Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Secret Technique of Long Lining Crankbaits

Story and photos by Lawrence Taylor

Professional bass anglers are a secretive group when it comes to how they catch their fish. Sure, they’ll go into great detail about what rod, reel and lure they caught them on, but they dance around the subject of “how,” especially if it’s a new technique.

Although the long lining technique has been around for awhile, few professional bass anglers saw its true potential. That was before a number of Bassmaster Elite Series anglers used it to catch heavy limits of big bass on it in a recent tournament.
The technique of long lining allows a deep diving crankbait to achieve depths unattainable with a long cast and retrieve. It even gets a deep diving crankbait deeper than with a long cast and utilizing the technique of kneeling and reeling, when an angler makes his cast and positions himself on the edge of the boat while shoving the rod tip deep below the surface. In the past, kneeling and reeling with deep diving crankbaits was the only technique that allowed anglers to achieve super-deep depths.

Another significant factor when long lining to attain these depths was the introduction of fluorocarbon fishing line for crankbait fishing. Although it’s popular among anglers when pitching or flipping, its inherent properties of limited stretch and sinking characteristic prompts deeper cranking depths with increased sensitivity when fishing a deep diving crankbait. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fishing in a Crowd Part 2

Crowds don’t bother me. I like the challenge. Nothing is more exciting than battling it out right there on the lake. Being observant is key. Scott Martin explained in an interview with FLW outdoors that his 2012 win on the Potomac River lay in fishing areas that rested. He would keep tabs on which areas got the most pressure and avoid them. Allowing fish to rest, even for an hour or two was enough to keep them biting.

When crowds get this thick, you'll have to out think them.
(Photo: FLW outdoors)
Sometimes luck can influence the out come of a big bag but don’t count on it. Look around and see what is working and what is not. Be detailed orientated; time of day, location, types of weeds in large grass beds, shallow or deep will help unlock the secrets to success.

Also, watch how others are performing. If the power anglers are catching them, don’t switch to a finesse rig. But, if the action slows, a quick modification can help catch a few extra. Don’t always think slow. Many times I’ve watched someone load the boat by zipping through a pack of boat using a reaction bait. They’re triggering a response. Paying attention is not spying. Always react to the environmental conditions. Fishing pressure is a huge influence, so react accordingly.

GPS will be your best friend in large community holes. There are always sweet spots. A spot on a spot draws in the fish. I’ve seen it so specific that a pitch a few metres (yards) wasn’t close enough. There is always a rhythm to fishing in a crowd. Trying to determine what is working takes time and commitment.

Part 3 coming soon.  

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Catch that Fish!

A New Twist for School Crossing Guard

Someone emailed me this photo. Some say it's from yesterday's
flood in Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada. Looking at the trees and time of year, this
cannot be.  Funny shot none the less. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Green Bay Wisc. is Bassmaster Elite Mystery Lake!

The Elite Mystery Lake is Green Bay Wis.  BASS feels this is a great concept and throw back to the orginial Classics. Smallmouth anglers get ready to rumble!

Bassmaster Mystery Lake Revealed Today

Find out right here where the pros will be fishing.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Learn to Fish in a Crowd Part1

Roland and Scott Martin work a massive grass bed on
the Potomac River.
(Photos: Rob Newell & FLW)

Fishing in crowd is challenging. Angling community holes and surviving is an accomplishment . Many factors influence fishing in crowds. Dealing with crowds needs a two-prong approach. Even before the first cast is made, they are beaten. The flip side is relief. If others consider the same area worthy to fish, you might be on to something.

This multi-part article will article will focus on how to succeed in a crowd.  

Psychologically, it can be painful to watch fish being caught while you sit ideal. Frustration equals anxiety, which in turn translates into a poor performance.  For many, its best to ignore the crowds, even if community holes are teaming with bass.

Even the most seasoned angler feels deflated as they turn into their magic spot only to discover a mob. Confidence it a huge factor. Ideally, everyone needs some peace and quiet but weekend warriors and elite anglers fish the conditions they get. Avoidance is a strategy children are taught to distance themselves from rude people and it works for fishing.

Alton Jones, Tommy Biffle, Roland Martin and many others have made careers finding fishing grounds too far or too difficult for others to consider. Alton Jones once jammed his boat under a low culvert to win a BASS Top 100. In 1985, Roland  drove 60 miles down the Hudson River to hit the tide at peak feeding times.  Biffle, almost won a Classic by bucking the seasonal trend of cranking ledges to hunt for bass way, way up creeks in August. For them it is easier to fish for unpressured bass, even if there are not a lot of them. Some say it’s not smart but who can argue with their stellar careers.

Never easy.
(Photo: Izumi Outdoors
Canadian tournament ace, Bob Izumi, loves to out run the competition. For decades he would vault into the wildest of seas of the Great Lakes to out distance himself from the competition. Finding distant schools has made him one of the most talented  pros in history.  His 2011 FLW Northern EverStart win on Lake Ontario illustrated classic avoidance tactics.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Walmart FLW Tour Major Potomac River Scott Marten Domination

20.May.2012 by Gary Mortenson
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – Although it came down to a mere 3 ounces and he had to sweat out victory in the end, National Guard pro Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla., accomplished something rarely seen on the FLW Tour – winning a title without relinquishing the lead for four straight days.
Scott Marten controlled the tournament since Day 1.
(Photos: FLW Staff )
After defeating fellow National Guard teammate Justin Lucas in a hard-fought, final-day contest, Martin was still in a state of disbelief even after hoisting the tournament title.
“It almost feels like a dream,” said Martin, who netted a relatively pedestrian catch of 13 pounds, 7 ounces on the final day. “This has been such a crazy day. To have a good lead like I did (early in the event) and to have to watch it slowly get chipped away every day, it’s stressful. I really figured somebody was going to come back today with a 17- or 18-pound bag and edge me out. So I’m really surprised I won. A couple of guys who I thought were really going to whack them, didn’t whack them today. It was a stressful event for sure. But it’s also been a blessing.”
Martin said a number of factors kept his confidence at a high level. For starters, he was fishing in the same tournament with his father and fishing legend, Roland Martin. Secondly, before heading to the event, he told his wife that he was going to win the tournament title for her. Those two factors, along with some great fishing locations and expert execution, ultimately kept him going and propelled him to a tournament title.
Scott fished in a crowded grass flat with some
dock fishing mixed in.
“I dedicated this tournament to my wife and I told her that before I even came here that I was going to win this title for her,” said Martin, who finished the event with a total catch of 66 pounds, 6 ounces. “And to be able to live up to that and pull it off is really special. Also, my dad’s from here. He grew up fishing the Potomac River and I kind of wanted to show off for him. I’ve been able to travel with my dad all year and like I’ve said before, I’ve probably spent more time with him over these past few months than I have in the last 10 years … and that’s been really special for me. I’ve also had a lot of confidence this week and really, that was my winning lure.”
After distancing himself from the rest of the field on day one, Martin came into day two with a 4½-pound lead over his next closest competitor. But then the tournament leaderboard began to tighten. Heading into Saturday, Martin’s lead was down to roughly 2½ pounds. And coming into the finals, Martin’s margin was only a shade over 2 pounds. On Sunday, only Lucas ultimately had the numbers to threaten Martin but he too fell short in the end – by a mere 3 ounces.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Walmart FLW Tour Major Potomac River Day 4: Scott Marten Wins on the Potomac!

The Top Ten

1 SCOTT MARTIN 66-06 (20)

2 JUSTIN LUCAS 66-03 (20)

3 DAVID DUDLEY 65-07 (20)

4 JIM MOYNAGH 64-07 (20)

5 COLBY SCHRUMPF 63-12 (20)

6 BRYAN THRIFT 62-08 (20)

7 CLARK WENDLANDT 61-11 (20)

8 DAVE LEFEBRE 61-10 (20)

9 CLIFFORD PIRCH 61-10 (20)

10 RON SHUFFIELD 61-04 (20)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Walmart FLW Tour Major Potomac River Day 2: Scott Makes It Two in a Row.

Big names take over the leader board!
18.May.2012 by Gary Mortenson
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – Although he didn’t have quite the banner day that he did during the opening day of FLW Tour competition on the Potomac River, National Guard pro Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla., still managed to do enough to hold onto his lead heading into Saturday’s semifinals. With the field officially cut down to the top 20 pros and co-anglers, Martin still finds himself in an excellent position to make a run at the title despite coming back to weigh-in today with a sack almost a full 8 pounds lighter than yesterday.
Scott Marten has been in a huge crows all of day 2.
(Photos: Rob Newell FLW)
“Today I didn’t get any of those real big bites that I got yesterday,” said Martin, who recorded a 15-pound, 1-ounce sack in today’s competition to bring his two-day total weight to 37 pounds, 11 ounces. “When you’re fishing these big grass beds, it’s hard to figure out exactly where those 5- and 6-pounders will be. I didn’t catch any big fish today, but I still came back with 15 pounds which is still a pretty decent weight. I really can’t wait to get back out there for day three.”
Martin said that part of his issue during today’s competition was the fact that there was massive boater congestion in some of his prime fishing areas – a reality that hampered many of the top pros all afternoon.
“Today it got pretty ridiculous out there,” said Martin, regarding the fishing pressure in his prime spot. “The best way I can describe it is that it was kind of like a chess game out there with all of the boats. You had to make sure you knew what everyone was doing and try to anticipate where people would be going next. It’s just like moving around the chess board to see who is going to be the one who captures the queen.”
However, now that the top-20 cut has been announced, there should be about 130 fewer boats on the water to contend with. And Martin says that can only be a good thing going forward.
Adding another one to the box for Marten.
“Hopefully I can get into that area tomorrow without as much boat traffic,” said Martin. “Because at one point today I felt like I should be putting on headphones because all I heard all day long were people catching fish. It was pretty tough to move around so hopefully tomorrow there’ll be a little bit more room out there – instead of 35 boats, maybe they’ll be just five.”
Martin said that he spent a good portion of the day sharing some prime real estate in the form a large communal grass flat. He said he targeted bass with a combination of finesse-style Bruiser Baits and some “moving baits” as well.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Walmart FLW Tour Major Potomac River Day 1: Scott Marten Take It.

by Gary MortensonFLW PRESS RELEASE
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – With the weights relatively bunched up all day long, it appeared that the entire leaderboard would be separated by mere ounces during the first day of FLW Tour competition on the Potomac River. However, that was until Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla., stepped to the scales.
Scott all smiles with Day 1 lead.
(photo: Shaye Baker FLW) 
In short order, Martin – the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup champion and National Guard pro – simply destroyed the day’s conventional wisdom, crushing the rest of the field with an amazing 22-pound, 10-ounce stringer. Even more staggering is the fact that Martin now holds a nearly 4½-pound lead over his next closest competitor, a big advantage on the stringy Potamac River – a waterway that rarely yields bass over the 4-pound range.
“I feel great,” said Martin. “I got a couple of key bites and that really helped. Anytime you can have a really comfortable lead on the first day, it’s a big deal. So I’m pretty happy right now.”
Martin surmised he was off to a special start when his first fish of the day weighed in at nearly 6 pounds.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Boaters Beware

The Canadian May 24 weekend is fast approaching. That means fishing for most of us. The police have a safety blitz this week which includes boating. Make sure all your safety equipment and documents are on board. No one needs a fine for something that got left behind in the garage over the winter.

Check out this link to make sure everything is in order.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Great Debate: HEY YOU'RE ON MY SPOT!

Is this unsportsman like conduct? But both want to win.
(Photos: BASS)
 Nothing can ruin a fishing day faster than arriving to your spot only to find it getting pounded by someone else. Tournament anglers are paying the mortgage with winnings. So, having your spot ravished by others can boil blood. But, and this is a big BUT, who's spot is it anyways? Several factors come into play. Is it pro vs. pro; pro vs. pro from another tournament; pro vs. regular Joe fisherman? Does it matter? 

Trout anglers have been fighting this problem for centuries. When the trout season opens or the run is in, fishing can be shoulder to shoulder. It is usually first come first severed. Doesn't make a difference who you are. If you wish to fish that spot so badly, come earlier is the trout guy's motto. Its one of the reasons opening day of steelhead (trout) lost its appeal a few years back. Fishing on the last Saturday of April in Ontario is a zoo. In the 1980s it was like the wild west. I've seen the police break up fights, seen tires slashed, beer bottles whipped and even a few guys thrown into the drink.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Development of the Alabama / Umbrella Rig

Here is a super video from the guys at southernswimbait. It outlines the development of the Alabama Rig over last fall. Considering the availability and variety of these rigs now, this video asks and explains some very relevant questions about this rig. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Bassmaster Elite Douglas Lake: Starks Becomes Champion After Year Off!

DANDRIDGE, Tenn. — Jeremy Starks confirmed for himself at least three things when he won the Douglas Lake Challenge on Sunday: 1) the shortest distance to a win on the deep Tennessee lake is a long line; 2) the best fish can come on the last few casts; and 3) victory happens one fish at a time.
Foggy morning created eerie start to day 4.
(Photos: Bass Staff)
Using an old, deep-cranking technique some pros call long-lining, Starks of Scott Depot, W.Va., was victorious at the Bassmaster Elite Series event with 81 pounds, 2 ounces. He came from second place to win by a margin of 2 pounds, 1 ounce over Britt Myers of Lake Wylie, S.C., thanks to three last-minute bass that allowed Starks to cull and improve his day’s weight. 
It was Starks’ second Elite title, a long-awaited follow-up to his 2008 Elite win on Alabama’s Wheeler Lake. His Douglas Lake prize was $100,000 and a guaranteed berth in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic. The Classic qualification was a first for Starks.
“To make the Classic has been a lifelong goal of mine,” he said. “I’ve had an incredible year, and even Angler of the Year isn’t out of the question.”
Sunday’s win propelled Starks into 13th place in the points standings that determine the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year award.
Cranking the whole tournament.
Starks said that missing the 2011 season, which he sat out for medical reasons, might be helping him this year. Just to remind himself of his new goals, Starks begins each competition day by leaving a note to himself in waterproof marker on his left hand. Like many pros, he writes his check-in time. But Starks adds another line: “One at a time.”
“It’s made me fish completely different. Anytime I start to panic, I look down and see ‘one at a time.’ It’s a reminder that you don’t have to catch five fish in the first 10 minutes,” he said.

Bassmaster Elite Douglas Lake Winner Jeremy Starks with 81-02 pounds!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Bassmaster Elite Douglas Lake Day 3: Britt Myers Keep Cranking on the Lead

 Fast and furious is Britt Myers’ nature.
He showed that Saturday by fishing up to 50 different spots, quickly jumping from one to another, for the bass he needed to pin down the lead for the second consecutive day — this time by almost 6 pounds — in the Douglas Lake Challenge.
Myers keep cranking them in.
(Photos: BASS Staff)
Myers of Lake Wylie, S.C., posted 64 pounds, 10 ounces, over three days of the Bassmaster Elite Series event. Going into Sunday’s final round, he was 5-13 ahead of Jeremy Starks, who moved up from third into second place with 58-13.
Myers also fended off Aaron Martens of Leeds, Ala., who led on the first day, dropped behind Myers the second day, and on Saturday fell another spot to third with a total of 57-12.
The Top 12 from Saturday’s competition will battle Sunday for $100,000 and a guaranteed berth in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic.
“I’m running around,” Myers said. “That’s my style. I pull up, catch one real quick, and move on to the next spot. I don’t have any luck sitting on a spot for hours.”

Friday, May 4, 2012

Bassmaster Elite Douglas Lake Day 2: Britt Sacks Over 20lbs to Lead!

By Deb Johnson
DANDRIDGE, Tenn. — Britt Myers swears that a smack across the face kicked-started him into taking the lead in the Douglas Lake Challenge.
As Myers told it, Friday morning fishing in the Bassmaster Elite Series event was slow. Then he finally got a hit. It felt like a big largemouth of 5 pounds.
Fishing deep worked for Britt.
(Photos:Seigo Saito BASS)
“I’m fighting and fighting it, and it gets right near the boat and it’s got one itty-bitty hook right in the bottom of the lip,” he said. “It was a dumb decision, but I decided to flip it (jerk it into the boat with the rod) and it came off.
“I turned to my (Marshall) and said, ‘Dude, just smack me.’ So he smacked me. Hey, I told him to — and I deserved it.”
Did the shock work?
“I didn’t do anything stupid the rest of the day,” Myers grinned.
Indeed he did not. With 24 pounds, 1 ounce, to show by the end of the day, Myers of Lake Wylie, S.C., moved from third place into the lead with 45-2 over two days. He was 3-14 ahead of first-day leader Aaron Martens of Leeds, Ala., who dropped to second place with 41-4.
Third was Jeremy Starks of Scott Depot, W.Va., who turned in 23-1, the day’s se

Thursday, May 3, 2012

2012 Elite Bassmaster Douglas Lake Day1: Aaron Martens Take Command

DANDRIDGE, Tenn. — Aaron Martens began to pull himself out of his season slump Thursday by leading the Douglas Lake Challenge with 23 pounds, 14 ounces, an even 2 pounds ahead of Texan Matt Reed, his nearest challenger in the four-day Bassmaster Elite Series event.
“I’m out there catching nice fish for once,” said Martens, a five-time Bassmaster champion who this year sits in 79th place in points after three 2012 Elite events.
Aaron finally shakes off a terrible start to the season.
(Photo: Jamese Overstreet BASS)
“It’s been an awful four tournaments in a row for me (three Elite events plus an Open tournament). My wife said last night, ‘Just go out and have fun.’”
His fun began about 7 a.m. Thursday, when he had 19 pounds of largemouth bass in the boat less than a half-hour after the day’s start. He began to cull to improve on 19. By the end of the day, the largest of his five biggest bass was a 5-pounder.
Reed held down second place with 21 pounds, 14 ounces. Third place was a tie at 21-1 between two South Carolinians: Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, and Britt Myers of Lake Wylie. Fifth was Jeff Kriet of Ardmore, Okla., with 17-15.
Martens credited his first-day success with breaking his own rule to never pre-practice. He managed two sessions on Douglas Lake before off-limits. The lake, in winter pool of 30 or more feet below full pool when he saw it, revealed to him dozens of potential spots he felt would produce during the Bassmaster Elite Series event, even though it wouldn’t happen until months later when the water level was higher.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Evolving Umbrella rig

Finally an Alabama Rig has sealed a national victory. At the last FLW tournament on Beaver Lake, the top four places credited the Umbrella rig for their success. As the tournament progressed, Andy Morgan, Luke Clausen and tournament winner David Dudley used this rig almost exclusively. Focusing on post-spawn bass related to spawning shad, the Umbrella rig was perfect medicine. Dudley, in an interview with FLW outdoors, said it was the best rig for suspended bass ever. This statement seems to ring very true.

Another surprising turn of events is how versatile this rig has become. Initially, Umbrella rigs seemed limited to deep-water applications. Just like the sensation the Carolina rig stirred in the early 1990s, Umbrella rigs seemed the domain of deep water.  In the last two FLW tournaments, many pros have flung it around the docks, pole timber and bushes. With multiple jigheads surging through the water, it looks like an accident waiting to happen.

The only accident is not fishing it. Lightening up and scaling down the rig and swimbaits, has made it just as comfortable to fish along the bank as it is dredging the deep bottom.  More anglers are favouring the smaller versions. Not sure it is more of a numbers game or bass are already getting conditioned to the magnum ones.  The smaller rigs seems to be doing the best damaged.  Scaled down versions should increase as the northern smallmouth anglers become more comfortable with it.  Look at yesterday’s post on the Lurbrella. Their mini one seems perfect for smallmouth or lethargic bass. 

So, the next time you’re rigging up the rods, have a shallow water version ties on. It should pay off just like it did on Beaver Lake. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Here is another Alabama / Umbrella Rig to hit the market.
Stringease Tackle of Toronto, Ontario has put a lot of effort to making a premium rig. Here are some of the features:
  • argon welded wires
  • interchangeable weights ranging from 1/8 to 3/4 (no samples yet) or put a blade on it
  • fastach snap for quick on/off rigging
  • stainless steel snaps
  • wires are plated black nickel
  • plastic head
  • 2 sizes: small 3" and regular 5"
  • small size is ideal for smallmouth, panfish, walleye or hybrids
  • small rig has 25lb test micro swivels
  • regular rig has 50lb test micro swivels
  • 4 arms
  • price under $15.00
Small 3" on top and larger 5" on bottom

Add weight or a blade with the Fastact quick on /off clip.