Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Minn Kota® Announces Raptor™, Sets a New Standard for Hydraulic Shallow-Water Anchors

Global leader in boat control for over 85 years and maker of the Talon shallow water anchor Minn Kota® announces the upcoming release of Raptor shallow water anchor. With a host of new innovations and unmatched anchoring and durability, the Raptor is engineered to stand up to the harshest conditions, giving anglers the ability to confidently hold their boat securely in place in more fishing situations than ever before.

Hydraulic anchoring systems currently on the market have lacked the ability to adapt to changing conditions on the water. Once anchored, waves, current, tide changes and different bottom compositions can negatively affect the anchors’ ability to hold a boat in place. Raptor is the only shallow water anchor to feature Active Anchoring™ and Auto-Bottom Mode™, which enable these shallow-water anchors to automatically monitor the water and bottom conditions to keep the boat anchored firmly in place no matter what the fishing situation.

Active Anchoring continuously monitors anchor hold and adjusts automatically to changing conditions while Auto-Bottom Modes senses bottom hardness to ensure the right amount of force is delivered for a more secure hold every time.


“Developing real fishable features for our consumers has driven every new Minn Kota innovation for nearly nine decades. Today we are bringing that spirit of innovation to our Shallow Water Anchors,” said Minn Kota Brand Manager Brad Henry.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

2020 FLW Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournaments Lake Chickamauga Day 3: Wheeler Regains Leads with 72-06lbs!


Despite culling error and 2lb penalty,
Wheeler still holds 4lb lead
(Photo: FLW)
He may be the best in the sport right now. He’s on his home waters. And he’s got a near 5-pound lead going into the final day after crushing the biggest bag of the tournament, unofficially.
Can anyone catch Jacob Wheeler?
If today is any indication, the only thing that may stop him from winning the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga is himself. Wheeler caught fish early and often, and he sent a jolt through the live coverage when he cracked a 10-pounder – only to give back two of those pounds due to a penalty for making a cast with six fish in the box. Still, his 25-12 official weight for the day was by far the biggest bag of the day, and his 72-6 overall weight has set him up for his second major victory on Chickamauga.
“Going out there today, I knew I had my work cut out for me,” says Wheeler. “These guys are unbelievable; great fisherman. I knew I needed a big bag, and I was very fortunate to catch that big fish and anchor that bag.”
After watching some giant bags get brought in by Jason Reyes and Cole Floyd on Wednesday, Wheeler mentions that in order for him to make a run at winning this event, he’d have to do the same at least once over the final two days. He didn’t waste much time. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

2020 FLW Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournaments Lake Chickamauga Day 2: Reyes Leads with 49-14lbs!


Reyes wacks Chick monsters to grab lead.
(Photo: FLW) 
Now this is the Lake Chickamauga we all came to see.
By its own standards, Chickamauga had an off day yesterday, with only five anglers cracking 20 pounds and no one going over 25. Day two of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament was a much different story, as 11 anglers got into the 20s and two cracked 25 pounds (with one of those bags being one lost fish away from being a mega bag over 30).
The big girls were chewing almost all day, as reports of 7- and 8-pounders were constant. Jason Reyes, who now leads after two days, kicked off the parade with a 7-pounder right off the bat. He never let up after that. Reyes’ 27-4 bag was the biggest of the tournament so far and pushed his two-day total to 49-14.
“I caught that 7-pounder early, and then it got crazy towards the end,” says Reyes. “I don’t know what all lives in [my area], but there are definitely some good ones. I’m going to just go back out, keep plinking around and see what happens.”
Coming into the event, conventional wisdom said it was going to be an offshore deal, and it was obvious the vast majority of the 200-plus-angler field bought into that convention. Reyes was among them, at least at first. 
With only three small keepers come 11 a.m. Tuesday, he opted to try up shallow, and the results have spoken for themselves.
“I have three stretches of grass,” says Reyes. “Pepper grass, not hydrilla. In practice, I got bit in there, but I never dreamed ‘that’ was in there. I shook a few off, but that was no big deal. But after the last two days … the winners are there.  It’s just a matter of getting enough of them to bite. And I’m not just plowing them. I have to stay patient, stay slow, trust what I’m doing, and then all of a sudden I’ll catch one that is the right one and it changes the whole day.”
When Reyes says “slow,” he means it. Often, he’s almost dead-sticking a Texas-rigged Yamamoto Senko in bare patches in the grass. No twitching. Not dragging. Just letting it lay there until one “walks off with it.” The way he’s fishing, he says, reminds him of the way many fish in Florida. 
“The bare spots, the outer clumps – it’s exactly like how you would fish at Toho or Okeechobee,” explains Reyes.

2020 FLW Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournaments Lake Chickamauga Day 1: Wheeler Leads with 24-09lbs!

Wheeler proving he is in a league of his own.
(Photo: FLW) 
One is arguably the hottest angler in the sport. The other is arguably to hottest angler on Lake Chickamauga. And it’s only fitting that Jacob Wheeler and John Cox sit first and second, respectively, in the standings after day one of the first of three Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournaments to close out the 2020 season.
Fresh off a win in the Lake Pickwick Toyota Series event and a top 10 in the MLF Toyota Heavy Hitters event on the Kissimmee Chain, Wheeler put his local knowledge to the test on Tuesday to sack up 24-9 and grab the lead on his home lake. 
To take home another major title on the fishery like he did back in 2014, Wheeler will have to hold off Cox; a pro who won the last FLW event he fished on Chickamauga – along with 200-plus other top anglers from the Pro Circuit and Bass Pro Tour.
Fortunately, having moved to the area three years ago (along with already having years of experience prior), Wheeler was able to overcome having the last boat draw in a massive and talent-laden field by keeping an open mind.
“I ran a lot of places; maybe 30 or 40,” says Wheeler, who admits he didn’t catch many fish today. “Just trying to understand what’s going on. I was trying to keep an open mind between the shallow bite in the grass and offshore. 
“You can’t get caught up with one deal this week. It’s going to take a little bit of everything this week; a little hodgepodge deal. So that’s my game plan is to not commit to one particular pattern.”
Between the five fish Wheeler weighed in today, he says three came shallow – either on the bank or in grass. The other two came offshore. There was no set pattern, either, as he figures he had 20 rods on his deck. Yet, one thing definitely helped one of his bites.
“[The weather] made a huge difference in the shallow bite,” says Wheeler. “You had cloud cover and wind and rain. Those fish are not always that easy to catch. These fish are Florida-strain largemouth and hybrids. They’re sometimes very fickle to get to bite. The weather helped some of those places I was fishing.”
Top 10 Below

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Chris Jones Wins 2020 Bassmaster Central Open Arkansas River with 42-13lbs!

Going for broke pays of win!
Worm and swim jig key to wicked last day limit.
(Photo: BASS)
Chris Jones knew he had his work cut out for him, but he stuck to what he knows best and overcame a significant deficit to win the Basspro.com Bassmaster Central Open on the Arkansas River with a three-day total of 42 pounds, 13 ounces.
Starting Championship Saturday in eighth place, Jones’ biggest decision was whether to stay local or make the long run downriver to the Kerr Lake Pool. The latter option requires locking, which greatly diminishes a competitor’s fishing time, but this fertile reservoir’s renowned fish population often justifies the sacrifice.
After drawing the last flight on Day 1, the pro from Bokoshe, Okla., fished Kerr and placed 17th with 12-10. The next day’s reversed checkout order gave him a shorter day, so he stayed in local waters and secured a final-round spot after adding 11-3.
Championship Saturday allowed him a longer fishing day, so he returned to Kerr and locked up the win by adding a 19-pound limit — the tournament’s second-largest behind Keith Poche’s 19-5 on Day 2.
“I knew the wind was going to blow today, I knew a front was coming and I knew there was a chance to catch a giant bag [in Kerr] and I just wanted that chance,” said Jones, who earned $45,300. “I knew I was 4 pounds behind [Day 2 leader] Dale Hightower, so I knew I had to go.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

JackHammer 2.0’ Resonates with Selective Largemouths, Smallmouths

Z-Man® / EverGreen International set to unleash new ChatterBait® JackHammer™ StealthBlade™ bladed jig

In a wink, it flashes and disappears underwater. Suggestive of a preyfish tail-kick, the luminous blade hums a subtle but palpable harmony; seems to be singing directly to the bass. As the thin-edged razor cuts water with the speed and precision of a Santoku, it vanishes and reappears in rapid succession. Inside the brains of bass, alarms bells toll. Although they can’t see it at first, predators in the neighborhood can feel its pulse—a sweet tune that pings lateral lines and incites mandibles to snap.
A valuable combination of refined energy, unpredictable action and visual stealth, the new Z-Man 
"JackHammer StealthBlade is about to add an exciting new chapter to the book of the bladed jig.
The StealthBlade is the antidote for bass that have seen endless parades of traditional bladed jigs,” divulges Brett Hite, pro angler and designer of the eminent Z-Man ChatterBait JackHammer and its radical new finesse offspring, the JackHammer StealthBlade. “Throw it in clear water. Skip it under heavily-fished docks and laydowns. Cast it for big smallmouths. Pitch it anywhere you want, and present bass with a totally different sound and cadence than other bladed jigs. We’re super pumped about the way this bait turned out; another fish catching collaboration by Z-Man and leading Japanese lure maker, EverGreen International.”

Back In 2017, no one could have anticipated the lure that would ultimately turn the pursuit of bass on its head, a bait that would go on to produce more giant fish and more tournament dollars than any other in recent memory. The Z-Man ChatterBait JackHammer created a singular subset of pro-grade bladed bass jigs—a lure anglers now bring to almost any lake with the assurance of big fish and mega limits in the livewell.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Buddy Gross Wins the 2020 Bassmaster Lake Eufaula with

From 10th to 1st, Buddy Gross whacks them with a jig!
By Bryan Brasher
BASS Press Release

Adjusting to changing conditions, Gross moved shallow and onto a jig that
scores the week's most impressive limit.
(Photo: BASS)
After a week of constant adjustments, everything came together perfectly for Buddy Gross on Championship Saturday.
The Bassmaster Elite Series rookie, fishing only his second event on the trail, caught a tournament-best five-bass limit that weighed 27 pounds, 11 ounces and sprang from 10th place to a victory in the DEWALT Bassmaster Elite at Lake Eufaula with a four-day total of 84-8. He earned $100,000 and one of the coveted blue trophies that comes with every Elite Series win.
Instead of the usual routine of being handed the trophy by Elite Series Tournament Director Trip Weldon, Gross received the prize onstage from his family due to strict social distancing measures in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It doesn’t get much better than that,” Gross said. “This is something you dream of as a kid because B.A.S.S. is the epitome of fishing — just the staple of the fishing world. To dream about something like this, and then for it to happen so early in my career, is amazing.”
Gross, who lives in Chickamauga, Ga., made two scouting trips to Lake Eufaula before the event. Each trip, the weather was so rough that he spent all of his time just idling around and marking brushpiles.

Jordan Lee Wins MLF Heavy Hitters Event on Kissimmee Chain!

Late in Period 3, Lee landed a 5-pound fish that pushed his lead to 26 pounds on SCORETRACKER®. At the time, that was double the weight of second-place angler Bryan Thrift’s, who was sitting with 26 pounds, 2 ounces.
After that catch, Lee spoke to the MLF NOW! live stream studio crew, and in his own words stated what many watching were thinking.
“I don’t even know what to say anymore,” Lee told MLF commentators Chad McKee, JT Kenney and Marty Stone. “It’s just been one of those days.”
Lee tends to have these kinds of days more often than other anglers.
In the end, the Berkley pro won the event by nearly 20 pounds to collect $100,000. Lee also pocketed $100,000 for the day’s biggest bass. That 7-4 fish (which was the lightest big-bass winner of the week but proved to be enough to gather the big check).
Lee claimed the trophy the last time the Bass Pro Tour visited the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, winning the inaugural event during the 2019 season. Going into this week, he had a good feeling about returning here.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling. Kissimmee has been good to me,” said Lee. “I felt comfortable out there all week.”
During practice, Lee set out to look for something different than everyone else was fishing and that turned out to be brushpiles in 5 to 7 feet of water.
“I noticed everyone was congregating on the big sections of grass and I don’t like fishing in crowds,” Lee said. “That told me I needed to find something off the wall. I found a brushpile on my Lowrance StructureScan (side-scanning sonar) and made a cast with a lipless crankbait and caught one immediately and it had a bigger one following it in.”

Saturday, June 13, 2020

2020 Bassmaster Elite Lake Eufaula Day 3: Canterbury Snag Lead with 64-06lbs!

Canterbury holds 4 pound lead
By Bryan Brasher
BASS Press Release

Giant bass helps anchor Scott Canterbury's 22-13lb limit.
(Photo: BASS)
Back in October, Scott Canterbury was crowned Bassmaster Angler of the Year for being the most consistent professional bass angler on the planet.
That was almost nine months ago, but it seems not much has changed.
Consistency has led Canterbury to catches of more than 20 pounds the past three days and put him in the lead going into the final round of the DEWALT Bassmaster Elite at Lake Eufaula with a three-day total of 64 pounds, 6 ounces.
Friday marked his best catch yet, as he brought 22-13 to the scales to jump from third place into first with a chance to win $100,000 and his first blue winner’s trophy on the Elite Series.
“I had almost 23 pounds today and lost a big one — should have had 25 pounds,” said Canterbury, who holds more than a 4-pound lead over the rest of the field. “I lost a giant. I didn’t see it, but I know it was a big one.
“I’m not gonna complain.”
Canterbury said he came into the event expecting to catch the majority of his fish on deeper offshore structure. But during the first two days when he landed catches of 20-12 and 20-13, he bounced back and forth between the lake’s plentiful deep-water brushpiles and its abundant shallow cover.
He had enough success fishing shallow during Thursday’s second round that he actually started shallow with a frog Friday morning — and that quickly netted him a 4-pound largemouth. But he eventually moved back deep and anchored his five-bass limit with a 6-6 largemouth from a brushpile he hadn’t previously fished this week.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Jordan Lee Grabs Heavy Hitters Big Bass, Championship Belt, $200,000

Jordan Lee beats 2nd place finisher Bryan Thrift by 20lb!
More to come on Lee's big win. 

2020 MLF Heavy Hitters Day Top 10 Champion Round Set

The field of 10 is set for the Championship Round of Toyota Heavy Hitters Presented by Venmo.
After battling each other and the elements through three days of fishing, it’s time for somebody to claim the $100,000 prize for the biggest bass of the final day. Also, don’t forget that the anglers with the most weight at the end of Friday’s final round gets $100,000 as well. There’s a chance for some big money on Friday, and here are the 10 anglers who have that opportunity:

Zack Birge

Birge got to the Championship Round by way of his automatic qualification from winning Group A’s Qualifying Round. The Oklahoma pro caught 24 bass for 74 pounds, 3 ounces during his first two days of fishing and beat out his nearest competitor by more than 18 pounds.
The Favorite Fishing pro is now 2-for-2 on making it to Championship Rounds in Florida this season (he finished ninth at Stage Two on Lake Okeechobee).
Birge is still looking for his first Bass Pro Tour win.

Skeet Reese

Reese, like Birge, was able to skip the Knockout Round thanks to his win in Group B’s Qualifying Round. He boated 20 bass for 67-1 mostly in the Shingle Creek area fishing current. This will be Reese’s first Championship Round of the 2020 season, not to mention his first since the inception of the Bass Pro Tour.
The California pro finished in seventh place during a B.A.S.S. event in Kissimmee in 2000.

Mark Rose

Rose comes into the Championship Round already with $25,000 in his pocket from the 9-2 largemouth he caught during the Qualifying Rounds. The Arkansas angler took the top spot in the Knockout Round with 13 bass for 52-5—an average of over 4 pounds per fish caught.
The 2020 Patriot Cup champion has yet to make a Championship Round in the 2020 Bass Pro Tour season. Rose had eight wins and 49 Top-10 finishes in his FLW career, but none of those came on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

2020 Bassmaster Elite Lake Eufaula Day 2: Matt Arey Leads ith 43-05lbs!

Canadians Gustafson 42nd, Chris Johnston 59th & Cory Johnston 68th
By Bryan Brasher
BASS Press Release
Two 20lb limit vaults Arey into lead a shallow bite picks up.
(Photo: BASS)

For the first two days of the DEWALT Bassmaster Elite at Lake Eufaula, the burning question has been, “Should I fish shallow or should I fish deep?”
At least for now, the answer seems to be, “Both.”
North Carolina pro Matt Arey caught five bass during Thursday’s second round that weighed 22 pounds, 15 ounces. Combined with his Wednesday catch of 20-6, he now has a two-day total of 43-5 and less than a 2-pound lead over his closest competition.
A combination of shallow and deep fishing has led to Arey’s success.
“I’ve started shallow both days, but I’m bouncing back and forth between the two,” he said. “That works for me. I’ve never really had a ‘strength,’ so to speak. When I started fishing professionally, I wanted to learn a little bit of everything.”
Of the 10 bass he has weighed in so far, Arey said seven came from shallow water and three came deep. Those three deeper fish bit for him Thursday, but his biggest bass during the second round — a 6-5 largemouth — came from shallow grass.
“I rolled into a spot and saw some bream instantly, and I saw this bass cruising,” Arey said. “I couldn’t tell how big it was because it was pretty far down the bank.
“But I threw my frog in there, and it got hung on a piece of grass.”
Things got better from there.
“The bass turned immediately when it heard the frog touch the water, and I twitched it really fast to get it out of that grass,” he said. “It grabbed the actual legs of the frog, pulled it down and then just sucked it right in. 
“If I hadn’t been able to see the fish, I would have jerked when the frog first disappeared and probably missed it.” 
Arey said it’s no real secret that his deeper fish are coming off the brushpiles that seem to dot Lake Eufaula by the thousands. But rising water — the lake is up more than 1 1/2 feet — and an abundance of shallow cover are making it hard right now to leave the shoreline. 
He said he’ll likely continue bouncing back and forth for the remainder of the tournament.
“I don’t have much experience here,” he said. “But obviously, you look around the bank and you see a lot of good stuff. It can draw a man to the bank pretty easily — and with the water up like it is right now, it’s hard to resist.”
Another North Carolina pro, former Elite Series Rookie of the Year Jake Whitaker, caught 20-8 Thursday and now sits in second place with 41-10. Unlike Arey, Whitaker spent all of his time shallow Thursday — and he didn’t seem sure he’d have enough fish left to keep his momentum rolling. 

2020 Bassmaster Elite Lake Eufaula Day 1: Bill Lowen Slams Lead

Lowen proves big bass live shallow
By Bryan Brasher
BASS Press Release

Lowen making the shallow bite a contender on a lake known for offshore fishing.
(Photo: BASS)
Conventional wisdom says a tournament held on Lake Eufaula during 90-degree weather in June should be won offshore on the ledges.
But Bill Lowen isn’t buying it. He never buys that anywhere B.A.S.S. takes him.
The Indiana pro who cut his teeth fishing the shallow waters of the Ohio River stayed near the shoreline during Wednesday’s opening round of the DEWALT Bassmaster Elite at Lake Eufaula and grabbed the lead with five bass that weighed 23 pounds, 4 ounces.
The tournament, which marked a return to competition for the Elite Series after a three-month break due to COVID-19, was carried live on ESPN2 — and for Lowen, it couldn’t have set up any better.
“Today was just one of those awesome days when every decision I made worked out perfectly,” Lowen said. “I fished clean, didn’t lose any fish — and yes, it’s no secret I’m fishing shallow.
“I always like to fish in my comfort zone, and if I get out there in the middle of the lake, I’m not in my comfort zone. So, I’m gonna stay shallow the rest of the week.”

2020 MLF Heavy Hitters Day 4: Skeet Reese Wins Group B Qualifying Round

Skeet Reese advances to Championship Round 
By Tyler Brinks - June 10, 2020
Some anglers made huge moves on SCORETRACKER®, including Mark Davis and Russ Lane, who dipped below the Top 20 and then climbed into the Top 10 at 4th and 6th place, respectively.
Both Bradley Roy (22nd to 11th) and Britt Myers (23rd to 16th) also made moves into the Top 20 thanks to great performances.
Alton Jones (13th to 26th), Jason Christie (14th to 23rd), Greg Vinson (19th to 30th), and Keith Poche (20th to 24th) all fell out of the Top 20.
Skeet Reese continued his push and will move straight to the Championship Round.

Skeet Skips to Championship Round

Reese’s march toward the Championship Round was never really in doubt as he got off to a strong start today to distance himself from the field. He wrapped up the Group B qualifying rounds with 23 pounds, 9 ounces, bringing his total for two days to 67-1.
“I couldn’t be happier,” Reese said. “It was awesome to catch some early and create a little gap to take off some of the pressure. It allowed me to look around for some other areas later in the day.”

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

2020 MLF Heavy Hitters Day 3: Zack Berge Group A Qualifying Round

Top 10 Set for Group A after two days on Kissimmee Chain.
Zack Birge took advantage of big lead to learn the lake.

Total Weight

Largest Fish
Zack Birge
74 - 03

5 - 08
Bryan Thrift
55 - 09

4 - 02
Jordan Lee
51 - 09

6 - 13
Gary Klein
48 - 04

5 - 04
Matt Lee
43 - 07

5 - 05
Kelly Jordon
39 - 08

5 - 03
John Murray
38 - 09

7 - 13
Kevin VanDam
37 - 04

7 - 10
Michael Neal
33 - 12

4 - 09
Gerald Spohrer
32 - 09

4 - 13