Saturday, April 30, 2011

Big Topwaters for Big Bass part 1

By Luigi De Rose

No other bait can excite the heart to levels of arrhythmia quite like a topwater. Strikes are visual, vicious, and exhilarating. Watching the hit then fighting off the desire of slamming the hook home can be total misery. But we wouldn’t want it any other way. Topwater fishing is not only thrilling; it’s a killer technique on giant bass. There are four main families of topwaters. Each one is entirely unique. Learning to use each bait to its potential and success is almost guaranteed.
With a long and colourful history dating back to the origins of bass fishing with artificials topwaters have never lost their luster. Recently, a revolution has occurred. Japanese companies like Lucky Craft, Mega Bass, Jackall and Lake Police, and now some American companies are producing plugs with incredibly ultra-realistic designs. Internal weight chambers, 3D imaging and top-of-the-line hooks have transformed topwaters to near perfection. These baits are easy to work and look incredible but come at a price. Do anglers need such high tech lures? May be not. But many tournament anglers stake their reputation and mortgage payments on them. It’s something to consider and they really do look so pretty.
Topwaters make great search lures. Straining the water for biters can be done quickly. The clearer the water, the further fish will hunt them down. Casts can be more random and still be effective. The real bonus of topwaters, especially big topwaters, is that big bass will snatch it regardless of how lazy their mood. Bigger, heavier baits are idea for working over large areas. They cast very well and can be retrieved quickly without becoming too erratic.
Open water is an untapped horizon for topwaters. Brozebacks routinely roaming open water for smelt, blueback herring or other prey. Pods of bass will cruise underwater landmarks. Shoals, contours around islands, points, and rocky shorelines are all prime locations to intercept them. Roaming bass can be a challenge. Spraying casts across endless water is taxing. Fortunately, once you encounter bass, they’ll usually react. Catching bass, especially smallmouths, on back to back casts can be common. Anglers who focus their attention towards the bank should keep an eye out for open water activity. Keeping a keen eye just off of key cover can pay off. Schools of bass will coral baitfish forcing then towards the surface as they feed. If you’re ready with a topwater plug the action can be fever pitched.
Keeping alert really paid off one July morning while fishing on a Grand River Conservation Authority managed reservoir. Bruno Bambara, a childhood friend, and I were crankbaiting the rocky bottom along a tear drop shaped island. All of a sudden, the surface began boiling. We knew that our luck had changed as we cast into the churning water. One cast, two casts, three casts and still no biters! We frantically cast through the baitfish with crankbaits over and over praying the frenzy wouldn’t disappear. Bruno switch to a popper and after a few jerks of the rod tip, his lure vanished. Forcing the fish to the boat, Bruno lipped a three-pound largemouth. Not a giant, but the lake we were on wasn’t known for producing largemouth. So a three pounder was a worthy prize. Slipping the fish back into the water, Bruno flung his lure back. Bang! Again a scrappy largemouth clamped down on his lure. The action was intense but dissolved as quickly as it appeared. Our final count was nine. The strangest thing was the bass were dining on a huge school of 4” to 5” bullheads. After the surfaced calmed, we discovered several wounded bullheads twitched inches below the surface crippled during the ordeal. 
The most popular of all topwater plugs is a popper. Poppers or chuggers are versatile in cover and open water. With a minnow profile and large concaved mouth, poppers spit water and pop distinctly. Traditionally, poppers where meant for still evening with the bait gently worked next to lilies in a gentle plop, plop, plop fashion. This is fine, but poppers are much more versatile. David Chong a seasoned bass tournament angler and topwater nut from Thornhill loves hunting the mid-depths with poppers. He’s always done well with poppers and last year it helped him seal a victory on Stoney Lake. Stoney, a clear lake with thousands of rocky outcrops is nestled along the northern edge of the Kawarthas. Working both a Frenzy and Splash It popper he landed numerous four pound plus smallmouth all in five to eight feet (1.8 to 2.7m) of water.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Anglers Feeding America
April 28, 2011


I drove through the night to get to Alabama. It took 14 hours to get down here with tornados all around me from Virginia to Alabama. My truck suffered some hail damage but otherwise fine. God was with me the whole way. Thanks to my sister Steph for the play by play reports on were the storm cells and tornados were. She stayed up till 2am to help with my travels.
Becky and I purchased a 1000 bottles of water and are delivering the supply to the needy people in the surrounding areas of Birmingham who have suffered from these devastating tornados. I have never seen so much destruction in my life.
If you find it in your heart to help as well and would like to support our cause, please goto my non-profit organization and make a donation of any size. I started this organization to feed Americans who are in need and who may not be as fortunate as ourselves. Please share this email with your friends.
We will be delivering more water to a distribution check point tonight at the Gallaria in Hoover, AL.
We appreciate your support of any size. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions. I will respond through out the weekend ASAP. Friend me on Facebook for up to date info as well.
Thank You,
Lou Consoli

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

FLW Tour on Table Rock Lake CANCELLED

MINNEAPOLIS — FLW Outdoors announced Wednesday that the upcoming Walmart FLW Tour event on Table Rock Lake has been canceled due to historic flooding in southwestern Missouri. The tournament was originally slated for May 5-8. In regards to rescheduling the event, FLW Outdoors officials are exploring various options. Further details will be announced as they become available.

The water level at the Table Rock Dam is currently sitting at 935.4 feet, having surpassed the previous record high of 933 feet. Within the past four days, the lake has risen nearly 20 feet. Full pool is 915 feet.

“Our foremost concern is the safety of the anglers,” said Kathy Fennel, president of FLW Outdoors Operations Division. “The high water levels and floating debris make boat operation hazardous. The decision to cancel was reached after multiple discussions with state and local officials, and we felt it was imperative to notify anglers before they began traveling to Branson.”

Flick Shake Video with Jackall pro David Swendseid

Friday, April 22, 2011

Flick Shake

Japan's Little Secret
By Luigi De Rose

The under used Flick Shake.
“Man, this thing works!” I said surprisingly to my dad. We were working our favourite shoreline on our secret bit of bass haven in mid July. Giving the dock’s posts and shady floor boards most of our attention we were catching them well. Suddenly, the docks petered out but we kept on fishing.
With nothing to aim at we fired casts randomly along the sandy shore line. Switching from a craw to a wacky rigged worm on a light jighead, I started nailing them. Considering the heat and intense sun, bass were hammering the worm. After that  great day I vowed to learn more about this technique called flick shake.
Flick shake is another finesse technique with Asian roots but with an edge. The concept is simple. The tackle is simple. The results are simply amazing.
Hooking a finesse worm through the middle with a jighead is a staple in Japan. A pinnacle player in it’s design and popularity is Seiji Kato, a Japanese lure designer and founder of Jackall Lures. His reputation, he’s the creator of the TD Minnow (Diawa), Sammy and Pointer (Lucky Craft), has been a driving force. Winning the 2007 Bassmaster co-angler title on famed Lake Amistad with the jighead wacky rig, anglers took notice. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

FLW Tour on Lake Chickamauga: Key Concepts

How they Stayed Alive on Chichamauga
By Luigi De Rose

Clifford working the posts. I guess he didn't see the sign.
(Photo: Rob Newell FLW)
Lake Chichamauga last week was a lake in transition. Water levels were fairly high during the practice period. Into the first two days of the tournament, the lake's water levels slowly dropped . On Friday afternoon, the sky opened and the rains came.  The intensity was so sever that the TVA, the authority who controls water levels on the lake, opened the dam to release the excess water. 

During the beginning of the week, anglers discovered bass in partially flooded shoreline cover. Other sections of the lake held spawning bass on beds. As the water dropped, to the utter shock of FLW Touring Pros, much of the productive cover what now out of the water and bass beds were left high and dry.

Once the dam gate closed, especially on Saturday and into Sunday the final day, the water levels began to climb. Unfortunately the new water was cold and muddy; erasing any chances to find bedding bass again. Many of the top anglers, including eventual winner Clifford Pirch and second place Shinichi Fukae, felt their sight fishing strategy was sunk.

Shinichi Fukae explained during a few different interviews that his primary area had become muddy and difficult to fish. Clifford Pirch used his skill to seek out the clearest water he could. He found it behind large marina complexes. The riprap, walkways, docks and any vertical cover he discovered would eventually yield enough bass to hold off for the win.

Clifford determined the marina was best because the area was not fed by a creek. Coves and bays which had a creek in the back instantly turned to chocolate milk with the heavy down pours. If spawning bass were present, anglers couldn't find them.

Scott flipping his way to 4th.
(Photo: Rob Newell FLW)

One angler who adopted to the dramatic changes extremely well was Scott Canterbury of Springville AL. He targeted trees. As the water flooded these fallen trees, the bass moved in and Scott was right behind them. He sacked of 19-09 which turned out to be the heaviest creel on Day 4. Everyone except him and Tom Monsoon  had poorer success on Sunday.

The lesson learnt on Lake Chickamauga is to practice with the intention of change. Anglers who stuck to steep bank and kept an eye on what could be good suffered the least and the one who banked on slow tapering shorelines watched in horror as their bass and luck got sucked out.


Canada in the Rough TV show is offering a free hunt.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

FLW Tour on Lake Chickamauga Day 4: Prich Grabs Prize on Chick!

Clifford Clinches First Win on Tour
Shinichi a solid second.

FLW Press Release
Clifford Pirch on Top.
(Photo: Brett Carlson FLW)
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Clifford Pirch of Payson, Ariz., caught a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds, 10 ounces Sunday to win $125,000 at the Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Chickamauga presented by National Guard with a four-day catch of 20 bass weighing 77-3.

“This is awesome,” said Pirch, who now has won more than $645,000 in FLW Outdoors competition. “It’s exciting. When you’re sitting up there waiting to see what guys have it’s a little nerve wracking.

“The last two fish came late in the day and I knew they were really going to have to catch them,” Pirch added. “You never know what everybody else has got … if they found a pocket that warmed up just a couple of hours earlier than I did and put a hurt on them.”

“I’m pretty spent,” Pirch said. “You fish one of these things and have burned it at both ends … it’s one of those deals where you leave it all out on the lake. I’m worn, but I’m excited. It’s been a fun time.”

Pirch said he employed a Roboworm creature bait as well as a jig-head worm for sight fish and blind bed fishing. As the water levels rose during the week, Pirch said he had to adapt and become mobile and target specific pieces of cover slowly with a jig.

“I caught five fish today,” Pirch said. “I got five bites and I caught five of them. Any time that happens that’s just a blessing. I don’t know how else to explain it. I got exactly what I needed, and man, I’m thankful.

Bassmaster Elite TroKar Battle on the Bayou Day 4: Rojas Rips Toledo Bend

Dean Rojas Leads All Four Days
Gerald Swindle misses by one ounce

A Win Really is That Difficult!
(Photo: James Overstreet BASS)
By Deb Johnson
B.A.S.S. Communications

BASS Press Release

MANY, La. -- As they met backstage, Dean Rojas and Gerald Swindle shook hands, then gave each other a man hug. Both smiled graciously, both teared up a little.April 17, 2011

It was hard to tell who had just beat who, but it was Rojas who had bested Swindle by 1 ounce in the TroKar Battle on the Bayou. Rojas secured a wire-to-wire win, his second Bassmaster Elite Series victory. It was his fourth Bassmaster career win, one of which, like Sunday's win, was on Toledo Bend Reservoir.
Rojas collected a $100,000 check and an automatic entry into the 2012 Bassmaster Classic. He also jumped 23 spots in the all-important Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year points race, also the road to the post-season.
"I'm going to the Classic, this is so huge," he said. "Everything about the win I love -- the trophy, the check, the points, the Classic, and winning a tournament in 2011."
At the same time, Rojas said, he felt for Swindle, who was philosophical and gracious. "I wasn't out to beat Dean, I was out to compete against Toledo Bend and fish to the best of my ability," said Swindle, who already secured a 2012 Classic seat by winning a Bassmaster Open earlier in the season. "The competition is the fish ... and most of the time yourself is the enemy if you beat yourself up, get too bent out of shape.

"I could sit here and write a book about all the big ones that jumped off during this tournament. You have to say, 'It was meant for Dean Rojas to win' because I put 110 percent heart and soul into this and I didn't make any stupid mistakes."

Bassmaster Elite TroKar Battle on the Bayou Day 4: Rojas Wins by an Ounce!

Dean Rojas Hangs onto TroKar Battle by a Sniff. 
Possibly the bass the won it.
(Photo: James Overstreet BASS)
By Luigi De Rose

MANY, La. -- Dean Rojas outsmarted the wind and the fish to hang onto a wild week of fishing. His reward is the blue Elite trophy for winning the Battle on the Bayou tournament Toledo Bend. G-Man Swindle, who consistently climbed the leader board every day finished an ultra close second. Swindle's 18-14 catch was the largest of Day 4 but not enough to dethrone Dean who lead this tournament wire to wire.

Top 5
1 Dean Rojas 70-15
2 Gerald Swindle 70-14
3 David Walker  70- 2
4 Chris Lane  67- 3
5 Fred Roumbanis 67- 1
More detailed coverage coming up.

FLW Tour on Lake Chickamauga Day 4: Clifford Pirch Wins!

Pirch Wins First FLW!
By Luigi De Rose

Arizonian pro Clifford Pirch with his first FLW Tour event on Lake Chickamauga with four day total of 77-03. Shinichi Fakue finished second after weighing in 10-15, his smallest limit of the tournament. His four day total was 70-08. Tom Monsoor, finished third with 69-05 on the back of a respectable 15-02 day 4 limit. 
More info later tonight. 
Clifford Prich with his first WIN!
3. TOM MONSOOR 69-05
5. BRETT HITE 62-09

Saturday, April 16, 2011

FLW Tour on Lake Chickamauga Day 3: Pirch Remains on Top

Pirch Remains on Top of Leader Board on Day 3

Lake Chickamauga Day 3 leader with a nice one.
(Photo: Rob Newell FLW)
FLW Press Release
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. –Clifford Pirch of Payson, Ariz., caught a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds, 14 ounces Saturday to retain the lead at the Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Chickamauga presented by National Guard and advanced to the top 10 as the crucial No. 1 seed. With a three-day catch of 15 bass weighing 60-9,he now holds a 1-pound lead in the tournament going into the final day of competition.

“I pulled in there this morning and the water was at least two feet higher than it had been,” Pirch said. “The water clarity was still decent when I started, so I was glad to see that. I thought the sun was going to break free and warm them up and move some new ones in, but we didn’t get that. We had winds and clouds all day.”

Pirch didn’t reveal the techniques he employed on Saturday, however he did say that he was not sight fishing.

“It was just pure fishing,” Pirch said. “I was blessed with some good bites and caught quite a few fish. It went well and I certainly can’t complain.

“It’s hard to say what’s going to happen tomorrow,” Pirch added. “I’m thinking we’ll get some sun. They’re really wanting to move in. The temperature’s right and we’ve got a full moon this weekend. They’ve got to be coming.”

Cheez-It pro Shinichi Fukae of Palestine, Texas, advanced to the final round of 10 pros in the No. 2 spot with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 59-9.

Fukae said he caught the majority of his fish “junk fishing” by throwing soft plastics on a Texas-rig anchored with a 3/8-ounce weight as well as a chatterbait and crankbait. He said his deepest fish of the day came in no more than 8 feet of water. Fukae said he believes some of the fish he got to bite could have been spawning fish.

“I cannot see them because the water is high,” Fukae said. “They may be bedding fish because I missed them a couple of times and they still bite. I don’t know about tomorrow because the water is getting high and muddy and cold.

“They’re starting to scatter now,” Fukae added. “I caught 10 keepers the past two days and only six keepers today.”

Rounding out the top 10 pros and advancing to the final day of competition are:

Bassmaster Elite TroKar Battle on the Bayou Day 3: Rojas Still Reins

Dean Rojas Still Standing Strong on Wind Whipped Day 3
By Deb Johnson
B.A.S.S. Communications

MANY, La. -- He has led for three days running, amassing 57 pounds, 7 ounces of Toledo Bend bass, so there's no reason Dean Rojas shouldn't believe he can close the deal Sunday in the TroKar Battle on the Bayou.
And believe he does.

"I need one more big bite to finish this thing off tomorrow, and I know I can do it," he said Saturday after weighing 14 pounds and 9 ounces for a lead of more than 4 pounds over runner-up David Walker, who had 53-6.
Rojas won a Bassmaster tournament on Toledo Bend in 2001, but it wasn't a Bassmaster Elite Series victory, and that's what Rojas wants now. It would be his fourth win, and second since 2008. He claims not to be thinking about the instant qualification for the 2012 Bassmaster Classic, and not even about the $100,000 he'd get for a win.
"Right now, I'm just fishing for the win," he said.
"I'm in position, I'm just going to go for it. I've been fishing relaxed the last three days -- it's been really weird," he said. "Whatever happens, happens. I know I'm doing the best I can do, and I know I'm fishing for the right fish to win with."
Rojas said his third day of competition didn't go quite as planned -- he wanted one more bass to widen the margin -- but it was close. Like Friday, Saturday started slowly for him, with the bite picking up about 11 a.m. He continued to target spawning fish, moving to new areas each day. He has plenty more fish to go to and wrap it up, he said.
"I saw 20 pounds of bass today, just swimming around," he said.
Walker working the wood.
(Photo: James Overstreet BASS)
Four pounds back, Walker is still in range to catch Rojas. On Toledo Bend, 4 pounds is one decent fish. Besides, Walker has already discovered where one break can get you: On Day Two, thanks to a 24-pound bag, he moved from a dismal 53rd place into fourth.
"It was a grind today," he said. "I tried to not let the demons tell me, 'You need to go do this, you need to go do that.' I knew I was doing the right thing to catch the bigger fish, and I stuck with it."
The "right thing" was flipping, his strength.
"With the wind laid down, I could do it, make better casts. All it takes is one cast -- Ish Monroe proved that yesterday (with his 10-15)."
Gerald Swindle improved two places Saturday, from fifth to third with 52-0. He said he stuck with what he did the first two days -- throwing a square-lipped crankbait, jerkbait, chatterbait, and covering a lot of water.
Wind is his friend. He's been picking out windblown points. More specifically, he's hitting the section of the point that has the most wind on it.
"A couple of my primary spots, guys are finally figuring out where they are, but there's nothing I can do about that so I'm having to dig for nhim into the cut as No. 7.ew water."

Bassmaster Elite TroKar Battle on the Bayou: Toledo Bend getting Wild

Toldeo Bend: A Wild Finish
By Luigi De Rose

Wind was whipping before Day 3 started.
(Photo: James Overstreet BASS)
Toledo Ben Lake is a famed east Texas fishery. Part of the Sabine river that straddles Texas and Louisiana, it is an immense impoundment. Its encompasses an area of 185,000 acres and is the largest man-made body of water in Texas and the fifth largest (surface acre) in the United States. Anglers have always flocked to the great fishing here but it can be difficult to fish. This place is a maze of flooded stump fields and timber. Much of the old timber has decayed  but remnants of the trees make driving this lake a bit of a nail biter. Making matter worse, this spring the lake is very low.

What's Happening
The lake is low but there is plenty of cover to keep the fish positioned around targets. Elite pro are in two schools of though: spawning or post spawn fishing. Many anglers felt that the shallow bass would be too spooky and unreliable due to the low water levels. They might be right.

Targeting the many off shore ditches, creek channels and  lanes in the stumps fields with cranks, Carolina rigs and jigs is a strong pattern. Success should be good but post spawn bass can be fickle. One problem is navigation. Anglers simply cannot jump from spot to spot  which is so common to off shore fishing. Countless minutes are eaten up idling around dangerous stumps. Many complain that they cannot fish enough spots to make their milk runs truly successful.

Tournament WeekToledo Bend is wide and long. Wind can whip up from any direction making fishing and running difficult. Ish Monroe on day 2 speared a wave racing back to the weigh-in  and wash away all his rods off the deck. Heart broken of his $10 000 loss, he make it back with not time to spare to capture big bass honours with a 10-15.
Wind will hurt almost everyone fishing. Luckily, this lake has thousands of nooks to hide a bass boat. With strong winds predicted for all of Saturday and maybe Sunday, anglers will have to account for the wind.  Takahiro Omori, in 7th, stated that the wind will only make him change his fishing style. The stronger the wind will mean more of a reaction bait and the calmer means more flipping. As long as the angler can adjust, fishing should be good.
Mid April is still spawning time. Dean Rojas, the tournament leader both days stated in an interview with that, “we are in a full moon so they (bass) know its time to get it done.” Dean also alluded to the quality of the fish that are being caught on beds. “there’s not a whole bunch up there (spawning bass) but there are a few big ones.” If Rojas is correct and he can find the beds  he might be able to lead this event  wire to wire.
The weather will play a huge role this weekend and whom ever can adjust will win. Toledo Bend bass can be caught almost anyway you wish as long as the wind doesn’t get to wild.

FLW Tour on Lake Chickamauga: What's Happening?

Lake Chichamauga: A Lake in Flux.
By Luigi De Rose
Water is dropping!
(Photo: Rob Newell FLW)

Lake Chichamauga located near Chattanooga Tennessee is part of the fames TVA system. This reservoir is  immediately downstream from Watts Bar Lake and immediately upstream from Nickajack Lake. Being part of the Tennessee river system, spring time usually means high water. Not this year, the lake is several feet below normal pool and much of the shoreline cover is high and dry. The lake’s numerous boat houses and docks are not as valuable as they usually are due to the very low water.
Lake Chichamauga has had many years of turmoil due to fisheries departments spraying the milfoil grass. This destroyed acres of habitat. The last few years, the fishing has improved greatly compared to the fishing in the late 1980s.

What’s Working
FLW Pros have been catching numerous  bass but the size is not large. Scan the standings and the weights are very close. There is only a four pound difference between 8th place and 41st  so finding one big bass here can make a whole tournament.

Top anglers have had good success fishing any remaining shoreline wood or grass. Japanese sensation, Shinichi Fukae, stated that he saw the water in his primary area recede. After the strong rain on Friday, he noticed the water starting to rise. His fishing got much better and he was able to produce a near 20 pound stringer.  He is currently in second but only 3 ounces off the lead.
Tom Monsoor, in forth, has caught the majority of his fish swimming a jig along  the inside grass line. If the water continues to drop, many bass should relocate to these adjacent grass lines.

Any brush in the water has bass. Note how much the water dropped. 
(Photo: Rob Newell FLW)
What to Expect
Surprisingly, many tops have targeted spawning bass. Either sight fishing for visible bass or fishing around bedding areas.  If the water drops even more this might be a loosing pattern and if the water rises with the rain, it might be too stained to see them. Sight fishing is definitely a dicey game but if the bass are there the risk is worth it.
Anglers who find the last remaining shallow cover might have a chance to survive. Fishing pressure might ruin the best areas but the fishermen who have done their homework might know of secluded areas with biting fish. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

FLW Tour Lake Chickamauga Day 2: Pirch Jumps to Top

Arizona's Clifford Pirch take a slim lead over Shinichi Fukae
Day 2 Leader.
(Photo: Rob Newell FLW)
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Clifford Pirch of Payson, Ariz., caught a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 6 ounces Friday to capture the lead on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Chickamauga presented by National Guard. His two-day catch of 10 bass weighing 43 pounds, 11 ounces gives him a slim 3-ounce lead heading into the third day of the tournament. There were 154 pros and 154 co-anglers from across the United States and Canada that started the tournament. The top 20 will fish day three and the top 10 will compete for the title on day four.

“I had a slower start today,” Pirch said. “I did get a couple sight fishing this morning. But by midday I started to get on them a little bit and had a couple of good passes where I was able to get a limit and then cull and got some momentum. It ended up working out real well.

“I had a great end to the day,” Pirch added. “It wasn’t action all day long, but it worked out well.

Pirch said he caught about a dozen keepers throughout the course of the day and relied on Typhoon polarized optics to help him spot bedding bass. He said he targeted those bass with a Roboworm creature bait.

“There’s a lot of fish in this lake and it’s a fun place to fish,” Pirch said. “There’s a lot of big ones. Hopefully I can go out and do it again tomorrow.”

Pirch said Friday’s rain hampered his sight fishing a bit, but other than making the fishermen uncomfortable the weather didn’t play a major role in the fishing.

“It didn’t change the fishing much,” Pirch said. “I’m hoping we won’t have too much muddy water (Saturday). Either way, I’ll try to roll with it and find some clean water and try to catch them just fishing.”

Rounding out the top 20 pros that will fish another day on Lake Chickamauga are:

Bassmaster Elite TroKar Battle on the Bayou Day 2: Rojas Repeats to Keep Lead

Dean Rojas maintains lead with almost 20. Ish lands a true Texas Lunker
By Deb Johnson
B.A.S.S. Communications

(BASS Press Release)

MANY, La. -- Dean Rojas outsmarted the wind Friday to hold the lead for the second day in the TroKar Battle on the Bayou.
Another for Dean's box.
(Photo: Rob Russow BASS)
"Where I was fishing was pretty well protected," said Rojas, who had 19-13 Friday for 42-14 over two days on Toledo Bend Reservoir. "In some of the areas I was fishing the prevailing west wind was OK, and my area wasn't getting beat up. I was even able to sight-fish a few and catch that big one."

That "big one" went 7 pounds, 15 ounces. He caught it about 1 p.m., when he already had a limit, allowing him to cull up and keep his lead in the fourth event of the Bassmaster Elite Series season.
Rojas put away Day One's hottest challengers and staved off Aaron Martens by 2 pounds, 10 ounces. Martens charged from 13th to second place on the strength of a 21-13 sack, one of the day's best weights. Randy Howell moved into third place with a bag that almost duplicated what he did on Day One, for 37-11 over two days. Fourth was the day's biggest mover, David Walker. He shot from 53rd place with 24-0, the day's biggest bag. Rounding out the top-five was Gerald Swindle with 36-5.
They lead the top-50 field for Saturday's third round. On Sunday, only the best 12 will compete for the top prize of $100,000 and an automatic entry in the 2012 Bassmaster Classic.
Rojas kept his lead even though he had to abandon his water from the first day. He moved to an area that got him away from the brunt of Friday's sustained afternoon winds of up to 25 mph punctuated by gusts of 40 mph.
He said he was casting and sight-fishing in the new area.

"Once I get around them, I set up and caught them," he said.
After that, he said he went scouting.

"I burned up a couple of hours just looking, and I figured out that I need to move even more tomorrow. I left a couple on beds today for tomorrow. I figured it wouldn't help me much today, only give me couple pounds, and they be worth a lot more to me tomorrow."
Like most others, Martens bucked the wind. He also fought off the flu, feeling feverish through most of the day.
"It was a lot of work, I'll be cramping up tonight," he said of his day perched on his boat deck, keeping his balance as he cast into the high winds. "I fought the wind all day long and this cold has me feeling weak."
Martens said his best spot was crossed by a trotline, and he kept tangling his jig in it. He had five or six spots, main lake and in a creek, from which he pulled about 20 keepers.
Randy Howell produced 19-0 Friday on an offshore pattern, almost repeating his 18-11 on Day One.
"Yesterday I had one 7-pounder, and that gave me a lot of my weight," he said. "I had two 5-pounders today and a good, solid bag."
Ish' Whopper!
(Photo: James Overstreet BASS)
He had 16 to 17 pounds on one spot, but the wind blew too hard and he had to abandon it. He returned to a place he'd hit the first day, where he got one of the 5-pounders.
"I think the sunlight helped, kind of scrapped it out," he said. "I'm hoping for less wind, tomorrow, though."
The day's big bass was a 10-15 by Ish Monroe. The fish put him not only in contention for the Berkley Big Bass of the Tournament bonus of $500, but into the cut at place No. 21 for Saturday's fishing.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

FLW Tour on Lake Chickamauga Day 1: Shin Fukae Steals First

Fukae Takes Day 1 with 23-11
FLW Official Press Release

Shinichi leads Lake Chickamauga.
(Photo: Brett Carlson FLW)
Cheez-It pro Shinichi Fukae of Palestine, Texas, crossed the stage Thursday with a five-bass limit weighing 23 pounds, 11 ounces to lead day one of the Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Chickamauga presented by National Guard. Fukae holds a 6-ounce lead over Clifford Pirch of Payson, Ariz., who caught five bass weighing 23-5 in a tournament featuring 154 anglers from all across the country and Canada.

“Two days of practice I was looking for bedding fish,” said Fukae, who said he was surprised he ended the first day of competition in the lead because he spent the day “junk fishing” - fishing using a variety of baits or methods. “But the water level got lower and everything was gone. Then on the third day of practice I found a couple of fish close to the bank. I didn’t have any confidence today, but I do have confidence right now.”

Fukae remained tight-lipped about the methods he used during the first day of competition, although he did say he was fishing near the bank and caught fish both shallow as well as a “little deeper.” Fukae said his bigger fish came in shallow water and looks for the more of the same with the lower water levels on Friday.

Bassmaster Elite TroKar Battle on the Bayou Day 1: Dean Rojas Takes Top Spot

Rojas Sacks 23-01 For First on Toledo Bend
TroKar Battle on the Bayou
Toledo Bend — Many, La.
April 14-17

By Luigi De Rose

One of Toledo Bend's famous stump fields.
(Photo: James Overstreet BASS)
Foggy weather greeted anglers on Day 1 on Toledo Bend. This famed east Texas, stumped filled lake is below normal pool and anglers are met with daunting fishing. Elite pros admit that the lake is full of bass but catching quality fish is the true problem. Scanning through the top 25 places today, its clear that one or two larger bass can really make a difference. The focus on Toledo Bend is not to hope for a giant but to try and find concentrations of 3 to 4 pound bass. Big bass exist in Texas, like Chris Lane of Guntersville, AL netted today's big bass honours with a 7-14 brute.

Day 1 is not the place to find answers. Keen anglers will try to focus on patterns. Will Toledo Bend hold true to the Elite trend of the top anglers being bow to bow? We'll have to wait and see.

Top 25
1 Dean Rojas 5 23- 1 5
2 Fred Roumbanis 5 21- 3
3 Brandon Palaniuk 5 20- 6 
4 Todd Faircloth 5 20- 4 
5 Steve Kennedy 5 20- 0 
6 Ott DeFoe 5 19-11 
7 Gerald Swindle 5 19- 9 
8 Takahiro Omori 5 19- 3 
9 Randy Howell 5 18-11
10 Michael Iaconelli 5 18- 8 
10 Davy Hite 5 18- 8 
10 Rick Morris 5 18- 8 
13 Aaron Martens 5 18- 7 
14 Casey Ashley 5 18- 5
15 Jason Williamson 5 17-10
16 Chris Lane 5 17- 2 
16 Paul Elias 5 17- 2
18 Andy Montgomery 5 16-10 
19 Terry Scroggins 5 16- 8 
20 Scott Rook 5 16- 7
21 James Stricklin 5 16- 6
22 Cliff Pace 5 16- 4 
23 Gary Klein 5 15-15
24 Grant Goldbeck 5 15-10 
24 Britt Myers 5 15-10

Monday, April 11, 2011

Bassmaster Elite Alabama Charge: Dam Busy

It was that crazy!
(Photo: James Overstreet BASS)
Once again the trend of 2011 is fishing in a crowd. Since the Bassmaster Classic, the first official Bassmaster tournament of the year, anglers have battled it out bow to bow. This past week at Pickwick Lake was no different. The tail water area below the Wilson Dam was very popular. Surprisingly, during this tournament many of the Top 30 anglers fished it. Each day the water current dictated which areas were fishable. Many anglers targeted the many giant rocks just below the raging waterfall. Others, like Davy Hite, the eventual winner also cast along the dam.

How crazy was it? How crowded was it? Well, It looked more like opening day of trout on a Great Lake tributary river than bass fishing. Instead of wader to wader, it was trolling motor to trolling motor. Many anglers complained of tangling with other competitors. If someone latched into a frisky drum or striper tangles were inevitable. Davy Hite and Keith Poche worked one section of the dam that was only a few yards long. Both has their boats beside each other and cast to the exact same spot.

Photo: James Overstreet (BASS)
Fishing shoulder to shoulder is not for everyone. But, when a win on the Elite tournament trail is possible, anglers have to just deal with it. Once again, the question is raised concerning the possibilities of how good this area could be if an angler had it to them self. After this Pickwick Lake tournament, the chances of anyone getting that fishing hole to yourself is slim to none.

Next week, the Bassmaster Elite anglers are at Toledo Bend in Texas.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bassmaster Elite Alabama Charge: The Sawgrass Connection

The sawgrass connection.
 Rick Clun stated years ago that finding a pattern within a pattern is how to win a Bassmaster tournament. This week on Pickwick Lake the water was high. This time of year with the water high means bass in the bushes. That seemed to be the obvious pattern for a spring tournament. When Denny Brauer took the Day 1 lead everyone one knew the bushes were on. Denny is the flipping man and he won his first tournaments in the 1980s in Texas by flipping and pitching jigs into the buck brush and shoreline cover.

Yet, the astute anglers found something more, a pattern within a pattern. The In-Fisherman crew, a multi-species magazine and TV crew started by Ron and Al Linder, would consider this a spot on a spot if we were talking about deep water structure fishing. There is always something distinct that makes one place better than another and this week it was Sawgrass. This yellow bullrush looking grass typically grows on hard, rocky bottom. Bass were seeking hard bottom to spawn. Find the sawgrass meant finding hard bottom. Which in turn meant finding suitable bottom for making a bed. The tournament started as a pre-spawn tournament but slowly turned into a spawning tournament as the week progressed. Again, always focusing on the changes is what keeps the top on top.
Alton Jones, Denny Brauer, Bobby Lane, Jared Lintner, Greg Hackney, along with many others focused on the sawgrass and it seemed to make a world of difference.

All photos from  Rob Russow and James Overstreet (BASS)

Bassmaster Elite Alabama Charge Day 4: Davy Hite Holds Out for Win!

Davy Hite Holds Off Intense Competition for Pickwick Lake Win!

Pickwick Lake — Florence, Ala

April 6-10 | Weigh-ins at 4 p.m. CT

Deb Johnson Press Release

Davy Hite earned the toughest and sweetest victory of his career Saturday.
Waiting it out by the Wilson Dam worked out for Davy.
(Photo: James Overstreet BASS)
Someone else who already owned seven Bassmaster titles maybe wouldn't have shown such emotion. Hite did as he took the Alabama Charge trophy.

"I don't take for granted winning No. 8, I promise you," he said. "This is as meaningful to me as the first one I ever won. It's like a drug, I can't describe the way it feels to win one of these things.
"I wanted it really bad. I'm just going to be honest here, although I hate to admit it: Probably at No. 4, 5 or 6 -- somewhere in there -- I kind of took it (winning) for granted. I wanted this one as bad as the first one I ever won."
In Bassmaster terms, that was in 1994 on another Alabama fishery, Lake Eufaula. He won six more over the years, including a Bassmaster Elite Series win and the 1999 Bassmaster Classic title, plus two Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year crowns in 1997 and 2002.
Hite's latest victory was worth $100,000 and an instant entry into the 2012 Bassmaster Classic, his 14th qualification and first since 2009.
He said the Classic qualification makes him rest easy on that score for the rest of the season.
Finally able to put his hands on another trophy!
(Photo: James Overstreet BASS)
"It's huge for me," he said. "I've missed one or two, barely missed them, and I don't feel like I've done my sponsors justice if I don't qualify each and every year. It starts to wear on me mentally, so it means a lot for me to be there for them, that's their showcase."

After leading for two days, Hite won the Pickwick Lake event with a four-day total of 84 pounds, 9 ounces. He ended with 8 pounds more than Bobby Lane, who totaled 76-9 for second place, and 9-4 ahead of Day One leader Denny Brauer, who finished third with 75-5.
Fourth place went to Keith Poche, who gave Hite a scare Friday by getting within 12 ounces. Alton Jones secured fifth place with 73-6, a finish that helped him keep his lead in the 2011 Angler of the Year race.
Hite's wide margin of victory was deceptive. He had to fight all week, staving off hard-chargers that included Poche in the No. 2 spot for two days running.
Falling water levels changed the game at Hite's primary area, the tailwaters of the Wilson Dam. He said he knew the water had dropped even before he arrived at the dam Saturday morning. He had marked an object at the water's edge Friday, and checked it Saturday morning before takeoff. That's how he knew the bite was not going to be quite the same for the final round.
The tip-off helped him quickly adjust and decide to stick with the dam.
"I went there and knew there'd still be fish there, that I'd just have to learn how to catch them with slower water. I knew it would be harder and I wouldn't get as many bites. It had worked for three days, I couldn't go looking for flipping fish the last day.
"It was a grind. I knew God shined on me bright when I heard that horn go off at 11 o'clock. I knew then I had a real chance."

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bassmaster Elite Alabama Charge Day 3: Hite on Top Again

Davy Hite Close to Taking a Win.

Pickwick Lake — Florence, Ala

April 6-10 | Weigh-ins at 4 p.m. CT

Deb Johnson Press Release

FLORENCE, Ala. -- Experience, get ready to meet raw ambition.
Keith Poche, a Bassmaster Elite Series sophomore seeking his first Bassmaster win, plans to give Alabama Charge leader and veteran pro Davy Hite something to sweat about in Saturday's Pickwick Lake finale.

Hite, the two-time Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year and 1999 Bassmaster Classic champ from South Carolina, is just as determined to claim his eighth Bassmaster win, which would be his first since a 2006 Elite victory in Georgia.
Adding another layer to the contest, the leaders plan to continue sharing water below Wilson Dam. They have been fishing within sight of each other and often within a cast of each other.
"It'll be a shootout," Hite said.
Asked if he believed Poche might feel intimidated by his experience in the sport, Hite answered, "I hope so."
Yeah! Davy's (closest) competition is that close.
(Photo: James Overstreet (BASS)
"When I was in his shoes, before I won a tournament, if I was fishing around somebody who'd won quite a few, yea, I'd be a little intimidated," Hite said. "I'm not going to do anything wrong, but you do what you've got to do to win. I might yell a little bit or something like that when I catch a big one."
Leading with a three-day total of 63 pounds, 8 ounces, Hite brought 20-9 to the scales Friday. It was enough to keep his Thursday lead and stave off not only Poche, who had a total of 62-12, but also Bobby Lane, who repeated his Thursday finish by securing third place with 59-7.

In fourth was Day One leader Denny Brauer with 57-2. Terry Scroggins was fifth with 54-15 after a 20-15 day that boosted him from 17th place.
Only the top 12 qualified for the final round Saturday, when one angler will claim the $100,000 first-place prize and a 2012 Bassmaster Classic berth.
Friday's catch almost didn't happen for Poche, a Louisiana native who lives in Troy, Ala. The day, which Poche later said was a lesson in the power of believing in yourself, began at the dam with lost fish and missed bites.
"It started out real sloppy, real slow," he said. "I could not get a bass in the boat."
He finally managed two small largemouth by 10:30 a.m., then another one of about 2 pounds. But then the action stalled for him.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Pickwick Lake: Following the Water

Pickwick Lake is a reservoir in north west Alabama that is part of the Tennessee Valley Authority system. It stretched from Pickwick Landing Dam to Wilson Dam. It is site of this week's Bassmaster Elite Alambama Charge tournament. Pickwick lake is a popular lake that has a diversity of fishing. There is a strong population of bass, both largemouth and smallmouth along with stripers and white bass. Pickwick can be divided into two distinct areas.

The Fast Water
Tim Horton tries to break off a wedged bait in the
fast water.
(Photo: James Overstreet BASS)
The fast water is a huge draw for anglers. The tailwater below Wilson Dam is rocky and the current is quick. This draws baitfish, gamefish and anglers. This area is historically very popular. Some of the lake's largest smallmouth live there. Water levels, discharge rates and time of year greatly effect its flow. Current speed and water depth alter greatl causing bass and their food to frequently reposition. Find the correct drift will have you in haven.

The tailwater section of this impoundment eats tackle at an alarming rate. Snagging is a constant problem. Expect to clean your tackle box out quickly if you're not carefully watching your line. Other foes are the eager white bass and stripers. They love baitfish shaped lures equally and their aggressive nature can force smallmouth and largemouth to relocate. Many Elite pros will battle more stripers and white bass than they care too. But, that is all part of the game in the fast water.

The Timber
Denny Brauer is loving the flipping cover. He was the Day 1 leader.
(Photo: Rob Russow BASS)
Pickwick Lake is more of a river than a typical impoundment. It's shoreline can be very brushy and steep. Many sections of Pickwick are sheer bluff walls. But that is a different story altogether.  Finding the correct area can be flipping Nirvana. Trees, brush and stumps are ideal for flippers but also prime spinnerbait, topwater, and shallow cranking water. Largemouth in the timber can be a great pattern. Last year's Elite Pickwick Lake winner Kevin Short worked the wood to perfection.

What is Happening This Week
Water levels have been at an all time high. April showers means water in the bushes. The flippers have benefited from it but if it floods too much a lot of great areas become unreachable by boat.  High water is a double edge sword. It keep the largemouth in the cover but in the tailwater section of the lake expect,  ripping currents. Some find the strong current concentrates the bass. It also crams the anglers together which can make fishing a comedy of errors. Strong current makes boat and lure control dicey. Either way, high water can make fishing better for the anglers who work for it.

Receding water has pluses and negatives. As the water levels decrease, it sucks bass our of the flooded woods positioning them  in cuts, creeks, sloughs, dredged canals or along the outside edge of the wood. For the angler who can adjust and focus their casts to where the bass have relocated, its a sure way to vault to the top of the leader board. If the water drops too quickly it will crash the shallow water bite entirely.

Smallmouth anglers tend to like a little less current. It allows them to maintain more control over the fishing. It also allows the bass to spread across a wide geographical areas of the tailwater area. Which set of conditions are best is up to the fish and the angler who capitalize on the changes.

Tournament fishing is all about making good decisions. This tournament will be won by the angler who adjusts to the conditions on Pickwick Lake.

Stay tuned! 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bassmaster Elite Alabama Charge Day 2: Hite At Top

Battle Over the Dam. Davy Hite Takes a Slim Lead

Pickwick Lake — Florence, Ala

April 6-10 | Weigh-ins at 4 p.m. CT

Deb Johnson Press Release

Davy Hite Take The Lead.
(Photo: James Overstreet BASS)
It can be tough to do when the honey hole is small and within sight of other anglers, but Davy Hite and Keith Poche have learned how to work side-by-side over the first two days of the Alabama Charge on Pickwick Lake.

Hite pulled 42 pounds, 15 ounces, out of the two-man spot, enough for first place on Thursday and up from second place in the Bassmaster Elite Series' third stop of the season. Poche was 1 pound, 2 ounces behind the leader with 41-13. Poche improved his position from seventh place.
In contrast to the top two, Bobby Lane landed third place by going solo in shallow water about 20 miles downstream from where Hite and Poche are working a rocks-and-current area just below Wilson Dam. Lane had 40-5 over two days, up from 10th and now in range of the winner's circle.
Paul Elias and Jared Lintner stayed in the top five Thursday. Elias had 39-10, again for fourth place, and Lintner fell from third to fifth with 39-8. Day One leader, Denny Brauer, fell to sixth place with 37-12.
Hite said he had to discipline himself to stick with his section of the hot spot, a 20- to 30-yard stretch he worked all day Thursday for six bites.
"I promise you, at 10 o'clock I had one in the livewell, I'm thinking, 'I won't even cash a check at this pace,'" he said.
Not panicking and abandoning the hole to go to his second spot, 30 miles away, was the best thing he could have done. He felt he had to stay to protect what he had.
"I started there today because I felt I had to claim my little area. I kept thinking about going down (to his secondary spot), but people kept leaving, and that's when I made my hay, so to speak."
He boated four largemouth and one smallmouth. A sixth fish broke off in the rocks, and Hite lamented the loss as a potential winning fish.
Quarter Million Dollar Derby Days Away,
Excitement is Growing

With the lure of over $250,000 in prizes, the 22nd Annual
Isabella Lake Fishing Derby sponsored by Berkley, is
shaping up to be one of the best ever!

The anticipation has been in high gear for the 2011
Isabella Fishing Derby, to be held on April 16, 17, 18,
2011. With a load of Alpers trout delivered to Isabella
Lake this past week, and another load scheduled to be
delivered days before the start of the derby, the
excitement is growing.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bassmaster Elite Alabama Charge Day 1: Brauer Bests Them All

Brauer Battles to the Top on Day 1

Pickwick Lake — Florence, Ala

April 6-10 | Weigh-ins at 4 p.m. CT

Deb Johnson Press Release
FLORENCE, Ala. -- Denny Brauer's five largemouth were not unusual on Wednesday. Trick was, his five included a 7-pound, 12-ounce lunker and four look-alikes, enough bass to be boss for the day at the Alabama Charge on Pickwick Lake.

Chasing smallmouth in the fast tail water will be a 
factor. (Photo: James Overstreet BASS)
Brauer, with 23-10, was just 2 ounces in front of Davy Hite, who had a mixed smallmouth-largemouth bag that went 23-8. Brauer was also 8 ounces ahead of Jared Lintner's 23-2 worth of largemouths. Those three put a little distance between themselves and Paul Elias, fourth with 20-11, and Matt Herren, fifth with 20-10.
The leaders in the Bassmaster Elite Series' third stop of the season successfully targeted largemouth bass on a lake known for its smallmouth. A rough estimate by observers was that 90 percent of Wednesday's bass were largemouths, a flip from the 2010 event, when many more smallmouth bass -- about 75 percent of the total -- were brought to the scales.
Brauer, the 1997 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year and champ of the 1998 Bassmaster Classic -- just one of his 16 Bassmaster career wins -- said he didn't expect the weights to be as high as they were.
"I attribute that to the prespawn, rather than to the postspawn when we were here last year," Brauer said. "Some of the fish are as fat as any I've seen. It's a very, very healthy fishery and the timing could not be better."
Brauer targeted largemouth by flipping and pitching, using stout equipment to pull them out of heavy cover.
"Nothing special," he said. "Just covering a lot of water, trying to get one or two of the right bites, which I did. That's the key in a tournament like this. I had one in practice over 8 (pounds) so I knew the possibility existed there for a big bite."
Running the flooded timber and shoreline cover
will also be a factor. (Photo: Rob Russow BASS)
Brauer said he would have locked up into Wilson Lake to get away from fluctuating water levels of Pickwick, but with the lock closed for repairs, he had to figure out how to work around the swelling, then falling levels.
A drop in water might help him Thursday when he tries to repeat his pattern and go for at least one big bite of the day. Despite the fact he's sharing water with many other anglers, he'll go back to the same area and try to repeat his first day.
"I don't know another way to catch a big bag right now than what I'm doing," said Brauer, who lives in Camdenton, Mo.
Hite, two-time AOY and 1999 Classic winner from Ninety Six, S.C., said he ran up and down the lake several times, hitting spots up near the Wilson Dam for smallmouth, then down the lake for largemouth.
"I had two groups of fish, and unfortunately they were a long way from one another," he said.
On the lower end of Pickwick, he fished what amounted to private water, but it was the reverse up near Wilson Dam, the smallmouth community hole.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Japan's coolest Bass Fisherman, Takanori Hiraiwa, Gan Craft creator.
Gan Craft is a life style more than a brand.
Takanori creates world class, ultra primium rods, lures particularly swimbaits, eye wear, jewerly, watches
and custom painted lures that are works of art.  

Takanori displaying his famous swimbait.  

Young, urban street shiek is the Gan Craft way.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Beating the Winter Blues Part 4: Toronto Sportsmen's Show

The Toronto Sportsmen Show is one of the longest running and largest outdoor show in North America. It is certainly Canada's best show. A lot companies were there that I missed or I caught them at a very busy time. If I missed you, I am sorry. Some companies had booths. Others were found in the many stores at the show.

The Toronto Sportsmen Show is always great fun.  I got the chance to have dinner with Ontario OUT OF DOORS magazine's Senior Editor, Gord Ellis from Thunder Bay, Ontario. He is always interesting to talk with. He told me of a place he did a tournament in North West Ontario that is teaming with big smallmouth in standing timber. Sounds like a future road trip for The show is always a great time to see old friends. Here are a few companies that had new and cool products for 2011 at the show.


Shimano Canada has some tough guys promoting their great rods and reels. Steve has the new Shimano Curado and Caenan reels and a look that telling you need one too. Steve's a great guy so mind the serious look. (Sorry Steve, the photo just was too funny to leave out.)  Really, Shimano has been king in Canada for decades and their line of reels: casting, trolling and spinning are top notch.

The creator of the Punisher Mini Jig, Jarrod Dean, knows a good rod when he sees one and this year Shimano has a 7' 7" Cumara Punching rod. Whacking the heavy weed mats is a red hot technique and this new Cumara might be the answer this season.  Not too sure if we love the winter look on Jarrod though. 


Rapala's Clackin' Rap Crankbaits (top) are the bait of choice if you spend anytime listening to their pros. Last year they helped a few pro-staff guys put some big money into their pockets. This year, you'll have a chance to cast one. The Clacking Minnow Jerkbait (bottom) has been equally hot. It casts very well, stays deep and has a super loud knocker. Great colour patterns and good hooks will keep any wild smallmouth pinned.

Grant Mills (top)shows off Rapala's new Shift rods. Only available in Canada, Rapala has developed a great selection of Shift rods and reels. New Shift and R-Type rods and reels are hitting the stores now. Check them out. The price is a huge selling point but the quality is very good too. Their new R-type flipping rod (middle) is a sweet rod. American can jump the boarder to snag one for themselves.  Shift Hero reel (bottom) looks like it should cost double than it does.