Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Ike takes it all on the James River

Ike finally bests James River
By David A. Brown

Molix Lover, jig and crankbait key to big win.
(Photo: BASS)
Mike Iaconelli knew his fate depended on low water, so the Pitts Grove, N.J., pro made a key decision during Saturday’s final round of the Basspro.com Bassmaster Eastern Open on the James River.
After placing sixth in Thursday’s opening round with 15 pounds, 2 ounces, Iaconelli repeated that weight Friday and took the lead with 30-4. Then Saturday, for the third day in a row — while much of the field ran far downriver to the James River tributary, the Chickahominy River — Iaconelli stayed closer to the main river take-off site so he could take advantage of the morning tide schedule.
That decision led to a five-bass limit that weighed 13-12 and pushed him to victory with a three-day weight of 44 pounds. 
The tournament started with a small window of morning low water, with another window on the afternoon change. But with tides advancing an hour each day, the final round saw tournament hours overlapping only the morning low. 
“The low water was the key,” said Iaconelli, who earned $39,000 for his first B.A.S.S. victory since 2014. “I didn’t mind if it was incoming or outgoing, but lower water stages were the key.”
Iaconelli fished what he called a “trout stream pattern,” which basically meant he pushed as far back as most anglers will push — and then kept pushing. Depths were sketchy, but referencing similar scenarios he fishes on his Delaware River home waters, Iaconelli knew he would find two important benefits: The creek’s lowest water and largely unmolested fish.

Monday, July 29, 2019

2019 ICAST Show Winners

With the flood of new product videos and press releases hitting the web, it was difficult to keep up with everything. Here's the winners of each category.

ICAST 2019 New Product Showcase “Best of Category” Award Winners
For product details, images and other information please contact the individual award winners’ contacts listed below.
Best of Category – Boating Accessories – Garmin USA
Product: Force™ Trolling Motor

Best of Category – Boats and Watercraft – Hobie
Product: Mirage ProAngler 14 with 360 Drive Technology

Best of Category – Eyewear – Costa Del Mar, Inc.
Product: WaterWoman

Best of Category – Footwear – Frogg Toggs
Product: Skipper

Best of Category – Giftware – 13 Fishing 
Product: Fillet Table Beverage Management System

Best of Category – Lifestyle Apparel – AFTCO/American Fishing Tackle Company
Product: Yurei Air-O-Mesh Performance Shirt

Best of Category – Technical Apparel – Cold Weather - Simms Fishing Products
Product: M's G4Z® Stockingfoot Wader
Best of Category – Technical Apparel – Warm Weather – AFTCO/American Fishing Tackle Company
Product: Overboard Submersible Shorts

Best of Category – Ice Fishing – Johnson Outdoors Marine Electronics, Inc.
Product: Ice Helix 7 Chirp GPS G3N All-Season
Best of Category – Cooler and Bait/Storage – Plano Synergy
Product: Frabill Magnum Bait Station 30
Best of Category – Cutlery, Hand Pliers or Tools – Bubba
Product: 110V Electric Fillet Knife

Best of Category – Electronics – Johnson Outdoors Marine Electronics, Inc.
Product: MEGA 360 Imaging 

Best of Category – Fly Fishing Accessory – Simms Fishing Products
Product: Dry Creek® Z Sling Pack

Friday, July 26, 2019

2019 BASS Northern Open James River Day 1: Bryan Schmitt Scores 20.04lbs!

Big bass vaults Schmitt to lead.

Bryan Schmitt knows his way around tidal fisheries, but he welcomed a stroke of good fortune that delivered a five-bass limit of 20 pounds, 4 ounces giving him the Day 1 lead of the Basspro.com Bassmaster Eastern Open on the James River.
Schmitt’s catch included a 6-10 largemouth that leads the Phoenix Boats Big Bass competition.
“I got one of those crazy, like pure-luck bites today,” the Maryland pro said. “This place has giants, but they’re not biting. I got one of those today and that made all the difference.”
With much of the field running to the Chickahominy River (a fertile James River tributary), Schmitt spent his day in the James. He fished a lot of water but targeted the same habitat scenario.


Tokyo Rigs® will bring even more bass into your boat with VMC’s® release of two new models: one armed with a Heavy Duty Flippin’ Hook, the other with a Heavy Duty Worm Hook.

Imagine a drop-shot rig on steroids – with a big hook and indestructible metal leader. That’s a Tokyo Rig. It comprises a Heavy Duty hook, barrel-swivel, welded O-ring, and a 2-½-inch rigid-wire dropper arm to which you can attach a weight or two of your choice. The original model featured a Wide Gap hook, but the new Flippin’ Hook and Worm Hook models make the innovative fishing system more versatile.
There’s three hooks bass guys use – now we’ve got all of them on a Tokyo Rig,” says Rapala Pro Mike Iaconelli. There’s nowhere in the water column where you can’t fish this rig and catch big bass.”

A Tokyo Rig will trigger more bites than a traditional offering like a Texas Rig, because it allows you to impart much more action to your favorite soft-plastic beaver, craw, tube or worm. “You can leave your bait in one spot and just kind of shake it and get a lot of free action out of the bait,” explains Rapala Pro Seth Feider, a Bassmaster Elite Series contender. “The bait’s not really held down by the weight. It stays up, suspended from the bottom.”

Wednesday, July 24, 2019


The Tweak That Makes Fish Freak!

We’ve all seen a fish make Mike Iaconelli freak, but soon the tables will be turned. Ike is outfitting his favorite baits with the new VMC® Bladed Hybrid Treble, the tweak that makes fish freak.

“We’re in a day and age where making your bait stand out from the norm is so important,” says Iaconelli, a VMC and Rapala® Pro.

The Bladed Hybrid Treble does just that, making your favorite baits extra-fishy by being extra-flashy. It comprises a small silver willow blade attached by a resin-sealed split ring to the back of a 1X-strong, wide-gap, short-shank, high-carbon steel VMC Hybrid Treble. On the split-ring, the willow-leaf trailer can rotate 360 degrees, so a bait’s built-in action can make it kick out in any direction. Each time it does so, it will catch any light penetrating the water column and flash.

“That little extra flash in that bait is a triggering mechanism,” Iaconelli says. “Every type of baitfish I know of, if it’s a forager swimming in the water, guess what? It flashes.”

A small modification like adding a Bladed Hybrid Treble to your favorite bait can be “such a big thing to catch fish and get extra bites,” Iaconelli says. Adding one to crankbaits like Rapala DT’s and BX Brats “combines the appeal of a spinnerbait or a bladed jig with that flash,” he explains. “As that thing’s rooting along, that blade is flashing and rotating. It’ll stop, and that blade will kick, taking a bait that’s already good and making it better.”

Monday, July 22, 2019

Bryan Thrift Wins 2019 Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Champlain with 57lbs!

Thrift Loves New York!
(Photo: FLW)
Taking the win in wire-to-wire fashion, FLW Tour pro Bryan Thrift tallied 18 pounds, 4 ounces on the final day for an even 57-pound total in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Champlain. For the win, Thrift earned $44,200 and a new Ranger boat, and it’s his 11th win with FLW. The Northern Division is presented by Gajo Baits and the tournament was presented by Polaris. 
Historically, Thrift has been stellar throughout the south in his home state of North Carolina, Arkansas, along the Tennessee River and everywhere else. He hasn’t, however, really kept up his typical pace in the north country. After the last few weeks on Champlain, it’s safe to put that trend to bed.
“I’m not going to say it’s been my nemesis, but I’ve never really got in a groove on this lake until 2016 when we came for the Tour and I tied for 10th and ended up 11th,” says Thrift. “It was like the lightbulb went off then and I realized what I was doing wrong. Not that I learned what to look for, but I learned how to practice. I think that was the biggest thing.”
Thrift finished third in the FLW Tour season finale on Champlain just a few weeks ago to finish out a somewhat trying season for him. This was his third Costa FLW Series win, so he’s no stranger to them, but he says they’re all good ones.
“Man, it feels great to win,” says the Shelby, N.C., pro. “I feel like I’ve let a couple chances to win kind of slip through my fingers this year, and a couple of them were my fault. If I would have got beat in this one I would have got flat beat, and I can handle that. When I beat myself, I don’t like it.”

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 http://bit.ly/2FzFmCj

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.