Friday, July 19, 2019

Freedom Tackle Acquired by American Baitworks!

American Baitworks Co. Acquires 50% Stake in Freedom Tackle

American Baitworks Co. is pleased to announce the company has completed their investment in Freedom Tackle Corporation, a leader and innovator in Swing Head Action Jigs, Spinnerbaits, BuzzBaits and Hardbody Baits for Bass, Walleye, Panfish and Salmon fishing

Freedom Tackle Corporation’s approach to developing innovative baits has virtually defined the category of Swing Head Technology in the fishing industry. The company’s proprietary and patented removable hook system and customizable swing head technology has fueled the company’s growth and expansion across the United States and globally.

“Since our very first day in business, Freedom Tackle has been committed to advancing lure technology to create better fishing experiences as well as putting products into the hands of anglers of any skill level that flat out perform and catch fish.” said Michael Tamburro, co-founder of Freedom Tackle “Now, leveraging the strength of American Baitworks Co. group of companies, Freedom can further our growth through product design and innovation.”

Through the deal, American Baitworks Co. will invest heavily in new product design and development, brand awareness, marketing and sales. Michael Tamburro has been named Senior Vice President of Innovation and Nick Tamburro has been named Senior Vice President, International with American Baitworks Co. Tom Chopin has been named Director of International Sales.

“We’re very excited to be a part of American Baitworks Co. Group of Companies and to work alongside NetBait Lures, Scum Frog and Halo Fishing to grow our collective brands.” said Nick Tamburro, co-founder of Freedom Tackle “The entire team at American Baitworks is made up of passionate anglers with a commitment to making positive contributions to the sport we all love”

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

ICAST WINNER: Lunkerhunt Phantom Spider

The Phantom Spider looks as good as it fishes. It features a hollow body weedless design and walking legs that stride, glide, and twitch as the spider is worked across the water surface. The Phantom Spider features a self-righting ballast in its sternum to ensure a consistent natural action that aligns with the realism of the design.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Sunline's Duo of New Lines for ICAST

Developing a thinner, stronger fishing line is the fundamental concept that has driven Sunline to become one of the top manufacturers of nylon, fluorocarbon, and braided lines in the world.  At Sunline resting on your laurels is not an option, as the Japanese company is constantly developing new products, and setting the bar for ingenuity and quality in the ultra competitive fishing line market.  2019 is no exception, as Sunline is set to introduce and release two new fluorocarbon products to bolster their already impressive lineup of products. 
Night FC and Power2C FC are the newest members of the Sunline family tree, each filling a specific duty on the water.

Known as the ultimate power fishing angler, Jason Christie demands incredible strength and abrasion resistance in a fishing line to meet the challenges of heavy cover, short casts and explosive hook sets. Power2C was designed to Jason's specifications to meet the demands of shallow water, heavy cover angling. As a premium fluorocarbon, it features extreme abrasion resistance against wood, boat dock cables and rocks. It also features the perfect shock absorption to overcome wicked hooksets on big fish with heavy action rods at short distance to ensure no breakoffs, which plagues many fluorocarbon lines.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

LIVETARGET Introduces New Flutter Shad for Finesse

LIVETARGET’s new Flutter Shad behaves like a traditional jigging spoon but has the narrow profile of a common Shad or Sardine. Featuring the Company’s new Injected Core TechnologyTM (ICT), it showcases a Shad profile while maintaining the jigging spoon action creating a combination unrivalled in the industry. The traditional metal stamping process used to manufacture a typical jigging spoon was necessary to create the action but markedly unnatural in appearance, making game fish wary. 

Injected Core TechnologyTM enables the Inner-Core to host a life-like baitfish profile, while the Exo-Skin gives the lure its signature flutter action. The metallic Inner-Core also produces a strobe-like shine that flashes incredibly bright, especially in dark deep water.

New Z-Man® SlingBladeZ™ Power Finesse Spinnerbait

Good bass-catching vibrations often come from small-scale sources: The beat of a yearling shad’s tail. The panicked contortions a baby bluegill in retreat. Flash enters the equation, too. Glints off the golden flanks of a wild shiner transmit the “food” signal to the eyes of all aquatic predators. Explosions of micro-bubbles and crystalline scales loudly announce an underwater attack.
Few artificial lures mimic these aquatic indicators better than a small-bladed spinnerbait. Perhaps no other spinnerbait has ever offered more attention-to-details than Z-Man’s category-transforming SlingBladeZ.

“When we realized what we had with the Z-Man SlingBladeZ Spinnerbait, I knew we needed a downsized, finesse version,” says spinnerbait specialist and MLF / Bass Pro Tour angler Luke Clausen. “The new SlingBladeZ Power Finesse bait has got to be one of the only super premium small-frame spinnerbaits built with high-end components— hooks, blades and skirts—plus a few tricks up its sleeve.”

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Z-MAN: Taking a Giant TRD

Z-Man® power-finesse system marries new Giant TRD with Mag ShroomZ jigheads

Who knew the Ned Rig could shape-shift from bite-sized to full meal deal? That a so-called “finesse bait” could be pitched with a baitcast reel and 20-pound line? That some of the biggest bass in the lake eat aforementioned bait like there’s no tomorrow?
Okay, so referring to Z-Man’s new Giant TRD as a finesse bait slightly stretches the truth—a little like pulling both ends of the bait until it rips. Except for the fact the portly new stickbait doesn’t have a breaking point. Unlike most every other soft stickbait in existence, the TRD simply refuses to rip or fall apart. Chalk that up to the superiority of Z-Man’s proprietary soft bait material, ElaZtech®.
As Major League Fishing (MLF) Tour angler Luke Clausen notes, “The shape and profile of the Finesse TRD™ is one of the all-time greats. But if you’re fishing big bass water— places like Texas, Mexico or deep ledges on the Tennessee River— a big fat Giant TRD is right on the money. It’s an unassuming, non-threatening bait that’s simply suggestive of bass forage, both vertebrates and invertebrates; the thing sits right up off bottom and just looks like food.”
Built with maximum meat and big-bass appeal, the new Giant TRD offers appetizing traits in abundance: oodles of tail-wagging action, ample flotation, extreme softness and incomparable ElaZtech durability. The monster soft-stick features a ribbed torso and a smooth posterior, bespeckled with biologically accurate bumps. A 15-percent salt composition heightens the bait’s flavor and palatability while preserving its buoyancy.

Frabill Brings Leverage To ICAST 2019

The beginning of summer is here and soon to follow are the four biggest days in recreational fishing. It's the time of year when the industry unveils its newest product offerings, technology, and innovation. 

The International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST) conference and exhibition is back in session, and Frabill's new batch of products are going to be the scoop.

"Upgrade" doesn't do the overhaul of Frabill's new line fishing nets any justice. The new Trophy Haul Net Series gives anglers all the leverage to tame just about anything with fins. Live bait storage has come a long way as well. The company that gave anglers the first insulated, stainless-steel minnow bucket, once again delivers unmatched innovation and functionality. See the features of the revolutionary new series of nets and the new 30-Quart Magnum Bait Station at ICAST.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

MEGA 360 Imaging: It's Here | Humminbird

Get the unmatched clarity and detail of Humminbird's revolutionary MEGA Imaging® in a 360-degree view. Don't settle for anything less than the full picture. MEGA 360 Imaging™ provides clearer, sharper underwater views, making fish more identifiable, and fish holding to structure easy to find, so anglers can spend more time fishing the most productive water. A key benefit is its ability to provide full use of the trolling motor, so anglers can utilize Spot-Lock™ and other important trolling motor features without impacting their ability to use 360-degree sonar. To learn more about Humminbird MEGA 360 Imaging, visit

Monday, July 8, 2019

LIVETARGET’s New Freestyle Frog Creates A Commotion

LIVETARGET is proud to usher in a new era of frog bait design with its introduction of the Freestyle Frog, a surface commotion soft plastic bait that can also be fished beneath the waterline. Featuring the company’s Injected Core Technology (ICT), it offers an unmatched life-like frog profile, making it a standout in an otherwise crowded lure category. 

(519) Emerald/Red

Back in 2010 LIVETARGET introduced the Hollow Body Frog.  It elevated top water fishing to a whole new level. Now, with the development of Injected Core Technology, LIVETARGET is able to bring that same anatomy, detailed color and effortless action to a bait that not only performs well on top of the water but can also trigger bites under the surface. The Freestyle Frog’s curly, twin-tail legs are transparent and less noticeable than baits manufactured using traditional injection methods.  This leaves game fish much more tempted to strike the natural frog profile. 

Exceptionally life-like, the Freestyle Frog incorporates LIVETARGET’s Injected Core Technology, providing a natural-looking appearance so anglers can truly Match-the-Hatch®​. A specialized

Thursday, July 4, 2019

David Dudley Wins 2019 FLW Tour Angler of the Year!

Dudley only FLW angler to claim 4 Angler of the Year titles.
(Photo: FLW)
You don’t have to look at David Dudley’s resume to know how good he is, though, it doesn’t hurt. A FLW Cup title, five FLW Tour titles and three FLW Tour Angler of the Year titles – oh, and over $3.6 million in career earnings. Mind-boggling stats, no doubt.
Today, Dudley made that resume a bit more impressive by making history when he clinched his fourth AOY title on one of his favorite lakes to fish. Making the moment even more sweet, he also sits in the top 10 of the final event of the Tour season, so brace yourself for another potential resume update Sunday.
Of course, they say you never forget your first and that certainly is the case for Dudley.
“When I won my first Angler of the Year title in 2008 nobody interviewed me, nobody talked to me, I didn’t have articles written about me, I was that far down in the standings – I think I was in 17th heading into the last tournament,” says the Lynchburg, Va., pro reflecting on the run up to his first AOY title. “Of all people, Andy Morgan had a monstrous lead going into it and he just don’t stumble, and he stumbled.”
It’d take just a few years for the Polaris pro to add two more titles and oddly enough, Dudley’s last AOY title was won here on Lake Champlain in 2012 – and he actually won the event to boot. And while it’s not like he’s had a bad year since, the “drought” he went through after winning back-to-back AOY titles in 2011 and 2012 with points finishes in the teens to low 20s did leave himself wondering if he still had it in him. This season he erased any doubt.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Pace Races to Bass Pro Tour Championship at Evinrude Stage Eight presented by Tracker Off Road

Pace keyed on a mix of rock and sand, with most of his fishing coming on a Jackall Rerange Jerkbait,
but he also caught some on a Jackall Crosstail Shad fished on a drop-shot rig.
(Photo: MLF)
Out of all of the well-known bass factories that the Bass  Pro Tour visited this year, who would have guessed that Green Lake, Wisconsin, would be one of the top producers? It proved to be an excellent venue for the 2019 regular-season finale and Championship Round of the Evinrude Stage Eight Presented by Tracker Off Road.
Sunday's championship battle required a hefty total to win (more than 81 pounds) and easily outdistanced the winning weight for Lakes Toho, Conroe, Smith, and Chickamauga.
That's because the day was defined mostly by non-stop action on SCORETRACKER®, except for the midday weather delay due to a strong band of rain, thunder, and lightning that covered the entirety of the nearly 8,000-acre lake.
Once fishing resumed, Cliff Pace took over and ran away with the title. Bobby Lane made a late charge, but in the end, Pace was the pace-setter, winning by over 12 pounds.
Pace Races Away With It
Pace grabbed the lead in the second period and never looked back. The windy and cloudy conditions played a significant role in his victory, and how he was able to catch 47 bass for 81-9. 

The majority of Pace's fish fell for a Jackall Rerange Jerkbait, but he started the day plucking them off with a Jackall Crosstail Shad fished on a drop-shot rig.
"After the delay, the wind was still blowing, and when we went back out, I caught one on the jerkbait on the first cast," Pace said. "I never put it down after that. It was all about the conditions. I was looking for areas with rock since there was so much sand everywhere. The main thing on natural lakes is to find where there is a mix of rock and sand."

For his win, he takes home $100,000 and the title of Stage Eight Champion.
Lane's Rally Falls Short
Once Pace got on a roll, he proved to be too far out of reach for Lane and the rest of the field.
"I just couldn't keep pace with Cliff Pace today," Lane admitted. "Every time I would get on a little roll, he would start catching them again. He was just too far ahead."

Monday, July 1, 2019

Casey Scanlon Wins 2019 FLW Tour Lake Champlain with 76-02lbs!

Mix of chatterbaits and stickbaits sends Casey into winner's circle.
(Photo: FLW)
by Curtis Niedermier
FLW PRESS RELEASEComing into the 2019 FLW Tour finale at Lake Champlain, Casey Scanlon figured he needed
 to finish 12th or better to lock up a berth in the FLW Cup. He’d previously strung together four consecutive finishes of 90th place or worse leading up to the Champlain event, which was presented by T-H Marine, and he knew he had to turn it around on a lake that he’d never been to before, where weights are notoriously close throughout the standings and anglers constantly weigh the odds of targeting smallmouths or largemouths. 
Despite the complexities of a Champlain tournament and his inexperience on the fishery, Scanlon rattled off four days worth of consecutive quality stringers to rally his season and earn his first FLW Tour win and a spot at the Cup on Lake Hamilton come August.
“Man, I needed it,” Scanlon says. “I’m not that old, but I’ve been at it a long time. I’ve been fishing tournaments since I was 15. It’s not easy out here, and days like this make it all worth it.”
The Missouri pro made the 50-minute run to Ticonderoga every day to target largemouths in the shallow, murky waters of Champlain’s southern end. For three days, all of the pros that ran to Ti, including seven of the top 10, enjoyed mild winds and smooth water on the way down and back. Today, getting to Ti was easy, but getting home involved a battering ride against a stiff north wind that riled up the big Northern fishery. 
Scanlon had to leave Ti at 1:15 to make it back in time for the 3:30 check-in with a limit weighing 19 pounds, 10 ounces. His four-day total of 76-2 beat runner-up Eric Jackson’s weight by 1 pound, 11 ounces.
The biggest key to Scanlon’s win was his willingness to adjust each day to stay on the fish. Early in the tournament, most of his bass came off shallow rock inside of a milfoil edge. Yet, each day he caught more fish from the grass. By Sunday, all of his keepers were caught in the grass.
In order to stay consistent, the champ mixed up his presentations with a handful of rods and visited a half-dozen or so areas within a few miles of Fort Ticonderoga.
“I did junk it up a little bit, but I got myself in some decent areas, and I tried to make the most out of them by switching baits and trying some different stuff throughout the tournament,” Scanlon adds.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

2019 FLW Tour Lake Champlain Day 3: Tyler Stewart Making it 3 Days in a Row!

Canadians Sim 18th. 
by Curtis Niedermier

Sunday will be the battle of Ticonderoga.
(Photo: FLW)
There’s a showdown looming on Lake Champlain tomorrow, and how it’s going to end up is anybody’s guess. 

Louisiana pro Tyler Stewart is in the lead for the third consecutive day at this week’s FLW Tour event, which is presented by T-H Marine. But Stewart, who weighed, 18 pounds, 5 ounces today, has been catching his fish down at Ticonderoga. That’s all he has, and he says a hurricane can’t keep him from making the long run to Ti tomorrow. 
Getting there doesn’t look to be an issue, but if the weather forecast is correct, getting home from Ti tomorrow afternoon could get a little dicey. The wind is supposed to blow out of the north at a clip that pro Daryl Biron, who’s fished Champlain for years, thinks might build big enough waves to more than double the normally 50-minute run down there. 
Stewart isn’t the only one making the run. Four of the top five and seven of the top 10 are fishing in Ticonderoga, including Biron in fifth, second-place pro Casey Scanlon and third-place pro Eric Jackson. The only one in the top five staying up north is Bryan Thrift, who’s in fourth. It’s highly likely that Thrift will have a limit in the boat before anyone fishing at Ti even gets to his starting spot – and that’s during the calm period forecast for the morning. The fact that Thrift is nipping at their heels and they’ll have a shorter day doesn’t seem to be dissuading any of the top pros from making the run to Ti. 
“I’ll zero tomorrow before I don’t go down there,” Stewart says.
The thing Stewart has in his favor this week is that Ti continues to churn out postspawn largemouths that exceed 4 pounds. A 4-pound bass is worth a lot of money in a tournament at Champlain. Stewart probably needs at least a few of them and another upper teens limit tomorrow if he wants to hold off the competition. So far, he’s weighed in 58-6 in three days.
“It started off kind of slow,” Stewart says of his morning today. “I got down there to my main places, and it was crowded. There was a tournament out of Ti, and on one of my main holes, there was a guy fishing it just fun fishing. 
“I didn’t get to fish that. I had two places that were covered up with people today – where I was really planning on smackin’ them today. I ended up catching a 4 1/2-pounder and got some momentum going and just grinded all day and ended up catching some good fish and just kept the wheels going.” 
Stewart had to adjust and run some new water on the fly to stay on the caliber of fish he’s been catching. His primary tactic all week has been flipping shallow cover on the main lake where the bass are keying on a particular type of baitfish. Today, he did get a few bites on a square-bill just “showing them something different,” which produced one of the keepers he brought to weigh-in. Then he lucked into a 3 1/2-pound smallmouth that culled one of his largemouths once he got back to Plattsburgh.
The leader says the smallmouth bites he’s gotten have been all luck, and he has no other pattern to run in the north end of the lake. He’s all in on the shallow largemouths in Ticonderoga, no matter the wind or waves. Stewart is gunning for his first-ever FLW Tour victory, and he’ll have to earn it in challenging conditions tomorrow.
2. Casey Scanlon – Lake Ozark, Mo. – 56-8 (15)
Midway through the day today, it looked like Missouri’s Casey Scanlon was on pace to overtake Stewart’s lead. Scanlon’s unofficial weight estimate was around 20 pounds, and it looked like Stewart might slip. 
As estimates sometimes go, the predictions were a little off. Scanlon weighed in 18 pounds, 13 ounces and will start day four 1 pound, 14 ounces behind Stewart.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

2019 FLW Tour Lake Champlain Day 2: Tyler Stewart Keeps Leads with 40-01lbs!

Canadians Sim 21st & Richardson 86th
by Curtis Niedermier

Big largemouth key to lead for Stewart!
(Photo: FLW)

Tyler Stewart’s day-one limit of more than 22 pounds set the bar sky high on Lake Champlain for this week’s FLW Tour event, which is presented by T-H Marine. That’s not an easy mark to match, and today Stewart’s performance was a little more on par with the rest of his competition. He hauled in five largemouths that totaled 17 pounds, 14 ounces.
Stewart is still in the lead going into the top-30 round, but John Voyles, who’s fishing for smallmouths, is only 1 pound, 5 ounce behind him.
For two days, Stewart has made the long run down to Champlain’s famed southern waters near Ticonderoga to target plump largemouths that are in the midst of a postspawn feeding binge. The difference in yesterday and today was that Stewart weighed in one less 4-pound-class largemouth and didn’t have time to try and pick off a bonus smallmouth like he did on Thursday. He also had a bit more company in his area.
He had to resort to fishing some of the “juice” he was saving for later in the tournament.
“It started off good this morning. I pulled up at the first place I stopped and caught one close to 4 pounds,” he recalls. “I jumped around a little bit and caught a few fish here and there, some 2 3/4s, then ended up catching a 4 1/2 around 10 o’clock. I had probably 16 pounds at that point. I culled a few more times by ounces. Then right at the end of the day I caught another one about 4 pounds.”
Stewart is catching his fish flipping plastics around a few different cover types. He has a couple of key areas, but is also running and gunning a little bit and fishing whatever fits his pattern. He ran new water today, but also spent part of the day playing defense on his best stretches.
Looking ahead to the weekend, clouds and rain are in the forecast, which bodes well for the largemouth specialists and not so great for anyone trying to spy smallmouths on beds.
“They bit really, really good in practice down there in the rain,” adds Stewart. “The only problem is if the wind picks up, getting down there and back is the only issue. I think they’ll bite down there if it’s raining. 
“I think they will [hold up] as long as I don’t have a bunch of company. If I have all my stuff to myself I feel like I could potentially catch a couple good bags.”
2. John Voyles – Petersburg, Ind. – 38-12 (10)
There’s a pretty magical spot on Lake Champlain that’s produced every smallmouth bass that John Voyles has weighed in so far this week (he weighed just one largemouth yesterday). Today, Voyles learned that another pro caught 19-plus from that spot on day one, but the Indiana pro got there first this morning and was able to sack up 18 pounds, 5 ounces to go with more than 20 on the first day. Assuming he gets full access to the spot tomorrow, he’s hoping to keep the heat on Stewart and the rest of the pros running to Ti to target largemouths.

Friday, June 28, 2019

2019 FLW Tour Lake Champlain Day 1: Tyler Stewart Leads Tight Race with 22-03lbs!

Canadians Sim 44th & Richardson 75th
by Curtis Niedermier
Largemouth are king for top anglers.
(Photo: FLW) 
Impressive is the best way to describe the collective day-one performance by the pros competing in this week’s FLW Tour event presented by T-H Marine at Lake Champlain. The top 13 all caught 19 pounds or better, the top 25 weighed at least 18 and the top 38 caught at least 17. 
Most impressive of them all on day one was Louisiana’s Tyler Stewart, who’s competing in his first-ever tournament on the big natural lake that straddles the New York-Vermont border. Stewart weighed in a five-bass limit worth 22 pounds, 3 ounces, which is by all means stout on Lake Champlain.
He’s one of a number of pros who spent the day targeting largemouths in order to get over that 18-pound mark, but he had one bonus smallmouth in his bag today, too.
“I had about 21 pounds probably, and I was on my way back, and I stopped and threw a Keitech around and ended up catching some smallmouth that culled one of my smaller largemouths,” Stewart says. “I was actually just planning on going all in on largemouth, but I had a little extra time, so when I got back I messed around with that and ended up making a cull, which was pretty crucial.”
Stewart says he didn’t have much company in his primary area today. His most notable challenge was a yacht wake that he hit on the way to his starting place. The impact resulted in a busted front graph and some damage to his Power-Pole bracket. 
The damage not only cost Stewart a little time, but it made him question whether he ought to stay closer to the ramp in Plattsburgh. Thankfully, Stewart trudged on and ended up getting into decent action pretty quickly. 

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Wheeler Continues Roll, Leads Shotgun Round 2 at Bass Pro Tour Evinrude Stage Eight Presented by Tracker Off Road

MLF pro Jacob Wheeler sits in familiar territory.
(Photo: MLF)
Jacob Wheeler has picked up right where he left off after winning Stage Seven on Table Rock Lake. Even though the competition has moved more than 700 miles north, he still finds himself in familiar territory after the second Shotgun Round of the Evinrude Stage Eight Presented by Tracker Off Road on Lake Winnebago: on top of SCORETRACKER®.
The Tennessee pro caught 33 fish for 51 pounds, 4 ounces, finishing the second day of competition on top of Group B. Leading Bass Pro Tour rounds has become a theme for Wheeler this year. In fact, he's been in first place after four of his last five competition days, and is proving that the Major League Fishing® (MLF) format is tailor-made for his fishing style.
Wheeler has a chance to become the Bass Pro Tour's first two-time champion and first back-to-back winner if he can continue his hot streak.
The fishing on Winnebago proved to be more difficult on Wednesday's anglers as only four anglers topped 40 pounds as opposed to eight yesterday. The first Elimination Round on Thursday will show if it was just the conditions or if the fishing is getting tougher.
Even with the lower weights, 664 bass weighing 1,046 pounds were brought in today. The fish are still biting here in Wisconsin.
Wheeler Rolls Through Shotgun Round 2
Wheeler did most of his damage midmorning during Period 2, and once he took over the lead, he never looked back.
"I started in the morning with a pattern that I thought would be good and caught a few, but it didn't work out as planned," Wheeler said. "Midmorning is when I started to make the transition and started to figure things out. It was a good mixture of shallow and deep and both largemouth and smallmouth. I feel like if I can catch another 10 pounds or so during the Elimination Round that I should be able to make it to the Knockout Round."
He will carry a 3-pound lead over second place and a 26-pound lead over the 20th place spot heading into the Elimination Round.
Tak Stands in Second
Takahiro Omori had an excellent day and held the lead or top two spots for most of the day with 31 bass for 47-14. His catch count was buoyed by a strong morning.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Jamie Hartman Win 2019 BASS Elite Lake Guntersville with 79-10lbs!

Arey and Zaldain tie for 2nd! 
By Bryan Brasher

One hour of topwater magic seals the deal for Hartman.
(Photo: BASS)

When Jamie Hartman burst onto the scene with the Bassmaster Elite Series in 2017, he seemed like a virtual lock to eventually hoist one of the trail’s coveted blue winner’s trophies.
He had five Top 10s that first season — including a second- and a third-place showing — prompting many to believe he could be a true superstar in professional bass fishing.
A back ailment cut Hartman’s season short in 2018 and delayed his quest for an Elite Series win.
But it couldn’t derail it.
“It’s just a godsend to be back here on the Bassmaster Elite Series,” Hartman said. “I’m just so happy to be able to do this for a living and to finally get over the hump with a win.
“I never say this — and I really don’t even know how to describe it. But I had a creepy, creepy feeling coming into this week that I was going to win.”
Having never seen Lake Guntersville before the official practice period began Tuesday, Hartman did what most anglers would likely do — he headed straight for the lake’s famous ledges and tried to find big schools of bass deep. But he struggled deep on Day 1, bringing in only 14-13 and landing in 46th place.

Monday, June 24, 2019

2019 BASS Elite Lake Guntersville Day 3: Matt Arey Keep Lead into Last Day!

Canadians Chris Johnston 26th & Cory Johnston 33th 
By Bryan Brasher

Arey hunting for 1st Elite win!
(Photo: BASS)
Matt Arey said coming into the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville that if he could just make it to Monday, he’d have a genuine chance to win.
He not only made it, but he will lead the remaining Top 10 anglers into Monday’s final round with a three-day weight of 62 pounds, 13 ounces — a total that includes the 18-13 he weighed in during Sunday’s semifinal round.
“With tomorrow being Monday, we’re going to be able to really run around and get in a rotation without a lot of pressure,” said Arey, who held onto the lead for a second straight day. “With just 10 of our competitors out there and it being the first of the week, it could be really good.”
Arey has made no secret of the fact that he’s fishing Lake Guntersville’s famed river ledges — mostly with a jig and a crankbait.
“A lot of the stuff where I’ve been catching them is in creeks down south, and I don’t think it’s affected that much by current,” Arey said. “But I do have some main-channel schools that I haven’t done much good on — and if they start ripping that current, I may check out some of those.”
Regardless of the conditions, after catching 22-10, 21-6 and 18-13 the first three days, Arey knows he can’t afford to slip with only a slim lead heading into the final day.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

2019 BASS Elite Lake Guntersville Day 2: Matt Arey Moves into Lead!

Canadians Chris Johnston 9th, Cory Johnston 20th & Gustafson 67th.

Matt Arey scores 44lbs and lead.
(Photo: BASS)
Even after a solid start on Friday, North Carolina pro Matt Arey sounded less than confident heading out for Saturday’s second round of the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville.

Guntersville, after all, is one of the most popular bass fishing lakes in the world — and since a Saturday in June usually means a crowded waterway, he was worried the areas he fished Friday would no longer be reachable.

His worries proved unnecessary, however, as he caught five bass that weighed 21 pounds, 6 ounces to take the lead with a two-day total of 44 pounds.

“There were a lot of boats out there for sure,” Arey said. “But it seemed like a lot of locals were staying off a lot of the obvious stuff, and I was really pleased with the way things played out.
“When I was running to my first spot, I probably saw 50 locals that were already out there before we blasted off. But you could tell they were fishermen — very respectful.”
Arey’s day didn’t start well at all. At 10:30 a.m., he only had two fish that he described as “two of the smallest 15-inchers in the lake.”
But since he’s fishing ledges in 15 to 20 feet of water — and those areas tend to be hit or miss throughout the day — he didn’t panic.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Sam Houston Claims 2019 Bassmaster College Series at St. Lawrence River!

Smallmouth spawn producing giant limits.
By Andrew Canulette

Jackson Carrell and Bryton Kurtz of Sam Houston State University win the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series at St. Lawrence River presented by Bass Pro Shops out of Waddington, N.Y., with a three-day total of 72 pounds, 13 ounces.
Sam Houston State University anglers Jackson Carrell and Bryton Kurtz traveled more than 1,700 miles to compete in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series at St. Lawrence River presented by Bass Pro Shops.
They made it a trip to remember.
Carrell and Kurtz caught 15 bass over three days that weighed a whopping 72 pounds, 13 ounces. That output, which averaged an equally impressive 24-4 limit per day, was enough to top the 149-team field and clinch victory in the fourth and final Bassmaster College Series regular-season tournament of 2019.
The victors also secured a berth in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops. That tournament, which will feature more than 100 of the top college duos from across the U.S., will be held Aug. 1-3 on Chickamauga Lake in Tennessee.
Carrell and Kurtz entered the final day on the St. Lawrence third among the 12 teams that survived Thursday’s cut. They briefly held the Day 1 lead, but quickly relinquished it on a record-breaking day that saw 85 teams catch at least 20 pounds of bass.
The anglers from Sam Houston, which is located in Huntsville, Texas, stayed near the top of the leaderboard, however, holding second place on Wednesday with a 25-13 limit and then third place on Thursday when they followed with a 22-5 limit.
The key, however, was the 24-11 bag Carrell and Kurtz produced Friday. It was nearly 2 pounds heavier than any other team in the final round — and with first place and 12th place separated by just more than 4 pounds, that bump was significant.
The St. Lawrence smallmouth were spawning this week, and Carrell and Kurtz were among the many teams that caught fish off beds. The water was extremely clear, as well, which made spotting the bass possible in as much as 10 feet of water.
“We started sight fishing on Wednesday morning and by 9:30, we had 25 1/2 pounds,” Carrell said. “That allowed us to go pre-fish for the next day.”
The ability to scout new areas benefited the winners, as foul weather moved into upstate New York on Thursday. With sight-fishing not possible that day, communication was crucial as one angler manned the electronics and the other laid belly down on the deck of the boat waiting for word to set the hook.

Friday, June 21, 2019

2019 BASS Elite Lake Guntersville Day 1: Paul Mueller Sacks Lead with 22-14lbs!

Canadians Chris Johnston 4th, Cory Johnston 25th & Gustafson 62th.

Mueller regains G-Vile success!
(Photo: BASS)
More than half the field caught at least 16 pounds of bass during Friday’s opening round of the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville, and 14 anglers topped the coveted 20-pound mark.
Meanwhile, Connecticut pro Paul Mueller showed once again why Guntersville is one of his favorite lakes in the United States.
Mueller, who finished second in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods on Guntersville, took Friday’s opening-round lead on the famed fishery with five bass that weighed 22 pounds, 14 ounces.
“I didn’t really see this coming because I didn’t catch a lot of big fish in practice,” Mueller said. “The fish aren’t doing what they should for this time of year, so it’s been mentally exhausting trying to figure them out.
“But you only need five — and I’m glad I was able to put something together.”
Mueller’s first claim to fame in the big leagues of bass fishing came when he had a whopping catch of 32-3 on the second day of the 2014 Classic. That was a February event, and Mueller — who had qualified for that Classic through the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship for grass-roots anglers — was quick to point out that none of that strategy played into his success Friday, when temperatures rose to the low 90s.
Despite his heavy weight, he said Friday was anything but easy — and BASSTrakk statistics backed up that claim. The five bass he weighed were caught at 7:25 a.m., 8:09 a.m., 11:02 a.m., 1:59 p.m. and 2:07 p.m.