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WELCOME TO THE BASS HOG'S BLOG.  PROFESSIONAL BASS FISHING CO-ANGLER AND OUTDOOR LEGEND.  GET THE LATEST AND GREATEST NEWS AND UPDATES ABOUT FISHING.  PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG USING THE RSS FEED LINK IN THE BOTTOM RIGHT HAND CORNER OF THIS PAGE.  ADD THE FOLLOWING URL TO YOUR RSS FEED  http://apps.thebasshog.com/Blog/Rss FOR YAHOO, OUTLOOK, AOL, GOOGLE, HOTMAIL OR OTHER EMAIL ACCOUNT OR TABLET. YOU CAN ALSO FOLLOW VIA http://thebasshog.com/news.html. THANK YOU.

Posted By The Bass Hog

CONROE, Texas — Kelly Jordon is not a weatherman.

He can’t say for sure what the conditions will be when 52 of the world’s best anglers descend on Lake Conroe, an hour outside of Houston, for the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, March 24-26.

But as a Texas native and a 22-year veteran of the Bassmaster Tournament Trail, Jordon knows the bass are likely to be in some phase of their annual spring spawn — and he says the angler who best identifies that phase is likely to be the winner of the 47th annual event.

“Most of the bass in the lake are going to be somewhere around the spawning mode, simply because of the time of year,” said Jordon, who finished 50th in the 2016 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings and barely missed qualifying for the Classic. “If I was going to guess — depending on what the weather does — I’d say we’ll be toward the final quarter of the spawn. There will still be some fish on the beds, but there will also be a lot of postspawn fish.”

A spawn/postspawn scenario could provide a lot of options, and it could certainly lead to some giant fish being brought to the scales at the Houston Astros’ Minute Maid Park.

Jordon said the bluegill will likely be coming up to spawn, and big bass can often be found feeding around bluegill beds. Big male bass are also likely to be guarding recently hatched fry, and big females that are hungry from the spawn could be roaming the shallows.

Though some bass are likely to still be on the beds, Jordon said he doesn’t expect sight fishing to be a dominant technique.

“Sight fishing will definitely play,” he said. “But I don’t think somebody can win on sight fishing alone. You’re likely to see several giant fish caught off beds or maybe a key 5-pounder at a time when someone really needs it. But I don’t think it’s something you’ll be able to totally hang your hat on.”

As for the type of structure that’s likely to be most popular, Jordon said anglers will have their pick.

“The water color will depend on how much rain we get and which part of the river you’re fishing,” he said. “The water way up on the upper end could be a lot more stained than the lower end. But when you get up there, you’ll find plenty of backwater stuff, some side creeks, some marinas, some residential areas with canals, big gigantic flats — a little bit of everything.”

The lower end of the lake could appeal more to dock fishing specialists.

“Once you get down there, the lower half of the lake — if not more than half — is pretty much wall-to-wall boat docks and seawalls. Whether you want to fish shallow shoreline cover or deep shoreline cover, there’s tons of it available. You can find seawalls that may have 10 feet of water around them.

The abundance of boat docks, in particular, caught the attention of Classic competitor and noted shallow-water expert Cliff Crochet of Pierre Part, La., during pre-practice. Before the official off-limits period began Jan. 16, he posted a blog on Bassmaster.com titled, “Docks, docks and more docks,” complete with a photo of one dock-filled bank.

Roy’s final blog from pre-practice was titled “Crushing pre-practice” and showed the Kentucky angler holding two largemouth that appeared to be in the 6- to 7-pound range. 

“I think there’ll be at least one 30-pound bag caught — if not several,” said Combs, who finished second in the 2016 AOY race. “I think there will be a 10-pounder brought to the scales every day. That’s just the way Conroe is.”

Courtesy of BASS Communications.


 
Posted By The Bass Hog

TULSA, Okla. — For the first two days of the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro, the buzz centered around local sensation Jason Christie of nearby Park Hill, Okla.

But on the final day, another of Oklahoma’s favorite sons stole the show.

Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla., caught an incredible 29 pounds, 3 ounces of bass from Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees Sunday to push his three-day total weight to 60-7. The epic finish was enough to help him storm past Christie and the rest of the Classic field to earn a $300,000 payday and a spot in professional bass fishing history.

The win was Evers’ 11th with B.A.S.S., but his first time to raise the Classic trophy.

“It hasn’t quite hit me yet,” said Evers, who was fishing his 15th Classic. “I don’t know when it will. But I know 29 pounds on the last day of the Classic is big.”

Evers certainly didn’t seem like he was ready to win a Classic championship earlier in the week.


Courtesy of BASS Communications.


 
Posted By The Bass Hog

GREENVILLE, S.C. — The final day of the 2015 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro on Lake Hartwell is shaping up to be a free-for-all with a handful of former Classic champions sitting atop the standings with the coveted trophy and $300,000 first-place prize well within their grasp.

Takahiro Omori, an Elite Series pro from Japan who now makes his home in Emory, Texas, caught five fish that weighed 16 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday and claimed the lead going into Sunday’s final round with a two-day total of 31-11.

The 2004 Classic winner holds a razor-thin lead over Elite Series pro Dean Rojas of Lake Havasu City, Ariz. (31-9); 2003 Classic winner Michael Iaconelli of Pittsgrove, N.J. (31-0); 2014 Classic winner Randy Howell of Springville, Ala. (30-11); and Casey Ashley of Donalds, S.C. (29-14).

Omori got off to a slow start Saturday. But with years of experience and one Classic title already under his belt, he didn’t panic and managed enough weight to jump from seventh into first.

“Yesterday, we were like two hours late starting — and when I got to my first spot, I caught five fish just like that,” Omori said. “We started at normal time today. So when I get to my spot, it was too dark. I was thinking there were no fish left out here.

“So I just hung around and stuck with it, and I caught most of my fish by noon. I ended up catching about 10 keepers today.”

Though he wouldn’t say much about how he’s catching his fish, Omori said every bass he’s brought to the scales this week has come from one 200-yard stretch of water. He added that he’s familiarized himself with every inch of the area, and he plans to give it a major workout Sunday.

Omori said he wants to avoid getting too excited about a chance to win a second Classic. But at the same time, he admitted it’s not just another day of fishing.

“I just want to do my things right,” he said. “I don’t want to jerk a hook set too hard and break my line or get too excited and miss something because I was being too crazy. I just want to enjoy the moment and have another great day.”

Omori can’t afford many mistakes with an angler like Rojas trailing him by just 2 ounces heading into the final round. Rojas, the Day 1 leader with 21-2 Friday, managed just 10-7 Saturday, but remained squarely in contention for his first Classic title.

“I didn’t get the big bite today that I was hoping for,” Rojas said. “But I’ve got another day to go out and try to find it again.”

Iaconelli dealt with a frustrating moment Friday when a fish he estimated at more than 3 pounds struck short on a jerkbait, preventing him from weighing in a five-bass limit. But he said the moment encouraged him just enough to make him go back to his shallow pattern Saturday — and that’s where the foundation came for the Saturday limit of 16-9 that lifted him into the Top 3.

 

Iaconelli said he finally identified the right area Saturday morning when he saw a loon flying out of a pocket.

“I caught two in there on a jerkbait, a deep Shadow Rap,” Iaconelli said. “One was a 2-pounder and one was a 4-pounder. That was a great way to start. Because when I go out deep, my biggest issue is I’m getting very few bites.

Rain is likely for Sunday’s final round, and Iaconelli said that could actually help his early morning pattern. Instead of moving deep at 9 a.m., he said he might be able to extend the pattern as late as 10:30.


Courtesy of BASS Communications.


 
Posted By The Bass Hog

BISMARCK, Ark. — Fishers of Men teammates Flannagan Fife and Royce Davis made B.A.S.S. history Thursday by becoming the first team winners of the inaugural Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship today at DeGray Lake by bringing in a two-day total weight of 26 pounds, 8 ounces.

The Arkansas anglers topped a field of 155 two-man teams from a host of B.A.S.S.-sanctioned team trails across the country to earn the championship title along with the grand prize of a Nitro Z7 bass boat/Mercury Optimax 150 Pro XS outboard rig and the Livingston Lures Leader Award of $500. The national champions also received a traveling trophy to take back to their Fishers of Men team trail.

Thursday’s action concluded the team competition of this unique four-day tournament. Friday the six anglers from the Top 3 teams will fish individually for the final two days of competition. The individual Bassmaster Team Trail champion qualifies for the final 2015 GEICO Bassmaster Classic berth and receives a Skeeter FX20/Yamaha 250 outboard rig to run in the Classic.

Fife and Davis spent both days cranking the shallows to earn the nine bass they caught Thrursday. Although the weather changed from sunshine yesterday to clouds today, Fife thought their pattern stayed about the same.

“We had a lot of lulls when we weren’t getting bites, and we would try to make adjustments. But, we still wouldn’t get bit, so we went right back to cranking,” he said.

The team tried about 30 spots during the two competition days, but only four of their spots kept producing fish. Even though they will be fishing the next two days, Fife and Davis didn’t save any spots for the next round.

“We went all out (to win),” Fife said. “Most of our spots are isolated, and we didn’t have a lot of them. To get five bites we had to fish everything and lean on it hard. I don’t know if there is anything left there or not.”

Fishers of Men anglers Brandon Gladish and Aaric Correll moved into second place with 23-13 and will also fish in the bracket round starting Friday. The weather change caused their fish to go deeper, so they had to make some adjustments to catch a limit weighing 12-8 today.

Gladish said they used “three or four different baits,” while keying on largemouth bass the first two days and are using tactics totally different than what they fish back home in Indiana. Since they will be fishing against each other Friday, they will have to share their most productive spot. “There are a lot of fish there, so we should be in good shape,” Gladish said.

Day 1 leaders Brandon Gray and Todd Massey stumbled today and caught only four keepers weighing 8-14. However, they made the bracket cut by finishing in third place with 23 pounds overall.

“The cloud cover really hurt our fish,” Massey said. “We just couldn’t get anything really good going. We had four keeper bites today and fished clean. We did catch a short fish which was probably a quarter of an inch short in the last 15 minutes, but it might have moved us up only one place. We just couldn’t get the bites.”

The North Carolina anglers from the Anglers Choice circuit keyed on one area both days. “We bounced around and tried a few other areas but went back to that one area we have really been focusing on and lived or died there,” Massey said.

Hosting the tournament is the DeGray Lake Resort State Park. Launches and weigh-ins for Friday and Saturday will be held at Caddo Bend in DeGray Lake Resort State Park, Bismarck, Ark.


Courtesy of BASS Communications.


 
Posted By The Bass Hog

MONROE, La. — Jennifer Carden of Calera, Ala., likes to see her husband in first place. And when she comes to Coby Carden’s events, she usually gets exactly that.
 
Jennifer surprised Coby by driving all day a couple of years ago with their two kids in tow to the 2013 Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Southern Divisional, and he not only led each day, but he also won the event. Jennifer and the kids showed up again last night — unexpectedly — and Coby now has the Day 1 lead of the 2014 Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Championship on Louisiana’s Ouachita River.
 
“She likes surprises,” said Coby with a laugh after the first weigh-in of the event. “Let’s hope it works out again this time.”
 
Coby Carden has had a pretty great run the last two years. He won the 2013 divisional, went on to win his division last year at the championship, competed in the 2014 GEICO Bassmaster Classic and finished in the top half of the field, and then won his state again this year at the 2014 divisional. He wants to get back to the Classic again, but that’s not all: He wants to win it.
 
“That’s just the competitor in me,” said Carden, a member of the LA Po Boys club in Alabama. “I want to win.”
 
But he has two more days of tough competition before a Classic win is even a possibility — a fact that has not escaped him.
 
“I got lucky today,” said Carden. “I had one big bite. Without it, I would have only had 6 pounds and change.”
 
Carden is referring to the 4-pound, 10-ounce bass he brought to the scales on Day 1, the biggest bass of the day by far and currently the leader in the Carhartt Big Bass competition. His total sack for the day was 11 pounds, 8 ounces, a pound heavier than second place Levi McNeill of Utah.
 
“I caught the big one flipping my Missile D Bomb in wood,” said Carden. “I had caught a big one in that same area in pre-fish a couple of weeks ago. The tough part will be staying in the lead for the next two days.”
 
McNeill, who is fishing 1,500 miles from his Utah home, led for a while on Day 1 with his catch of 10 pounds, 8 ounces. He had a slow morning, but he found one laydown that appealed to him, and he ended up pulling three keepers from the spot in the span of only 20 minutes.
 
McNeill’s weight was not typical, but his experience was. Many anglers said they had dry spells that lasted hours with no bites — or if they had bites, the fish were short.
 
“There were lots of 11 and 99/100-inch fish,” said Troy Diede of South Dakota, regarding the 12-inch minimum length each bass must meet before being brought to the scales. “There were so many that just didn’t measure.”
 
“I drove 1,250 miles to get here,” said Scott Sheldon of Colorado, “and the fish here have the same problem the bass in Colorado do: Their heads are too close to their tails!”
 
The ones that met the length requirement were not very heavy, either. The average size of the bass wasn’t even 1 1/2 pounds.
 
Still, only three anglers zeroed, and half the field weighed in limits — which is significant in a fishery this tough.
 
With weights this small, though, it’s still anyone’s game. One 4-pounder can move an angler up 15 to 20 places, so there’s plenty of room for movement on the leaderboard.
 
Only six anglers will advance to the 2015 GEICO Bassmaster Classic.
 
 Courtesy of BASS Communications.


 
Posted By The Bass Hog
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Every angler dreams of catching bass after giant bass like Randy Howell did on Sunday. Howell began hauling in Lake Guntersville lunkers minutes into the final round of the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro. He lost track of how many culls he was able to make, but at one point he was trading 4- and 5-pounders for even larger bass. When Howell brought his bag to the scales, his five bass weighed 29 pounds, 2 ounces, with the largest going 7-3. The banner day beefed up his total to 67 pounds, 8 ounces. “I don’t even know if I’m going to win, but it doesn’t matter,” Howell said before all the 25 finalists came to the scales. “It was the best day I’ve ever had in 21 years of professional bass fishing, a day of a lifetime.” But his day did get better: He became the world champion, the 2014 Bassmaster Classic champ. “I’ve had this dream so many times, and it’s happening now. I can’t believe I won the Bassmaster Classic. I don’t win tournaments very often,” said Howell as he was announced the winner. Howell is a two-time Bassmaster event winner, including a 2013 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Open presented by Allstate event that earned him his 2014 Classic qualification. Sunday’s victory — Howell’s first after 11 other tries as a Classic competitor — was worth $300,000 and the most coveted trophy in the sport. From Springville, Ala., Howell became only the second angler to win the Classic in his home state. Howell edged out B.A.S.S. Nation qualifier Paul Mueller of Naugatuck, Conn., by 1 pound. Mueller, who on Day 2 set a new one-day Classic weight record at 32-3, totaled 66-8 for second place. Third place was claimed by second-day leader Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla., with 65-11. Fourth was Ott DeFoe of Knoxville, Tenn., with 63-6, including the day’s largest bass, an 8-4. First-day leader Randall Tharp of Port St. Joe, Fla., finished in fifth place at 62-12. Howell repeatedly used the words “perfect” and “effortless” to describe his day on Lake Guntersville. “I caught my first one on my second or third cast,” he said. “I caught one almost every cast or two and had a limit in the first 10 or 15 minutes. It was quick. It would have been quicker if I hadn’t had to stop and retie every time because of the rocks.” The rocks were the riprap up against a causeway bridge on Spring Creek. That early flurry included releasing eight 4-pounders. Howell spent most of his time on the riprap. He moved only once, going farther back into the creek to a grassy area. The move yielded a 6-pounder and allowed him to cull a 4-pounder. He then motored back to the riprap. His largest was a 7-3. It was his fourth bass of the day and the one that told him he’d made the right decision to go to Spring Creek. His Classic lure arsenal included a Livingston Lures model being developed within the Pro Series. Not yet available to the public, it’s a medium diver in a crawfish color. He also used a Rapala DT6 crankbait in the “demon” crawfish color and a Yamamoto bladed jig. “I went out this morning believing I could win,” the champ said. “That’s the weirdest thing. Typically, I would never be in 11th place and 9 pounds back and think I had a chance to win. But for some reason I had the feeling I could win on Spring Creek — that something big would happen there.” Fred Roumbanis’ 9-3 largemouth from Day 1 won the event’s Carhartt Big Bass Award of $1,000 plus $1,500 for wearing Carhartt clothing. Howell earned a $7,500 Toyota Bonus Bucks award. Tharp received the Day 1 GEICO Everyday Leader Award of $1,000 plus $1,500 for having a GEICO decal on his boat’s windshield. Evers won the same bonus on Day 2. Fans can catch 12 hours of Classic coverage on ESPN2 on The Bassmasters. The first hour will air Saturday, March 1, at 10 a.m. ET. The show centered on Sunday’s finale will air in prime time — 8 to 10 p.m. ET — on Sunday, March 2. Courtesy of BASS.

 
Posted By The Bass Hog
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — In the first-ever winner’s tie of the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series, the University of Oklahoma’s Caleb Masters and Landon Dixon and University of West Alabama’s James Brumbelow and Andrew Warbington shared the trophy. Each team brought 16 pounds to the scales. On Alabama’s Lay Lake in Sunday’s fifth annual College Classic, the Oklahoma team spent most of the day in Spring Creek. Dixon said that the seasonal prespawn movement positioned fish in predictable locations, so he and Masters fished on instinct. “We caught fish on a lot of stuff where I didn’t get a bite in practice, but it was one of those deals where it just looked right,” Dixon said. “It was just time for them to be there.” Targeting riprap banks in 6 to 8 feet of water, the Oklahoma anglers caught fish on jigs, shaky heads and crankbaits, but the latter proved most productive. The Bomber Model 7A crankbait and Norman Deep Little N, both in the red craw color, produced most of their bites. Masters said that most of his team’s bass came before 10:30 a.m. Brumbelow and Warbington caught their fish in Paint Creek and in pockets off the main lake. They targeted sloping banks and caught their fish on Strike King 1.5 squarebill crankbaits in about 1 to 3 feet deep. They caught fish all day, but Brumbelow said morning was the most productive time for the team. Warbington said his team got only six bites, but they were able to boat each fish. “We loosened our drags when we were fighting each fish so we didn’t put too much pressure on them and pull the hooks,” he said. Also competing were: Trey Clayton and Timothy Ward of Auburn University, Jacob Nummy and Corey Pierce of Auburn University at Montgomery, Nic Davis and Cody Kennedy of Calhoun Community College, Nathan George and Josh Oliver of Gadsden Community College, Jakarvis Houston and Colby Smith of Jacksonville State, Alex Clayton and Trey O’Daniel of Northeast Alabama Community College, Charlie Hurst and Keith Kirkley of the University of Alabama, Wesley Anderson and Cody Harrison of the University of North Alabama, Jennings Earnest and Ethan Wages of the University of South Alabama and Ethan Flack and J.R. Sapp of Wallace State Community College – Hanceville, Auston Wingard and Wesley Minor of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Joseph Fuller and Travis King of the University of Montevallo. College competitors took off at 6:10 a.m. from Beeswax State Park landing in Columbiana, Ala., and weighed in at 3:45 p.m. at the BJCC Arena in Birmingham prior to the final weigh-in of the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro. Teams competed for bragging rights and a berth in the sixth annual Carhartt Bassmaster College Classic next year in Greenville, S.C. The University of Oklahoma and University of West Alabama each earned a spot in that event. “Education is very important, and for these college anglers to be at the Bassmaster Classic, they get to see what it’s like to be a professional angler,” said Hank Weldon, B.A.S.S.’s manager for high school, college and youth programs. “That’s helping shape them if they want to make the next step in their fishing careers, or it could potentially help them land a job in the future. So this is giving them an all-around education on this business of bass fishing.” Courtesy of BASS Communications.

 
Posted By The Bass Hog
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Cliff Pace, the 2013 Classic champion, won’t be fishing in the 2014 GEICO Bassmaster Classic because of a deer stand accident that happened Friday afternoon. Pace broke his left leg in two places while bow hunting for deer near his home in Petal, Miss. “I was actually done with my hunt and climbing down from the stand when the accident happened,” said Pace. “It was a cold day, even here in southern Mississippi, and I had cotton gloves on. Part-way down my hand slipped out of the glove, and that’s when I fell.” Pace tried to push away from the tree so he wouldn’t land on his back or head. He was successful on that front, landing on his feet. But his left foot landed in a hole and jarred his leg enough to break it in two places, once above the knee and once below it. And in the process, he also tore the ACL in his left knee. Pace, who was hunting by himself, tried to walk out but quickly realized he was dealing with a serious injury. “I called a friend to come get me, and the whole 45 minutes I was waiting for him to come I was thinking about Guntersville,” said Pace. Of course he’s referring to the 2014 Classic. It’s particularly meaningful to Pace because he is the defending champion, having won the 2013 Classic in Tulsa. “Guntersville is one of those Classics where records will likely be set. It’s disheartening not to be able to compete,” he said. Pace had surgery on Saturday at Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg, Miss. There’s no timetable yet for when he’ll get out of the hospital. His doctor did say it will be at least 10 to 12 weeks before he can put weight on the leg. The doctor told him it will be longer before he can get back in a boat, which means Pace may not be fishing the 2014 Elite Series season. He’ll know more about that in the coming weeks. B.A.S.S. officials quickly decided to defer Pace’s Classic qualification until the 2015 Classic. “Because of Cliff’s injuries, he is clearly not able to defend his Classic title this year,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. “Based on these unprecedented, special circumstances, we are deferring that opportunity to the 2015 Bassmaster Classic in Greenville, S.C. We wish Cliff a speedy and complete recovery.” Akin said the 2015 Classic field will be increased by one. This will ensure that no one who qualifies for the Classic during the 2014 season will be denied a berth in the championship. Pace was very appreciative of those decisions. “I can’t tell you how good it feels to know I’ll be fishing in the 2015 Classic. I’m very thankful to B.A.S.S. for that.” He and other Classic contenders will fish Lake Hartwell, S.C., in the 45th Bassmaster Classic to be held Feb. 20-22, 2015. When the Classic previously visited Hartwell in February 2008, Pace finished second behind Alton Jones. The Elite Series veteran is also thankful the accident wasn’t any worse. “There was a stump right next to where I landed. If I’d hit that, things could have been a lot worse,” he said. “These are the cards I was dealt. We’ll just work with it.” Pace acknowledged there is one silver lining to the forced time off. He and his wife, Brana, had their first child just seven weeks ago, a girl named Jordan Baylee Pace. Now he’ll be able to spend a little more time with her. Courtesy of BASS Communications.