Monday, July 31, 2023

Cifuentes notches second Bassmaster Elite Series win of 2023 season at Lake St. Clair

 Canadian Cooper Gallant 4th!

Joey Cifuentes of Clinton, Ark., has won the AFTCO Bassmaster Elite at Lake St. Clair with a four-day total of 91 pounds, 8 ounces.  (Photo: Seigo Saito/ BASS)


MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. — A sure sign Joey Cifuentes III was in line to win his second blue trophy came when a 5-pound smallmouth jumped into his boat midway through Championship Sunday at the AFTCO Bassmaster Elite at Lake St. Clair

That bass helped “the Cowboy” claim his second victory of his rookie season on the Elite Series with a four-day total of 91 pounds, 8 ounces, outlasting Oklahoma’s Luke Palmer by 1-2 ounces. 

The Clinton, Ark., pro caught 22-10, 24-0 and 21-1 the first three days before landing 23-13 on the final day. Including his acrobatic smallmouth, Cifuentes landed four smallmouth that weighed over 5 pounds on the final day.

“That is what you dream about, to have a Championship day like that,” Cifuentes said. “The conditions were perfect. I knew the fish were there and I got to fish really effectively. It was meant to be.

“It seemed like there were the perfect amount of fish there for me to win this tournament. It was great.”

Cifuentes’ first victory of the season came back in February at Lake Seminole, an event he led for the final three days. At St. Clair, he did not lead a day until it mattered the most.

Sunday, July 30, 2023

2023 AFTCO Bassmater Elite at Lake St. Clair Day 3: Luke Palmer Slips into Lead!

Canadians Gallant 5th, Cory Johnston 25th & Chris Johnston 26th. 

Luke Palmer of Coalgate, Okla., is leading after Day 3 of the AFTCO Bassmaster Elite at Lake St. Clair with a three-day total of 68 pounds, 7 ounces.   (Photo: Seigo Saito /BASS



MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. — Boat problems are a regular annoyance for Elite Series anglers but had Luke Palmer not suffered mechanical issues during practice for the AFTCO Bassmaster Elite at Lake St. Clair, he might have driven past the spot that has yielded over 22 pounds each of the past three days.


The Coalgate, Okla., pro landed 22 pounds, 11 ounces on Semifinal Saturday to take the lead with a three-day total weighing 68-7. He leads Arkansas rookie Joey Cifuentes III by 12 ounces and Japan’s Taku Ito by 13 ounces.


“It is weird for me to be leading a smallmouth deal,” Palmer said. “I’ve done well at Champlain. This place, we came here for the 2019 AOY Championship and I sucked. We came here in 2020 and I ended up 60th. I didn’t understand it. I was just doing stupid stuff.”


Saturday, July 29, 2023

2023 AFTCO Bassmater Elite at Lake St. Clair Day 2: Ito Leaps into Lead!

Canadians Gallant 5th, Chris Johnston 29th. Cory Johnston 46th & Gustafson 59th

By Christopher Decker 

BASS Press Release

That is how Japan’s Takumi Ito described catching 25 pounds, 8 ounces on Day 2 of the AFTCO Bassmaster Elite at Lake St. Clair, claiming the lead in the process with a two-day total of 47-4.


The 2021 St. Lawrence River champion, who landed 21-12 on Day 1, leads Arkansas pro Joey Cifuentes III by 10 ounces and Oklahoma’s Luke Palmer is third with 45-12. With his performance Friday, Ito has now secured the Day 3 cut in every single northern smallmouth Elite Series event he has competed in.


“It was an awesome day,” said Ito, who speaks limited English. “I don’t know why, but many fish come in my boat. It was a crazy day.”


Ito said he caught almost 20 smallmouth over 4 pounds on the day, including a 6-2 smallie that took over the lead for Phoenix Boats Big Bass of the Tournament.


“I dropped my bait down, and (it bit) just like that. It is easy,” Ito said.


Ito’s Day 2 bag, which now leads the race for VMC Monster Bag of the Tournament, wasn’t something he thought was possible coming into the event. He was expecting 19 or 20 pounds would be a good day.


Unlike a lot of anglers who are moving around vast areas on the trolling motor, Ito has been bouncing from spot to spot with his outboard. He noticed the smallmouth hanging around several types of cover, including rock, sand and grass.


“It is isolated,” he explained.


Ito has caught bass in a variety of depths, from 8 feet all the way out to 15 feet, and has noticed crawfish and gobies floating in his livewell.

Friday, July 28, 2023

2023 AFTCO Bassmater Elite at Lake St. Clair Day 1: LeHew Scores Lead with 24-03lbs!

Canadians Gallant 4th, Gustafson 48th, Chris Johnston 58th & Cory Johnston 68th

LeHew leads on fantastic day where 33 limits were caught over 
20lbs. (Photo: Crawford/BASS)

By Christopher Decker 

BASS Press Release

By making a slight depth adjustment midway through the day, Shane LeHew continued his impressive track record in smallmouth events with 24 pounds, 3 ounces that gave him the lead at the AFTCO Bassmaster Elite at Lake St. Clair.

Breathing down LeHew’s neck is Oklahoma’s Jason Christie, who caught 23-14 on Day 1 and has two past victories on St. Clair.

On a day when 33 anglers caught at least 20 pounds and every angler in the field secured a limit, LeHew said he felt fortunate to find the bass he did.

“You have to point your LiveScope at a 4 1/2-pounder and catch him,” the Catawba, N.C., native said. “I was just the most fortunate one on the lake today.”

Wednesday, July 26, 2023



Trophy-caliber bass are old – and smart. These denizens of the deep have seen it all and learned to avoid eating anything that doesn’t look and act just like it’s supposed to. The master lure crafters at LIVETARGET leverage a highly evolved research and development process to ensure that no detail is overlooked and no shortcuts are taken on the path to creating the most realistic lures that fish – even the oldest, smartest ones – have ever seen. 

The LIVE CRAW is the first crawfish imitation that both looks and acts alive. Perfectly mimicking a vulnerable, exposed craw falling toward the bottom – and then scurrying for safety once it gets there – the LIVE CRAW features a unique swing weight system that ensures a horizontal profile as the craw falls through the water column or crawls across the bottom. Three interchangeable weights allow anglers to fine-tune the LIVE CRAW’s rate of descent through the water. Thoughtful design of the swing weight ensures that the LIVE CRAW is slightly off-balance, creating a lifelike wobble as the lure descends or is worked across the bottom. 

An ABS plastic body stands up to the abuse dished out by rocks and timber – and angry bass – while buoyant, high-action TPE legs provide nervous fluttering action during all phases of the retrieve. Equipped with a low-frequency knocker to call bass in from far away, the LIVE CRAW is armed with a stout Mustad hook that converts bites into bass in the tank. The LIVETARGET LIVE CRAW is available in 2 ½ and 3-inch sizes, each in eight biomimetic colors that will fool the wariest bass.


  • 3 Distinct Actions: Drop, Twitch, Crank
  • 3 Weights, Slow, Medium, and Fast Sink Rates
  • 8 Biometric Colors 
  • ABS Plastic Body, TBE Soft Plastic Legs
  • Two Sizes: 2 ½ Inch, 3 Inch

MSRP $14.99

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

New LUNKERHUNT Compact Popping Frog,

Introducing the LUNKERHUNT Compact Popping Frog, a 
thrilling addition to the Compact Frog line-up that invites water enthusiasts to embark on captivating aquatic adventures. Its concave mouth creates a mesmerizing “spitting action,” while the weedless slick-coated double frog hook ensures better hookup ratios. With pre-trimmed skirts, this lure offers increased walk-the dog action, captivating bothonlookers and underwater creatures. Prepare for unforgettable expeditions with the LUNKERHUNT Compact Popping Frog, and explore the hidden secrets of the water.

Monday, July 24, 2023

Z-Man® pro Brian ‘B.Lat’ Latimer gets tricky with gnarly new creature bait


Traditional creature baits exhibit three stand-out qualities:  They crash through grass and kick around in woodcover like a wrecking ball. The baits elicit big bites in heavy cover. And if they’re made from run of the mill plastisol, one or two bass are all you get before adding another shredded bait to the scrap heap.

A quick glance at the new Z-Man® Gremlin™ might mislead you to believe it’s like other baits in the category. But comparisons to every other creature end at the superficial level, as the Gremlin’s next-level anatomy reveals all kinds of sneaky-valuable bass catching talents. Built for off-road, heavy cover flipping and punching, the new Gremlin is equally effective on a Carolina rig, swimjig or swing head jig—or a gnarly looking trailer on the back of a ChatterBait® bladed jig.

“Too many creature baits flap super aggressively, all offering more or less the same general action,” notes Z-Man pro Brian “B.Lat” Latimer. “Bass, especially those 5- and 7-pound kickers, get conditioned to these same repetitive movements. It’s why one goal in designing the Gremlin was to create a refined, less aggressive tail action. The bait’s body and appendages have been contoured to perform at a high level, especially during summer and fall when tons of anglers are all targeting the same bass.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Small Baits, Bite Detection and the Short Rod Crusade


New Z-Man® Drew’s Ultimate Ned Rig Rods blend primo rod-crafting with whispers of retro finesse

Ladson, SC (July 3, 2023) – Before and after local fishing forays, circa the 1960s, a cadre of exceptional Midwestern anglers gathered to shoot the breeze down at Ray Fincke’s old Kansas City tackle shop. Fincke’s resembled a lot of other family-owned baitshops of the time—truckloads of lures, rods, livebait and other angling essentials all crammed into a cozy little space. Imagine the good-natured razzing, the exchange of breakthrough angling ideas that must have passed, as Ned Kehde, Chuck Woods, Guido Hibdon, Drew Reese and other architects of Midwest finesse (aka Ned rig fishing) sipped coffee and spent hard-earned dollars on the latest and greatest tackle.

A generation later, the legendary Ned and Drew have been joined by thousands of their closest friends—successful Ned rig fans from all over the planet. To this day, they continue innovating fish-catching products (Reese was co-creator of Z-Man’s celebrated Finesse TRD™, TRD TicklerZ™ and Finesse ShroomZ™.) And now, in concert with Z-Man, Reese has perfected Drew’s Ultimate Ned Rig Rods—the first true-to-technique tools built with the highest-grade blanks, components and rod-building wizardry available.   

Fist bumps to the original heroes of Midwest finesse style angling—and in celebration of its longtime friendship with these great anglers— Z-Man has merged the past and future of Ned rigging into a singular series of light-line, finesse lure spinning rods. Designed by Reese himself, Drew’s Ultimate Ned Rig Rods merge the original art of Midwest finesse with impeccable rod-building brilliance.

Tennessee handles reduce weight, while allowing anglers to customize the rod's balance point and reel position.

Two medium-light power / fast action models include a 5’4” (4- to 8-pound test) and 5’10” (4- to 10-pound test) rod, each epitomizing an emerging trend toward shorter, lighter, ultra-precise spinning rods. The quill-like rods weigh a mere 1.75-ounces and 2.2-ounces, respectively.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Abu Garcia Zata Reels Updated for 2023!

Abu Garcia Zata Reels and Combos Return With All New Look and Upgraded Performance

Abu Garcia, a leading brand in fishing gear and equipment, is proud to announce the release of the updated Abu Garcia Zata Low Profile Baitcasting Reels, Spinning Reels and Combos. Designed to offer anglers the perfect combination of sleek aesthetics and top-notch performance, the Zata series has been refreshed for 2023 with bold new cosmetics, enhanced features as well as LTD edition combos with adjusted cosmetics and colorways.

Zata Low Profile Casting Reels
The Zata Low Profile casting reels are built to impress with their outstanding functionality and durability. Featuring a graphite frame and side plates, these reels are lightweight yet incredibly strong. The 10 stainless steel ball bearings and one roller bearing ensure smooth operation, while the Carbon Matrix drag system provides consistent drag pressure across the entire range, guaranteeing a reliable and controlled fishing experience. With the inclusion of the Duragear brass gear, the Zata Low Profile casting reels offer extended gear life. Furthermore, the Infini brake system allows for almost limitless adjustability, enabling anglers to tackle any fishing situation with ease. The Zata Low Profile casting reels come in 6.6:1 and 7.1:1 gear ratios, available in both right-hand and left-hand configurations.

• 10 stainless steel ball bearings + 1 roller bearing provides smooth operation
• Graphite frame and side plates
• Carbon Matri drag system provides smooth, consistent drag pressure across the entire drag range
• Duragear brass gear for extended gear life
• Infini brake system allows almost limitless adjustability to handle any fishing situation
• 6.6:1 & 7.1:1 gear ratios in RH & LH
MSRP: $189.95
Available: October 2023

Zata Spinning Reels
For spinning enthusiasts, the Zata Spinning Reels deliver exceptional performance. With a lightweight aluminum frame, these reels offer a perfect balance between strength and agility. Equipped with 10 stainless steel ball

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Discover EFTTEX Soft Lure category champion, LIVETARGET ULTIMATE FROG


The thrill of a surface attack from an apex predator is unsurpassed. Triggering topwater bites from supersized bass – the smartest, wariest, and most cunning ones in the school – requires unmatched realism in both form and function. Leveraging a battle-tested research and development process, the master lurecrafters at LIVETARGET tap directly into the DNA of surface predators with the ULTIMATE FROG: The first – and only – frog lures that look AND act alive! 

When motionless, the LIVETARGET ULTIMATE FROG sits just like a living frog at rest, with its eyes just above the surface, its body angled 45-degrees down, and its legs contracted beneath its body. When twitched or pulled, the ULTIMATE FROG’s body dips beneath the surface as its legs hinge at the hips and knees, extending to full length in perfect unison – just like a living frog as it swims for its life through open water. At the end of this stride, the lure’s legs tuck back in toward the body as its eyes break the surface, in an intricate sequence of biomimetic motions that bring the LIVETARGET ULTIMATE FROG to life. 

With a body molded from ABS plastic and legs crafted from highly elastic and durable TPE, the ULTIMATE FROG is engineered to withstand the rigors of the surface battlefield. Pull it adjacent to heavy cover, and the ULTIMATE FROG’s dense internal rattle calls bass in for a closer look. Its well-positioned single hook delivers unmatched hooking percentages in the unforgiving topwater angling environment. 

Both Popper and Finesse models of the LIVETARGET ULTIMATE FROG are available in 2- and 2 ½-inch sizes with an array of 8 compelling colors that turn the most skeptical bass into ravenous eating machines, primed for surface attack.


  • Uniquely Replicates the Size, Shape, Profile, and Movements of a Living Frog 
  • Robust ABS Body and Durable, Elastic TPE Legs 
  • Popper Model with Single Knocker Internal Rattle 
  • Finesse Model with Silent, Stealthy Swimming Action 
  • Single Hook 
  • Includes One Set of Replacement TPE Legs 
  • 2-inch (50 mm) and 3/4 ounce (21 g ) and 2 ½-inch and 1-ounce (28 g) Sizes
  • Eight Biomimetic Colors

MSRP $17.99

Monday, July 17, 2023

New Z-Man® TRD GobyZ™

New Z-Man® TRD GobyZ™ transcends traditional goby baits with next-level action, buoyancy and toughness

A natural enticement for bass in goby-rich environments—Great Lakes and beyond—the new 2.4-inch TRD GobyZ™ reinforces Z-Man’s trendsetting finesse bait lineup with a surprisingly adaptable shape. Poured with extra malleable 10X Tough ElaZtech®, the TRD GobyZ compresses as easily as the live version, meaning bass snap and don’t let go. Yet even after dozens of aggressive attacks, a single one of these runt-sized swimbaits is no worse for wear. Ready to roll out on your favorite smallmouth spots in October .

Friday, July 14, 2023

Minn Kota's Riptide Terrova and Riptide Instinct: Quest Technology

 Riptide Terrova and Riptide Instinct

With staple features anglers have continuously relied on, the updated motors are loaded with new features to make your time on the water more efficient and enjoyable. Drift mode, which acts as a GPS enabled drift sock, automatically adjusts speed and direction to combat currents and winds. It ensures that anglers maintain the desired speed and course, slowing down if the boat starts moving too fast or speeding up if the boat begins drifting too slow. Drift Mode Reverse even allows anglers to retrace their completed drifts, providing unmatched control and precision.

The updated “Follow the Contour” functionality integrates seamlessly with CoastMaster® mapping, allowing anglers to maintain their desired course effortlessly. By leveraging this feature, anglers can navigate with precision and optimize their fishing experience. Dodge Mode enables anglers to swiftly leave the auto navigation mode to manually steer through waves and around structures, all without resetting their route. This feature enhances navigational control, empowering anglers to navigate challenging waters with ease and confidence.

With nearly 90 years of experience, Minn Kota has built a reputation for dependability, reliability, and durability. The Riptide Instinct and Riptide Terrova trolling motors continue this legacy.

New Features for All Riptide Terrova and Riptide Instinct Models:

  • NEW Enhanced GPS Suite Including Drift Mode to allow anglers to spend more time fishing and less time on boat control 

    • Drift Mode: combats current and wind by automatically adjusting speed and direction to keep the boat on a true drift. Drift Mode acts as a gps drift sock eliminating the need for cumbersome ropes or shallow water anchor paddles

    • Improved Follow-the-Contour functionality: allows for better LakeMaster and CoastMaster integration to stay on the desired course. 

    • Dodge Mode: allows anglers to quickly leave auto navigation mode to manually steer through waves and around structures and then resume navigating without resetting their route.

  • Out of the Box connection to Humminbird via the One-Boat Network by including all necessary adapters required for networking without additional need for setup

  • One App for Everything – the One-Boat Network App can control everything on the boat from the trolling motor and shallow water anchors to the Humminbird head units

  • NEW Wireless Remote with a simplified keypad, ergonomic design, and four programmable One-Boat Network Buttons

Riptide Instinct QUEST
Redefining the angler's experience, this revolutionary hands-free saltwater motor eliminates the need for manual control, allowing anglers to focus solely on their

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Z-Man® details new highly evolved ChatterBait® Elite EVO™


Science, Natural Selection and a Bladed Jig for the Ages

Across generations, natural selection favors those species with superior genes and adapted traits that jive with their environment. The process is ever advancing, gradually progressing toward perfection. Filter and refine the smartest, most valuable assets. Discard the extraneous stuff. And ultimately, augment and expand those essential ‘building blocks’ of DNA.

The superior species of bladed jig from day-one, the Z-Man ChatterBait continues evolving and delivering mind-blowing angling experiences. Always at the apex of bladed bass jigs, Z-Man has renewed its frontrunner status once again as it sets to circulate the fully empowered ChatterBait® Elite EVO™.

Constructed with upgrades to the max, the new Z-Man ChatterBait Elite EVO is a next-level bladed jig built with highly evolved bass-catching DNA—plus enough little tricks to electrify even a jaded bass pro. Shaped and developed in response to bass behavior and angler instinct, the ChatterBait Elite EVO reflects decades of original ideas on blade design, hook and jighead configuration—and how all moving parts coalesce to deliver smooth yet action-filled fishing.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Fenwick Embarks on a New Journey with World Class Rod Series

Famed rod maker known for sensitivity embarks on a new journey with the inspired World Class series

Fenwick’s history is rich with innovation as the brand has spent decades building upon its previous learning and developing technique driven rods that deliver upon its famous sensitivity. That’s why the next chapter in their journey is so remarkable. Simply put – Fenwick has found a better way. Through many years of research and design work, the team at Fenwick has made the challenging decision to abandon its well-loved Fenwick rod designs for an entirely new, ground-up build of rods that deliver above and beyond what even the brand thought possible.  
By embracing technology and new development methods, and deep diving into areas of ergonomics, like physiology of the hand, Fenwick has completely redesigned its entire rod portfolio. The result is a collection of 264 highly crafted World Class, Elite, HMG, and Eagle rods that are undoubtedly the most sensitive, yet balanced rods Fenwick has ever offered.


The pinnacle of the collection, the World Class series, provides discerning anglers with 62 technique-specific rods to meet their specialized needs. Focusing on the importance of weight, balance, and sensitivity, World Class rods are crafted from ultra-premium materials combined with a blend of high modulus graphite and Fenwick’s proprietary reinforcing resin, providing perfect actions for each application. Designed for performance, Fenwick has skillfully crafted the lightest weight blank possible without disrupting sensitivity or responsiveness.

What makes the new World Class rods most special is how they feel in the hand.


Their unique design began by studying the human hand and what is required to deliver truly exceptional ergonomics. From there the Fenwick team studied rods, they studied anglers of all types, and they studied products like surgical tools where precision and ergonomics are critical to the job. These learnings were applied to a new form that acts as an extension of the angler's hand maximizing comfort, grip, and overall feel without any extra material to deaden

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

New Daiwa Lazy FA Shad Lures


A name unlike any other fits the unique Lazy FA Shad. As the name implies the action of this bait is designed to exhibit a lazy or fatigued baitfish. On the retrieve the unique forward facing fin on the Lazy FA Shad produces a ‘slalom’ type of action, much like that of a baitfish that has been exhausted and singled out from its panicked main school. Designed for Inshore applications, this lure features a 90mm (3.54inch) length Size #3 high strength hooks, 3 baitfish imitating colors and 3 high-vis colors designed to trigger saltwater predators hunting instincts!

Monday, July 10, 2023


 Technique-Focused AlphaPoint® Hooks Deliver Premier Precision to Anglers Across Wide-Ranging Fisheries

Mustad’s heritage in the development of the highest quality fishing hooks is a testament to the Norwegian brand’s unwavering commitment to quality, craftsmanship, and innovation. From humble beginnings in 1877 making hooks by hand to becoming a global leader in hook design and manufacturing automation, Mustad’s legacy is built on a foundation of excellence. 

Anglers around the world rely on Mustad hooks for that all-important connection to the next bite.  Throughout the history of sportfishing, Mustad has made significant strides in the advancement of hook material—they pioneered the use of high-strength carbon steel, resulting in hooks that are remarkably strong, yet incredibly thin, without risk of them dulling or rolling over. Today, Nor-Tempered high-carbon alloy wire provides the ideal balance of metal hardness, rigidity and thinness to reduce flex, aiding in faster penetration, and helping get more fish to the boat than ever before. 

A foundation of premium technologies supports the innovations and design initiatives encompassing all-new AlphaPoint® 4.8 technology. Complementing the strengths of Mustad’s existing premium UltraPoint® 4.3 needlepoint with state-of-the-art, three-stage Opti-Angle sharpening, which is credited with numerous Bassmaster Classic victories and many IGFA World-Records, AlphaPoint® delivers an even sharper and slimmer hook point that is 4.8 times the wire diameter. The elongated and shallower point section allows for deeper and faster hooksets, converting the slightest pressure into efficient penetration.