Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Spohrer Surges for Knockout Round Win; Avena & Lucas Outlast Montgomery at the 2021 Bass Pro Tour St. Lawrence River


BASS PRO TOUR Press Release

MASSENA, N.Y. – For the second day in a row, the 38 anglers fishing in the Knockout Round of the General Tire Stage Five Presented by Berkley had to wait out a lightning delay. However, that brief afternoon storm didn’t put a damper on another record-breaking day on the Bass Pro Tour thanks to some St. Lawrence River smallmouth.

Spohrer Sprints for First

That 45-minute lightning delay Tuesday afternoon might not have helped any other angler more than Gerald Spohrer. The Louisiana pro was able to take advantage of the slick-calm conditions after the delay to the tune of 73 pounds of smallmouth to end his day with 35 bass for 130 pounds, 8 ounces.

“Today was awesome but tomorrow is what really matters,” Spohrer said immediately following his Knockout Round win. “I rolled up to this area after the storm and it was slick and sunny. I was able to see everything and there were 4-pounders everywhere. I just plucked them all off one-by-one while sight fishing.”

This will be Spohrer’s third Championship Round appearance of the 2021 season, and keeps him well in the hunt in the Angler of the Year race. The Grundens pro entered Stage Five sitting in ninth place in the AOY standings, 50 points behind leader Ott DeFoe. With DeFoe missing the cut in the Knockout Round, Spohrer has a great chance to gain some ground on the two-time winner this year.

Avena Bumps Lucas, Lucas Moves Montgomery for Final Spot

Adrian Avena celebrates an impressive smallmouth catch on the St. Lawrence River during the Knockout Round. Photo by Josh Gassmann

While Spohrer prepares for his third Championship Round of the season, Adrian Avena will be getting ready for his first. Avena was able to put together two important fish catches in the final 10 minutes to jump above the Toro Cut Line and into the Championship Round.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Cox Cruises to Group B Win; Matt Lee Pushes Past Abram for Knockout Round Berth at the 2021 Bass Pro Tour St. Lawrence River

John Cox continues to be Superman as he wins Group B 
with 175lbs! (Photo: MLF)


BASS PRO TOUR Press Release

MASSENA, N.Y. – The man who fishes three different professional tours and rarely gets a day off says he’s going to spend his off-day tubing with his family come Tuesday. John Cox claimed the top spot in Group B on the St. Lawrence River and will advance straight to the Championship Round where he will join Group A winner, Jacob Wheeler, after catching 54 bass weighing 2 pounds or better for 175 pounds to win Group B.

While Cox was busy cruising to a win, Matt Lee and Pro Circuit angler Jason Abram were battling for the final spot in the top 20. The Knockout Round is now set in the General Tire Stage Five Presented by Berkley.

Cox Catches Plenty to Grab Group B Win

This is Cox’s fifth Bass Pro Tour event, and now will be his second appearance in a Championship Round. The Florida pro finished fifth at Stage Two on Lake Travis, and will be gunning for his first Bass Pro Tour win come Wednesday.

Cox has experienced plenty of “firsts” during this tournament season, but he got another one on Monday.

“I’ve never led here on the Bass Pro Tour and I’ve never won my group, so this is a first for me,” Cox explained. “I’m glad I’m going to get to let my fish rest a little bit for a day before I’m back out here. I like what I’ve found and I think I’ve got a good shot at (winning).”

Monday, June 28, 2021

Wheeler Breaks Two-Day Weight Record for Group A Win; Robinson & Coulter K.O. KVD at the 2021 Bass Pro Tour St. Lawrence River


BASS PRO TOUR Press Release


MASSENA, N.Y. – It was another record-setting day for Jacob Wheeler on the St. Lawrence River while Stage Four champion Kevin VanDam fell short of a chance to go back-to-back on the Bass Pro Tour. It wasn’t the same level of production for Group A during their second day of fishing in the General Tire Stage Five Presented by Berkley, but the 40 pros competing still caught an impressive amount of fish.

Wheeler Back to His Winning Ways

Wheeler has his name scattered all over the Bass Pro Tour record book, and you can go ahead and etch his name in another spot after Sunday. The Tennessee pro set the MLF record for highest two-day weight total with 66 bass for 222 pounds, 1 ounce, just two days after he set the record for highest single-day weight total with 165-1.

“I was catching bass in all three stages of the spawn today and that’s been my key over these first two days,” Wheeler said. “I caught my fish on a Rattlin’ Ned from Googan Baits on a drop-shot and a Ned rig, those two were the deal for me. It’s been really good out here for me.”

There have been 21 events in the history of the Bass Pro Tour, and Wheeler has now earned a spot in the Championship Round in 11 of them. The Googan Baits pro separated himself from second-place Brent Ehrler by more than 31 pounds and more than 44 pounds ahead of third-place Justin Lucas. Wheeler now has a chance to set another Bass Pro Tour record, by winning his fourth event if he can pull it off on Wednesday.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

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.

Monday, June 21, 2021

BRAVO! Jocopo Galelli Wins 2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Potomac River!

Galelli become 1st European angler to win in America. 



Press Release 

Having his best day of tournament fishing ever, rookie Jacopo Gallelli dropped 20 pounds even on the scales on the final day of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Potomac River to capture the biggest win of his career. With 65-3 overall, Gallelli’s biggest limit of the tournament pushed him to the top of the field at the Federal Ammunition Stop 5 Presented by Lucas Oil to become the first European to ever win a Pro Circuit event and take home a cool $100,000 for his efforts.

Hailing from Florence, Italy, Gallelli’s journey as a professional angler hasn’t been easy. Months away from his family and tens of thousands of dollars spent on travel, gear and entry fees can wear on you in a hurry.

“It’s kind of amazing – it’s been such a long road and I’ve had so many things happen this season that just weren’t going my way, so to end up here with this win is absolutely amazing,” Gallelli said. “This trophy means way more than the money for me. I’ve invested my entire life trying to achieve this level of fishing in my career, and I am finally here. I came 5,000 miles across the ocean to make this day happen.

“It’s been such a sacrifice and the sacrifice has continually grown. If I go back home, I cannot keep competing. I’ve missed my son’s birthday, Christmas, New Years, Easter and now it sounds like I probably cannot go back to Italy until the beginning of the fall. But I will be coming back with something great. It’s not about the money – it’s about coming home with one of these [trophies].”

Saturday, June 19, 2021

2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Potomac River Day 2: Hibdon Continues Lead!

Canadian Erik Luzak 109th

Another generation of the Hibdon clan using a jig to claim the
lead for a second day. (Photo: MLF) 

Kyle Wood


Press Release 

Day 2 of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Potomac River was tougher for some, but not for leader Lawson Hibdon, who bested his Thursday weight and added another 17 pounds, 8 ounces to his total to bring himto 34-8 after two days. Extending his lead to more than 2 pounds, Hibdon is looking to keep on pace for a win in his rookie season, though it won’t be an easy road as some certified hammers sit in the rearview waiting to strike.

Still, Lawson has proven to be one of the most consistent pros in the field, though he says his Day 2 looks better on paper than it actually was.

“It started off a lot slower than I was hoping,” Hibdon said. “I really thought that I was going to be able to pull up to a stretch of docks and catch about 12 pounds in the first 30 minutes and I didn’t.

“It was a lot tougher day today, and it doesn’t look like it, but it was. I only caught eight or nine keepers and had about 15 bites but they were just missing it and it was a weird day.”

With years of experience on Ozark fisheries, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Hibdon has been catching fish off docks. What may come as a surprise is the fact he’s leaning on grass as well and doing a good job of it.

“It’s probably a 50-50 split,” he said of his grass and hard-cover pattern. “Some of the bigger ones I’ve caught have been around docks, rocks and basically anything that looks right. I’m just going until I see something that looks right, but about half of ‘em have been out of the grass too.”

Friday, June 18, 2021

2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Potomac River Day 1: Hibdon Leads with 17lb!

Lawson Hibdon grabs lead in bass fest first day!
(Photo: MLF

Kyle Wood


Press Release 

Day 1 of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Potomac River was a certified banger. Federal Ammunition Stop 5 Presented by Lucas Oil featured not only a strong leading weight, but more than 20 bags over 15 pounds on the first day. Leading the pack, Lawson Hibdon put 17 pounds even on the scale to edge ahead of Zell Rowland’s 16-15 by just 1 ounce. Going into Day 2, the pressure could slow things down a bit, but there’s no reason to think the fishing will drop off too much, which should make for a fun race well into the weekend.

Lawson, who’s the son of legendary pro Dion Hibdon, is far from his home in the Ozarks of Missouri, but he’s not letting that stop him from making hay on the Potomac.

“I’ve been [to the Potomac] three or four times I think, never as a pro,” says the 26-year-old rookie. “I’ve fished as a co-angler and practiced with dad a lot, but I don’t have a lot of experience.

“I’m trying to stay away from people a bit, but I still had to fish around ‘em a time or two today. The biggest thing I figured out was that I had to slow way down. I really expected to weigh 12, 13 pounds like you’re seeing a lot of those stringers, but I slowed down with a worm and caught some better ones today. It was very unexpected, I was not ready for it at all, but it worked out today.”

Those with experience on tidal fisheries like the Potomac tend to make a game plan to run the tide to maximize their time in certain stretches of the river during prime times. Hibdon is certainly not one of them.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Justin Kerr and Evergreen's JT Pencil Topwater

For many, the 2021 Bassmaster Classic was their first introduction to Justin Kerr. Justin has been doing well in the bass fishing world for some time. A noted Western angler, Justin loves his topwater baits. Check out this video of him explaining the Evergreen JT Pencil topwater plug. 

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Hank Cherry Wins Academy Sports +Outdoor Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk on Ray Roberts!

Hank Cherry reaches legendary status with back to back Classic wins. 
(Photo: BASS)

Canadians Chris Johnston 8th 
Cory Johnston 11th & Gustafson 21th


FORT WORTH, Texas — Hank Cherry now occupies some rare air in the sport of professional bass fishing, and he has the bank statements to prove it.

The Lincolnton, N.C., pro, caught five bass Sunday that weighed 13 pounds, 1 ounce and won the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk with a three-day total of 50 pounds, 15 ounces.


He is only the fourth angler in the 51-year history of the Super Bowl of Professional Bass Fishing to win the event in back-to-back years. He earned another of the iconic Classic trophies and his second $300,000 check in 18 months.


Another North Carolina pro, Matt Arey, finished second with 49-1 and lost at least one big bass on Championship Sunday that might have put him over the top.


“I feel bad for Matt, and I told him I’ve been where he was,” Cherry said. “I had the same thing happen to me and mine happened a lot closer to the boat.


“I’m not giving it back — not apologizing for it. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.”


Cherry, a nine-year veteran of the Bassmaster Elite Series, finished third in his first Classic back in 2013 on Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees. Like Arey, he lost a crucial fish in that event that would have given him the trophy.


He went through a tough stretch in the Classic after that, finishing no higher than 27th in three tries. But then he put the bad memories of 2013 behind him last year on Lake Guntersville when he caught 29-3 on the first day and rode that mammoth bag to a wire-to-wire victory.


He didn’t quite go wire-to-wire this year, starting in third place on the first day with a limit of 20-4. But as suffocating heat moved into the area, the fishing got tougher and Cherry remained consistent enough to stay on top with a Day 2 catch of 17-10 and a final-round bag of 13-1 that was just enough.


He caught the bulk of his weight during the week flipping flooded bushes along the shoreline and throwing a jerkbait around riprap along the dam.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

2021 Academy Sports +Outdoor Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk on Ray Roberts Day 2: Hank Cherry Leads with 37-14 lbs!

Cherry vaults into lead as most fall due to missing key  morning bite.
(Photo: BASS)

Canadians Chris Johnston 6th, Gustafson 19th & 
 Cory Johnston 22nd


FORT WORTH, Texas — The 54 anglers competing in the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk had planned to start fast and take advantage of an early-morning shad spawn bite that has been extremely reliable this week on Lake Ray Roberts.


But Mother Nature threw up an electric stop sign.


Freak thunderstorms with dangerous lightning delayed the tournament by more than two hours and negated much of the morning bite. While many of the Day 1 leaders struggled, North Carolina pro Hank Cherry landed 17 pounds, 10 ounces to move from third place into the lead with a two-day total of 37-14.


The winner of last year’s Classic on Alabama’s Lake Guntersville, Cherry will now begin Championship Sunday with nearly a 5-pound lead and a chance to become only the fourth angler in the 51-year history of the event to claim back-to-back titles.


“There was definitely more pressure to win the first one last year,” Cherry said. “Winning is one thing, but to win it twice, it’s got to all go right.


“What’s eerie about this is that it’s the same feeling as last year. I’m out there on the dam today and people are stopped all the way down the dam getting out watching me fish — it just feels the same.”


Despite the late takeoff, Cherry got off to a fast start, catching two bass in the 4-pound range flipping a jig into wooden structure. The fish came only four or five casts apart and gave Cherry the shot in the arm he needed to fish confidently all day.


That was especially important when he lost a big bass later in the day on a jerkbait.


Friday, June 11, 2021

2021 Academy Sports +Outdoor Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk on Ray Roberts Day 1: Kennedy Leads with 23lbs!

Canadians Cory Johnston 9th, Chris Johnston 10th & Gustafson 42nd


Shad spawn and white jig key to Kennedy's big limit.
(Photo: BASS) 

FORT WORTH, Texas — Steve Kennedy caught a five-bass limit that weighed 23 pounds Friday to take the lead during the opening round of the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk.


And the scary thing is, he said he didn’t even get to go to the biggest bass he found in practice.


The Auburn, Ala., pro made the most of an early-morning shad spawn bite, putting the bulk of his limit in the livewell before 7 a.m. Then with the winds blowing hard across Lake Ray Roberts, he decided he wouldn’t be able to proceed with the second part of his game plan.


On Saturday, he hopes to exploit that morning bite again — and hopefully move on to Phase 2.


“I kind of got stuck up on one end of the lake because the wind was blowing so hard,” said Kennedy, a 10-time Classic qualifier who has finished as high as second in the event. “I didn’t go anywhere near where I was planning on fishing my second deal.


“Maybe I will tomorrow. Maybe I won’t have to. If I don’t have to show that until the final day, I sure don’t want to.”


During Kennedy’s final day of practice, he said he got 18 bites the first two hours of the morning. But those came during cloudy conditions — and since he didn’t know if there would be cloud cover Friday, he said he tried to cover water as quickly as he could.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Kevin Van Dam cranks to Victory of the 2021 Bass Pro Tour on Lake Chickamauga!


With the illustrious career that Kevin VanDam owns, there aren’t very many “firsts” for him anymore. But one first that has escaped him for the last two-and-a-half years is a Bass Pro Tour victory. Put together Lake Chickamauga, ledge fishing, and a crankbait—that’s a perfect formula for getting the greatest professional angler of all time his first Bass Pro Tour win in convincing fashion.

The Michigan pro was able to hold off Jacob Wheeler and Jason Lambert in the final period, finishing with 25 bass for 70 pounds, 1 ounce. While Wheeler and Lambert were able to make it interesting in the end, there’s no doubting that this tournament belonged to KVD.

KVD’s Period 3 Run the Difference

Heading into the final period on Lake Chickamauga, KVD was in fourth place on SCORETRACKER® with 30-15 and 5-7 behind hometown hero, Michael Neal. The lead had traded hands all day long on Chick, with either Neal, Wheeler, Lambert or VanDam holding the lead at some point in the first two periods. About 30 minutes into the final frame, the G.O.A.T. made his move to the top.

VanDam was able to bring in 14 bass for 39-2 in less than an hour thanks to a Strike King Series 5 XD crankbait in Blue Gizzard Shad. The Strike King pro was able to build a 30-pound lead over the rest of the field in just the blink of an eye, one that he never relented for the rest of the day.

“I knew that the afternoons were when I really needed to capitalize this week,” VanDam said. “With the TVA drawing the water out at the dam in the afternoon, I knew that if I could get that school fired up with the current I would have a special day. I found that school in practice and knew it had the potential to get me a win, I’m just glad I was able to catch enough of them.”

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

KVD Grabs Knockout Round Win; Championship Field Set on Chickamauga

Kevin VanDam secured a Knockout Round win over Jordan Lee and the rest of the field Tuesday on Lake Chickamauga. Photo by Phoenix Moore


DAYTON, Tenn. – A local legend, ledge-fishing masters, the greatest professional angler of all time, and a couple of guys trying to be the next GOAT—the Championship Round of the B&W Trailer Hitches Stage Four Presented by ATG x Wrangler has plenty of reasons to tune in Wednesday.

Kevin VanDam took the top spot in the Knockout Round with 18 bass for 46-6, and seven other pros will join him in the Championship Round for a date with Shin Fukae and Jason Lambert.

KVD Feeling Comfortable on Chickamauga

Much like Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan, when Kevin VanDam is in the field with a shot at a championship, there’s an added “it” factor that’s hard to explain. The Michigan angler’s career resume is what makes him unarguably the most successful bass fisherman of all time, and he’s looking to add something to it: his first Bass Pro Tour trophy.

VanDam has three MLF Cup wins to his credit—the most of anyone—but he hasn’t yet made his mark on the Bass Pro Tour. Wednesday on Lake Chickamauga might be his best shot to do so. VanDam says he has a spot he thinks can give him the bites to outlast the other ledge specialists, so it’s all about if the area can hold on for one more day.

Monday, June 7, 2021

2021 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk, on Lake Ray Roberts Pre-Classic Summary

Lake Ray Roberts in transition

By Luigi De Rose 

Texas legend, Zell Rowland explains Ray Roberts.
(Photo: Zell Rowland) 

The 51
st. Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk, on Lake Ray Roberts and hosted in Fort Worth Texas on June 11-13, is set to be as exciting and spell bounding as the 50 Classics before it.  Originally planned for March, it was rescheduled to June due to Covid 19. The 54 Classic anglers will fish Lake Ray Roberts, a 29 350-acre reservoir north of Denton, Texas, and the weigh-in will be held in Fort Worth.

A shining star, Lake Ray Roberts isn’t a popular venue on the national tournament circuits yet is should make Texas proud. Overshadowed by legendary San Rayburn, Lake Fork and Toledo Bend, Ray Roberts is a strong fishery. With an excellent largemouth population, Ray Roberts has good numbers and plenty of 5-to-7-pound bass making it a great venue.  

Zell Rowland, a Texas native with 4 decades of tournament angling along with 5 BASS wins and 16 Classics and 1 FLW Cup under his belt predicts that the 2021 Classic winner will have to play the current water conditions and weather to perfection.


The entire State of Texas has experienced wild and weird weather since the very beginning of 2021. A severe winter storm in February, which saw temperatures plummet well below freezing, set the precedent. A slow thaw prolonged the spawn delaying the typical timetable anglers are accustomed to fishing. Along with a drawn-out spring, the rains have yet to stop coming. Many of the State’s big reservoirs are at flood levels; San Rayburn, in Jasper, Texas, is 11 feet above normal pool. As of Sunday, June 6, Ray Roberts is above normal pool but not at a catastrophic stage yet. Jeff “Gussy'' Gustafson, the 2021 Tennessee River BASS Elite Champion and a Classic qualifier states “that most of the trees have at least 3 feet of water around them and many of the local boat ramps are down due to the high water.”

The weather forecast called for rain and chances of thunderstorms for much of the official Classic practice period. For Monday, June 7, there is a Flash Flood warning for much of the Ray Roberts area.  Luckily, the storm weather looks like it will subside during the three tournament days, greeted anglers with sunny, hot days and light winds.

There is a fear that the lake level might need to be drawn down suddenly to offset the highwater level especially if the flash flood warning comes into fruition.   


“I’ve tried to make the deep bite work but the fish don’t seem to be out here.” Explains Gustafson.  “It’s been a difficult practice for me and my buddies. It’s been tough to catch a big one.” For any southern angler, June translates to fishing out deep. Humps, creek channels, long points and main lake ledges are the norm.  Jeff, a 2 time Classic qualifier, feels that under the current fishing conditions, a lot of good anglers will not be able to catch a 5 bass limit every day of the Classic.  

Jeff "Gussy" Gustafson hunting for this first Classic win.
(Photo: Brandon Palaniuk) 

When the announcement was made that the Classic was postponed to June, Jeff Gustafson took notice. An award-winning smallmouth angler, he loves probing the depths for bass. A June Classic with a consistent deep-water bite fit Gustafson’s fishing style well. “I’d prefer to fish deep as I like it and its my preference but I’ve put a lot of time out deep and haven’t be able to make it work.” Summarizes Jeff. (He was actually idling over deep-water locations while we spoke on the phone.)

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Russ Lane Tops 70 Pounds on Lake Chickamauga, Leads Group A by 21-6

Lane ignites school and gains 20lb lead over Jordan Lee




The attention (and a majority of the praise) from the first day of competition in the B&W Trailer Hitches Stage Four Presented by ATG x Wrangler belongs to Russ Lane. The Alabama pro sits on top of SCORETRACKER® looking down at the rest of his Group A counterparts after catching 23 bass for 70 pounds, 12 ounces Friday, and building a more than 21-pound lead on Lake Chickamauga.


Lane Locates a Shell Bar Shad Spawn

The B&W Trailer Hitches pro got off to a scorching hot start on a beautiful morning in East Tennessee to build a sizable lead. Lane began his morning by catching 13 bass for 37-4 in Period 1 thanks to a productive area he found during his final day of practice.

“I found a shad spawn yesterday afternoon during practice, so I knew that probably would be a good place to start today,” Lane said. “It was lights out this morning and worked out well for me. It feels awesome to have a cushion over second place like I do right now. I’m going to try to stay fluid, stay open-minded and move with the fish.”

Lane did his damage with a 3/4-ounce vibrating jig during the morning shad spawn. He added 21-15 in Period 2 targeting the same area, which he had a hard time leaving thanks to its productivity. According to Lane, at this time of the year on the Tennessee River, the area he found is about as good as you can get.