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.

2019 Bassmaster College Series at St. Lawrence River Day 2: Auburn Takes Over Lead!

Massive smallmouth limits!
By Andrew Canulette
Big limits for team who are bed fishing.
(Photo: BASS)

Steady rains soaked competitors today in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series at St. Lawrence River presented by Bass Pro Shops, but the foul weather hardly affected what has become a record-setting event.
Logan Parks and Lucas Lindsay of Auburn (Ala.) University lead the slugfest with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 49 pounds, 2 ounces. The Tigers caught a five-bass limit Thursday that weighed 23-13, which was an outstanding compliment to the 25-5 limit they boated Wednesday.
The ability to catch big bass has been key to the leaders’ success so far. Parks boated a 6-5 smallmouth today, after landing the tournament’s biggest bass so far — a 6-7 smallie he caught Wednesday.
“Lucas is usually the ‘Big Fish Guy,’” Parks said with a laugh. “So the roles have switched a little bit. They like me more this week.”
Parks and Lindsay knew they were in good shape when they had a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds in the livewell less than an hour after take-off today. Parks caught the giant smallmouth at about 9:30 a.m., and that fish vaulted them from fifth place into the lead.
Lindsay said he’s not worried about finding a few more big bass. After all, the St. Lawrence has been extremely generous to anglers this week. Bass have been so plentiful that the Auburn team was able to find their entire catch in areas they had not scouted prior to today.
Many other teams are also catching heavy limits of bass, which is keeping the pressure on the leaders as they enter the final round Friday. The field was cut to 12 teams after the Day 2 weigh-in, and the remaining dozen teams should encounter much more agreeable weather than the wind, rain and chill they experienced today.
Brian Linder and Nathan Thompson of Minnesota’s Bemidji State University are in second place with a two-day total of 48-13. Thursday’s weather seemingly scuttled their spot of choice, so Linder and Thompson covered a lot of water, and expect to do so again Friday.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

2019 Bassmaster College Series at St. Lawrence River Day 1: West Virginia Leads!

St. Lawrence Smashfest!
By Andrew Canulette

West Virginia University’s Nolan Minor and Casey Lanier grab lead with 26lbs!
(Photo: ;BASS)
West Virginia University’s Nolan Minor and Casey Lanier outfished nearly 300 other college anglers today in what was a slugfest day of fishing at the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series at St. Lawrence River presented by Bass Pro Shops.

The 149-boat field produced a total weight of 3,031 pounds, 3 ounces to begin this tournament in upstate New York. All but three of the teams caught limits of five bass and of that number, 85 teams weighed more than 20 pounds on Day 1.
The tremendous catches came courtesy of ideal conditions on the St. Lawrence River, including water temperatures right at 60 degrees, a fishing season that began only five days ago and local bass in the throes of a full spawn.
Minor and Lanier took advantage of the bounty. The West Virginia duo caught five smallmouth bass on Wednesday that weighed 26-6 — a one-day total that normally would blow most competitors out of the water, but was good for only a 9-ounce cushion on the bountiful St. Lawrence River.
The Mountaineer duo had a limit within an hour of launching from Whittaker Park on Wednesday and culled four or five times later in the morning. Among their early catches was a 6-2 smallmouth Minor got off a bed. It was a personal best for him and the highlight of a day that saw the leaders scouting new water by 10 a.m.
Minor and Lanier are no strangers to success. They finished fourth in last year’s Bassmaster College Series Team of the Year standings and they were in third place in the race entering this event — the fourth and final regular-season stop for college anglers of 2019.
While a win here would be a thrill, Minor and Lanier previously secured a spot in August’s Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops on Tennessee’s Chickamauga Lake.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Scott Murison and Frank Adamo Win 2019 CSFL Bassmania Tournament Trail Sturgeon Lake with 21-95lbs!

2019 season starts off at Sturgeon
By Luigi De Rose

Murison and Adamo all smiles with a 2019 win under their belts.
(Photo: CSFL) 
Blue bird, post-front conditions slapped right in the face of the 132 teams on tournament Sunday. Not great conditions but much more favourable than the high wins, rain and unseasonably cool weather from the day before. With little weed in Sturgeon, many anglers targeted smallmouth and were happy they did. Scores of great limits of smallmouth passed the stage. None better than the 21-95lbs captured by the team of Scott Murison and Frank Adamo. The team of Hegarty and Hegarty grabbed second with 20.95 and Matt McIntyre and Russ Jacobs scored third with 17.7lbs. 


Friday, June 14, 2019

Post-spawn magic

With a cool and wet spring the majority of the bass will be post-spawn for tomorrow's opening day of bass fishing in southern Ontario. One of the very best ways to catch bass during this calendar period is with a Senko style bait. Check out this video for some great ways to fish them.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Johnny Morris and Bass Pro Shops donating 40,000 rods and reels in nationwide effort to get more kids outside

Gone Fishing movement aims to introduce fishing to families everywhere with free activities, donations and partnerships

Noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris is challenging families everywhere to get off the couch and head outdoors to discover the fun of fishing this summer. Bass Pro Shops is donating 40,000 rods and reels to nonprofit organizations that help kids from all backgrounds connect to the outdoors. The effort is part of Gone Fishing, a nationwide movement that aims to introduce the sport to families everywhere through donations, nonprofit partnerships and free catch-and-release ponds at Bass Pro Shops locations across North America on June 10-11 and 17-18.
Morris was inspired to create the initiative after reflecting on childhood memories of fishing with his family. These experiences helped shape his lifelong passion for the outdoors and wildlife conservation.
“The most special memories in life come from spending time in nature with those you care about. For me, it all started with fishing,” said Johnny Morris, who spent his boyhood summers fishing with his family on the beautiful rivers in Missouri’s Ozark mountains. “We want to help as many kids as we can discover the joy of fishing – on the ocean, in a lake or on a stream – so we’re donating thousands of fishing poles, inviting families to catch their first fish at Bass Pro Shops and encouraging everyone to take someone they love fishing this summer.”
National Donation Day
During a national donation day on Thursday, June 8, Bass Pro Shops is donating 40,000 rods and reels to nonprofit organizations that connect kids to the outdoors and help get more kids outside. Customers brought in their gently used rods and reels this spring in exchange for discounts on new gear. Bass Pro Shops refurbished each piece to ensure it was fish-ready for kids. In the last five years, Bass Pro Shops has donated more than 250,000 items to youth-focused nonprofit organizations including Boys and Girls Club and Boy Scouts of America.

Monday, June 10, 2019

New Z-Man® TicklerZ™ tones down fanfare, maximizes bites

Gussy gives the official bass-thumbs-up.

Sometimes, the most alluring baits for bass and other species, by far, are the simplest in stature. The best minimalist baits don’t mimic anything specifically; they’re suggestive of aquatic life, approximating the size, silhouette and movements of a bite-sized critter.
The anatomical opposite of exacting, match-the-hatch profiles, bare-bones Ned Rig baits do one thing extraordinarily well: catch fish in assembly-line numbers. That’s the idea behind Z-Man’s fresh-from-the-molds TRD TicklerZ™. Put one in the water and there’s no denying its simple, elegant appeal to underwater predators.

“What makes Ned Rig fishing so good is, well, nothing,” deadpans Brian (aka “B. Lat”) Latimer, winner of the 2019 FLW Tour event at Lake Seminole.
Lest you misinterpret B. Lat’s take, first realize the Z-Man pro is actually a major Ned Rig fan.
But he feels the key to sleek baits like the TicklerZ is its minimalist physique, as well as its buoyancy, which essentially breathes life into the presentation, sans angler intervention.
“The TRD TicklerZ is my new favorite Ned bait—super unassuming, but with just enough subtle, bite-inducing appendages. It’s similar to the Hula StickZ™— my other favorite finesse bait— only in a shorter, stubbier package and with a smooth-skin texture.
“I can’t tell you how to fish it, because you can’t fish it wrong,” B. Lat shrugs

Meanwhile, another migrating angler who splits time between bass- and walleye-rich Lake of the Woods, Ontario and southern U.S. Bassmaster Elite Series events, Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson says the TRD TicklerZ has been a revelation for both smallmouth and spotted bass. “Earlier this spring, we crushed the spotted bass with a Ned rigged TicklerZ at Lake Lanier. Came home and cleaned up on big smallmouths with the same combo on Lake of the Woods. For guiding kids and first-time anglers, it’s like fishing livebait, because there’s no wrong way to work it. That’s a sign you’ve got a sweet bait tied on.”