Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Freedom Tackle Mischief Minnow Bladed Topwater Review!

The secret to the Mischief Minnow’s performance is the unique custom shaped patent-pending Kilter blade design which is center-mounted on the bait's body by an angled blade pin.

Working the bait is simple with a steady retrieve - relying on the custom blade design combined with the side-to-side body rolling action which mimics a wounded baitfish on the water’s surface. The Mischief Minnow’s unique thrashing action combines sound, wake vibration and Kilter blade flash – a true triple threat in topwater fishing. At rest, the high float body relies on a nose-up presentation that thrashes into action with the slightest twitch. Use a straight retrieve or mix it up with a pause-and-rip rod technique
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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Lee Livesay Wins 2020 Bassmaster Elite at Chickamauga Lake with 58-02lbs!

Staying with ultra shallow froggin' key to fickle bite

By David A. Brown


Staying shallow and close pays off for Texan.
(Photo: BASS) 

Lee Livesay
 had options, but he committed to a singular game plan based on patience and execution to win the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Chickamauga Lake with a four-day total of 58 pounds, 2 ounces.

Livesay of Longview, Texas, turned in daily limits of 13-0, 13-3, 16-13 and 15-2. Notching his first career victory, the second-year Elite Series pro won the top prize of $100,000.

On Day 1, three of the fish that made up his 10th-place sack ate a football-head jig — one on a Hiwassee River bluff and two by the Highway 60 Bridge. He caught the other two by fishing a Scum Frog Launch Frog over main-lake grass mats, a technique that accounted for each of his bass the final three days.

“I stayed in between the Dayton Boat Dock and the Highway 60 Bridge the whole time (Days 2-4),” Livesay said. “It was so tough, you had to keep your bait in the water the whole time. That area is where I had the most bites.

“The farther south you went, the more fishing pressure you got; the farther upriver, the more pressure you got. I had a little zone where I was comfortable. Right where that river comes into the lake, that’s where you have the most nutrients, the most fish and you have current flow. That’s where I decided to set up.”

Livesay was particular about the types of mats he fished, with seclusion and current flow topping his criteria. Also, venturing far into the mats’ shallowest reaches allowed him to target bass that see little to no fishing pressure.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

2020 Bassmaster Elites on Chickamauga Lake Day 3: Livesay Leads with 43lbs

Canadians Gustafson 21st, Chris Johnston 38th & Cory Johnston 67th

By David A. Brown


Livesay overcomes stubborn bass and
flog delay to claim first.
( Photo: BASS) 

The tournament’s shortest fishing day yielded Lee Livesay’s biggest bag, which allowed the angler from Longview, Texas, to take the Day 3 lead of the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Chickamauga Lake with a three-day total of 43 pounds. 

After a 2 1/2-hour fog delay, Livesay backed up his first two weights of 13-0 and 13-3 with a Day 3 limit of 16-13 and overtook Day 2 leader Stetson Blaylock by a margin of 1-15.

He did so by fishing a frog around matted vegetation — and was very specific in the type of vegetation he sought.

“I’m doing what I like to do. I like to pick up a big rod and a frog and hunt them,” Livesay said. “I’m not just fishing, I’m hunting individual fish. I know which mats they’re under; it’s just whether they eat it or not.” 

Livesay said he’s targeting mats in two main scenarios. The first are located off small main-river bars. The key is what he calls supershallow water. 

“Everybody’s fishing the deep mats, but you can’t catch them there,” Livesay said. “You might get a hit every now and then, but it’s random. I fish around the shallowest mats with a little rock under them and two of them have current under them.”

Livesay’s other mat scenario is on the back side of an island bar with a small depression in a flat. The area has scattered rock and tiny cheese mats (topped-out grass coated with a bubbly yellowish algae) within a larger mat. 

“It’s 100 percent confidence, knowing where the fish are and not leaving,” he said. “Also, I’m being quiet; I’m push poling into some areas, keeping my trolling motor up and sitting there for (long periods). 

Saturday, October 17, 2020

2020 Bassmaster Elites on Chickamauga Lake Day 1: Brandon Cobb Takes Commanding Lead with 19-06lbs

Canadians Gustafson 34th, Chris Johnston 40th & Cory Johnston 73rd

By David A. Brown


Two 6lbers key to Cobb's big limit
 as field struggles.
(Photo: BASS) 

A big start, a big finish and solid productivity in between gave Brandon Cobb of Greenwood, S.C., the Day 1 lead of the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Chickamauga Lake with a five-bass limit of 19 pounds, 6 ounces.

A passing cold front created challenging conditions in which bites were few and reports of noncommittal fish were many. With a pair of bookend kickers, Cobb touted execution with two different reaction baits as the key to his success.

“It was not an easy day; I caught six and two of them just happened to be 6-pounders, so that always helps,” he said. “You can’t miss any. You have to boat every fish and just stick to it. 

“It’s so tough, it’s hard to know if you’re doing the right thing. But I stuck with one thing all day, got six bites and turned in 19 pounds.”

Spending his day upriver, Cobb targeted shallow grass and got most of his bites in about 3 feet of water. After his opening spot produced the first of his 6-pounders around 8 a.m., he gave the area a little more time but soon realized he needed to secure a limit. 

“I covered an area of 20 miles; I ran a lot throughout the lake,” Cobb said. “Even though I had some bites in practice, I never really figured anything out; but I could get bites by just covering water. 

Friday, October 16, 2020

Major League Fishing and FLW Unify as One Brand


To further elevate the sport of tournament bass fishing and align multiple circuits as one company, Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today its unification with Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) as one brand, transitioning all FLW brand assets to MLF.  

The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, Toyota Series, Phoenix Bass Fishing League, Abu Garcia College Fishing and High School Fishing will all carry the MLF logo and continue the five-biggest-fish format. A new website that builds on the existing sites, streamlines tournament entry, provides cutting-edge gear and tactics advice, and better highlights participating anglers is set to be unveiled in early 2021.

“Merging the FLW brand under the Major League Fishing umbrella is the next logical step in our company’s evolution, which now includes a broader reach than any of us thought possible in our formative years,” MLF BIG5 Executive Vice President and General Manager Kathy Fennel said. “The key to our success lies not in a name, but in our unwavering focus on providing the best possible tournaments for anglers, fans, hosts and sponsors – our family. Uniting with MLF under a single brand makes the whole greater than the sum of the pieces. The letters may be different, but the people and the values will remain the same.”

The FLW organization now known as “Major League Fishing BIG5” began life as Operation Bass. Founded on the shores of Kentucky Lake in 1979 by Mike Whitaker, a teacher and football coach turned electronics salesman, Operation Bass grew from humble beginnings to become the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization with five circuits and more than 300 events in 11 countries offering $21 million in awards.

Operation Bass was purchased by Minneapolis businessman Irwin L. Jacobs in 1996 and renamed FLW Outdoors in 2001 to honor Forrest L. Wood and the principles he embodied. While those principles still guide the company, FLW became Fishing League Worldwide in 2014 to set the stage for international growth, which now includes bass tournaments in Canada, China, Italy, Mexico, Namibia, Korea, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Zimbabwe.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Brandon Palaniuk Wins 2020 Bass Elite Santee Cooper with 72-02lbs!

Punching & chatterbait key to win!

By David A. Brown


Array of baits fattens final day.
(Photo: BASS)

Championships come down to decisions and execution — two things that Brandon Palaniuk mastered en route to amassing a four-day total of 72 pounds, 2 ounces for a dominant win at the Bassmaster Elite at Santee Cooper Lakes brought to you by the United States Marine Corps.

 Notching his fifth Elite victory — his second in 2020 (the first at Lake Champlain) — Palaniuk earned a top prize of $100,000.

 After leading Day 2, Palaniuk entered Championship Sunday in third place, just 1-3 behind Carl Jocumsen. On Sunday, the pro from Rathdrum, Idaho, added a limit of 22-11 to his previous weights of 21-1, 18-13 and 9-9 to edge Jocumsen.

 “This one is so unexpected,” Palaniuk said. “Every single one I won before, I had a good practice and I knew that I would have a shot at the Top 10 and a shot at the win. This one came out of nowhere.”

 Spending his tournament in Lake Marion, Palaniuk attributed his final-round success to a prelaunch decision to start in the mouth of the Potato Creek area. Having started there on Day 1, he had a feeling the area was ready to reward him again.

 “I was sitting at the dock this morning and something told me to go try it,” Palaniuk said. “With the (warm) weather, the humidity, I felt like I could catch them on topwater, but when I got there, the water was dirty.

 “I couldn’t get them to eat it, so I just picked up a 1/2-ounce bladed jig with a 4-inch white X-Zone Swammer. I had not caught a fish on this all week and I caught a 4-pounder and a 3 1/4-pounder.”

Monday, October 12, 2020

Friday, October 9, 2020

2020 BASS Elite at Santee Cooper Lakes Day 2: Brandon Palaniuk Jumps into Lead with 39-14lbs!

Canadians Gustafson 4th, Cory Johnston 11th & Chris Johnston 57th

By David A. Brown


Punch key to big bass bite.
(Photo: BASS) 

Locating big-fish areas and remaining mobile enabled Brandon Palaniuk of Rathdrum, Idaho, to take the Day 2 lead of the Bassmaster Elite at Santee Cooper Lakes brought to you by the United States Marine Corps with 39 pounds, 14 ounces.

After placing second on Day 1 with 21-1, Palaniuk added 18-13 Friday.

Palaniuk, who claimed his fourth Elite Series win on Lake Champlain earlier this season, caught two of his keepers on a jerkbait, one on a 5-inch X-Zone Swammer rigged on a 1/2-ounce VMC swimbait head and two on a punch rig comprising an X-Zone Muscle Back Finesse Craw on a 3/0 VMC Heavy Duty Flippin’ Hook with a 1 1/4-ounce weight.

Rotating through 10 to 12 spots within a 2-mile area on the upper end of Lake Marion, Palaniuk anchored today’s limit with a 6-6 that he caught while punching shortly before 2 o’clock. Proximity, he said, confirmed he was in the right area.

“I caught the 7-9 I had yesterday maybe 5 feet from where I had a 4-pounder in practice, and then today, I caught a 6-5 maybe 30 feet from where I caught that big fish yesterday,” Palaniuk said. “It’s definitely an area that’s holding the right size fish; I just need to catch five of them.”

Palaniuk said the challenging conditions of the fall transition have required significant consideration, as the fish are in a completely different seasonal mode than they would have been during the event’s originally scheduled dates of April 16-19. When the pandemic required rescheduling, Palaniuk went to work studying for an autumn tournament.

“I came here and pre-practiced in January, which has nothing to do with now,” he said. “I was practicing for an April event, so where I’m actually catching them, I never looked at in pre-practice.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

2020 BASS Elite at Santee Cooper Lakes Day 1: Carl Jocumsen Snatches Lead with 25-08lbs!

Canadians Cory Johnston 8th, Gustafson 34th & Chris Johnston 73rd


Jocumsen's two giants secures lead.
(Photo: BASS) 

Carl Jocumsen is known for his aggressive fishing style, but it was actually a healthy dose of caution that led him to three of the five fish he needed to take the Day 1 lead of the Bassmaster Elite at Santee Cooper Lakes brought to you by the United States Marine Corps with 25 pounds, 8 ounces.

The veteran pro from Queensland, Australia, who captured his first Elite Series win last year on Oklahoma’s Lake Tenkiller, said he started his practice with a well-founded respect for Santee Cooper’s minefield of submerged stumps. Doing so compelled him to spend more time idling.

“When you roll up to a place like this, it is scary,” Jocumsen said. “When I first launched at the ramp (in practice), I didn’t even know if you could get up on pad going out of the ramp. To go from that to a bag like this is just a magical day.

“It actually helped me not knowing this place because I got to idle some areas, not knowing how to get back in. That’s how I found a couple of little magical spots.”

With a limit that included a 6-15 and a 6-3, Jocumsen started in the midsection of Lake Marion, which along with Lake Moultrie to the south, comprises the Santee Cooper Lakes (linked by a diversion canal). His main area was a grass-lined depression that dropped from 2 feet to 4 1/2.

“If you ran the area, you would never see it, but I idled it because I was worried about getting into the back,” Jocumsen said. “I saw the grass on my Humminbird, and I think that’s what’s holding them.”

In practice, this spot hosted intense afternoon schooling action and produced several big bites. Today, Jocumsen saw minimal surface activity but caught one of his bigger fish from the schoolers.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Whopper smallmouth on Lake St. Clair with Sparkus Fisher: POV hookset to net on light line

Wonder why guys love big smallmouth? Its the FIGHT! Check out this video, from hookset to net, as Sparkus Fisher lands a Lake St. Clair stud. If you want to see for yourself how a big smallmouth fights on light line, give Sparkus Fisher Fishing guideservice a call at 519-803-8666 or #sparkusfisherfishing

Sparkus Fisher runs a Ranger 522D, one of the biggest, battleships out there making any future trip so much easier. Give Sparkus a call and go battle some big water smallies.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Frank "The Tank" Talley Wins 2020 NOCO Bassmaster Elite on Lakes Guntersville with 64-3Lbs!

Final day rally key for 1st Elite win

By Bryan Brasher 


Frank Talley has dreamed of winning a top-level professional bass tournament his entire life.

But with three small children at home, he kept that dream in his back pocket for two decades in favor of coaching youth sports teams, fishing local tournaments and just being a good husband and dad. 

Saturday, at age 45, the second-year Elite Series pro affectionately known as “Frank the Tank” saw his dream come true, weighing in 18 pounds, 2 ounces of bass during the final round to win the NOCO Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville with a four-day total of 64-3. 

Talley earned $100,000 and the cheers and tears of his family, who drove 14 hours through the night Friday from their home in Temple, Texas, to be there for his big moment.

“I was perfectly fine with just raising my kids — that’s why we had kids,” Talley said. “Finally, when my youngest boy got into high school, my kids and my wife kind of had an intervention. That sat me down and said, ‘You’re gonna go do this.’

“That’s what helped me understand it was OK to finally go and chase this dream — and they’re the reason I’m standing here with this trophy now.”

Good fishing instincts also played a role in Talley’s success, especially with a key decision he made before his first cast Saturday morning. 

Friday, October 2, 2020

2020 NOCO Bassmaster Elite on Lakes Guntersville Day 3: Wes Logan Commands Leads with 49Lbs!

Cory Johnston 13th, Gustafson 28th & Chris Johnston 34th 

By Bryan Brasher 


Logan scratched his way to the top
hitting grass mats.
(Photo: BASS) 

The good news for Wes Logan is that he’s leading the NOCO Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville heading into Championship Saturday.

The bad news is he says he’s fresh out of ideas.

The rookie from Springville, Ala., caught five bass that weighed 16 pounds, 2 ounces during Friday’s semifinal round, pushing his three-day total to 49-0 and giving him little more than a 1-pound lead.

As for what Saturday holds? He couldn’t say. 

“I think my area is shot,” Logan said after making his first career Elite Series Top 10. “I think the pressure finally got to it. There were a bunch of local boats on it today, and I think they beat it up pretty good.

“If I’m gonna win, I’m gonna have to find something else.”

As tough as Friday may have been for Logan, his catch of 16-2 was the second-largest of the day behind Texas pro Randy Sullivan, who caught 17-15 to move into second place. 

Logan has spent most of the tournament flipping grass mats with a 1 1/2-ounce Ark Tungsten weight, a 4/0 straight-shank hook and a rotation of soft plastics that includes a Zoom Z Craw, a Zoom Z Craw Jr. and a beaver-style bait — all in black and blue.

After exhausting the stretch of water that has been so good to him this week, he ran a new 300-yard stretch Thursday, landing a 4-pounder and losing a bass he estimated to be more than 5 pounds.

That will likely be his starting point Saturday.

2020 NOCO Bassmaster Elite on Lakes Guntersville Day 2: Brandon Cobb Scores Lead with cher Leads with 34-11Lbs!

Chris Johnston 18th, Cory Johnston 23rd & Gustafson 24th 

By Bryan Brasher


Cobb using range of techniques to
counter difficult bite.
(Photo: BASS)

Professional bass anglers are some of the most notorious poor-mouthers on the planet. Even on their best days, they’re likely to tell you the fishing was tough.

But at this week’s NOCO Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville, they may actually be telling the truth — even the ones who seem to be doing well.

During Thursday’s second round, when 31 of the 85-angler field failed to bring in a five-bass limit, South Carolina pro Brandon Cobb managed to catch five that weighed 17 pounds, 11 ounces to take the lead with a two-day total of 34-11.

He said don’t let his success at the scales fool you.

“The weights really don’t reflect how hard the fishing has been,” said Cobb, who earned his first two Elite Series victories last season. “It is very tough. Today, I had four big bites and I lost one.

“The Guntersville way is to catch schools of fish, whether it’s ledge fish or grass fish or whatever. But since I haven’t really found that, I’ve just been fishing shallow and trying to catch one at a time.”

Despite those limited bites, Cobb has been the most consistent angler in the field. Before landing his 17-11 Thursday, he opened the event Wednesday with 17-0.

He’s been fishing a little bit of everything — docks, riprap, bank grass and offshore grass — to make it happen, and he’s been relying heavily on a tactic he admits isn’t his specialty.

“I’ve been flipping a lot this week, and I don’t do that in South Carolina,” he said. “That’s probably why I lost that one big fish today. When you go so long between bites, you start sort of halfway not paying attention.

“I’m too gun-shy flipping. I felt that fish bite, but I waited too long to pull the trigger.”

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

2020 NOCO Bassmaster Elite on Lakes Guntersville Day 1: Welcher Leads with 19-05Lbs!

Cory Johnston 20th, Gustafson 25tt & Chris Johnston 37th


Alabama rookie leads despite bass in transition.
(Photo: BASS)

Alabama pro Kyle Welcher takes the early lead at the NOCO Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville with a limit weighing 19-5.  

Kyle Welcher is technically an “in-state angler” during this week’s 2020 NOCO Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville.

But since the rookie from Opelika, Ala., lives four hours away from the famed Tennessee River fishery, he had very little experience on Lake Guntersville before the official practice period began Sunday — and he thinks that might have been a good thing.

With no preconceived notions, Welcher took a fresh approach to the 69,000-acre lake and put together a five-bass limit that weighed 19 pounds, 5 ounces to take the opening-round lead.

“I’ve fished here almost none, and the times I had been here I was fishing from the back of the boat,” Welcher said. “It’s probably good I’m not from here, because if I had all the history of catching 25 pounds a day on roadbeds down south, I would have probably been doing that.”

Welcher’s experience lies mostly on Chattahoochee River fisheries like West Point Lake, Lake Eufaula and Bartlett’s Ferry. But for what he did Wednesday, he said a river is river, no matter the location.

He didn’t give specific details of the pattern he’s fishing. But he said it’s basically the same one that worked for him earlier this year on Florida’s St. Johns River — and one that will work most places across the country when conditions are right.

“I’m really just running a certain unique deal that the river does,” he said. “So, every time I see it on the map, I’ll just stop and fish whatever cover is there — whether it’s a dock or grass or whatever.”

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Sunday, September 27, 2020

Patrick Walters Wins 2020 Bassmaster Eastern Open on Lake Hartwell with 44-05lbs!

Forward facing sonar major player for schoolers

By David A. Brown


Walters punches ticket to 2021 Classic
(Photo: BASS) 

Making a key bait adjustment, Patrick Walters of Summerville, S.C., sacked up a Championship Friday limit of 13 pounds, 11 ounces and won the Bassmaster Eastern Open at Lake Hartwell with a three-day total of 44 pounds, 5 ounces.

In keeping with Hartwell tradition, the Bassmaster Elite Series pro spent a lot of time with a Zoom Super Fluke on Days 1 and 2. However, during Friday’s competition, he switched to a Fluke Stick — a 6 1/4-inch stickworm with a deeply forked tail like the Super Fluke.

“I had been throwing the Super Fluke in white pearl on 14-pound line on a baitcaster, but when I switched over to the Fluke Stick in natural shad on a spinning rod, it was lights-out after that,” Walters said. “A little bit of bait profile change showed out this week. It was like they had never seen it.

“No one else is throwing this bait; everyone else is throwing a Fluke. They’ve been throwing a Fluke on this lake for eight years, so the fish have seen it before and they know it’s the same action. The Fluke Stick is something that gets them fired up."

Walters, who weighed 14-15 and 15-11 the first two days, said a blistering retrieve proved most effective. Hartwell is full of blueback herring, a fast-paced species of baitfish that typically roams open waters. Mimicking the herring’s frantic appearance was the key to tempting bites.

Also important was a highly mobile game plan. Walters spent most of his time on the lake’s lower end because he felt that region held bigger spotted bass and largemouth. Although the latter eluded him Friday, Walters weighed a big largemouth the first two days, including a 4-6 on Day 1.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Daiwa Unveils New and Improved Tatula CT Baitcaster

Daiwa has just launched another Tatula reel that promises anglers a wealth of performance and value. The reel was specifically designed and manufactured to bring anglers looking for an entry level baitcaster an entirely new standard of performance and aesthetics. Perfect for everything from plastics to cranks to Chatterbaits and more, the TATULA CT (Compact) brings versatility to anglers of all walks. Extremely palmable and a mere 7.2 ounces, the reel feels great in the hand and your choice of favorite rods.

Like the other higher priced reels in the Tatula family, what really makes The Daiwa TATULA CT so special is the inclusion of the T-Wing System level-wind. When you take the reel out of gear it allows for less resistance on the line, allowing the line to cast further. Daiwa’s spool lets anglers finely tune the spool tension while the T-Wing System level-wind opens up line feed, working together to cast longer, more accurately, and provide stress-free control when chunking into the wind, skipping baits or casting light lures. The T-Wing System is also very efficient at reducing backlashes. It does this by reducing the angle of the line coming off the spool and spool speed, providing efficient operation unlike anything on the market in this reel class. 

TATULA CT Features:

  • Aluminum Frame for strength, rigidity and smooth performance
  • T-Wing System (TWS)
  • Ultimate Tournament Drag (UTD)
  • 90mm Heavy Swept Handle
  • Gray and anodized dark blue look with Daiwa Tatula Spider Logo
  • Available Gear Ratios (6.3:1) (7.1:1) (8.1:1)

MSRP $129.99 USD

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Heavy Neko Rig: The Easiest Way to Fish Matted Grass

Fishing matted grass needs the correct tackle. But, what happens when you're not comfortable using a magnum bullet weight and punching rig? Look no further than a heavy spinning rod and reel spooled with braided line and a beefed up neko rig.

Check out this video and learn how to break through the heavy cover without using the big rod. Neko rigged senko style worm with braid is a great solution if you know how to rig up for monster bass. MOBILE LINK:
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Monday, September 21, 2020

Scott Dobson Wins 2020 Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River with 59-03lbs!

Power fishing key for repeat win

Swimbait, Alabama Rig and Jerkbaits sacked the
smallmouth for Dobson. (Photo: FLW)

By Jody White


Weighing 18 pounds and 9 ounces on day three for a 59-3 total, Scott Dobson moved from second to first to win the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River. The win is Dobson’s second in Toyota Series competition and his eighth overall with FLW. For the win, Dobson takes home $27,534 and further burnishes his record as one of the best smallmouth anglers on the planet.  

With the whole field pinned in the Detroit River on days one and two and everything open on the final day, it was almost a foregone conclusion that the winner would do quite a few things. Leveraging his experience on the fishery and smallmouth savvy, Dobson caught fish on more than a half dozen baits and weighed fish from the mouth of the Detroit River near Erie to the mouth of the St. Clair River in St. Clair.

“I appreciate them making the call to keep us all in the river day one and two, I don’t think I’ve ever fished 16 hours in the Detroit River in two tournament days,” says Dobson. “I practiced like five days for this tournament, I spent two days up on St. Clair, and two and a half down here in the river. I grew up here in Trenton, I see a lot of Trenton people here, it’s awesome to win a big tournament out of Trenton.”

Dobson’s baits this week ran the gamut, but aside from a few fish caught on dragging baits, his main players were moving baits. His umbrella rig of choice was a Shane’s Baits Mini Blades of Glory with Keitech Swing Impact FAT swimbaits. For his spinnerbait, he used a ¾-ounce War Eagle Spinnerbait with gold and silver willow blades and a trailer hook. On the jerkbait side of things, Dobson wielded a Megabass Vision 110+1, a Lucky Craft Pointer 100 and a Duo Realis Jerkbait 100DR.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

New Winch Rods from Abu Garcia Designed for Crankbaits

Crankbait anglers looking to up their game won't want to miss the new Abu Garcia® Winch series of rods hitting tackle shops this fall. Specifically designed for anglers using crankbait techniques, these rods are offered in seven casting and one spinning variation for optimum performance with everything from jerkbaits to deep diving cranks. Featuring cork and high-density EVA grips and ergonomic Fuji® reel seats, the Winch series is built with a custom composite construction for a more moderate action.

Hank Cherry, winner of the 2020 Bassmaster Classic, relies on the new Winch crankbait rods to help him increase his hookup ratios when the crankbait bites aren’t aggressive. “The rods are sensitive enough to allow me to react quickly upon biting,” Cherry said. “Every bite counts; one missed fish can be the difference between winning and missing the cut completely. With these rods I know I have everything I need to fish to win.”
Said Abu Garcia Marketing Director Andrew Wheeler: “Due to the exacting nature of fishing crankbaits, where testing and tuning are mandatory for anglers to get the most out of their presentations, we saw a need for a technique-specific rod series. The sizes and actions of these rods make it easy for anglers to pair their rod to specific crankbaits, all the while benefitting from best-in-class ergonomics, performance and sensitivity.”

All winch series rods are built with a custom composite-construction for a more moderate action, making them perfect for fishing crankbaits. Rods also feature cork and high-density EVA grips, an ergonomic Fuji® reel seat, and stainless-steel guides with Zirconium inserts. Winch rods have an MSRP of $149.95.
For more information visit

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

James Maupin Wins 2020 FLW Toyota Series Eastern Division on the Potomac with 40-11lbs.

Maupin makes it happen despite tough fishing

By Kyle Wood


Spinnerbait and swimjig key to win.
(Photo: FLW) 

The dock talk all week at the Potomac River for the Toyota Series Eastern Division event was that fishing was tough. That rang true again today as the wind help stall the tide making things tough for most of the top 10. James Maupin, however, kept his streak of consistency alive as he weighed his third 13-pound-plus limit of the week to move from second to first with 40 pounds, 11 ounces overall. For the win, Maupin earns his first FLW trophy and over $24,000. 

Maupin was ecstatic just to make a top 10 in a field with Potomac hammers like this event featured, but to win was even more special.

“This means a lot,” Maupin says. “This makes all the hard work worth it to know I can compete with these guys.”

It’s no joke when Maupin talks about the hard work he puts into fishing a whole, but especially for this tournament.

“I got a top 10 in the Northeast Division for the [Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine] a couple weeks ago,” Maupin says. “But other than that, I have been at the bottom of the pack on this river every other tournament. The last six months I’ve been putting a lot of time in here and it’s paying off.”

Maupin also gives the nod to his buddy, Derek Brown, for helping him figure out the Potomac puzzle.

“He’s a stick up here,” Maupin says of Brown. “He actually fishes as a co-angler, but he should be doing it as a boater. Me and him practice fished up here for months and caught fish all over the river, but we got on to where the bigger fish were. The bigger fish are definitely concentrated in certain areas.”

The two areas Maupin spent the majority of his time on this week were Greenway Flats and Mason Neck. Each area had a 200-yard stretch that he would work back and forth no matter the tide and each produced fish throughout the day.

“I’m not too familiar with tides, so I just put my head down and fished,” says the 42-year-old angler. “I just got on this bite Wednesday and it was just so consistent. The main thing that made it consistent was that it was cloudy. When that sun would peek out I couldn’t get a bite going, but I could throw that spinnerbait down those grass lines when it was cloudy and it was cloudy all three days.”

The bread and butter for Maupin was a 3/8-ounce Terminator spinnerbait with two gold willow blades. He had two identical spinnerbaits rigged on the deck, one on 15-pound-test fluorocarbon and the other on 20-pound-test to help the bait run lower or higher in the water. When the sun poked out, especially on day two, Maupin ran a V&M swim jig with a Zoom Fat Albert Twin Tail Grub as a trailer to get a few bites.

Maupin has been fishing since he was in diapers, so the win this week means everything to him. It means even more knowing his grandmother, Christine, was looking down on him today.

“She was wonderful, she was the fisherwoman of the family and taught me how to fish,” Maupin says. “She’d call big ones ‘Mary Alice,’ so all day long I was praying to granny saying, ‘c’mon granny, just give me two Mary Alice’s.' And nearly every time I’d say that prayer and go back down a stretch I’d catch a nice one. So I think granny was riding in the boat with me this week.”

As a brick mason by day, Maupin is more than happy to see fish pay the bills for a change. Though he may not be ready to dive into fishing full-time, he’s ready to keep competing at this level.

“If I could do this a lot more often I’d like to not lay bricks,” jokes Maupin. “But this seriously is one of the greatest moments of my life. It’s just amazing. The check that I got I’m going to use that to pay my house off, so it’s cool to say I did that with fishing. I’m not sure what I’m going to fish next year, but I definitely want to keep it going."


Top 10 pros

1. James Maupin ­– Stanardsville, Va. – 40-11 (15) – $24,293

2. Todd Walters – Kernersville, N.C. – 40-4 (15) – $9,413

3. Bryan Schmitt – Deale, Md. – 38-4 (15) – $7,288

4. Wayne Vaughan – Chester, Va. – 37-14 (14) – $6,139

5. Michael Hall – Annandale, Va. – 32-9 (14) – $5,532

6. Kurt Mitchell – Milford, Del. – 31-7 (15) – $5,059

7. Danny Kirk – Bartow, Ga. – 30-15 (12) – $4,251

8. David Williams – Maiden, N.C. – 30-15 (14) – $3,644

9. Cody Pike – Powhatan, Va. – 27-12 (12) – $4,037

10. Joseph Thompson – Coatesville, Pa. – 26-8 (11) – $2,429

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Masayuki Matsushita Wins 2020 Bassmaster Central Open on Sam Rayburn with 60-14 lbs.

Matsushita punches 2021 Classic ticket

By David A. Brown


Monster first day key to Japanese angler's big win.
(Photo: BASS)

A stellar start positioned Masayuki Matsushita to overcome a Day 2 stumble and mount a final-round surge to win the Bassmaster Central Open on Sam Rayburn Reservoir with a three-day total of 60 pounds, 14 ounces.

Hailing from Tokoname Aichi, Japan, Matsushita took the Day 1 lead with 27-10 — the event’s largest catch — but slipped to second after adding 15-5 on Friday. On Saturday, he rallied and added 17-15 to win by a margin of 1-9.

Speaking with the assistance of fellow angler Calvin Balch of Porter, Texas, Matsushita said he was fishing midlake, just south of the 147 Bridge. He targeted a mix of brushpiles and trees in 20 to 30 feet of water.

“I was fishing fast and (making a milk run) between my spots,” Matsushita said. “My Humminbird MEGA 360 was very important for finding my spots.”

Matsushita caught several of his fish on an 8-inch golden shiner-colored Deps Sakamata Shad Texas-rigged on a 7/0 Owner wide-gap hook. He also fished a Texas-rigged redbug Zoom Ol’ Monster worm.

His key bait Saturday was a Neko-rigged Zoom Magnum Trick Worm in the redbug and green pumpkin colors. This bait produced his biggest bite — an estimated 5-pounder — shortly after takeoff around 7:30 a.m.

“I was staying far away from my spots and made long casts,” Matsushita said.

Friday, September 11, 2020

2021 FLW Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Schedule

Major League Fishing (MLF) and FLW announced today the 2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit schedule, kicking off February 11 at Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston, Florida, and wrapping up August 1 at the St. Lawrence River in Massena, New York.

The 26th season of FLW’s top professional circuit will feature six regular-season tournaments showcasing the best 150 anglers in the world competing for as much as $135,000 in a five-biggest-fish format on top bass fisheries at peak times. The 2020 season culminates in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit TITLE presented by Toyota, where the top 50 pros will compete for as much as $235,000 in a catch, weigh, immediate-release format.


Payouts for 2021 remain the same as 2020 qualifying events and the 2020 TITLE, but entry fees for qualified pros have been reduced by $10,000 to $30,000 for the season.

  • Feb. 11-14 – Lake Okeechobee – Clewiston, Fla., hosted by Roland & Mary Ann Martin’s Marina & Resort and the Hendry County Tourism Development Council
  • March 11-14 – Smith Lake – Cullman, Ala., hosted by Cullman Area Local Organizing Committee
  • April 22-25 – Lake Murray – Columbia, S.C., hosted by Capital City Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board
  • May 13-16 – Lake Eufaula – Eufaula, Ala., hosted by Eufaula Barbour County Chamber of Commerce
  • June 17-20 – Potomac River – Marbury, Md., hosted by Charles County Board of Commissioners
  • July 29-Aug. 1 – St. Lawrence River – Massena, N.Y., hosted by the Town of Massena
  • Aug. 17-22 – Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota – TBA

“We are thrilled to offer our top pros an exciting 2021 schedule with the sport’s largest payouts for a new lower entry fee,” says Kathy Fennel, FLW Executive Vice President and General Manager. “With one less qualifier, pros will have less time on the road and the ability to fish a complimentary Toyota Series division to qualify for a second championship that pays as much as $235,000 to the winner.”

Thursday, September 10, 2020

5 Ways the Minn Kota One-Boat Network Helps You Work Smarter

The power and precision of Minn Kota, together with the intelligence of Humminbird is an unstoppable combination that delivers new levels of boat control. That’s why we created the 
One-Boat Network™ of products, to help any angler do more with their boat to put more fish on the line.

Whether you’re an elite pro winning the Bassmaster Classic or a weekend warrior on the hunt for big fish, the more your trolling motor and fish finder work together, the more successful you can be.
But how?

Link here to find out how

Monday, September 7, 2020

Frog frustrations! 4 strikes and you're OUT!

A little throw back to a cool place I visited in Quebec. Eastern Canadian Outfitters on Lac Mer Bleue has a back lake and the bass, yeah both smallmouth and largemouth, love the pads. The only problem was them eating a frog. Here's a short vid with 4 blow ups and 2 horrible hooksets.

Pay them a visit at:

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Why Coloured Braided Line Is A Must!

A lot of pro bass anglers love coloured braided line. Most weekend anglers don't feel comfortable using red, yellow or white lines as they worry it will cost them fish. Check out this video as we explain the benefits of using coloured braided line for everything from deep-water smallmouth to shallow, heavy cover largemouth.


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Sunday, August 30, 2020

Californian pro Rusty Salewske Wins 2020 FLW Tackle Warehouse Title on Sturgeon Bay with 48-11lbs!

Salewske battled the high seas and won!
(Photo: FLW)


After five days of mostly wide-open smallmouth-catching activity, a new competition format and anglers sparring with each other on the live scoreboard, the final day of the 2020 Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota came down to the most basic difference-maker in bass fishing: an angler making a move based on his gut.

For Southern California pro Rusty Salewske, that move was worth $200,000 and the first-ever TITLE championship belt.

Shortly after peeling away from the shoal he had been fishing most of the day on the lee side of Snake Island outside of Riley’s Bay – the bay just north of Little Sturgeon Bay – Salewske caught two smallmouths in the final 42 minutes of the event. That included a 4-pound, 14-ouncer with 12 minutes remaining that catapulted Salewske past Bradford Beavers and into first place.

That’s where he stayed: Salewske finished the day with 13 fish for 48-11 to Beavers’ 48-3.

John Cox finished third with 36-14, Kurt Mitchell was fourth with 22-8 and Kyle Hall rounded out the top five with 22-0. Spencer Shuffield (21-7), Grae Buck (20-11), Joey Cifuentes (18-9), Casey Scanlon and Evan Barnes (0-0) finished out the Championship Round field.

Salewske, a San Diego-area pro who finished fifth in the 2009 Forrest Wood Cup and then took nearly 10 years off from tour-level tournament fishing before the 2020 Pro Circuit season, stacked 28-15 on SCORETRACKER® in the first period and hovered in the top three until early in the second period. But Salewske couldn’t relocate a consistent bite for the next 4 hours, slowly falling behind Beavers through the second and third periods before chipping away at the lead with a 4-pounder and a 2-15 before connecting with the winning fish.