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Posted By The Bass Hog

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Television’s biggest name in fishing is now entering its 20th season on ESPN. The 2019 season of the award-winning program The Bassmasters will see expanded airtime on ESPN networks as part of the sports giant’s increased coverage of B.A.S.S. fishing.

Beyond its 30 hours of coverage of Bassmaster Elite Series events and the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, ESPN has nearly doubled (54 hours) its shows on ESPN Classic for the 2019 season.

“For two decades, ESPN has had an incredibly strong relationship with B.A.S.S., giving millions of bass fishing fans innovative, quality coverage of professional bass fishing,” said Mike McKinnis, vice president of media content for JM Associates and producer of Bassmaster LIVE and The Bassmasters. “No matter the sport, ESPN has the best networks for coverage, and we’re excited that ESPN has committed fantastic coverage for our shows.” (View the schedule here, )

In addition to the television coverage, ESPN will now be streaming 24 hours of “Bassmaster LIVE” programming from each Bassmaster Elite Series tournament on both ESPN3 and the ESPN App – up from 18 hours per tournament in 2018. Counting nine regular-season Elite events, the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship and the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK'S Sporting Goods, B.A.S.S. will be live-streaming 252 hours of programming through ESPN and this year, an increase of 27 percent in streaming hours over last year.

Coverage of B.A.S.S. will also extend to ESPNU, with nine hours of programming from events in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops as well as the Mossy Oak Fishing High School Series.

The Bassmasters will begin airing on ESPN2 with back-to-back weekends from the biggest stage in tournament fishing, the Bassmaster Elite Series. March 9 will kick off with the inaugural event of the Elite season, the Bassmaster Elite at St. Johns River, Fla., followed the next weekend, March 16, by the Bassmaster Elite at Lake Lanier, Ga.

The GEICO Bassmaster Classic will be covered in three episodes airing on Sunday mornings, March 31, April 7 and April 14.

McKinnis noted that the recently announced agreement with the Pursuit Channel to air The Bassmasters has been expanded to 130 hours for 2019, providing for a total of 223 hours of television time to complement the on-the-water streaming programming.

“Along with our industry-leading magazines, website and social media following, the increased programming hours on ESPN networks and the Pursuit Channel, more fans will now be able to enjoy their favorite sport wherever, whenever and however they want to follow it,” said Bruce Akin, B.A.S.S. CEO. “This means the biggest stage in bass fishing just got even bigger.”

About B.A.S.S.

B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport. With more than 510,000 members internationally, B.A.S.S. is not only home to the nation’s premier fishing tournament trails, but it also boasts the most expansive and comprehensive media network in the fishing industry. Its media include The Bassmasters on the ESPN networks, more than 130 hours of tournament programming on the Pursuit Channel, 250 hours of on-the-water streaming coverage onBassmaster LIVE and 1 million monthly visitors to the flagship website on bass fishing – B.A.S.S. also provides more than 4.4 million readers with the best in bass fishing coverage through Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times, and its radio and social media programs and events reach hundreds of thousands each month.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, culminating in the ultimate event on the biggest stage for competitive anglers, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods. The trail also includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bassmaster Open Series, B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series, and the Bassmaster Team Championship.

Courtesy of BASS Communications.

Posted By The Bass Hog

Sept. 22, 2017--GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. — For the past three years, Jacob Powroznik has qualified for the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods by finishing inside the cut in the season-long Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points standings on the Bassmaster Elite Series.  This year, he had to work overtime to get to the Classic.  But he’ll be there just the same.

The Virginia pro caught 16 pounds, 11 ounces of bass Friday — compared to the 14-8 landed by Monroe — to earn the tournament’s automatic Classic berth.

“It’s unbelievable, man,” Powroznik said with tears in his eyes. “It’s just such a relief. It’s the most pressure I’ve ever fished under — and I mean ever.

“To tell you the truth, I don’t ever want to go through that again.”

The Classic Bracket featured the Top 8 finishers in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings who failed to qualify for the Classic. The seeds were: 1. Kennedy, 2. Michael Iaconelli, 3. Jonathon VanDam, 4. Kelley Jaye, 5. Lefebre, 6. Monroe, 7. Adrian Avena and 8. Powroznik.

Powroznik, who spent much of the earlier rounds fishing boat docks with a spinning reel, switched to a baitcaster and a swimbait and scored early with a 3-4 largemouth on his first cast. He added a 1-2 on his second cast and steadily built a solid five-bass limit of 11-4 before an hour had passed.

He upgraded with a 3-14 largemouth around 10 a.m. and then had one of the strangest occurrences of the Elite Series season when he landed a solid bass with a yellow cull tag clipped in its mouth.

The tag had likely been placed there by an angler in a previous tournament who then somehow failed to remove it when the bass was released.

Monroe’s on-boat judge, B.A.S.S. Nation Director Jon Stewart, originally ruled that the cull tag had to be removed before the fish could be weighed. But Powroznik objected.

“That’s the way it was when I caught it,” he said. “If the bass had a bluegill in its throat, I would get to weigh the bluegill. If it had a lamprey stuck to it, I would get to weigh the lamprey.”

Stewart consulted B.A.S.S. Tournament Director Trip Weldon, who advised him to weigh the fish both ways — with the tag and without. The weight in both situations was 3-3.

Once the sun began to break, Powroznik moved away from his largemouth areas and went looking for smallmouth. That’s when he put the tournament away with smallies that weighed 4-3 and 3-0.

“That place I started this morning, I had fished it so many times,” Powroznik said. “I knew they were there because I had been catching every time I went. This morning, I decided I was going to do something different and I started with that swimbait. It was the right move.”

Monroe’s early-morning strategy carried him into a small, picturesque canal that led into a weed-lined pond known as “Little Pokegama.” The decision proved to be a tough one, as Monroe got only two bites in the area — both of which came from northern pike.

He finally caught his first bass — a small 1-3 largemouth — at 8:53 a.m. and followed quickly with a 3-6 at 8:57. But the big bite like the 5-1 smallmouth he landed during the semifinals Thursday never came, and he wasn’t able to catch Powroznik.

Just before the final round ended, Monroe — who has long been known as one of the fiercest competitors in the sport — hooked a fish and lost it, causing him to throw his rod in frustration.

When time ran out, he cranked his outboard and motored back toward the launch in total silence.

Courtesy of BASS Communications.  (Congratulations Jacob, fished the FLW BP Series on the Potomac with you way back when!)

Posted By The Bass Hog

August 27--MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. —Catching a drum isn’t usually much of a reason for a bass fisherman to get excited. They don’t count in a bass tournament, and they can waste valuable fishing time while the angler fights and lands them.

But it certainly excited Jason Christie this week — mostly because every time he’d catch one, the smallmouth bass in the area would get excited, too.

Christie caught five smallmouth that weighed 22 pounds on Championship Sunday to push his four-day weight to 88 pounds, 8 ounces. It was enough to win the Advance Auto Parts Bassmaster Elite at Lake St. Clair and keep the Oklahoma angler in contention for the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year title.

The drum were one of the keys to his week.

“Everything is lying on the bottom, and they were all eating crawdads,” said Christie, who is now a five-time B.A.S.S. winner. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught a drum here this week — and as the drum was coming up, it would be spitting out crawdads. There would be smallmouth out there below them, just eating everything they could get their mouths on.”

That commotion seemed to set the bass on fire.

“It’s just something that gets the bottom moving,” he said. “It may sound stupid, but I honestly believe that. I would take a drum off as fast as I could and throw my tube right back in there. I caught a lot of bass doing that.

Christie caught most of his bass with a Yum 4-inch tube in green pumpkin on a 3/4-ounce tube head. He used a Lew’s Custom Pro reel with a 7.5:1 gear ratio spooled with 10-pound Sunline Sniper fluorocarbon. His rod of choice was a 7-3 Falcon Cara Amistad Casting Rod.

“I chose a baitcaster for one reason,” he said. “I would rather use a spinning rod. But the grass is just thick enough that I couldn’t keep the bait clean on a spinning rod, and they wouldn’t eat it with grass on it.” The stiffer baitcast rod enabled Christie to rip the lure and shed any weeds clinging to it.

Garmin Panoptix helped Christie identify the smallmouth that were tagging along behind the drum in 15 to 20 feet of water. He said there seemed to be one solid window each day when the fish were really biting.

“Every day, there was an hour to hour-and-a-half spurt,” he said. “The first two days, it was the first hour. Saturday, it was 9 to 10, and today it was about the same time.

“I don’t know what makes them do that. I don’t know if you get a school fired up and you catch them real quick or what.”

Smallmouth are notorious for their high-flying acrobatics, and they’ll often throw a bait when they jump. But Christie said he was pleased with his execution during the landing process.

Mississippi angler Brock Mosley finished in second place for the second time in the past three Elite Series events with 86-5. Rookie Mark Daniels Jr. of Alabama earned his highest finish ever in an Elite Series event — third — with 85-7.

Besides winning the $100,000 first-place prize, Christie held onto to his second-place spot in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings. With 796 points, Christie is just 15 points behind Brandon Palaniuk (811).

For retaining his lead in the AOY race, Palaniuk was awarded $1,000.

Mosley won the Livingston Lures Day 2 Leader Award of $500 for leading the tournament on Saturday’s second day of competition.

Christie was awarded the Toyota Bonus Bucks Award of $3,000 for being the highest-placing eligible entrant in the program. He also earned the Power-Pole Captain’s Cash Award of $1,000 for being the highest-placing angler who is registered and eligible and uses a client-approved product on his boat.

Courtesy of BASS Communications.

Posted By The Bass Hog

RICHMOND, Va. —August 5, 2017--Thirty years of fishing the James River paid off for Virginia pro Rick Morris, who won the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Open No. 2 on Saturday.

The Lake Gaston, Va., angler weighed in a 16-pound, 11-ounce five-bass limit and finished with a three-day total of 43-15 to clinch the pro division title. Morris received the top prize of a $45,000 Skeeter bass boat/Yamaha outboard rig and $6,784 in cash. He also qualified for the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, contingent upon him fishing the Northern Open finale at Douglas Lake in September.

The former Bassmaster Elite Series competitor ran to the Chickahominy River Saturday morning and noticed a “dead low” tide when he got there.

“So, the bite was pretty fast and furious, and I caught a lot of fish early because the water is clean when it is low,” he said.

Morris’ vast experience on the river helped him put together the patterns that produced all three competition days. He caught his fish on a Texas-rigged 6-inch Riverside ring worm (grape and powder blue) and Ditto worm in black and blue, a 3/4-ounce War Eagle spinnerbait and a 1/2-ounce War Eagle jig tipped with a Strike King Rage Craw. He knew bass on the James River feed on blue crabs, so he decided to use blue worms throughout the tournament to mimic the forage.

The worms produced best for Morris early Saturday morning. “I caught a good one of about 3 1/2 pounds and lost a real giant in a brush pile,” he said. “Then the tide started coming back in and the water was getting dirty, so we went to pitching the War Eagle spinnerbait and caught a few more.”

During midday, Morris moved out to the main river and started fishing dock blinds and barges with the War Eagle Jig and Strike King Rage Craw in various colors. Morris said he caught his fish the first two days running about the same spots and fishing with the same lures.

Henrico, Va., angler Jeff Hamilton finished second in the pro division with 42-14. He decided to stick close to home Saturday and fished around the Osborne Landing area.

“I feel real comfortable fishing there so that is what I did,” he said. “I just kind of grinded it out.”

The 40-year-old car salesman caught most of his fish Saturday on a Zoom Trick Worm. He also caught fish throughout the week on a Rapala DT6 crankbait, a Chatterbait and a Rebel Pop-R.

The other Top 5 finishers in the pro division were Shin Fukae, Palestine, Texas, third, 40-14; Garrett Paquette, Canton, Mich., fourth, 39-14; and Greg Dipalma, Millville, N.J., fifth, 39-7.

Jon Jezierski of Troy, Mich., caught only one keeper Saturday, but he still won the co-angler division with 20-5 and earned the grand prize of a $30,000 Triton bass boat/ Mercury outboard rig. The 49-year-old finish carpenter was bolstered by a Day 2 catch that included an 8- 9 largemouth he caught on a shaky head worm while fishing with Bassmaster Elite Series pro Mike Iaconelli. Jezierski’s big fish earned him the $250 Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award on the co-angler side.

The Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award of $750 on the boater side went to Rick Shannon of Woodlawn, Tenn., with an 9-3 bass.

Pete Gluszek received the Livingston Lures Leader Award of $250 for being the Day 2 leader in the pro division. Jezierski received the Livingston Lures Leader Award of $250 in merchandise for being the Day 2 leader in the co-angler division.

Morris earned the Power-Pole Captain’s Cash Award of $500 for being the highest-placing angler who is registered and eligible and uses a client-approved product on his boat.

Visit Richmond hosted the event. 

Courtesy of BASS Communications.

Posted By The Bass Hog

BRANSON, Mo. — Table Rock Lake will offer the rare chance to catch a grand slam of black bass during the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open, March 2-4.

The Central Open anglers will likely bring mixed bags of bass to the weigh-in scales because Table Rock contains populations of three species of black bass — largemouth, smallmouth and spotted — along with the spotted/smallmouth hybrid known as the “meanmouth.” 

“I think you might see a grand slam with a guy who has a 3-pound smallmouth, 3-pound largemouth and a spotted bass, along with a meanmouth,” Bassmaster Elite Series pro Brian Snowden said. “Those fish will be holding a lot in the same areas, deep or shallow. You will catch one smallmouth, then you will catch a largemouth and maybe then you will catch a spot.”

“Table Rock Lake offers a tremendous fishery and supports fishable populations of largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass, making it very diverse,” said Chris Bowes, Bassmaster Opens tournament director. “In addition, the Branson community is able to easily accommodate the 400 anglers who will attend, offering plenty of housing and dining options.”

The last Central Open held at Table Rock was in October 2015, and it was won by Missourian James Watson with 46 pounds, 4 ounces. The Rock also hosted the 2014 A.R.E Truck Caps Bassmaster Elite in April 2014, when Elite Series pro Mike McClelland of Arkansas won with a four-day total of 61-15.

McClelland won the springtime tournament by alternating a jerkbait in natural herring color with a Storm Wiggle Wart crankbait along windblown rocky banks.

A winter Snowden describes as “unbelievably mild” could have Table Rock close to the same conditions McClelland faced when he won the Elite Series event. “The water is 8 to 10 degrees warmer than it should be,” Snowden said. “It barely got below 50 degrees this winter.”

The lake is low, and a lack of rain lately has kept the water “clear to very clear,” according to Snowden. The Missouri angler, who guides on his home waters, believes it would take a 3- to 5-inch rain before the tournament for the lake to have any change in water color. 

The clear water will favor finesse fishing techniques such as swimming plastic grubs or working small soft plastics in watermelon candy colors on shaky jigheads. “There will be fish caught on a variety of lures,” Snowden said. “There will be some deep fish caught still on a jigging spoon. But I think a lot of fish will be caught on jerkbaits and crankbaits.”

Standing timber in 30 to 60 feet of water will be the prime targets for tempting deep bass with a 3/4-ounce jigging spoon. Snowden noted a green pumpkin/orange football jig with a crawfish trailer has been producing well lately on the Rock. 

The local pro predicts most of the prespawn fish will be in the 10- to 25-foot range where suspending jerkbaits in natural shad colors or crankbaits in natural craw hues will work best. “Due to the mild winter, the fish are real scattered, especially the shallow fish,” Snowden said. He suggests the best place to look for prespawn bass is along channel swings. 

The hottest spots on the lake could be the Long Creek and Kings River arms, according to Snowden. He thinks those sections of the lake could produce best because the Central Open competitors will find the warmest and most colored water in those two tributaries.

The lake has been yielding tournament-winning weights of 18 to 22 pounds throughout the winter.

“The guy who wins will probably have 17 to 19 pounds a day,” said Snowden, who predicts the winning weight for this event will be around 56 to 58 pounds.

Courtesy of BASS Communications.

Posted By The Bass Hog

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Whether it was cabin fever among bass fishing fans, pent-up anticipation of the new Bassmaster Elite Series season or simply continued growth in popularity, audience sizes for videos and other content achieved record numbers for the first Elite event of 2017.

For example, by the time newcomer Jacob Wheeler was crowned champion of the Bassmaster Elite at Cherokee Lake, Tennessee, Feb. 12, had recorded more than 1.1 million visits. That represents a 38 percent increase over total website visits during the previous most-viewed tournament, the A.R.E. Truck Caps Bassmaster Elite at Toledo Bend in May 2016, when superstar Kevin VanDam dominated the competition.

Audience measurements showed similar growth in almost every category. Those visits to produced more than 13.4 million page views during the four-day event, a 65 percent increase over Toledo Bend numbers.

“Some might attribute the audience increase to cabin fever, but I prefer to view it as confirmation that bass fishing fans are growing more and more passionate about the sport,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. “We are determined to provide quality content about bass fishing whenever, however and wherever fans want to consume it, and our efforts seem to be paying off.”

In addition to the digital traffic, Akin noted that attendance for the event totaled 11,450, including 5,200 people who crowded into the Knoxville Convention Center for the Championship Sunday weigh-in ceremonies.

Bassmaster LIVE — the live-streamed video programming introduced to the sport by B.A.S.S. in 2015 — also gained new viewers during the Cherokee tournament. A total of 235,520 video views were counted that week, a 22 percent increase over the previous record, and total minutes watched exceeded 6.5 million, which was 27 percent higher than Toledo Bend.

“We've been working hard to make the live shows a better experience with more cameras and more innovations, such as the bottom line ticker,” said Mike McKinnis, vice president of media content and producer of Bassmaster LIVE. “It’s great to see that this fast growing Bassmaster LIVE audience is enjoying the sport more and more every day. On top of all the LIVE success on, we’re attracting a whole new audience with our simulcast on WatchESPN.”

Including LIVE, attracted more than 700,000 video views to the website, a 48 percent increase over the previous best, and minutes viewed almost hit 10 million during the event.

Following a national trend in almost every arena, consumption of social media content grew exponentially. Total impressions through all of B.A.S.S.’s social media platforms were 7.8 million, which nearly tripled the record from Toledo Bend. Coverage of the tournament garnered an additional 456,000 video views on social channels.

Jim Sexton, vice president/digital and editor of, attributed the increases in audience in part to the location, since the Elite Series had not visited the highland reservoir before. He added, “We also made a number of improvements to the way we cover our events, including more aerial photos and videos from drones, a sizable increase in the number of video clips from the water and new features such as the ‘marshal photo gallery’ and Facebook Live reports.”

The second stop along what anglers are calling “the dream season” of the series will be the A.R.E. Truck Caps Bassmaster Elite at Lake Okeechobee, Fla., this week.

Those two events will rack up even more audience numbers when “The Bassmasters” TV show debuts on ESPN2 at 8 a.m. (ET) March 12. The show will encore the following Sunday morning and will be aired again on the ESPN Classic channel.

Courtesy of BASS Communications.

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 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

LEESBURG, Fla. (Jan. 19, 2017) – Florida bills itself as the “Fishing Capital of the World,” and the Harris Chain of Lakesis one of its crown jewels.

On Thursday in the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open No. 1, the acclaimed Florida fishery showed off a bit – for mid-January, at least.

From the time Alabama pro Deron Patrick started the 3 1/2-hour weigh-in with a 16-pound, 2-ounce limit, until the last of the field of 400 checked in, a steady stream of fish came across the stage. It made for an impressive display and for a momentous first day in the first Bassmaster tournament of the 2017 season.

Bassmaster Elite Series pro Marty Robinson of Lyman, S.C., had the heaviest bag among the 200 boating anglers, with five bass that weighed 23-11. The total gave him a narrow lead in the three-day tournament being held on this 80,000-acre network of lakes.

Robinson had the right mix. His bag included two 6-pounders he caught sight fishing and three other sizable bass caught by other means later in the day. He said he’ll have to start someplace different Friday, because it’s likely the beds he hit Thursday won’t replenish in time for him to turn the trick on back-to-back days.

Still, being in the lead is a nice problem to have.

“I wasn’t sure I would be able to get to my big fish because of my draw (number 95 of 200 boats to launch this morning),” Robinson said. “But I was able to reach them in time, and the spots were pretty close together. I didn’t have to run far at all after I got the first one. That helped to be able put those two in the boat early.”

Shryock was one of the pros taking advantage of the near ideal conditions. Like Robinson, he caught some big bass while sight fishing, and then lit into the rest of his limit in several different areas he found productive in practice. He was encouraged by what he saw Thursday.

Lee, another Elite Series pro, weighed the biggest bass — a 9-4 monster which is the largest he’s ever caught. The catch came at about 10 a.m. when he only had a few small bass in the livewell.

On the co-angler side, Louisiana’s James Simmons is in first place with a three-fish limit of 12-15. Alabama’s Richard Arnold is in second with 11-3, and William Gaston is third with 10-14.

All 400 anglers and co-anglers will launch Friday from Venetian Gardens, 250 Ball Park Road, in Leesburg.  Saturday’s championship weigh-in, which will feature the Top 12 anglers after Day 2, will be held at Bass Pro Shops, 5156 International Drive, in Orlando beginning at 4:15 p.m. ET.

Courtesy of BASS Communications.

Posted By The Bass Hog

MORGAN CITY, La. — Bites were more frequent for Fred Roumbanis today as he extended his lead in the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open on the Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana.

After catching only six bass the first day of the tournament, Roumbanis had a more productive day Friday, amassing a 16-pound, 6-ounce limit to extend his lead in the pro division with 35-15.

"I was going to scrap what I found the first day because I didn't catch a lot, but I decided to start there again," Roumbanis said. "I caught a 4-pounder immediately, so I put my head down and caught just five fish all day."

Most of what he caught were small fish, and he also lost one big bass, so the London, Ark., pro made some adjustments that triggered more bites today. "I really slowed down and fished more methodically and changed the sizes of my weights and trailers," Roumbanis said.

When the action stopped around 2 p.m., Roumbanis went scouting for new areas. He didn't find anything worth revisiting on Saturday.

Roumbanis plans on sticking with his primary spot, but he will also try a point where he caught several small bass because he thinks it probably holds some big fish as well.

 "I have one other area that is on the opposite side of where I am fishing, but I am going to start (Saturday) where I have been catching them," he said.  

Local favorite Greg Hackney continued to hold second place after catching another double-digit limit to finish the day with 29-10. The Gonzalez, La., pro said he lost some time this morning when he ran into heavy fog. "That took me about 30 minutes longer to get to where I have been going," he said.

He still caught his bass mainly in the morning despite the later start.

"I am still catching plenty of fish, but I am getting a lot of weird bites — kind of mealy mouthed," he said. "The fish just aren't real aggressive."

The former Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year is fishing different areas every day.

"I am kind of running a pattern in a big area," Hackney said. "When I practiced in there I didn't fish all of it, so now I know what to look for."

The rest of the Top 5 pro anglers include Derek Hudnall, Baton Rouge, La., third place, 29-1; Cody Bird, Granbury, Texas, fourth, 29-0; and David Cavell, Prairieville, La., fifth, 28-14.

Catching another limit helped Blake Naquin of Thibodaux, La., stay in first place in the co-angler division with 16-14. While fishing in the Bayou Black area, Naquin finished his limit around noon and then caught a "few more knotheads" (small fish) the rest of the day.

Hunter Parra of Houma, La., continues to lead in the pro division for the Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award with his 7-12 largemouth. Vincent Todaro of Luling, La., took over the lead in the co-angler division for the Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award with a 4-5 largemouth.

Saturday's launch will be held at the Jesse Fontenot Memorial Boat Landing. The final weigh-in will move to the Bass Pro Shops at 175 Bass Blvd. in Denham Springs and will begin at 4:45 p.m. CT.

Posted By The Bass Hog

MORGAN CITY, La. — Bassmaster Elite Series pro Cliff Crochet cashed in on his home-waters advantage Saturday to claim his first B.A.S.S. victory at the Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana.

Sitting in seventh place after the second day of competition Friday, Crochet rallied today with an 18-pound, 4-ounce limit to win the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open and earn the grand prize of a $45,000 Skeeter ZX200/Yamaha VF200LA rig and $6,741 in cash. The Pierre Part, La., angler finished with a three-day total of 46-06 to earn his first Bassmaster victory and a berth in the 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.

Crochet described today's fishing as "slow and steady." Mixing in some small keepers with some kicker bass, Crochet steadily caught fish throughout the day. He finished his limit by about 11 a.m., and then caught his biggest fish of the day — a 5-12 largemouth — at about 1:45 p.m.

His key bait for the whole tournament was a Luck-E-Strike Ringmaster creature bait that he punched through mats with a 1 1/2-ounce weight.

Another local favorite, Greg Hackney of Gonzales, La., retained second place with 42-4. Each day he caught fish early but lost a big one this morning that he said "kind of hurt my feelings."

Co-angler Blake Naquin of Thibodaux, La., went wire-to-wire to win the first-place prize of a $30,000 Nitro Z18/Mercury 150 Pro XS package with a total of 23-9.