Thrift Cruises to Knockout Round Win at REDCREST 2021

Neal Catches two 3½ -Pounders in Final Six Minutes to Advance, 10 Anglers Set for Championship Friday – Final-Day Shootout for $300,000

EUFAULA, Ala. (Feb. 25, 2021) – The fishing improved over Wednesday, but it was still not an easy day for tournament competitors Thursday on Lake Eufaula. Unless your name was Bryan Thrift. Thrift weighed in 14 bass totaling 40 pounds, 8 ounces Thursday to easily cruise to the win in the Knockout Round (Group B) on Day 4 at REDCREST 2021, the Bass Pro Tour championship at Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Alabama. The five-day competition featured a field of 40 of the best anglers in the world from the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour competing for a top cash prize of $300,000.

Thrift now advances to Championship Friday, along with pros Ott DeFoe, Michael Neal, Takahiro Omori and Anthony Gagliardi.
“I’ve made it to the Championship Round of my very first REDCREST, and I am beyond excited,” Thrift said. “I feel like I’m on enough fish right now to at least have a chance. I am a little nervous – a lot of people watched me catch them this morning off of my one place, and that’s where I’ve caught most of my fish this week. So, I’m really hoping that I can still get on it tomorrow. Hopefully there are still a few there, and if they are then I think we have a chance.”

Despite four straight days of sunny skies and warmer temperatures that had many predicting the fish would be heading to the bank, Thrift has done the majority of his fishing offshore with a swimbait and a shaky-head rig.

“I know they’re headed to the bank, any time now,” Thrift said. “I went in one pocket today and seen six or seven bass cruising around – no big ones yet – but buck bass up there looking. So, I definitely think they’re coming to the bank soon, but they’re still not quite right yet. I’ll probably look again tomorrow and see what happens. I have a lot of stuff to run tomorrow. I have some stuff left that I didn’t fish today that hopefully could be good, but you never know.”

Michael Neal continued his last-minute REDCREST heroics Thursday, matching what he started earlier this week. After catching a 4-pounder with just 50 seconds left in the final period to advance from Tuesday’s Qualifying Round, Neal caught two 3½-pounders in the final six minutes Thursday to jump from sixth place to third place and advance to the final day.

“What a day. I don’t know how I keep putting myself in this position – right on the cutline, every time,” Neal said. “It’s getting kind of old. It’s fun, don’t get me wrong. But I’d like to have a strong start for once. Who knows, maybe tomorrow will be the day.

“I think I stuck with the spinnerbait a little too long today,” Neal continued. “This morning they were biting it really good, and then the sun got up and it was slick calm, I should have went to the jerkbait a lot earlier. It’s a lesson learned for tomorrow, and I’m very fortunate to make it. Everything goes back to zero, and now it’s anyone’s ballgame.”

The top five pros that made the cut and will advance to Championship Friday on Lake Eufaula are:

1st:          Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., 14 bass, 40-8
2nd:         Ott DeFoe of Blaine, Tenn., seven bass, 23-14
3rd:         Michael Neal of Dayton, Tenn., seven bass, 20-9
4th:         Takahiro Omori of Tokyo, Japan, seven bass, 19-10
5th:         Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C., five bass, 18-6

The five pros eliminated from competition Thursday are:

6th:         Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla., six bass, 15-14
7th:         Jordan Lee of Cullman, Ala., five bass, 15-8
8th:         Alton Jones Jr. of Waco, Texas, four bass, 11-11
9th:         Brent Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kan., two bass, 6-14
10th:       Randall Tharp of Port St. Joe, Fla., two bass, 6-5

Full results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Overall, there were 59 bass weighing 189 pounds, 3 ounces caught by the 10 pros in Group B Thursday.

Thrift and DeFoe split Thursday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award, each weighing in a 5-pound, 8-ounce largemouth. Berkley awards $1,000 to the angler that weighs the biggest bass each day, and a $7,000 bonus to the angler who weighs the largest bass of the tournament.

At REDCREST 2021, the full field of anglers competed in the two-day Qualifying Round on Days 1 (Monday) and 2 (Tuesday) of the event. The field was cut to just the top 20 based on two-day total cumulative weight. The remaining 20 anglers were split into two groups for the Knockout Round – 10 (Group A) competed on Day 3 (Wednesday) and 10 (Group B) competed on Day 4 (Thursday). The top five anglers from each group based on total single-day weight now advance to the Championship Round – the fifth and final day of competition (Friday) where weights are zeroed and the angler that catches the highest total weight on the final day will be crowned the REDCREST 2021 champion.

The 10 anglers that will compete in the final Championship Round on Lake Eufaula on Friday are:

Zack Birge of Blanchard, Okla.
Dustin Connell of Clanton, Ala.
Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Ark.
Ott DeFoe of Blaine, Tenn.
David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va.
Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C.
Michael Neal of Dayton, Tenn.
Takahiro Omori of Tokyo, Japan
Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C.
Jacob Wheeler of Harrison, Tenn.

The final 10 anglers in the competition have a combined four FLW Cup titles, three Bassmaster Classic wins, and 10 Angler of the Year (AOY) titles.

REDCREST 2021 Presented by Old Wisconsin Sausage, the Bass Pro Tour championship at Lake Eufaula, is hosted by the Eufaula Barbour County Chamber of Commerce.

Attendance is limited to competing anglers, essential staff and media covering the event only. Fans are encouraged to follow the event online through the MLF NOW!® live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

The 2020 Bass Pro Tour featured a field of 80 of the top professional anglers in the world competing in a COVID-shortened five regular-season tournaments around the country. The top 40 anglers in the AOY standings after the five events qualified to compete in Bass Pro Shops REDCREST 2021 presented by Old Wisconsin Sausage.

The MLF NOW!® broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action each day of competition from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. MLF NOW!®  will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com. and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.

Television coverage of REDCREST 2021 Presented by Old Wisconsin Sausage, the Bass Pro Tour championship, will be showcased across two two-hour episodes, premiering at 7 a.m. ET, July 3 on the Discovery Channel. A one-hour special episode of MLF Inside the REDCREST will premiere at 2 p.m. ET, Sunday, July 18 on CBS. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on the Discovery Channel, with additional re-airings on the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel. Each two-hour long reality-based episode goes in-depth to break down each day of competition.

For complete details and updated information on REDCREST 2021, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF’s social media outlets at Facebook, TwitterInstagram, and YouTube.


Smallmouth Guru Gustafson Takes Lead At Bassmaster Elite On Tennessee River

Jeff Gustafson, of Keewatin, Ontario, Canada, is leading after Day 1 of the 2021 Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Tennessee River with 17 pounds, 14 ounces. 

                                                                                                                                                   Photo by Seigo Saito/B.A.S.S.

February 25, 2021

 

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — In his tournament experience thus far, Canadian Jeff Gustafson said he had never fished a Southern fishery where smallmouth bass act the same as they do up North.

 

That changed Thursday when the Canadian pro most people know simply as “Gussy” smashed a limit of mostly smallmouth weighing 17 pounds, 14 ounces, securing a Day 1 lead in the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Tennessee River.

 

The Keewatin, Ontario, native holds a nearly 4-pound advantage over three-time Elite Series champion Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala., who put 14-0 on the scales.

 

“I’m catching them a way that I love to fish at home,” Gustafson said. “I’m pretty excited to get back out there, and I’m 100% committed to smallmouth. I spent five hours largemouth fishing this afternoon and caught one 2-pounder and a couple shorts.”

 

Gustafson said he found the spot during the final day of practice. But with the 18-inch minimum size limit for smallmouth on the Tennessee River, he wasn’t sure if the area held the right quality of fish.

 

He learned quickly on Thursday that it did, landing a limit of smallmouth by 9:30 a.m. in an area with several other competitors close by.

 

“It was one of the toughest practices I’ve ever had, and I found a little something yesterday and I didn’t catch big fish like that,” he said. “I didn’t know if I could get a keeper; the 18-inch thing is tough.

 

“My first fish I hooked this morning was 17 7/8 inches. Then I caught another short and another short, and then the next three I got were keepers. It worked out.”

 

The bass Gustafson located are in about 20 feet of water, and he said what he is doing is something a little different than most of his competitors.

 

“What I’m doing is kind of a unique way of catching them,” he said. “It’s not easy for everyone if you’ve never done it.”

 

With a weather system expected to arrive Friday that could bring heavy rains for the second round, Gustafson said he isn’t sure how the smallmouth will react.

 

“They could be gone tomorrow, but I think if I don’t have a lot of company I should be able to catch a few more,” he said. “I think that is just where they are living right now. I’m confident and excited to go again tomorrow. I’m not calling my shot, but I’m going to do that again tomorrow.”

 

The rest of the field managed to catch mostly largemouth bass in shallow water.

 

Kennedy said he caught nearly all of his fish on a jig and was fishing painfully slow to get his bites. He added that he broke off a quality fish on a crankbait.

 

The nine-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier said he had success in dirty water during practice. Then when he arrived at one of his best spots Thursday, he discovered the area had cleared tremendously.

 

“It was loaded in practice,” Kennedy said. “I got down there this morning and did not get a bite. The water was crystal clear. They weren’t there. I had to punt and just go fishing.

 

“I’m grinding. It’s not like I’m on them. I only caught five keepers.”

 

While Kennedy caught all largemouth Thursday, he still expects smallmouth to play during the event. He isn’t sure what the weather will do to his bite on Day 2, especially with the water clarity changing every day.

 

“When we first got here, the main river was muddy, the pockets were clear and the very backs were muddy,” he said. “By yesterday, the very backs were clear, the midsection of the creeks were muddy and the river started to clear.

 

“So, I don’t know if I’m going to have any dirty water left. I’m scared to death to do this again.”

 

John Crews of Salem, Va., secured 13-14 of mostly largemouth to finish Day 1 in third place, 2 ounces behind Kennedy and an ounce ahead of fourth-place Brandon Card. Crews said he was using a mix of reaction baits to catch his bass, with long lulls between bites.

 

“It seemed like I kept catching one every 45 minutes. You had to beat them down,” Crews said. “I ended up catching four keepers by noon and a couple shorts. I changed techniques and ended up catching a keeper right away. About another 45 minutes later, I caught a big one that weighed 5-7.”

 

Card anchored his Day 1 bag with a 5-9 largemouth, which was the Phoenix Boats Big Bass of the Day.

 

The full field will take off from Volunteer Landing at 7 a.m. ET Friday, and the Day 2 weigh-in will begin at 3 p.m. After Friday, only the Top 50 will advance to Saturday’s semifinal round.

 

The Top 10 anglers will compete on Championship Sunday with a chance at the $100,000 first-place prize.

 

Live coverage of the event can be streamed on Bassmaster.com and the FOX Sports digital platforms. FS1 will also broadcast live from the tournament beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The tournament is being hosted by the Visit Knoxville Sports Commission.

 

2021 Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Tennessee River 2/25-2/28
Tennessee River, Knoxville  TN.
(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 1

Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   Total $$$

1.  Jeff Gustafson         Keewatin Ontario CANADA  5  17-14  100
Day 1: 5   17-14
2.  Steve Kennedy          Auburn, AL               5  14-00   99
Day 1: 5   14-00
3.  John Crews Jr          Salem, VA                5  13-14   98
Day 1: 5   13-14
4.  Brandon Card           Salisbury, NC            5  13-13   97   $1,000.00
Day 1: 5   13-13
5.  Brock Mosley           Collinsville, MS         5  13-00   96
Day 1: 5   13-00
6.  Greg Hackney           Gonzales, LA             5  12-01   95
Day 1: 5   12-01
7.  Ray Hanselman Jr       Del Rio, TX              5  12-00   94
Day 1: 5   12-00
8.  Mark Menendez          Paducah, KY              5  11-11   93
Day 1: 5   11-11
9.  Justin Hamner          Northport, AL            5  11-09   92
Day 1: 5   11-09
10. Brandon Palaniuk       Rathdrum, ID             5  11-06   91
Day 1: 5   11-06
11. Cory Johnston          Cavan CANADA             4  11-03   90
Day 1: 4   11-03
12. Frank Talley           Temple, TX               5  11-02   89
Day 1: 5   11-02
13. Gerald Swindle         Guntersville, AL         5  11-01   88
Day 1: 5   11-01
14. Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN           5  11-00   87
Day 1: 5   11-00
15. Jake Whitaker          Fairview, NC             4  10-15   86
Day 1: 4   10-15
16. Scott Canterbury       Odenville, AL            5  10-14   85
Day 1: 5   10-14
17. Bob Downey             Hudson, WI               5  10-12   84
Day 1: 5   10-12
18. Scott Martin           Clewiston, FL            5  10-07   83
Day 1: 5   10-07
19. Bernie Schultz         Gainesville, FL          4  10-03   82
Day 1: 4   10-03
20. Drew Cook              Cairo, GA                5  10-01   81
Day 1: 5   10-01
21. Clark Wendlandt        Leander, TX              5  09-15   80
Day 1: 5   09-15
22. John Cox               Debary, FL               5  09-14   79
Day 1: 5   09-14
22. Taku Ito               Chiba JAPAN              5  09-14   79
Day 1: 5   09-14
24. David Mullins          Mt Carmel, TN            5  09-13   77
Day 1: 5   09-13
25. Jason Christie         Park Hill, OK            5  09-10   76
Day 1: 5   09-10
26. Keith Combs            Huntington, TX           4  09-10   75
Day 1: 4   09-10
27. Gregory DiPalma        Millville, NJ            5  09-04   74
Day 1: 5   09-04
28. Ed Loughran III        Richmond, VA             5  09-03   73
Day 1: 5   09-03
29. Kenta Kimura           Osaka JAPAN              4  09-03   72
Day 1: 4   09-03
30. Joshua Stracner        Vandiver, AL             5  09-00   71
Day 1: 5   09-00
31. Hunter Shryock         Ooltewah, TN             5  08-15   70
Day 1: 5   08-15
32. Brian Snowden          Reeds Spring, MO         4  08-13   69
Day 1: 4   08-13
33. Brandon Cobb           Greenwood, SC            4  08-11   68
Day 1: 4   08-11
34. Todd Auten             Lake Wylie, SC           4  08-08   67
Day 1: 4   08-08
35. Lee Livesay            Longview, TX             5  08-03   66
Day 1: 5   08-03
36. Pat Schlapper          Eleva, WI                3  08-02   65
Day 1: 3   08-02
37. Patrick Walters        Summerville, SC          5  08-01   64
Day 1: 5   08-01
38. Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL              3  07-11   63
Day 1: 3   07-11
39. Chad Morgenthaler      Reeds Spring, MO         4  07-09   62
Day 1: 4   07-09
40. Matt Robertson         Kuttawa, KY              4  07-03   61
Day 1: 4   07-03
41. Clent Davis            Montevallo, AL           5  07-02   60
Day 1: 5   07-02
42. Caleb Kuphall          Mukwonago, WI            4  07-01   59
Day 1: 4   07-01
43. Jamie Hartman          Newport, NY              4  06-14   58
Day 1: 4   06-14
44. David Fritts           Lexington, NC            4  06-10   57
Day 1: 4   06-10
45. Dale Hightower         Mannford, OK             3  05-11   56
Day 1: 3   05-11
46. Hank Cherry Jr         Lincolnton, NC           3  05-10   55
Day 1: 3   05-10
46. Koby Kreiger           Alva, FL                 3  05-10   55
Day 1: 3   05-10
48. Robbie Latuso          Gonzales, LA             2  05-10   53
Day 1: 2   05-10
49. Seth Feider            New Market, MN           3  05-09   52
Day 1: 3   05-09
50. Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ               3  05-07   51
Day 1: 3   05-07
51. Chad Pipkens           Dewitt, MI               3  05-00   50
Day 1: 3   05-00
52. Bill Weidler           Helena, AL               3  04-15   49
Day 1: 3   04-15
53. Buddy Gross            Chickamauga, GA          2  04-15   48
Day 1: 2   04-15
54. Derek Hudnall          Denham Springs, LA       3  04-13   47
Day 1: 3   04-13
55. Shane LeHew            Catawba, NC              3  04-11   46
Day 1: 3   04-11
56. Gary Clouse            Winchester, TN           1  04-11   45
Day 1: 1   04-11
57. Marc Frazier           Newnan, GA               2  04-10   44
Day 1: 2   04-10
58. Wes Logan              Springville, AL          3  04-08   43
Day 1: 3   04-08
59. Brandon Lester         Fayetteville, TN         2  04-08   42
Day 1: 2   04-08
59. Caleb Sumrall          New Iberia, LA           2  04-08   42
Day 1: 2   04-08
61. Kyle Welcher           Opelika, AL              3  04-07   40
Day 1: 3   04-07
62. Jay Yelas              Lincoln City, OR         2  04-06   39
Day 1: 2   04-06
63. Austin Felix           Eden Prairie, MN         3  04-05   38
Day 1: 3   04-05
63. Darold Gleason         Many, LA                 3  04-05   38
Day 1: 3   04-05
65. Stetson Blaylock       Benton, AR               3  04-03   36
Day 1: 3   04-03
66. Chris Johnston         Otonabee Ontario CANADA  2  04-01   35
Day 1: 2   04-01
67. Destin DeMarion        Grove City, PA           2  04-00   34
Day 1: 2   04-00
67. Tyler Rivet            Raceland, LA             2  04-00   34
Day 1: 2   04-00
67. Jason Williamson       Wagener, SC              2  04-00   34
Day 1: 2   04-00
70. Paul Mueller           Naugatuck, CT            2  03-12   31
Day 1: 2   03-12
71. Tyler Carriere         Youngsville, LA          1  03-10   30
Day 1: 1   03-10
72. Drew Benton            Blakely, GA              2  03-07   29
Day 1: 2   03-07
72. Kelley Jaye            Dadeville, AL            2  03-07   29
Day 1: 2   03-07
72. Bryan Schmitt          Deale, MD                2  03-07   29
Day 1: 2   03-07
75. Rob Digh               Denver, NC               2  03-03   26
Day 1: 2   03-03
75. Micah Frazier          Newnan, GA               2  03-03   26
Day 1: 2   03-03
77. Shane Lineberger       Lincolnton, NC           1  03-03   24
Day 1: 1   03-03
78. Luke Palmer            Coalgate, OK             1  03-00   23
Day 1: 1   03-00
79. Matt Herren            Ashville, AL             2  02-15   22
Day 1: 2   02-15
79. Mike Huff              Corbin, KY               2  02-15   22
Day 1: 2   02-15
79. Yusuke Miyazaki        Forney, TX               2  02-15   22
Day 1: 2   02-15
82. Kyle Monti             Okeechobee, FL           1  02-13   19
Day 1: 1   02-13
83. Carl Jocumsen          Queensland AUSTRALIA     1  02-11   18
Day 1: 1   02-11
84. Harvey Horne           Bella Vista, AR          1  02-02   17
Day 1: 1   02-02
85. Bryan New              Belmont, NC              1  02-01   16
Day 1: 1   02-01
86. Rick Clunn             Ava, MO                  1  01-13   15
Day 1: 1   01-13
86. Skylar Hamilton        Dandridge, TN            1  01-13   15
Day 1: 1   01-13
86. Brad Whatley           Bivins, TX               1  01-13   15
Day 1: 1   01-13
89. Cody Hollen            Beaverton, OR            1  01-12   12
Day 1: 1   01-12
89. Rick Morris            Lake Gaston, VA          1  01-12   12
Day 1: 1   01-12
89. Garrett Paquette       Canton, MI               1  01-12   12
Day 1: 1   01-12
92. Randy Pierson          Oakdale, CA              1  01-10    9
Day 1: 1   01-10
93. Matt Arey              Shelby, NC               1  01-09    8
Day 1: 1   01-09
93. Brett Preuett          Monroe, LA               1  01-09    8
Day 1: 1   01-09
95. Justin Atkins          Florence, AL             0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
95. Quentin Cappo          Prairieville, LA         0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
95. Chris Groh             Spring Grove, IL         0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
95. KJ Queen               Catawba, NC              0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
95. Randy Sullivan         Breckenridge, TX         0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
95. Chris Zaldain          Fort Worth, TX           0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

PHOENIX BOATS BIG BASS
Day
1   Brandon Card             Salisbury, NC       05-09      $1,000.00


Taming Tough Tournaments with Matt Arey

Courtesy of Luke Stoner - Dynamic Sponsorships

 

Ask any Bassmaster Elite Series pro after official practice concluded and they wouldn’t hesitate to tell you the buzzword for the 2021 Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at the Tennessee River was, “tough”. Practice reports were filled with concerns of cold, muddy water and few keepers to be found.

 

Judging by the unofficial weights on BASSTRAK just a few hours into Thursday’s competition, it’s safe to say the Tennessee River is already fishing better than expected. But anglers weren’t sandbagging. Matt Arey has proven to be honest as he is consistent and confirmed conditions set this event up to be among the toughest of the year.

 

Arey is no stranger to performing well in tough derbies. The Team Toyota pro has a pair of Tour level wins on Beaver Lake to his record, a notoriously stingy fishery by any seasoned angler’s definition, and has earned a paycheck in a myriad of others. We caught up with Arey Wednesday evening to pick his brain on his process for approaching tough tournaments.

 

Stay in it mentally

 

When you expect only a handful of keeper bites throughout an entire day of fishing, the number one advantage anglers can give themselves is to stay positive and mentally engaged, according to Arey.

 

“You have to fish your last five minutes like the first five minutes in a tough tournament,” Arey said. “We’ve heard Swindle talk about the benefits of a Positive Mental Attitude for years and it’s absolutely true. Prep for a grind mentality and don’t get caught up in worrying too much. Put your head down and go fishing.”

 

Staying comfortable on the water is one way Arey ensures he stays mentally engaged, especially when dealing with wet or cold weather. Arey said his Aftco Hydronaut rain suit has been worth its weight in gold this week in Tennessee.

 

Lean on confidence lures

 

 

“When individual bites are hard to come by, I pick a couple lures I have confidence in and keep them in my hands,” Arey admitted. “Until something with the weather or water conditions change, you aren’t doing yourself any good switching through 30 presentations in my opinion. I’ll be chunking a flat sided crankbait and flipping jig 90% of the time this week.”

 

The Lunkerhunt pro has learned the hard way it’s easy to spin yourself out during difficult events and believes keeping it simple with lure selection helps with his first tip; staying mentally focused.

 

Don’t be afraid to change on the fly 

 

Arey’s final piece of advice when the bite is brutal is to not get locked in to what you saw or didn’t see, in the days leading up to the tournament… especially in the spring of the year.

 

“Things change so fast this time of year and you have to be willing to change with them,” Arey explained. “One or two warm days can completely change the fish in the springtime. Keep an open mind and listen to the clues Mother Nature and the fish are giving you and you never know what can happen.”


KVD REDCREST: It still stings

Courtesy of Alan McGuckin - Dynamic Sponsorships

If you have any doubts as to whether Kevin VanDam’s competitive fire still burns hot at age 53, I wish you could have read my text messages last night.

 

At 9:30 p.m. Wednesday came a message from Kevin thanking me for all the media work I did with him this week at REDCREST, followed by a comma and “wish I could have got it done today. Still stings.”

 

Five hours after his week on Lake Eufaula was officially over -- it was classic KVD – class, appreciation, and a relentless competitor’s heart.

 

“I’ve been doing this a long time, and some days things just don’t go your way. I missed four fish that would have counted today. I didn’t get mad. I didn’t throw a fit. I truly believed I could get it done. I had my chances right to the end, but I just didn’t connect,” he lamented.

 

Fueled by wife Sherry’s lucky cookies, VanDam made thousands of casts at REDCREST with a Strike King Thunder Cricket – specifically a 3/8-ounce white one – with a matching white Strike King Menace trailer. It was for sure his best bait of the week.

 

His best day of the week was the first one when he totaled 20-pounds. “I made a location change early in the day on Monday and got a couple good bites right away. That started the ball rolling to that good 20-pound bag,” he grinned.

 

But what he described as “repetitive missed opportunities” is the part of REDCREST he wishes he could do over.

 

“I’m a little mad and frustrated, obviously. This one stings. I’ll think about those four missed bites for a long time,” concluded VanDam.

 

 


KVD betting on the moon at REDCREST

(Editors Note: This is the third of a series of short daily accounts of Kevin VanDam’s MLF REDCREST event this week as told to Alan McGuckin of Dynamic Sponsorships.)

 

Kevin VanDam sat working on tackle Tuesday evening amid a perfect 65-degree late winter sunset over Lake Eufaula, but most of his thoughts were focused on the moon.

 

Tuesday at REDCREST was tougher than expected on Kevin VanDam. He managed just three scoreable Lake Eufaula largemouth for a total of 8 pounds, but still good enough for 10th place after two days of competition and the chance to move on to Wednesday’s Knockout Round.

 

And he’s still betting on all the goodness an approaching full moon is about to deliver.

 

“See that moon?” questioned VanDam to his avid angler buddy Joe who owns the lake home where he’s staying. “That moon is 90% full, and with water temps now 55-60, that means spring’s magic is about to happen,” he stated in confident VanDam style.

 

He knows the majority of Southeast Alabama’s largemouth will likely spawn around March 28th next month, but the “early bloomers” will show up this week during MLF’s REDCREST to kick off the annual reproductive ritual.

 

He’ll continue to throw a Strike King Thunder Cricket, and mix-in a swim jig too in less than 4-feet of water. It’s the pattern that’s worked well enough this week that VanDam sees no reason to change. In fact, he thinks it will actually get stronger.

 

The “pork pattern” continues to bode well too. He’s eaten pulled pork sandwiches every day in the boat for lunch. Smoked pork tenderloin for dinner Monday night. And was grilling pork chops for dinner Tuesday night.

 

“I’m just trying to fish areas where I know they’re coming to spawn, because I know when that first wave of fresh spawnerscome shallow, things can get really good in a hurry,” he warned prior to Wednesday’s Knockout Round.

 


AC Insider Podcast - All Things Fantasy...... Fishing with Ronnie Moore!

This week Chris & the boys welcome in Fantasy fishing guru Ronnie Moore to the show to talk about this weeks event on the Elite Series trail and how you should look at your fantasy teams to keep yourself in the high percentile. Chris explains the additions to the U-Pick-em contest and they may talk a little about the Redcrest...... Hit Play, NOW!!!


Stephen Browning Is Coming Home To Ranger Boats

The Bass Pro Tour tournament angler is returning to the boat manufacturer he began his successful career in more than two decades ago.

HOT SPRINGS, AR (February 22, 2021) - As the 2021 Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour gets under way on Lake Eufaula for the Redcrest 2021 Presented by Old Wisconsin Sausage, veteran tournament professional, Stephen Browning, has announced he is returning to the boat manufacturer he began his career in back in 1996.

I’m grateful for the years I’ve spent with Triton that goes back to 2000,” Browning said. But when the most iconic bass boat brand in the industry asks you to come aboard, quite honestly, it’s a privilege and honor. Of course I said yes.”

Browning’s career has spanned more than two decades and includes multiple wins and almost $1.5 million in earnings. He has been featured in episodes of The Bass Pros, Day on the Lake and Bass Tech, to name a few, each airing on ESPN. Stephen was also chosen to compete in The Wild Rules, a reality survival series shown during prime time on ESPN. Stephen eventually won the contest along with the $100,000 prize check.

I started my career in a Ranger and I want to finish my career in a Ranger. Whether it be 5 years down the road or 20 years,” Browning said. It’s no surprise that Ranger has one of the most loyal followings in the industry, and being associated with the Ranger brand, I feel my fanbase will no doubt grow as well. I’ll also be working with Bradford Marine as my local Ranger Dealer, another iconic brand and dealership in the state of Arkansas and one that I’ve had a personal relationship with for over 40 years.”

Ranger's decades-long tradition of excellence on the water has been proven at every level of competitive fishing, and our pro staff is a reflection of that," said Scott Arms, White River Marine Group Pro Staff Manager. "We couldn't be prouder to be welcoming back homegrown Arkansas boy Stephen Browning, who brings immense experience and a wealth of success to the Ranger Family. We're excited to see what he does out of his Z521L."

With more than 50 years of boat-building expertise built into the Z521L Comanche®, it’s an unparalleled bass fishing machine. No one comes close to the level of quality, commitment and proven excellence inside and out of every Ranger boat. The bold look of the Z521L translates into confidence whether you’re blowing across big water or sliding into shallows. The L Series designs feature unique styling, handmade Ultra-Comfort bucket seats, a simple and secure keypad, distinctive consoles, LED lights and a custom trailer for functional beauty that sets you apart. A tournament-proven layout is designed with efficiency, maximum storage and convenience in mind. A high-strength pultruded fiberglass transom, fiberglass stringers, upright, level flotation and a foam-filled core all add up to deliver that legendary one-piece feel and responsive performance for which Ranger® boats are known. Every Z521L is custom built to be the apex of bass boat performance, technology and style. Like Ranger itself, the Z521L has nothing to prove.

Quite honestly, I could highlight the countless advanced features and the meticulous level of detail that goes into the finish of each and every Ranger Boat, but that can all be summed up by saying, ‘I ride a Ranger.’” Browning said. That says it all.”

Browning and the rest of the Bass Pro Tour field open the season with the Redcrest 2021 Presented by Old Wisconsin Sausage on Lake Eufaula, Alabama Monday through Friday, Feb. 22-26, on Lake Eufaula at Lakepoint State Park. The Bass Pro Tour is Major League Fishing’s top-level competitive circuit, in which 80 anglers compete in seven Stages, culminating with REDCREST, the Bass Pro Tour championship. The Bass Pro Tour events stream live on MLF NOW! and you can watch for free on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MLF app.


X2POWER ANNOUNCES ADDITIONS TO 2021 PRO STAFF

Newest additions to the pro staff are poised to bring the advantages of premium batteries from X2Power to even more outdoor enthusiasts.

HARTLAND, Wis. (February 23, 2021) — X2Power, the premium power source for the marine, car/light truck and motorsports markets, announces the newest additions to its pro staff. The newest members of the pro staff come from the ranks of the world’s elite saltwater captains, an outdoor industry empire and country music’s hottest acts. They join fellow pro staff members competing at the highest levels of professional bass fishing, all of them benefitting from the competitive advantage of being powered by X2Power’s line of premium batteries.

Newest additions to the X2Power pro staff include No.1-selling singer-songwriter Lucas Hoge, who also serves as the host of “Hoge Wild” on the Sportsman Channel; Duck Commander General Manager and “Duck Dynasty” star Justin Martin, as well as acclaimed saltwater captain Duane “Diego” Mellor and MLF angler Josh Douglas. Each of these pro staff members will be powering their boats and tow vehicles with X2Power premium batteries throughout 2021.

“This diverse group of pro staffers has one thing in common: they spend a lot of time in the woods and on the water—so they appreciate the importance of a premium power source like X2Power,” said Vice President of Product Development Shawn Budiac “We’re proud to have them join the team for 2021 and beyond and we look forward to working with them to bring the X2Power brand to the hunting and saltwater fishing communities.”

Proudly made in the USA, X2Power Marine batteries are part of a line of premium power options that includes AGM batteries for cars/light trucks and emergency vehicles, as well as lithium batteries for powersports applications. X2Power marine batteries feature a pure-lead, dual-purpose design, which gives them both the high cranking power to start modern boat motors as well as the cycling capabilities necessary to run trolling motors, depth finders, side-imaging, radios, radar, lights, pumps, coolers and more. Backed by a 4-year, free-replacement warranty and available at more than 700 Batteries Plus Bulbs locations nationwide, X2Power’s AGM batteries are built to provide years of worry-free use for anglers and boaters.

2021 X2POWER PRO STAFF ADDITIONS
Josh Douglas
Instagram: @joshdouglasfishing

Lucas Hoge
Instagram: @lucashoge

Justin Martin
Instagram: @jmartinduckman

Duane “Diego” Mellor
Instagram: @duanediego


KVD REDCREST: Fueled up for another 20-pound limit

Courtesy of Alan McGuckin - Dynamic Sponsorships

 

Kevin VanDam stopped for boat gas Monday evening with a satisfied grin knowing he’d just reached his goal of catching at least 17-pounds on Day 1 at Major League Fishing’s REDCREST Championship on Lake Eufaula, Alabama.

 

In fact, he exceeded his goal by catching 20-pounds to land in 6th place to begin Tuesday’s second day of competition. He deemed Monday’s catch worthy of a cold beverage and pork tenderloin on the Traeger Grill for dinner.

 

“Since I’m staying alone at a buddy’s lake house, it’d be easy to grab a burger at a drive-thru window on my way back from weigh-in, but that’s not my style, I love to grill good food,” says VanDam.

 

Grilling and chilling occurs at least once weekly back in Michigan when he’s not on the road. Roughly 25 VanDam family members gather every Sunday afternoon at his mom and dad’s lake house on Pretty Lake, home to mongo-sized bluegills.

 

“Over the years we’ve collected five different grill and frying apparatuses at Dad’s house, and trust me, we use ‘em – we’ve got a big family,” smiles VanDam.

 

A ‘family first’ guy to the core, far greater than celebrating his 20-pound catch, was the chance to smile knowing his dad had been released from the hospital after a battle with pneumonia, and his twin sons Jackson and Nicholas have grown to be two great guys as they celebrated their 24th birthday Monday.

 

His plan for Tuesday was to spend a lot of time slinging a 3/8-ounce Strike King Thunder Cricket in less than 4-feet of water. He’ll alternate between white and green pumpkin, and says the biggest mistake anglers make when throwing a vibrating jig is using the wrong rod.

 

“A vibrating jig throws off so much vibration, that if you’re using a pure graphite rod you have a tendency to feel a little too much and pull it away from a lot of bass. I use a composite rod with a lot more flex in it, and I catch everyone that bites it,” says VanDam.

 

His go-to rod is a Lew’s 7’ 1” CC3, and his biggest bass on Monday weighed 5-pounds. With the moon already 85% full, and lots of 72-degree weather coming to Eufaula, AL this week, VanDam is licking his chops at the promise of another 20-pound day like an Auburn Tiger nose tackle slobbering over a juicy pork tenderloin.


Menendez: Power Pay Will Help Pay for the Wedding

Courtesy of Alan McGuckin-Dynamic Sponsorships

KENNESAW, Ga. -  Feb. 23, 2021 - For 30 seasons, Mark Menendez has proven he’s got the sort of rare bass fishing talents reserved for a select group. His sustainability, professionalism and ability to overcome life’s adversity are admirable.

In October, Mark will marry Melissa, a wonderful woman he met months after both of them lost spouses they loved dearly far too early in life. He admits at first both he and Melissa were emotionally challenged to move on, but love eventually stepped in to propel them forward.

Amid a rainstorm during the final day’s weigh-in on the banks of the St. Johns, Menendez couldn’t help but grin about their relationship as he added up the winnings from his second Top 5 in recent years at a Bassmaster Elite Series in Palatka, Fla.

“My tournament paycheck will be $20,000, plus I’ll get $1,000 from Skeeter Boats Real Money, and $1,500 from the new Yamaha Power Pay program. Man, that’ll all add up to pay for the wedding,” said Menendez.

Fellow Yamaha pro Patrick Walters won $3,000 in Power Pay money because he edged out Menendez by one place in the standings, but Menendez is more than grateful for Yamaha’s second place contingency money, which is now available through 600 bass, walleye and saltwater events.

He caught 67 pounds of Florida largemouth from the famed St. Johns on two lures, a Texas-rigged junebug Strike King® Space Monkey reeled slowly beneath the surface, and a Rage Craw he stair-stepped from the shoreline out to four feet of water.

“I’ve run a Yamaha outboard for 19 seasons, and I’ll promise you, if it’ll run as reliable under me as it does, then it will stand up to just about any angler out there, because I put my equipment to the test,” he says.

The fact is, Menendez has also proven highly reliable no matter what tests life has tossed his way, and in eight months when he marries the woman he describes as the most motivated and positive woman he’s ever met, the Yamaha team can smile knowing they had a tiny hand in supporting a much deserved celebration.

Introduced in the fall of 2019, Power Pay gives anglers the opportunity to receive compensation for running eligible Yamaha outboards. Eligible anglers running Yamaha outboards can sign up for the program by visiting yamahapowerpay.com. All applicants are required to accept and adhere to the Yamaha Angler Code of Ethics before completing the registration for the program. Once registered, the highest placing angler in specified Power Pay sanctioned tournaments that meets all eligibility requirements will be compensated by Yamaha accordingly.

New tournaments for 2021 include the MLF Bass Pro Tour, Bass Champs Texas, Carolina Bass Challenge, Texas Team Trail®, Skeeter XFL, Nichols Team Series Oklahoma, Phoenix BFL Regionals, EFL™ Redfish Contender Series and EFL™ Redfish Tour. Additional eligible Power Pay tournaments and trails include the Bassmaster Classic®, Bassmaster® Angler of the Year, Bassmaster Opens, B.A.S.S. Nation®, Bassmaster Elites, Bassmaster College Series, Bassmaster High School series, A.B.A. Bass Pro Shops® Open Series, Alabama Bass Trail, MWC, The National Walleye Tour®, AIM® Walleye, Kingfish Cup and Flatsmasters®.

For more information and complete terms and conditions about Power Pay, visit yamahapowerpay.com. Some restrictions apply. Void where prohibited by law.

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


Larry Walters and Shane Patterson win Alabama  Bass Trail South Lake Martin with 13.91 pounds

By Jason Duran

Photos: Chris Brown

 

Lake Martin hosted the Alabama Bass Trail South division for the start of another season. After a deep freeze blanketed the south for nearly a week, anglers arrived Saturday morning to find the weather on what some would consider to be a warming trend. Fishing conditions were blue bird skies with temps in the 50s at midday, causing many anglers to adapt after a very cold practice. Catching fish isn’t typically a problem at Lake Martin with teams often catching over 30-50 fish a day, and the winning bag being anchored with a five pounder. The team of Larry Walters and Shane Patterson broke outside the numbers to bring home the win on the first stop of the ABT South Division.

 

Larry Walters and Shane Patterson made a 35 mile run in 27 degree temps past Parker Creek to a spot they found in practice to be holding fish. When they arrived, they quickly went to work and “caught a fish within ten minutes, but after that it kind of went dry,” said Shane. They cycled through about 12-15 spots fishing brush piles and were able to boat a limit of just 6 pounds. With that small limit about noon they returned to their starting spot, and this time the fish were ready. Here they caught a key 5-pound fish which was the kicker to put them over the top.

 

They targeted fish in 30 feet of water using a Ned rig with a ¼ oz round head teamed up with a green pumpkin senko, cut down to 4 inches. Larry said the real key for them “was using 6-pound test line fishing that deep.” He said, “the fish that deep are line shy and you really have to have small line.” They weighed in a mixed bag of four spotted bass and one largemouth. The team expected it to take over 16 pounds to win, so with just 13.91, they were excited to claim the win and the $10,000 first place check.

David Newman and Chris Patterson caught 13.25 for second place. The team said practice was really tough for them. They “found a spot on the last afternoon of practice where they felt they could scratch out a limit then go off-shore and hope to maybe catch 8 pounds.”  Shane said “that was the plan, and by 7:30 I caught a 4.5 pounds spot helping us realize the big fish were starting to move up shallow and we needed to stay” in that spot.

 

They described their most productive spot as a rocky point with docks for cover. “It had a shelf in 5 to 6 feet of water where we felt fish might come up and spawn and stage under the docks.”  They spent most of the morning in this area “flipping to the dock corners in 12 feet of water and dragging it out to 20 feet.” Their key baits were a homemade ¼ oz and 3/8 oz shaky head paired up with a green pumpkin blue flake trick worm and a smoke and purple trick worm.

 

They said, “once the sun came up high and the water calmed, our bite changed. We got a limit and culled up three times, but at 11:00 the bite died so we made a run up the lake to try and get a big largemouth. We were unable to get anything to bite.”

With 12.81 Rob Lee and Steve Winslett finished third. They are no strangers to Lake Martin winning here in 2019 with over 20 pounds and a 4thplace finish here in the ABT Championship. Practice was very productive for them locating fish up shallow in 2 feet of water or less. “The cold weather doesn’t bother these fish, and once they commit up shallow they stay. Today was much different for us than practice; the blue bird skies really hurt us today.”

 

They started their morning with the hopes to catch 10 pounds of spotted bass on their first spot and then go shallow. In practice Steve said he caught a 2 pounder and when he got it to the boat, there were others chasing trying to get his bait away from the other fish. They describe this area as a high spot with a rock pile going into a spawning pocket, in about 10 feet of water. A ¼ oz Davis Baits shaky head with a Zoom trick worm in Alabama craw and one in green pumpkin were their key spotted bass baits. They were only able to catch two fish on this spot, so they had to make the move shallow.

 

They spent the rest of the day fishing shallow brush piles with a “homemade jig in black and blue using a Big Salty Trailer in black and blue and one in green pumpkin orange.” Fishing about 50-70 brush piles to finish out their limit in the afternoon, they caught two big largemouth: one weighing about 5 pounds and the other about 4.25 pounds. Their bites were very few and they only boated 8 fish all day.

 

Top five standings are below. For a complete list see https://www.alabamabasstrail.org/tournament-series/lm-results/

Download and listen to the ABT Podcast on your favorite Podcast app by searching for “Alabama Bass Trail Podcast.”  The Podcast is released each week on Tuesday. This week podcast will feature winners Larry Walters and Shane Patterson.


KVD MLF REDCREST: Throwing blades and eating pork

(Editors Note: This is the first of a series of short daily accounts of Kevin VanDam’s MLF REDCREST event this week as told to Alan McGuckin of Dynamic Sponsorships.)

With high muddy water, Kevin VanDam and the rest of the field at the Major League Fishing REDCREST Championship on Lake Eufaula, Alabama are hungry for just a handful of good keepers today.

And when it’s time for lunch, the angler most consider the greatest of all time will satiate his appetite with a pulled pork sandwich.

“When I thought we were headed to Lake Palestine in East Texas where all the residents, restaurants and stores had been so badly affected by ice and snow, I filled-up on plenty of my own groceries including some pulled pork that I brought in a cooler I packed in my Tundra,” grinned VanDam prior to Monday’s take-off.

As far as ‘groceries’ he plans to feed Eufaula’s largemouth, he says a spinnerbait and Strike King’s Thunder Cricket vibrating jig will be major players in the high muddy 48-degree water. He’ll mix in a structure jig and a medium diving crankbait as back-ups.

“The biggest X-factor this week is the weather because we’re starting with heavy clouds, passing rain, and pretty cold water, but we have lots of sunshine coming this way, and it’s going to change everything for the better – big time – as this tournament progresses,” says an optimistic VanDam.

He practiced until dark Sunday on the only allotted practice day, then worked on prepping tackle until 9:30 p.m. while his buddy who owns the lakeside home he’s staying in grilled them a steak.

But today, it’s pulled pork. And hopefully seven or eight keeper bites that will total around 17 pounds based on what VanDam predicts it will take to do well. And as of this writing at 11:00 a.m., according to SCORETRACKER™, he was more than halfway there.


Major League Fishing Shifts REDCREST 2021 to Alabama’s Lake Eufaula


Batteries Plus Announces Partnership with RELiON Battery

 

Retailer will offer RELiON lithium batteries in over 170 stores across the U.S.

CHARLOTTE, N.C., and HARTLAND, WI (February 18, 2021) – In celebration of National Battery Day, the nation’s largest and fastest-growing battery, light bulb, key fob and repair franchise, Batteries Plus, is pleased to announce a new agreement with global lithium battery company, RELiON Battery. The company announced today the addition of RELiON’s lithium battery products in select stores across the U.S. With increasing consumer demand for lithium batteries, Batteries Plus aims to provide customers with an alternative to conventional lead-acid batteries as lithium batteries are inherently lightweight, have a longer life and charge quickly, among many other benefits.

“As the nation’s leading battery retailer, we are always looking for opportunities to build mutually beneficial partnerships and that is exactly what RELiON offers,” said Shawn Budiac, VP Category Management for Batteries Plus. “As a leader in manufacturing lithium iron phosphate
batteries, RELiON offers a high-quality solution for our customers looking to elevate their battery needs for outdoor recreational vehicles, solar energy systems and commercial applications.”

RELiON Battery is leading the industry with innovative power options as many consumers shift to lithium batteries for high power applications such as bass fishing, sailing, recreational vehicles, overland, solar, electric vehicles, and more. RELiON’s lithium batteries are built to withstand harsh environmental elements, while being maintenance-free and highly efficient. They allow those seeking an outdoor lifestyle to do so without worrying if their batteries will last.

“We are thrilled to bring our lithium battery solutions to Batteries Plus customers across the U.S.,” said RELiON Battery CEO Paul Hecimovich. “RELiON and Batteries Plus have the same goal: to provide reliable, long-lasting power so customers can go where they want, when they want with ease. We look forward to this partnership and continuing to bring industry-leading lithium batteries to the forefront.”

Batteries Plus will offer customers RELiON’s most popular lithium products, including 12V, 24V and 48V batteries that can power all types of equipment. In addition, customers that purchase RELiON Battery products are also supporting the planet, as the company donates 1% of annual revenue to nonprofits fighting for a healthier and more sustainable environment.

To learn more about Batteries Plus and RELiON Battery, visit batteriesplus.com and relionbattery.com.


Marathon To Sponsor Bassmaster Studios And Tournament Trail

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Marathon Petroleum Corporation, which operates the nation’s largest refining system and thousands of retail locations from coast to coast, has signed on as the title sponsor for Bassmaster Studios and as a Supporting Sponsor for the Bassmaster Tournament Trail, B.A.S.S. officials announced today.

“Marathon has always helped Americans fuel their passion, and millions of people have discovered — or rediscovered — a passion for fishing in the past year,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. “We are proud to help Marathon reach our anglers and fans. Whether anglers are traveling to a dream destination or hauling their boat to home waters, Marathon is sure to be nearby to help them reach their destination.”

“In 2021, we’re all looking for new places to explore,” said John Rice, Marathon’s Manager–Advertising & Brand Management. “It’s a new year and a chance to see how far we can go. Bassmaster is the perfect opportunity for Marathon to dive into an incredible partnership.”

Beginning with the Bassmaster Elite Series season-opener last week on Florida’s St. Johns River, Marathon will be heavily featured during the award-winning Bassmaster LIVE show. The show, which is broadcast on FS1 and streamed on Bassmaster.com and the FOX Sports digital platforms, will be hosted from the Marathon Bassmaster Studios.

“A new season always comes with an extra measure of excitement and this 2021 season has definitely got that,” said Bassmaster LIVE Host Tommy Sanders. “We have an expanded field with some very impressive anglers, plus the newly christened Marathon Bassmaster Studios represents a terrific new partnership for the new year.”

As a Supporting Sponsor for the Bassmaster Elite Series, Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bassmaster Team Championship and the grass-roots TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation regional and championship tournaments, Marathon will enjoy exposure in Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times magazines and across various social media platforms. Among the new Marathon-sponsored content will be new “Peak Performance” interviews which focus on the pros’ winning ways and aim to help anglers of all levels improve their own techniques.

“Partnering with Bassmaster makes perfect sense,” said Rice. “At Marathon, we focus on providing quality fuels to achieve peak performance. At Bassmaster, anglers need to reach their peak performance to come out on top. It’s really a perfect partnership when you think about it.”


YETI® RELEASES NEW PREMIUM BAGS COLLECTION DESIGNED FOR BOTH EVERYDAY USE & EPIC ADVENTURES

Newest product family features expanded selection of backpacks, duffels, soft and hard-sided luggage

AUSTIN, TEXAS (February 18, 2021) — YETI Coolers, LLC (“YETI”), a leading premium outdoor brand, today officially announced the introduction of its newest family of bags and luggage. The assortment includes the newly expanded Crossroads® Collection featuring our durable, lightweight TuffskinTM Nylon. YETI’s bags offering now includes three new backpacks, two duffels and two soft-sided luggage options which are available for purchase exclusively on yeti.com. Additionally, YETI’s first ever hard-sided luggage offering, the Panga® 22 Carry On, will be available later this spring.

Engineered to support your life on the go, YETI’s newest product selection was meticulously designed for durability, protection, accessibility and organization.

The Crossroads Collection includes:

  • -  YETI Crossroads 22L Backpack ($199.99 available in Black, Navy and Prickly Pear Pink)
  • -  YETI Crossroads 27L Backpack ($229.99 available in Black, Navy, Aquifer Blue and Prickly PearPink)
  • -  YETI Crossroads 35L Backpack ($249.99 available in Black, Navy and Aquifer Blue)

  • -  YETI Crossroads 40L Duffel ($199.99 available in Black, Navy and Aquifer Blue)
  • -  YETI Crossroads 60L Duffel ($249.99 available in Black, Navy and Aquifer Blue)

  • -  YETI Crossroads 22” Luggage ($349.99 available in Black, Navy and Aquifer Blue)
  • -  YETI Crossroads 29” Luggage ($449.99 available in Black, Navy and Aquifer Blue)

  • -  YETI Crossroads Packing Cubes (small $24.99, medium $29.99, large $34.99 available in Gray)“We first introduced bags as part of our portfolio in 2017 to support our communities and customers who were seeking durable products that met their needs both in active pursuits and in their daily lives,” said Matt Reintjes, President and CEO at YETI. “Over this time, we gained a deeper understanding of how our customers used our products, impacting our design process and ultimately leading to the development of the versatile, tough, and premium Crossroads Collection.”From morning commutes and overnight business trips to epic travel far from home, every piece in the new Crossroads Collection was built with abrasion-resistant and water-repellent fabric traditionally found in protective safety equipment such as motorcycle apparel and airbags, ensuring the industry- leading quality and durability for which all YETI products are known. The bags and duffels are available in a variety of sizes and colors and are loaded with multiple access points, stash pockets and optional dividers for ultimate interior organization and accessibility. For additional organizational flexibility, washable Crossroads Packing Cubes are available in three different sizes to maximize how customers use their Crossroads Bags.

    Later this spring, YETI will launch its Panga 22 Carry On, a solidly built, extremely durable, and 100% waterproof hard-sided luggage. Much like the brand’s signature Tundra® Hard Coolers, the Panga 22 Carry On features best-in-class, performance-driven polymer materials that are puncture- and abrasion- resistant to deliver maximum strength and durability. YETI’s first piece of hard-sided luggage boasts 30 liters of interior volume and incorporates removeable organizers that allow you to transform your luggage into a gear hauler when needed.

From the wheels, housing and hinges, to the latches and handles, the Panga 22 Carry On is engineered with customized and fully serviceable components across the board, creating a truly unique and long- lasting luggage offering.

“Our original Panga collection of submersible dry bags was designed to tackle any terrain,” said Reintjes. “We’ve applied that concept to create a premium outdoor hard-sided luggage that is not only waterproof, rugged, and features the best-in-class durable materials YETI is known for, but is also engineered for optimal performance, wherever you may go.”

The newly expanded Crossroads Collection and the upcoming Panga 22 Carry On will join YETI’s existing offering of bags, including the popular Camino® Carryall 35 and the waterproof Panga Duffels and Panga Backpack. For more information about the new bags from YETI visit yeti.com.


Bryan New - Batting a Thousand

 

Your Rookie Elite Series Winner on the St. Johns last week, Bryan New joins the show to talk about being 1 for 1 so far in his Elite series career. Blonde Girl Behind the Scenes Michele Eichstead joins us to give Bryan a hard time and Chris reveals the U-Pick-em winners!


Rather Outdoors Acquires Zebco

Rather Outdoors (“Rather”), a global leader in the fishing industry, is pleased to announce that it has acquired Zebco Brands (“Zebco”), the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based manufacturer of fishing rods, reels and accessories.

Zebco is a preeminent marketer of fishing tackle and outdoor gear.  Operational since 1949, it is now one of the oldest companies in the Rather Outdoors portfolio of brands and is indisputably one of the most important names in the fishing industry.

Ken Eubanks, CEO of Rather, said “We are thrilled to welcome Zebco to the Rather family of brands.  From a company perspective, this business represents robust growth potential for Rather Outdoors and enables us to continue building a complementary offering for our most important partner, our consumers in the fishing community.”

The fishing equipment space has seen a consistent upward trajectory in consumer participation in the sport.  In the past year alone, consumer interest has grown substantially, particularly in the segments of youth anglers and new anglers, areas where the Zebco brands have excelled.  “This bold acquisition positions Rather Outdoors to take full advantage of the sport’s growth and momentum,” Eubanks said.

A key component of the Zebco acquisition is the strong Europe portfolio, which includes Telford, England based Preston Innovations (“Preston”), and Zebco Europe, located in Tostedt, Germany.  Preston, a leading UK match fishing brand, has an established presence in coarse, carp and bait segments of the European market.  Zebco Europe distributes the namesake Zebco brand, but also has a strong share of Europe’s predator fishing with Quantum, which originally launched in the United States in 1984, and is well-established in the lexicon of American and European angling.  Together, the acquisition of Zebco Brands solidifies Rather’s goal of attaining a leading global position in the fishing tackle space.

Eubanks added, “What the Zebco acquisition means for our retail partners is of utmost importance to Rather.  A strong partnership between Rather and our retailers is in this company’s DNA.  We believe this deal will enhance consumer engagement and provide retail customers with a full complement to our heritage brands.”

Steve Smits, President and Chief Operating Officer of Zebco offered, “The team here at Zebco is proud of our past and the strong traditions of our brands.  We believe that the leadership of Rather Outdoors remains committed to delivering the highest quality products to the loyal consumers of Zebco Brands.”

 

About Rather Outdoors

Rather Outdoors is a global Outdoors corporation uniting some of the most recognizable names in the fishing space.  With historic and iconic brands such as Lew’s, Strike King, Salmo, and Fox, Rather Outdoors provides a wide assortment of fishing products worldwide in an effort to enhance anglers’ success and the enjoyment of outdoor pursuits.  To learn more about the Rather Outdoors brands, visit www.ratheroutdoors.com.


3 lipless crank colors that made KVD a million bucks

Courtesy of Alan McGuckin - Dynamic Sponsorships

 

If you were smoking chicken wings on the grill next to Kevin VanDam, you can bet he’d do everything in his power to make sure his tasted better than yours. But he’d also fetch you a cold beverage of your choice. Yup, the Team Toyota pro is an awesome blend of fierce competitor and humble class.

So when asked how much of his $6 Million career total he’s won on these three colors of Strike King’s Red Eye Shad – at first, with humility he hesitated to say – but then stated it was for sure a million bucks – and was gracious enough to share a first-hand look into his tackle box.

“Lipless crankbaits are fish catchers year-round, but late winter and really early spring, when water temps are 45 to 55 is the ideal time to throw them. And if I had to pick three colors I’ve had the most success on, it would be Delta Craw, Chartreuse Perch and Gold Sexy Shad,” says VanDam, bass fishing’s all-time leading money winner.

 

Delta Craw

 “Most people know red is a great color during the early pre-spawn, and I love it anytime I’m around vegetation – especially in Texas,” he says.

 

Chartreuse Perch

 “This is my stained water special. I’ve had great luck with it at places like Kentucky Lake, Wheeler, and Guntersville along the Tennessee River. You don’t need aquatic vegetation for this one to shine. It’s great when you’ve got off colored water around gravel bars, secondary points, or when the back of creeks get a little dirty after a springtime rain.”

 

Gold Sexy Shad

“Sort of the opposite of Chartreuse Perch being awesome in heavily stained water, Gold Sexy Shad is my favorite when the water is clearer, like it was when I won the 2010 Classic on Lay Lake in late February throwing it in the back of a creek around stumps where gizzard shad were present.”

 

Make it shimmie, and use great hooks

 VanDam says the magic of the Red Eye Shad is that it ‘shimmies’ from side to side as it falls on slack line, hence the reason he rips and yo-yos it amid the retrieve, versus simply winding it straight in each time. He also emphasizes the importance of his proven rod, reel, line, hook system playing in perfect harmony when casting a lipless crank.

“I use a 7’ medium action composite rod with plenty of flex in the tip so cold water bass have plenty of chances to suck it in, and you’re not going to tear the hooks free once they eat it,” he explains. His reel of choice is a 6.2:1 Lew’s KVD baitcaster spooled with 17-pound fluorocarbon, and he can’t emphasize enough how critical it is to change all factory hooks to Mustad KVD TripleGrip #2 treble hooks.

“If you look in my tackle box, you’ll notice I’ve taken time to replace the hooks on every single ½ ounce Red Eye Shad in there,” punctuates VanDam in much the same way he speaks of how to smoke the perfect batch of chicken wings.


University of North Florida Wins Abu Garcia College Fishing Tournament on the Harris Chain of Lakes

Duo Sets New All-Time Single-Day Record with Heaviest Five-Fish Weight in MLF College Fishing History

LEESBURG, Fla. (Feb. 15, 2021) – The University of North Florida’s Nicholas Oldham of Jacksonville, Florida and Jacob Sanders of Julington Creek, Florida, took the win on Friday at the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI at Harris Chain of Lakes . The victory earned the University of North Florida bass club $2,000 and qualified the duo to compete in the 2021 College Fishing National Championship.

Their limit of 31 pounds, 11 ounces, set a new all-time single-day record with the heaviest five-fish weight in College Fishing history. The record was previously set in 2009 on Falcon Lake by the Tarleton State University team of John Anderson and Tanner Morgan, with a limit of 29 pounds, 13 ounces.

TOP 10 RESULTS*

RANK COLLEGE NAME ANGLER NAME/HOMETOWN BASS WEIGHT AWARD
1st University of North Florida Nicholas Oldham of Jacksonville, Fla.
Jacob Sanders of Julington Creek, Fla.
5 31-11 $2,000
2nd University of South Carolina Andre Eaton of Naples, Fla.
Trevor Topken of Warwick, N.Y.
5 30-1 $1,000
3rd Lander University Kaleb Brown of Greenwood, S.C.
Caleb Sheldon of Lexington, S.C.
5 27-4 $500
4th Auburn University Connor Jacob of Peoria, Ill. 5 26-14 $500
5th Auburn University Cam Busby of Huntsville, Ala.
Ty Mundhenke of Chatham, Ill.
5 21-6 $500
6th Emmanuel College Brooks Anderson of Marietta, Ga.
Parker Guy of Ocilla. Ga.
5 21-0
7th University of South Carolina Jackson Denny of Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Colton Parrott of Simpsonville, S.C.
5 20-14
8th Emmanuel College Cole Holloway of Madison, Ga.
Taylor McMullen of Oxford, Ga.
5 20-9
9th University of West Alabama Tyler Elmore of Demopolis, Ala.
Nathan Williams of Linden, Ala.
5 19-14
10th University of Montevallo Brenton Godwin of Stapelton, Ala.
Hunter Odom of Chunchula, Ala.
5 19-13

*Top 10 teams advance to the 2021 College Fishing National Championship

Complete results for the entire field can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

2021 QUALIFICATION OPPORTUNITIES

EVENT DATE LOCATION HOST
Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI at Lake Guntersville April 23 Guntersville, Ala. Marshall County Convention and Visitors Bureau
Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship presented by Lowrance at Grand Lake Mar. 3-5 Grove, Okla. Grove Convention and Tourism Bureau & City of Grove

The event was the first of three qualifying tournaments for Southeastern Conference anglers and was hosted by Visit Lake County, Florida.

Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI teams compete in regular-season qualifying tournaments in one of five conferences – Central, Northern, Southern, Southeastern and Western. The top ten teams from each division’s three regular-season tournaments and the top 20 teams from the annual Abu Garcia College Fishing Open advance to the following year’s Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship.

For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI on MLF’s social media outlets at FacebookTwitterInstagram and  YouTube.


Okeechobee High School Wins U.S. Army High School Fishing Open at Harris Chain of Lakes

LEESBURG, Fla. (Feb. 15, 2021) – The Okeechobee High School duo of Tyler Scott and Zack Zainitzer, both of Palm City, Florida, won the U.S. Army High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing Open at the Harris Chain of Lakes on Saturday in Leesburg, Florida. The event was hosted by Visit Lake County, Florida and the victory advanced the winning team to the 2021 U.S. Army High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing National Championship.

TOP 10 RESULTS

RANK SCHOOL/CLUB NAME/CITY ANGLER NAME BASS WEIGHT
1st Okeechobee High School* Tyler Scott
Zack Zainitzer
5 23-3
2nd Southern Boone High School* Isaac Jacober
Nathan Vandelicht
5 19-5
3rd Marion County Bass Masters* Claude Loftin
Tyson Verkaik
5 17-8
4th Oneida Lake Bassmasters Club Christian Misciagna
Owen Niles
3 17-2
5th Harmony High School Grant Jackson
Grady Johnson
5 17-1
6th Umatilla High School Hayden Mooney
Owen Vanzant
5 15-1
7th Hidden Lake Big Bass Club Dalton Defelice
Elijah Meyers
5 15-0
8th Central Florida Youth Anglers Bryce Balentine
Carson Russell
5 14-8
9th Mulberry Bassmasters Club Andrew Ready
Garrett Thomas
5 13-11
10th Detroit Lakes High School Anthony Bender
Noah Besser
5 13-3

*National Championship Qualifier. The top 10% of teams advance to the 2021 U.S. Army High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing National Championship

Complete results from the event can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

2021 UPCOMING QUALIFICATION OPPORTUNITIES

EVENT DATE LOCATION HOST
U.S. Army High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing Table Rock Lake Open Mar. 27 Branson, Mo. Explore Branson
2021 U.S. Army High School Fishing National Championship & World Finals Jun. 30 – Jul. 3 Lake Hartwell, Anderson, S.C. Anderson Convention & Visitors Bureau

The first 25 high school teams that enter each U.S. Army High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing tournament will receive a free Favorite Fishing package, including one Favorite Fishing casting rod and reel, one Favorite Fishing spinning rod and reel, six packs of Googan Baits and two Favorite Fishing hats, a total package value of $230. Most tournaments will also be hosted by a Bass Pro Tour angler or Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit angler, giving high school students the chance to meet the sport’s top pros. As an added bonus, the winning team at each tournament will receive a guided fishing trip with their pro angler host.

U.S. Army High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing tournaments are free, two-person (team) events for students in grades 7-12 and are open to any MLF and Student Angler Federation-affiliated high school club. The top 10 percent of teams at each Open event along with the TBF High School Fishing state championships will advance to the 2021 U.S. Army High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing National Championship. The U.S. Army High School Fishing national champions will each receive a $5,000 college scholarship to the school of their choice.

In addition to the U.S. Army High School Fishing National Championship, all High School Fishing anglers nationwide automatically qualify for the world’s largest open high school bass tournament, the 2021 High School Fishing World Finals, held in conjunction with the National Championship. More than $2.8 million in scholarships and prizes were offered at the 2020 World Finals.
Full schedules and the latest announcements, photos and articles  are available at HighSchoolFishing.org and MajorLeagueFishing.com.

 


Epting Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League on Lake Murray

Boiling Springs’ Pennell Wins Strike King Co-Angler Division

PROSPERITY, S.C. (Feb. 15, 2021) – Boater Chris Epting of Chapin of South Carolina won the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine at Lake Murray in Prosperity, South Carolina, earning $6,509 for his victory.

TOP 10 RESULTS

RANK BOATER NAME/HOMETOWN BASS WEIGHT AWARD
1st Chris Epting of Chapin, S.C. 5 24-06 $6,509
2nd Cody Hoyle of Rutherfordton, N.C. 5 23-0 $2,555
3rd Ross Burns of Columbia, S.C. 5 20-2 $1,336
4th Jeremiah Jensen of Columbia, S.C. 5 19-7 $935
5th Christopher Marshall of Forest City, N.C. 5 18-15 $802
6th Andy Wicker of Pomaria, S.C. 5 18-4 $735
7th Ronald W. Catoe, Jr. of Lugoff, S.C. 5 17-15 $668
8th Michael Stephens of Gastonia, N.C. 5 17-2 $601
9th Justin Hadden of Leesville, S.C. 5 16-14 $535
10th Ronnie Wilson of Grover, N.C. 5 16-11 $468

 

RANK STRIKE KING CO-ANGLER NAME/HOMETOWN BASS WEIGHT AWARD
1st Thomas Pennell, III of Boiling Springs, S.C. 5 18-9 $2,005
2nd Brennan Gunther of Mount Pleasant, S.C. 5 14-3 $1,002
3rd Michael Campbell of Pineville, S.C. 5 13-1 $668
4th Rodney Tapp of Inman, S.C. 5 12-13 $434
4th Andrew Starnes of Chapin, S.C. 5 12-13 $434
6th Bill Hawkins of Piedmont, S.C. 3 11-11 $568
7th Zahreed McClinton of Fort Bragg, N.C. 4 10-10 $334
8th Richie Dixon of Camden, S.C. 4 10-7 $301
9th Lonnie Drusch of Sumter, S.C. 3 10-0 $267
10th Brian Bultman of Aiken, S.C. 3 9-10 $234

A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

CONTINGENCY AWARDS

AWARD NAME CONTINGENCY PAYOUT
Boater Berkley Big Bass Cody Hoyle of Rutherfordton, N.C. 8-pound, 12-ounce bass $550
Strike King Co-Angler Berkley Big Bass Markice Johnson of Thomson, Ga. 7-pound bass $275
Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus Chris Epting of Chapin, S.C. Eligible Phoenix Boat* $2,500

* Boaters are eligible to win up to an extra $7,000 per event in each Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine tournament if all requirements are met. More information on the Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.

WINNING BAITS

ANGLER BAIT COLOR
Boater Did Not Divulge Did Not Divulge
Strike King Co-Angler Square Bait Did Not Divulge

2021 QUALIFICATION OPPORTUNITIES

EVENT DATE LOCATION HOST
South Carolina Division – Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championship Oct. 21-23 St. Johns River, Palatka, Fla. Putnam County Tourist Development Council
Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American June 3-5 Douglas Lake, Dandridge, Tenn. Jefferson County Department of Tourism

The 2021 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season, five qualifying events in each division. The top 45 boaters and Strike King co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championships. Boaters will compete for a $60,000 prize package, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and $10,000, while Strike King co-anglers will fish for a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard.

The top six finishers in each regional will then qualify for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American.

The top 45 boaters and Strike King co-anglers plus tournament winners from each Phoenix Bass Fishing League division will also earn priority entry into the Toyota Series, the pathway to the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and ultimately the MLF Bass Pro Tour.

For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine on MLF’s social media outlets at  FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.


McCay Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League on Lake Lanier

Blue Ridge’s Pack Wins Strike King Co-Angler Division

GAINESVILLE, Ga. (Feb. 15, 2021) – Boater J.R. McCay of Robertstown, Georgia, won the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine at Lake Lanier presented by Googan Baits in Gainesville, Georgia. McCay earned $6,000 for his victory at the event, which was hosted by the Gainesville Convention & Visitors Bureau.

TOP 10 RESULTS

RANK BOATER NAME/HOMETOWN BASS WEIGHT AWARD
1st J.R. McCay of Robertstown, Ga. 5 18-11 $6,000
2nd Brad Stalnaker of Eatonton, Ga. 5 17-0 $3,000
3rd Carter Koza of Marietta, Ga. 5 16-13 $2,000
4th Kim Carver of Milledgeville, Ga. 5 16-6 $1,400
5th Joe Eubanks of Marietta, Ga. 5 16-1 $1,200
6th Randy Dover of Buford, Ga. 5 15-8 $1,100
7th Jason Densmore of Dawsonville, Ga. 5 15-2 $1,000
8th Michael Conley of Bainbridge, Ga. 5 15-0 $900
8th Chris Williams of Kennesaw, Ga. 5 14-10 $800
10th Jody Holland of Clermont, Ga. 5 14-9 $665
10th Jeff Hendricks of Hull, Ga. 5 14-9 $665

 

RANK STRIKE KING CO-ANGLER NAME/HOMETOWN BASS WEIGHT AWARD
1st Jerrit Pack of Blue Ridge, Ga. 5 17-4 $3,500
2nd Justin Nalley of Fayetteville, Ga. 5 13-8 $1,500
3rd Steve Hall of Mableton, Ga. 5 12-6 $1,000
4th Wayne Hancock of Cumming, Ga. 5 12-5 $700
5th Joshua Little of Cartersville, Ga. 5 12-2 $600
6th Tyler Campbell of Martin, Ga. 5 11-13 $550
7th Bobby Rogers of Acworth, Ga. 5 11-12 $475
7th Dustin Elrod of Jasper, Ga. 5 11-12 $475
9th Jonathon Schooler of Lula, Ga. 5 11-6 $400
10th Timothy Logan of Jasper, Ga. 5 11-2 $350

Full results from the event can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

CONTINGENCY AWARDS

AWARD NAME CONTINGENCY PAYOUT
Boater Berkley Big Bass Lamontie Walters of Warner Robins, Ga. 6-pound, 5-ounce bass $1,000
Strike King Co-Angler Berkley Big Bass Jerrit Pack of Blue Ridge, Ga. 6-pound, 4-ounce bass $500
Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus Jayme Rampey of Liberty, S.C. Eligible Phoenix Boat* $500

* Boaters are eligible to win up to an extra $7,000 per event in each Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine tournament if all requirements are met. More information on the Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.

WINNING BAITS

ANGLER BAITS COLOR
Boater Spot Sticker Swimbait with a ¾-ounce swimbait head Not Disclosed
Strike King Co-Angler Unnamed Crankbait Not Disclosed

2021 QUALIFICATION OPPORTUNITIES

EVENT DATE LOCATION HOST
Bulldog Division – Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championship Oct. 21-23 St. Johns River, Palatka, Fla. Putnam County Tourist Development Council
Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American June 3-5 Douglas Lake, Dandridge, Tenn. Jefferson County Department of Tourism

The 2021 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season, five qualifying events in each division. The top 45 boaters and Strike King co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championships. Boaters will compete for a $60,000 prize package, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and $10,000, while Strike King co-anglers will fish for a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard.

The top six finishers in each regional will then qualify for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American.

The top 45 boaters and Strike King co-anglers plus tournament winners from each Phoenix Bass Fishing League division will also earn priority entry into the Toyota Series, the pathway to the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and ultimately the MLF Bass Pro Tour.

For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine on MLF’s social media outlets at  FacebookTwitterInstagram , and YouTube.


Palmer Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League on Lake Guntersville

Tennessee’s Roye Wins Strike King Co-Angler Division

SCOTTSBORO, Ala. (Feb. 15, 2021) – Boater Freddy Palmer of Estill Springs, Tennesssee, won the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine at Lake Guntersville in Scottsboro, Alabama. Palmer earned $7,000 for his victory at the event, which was hosted by the Mountain Lakes Chamber of Commerce.

TOP 10 RESULTS

RANK BOATER NAME/HOMETOWN BASS WEIGHT AWARD
1st Freddy Palmer of Estill Springs, Tenn. 5 21-6 $7,000
2nd Hunter Eubanks of Inman, S.C. 5 20-2 $3,000
3rd Michael Lowry of Soddy-Daisy, Tenn. 5 19-12 $2,000
4th William Merrick of Mount Juliet, Tenn. 5 19-4 $1,900
5th Roger Chisenall of Flat Rock, Ala. 5 19-1 $1,200
6th Greg Lamb of Birchwood, Tenn. 5 18-15 $2,100
7th Tyler Pendergrass of Cullman, Ala. 5 18-7 $1,000
8th Andrew Clayton of Westpoint, Tenn. 5 17-15 $850
8th Tracy Robinson of Gadsden, Ala. 5 17-15 $850
10th Heath Gilmore of Meridian, Miss. 5 17-8 $700

 

RANK STRIKE KING CO-ANGLER NAME/HOMETOWN BASS WEIGHT AWARD
1st James Roye of Altamont, Tenn. 5 15-14 $3,000
2nd Brian Koch of Hixson, Tenn. 5 15-1 $1,500
3rd Matt Marcel of Tullahoma, Tenn. 5 14-11 $1,000
4th Philip Moore of Batesville, Miss. 4 14-5 $700
5th T.J. Anderson of Sumter, S.C. 5 14-2 $600
6th Raymond Hanlon of Chattanooga, Tenn. 4 13-13 $550
7th Rich Frey of Owens Cross Roads, Ala. 5 13-7 $500
8th Ron Creasy of Florence, Ala. 5 13-6 $425
8th Robert Moore of Mobile, Ala. 5 13-6 $425
10th Michael Roush of Mobile, Ala. 5 13-2 $350

Full results from the event can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

CONTINGENCY AWARDS

AWARD NAME CONTINGENCY PAYOUT
Boater Berkley Big Bass Greg Lamb of Birchwood, Tenn. 7-pound, 8-ounce bass $1,000
Strike King Co-Angler Berkley Big Bass Johnny Hancox of West Union, S.C. 4-pound, 12-ounce bass $497
Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus William Merrick of Mount Juliet, Tenn. Eligible Phoenix Boat* $500

* Boaters are eligible to win up to an extra $7,000 per event in each Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine tournament if all requirements are met. More information on the Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.

WINNING BAITS

ANGLER BAITS COLOR
Boater - Umbrella rig
- Jig
- Swimbait
N/A
Strike King Co-Angler - Strike King Bitsy Bug Not Disclosed

2021 QUALIFICATION OPPORTUNITIES

EVENT DATE LOCATION HOST
Choo Choo Division – Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championship Oct. 21-23 St. Johns River, Palatka, Fla. Putnam County Tourist Development Council
Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American June 3-5 Douglas Lake, Dandridge, Tenn. Jefferson County Department of Tourism

The 2021 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season, five qualifying events in each division. The top 45 boaters and Strike King co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championships. Boaters will compete for a $60,000 prize package, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and $10,000, while Strike King co-anglers will fish for a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard.

The top six finishers in each regional will then qualify for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American.

The top 45 boaters and Strike King co-anglers plus tournament winners from each Phoenix Bass Fishing League division will also earn priority entry into the Toyota Series, the pathway to the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and ultimately the MLF Bass Pro Tour.

For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine on MLF’s social media outlets at  FacebookTwitterInstagram , and YouTube.


"New" in Name Only

Vance McCullough - AnglersChannel.com

Photo Courtesy of BASS

 

 

Bass afficionados know who Bryan New is. Contrary to his name, New has been around the tournament scene, steadily building his career first as a co-angler, then last year as the Bassmaster Opens Angler of the Year. But given his win at the St Johns River in his first-ever Bassmaster Elite Series tournament, now the whole fishing world knows New’s name.

“A week and a half ago I didn’t have a title sponsor,” shared New behind the Bassmaster stage as he waited to weigh-in on Championship Sunday. “I have no idea what is about to happen,” he continued, voice trembling, knowing that he had a strong shot at winning.

When emcee Dave Mercer called the weight - 26 pounds, 11 ounces - Knew went nuts. So did the delighted, rain-soaked crowd gathered beside the river in Palatka, Florida.

Minutes later it became apparent that New had taken his first Big Blue Trophy in as many attempts, a feat only accomplished by Derek Remitz in his debut 14 years ago.

Starting the day in 6th place New consistently upgraded his weight until he had overcome the more than 5-pound deficit he began with, turning it into a 9-pound, 9-ounce margin of victory.

His total weight was 79-07.

A few main river shell bar bass ate a lipless plug and kept New in contention throughout the week, but his heavyweight beatdown took place in the pads that lined a creek south of Lake George. He pitched a Texas-rigged stick worm to unseen bass that were spawning or thinking about it. Most of his best action came from scattered or isolated pads where he figures increased sunlight made those areas more attractive than shaded waters beneath thicker stands of pads.

Greg Hackney pitched around super shallow cypress tress in Lake George to place runner-up with 69-14 on the week.

Seth Feider caught at least some of his fish in the big river’s numerous canals. He placed 3rd with 69-06.

Budding star Patrick Walters spent the tournament in Rodman Reservoir where he fished a little deeper than many of the sight-fishers who didn’t fare as well in Rodman. His 68-13 total was good for 4th place.

Mark Menendez returned to Elite Series action following a medical hiatus. It was a good week for him. Qualifying for the final round in 10th place, Menendez climbed to 5th by fishing among shallow cypress trees on Crescent Lake.


MLF to Delay REDCREST start by One Day due to inclement weather.

FLINT, Texas (Feb. 15, 2021) – Major League Fishing announced today that the dates for REDCREST 2021 presented by Old Wisconsin Sausage, the Bass Pro Tour Championship, has been delayed one day due to inclement weather in the region. The championship event, scheduled to start on Sunday, Feb. 21, has been postponed one day to allow for safer travel conditions. The tournament will now take place Monday through Friday, Feb. 22-26, on Lake Palestine in Flint. The practice day for the anglers will now be on Sunday, Feb. 21.

“The safety of our anglers and their families, our staff, our sponsors and our fans are priority number one,” said Michael Mulone, MLF Senior Director of Events & Partnerships. “With the tough weather conditions that a large part of our country is currently facing, we made the decision to postpone the start of the event by one day to allow everyone an extra day to safely travel to the event. The competition will start on Monday and we look forward to a very successful championship tournament.”

All 40 Anglers will compete on Days 1 (Monday) and 2 (Tuesday) of the event. After two days of competition, the field is cut to just the top 20 based on two-day total cumulative weight. The remaining 20 anglers are split into two groups – 10 compete on Day 3 (Wednesday) and 10 compete on Day 4 (Thursday). The top five anglers from each group based on total single-day weight will advance to the sixth and final day of competition (Friday), where weights are zeroed and the angler that catches the highest total weight on the final day will be crowned the REDCREST 2021 champion.

Due to COVID-19 protocols, attendance at the tournament is limited to competing anglers, essential staff and media covering the event. Fans are encouraged to follow the event online through the MLF NOW!® live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

The MLF NOW!® broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action on all five days of competition from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. MLF NOW!®  will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com. and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.

For complete details and updated information on REDCREST 2021, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF’s social media outlets at Facebook, TwitterInstagram, and YouTube .


Tennessee’s Neece Reclaims Lead at Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit on Lake Okeechobee

CLEWISTON, Fla. (Feb. 13, 2021) – The final day of the Major League Fishing Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers, 13 Fishing Stop 1 – Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston, Florida, is gearing up for an intense day of competition on Sunday. The top 10 includes a former FLW Cup champion, a 24-year veteran with 59 top-10 finishes and a standout Abu Garcia College Fishing angler, fishing the Pro Circuit during his sophomore year at Bethel University. Joined by MLF Bass Pro Tour pros Skeet Reese and Chris Lane, the top 10 is a conglomerate of fierce competitors, all with their eye on the championship trophy and the top prize of up to $135,000.

Tennessee rookie Jim Neece, Jr., who led the tournament on Day One, brought a limit of 18 pounds, 2 ounces to the scale on Saturday, moving back into the lead after dropping to 3rd place on Day Two. Neece’s three-day total of 56 pounds, 11 ounces gives him a slim 10-ounce advantage over pro Miles Burghoff of Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee, who dropped to 2nd place with a limit worth 13 pounds, 2 ounces, for a three-day total of 56 pounds, 1 ounce.

Bass Pro Tour angler Skeet Reese of Auburn, California, (55-5), and pros Bill McDonald of Greenwood, Indiana, (55-4) and Chris Lane of Guntersville, Alabama, (55-4) round out the top five.

Pro Cole Floyd of Leesburg, Ohio, made a jump from 15th place into 8th, while pro Ryan Salzman of Huntsville, Alabama , made a dramatic leap from 49th, into the 10th and final qualifying spot.

Neece said catching a 7-pound kicker early helped him get the day started in the right direction.

“That 7-pounder was the first bite of the day,” said Neece. “About an hour later, I lost one that was even bigger – it straightened out my hook.”

He said the fish he needs to win are in his area, north of King’s Bar, and he plans to go back again to vie for the win on Sunday.

“I’ve been in the same place all week, but have had to switch baits to get bites,” Neece said. “The first two days, I mainly fished a Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Worm and a frog, but they just weren’t biting them as well today.”

Due to the changing weather, Neece said he decided to fish a vibrating jig Saturday, which helped him put together his limit.

“I had to switch it up because of all of the wind in my area,” he said. “Today, the [vibrating jig] was the key.”

The top 10 pros after Day Three on Lake Okeechobee are:

1st:       Jim Neece, Jr., Bristol, Tenn., 15 bass, 56-11
2nd:      Miles Burghoff, Soddy-Daisy, Tenn., 15 bass, 56-1
3rd:       Skeet Reese, Auburn, Calif., 15 bass, 55-5
4th:       Bill McDonald, Greenwood, Ind., 15 bass, 55-4
5th:       Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala., 15 bass, 55-4
6th:       Dicky Newberry, Houston, Texas, 15 bass, 53-6
7th:       Pete Ponds, Madison, Miss., 15 bass, 50-15
8th:       Cole Floyd, Leesburg, Ohio, 15 bass, 49-15
9th:       Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., 15 bass, 49-13
10th:     Ryan Salzman, Huntsville, Ala., 15 bass, 48-7
Anglers finishing 11th through 20th are:
11th:     Rusty Salewske, Alpine, Calif., 15 bass, 46-11, $11,000
12th:     Bobby Lane, Lakeland, Fla., 15 bass, 46-9, $11,000
13th:     Brandon McMillan, Clewiston, Fla., 15 bass, 46-8, $11,000
14th:     Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., 14 bass, 46-0, $11,000
15th:     Kurt Mitchell, Milford, Del., 15 bass, 46-0, $11,000
16th:     Jason Vance, Battle Ground, Ind., 15 bass, 45-5, $11,000
17th:     Mike Surman, Boca Raton, Fla., 15 bass, 44-13, $11,000
18th:     Robert Nakatomi, Sacramento, Calif., 15 bass, 44-1, $11,000
19th:     Dylan Hays, Hot Springs, Ark., 15 bass, 43-4, $11,000
20th:     Clabion Johns, Social Circle, Ga., 15 bass, 43-1, $11,000
For a full list of results visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Overall, there were 238 bass weighing 603 pounds, 5 ounces caught by 50 pros on Saturday, which included 42 five-bass limits.

The Major League Fishing Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers, 13 Fishing Stop 1 – Lake Okeechobee is hosted by the Hendry County Tourism Development Council and Roland & Mary Ann Martin’s Marina & Resort.

In Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit competition, the full field of 162 anglers competed in the two-day opening round on Thursday and Friday. The field was cut to 50 anglers on Saturday. Now, the top 10 pros based on their three-day cumulative weight advance to Sunday where the winner will be determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days of competition.

Throughout the season, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit TITLE presented by Mercury, the Pro Circuit Championship, where they will compete for up to $235,000. The 2021 TITLE will be on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisconsin on Aug. 17-22, and is hosted by Explore La Crosse.

Anglers will take off at 7:30 a.m. ET on Sunday from Roland and Mary Ann Martin’s Marina and Resort, located at 920 E. Del Monte Ave. in Clewiston. Weigh-in will also be held at the marina on Sunday at 3 p.m. Attendance is limited to competing anglers, family, essential staff and media covering the event. Fans are encouraged to follow the action online through the MLF NOW! live stream and coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com .

The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers, 13 Fishing Stop 1 – Lake Okeechobee will feature live on-the-water coverage and a two-hour action-packed television show that will premiere on the Outdoor Channel on Sunday, July 11 from 7 to 9 a.m. ET and re-air on the Sportsman Channel this fall. Weigh-in will be streamed and fans can catch live on-the-water action all day Sunday, Feb. 14 on MLF NOW! beginning at 8 a.m. ET at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the MLF BIG5’s social media outlets at FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.


Lester: St. Johns is Constantly Changing

Courtesy of Luke Stoner - Dynamic Sponsorships

 

The St. Johns River has been a staple of the Bassmaster Elite Series schedule the past decade, but history can seemingly haunt you on this iconic Florida fishery. Just ask Brandon Lester, who has an impressive resume when competing on this body of water, but swears he has never caught fish in the same area in any of his five trips to Palatka.

 

Due to factors such as weather, disappearing aquatic vegetation, and water quality Lester believes it’s best to have a short memory when he launches his boat on the St. Johns.

 

“Every single year we fish here this place is different,” Lester said. “I used to focus exclusively on eel grass when we came here and posted some good finishes doing so. The last two years I’ve caught my fish on more traditional river fishing pieces of hard cover like docks, seas walls, and even wood.”

 

The Elites have started their season on the St. Johns the past two years and the first day of competition has proved less than desirable for the Team Toyota pro. In 2020 Lester bounced back with a 20-pound five fish limit on day two after a dismal first day. Yesterday Lester rallied with a similar result after bringing nearly 22-pounds of feisty Florida largemouth to the scales.

 

Throughout his career Lester has proven to be incredibly consistent, so his day one struggles on the St. Johns the past two years has been a bit perplexing to Bassmaster fans and Lester alike. When I asked him why he thinks that’s been the case, the even-keeled Tennesee pro answered with, “change.”

 

“This place not only changes year to year, but day to day,” Lester explained. “You might find the mother load one day in practice only to find they are gone the next morning. It can be frustrating, but that’s part of the game. One thing that hasn’t changed for me on the St. Johns is it seems I have to fish at a snails pace to really catch them.”

That logic was on full display yesterday when Lester milked one little area for one of the biggest bags of fish of the day. Using a wacky-rigged soft plastic on a #2 Mustad TitanX Neko Hook Lester fished slow and in return moved up the leaderboard fast, entering today in 21st place.

 

During the brief fog delay before competition began this morning Lester was all smiles. The weather forecast in Tennessee is currently calling for snow as opposed to the 70-degree weather Elite pros are expecting today.  While he is eager to get home to his wife Kimberly and daughters Shiloh and Leann, Lester admitted he isn’t excited to drive his Tundra north out of this Florida weather.


Clouse Maintains Lead At Bassmaster Elite Series Event On The St. Johns River

Gary Clouse, of Winchester, Tenn., is leading after Day 2 of the 2021 AFTCO Bassmaster Elite at St. Johns River with a two-day total of 45 pounds, 1 ounce.
Photo by Seigo Saito/B.A.S.S.
February 12, 2021

PALATKA, Fla. — Despite having longer to fish on Friday, Gary Clouse found fewer big bites than he did during Thursday’s fog-shortened first round.

Nevertheless, the Tennessee angler sacked up a five-bass limit of 19 pounds, 5 ounces and held on to his lead in the AFTCO Bassmaster Elite at the St. Johns River with a two-day total of 45-1.

Clouse is making a nearly two-hour run south of Palatka, so Thursday’s fog delay, which postponed the scheduled 7 a.m. takeoff until 10:15, left him with about an hour of actual fishing time. Despite the limitation, he led the day with a limit of 25-12 — the tournament’s heaviest catch so far.

On Friday, Clouse seemed to have a hard time replicating his opening results, which he called the most amazing day of fishing he’s ever experienced.

“It was a struggle today, but I’ll take it,” Clouse said. “Yesterday, I caught everything in an hour; today it took me four hours to get what I had. I think I’m wearing my area out; I hope there are some more coming in.

“Yesterday was one of those days you dream about as a fisherman. Everything just worked. Today, I didn’t fish as well; I think I was a little amped up early. I don’t feel like I presented my baits as well, and I moved around too fast.”

Clouse is targeting small patches of reeds scattered across a supershallow flat. Some of the bass were relating to the cover, while others positioned around the perimeter.

“I caught my first big one out away from it and I caught my second big one close to it; I think they’re just roaming around back there,” Clouse said. “I really haven’t seen any fish on a bed. I’ve seen some beds, but it’s hard to tell what’s going on because I have to stay way back and there’s so many other fish — tilapia, carp — back there.

“I can’t say that I’m bed fishing. They’re just in there roaming around and possibly trying to bed.”

Clouse used a 1/4-ounce swim jig and a 1/4-ounce ChatterBait, both with Yamamoto Zako trailers, to cover water and find fish. He didn’t end up weighing anything on the reaction baits, but they helped him locate active areas where a Texas-rigged Zoom Magnum Ultravibe Speed Worm earned the bites.

Around 1 p.m., with a limit of approximately 15-4, Clouse switched from braided line to fluorocarbon. Within minutes, he caught a 6-2 that culled out a 1 1/2-pounder (all weights estimated per BassTrakk).

The warming trend that arrived Wednesday has prompted good numbers of big bass to move into spawning zones like the one Clouse has been fishing. However, after two days of stable weather, Saturday’s forecast for wind and rain will likely change the playing field.

This won’t necessarily kill the bite. But shallow, exposed areas like Clouse's will likely get blown out at some point. He’s hopeful he can squeeze another day of productivity and secure a Top 10 spot for Championship Sunday.

“If I have to try something different, I’m in trouble,” Clouse said. “I tried for three days in practice and that’s all I have.”

Derek Hudnall of Denham Springs, La., remains in second place with 38-5. Sticking with the same game plan that yielded 22-5 on Day 1, he added 16-0 Friday.

Hudnall has been targeting spawning fish tucked into gaps in shoreline cover by skipping a wacky-rigged Missile Baits 48 worm in the bruiser flash and junebug colors with 15-pound braided line facilitating precise presentations.

Today, after missing several big-fish opportunities, Hudnall made a key adjustment.

“I had a handful of big ones that had the bait for just a second and would just pull off immediately,” he said. “It was really hard to get that bait in their mouth, but around midday, I downsized my hook from a Size 1 Gamakatsu G-Finesse Weedless Stinger Hook, to a Size 2.

“It’s not (significantly) smaller but can make a difference. When I made that adjustment, I started hooking up with more of those fish. They’re locked on beds right now, so they’re not eating; they’re 100% protecting.”

Greg Hackney of Gonzales, La., is in third place with 35-1. Clearly benefiting from a full fishing day, Hackney gained 13 spots by adding 22-10 to his Day-1 weight of 12-7.

“Today, I just got to fish a lot slower,” Hackney said. “I just fished over those fish yesterday. I knew they were there yesterday, but I just couldn’t slow down enough to catch them, because I knew I had to catch five so I fished a little quicker.

“Today, I fished the same 300-yard stretch, and it took me all day. I seined it, and I’m going to go back there tomorrow. I knew better than to leave because I’d see them every now and then.”

Hackney said his spot is a protected shoreline with a mix of wood cover and shallow vegetation — an ideal spawning scenario. He caught all of his fish by flipping a Strike King Rage Craw.

Hudnall is in the lead for Phoenix Boats Big Bass honors with his 9-8.

The Top 50 remaining anglers will take off Saturday from Palatka City Docks at 7 a.m. ET. Saturday’s weigh-in will be held at Palatka Riverfront Park at 3 p.m., with only the Top 10 anglers advancing to Championship Sunday.

FS1 will broadcast live from the tournament beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Coverage of the event can be streamed on Bassmaster.com and the FOX Sports digital platforms.
The AFTCO Bassmaster Elite at St. Johns River is being hosted by the Putnam County Tourist Development Council and Putnam County Chamber of Commerce.

AFTCO Bassmaster Elite at St. Johns River Video Highlights (For media use. Please credit B.A.S.S.)

Media Contact: Emily Harley, B.A.S.S. Communications Manager, 205-313-0945, [email protected]

2021 AFTCO Bassmaster Elite at St. Johns River 2/11-2/14
St. Johns River, Palatka, FL.
(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 2

Angler Hometown No./lbs-oz Pts Total $$$

1. Gary Clouse Winchester, TN 10 45-01 100
Day 1: 5 25-12 Day 2: 5 19-05
2. Derek Hudnall Denham Springs, LA 10 38-05 99 $1,000.00
Day 1: 5 22-05 Day 2: 5 16-00
3. Greg Hackney Gonzales, LA 10 35-01 98
Day 1: 5 12-07 Day 2: 5 22-10
4. Matt Herren Ashville, AL 10 33-12 97
Day 1: 5 16-09 Day 2: 5 17-03
5. Mark Menendez Paducah, KY 10 33-07 96
Day 1: 5 16-02 Day 2: 5 17-05
6. Buddy Gross Chickamauga, GA 10 33-05 95
Day 1: 5 16-05 Day 2: 5 17-00
7. Cliff Prince Palatka, FL 10 32-08 94
Day 1: 5 17-12 Day 2: 5 14-12
8. Mike Huff Corbin, KY 10 32-06 93
Day 1: 5 12-08 Day 2: 5 19-14
9. Bryan New Belmont, NC 10 32-03 92
Day 1: 5 12-00 Day 2: 5 20-03
10. Patrick Walters Summerville, SC 10 32-03 91
Day 1: 5 13-03 Day 2: 5 19-00
11. Cory Johnston Cavan CANADA 10 31-15 90
Day 1: 5 17-15 Day 2: 5 14-00
12. Wes Logan Springville, AL 10 31-08 89 $1,000.00
Day 1: 5 10-06 Day 2: 5 21-02
13. Joshua Stracner Vandiver, AL 10 31-01 88
Day 1: 5 16-02 Day 2: 5 14-15
14. Bryan Schmitt Deale, MD 10 31-00 87
Day 1: 5 15-08 Day 2: 5 15-08
15. Drew Cook Cairo, GA 10 30-01 86
Day 1: 5 11-01 Day 2: 5 19-00
16. Bill Weidler Helena, AL 10 30-00 85
Day 1: 5 14-13 Day 2: 5 15-03
17. Hank Cherry Jr Lincolnton, NC 8 29-15 84
Day 1: 3 12-14 Day 2: 5 17-01
18. Caleb Kuphall Mukwonago, WI 10 29-13 83
Day 1: 5 13-04 Day 2: 5 16-09
19. Carl Jocumsen Queensland AUSTRALIA 10 29-12 82
Day 1: 5 18-02 Day 2: 5 11-10
20. Jeff Gustafson Keewatin Ontario CANADA 10 29-08 81
Day 1: 5 09-14 Day 2: 5 19-10
21. Brandon Lester Fayetteville, TN 8 29-01 80
Day 1: 3 07-05 Day 2: 5 21-12
22. Gerald Swindle Guntersville, AL 10 28-07 79
Day 1: 5 12-07 Day 2: 5 16-00
23. Drew Benton Blakely, GA 10 27-13 78
Day 1: 5 09-08 Day 2: 5 18-05
24. Clent Davis Montevallo, AL 10 27-09 77
Day 1: 5 06-04 Day 2: 5 21-05
25. Justin Hamner Northport, AL 10 27-06 76
Day 1: 5 10-08 Day 2: 5 16-14
26. Brian Snowden Reeds Spring, MO 7 26-14 75
Day 1: 2 03-06 Day 2: 5 23-08
27. Keith Combs Huntington, TX 10 26-12 74
Day 1: 5 09-08 Day 2: 5 17-04
28. Seth Feider New Market, MN 10 26-11 73
Day 1: 5 08-03 Day 2: 5 18-08
29. Micah Frazier Newnan, GA 10 26-02 72
Day 1: 5 14-00 Day 2: 5 12-02
30. Bernie Schultz Gainesville, FL 8 25-15 71
Day 1: 3 06-02 Day 2: 5 19-13
31. Quentin Cappo Prairieville, LA 10 25-11 70
Day 1: 5 08-07 Day 2: 5 17-04
32. Kenta Kimura Osaka JAPAN 8 25-06 69
Day 1: 3 05-02 Day 2: 5 20-04
33. Stetson Blaylock Benton, AR 9 25-06 68
Day 1: 4 11-11 Day 2: 5 13-11
34. KJ Queen Catawba, NC 10 25-05 67
Day 1: 5 11-10 Day 2: 5 13-11
35. Brandon Palaniuk Rathdrum, ID 9 25-04 66
Day 1: 4 07-04 Day 2: 5 18-00
36. Austin Felix Eden Prairie, MN 10 25-03 65
Day 1: 5 12-08 Day 2: 5 12-11
37. Luke Palmer Coalgate, OK 10 24-07 64
Day 1: 5 07-08 Day 2: 5 16-15
38. Rob Digh Denver, NC 10 24-06 63
Day 1: 5 08-14 Day 2: 5 15-08
39. Matt Arey Shelby, NC 10 24-02 62
Day 1: 5 09-13 Day 2: 5 14-05
40. Ed Loughran III Richmond, VA 8 24-01 61
Day 1: 3 07-00 Day 2: 5 17-01
41. Chris Johnston Otonabee Ontario CANADA 10 23-15 60
Day 1: 5 12-06 Day 2: 5 11-09
42. Hunter Shryock Ooltewah, TN 10 23-10 59
Day 1: 5 11-04 Day 2: 5 12-06
43. Brandon Cobb Greenwood, SC 10 23-10 58
Day 1: 5 11-06 Day 2: 5 12-04
44. Kyle Welcher Opelika, AL 10 23-03 57
Day 1: 5 10-07 Day 2: 5 12-12
45. Brad Whatley Bivins, TX 10 23-00 56
Day 1: 5 06-12 Day 2: 5 16-04
46. Randy Pierson Oakdale, CA 9 22-14 55
Day 1: 4 11-10 Day 2: 5 11-04
47. Justin Atkins Florence, AL 8 22-10 54
Day 1: 3 05-09 Day 2: 5 17-01
48. Lee Livesay Longview, TX 10 22-09 53
Day 1: 5 08-04 Day 2: 5 14-05
49. John Cox Debary, FL 8 22-08 52
Day 1: 3 07-01 Day 2: 5 15-07
50. Darold Gleason Many, LA 10 22-06 51
Day 1: 5 11-09 Day 2: 5 10-13
51. Jamie Hartman Newport, NY 10 22-01 50 $2,500.00
Day 1: 5 14-10 Day 2: 5 07-07
52. Clifford Pirch Payson, AZ 8 21-11 49 $2,500.00
Day 1: 3 06-05 Day 2: 5 15-06
53. Robbie Latuso Gonzales, LA 7 20-15 48 $2,500.00
Day 1: 2 03-03 Day 2: 5 17-12
54. Kelley Jaye Dadeville, AL 8 20-12 47 $2,500.00
Day 1: 3 05-01 Day 2: 5 15-11
55. Clark Wendlandt Leander, TX 10 20-06 46 $2,500.00
Day 1: 5 10-11 Day 2: 5 09-11
56. Shane LeHew Catawba, NC 9 20-04 45 $2,500.00
Day 1: 4 06-10 Day 2: 5 13-10
57. Bill Lowen Brookville, IN 9 20-01 44 $2,500.00
Day 1: 4 06-01 Day 2: 5 14-00
58. Chad Pipkens Dewitt, MI 10 19-11 43 $2,500.00
Day 1: 5 08-11 Day 2: 5 11-00
59. Tyler Rivet Raceland, LA 10 19-09 42 $2,500.00
Day 1: 5 11-06 Day 2: 5 08-03
59. Matt Robertson Kuttawa, KY 10 19-09 42 $2,500.00
Day 1: 5 08-03 Day 2: 5 11-06
61. John Crews Jr Salem, VA 8 19-08 40 $2,500.00
Day 1: 3 11-10 Day 2: 5 07-14
62. Tyler Carriere Youngsville, LA 10 19-08 39 $2,500.00
Day 1: 5 09-08 Day 2: 5 10-00
63. Jason Christie Park Hill, OK 9 19-06 38 $2,500.00
Day 1: 4 06-04 Day 2: 5 13-02
64. Paul Mueller Naugatuck, CT 10 19-06 37 $2,500.00
Day 1: 5 08-14 Day 2: 5 10-08
65. Koby Kreiger Alva, FL 8 19-04 36 $2,500.00
Day 1: 3 08-14 Day 2: 5 10-06
66. Shane Lineberger Lincolnton, NC 8 18-12 35 $2,500.00
Day 1: 4 06-00 Day 2: 4 12-12
67. Pat Schlapper Eleva, WI 7 18-11 34 $2,500.00
Day 1: 2 03-04 Day 2: 5 15-07
68. Kyle Monti Okeechobee, FL 10 18-10 33 $2,500.00
Day 1: 5 08-09 Day 2: 5 10-01
69. Frank Talley Temple, TX 10 18-00 32 $2,500.00
Day 1: 5 11-13 Day 2: 5 06-03
70. Chad Morgenthaler Reeds Spring, MO 10 17-13 31 $2,500.00
Day 1: 5 06-15 Day 2: 5 10-14
71. Jason Williamson Wagener, SC 9 17-04 30 $2,500.00
Day 1: 5 11-05 Day 2: 4 05-15
72. Gregory DiPalma Millville, NJ 8 16-06 29 $2,500.00
Day 1: 3 10-04 Day 2: 5 06-02
73. Scott Martin Clewiston, FL 8 15-14 28 $2,500.00
Day 1: 5 08-07 Day 2: 3 07-07
74. Taku Ito Chiba JAPAN 8 15-09 27 $2,500.00
Day 1: 3 05-08 Day 2: 5 10-01
75. Scott Canterbury Odenville, AL 8 15-08 26 $2,500.00
Day 1: 5 11-10 Day 2: 3 03-14
76. Brandon Card Salisbury, NC 7 15-05 25
Day 1: 3 06-14 Day 2: 4 08-07
77. Marc Frazier Newnan, GA 10 15-04 24
Day 1: 5 07-01 Day 2: 5 08-03
78. Steve Kennedy Auburn, AL 6 15-03 23
Day 1: 1 02-01 Day 2: 5 13-02
79. Chris Zaldain Fort Worth, TX 6 14-06 22
Day 1: 1 01-02 Day 2: 5 13-04
80. David Mullins Mt Carmel, TN 5 14-02 21
Day 1: 0 00-00 Day 2: 5 14-02
81. Chris Groh Spring Grove, IL 7 13-09 20
Day 1: 3 05-09 Day 2: 4 08-00
82. Skylar Hamilton Dandridge, TN 8 13-08 19
Day 1: 3 04-05 Day 2: 5 09-03
83. Caleb Sumrall New Iberia, LA 8 13-06 18
Day 1: 3 05-05 Day 2: 5 08-01
84. Yusuke Miyazaki Forney, TX 6 13-00 17
Day 1: 1 02-02 Day 2: 5 10-14
85. Jay Yelas Lincoln City, OR 5 13-00 16
Day 1: 4 09-15 Day 2: 1 03-01
86. Randy Sullivan Breckenridge, TX 6 12-13 15
Day 1: 2 04-00 Day 2: 4 08-13
87. Bob Downey Hudson, WI 8 12-11 14
Day 1: 5 08-05 Day 2: 3 04-06
88. Rick Morris Lake Gaston, VA 7 12-09 13
Day 1: 2 04-01 Day 2: 5 08-08
89. Brock Mosley Collinsville, MS 7 11-07 12
Day 1: 2 03-01 Day 2: 5 08-06
90. Ray Hanselman Jr Del Rio, TX 6 10-01 11
Day 1: 1 02-11 Day 2: 5 07-06
91. Jake Whitaker Fairview, NC 4 09-00 10
Day 1: 1 01-01 Day 2: 3 07-15
92. Destin DeMarion Grove City, PA 4 07-09 9
Day 1: 0 00-00 Day 2: 4 07-09
93. Garrett Paquette Canton, MI 4 07-01 8
Day 1: 1 03-00 Day 2: 3 04-01
94. Todd Auten Lake Wylie, SC 2 05-10 7
Day 1: 1 02-10 Day 2: 1 03-00
95. Cody Hollen Beaverton, OR 4 05-09 6
Day 1: 3 04-02 Day 2: 1 01-07
96. Dale Hightower Mannford, OK 3 05-07 5
Day 1: 0 00-00 Day 2: 3 05-07
97. Harvey Horne Bella Vista, AR 3 05-05 4
Day 1: 1 00-15 Day 2: 2 04-06
98. Brett Preuett Monroe, LA 2 02-15 3
Day 1: 2 02-15 Day 2: 0 00-00
99. Rick Clunn Ava, MO 0 00-00 0
Day 1: 0 00-00 Day 2: 0 00-00
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

PHOENIX BOATS BIG BASS
Day
1 Derek Hudnall Denham Springs, LA 09-08 $1,000.00
2 Wes Logan Springville, AL 08-08 $1,000.00


AC Rookie Podcast - Time to Shine

On this weeks Rookie Podcast Jason checks in with MLF Big 5 Pro Circuit Rookie Trevor Fitzgerald. TF has been in this game in multiple facets for a long time and now its his time to play with the boys and show them how its done.


Mercury Introduces the 7.6L V12 600hp Verado

 

Mercury Marine introduces the all‑new V12 600hp Verado engine — redefining outboard performance

FOND DU LAC, Wis. (Feb. 11, 2021) — Mercury Marine®, a division of Brunswick Corporation (NYSE: BC), today introduced the new 7.6‑liter V12 600hp Verado® outboard engine. With this launch, Mercury continues to transform the high‑horsepower outboard market, providing its most powerful and capable outboard, which includes several industry‑first features for a wide variety of applications.

“With boats continuing to grow bigger and performance expectations continuing to rise, boaters have been asking for a better, more capable high‑horsepower solution to meet their needs. The V12 Verado outboard is Mercury’s answer,” said Chris Drees, Mercury Marine president. “Using our advanced engineering and design capabilities, we completely redefined outboard performance. The V12 Verado outboard delivers boaters unrivaled freedom, luxury and power to pursue their passions on the water. This is a remarkable engine that will change the future of boating.”

Groundbreaking product innovations include the following:

  • The world’s first V12 outboard, the 600hp Verado engine features a naturally aspirated, large‑displacement, quad‑cam powerhead that generates impressive torque to get heavy boats out of the hole and on plane quickly, and to accelerate up to rated speed rapidly.
  • The industry’s first two‑speed automatic transmission for an outboard optimizes engine rpm according to workload, facilitating powerful acceleration and highly efficient performance at cruise.
  • The industry’s first steerable gearcase on an outboard pivots independently underwater while the engine’s powerhead remains in a space‑saving fixed position. This provides more room for multi‑engine configurations and a wider steering angle for agile handling. With help from contra‑rotating propellers, it also has better “bite” in the water for docking and other close‑quarters maneuvering.
  • Several enhanced Mercury technologies work in conjunction to enable the V12 Verado outboard to deliver exceptional fuel economy and range.

“The V12 Verado outboard delivers everything boaters want and more in a high-horsepower outboard. This engine makes boats easy to maneuver near the dock and provides superior handling at all speeds. It’s incredibly fuel efficient, so boaters can go farther and stay out longer. It’s so smooth and quiet that you can have a conversation while the engines are running. It’s durable, reliable and easy to maintain. There’s nothing else like the V12 Verado outboard in the marketplace today,” Drees said.

The development of the V12 Verado outboard is a product of Mercury’s continued commitment to investing in R&D and manufacturing expansion, which includes more than $1.5 billion of investment since 2008.

“We’ve dedicated substantial investments and years of effort toward enhancing our ability to turn highly creative ideas into practical, functional and dependable solutions,” said Tim Reid, Mercury Marine vice president of development and engineering. “That work has positioned us well to anticipate and respond to shifts in the marketplace. We listened carefully to boaters’ needs and wishes, and we created new product capabilities aimed at exceeding their highest expectations.”

The Mercury Marine V12 Verado outboard will be available this spring. For more information, visit mercurymarine.com/v12.

For more information on the V12 Verado outboard’s features and benefits, see the Innovations and Advancements document.

See the V12 Verado product‑launch video on the Mercury Marine Facebook page.


Gleason trades Sumrall ham for hooks

Courtesy of Alan McGuckin - Dynamic Sponsorships

 

Bassmaster Elite Series rookie Darold Gleason is a combination of mature fishing talent, a big heart, hard work, and endlessly hilarious one-liners. In the 15 years I’ve known him, I’ve never seen him in a sour mood.

 

In fact, if you need a little boost for your spirit, or inspiration for what a great relationship should look like, put yourself in the presence of Darold and wife Randi, who has earned 10 pink Cadillacs as a Mary Kay cosmetics consultant.

 

But when Gleason found himself in need of Gamakatsu flipping hooks prior to the start of Day 2 on the St. Johns, he phoned close friend and fellow Elite Series pro Caleb Sumrall -- and started bartering with ham.

 

Not just any ham. This is ham from their home state of Louisiana from highly famous Grayson’s BBQ, where people reserve their smoked hams a year in advance of the holiday season.

 

Randi got this morning’s particular pork from Aunt Bonnie who used to live in Louisiana, but now lives in South Florida, and has Grayson’s hams shipped to her. She traveled five hours to the Elite Series this week to cheer on Darold, and thought she’d bring them a taste of home.

 

Randi paired the ham slices with off-the-block extra sharp cheddar slices, and tucked them into a warm croissant, then transported them to morning blast off in tinfoil.

 

Gleason, who has caught 10 bass over 10 pounds from his home waters of Toledo Bend, ate three of the morning treats quickly, but held back the fourth for Sumrall in exchange for flippin hooks.

 

Sumrall, who is built like an outside linebacker, thought it was a more than fair deal. He met Gleason when he was still working in the oil field supply yard, and the two were making their way upward through the Cajun State’s highly competitive amateur bass fishing ranks.

 

Sumrall had a really tough day Thursday, but Gleason, who is focused on catching spawning fish, sits solidly in 29th place heading into Friday’s competition.

 

Surely both will have a good Friday. It seems impossible not to when fueled by great friendship, sharp flippin’ hooks, and a belly full of homemade Grayson’s ham and sharp cheddar breakfast croissants.


Clouse Makes Long Run To Take Lead At Bassmaster Elite On St. Johns River

Gary Clouse, of Winchester, Tenn., is leading after Day 1 of the 2021 AFTCO Bassmaster Elite at St. Johns River with 25 pounds, 12 ounces.
Photo by Seigo Saito/B.A.S.S.
February 11, 2021

PALATKA, Fla. — Gary Clouse knew what he had to do, and he was determined that not even a three-hour fog delay was going to stop him.

It was a good call for the Tennessee pro who caught a five-bass limit that weighed 25 pounds, 12 ounces Thursday to lead Day 1 of the AFTCO Bassmaster Elite at the St. Johns River.

After dense fog created hazardous navigational conditions, B.A.S.S. delayed Thursday’s scheduled 7 a.m. takeoff until 10:15.

Taking off in the 69th position in a field of 99 boats, Clouse had plenty of time to contemplate his game plan, which involved making what he called a long run.

“I was fishing bedding areas and bed fish too; it was a little of both,” Clouse said. “I feel like the fish are coming to me because I went into this area in practice and I had a couple of bites, but I had no idea it was going to be loaded like that.”

With this week’s new moon plus a warming trend that started Wednesday, the stage was set for a textbook spawning movement. Clouse said he believed his distant spot offered him the best opportunity, but he admits he had to ignore his mental question marks.

“I had all kinds of doubts while I was running,” he said. “I thought maybe I should just pull over here and try to catch one. That crossed my mind — like I shouldn’t make this run.

“It was a huge gamble. The smarter money would have been to stay close and get a couple fish and hopefully get a long day tomorrow. But I just decided to go for it and I’m glad I did.”

Clouse was understandably guarded with his tactical details, but he said he caught his fish on a mix of moving baits and reaction baits. Targeting bass that were moving up to spawn, he had only six bites, but they were mostly quality fish.

“It really didn’t matter what you threw,” Clouse said. “You just had to get around one.”

The smallest bass in Clouse’s bag was a 2-pounder. According to BassTrakk, between 1:51 and 2:37, he caught three in the 5-pound class and one about 4 pounds.

“I had a really unbelievable day; things just went right,” he said. “It was just my day. There wasn’t anything magical about it. Everything lined up for me.

“I may have burned up everything I had. I could zero tomorrow probably easier than catching 25 pounds. We’ll see what happens.”

Derek Hudnall of Baton Rouge, La., is in second place with 22-5. Making a long run south, Hudnall focused on areas with gaps and openings in shoreline vegetation where spawning fish would likely position themselves out of sight.

“I’m not looking at these fish,” Hudnall said. “It’s extremely shallow, and anywhere those fish can get to the bank, that’s where they’re moving up and spawning.

“If you have available cover, like an overhanging limb, and the fish can get to the bank, that’s where the fish are going to spawn. This area has some great big ones in it, and when those fish move up, I can pinpoint where those fish are going to be.”

Hudnall caught all of his bass on a wacky-rigged Missile Baits 48 worm in the bruiser flash and junebug colors. Fishing his bait on 15-pound braided line was essential for making long skips into the cover to avoid spooking the fish.

Australian pro Carl Jocumsen is in third place with 18-2. Running about an hour south of takeoff was a risky call for him as well, but Jocumsen said practice allowed him to dial in an area with the right mix of habitat and conditions.

“I fished from one end of (tournament waters) to the other, and I felt like that was the area where it was going to happen,” he said. “I started to see better water temperature, more life and fish.

“I targeted anywhere I thought they were going to spawn and anywhere I thought no one else was casting. I wasn’t looking at them, I’m just fishing where I think they are and I think that’s helping me run into some fresh fish.”

Jocumsen caught his bass on a Texas-rigged X Zone Lures Deception Worm in the plum color.

Hudnall is in the lead for Phoenix Boats Big Bass honors with his 9-8.

Friday’s takeoff is scheduled for 7 a.m. ET from Palatka City Docks. The weigh-in will be held at Palatka Riverfront Park at 3 p.m.

After Friday’s round, only the Top 50 anglers will advance to Saturday’s semifinals. The Top 10 remaining pros will fish Championship Sunday with a chance at the $100,000 first-place prize.

Live coverage of the event can be streamed on Bassmaster.com and the FOX Sports digital platforms. FS1 will also broadcast live from the tournament beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The AFTCO Bassmaster Elite at St. Johns River is being hosted by the Putnam County Tourist Development Council and Putnam County Chamber of Commerce.

2021 AFTCO Bassmaster Elite at St. Johns River 2/11-2/14
St. Johns River, Palatka, FL.
(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 1

Angler Hometown No./lbs-oz Pts Total $$$

1. Gary Clouse Winchester, TN 5 25-12 100
Day 1: 5 25-12
2. Derek Hudnall Denham Springs, LA 5 22-05 99 $1,000.00
Day 1: 5 22-05
3. Carl Jocumsen Queensland AUSTRALIA 5 18-02 98
Day 1: 5 18-02
4. Cory Johnston Cavan CANADA 5 17-15 97
Day 1: 5 17-15
5. Cliff Prince Palatka, FL 5 17-12 96
Day 1: 5 17-12
6. Matt Herren Ashville, AL 5 16-09 95
Day 1: 5 16-09
7. Buddy Gross Chickamauga, GA 5 16-05 94
Day 1: 5 16-05
8. Mark Menendez Paducah, KY 5 16-02 93
Day 1: 5 16-02
8. Joshua Stracner Vandiver, AL 5 16-02 93
Day 1: 5 16-02
10. Bryan Schmitt Deale, MD 5 15-08 91
Day 1: 5 15-08
11. Bill Weidler Helena, AL 5 14-13 90
Day 1: 5 14-13
12. Jamie Hartman Newport, NY 5 14-10 89
Day 1: 5 14-10
13. Micah Frazier Newnan, GA 5 14-00 88
Day 1: 5 14-00
14. Caleb Kuphall Mukwonago, WI 5 13-04 87
Day 1: 5 13-04
15. Patrick Walters Summerville, SC 5 13-03 86
Day 1: 5 13-03
16. Hank Cherry Jr Lincolnton, NC 3 12-14 85
Day 1: 3 12-14
17. Austin Felix Eden Prairie, MN 5 12-08 84
Day 1: 5 12-08
17. Mike Huff Corbin, KY 5 12-08 84
Day 1: 5 12-08
19. Greg Hackney Gonzales, LA 5 12-07 82
Day 1: 5 12-07
19. Gerald Swindle Guntersville, AL 5 12-07 82
Day 1: 5 12-07
21. Chris Johnston Otonabee Ontario CANADA 5 12-06 80
Day 1: 5 12-06
22. Bryan New Belmont, NC 5 12-00 79
Day 1: 5 12-00
23. Frank Talley Temple, TX 5 11-13 78
Day 1: 5 11-13
24. Stetson Blaylock Benton, AR 4 11-11 77
Day 1: 4 11-11
25. Scott Canterbury Odenville, AL 5 11-10 76
Day 1: 5 11-10
25. KJ Queen Catawba, NC 5 11-10 76
Day 1: 5 11-10
27. Randy Pierson Oakdale, CA 4 11-10 74
Day 1: 4 11-10
28. John Crews Jr Salem, VA 3 11-10 73
Day 1: 3 11-10
29. Darold Gleason Many, LA 5 11-09 72
Day 1: 5 11-09
30. Brandon Cobb Greenwood, SC 5 11-06 71
Day 1: 5 11-06
30. Tyler Rivet Raceland, LA 5 11-06 71
Day 1: 5 11-06
32. Jason Williamson Wagener, SC 5 11-05 69
Day 1: 5 11-05
33. Hunter Shryock Ooltewah, TN 5 11-04 68
Day 1: 5 11-04
34. Drew Cook Cairo, GA 5 11-01 67
Day 1: 5 11-01
35. Clark Wendlandt Leander, TX 5 10-11 66
Day 1: 5 10-11
36. Justin Hamner Northport, AL 5 10-08 65
Day 1: 5 10-08
37. Kyle Welcher Opelika, AL 5 10-07 64
Day 1: 5 10-07
38. Wes Logan Springville, AL 5 10-06 63
Day 1: 5 10-06
39. Gregory DiPalma Millville, NJ 3 10-04 62
Day 1: 3 10-04
40. Jay Yelas Lincoln City, OR 4 09-15 61
Day 1: 4 09-15
41. Jeff Gustafson Keewatin Ontario CANADA 5 09-14 60
Day 1: 5 09-14
42. Matt Arey Shelby, NC 5 09-13 59
Day 1: 5 09-13
43. Drew Benton Blakely, GA 5 09-08 58
Day 1: 5 09-08
43. Tyler Carriere Youngsville, LA 5 09-08 58
Day 1: 5 09-08
43. Keith Combs Huntington, TX 5 09-08 58
Day 1: 5 09-08
46. Paul Mueller Naugatuck, CT 5 08-14 55
Day 1: 5 08-14
47. Rob Digh Denver, NC 5 08-14 54
Day 1: 5 08-14
48. Koby Kreiger Alva, FL 3 08-14 53
Day 1: 3 08-14
49. Chad Pipkens Dewitt, MI 5 08-11 52
Day 1: 5 08-11
50. Kyle Monti Okeechobee, FL 5 08-09 51
Day 1: 5 08-09
51. Quentin Cappo Prairieville, LA 5 08-07 50
Day 1: 5 08-07
51. Scott Martin Clewiston, FL 5 08-07 50
Day 1: 5 08-07
53. Bob Downey Hudson, WI 5 08-05 48
Day 1: 5 08-05
54. Lee Livesay Longview, TX 5 08-04 47
Day 1: 5 08-04
55. Seth Feider New Market, MN 5 08-03 46
Day 1: 5 08-03
55. Matt Robertson Kuttawa, KY 5 08-03 46
Day 1: 5 08-03
57. Luke Palmer Coalgate, OK 5 07-08 44
Day 1: 5 07-08
58. Brandon Lester Fayetteville, TN 3 07-05 43
Day 1: 3 07-05
59. Brandon Palaniuk Rathdrum, ID 4 07-04 42
Day 1: 4 07-04
60. Marc Frazier Newnan, GA 5 07-01 41
Day 1: 5 07-01
61. John Cox Debary, FL 3 07-01 40
Day 1: 3 07-01
62. Ed Loughran III Richmond, VA 3 07-00 39
Day 1: 3 07-00
63. Chad Morgenthaler Reeds Spring, MO 5 06-15 38
Day 1: 5 06-15
64. Brandon Card Salisbury, NC 3 06-14 37
Day 1: 3 06-14
65. Brad Whatley Bivins, TX 5 06-12 36
Day 1: 5 06-12
66. Shane LeHew Catawba, NC 4 06-10 35
Day 1: 4 06-10
67. Clifford Pirch Payson, AZ 3 06-05 34
Day 1: 3 06-05
68. Clent Davis Montevallo, AL 5 06-04 33
Day 1: 5 06-04
69. Jason Christie Park Hill, OK 4 06-04 32
Day 1: 4 06-04
70. Bernie Schultz Gainesville, FL 3 06-02 31
Day 1: 3 06-02
71. Bill Lowen Brookville, IN 4 06-01 30
Day 1: 4 06-01
72. Shane Lineberger Lincolnton, NC 4 06-00 29
Day 1: 4 06-00
73. Justin Atkins Florence, AL 3 05-09 28
Day 1: 3 05-09
73. Chris Groh Spring Grove, IL 3 05-09 28
Day 1: 3 05-09
75. Taku Ito Chiba JAPAN 3 05-08 26
Day 1: 3 05-08
76. Caleb Sumrall New Iberia, LA 3 05-05 25
Day 1: 3 05-05
77. Kenta Kimura Osaka JAPAN 3 05-02 24
Day 1: 3 05-02
78. Kelley Jaye Dadeville, AL 3 05-01 23
Day 1: 3 05-01
79. Skylar Hamilton Dandridge, TN 3 04-05 22
Day 1: 3 04-05
80. Cody Hollen Beaverton, OR 3 04-02 21
Day 1: 3 04-02
81. Rick Morris Lake Gaston, VA 2 04-01 20
Day 1: 2 04-01
82. Randy Sullivan Breckenridge, TX 2 04-00 19
Day 1: 2 04-00
83. Brian Snowden Reeds Spring, MO 2 03-06 18
Day 1: 2 03-06
84. Pat Schlapper Eleva, WI 2 03-04 17
Day 1: 2 03-04
85. Robbie Latuso Gonzales, LA 2 03-03 16
Day 1: 2 03-03
86. Brock Mosley Collinsville, MS 2 03-01 15
Day 1: 2 03-01
87. Garrett Paquette Canton, MI 1 03-00 14
Day 1: 1 03-00
88. Brett Preuett Monroe, LA 2 02-15 13
Day 1: 2 02-15
89. Ray Hanselman Jr Del Rio, TX 1 02-11 12
Day 1: 1 02-11
90. Todd Auten Lake Wylie, SC 1 02-10 11
Day 1: 1 02-10
91. Yusuke Miyazaki Forney, TX 1 02-02 10
Day 1: 1 02-02
92. Steve Kennedy Auburn, AL 1 02-01 9
Day 1: 1 02-01
93. Chris Zaldain Fort Worth, TX 1 01-02 8
Day 1: 1 01-02
94. Jake Whitaker Fairview, NC 1 01-01 7
Day 1: 1 01-01
95. Harvey Horne Bella Vista, AR 1 00-15 6
Day 1: 1 00-15
96. Rick Clunn Ava, MO 0 00-00 0
Day 1: 0 00-00
96. Destin DeMarion Grove City, PA 0 00-00 0
Day 1: 0 00-00
96. Dale Hightower Mannford, OK 0 00-00 0
Day 1: 0 00-00
96. David Mullins Mt Carmel, TN 0 00-00 0
Day 1: 0 00-00
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

PHOENIX BOATS BIG BASS
Day
1 Derek Hudnall Denham Springs, LA 09-08 $1,000.00


Tennessee Rookie Neece Leads Day One of Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Season Opener on Lake Okeechobee

CLEWISTON, Fla. (Feb. 11, 2021) – Bass fishing professionals from around the world began their four-day competition for a top award of up to $135,000 at the Major League Fishing Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers, 13 Fishing Stop 1 – Lake Okeechobee on Thursday. Rookie pro Jim Neece, Jr. of Bristol, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 27 pounds even, to take the early lead after Day One. Neece holds a 14-ounce lead over pro Miles Burghoff of Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee, who caught five bass weighing 26-2, good for second place.

“I got to my spot on the north end of the lake and had no idea what it was going to be like until I pulled up on it,” said Neece. “I quickly caught a solid bass and then four more between 9:30 and 10 (a.m.), but only had about 12 pounds.”

Neece said about an hour later the fish really turned on.

“I just kept throwing moving baits and about noon the big ones started to hit. I caught 15 keepers and ended the day with two 7-pound bass and three more smaller ones.”

Neece said his plan is to go back to the same spot tomorrow and hope his luck holds.

“Practice went okay, but with two days of practice you can’t really sit and catch them, so you just try to get bit and hope for the best when you come back,” he said. “I didn’t realize 27 pounds of fish were in that area, so who knows what will happen tomorrow. That’s all I got – it’s either going to hold up or it’s not.”

The top 10 pros after Day One on Lake Okeechobee are:
            1st:       Jim Neece, Jr., Bristol, Tenn., five bass, 27-0
2nd:      Miles Burghoff, Soddy-Daisy, Tenn., five bass, 26-2
3rd:       Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., five bass, 24-0
4th:       Jamie Horton, Centerville, Ala., five bass, 22-6
5th:       Tyler Stewart, West Monroe, La., five bass, 21-11
6th:       Clabion Johns, Social Circle, Ga., five bass, 20-12
6th:       Dicky Newberry, Houston, Texas, five bass, 20-12
8th:       Tim Frederick, Leesburg, Fla., five bass, 20-5
8th:       Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 20-5
10th:     Mike Surman, Boca Raton, Fla., five bass, 20-1
For a full list of results visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.Horton won the day’s $500 Berkley Big Bass award in the pro division, bringing a largemouth weighing 8 pounds, 6 ounces to the scale.

Overall, there were 749 bass weighing 1,954 pounds, 13 ounces caught by 162 pros on Thursday, which included 129 five-bass limits.

The Major League Fishing Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers, 13 Fishing Stop 1 – Lake Okeechobee is hosted by the Hendry County Tourism Development Council and Roland & Mary Ann Marin’s Marina & Resort.

In Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit competition, the full field of 163 anglers compete in the two-day opening round on Thursday and Friday. The top 50 pros based on their two-day cumulative weight advance to Saturday. Only the top 10 pros continue competition on Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from the four days of competition.

Throughout the season, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit TITLE presented by Mercury, the Pro Circuit Championship, where they will compete for up to $235,000. The 2021 TITLE will be on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisconsin on Aug. 17-22, and is hosted by Explore La Crosse.

Anglers will take off at 7:30 a.m. ET Friday through Sunday from Roland and Mary Ann Martin’s Marina and Resort, located at 920 E. Del Monte Ave. in Clewiston. Weigh-ins will also be held at the marina daily at 3 p.m. Attendance is limited to competing anglers, family, essential staff and media covering the event. Fans are encouraged to follow the action online through the MLF NOW! live stream and coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com .

The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers, 13 Fishing Stop 1 – Lake Okeechobee will feature live on-the-water coverage and a two-hour action-packed television show that will premiere on the Outdoor Channel on Sunday, July 11 from 7 to 9 a.m. ET and re-air on the Sportsman Channel this fall. Weigh-ins will be streamed daily and fans can catch live on-the-water action all day Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 13-14 on MLF NOW! beginning at 8 a.m. ET at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the MLF BIG5’s social media outlets at FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.


MATT ROBERTSON BECOMES THE FIRST MEMBER OF THE UGLY STIK PRO STAFF

Long known as a rod that’s always ready for a good time on the water, Ugly Stik Carbon rods are ready to compete at one of the highest levels of professional bass fishing.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Feb. 10, 2021) — Already the choice of anglers everywhere who just want to have fun regardless of what’s biting, Ugly Stik is taking its legacy for durability and accessibility to the 2021 Bassmaster Elite Series with the addition of Matt Robertson as the brand’s first pro staff member.

The self-proclaimed “working man” said he feels right at home being the first pro to represent the brand known for being tough as nails and ideal for any angler.

“I’m a regular guy working my way from the bottom to the top, and I did it using the working man’s gear. To be the first Ugly Stik Pro, to represent all the working people out there and be on the Bassmaster Elite Series using the working man’s rod, it’s an honor,” Robertson said. “After the excitement that Ugly Stik has brought me and millions of anglers, I’m here to prove that an Ugly Stik can not only be your first rod, it can be your last, too.”

For the Bassmaster Elite Series, Robertson will be fishing with the Ugly Stik Carbon, which debuted in 2019 and quickly gained the attention of bass anglers with its lightweight sensitivity and the legendary toughness that have become synonymous with Ugly Stik. The 2021 Bassmaster Elite Series kicks off Feb. 11 on Florida’s St. Johns River.

To learn more about Ugly Stik and the Carbon series, visit www.uglystik.com.


AC Insider Podcast - "Z-Train Coming Atcha!"

This weeks Chris & the Boys have a HUGE Show coming' at you. First off Al McCulloch from the NPFL gives us a State of the Union Address with less than 30 days from their first event. Then all hell breaks loose as "Z-Train" Rolls into the show and things get interesting!


4 Lures Lester says will star at St. Johns Elite Series

Courtesy of Alan McGuckin - Dynamic Sponsorships

 

Perhaps the coolest thing about asking Brandon Lester to share four lures with fans he thinks will be major players on the St. Johns River is that he currently has no soft plastic or crankbait sponsor. So, what you’re getting here is unbiased authenticity in its purest form.

 

Plus, Lester has fished several Bassmaster Elite Series events on this famed Northeast Florida river, including leading after Day 1 of the 2016 Elite Series event, thanks to a 9-pounder he caught from a bed. Thus, his opinions are not only authentic, but dripping with experience too.

 

“The biggest key in this event is how much warm weather we get the next three days in order to push the water temps from where they’re currently at in the low 60s, up to around 68-degrees,” says Lester. “If it warms that much, we’ll see a huge wave of largemouth get shallow to spawn. So, I’m choosing the following four lures with hopes of that being the case.”

 

Rapala X Rap Prop – This bait is really similar to the famous old Devil’s Horse topwater prop lure bass are famous for eating in Florida around the spawn. Its magic resides in the fact you can float it directly over a spawning bed with a long pause between rips, and big fish simply can’t stand not to rise up and smash it.

 

3/8-ounce swim jig with a Zoom Z Craw trailer – This is a great lure for covering a lot of water like one might do with a Chatterbait or spinnerbait. Lester plans to swim it around everything from laydown trees to lily pads on the St. Johns.

 

1.5-ounce Texas rigged punch bait – If Florida had a mascot for a bass fishing lure, this might very well be it. It’s designed to “punch” through the thousands of acres of floating matted pennywort to get the fast attention of largemouth laying just beneath in a couple feet of water. Lester uses a Mustad tungsten weight, a stout 4/0 Mustad straight-shank hook and a Berkley MaxScent Creature Hawg.

 

Soft stick bait – Lester theorizes that since the St. Johns unfortunately lost a great deal of its once famous eel grass, a lot of bass are now forced to spawn on lily pad stems. And a slender stick bait like Berkley’s “The General” is perfect for pitching around the pads.

 

While millions of Bassmaster fans freeze around the country in frigid temps, Elite Series pros like Team Toyota’s Brandon Lester are anticipating the 78-degree temps forecasted for Palatka, Florida the next three days will bring an absolute heat wave to the weigh-in scales.

 


Minn Kota® Pro Team Members Prepare for 2021 Elite Series Season with New Raptor™ Shallow Water Anchors

RACINE, Wis. (February 9, 2021) – Bassmaster Elite Series contenders are wrapping up final off-season preparations in advance of the start of the 2021 season, the AFTCO Bassmaster Elite on Florida’s St. Johns River. Minn Kota® pro team members begin the 2021 schedule with renewed hopes and the latest technology rigged and ready to put them on the fish and keep them there throughout the season. Minn Kota’s new Raptor shallow-water anchors are one of the new additions mounted to the stern of several Elite Series boats to provide the most advanced and reliable anchoring technology available to date.

Minn Kota pros that will be taking advantage of the new Raptor shallow water anchors this upcoming season include Brandon Palaniuk, Seth Feider, Chris Zaldain, Keith Combs, Matt Herren, Greg DiPalma, Lee Livesay, Carl Jocumsen, Bill Lowen, Brad Whatley, Garrett Paquette, Chad Pipkens, Bob Downey, Chris Groh, Ray Hanselman, Wes Logan, as well as Major League Fishing pros Kevin VanDam, and Bryan Thrift.

The 2021 Elite Series schedule is stacked with shallow water fisheries like the St. Johns and Sabine River systems, meaning shallow water boat control will be a big part of the game plan.

With new features that allow anglers to maintain boat control in the harshest conditions, the Raptor has improved on the legendary boat positioning system available from Minn Kota. Active Anchoring and Auto-Bottom Mode are two new technologies that add to the toolbox of any angler in rough conditions. Both constantly monitor bottom hardness and boat movement to maintain stability and control in any conditions.

"At first look it was hard not be seriously impressed by the new Minn Kota Raptor – just the sleek look alone was awesome, but once we put them to use you could see and feel the quality difference,” Jocumsen said.

“You can tell they put every detail possible into the build and they stack up. Quiet, powerful and they’ve reinforced every single bolt, bushing and pivot area to create the most rock-solid anchor I’ve ever seen. They really are unmatched,” adds Jocumsen.

Raptor is engineered to stand up to the harshest conditions, giving anglers the ability to confidently hold their boat securely in place in more fishing situations than ever before. Simply stated, Raptor is designed with durability in every detail:

  • Active Anchoring – continuously monitors anchor hold and adjusts automatically to changing conditions
  • Auto-Bottom Mode – senses bottom hardness to ensure the right amount of force is delivered for a more secure hold every time
  • Retraction Force – ensures spike removal in all bottom types
  • Multiple Control Options – features Wireless Remote, Foot Switch, i-Pilot or i-Pilot Link Remote, Mobile App or the ability to control right from the Humminbird® fish finder
  • Wide profile and heavy-duty pivot points – help to reduce wear and maintain longer stability
  • Unique pump design – keeps Raptor holding tightly when stowed, eliminating the need for special covers or bungee cords to keep your anchor secure while running or trailering
  • Extruded aluminum mounting bracket – adds strength while reducing weight and dramatically simplifies installation

“The Minn Kota Raptor is your smarter, heavy-duty, anchoring system. Technology such as the Active Anchoring takes all the guess work out of whether or not you’re locked down,” says Brandon Palanuik.

Between Auto-Bottom Mode and Raptor’s increased retraction force, anglers will never have to worry about their anchors overdriving or getting stuck in the thick mud and silt of the St. John’s River. As the Elite Series switches gears and heads to the Tennessee River with harder bottom and heavy current, Active Anchoring is going to be vital in keeping boats positioned.

Minn Kota’s new Raptor shallow-water anchor is available in 8- and 10-foot lengths as well as a variety of options and colors. Raptor models can be purchased from authorized Minn Kota retailers starting at $1,499.99. Minn Kota’s shallow-water anchors are backed by a comprehensive 5-year warranty plus a lifetime warranty on the spike for years of reliability anglers can count on.

For more information on the new Raptor shallow-water anchor, visit MinnKotaMotors.com/Raptor.


Yamaha Signs Multi-Year Deal To Sponsor Bassmaster Tournament Trail

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — B.A.S.S. and Yamaha have inked a new agreement expanding their longstanding partnership for four more years. Yamaha’s sponsorship of the Bassmaster Tournament Trail and iconic Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk will continue through 2024 as an Official Premier Engine Sponsor.

“We’re thrilled to continue working alongside the team at Yamaha to support boaters at all levels,” said Bruce Akin, B.A.S.S. CEO. “As we reach new audiences and outdoor enthusiasts, it is great to have a partner like Yamaha, who is dedicated to helping anglers get incredible performance out of their equipment as well as active in vital conservation missions that benefit everyone who loves spending time on the water. The expansion of our partnership proves that, together, Yamaha and B.A.S.S. are committed to ensuring a bright future for sportfishing.”

Yamaha will be a Premier Sponsor for the Bassmaster Classic, Bassmaster Elite Series, Basspro.comBassmaster Opens Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bassmaster Team Championship and the grass-roots TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation regional and championship tournaments.

“Yamaha is excited to continue our Premier sponsorship with Bassmaster through 2024,” said Yamaha Marine Business Unit President Ben Speciale. “Bassmaster is the pinnacle of bass fishing in the United States, but they’re not sitting still. The team at B.A.S.S. has impressed us in recent years with flexibility in the face of challenges and their efforts to bring newcomers into the sport of bass fishing. We feel secure knowing we will be working with them on current and new initiatives.”

As a tournament trail sponsor, Yamaha will enjoy exposure to enthusiastic fans of sportfishing and B.A.S.S. members at live events, where they routinely offer demo rides on some of the country’s most incredible fisheries. Additionally, Yamaha will be featured in Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times magazines, on the Bassmaster LIVE show broadcast on FS1 and streamed on Bassmaster.com and the FOX Sports digital platforms and across various social media platforms while their exciting Power Pay contingency program will be highlighted on BassTrakk and Bassmaster.com.

For the 2021 season, 32 Elite Series anglers will be powered by Yamaha. According to Yamaha pro Clark Wendlandt, who won the 2020 Bassmaster Angler of the Year title, “I run my Yamaha for a few reasons: reliability, great fuel efficiency and outstanding customer service. If you want to compete against the best, you’ve got to have the best companies in your corner.”

Beyond partnering at the tournament level, B.A.S.S. and Yamaha also work together to promote sustainability and natural resource conservation through the Yamaha Rightwaters program, which champions environmental stewardship and supports marine habitat restoration, invasive species control and scientific research.

“Yamaha's Rightwaters sustainability initiative advocates and educates to protect our aquatic resources,” explained Gene Gilliland, B.A.S.S. Conservation Director. “As a B.A.S.S. Conservation partner, their mission aligns perfectly with our agenda to maintain public boating and fishing access, support scientific fishery management, improve fish habitat, fight invasive species and educate anglers about proper fish care.”


Big O could be a Big Mess

Courtesy of Vance McCullough

 

This week’s MLFLW Pro Circuit season-opener on Lake Okeechobee is presented by 13 Fishing but it should probably be presented by a rainwear company. The anglers might get wetter than the fish. If the weatherman can be believed, we’re in for bucket loads of rain as partly cloudy practice days lead to heavy storms by Friday and the weekend. Anglers who make Sunday’s final cut will be rewarded with a sharp drop in temperatures, accompanied by a rising barometer that could completely change the bite all across the massive lake.

Wind is everything on Okeechobee and it will come mainly from the south throughout the event before circling the compass overnight to blow from the north on Sunday. High temps will hover in the mid 80’s all week except on Sunday which should be 10-to-15 degrees cooler.

But then, meteorologists and baseball players are the only people who can strike out seventy-five percent of the time and remain employed.

At any rate, the weather will factor into this event. Good news is, Lake Okeechobee offers 730 square miles for the pros to spread out on, right? Not really. The giant lake always fishes small and this year will be no different. The two hot areas this winter have been South Bay and the same Harney Pond area that produced 97 out of every 100 tournament-caught bass last year (fact checkers say this statistic is disputed, which means it’s probably true, but you get the point). Those areas are across the lake from each other, separated by twenty-several miles but both within easy striking distance of Clewiston, the host city. Observation Shoal is said to be producing limits of schooling bass as are a few spots along the lake’s reliable western littoral zone.

The lake level is right at 15.5 feet – at least two-and-a-half feet higher than it was in the Februarys of 2020 and 2019 - and the Corps has been holding it steady for the past few weeks. Stability is a plus for fish and anglers. The higher levels will put additional areas in play, especially if fish want to push back into the reeds.

According to locals, a lot of bucks have fanned beds and big females are staged up nearby. Cloudy weather makes sight fishing difficult. Pelting rain would dimple the surface and make it impossible. Pitching blind to suspected bedding locations will be a popular ploy.

The first rule of fishing is to be around fish. A few crafty anglers will take advantage during the cloudy practice days, don their Sunrise Silver lenses and visually locate stretches of bottom covered in the telltale white ovals that indicate bass are spawning there. The fish won’t leave even though they are impossible to see under rainy conditions. Big bass will be with them, or very nearby, throughout the event.

For now, the best action seems to be along the outside edges of the reeds where stacks of bass in varying sizes tend to accumulate this time of year. Jigs produce big bass in such places but those looking for steady catches of quality fish may choose Texas-rigged soft stick baits.

Chatterbaits could show out this week, as could Hildebrandt spinnerbaits such as the Blade and the Tin Roller, designed specifically for Florida’s clear, grassy lakes. We could see another strong ‘Trap bite as we did on Toho last week when Bryan Schmitt left the competition in his wake by mining a single strip of grass with a SPRO Aruku Shad 75.

Shiner-fishing guides are putting clients on dozens of bass up to 4 pounds, but giants are harder to come by.

Some clients have used artificial lures to good effect. The topwater bite lacks consistency right now but when it’s on, well check out this report from last week by Byron Stout who does a stellar job of covering the Southwest Florida fishing scene:

“Illinois angler John Schuessler spurned the wild shiners and put 20 bass to 4 pounds in the boat casting fake baits with Capt. George Mro of Roland Martin’s Marina & Resort in Clewiston. They fished the North Shore area between the Harney Pond Canal and Dyess’s Ditch, starting with a pumpkin/blue Gambler stick worm that produced early. The guide then found a “fast and furious” schooling bass bite by targeting scattered cattail clumps and eelgrass in depths of three to five feet, where a silver Zara Spook did the damage.”

Here's to wishing all the Pro Circuit anglers the best of luck in finding some ‘fast and furious’ action and doing some major ‘damage’ on Okeechobee this week!


Bernhard & Price win $20,000 after topping 191 teams at Lake Travis with 18.75 lbs.

Place Boat Truck Angler 1 Angler 2 Fish Big Bass Wt. Prize Amt.
1 WILLIAM BERNHARD
LEANDER , TX
DARYL PRICE
ROUND ROCK , TX
5 8.59 18.75
$20000.00
2 KEVIN DAVIS
LAGO VISTA , TX
JIM HARCROW
MCKINNEY , TX
5 9.02 16.70
$4500.00 + $500.00 Big Bass
3 JASON OLIVO
KYLE , TX
JOEY RODRIGUEZ
KYLE , TX
5 0 16.41
$3500.00
4 JAMES SEYMOUR
OGLESBY , TX
TONY MCBRIDE
WEST , TX
5 0 15.32
$2000.00
5 LEE BENTON
BURNET , TX
CODY SMITH
NEW BRAUNFELS , TX
5 0 15.08
$3900 with Skeeter Bonus Cash
6 JJ LARSON
LEANDER , TX
JASON LARSON
LEANDER , TX
5 0 14.87
$2300 with Skeeter Bonus Cash
7 WESTON BROWN
HOUSTON , TX
DAVID DOONAN
CALDWELL , TX
5 0 14.80
$1200.00
8 MALCOLM MIDDLEBROOK
ROUND ROCK , TX
KLINT KRHOVJAK
TOOL , TX
4 6.32 13.97
$1100.00
9 KEITH HONEYCUTT
TEMPLE , TX
SAM JONES
ROGERS , TX
5 0 13.71
$4550 with James Wood Motors Bonus
10 DAVID SHUSTER
GEORGETOWN , TX
CHARLES GERHART
SALADO , TX
5 0 13.66
$1040.00
11 BYRON ALBRECHT
WACO , TX
MICHAEL JOHNSON
CRAWFORD , TX
5 0 13.49
$1030.00
12 BRANDON HOUSTON
GEORGETOWN , TX
JAMIE SLAYDEN
AUSTIN , TX
5 6.91 13.08
$1020.00
13 BRYAN SEALE
SAN ANGELO , TX
JOSHUA SEALE
SAN ANGELO , TX
5 0 12.86
$1010.00
14 DALE READ
LEANDER , TX
JIM SUNVISON
PFLUGERVILLE , TX
5 0 12.84
$1000.00
15 BRENNAN FERTIG
BELLVILLE , TX
JAMES BEAUCHAMP
SUNRISE BEACH , TX
5 0 12.62
$1000.00
16 JUSTYN PARRISH
LAGO VISTA , TX
LUCAS LARSON
HUTTO , TX
5 0 12.53
$1000.00
17 DENTON COOPER
SMITHVILLE , TX
DANIEL HARRIS
SMITHVILLE , TX
4 6.07 12.44
$1000.00
18 LINO GUTIERREZ
COTTONWOOD WOOD SHORES , TX
RUBEN RIBERA
MARBLE FALLS , TX
5 0 12.43
$1000.00
19 BRANDON JONES
FAIR OAKS , TX
THOMAS WEIMER
CEDAR PARK , TX
5 0 12.29
$1000.00
20 BRINTON HASKINS
NEW BRAUNFELS , TX
MICHAEL ATKINS
NEW BRAUNFELS , TX
5 0 12.01
$950.00
21 LANCE DILLARD
LLANO , TX
BLAKE DILLARD
LLANO , TX
5 0 11.72
$850.00
22 STEVEN KIRKWOOD
ROUND ROCK , TX
KEN WILKINS
ROUND ROCK , TX
5 0 11.58
$850.00
23 GARRETT GILL
TEMPLE , TX
ROBERT GILL
BELTON , TX
5 0 11.41
$1300 with Skeeter Bonus Cash
24 RAY TOMASITS
LEANDER , TX
CARY LAUDADIO
AUSTIN , TX
5 0 11.39
$800.00
25 COREY MARTENSON
AUSTIN , TX
JOHN WEBBER
FREDERICKSBURG , TX
5 0 11.28
$800.00
26 HUNTER AMIDON
AUSTIN , TX
TANNER PATTESON
AUSTIN , TX
5 0 11.08
27 KELLY NORRIS
LIBERTY HILL , TX
KEVIN THRESS
LEANDER , TX
5 0 11.00
$250 Skeeter Dealer Bonus Even Weight
28 DAVID LINDLEY
SUNRISE BEACH , TX
JUSTIN PRISOCK
ROBINSON , TX
5 0 10.90
29 BRIAN MATER
AUSTIN , TX
PHILLIP WARREN
AUSTIN , TX
5 0 10.84
30 LEE LEONARD
MARTINDALE , TX
SCOTT BRONDER
FALLS CITY , TX
5 0 10.63
31 JASON MURPHREE
BLANCO , TX
KORBIS BUCHANAN
BOERNE , TX
5 0 10.50
32 STEVE MAGNELIA
AUSTIN , TX
MICHAEL TENNANT
PFLUGERVILLE , TX
5 0 10.49
32 DEVIN GIBSON
GONZALES , TX
ROBERT PRESCOTT
SEGUIN , TX
5 0 10.49
34 MATTHEW HATHAWAY
LULING , TX
MICHAEL GLYNN
BOERNE , TX
5 0 10.42
35 TOM GUIDRY
NEW BRAUNFELS , TX
DUSTIN ISBELL
KINGSLAND , TX
5 0 10.34
36 JAMES DISLER
LEANDER , TX
DAVID DISLER
CONROE , TX
5 0 10.15
37 DAVID UNDERWOOD
WACO , TX
CHARLES SIMMONS
WACO , TX
5 0 10.06
37 JEFF ANDERSON
AUSTIN , TX
FRANKLIN WIGET
BUDA , TX
5 0 10.06
39 DAVID ZACHGO
COLLEGE STATION , TX
MICHAEL ZACHGO
BOERNE , TX
5 0 10.04
40 BLAINE BUTLER
CEDAR PARK , TX
HANK GRAVES
LAGO VISTA , TX
5 0 9.97
40 GARY WEIMER
LEANDER , TX
JEREMIAH WAFFORD
CEDAR PARK , TX
5 0 9.97
42 MICKEY SANDERS
SPICEWOOD , TX
ANDREW WHITEHEAD
PFLUGERVILLE , TX
5 0 9.93
43 CHAD KALLINA
LAGO VISTA , TX
ERIC JOHNSON
BUDA , TX
5 0 9.84
44 DAVID REID
CANYON LAKE , TX
JUSTIN WOJCIK
NEW BRAUNFELS , TX
5 0 9.82
45 ZACH BROWN
GEORGETOWN , TX
MIKE RICHARDSON
THORNDALE , TX
5 0 9.71
46 JEFFREY JONES
SAN ANTONIO , TX
DANIEL JANDREY
SAN ANTONIO , TX
5 0 9.70
47 PAUL MIGAS
AUSTIN , TX
SEAN EVANS
KILLEEN , TX
5 0 9.69
48 GARY JOHNSON
BELTON , TX
DON SCHUETZE
TEMPLE , TX
5 0 9.64
49 GENE FUESSEL
AUSTIN , TX
GERALD MUELLER JR
HUTTO , TX
5 0 9.62
50 JOHN KAPALDO
BUDA , TX
JEFF EPLING
AUSTIN , TX
5 0 9.59
51 JAY STIDHAM
CHINA SPRING , TX
CHARLIE GANTENBEIN
TEMPLE , TX
5 0 9.58
52 TREY GROCE
DRIPPING SPRINGS , TX
CHARLES WHITED
SAN MARCOS , TX
5 0 9.55
53 JAMES CANTWELL
KINGSLAND , TX
KELLEY MAULDIN
COPPELL , TX
5 0 9.46
54 LOWELL BENNETT
HEWITT , TX
CHARLES REAGAN
THORNTON , TX
5 0 9.44
54 DON GORDON
AUSTIN , TX
DAVID MAULDIN
LEANDER , TX
5 0 9.44
56 BUBBA WAMPLER
BERTRAM , TX
LARRY SMITH
LAMPASAS , TX
4 0 9.36
57 MATT CANNON
TROY , TX
JARED SIEGLER
BELTON , TX
5 0 9.32
58 DONNIE ONEAL
LIBERTY HILL , TX
MICHAEL ZIBERT
GARDEN RIDGE , TX
5 0 9.21
59 JACK MEREDITH
BELTON , TX
STEVEN BREAZEALE
TEMPLE , TX
5 0 9.04
60 GERALD POBORIL
TEMPLE , TX
JACK POWE
KEMPNER , TX
5 0 8.80
61 WENDELL RAMSEY SR
SAN ANGELO , TX
WENDELL RAMSEY JR
PFLUGERVILLE , TX
3 0 8.69
62 STAN KAMINSKI
CEDAR PARK , TX
CODY BAILEY
JONESTOWN , TX
5 0 8.66
63 DEAN ALEXANDER
CEDAR PARK , TX
THOMAS MARTENS
CEDAR PARK , TX
5 0 8.48
64 DANIEL BARNES
BELTON , TX
TANNER BARNES
BELTON , TX
5 0 8.15
65 BRYAN COTTER
CEDAR PARK , TX
BILL GUZMAN
AUSTIN , TX
3 0 8.12
66 JAMES STANLEY
SAN ANTONIO , TX
ANTHONY SKOUBY
CIBOLO , TX
5 0 8.07
67 JOSHUA RHODES
SAN ANTONIO , TX
DAVY CRANDAL
HONDO , TX
5 0 8.01
68 DOBIE NEW
GEORGETOWN , TX
NICKALES CASTLEBERRY
GEORGETOWN , TX
5 0 8.00
69 CHRIS CLEMENTS
ROUND ROCK , TX
CHRIS WOEHL
CEDAR PARK , TX
4 0 7.94
70 KYLE MAREK
LAGO VISTA , TX
DYLAN LOOZE
LEANDER , TX
4 0 7.81
71 ROGER SARAIBA
LIBERTY HILL , TX
COREY SOIREZ
LIBERTY HILL , TX
4 0 7.72
72 JOSH LASSETER
BUCHANAN DAM , TX
ROBERT MILLER
DRIPPING SPRINGS , TX
4 0 7.54
73 BILLY BREWER
HEWITT , TX
L J CASTILLO
WACO , TX
4 0 7.34
74 ALLEN SHELTON
FARMERS BRANCH , TX
BRAD DRAKE
IRVING , TX
4 0 7.28
75 MICHAEL GRIMES
GEORGETOWN , TX
TRAVIS OWEN
GEORGETOWN , TX
4 0 7.22
75 STEPHEN COOKSEY
BULLARD , TX
TROY SLAUGHTER
TRINIDAD , TX
3 0 7.22
77 ROBERT BROWN
ROUND ROCK , TX
CHARLES PURSELL
AUSTIN , TX
5 0 7.16
78 TERRY KIRCUS
BURNET , TX
JASON BUCHANAN
BURNET , TX
4 0 7.15
79 SHAWN MARKGRAF
BURNET , TX
BRIAN BOOKER
LEANDER , TX
5 0 7.05
80 NICK LEFEBVRE
ROUND ROCK , TX
DAVE MANGELSDORF
GEORGETOWN , TX
4 0 7.03
81 RYAN CRAWFORD
GATESVILLE , TX
JARAD GOHLKE
GATESVILLE , TX
4 0 6.98
82 ED WHALEY
MONTGOMERY , TX
DAREN SEBEK
TEMPLE , TX
4 0 6.93
83 LEVAR JENKINS
AUSTIN , TX
DWAYNE KINLEY
AUSTIN , TX
3 0 6.88
84 PHILLIP MASSOLETTI
BURNET , TX
NOEL LOWE
BURNET , TX
4 0 6.81
85 DAVID CHILES
WACO , TX
KYLE ROWE
WACO , TX
4 0 6.71
86 FRED CATES SR
ROCKDALE , TX
KC CARLTON
LIBERTY HILL , TX
5 0 6.63
87 NICHOLAS LONCAR
AUSTIN , TX
MATT SCOTT
CEDAR PARK , TX
4 0 6.54
88 LEE BEUERSHAUSEN
MARBLE FALLS , TX
RANDY GROUNDS
HORSESHOE BAY , TX
3 0 6.45
89 LON SHIPE
LEAGUE CITY , TX
FARREN MOUNTS
PRESCOTT , AZ
3 0 6.13
90 RONALD SISK
RIO VISTA , TX
TAYLOR HUFFERD
JOSHUA , TX
3 0 6.00
91 DON PEARSON
CEDAR PARK , TX
JUSTIN KING
BRYAN , TX
3 0 5.94
92 JIMMY WILLOUGBY
TEMPLE , TX
COLTON HILL
TEMPLE , TX
3 0 5.84
93 ANDER MEINE
AUSTIN , TX
JORDAN FELKNER
LAMPASAS , TX
3 0 5.80
94 DEREK ANDERSEN
GEORGETOWN , TX
BILL KIMBERLY
JARRELL , TX
3 0 5.48
95 GARY WAFFORD
CEDAR PARK , TX
GREG WAFFORD
CEDAR PARK , TX
3 0 5.42
96 TRENT ERXLEBEN
ROUND ROCK , TX
DERON MUELLER
ROUND ROCK , TX
2 0 5.31
97 RONNIE CHARANZA
BROWNWOOD , TX
WESLEY FLETCHER
BROWNWOOD , TX
2 0 5.19
98 TOM WILKINSON
LEANDER , TX
GUO XIPING
LEANDER , TX
3 0 5.06
98 DAVID WENCIL
BUCHANAN DAM , TX
JEFF WHITEHEAD
SLATON , TX
2 0 5.06
100 MATT HILL
JONESTOWN , TX
BARRY MOTT
LIBERTY HILL , TX
2 0 4.86
101 JAMES SCOGIN
AUSTIN , TX
ROLAND LOERA
AUSTIN , TX
2 0 4.85
102 LANCE SHELLEY
EDINBURG , TX
PARRISH SHELLEY
NEW BRAUNFELS , TX
2 0 4.78
103 GREG MIRANDA
BROWNWOOD , TX
ROGER SOTO
BROWNWOOD , TX
1 4.74 4.74
104 RICH RAYNOR
ROUND ROCK , TX
HOLLY RAYNOR
ROUND ROCK , TX
3 0 4.56
105 MATTHEW PURYEAR
LAKEWAY , TX
WILLIE PIPKIN
DRIPPING SPRINGS , TX
1 4.43 4.43
106 CARY DECUIR
ROUND ROCK , TX
RANDALL FRY
ROUND ROCK , TX
2 0 4.31
107 STERLING MARTIN
COMFORT , TX
COURTNEY BEHREND
COMFORT , TX
2 0 4.23
108 MARK DOREMUS
EARLY , TX
TIM MANLEY
BROWNWOOD , TX
2 0 3.82
109 RONNY MAYNARD
GEORGETOWN , TX
ERIC CRUMLEY
LEANDER , TX
2 0 3.77
110 TAYLOR DARDEN
LOMETA , TX
JOEY WYNN
EARLY , TX
2 0 3.38
111 CHARLES MEREDITH JR
FLORENCE , TX
DALTON MULLINS
KILLEEN , TX
1 0 3.28
112 JARED TALBERT
CHINA SPRING , TX
JESSE RAWLS
CHINASPRING , TX
2 0 3.01
113 DANIEL GIBSON
LEANDER , TX
LEANN BENNETT
CEDAR PARK , TX
1 0 2.94
114 RICK NEELY
BURNET , TX
PAUL NEELY
BURNETT , TX
3 0 2.93
115 PATRICK ANDERSON
BUDA , TX
DOUG HAMILTON
LAKEWAY , TX
1 0 1.71
116 STEVE PITCOX
KINGSLAND , TX
BRANDI PITCOX
KINGSLAND , TX
1 0 1.69
117 JOEY KIRKLAND
SAN ANTONIO , TX
1 0 1.60
118 BRENT SMITH
BERTRAM , TX
WILLIAM FESLER
LAMPASAS , TX
0 0 0.00
118 RANDY HIBLER
MARBLE FALLS , TX
RANDALL CHRISTIAN
TOW , TX
0 0 0.00
118 BRIAN BUSTILLOZ
BELTON , TX
CODY RANDOLPH
TEMPLE , TX
0 0 0.00
118 DAVID HESSKEW
BLANCO , TX
VICTOR STEPHENS
LEANDER , TX
0 0 0.00
118 KENNETH FAIRLY
LOCKHART , TX
RUSTY REEDY
SPRING BRANCH , TX
0 0 0.00
118 KYLER ROBERTS
FLORENCE , TX
AUSTIN JALASEK
KEMPNER , TX
0 0 0.00
118 CODY BRISTOW
BERTRAM , TX
BEAU BRISTOW
BURNET , TX
0 0 0.00
118 JASON RANFT
NEW BRAUNSFELS , TX
DARRYL RANFT
SEQUIN , TX
0 0 0.00
118 CHRIS STUDINGER
KYLE , TX
BOBBY ACOSTA
SAN MARCOS , TX
0 0 0.00
118 WESLEY BAXLEY
CYPRESS , TX
AUSTIN WOODDELL
CYPRESS , TX
0 0 0.00
118 MICHAEL WALDROP
AUSTIN , TX
JARRED SANDERS
AUSTIN , TX
0 0 0.00
118 KENNETH WITEK
SAN ANTONIO , TX
JASPER HUNTER
JARRELL , TX
0 0 0.00
118 TOMMY MORENO
SAN SABA , TX
TROY LOWERY
BROWNWOOD , TX
0 0 0.00
118 ROBERT MIKES
SHINER , TX
MICHAEL DANFORD
YOAKUM , TX
0 0 0.00
118 BRETT ORLICH
LEANDER , TX
TIMOTHY STACK
AUSTIN , TX
0 0 0.00
118 TIM BOYES
LEAGUE CITY , TX
HOLLY BOYES
LEAGUE CITY , TX
0 0 0.00
118 ADAM CLARK
DRIPPING SPRINGS , TX
RICK CLARK
TERRELL , TX
0 0 0.00
118 DOUG BLANKENSHIP
MAY , TX
TIMOTHY HARRELL
BROWNWOOD , TX
0 0 0.00
118 TROY BOLDWYN
BUDA , TX
SCOTT MCDANIEL
STONEWALL , LA
0 0 0.00
118 KEN SMITH
RICHARDSON , TX
JIM JONES 0 0 0.00
118 JOHN SYER
LAGO VISTA , TX
MIKE GUIDRY
LAGO VISTA , TX
0 0 0.00
118 BRYAN ANDRAS
CYPRESS , TX
CORNEL ANDRAS
CYPRESS , TX
0 0 0.00
118 COLT DIETZ
AUSTIN , TX
JOHN WARDEN
DRIPPING SPRINGS , TX
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SPICEWOOD , TX
MATT COOPER
SMITHVILLE , TX
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SPICEWOOD , TX
HANK FRY
SPICEWOOD , TX
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ROUND TOP , TX
ROBERT BECK
CARMINE , TX
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118 JOHNNY HOMANN
KYLE , TX
JAY HESS
LOCKHART , TX
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Early Entry Winners Amphibia SunGlasses
118 DALE HUGHES
SAN ANGELO , TX
BARRY STUARD
CANYON LAKE , TX
0 0 0.00
118 NATHAN GRAEF
LA VERNIA , TX
LANDEN GRAEF
LA VERNIA , TX
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PFLUGERVILLE , TX
TOM NILSSEN
NEW BRAUNFELS , TX
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GEORGETOWN , TX
DYLAN ROSS
GEORGETOWN , TX
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118 MICHAEL SIERRA
SAN ANTONIO , TX
KEVIN JACKSON
PLEASANTON , TX
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THORNDALE , TX
RHETT PIERCE
THORNDALE , TX
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118 ROY STEGER
BELTON , TX
CHET SUTTON
SALADO , TX
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KILLEEN , TX
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MARBLE FALLS , TX
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LA VERNIA , TX
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AUSTIN , TX
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MARBLE FALLS , TX
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MARBLE FALLS , TX
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MONTGOMERY , TX
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DRIFTWOOD , TX
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BUDA , TX
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BANGS , TX
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BRIGGS , TX
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BROWNWOOD , TX
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LEANDER , TX
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LIBERTY HILL , TX
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SMITHVILLE , TX
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STRIKE KING KICKS OFF BIG BASS CHALLENGE EVENTS AT SAM RAYBURN

Lexington, S.C.–February 8, 2021–Since the announcement this past December, weekend and tournament anglers around the country have been chomping at the bit to see what the new “big bass format” tournament series from Strike King is all about. This past Sunday, February 7thmarked the very first event of the series which took place at Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Jasper, TX. Good weather, good fishing and good prizes made for a funopening weekend at one of the hottest bass fisheries in the country.
The eventkicked off Saturday at Ann’s Tackle in Jasper, TX where anglers had the opportunity to meet MLF Bass Pro Tour and Strike King Professional Angler Todd Faircloth, as well as Tyler Anderson of the @tylersreelfishing YouTube channel. Contestants and other local fishing fans took home gear from Lew’s and Strike King, in addition to many free samples and swag from Black Rifle Coffee Co. including hot brewed coffee, coffee grounds and chilled “RTD” Ready to Drink coffee in a can.
Tournament Sunday stayed exciting with a varietyof prizes being awarded each weigh period. In addition to paying out $7,500 cash throughout the course of the day for the five biggest bass weighed during each of four weigh periods, over 60 of the 115 registered anglers took home a prize for their efforts. With any keeper size bass weighed in being entered for a product prize, dozens of anglers of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels took home one or multiple prizes from Mammoth Coolers, Lucas Oil, Black Rifle Coffee Co., Lew’s and Strike King. With just a $75 entry fee and taking into account the fact that the first 100 registered anglers received a free Lew’s rod, one could argue this event provided a more generous return on investment than your typical bass tournament.
In the end, it was Jeff Grubbs Jr.’s 8.72lb bass caught first thing in the morning on a black and blue Strike King Thunder Cricketthat earned him the coveted “Total Boat Makeover Package” of $5,000 worth of product from Strike King and Lew’s. Jeff fished with his father Jeff Grubbs Sr. and together had an outstanding day of fishing, each of them weighing fish in multiple periods through the day and earning a generous assortment of prizes to go with their cash winnings.
Strike King& Lews’ own Tony Mehrlsaid, “We were extremely happy with our first Big Bass Challenge Event. Not only did we award some great prizes to folks who caught some big fish, but we kept everyone in the game with drawing prizes for anyone that weighed a fish –including those that were just “keeper size”. Hearing from multiple anglers that this was their first tournament they’ve ever entered tells us that the anglers appreciate and enjoy what we’re doing. Everyone had a great time, and that’s what this is all about.
”Strike King & Lew’s Field Activation Rep. and acting tournament director Mark Gintertwenton to add,“We want to thank our great partners at Mammoth Coolers and Lucas Oil for providingsome great prizes for the anglers, as well asBlack Rifle Coffee Co. being on site with prizes and samples to keep everyone hydrated and alert! We also couldn’t have done it without the help of the great team at the SETXHigh School Fishing Association. They were gracious enough to lend their services to the success of this event and we are lucky to have that organization as a partner.
”Safety and sanitation for the Sam Rayburn event and all future events is provided by Mammoth PPE Products.Anglers may register now for upcoming events athttps://www.strikeking.com/big-bass-challenge,where they will also find rule sheets and info sheets for each specific event.
The remaining 2021 Strike King Big Bass Challenge schedule is as follows:
Lake Murray –March 14, 2021Dreher Island State ParkProsperity, SC
California Delta –May 22, 2021Russo's MarinaBethel Island, CA
Table Rock Lake –June 5, 2021 Port of KimberlingKimberling City, MO

Florida Prepares for another BIG Week - Elite Series St. John's Preview

Courtesy of Vance McCullough

Just filled out my 5-man Fantasy Fishing roster at Bassmaster.com for the upcoming Elite Series season opener on Florida’s St Johns River. I picked Rick Clunn. Five times.

Not to jinx the man, but the weather forecast for the area during the competition dates of February 11th through the 14th calls for a steady breeze, overcast skies and a decent chance of rain every day. That should set up a strong ‘winding’ bite that will favor the types of lures Clunn used to become the oldest ever Elite Series champion with an impressive showing on the river in 2016 before breaking his own record on the same, but a very different St Johns River in 2019.

The river of lakes is now a different fishery than it was before Hurricane Irma scrubbed all the eel grass away in 2017. Eel grass has been the prime habitat for fish on the river since before William Bartram witnessed a Native American pull a bass from it on a “jig and a bob” – hook and line fishing – in the spring of 1774. Bartram estimated the bass would have weighed 30 pounds. A great explorer, Bartram likely would have made a terrible tourney director. But hey, maybe 30-pound bass were common on the river back then.

Thirty-pound limits hard to come by these days which makes Clunn’s 31-pound, 7-ounce sack on Day 3 of the 2016 tourney all the more impressive. To win that tournament on the ‘old’ St Johns he used a bladed jig/swimbait combo to pluck bass from eel grass along the east shore of Lake George for a 4-day total weight of 81-15. He then shifted techniques and location in 2019 to catch his fish on a Trickster spinnerbait and Gatortail worm around Drayton Island. His final round effort was worth 34-14. It pushed his 4-day total to 98-14. Clunn had figured out how to win on the ‘new’ St Johns River, proving his adaptability as well as his skill.

That new St Johns fishery revolves around thick stands of lily pads and scattered wood that litters its banks. The storms that striped the river of grass also pushed trees into the water. The resultant laydowns vie with old dock pilings, some still attached to platforms, for the attention of fish and fishermen.

Offshore bars can produce massive bags of bass but this time of year a single afternoon of warm weather can send them scurrying to the shallows in preparation for the spawn.

Sight fishing can be the ticket on this river in February but if clouds and rain materialize as expected during this derby that tactic will be difficult, at best, to execute. Even during the practice rounds considerable cloudiness and stormy skies will dominate. Bass are still spawning in protected canals as they tend to do in February, but anglers will have to pitch, sight unseen, to places where they imagine fish to be, an approach that’s less efficient but still effective.

Offbeat tactics could play well. Last year Paul Mueller ran north and flipped up the winning fish from beneath mats that clung to steep banks in deep creeks. In contrast to 2019 when Clunn scared the Century mark, Mueller’s win was very ‘2020’ in that it featured a canceled day, due to extreme weather. Mueller was the only angler to average more than 15 pounds per day.

Such is the fickle nature of the St Johns. Fishing fortunes rise and fall like the tide that feeds the slow, dark waterway.

Given the short supply of submerged grass, coupled with modern electronics and information available these days, if there is a clump of it somewhere, multiple anglers will find it, slicing the pie into ever


Schmitt Wins Toyota Series Event on Lake Toho

Maryland Pro Earns Sixth Career Toyota Series Victory – Breaks Record for Most All-Time

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (Feb. 6, 2021) – Maryland pro Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Maryland, brought four bass to the scale Saturday weighing 18 pounds, 2 ounces – including a 9-pound, 2-ounce kicker – to win the Toyota Series presented by A.R.E. at Lake Toho Presented by Googan Baits . Schmitt weighed in 15 bass over three days of competition totaling 66 pounds, 10 ounces, besting second-place angler Mikey Keyso of North Port, Florida, by more than 8 pounds. For his victory, Schmitt earned the top payout of $51,500 in the first tournament of the 2021 Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. Southern Division.

The victory was the sixth career Toyota Series win of Schmitt’s career and moved him to No. 1 for the most Toyota Series wins all-time. Schmitt had been in a three-way tie with Randy Haynes (5) and Koby Kreiger (5), now tied for second-most.

“I am so blessed,” Schmitt said. “I am blessed to have grown up fishing the Potomac River where I had no choice but to learn all the intricacies of grass fishing if I wanted to compete. Those lessons have served me well over the years.”

This week the puzzle started with a long, narrow vein of grass that ran out across a vast flat of bare sand and shell in about 6 feet of water. The thin strip of hydrilla was about ¼ of a mile long and terminated into a huge and shallower grass bed in about 3 or 4 feet of water.

“The band of grass grew up about 2 or 3 feet off the bottom and it was clumpy the whole way.” Schmitt said. “When I first found it in practice, I knew fish had to relate to it in some way.”

On the first day of the tournament, Schmitt figured out exactly how they related to it.

“I graphed the entire length of that narrow strip several times and finally found the mother lode where the strip ran into the shallow grass flat,” he said. “There was like an intersection right there.”

His suspicions were confirmed when he began using his LiveScope to scan along the clumpy grass strip and saw big dots swimming everywhere. With that, he picked up SPRO Aruku Shad 75, in a color aptly named wild shiner, tied to 15-pound test P-Line Tactical Fluorocarbon and the rest is history.

Schmitt guesses that he saw about 70 percent of the fish he caught on LiveScope before casting to them. On several occasions when he saw fish meander up close to the boat, he pitched the Aruku Shad to the fish, let sink, ripped it up and watch the fish annihilate it on his screen.

He also watched fish take a swipe at the rattle bait on the screen, but never touch it. When that happened, he would resort to a couple of back up lures, including a Missile Baits Quiver Worm (junebug) Neko-rigged on a Hayabusa Weedless Spin Muscle Wacky Hook. He also caught a few on his namesake ½-ounce swim jig called the Lil’ Schmitty (river special) trailed with a Missile Baits Shockwave (shrapnel).

“I caught a lot of big fish on that Aruku Shad this week,” Schmitt went on to say. “I put fresh Hayabusa trebles on it: a #4 on the back and #5 on the front. The very first fish I hooked this morning was that 9-pounder and she stayed pinned the whole way.”

The top 10 pros on Lake Toho finished:
1st:       Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Md., 14 bass, 66-10, $51,500
2nd:      Mikey Keyso of North Port, Fla., 15 bass, 58-8, $20,000
3rd:       Bobby Bakewell of Orlando, Fla., 15 bass, 50-15, $14,250
4th:       Steven Hatala of Harrison Township, Mich., 15 bass, 43-4, $12,250
5th:       Eric Conant of Lakeland, Fla., 13 bass, 42-2, $11,250
6th:       Trevor Fitzgerald of Belleview, Fla., 15 bass, 42-2, $9,125
7th:       Eric Panzironi of Longwood, Fla., 15 bass, 38-11, $7,900
8th:       Jared McMillan of Clewiston, Fla., 15 bass, 37-14, $7,900
9th:       Samuel Whitmire of Babson Park, Fla., 11 bass, 35-6, $5,900
10th:     Cole Hewett of Orange Park, Fla., 14 bass, 34-3, $4,500

A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Whitmire won Thursday’s Berkley Big Bass Award after bringing a 11-pound, 11-ounce lunker to the scale. Friday’s Berkley Big Bass Award went to pro McMillan with a 9-pound, 13-ounce largemouth. Each angler won a bonus of $150.

McMillan took home and extra $1,000 as the highest finishing Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus member. Boaters are eligible to win up to an extra $35,000 per event in each Toyota Series tournament if all requirements are met. More information on the Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.

Jeffrey Baffa of Frankfort, Illinois, won the Strike King Co-angler Division Saturday with a three-day total of nine bass weighing 35 pounds, 15 ounces. Baffa took home the top prize package of a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard motor.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers on Lake Toho finished:
1st:       Jeffrey Baffa of Frankfort, Ill., nine bass, 35-15, Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat w/115-hp outboard
2nd:      Benton Peoples of Bardstown, Ky, 11 bass, 34-2, $6,125
3rd:       Ricky Grant of Inverness, Fla., 11 bass, 32-3, $4,900
4th:       Theron Asbery of Longwood, Fla., 10 bass, 30-9, $3,950
5th:       Frank Kitchens Jr. of Blairsville, Ga., 12 bass, 28-11, $3,450
6th:       Todd Classon of Camilla, Ga., nine bass, 27-15, $2,950
7th:       Clinton Lacinak of Homosassa, Fla., 10 bass, 24-2, $2,450
8th:       James Littich of Davidson, N.C., eight bass, 20-3, $1,975
9th:       Troy Johnson Jr. of Carrabelle, Fla., five bass, 18-2, $1,590
10th:     Joe Cifuentes of Clinton, Ark., six bass, 16-5, $1,350

The Toyota Series at Lake Toho was presented by Googan Baits and was hosted by Experience Kissimmee – Kissimmee Sports Commission. It was the first of three regular-season tournaments in 2021 for Southern Division anglers. The next event for Toyota Series anglers will take place on Feb. 16-18 – the Toyota Series at Lake Guntersville presented by Googan Baits in Guntersville, Alabama. For a complete schedule, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.

The 2021 Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. consists of six divisions – Central, Northern, Plains, Southern, Southwestern and Western – each holding three regular-season events, along with the International division. Anglers who fish all three qualifiers in any of the eight divisions and finish in the top 25 will qualify for the no-entry-fee Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. Championship for a shot at winning $235,000 cash, including a $35,000 Phoenix MLF BIG5 Bonus for qualified anglers. The winning Strike King co-angler at the championship earns a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard.
The 2021 Toyota Series Championship Presented by A.R.E. will be held Oct. 28-30 on Pickwick Lake in Counce, Tennessee, and is hosted by the Hardin County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Toyota Series presented by A.R.E. on the MLF BIG5’s social media outlets at FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.


Schmitt Takes 12-Pound Lead on Toho

Courtesy of Majorleaguefishing.com
FEBRUARY 5, 2021 • ROB NEWELL • TOYOTA SERIES

Florida fisheries are magical places to experience a once-in-a-lifetime day of fishing. Single-day five-bass limits in Florida come in eye-popping denominations: 20-, 25- and 30-pound catches are entirely possible on any given day. But anglers who can make those magical Florida catches happen two days in a row are a much rarer breed.

In two days at the Toyota Series presented by A.R.E. there have been a total of seven limits over 20 pounds weighed in. Only one person in the field owns two of those 20-plus bags: Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Maryland.

Schmitt weighed in 25 pounds, 9 ounces on day one and followed that up with 22 pounds, 15 ounces on day two for a two-day total of 48 pounds, 7 ounces. He now leads the first Toyota Series of the Southern Division on Lake Toho, presented by Googan Baits, by 12 pounds, 1 ounce.

Schmitt’s winning record in MLF competition on grass lakes is pretty impressive. Over the years Schmitt has proved that he truly understands the subtleties of grass fishing and, so far, his week on Toho has been no exception.

For the last two days, Schmitt has pulled nearly 50 pounds of bass from a ¼-mile-long vein of hydrilla that runs across a barren flat.

“It’s just a thin, narrow strip of grass out there in the middle of nowhere,” Schmitt details. “It runs out through a 6-foot flat of bare bottom; there is not a stitch of grass anywhere else around it. I know because I’ve looked all around the area for another strip or clump. The grass is only about 2 to 3 feet tall off the bottom.”

Schmitt found the hydrilla strip during practice, but it was fruitless.

“When I found it, I just knew it would be loaded with fish,” he says. “It’s one of the prettiest grass places I’ve ever found. But I never got a bite on it in practice.”

Bryan Schmitt is one of the world’s premier grass anglers.

Where Schmitt proves his chops as a grass guru is in his conviction that bass had to live in the grass strip.

“Yesterday, I ran all the way down to Kissimmee thinking about that spot I found in Toho,” he says. “As soon as I got my fifth keeper in Kissimmee, I couldn’t wait to run back to Toho and try the spot again – even though it didn’t produce a bite in practice.”

When he relocated the thin line of grass on Thursday afternoon, he finally tapped the potential he knew existed there, sacking up the 25-9 as fast as he could cast.

He returned this morning and again caught big bass in short order on a SPRO Aruku Shad 75.

Schmitt also admits that LiveScope is playing a major role in the fish he has been catching.

“It’s the dangdest thing I have ever seen,” he says. “I can literally see the bass swimming up and down this strip of grass. Most of the time I’m casting that Aruku Shad way out there and ripping it like normal. But on several occasions today, I could see a fish out there right next to the grass. And I would literally pitch that Aruku Shad out there to the fish, let it sink and then rip it up right in front of her, and she would smash it. It’s just crazy!

“Now, I also had some that I pitched to and they lunged at it on the screen, but they never bit it,” he adds. “So it’s not like you catch every one you see. But just to see fish swimming up and down that line gives me the confidence to keep casting and ripping that Aruku Shad.”

A lipless crankbait has been a key player for Bryan Schmitt.

Going into the final day, what worries Schmitt the most is that his bite completely disappeared by 9 a.m. this morning.

“Something happened,” he says. “I quit seeing fish on the LiveScope and I quit getting bites, just like that. I’m thinking that some of it was pressure, because a lot of people showed up in that spot after a couple of hours this morning. And they were poling down all up and down the grass line and stuff. So with only ten of us out there tomorrow, I’m hoping I’ve got it to myself again and the fish hang around longer.”

Top 10 Pros

1. Bryan Schmitt – 48 – 08 (10)

2. Mikey Keyso – 36 – 07 (10)

3. Eric Conant – 33 – 13 (9)

4. Bobby Bakewell – 32 – 04 (7)

5. Trevor Fitzgerald – 31 – 10 (10)

6. Eric Panzironi – 30 – 05 (10)

7. Samuel Whitmire – 29 – 09 (8)

8. Jared McMillan – 29 – 06 (10)

9. Steven Hatala – 29 – 00 (10)

10. Cole Hewett – 28 – 14 (10)

Complete Results

Baffa Still Leads Strike King Co-Angler Division

Jeffery Baffa continues to lead the co-angler division of the Toyota Series on Lake Toho, thanks in large part to the 24-pound, 11-ounce limit he caught on day one. He added 2 fish for 4 pounds, 6 ounces to his total today for a two-day total of 29 pounds, 1 ounce.

Top 10 Co-Anglers

1. Jeffery Baffa – 29 – 01 (7)

2. Ricky Grant  – 28 – 01 (9)

3. Theron Asbery – 24 – 10 (7)

4. Benton Peoples – 21 – 07 (6)

5. Clinton Lacinak – 20 – 14 (8)

6. Frank Kitchens Jr. – 20 – 13 (8)

7. Troy Johnson Jr. – 18 – 02 (5)

8. James Littich – 18 – 00 (7)

9. Todd Classon – 16 – 13 (5)

10. Joe Cifuentes – 16 – 05 (6)

Complete Results


AC Rookie Podcast - "Changing Lane"

 

On this weeks Rookie Podcast, Chris Welcomes in MLF Pro Circuit Rookie Cal Lane to the show to talk about growing up in the shadow of his Father Chris Lane and his Uncle Bobby Lane and following in their footsteps.


X2POWER ANNOUNCES 2021 BASS PRO STAFF

Former champions, major award winners poised to educate professional bass fishing fans on the advantages of premium batteries from X2Power.

HARTLAND, Wis. (February 4, 2021) — X2Power, the premium power source for the marine, car/light truck and motorsports markets, announces its bass pro staff for 2021. The pro staff, comprised of accomplished anglers with multiple championships and other accolades to their credit, is designed to highlight the competitive advantage enjoyed by anglers who run X2Power marine batteries in their tournament boats.

The 2021 X2Power bass pro staff includes anglers from MLF and the Bassmaster Elite Series, including former champions and major award winners. A truly international group, the pro staff is comprised of anglers from the United States, Canada and Australia who will run their tournament boats and tow vehicles with X2Power throughout the 2021 tournament season.

“Professional bass anglers demand a lot of their equipment, and X2Power marine batteries are built to provide the most worry-free solution for anglers who rely on modern electronics on their boat. What better place than the world’s highest levels of professional bass fishing to prove the performance and value of a premium battery like X2Power,” said Vice President of Product Development Shawn Budiac “We’re proud to be aligned with such accomplished anglers and we look forward to cheering on their successes in 2021 and beyond.”

Proudly made in the USA, X2Power Marine batteries are part of a line of premium power options that includes AGM batteries for cars/light trucks and emergency vehicles, as well as lithium batteries for powersports applications. X2Power marine batteries feature a pure-lead, dual-purpose design, which gives them both the high cranking power to start modern boat motors as well as the cycling capabilities necessary to run trolling motors, depth finders, side-imaging, radios, radar, lights, pumps, coolers and more. Backed by a 4-year, free-replacement warranty and available at more than 700 Batteries Plus Bulbs locations nationwide, X2Power’s AGM batteries are built to provide years of worry-free use for anglers and boaters.

2021 X2POWER BASS PRO STAFF
Justin Atkins — Bassmaster Elite Series
Hometown: Florence, Alabama
Instagram: @justinatkinsfishing
Former Forrest Wood Cup champion (2017) competing for the first year in the Bassmaster Elite Series.

Brent Ehrler — MLF
Hometown: Redlands, California
Instagram: @brentehrlerfishing
Former Forrest Wood Cup champion (2006), Bassmaster Elite Series Rookie of the Year with more than $2 million in career earnings.

Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson — Bassmaster Elite Series
Hometown: Keewatin, Canada
Instagram: @gussyoutdoors
Joined the Bassmaster Elite Series in 2019 and qualified for the Bassmaster Classic in 2020.

Carl Jocumsen – Bassmaster Elite Series
Hometown: Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia
Instagram: @carl_jocumsen
First Australian to qualify for the Elite Series, logged his first Elite Series win in 2019.

Hunter Shryock — Bassmaster Elite Series
Hometown: Newcomerstown, Ohio
Instagram: @huntershryock496
Former motocross pro turned professional angler, joined the Elite Series in 2018 and qualified for the 2020 Bassmaster Classic.


X2POWER DELIVERS PREMIUM POWER OPTION TO THE MARINE MARKET

With modern boats featuring more electronics than ever before, the X2Power line from Batteries Plus is built to enhance the on-the-water experience for anglers and boaters.

HARTLAND, Wis. (February 3, 2021) — The evolution of the fishing boat requires a power source that can keep up.

From electric start motors to sophisticated sonar equipment, today’s anglers are as wired as ever. Whether they fish for fun or for a living, X2Power offers a premium power option for anglers and boaters who require a battery to hold up to a full day of fishing and still have enough left to crank the motor after the last cast.

X2Power Marine batteries are part of a line of premium power options that includes AGM batteries for cars/light trucks and emergency vehicles, as well as lithium batteries for powersports applications. X2Power marine batteries feature a pure-lead, dual-purpose design, which gives them both the high cranking power to start modern boat motors as well as the cycling capabilities necessary to run trolling motors, depth finders, side-imaging, radios, radar, lights, pumps, coolers and more. Backed by a 4-year free replacement warranty and available at more than 700 Batteries Plus locations nationwide, X2Power’s AGM batteries are built to provide years of worry-free use.

“We’re proud to deliver a premium marine battery that powers professional anglers and weekend warriors alike wherever and whenever they take to the water,” Batteries Plus Vice President of Product Management Danyelle Kukuk. “The best-in-class design of the X2Power means boaters and anglers are getting a pure lead power source with zero maintenance requirements to power their next day on the water and the hundreds of on-the-water days to come.”

Proudly made in the USA, X2Power Marine batteries are capable of more than 400 cycles at an 80 percent discharge and more than 900 cycles at 50 percent discharge. Combined with the non-spillable and maintenance-free benefits of AGM technology, as well as a high vibration tolerance and quick recharge capability, the X2Power Marine batteries represent the premium power option for modern fishing and water sports vessels.

The new look X2Power Marine batteries are arriving in Batteries Plus retailers nationwide in late February, ready for the start of fishing season.


Bad Boy Mowers Named Exclusive Mower of MLF BIG5 and Presenting Sponsor of Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit

Leading Mower Manufacturer Expands on Three-Year Partnership with Major League Fishing

TULSA, Okla. (Feb. 3, 2021) – Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today that Bad Boy Mowers, a U.S.-based leading manufacturer of zero-turn mowers, accessories and options, has been named the Exclusive Mower of the MLF BIG5 and the presenting sponsor of the 2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit. Bad Boy Mowers’ legacy of patented innovations has set the standard for accessibility, comfort and quality for the past 15 years to develop classic, American-made muscle from the turf up and creates the ideal partnership with the cutting-edge MLF brand.

“Bad Boy Mowers is proud to sponsor the 2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and to be named the Exclusive Mower of the MLF BIG5,” said Lennie Foree, marketing director of Bad Boy Mowers. “We had a fantastic response to our partnership with MLF in its inaugural year and we’re excited to be involved and grow with the sport even more in 2021.”

The 26th season of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit will feature six regular-season tournaments showcasing the best anglers in the world competing for up to $135,000 in a five-biggest-fish format on top bass fisheries at peak times.

“We are excited to expand our partnership with Bad Boy Mowers into the Pro Circuit and the MLF BIG5 arm of the company,” said Kathy Fennel, MLF executive vice president and general manager. “Bad Boy Mowers is known for building some of the strongest, best-performing machines on the planet – much like our competitively-driven tournament anglers – and we look forward to continuing to build this mutually beneficial partnership throughout the upcoming year.”

The 2021 season culminates in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit TITLE presented by Toyota, Aug. 17-22 on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisconsin, where the top 50 pros will compete for as much as $235,000.

For more information about MLF, their tournaments and sponsors, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. To learn more about Bad Boy Mowers, visit BadBoyMowers.com . For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the MLF BIG5 social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter , Instagram and YouTube.

About Bad Boy Mowers
Bad Boy Mowers Inc., is a nationally recognized, leading manufacturer of zero-turn mowers. Featuring all-steel welded and fabricated construction with the most innovation, power and comfort, we’re also the biggest value in zero-turn mowers. With our patented EZ-Ride suspension systems, full operator adjustments for a perfect fit and heavier decks, we deliver the most comfortable mowing with the best cut quality for the lawn care pro and demanding homeowner.

Each and every employee, from the front desk to our own transportation department, has made Bad Boy Mowers the fastest growing zero-turn mower manufacturer in the country. Every mower is built by skilled craftsmen, utilizing the very latest manufacturing equipment and technologies, many developed right in-house. Our reputation rests on a Bad Boy Mower’s dependable ruggedness, power, reliability and ease to operate and maintain. With more than 830 employees, Bad Boy Mowers continues to lead in innovation and deliver value across the entire product line and are sold through a nationwide dealer network.


TH-MARINE RENEWS SPONSORSHIP OF TEXAS TEAM TRAIL

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (February 3, 2021) – The Texas Team Trail (TXTT) presented by Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s announces the renewal of the sponsorship of TH-Marine for the upcoming TXTT 2021 season. The TXTT kicks off February 20 on Sam Rayburn.
“T-H Marine offer some of the best brands in the fishing industry,” said TXTT Tournament Director Mike Hastings. “From boat lighting and jack plates to tackle management and boat security, T-H Marine has the products anglers need to win on tour. We are glad to have them return and continue our longtime partnership.”
T-H Marine has been serving the recreational boating industry since 1975. During those 46 years, T-H Marine has been a true innovator and leader in designing and manufacturing the highest quality boat parts and accessories. T-H Marine has grown from a three-person company, manufacturing a few parts, to a 200-plus-employee conglomerate of three companies, manufacturing thousands of different products.
Participating anglers of the TH-Marine Atlas Awards can earn up to $1,200 in cash or $3,000 in store credit. By signing up and paying the annual due of $29.99, anglers will receive a free TH-Marine hat and two decals. Participating anglers that win or are the highest-finishing angler at sanctioned events will win cash or store credit with amounts depending upon what TH-Marine products were used during the tournament. To sign up for the TH-Marine Atlas Awards and learn more information on payouts, please visit https://thmarinesupplies.com/pages/atlas-awards-info.
The Texas Team Trail presented by Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s consists of three regular-season events and a year-end championship. The championship is a two-day tournament open to teams who have fished all four regular-season events.
2021 TXTT scheduled events:
February 20 – Sam Rayburn
March 27 – Amistad Reservoir
May 8 – Sam Rayburn
Championship
June 5-6 – Lake Whitney

AC Insider Podcast - A show that will "Make ya Grin"

 

This week Chris & the boys welcome a check-in from Elite Series Rookie Darold Gleason all the way from Florida as he prepares for next weeks Elite Series kick off and then Derek "Money" Mundy joins the show for the second time this month to talk about his GIANT(s) on Rayburn in last weeks Toyota Derby!