Thursday, February 24, 2011

Beating the Winter Blues Part 3: Looking for the Perfect Bass Rod.

Wow, what a Bass Master Classic! Seeing all those big ones should make everyone ready to organize tackle and spool up the reels. We're always in the hunt for another great rod. If you haven't had a look at Ever Green rods then look them up. Ever Green International make some of the slickest, most amazing rods on the planet. They are finally starting to branch out into North America, so keep your eye peeled. They sure are sweet. Check this video of FLW touring pro Brett Hite at the Ever Green Booth at ICAST 2010 explaining some of the features of the Heracles models.  

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bass Master Classic 2011: Lake Cat

Bass Master Classic: Post Tournament Assessment
Lake Cat's Wow Factor
Tuesday,  February 23, 2011
Louisiana Delta
New Orleans, La.
By Luigi De Rose

The Master!
Photo: James Overstreet (BASS)
Lake Cataouatche (Lake Cat) was the place to be Classic week. The true magic location was the "Tank Pond" section of this lake. It really was on fire. Arriving at the Delta and having hundred of miles of water to choose from is a daunting task. Amazingly, many of the Classic competitors visited this magic place only to discover frigid, low water. Only a few had the faith and vision to recognize it's worth. Kevin Van Dam, Aaron Martens, Scott Rook and Derek Remitz, along with a few others, instantly knew it was the place to be.

Last Wednesday, the last official practice day before the Classic, Aaron Martens discovered the water warmed, its depth increased and the baitfish were plentiful. Van Dam admitted catching an 8 or 9 pound bass in practice and knew it had great potential. Both soon would discover the phenomenal fishing they would unlock.

During the Day 1 press conference, when asked how he knew Lake Cat was a the right place to start, Scott Rook kidded, "because Van Dam is there." After a second of reflection, Scott explained, “its the best spawning areas in the Delta, bar none. It's known for big fish and they're there and coming."  Kevin interjected saying, "I'd be stunned if it is not won there (Lake Cat)."

Kevin explained in greater detail why his winning area produced so well. "It’s a special place. It has a lot of hard bottom and protected areas with all the stumps. The moon dictated that they were getting ready to spawn." Wednesday's moon was big and full and the water temp was on the rise. All signals that bass were coming shallow.

The Strike King KVD square billed crankbaits was key to triggering territorial aggression from the pre-spawning and spawning bass. The Tank Pond area was stained to muddy. Van Dam said in the post tournament interview that he had to make 8 or more casts to single stumps before the bigger ones would bite.

One question I and many others have is why stick with cranking? Why didn't they start pitching the hell of the area of Lake Cat? Most of us would abandon a reaction bite if we didn't see results, especially after hours of nothing. For me, that crank or spinnerbait would be long gone. It seemed strange no one switched to Senkos, jigs, or anything slow. They just relentlessly cranked and cranked over the same stumps trying to make the perfect angled run with the bait. Not only does this illustrate the importance of power fishing and creating a reactionary bite but the importance of fishing your strengths. Like I said before, Kevin Van Dam is Vader with a cranking rod.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bass Master Classic 2011 Day 3: Classy Classic Moments

Bass Master Classic: Post Classic
Classy Classic Moments
Sunday,  February 20, 2011
Louisiana Delta
New Orleans, La.
By Luigi De Rose

By now, everyone has learnt that Kevin Van Dam smashed records on the Delta. But what might have been missed with all the cheering were the many classy moments. Many claim that professional tournament fishing is the best sport ever. True sportsmanship, honour and friendships are made and displayed on and off the water. Here are three cool things you need to know.

A Touching Toot
Kerchal's Fish Whistle.
Photo: James Overstree (BASS)
Brandon Palaniuk finished in fourth. A great achievement for any pro but he isn't a pro. He is a Federation member from Idaho. Also, he was in the mix with the rest of the Top 10 fishing Lake Cataouatche (Lake Cat) so to pull off such an amazing performance in front of the best anglers in the world is pretty cool. What is even cooler is that after he weighted his final limit he spoke of Bryan Kerchal. Bryan Kerchal is the 1994 Classic Champ and the only Federation angler to win a Classic.  Unfortunately, Bryan died in a plane crash a few months after his victory. 

One quirky element of Kerchal was that he blew his fish whistle every time he boated a bass during the 1994 Classic. It was Bryan's lucky charm.  So, in memory of Bryan and in honour of all Federation Nation anglers, Brandon blew into a Kerchal fish whistle. The packed house roared with excitement and clapped as for this classy young angler's appreciation for all the Federation Nation's support.

Leading the Way
Gary Klein needs to be honoured for his classy act of allowing Brett Chapman, a fellow competitor to follow him down to bass rich Venice area on day 2. Without Gary's help, Chapman wouldn't have had any time to fish and might have killed himself or someone else without the aide of Klein's leadership and radar unit. (Learn more about Vinson's near death experience on his foggy run on Day 2 in a future post) Why help Chapman, a fellow competitor? Probably the pure act of kindness and respect for the welfare of Brett and others. Actually, this kind act hurt Klein because Chapman's day 2 limit went 20 pounds, launching Brett into 2nd place. Many felt this was Gary's Classic to win and the pressure of obtaining a life time goal could of swayed Gary's mind. It didn't and that is why Gary Klein will always be a true Bassmaster legend.

A Helping Hand and Bait

Cranking it out.
Photo: James Overstreet (BASS)
 The story of this year's Classic was the Tank Pond area of Lake Cat. Fishing nose to nose, Van Dam, Aaron Martens and Scott Rook were 1, 2, and 3 after day 1.  During his victory press conference, Van Dam acknowledged that he had given Scott Rook the exact same Strike King coloured crankbait that he was using to Rook to use on day 3. Why would anyone on the verge of winning the most prestigious title in all of bass fishing give a fellow competitor the perfect lure? Kevin explained the two were good friends. The story gets better. The strangest thing is that they were fishing boat to boat. Any bass Rook would catch would be detrimental to Van Dam's possible success.  Kevin topped that gracious act by giving Rook additional advice on Day 3.

Seeing Rook struggling, he mouthed instructions to slow the retrieve down as the two passed each other while competing. Van Dam's instructions did help as Rook's afternoon catch improved greatly. Not only is Van Dam the best bass angler ever he might be the kindest too.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bass Master Classic 2011 Day 3: Van Dam Smashes Records!

Bass Master Classic: Day 3
Kevin Van Dam Wins His Fourth Classic by 10 Pounds!
Sunday,  February 20, 2011
Louisiana Delta
New Orleans, La.
By Luigi De Rose

KVD Classic # 4
Photo: James Overstreet (BASS)
The 2011 Bass Master Classic is in the record books. This week, the record books have been rewritten again and again. In true Kevin Van Dam total domination, he amassed a 5 bass creel for 28 pounds even on the third and final day to claim his fourth Classic by more that 10 pounds. Using his signature KVD cranking rod and a new KVD squared billed 1.5 crankbait by Strike King along with his KVD Strike King spinnerbait he illustrated what many already knew; Kevin is the greatest angler of all time.

Kevin Van Dam's records after today's win.
- Four Classic Titles (Tied with Rick Clunn for the most) 
- Back to Back Classic victories (Rick Clunn only other to do that in 1976 and 1977)
- All Time BASS Money winner with career earning over $5 Million
- 20 BASS Wins (Roland Martin had 19)
- One of only two anglers to win the Classic and be Angler of the Year in the same year (Mark Davis is the other)
- Only angler ever to win Classics and Angler of the Year in the same year back to back
- Heaviest all time 5 fish daily limit (15 fish total) Classic weight with 69-11

Lake Cat: Why so Good?
Using his intuition, Kevin explained how he felt about Lake Cat. "With the full moon on Wednesday, it set up to be the perfect storm for big fish." lamented Van Dam when detailing what Lake Cat's potential was by the end of the official practice. The fish wanted to come in and spawn. The habitat is so perfect with all the grass and stumps. Also, this area is one of the only to have a hard bottom. "Really, it (his one fishing spot) is the perfect place for bass to be this time of year." clarified Van Dam.

Next Year
During the BASS Press Conference after his win, a journalist asked about next year's Classic which will be held in Shreveport, Louisiana. With true passion, he explained how his day one gamble during the 2009 Bass Master Classic cost him and he finished that tournament in 26 place, one spot out of the final day cut. He told the crowd that he expects some redemption. Knowing Kevin's competitive style he is already thinking of Classic win #5.

Future Posts will focus on tackle, Classy Classic Moves, Aaron Martens, Derek Remitz,'s Classic picks and an overall wrap up.

Stay Tuned!

Van Dam Slams the Door on # 4!

Bass Master Classic: Day 3
Kevin Van Dam Blast 28-00 to Break Classic Records!
Sunday,  February 20, 2011
Louisiana Delta
New Orleans, La.
By Luigi De Rose

Kevin Van Dam wins his fourth Classic with a record setting three day total of 69-11. Aaron Martens finishes second again with 59-00 and Derek Remitz sacks 26-05,  his best limit all week for a total of 56-08.
Much, much more coming up!

Stay Tuned!

Bass Master Classic 2011 Day 3: Interesting Facts

Bass Master Classic: Day 3
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Louisiana Delta
New Orleans, La.
By Luigi De Rose

Here are some interesting facts.

The Honey Hole
Lake Cataouatche, LA, United States (on goggle world) is the place to be. It is commonly refereed to as Lake Cat to avoid crazy Cajun pronunciations. Most of the top 10 are here and the Van Dam, Rook Martens gang is fishing what locals call the "Tank Pond." (it's not a direct link)

VanDam's 22-08 was the biggest bag of the day by 2 pounds and the largest of the tournament. Chapman and Dean Rojas were the only other pros to break the 20-pound barrier the second day.  This place is that good.

We have reports that Boyd Duckett has landed an 8 pounder along with another good one outside of the tire break wall near the Tank Pond. Giants live here.  

While fog was a critical factor the first two days, it hasn't been an issue today. Luckily, the weather broke and allowed the anglers to fish and try their best. Regardless of what happens today, the fog has become a factor in determining who will be Champ.

Spawning Bass
Spawning bass can be difficult to catch at the best of times. Sight fishing is an excellent method to nail them if the conditions are right. Fishing for spawners in a swamp can be a challenge. Bass bed on hard bottoms not mud but logs, docks, even junk like shopping carts can be good enough. Clear water is key. If you cannot see them then it is just fishing. Some areas are clear enough for seeing them. Dean Rojas, while being interviewed by, explained that his first two on day 2 were bed fish.

Spawning bass have a bad habit of mouthing the bait. Many have complained of bass coming unhooked. This in why most fishing the Tank Pond have switched to cranking. Spinnerbaits were great on day 1 but after loosing so many the last two days, anglers have switched to treble hook baits.

This tournament has so many unique aspects to it. With so many twists, whom ever wins this Classic will have worked for it. 

Stay Tuned!

Bass Master Classic 2011 Day 3: What to Expect

Bass Master Classic: Day 3
Sunday,  February 20, 2011
Louisiana Delta
New Orleans, La.
By Luigi De Rose

Day Three will bring many changes to the game. Here is a run down of what to expect today.
-  Full day of fishing for everyone. A must for Chapman who is the only angler in the top 6 going to Venice.
-  Classic field cut to only the top 25 anglers today.
-  More boats (fans, media, TV crews) but less fishing pressure from other competitors. Respect is a huge factor on day 3.
-  Fish are spawning or setting up to spawn. If a fishing area has clear water sight fishing can be done. Dean 
   Rojas explained his first two bass (both 4 pound each) yesterday were bed fish.
-  Fish that are just setting up on the bed bite funny. Aaron Martens has a lot of trouble keeping fish hooked on Day 2.  
   Rojas said he had that problem on Day 1. (More on Rojas in later posts)
- Wind: might make fishing good but may muddy other areas making pin point casts to underwater targets difficult or
  even impossible.
- Boat traffic might spook any bedding bass or muddy water reducing visibility. More boats = more trouble.
- STRESS! This is the Classic. It is not just a tournament. Everyone except Van Dam might crack. He might crack but no one
  is betting on it. No One!
Stay Tuned!

Bass Master Classic 2011 Day 3: 8:31AM ET. THEY'RE OFF!

Bass Master Classic: Day 3
Saturday,  February 19, 2011
Louisiana Delta
New Orleans, La.
By Luigi De Rose


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Bass Master Classic 2011 Day 2: How our picks did on Day 2 Top Classic Picks: How are they fishing?
By Luigi De Rose

Another in the boat for Kevin.
Photo: James Overstreet (BASS)
Kevin Van Dam #1 Kevin Van Dam is leading! Well, that is not a surprise. Kevin is so amazing he is an easy pick. Very glad that I picked him as one of my top picks but he is so dominate he is almost too easy. Just the same, he is making a mess with his cranking rod. No real word about how is is catching them but I've seen many photographs with him hold a KVD cranking rod and even one photo with a small, shallow running crank. Looks very similar to a Lucky Craft's Rick Clunn 1.5 profile but it must be Strike King's KVD square bill crank. Regardless, this is his style of fishing.

Gary Klein # 7
Klein at Top Speed!
Photo: James Overstreet (BASS)
Gary is just amazing. Considering his age he is still a killer. On stage he said he would abandon his Venice fishing spot if the fog delay went past 10am. It was lifted at 9:45am and he rocketed down there. Today, Gary explained he only fished for 42 minutes and still caught 17 pounds even. That is amazing. What damage could he have done without the fog.

Ike # 17
He has been fishing well just not having the time to do it. He is also going very far south and trying his best. Too many things didn't fall into place. A limit of 13-01 on day 1 follow by 11-09 on day 2 is still strong in this crazy Classic.

Morizo Shimizo #22

Sharing a joke on stage.
Photo: James Overstreet (BASS)
 A strong showing for a guy fishing his first Classic. He was one of the first to land a limit today. He is fishing very small ditched and canals close to Shaw Grigsby. Still think he was a good long shot. Hopefully, on day 3 he nails 25 pounds. (Probably not likely but I hope he gets 15 pounds)

Kelly Jordan #37
Great start yesterday but got killed today. Only 2-15 today and I think he was late getting in. A strong fisherman who said he was going for it all today. That's what happens. Still a great pick.

Greg Hackney #42
Still not sure what happened. He explained to the crowd that he will never pre-fish a Classic way in advanced again. It ruined his mental game trying to refish old and dying spots. Again, another super fisherman who didn't get it right this week. Still think he was a super choice.

Bass Master Classic 2011 Day 2: VAN DOMINATION

Bass Master Classic: Day 2
Kevin Van Dam Smashes 22-08 Sack to Take Command!
Saturday,  February 19, 2011
Louisiana Delta
New Orleans, La.
By Luigi De Rose

Day 2 Leader!
Photo: James Overstreet (BASS)

In true Van Dam fashion, Kevin dominates Day 2 with a remarkable catch of 22-08. Fishing boat to boat with three other anglers in the Lake Cat region of the Delta,  Kevin outdistanced himself from all other Classic competitors with a two day, 10 limit of 41-11.  "It was a real grind in the morning." explained Kevin but the afternoon warmth kick started the larger fish. In the afternoon, he was able to land two bigger bass to push his limit past the 20 pound mark.  
Van Dan has the opportunity to make history tomorrow if he wins. Not only will he tie the mystical mark of 4 Classic Titles set by Rick Clunn, he might be able to set the heaviest 5 fish limit (15 fish total) Classic of all time. The current record is 56-02 set by Luke Clausen on the Kissimmee Chain in Florida. If Kevin can maintain a 20 pound daily average he will easily over shoot this landmark. 
Chapman in second.
Photo: James Overstreet (BASS)
In second place, Brett Chapman made the long trek to Venice worth every  minute by collecting an impressive limit of 20-01. Considering he was only permitted to fish 1 hour and 10 minutes due to the lengthy fog delay. It is remarkable he is only 2-10 off the lead. Even more remarkable is the fact that Brett's boat is not equipped with radar. In true Classic sportsmanship, Gary Klein allowed Chapman to follow his lead through the fog down south. Without Gary's help he wouldn't have made it.   

Brandon Palaniuk
Photo: James Overstreet (BASS)

Yesterday's leader, Aaron Martens has hung onto third place even with a disappointing 12-11 limit.  Aaron,  Scott Rook who is currently in fifth with a two day total of 31-11 and Derek Remitz who is in sixth with 30-03, all fished alongside Van Dam. The location is hot but only Kevin and Remitz, who bagged 17-04 today have unlocked the secret of catching the larger ones on day 2.  
Fourth place is proudly held by Bradon Palaniuk, a Federation angler from Rathdrum, ID. He has amassed a solid two day total of 32-08. Being in the presence of super stars has not wavered this young gun. He too is fishing Cat Lake. If today's 17-14 creel is any indication of his skills, he should be rock solid tomorrow.  (It cannot be confirmed at this time if Brandon is overlapping Van Dam's spot or fishing along it's perimeter.)
Van Dam with Rook and Remitz.
Photo: James Overstreet (BASS)
Many are already considering this Classic Van Dam's to loose. Kevin is not one to blow any tournament but there are many factors to consider. Even Kevin was cautious during the post weigh-in interview when discussing tomorrow's fishing. Again, the questions arise if the honey hole in Cat Lake is drying up, especially with four of the top six all within casting distance of each other. Fishing and boating pressure will be at full tilt there. The weather is said to be breezy which could muddy the magic flat for everyone in Cat Lake. " I would like it flat calm, just like it was today." announced Kevin while talking with Zona and Sanders of ESPN. The wind might be powerful enough to erase any fog giving everyone a longer fishing day. If Brett Chapman is able to get several hours to fully utilize his area he might be a true threat. We'll have to wait and see.
Stay Tuned!

Bass Master Classic 2011 Day 2: The Role of Radar

Bass Master Classic: Day 2
Saturday,  February 19, 2011
Louisiana Delta
New Orleans, La.
By Luigi De Rose

Rojas's skeg found something hard last Friday.
Photo: (BASS)
 Two very distinct factors are playing a major role in the year's Bass Master Classic: distance and weather. The Delta is a massive fishery. Unlike the Great Lakes, which is geographically gigantic, the Delta is a maze of marsh, cuts, channels and the Mississippi River. Littered with stumps, logs, crab traps, floating islands and thousands of posts, this place is very dangerous to navigate.  A few degrees off your course on a two hour journey and you're not lost you're dead! Ripping at top bass boat speeds is only for the skilled. Mix in the fog, which has plagued this tournament, driving at top speed is only for the crazy or very well equipped.

Skeet's boat has one.
Photo: James Overstreet (BASS)
Radar is a must to navigate in all weather conditions. It's not a common electronic for a bass boat but this is the Classic. If it can help you win you get it.  Radar provides a clearer picture of the surrounding area especially approaching water crafts where GPS cannot compare. It is still very critical that boaters use caution when using any navigation aide but radar even works at night. Still, running flat out in poor conditions can be on the edge of reckless. The Delta is like an F1 road course; one slip of the steering wheel and you're eating dirt.

The Out Come
Even with today's long fog delay, many of the top bags seem to be coming from Venice. A distant oasis south of New Orleans, this place is known for being great. But, it was counted out by many as too far even with ideal conditions. Mix in fog and many couldn't justify the trip. Well, the role of radar might make the difference between who wins and who doesn't even if the final day is clear and sunny.

Some of the anglers with Lowrance Radar
Edwin Evers
Mike Iaconelli
Gary Klein
Skeet Reese
Kevin Wirth

Bass Master Classic 2011 Day 2: What to Expect

Bass Master Classic: Day 2
Saturday,  February 19, 2011
Louisiana Delta
New Orleans, La.
By Luigi De Rose

12:21pm Central time

With all the anticipation of the start of Day 2, anglers and fans had to wait for almost 3 full hours before the fog dissipated. Having another fog delay kept the rumor mill spinning as anglers were bring interviewed by media and fans. How many would drive down south? Is there enough time to be worth the drive? Who was fishing close? Who was changing locations? The most critical questions of all was how will Martens, Rook and Van Dam managed their honey hole on Day 2?  Day 1 had these three fishing boat to boat to boat all capitalizing on the rich waters of Cataouatche. Other anglers are near by such as Derek Remitz who has 12-15 on the first day. 

Martens boat one in front of Van Dam on Day 1
Photo: James Overstreet (BASS)
During morning interviews with, Scott Rook explained that out of the trio, he was the slowest at filling out his 19 pound limit. He also alluded to using only one bait and needed to change colours periodically to keep the fishing hot. This spawning flat which is dotted with stumps is used as a transition zone for pre-spawners and spawners. If the weather continues to warm, more bass might inhabit this area or even continue on to shallower adjacent banks to spawn. Again, weather, boat traffic and fishing pressure will be a huge factor in everyone's success.

Bass Master Classic 2011 Day 2: 9:50 am THEY'RE OFF!

Bass Master Classic: Day 2: 9:50 am Central Time
Saturday,  February 19, 2011
Louisiana Delta
New Orleans, La.

By Luigi De Rose

FINALLY THEY'RE OFF! Where will they all go? Who will make the run?  Now it might be anyone's game.

Bass Master Classic 2011 Day 2: Holy Fog!

Bass Master Classic: Day 2: 9:00am Central Time
Saturday,  February 19, 2011
Louisiana Delta
New Orleans, La.

By Luigi De Rose

HUGE FOG DELAY!  Nothing is happening as the weather is still and foggy.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Where are you!?
Two strategies have come into play on the Delta. The Run, which translates into a 1 and half to 2 hour boat run down into areas such as Venice. These anglers have located good fishing down there but and this is a huge but, is time. Many are content with only having 2 hours of fishing the entire day because the fishing is so good. With the fog delay the clock is ticking and every tick eliminates possible fishing time.  How long of a delay will prevent anglers from driving that far? This is what is troubling everyone.

Staying close has its advantages. More time can be spent fishing. The mind set is to spend time fishing instead of driving. Fishing close is a smart way to up grade a daily limit.  More than one Classic has been won very close to the official launch ramp. The fog really is an advantage to the anglers who are fishing close. If anglers abandon the longer fishing locations, these closer fishing areas will become very crowded and prevent everyone from doing well. 


Friday, February 18, 2011

Bass Master Classic 2011 Day 1: Aaron Marten's 20-07 Leads It!

Bass Master Classic: Day 1
Friday,  February 18, 2011
Louisiana Delta
New Orleans, La.

By Luigi De Rose

Day 1

Aaron Martens Photo:BASS
 Aaron Martens leads Day 1 of the 2011 Bass Master Classic with a stunning catch of 5 bass for 20-07. His kicker and today's big bass was a 5-09 stud. Right on his heels is Scott Rook of AR with a weight of 19-06. Van Dam is just 3 small ounces behind Rook in third with a stellar catch of 19-03. With the top 3 catches so close, one fish can easily flip flop the standing. Luckily, for Martens his big bass help secured him the glory of being the best today.

Surprisingly, all three anglers raced down to Cataouatche then ended up fishing within inches of each other along a spawning flat. Mining the area carefully, the top three sacked a combined total of 59 pounds. The Delta is geographically immense but freakishly all three anglers found the identical location.

Crowding on Day 1
Photo: James Overstreet (BASS)
 Will it hold up over the course of the next two days? That is the million dollar question. If Van Dam, a huge crowd pleaser, is in the mix, expect immense spectator boat traffic. In addition to the other competing anglers this might stir this hot spot into a muddy mess, sinking everyone's chances. 

The Top 10
1. Aaron Martens 20- 7
2. Scott Rook 19- 6
3. Kevin VanDam 19- 3
4. Brent Chapman 18- 0
5. Bobby Lane 16-12
6. Dale Hightower 15- 9
7. Cliff Pace 15- 7
8. Todd Faircloth 15- 2
9. Skeet Reese  15- 1
10. Paul Elias 14-13 Top Picks
Well I didn't do too well on my top picks. It is only Day 1 so I still have a chance of calling a winner. Here is how my top picks fared on Day 1.
3. Kevin Van Dam
12. Kelly Jordon 14- 3
21. Michael Iaconelli 13- 1
24. Gary Klein 12- 7
32. Morizo Shimizu 10- 0

46. Greg Hackney  4- 3

Really, the only real shocker is Hackey. Three fish for 4-03 is not great. The fog might have made him have a brain fart and out think himself but who knows. Spring time is all about timing and his fish might have split or he didn't find much during the freezing cold pre-practice. The weights are very close. One 6 pounder and the whole leader board can change in a hurry.


Finally, Van Dam is the first out!
Photo: James Overstreet (BASS)
 Anglers were greeted with gloomy, thick fog on Friday morning. Many questioned their game plans as Trip Wilson, BASS Tournament Director held the boats in a fog delay until 8:10am (central time). During morning interviews, Gary Klein who is making a very long trek to his waters summed it up best with his statement of "It really sucks!"  when asked about the foggy weather during an interview with

Stay tuned for more action tomorrow.
Sorry for the delay. I was at the Spring Fishing and Boat Show in Toronto this afternoon and have some cool stuff to show you in future posts.  

Thursday, February 17, 2011

HAVOC Revealed at 2011 Bass Master Classic

Pros Have Full ControlBerkley Creates, Unleashes HAVOC: New Series
Thursday, February 17, 2011

Berkley Press Release

Photo: Berkley
The Devil Spear, designed by Mike Iaconelli.

Word leaked a week or two ago about a brand new line of Berkley soft-plastics called HAVOC. The project, from inception, was shrouded in secrecy. The pros involved were forbidden from even hinting about the new baits, the media knew nothing, and excitement ramped up as the Bassmaster Classic approached.

Today at Classic Media Day, Berkley finally released news about the exciting HAVOC line and here's the scoop.

HAVOC soft plastics are pro-designed for bass fishing and give anglers lifelike action with a wide-ranging lineup of colors.

HAVOC officially launches at the New Orleans Bassmaster Classic with four new baits. Additional baits will follow throughout the Bassmaster Elite Series season including new and innovative shapes as well as proven forms.
What seems to immediately set HAVOC apart is the control given to pros in the design process. Skeet Reese, Mike Iaconelli, Gary Klein and Bobby Lane spearheaded development of the four new shapes and were given absolute control over the final product. That's somewhat of a departure from traditional pro-manufacturer working relationships, where both parties often compromise on final design.
Berkley product manager Brad Danbom noted: "Berkley's worked extensively with our pro team to create shapes with actions that satisfy their rigorous standards. The great thing about HAVOC is no other baits out there are as unique and action-packed as these soft plastics."

All four of the HAVOC pros addressed the Classic media onstage today. Klein noted: "The HAVOC designs are phenomenal. Anytime you get a group of anglers like us turned loose, and you get us in a room, we'll come up with the best. I think we truly knocked it out of the park. And The Deuce without a doubt is the most versatile out of them all (laughs)."

Reese stated: "There's roughly 150 years of fishing experience standing on this stage right now that designed these new baits for the industry. Most of those years lie with Gary (laughs). But truly, I've done a lot of design work for the last 10 years and I can honestly say right now that the baits we're putting out on the market right now are truly designed to help the angler catch more fish."

The first introductory baits include the HAVOC 4" Devil Spear, 4" Craw Fatty, 3" The Deuce and 4" Pit Boss. Each bait will be available in 10 pro-selected colors for $3.49. More baits will be introduced throughout the year.
Here's the intel on each of the four new baits.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bass Master Classic 2011: The Classic Field

The 2011 Bass Master Classic Field


Defending Champion (1)Name (No. of Classics)
Kevin VanDam (21) 

Bassmaster Elite Series (36)
Name (No. of Classics)
Edwin Evers (10)
Skeet Reese (12)
Terry Butcher (2)
Aaron Martens (12)
Cliff Pace (4)
Russ Lane (4)
Greg Hackney (9)
Tommy Biffle (17)
Gary Klein (29)
Derek Remitz (3)
John Crews (5)
Brian Snowden (5)
Mark Davis (15)
Mike McClelland (8)
Todd Faircloth (9)
Scott Rook (8)
Morizo Shimizu (1)
Matt Herren (3)
Bill Lowen (3)
Stephen Browning (7)
Michael Iaconelli (12)
Dave Wolak (5)
Shaw Grigsby (13)
Boyd Duckett (5)
Bobby Lane (4)
Jeff Kriet (7)
Gerald Swindle (11)
Jason Williamson (1)
Greg Vinson (1)
Steve Kennedy (5)
Dean Rojas (9)
Brent Chapman (10)
Kevin Wirth (12)
Kelly Jordon (9)
Terry Scroggins (8)
Paul Elias (15) 

Southern Opens (2)Name (No. of Classics)
Randall Tharp (1)
Andy Montgomery (1) 

Central Opens (2)
Name (No. of Classics)
Keith Combs (1)
Clark Reehm (2) 

Northern Opens (2)Name (No. of Classics)
Ryan Said (1)
Tracy Adams (1) 

Federation Nation (6)Name (No. of Classics)
Brandon Palaniuk (1)
George Crain (1)
Dale Hightower (1)
Brian LaClair (1)
Sean Alvarez (1)
David Watson (1)

Weekend Series (1)
Name (No. of Classics)
Ryan McMurtury (1) 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bass Master Classic 2011 Preview: Who Will Win?

By Luigi De Rose

On the eve of any main sporting event there is always water cooler talk about who will win?  Making predictions is fun but it takes a bit of educated guessing to get it right. Here are my choices. These anglers are selected for a variety of reasons. All are very skilled and could easily win. Winning the most important bass fishing tournament in the world is not a simple matter. This is the BASS MASTER CLASSIC.

Greg Hackney

photo: BASS
The man is from Louisiana! Home state is never a guarantee you'll succeed but the Delta is not your average river. Plus, Greg can fish. A super, strong angler with a life time of knowledge of the swamp will go a long way. Past Classics here were in the summer. Heat, wind and weed growth dictated fish presence and activity levels.  Early spring will be a totally different animal. So if you consider how many are seeing the Delta for the first time plus all the changes from Hurricane Katrina, Greg Hackney does seem to have an advantage.  He might be my #1 choice and I would bet money on a Top 5 showing but I don't think he'll take it. My head says yes and my gut is undecided. 

Gary Klein

photo: BASS
 I would love for Gary to win. The guy is a walking legend and he's done very well during past trips to the Delta.  Gary knows everything about catching bass throughout the entire spawning period which makes him even deadlier. I'm not picking him because I think the guy rocks but because he can really fish well during awkward cold front, pre-spawn periods. 

If this becomes more of a pre-spawn situation with some colder weather blasting in, Mr. Klein is my man. Why? Past history and his determination. If Gary feels he is on the right fish to win he might be unstoppable. This is the guy who got shot at during a Delta Classic and didn't even flinch. He's tough! 

His past wins speak volumes. During the 1993 Bassmaster Alabama Invitational (Feb 17 to 19) on Lake Eufaula he won by flipping and pitching in river eddies to edge out everyone during a very cold and stingy tournament. Same again at the 2003 Bassmaster Lake Seminole (Feb  6 to 9) event where Gary punched matted weeds. This was before anyone at the national level was punching mats. Both were February win during poor conditions. 

Also, he is Yoda with a flippin' rod. He was swinging one at the 1979 Classic and almost won; so how can you not pick Gary Klein. I might not bet the farm on him but if he has a heavy limit on Day One,  I might have to look under my mattress for an extra $50.   

Mike Iaconelli
photo: BASS
Ike is always dangerous. He finished second at the 2009 Bass Master Classic and the 2009 FLW Forest Wood Cup making the desire factor at an all-time high. Missing two championship wins in the same year would build a fire under anyone plus it is Mike. He doesn't need a reason to get pumped up. 

Why I like him? Two main reasons: history and mind set. He seems to always do well early in the season. There are hundreds of photos of him screaming with a toque on his head and a lunker in his hands. His mind set excudes determination. This time around his life is stable and full. A focused angler who has nothing to worry about is just as dangerous as the old Iaconelli who had the worries of the world and nothing to loose.  In my opinion I expect a top showing. I give him 40% chance of winning but 80% for a Top 5 place. 

Kelly Jordan

photo: BASS
 Kelly is a very strong angler from Texas who loves power fishing the shallows. The ledges and humps of Lake Fork, his home lake, will not give him an edge here but his knowledge of how bass use brush, weeds and stumps will. A keen shallow water angler,  the Delta should be an area where he can excel. If the fish are biting spinnerbaits or on a shallow flipping bite,  I expect him to do well. Jordan has a life time of skill from fishing east Texas during the spring so the Delta shouldn't be that confusing. One thing I worry about is the immense pressure of the Classic might be too overwhelming.  The bite might come and go and the stress of waiting hours between fish could get the better of him. I hope not. He is my long shot. A true dark horse.

Morizo Shimizu

photo: BASS
Being from Japan might be a plus of the personable Morizo Shimizu. This skilled angler knows how to strain bass from areas and grind them out. Several pros think it might be won on the flats with cranks. Evergreen International, one of his main sponsors, is a huge crankbait manufacturer so Morizo has the skill and the cool baits to catch these Delta bass. Another plus is that many tournaments held in Japan are on rivers or lakes with canals or channelized systems. He knows how to dissect water and make the best of an average location. With the enormous size of the Classic boundaries, if you commit to an area then you've committed the entire day there. Forget the Spanish moss, alligators and airboats, the brackish water of the Delta might be surprisingly familiar to Morizo. Considering he has anchored a Top 5 finish on Guntersville (Elite) and Lake Mead (The WON US Open) two wildly different lakes this year, he might to do well in the geographically unique Delta. He is my wild card. Everyone has a wild card and he is mine.

Kevin Van Dam 

photo: BASS
 Why not! He already has 3 Classic wins (one on the Delta) and a fourth is just around the corner. He has back to back Angler of the Year titles so why not back to back Classics. Really, if this is a pre-spawn, shallow water cranking tournament why wouldn't Van Dam be a front runner?  If Gary Klein is Yoda with a flipping rod then Van Dam has to be Varder with a cranking rod.  Also, he's been at the top of his game for the past three years. Considering the way Kevin for been racking up trophies, he is one of my top picks.  My mind says he'll win but my heart says Klein or Hackney.

Well there are my choices. As I write this I feel ill-equipped to really judge some of the meeker Classic qualifiers. I just don't know them well enough to call one a sure winner. Bill Lowen is someone who catches my eye. He loves shallow water river systems.  He might be one I should pick but I don't know him well enough. If Takahiro Omori qualified for this Classic I would have him in my top picks for sure. Even with his busted hand.  There are a few others but that's the fun of guessing.

We'll have to wait for Day 1 of the 2011 Bass Master Classic. 
Stay tuned.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Bass Master Classic 2011 Preview: Getting Pumped Up!

All tournament anglers have dreamt of holding a trophy of a big tournament over their head. There is no more prestigious crown than the Bass Master Classic. Here are a few cool videos that will get your heart pumping. 

The first is an awesome promo video for BASS. The song, the anglers, the helicopter chasing you at the start a fishing day. Totally inspiring. 

Bassmaster ESPN Promo Video

This second one is a historical ride through the history of BASS Angler of the Year.
A Look Back: 39 Years of AOY (2009)

Enjoy and check back soon for all your BASSMASTER CLASSIC COVERAGE!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Beating the Winter Blues Part 2: You Tube

What is a poor fisherman to do when the snow piles up? Looking for goofy stuff on You Tube is always time well wasted. Here are a few of my personal You Tube faves. They're all worth a laugh.

                                       Trigger Happy TV- Big Catch


                                                                                        Love this one!

Triumph Boats - Bubba Test

                                                           This is a great one!

                                                      Funny Fishing

                       Best Fishing Bloopers Funniest Home Videos part 330

This is just weird stuff. Love the pike one. At least one too many adult pops for that guy!

           Trophy Bass Leaping Attack on FROG Lure

                    This guys has some crazy big bass. You can just feel that fish coming.  

What is your favourite? Write me a comment or a link and I'll post it.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

FLW Lake Okeechobee: Flippers Don't Flop While Bedding Bass Bolt

Flippers Don't Flop While Bedding Bass Bolt
FLW Tour Lake Okeechobee
Clewiston, Florida 2011

Before this post can be enjoyed, I must admit that it is easy for writers to see the big picture. Being a Monday morning quarterback allows us to critique from the comforts of home. On the water, trying to fish your way to stardom is a totally different beast.
Cloudy with wind. Not ideal conditions. (photo: Rob Newell) 
The Danger
Multi-day tournaments can be a task of fish management and restraint than solely of catching fish. A dangerous trap is to focus on what worked yesterday than reading the conditions that are unfolding now. During the spawn, all bets are off when the water conditions change especially in south Florida. Even the most astute angler is at the mercy of the fish. If they retreat off the beds or a new wave of bass flood a spawning area, anglers are either blessed or cursed.

On Sunday, a micro weather system greeted the anglers with overcast conditions and a wind change come first light.  With a wind switch to the north east from the south and slightly foggy skies, only time would tell how much would change. By the final FLW Tour Lake Okeechobee weigh-in, change was the name of the game.  

Spawning Bass Blitz and the Bolt
As stated in past entries, even a small weather change can have dramatic consequences this time of year. Last week was stable, clear, sunny and calm, making conditions ideal for viewing shallow bass. One unique approach many top placing anglers used was monitoring the areas that held male bass but hadn’t yet attracted females. These became dynamite areas loaded with unpressured bass. As the tournament wore on, fishing pressure and many bass being brought to the scales in Clewiston, their numbers quickly diminished.

Monday, February 7, 2011

FLW Lake Okeechobee: The Whole Picture

A Week At A Glance on the Big O.
FLW Tour Lake Okeechobee
Clewiston, Florida  February 3-6, 2011

The Champ! (Photo Brett Carlson)
 Brandon McMillan, 27, a Clewiston UPS driver, used his local skill to perfection winning his first FLW Tour victory and he did it on the first try.  Fishing extremely well, he became the new FLW heaviest tournament creel holder with a 4 day, 20 bass total of 106-10 pounds. With over a 5 pound average, you know he’s done something magical.

Brandon's Week
The first day he brought in 27-00 even which placed him 6th. Day 2 was another banner day with a sack of  28-14  lifting him into third.  With the field cut to the Top 20, the third day brought his lightest limit yet, 25-05 which dropped him down one place into fourth. The last day, McMillan paced back and forth along his best stretch and netted at very decent 25-07. The grand total of 106-10 edged out fellow flipper Randall Tharp by 4 pounds 8 ounces. (More on this in the next blog entry) 

The Whole Picture
This week was a tournament based on spots. Anglers who found these few magic locations, many in the northern section near the Kissimmee River,  were blessed with phenomenal catches. Even though Lake Okeechobee is the largest natural lake in the entire south, almost the entire Top 10 field were crammed into a few key spawning flats or weed patches.

Hours before the tournament started, fisherman had to make the decision of where to start their first day. Many knew big females were up spawning while others only could locate smaller males forming beds. Regardless, a few techniques would dominate. Casting buzzing frogs or Gambler Big EZ (swim senko baits) over flats, pitching to beds with a variety of plastics, topwaters or punch weed mats.  All proven methods.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Brandon McMillan Wins FLW Lake Okeechobee

McMillan wins!
Records Have Fallen on the Big "O"!
Lake Okeechobee · Clewiston, FL · February 6, 2011
by Luigi De Rose

Riding the wave of an amazing big bass week, Brandon McMillan wins $125 000 and the title on the first stop on the FLW Tour. With a final day bag of 25-15, Brandon leaps to the top amassing a staggering four day weight of 106-10 to win the FLW Lake Okeechobee Tournament.

 "I've dreamed about this for a long time. I watched my father (a prominent tournament angler)  win before" an emotional Mc Millan explained to the crowd.  Not only did he claim his first FLW crown, in his rookie season no less, he also amassed a new FLW tournament weight record of  106-10.  He is also one of three anglers ever to break the Century mark of 100 pounds in a tournament. All three 100 pound creels occurred this week at Okeechobee.

Brandon, a UPS driver in Clewiston, used his local knowledge of the lake to edge out a legendary field in the last day. The majority of his catch came from repetitively pitchin and flippin the thick reed and cane beds of the Big "O".  More on this in future posts.

The Final standing are:
1  BRANDON MCMILLAN  BELLE GLADE, FL  106-10  $100,000  + Ranger Cup: $25,000 
2  RANDALL THARP  GARDENDALE, AL 5  102-02  $35,000 
3  CHAD PROUGH  CHIPLEY, FL  100-15  $30,000 
4  TERRY SCROGGINS  SAN MATEO, FL  99-09  $25,000 
6  ANDY MORGAN  DAYTON, TN  89-01  $17,000 
7  FRED ROUMBANIS  BIXBY, OK  85-03  $16,000 
8  DEAN ROJAS  LAKE HAVASU CITY, AZ  84-09  $15,000 
10  JAKE MORRIS  MC KEE, KY 82-08  $13,000 

Cool Facts
SHINICHI FUKAE wins the Snickers Big Bass Award with an 11-00 bass on Day 1
FRED ROUMBANIS with the Biggest Bass with a 9-07 on Day 2
TERRY SCROGGINS  with the Biggest Bass with a 12-02 on Day 4 and largest of the event

TOMMY LEE winner of Big Bass with 8-05 on Day 1
BEN DUE and GEORGE KAPITON both had a 7-06 on Day 2

Check out this tournament on TV March 20, 2011 at 1pm on Versus.

Stay tuned for more analysis and in-depth coverage of this event.

FLW Lake Okeechobee Day 4 Preditions

Sight fishing vs. Mat Fishing: The battle for the BIG "O"
By Luigi De Rose

Like in poker,  you play what cards have been dealt. But, you also try to play to your strengths. The first stop on the FLW Tour is in south Florida at Okeechobee. The Big "O" as it is called by its fans is fishing amazingly well and hoards of giant bass are being caught. The last three tournament days have been stellar. The final Top 10 anglers are left to fish Sunday. When a lake is fishing so well, almost anyone has a shot at winning but on Okeechobee it is a real possibility to land a 30 even at 40 pound limit. This makes any of the Top 10 lethal.  How will it be done is the million dollar question. Among the Top Five, it has come down to two strong patterns.  Each one of them are focusing on spawning bass.

CHAD PROUGH PETE THLIVEROS  and TERRY SCROGGINS , who are in first, second and fifth place, have been primarily sight fishing. Giant spawning females are selecting a mate and started spawning. A few glory holes have produced the lion's share of top weights and these three anglers have found them.

Sight fishing is influenced by several different factors: wind, water visibility, moon phase, boat traffic and fishing pressure. The Big "O" is super flat and if the wind starts to howl the water will become turbid reducing visibility to zero preventing anyone from seeing the fish or beds. This will probably not be a factor but it can be devastating. Fishing pressure along with boat traffic will cause the bass to be spooky. If either become too intense, except bass particularly the big ones to split.  Fishing pressure has and will become an even bigger factor.  Many bass have taken a trip to the weight-in already and are no longer catchable. Ideally, only the big females are kept leaving the male bass to court another female. As catch rates fall, many fisherman have kept these smaller male bass to salvage their fishing day. Once that starts happening the show is really over.

Mat Fishing, often refereed to as Punching, is a high percentage fishing technique in Florida especially when the weather turns cold or fishing pressure drives bass to protective cover. This approach is exactly what RANDALL THARP and BRANDON MCMILLAN who are in 3rd and 4th are banking on. Both have discovered heavy cover that is teaming with bass. The only problem is that they both found the exact same spot. Another huge problem with this style of fishing is the difficultly of landing big ones from inside the jungle. Expect to have a few pull free of the hook is part of the gamble. But, when everyone is catching them, losing even one can be a huge blunder.

Have Chad, Peter T and the "Big Show" Scroggins ran their honey holes dry?   Is there enough bass left for Randall and Brandon to share? 

We'll have to wait and see.