Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Freedom Tackle Mischief Minnow Bladed Topwater Review!

The secret to the Mischief Minnow’s performance is the unique custom shaped patent-pending Kilter blade design which is center-mounted on the bait's body by an angled blade pin.

Working the bait is simple with a steady retrieve - relying on the custom blade design combined with the side-to-side body rolling action which mimics a wounded baitfish on the water’s surface. The Mischief Minnow’s unique thrashing action combines sound, wake vibration and Kilter blade flash – a true triple threat in topwater fishing. At rest, the high float body relies on a nose-up presentation that thrashes into action with the slightest twitch. Use a straight retrieve or mix it up with a pause-and-rip rod technique
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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Lee Livesay Wins 2020 Bassmaster Elite at Chickamauga Lake with 58-02lbs!

Staying with ultra shallow froggin' key to fickle bite

By David A. Brown


Staying shallow and close pays off for Texan.
(Photo: BASS) 

Lee Livesay
 had options, but he committed to a singular game plan based on patience and execution to win the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Chickamauga Lake with a four-day total of 58 pounds, 2 ounces.

Livesay of Longview, Texas, turned in daily limits of 13-0, 13-3, 16-13 and 15-2. Notching his first career victory, the second-year Elite Series pro won the top prize of $100,000.

On Day 1, three of the fish that made up his 10th-place sack ate a football-head jig — one on a Hiwassee River bluff and two by the Highway 60 Bridge. He caught the other two by fishing a Scum Frog Launch Frog over main-lake grass mats, a technique that accounted for each of his bass the final three days.

“I stayed in between the Dayton Boat Dock and the Highway 60 Bridge the whole time (Days 2-4),” Livesay said. “It was so tough, you had to keep your bait in the water the whole time. That area is where I had the most bites.

“The farther south you went, the more fishing pressure you got; the farther upriver, the more pressure you got. I had a little zone where I was comfortable. Right where that river comes into the lake, that’s where you have the most nutrients, the most fish and you have current flow. That’s where I decided to set up.”

Livesay was particular about the types of mats he fished, with seclusion and current flow topping his criteria. Also, venturing far into the mats’ shallowest reaches allowed him to target bass that see little to no fishing pressure.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

2020 Bassmaster Elites on Chickamauga Lake Day 3: Livesay Leads with 43lbs

Canadians Gustafson 21st, Chris Johnston 38th & Cory Johnston 67th

By David A. Brown


Livesay overcomes stubborn bass and
flog delay to claim first.
( Photo: BASS) 

The tournament’s shortest fishing day yielded Lee Livesay’s biggest bag, which allowed the angler from Longview, Texas, to take the Day 3 lead of the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Chickamauga Lake with a three-day total of 43 pounds. 

After a 2 1/2-hour fog delay, Livesay backed up his first two weights of 13-0 and 13-3 with a Day 3 limit of 16-13 and overtook Day 2 leader Stetson Blaylock by a margin of 1-15.

He did so by fishing a frog around matted vegetation — and was very specific in the type of vegetation he sought.

“I’m doing what I like to do. I like to pick up a big rod and a frog and hunt them,” Livesay said. “I’m not just fishing, I’m hunting individual fish. I know which mats they’re under; it’s just whether they eat it or not.” 

Livesay said he’s targeting mats in two main scenarios. The first are located off small main-river bars. The key is what he calls supershallow water. 

“Everybody’s fishing the deep mats, but you can’t catch them there,” Livesay said. “You might get a hit every now and then, but it’s random. I fish around the shallowest mats with a little rock under them and two of them have current under them.”

Livesay’s other mat scenario is on the back side of an island bar with a small depression in a flat. The area has scattered rock and tiny cheese mats (topped-out grass coated with a bubbly yellowish algae) within a larger mat. 

“It’s 100 percent confidence, knowing where the fish are and not leaving,” he said. “Also, I’m being quiet; I’m push poling into some areas, keeping my trolling motor up and sitting there for (long periods). 

Saturday, October 17, 2020

2020 Bassmaster Elites on Chickamauga Lake Day 1: Brandon Cobb Takes Commanding Lead with 19-06lbs

Canadians Gustafson 34th, Chris Johnston 40th & Cory Johnston 73rd

By David A. Brown


Two 6lbers key to Cobb's big limit
 as field struggles.
(Photo: BASS) 

A big start, a big finish and solid productivity in between gave Brandon Cobb of Greenwood, S.C., the Day 1 lead of the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Chickamauga Lake with a five-bass limit of 19 pounds, 6 ounces.

A passing cold front created challenging conditions in which bites were few and reports of noncommittal fish were many. With a pair of bookend kickers, Cobb touted execution with two different reaction baits as the key to his success.

“It was not an easy day; I caught six and two of them just happened to be 6-pounders, so that always helps,” he said. “You can’t miss any. You have to boat every fish and just stick to it. 

“It’s so tough, it’s hard to know if you’re doing the right thing. But I stuck with one thing all day, got six bites and turned in 19 pounds.”

Spending his day upriver, Cobb targeted shallow grass and got most of his bites in about 3 feet of water. After his opening spot produced the first of his 6-pounders around 8 a.m., he gave the area a little more time but soon realized he needed to secure a limit. 

“I covered an area of 20 miles; I ran a lot throughout the lake,” Cobb said. “Even though I had some bites in practice, I never really figured anything out; but I could get bites by just covering water. 

Friday, October 16, 2020

Major League Fishing and FLW Unify as One Brand


To further elevate the sport of tournament bass fishing and align multiple circuits as one company, Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today its unification with Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) as one brand, transitioning all FLW brand assets to MLF.  

The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, Toyota Series, Phoenix Bass Fishing League, Abu Garcia College Fishing and High School Fishing will all carry the MLF logo and continue the five-biggest-fish format. A new website that builds on the existing sites, streamlines tournament entry, provides cutting-edge gear and tactics advice, and better highlights participating anglers is set to be unveiled in early 2021.

“Merging the FLW brand under the Major League Fishing umbrella is the next logical step in our company’s evolution, which now includes a broader reach than any of us thought possible in our formative years,” MLF BIG5 Executive Vice President and General Manager Kathy Fennel said. “The key to our success lies not in a name, but in our unwavering focus on providing the best possible tournaments for anglers, fans, hosts and sponsors – our family. Uniting with MLF under a single brand makes the whole greater than the sum of the pieces. The letters may be different, but the people and the values will remain the same.”

The FLW organization now known as “Major League Fishing BIG5” began life as Operation Bass. Founded on the shores of Kentucky Lake in 1979 by Mike Whitaker, a teacher and football coach turned electronics salesman, Operation Bass grew from humble beginnings to become the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization with five circuits and more than 300 events in 11 countries offering $21 million in awards.

Operation Bass was purchased by Minneapolis businessman Irwin L. Jacobs in 1996 and renamed FLW Outdoors in 2001 to honor Forrest L. Wood and the principles he embodied. While those principles still guide the company, FLW became Fishing League Worldwide in 2014 to set the stage for international growth, which now includes bass tournaments in Canada, China, Italy, Mexico, Namibia, Korea, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Zimbabwe.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Brandon Palaniuk Wins 2020 Bass Elite Santee Cooper with 72-02lbs!

Punching & chatterbait key to win!

By David A. Brown


Array of baits fattens final day.
(Photo: BASS)

Championships come down to decisions and execution — two things that Brandon Palaniuk mastered en route to amassing a four-day total of 72 pounds, 2 ounces for a dominant win at the Bassmaster Elite at Santee Cooper Lakes brought to you by the United States Marine Corps.

 Notching his fifth Elite victory — his second in 2020 (the first at Lake Champlain) — Palaniuk earned a top prize of $100,000.

 After leading Day 2, Palaniuk entered Championship Sunday in third place, just 1-3 behind Carl Jocumsen. On Sunday, the pro from Rathdrum, Idaho, added a limit of 22-11 to his previous weights of 21-1, 18-13 and 9-9 to edge Jocumsen.

 “This one is so unexpected,” Palaniuk said. “Every single one I won before, I had a good practice and I knew that I would have a shot at the Top 10 and a shot at the win. This one came out of nowhere.”

 Spending his tournament in Lake Marion, Palaniuk attributed his final-round success to a prelaunch decision to start in the mouth of the Potato Creek area. Having started there on Day 1, he had a feeling the area was ready to reward him again.

 “I was sitting at the dock this morning and something told me to go try it,” Palaniuk said. “With the (warm) weather, the humidity, I felt like I could catch them on topwater, but when I got there, the water was dirty.

 “I couldn’t get them to eat it, so I just picked up a 1/2-ounce bladed jig with a 4-inch white X-Zone Swammer. I had not caught a fish on this all week and I caught a 4-pounder and a 3 1/4-pounder.”

Monday, October 12, 2020

Friday, October 9, 2020

2020 BASS Elite at Santee Cooper Lakes Day 2: Brandon Palaniuk Jumps into Lead with 39-14lbs!

Canadians Gustafson 4th, Cory Johnston 11th & Chris Johnston 57th

By David A. Brown


Punch key to big bass bite.
(Photo: BASS) 

Locating big-fish areas and remaining mobile enabled Brandon Palaniuk of Rathdrum, Idaho, to take the Day 2 lead of the Bassmaster Elite at Santee Cooper Lakes brought to you by the United States Marine Corps with 39 pounds, 14 ounces.

After placing second on Day 1 with 21-1, Palaniuk added 18-13 Friday.

Palaniuk, who claimed his fourth Elite Series win on Lake Champlain earlier this season, caught two of his keepers on a jerkbait, one on a 5-inch X-Zone Swammer rigged on a 1/2-ounce VMC swimbait head and two on a punch rig comprising an X-Zone Muscle Back Finesse Craw on a 3/0 VMC Heavy Duty Flippin’ Hook with a 1 1/4-ounce weight.

Rotating through 10 to 12 spots within a 2-mile area on the upper end of Lake Marion, Palaniuk anchored today’s limit with a 6-6 that he caught while punching shortly before 2 o’clock. Proximity, he said, confirmed he was in the right area.

“I caught the 7-9 I had yesterday maybe 5 feet from where I had a 4-pounder in practice, and then today, I caught a 6-5 maybe 30 feet from where I caught that big fish yesterday,” Palaniuk said. “It’s definitely an area that’s holding the right size fish; I just need to catch five of them.”

Palaniuk said the challenging conditions of the fall transition have required significant consideration, as the fish are in a completely different seasonal mode than they would have been during the event’s originally scheduled dates of April 16-19. When the pandemic required rescheduling, Palaniuk went to work studying for an autumn tournament.

“I came here and pre-practiced in January, which has nothing to do with now,” he said. “I was practicing for an April event, so where I’m actually catching them, I never looked at in pre-practice.