Wednesday, January 31, 2024

2024 MLF B&W Trailer Hitches Stage One presented by Power-Pole Bass Pro Tour on Toledo Bend: Wheeler Rockets to Lead of Group A

Mitchell Forde 

BASS PRO TOUR Press Release 

MANY, La. — The past three years on the Bass Pro Tour have been defined by Jacob Wheeler’s dominance. During that span, Wheeler has racked up 20 Championship Round appearances (in 27 total events) and four wins. He took home the Fishing Clash Angler of the Year title in 2021 and 2022 before finishing second to Matt Becker a season ago.

When the 2024 season kicked off Tuesday, he wasted no time showing that his game remains as sharp as ever.

Less than 10 minutes into the first day of the Qualifying Round for Group A at B&W Trailer Hitches Stage One presented by Power-Pole, Wheeler boated a Toledo Bend giant. The 8-pound, 3-ounce largemouth ignited a run that saw him put 28 bass for 91 pounds even on SCORETRACKER®. He leads Spencer Shuffield by 2-15 entering the group’s second day of qualifying.


Wheeler’s pattern produces early and often

By the time Wheeler trailered his boat, other anglers had already peppered him with questions about the 8-pounder, asking whether he’d marked the fish during practice and run to his starting spot to find it. He insisted the giant caught him by surprise.

“I just happened to pull into a little area that I caught some fish (during practice), and my first bite just happened to be an 8-pounder,” Wheeler said. “So if that’s any telltale sign for how the year is going to go, I’m all about 8-pounders.”

Monday, January 29, 2024

Jessie Mizell Wins 2024 MLF Toyota Series events on Okeechobee


Jessie Mizell has now won back-to-back Toyota Series events on Okeechobee. Photo by Rob Matsuura. Angler: Jessie Mizell.

By Jody White

Toyota Series

CLEWISTON, Fla. – This week, Jessie Mizell was absolutely untouchable on his home pond. 

Weighing 24 pounds each of the first two days and finishing with 23 pounds, 13 ounces, Mizell totaled 72-9 to beat out Brody Campbell by nearly 3 pounds for the win in the Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats Southern Division opener. Now with six MLF wins to his credit on Lake Okeechobee, Mizell has won over $90,000 in less than 12 months, as he also won last year’s Toyota Series event on the Big O. For this one, Mizell takes home another trophy for a rapidly growing collection, plus $44,000 and qualification to the Toyota Series Championship. 

Mizell started each tournament morning on the north side of Okeechobee, easing into a staging bay and going to work. His bite shut down before noon each day of the event, though, as anglers coming and going muddied up the water. When Mizell arrived Saturday, he had a small audience of Bassmaster Open pros starting practice, and he put on a show. 

“I got there first thing – it was a good thing I was boat No. 1 – and there were already a couple boats, BASS guys, in there,” he said. “But they just sat there and watched. I got my first, second, third, my biggest one. After that, there were boats going in and out, and they stirred it up. I didn’t get a bite after 11 o’clock; it got muddy and (the fish) shut down. But I was lucky enough to get my limit, and get those couple key fish. They were eating a frog like crazy – just absolutely destroying it.”

Top 10 Below 

Friday, January 26, 2024

BPS becomes title sponsor of Bassmaster Classic

B.A.S.S. announced today that outdoor retailer Bass Pro Shops will be the title sponsor of the 2024 Bassmaster Classic. The event will be held March 22-24, with competition taking place on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees. The tournament will feature 56 anglers vying for more than $1 million in prize money.

“We are very honored to partner with Bassmaster and serve as the title sponsor for the 2024 Bassmaster Classic,” said Johnny Morris, five-time Classic qualifier, noted conservationist and founder of Bass Pro Shops. “Some of my happiest memories in life were competing on the tournament trail and creating many special, lifelong friendships. I feel very blessed to have spent my entire life in and around the great sport of fishing and to have had the opportunity to serve fellow anglers. I am forever grateful to Ray Scott, for without him and his B.A.S.S. Tournament Trail, Bass Pro Shops would have never happened.”

The relationship between Bass Pro Shops and B.A.S.S. goes back to the birth of competitive bass fishing. When Scott created the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society in 1967, Morris became an early competitor. At the same time, Morris started a small tackle business out of a corner of his father’s liquor store in Springfield, Mo., in 1972. As B.A.S.S. tournaments grew, so did Morris’ tackle business, and he eventually created the first Bass Pro Shops catalog in 1974.

“This partnership is so meaningful to B.A.S.S. for so many reasons,” said Chase Anderson, CEO of B.A.S.S. “Our organizations both helped build and define an industry while focusing on conservation, education and inspiration. We have shared values and both maintain a sharp focus on the future of our sport while celebrating the rich history of bass fishing. We look forward to celebrating together at the Classic with the rabid fans in attendance as a new champion is crowned.”

Monday, January 22, 2024

Italian Pro Gallelli Fishing 2024 Bass Pro Tour!

Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today that Jacopo Gallelli of Florence, Italy,  has accepted an invitation to fish the 2024 Bass Pro Tour. Gallelli fills a roster spot vacated by Dakota Ebare of Brookeland, Texas, who declined his 2024 Bass Pro Tour invitation.

The sixth season of the MLF Bass Pro Tour kicks off Jan. 30-Feb. 4 at Toledo Bend Reservoir in Many, Louisiana. The Bass Pro Tour features 80 of the world’s top bass fishing professionals, competing across nine states for a total purse of more than $6.7 million and valuable points to qualify for the annual General Tire Heavy Hitters all-star event and REDCREST 2025, the Bass Pro Tour championship. REDCREST 2025 will be held April 2-6, 2025, on Lake Guntersville in Huntsville, Alabama. 

Friday, January 19, 2024

Rabid Hair Jigs for 24

New for 2024 we are introducing 2 new hair jig colors "Perch" and "Shad" both are available in 1/8 & 1/4 ounce and boost 3 different layers of artic fox fur hair giving them an ultra-high-definition look under water while still keeping all the great benefits of our original hair jigs!

The Hair
Well, it isn’t called a hair jig for just any reason. There are dozens of types of hair, fur, or feathers that are typically used in crafting hair jigs. Most commonly you see them made with Marabou, bucktail, synthetics, zonker, or rabbit fur. Coming from a company that specializes in fur we have had the opportunity to test literally every material you could think of and there isn’t a material that we like better for a hair jig than artic fox fur. Here are some of the advantages that we’ve found with Fox over some of the other materials. The first being its body retention in the water. Unlike Marabou which can be very compacted in the water, fox fur maintains the majority of its size in the water without sacrificing action. It is also naturally buoyant and has a much slower fall rate than marabou or bucktail jigs. This allows you to throw it on a slightly heavier jig head and achieve longer casts. I will admit, the marabou jig has its time and place but you can be rest assured that I will have a fox fur jig tied on nearly every day of the year as its versatility is simply unmatched.

What makes the perfect hair jig

So, what is it that makes these Rabid Baits hair jigs just right? To fully understand that question we need to understand everything that goes into fishing a hair jig. In my personal experience and many top pros can agree that a hair jig needs to be thrown on a long moderate action rod with light line. Typically, when you pull your hair jig out the fish are in some type of funk, be it pre spawn, post spawn, or even in the winter months. These situations call for very long cast to get your bait out away from the boat. To obtain that you need a 7 foot to 7’6” spinning rod and really light line. I will typically throw a hair jig on 12lb braid down to a longer 30-foot 6lb fluorocarbon leader. With light line, long casts, and smallmouth you’re going to need a moderate action rod for better hook up ratios and to ensure they stay pinned!

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Freedom Tackle Corp sell remaining shares to American Baitworks Co.

Freedom Tackle Corp Founders Michael & Nick Tamburro Announce the Sale of their Freedom Tackle Corporation Shares to American Baitworks Co.

As part of a strategic evolution, Michael & Nick Tamburro proudly announces the sale of their Freedom Tackle Corp. shares to Robert Greenberg (ABW), marking a significant milestone in the company’s journey that began in 2012 for the two brothers from Toronto, Canada. This move comes as a deliberate step towards embracing new opportunities and advancing into an exciting phase of growth and innovation. 

The decision to sell shares reflects Freedom Tackle Corporation commitment to fortifying its position in the market and capitalizing on emerging trends in fishing industry. This transition is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our team, as well as the support of our valued retailers. “We are immensely grateful for the trust and support we’ve received throughout our journey building our fishing tackle brand” said Michael Tamburro, co-owner at Freedom Tackle Corp. “This strategic move positions us to start a new chapter and give American Baitworks the foundation to grow & expand the “Freedom“ brand. “We want to thank all of our retailers, customers, anglers, employees, friends, & family who helped us take an idea, and build a brand that was proudly sold in retailers around the world” said Nick Tamburro, co-owner at Freedom Tackle Corp. The sale of shares opens doors to fresh collaborations, enhanced resources, and opportunities to amplify Freedom Tackles impact on the fishing tackle landscape. 

It marks a pivotal moment as the company propels forward, fuelled by a vision for continued success and excellence. Freedom Tackle Corp remains committed to its core values of innovation and assures stakeholders of a seamless transition. The company will continue to deliver exceptional fishing tackle while fostering a culture of innovation and excellence. 

Monday, January 15, 2024

Berkley Gives Anglers More Control of Their Baits Than Ever Before with All-New Forward-Facing Sonar Optimized Baits

 Berkley Krej

With it’s innovative, upturned bill the Berkley Krej is one of the most unique baits anglers will see on the market this year. This revolutionary hard bait was designed to mimic the natural, upwards fleeing reaction of a baitfish from predatory strike. Contrary to conventional methods of fishing a jerkbait, the upturned bill of the Berkley Krej (that’s “Jerk” spelled backwards) allows it to work its way upwards in the water column, only to fall backwards towards the fish chasing the bait.  Purposefully designed in Berkley Labs to excel with forward-facing sonar, this new style of fishing, or “krejing”, allows the angler to take advantage of being able to see how the fish reacts and work the bait up and away from the fish to better imitate a natural fleeing motion, or back towards the fish to trigger reaction strikes.

“The Krej is a bait that performs like no other hard bait, especially when paired with forward-facing sonar,” said Berkley’s Senior Project Engineer of Bait and Terminal Tackle, Dan Spengler. “It’s a bait that took over two years to develop, integrating key bait fish movements and predator-induced prey reactions like darting, erratic motion behavior, and changes in motion. Whether it’s on the rise or fall, the Krej is always in action. We implemented an upturned bill which allows this bait to conquer the water column in a way a standard jerkbait cannot, but yet it can do so much more than that. There are several ways to manipulate this bait to interact with fish and it gives anglers a solution to the current gaps when using forward-facing sonar.”


  • Upturned bill delivers unique ascending & darting action when worked.
  • Backwards fall on pause (backslide) allows the angler to maintain presence in the strike zone longer and provides a triggering mechanism for reaction bites.
  • Combination of ascending action and backslide on the fall maximizes angler control & time in the strike zone.
  • Bait can be fished sub-surface or topwater to best imitate the natural progression of predator & prey.
  • Optimized for use with forward-facing sonar
  • Sinking (1ft / sec) 

Sizes: 100mm
Colors: Blue Vapor • Stealth Shad • Stealth Minnow • Wakasagi • Chrome • OG Blue • Table Rock • Hankie Pankie • Nebu • Stunna Shad 

MSRP: $14.99
Available: January, 2024

Friday, January 12, 2024

Introducing the Berkley Finisher


Another tool in the forward facing sonar arsenal. The new Berkley Finisher hits on all of the fast dropping, hard gliding and fish provoking actions of walleye glide baits, plus optimizes time in the strike zone by “hovering” and moving laterally in the water column with minimal retrieve progression. This unique action provides anglers with maximum control, critical with FFS when an angler knows where the fish is located, and can see how it’ll react to the bait. Hover it, drop it, dart it, jerk it, stroll it; you name it, the Finisher delivers strike producing action on every cast to attack various scenarios unlocked by forward facing sonar.

Learn more and shop Finisher here -

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Dustin Connell Joins Team Rapala, CrushCity and VMC

Rapala, a legendary company already in possession of the industry’s most accomplished and diverse set of pro-staffers, announces the addition of Bass Pro Tour star Dustin Connell to their pro staff. He will represent Rapala hard baits and tools, Crush City Plastics and VMC Hooks, joining a team that includes perennial Major League Fishing superstars Ott DeFoe and Jacob Wheeler, the latter generally considered to be the hottest bass angler on the planet, as well as past Bassmaster Anglers of the Year including Davy Hite, Gerald Swindle, Kyle Welcher and Seth Feider.

“This is an incredible opportunity to join an iconic brand,” Connell said. “When I look back to my college fishing days and days of fishing local tournaments, I can think of several Coosa River tournaments that I won on a Rapala DT10 and I still have a ton of old Shad Raps that I relied upon during my Lake Martin team tournament days.

They’re the truest-running crankbaits ever made and I’m humbled to have this opportunity. I’m in it for the long haul.”
Connell has not yet turned 34, but already has a resume that would be the envy of many top bass pros. During his years with BASS, he won an Open on the Alabama River, and two years later he won at Elite Series tournament on Ross Barnett on his way to the 2017 Rookie of the Year title. Since moving to the Bass Pro Tour, he has made the Redcrest Cup every season, twice finishing in the top eight in AOY, and never below 15th. In 2021 he was crowned the Redcrest Champ at Alabama’s Lake Eufaula.
Notably, he is also exceptionally close to Wheeler. They talk every day and pick each other’s brains about fishing strategy and tackle tweaks. That tight friendship was another integral factor in the formation of this deal.
“It was the caliber of the entire pro staff and the product lineups that drew me in,” he explained. “Watching Jacob work to develop CrushCity helped me to understand how dedicated they are to getting every little detail right. They want to make products that are different, where every feature makes a difference. I look forward to working with my peers to validate the lure design ideas that I have in my head.”
“Dustin is like getting a first round pick in the NFL Draft with Hall of Fame potential,” said Rapala’s Field Promotions Director Dan Quinn. “Not only is Dustin a proven talent, with a long runway ahead of him in his career, but he fits in seamlessly with our existing team. We’re thrilled to continue to build with him to develop products that excel and produce whether you’re a weekend angler or competing to win the Redcrest.”

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Mike Iaconelli Splits partnership with Rapala/VMC

BASS Elite Star Mike Iaconelli has dissolved his partnership with Rapala/VMC. He has alluded to something "BIG" coming in the near future. Fan will have to wait and see. 

Here is his post on Facebook

Just wanted to let everyone know that I’ll be parting ways with Rapala/VMC in 2024. THANK YOU for an amazing run! I made some great friends, had some great experiences and laughs, and helped design some cool lures and tackle! I’ll always be very proud of the Ikes Ink colors and the Ike Approved hooks and terminal tackle! Some BIG things are coming for me in 2024 and I’ve got some cool, new “Ike” designs coming very SOON!

Follow Ike here

Monday, January 8, 2024

Northland's Elite Series Marabou Jig

Famed basser Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson collaborates with Northland Fishing Tackle to design nature’s finest Elite Series Marabou Jig.

Nothing beats nature. Want proof? For decades, tackle manufacturers – Northland included – have been compelled to design lures with authentic looks that gamefish flat-out eat. Just think about the detailed, sculpted baitfish heads on Northland’s Mimic Jig and new Smeltinator Jig, or lifelike patterns on Reed-Runner Frogs.

That same authenticity manifests in the form of locomotion, too – how it moves in the water. And when you dip ultra-soft feathers in the water – combining nature and nature – the result is a genuine work of art. Such is the case with Northland’s new Elite Series Marabou Jig

The natural, fluffy material is a mainstay for fly-tyers aiming to create silky baits that pulse delicately in the water. An innovative few Canadian anglers also employ natural marabou feathers to craft rarified smallmouth bass jigs. Amazingly effective, but tedious to produce, these jigs have been difficult to find…until now.   

Still handtied, but now produced in mass, Northland’s Elite Series Marabou Jig features premium marabou feathers meticulously wound onto a strong, shockingly sharp, Gamakatsu® hook with bait keeper. They are available in three proven, earth-toned patterns and three sizes – 1/16 oz., 3/32 oz., and 1/8-ounce.

We thought it was prudent to have a real Canadian bass angler talk about the Elite Series Marabou Jig: Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson. (And, by the way, Gussy has claimed numbers of bass tournaments using handtied, workshop-made marabou jigs. Not to mention he’s the reigning Bassmaster Classic Champion, so quite qualified to speak on the subject.)

Elite Series Marabou Jig FEATURES:

  • Handtied premium marabou feathers
  • Premium Gamakatsu® hook with bait keeper
  • SIZES: 1/16 oz., 3/32 oz., and 1/8 oz.
  • COLORS: Black, Black/Purple, and Brown

MSRP $8.99 (2 card)

Thursday, January 4, 2024


With the 2024 National Professional Fishing League (NPFL) season kicking off February 1-3 on the Coosa River at Lake Logan Martin, the final roster has been set as ‘the League’ continues to expand its reach in the fishing industry.

“We’re thrilled to welcome 127 anglers to the NPFL family for the 2024 season, marking a historic milestone as our largest and most diverse field yet,” said Brad Fuller, President of the NPFL. “This assembly of anglers is not only the largest but also stands out as the most eclectic and competitive group we have ever gathered.”

The roster is a fusion of seasoned legends synonymous with excellence and fresh faces entering the Bass fishing world. Showcasing a rich tapestry of fishing expertise and unique life experiences, the accomplishments of our anglers span the entirety of competitive bass fishing history, making this assembly truly extraordinary.

“What truly sets this field apart is the variety of backgrounds and experiences our new anglers bring to the table. From former Professional Arena football players to high-ranking CEOs in Fortune 500 companies and dedicated trauma nurses, the diversity is astonishing,” added Fuller. “We have former Bassmaster Classic Champions and current anglers from the industry’s highest ranks joining our talented roster of anglers; the term ‘eclectic’ encapsulates this group perfectly.”

Whether a seasoned professional, a legend of the sport or a rookie beginning their professional career, each angler has their own success story in bass fishing. Fans will witness a showcase of diverse skills that distinguishes this NPFL season.

2024 National Professional Fishing League Roster

Barron Adams
Gary Adkins
Jacoby Adkins
Mike Alls
Charlie Apperson
Stuart Arthur
Jeff Barth
Hunter Baughman
Tommy Biffle
Brock Bila
Zack Birge
Daniel Blackert
Joey Bloom
John Bosley
John Branch
Michael Brewer
Nick Brown
Jason Burroughs
Bobby Carver
Corey Casey
Douglas Chapin
Brandon Classon
Lonnie Cochran
William Collie
Michael Comeau
Drew Cook
Richard Cooper
Mike Corbishley
John Cox
Wayne “Skeeter” Crosby
Darrell Davis
Seth Ellis
Ron Farrow
Louis Fernandes
Bradley Fetters
Jeff Fitts
William Fletcher
Dylan Freeze
David Fritts
Bailey Gay
Kyle Glasgow
Todd Goade
Buddy Gross
Hayden Hammond
Scott Hamrick
Will Harkins
Chip Harrington
Cole Harris
Brian Hatfield
Stephanie Hemphill-Pellerin
Josh Hooks
Ron Johnson
Richard Kee
Justin Kimmel
Chris Kinley
Ian Leybas
Scott Lindstam
Wes Logan
Matt Looney
Jake Maddux
Buck Mallory
Stuart Martel
Kevin Martin
Lendell Martin Jr
Matt Massey
Matthew McBee
Jason Meninger
Jesse Millsaps
Matt Mollohan
Henry Montgomery
Robert Nakatomi
Christian Nash
Reagan Nelson
Lane Olson
Trent Palmer
Cody Parker
Blaine Partee
Isaac Peavyhouse
Brandon Perkins
Dustin Perry
Spencer Peters
Jamie Pierce
Pete Ponds
Chad Poteat
Mike Quinlin
Timothy Reams
Jason Reyes
Darrel Robertson
Ricky Robinson
Troy Roder
Kevin Rogers
Angel Rosario
JT Russell
Roman Ryan
Hunter Sales
Ryan Satterfield
Craig Saylor
Thomas Shelton
Collin Smith
Dustin Smith
John Soukup
Austin Speer
Micheal Stout
JTodd Tucker
Landon Tucker
Patrick Walters
Josh Watkins
Mitchell Webb
Joseph Webster
Kyle Welcher
Wade Werner
Chris Whisenant
Larry Wilcher
Scott Wiley
Alton Wilhoit
Dustin Wilkey
David Williams
Courtland Williams
Dustin Williamson
Jason Williamson
Alexander Wilson
Jason Wilson
Tim Wilson
Jesse Wise
Robert Wroblewski
Michael Yoder

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Outdoor Channel's Joe Thomas Partners with IKON Boats!


Long time TV host and personality and creator of Pelican's Ultimate Match fishing. will be using iKon Bass Boats for all their on the water filming and competition boats for Pelican's Ultimate Match fishing. With 40 years plus in the industry this is a significant move for Joe. 

Listen to the announcement for yourself.