Saturday, August 17, 2019

2019 Bassmaster Elite St. Lawrence River Day 3: Chris Johnston Slim Lead Over Zaldain.

Johnston in position to become first Canadian Elite Champion.
By James Hall

Johnston ready to gamble for first Elite win.
(Photo: BASS)
The leaderboard is getting interesting at the 2019 Berkley Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River presented by Black Velvet, as Canadian Chris Johnston maintained the top spot after three days of competition. His 19-pound, 1-ounce limit gave him an impressive three-day total of 66-5. However, his lead is miniscule.

“I had a really tough day,” Johnston admitted. “I started in the same place I have started the past two days. I immediately lost a 5 1/2 pounder. That hurt. I caught only one keeper, a 3-pounder, over the next hour. The cloud cover made it impossible to see the fish, so I couldn’t work them like I needed to. So, I left and went to new water.”

Although most anglers wouldn’t call catching over 19 pounds a tough day, Johnston’s limits have been shrinking since Day 1. He weighed in the event’s largest limit on Day 1 (24-7), and 22-13 on Day 2.

“I was afraid my fish would run out. I have a tough decision to make tonight. I may trash everything I’ve been doing and head toward Lake Ontario. I practiced up there and know that the winning limit can be caught there. I just have to decide whether it’s worth the gamble,” said Johnston.

 If the gamble pays off, Johnston would be the first Canadian angler in history to win an Elite Series event.

A scant 6 ounces distant sits Texas-based pro Chris Zaldain. His monster Day 3 limit of 23-12 gives him 65-15 heading into Championship Sunday.

“I couldn’t hardly sleep last night because I was looking forward to this morning. The wind, the clouds … everything set up perfectly for the area I’m fishing,” he said.

However, his morning started off slowly. “I fished my first three primary spots and didn’t get a bite. However, I made a key adjustment by sliding out just a little deeper and caught the 5-11 and 5-15 on back-to back drops.” Zaldain said the problem was not catching the fish, but finding them.

Les Zacny and Cal Climpson Win 2019 FLW CANADA CUP with 68.36lbs!

Les and Cal win 13lbs over Copper Gallant and Danny McGarry.
Bob and Darren Izumi finish 3rd. More info coming up. 

Friday, August 16, 2019

2019 Bassmaster Elite St. Lawrence River Day 2: Chris Johnston Continues to Lead with 47-4lbs!

Jeff Gustafson 32th & Cory Johnston 36th.
By James Hall

Consistence key for Johnston's lead.
(Photo: BASS)
The only thing clearer than the pristine waters of New York’s St. Lawrence River is the realization that Elite Series pro Chris Johnston is a force to be reckoned with. The Canadian is known as a smallmouth specialist and earned that moniker after the first two days of the 2019 Berkley Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River presented by Black Velvet. Johnston weighed in 22-13 today, giving him a two-day total of 47-4 and the lead heading into Semi-Final Saturday. Still, Johnston is not overconfident.
“I have been leading on Day 2 on this river for more tournaments than I can count, and have blown it on the third day. So, I’m not going to count my chickens just yet,” Johnston said. Plus, the area he has fished relentlessly over the past two days alongside Elite Series pro Shane LeHew may no longer hold enough fish for the win. “I didn’t get a lot of bites today and only caught six or seven 4-pound fish there. And I never saw a kicker fish. So, I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to scramble tomorrow. I really believe the guy that wins this event is going to be the one who makes the best adjustments on the fly. I just hope I can figure out those adjustments.”
Hot on the trail of Johnston is Elite Series veteran Steve Kennedy, who is only 15 ounces out of the lead. The affable Alabama pro followed up his impressive Day 1 limit of 23-7 with another solid 22-14 worth of smallmouth for a total of 46-5. “I’m living on the edge,” Kennedy admitted. “I’m only fishing for seven or eight bites per day. If the weather report is accurate and we get overcast skies tomorrow, I might have to change my game plan.”

Thursday, August 15, 2019

2019 Bassmaster Elite St. Lawrence River Day 1: Chris Johnston Claims Lead with 24-7lbs!

Jeff Gustafson 42th & Cory Johnston 60th.
By James Hall
Chris Johnston take lead on St. Lawrence with bronze.
(Photo: BASS)

Expectations for the 2019 Berkley Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River presented by Black Velvet were slightly muted going into Day 1. After all, last year’s event on this storied fishery was dubbed as the best smallmouth tournament in the history of man, and practice for most of the Elite Series pros this time around was tough. There was no way, according to reports from the competitors, that this year’s event could match the statistics from the previous year. However, Chris Johnston proved that The No. 1 fishery in the nation according to Bassmaster Magazine’s 100 Best Bass Lakes rankings was still top of the class. The Canadian pro boated 24-7, including a 5-13 behemoth, to take the Day 1 lead.
“My day started pretty rough,” Johnston admitted. “I lost the first three fish I hooked, two 4s and a 5. I thought ‘oh, no, it’s going to be one of those days.’ But then, I landed a couple of good ones, and then caught one that nearly weighed 6 pounds. So, I’m really happy with how much weight I ended up with today.” Johnston is a little worried about whether or not he will be able to reproduce the massive limit over the next three days of the event. “I only have one really good spot, and I’m sharing it with another angler. So, I don’t know if it will hold up.”
Right on the heels of Johnston is Alabama pro Scott Canterbury, who boated 23-8. Unlike the Canadian pro, who has spent countless hours fishing the St. Lawrence River, Canterbury is fishing the New York waters for the very first time. “A lot of my practice was spent driving around, trying to learn the landscape of this fishery. I started to figure a few things out, and a lot of what doesn’t work here, and finally pieced together a game plan that would help me survive this tournament. My weight today is a blessing, I just hope I can reproduce it tomorrow.”

2020 FLW Tour Schudle

A great range of fisheries for the 2020 FLW Tour and what a great season end on St. Clair. 

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Bryan Thrift Wins 2019 FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton with 38-07lbs!

Schooling bass and determination gave Thrift  the win!
(Photo: FLW)


Everyone knew it was only a matter of time, and that time is finally now. Bryan Thrift is an FLW Cup champion.
The Shelby, N.C., pro won the 2019 FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton with a three-day total weight of 38 pounds, 7 ounces. 
Winning the Cup is not something Thrift needed to do to prove his greatness. That he’s one of the best ever was already an agreed-upon fact by just about everyone. Winning the Cup just added more separation between him and so many others. At 40 years old, in addition to being a world champion, Thrift is a two-time FLW Tour Angler of the Year, a seven-time Tour-level winner, holds a slew of FLW records and has now earned more than $3 million in his FLW career.
Coming into this week, Thrift was the favorite to win. It just felt like a Bryan Thrift kind of tournament, and it turns out it was. 
August in the South is an incredibly difficult time to fish a multiple-day bass tournament. Bass are stingy, and bites are tough to get. It’s rare to find a school of bass that can hold up for more than a day. Thrift’s style is the perfect tool to attack that type of scenario. He’s mastered the craft of “precision junk-fishing,” whereby he fishes specific targets (usually dozens of them) but chooses from 10 to 15 baits to make the perfect presentation for each target. 
For the most part, that’s how Thrift fished at Hamilton. However, each day, he eventually settled down in Hot Springs Creek and grinded out key bites that pushed his weight ahead of everyone else. Slowing down at the end of the day was a veteran move that Thrift might not have made early on in his career, when he never fished a spot long enough for a cameraman to focus his lens. 
And it obviously worked to perfection. Thrift led from wire to wire, starting with 15-3 on day one and 12-7 on day two. He led Kyle Walters, who roomed with Thrift this week, by 1 pound, 8 ounces coming into the final day, when Thrift wound up as the only angler to catch a double-digit limit. Weighing in 10-13 gave Thrift a 5-pound, 1-ounce winning margin over Walters.
As easy as Thrift can make it look sometimes, this was a grueling tournament. 
“I’m wore slam out,” says Thrift. “I really am. I fished as hard as I ever have in my life today. I’m tired, but I’m feeling good.”
The only time that Thrift really stuck a lot of fish in a hurry was the final morning when he pulled up to his first spot and fish were busting the surface over a 200-yard span.
“Today started out actually pretty good,” he says. “I ran to a place that I knew [Bryan] Schmitt was catching them schooling, and I knew he didn’t make the cut. So I went in there, and sure enough they were schooling like crazy. I caught a limit fairly quickly at probably about 8 or 8:30. It didn’t weigh much; maybe 7 or 7 1/2 pounds. And I’m thinking, ‘Shoot, I’ve got all day to upgrade. This is good. We’re good to go.

Bryan Thrift Wins 2019 FLW Cup Championship!

Bryan Thrift finally wins a FLW Cup. Read all about it right here!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

2019 FLW Cup Lake Hamilton Day 2: Bryan Thrift Leads with 27-10 lbs!

Canadians Luzak 17th & Johnston 46th
By Curtis Niedermier 
Thrift readies for his first FLW Cup Championship.
(Photo: FLW)

For the second day in a row, Shelby, N.C., pro Bryan Thrift will go to bed with the lead in the 2019 FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton. Today, Thrift weighed in 12 pounds, 7 ounces for a two-day total of 27-10. He leads Florida pro Kyle Walters by 1 1/2 pounds.
For the most part, the pros who made the top 10 this week seem very confident that the final day could be the best of the week – a slugfest by Hamilton standards. Sunshine makes the bite go at Lake Hamilton this time of year, and there’s sunshine in the forecast. 
Thrift is the exception. He isn’t sure what to expect.
For the last two days, Thrift has run all over Hamilton, fishing deep, fishing shallow and having to scrape and claw for every bite. He thinks the fishing pressure has taken its toll, but what makes him most uncomfortable is that he’s not dialed in well enough to know that he can pull up on specific spots and get bit in expected ways.
“I don’t know where I can go catch one,” Thrift says. “I know where to throw, but I don’t know where I can catch one. And I don’t like that.
“Nothing seems to outshine anything else,” he adds. “I’ve caught some on reaction baits. I’ve caught some dragging worms. I’ve caught some on topwater. It’s just kind of a hodgepodge of anything.”
Thrift only had six keeper bites today. The morning bite was really slow for everyone, especially for the leader. He only had two fish by 1 o’clock. 
That’s when the former Angler of the Year made a key adjustment. 
“I just kind of put my head down and just made myself slow down and milk an area out and finally caught a limit,” he says. 

Friday, August 9, 2019

2019 FLW Cup Lake Hamilton Day 1: Bryan Thrift Leads with 15-03lbs!

Canadians Luzak 11th & Johnston 13th
By Curtis Niedermier 

Thrift is a master of August junk fishing.
(Photo: FLW)
Bryan Thrift claims he was surprised to catch 15 pounds, 3 ounces to get the lead on day one of the 2019 FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton, but if he’s really surprised he’s the only one. Like usual, the Shelby, N.C., pro was the favorite coming into the tournament, and he’s way overdue to finally get a Cup win. Everyone expected this.
However, earning the win will take holding off Louisiana pro Nick LeBrun, who’s only 3 ounces behind the leader and is as dangerous as they come in a scorching hot summertime event with a tough bite. 
Interestingly, Thrift and LeBrun are fishing some of the same types of areas, but their approaches are much different. 
LeBrun is dialed on a specific shallow pattern. Thrift is running a little bit of everything. He says for him that’s typical of fishing in the South in August. 
“Today went a lot better than I expected. I said I was going to be happy if I caught 10 pounds because I hadn’t caught a lot of 2-pounders in practice,” Thrift says. “We had a lot of cloud cover today, and I think that really improved the bite some. I started shallow and caught a limit on a buzzbait in a couple hours. The rest of the day I bounced around between deep and shallow and made a few good culls here and there. It was just kind of fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants fishing. I’m not really dialed in on one specific pattern; just kind of sampling seven or eight different patterns.”
He’s not committed to an area, either. Thrift ran all over the lake today, not quite from dam to dam. It was a tad reminiscent of the early years of Thrift’s career when he barely sat in one spot long enough for his boat wake to settle.
“That’s just August fishing,” he says. “I caught fish off places I never got a bite in practice. I know every brush pile and every stretch of bank on this lake has got a fish on it. I think sometimes they bite and sometimes they don’t in August, so running behind people doesn’t really matter because they might have fished it when the fish weren’t ready to feed.”
LeBrun’s day was quite different. He caught about a dozen bass, and every fish came on one bait. 
“I’m staying shallow. I’m running the bank. But I’m doing something a little bit different,” says LeBrun. “I think I’m making some casts that maybe a lot of guys aren’t making. I think that I’m able to kind of run water that’s already been picked over, but we’ll kind of find that out tomorrow.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

2019 FLW Cup Live Coverage Schedule

FLW Live will air all three days of the 2019 FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton, beginning with on-the-water coverage Friday, Aug. 9. 
Day one will feature 2019 Angler of the Year David Dudley, as well as FLW Tour superstars Bryan Thrift, Scott Martin, Brian Latimer and John Cox. Special segments will feature International Division qualifier Erik Luzak and YETI FLW College Fishing champs Blake Albertson and Adam Puckett.
The FLW Cup will feature 52 of the world’s best bass anglers, all vying for the $300,000 top prize and a chance at bass fishing immortality. FLW Live has the action covered from every angle.
Travis Moran and Todd Hollowell will host the on-the-water show, with a few special guests stopping by the broadcast booth at the FLW Expo. The show airs Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. CT. 
Daily weigh-ins will be broadcast starting at 5 p.m. CT.


Friday, August 9
8 a.m. CT – 2 p.m. CT – Live on-the-water coverage
5 p.m. CT – Live weigh-in show from Bank OZK Arena
Special studio guests: George Cochran and James Niggemeyer
On-the-water cameras: David Dudley, Bryan Thrift, John Cox, Brian Latimer and Scott Martin, plus special segments with International Division qualifier Erik Luzak and YETI FLW College Fishing qualifiers Blake Albertson and Adam Puckett.

Saturday, August 10
8 a.m. CT – 2 p.m. CT – Live on-the-water coverage
5 p.m. CT – Live weigh-in show from Bank OZK Arena
Special studio guests: Luke Dunkin, Bill McDonald and Eric Jackson
On-the-water cameras: The broadcast will feature the top five pros in the standings the final two days, plus two roaming cameras.

Sunday, August 11
8 a.m. CT – 2 p.m. CT – Live on-the-water coverage
5 p.m. CT – Live weigh-in show from Bank OZK Arena
Special studio guests: The hosts will be joined by Cup competitors that failed to make the cut.
On-the-water cameras: The broadcast will feature the top five pros in the standings the final two days, plus two roaming cameras.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

SHIMANO Digital Control Expands to SLX 150 Baitcasting Reels

Shimano’s Digital Control (DC) braking system is now within reach of all anglers and all budgets with the new ICAST award-winning SLX DC 150 series, which are now available at tackle shops throughout the U.S. and Canada. Built on the proven ‘Can’t Stop Fishing’ SLX low-profile platform with a sturdy all-metal HAGANE Body, the reels utilize the same I-DC4 digital brake control system used on Shimano’s popular Curado DC reels to drastically reduces the learning curves for anglers new to baitcasting reels, and also raises the performance level in casting dynamics among experienced anglers.
The new reels include the SLX DC150 and left-hand retrieve DC151 with 6.2:1 gear ratios, the SLX DC150HG and DC151HG with 7.4:1 gear ratios, and the even higher speed SLX DC150XG and DC151XG with 8.5:1 gear ratios.
Be it working lots of water with crankbaits, using fluorocarbon for finesse techniques, skipping docks or casting just about any hard lure or soft bait when dealing with windy conditions, the SLX DC reels feature Shimano’s I-DC4 digital control technology which utilizes a microcomputer to control brake force at every moment of the cast. The unique technology provides everyone from the most avid tournament angler to those who are intimidated by baitcasting reels and the backlashes that can happen to cast smarter by allowing the DC’s microcomputer to monitor spool speed 1,000 times every second and apply the perfect amount of brake to prevent backlashes and maximize distance.
            With the I-DC4 braking technology, anglers can fish a variety of lures and in any weather conditions, with limited-to-no adjustments to the reel. There are four external adjustable brake settings depending on fishing situations. The settings are a ‘max distance mode’ for ultra-long casts in calmer conditions; a ‘braid/mono mode’ for general all-around use of those types of lines; a ‘fluorocarbon mode’ that is best when using these denser lines; and a ‘max brake mode’ for challenging casts (under docks and piers) or extreme conditions, and also the perfect mode for those who now want to fish with the advantages provide by baitcasting reels.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Todd Currie and Shawn Stenson Win the 2019 Renegade Bass Tour 1000 Island Open with 68.17lbs!

Monster Smallmouth Fest
By Luigi De Rose

Todd Currie and Shawn Stenson's 5.6lb smallmouth
average is just staggering.
(Photo: Andrew Shufelt)
The three-day Renegade 1000 Island Open had perfect conditions to tame the giant bass and the 100 bass teams didn’t disappoint. None fish better than the team of Todd Currie and Shawn Stenson who landed 12 bass for 68.17lbs to claim the title plus $15 384 in prize money. Their 12 bass averaged a whopping 5.6lb average. Second place went to Fab Marchese and Nick Cousivis who scored 62.50lbs and third went to Mike Desforges and Derek Strub who sack 60.42lbs.

The Renegade 1000 Island Open shone a spotlight on the amazing bass fishing to be had in the eastern Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River region. This is giant smallmouth territory but many anglers added big bonus largemouth to help them scale the leaderboard.  

This year, the 2-person team daily limit was set at 4 down from the traditional 5 bass limit. This was enacted to ensure greater success in fish being released healthy; a chore considering the hot weather, long boat rides and fish being caught from deep water common to this event. In light of the recent disaster at the B1 bass tournament on the St. Lawrence where hundreds of fish were killed, the 4 bass daily limit seemed wise and very timely.
The event’s big bass was captured by the team of Cal and Paul Climpson who netted $960 for their prehistoric 7.87 lb bass.

Rob Hyatt and Ray Willick were the lucky anglers to win the “Turn the Key to Win” a fully rigged Bass Cat Bass boat package.

For full results link over to Renegade Bass Tour.

1 Todd Currie / Shawn Stenson 68.17 LBS.
2 Fab Marchese / Nick Cousivis 62.50 LBS.
3 Mike Desforges / Derek Strub 60.42 LBS.
4 Cal Climpson / Paul Climpson 59.94 LBS.
5 Mitch Griffiths / Ron Griffiths 59.06 LBS.
 6 Brian Hughes / Anais Chaves 58.90 LBS.
7 Roger Tetreault / Pierre Senecal 58.35 LBS.
8 Mat Seeley / Mark Stoughton 58.21 LBS.
9 Phillip Hegarty / Stephan Hegarty 58.15 LBS.
10 Martin Szomolanyi / Chad Wentzell 57.92 LBS.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Abu Garcia® Stretches the Playing Field with the New Ultra Long-Casting Revo® EXD

Some extra distance on a cast can put a bait that much further from the fish-spooking boat, get a lure to run a bit deeper or give a bait a touch more time in the strike zone. The new Abu Garcia® Revo® EXD reel delivers these benefits in spades as it promises supreme casting distances thanks to a bevy of special design features.

Designed to provide anglers with maximum casting capabilities with any bait in their arsenal, the Abu Garcia Revo EXD Baitcasting Reels deliver unmatched casting distance. The EXD has a total of eleven high-performance bearings, including two custom EXD bearings on the spool shaft, along with an extremely lightweight machined EXD finesse spool providing low start up inertia making it easier to cast lighter weight baits.

“Recently, we have developed a number of technologies that aid in casting distance,” said Abu Garcia Global Brand Director, Andrew Wheeler. “We have engineered a way to bring them all together in the Revo EXD, maximizing the value of each technology and giving anglers the longest-casting reel we’ve ever built.”

The Revo EXD is available in both right- and left-hand models and comes in 5.4:1, 8.0:1 gear ratios. Additional features include:

2 Custom EXD Bearings on Spool Shaft
8 stainless steel HPCR™ bearings + 1 roller bearing
X-Cräftic™ alloy frame
C6 Carbon Sideplates
Power Stack Carbon Matrix Drag System™
D2 Gear Design™
Duragear™ brass gear
DuraClutch™ Design
Infini II™ spool
Ti coated line guide
Lube port

All versions of the Abu Garcia Revo EXD retail for $299.95 and are expected to be available in September 2019.