Tuesday, April 16, 2024

John Garret Wins 2024 Lowrance Bassmaster Elite at Harris Chain of Lakes!

Elite rookie wins wire to wire!

By David A. Brown


LEESBURG, Fla. — Sometimes, you close the door.

Other times, you slam it shut.

John Garrett did the latter and tallied a four-day total of 84 pounds, 5 ounces to claim his first Bassmaster win with a wire-to-wire victory at the Lowrance Bassmaster Elite at Harris Chain of Lakes.

The rookie from Union City, Tenn., endured a final-round emotional roller coaster that started with unexpected bonuses, followed by a desert of disappointment. Thankfully, the ride ended with a fist-pumping, “Let’s go!” kinda moment that sent a blue trophy to Garrett’s mantle and a $103,000 top prize to his bank account.

“I used to watch the Bassmaster Elites on the weekends with my grandad (former St. Croix Bassmaster Opens co-angler Johnnie Garrett),” said a clearly emotional Garrett. “It was a hard choice whether to watch the Elite weigh-in or go fishing all weekend.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Jacob Wheeler Wins 8th BASS PRO TOUR Event on Dale Hollow!


Before making a cast in the Championship Round at PowerStop Brakes Stage Three Presented by MercuryJacob Wheeler knew he was about to send Dale Hollow Lake’s bass into a feeding frenzy. He even warned MLFNOW! viewers not to expect much commentary from him, as he planned to be too busy boating bass.

It took less than two minutes for Wheeler to make good on his promise with a 3-pound, 7-ounce largemouth. That sparked a bass barrage for the ages.

Wheeler followed that fish with another 3-pounder, then a 2-3 and a 2-8 — all in the first 10 minutes. In the opening hour, he stacked 14 scorable bass for 43 pounds, 3 ounces on SCORETRACKER®. By the end of the first period, he’d amassed 70-6, all but burying the other nine anglers on the water.

Wheeler would cruise to a 116-6 total on 39 scorable bass – more than 30 pounds clear of Michael Neal in second place. The victory marked the second of the season for Wheeler, who also took home the title at Stage Two on Santee Cooper. He also added to his Bass Pro Tour-best win total, hoisting his eighth trophy since the inception of the league in 2019 and doing so on one of his favorite lakes in the country.

“This is like my lake; this is my home away from home,” the Harrison, Tennessee, native said of Dale Hollow. “My wife literally jokes that we should have moved to Dale Hollow, you like it so much, like giving me crap about it. And I just love it, man. … First big, national tournament on the lake, to get that win, it means a lot.”

Here’s how the Top 10 anglers finished up the Championship Round. Complete results can be found here.

  1. Jacob Wheeler — 116-6 (39 bass)
  2. Michael Neal — 85-10 (28)
  3. Spencer Shuffield — 85-5 (29)
  4. Drew Gill — 78-8 (27)
  5. Alton Jones Jr. — 74-0 (23)
  6. Marshall Robinson — 61-14 (21)
  7. Dustin Connell — 60-14 (20)
  8. Justin Lucas — 38-4 (13)
  9. Keith Poche — 36-12 (14)
  10. Alton Jones — 20-7 (7)

Capitalizing on an epic morning bite

Wheeler sowed the seeds for his Sunday morning blitzkrieg days earlier. As noted above, he spends quite a bit of time fun-fishing on Dale Hollow, so he knew to check the area during practice — which he described as a flat, main-lake drain protected by an island cluster. The islands act like a funnel, concentrating baitfish, and the flatter topography serves as fruitful spawning territory, making it a bass magnet.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

2024 Lowrance Bassmaster Elite at Harris Chain of Lakes Day 3: Garret Leads for 3rd Day in a Row!

Canadians Chris Johnston 24th, Gustafson 34th,  Cory Johnston 43rd & Gallant 83rd

By David A. Brown


LEESBURG, Fla. — Things got a little hairy for John Garrett, but that transitional period helped the Tennessee pro amass a five-bass limit of 19 pounds, 3 ounces and extend his lead at the Lowrance Bassmaster Elite at Harris Chain of Lakes.

Heading into Championship Monday (the event’s scheduled start was delayed one day by Thursday’s severe weather) with a three-day total of 63-2, Garrett holds a margin of 6-9 over fellow rookie JT Thompkins of Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Facing the potential for a wire-to-wire Elite win, Garrett said: “I’m just going to try my best to sleep well tonight and fish calm tomorrow. Last night, I didn’t sleep very well and today, before I got my big bites, I started thinking, ‘Alright, something needs to happen.

“Tomorrow, I just really want to be calm, do my thing and fish hard. If it’s meant to happen, I’ll get those bites.”

Returning to Lake Carlton, where he has spent the majority of his time focusing on a 75-yard shellbar, Garrett followed his standing strategy of boxing an early limit and then hunting big bites.

The past two days, his window of opportunity has come later in the morning, but when the big fish he was watching on his forward-facing sonar refused to engage, Garrett made a game-changing adjustment.

2024 Lowrance Bassmaster Elite at Harris Chain of Lakes Day 2: Garret Remains in the Lead!

Canadians Chris Johnston 15th, Gustafson 23rd, Cory Johnston 39th & Gallant 83rd

By David A. Brown


More than 800 miles separate John Garrett’s home in Union City, Tenn., from Leesburg, Fla., but the Elite rookie said he feels like he’s fishing at home. Leveraging the confidence and comfort born of such familiarity, Garrett sacked a Day 2 limit of 19 pounds, 13 ounces to retain the lead in the Lowrance Bassmaster Elite at the Harris Chain of Lakes with a two-day total of 43-15.

“The good Lord has absolutely blessed me the past two days,” Garrett said. “I got some good bites and I really didn’t expect this whatsoever. I’m fishing the way that I grew up fishing and the way I love to fish.

“I hope I can get five, maybe 10 more of the right ones.”

Drawing on his lifetime of fishing Tennessee River shellbars, Garrett focused most of his effort on a 75-yard stretch of Harris Chain mussels in about 12 feet of water. On the same spot that yielded his first-round weight, postspawn bass were mixing with tilapia and running up and down the bar.

“Like yesterday, from 10 to 1 is the sweet time,” Garrett said. “Today, at 1 o’clock, the wind slicked off and I did not get another bite. Today, the fish were there better — I could see them on my Humminbird 360 — I just could not catch them.

“I’m just covering as much water as I can in that zone and making as many casts as I can.”

Saturday, April 13, 2024

2024 Lowrance Bassmaster Elite at Harris Chain of Lakes Day 1: Garret Scores Lead with 24-02lbs!

Canadians Chris Johnston 24th, Gustafson 28th, Cory Johnston 46th & Gallant 82nd

By David A. Brown


LEESBURG, Fla. — The combination of quantity and quality define bass tournament success, and John Garrett gladly sacrificed the former for the latter’s potential.

The Tennessee angler’s decision paid big dividends with a five-bass limit of 24 pounds, 2 ounces, which leads Day 1 of the Lowrance Bassmaster Elite at Harris Chain of Lakes.

“I only got seven bites today, but they were the right ones,” Garrett said. “This was a totally blessed day.”

After extreme weather postponed Thursday’s scheduled start, anglers fished under clear, sunny postfrontal conditions. Thankfully the front did not significantly drop air and water temperatures.

More importantly, the fish Garrett found in practice held their ground.

“I kinda gambled today; I went to an area that I knew had the right size fish in it,” he said. “There aren’t many fish there and they’re extremely hard to catch.”

Garrett said he made a long run from the take-off site on Lake Harris’ northwestern corner. The round-trip journey burned a big chunk of his day, but he said it was a calculated risk.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Day 1 postponed at Harris Chain

Unsafe boating conditions prompt decision to postpone Day 1 of the Lowrance Bassmaster Elite at Harris Chain.

LEESBURG, Fla. — After consulting with the National Weather Service, B.A.S.S. officials are postponing Day 1 of competition at the Lowrance Bassmaster Elite at Harris Chain of Lakes due to high winds and the possibility of severe weather, including sustained winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour with gusts up to 40 to 45 miles per hour. This afternoon’s forecast includes the possibility of lightning and hail as well as wind gusts of up to 50 to 60 miles per hour.

The full field of anglers will now compete on Friday and Saturday, with the Top 50 competing Sunday and the Top 10 advancing to Championship Monday. Harris Chain of Lakes is off limits today.

Daily takeoffs will be held from Ski Beach at 7 a.m. ET and weigh-ins each day back at the launch site at 3 p.m. Bassmaster LIVE will be streaming on Bassmaster.com all four days, and coverage will also be available on FS1 on Saturday and Sunday.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024


Building on the success of the Rippin Rap, Rapala® is introducing the Rippin’ Blade. 

This slender, lipless, blade bait lure produces a tight, instant vibration on the lift or retrieve and because it is perfectly balanced, it falls upright, reducing line twists and fouling. The Rippin’ Blade comes in 10 premium colors that give a fresh look to the blade bait market. 

The Rippin’ Blade is a hi-tech blade bait designed to be cast, pitched, or vertically jigged. Blade baits excel in cooler water and the Rippin’ Blade is no different, proving its place as a cousin to the Rippin’ Rap. Whether it's early springtime walleyes, late fall smallmouth, or anything in between, the Rippin’ Blade is going to earn a place in every angler’s tackle box.

What’s more, with three-line tie positions on the top blade, it’s easy to customize the action to fish any situation or time of the year. With its tungsten-weighted belly, it gets to the bottom fast and is easy to fish in deep water, heavy currents, or strong wind.

The lure features a durable, metal frame-plastic body construction, a VMC® crankbait snap, and two, super sharp No. 6 VMC® black nickel round bend treble hooks.

The new Rippin’ Blade comes in ten eye-catching colors: chrome blue, clown, chrome tiger, firetiger, gold, gold chrome tiger, glow, purpledescent, silver, and wonderbread. The new lure is being introduced in size no. 7. It has a body length of 2-3/4 inches and weighs 9/16 oz.

Monday, April 8, 2024

Bryan New's DQ at Lake Seminole BASS Open: Andrew Upshaw's Perspective

BASS officials disqualified BASS Elite angler Bryan New from their most recent Open on Lake Seminole. Tournament officials announced their ruling weeks after event but it has become a whirlpool of rumors. Andrew Upshaw was the first to contact BASS regarding the infraction. Watch as Andrew offers his take on the rule(s) infraction and disqualification. 

Thursday, April 4, 2024

G. Loomis Refines Legendary GLX Bass Series

Purpose-built models bring tournament-ready technology to modern bass fishing techniques

G. Loomis, the renowned manufacturer of performance-driven conventional and fly fishing rods, is proud to unveil the revamped GLX BASS series. This comprehensive lineup of 36 purpose-built models represents proof of the brand’s continuous drive for excellence. 

With structural upgrades achieved through a proprietary blend of high-modulus graphite and advanced resin technologies, the GLX BASS series is handcrafted in Woodland, Washington, and features rod blanks with boosted strength-to-weight ratios, heightened balance, and pumped sensitivity. To isolate and reinforce areas likely to fail under load and to provide maximum durability, G. Loomis engineers roll each rod on stepped mandrels machined with micro-tapers within the overall taper.  

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Mustad® AlphaPoint® Hooks Available Now


With Norwegian design and manufacturing expertise tracing back to 1877, Mustad hooks are meticulously engineered and purpose-built to assist anglers in conquering every species in any body of water worldwide. Wherever and however you fish, Mustad hooks enhance your fishing experiences by providing superior hooking efficiency, durability, and reliability.

Although Mustad has expanded its offerings to include a variety of lures, rods, and terminal tackle, its reputation remains firmly rooted in top-quality hook production. The AlphaPoint® line, consisting of over two dozen specialized hooks, continues to reinforce this renowned reputation for excellence.

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, AlphaPoint® delivers an even sharper and slimmer hook point that is 4.8 times the wire diameter. 

Debuted at ICAST 2023, the full lineup of AlphaPoint® hooks is now available through select retail outlets and online distributors.

Alpha-Grip Flipping Hook

Designed for tempting bass in heavy cover, where hooksets are often violent, the Alpha-Grip Flipping Hook boasts a 2X strong heavy gauge construction that that

Monday, April 1, 2024

Bass Pro Tour Pro James "World Wide" Watson Banned from all Major League Fishing Tournaments till 2025


Major League Fishing announced Friday that Bass Pro Tour angler James Watson has been suspended for multiple violations of the standards outlined in the 2024 Major League Fishing Angler and League Participation Agreement and the 2024 Professional Bass Tour Talent and Promotion Agreement.

Watson’s invitation to compete on the Bass Pro Tour has been revoked and he is prohibited from fishing any Major League Fishing-sanctioned tournaments while serving his suspension. Watson’s suspension began on March 29, 2024, and will continue through Dec. 31, 2025. Watson may reapply to compete in MLF tournaments beginning with the 2026 season.

The vacancy created by Watson’s suspension from the Bass Pro Tour will not be filled. The 2024 season will continue with 79 anglers. There are no changes to the 2024 Bass Pro Tour payouts or structure.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

DAIWA: Better "Bait Finesse" Fishing


DAIWA’s "pixy" PX BF70 baitcaster provides supreme performance in an ultralight, palmable package. 

Just when you thought every conceivable freshwater fishing technique was a, “been there, done that,” something novel comes along. Such is the case with “Bait Finesse,” aka BF.

Like many hyper-techy methods, BF has Japanese origins. The allied Asian nation supports a robust number of anglers who pursue bass on a limited number of freshwater resources. Consequently, the fish, being under pressure, are warier and less likely to accept conventional North American bass baits like flamboyant spinnerbaits, aggressive topwaters, upsized crankbaits, and such.

So, to combat these challenging conditions, the Japanese developed BF. And like other specialized Japanese techniques and baits – dropshotting, spybaits, Senko worms, etc. – it’s come ashore to North American waters.  

The baseline for BF is presenting smaller, more natural baits with the same authority achieved via their larger counterparts. To do so requires the downsizing of gear without sacrificing performance. And that necessitates specialized baitcasting gear.

The good news is that a dedicated BF baitcasting reel is now available stateside: DAIWA’s new PX BF70.

“It’s ninja fishing,” said DAIWA Marketing Manager about BF. “Think of those stealthy anglers who fish small lakes, ponds, streams, and canals. They travel light, and fish small and technically. BF is gaining momentum with this crowd.”

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Shimano Unleashes the Next Evolution in Baitcasting Excellence

Shimano North America Fishing, a renowned global leader in the fishing industry, is proud to announce the debut of the redesigned CAIUS C low-profile baitcaster. This updated CAIUS encapsulates the perfect blend of cutting-edge technology and attainable pricing. 

Inside the lightweight, compact body of the CAIUS, anglers will discover a host of proven technologies designed to elevate the fishing experience. The Variable Brake System (VBS) is a standout feature, employing centrifugal force and weights instead of magnets to temper initial spool acceleration. This Innovative design allows the spool to spin freely until the end of the cast, significantly reducing backlash. Paired with CAIUS’ Super Free Spool technology, friction is eliminated, offering a baitcasting experience that redefines overall casting performance.

MSRP: $79.99

Shimano proudly introduces the revolutionary S3D Spool technology in the CAIUSa game changer in reducing spool vibration. Crafted from balanced and uniform thin-wall aluminum, the S3D Spool ensures an incredibly smooth casting and retrieving experience, setting new standards for baitcasting enthusiasts. 

“The CAIUS redesign represents a leap forward in baitcasting excellence,” says Freshwater Marketing Manager Bob Mahoney. “With the introduction of S3D technology, we’ve significantly reduced spool vibration to provide anglers with an unmatched smoothness in casting and retrieving lures. Furthermore, we’ve trimmed the weight by 12% compared to the 2019 model, making it a lightweight option designed for anglers with unmatched smoothness in casting and retrieving lures.”

Monday, March 25, 2024

Justin Hamner Wins 2024 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Classic presented by Jockey Outdoors on Grand Lake!

Canadians Cory Johnston 6th, Gallant 12th & Chris Johnston 25th

By Bryan Brasher


When most anglers win the Super Bowl of Bass Fishing, they at least pretend like it came as the biggest surprise of their lives.

But not Justin Hamner.

The fourth-year Bassmaster Elite Series pro from Northport, Ala., said openly that he “just had a feeling” coming into this year’s Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Classic presented by Jockey Outdoors that he was going to win — and in three days on Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees, he turned that feeling into a hard-core reality.

Hamner completed an assault on B.A.S.S. history with a Championship Sunday limit of five bass that weighed 15 pounds, 13 ounces, and pushed his three-day total to 58-3. He became only the 10th angler in the 54-year history of the event to lead all three days.

“I have no idea what’s been going on, but this past month has been pretty dang good,” said Hamner, who earned $300,000 and the coveted Ray Scott trophy. “I can’t explain it, but I really did feel like I had a good chance to win.”

That feeling wasn’t exactly reinforced during a tough practice when Hamner said the best bass he caught was a 3-pounder. But he started the tournament on the spot where he caught that fish and used a shad-colored, deep-diving jerkbait to put together a limit that weighed 22-6 and gave him the Day 1 lead.

He went back there for Day 2. But, just like in practice, he couldn’t replicate a pattern and was forced to redirect.

“The wind was blowing a ton of bait into the pocket I was fishing,” he said. “When all of that bait got in there, those fish were keyed in on the bait and they wouldn’t bite my jerkbait. I couldn’t make them bite it, and I still can’t really explain it.”

That’s when Hamner relocated again and started using Garmin LiveScope to target largemouth in brushpiles. He quickly caught two 5-pounders that pushed him to a 20-pound limit and helped him maintain the lead going into the final day.

Despite being in the most visible spot a professional angler can hold, Hamner said he never got nervous until around 1 p.m. on Championship Sunday. At that point, he said he lost four big bass, but he couldn’t say if nerves caused him to lose the fish or if losing the fish caused the nerves.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Justin Hamner Wins 2024 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Classic presented by Jockey Outdoors on Grand Lake!


Hamner wins! Story to follow.

2024 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Classic presented by Jockey Outdoors on Grand Lake Day 2: Justin Hamner Widens Lead!

Canadians Gallant 6th, Cory Johnston 20th, Chris Johnston 22nd & Gustafson 31st

By Bryan Brasher


Since practice began last week, Alabama pro Justin Hamner says he hasn’t been able to duplicate two patterns from one day to the next.

That trend continued Saturday, but it doesn’t seem to be affecting him adversely.

Hamner caught yet another five-bass limit that weighed 20 pounds and increased his two-day total to 42 pounds, 6 ounces, to maintain the lead in the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Classic presented by Jockey Outdoors on Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees.

Hamner, who has seemed strangely calm all week, said his only plan for Championship Sunday is to “win the Bassmaster Classic.” Beyond that, he isn’t sure what he’ll be doing once the tournament resumes.

“The dream is going pretty good so far, but we’ve still got one more day,” said Hamner, who is fishing only his second career Classic. “I had to do something totally different today than what I did on the first day of the tournament. The area I started in this morning had completely changed, and I left there around 10 or 10:30 (a.m.).

“In my new spot, I immediately caught three big ones and left there.”

Hamner had been hoping that increased winds would improve his bite. But on Saturday, he said it actually hurt him and forced him to change his plans.

“Yesterday, when I caught all of those fish in those creeks, there was zero bait,” he said. “Today, the wind actually blew directly into those creeks and the fish were more active. They were feeding on the bait, but I could not get those fish to bite.

“It was the weirdest thing and I have no explanation for it.”

The forecast for Championship Sunday calls for 20 to 30 mph winds with occasional gusts up to 40 mph. Hamner said he plans to start on the same brushpiles where he caught his best fish Saturday — and if that doesn’t work, he’ll redirect on the fly once again.

Friday, March 22, 2024

2024 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Classic presented by Jockey Outdoors on Grand Lake Day 1: Justin Hamner Scores 22-06lbs for Lead!

Canadians Chris Johnston 17th, Gallant 28th, Gustafson 29th & Cory Johnston 38th!

By Bryan Brasher


TULSA, Okla. — “I’m leading the Bassmaster Classic,” said Justin Hamner, sounding as much like he was asking a question as making a statement. 

But it was 100% true. 

The young pro from Northport, Ala., weighed in 22 pounds, 6 ounces Friday to take the Day 1 lead at the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Classic presented by Jockey Outdoors. The fourth-year member of the Bassmaster Elite Series found a pattern on Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees that placed him just over a pound ahead of Missouri pro Cody Huff and continued the flow of what has been a dream 2024 season. 

“This whole year has just been so much fun,” said Hamner, who opened his Elite Series season with a 14th-place finish at Toledo Bend and a third-place showing at Lake Fork last month. “I’ve just been fishing free and doing what I want to do with no stress. I’m just going back to my roots and bass fishing knowing it’s my only job for the first time ever.

“It still hits me sometimes that this is the first year that I don’t have to have a side job anymore. This is what I do now — and obviously, I couldn’t be any happier than I am right now.”

2024 Classic Release: Old Town® Introduces Limited Edition AutoPilot

Fire Tiger colorway pays homage to the classic lure pattern

Old Town®, built on a legacy of quality and innovation, is thrilled to release the limited edition Fire Tiger colorway, paying homage to the legendary lure color of the same name. The Fire Tiger colorway is available in the Old Town Sportsman Line AutoPilot 120 and 136, with limited runs of each model being produced.

“Fewer fishing colors are as universally cherished as fire tiger,” says

Ryan Lilly,  Johnson Outdoors Watercraft Brand Evangelist “This limited edition Old Town Sportsman AutoPilot FireTiger is a celebration of our angling heritage, showcasing the vibrant chartreuse and orange hues synonymous with the mainstay lure color in every angler’s arsenal.” Old Town® reimagined fishing from a kayak with the introduction of the AutoPilot at ICAST in 2020. Now, anglers can further stand out from the competition and increase their chances of landing their next “personal best” in the limited edition Fire Tiger colorway. Additionally, Old Town has partnered with Berkley to include a selection of bait, tackle, and fishing line with each Fire Tiger purchase. The Old Town Sportsman AutoPilot remains the pinnacle watercraft for hands-free fishing. Anglers can command this high-tech kayak.  For more information on Old Town® and where to find a Limited Edition Fire Tiger kayak, visit oldtownwatercraft.johnsonoutdoors.com