounds.

Ethan is also the second angler in this feature to never have competed in the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops.  Provided that McKendree remains in the Top 25 for the remainder of the season, they would currently qualify to send six teams to the 2023 ACA Championship at Lake Hartwell.

Gage Sherrod – Bethel University

Rounding out the Top 5 is Gage Sherrod from Bethel University.  Gage finished fifth overall with a fish weighing 5.35 pounds.  This makes for the second angler from Bethel to earn automatic qualification into the 2023 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops.

This marks the first time in which Gage has qualified to compete in the year-end Championship.

Bethel University has a long history of success at the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops.  The team has won three ACA National Championships and claimed the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia once.  Two additional qualifications will give Bethel additional chances to earn points and show out at Lake Hartwell.

Major League Fishing Announces Formation of New Qualifying Series – the MLF Invitationals

MLF Introduces Six-Tournament Invitational Series Featuring “Win and You’re In” Automatic Qualification into Major League Fishing’s REDCREST  

TULSA, Okla. (Sept. 13, 2022) – Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today the formation of a new qualifying series that will launch in Spring of 2023 – the MLF Invitationals. The Invitationals will feature six events in 2023 and serve as the sole qualifying circuit into the MLF Bass Pro Tour.

The MLF Invitationals will feature a 150-angler field, competing over three days in a five-fish, weigh-in format. All 150 anglers will compete over the first two days of competition, with the top 50 anglers advancing to the third and final day. The winner of each Invitational will be determined by heaviest three-day cumulative weight. Each event will feature a total purse of more than $650,000, with the winner receiving a top payout of up to $115,000 and automatic qualification into MLF’s REDCREST, the Bass Pro Tour Championship that awards the sport’s top prize of $300,000.

MLF Invitationals will feature a $5,000 per tournament entry fee with payouts to the top 50 anglers that place it among the top three circuits in the nation along with providing a qualifying path to the Bass Pro Tour in only six events.

“MLF is committed to offering a wide selection of tournament opportunities to anglers of all skill levels – from our high school and college anglers all the way to our pros who compete on the Bass Pro Tour,” said Kathy Fennel, MLF Executive Vice President and General Manager. “The MLF Invitationals are a new qualifying series geared toward the best interests of anglers and the sport. We believe the Invitationals will be a valuable and efficient option for anglers seeking to compete in high-level five-fish-limit tournaments with an opportunity to qualify for REDCREST, while also providing a pathway for anglers that aspire to compete at the sport’s highest level on the Bass Pro Tour.”

In addition to the six “Win and You’re In” Invitational REDCREST qualifications, the season-long Invitational Angler of the Year (AOY) will also earn a berth into REDCREST for a total of seven REDCREST qualification opportunities. The top eight anglers in the season-long Invitational AOY point standings will qualify for the 2024 Bass Pro Tour.

The MLF Invitationals will replace the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit. Every angler who would have qualified to compete in the 2023 Pro Circuit will receive the first invitations to register for the new MLF Invitationals. The balance of the 150-boat field will be filled by professional anglers from the Bass Pro Tour and 2022 Pro Circuit and Toyota Series anglers who missed initial qualification. All qualified anglers may compete in any number of Invitational events. There will be no co-anglers in the MLF Invitationals.

Every day of competition will be broadcast live on MLF NOW!® and streamed to the Major League Fishing app, MyOutdoorTV (MOTV), and at Each event will also air on CBS Sports Network, with 13 consecutive weeks of 2-hour shows scheduled in 2023.

Full schedules and locations for all 2023 MLF circuits will be revealed next week.

For complete details and updated information on Major League Fishing, the MLF Invitationals and the Bass Pro Tour, visit For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF’s social media outlets at Facebook, TwitterInstagram, and  YouTube.

Top 8 College Anglers Battle For Classic Berth At Bassmaster College Bracket Challenge

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Eight of the country’s best college anglers will launch on Lake Greenwood from Greenwood, S.C., Sept. 30-Oct. 3 during the Bassmaster College Classic Bracket presented by Lew's, fishing for a berth in the 2023 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic.

The 2022 Bassmaster College Team of the Year — UNC Charlotte's Louis Monetti and Michael Fugaro — automatically punched their ticket to the College Classic Bracket to compete alongside the Top 3 teams from last week’s Strike King Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops in this individual, elimination-style tournament.

“(Winning Team of the Year) is pretty amazing. This is something we set out for at the beginning of the year, and it is something special,” Monetti said. “Just consistency and a lot of hard work. We tried to go out every week trying to outwork the field. There were no special tricks or anything like that, just a lot of hours on the water.”

Joining Monetti and Fugaro will be National champions Andrew Vereen and Connor Cartmell from Coastal Carolina University, former Bassmaster High School All-American Jackson Swisher and Seth Slanker from Florida Gateway College and Tyler Christy and Trey Schroeder from McKendree University in Illinois. Christy also qualified for the 2019 College Classic Bracket, won by then-Bethel University student Cody Huff, who just finished a solid rookie season on the Bassmaster Elite Series.

2022 College Championship Day 3.jpg“Just the thought of another opportunity to get back there knowing how much I have grown as an angler in four years is something I have wanted since I made it the first time,” said Christy. “I know I am so much better now, and now I get one more shot to complete my dream.”

On Day 1 of the event all eight anglers will compete individually to determine seeding and set the bracket for head-to-head competition. Morning action on Days 2 and 3, the first two elimination days in the tournament, will be broadcast on FS1 beginning at 7 a.m. CT. For full coverage of the tournament, visit

In addition to a spot in the Bassmaster Classic, the College Classic Bracket champion will also earn paid entry into the 2023 St. Croix Bassmaster Opens presented by Mossy Oak Fishing and the use of a Toyota Tundra and a Nitro Boat.

The 2022 College Classic Bracket is being hosted by Discover Greenwood, S.C.

If you Don't Like Smallmouth, Don't Listen to this Podcast.......


This week the circus is back and all together as they welcome in The National Professional Fishing League's most recent winner from Sandusky Bay, Scott Siller. Scott is a former Milwaukee Police Officer who retired and moved to Florida. Catch the 411 and more on his win. Chris & The boys also talk Fully Loaded U-Pick-Em's, Bassmaster Opens and more!

Marathon Man Raises Awareness, Funds and Fun

Canton, Illinois – Fishing’s Marathon Man, Jeff Kolodzinski, is back for the annual event that raises much needed funds for the Fishing For Life Next Gen Program, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on serving children of military families—especially those families that have lost a loved one during active military service—and single-parent households.

The Marathon Man event is a fishing endurance test in which Kolo (as his friends call him) attempts to break his own world record for number of fish caught in 24 hours. Last year he exceeded his goal of 2,977 (the number of persons killed by 9/11 terrorists in 2001) and set a new world standard with 3,186.

This year, the seemingly unattainable goal is 4,000 fish in 24 hours, nearly double the total Kolo had in 2010 when he first established the world record.

The numbers are important for a couple of reasons. First, we should never forget the lives lost on 9/11. Second, some generous individuals and companies will base their tax-deductible donation on the number of fish Kolo catches—a dollar, a quarter, a dime, or even a penny per fish will help.

How will he do it?

“I fish the same way most new anglers do—right from the bank, using the same kind of tackle. I’ll have a simple pole, a float, and live bait. I wat to show anglers—especially new anglers—that you can catch a ton of fish on simple and affordable tackle. The tackle I’ll use costs under $25, so anyone can do this.”

Why does he do it?

“I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the military,” he says, “even though I’ve never formally served. This is my way materially support those who are serving us.

“I also believe that fishing heals and brings people together and closer to nature. If I can show some people what fishing has to offer and they follow up and get involved, we all benefit.”

Where will he do it?

Giant Goose Ranch is a family-focused campground with 45 lakes for fishing, along with a host of other outdoor activities. The owners and operators at Giant Goose Ranch have been perennial supporters of Marathon Man in a great many ways, including providing the venue and backdrop for fishing’s greatest feel-good event.

How can you get involved?

Marathon Man will take place from 10:00 a.m. on Friday, September 9 to 10:00 a.m. on Saturday September 10. The event will be livestreamed at Visit the site to make a donation, offer support, and follow Kolo’s progress.

A special thanks to the supporters of Marathon Man: AFTCO, Black Rifle Coffee, Engel Coolers, Giant Goose Ranch, Fishing Tackle Retailer, Lindy/Thill, Mr. Crappie, St. Croix Rods, Sufix, VMC, Zebco … and hopefully you.

Palaniuk’s Sentimental Appreciation of Yamaha

Courtesy of Alan McGuckin - Dynamic Sponsorships

Brandon Palaniuk’s words after receiving a $15,000 Power Pay bonus check from Yamaha for winning the Bassmaster® Angler of the Year title were refreshingly genuine, and he got emotional when asked what his longtime relationship with Yamaha meant to him.

“I could talk for an hour about what Yamaha means to me. It’s the only outboard engine I’ve ever run. In fact, the very first time I was ever in a bass boat, it was a friend’s Skeeter 195 powered by a 200-horsepower Yamaha,” reflected the now two-time Bassmaster Angler of the Year.

Known for pushing every competition day to the final seconds, the former Idaho high school wrestling champion went on to say there’s no way he could fish until the last minute and make the afternoon’s tournament check-in time without knowing his 250-horsepower V6 V MAX SHO® would get him back on time every time.

“I always make it within seconds of my required check-in time, and you only do that if you know you’re running equipment you can absolutely count on,” insists Palaniuk.

Not only can anglers count on reliable Yamaha power, they can also count on Yamaha’s Power Pay bonuses. And the best part is they don’t have to beat top Yamaha pros like Brandon Palaniuk, Patrick Walters or Chris Zaldain to cash in for placing in tournaments.

There are plenty of Power Pay offerings for amateur and semi-pro level competitors with sanctioned tournaments spanning the bass, walleye and saltwater segments, including high school and college competitions.

It’s free to register and anglers don’t have to place first tournament to cash-in on the Power Pay money. To learn more, please visit

Old Reel, Fresh Line for Jack Dice

Courtesy of Luke Stoner - Dynamic Sponsorships

 Jack Dice is one of just a handful of anglers competing in the Strike King Bassmaster College Series National Championship on Winyah Bay solo this week. The Liberty University graduate is no stranger to making the best out of situations most wouldn’t consider ideal. Whether that’s fishing against the country’s best college teams alone, last minute troubleshooting on his infamous old Ranger, or using well-worn equipment.

Dice doesn’t mind doing things his own way, as he proved last year when he won a Bassmaster College Series event fishing by himself on Lake Cumberland. And he thinks of the wear and tear on tournament tested equipment like the Lew’s LFS Speed Spool he’s holding in this picture quite fondly.

“This is one of my favorite reels, so when we got a text from Bassmaster encouraging us to bring any Lew’s reels to the meeting for an extra spool of line I knew I had to bring this one. Battle scars and all,” Dice said with a smile.

The College Series title Strike King handed out a spool of Contra Fluorocarbon Line to every angler competing during Wednesday’s Pro Night, and if you brought a Lew’s reel you earned yourself an extra spool of line.

“I actually won this reel in a raffle at a BFL four or five years ago,” Dice recalled. “Raffles are not my jam, maybe it’s the Christian in me and it feels too close to gambling or something, but I can honestly say I have never entered a tournament raffle since. But it felt meant to be at the time and this reel has turned out to be a workhorse for me.”


Dice said he couldn’t pass up a chance at a few fresh spools of line, as fluorocarbon isn’t cheap and he was hoping to get his hands on some 17-lb flouro so he could use this reel for flipping and pitching on Winyah Bay.

“I have had this particular reel spooled up with all kinds of different line over the years, but this reel was my primary player in the first National Championship I ever fished on the Harris Chain in 2020,” Dice said. “The tournament didn’t pan out the way I hoped, but I was catching some nice fish on a squarebill out of brush piles. It was one of the coolest bites I’ve ever had leading into a tournament.”


Riding the momentum from a BFL Super Regional win on Cayuga Lake last weekend, the down-to-earth Virginia native came into the second day of competition in 51st place after weighing just over 8-lbs of tidal water bass in downtown Georgetown on day one. Dice hoped to milk a little better bag of fish out of what he found in his limited practice and improve on his position today.

“I had a fun one-hour flurry today and I learned some things that’ll hopefully make tomorrow an all-day ordeal,” Dice said of his day one efforts. “No matter what though, this is my last college fishing tournament so I’m really just trying to soak it all up and enjoy the process.”

B.A.S.S. Announces 2023 Bassmaster Elite Series Schedule

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — With the 2022 Bassmaster Elite Series season barely in the history books, B.A.S.S. is already getting primed for another go-round as the 2023 Elite Series slate was announced today.


The schedule includes nine regular-season events in seven states with a healthy mix of familiar fisheries from recent schedules and some that B.A.S.S. hasn’t visited in a while. Along the tournament trail, these talented anglers will battle each other — and big bass — for the prestigious titles of Progressive Insurance Bassmaster Angler of the Year, Falcon Rods Rookie of the Year and Elite Series champion.


B.A.S.S. CEO Chase Anderson lauded the schedule as another great opportunity for the best professional anglers in the world to showcase their talents on diverse and exceptional fisheries.


“The 2023 Elite Series schedule allows us to visit multiple regions — including fisheries where we haven’t been in many years — to celebrate fishing fans and our great sport,” Anderson said. “Anglers are tested in a variety of environments, truly battling for the right to call themselves the Angler of the Year or Rookie of the Year.


“And, of course, for approximately 40 of those anglers, the nine Elite Series tournaments are the pathway to fulfill a dream and compete on the biggest stage in sportfishing — the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic.”


The usual February Southern swing will have a slightly different flavor this year. After starting the season the past four years on the St. Johns River, the 2023 slate will open on world-famous Lake Okeechobee in Okeechobee, Fla., Feb. 16-19.


The massive Florida waterway has a drainage basin of approximately 2.8 million acres and is the second-largest natural freshwater lake contained entirely within the contiguous 48 states. B.A.S.S. has an extensive history on the “Big O,” having visited there 22 times since 1980, but this will be the organization’s first trip there since 2017.


“We are thrilled to welcome the Bassmaster Elite Series back to Lake Okeechobee to kick off their 2023 season,” said Terry Burroughs, chairman of the Okeechobee Board of County Commissioners. “Lake Okeechobee offers the best freshwater fishery in Florida paired with a down-home community that offers a unique experience both on and off the water. We look forward to welcoming everyone with the Bassmaster Elite family!”


From Florida, the Elites will move slightly to the north to fish another venue that was once a familiar stop on the Bassmaster Tournament Trail — Lake Seminole in Bainbridge, Ga. B.A.S.S. has visited the 37,500-acre Chattahoochee River reservoir 15 times since 1968, but not since 2015.


The lake has historically been known for some of the best sight fishing for bedding largemouth in the country, and the timing of the event — Feb. 23-26 — could play right into that storyline.


The regular season will pause in late March for the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic, which is scheduled for March 24-26 in Knoxville, Tenn., with competition on the Tennessee River. The 2019 Classic held in Knoxville drew a then-record crowd of 153,809 spectators for all associated events, and similar crowds are expected for a Classic that will this time be held one week later in the year.


Once the regular season resumes, the Elites will set up shop in South Carolina with back-to-back events on Lake Murray (April 20-23, Columbia, S.C.) and Santee Cooper Lakes (April 27-30, Clarendon County, S.C.). B.A.S.S. has visited Lake Murray nine times for major events since 1991, but its most recent trip to the 50,000-acre Saluda River fishery was in 2011.


Santee Cooper Lakes has been the site of 12 major B.A.S.S. events, including the slugfest won by Georgia pro Drew Cook back in March with a Century Club catch of 105 pounds, 5 ounces. Second-place finisher Caleb Kuphall of Wisconsin also earned a Century Belt in that event with 103-1, and the Santee Cooper Lakes ranks third for the most Century Belts produced with eight. The lakes also ranked 10th on Bassmaster Magazine’s recent list of 100 Best Bass Lakes.


From South Carolina, the Elites will travel May 11-14 to Lay Lake in Shelby County, Ala. — a 12,000-acre Coosa River impoundment that holds the distinction of being the major fishery located closest to the B.A.S.S. offices in Birmingham. Four of B.A.S.S.’s five trips to Lay have been for Bassmaster Classics (1996, 2002, 2007, 2010), and the most recent trip to the central Alabama spotted bass haven was in 2020 for an Eastern Open.


“We are very excited to welcome the Bassmaster Elite Series to Shelby County,” said Kendall Williams, manager of tourism and events for Shelby County. “Lay Lake has some of the best bass fishing in the country, and hosting events of this caliber reminds us how thankful we are to have this resource in our backyard.


“Plus, we love that the Elite Series draws anglers and visitors from all across the U.S. who will get to experience the exceptional community of support by local restaurants, stores and other businesses.”


B.A.S.S.’s annual trip to Texas will visit the Sabine River in Orange, Texas on June 1-4. The organization has visited the Sabine River five times for major events since 2013, including a 2021 Elite stop won by Oklahoma pro Jason Christie.


Anglers’ skills will be on display for enthusiastic fans as they weigh in among a festival-like atmosphere featuring some of the largest crowds the Elite Series has ever seen. During that 2021 visit to Orange, an Elite Series record crowd of 40,107 fans attended the four-day event while generating more than $2.5 million in revenue for local businesses.


With the temperatures likely sweltering in the South, the Elite Series will turn North on July 27-30 with a trip to Lake St. Clair in Macomb County, Mich. B.A.S.S. visited the 275,200-acre smallmouth bass paradise three times from 1994 to 2001 and then took a hiatus from the fishery before visiting five more times from 2014 to 2020. St. Clair recently ranked No. 4 on Bassmaster Magazine’s annual list of 100 Best Bass Lakes.


A New York swing has been a staple on the Elite Series schedule the past several years — and in 2023, it will be the stretch run for the season.


On Aug. 17-20, the Elites will fish Lake Champlain from Plattsburgh, N.Y. It will be the 15th major B.A.S.S. event held on the 271,000-acre fishery on the New York/Vermont border, including the most recent one which was won by Maryland pro Bryan Schmitt in 2021.


The season will culminate on the 1000 Islands region of the St. Lawrence River in Clayton, N.Y., Aug. 24-27. The fishery recently earned the No. 1 ranking on Bassmaster Magazine’s list of 100 Best Bass Lakes — and anyone who followed the Elite Series’ most recent trip there knows why.


Wisconsin rookie Jay Przekurat won the event with a Century Club catch of 102-9, and Canadian pro Cory Johnston placed second with a Century Club entry of his own at 100-5, each hitting the 100-pound mark with solely smallmouth, a first-time feat in B.A.S.S. competition. The entire Top 10 cracked the 90-pound mark, and it was widely regarded as the top smallmouth event in B.A.S.S. history.


“I can honestly think of no better place to cap off the Elite Series season than on maybe the best smallmouth fishery on the planet,” said Chris Bowes, vice president of tournaments for B.A.S.S. “That event would be the center of the bass fishing world no matter when it was held. But to think it will help decide Angler of the Year and who makes the Bassmaster Classic — that’ll make for an amazing week for our sport.”


In 2022, Elite Series anglers earned eight Century Belts and 2023 has the potential to add more huge catches to the record book.


“I’m excited about the 2023 schedule and the opportunities to see huge bags and close finishes,” said Lisa Talmadge, tournament director for the Elite Series. “What a way to kick off our season by going back-to-back to big-bass factories with the potential to produce a Century Belt before heading to Santee Cooper and the 1000 Islands, which both produced multiple Century Belts in 2022! Add in locations that’ve had record crowds or tight finishes plus fisheries where we haven’t competed in years, and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch for all of us.”


More than 12.5 million viewers watched Bassmaster coverage on the FOX networks and, once again, fans can catch all nine Bassmaster
Elite Series events as well as Bassmaster Classic live television coverage on the FOX Sports platforms.


For complete coverage of the Elite Series, visit


2023 Bassmaster Elite Series Schedule
Feb. 16-19, Okeechobee, Fla., Lake Okeechobee

Feb. 23-26, Bainbridge, Ga., Lake Seminole

March 24-26, Knoxville, Tenn., Tennessee River

April 20-23, Columbia, S.C., Lake Murray

April 27-30, Clarendon County, S.C., Santee Cooper Lakes

May 11-14, Shelby County, Ala., Lay Lake

June 1-4, Orange, Texas, Sabine River

July 27-30, Macomb County, Mich., Lake St. Clair

Aug. 17-20, Plattsburgh, N.Y., Lake Champlain

Aug. 24-27, Clayton, N.Y., St. Lawrence River


TITLE Champ & Elite Rookie of the Year!

This week Chris gets "Called Up" so to speak and the show takes a transformation of sorts. Chris talks with Major League Fishing Pro Circuit TITLE Champ Spencer Shuffield about his career and his breakthrough win on the St. Lawrence River. Later in the show, David and Kenneth call up Bassmaster Rookie of the Year and fellow (to David) "Win-sconsonite" Jay Pzerkurat to the show to breakdown his rookie year, his first win and bringing home the ROY hardware.

Mental focus fueling Team Toyota’s success in La Crosse

Courtesy of Alan McGuckin - Dynamic Sponsorships

The final day of the 2022 Bassmaster Elite Series season begins with three Toyota pros in the Top 10 to begin Championship Monday in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Matt Arey left the dock in 5th, Gerald Swindle sits 8th, and Brandon Lester squeaked into the final spot in 10th, and each graciously shared their thoughts in the pre-dawn regarding what had gone right the past three days to grant them a place in the Top 10.

Arey: “Not getting mentally spun out on Day 1 when I arrived at my best spot from practice and saw another competitor on it. I stayed confident, went to my next best spot, and that has turned out to be a magical 50-yard X 50-yard area that’s produced fish on a Lunkerhunt swimjig, a vibrating jig, and a Texas rigged stick bait all three days so far.”

Swindle: “Staying focused on truly fishing to win. I already had the Classic made coming in here. So, there was no need to be conservative. For me, that meant getting away from the crowd, by making the longer run to Pool 9. It’s worked well. I haven’t seen another tournament angler around me all week.”

Lester: “My mindset has been the true secret to my success this week. I told myself if I made Monday’s Top 10 cut, then I’d really make Palaniuk earn the AOY title. And that’s exactly how it worked out. Congrats to “BP” – but I really feel good about knowing I set a goal and did my job this week.”

Perhaps most interesting about all three pros’ answers is the fact each cited mental focus as most important to their impressive success on the Upper Mississippi this weekend.

Proving once again that what goes on between the ears is every bit as important as what’s tied on the end of your line.

3 with “G” from La Crosse Elite Series

Courtesy of Alan McGuckin - Dynamic Sponsorships

Team Toyota’s Gerald Swindle, or as his bride LeAnn and close friends call him -- “G” -- has fished a bunch of pro derbies on the Upper Mississippi River at La Crosse, Wisconsin.


So, on the eve of 2022’s final Bassmaster Elite Series event, he answered three insightful questions with a wealth of perspective for fans following along this weekend.


Q: Name three things that come to mind first when you think of the Upper Mississippi at La Crosse.


“G”: Current, rocks on wing dams, and grass. Typically, you want this river about as high as Snoop Dogg and running as fast as Usain Bolt, but that’s dang sure not the case this week.


Q: After all the tournaments you’ve fished here, what three lures would you call your all-time MVP players?


“G”: Topwater frog, a heavy Texas rigged Zoom Z Craw to punch grass, and a topwater walking bait like Rapala’s Skitter V.


Q: What three storylines should fans pay attention to at this event?


G”: Pay attention to those guys you didn’t pick in your fantasy league, because the dark horses that are low in the AOY points race having nothing to lose, and a Classic berth to gain. That makes for a dangerous competitor.


Secondly, sand bars will be a factor like never beforewith the river so low. Sand bars attract shad, and that means bass will follow.


Lastly, watch for the guy who finds the magical patch of vegetation half the size of a football field.

Simms Launches All New Fall 22 Product Collection

Designed And Developed For Anglers That Are Always On The Water.

Bozeman, Mont. (August 24, 2022) – Simms Fishing Products, preeminent manufacturer of waders, outerwear, footwear, and technical apparel release Fall 2022, a product collection boasting new styles, features, and innovations across all categories. Fall 2022 launches in conjunction with the brand new campaign — Always On The Water, a campaign designed to not only inspire anglers to embrace the colder fishing seasons ahead, but also to celebrate the lifestyle they live when they’re off the water.

“The dog days of summer always reinforce how much I love the colder temps and less crowded waters of fall and winter,” says Simms CEO, Casey Sheahan. “This Fall collection really captures Simms’ longstanding heritage and reputation of delivering industry leading, performance driven, innovative, and durable fishing gear and apparel. It also reflects the fact that for us, we truly are always on the water. If we’re not physically there, we certainly are in our minds. Fall 2022 perfectly represents two of the most important aspects of fishing — the technical side as well as the lifestyle that comes with it.”

Adhering to the Always On The Water theme, Simms’ product team spent the past 18 months designing and developing an array of technical gear and apparel that allows anglers to comfortably fish longer and harder than ever before, regardless of the weather and conditions.

Leading the charge on the technical side is Simms’ all new Guide Insulated Jacket and Bib. Featuring an outer shell constructed from premium waterproof/breathable GORE-TEX® fabric, both the Guide Insulated Jacket and Bib are lined with PrimaLoft® insulation that provides incredible warmth without excess bulk. The jacket also comes equipped with an insulated hood, ventilation zips under the arms, handwarmer pockets, and two chest pockets that utilize TRU® Zip zippers for fully submersible protection. Paired with the bib, the Guide Insulated Suit is the ultimate foul weather fortress.

For the coldest days on the water, Simms has introduced two new styles that are sure to keep anglers warm and in the moment without sacrificing range of motion. Available in Men’s and Women’s, the all new ExStream® Hooded Jacket and ExStream® Pull Over Hoody are powered by ultra-warm PrimaLoft insulation and feature a quilted stitchless construction for next level layering capabilities and durability.

Simms’ ever popular Freestone collection expands with the addition of the all new Women’s Freestone Jacket and Freestone Backpack. Built with a fully taped waterproof/breathable 3-layer Toray® fabric, the W’s Freestone Jacket features two oversized chest pockets, an adjustable hood, articulated sleeves and a shaped waist with two zippered gussets for a flattering women’s fit. Constructed from a 330D Nylon Ripstop with a DWR finish, the Freestone Backpack features a clamshell top opening as well as a U-shaped side opening to access a spacious main compartment that features internal organization. Equipped with a fully cushioned harness system, the Freestone backpack also includes a tethered, stashable rain cover to keep cargo dry in wet weather.

The Tributary collection also receives a new member with the all new Tributary Hip Pack. Constructed from recycled polyester fabric with a water-resistant, polyeurathane finish, the Tributary Hip Pack features internal organization, hypalon tabs for docking tools and a large loop fly filed for storing and drying flies.

Recycled materials don’t stop with the Tributary Hip Pack, Fall 2022 also inlcudes the Fall Run Collared Jacket. With an exterior and interior built from 100% recycled materials, the warming qualities of this jacket are powered by PrimaLoft Eco Black insulation which consists of 60% recycled materials.

Finally, for anglers looking for footwear innovation, Fall 2022 includes the all new Simms Challenger Mid-Deck Shoe. Built with a highly abrasion resistant textile mesh upper with TPU overlays for increased durability, these shoes also come equipped with a waterproof/breathable membrane to keep angler’s feet dry all day long. For comfort and support Simms’ Challenger Mid-Deck Shoes feature a dual density comfort footbed with a molded arch suppport while a non-marking EVA outsole with micro-siped rubber pods provide unmatched traction and slip-resistance.

On the lifestyle end of the spectrum, Simms is excited to launch the Cardwell Hooded Jacket. Built from a Nylon Elastane blend, the Cardwell’s canvas-like exterior offers just enough stretch in an incredibly rugged, durable package. Chunky baffles house PrimaLoft insulation for warmth and two zippered chest pockets and two handwarmer pockets provide a secure place to store small necessities and provide relief for cold hands. Built from the same fabric, Simms is also offering the Cardwell Jacket and the Cardwell Vest, both of which boast a super cozy Sherpa fleece liner.

Simms extensive line of flannels continues to grow with the inclusion of the Guide Flannel, a soft, warm, moisture wicking flannel built from recycled materials that features a double weave for performance and mobility. The Guide Flannel also comes equipped with vertical, zippered chest pockets to secure small essentials and a left chest pocket designed to house a pair of sunglasses. The Santee Flannel Hoody and the Men’s and Women’s Santee Flannel Shirts provide a slightly lighter weight option that offers comfort and style for on and off the water applications.

Other key standouts to the Fall 2022 collection include the Henry’s Fork Hoody (also available in a crewneck) and the Vermillion Hoody (also available in a full zip). Built from natural, recycled, and synthetic fibers, the Henry’s Fork collection offers comfort and performance at every turn. A French Terry backer constructed from an organic cotton polyester blend provides comfortable warmth while its HeiQ Fresh finish provides anti-microbial protection against odor.

Featuring an athletic cut, a brushed soft interior and a comfy 3-panel hood, the Vermillion collection feels cozy, moves with you, and keeps you odor free with HeiQ Fresh technology. As an added bonus, both the Vermillion Hoody and Full Zip feature a unique drop-in pocket specifically designed to hold the angler’s beverage of choice.

To See Simms’ Fall 2022 product collection in its entirety, click here.

Arey talks frogs, family, and whitetails at La Crosse Elite

Courtesy of Alan McGuckin - Dynamic Sponsorships

 Team Toyota’s Matt Arey is the kind of guy you’d want for a college roommate. Goal focused, spiritually grounded, a great sense of humor, and willing to call time-out to share a plate of cheese curds along Wisconsin’s most famous farmhouse ale, Spotted Cow.

Those traits have him sitting solidly in the Top 20 of the Progressive Bassmaster Angler of the Year points race on the eve of this season’s final event. So Arey paused after two full days of practice to talk topwater frogs, family and whitetail deer at one of Wisconsin’s many neighborhood gathering places – the Thirsty Turtle.

Q: Let’s start by looking back at last week’s event at massive Lake Oahe. What will you remember most about that event?

Arey: If fans haven’t seen the ‘agony of defeat’ video I posted on Instagram @MattAreyFishing, it’s worth a look. I get a 5-pound smallie inside the boat, grab him to walk to the front deck, he jerks and jumps back in the lake. I’ll never forget that fish.

Q: You’ve logged two long days of practice here on the Upper Mississippi River at La Crosse. What can you tell Bassmaster fans to expect this weekend?

Arey: They’ll be a lot of fish catches, but a 3-pounder here is a treasure, and 4-pounders are fairly rare. So they’ll be plenty of action, but a 15-pound limit here is really strong.

Q: The Upper Mississippi River at La Crosse is a topwater frog anglers dream. What should fans look for when buying a topwater frog?

Arey: No doubt frogs will be one of the top three most used lures this week, along with swimjigs and Chatterbaits.

When picking out a quality frog, make sure it has great hooks, a really soft body, and don’t get caught-up buying ten different colors. All you need is a couple light-bellied frogs, and a couple dark bellied frogs. I like the Lunkerhunt compact frog because it comes out of the package with the hooks bent upward a bit and the legs already trimmed.

Q: You’ve been away from your wonderful wife Emily, and your two young daughters for 12 days. How’s everybody holding up back home in Shelby, NC?

Arey: Everybody is doing great, but as always, my sweet wife is balancing the start of a new school year with a golden retriever puppy, plus feeding horses and cleaning their stalls.


Q: As this Elite Series comes to an official end Monday afternoon, I know you’ll soon be immersed in whitetail hunting. Do you have your eye on a particular buck?

Arey: Oh yea, for sure. I’ve got my eye on two great bucks. One is a Pope & Young caliber 8-pointer we call “B 2” – and the other is a buck we call “City Slicker” – he has matching flyers growing off both his G2 antlers.

"It's All Mental" With Dakota Ebare

This week Dakota Ebare joins the show to talk about Bull Riding, Bull Fighting and Bass Fishing. From his incredible run in the Pro Circuit to a current top 10 in points in the Bass Pro Tour Dakota is an up and coming Pro that should be at the top of your Fantasy Fishing Teams. The Boys also discuss the Bassmaster Angler of the Year Race and CB makes a call and welcomes in an impromptu guest to the show mid-stream without missing a beat. Tune in now!


Brandon Lester, the Elite Series’ best cutman

Courtesy of Alan McGuckin - Dynamic Sponsorships


Boxing’s “cutmen” are responsible for managing a fighter’s lacerations during a match to help him continue competing effectively, but on the 2022 Bassmaster Elite Series tour, no other angler has made more “cuts” than Team Toyota’s Brandon Lester.


Entering this week’s final regular season Elite Series event on the Upper Mississippi River at La Crosse, Lester is the only angler on tour to make every semi-qualifier round this season once the full field of anglers in the opening rounds is cut in half, and he highlighted the streak by winning at Pickwick in June.


Not to mention, Lester made ‘the cut’ in both Bassmaster Opens he competed in this year too, and claimed victory at the Southern Open at the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes back in early February.


“Obviously, everybody on the Elite Series wants to make the cut, get at least a $10,000 paycheck, and the chance to fish on Championship Sunday. But at the St. Lawrence River, I started realizing I had the chance to make every single cut this season, including the Opens, and that’s pretty special,” smiled the always humble Tennessean.


Never did his streak come so close to ending as last week at Lake Oahe, SD, but in true Brandon Lester style, he squeaked into semi-final Saturday by grabbing the final cut spot in 47th place.


“I thought there was no way I was gonna make it after catching 10-pounds on Day 1, but on Day 2 my 12-pound limit was barely enough to make it,” says Lester, still shaking his head in disbelief.


Asked what two lures he’d call his MVP of this incredible season, he singled out a Berkley Maxscent plum apple-colored worm that helped him win Pickwick, and a 3/8-ounce Chatterbait Jackhammer tipped with a Lake Fork Live Magic Shad – none of which are sponsor’s lures.


However, there’s more than just “making cuts” on the line this week in La Crosse. Lester sits barely behind Brandon Palaniuk in the Progressive Insurance Bassmaster Angler of the Year title race, and could in fact win the highly respected title if Palaniuk slips up.


“Palaniuk really has to stumble, and that seldom happens. So, my focus is purely on doing my job, and making sure I put myself in position to win, in the rare event he struggles,” says Lester.


That starts with making the cut for the chance to compete on Sunday and Monday, and nobody has been better at that this year than Lester.


Team Support Leads High Schoolers to $5K in Yamaha Power Pay

Courtesy of Alan McGuckin - Dynamic Sponsorships


Competitive bass fishing can be a financially demanding endeavor, even at the high school level. And when good parents encounter challenging times, the cash strain intensifies.


Thankfully, generous support from their Mt. Pleasant High School fishing team, and a 5th place finish, made it possible for the team of Spencer Lovett and Evan Word to earn the $5,000 Yamaha Power pay bonus at the recent Bassmaster®High School Championship on Lake Hartwell in South Carolina.


“There’s probably no way we’d ever make the championship on Hartwell without the incredible support of our Mt. Pleasant, TN High School Bass Fishing team,” says Spencer’s dad and their boat captain, Alan, who runs a 19-foot Xpress aluminum boat powered by a 150-horsepower Yamaha V MAX SHO®.


Our high school team is a special group of generous people – and Spencer and Evan were absolutely ecstatic when they learned we’d won the $5,000 Power Pay bonus from Yamaha,” he added with a smile.


While Spencer and Evan actually won the very first Bassmaster® High School event they ever fished together with a 19-pound limit of Pickwick smallmouth, their 5th place finish at the high school championship on Hartwell using a spinnerbait and a squarebill crankbait was good enough to collect the Power Pay contingency money.


Their earnings spotlight a big advantage of the Power Pay program -- you don’t have to win the tournament to win the Power Pay money. You just have to be the highest finishing registered participant, and it’s free to sign-up.


“Whether you’re fishing big tournaments or high school events, if you’re running a Yamaha purchased in the past 60 months, you’d be foolish not to sign-up for Power Pay. I’m certainly grateful we did,” concluded Lovett.


Making sure you’re eligible for Power Pay bonuses is easy, just visit

Gravel Roads and Ghostly Smallmouth

Courtesy of Luke Stoner - Dynamic Sponsorships


Ask Elite series competitors what they think of Lake Oahe and you’ll likely hear one of these words in their response: unique, massive, weird, or different. These are some of the buzzwords this week for the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Lake Oahe and they are all absolutely true. The scale of this Missouri River reservoir is hard to comprehend.


With over 2,200-miles of shoreline and maximum depths of over 200-feet, Oahe earns the moniker of massive and is unlike any other fishery on the tournament schedule. And that’s just the lake; the surrounding terrain, the dusty gravel roads, the scenery,and the rural feel in this area of South Dakota give off a vibe that is not at all typical of professional bass fishing derbies.


Elite Series veteran Gerald Swindle summed it up in a social media post upon arriving to Mobridge.


“When I think of gravel roads, I don’t normally think about smallmouth bass,” Swindle said.


The Team Toyota pro added nearly 1,400 miles to his 2022 Tundra while making the 21-hour drive from Alabama. This fishery is a long way from home for just about everyone in the Elite Series field, which is partially why this event is so intriguing. Oahe is a wildcard.


Even though this is the Elite Series second time to this fishery, the 2018 event was held out of Pierre, SD, which is over 100-miles as the crow flies from tournament HQ this week in Mobridge.


“After three days of practice I have literally not seen any of the same water I fished in 2018,” Swindle said. “That sounds insane, but on this lake it’s easy to do. I’ll be honest, with the way the wind blows here I don’t want any part of a 100-mile boat ride (each way). In my opinion, the guys who make the long run to the lower end of the lake will have a strong chance of winning this tournament… if they can make it back each day.”


En route to amassing $2.5 million in winnings and two Bassmaster AOY titles, Swindle has plenty of experience with wind, waves, and long runs. But he’s opting to avoid those factors this time around. Instead Swindle plans to stay relatively close to takeoff with two rods on the deck of his Phoenix boat, keeping his baits wet as much as possible. He said Minn Kota Spot-Lock and an emphasis on not getting in a hurry will be key for him on Oahe.


“These fish disappear like the dust you kick up driving on the gravel roads around here,” Swindle explained. “One minute the dust or the smallmouth are everywhere, and the next they settle out of sight like they were never there. It’s almost spooky. You can’t get in a hurry and try cover water with your electronics or spot hop here, or at least I can’t. You have to give the fish time to show themselves.”



Swindle described one example from practice where he saw two lone fish on his graph, but after hooking one of them, his screen lit up with a school of what had to be fifty bass. He said it was like they came out of nowhere. This ability to appear out of thin air must be a quality of all South Dakota wildlife, because I’ve had similar experiences on land driving around the lake.


Even though this area has a lot of relief in terms of topography, there are very few trees, and it somehow appears flat. You can see a long way around here, so it’s easy to take a quick glance and think the creek draws and agricultural fields are devoid of life. But if you slow down and take a closer look for a few minutes, you’ll come to realize there are plenty of critters here, hiding in plain sight.


In the faced-paced hustle and bustle of today’s world it’s hard to slow down, but Lake Oahe and the South Dakota terrain stand in contrast to this societal norm. Around here if you don’t decelerate you just might miss a covey of quail, big mule deer buck, sacred Native American site, or even a giant school of smallmouth bass.



AC Insider Podcast - The TITLE & The League!


This week Chris & the boys welcome in Major League Fishing PR Guru Chairty Muehlenweg to the show to talk about her career, her fishing and the Pro Circuit TITLE happening now on the St. Lawrence. The National Professional Fishing League President Brad Fuller joins the Circus in the second segment and talks candidly about the NPFL, the ups and downs of running a tournament circuit, what they have learned AND Brad drops some HUGE news on the boys regarding 2023. The best thing you can do is hit PLAY! NOW!

Matt Arey: “Pro bass fishing’s a team sport.”

Courtesy of Alan McGuckin - Dynamic Sponso

As Matt Arey piloted his Toyota Tundra past countless acres of corn and soybean fields along his 23-hour drive from home in Shelby, NC to massive Lake Oahe in South Dakota the answer to a question he’s been asked dozens of times tugged at his heart once again.


“Is pro bass fishing a team sport?”


It’s a question Arey says he gets asked a lot by folks who aren’t hard-core fishing fans when he’s at elementary school functions with his daughters, church, and elsewhere.


“The obvious answer is “no, pro fishing’s not a team sport” but I usually follow-up by explaining to people from an emotional and mental standpoint this career is absolutely a team sport,” says Arey. “If you don’t have loved ones sacrificing to help you chase your dreams and prosper, this sport will eat your lunch in a hurry,” he adds.


This current Elite Series travel swing to South Dakota and Wisconsin means he won’t see his beloved bride Emily and their two young daughters Reese and Wren for at least 18 days.


That’s rough. And for Arey, leaving home these days seems to be even tougher than when his daughters were younger. At ages 5 and 9, they love interacting with their daddy – fully conversational, active in school, dance, and church activities, and not yet teens seeking independence – family time is the centerpiece of the entire Arey family universe right now – and that includes drawing with colored chalk on the family driveway.

There’s never been a time in Arey’s illustrious pro career that Emily and his daughters failed to draw him a fish-themed “Good Luck” message on the driveway just before he leaves. The colorful heart felt messages on the concrete are among the last images of home as he heads-out to the next tournament, and generally lead to smiles, hugs, and a few flooded tear ducts too.


“About the only way I’m able to cope with leaving is knowing Emily is such an incredible woman and mom, that whether it’s a broken kitchen appliance, a flat tire, or simply getting the girls to all their activities, I can leave home knowing she’ll handle things incredibly well. But don’t get me wrong, her job at home is way tougher than mine as a pro angler,” reflects Arey.

Regarding the job he has to do at giant Lake Oahe, he says managing productive fishing areas based on wind will be the biggest challenge. But a Pulse jig head tipped with a small swimbait, and a Lunkerhunt finesse worm on a Ned head should help yield the 20-pound limits he expects he’ll need to do well at the 370,000-surface acre reservoir.


Arey enters the Oahe event sitting securely in 8th place in the Progressive Angler of the Year points race, and while we all know there’s no such thing as an easy event in this sport, he says the 18 days away from Emily, Reese and Wren will be the toughest challenge of all.


“There’s nothing about this job that’s more challenging than leaving my wife and daughters. It’s tougher than making Classic cuts and Top 10s. But at least I’m blessed to compete with a clear mind knowing I’ve got such an awesome team cheering me along from 1,500 miles away,” says Arey.


Because after all, pro bass fishing really is a team sport as far as the Areysare concerned.


T-H Marine Announces Ocean Bio-Chem Acquisition

Continues acquisition growth in parts and accessories business
HUNTSVILLE, AL, August 11, 2022 – T-H Marine Supplies, LLC, a subsidiary of OneWater Marine Inc. (NASDAQ: ONEW) (“OneWater” or the “Company”) announced today that OneWater has completed the previously announced acquisition of Ocean Bio-Chem, Inc. (NASDAQ: OCBI) (“OBCI”), a leading supplier and distributor of appearance, cleaning, and maintenance products for the marine industry and the automotive, powersports, recreational vehicles, and outdoor power equipment markets. As a vertically integrated supplier, OBCI manufactures, markets, and distributes a broad portfolio of products under the Star brite®, Star Tron®, Odor Star® and other brand names. OBCI and all affiliates will be integrated into T-H Marine Supplies, LLC, OneWater’s subsidiary and strategic growth platform for parts and accessories businesses.  Marking T-H Marine's third acquisition of 2022 and its 17th add-on acquisition overall, OBCI will function as a standalone division of T-H Marine that will continue to operate at its current facilities in Fort Lauderdale, Montgomery, and Netherlands.

“The addition of OBCI meaningfully advances OneWater’s strategic growth and diversification strategy in the marine parts and accessories business. Utilizing our best-in-class integration playbook, we expect to capitalize on the numerous opportunities to expand market share and drive further margin expansion,” said Austin Singleton, Chief Executive Officer for OneWater.

“We are truly excited to welcome the OBCI team to the T-H Marine/OneWater family,” said Jeff Huntley Sr., Chief Executive Officer of T-H Marine. “Greg Dornau and his leadership team will continue to operate OBCI / Star brite as an independent division.  Furthermore, we know there are great synergies that we will accomplish by combining the strengths, channel penetration, and brand equity of the Star brite and T-H Marine teams, along with the OneWater parent organization.  This is our largest acquisition to date and we are excited to continue being a strong acquisition platform to add great businesses and brands”.

“It was always about fit, for fifty years Star brite has been based on a winning team with a successful strategy. When T-H Marine/OneWater approached us about this acquisition, we knew it was the perfect fit. Our mission would remain the same but with a bigger family. Our three companies share a common culture; focus on the customer, offer superior products and have great customer service. Star brite is proud to be part of the T-H Marine/OneWater family and we look forward to what the future holds” said Gregor Dornau, President of Star brite.

T-H Marine and OBCI/Star brite announce that all customers, suppliers, and industry partners will continue to work with the same teams at the separate companies as they currently do.  Future collaborations and synergies will expand opportunities from both companies, but for now, it is business as usual.  With OBCI’s presence in over 30,000 retail outlets and T-H Marine’s supply relationship with every boat manufacturer in the United States, there are great opportunities to leverage customer relationships for both brands across a broader product line.


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – August 10, 2022 – For Immediate Release -  For the third consecutive year, the Board of Directors of the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame announces that the Hall has awarded four conservation grants to contribute to the mission of celebrating, promoting and preserving the sport of bass fishing. The awardees were selected through a highly competitive process, and they represent a diverse group of deserving projects.

“Each year we continue to be impressed by the seriousness and dedication of our applicants,” said Bass Fishing Hall of Fame President John Mazurkiewicz. “We all agree that habitat restoration and management, and other conservation efforts, remain the bedrock of our sport and are critical to bass fishing’s future. These grants are one means of giving back to the wider community.”

The four grantees are as follows:

  • Tennessee B.A.S.S. Nation Conservation and High School/Youth -- Tims Ford Lake Reservoir Habitat Restoration/Enhancement: This project encompasses angler (youth and adult) education, reservoir habitat enhancement/clean up, fish attractor construction and organizational partnership development.  With the guidance and supervision of Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) fisheries personnel, US Army Corp of Engineers (Nashville District), Tennessee Valley Authority Natural Resources personnel and BASS Nation leaders, this grantee will coordinate build, educate anglers on how to build effective habitat and fish attractor structures and the benefits of both through proper planning, placement and evaluation on Tims Ford Lake in support of the Bill Dance Fishing Trail.
  • Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation High School Team Trail -- Mobile Fish Care Trailer: This grantee will buy a dual-axle heavy duty trailer and modify it with a tool box and oxygen tank holder and subsequently mount upon it a fiberglass live release tank. Oxygen and aeration systems will be added in consultation with BASS and AL Fisheries biologists. This trailer will be used for high school events instead of a live release boat as it is much less expensive to build and easier to maintain, with greater conservation benefits
  • Bluegrass Bassmasters -- Lake Barkley cypress tree planting: This project aims to decrease siltation and the expansion of mud flats on Lake Barkley by increasing shoreline stability through cypress tree plantings. Cypress trees are native to western Kentucky and are one of only a few species that can thrive along the shoreline and within the drawdown zone of Lake Barkley. One thousand young trees will be planted in groves of several individual trees in sites chosen by KDFWR. This project may be expanded if and when more funds become available in the future.
  • Texas B.A.S.S. Nation -- Lake Belton Structural Habitat Improvement Project: This project will replace fish habitat that has been lost to natural reservoir aging processes. Specifically, Texas B.A.S.S. Nation worked with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the US Army Corp of Engineers, and the Brazos River Authority to create four new fish habitat sites and will use the provided funds to further enhance artificial fish habitat at these same sites.

“Once again we are proud to incentivize and reward the substantial sweat equity that these entities will produce,” said Board member Gene Gilliland, who is also the B.A.S.S. Conservation Director and a recent Hall inductee. “It was difficult to choose the best four, but we’re confident that this group represents the best of the best. As time goes on, we hope that our efforts will become even more inclusive and substantial.” Gilliland and Board member Casey Shedd with AFTCO spearheaded the BFHOF conservation grant selection process.

The Bass Fishing Hall of Fame has become much more than honoring the legends and innovators in the sport of bass fishing. Noted pro bass angler Kevin VanDam, a 2018 Bass Fishing HOF inductee and recent addition to the Board, “I have clearly reaped the benefits of the many volunteers and organizers who take on these types of projects. While people come to the induction ceremony to recognize the big names of the sport, all of these contributors need to be recognized for their efforts as well.”

The Bass Fishing Hall of Fame will hold its annual induction dinner on Thursday, October 6, 2022, at Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri. There will also be a concurrent auction, taking place from October 3-6 (visit for details), which will assist the Board in hosting the dinner and other recognition events each year, along with funding its conservation grants and other worthy endeavors benefiting the sport of bass fishing. Sponsor tiers for the “Celebrate Bass Fishing Week” are still being offered. Information on the plaque unveiling presenting sponsor, along with Gold, Silver, Bronze and table sponsors, along with individual dinner tickets is available by contacting the BFHOF executive director Barbara Bowman at [email protected] or (501) 541-6660, or Board president John Mazurkiewicz at [email protected] or (574) 292-2500.


First Helen Sevier Pioneer Scholarships Awarded To Eastman And Morris

Elizabeth Eastman - solo (2).jpgBIRMINGHAM, Ala. — B.A.S.S. and Shimano have partnered to award the inaugural Helen Sevier Pioneer Scholarships to Elizabeth Eastman of Fairhope, Ala., and Dixie Morris of Valley, Ala. These scholarships not only honor Sevier’s leadership and long-term vision for the growth of sportfishing, but also recognize the efforts of young female anglers as they pursue fishing at the collegiate level.

“Shimano is thrilled to support Elizabeth and Dixie in their future ambition as anglers,” said Sarah Harper Burke, senior marketing manager, Shimano North America Fishing. “They are exemplary young women who are claiming their space within the fishing industry. We applaud their drive and encourage their pursuit of taking their fishing to the next level.”

Eastman, who is entering her senior year at Fairhope High School, grew up fishing the biodiverse Mobile-Tensaw Delta with her dad and sister. She plans to attend Louisiana State University, where she will compete on the fishing team while pursuing a degree in Fisheries and Aquaculture. In addition to a Top 15 finish at the 2022 Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation High School State Championship and serving as treasurer for her fishing team, Eastman is also active in dance, archery team, art club, marine life club, Mu Alpha Theta, National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society and Future Business Leaders of America and was named a National Archery in the Schools Program Academic Archer.

“Winning this scholarship connects me to some amazing women,” said Eastman. “It gives me a sense of support that will help me push through any barrier I may encounter. It also creates a sense of obligation to carry on the legacy that Helen Sevier started.”

Dixie Morris.jpgMorris is a freshman on the Southern Union Community College Bison Fishing Team with plans to complete a pre-veterinary bachelor’s degree at Auburn University before veterinary school and a master’s degree. Morris had the initial idea to start her high school’s fishing team, the Valley Bass Team, and earned Top Angler (along with her teammate) three times while also helping to grow the team. Morris lives on the Chattahoochee River, with West Point Lake and Lake Harding providing other rich “home waters” for family fishing excursions. In addition to fishing, Morris is active in 4-H, Future Farmers of America and National Honor Society, an award winner in the SkillsUSA program and earned a Bronze Award from Girl Scouts.

“Winning the Helen Sevier Pioneer Scholarship has meant so much to me,” said Morris. “I was already looking forward to fishing on the Southern Union fishing team, but now I am even more excited because this helps to show women and young girls that they can achieve great things in a male-dominated sport. This has really encouraged me to step out and try for more scholarships and things that seemed unachievable.

“I want to thank B.A.S.S. and Shimano for choosing me for this award. I also want to thank Helen Sevier for making the pathway for the entire sportfishing industry.”

Sevier, the second full-time member of B.A.S.S. hired by founder Ray Scott in 1970, was a pioneer at all levels of the organization. During her 31-year career at B.A.S.S., Sevier oversaw a boom in membership as well as the expansion of Bassmaster’s media operation to include seven magazines and two television shows. Sevier was also instrumental in recruiting young people to the sport through the innovative CastingKids program. In 2004, Sevier was inducted into the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, and her induction into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame came in 2018.

Both Eastman and Morris earned a $2,500 scholarship.

College Anglers - Register Now for the 2022 Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley

No entry fee, double points event set to take place in Paris, TN at Kentucky Lake on September 17-18

SAN ANTONIO, TX (August 9, 2022) – The calendar recently turned over to August and in just a few weeks many students will be returning to the classroom for the start of the 2022-23 school year.  With the start of a new school year also comes a new season of the Bass Pro Shops Collegiate Bass Fishing Series.  The Association of Collegiate Anglers will kick off the year at Kentucky Lake for the 2022 Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley on September 17-18.


Register for the 2022 Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley.

Registration for the first ACA event of the 2022-23 season is set to close Sunday September 11 at 6:00 PM (CT).

Anglers that originally registered to compete in the event back in March are required to register again for the fall installment of the tournament.

Full details for those who are looking to register, or have already registered, can be found here, to include a complete breakdown of the rules.  Each angler is expected to register individually prior to the cutoff deadline listed above.  If you have any changes to your registration, please notify ACA staff.  All anglers, upon registering for the event, should review the Angler Packet and Official Tournament Rules.

Prizes, Contingencies, and Valuable Points

The Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley is always one of the most anticipated events of the season thanks to it featuring a robust prize payout several times a day and double points to count towards the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia.

80 total places will be paid out over the course of two days of competition on Kentucky Lake.  Day 1 will feature four weigh-in sessions, and Day 2 will be comprised of three weigh-in sessions.  All sessions will pay out the Top 10 largest fish, except for Day 2 Session 3 which will award prizes to the Top 20 fish in the final session.

Here is a look at the presenting sponsors for weigh-in sessions throughout the event:

Day 1

Session 1 – Engel Coolers

Session 2 – HydroWave

Session 3 – Bass Pro Shops

Session 4 – Garmin

Day 2

Session 1 – Abu Garcia

Session 2 – Bob’s Machine Shop

Session 3 – Bass Pro Shops & Abu Garcia

Along with the valuable prizes & contingencies available to anglers competing in the event, schools will also be able to earn points for each of their highest two placing fish in the event down to 150th place.

The Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley is a defining event in the race for Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia each season.  Teams travel from all across the country to earn their share of the points awarded at this ACA major event.  The winner of the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley will earn 1,750 points.

Be on the lookout for updated standings in the race for the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia leading up to the event.

Berkley Baits Only on Day 2

On the second day of tournament competition, anglers will be permitted to use only Berkley baits.  Here is how this is addressed in the official tournament rules:

Berkley Special Lure Rules for Day 2 Only:

During Day two of the Big Bass Bash only artificial Berkley Baits, including hard baits, may be used. Please refer to “Special Lure Rules” below.

Special Lure Rules

  • Spinner bait frames, jig heads, buzz bait frames, etc. may be used when paired with Berkley products as trailers. To clarify you may use other brands jigs and spinner-baits, but those baits must have a Berkley trailer on them.
  • All terminal tackle (Alabama Rig Style) must include a “functional” Berkley soft plastic.
  • Non-Berkley soft plastic trailers are NOT permitted at any time.

BTL - New Head Man in Charge!

This week Chris & the boys welcome in Bass Talk Live Host Matt Pangrac to the show to talk about Bass Talk Live, his quest for the Elites through the Bassmaster Opens and much more! Matt is a huge wealth of knowledge in the bass fishing industry and a really good dude. Listen as we talk about all of this and more!


Nolan Minor captures first tourney victory, brother Ewing snags second on one of country’s premiere smallmouth rivers.

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (August 8, 2022) - Nolan Minor panned the shallows of the Susquehanna River and sifted up a bounty full of bronzebacks to seal his first professional tournament victory at the 2022 Hobie Bass Open Series (B.O.S.) Anchored by Power-Pole® Susquehanna River event held July 30-31. Throwing an Evergreen Gizmo to tempt shy but surface feeding smallies in mostly shin-deep water, the 24-year-old from Charlottesville, VA, tallied 187.75 total inches of bass to top the field – and his brother, Ewing Minor, who finished second – buy a full two inches. Jake Harshman grabbed third as all three finished in the top four slots on both days of the catch, photograph and release (CPR) event.

“It really was a great weekend if your last name was ‘Minor’” said tournament director, Cody Prather. Not only did Nolan grab the gold while Ewing captured silver but their dad, Todd Minor, finished in the top 20 on Day 1 before falling off the pace. What a great weekend he must have had tracking his boys as they battled it out for the top two spots.”

Which is exactly what the Minors squared had set out to do, explained Nolan. “Ewing and I don’t really share waters because we’d be splitting the potential catch, but we do exchange information during tournaments. So, when I found myself on a solid pattern, I clued him in. He managed to find a comparable spot that offered a similar bite, but his fish were just slightly smaller on Day 1. He’s had some serious success in these competitions, so I was glad I managed to hold him off down the stretch.”

Nolan Minor spent most of his time working the famed smallmouth river on foot since, due to the shallow nature of the Susquehanna, the rules allowed safe portaging and wading as long as the boat remained tethered to the angler.

“I had a few bass on a Berkley Choppo, but most of the fish I saw were giving it a look and then shying off,” said Nolan. “Fortunately, I brought along a couple of Ever Green Gizmos after talking to a friend who had said he was experiencing a solid topwater bite on the James River back home in Virginia. At 1.5 inches and 3/64-ounces, that lure is a lot more subtle, and it proved just the ticket for those cautious smallies. I was simply floating black and green pumpkin patterns on the surface for those ‘bug fish,’ adding a twitch for any that seemed interested but wouldn’t commit. The bass just crushed ‘em.”

Nolan, who is no stranger to shallow water river smallmouths, having grown up targeting them at home, planned out his entire approach to the Susky event more than two weeks prior. “I know from experience that big shallow water smallmouths will smack topwater offerings in the heat of summer, but I still can’t believe how perfectly things worked out,” he said with a laugh. “Usually, you need to make some adjustments at any event - but this game plan proved spot-on right from the start.”

While Nolan walked the flats, Ewing, 20, chose to stay in his vessel but used a novel approach to round up his fish. “I was floating down past my spots and then looping back upriver to approach them from below,” he revealed. “I didn’t find quite the concentrations of fish that Nolan was able to locate, but I had plenty of action. I was mostly sight-fishing, letting that Gizmo float and giving it just a slight twitch or two if a bass nosed-up and didn’t eat it.”

While this was Nolan’s first win on the tournament trail, it didn’t come as a surprise to his brother. “He can fish,” said Ewing. “He’s as good an angler as you’ll ever meet. He’s taught me more about fishing than anyone else. Having him and my father as mentors has really helped me grow into the successful angler I’ve become.”

“It was nice to have the whole family out there this weekend,” continued Ewing, “and I’m thrilled my brother got it done against such stiff competition. You had anglers like back-to-back champion Jody Queen and Drew Gregory at this event, plus a packed field of river smallmouth sharpies. When you win a Hobie B.O.S. event, there’s no doubt you’ve beaten the best.”

Both Minor brothers were using Hobie Kayaks for the event with Nolan in a PA12 360 and Ewing in an Outback loaned to him by Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, TN, where he is currently a sophomore member of the fishing team. Nolan totaled 95.5inches of bass on Day 1 to lead the field while Ewing took the third spot with 92.5 inches. On Day 2, Ewing charged hard to lead the pack with a 95.5-inch total while Nolan drilled 92.23 inches for fourth place.

Harshman, 37, of Pennsylvania, chose to focus his efforts on stretches of fast-moving, highly oxygenated water, buzzing a spinnerbait so the blades mostly fluttered on the surface. “I found about four spots in a 200-yard stretch of the river that were holding a lot of bait and just kept rotating through them,” he revealed after finishing fourth on Day 1 with 91.75 inches, and second on Day 2 with 93.25 inches. “Congratulations to Nolan and Ewing, they are both class acts and solid fishermen. For his youth, Nolan has a wealth of knowledge about bass and his victory was well deserved.”

For their efforts, Nolan Minor banked $10,500, Ewing Minor earned $5,500, and Harshman pocketed $3,200. Bassin’ Big Bass honors and a $500 check for the tourney’s largest fish went to Collin Lamkin, of Chicago, IL, for a 21.50-inch lunker smallmouth caught on Day 2 using a Whopper Plopper 75.

Additionally, AFTCO Angler of the Year (AOY) points were awarded to the top 100 finishers in the 192-angler field. Nolan Minor, Jake Harshman and fourth-place finisher Chris Blair also punched tickets to the 2022 Hobie Tournament of Champions (TOC) on Caddo Lake, November 11-13, in Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana. Ewing Minor had previously qualified by winning the Broken Bow event. The TOC is a three-day 50-angler championship with a $100,000 payout guarantee and $45,000 first-place prize.

“The Susquehanna River welcomed us with open arms once again,” summed up Prather following the award ceremony. “When it comes to river fishing, this place is a smallmouth heaven and a kayaker’s dream. There are very few boats to pressure the fish here, and our competitors basically have the waters to themselves when the Hobie B.O.S. comes to town. Big thanks to the Hershey Harrisburg Sports & Event Authority for inviting us out. We had a slugfest from the first cast to the last cast which is just the way we like it. All of our participants seemed to catch well with a lot of limits, plenty of smiles and even some personal bests. Everyone went home happy.”

Especially Nolan Minor, who expressed his admiration for the tournament’s competitors in general and the Hobie B.O.S. Anchored By Power Pole in particular. “It’s really neat to be able to fish for river smallmouths from a kayak while cutting in some wade fishing,” he remarked. “And to have a chance to win $10,500 doing it is a unique opportunity that’s so new to the kayak fishing scene. Payouts like this simply didn’t exist on the kayak trail a few years ago. The Hobie B.O.S. is undisputedly the most competitive kayak series right now, and that’s drawing even more great anglers to these contests. I love the opportunity to fish with the best, and I get that chance every time I launch in a Hobie competition.”

Up next on the Hobie® B.O.S. Series Anchored By Power-Pole® schedule is the Wolf and Fox Rivers event in Appleton, August 20-21. Registration is now underway.

Lester’s Ice Cream Treats for Back to School Bass

Courtesy of Alan McGuckin - Dynamic Sponsorships

Team Toyota’s Brandon Lester loves ice cream. Chocolate chip cookie dough, as well as butter pecan top his list. But if you want to go next level, he’s picking a Dairy Queen Reese’s® Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard® with extra peanut butter cups blended in.


Lester’s passion for fishing is on par with extra peanut butter cups too. Between Bassmaster events, you’ll often find him on Lake Guntersville or Tims Ford Lake near home, and when on vacation at the beach, you guessed it, he chases saltwater species in the Gulf.


“I try to fish at least two days a week between tournaments. And this morning, as I was launching at Alred’s Marina on Guntersville, I spotted them busting shad, and I’ve been catching 3-pounders on a Super Spook Jr. ever since,” grinned Lester amid our phone interview.


The Super Spook Jr. is actually one of Lester’s top three choices for catching largemouth as kids prepare to head back to class while daytime highs are still well into the 90s.


He graciously shared his wisdom about how he fishes the iconic topwater, along with insightful thoughts on two of his other favorite lures for back-to-school largemouth.


3.5” Super Spook Jr.


“Anytime you get into late summer there’s gonna be bass schooling on bait near the surface. And while ten pros might tell you the names of ten different topwater lures they love most, I’ll tell you with zero sponsor affiliation a Super Spook Jr. has always been the one I can count on to catch August and September schooling fish,” he shares.


Lester adds a #4 Mustad feathered treble to the rear of this time-proven topwater, and stresses the importance of improving your hook-to-landing ratios by using 30-pound Vicious No-Fade braided line.


Deep Crankbait


“If I was going to try to win a tournament on a Tennessee River impoundment like Pickwick or Guntersville in August, there’s a strong chance I’m going to be throwing a deep diving crankbait first,” says Lester.


He strongly believes the heat of summer keeps plenty of winning schools positioned in the 12 to 20-foot deep zone during August, and a crankbait tends to catch bigger bass than most lures.


Neko Rig


Lester’s not the only one who pounds on summer schools with a crankbait. In fact, thousands of other anglers have joined him since the post-spawn days of May to show largemouth a menu full of diving plugs. As a result, largemouth often grow leery of smashing diving baits by this time of year.


“A Neko Rig on a spinning rod is a bite-getter in August when they’ve seen every crankbait in the book all summer long and start getting really finicky,” says Lester.


And the best part is, a Neko Rig also catches big ones like the 6-pound 13-ounce beast that helped me win the Elite Series on Pickwick,” he smiles.


He picks apart finicky August schools from 5 to 25-feet deep with a Neko-rigged finesse worm with a 1/8-ounce Mustad Tungsten nail weight inserted in one end.


As we began to hang up from our interview around 9:30 a.m., Lester promised to send me a photo from the water when he caught a big one later in the day. And I won’t be shocked if his Tundra pulls into a Dairy Queen near Huntsville on the drive back home for a Blizzard with extra Reese’s.

Neal Wraps Up Back-to-Back Angler of the Year Titles

Courtesy of Major League

JULY 31, 2022 • JODY WHITE

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – In the history of the FLW Tour and Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Fuel Me, only Andy Morgan (2013, 2014) and David Dudley (2011, 2012) had won back-to-back Angler of the Year titles prior to the emergence of Michael Neal. Now, after finishing 15th at Covercraft Stop 6 Presented by Wiley X at Lake Champlain, Neal has locked up his second title in back-to-back fashion, becoming the third pro to win AOY in consecutive years and the sixth pro to win multiple AOY titles.

Neal’s win is also notable because of how extreme it was. Winning at Sam Rayburn to start the year off, he made the Top 10 four times, but also caught just one bass on Day 2 at Pickwick Lake to finish 105th. It’s the first time since Denny Brauer won AOY in 1998 that a pro has earned the points title with a finish below 100th on their ledger.

Trophy in hand, after sweating some and pretending to sweat some during weigh-in, Neal was more than appreciative of his newly secured place in history.

“Just to be mentioned in the same category as two of the guys I grew up fishing against and always looked up to … it’s surreal,” said Neal, who competes on the Bass Pro Tour against Morgan and Dudley. “To be fishing against the same guys and have an accolade like that, that a bunch of guys at the age of 30 never had the opportunity to do, I’ve been very fortunate to be where I’m at.”

Raised around pro fishing in East Tennessee, Neal has seemingly been destined for stardom for a long time. Now, he feels he’s living up to his potential.

“It feels like I finally got to the point in my career where I feel I should be,” Neal said. “For the first part of my career there were a lot of close calls. It feels like now I’ve got the confidence in myself and my abilities to get the job done.”

Neal has been on a tear for the last two years, and he credits confidence and time on the water for his success.

“Early in my career, I questioned it some, I think everybody is going to question it some,” he said. “But, you’ve got to have the confidence without the arrogance to believe you can do it. That’s a very fine line; but if you’re not confident and pull up to the best hole in the lake you’re not going to catch them.

“I’ve just made it a point now to go out and fish my strengths, and fishing both tours, spending a lot of time on the water – there’s no replacement for that.”

The Year That Was

Neal put together a sterling season overall, finishing first at Sam Rayburn, 10th at the Harris Chain, 105th at Pickwick, third at Guntersville, fourth at the James River and 15th at Champlain. Outside of Pickwick, it was a truly spectacular season, but it almost went too easily. In 2021, Neal had a moment or two every tournament where something lucky or special happened, when a pattern clicked into place or he made a perfect decision. This year, he struggled to come up with a standout moment other than his win at Rayburn.

“I didn’t have much, but I caught two big ones the first day,” Neal said. “I was lucky enough the second day to catch enough where I was going to be okay, and I could go practice. Then, I caught a couple big ones (later in the day on a jerkbait) and it set me up to win the tournament. Last year, every tournament I could look back and tell you one of those moments, this year, there’s not any.”

Of course, on the bad side was his second day at Pickwick, when he brought just one fish to the scale in an event that largely featured excellent fishing.

“One of my favorite lakes was the one that let me down so bad,” he said. “That was the one time in the last two years I can remember doing something that I knew I shouldn’t do, or that I don’t do. I ran up the river on Pickwick and fished the bank. On the Tennessee River, they live offshore, they spawn offshore, everything. For some reason, I gave up on it and it bit me. I didn’t give it enough time, I could have put the trolling motor down at the ramp and caught more than I did that day. In Angler of the Year stuff, typically you’re not going to have a chance if you don’t weigh a limit one of the days, let alone catch one fish.”

Neal’s Pickwick letdown didn’t end up costing him the title, though he didn’t lead AOY again until after Day 1 at Champlain – but it may prove instructive for others. One of the best offshore anglers in the game, Neal abandoned the ledges and bars that he’s made so much money on over the years.

“You’ve got guys like Andy Morgan and (Randall) Tharp that strictly power fish up shallow, and only so many fish live up there, and that’s in a 40-boat-a-day Bass Pro Tour event,” Neal said. “That’s what I’m going to do if I have to, but I’m going to fish my way as often as I can. If you don’t fish your way, just like what happened at Pickwick, you’re not going to do well, because you’re not fishing in your element.”

Neal’s Next Challenge

Going into the 2023 season, winning another Angler of the Year title will be at the top of the list for Neal. And with regular season wins under his belt, he’s good on that front. But, a major championship still eludes him, despite some close calls in the Forrest Wood Cup and REDCREST.

“I want to win a TITLE,” Neal said. “Angler of the Year is great, and a tournament win is great; I’ve done those and would love to do them 10 times over. But, now, the one thing that’s missing is a TITLE championship.”

At just 30 years old, recently married and fishing incredibly well, that goal seems pretty attainable for the Dayton, Tennessee, angler.

“I feel like I’ve got at least another 10 to 15 good years, prime years,” Neal said. “Whatever happens after that, happens.”

Darold Gleason’s picks for summer’s dog days

Courtesy of Alan McGuckin - Dynamic Sponsorships


These are the days when temps soar so high even small dogs like Rowdy Gleason look for a cool slab of concrete to lay their bellies on.


His ‘dad’ Darold Gleason wouldn’t mind doing the same, but he gets paid to catch fish, not lay on the porch. So, what two lures does the Elite Series pro and famed Toledo Bend guide lean on to catch fish when the thermometer hits a hundred?


“Obviously, in the extreme heat of summer, you could go with a deep diving crankbait, big worm, or a football jig, but I chose two lures to help people catch fish in this heat, based on two factors – simplicity and versatility,” says Gleason.


“So Rowdy and I are choosing a V & M Baby Swamp Hog and a 4.5” Straight Shooter dropshot worm,” says the always comical Gleason, who was one of the very first anglers to register for Toyota’s Bonus Bucks program 14 years ago.


Baby Swamp Hog


“I can hook a Baby Swamp Hog on a Carolina Rig behind a 1-ounce egg weight and reach fish that are 20-25’ feet deep. But I can also pitch it around the shade of dock, as well as submerged vegetation,” he explains.


“Again, it’s versatile. A Gleason’s Candy colored 4” Baby Swamp Hog imitates everything from a crawfish to a bluegill, and it gets bites from big fish, even when it’s 100-degrees outside,” says Gleason, who has a wall full of 10-pound fiberglass replicas representing the many giant largemouth he’s caught from Toledo Bend.


4.5” V & M Straight Shooter finesse worm


“This choice might surprise some people, but the goal is to get bites during smokin hot conditions, and very few rigs in bass fishing generate more bites than a drop shot. If you don’t believe me, look at the front deck of nearly any pro’s boat, and you’ll see at least one drop shot rigged up everywhere we go on tour,” says the Yamaha pro.


“The Straight Shooter worm is super soft, so it’s loaded with action, but it also has a ton of salt, so fish hold on to it longer,” he adds.


Much like the Baby Swamp Hog, Gleason says he’ll cast a hot summer drop shot from docks to deep water. He adjusts the leader length between the hook and weight below depending on what habitat he’s fishing.  He prefers 10” of line between hook and weight around docks, and more like 20” when fishing the deeper zones.


So while several options abound for dredging up summer bass by anglers brave enough to bear the heat, remember these two suggestions from Gleason as straight-up “bite getters” no matter how high the temp.


And remember, you can’t catch ‘em if you’re laying on the porch.


Shimano Ingenuity Captures Two Honors at ICAST 2022


Stella FK and Spheros SW Combo Enhance Angling Excellence Across Wide-Ranging Global Fisheries


Shimano is no stranger to the winner’s circle. In the New Product Showcase at ICAST 2022, Stella FK and Spheros SW Combo rose to the top of the Freshwater Reel and Rod & Reel Combo categories, capturing coveted hardware and industry accolades.

ICAST Best of Category: Freshwater Reel


Stella FK


Whenever Shimano introduces a new Stella, the industry takes notice. Outshining a field of baitcasting and spinning reels from top manufacturers in the most revered New Product Showcase category, the Stella FK spinning reel leverages premium technologies to enhance power and durability, drag performance and line management.

Shimano’s legacy of high-precision gear development continues to evolve within the all-new InfinityXross system. Distributing contact points over a larger surface area, InfinityXross delivers unrivaled gear durability to enhance reel performance and longevity. Passed down from Stella’s larger saltwater models, Infinity Drive features a unique low-friction bushing that decreases frictional resistance, delivering smoother and more powerful winding.

The Stella FK features a litany of advanced technologies and refined aesthetics, highlighted by Shimano’s new InfinityLoop line management system. Extending spool oscillation during the retrieve, InfinityLoop ensures the line lays as evenly as possible on the spool. InfinityLoop benefits anglers on every cast, as smooth and even line lay results in reduced friction as line leaves the spool, yielding dramatically enhanced casting distance.

A foundation of premium technologies supports all the best-in-class innovations that permeate the Stella FK family. A lightweight and robust magnesium HAGANE Body and a cold-forged HAGANE Gear fortify Stella FK for enhanced durability. No other spinning reel can claim a stronger legacy or a brighter future than the award-winning Stella FK.


ICAST Best of Catagory Stella.jpeg

Stella FK Features:

·      InfinityXross

·      InfinityLoop

·      Infinity Drive

·      Anti-Twist Fin

·      DuraCross Drag

·      MicroModule Gear II

·      HAGANE Gear

·      HAGANE Body

·      Long Stroke Spool

·      CI4+

·      X-Protect

·      X-Ship

·      Titanium One-Piece Bail


Best of Category: Rod & Reel Combo


Spheros SW Combo


Further demonstrating Shimano’s enduring passion and legacy of design and engineering excellence, the all-new Spheros SW Combo sets the new standard for best-in-class rod and reel combos with four models delivering a remarkable balance of performance and durability to a broad range of anglers and fishing styles.

High-quality graphite rods with tapered EVA handles and comfortable reel seats feature Fuji Aluminum Oxide guides allowing anglers to spool with monofilament or PowerPro braided line. Every Spheros SW Combo features a Spheros SW A reel, fortified with Shimano’s exclusive cold-forged HAGANE Gear for the smoothness and durability that saltwater anglers demand.

Drawing many of its design attributes from the flagship spinning reels, Spheros SW A integrates HAGANE Body technology to enhance rigidity and eliminate flexing, transforming angler inputs into more direct and effortless cranking power. Further improving winding torque under load, Infinity Drive and X-Ship technologies optimize the overall drive gear design for exceptionally smooth handle rotation and efficient power transmission.

Immune to harsh saltwater environments, Spheros SW A spinning reels feature X-Protect and X-Shield technologies to keep water and fine contaminants from disrupting the internal components of the reel. Shimano also incorporates sealed S A-RB bearings to eliminate the possibility of salt or sand inhibiting the bearing’s rotation. The Spheros SW Combo offers an amazing collection of benefits that are key for so many saltwater anglers, offering unparalleled versatility and a virtually endless range of applications.


ICAST Best of Category Combo

Spheros SW Combo Features:

·       HAGANE Gear

·       HAGANE Body

·       X-Ship

·       Infinity Drive

·       CoreProtect

·       S A-RB Bearings

·       Cross Carbon Drag

·       X-Protect

·       X-Shield


Synonymous with excellence, Shimano’s legacy of design and manufacturing supremacy continues with the ICAST New Product Showcase award-winning Stella FK and Spheros SW Combo.

Zenon Low-Profile Baitcast Reels – Abu Garcia’s Newest Casting Reels

New level premium low-profile reels created with avid anglers in mind

COLUMBIA, S.C. (August 1, 2022) – Designed for anglers who appreciate compact and lightweight reel design, the Zenon Low-Profile Casting Reels meet the mark in both responsiveness and decreased weight with the three models weighing in at a featherlight weight between 4.6-5.5oz. This family of reels continues to build on the quality of the Zenon Spinning reels and have been optimized for top-tournament winning performance right out of the box.

The Zenon lineup offers three different models: Zenon MG-LTX, which is the most finesse-focused, the Zenon MG-X, which is the ultimate lightweight performance reel, and the Zenon X, which delivers power in a light, aluminum design.

Zenon MG-LTX
The Zenon MG-LTX is the most finesse focused of the Zenon casting family featuring a spool that is 10% lighter and a smaller diameter than MG-X and X models. The Ceramalite spool bearings facilitate a more free and lower start up inertia making it the ideal choice for accurately casting lighter baits.

Key Features
• New A-SYM body design
• EXD concept design to maximize casting performance
• Finesse-focused Model
• 30mm spool
• Spool 10% lighter than other Zenon models
• Ceramalite bearings
• Weight: 4.6 oz
• Unique One Piece Aluminum Cross Brace
• 8 SS HPCR Bearings + 1 Roller Bearing
• Chip resistant paint finish
• Gear ratio available: 8.3:1 - 31IPT
• Max Drag: 12lbs

MSRP: $549.95
Available: July 2022

Zenon MG-X
The mid-tier reel in the Zenon lineup, the MG-X offers anglers an ultimate lightweight performance reel in a compact package. Weighing in at 5.1 ounces, the reel combines the EXD body design for improved castability and the new A-SYM body design with a smaller palm side plate for a more comfortable feel while fishing.

Key Features
• New A-SYM body design
• EXD concept to maximize casting performance
• One piece X-Mag Alloy frame
• 9 SS HPCR Bearings + 1 Roller Bearing
• Compact bent carbon handle
• 90 mm Carbon handle with oversized handle knobs
• Weight 5.1 oz
• SHS-Gear Ratio 8.3:1 - 32IPT
• Regular - Gear Ratio 6.8:1 - 27IPT
• Max Drag 15lbs

MSRP: $449.95
Available: July 2022

Zenon X
The Zenon X delivers power in a small, lightweight aluminum frame featuring the same A-SYM body design and EXD concept for unmatched castability. This workhorse model provides the ability to throw anything from finesse baits to small jigs and is equipped with 90mm aluminum handles and oversized knobs to provide comfort in a compact reel.

Key Features
• New A-SYM body design
• EXD concept to maximize casting performance
• X2 Craftic Alloy frame
• 8 SS HPCR Bearings + 1 Roller Bearing
• Carbon Matrix drag system
• 90mm Aluminum handle with oversized knobs
• Gear Ratios: Zenon X – 6.8:1 (27” per turn) • Zenon X-SHS – 8.3:1 (32” per turn)
• Max Drag: 15lbs
• Weight: 5.5 oz

MSRP: $349.95
Available: July 2022 Announces the August Awesomeness New Product Awards! - FINAL DAY TO VOTE ON ROUND 1

Now is the time for YOU to vote on what you think should be the hottest new product of the year!

Each year at the ICAST Fishing Trade Show, New Products are showcased for Media Members to vote on and decide what they think is the hottest New Product of the show.

We have turned the tables and now its YOUR turn to VOTE on what you think should be the New Product Showcase Winner!

Rules are simple. This is a bracket style voting format, divided into categories similar to what is used each year at ICAST.

We have narrowed this down to better fit our demographic, mainly freshwater.  

For Round 1, simply vote for the product you like or are excited about in EACH bracket. THERE ARE MULTIPLE BRACKETS PER SECTION.

Voting will end Monday night August 1st for round 1, Winners will move on, the losers will go home. 

Tuesday August 2nd, we will begin Round 2 and the voting will continue until we have a winner for each category. 

Once we have come to a category winner then Overall Awesomeness Head to Head battle will begin until YOU, the fan, the viewer, the listener, the fisherman (or woman) decide who YOU Think is worthy enough to be named


What’s in this for you, you ask? Each week and round we will randomly pick voters from each category for gift cards, swag, new products giveaways, etc… When the contest is over we will pile all the names into a Hat and the Big Bass Ninja himself will choose a Grandprize winner! (prize yet to be determined, but we can promise it will be AWESOME!

Vote here today!

The Mimicry Continues

New Mimic Minnow Swim Jig combines Northland Fishing Tackle’s iconic sculpted head and performance with a precision Gamakatsu hook. 

BEMIDJI, Minn. (July 28, 2022) – Swimbait fishing has its origins on the southern reservoirs of California. Back in the 80’s, anglers learned to mimic the looks and locomotion of trout. Why? Like stripers on mid-state reservoirs, gigantic black bass realize the full-meal-deal these stocked fish provide.

Over time, bassers around the country applied the presentation to their local quarry, regardless if trout were on the menu, because swimbaits can emulate everything from bluegills to shiners and shad.

Now, improving on what the market has to offer, Northland introduces the Mimic Minnow Swim Jig. This best-of-class swimbait jig is established on the cosmetics and effectiveness of the original Mimic Minnow Jig, which has been a multispecies darling for years. The Mimic Minnow Swim Jig commences on an authentic looking, sculpted jighead. The bait-shaped and detailed jighead features realistic eyeballs and flared gills, and its 60-degree line-tie promotes an even-keel action and ability to find its way through cover like cabbage and coontail.

Separating it from the pack, the extraordinary heavy-duty jighead is outfitted with a premium Gamakatsu hook, which is noticeably sharp and extremely strong for hearty hooksets. You’ll also appreciate the Mimic Minnow Swim Jig’s unique double bait keeper. The base keeper is forged into the jighead. Next, Northland added a stout wire keeper to amplify the Mimic Minnow Swim Jig’s ability to hold plastics in place.

Northland pro Craig Peterson offers his take on swimbait fishing with the new Mimic Minnow Swim Jig: “Swimbaits are great for long casts and covering a lot of water, like big weed flats. You can also run them along the outside weed edge just as effectively.”

“I fish heavier size Mimic Minnow Swim Jigs – like a ½- or ¾-ouncer – when I want to fish it fast or deep,” added Peterson. “The lighter and smaller ¼- and 3/8-ounce sizes are better for fishing slower and with more finesse. The lighter versions also work well for pounding shallow banks.”

Peterson has color preferences in specific situations, too. He likes darker patterns such as Black and Green Pumpkin in darker water, as they produce the natural shadowed silhouette bass experience in real life. In clearer conditions, he selects the brownish gold Walleye pattern. He says Smelt, a whitish pattern, produces just about anywhere. And to match-the-hatch, he picks Bluegill when bass are feeding on young-of-the-year and juvenile sunfish.

In Peterson’s experience, it’s wise to look for what’s finning and creeping around the boat landing – like baitfish, bluegills, and crayfish – and emulate the size and coloration. As well, he suggests paying attention to what a landed bass might upchuck and match it.

Paddletails and soft jerkbaits are proven pairings with the Mimic Minnow Swim Jig. As a rule, you want to match up jig size with the appropriate bait length to give it an authentic baitfish profile and promote smooth swimming. Coordinating colors is the most popular process, too. For example, employing dark-patterned plastics with a Black Mimic Minnow Swim Jig, or white to silvers with a Smelt jighead. That said, don’t be afraid to contrast colors for extra pop.

Swimbaits were concocted for bass fishing, but savvy walleye anglers have also tapped the tactic. Patterns like Perch, Sexy Shad, and Purple Shad sport combinations of favored walleye colors. Consider pairing them with aggressive plastic colors like chartreuse, blue and something purplish.

Green Pumpkin





Purple Shad

Sexy Shad

Northland’s new Mimic Minnow Swim Jig is available in 4 sizes and 8 tested colors. Sizes include ¼-, 3/8-, ½-, and ¾-ounce. Colors include Black, Smelt, Walleye, Perch, Bluegill, Sexy Shad, Green Pumpkin, and Purple Shad. Sold 2 per pack. MSRP is $6.49.

Available now, the Mimic Minnow Swim Jig will be a surefire addition to your tackle arsenal.

ICAST Round-up & Cheaters Never Win.....

Chris and David are back from ICAST with some insight into this years show and Kenneth brings the heat with his take from the outside looking in during last weeks festivities. The trio also jump on the cheating bandwagon and look into some recent news as well. All this and more!

MLF Issues Statement on Bass Pro Tour Stage One Penalty for Sprague


Pro Jeff Sprague of Wills Point, Texas, will forfeit his fifth-place finish from the 2022 Stage One Bass Pro Tour event in West Monroe, Louisiana, for violating Bass Pro Tour rule No. 23-A. The disqualification was announced today by Don Rucks, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Major League Fishing. The rule states that Bass Pro Tour anglers are prohibited from intentionally soliciting or intentionally receiving any information pertaining to tournament waters from a non-competitor for the purpose of locating or catching bass. If any such information is unintentionally being received from a non-competitor, the MLF Bass Pro Tour angler must politely ask the non-competitor to cease from divulging the information.

Sprague issued a statement on the incident:

“I received information from a non-competitor regarding Lake D’Arbonne, which violated rule 23-A. I fully accept MLF’s penalty ruling of a disqualification for the Stage One event. I want to apologize for my mistake in this matter. I am ready to head north to finish the remainder of the 2022 season and I look forward to continuing my fishing career with MLF for many seasons to come.”

Bass Pro Tour point standings and payouts from Stage One will be adjusted accordingly.

For complete rules, details and updated information on Major League Fishing and the Bass Pro Tour, visit For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF’s social media outlets at FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.

Palaniuk asked a young fan for help

Courtesy of Alan McGuckin - Dynamic Sponsorships

There’s a good chance 15-year old Preston Bartley of North Gower, Ontario is still shaking following a lifetime memory made possible by Brandon
Palaniuk’s perceptive heart at the Bassmaster Elite on the St. Lawrence River.


The teenager who labels Palaniuk his favorite angler, was standing with his loving parents in a crowd of a couple dozen fans near the dock when the longtime Yamaha pro entered the harbor to sack-up yet another 20-pound limit of St. Lawrence smallies.


Most folks didn’t notice, but Palaniuk seemed to be stalling just a tad, but only because he was scanning the crowd, and looking to make a young angler’s day.


“I need a kid to help me bag these fish,” said Palaniuk to the crowd. Then quickly singled out Bartley to climb on to his Skeeter.


The Idaho pro was sure to tell the teen to close the bag after each fish was dropped-in, knowing how smallies love to jump, and based on the fact his admirable kindness nearly backfired earlier this year at Santee Cooper when a big bass nearly jumped back in the lake as a youngster helped him load his catch.


Sacked-up successfully with no escapees, Palaniuk toted his catch to the holding tanks, while Bartley stood next to his parents visibly shaken in a real good way.


“I just love Brandon’s social media content, and you can tell he’s an awesome human, and super approachable. Plus, I caught a 6-pound smallmouth last year on one of his X-Zone Finesse Slammer baits!” grins Gower.


Palaniuk says it’s not possible to involve a young fan every single time he loads up a limit, but whenever the situation fits, he makes a concerted effort to do so.


“It’s something I’ve tried to do for a couple seasons now, and hey, I do need help loading my fish, and I know how much it might mean to a kid, so everybody wins,” says the always thoughtful pro, and brand new dad.


Sure enough, everybody won. The Bartleys, who are longtime B.A.S.S. members, drove nearly two hours to take-in their first ever Bassmaster weigh-in, and thanks to Brandon Palaniuk’skind heart, it’s absolutely one they’ll never forget.

Wilkinson Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event on the Ohio River

Record Breaking Rookie Update!


While at ICAST DX Catches up with recent Bassmaster Elite Series Rookie Jay Przekurat on his Rookie win and his whirlwind year!

Gamakatsu® G-Shield Tungsten Weights Add Japanese Quality to Casting, Pitching and Flipping

Tacoma, Washington (July 20, 2022) - Gamakatsu®, the longtime leader in hooks, has revolutionized the fishing world with ultra-sharp tools for every specialized technique. Now Gamakatsu brings its legendary attention to detail and innovative thinking to the tungsten weight market. The new G-Shield Tungsten Weights are available in standard worm weights, flipping weights and punch weights.

All three versions of the G-Shield weights feature a specially designed composite insert that not only protects an angler’s line, but also provides 360 degree protection for the knot. No more breaking off on the hook set or in heavy cover – these are made to eliminate the issues caused by uneven and rough tungsten. Furthermore, the insert is wider at the base than at the insertion hole so the hook eye can recess itself into the weight, thereby creating a more compact, lifelike and snag-resistant offering. All of the weights also come in a stealthy smoke-colored finish which blends in with plastics and your lure’s surroundings to generate more strikes. The weight size is stamped into the side of each weight making it easy to identify when it's time to make a change.

Each shape provides distinct best-in-class advantages. The worm weight is the all-purpose champ, best for casting into light cover or dragging plastics across bare lake and river bottoms when subtlety is essential. It’s available in six sizes from 1/8 ounce through 3/4 ounce. The flipping weight is slightly wider, and excels when flipped or pitched into heavy cover – it goes in and comes out easily. The flipping weight comes in six sizes from 3/8 ounce to 1 1/4 ounce. Finally, the punch weight will penetrate thick overhead canopies that resist other shapes. It’s bulbous at the front, creating a weight-forward design that builds inertia when it first contacts likely bass-holding cover. That means the lure will enter cleanly and relatively quietly, inviting even the wariest bass to strike in reaction. These start at 3/4 ounce, and are also available in 1, 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 ounce sizes. These are the true beasts of the mat-punching world. They are also durable, so they’ll save money in the long run – all while putting more bass in the boat.

G-Shield Tungsten Flipping Weight Features:

  • Specially designed composite insert protects line and knots
  • Features stealthy smoke-colored finish
  • Weight size is stamped into the side of each weight
  • Color: Smoke
  • Sizes: ⅜, ½, ⅝, ¾, 1, 1 1/4
  • Qty/Pkg:
  • 3 (3/8)
  • 2 (1/2, 5/8)
  • 1 (3/4, 1, 1 1/4)

G-Shield Tungsten Worm Weight Features:

  • Specially designed composite insert protects line and knots
  • Features stealthy smoke-colored finish
  • Weight size is stamped into the side of each weight
  • Color: Smoke
  • Sizes: ⅛, 3/16, ¼, ⅜, ½, ¾
  • Qty/Pkg:
  • 4 (1/8, 3/16, 1/4)
  • 3 (3/8)
  • 2 (1/2, 3/4)

G-Shield Tungsten Punch Weight Features:

  • Specially designed composite insert protects line and knots
  • Features stealthy smoke-colored finish
  • Weight size is stamped into the side of each weight
  • Color: Smoke
  • Sizes: ¾, 1, 1 ¼, 1 ½, 2
  • Qty/Pkg: 1

Bassmaster Elite Brotherhood Rescues Downey On Championship Sunday At St. Lawrence River

Bassmaster Elite Series anglers Matt Robertson and Lee Livesay, who did not make the final day cut, exchange boats with fellow pro Bob Downey (right) during Championship Sunday at last weekend's Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at the St. Lawrence River.

Photo by Shane Durrance/B.A.S.S.

July 20, 2022



CLAYTON, N.Y. — Bassmaster Elite Series pros Lee Livesay of Longview, Texas, and Matt Robertson of Kuttawa, Ky., were at the weigh-in venue waiting for their time to appear on the Bassmaster LIVE Mix broadcast when they heard that fellow angler Bob Downey’s boat was malfunctioning during Championship Sunday of last weekend’s Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at the St. Lawrence River.


Livesay and Robertson, who did not make the Championship Sunday cut, jumped at the chance to help a fellow competitor. They left to pick up Livesay’s boat, filled it with gas, bought ice and some snacks and launched to go find Downey, who hails from Detroit Lakes, Minn. Livesay noted that he and Downey are not particularly close friends. In fact, Livesay didn’t even have Downey’s phone number. But as a fellow Elite Series competitor, that’s plenty close enough.


“I’d do that for anybody,” Livesay said. “And anybody would do that for any one of us.”


Swapping boats in the middle of a competition day is not a simple task. Livesay had to delete the waypoints on his Humminbird graphs. Downey had to grab just enough tackle that he needed to finish the day. They had to transfer Downey’s fish into Livesay’s livewells, where cool, iced water awaited them.


“We both had Humminbirds, so that was good,” Livesay said. “We put one of his Humminbirds in my boat.”


Downey’s outboard motor wasn’t completely disabled. It just wouldn’t get his boat up on plane.


“We stayed close just in case either boat had a problem,” Robertson said.


“It didn’t surprise me,” Downey said. “Lee and Matt are awesome dudes, good character guys. It didn’t surprise me at all that they did it, and I’m thankful they did.”


Downey started the day in second place, only 2 pounds, 15 ounces behind leader and eventual tournament winner Jay Przekurat. But his day had gone south long before his outboard malfunctioned. Downey had been fishing in the St. Lawrence River all week, and he wasn’t able to catch them there Sunday. He finished 10th with a four-day total of 91-07, but he was able to weigh in a limit of fish.


“I had some fish when they got there with Lee’s boat,” Downey said. “I was able to catch some more and get back for the weigh-in. I was happy to have a 17-pound limit and some fish to weigh on Championship Sunday.”


Downey, Robertson, Livesay and the rest of the Elite Series field will take to the water again August 18-21 for the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Lake Oahe in South Dakota.

Fenwick Elite Series Rods

New Fenwick Elite rod series created for multispecies applications excels in sensitivity and performance. 

COLUMBIA, S.C. (July 20, 2022) – For over 50 years, the Fenwick name has been a legend among anglers all over the world with sensitivity being the name of the game since day one. The new Fenwick Elite rod family lives up to that legacy featuring seven species-specific rod models and a total of 49 unique rod actions designed to excel regardless of the species targeted.

Featuring Powerlux 200 resin and 30-ton graphite, the Elite rods are a combination of lightweight feel and sensitivity. Each model features proven Fenwick actions that pair perfectly with popular techniques for catching a variety of fish. Combined with the advanced resin technology, other key features include premium high-quality cork, an ergonomic reel seat, Titanium guides with zirconia inserts, and a limited lifetime warranty.

The Elite series rods offer stronger, more durable rods without compromising the sensitivity and lightness that anglers have come to expect from Fenwick. Every rod series is constructed out of the most-effective and highest grade materials suited for each application for an overall excellent performing series of rods.

Key Features
• 30-ton graphite with Powerlux 200
• Bass crankbait models feature S-glass with spiral carbon core
• Ergonomic Fenwick designed reel seat (Fuji on Predator rods)
• Premium grade cork handles (cork split grip on Bass)
• Patent pending ferrule locking mechanism on Predator rods
• Titanium guides with zirconia Inserts
• Limited Lifetime Warranty

Models Include:
Elite Light Finesse: 4-8 UL • 5-3 UL (2-piece) • 5-8 UL (2-piece) • 6-3 L • 6-6 UL (2-piece) • 6-9 L
MSRP: $139.95

Elite Walleye Casting: 7-0 M • 7-6 M
MSRP: $169.95-$189.95

Elite Walleye Spinning: 5-9 M • 6-2 M • 6-2 ML • 6-6 ML • 6-6 M • 6-6 M (2 piece) • 6-9 ML • 6-9 ML (2-piece) • 6-9 M • 7-0 M • 7-0 ML • 7-2 M • 7-2 M (2-piece) • 7-2 MH • 7-4 ML
MSRP: $169.95 – $189.95

Elite Bass Casting: 6-10 ML • 7-0 M • 7-0 MH • 7-3 MH • 7-3 H • 7-6 MH • 7-6 H7-9 H • 7-11 XH
MSRP: $169.95 – $189.95

Elite Bass Spinning: 6-9 M • 6-9 M (2-piece) • 6-10 ML • 7-0 M • 7-0 M (2-piece) • 7-0 MH • 7-0 MH (2-piece)
MSRP: $169.95

Elite Bass Cranking: 7-0 M • 7-0 MH • 7-3 MH • 7-8 H
MSRP: $169.95

Elite Predator: 7-9 MH (2-piece) • 8-0 H (2-piece) • 8-6 H (2-piece) • 8-6 XH (2-piece) • 9-0 XH (2-piece) • 10-0 XXH (2-piece)
MSRP: $149.95 – $269.95

Available: July 2022

To learn more about Fenwick, click here.

Strike King Launches Two New Worms the Put More Fish in the Boat in 2022

Columbia, S.C. – July 20, 2022 –Never satisfied with last year’s success, Strike King hits the new year with two exciting additions to their legendary worm line up.  Introducing the Filler Worm and the Zeus Worm.

 First on the list, the next generation of finesse fishing has arrived.  The team at Strike King is pleased to introduce the new Filler Worm, the soft plastic drop shot worm finesse fans have been asking for.  Working with Strike King Pro and finesse legend Mark Zona, Strike King has crafted the Filler Worm with an extra wide, extra durable head, for withstanding hard fishing and multiple catches without tearing.  “No more losing a worm after one solid hookset,” offered the Michigan pro.   “With the Filler Worm’s wide noggin, Strike King has managed to really impact the strength and integrity of the plastic, a feature that tournament competitors will appreciate.”

A key feature of the Filler Worm is the Open Pour Technology that allows Strike King to develop realistic color patterns for a unique display.  With Open Pour Technology, the Filler Worm offers 15 striking, vibrant blends that mimic forage and entice fish.  For fishing in clear water, Zona favors Watermelon Red Flake and Green Pumpkin for the most natural presentation, while in stained water he often switches to Morning Dawn or Firecrawler for greater visibility.

Strike King’s enhanced pouring techniques also add additional fishing benefits for finicky fish and lethargic bites.  Zona explains: “Open Pour Technology allows us to insert a layer of salt-impregnated plastic along the base of the Filler Worm to keep it in an upright position on a drop shot rig. This gives the Filler Worm a lifelike presentation and offers a little extra flavor to keep a fish holding on.”

Next on the 2022 line-up, Strike King is pleased to introduce what is sure to become a must-have for ledge fishermen and deep structure enthusiasts, the Zeus Worm.  Ready for a battle, the Zeus Worm hits the ledges with 9.5-inches of fury and enough girth to make quite a scene in heavy cover.  The key feature of the big worm is the ribbon tail design, emitting a powerful action that is truly hard to ignore.  This worm is designed to excel on deep underwater ledges when you often need a bigger profile to get fish to react.

The Zeus pairs great with a 4/0 and 5/0 hook and excels at Carolina Rigging and Texas Rigging.  This worm fits perfectly on the business end of the Mag Jig Head, with its free-swinging Owner Twistlock, allowing the giant worm to give off plenty of life-like action.

For anglers who fish bigger profile worms but need to downsize a notch or two, the Zeus is marked off to be easily paired down to a 7-inch worm.  This gives anglers the option of offering a slightly shorter worm with the same great action as the bait has out-of-the-package.  Like a number of worms in the Strike King line-up, the Zeus Worm is engineered with the premium Perfect Plastics system, offering exceptional, striking color blends and the famous Strike King coffee scent that keeps fish holding on. With 12 colors to choose from and a MSRP of $6.99 you probably all of them!

Whether you are power fishing for aggressive feeders or finessing to coax a bite, Strike King has you covered.  When you hit the water in 2022, make sure you have the new Strike King Filler and the Zeus Worm tied on.

Strike King completes the avid angler’s tackle box with four new additions to the terminal tackle line-up

Columbia, S.C. – July 20, 2022 – Strike King, the creator of some of the most essential tackle designs of the last half century, is proud to announce five new terminal tackle products that will be trusted additions for avid anglers in 2022.  Introducing the Strike King Tour Grade Mini-Mag Worm Jig Head, and the Tour Grade Crackin’ Tube Jig Head, the Bitsy Crackin’ Tube Jig Head, the Tour Grade Tugnsten Neko Weight and the Strike King Tour Grade Weight Stop.

The Tour Grade Mini-Mag Worm Jig Head follows the success of its bigger cousin, the Mag Jig Head, which has gained notoriety since its 2017 release as a staple for serious soft plastics anglers.  The key for the Mini-Mag’s preeminence on the water is the premium-grade Owner Twistlock Spring that holds bait firmly in place and protects the integrity of the plastic throughout long hours of fishing in the heaviest of cover.  Unlike other jig heads with a twist lock, the Strike King Mini-Mag’s Locking Spring swings freely, allowing a worm or creature bait to move freely during retrieve, resulting in superior action, and just as critical, increased hook penetration during a hookset.  Anglers who pay a premium for a tour grade Strike King jig head expect to land more fish and achieve a more natural presentation.  That is what you get with the new Mini Mag.  The cobra-style nose of the Mini-Mag Jig Head, made popular by Strike King’s successful Structure Jig, has proven to be highly effective at maneuvering the bait through heavy cover without constant snags, while maintaining exceptional contact with the bottom. The Mag Jig Head has proven to be a winner for brush pile and ledge fishermen.  Now, with the reduced profile and downsized 3/0 hooks, the Mini-Mag brings a little more finesse to a standout jig head. The Mini Mag Jig head comes in 2 colors and 3 sizes with a MSRP of $5.99

Additionally, the Tour Grade Crackin’ Tube Jig Head is a must for anglers who have rediscovered the fish-catching power of the KVD Pro-Model Tube and the Denny Brauer Flip-N-Tube.  With its Extra-Wide hook shank, the Crackin’ Tube Jig Head is the ideal tackle for a variety of tube rigging techniques.  Key to its success on the water is the teardrop design of the lead head, which places the majority of the weight at the front of the tube.  Coupled with its 70-degree horizontal line tie, anglers have a tube that will fall in a smooth, diagonal manner.

Strike King Pro Angler Mark Zona has relied on the Strike King Tube all over the country and considers it to be a consistent performer.  “The Strike King Coffee Tube and Tour Grade Crackin’ Tube Jig Head are a deadly combination for Smallmouth, Largemouth and Spots,” the Michigan native said.  “It’s a ‘must have’ on the deck of my boat.”

While anglers have traditionally relied on the tube as a finesse lure, Zona and a growing cadre of competitive anglers have found that upsizing the jig head can improve the strike.  Zona explains: “This is no longer strictly a finesse bait for me.  I have found over and over that a heavier Strike King Crackin’ Tube Jig Head produces a faster rate of fall that will cause a bass to pound this lure.”  The Strike King Crackin’ Tube Jig Head is available in six different weights and is equipped with a 3/0 hook, with a MSRP of $4.99

Anglers who depend on the tube to tackle their finesse applications will find the Strike King Tour Grade Bitsy Crackin’ Tube Jig Headto be an essential item on the deck.  Like its bulkier cousin, the Bitsy head places the majority of the weight in the front of the tube and features a 70-degree line eye to perfect the strike-enticing fall of the tube.  The Bitsy is also available in six different weights, and features a downsized 2/0 hook, ideal for a 2.75 Strike King Fat Coffee Tube. The MSRP for this junior size is $4.99

Strike King is pleased to offer its first Tour Grade Weight Stops, ideal for a host of different applications on the water.  Weight Stops are an absolute must for anglers who use sliding lead or tungsten weights when punching vegetation mats or flipping in heavy cover, as they serve an essential role in keeping the weight near the soft plastic.  This is a simple and easy application to a soft plastic flipping or punching rig that will actually help put more fish in the boat.  Additionally, Carolina Rig enthusiasts have grown fond of the Weight Stop for protecting swivel knots from the friction of a heavy sliding weight, or for eliminating the need for a leader altogether. Strike King’s silicone engineering of the Tour Grade Weight Stops provides exceptional durability and keeps the weight stop firmly in place throughout multiple hours of casting. MSRP is $7.99 for a 54 pack.

Finally, for the finesse fishing enthusiasts, Strike King announces the Tour Grade Neko Weight.  Built with tungsten, the Tour Grade Neko Weight is designed for extra durability to provide years of fishing without corrosion.   Strike King has engineered the Neko Weight with a pointed, cone-shaped body to be quickly and easily inserted into a plastic worm or other soft plastic.  It features a ribbed body to keep the weight securely in place inside the soft plastic for prolonged use and throughout multiple fish catches.  Strike King is offering the Tour Grade Neko Weight in four sizes so that anglers have ultimate control over the rate of fall for their finesse soft plastics.  MSRP is $5.99 to $6.99

The Tour Grade Terminal Tackle line-up is designed with serious anglers and tournament competitors in mind.  For those who depend on the finest equipment to perform at the highest levels, only Strike King will do.  Tie one on!

The Chick Magnet Has a Little Brother.

Columbia, S.C. – July 20, 2022 – Fresh off an ICAST 2021 “Best of Category” win for the launch of the Chick Magnet, Strike King is pleased to announce a new crankbait on the