Ned Reveals Winter Bass Tricks

A coldwater finesse Q&A with the Ned rig maestro

Ladson, SC (December 6, 2022) – While you’re reading this, huddled around the warm glow of your computer screen, Ned Kehde is almost certainly on the water. So long as one of the dozen or so of his local community reservoirs near Kansas City remain ice free, Ned will be afloat, casting his little finesse jigs, and hooking astonishing numbers of coldwater bass.

“For years, our goal was to catch 101 bass in a four-hour trip,” Ned concedes. “These days, especially on cold winter outings, we’re content to fish for two to three hours between 11am and 3pm. On average, we’re still catching about ten bass per hour—just enough bites to keep this old codger warm.”

Now nearly 83 years young, Ned still fishes more than most, adding hundreds of clicks to his well-worn fish-counter. Recently, between trips, we caught up with our friend, the legendary Ned Kehde, to talk shop and discover his latest tricks. As he’ll graciously tell you, anyone can catch bass with Midwest finesse . . .

Hall of Fame angler Ned Kehde going gloveless on a frosty winter day.

Where are you fishing these days and what’s happening in these fisheries?

Kehde: Nowadays, we’re focusing on our many community reservoirs, catching largemouth bass on shallow water flats endowed with coontail and curly-leaf pondweed. Curly leaf, or crispus, is a winter-hardy aquatic plant that grows and produces foliage and oxygen all through the cold months. Finding either of these species can be a winter bass goldmine, especially while other anglers target submerged brushpiles and offshore structure. Contrary to the notion that coldwater bass stick to deep water, we continue catching bass in 5 to 10 feet of water all winter long.

Any differences between the lures you’re throwing now versus the warmer months?

During winter, we probably rely on lighter jigs than usual. So, we’re wielding a lot of 1/32-, 1/20-, 1/16- and 1/15-ounce jigs, mostly OG™ Mushrooms and Finesse ShroomZ™.

Affixed to these little jigs, which feature lightwire #4 hooks, favorite winter baits are Z-Man® Finesse ShadZ™, Finesse TRDs™ and TRD MinnowZ™. I usually run with five rigged rods, the other two often tied to a TRD BugZ™, TRD TicklerZ™ or shortened (2.5”) ZinkerZ™.

A lot of folks view these tiny, light jigheads and #4 hooks as unacceptably flimsy for bass, but we regularly catch 3-, 4- and occasionally 5- and 6-pound bass on these #4 hooks with no issues. Hooksets are nice and easy, with little force required to plant them firmly in a bass jaw. Moreover, these little hooks slide through and over vegetation and woodcover, rarely snagging; remember, we’re often fishing right in and among the green stuff—and with an exposed hook, no less.

Handfuls of finesse bass goodness: TRD CrawZ, TRD BugZ, TRD TicklerZ & Finesse TRD (L to R, clockwise).

Any tricks or adjustments you’re making to your baits?

Funny you should ask. I’m a huge fan of salted ElaZtech® baits and their propensity to become increasingly alluring to bass as they “age.” As a bait catches more fish and spends more time submerged, some of the salt leaches out of its body, particularly with baits like the TRD, ZinkerZ or Finesse WormZ™. Some anglers pre-soak their baits prior to hitting the water to speed the aging process. Or you can stretch them way out, which instantly sheds some of the salt.

Other anglers I know like to place their baits beneath the truck windshield while driving to the lake to soften them up even more than usual (ElaZtech is already softer than traditional PVC plastics.)

As baits age, they become increasingly buoyant (an aged ZinkerZ will actually float a 1/32-ounce jig, so we often move up to a 1/16- or 1/20-oz jighead.) Other anglers I know have noted that aged, salt impregnated ElaZtech baits develop a slimy outer texture, which they believe bass find more appetizing.

Regardless, in winter, these aged baits really shine because the increased buoyancy means reduced rate of fall and more hovering action above the vegetation— hanging right in the strike zone as you retrieve. These factors really seem to prompt bass with low metabolic rates to gobble our aged baits.

Ned's wife Patty with a dandy early winter largemouth.

How are you retrieving your finesse baits when the water’s cold?

Just yesterday, we had 45-degree water and winds gusting to almost 40-mph. At times, you couldn’t even feel the jig. On days like this, especially when hands get cold, we do a lot of ‘strolling,’ pitching the jig out behind the boat and just moving along slow with the trolling motor. We also employ the shake-and-drag retrieve. Then, when our baits hit a sweet spot, we’ll often stop shaking the bait and just deadstick it in place—for at least several seconds (sometimes much longer). Given the buoyant bait’s ability to stand up and mimic a live invertebrate, you can almost fish it like livebait.

The light jighead and buoyant bait also provides a huge bonus when we’re fishing around vegetation. That hover factor allows us to do what we call ‘polishing the coontail,’ just sweeping the bait over the plant tops—out of snag territory and yet highly visible to bass.

Beyond some of your traditional favorites like green pumpkin, what other colors are hot?

Well, I’ve been a devotee of red jigheads for a long time. Red works everywhere.

More recently, I’ve been using a lot of baby-blue jigheads, which I often hand-paint with a special hue of fingernail polish. This eye-catching blue tone almost exactly replicates the iridescent blue gill plates on green sunfish—a key bass forage.

I couple red and blue jigheads with a lot of different bait colors. Lately been catching bass on a Purple Death pattern TRD TicklerZ. The Hot Snakes pattern has also been productive; that’s a new one for me—sort of an alternative to my old-reliable Coppertreuse.

A sneak peek at the prototypes designer Drew Reese calls the ultimate Ned rig rods.

Heard a rumor you might be testing some new finesse rods.

Can’t tell you how excited I am about these prototype spinning rods, designed by my friend and Midwest finesse guru, Drew Reese. While the rest of the fishing world continues to fish rods in the 7-foot range, these rods run 5’4” and 5’10”. They’re the lightest, most sensitive rods I’ve fished since hefting classic G Loomis jig rods designed by Ray Fincke, propreitor of a renowned tackle shop in Rosedale, Kansas.

The 5’4” is also proving to be a fantastic crappie rod, especially with the new Micro Finesse baits. We’ll be casting these microbaits a lot more, once water temps dip into the low 40s.

 

When you fish as often as we do, it’s a gift to cast with something light enough to eliminate fatigue. Coupled with 4-pound test Berkley Fireline and a 5-foot fluorocarbon leader, these compact, featherlight sticks perfectly fit Midwest finesse retrieves, such as swim-glide-shake. We’re also catching a lot of fish now by working the bait right beneath the boat. These shorter rods give us more vertical control and a super direct connection between your hands and the lure. They greatly enhance presentation and bite detection in wind, as well.

Drew and I think Midwest finesse devotees are really going to love these rods. Though it’ll be a few months yet before folks can get theirs. Hopefully, just in time for spring!


Pair of Heavy Hitters

Bobby Lane, Mike Frenette join Jay & Jason Przekurat and GMAN At NPAA annual Conference

Forestville, WI (December 2, 2022) – The National Professional Anglers Association (NPAA) 2023 Annual Conference kicks off in Fort Myers, Florida, January 6 through 8. Early registration for this can’t miss event ends December 5th, but registration will remain open until all seats are sold out. To reserve a seat online, Click Here To Register.

“I can’t think of a better way to kick off the new year,” says NPAA’s president, Patrick Neu. “It’s the kind of event you don’t want to miss. The theme is ‘Controlling Your Own Destiny,’ and we’re bringing out the big guns for this one.”

Indeed, they are. The irrepressible “GMan,” Gerald Swindle, is slated to be the event’s headline speaker. With 20 Bassmaster Classics, two Bassmaster Angler of the Year titles, and over $2.5 million in prize money under his belt, he’ll divulge what it takes to be a true professional, grow your business and enjoy continued success in the recreational fishing industry. “This meeting isn’t just for pro anglers,” he states. “It’s for anyone making a living in the recreational fishing industry – and you don’t even have to be an NPAA member to attend because everybody’s welcome! We’re all going to be talking about how to make money, and that’s a topic you need to learn more about whether you are just starting out or already established.”

Gerald Swindle alone is worth the price of admission, but now comes news Bobby Lane, the 2022 REDCREST Champion, 2021 General Tires Team Champion, and 2019 Major League Fishing World Champion, will join him, as will pro angler Mike Frenette, owner of Delta Outdoor Marketing and Redfish Lodge of Louisiana, and the Pro Angling family duo of Jay and Jason Prezkurat.

Professional bass fishing icon Bobby Lane.

“All five of these featured speakers are outstanding voices with first-hand, in-depth knowledge of what it takes to not only survive in our industry, but to thrive,” states Neu. “Bobby Lane's perspective on making a living as a tournament angler will be valuable to anyone aspiring to do the same. As for Mike, running a guide business for two decades is only part of his story. He is one of the most respected saltwater anglers in the industry, making him a perfect choice to speak at this year's NPAA conference. Add in Jay and Jason Prezkurat and their success story as a Pro Angling family and we couldn’t be prouder than to have all five of these professionals as headliners for the event."

Already raring to go, Lane is fired-up. “NPAA offers a wonderful opportunity to be involved in the recreational fishing industry,” he says. “The organization is focused on improving the lives of those making a living in this community. We’re teaching members how to be more professional and maximize opportunities. We’re working to bring benefits such as health care options to our members, advocating for our industry, and watching out for the environment. I’ll be talking specifically about how to succeed in this business, how to deal with changes year-to-year and day-to-day, and the importance of not burning bridges because you never know who’s help you’ll need down the line. It’s points like these - things you really need to know to get ahead and increase your revenues - that I’ll be sharing."

Frenette is also excited for the NPAA Annual Conference to get underway. “This event may be the best place to network for anyone in our industry,” he says. “You’ll meet real decision makers who can share their knowledge and offer the kind of advice that sets you on a good path.”

The trophy redfish expert and fishing lodge owner notes that membership in NPAA provides those working in the recreational fishing industry with a national voice while at the same time helping them acquire the business knowledge necessary to stay afloat and get ahead in this rough and tumble world.

“There’s a lot more to being a professional angler, charter skipper, guide, lodge owner, boat mechanic or tackle rep than just fishing,” continues Frenette. “The harder work is the building of your profile, reputation and business model. To come out on top, you need to be professional in all aspects, both on and off the water. It’s the business end of things over which most people stumble. So, we’ll cover how to portray yourself as a professional, build a great reputation, and understand the numbers.”

Jason Prezkurat is also excited to be speaking at the conference, and proud to belong to the NPAA. “This organization provides all members of the recreational fishing industry a platform for tackling important issues that affect our livelihoods,” he states. “At the same time, the networking opportunities, contacts, guidance and insights you’ll gain from being a member can help advance your career – especially if you attend the annual conferences. Many industry leaders make it a point to be there, and it’s great to be able to network and to get to know one another on professional and personal levels.”

Jay agrees with his father. “I especially appreciate the Annual Conference because of the seminars and chance to speak with successful pros that understand the business side of the sport,” he adds. “The discounts from the organization’s supporting partners are another great benefit. Simply put, NPAA helps me from personal, educational and financial standpoints."

The Przekurats will outline how they took control of their collective fishing destiny, including how they’ve managed to fish for a living, run a successful business, and claw their way to the top of the leader board while staying grounded and having fun.

Which brings us back to the conference theme: “Controlling Your Destiny!” With this event NPAA provides a first-class ticket to meet, network, speak with and glimpse the psyche of top professional anglers, industry representatives and sport fishing leaders across the country. The conference features business-related educational seminars, networking opportunities, and partner booths in a fun but professional format. It is a key component of the NPAA platform, which exists to help members grow their professional angling careers and run successful industry businesses. The event will also host a Benefit Banquet for the Future Angler Foundation (FAF), which introduces millions of potential new anglers and boaters each year to the thrill and fun of sportfishing and boating.

The NPAA 2023 Annual Conference will be held at the 5-Star rated Holiday Inn Fort Myers Airport - Town Center, which is 5 minutes from the SW Florida Regional Airport (RSW) and just off I75 in Fort Myers. Conference registration fees include all activities, meals, and a ticket for the FAF Banquet. More information on registration can be found on the NPAA Conference Page. (Note: The special $149 a night room rate at the Holiday Inn expires on Dec. 5th at midnight.)

For more information on joining the NPAA, attending the Annual Conference, and exploring the many benefits membership provides, visit www.npaa.net.


Major League Fishing Announces 2023 Tackle Warehouse Invitationals Roster

BENTON, Ky. (Dec. 1, 2022) – Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today the roster for the 2023 Tackle Warehouse Invitationals, six three-day tournaments that feature a field of 150 pros competing for a top prize of $115,000 and an invitation to compete at REDCREST V in 2024. All six Invitationals are full, with a waiting list, as veteran and aspiring pros vie for a share of more than $3.9 million in cash awards.

Tackle Warehouse Invitationals Power-Pole Stop 1 will take place Feb. 8-10 at Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston, Florida. The sixth and final Invitational of the season will be held July 25-27 on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Every day of competition will broadcast live, on the water, on MLF NOW!® and stream to the Major League Fishing app, MyOutdoorTV (MOTV), and MajorLeagueFishing.com. Each event will also air on the CBS Sports Network, with 12 weeks of 2-hour shows scheduled in 2023.

Tackle Warehouse Invitational pros will compete over three days in a five-fish, weigh-in format. All 150 pros will compete the first two days, with the top 50 pros advancing to the third and final day. The winner of each Invitational will be determined by heaviest three-day cumulative weight. The winner of each of the six Invitationals in 2023 will also receive an invitation to compete in REDCREST V in March of 2024. The season-long Invitational Angler of the Year (AOY) will also earn a berth into REDCREST V, for a total of seven REDCREST V qualification opportunities. In addition, the top eight pros based on Angler of the Year (AOY) rank at the end of the 2023 season
will qualify for the 2024 Bass Pro Tour and the top 75 pros based on AOY rank will requalify for the 2024 Tackle Warehouse Invitationals.

For compete details and up-to-date tournament information, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF’s social media outlets at Facebook, TwitterInstagram and YouTube.

The 150 anglers that will compete in the season opener at Lake Okeechobee are:

  • Shannon Abbott, Louisville, Tenn.
  • Charles Abshire, Lake Charles, La.
  • Chad Allison, Carl Junction, Mo.
  • Sean Anderson, Leesville, S.C.
  • Ryan Armstrong, Robinson, Ill.
  • Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C.
  • Tai Au, Glendale, Ariz.
  • Bobby Bakewell, Orlando, Fla.
  • Clayton Batts, Butler, Ga.
  • Mickey Beck, Lebanon, Tenn.
  • Matt Becker, Finleyville, Pa.
  • Andrew Behnke, Fond Du Lac, Wis.
  • Drew Boggs, Lebanon, Tenn.
  • Terry Bolton, Benton, Ky.
  • Cole Breeden, Lebanon, Tenn.
  • Grae Buck, Green Lane, Pa.
  • Josh Butler, Hayden, Ala.
  • Eddie Carper, Valliant, Okla.
  • Keith Carson, DeBary, Fla.
  • Rick Chenoweth, Fredericksburg, Va.
  • Jordan Collom, Canyon Lake, Calif.
  • Ramie Colson, Jr., Cadiz, Ky.
  • Mark Condron, Murfreesboro, Tenn.
  • Justin Cooper, Zwolle, La.
  • Kyle Cortiana, Broken Arrow, Okla.
  • John Cox, DeBary, Fla.
  • Kollin Crawford, Broken Bow, Okla.
  • Lance Crawford, Broken Bow, Okla.
  • Austin Culbertson, Moberly, Mo.
  • Connor Cunningham, Springfield, Mo.
  • Alex Davis, Albertville, Ala.
  • Flint Davis, Leesburg, Ga.
  • Randy Despino, Colfax, La.
  • Tommy Dickerson, Orange, Texas
  • Jonathan Dietz, Corry, Pa.
  • Phillip Dutra, Guntersville, Ala.
  • Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas
  • Paul Elias, Laurel, Miss.
  • Hunter Eubanks, Inman, S.C.
  • Charlie Evans, Berea, Ky.
  • Ron Farrow, Rock Hill, S.C.
  • Blake Felix, Warsaw, Mo.
  • Mark Fisher, Wauconda, Ill.
  • William Fletcher, Dallas, Texas
  • Wyatt Frankens, Corrigan, Texas
  • Robby Frashier, Carrollton, Ga.
  • Jacopo Gallelli, Florence, Italy
  • Nolan Gaskin, Broussard, La.
  • Paul Gettys, Due West, S.C.
  • Drew Gill, Mount Carmel, Ill.
  • Kyle Glasgow, Guin, Ala.
  • Joe Grafeman, Camdenton, Mo.
  • Jason Grape, Attalla, Ala.
  • Cody Greaney, Ledbetter, Texas
  • Matt Greenblatt, Port St. Lucie, Fla.
  • Christian Greico, Tampa, Fla.
  • Shaw Grigsby, Gainesville, Fla.
  • Chris Groh, Spring Grove, Ill.
  • Blake Hall, Rogersville, Ala.
  • Kyle Hall, Granbury, Texas
  • Michael Harlin, Sunrise Beach, Mo.
  • Travis Harriman, Huntsville, Ark.
  • Cole Harris, Raleigh, N.C.
  • Nick Hatfield, Greeneville, Tenn.
  • Cole Hewett, Orange Park, Fla.
  • Jordan Hirt, Glenwood, Iowa
  • Brett Hite, Phoenix, Ariz.
  • Miles Howe, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
  • Laker Howell, Guntersville, Ala.
  • Randy Howell, Guntersville, Ala.
  • Derik Hudson, Concord, Va.
  • Brad Jelinek, Lincoln, Mo.
  • Frank Kitchens, III, Oxford, Ga.
  • Cal Lane, Guntersville, Ala.
  • Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala.
  • Brian Latimer, Belton, S.C.
  • Nick Lebrun, Bossier City, La.
  • Robby Lefere, Jackson, Mich.
  • Jared Lintner, Covington, Ga.
  • Andrew Loberg, Rocklin, Calif.
  • Steve Lopez, Oconomowoc, Wis.
  • Richard Lowitzki, Hampshire, Ill.
  • Terry Luedtke, Burton, Texas
  • Rod Mackinnon III, Middletown, N.Y.
  • Cameron Mattison, Benton, La.
  • Mike McClelland, Blue Eye, Mo.
  • Tristan McCormick, Burns, Tenn.
  • Jared McMillan, Clewiston, Fla.
  • Elijah Meyers, Fort Wayne, Ind.
  • Colby Miller, Elmer, La.
  • John-Dalton Miller, Albertville, Ala.
  • Hunter Mills, Mayfield, Ky.
  • Jesse Millsaps, Jasper, Ga.
  • Kyle Minke, Lindstrom, Minn.
  • Tom Monsoor, La Crosse, Wis.
  • Jim Moynagh, Shakopee, Minn.
  • Chad Mrazek, Montgomery, Texas
  • Robert Nakatomi, Sacramento, Calif.
  • Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn.
  • Ron Nelson, Berrien Springs, Mich.
  • Andy Newcomb, Camdenton, Mo.
  • Andrew Nordbye, Guntersville, Ala.
  • Terry Olinger, Louisa, Va.
  • Lane Olson, Tualatin, Ore.
  • Val Osinski, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  • Kyle Palmer, Winchester, Tenn.
  • Eric Panzironi, Longwood, Fla.
  • Cody Parker, Ball Ground, Ga.
  • Jaden Parrish, Liberty, Texas
  • Bruce Parsons, Arbela, Mo.
  • Bryan Partak, Marseilles, Ill.
  • Cody Petit, Arundel, Maine
  • Cody Pike, Powhatan, Va.
  • Pete Ponds, Madison, Miss.
  • Tom Redington, Royse City, Texas
  • Matt Reed, Madisonville, Texas
  • Jimmy Reese, Witter Springs, Calif.
  • Brock Reinkemeyer, Warsaw, Mo.
  • Jeff Reynolds, Calera, Okla.
  • Ricky Robinson, Greenback, Tenn.
  • Marshall Robinson, Landrum, S.C.
  • Kevin Rogers, Pleasant Hill, Mo.
  • Fred Roumbanis, Russellville, Ark.
  • Rusty Salewske, Alpine, Calif.
  • Colby Schrumpf, Highland, Ill.
  • Kyle Schutta, Forest Lake, Minn.
  • Braxton Setzer, Wetumpka, Ala.
  • Danny Shanz, Summerton, S.C.
  • Mike Smola, Gravette, Ark.
  • Jeremy Southerly, Fulks Run, Va.
  • Cody Spetz, Menifee, Calif.
  • Matthew Stefan, Junction City, Wis.
  • Tyler Stewart, Dubach, La.
  • Spike Stoker, Cisco, Texas
  • Troy Stokes, Trenton, Mich.
  • J. Todd Tucker, Moultrie, Ga.
  • Jason Vance, Battle Ground, Ind.
  • Martin Villa, Charlottesville, Va.
  • Scotty Villines, Ponca, Ark.
  • John Voyles, Petersburg, Ind.
  • David Walker, Huntingdon, Tenn.
  • Todd Walters, Kernersville, N.C.
  • Joshua Weaver, Macon, Ga.
  • Kyle Weisenburger, Columbus Grove, Ohio
  • Jacob Wheeler, Birchwood, Tenn.
  • Joe Wieberg, Freeburg, Mo.
  • Matt Wieteha, Miami, Fla.
  • Scott Wiley, Bay Minette, Ala.
  • Jack Williams, Kingsport, Tenn.
  • Thomas Wooten, Huddleston, Va.
2023 MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitationals Schedule:

Power-Pole Stop 1
Feb. 8-10                               Lake Okeechobee                             Clewiston, Fla.
Hosted by the Hendry County Tourism Development Council

Feb. 28-March 2                  Clarks Hill Lake                                Appling, Ga.
Hosted by Columbia County, Georgia, & Thomson-McDuffie County CVB

April 14-16                           Eufaula Lake                                     Eufaula, Okla.
Hosted by the Eufaula Conservation & Fishing Association

May 4-6                                 Lake of the Ozarks                           Osage Beach, Mo.
Hosted by the Tri-County Lodging Association

June 17-19                             Potomac River                                  Marbury, Md.
Hosted by the Charles County Board of Commissioners

July 25-27                              Mississippi River                              La Crosse, Wis.
Hosted by Explore La Crosse


Final Classic Spot On The Line At Bassmaster Team Championship On Lake Hartwell

South Carolina's legendary Lake Hartwell will host the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Team Championship and Classic Fish-Off Dec. 7-10.

Photo by Dalton Tumblin/B.A.S.S.

November 30, 2022

ANDERSON, S.C. — Late fall/early winter is a fun time to fish Lake Hartwell, according to Bassmaster Elite Series pro Todd Auten of Lake Wylie, S.C. But anglers who want a chance at winning the 2022 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Team Championship — being held Dec. 7-10 on the legendary fishery — will likely have to catch some quality largemouth to stay in contention.

 

The last tournament on the 2022 Bassmaster tournament series slate, the Team Championship features a unique format — and at the end of the event, one angler will punch a ticket to the 2023 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic at Knoxville scheduled for March 24-26.

The team portion of the event will be held Dec. 7-8 and feature the largest field in Bassmaster Team Championship history — more than 250 teams from across the country qualified through B.A.S.S.-sanctioned team trails. The Top 3 teams after the second day will be split into individuals and will compete in a two-day event, with the winner advancing to the Classic.

Hartwell has hosted many compelling events so far in 2022, including the Bassmaster Classic, the St. Croix Bassmaster Southern Open presented by Mossy Oak Fishing and the Abu Garcia Bassmaster High School National Championship presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors. All of those events had two things in common: the lake was below full pool, and quality largemouth were a factor.

Auten believes this tournament will be the same, and he thinks largemouth will be the predominant species caught, as opposed to spotted bass.

“You can probably win some tournaments with spots, but this time of year I think the largemouth will dominate,” Auten said. “There will be a lot of fish caught I’m sure.”

In early December, depending on how the weather sets up, there will still be opportunities to catch offshore spotted bass in cane and brushpiles. If Auten was fishing, he says he’d be headed to the bank.

“It’s the time of year everything changes. Early December, a lot of those fish will be schooling in the backs of creeks and channels going into the backs, right where the water kind of turns to stain. The shad will stack up in there. That is a good pattern. The dock fishing will still be pretty good.”

ChatterBaits and shallow-running crankbaits are a couple of Auten’s favorite techniques. He added that a jerkbait is another productive way to get bites. If it gets cold enough, a jigging spoon could also come into play.

Takeoff will be each morning at 7 a.m. ET from legendary Green Pond Landing, with weigh-ins held back at Green Pond Landing each day at 3 p.m.Full event coverage will be available at Bassmaster.com.

Visit Anderson is hosting the Bassmaster Team Championship and Bassmaster Classic Fish-Off.


Exceptional Casting Combo Now Available

Daiwa Tatula TWS combines quality and affordability for bass fishing enthusiasts. 

Cypress, CA (November 29, 2022) – Providing anglers with both a proven baitcasting reel matched with the right action and length rod, Daiwa has your bass fishing covered with its new and now available Tatula TWS reel and rod combos. The lineup includes high-speed 7.3:1 gear ratio Tatula 100CT reels in either right- or left-hand retrieves mounted on either a 7-foot or 7-foot-3-inch Daiwa-designed graphite rods. All four available combos retail for $229.99.

“These Tatula TWS combos make it easy for more experienced bass anglers to use quality tackle when fishing a weeknight derby, and also perfect in both performance and price for those taking a serious interest in high school and college bass fishing circuits,” said Marc Mills with Daiwa. “From our interaction with bass anglers at these levels, product quality tops the cost in the tackle they want, but we understand there are limits. The new Tatula TWS combos meet all those needs.”

Daiwa’s Tatula baitcasting reels have the needed features for every bass technique including the T-Wing System (TWS) for long casts and to reduce backlashes. The 100CT with its high-speed gear ratio matched with 7-foot medium action rod is ideal for jig and worm rigs, smaller/medium crankbaits, and topwater action. When combined with the 7-foot-3 medium-heavy rod, the 100CT is ideal for all-around bass fishing action, including fishing heavy cover, and casting bigger spinnerbaits and small swimbaits. Both rods offer all-day fishing comfort from their EVA split grip handle.

These new combos join Daiwa’s ever-expanding Tatula series of bass fishing-focused rods and reels. “As we say when talking about any gear that carries that product name, with the Tatula TWS combos we’ve got your bass covered,” added Mills. “The Tatula TWS combos make it easy to be on the water with rods and reels you can have confidence in.”

TATULA CT CASTING COMBO - Quickview

Daiwa made it easy for any bass angler with the perfect Tatula TWS combo no matter how savvy of an angler you are. The proven Tatula CT with our Daiwa (TWS) T-Wing System gives you longer casting and more control of backlash reduction. Daiwa then paired the TATULA CT reel with a quality eye-catching matte finished graphite composite rod plus modern comfortable EVA handles for the perfect combo to hit the water with. The TATULA TWS casting comb comes in two gear ratios - 6.3:1 and 7.3:1, and in both right- and left-hand retrieve. This Tatula combo is available in 7’ and 7’ 3” rod lengths and two actions, medium and medium-heavy.

MSRP: $239.99


Arey assist Eagle Scout with fish habitat project

Courtesy of Alan McGuckin - Dynamic Sponsorships

Not unlike the success rate of all who aspire to be prosperous full-time professional anglers, only 2-percent of all Boy Scouts achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.

Troop 100 Eagle Scout candidate, Walton Moore, age 17, and Team Toyota pro angler, Matt Arey, both of Shelby, NC, are among the very few to achieve the lofty goal in their respective pursuits, and they’re currently working together to improve fishing habitat on their home lake.

Moore has spent a large portion of his young life trout fishing in Western North Carolina and deer hunting on family land in Chester, SC, but actually lives and bass fishes on Moss Lake where the habitat project is taking place. Arey spends time fishing there when he’s not chasing Bassmaster Elite Series trophies, and credits the lake which is owned by the City of Kings Mountain, for shaping his successful bass fishing career.

“I didn’t actually know about Walton’s project until I was driving past the Boy Scout building in my Tundra and spotted all the artificial trees piled-up. I knew exactly what they were. So, I had to find out more. And that led me to actually going and meeting all the Scouts during their next work day,” Arey explains.

Walton heard about the need for improved aquatic habitat through his Scoutmaster and local landscape architect, Fred Blackley, but it was up to 17-year-old Walton to develop designs, gather materials, and secure approvals for placing the artificial trees in Moss Lake.

Troop 100 has now built 100 artificial trees, and they plan to sink them with supervision from Arey by late November. GPS coordinates will be recorded to document their location. Arey will direct the Scouts on where they will likely attract the most fish and improve the catch rates off all who cast a line on the reservoir located more than an hour’s drive straight west of Charlotte.

“I’m recommending we place them in twenty locations, with five structures per location, in depths ranging from 12 to 20 feet of water,” says Arey. “The cool thing is, they’re made of materials that won’t decompose over time, and they’re pretty snag-free from lures,” he adds.

Man-made brushpiles and boat docks serve as the most fished habitatson Moss Lake currently. Finesse jigs, topwater lures, and small swimbaits rigged on heads like the one Arey helped Pulse Lures designare common lure offerings on the 1,700-acre reservoir that’s now 50-years old.

“I’d probably recommended casting a crankbait at these structures once we get them planted, but for now, I’m just super proud of all the kids in Troop 100, and the community members who helped Walton make this project happen,” says Arey.

“It’s definitely a legacy kind of project Walton created, and the kids even humbled me by asking me to autograph a few of the trees before we sink them,” grins Arey.

That’s a rare autograph request, indeed. Rare like the achievement of Eagle Scout, and one Arey is deeply proud to have a small but guiding hand in.

 

 

 


Two lures Ike’s forever thankful for

Courtesy of Alan McGuckin - Dynamic Sponsorships

On the eve of Thanksgiving, Mike Iaconelli will be the first to tell you he’s got a lot to be thankful for. Including a super supportive wife in Becky, four healthy kids, and a list of professional bass fishing achievements he only dreamed of as a teenager. Plus, a recent epic fishing trip to Venice, Louisiana with three of his lifetime best friends.

Venice, you probably recall, is where Ike won the 2003 Bassmaster Classic. In the final seven minutes of that event, he caught a life-changing largemouth from a pond in the massive labyrinth of the Louisiana Delta and screamed the now iconic “Never Give Up!”

We met some great local bass heads last week who took us to see the pond where I won the Classic 19 years ago. But man, the hurricanes have changed the Delta waters so much since I won. The actual pond is not even visible anymore. It was amazing,” reflects Ike.

By no means did the trip disappoint, however. Ike and his three buddies, Brian, John and Tom, caught enough speckled trout on the first day to feed themselves throughout the week. Interestingly, it was Tom’s dad who gave Ike his first Bassmaster Magazine 40 years ago that fostered so many of his future dreams.

Plus, they caught 100 largemouth pitching baits into roseaucane the second day, and boated 30 giant bull redfish to round-out the incredible getaway.

“All we needed was us and the fish. And that’s exactly what we had. It’s a trip with three of my all-time best friends that I’ll treasure forever,” he says.

Ike uses the term ‘bass head’ a lot. It’s a term of endearment he uses to describe folks like he and his buddies who are absolutely obsessed with all things bass fishing. So, what two lures would the polarizing personality of a bass head from suburban Philadelphia say are the two he’s most thankful forthroughout his highly decorated 20+ years as a pro?

“Obviously, a lot of fans will probably guess I’d pick the soft plastics I won the Classic on. But honestly, it’s still tough to describe how much winning the 2006 Angler of the Year title means to me, and the highlight of that season was winning at Guntersville. So, I have to choose a chartreuse blue Rapala DT 6 like the one I used at Guntersville as one of the two lures I’m most thankful for,” says Iaconelli.

While that particular event was largely a bed fishing bash, Iaconelli knew fish were quickly migrating away from their spawning grounds to the first available deeper weedlines as the event progressed. So, the Rapala DT 6 proved perfect for spurring bites when he’d rip it free from the inside edge of the grass beds.

Ike’s other choice for his two most treasured lures is the compact ½-ounce Mini Flip jig he helped design for Missile Baits and used to win in front of his hometown crowd on the stingy Delaware River at the 2014 Bassmaster Elite.

“That win brought everything in my life full circle! To win on the river where my best friends and I dreamed of being pros as teenagers, in front of so many lifelong friends and all of my family is not only a top highlight of my fishing career, but also my life,” says Iaconelli.

“We designed that Mini Flip jig with a super stout hook, and at the time, it was about the only compact jig with a hook like that. I caught fish on that little brown-purple jig that I probably shouldn’t have. I was hooking fish inside sunken old rusty barges and able to pull them out because of that jig. So, it’s absolutely one of the lures I’m most thankful for,” he says.

From a treasured trip to the Delta with lifelong best buddies last week, to Classic wins, an AOY title, and an electric hometown Elite Series victory, along with two very special lures and a loving family are indeed all highlights on a long list of things Ike will celebrate during this week of Thanksgiving.

 


The VanDam's Opening Day Magic

Courtesy of Luke Stoner - Dynamic Sponsorships

There are few things on earth that conjure excitement like the first cast on tournament morning for Kevin VanDam but opening day of Michigan’s whitetail deer rifle season is certainly one of them. Since his twin boys Jackson and Nicholas have been old enough to hunt, they have shared the woods with KVD on this sacred day, making cherished memories and enjoying the fellowship together.

The three VanDam men made a memory that will be tough to top this year on November 15th, when the three of them scored on a trio of mature bucks that KVD and his surrounding neighbors have been after for years. The groundwork for this year’s opening day success has been more than a decade in the making and will be something they remember for the rest of their lives.

“It was truly the kind of day dreams are made of,” VanDamreflected. “Whether we fill our tags or not, opening day in Michigan embodies so much of what we love about the outdoors. It’s tradition, it’s laughs around the grill the night before, it’s patience in the field and putting in the effort during the off season to give everyone in deer camp the best possible chance. This year was a fairytale and the culmination of work we’ve put in since I bought the property 18 years ago. It was magic.”

Like many professional anglers, VanDam has long spent his tournament off-season chasing whitetails in the fall. There is a kinship between the two pursuits that is difficult to describe but absolutely exists. Take a look at your favorite bass anglers’ social media pages in the fall and winter; there is a strong chance their posts revolve around hunting.

In the same way he approaches tournament fishing, KVD works tirelessly to “control the controllable” variables in hunting. He spends as much time as his schedule allows managing habitat on his property. Planting Biologic food plots, performing timber harvests and hinge cuts, looking for shed antlers, running trail cams, planting trees in predetermined areas, hanging tree stands and re-thinking access routes to and from these locations.

If his Tundra doesn’t have his Nitro boat hooked up to the hitch, it's likely loaded down with hunting equipment. When the season rolls around each October VanDam spends time talking to his neighbors, pouring over aerial maps, and studying the Drury’s DeerCast app.

“It’s an obsession - that’s no doubt,” VanDam said. “Over the years it’s truly been special to watch the work we’ve put in make a positive impact. But it’s about more than deer, the habitat management benefits everything from songbirds, to turkeys, to squirrels. Watching my boy’s evolution as gamekeepers has been equally as special. The past five or six years everything has really been coming together from in our neighborhood, and that’s largely in part to the work and ethics many of the surrounding properties share, too.”

 

While the VanDam’s were treated to a picture-perfect day on the rifle opener and enjoyed the fruits of their labor, this deer season has had its share of ups and downs for KVD leading up to their magical morning. VanDam had his eyes set on a different mature buck throughout the first six weeks of archery season. This deer was super unique, with drop tines coming off both main beams, a true once-in-a-lifetime Michigan buck according to KVD.

After numerous sightings and several close calls, one of their neighbors ended up harvesting that buck just a day after KVD had the deer at 40-yards, but he offered no shot. While he would have loved to taken that deer, VanDam was thrilled for his neighbor.

He didn’t know it at the time but missing the opportunity at his target buck allowed for the incredible opening morning he experienced with his two boys and family at his side. Big antlers and wall-hanger type trophies are cool, but memories made with friends and loved ones are the real reason for the season


Waylon Mullis Justin Hamner win ABT 100 with 25.03

By Jason Duran

Florence, Ala November 19-The Alabama Bass Trail 100 Series concluded the 2022 season with the third and final stop at Pickwick Lake. 100 Teams competed for over $100,000 total purse. The final event also decided the AOY race. With teams reporting a difficult practice and few fish catches, the competition was expected to be tough. However, Pickwick has been known to produce heavy weights in previous ABT events, and this weekend didn’t disappoint. The team of Waylon Mullis and Justin Hammer crossed the scales with 25.03 pounds of Pickwick bass to take the win.

The first-place team of Waylon Mullis and Justin Hamner have fished the ABT series for a long time. Justin fished before he went on to the Bassmaster Elite Series. When asked what they expected this event to be like, Justin shared, “I always think it’s going to take a big bag to win on Pickwick because the fish just live here, but our practice was pretty brutal. Friday, in practice, we got on a little spot and caught a 5-pound and a 4-pound fish off one little spot, so we decided to run with it and milk it for all it was worth. Honestly it was way better than we expected.” The first 30 minutes was a lot of action. The team focused on a stretch along the seven-mile island area to catch most of their weigh. When asked if they expected it to be this good they said, “if you’re catching them, you know somebody else is probably catching them too, so you can’t back down.” They had their limit before 7am and upgraded throughout the day using a Yo-Zuri deep diving jerkbait as their primary bait throwing it around stumps and grass. They also caught a few fish on a Freedom Tackle Swim Jig in white.  The jerkbait has a long bill on it and with a moderate retrieve it helps the bait to bounce off stumps.  Waylon and Justin were the last team to weigh in. Prior to them there were multiple bags in the 19–20-pound range. However, when they came to the scale and dropped 25.03 it was statement that Pickwick still has the big ones. With this first-place finish, they cashed a $25,000 check.

Jeff Kitchens and Randy Wiggins finished in second-place. “We started on the lower end of the lake on Thursday, and didn’t really find anything. On Friday, we spent our time on the upper end of the lake where we saw a bunch of birds flying around an area we didn’t fish. We spent our time fishing other areas not catching much, so we made a plan Friday night to start in the area where we saw the birds.”  They described the spot as, “scattered grass and stumps along a long bar in the seven-mile island area” fishing within sight of the first-place team. “The area had some fresh new grass, and the current flowed by washing against a hard spot pushing the bait up just right for the fish to come up and feed out of the current.” Jeff and Randy said it was a “quick morning bite flurry.”  They caught their fish using crankbaits- a Bill Lewis MR7 in white and a Lucky Craft square bill.  The team weighed in 20.89 pounds of Pickwick bass giving them a second place and $12,500.

Brandon Groce and Bryan Johnson finished in third-place and won $10,000. They focused on a spot near Brush Creek fishing a “thousand-yard stretch of a river ledge bar in about 5-feet of water. The fish were just holding there. In practice there was very little current, but today the wind and the current helped the fishing. We had a limit by 7:30 and continued to upgrade till 9:30, and it turned on again after a lull about 11:00. We fished a Megabass 110 +1 Jerkbait in pearl.” They caught around 30 fish all day in that spot to upgrade to the 20.59 pounds.

The father and son team of Phillip Dukes and Baily Dukes were the most consistent team this year in the three events they finishing 12th,11th, and 10th. That consistency earned them the 2022 ABT 100 AOY. They earned the highly coveted championship belts which they plan to wear to work tomorrow.

The top five standings are below for a complete list of standings please visit:

https://www.alabamabasstrail100.org/pickwick-lake-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.

 


GMAN on Earning a Living in the Fishing Industry

Controlling your destiny is focus of NPAA’s Annual Conference in Fort Myers, FL.

Forestville, WI (November 18, 2022) – The National Professional Anglers Association (NPAA) 2023 Annual Conference kicks off in Fort Myers, Florida, January 6 through 8, and headline speaker Gerald Swindle can’t wait to get started.

“I hope you’ll be there to hear me because I plan to really bring it,” says Swindle. “This is not just a meeting for professional anglers, it’s for anyone making a living in the recreational fishing industry – and you don’t even have to be an NPAA member to attend because everybody’s welcome. This meeting is going to be a conference where we’re talking about how to make money.”

That’s something Swindle says other industry pros don’t generally discuss but it’s going to get full attention at this event, the focus of which is “Controlling Your Destiny!” With this conference NPAA is providing a first-class ticket to meet, network, speak with and glimpse the psyche of top professional anglers, industry representatives and sport fishing leaders across the country.

“This is your chance to see, hear and learn how top professionals do business,” points out the legendary bass pro from Guntersville, AL, who has appeared in 20 Bassmaster Classics, twice been named Bassmaster’s Angler of the Year, broken the magical 100-pound tournament limit twice, and earned roughly $2.5 million in prize money in the process.

NPAA president, Patrick Neu couldn’t be more thrilled than to have Swindle lined up for the event. “He’s the right guy to headline our speakers,” said Neu. “He’s an NPAA member, a social media icon, and a no-nonsense motivational speaker that knows this industry inside and out. He’s true to himself in every aspect of our sport and not afraid to speak his mind. In short, when the G-Man speaks, everybody listens.”

Swindle has plenty to say, of course, but we’ll let him speak for himself in the video link above. Just know that attendance is limited to 200 and tickets are selling fast - so, don’t wait to sign-up, meet, network, speak with and glimpse the psyche of top professional anglers, industry representatives and sport fishing leaders across the country.

The NPAA Annual Conference features business-related educational seminars, networking opportunities, and partner booths in a fun but professional format. It is a key component of the NPAA platform, which exists to help members grow their professional angling careers and run successful industry businesses. The event will also host a Benefit Banquet for the Future Angler Foundation (FAF), which introduces millions of potential new anglers and boaters each year to the thrill and fun of sportfishing and boating.

Additional seminar speakers will include Jason and Jay Przekurat, MLF Redcrest Champion Bobby Lane, Louisiana guide and Redfish Lodge owner, Mike Frenette, plus a myriad of other angling professionals from top guides to industry veterans, all sharing their knowledge freely in sessions throughout the weekend. Event central is the 5-Star rated Holiday Inn Fort Myers Airport - Town Center, which is 5 minutes from the SW Florida Regional Airport (RSW) and just off I75 in Fort Myers.

The NPAA 2023 Annual Conference registration fees include all activities, meals, and a ticket for the FAF Banquet. More information on registration can be found on the NPAA Conference Page. (Note: Non-members who pre-register for the Conference and opt to join the association prior to the end of the Conference will receive a $50 rebate on their Conference Registration Fee.)

For more information on joining the NPAA, attending the Annual Conference, and exploring the many benefits membership provides, visit www.npaa.net.


SITKA Gear Selects Gunpowder, Inc. as Public Relations Agency of Record

DELAFIELD, WI. (Nov. 17, 2022). Leading enthusiast lifestyle agency Gunpowder, Inc. is proud to announce the addition of SITKA Gear to the prominent list of outdoor and lifestyle brands it represents. As the new public relations agency of record, Gunpowder, Inc. will work with SITKA Gear on all earned media outreach initiatives, events, partnerships and activations, as well as commerce content and affiliate programs throughout the year.

Since 2015 Gunpowder has been making waves in outdoor and enthusiast categories providing expertise and creative guidance in marketing communications for its impressive and growing list of clients, including Pure Fishing, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Johnson Outdoors, Breeo, Uncharted Supply Co.,  and THOR Industries among others. The agency is committed to providing a unique and creative approach to its clients’ businesses and has leveraged this approach to realize significant growth over the last two years.

“SITKA is already one of the most iconic outdoor hunting gear brands in the industry—we’re not only huge fans of the brand, but we’re stoked for the opportunity to support a company and products we believe in,” said Ryan Chuckel, Gunpowder President. “Helping our clients reach their business goals and finding creative ways to tell stories is in our blood. With SITKA, as well as our other leading category clients in the outdoors, we get to merge our passion with our profession.”

SITKA Gear has pushed the boundaries of technical apparel since it began in 2006—elevating the standard by which all other outdoor gear is compared. SITKA’s innovative designs and commitment to the hunting lifestyle and wildlife conservation have led both novice and experienced outdoorsmen to choose SITKA for their next adventure. And, with new products reaching new categories, the brand is poised for substantial growth in the coming years.

“Our partnership with Gunpowder comes at an ideal time for SITKA. We have tremendous momentum as a brand with exciting new partnerships and product innovations on the horizon,” said Todd Barker, SITKA Marketing Manager. “The Gunpowder team has the reputation, experience, and a shared passion that will underscore SITKA’s position as a leader in technical hunting apparel and beyond.”

About SITKA Gear
SITKA Gear, based in Bozeman, Montana, created and leads the technical hunting apparel category. The company is recognized for its commitment to continually improving the life experience of the hunter and for its support of healthy ecosystems and wildlife populations. SITKA products work together in systems, and each piece is designed and tested rigorously in both the lab and the field. SITKA is owned by W.L. Gore & Associates, an advanced materials company well known for Gore-Tex™ fabrics and many other industry-leading innovations that provide durable comfort and protection to outdoor enthusiasts. Go to sitkagear.com to learn more about how SITKA enhances the full life experience of the hunter.

About Gunpowder, Inc.
Since 2015 Gunpowder has been driving dynamic communications programs for some of the world’s most influential enthusiast brands including Humminbird, Minn Kota, Pure Fishing, Breeo, Uncharted Supply Co. and THOR Industries. The agency is built on a commitment to driving earned media coverage and social engagement with brand communities through a nimble, creative approach and by understanding how strong strategy and blue-collar work ethic can drive positive business results. The people of Gunpowder live, work and play with its clients’ products and services at the center of their lives. More information is available at www.gunpowderinc.com.


Expanded Elite Series Field Will Feature 104 Anglers In 2023

The 2023 Bassmaster Elite Series field is set with 104 of the world's best anglers, including 13 new qualifiers from the St. Croix Bassmaster Opens presented by Mossy Oak Fishing and TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Championship. 

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

November 16, 2022

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — After a record-breaking 2022 Elite Series season that awarded eight Century Belts, crowned four first-time champions and garnered over 18.5 million views on FOX and the FOX Sports channels, B.A.S.S. announced the new expanded field for the 2023 Elite Series.

Next year, 104 anglers will compete for an Elite Series purse of over $6.9 million. Joining the ranks of the most prominent circuit in sportfishing are 12 qualifiers from the hotly contested St. Croix Bassmaster Opens presented by Mossy Oak Fishing, the TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation champion and legendary Bassmaster Classic champion and two-time Angler of the Year Larry Nixon.

“I can’t wait for the 2023 season to start and think the schedule sets up really well for big catches, big drama and big excitement,” said the Elite Series Tournament Director Lisa Talmadge. “The Elite Series field is absolutely stacked, and fans are going to love following their favorite anglers as well as meeting this talented crop of rookies. And the new guys in the field have such broad appeal to those who love bass fishing, from a true icon of the sport in former Classic and AOY champion Larry Nixon to Cole Sands, who won a College Series National Championship just two years ago.”

With the exception of four anglers who retired, the entire 2022 Elite roster is returning next year. This list of returning anglers includes 2022 Bassmaster Classic champion Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., who also claimed a blue trophy on Chickamauga Lake last season. Idaho pro Brandon Palaniuk took Progressive Insurance Bassmaster Angler of the Year honors — his second time to earn the coveted title — while Jay Przekurat of Stevens Point, Wis., earned a Century Belt with all smallmouth — a feat never before accomplished — to claim a victory on the St. Lawrence River en route to winning Falcon Rods Rookie of the Year.

They will be joined by an accomplished rookie class that includes two international anglers — Kyoya Fujita of Japan and Cooper Gallant of Canada — who earned their spots via the Northern and Southern Opens respectively. Also earning a spot in the Elites via the Northern Opens is Alex Wetherell of Middletown, Conn., who won the 2010 Junior Bassmaster World Championship. Bryant Smith of Roseville, Calif., and Joey Cifuentes IIIof Clinton, Ark., both qualified through the Southern Opens. Kyle Norsetter of Cottage Grove, Wis., and Logan Latuso of Gonzales, La., who has twice been one spot away from realizing his Elite dream, secured their berths via the Central Opens. David Gaston of Sylacauga, Ala., Sands of Calhoun, Tenn., and two-time NPFL tour winner John Soukup of Sapulpa, Okla., qualified via the overall points standings.

Will Davis Jr. of Sylacauga, Ala., won last week’s TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Championship on Pickwick Lake and has also been extended an Elite Series invitation. Part of his “Nation’s Best” prize package includes the use of a fully rigged boat and $16,000 toward his entry fees.

Along with Nixon, who is joining the field via a Legends exemption, there are also two former Elite Series anglers who requalified for the tour through the Opens Series points standings.

Keith Poche of Pike Road, Ala., won the Bassmaster Opens Angler of the Year title to earn his invitation to rejoin the Elites. He’ll be joined by Central Opens points standings winner Bradley Hallman of Edmond, Okla., who found success with FLW after leaving the Elite Series in 2011.

The 2023 Elite Series season kicks off on Florida’s Lake Okeechobee Feb. 16. From there the tournament trail will wind through seven states as anglers battle each other — and big bass — for cash and prizes and attempt to qualify for the 2024 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic.

Each tournament will begin with the full field of anglers on Days 1 and 2 before the field is cut to 50 for the semifinal round on Day 3. Only the Top 10 remaining anglers will fish the final day of each event with a $100,000 first-place prize on the line.

2023 Bassmaster Elite Series Field

Matt Arey, Shelby, N.C.
Justin Atkins, Florence, Ala.
Todd Auten, Lake Wylie, S.C.
Drew Benton, Blakely, Ga.
Stetson Blaylock, Benton, Ark.
Scott Canterbury, Odenville, Ala.
Brandon Card, Salisbury, N.C.
Hank Cherry, Lincolnton, N.C.
Jason Christie, Park Hill, Okla.
Joey Cifuentes III, Clinton, Ark.
Gary Clouse, Winchester, Tenn.
Rick Clunn, Ava, Mo.
Brandon Cobb, Greenwood, S.C.
Keith Combs, Huntington, Texas
Drew Cook, Cairo, Ga.
John Cox, DeBary, Fla.
John Crews, Salem, Va.
Clent Davis, Montevallo, Ala.
Will Davis Jr., Sylacauga, Ala.
Greg DiPalma, Millville, N.J.
Josh Douglas, Isle, Minn.
Bob Downey, Detroit Lakes, Minn.
Seth Feider, New Market, Minn.
Austin Felix, Eden Prairie, Minn.
Jacob Foutz, Charleston, Tenn.
Marc Frazier, Newnan, Ga.
Micah Frazier, Newnan, Ga.
David Fritts, Lexington, N.C.
Kyoya Fujita, Minamitsuru, Yamanashi, Japan
Cooper Gallant, Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
David Gaston, Sylacauga, Ala.
Darold Gleason, Many, La.
Buddy Gross, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Jeff Gustafson, Keewatin, Ontario, Canada
Greg Hackney, Gonzales, La.
Bradley Hallman, Edmond, Okla.
Skylar Hamilton, Dandridge, Tenn.
Justin Hamner, Northport, Ala.
Ray Hanselman, Del Rio, Texas
Jamie Hartman, Newport, N.Y.
Matt Herren, Ashville, Ala.
Derek Hudnall, Zachary, La.
Cody Huff, Ava, Mo.
Mike Huff, Corbin, Ky.
Mike Iaconelli, Pittsgrove, N.J.
Taku Ito, Chiba, Japan
Carl Jocumsen, Toowoomba, Australia
Chris Johnston, Otonabee, Ontario, Canada
Cory Johnston, Cavan, Ontario, Canada
Jonathan Kelley, Old Forge, Pa.
Steve Kennedy, Auburn, Ala.
Kenta Kimura, Hirakata, Osaka, Japan
Koby Kreiger, Alva, Fla.
Caleb Kuphall, Mukwonago, Wis.
Logan Latuso, Gonzales, La.
Shane LeHew, Catawba, N.C.
Brandon Lester, Fayetteville, Tenn.
Lee Livesay, Longview, Texas
Wes Logan, Springville, Ala.
Ed Loughran III, Richmond, Va.
Bill Lowen, Brookville, Ind.
Scott Martin, Clewiston, Fla.
Masayuki Matsushita, Tokoname-Shi, Japan
Mark Menendez, Paducah, Ky.
Brock Mosley, Collinsville, Miss.
Paul Mueller, Naugatuck, Conn.
David Mullins, Mt. Carmel, Tenn.
Bryan New, Saluda, S.C.
Larry Nixon, Quitman, Ark.
Kyle Norsetter, Cottage Grove, Wis.
Brandon Palaniuk, Rathdrum, Idaho
Luke Palmer, Coalgate, Okla.
Chad Pipkens, DeWitt, Mich.
Clifford Pirch, Payson, Ariz.
Keith Poche, Pike Road, Ala.
Jacob Powroznik, North Prince George, Va.
Cliff Prince, Palatka, Fla.
Jay Przekurat, Stevens Point, Wis.
KJ Queen, Catawba, N.C.
Alex Redwine, Blue Ash, Ohio
Tyler Rivet, Raceland, La.
Matt Robertson, Kuttawa, Ky.
Cole Sands, Calhoun, Tenn.
Pat Schlapper, Eleva, Wis.
Bryan Schmitt, Deale, Md.
Bernie Schultz, Gainesville, Fla.
Hunter Shryock, Ooltewah, Tenn.
Bryant Smith, Roseville, Calif.
John Soukup, Sapulpa, Okla.
Josh Stracner, Vandiver, Ala.
Caleb Sumrall, New Iberia, La.
Gerald Swindle, Guntersville, Ala.
Frank Talley, Temple, Texas
Patrick Walters, Summerville, S.C.
Joseph Webster, Hamilton, Ala.
Kyle Welcher, Opelika, Ala.
Clark Wendlandt, Leander, Texas
Alex Wetherell, Middletown, Conn.
Brad Whatley, Bivins, Texas
Jake Whitaker, Hendersonville, N.C.
David Williams, Newton, N.C.
Jason Williamson, Aiken, S.C.
Matty Wong, Honolulu, Hawaii
Chris Zaldain, Fort Worth, Texas


MLF Adjusts Dates and Locations for Western Division Toyota Series, Abu Garcia College Fishing and MLF High School Fishing Events

WHAT:
Due to California Department of Fish and Wildlife permit availability following the Annual Black Bass Permit Draw, Major League Fishing (MLF) has adjusted the 2023 dates and locations in the Western division of the Toyota Series, Abu Garcia College Fishing and MLF High School Fishing.

NOTES:
The first stop for the Western Division circuits remains unchanged.

Stop #1: Lake Havasu – Lake Havasu State Park
699 London Bridge Road, Lake Havasu City, Ariz.

Toyota Series: Feb. 2-4 (Thursday – Saturday)

Abu Garcia College Fishing: Feb. 4 (Saturday)

MLF High School Fishing: Feb. 5 (Sunday)

The dates and locations for the second and third stops have shifted to the following:

Stop #2: California Delta – Russo’s Marina
3995 Willow Road, Bethel Island, Calif.

Toyota Series: March 15-17 (Wednesday – Friday)

Abu Garcia College Fishing: March 17 (Friday)

MLF High School Fishing: March 18 (Saturday)

Stop #3: California Delta – Russo’s Marina
3995 Willow Road, Bethel Island, Calif.

Toyota Series: April 19-21 (Wednesday – Friday)

Abu Garcia College Fishing: April 21 (Friday)

MLF High School Fishing: April 22 (Saturday)

For complete details and updated tournament information, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com . For regular Toyota Series, Abu Garcia College Fishing and MLF High School Fishing updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF5’s social media outlets at Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.


Make an Angler Happy Over the Holidays

New and potent Northland and Bagley baits finding their way onto angler’s wish lists. 

BEMIDJI, Minn. (November 15, 2022) – For the angler who has everything. Wait a minute... There’s no such thing. “No thank you, I don’t need any more fishing gear,” said no one, ever. So, in that spirit and the greater Holiday Season spirit, Northland offers to fill Santa’s bag with new baits, blanketing everything from southern reservoir bass to ice fishing northern border waters.

Shop till you drop…a line.

Elite Series MVP Jig

Since day one, Northland’s mission has always been the same—to build a better bait for everyday anglers and pros alike. That’s why they’ve partnered with best-in-class hook manufacturer Gamakatsu on the Elite Series MVP Jig. The jig features a Gamakatsu Jig 90 Big River hook with a large gap and acute bend that offers great holding power, locking fish in place. Whether fishing soft plastics or upsized live bait—you’re going to want to give the new Elite Series MVP Series Jig a shot. From vertical fishing to pitching or “strolling,” it’s got a hook that’s simply unforgiving and keeps fish buttoned. Available in four sizes and 14 fishy colors. MSRP is $6.49 (3 pack).

Reed-Runner Walking and Popping Frogs

If it walks like a duck, it’s a duck…or maybe a frog, loon, lab rat, blackbird, or baby turtle. At least that’s what the bass say. These dedicated surface smashers don’t discriminate against much of anything struggling or stroking on the surface that represents a square meal. With topwater mayhem on the mind, Northland brings forth the Reed-Runner Walking and Popping Frogs. The premium baits are heralded for their high hookup ratios, super weedless design, stout and sharp hooks, and expertly crafted patterns. Both models are available in 10 patterns. MSRP is $9.99.