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Posted By The Bass Hog
South Florida Warming Trend Could Produce Record Stringers CLEWISTON, Fla. (Jan. 22, 2014) – The 19th season of the major leagues of bass-fishing, the Walmart FLW Tour, kicks off Feb. 6-9 with the Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Okeechobee presented by Mercury. Hosted by Roland & Mary Ann Martin’s Marina & Resort and the Hendry County Tourism Development Council, the tournament will feature 180 of the world’s best bass-fishing pros and 180 co-anglers casting for top awards of up to $125,000 cash in the pro division and up to $25,000 cash in the co-angler division. “If the weather gets right, it could be the perfect storm like it was in 2011 when they broke all of the records,” said Mercury pro Drew Benton of Panama City, Fla., who won this event last season. “It’s been too cold and the major spawn hasn’t happened yet. It all depends on the weather, but we could easily see a four-day total of 100 pounds again.” Straight Talk pro J.T. Kenney of Palm Bay, Fla., shared Benton’s enthusiasm. “Even though it really screws up the fishing, it takes these cold fronts to trigger those big giant schools of fish that live out in the main lake and are uncatchable to move into the grassy areas and spawn,” Kenney said. “That’s the time of year when we can see the big 30-pound stringers. I really believe that if we hit a warming trend before the Tour event, it’s going to be lights out. “When it happens, it’ll be pretty quick,” Kenney continued. “Water temperatures right now are pretty cold – I’ve seen the lower 50s. Once that water temperature gets back up to 60 to 63 degrees, they’re coming.” Kenney said that the weather will also play a huge role in how the tournament anglers fish. “If it warms up, we’re going to see more of the feeding- type baits. Swimbaits will be really popular. Weightless stick baits and ribbontail worms will catch a lot of fish. But, if it stays cold, then reaction baits are going to be the way to go. I like to flip the mats with a heavy weight, or use lipless crankbaits and jerkbaits.” “There’s endless opportunities on Okeechobee right now, and I think you’re going to be able to catch them any way you want to,” Benton said. “I think the jig bite is going to get better on the outside. Sight-fishing might come into play. You can find them on the outside of the grass on a spinnerbait or a swimjig. From what I saw a few weeks ago, there aren’t as many mats to flip as in years past. I think the winner is going to have to be versatile, because I don’t see anyone being able to strictly punch mats for four days and win on that alone.” Both anglers said that if the water temperatures warm by tournament time, they expect to see the winning mark top 100 pounds. “If it’s stays cold, I think that the winner will probably be in the low- to mid-70-pound range,” Kenney said. “It really depends on the weather. Either way, Lake Okeechobee is a great place to be the first week of February.” In FLW Tour competition, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing. The 2014 Forrest Wood Cup will be in Columbia, S.C., Aug. 14-17 on Lake Murray and anglers could win as much as $500,000 – the sport’s biggest award. Anglers will take off from Roland & Mary Ann Martin's Marina & Resort located at 920 E. Del Monte Ave. in Clewiston, Fla., at 7:30 a.m. the first two days of competition. On the last two days takeoff will be at the Clewiston Boat Basin at 7:30 a.m. Thursday and Friday’s weigh-ins will be held at Roland & Mary Ann Martin's Marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s final weigh-ins will be held at the Walmart located at 1005 W. Sugarland Highway in Clewiston beginning at 4 p.m. Fans will also be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at the Walmart on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. prior to the final weigh-ins. Courtesy of FLW Outdoors.

 
Posted By The Bass Hog
MINNEAPOLIS (Jan. 23, 2013) - FLW, the world’s premier tournament-fishing organization, and Lew’s, maker of high- quality rods and reels, have announced a sponsorship agreement through the 2014 season. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Since Lew’s reemergence into the fishing market, they have been building reels with a commitment to excellence and innovation, following the trail blazed by Lew Childre, the man who invented the low-profile baitcaster so common on boat decks today. In addition to making top-notch baitcasting and spinning reels, Lew’s has introduced a variety of pro-designed rods to pair with them. Lew’s and FLW are a great fit, as passionate anglers from the BFL level all the way up to touring pros like Terry Bolton, Glenn Browne, Jason Christie, David Fritts, John Murray, Mark Rose, Peter Thliveros, Andrew Upshaw and Jay Yelas depend on their Lew’s equipment to perform day in and day out. Lew’s will receive exposure across all of FLW's platforms, including its tournaments and Expos, multiple websites, FLW Bass Fishing magazine and the Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show on NBC Sports Network. "FLW" is broadcast Sundays in high- definition (HD) to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world. Lew’s rods and reels will also be the official fishing equipment used for the public casting ponds held in conjunction with many FLW events, allowing visitors the opportunity to enjoy a quality casting experience with tournament-proven spinning and baitcasting gear. ABOUT FLW FLW is the industry’s premier tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money nationwide in 2014 over the course of 229 tournaments across five tournament circuits, four of which provide an avenue to the sport’s richest payday and most coveted championship trophy – the Forrest Wood Cup. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world. FLW is committed to providing a lifestyle experience that is the “Best in Fishing, On and Off the Water.” For more information about FLW visit FLWOutdoors.com and look for FLW on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube. Courtesy of FLWOutdoors.com

 
Posted By The Bass Hog
KISSIMMEE, Fla. — It’s not often that an angler leads the first day of a Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open presented by Allstate with less than a limit of five bass, but Todd Auten of Lake Wylie, S.C., is doing just that. After Day 1 at the first Southern Open of 2014 on Lake Tohopekaliga in Central Florida, he finished the round with four bass weighing 22 pounds, 10 ounces. Auten’s catch was anchored by the early leader for Carhartt Big Bass honors, a 9-7 largemouth that struck an Xcalibur Xr75 lipless crankbait. “I was covering a lot of water and throwing the Xr75,” Auten said, though he elected not to share more information. The Florida subspecies of the largemouth bass is known for being finicky in cold weather. Simply put, they don’t like it, so the recent cold fronts have done nothing at all to help the fishing. On Day 1, bites were few and far between. The great fishing the anglers enjoyed before the fronts arrived is now long gone, and many reported that the fish they located in practice had “disappeared.” Not everyone struggled, though. In second place is Bassmaster Elite Series pro Kotaro Kiriyama of Moody, Ala., with a limit of five bass weighing 19-2. “It wasn’t easy today,” Kiriyama said. “I only had six bites, and none of them came until 1:40 this afternoon.” Kiriyama played his cards close to the vest, not disclosing his location or bait of choice, but he did say that his fish were “really, really shallow.” Trevor Fitzgerald, winner of the 2010 Southern Open on Lake Seminole and owner of Fitzgerald Rods, had a tough day, finishing with a limit weighing 12-2 that put him in a tie with three other anglers for 30th place. “I caught 15 or more on an Xcalibur Xr50 (chrome with a blue back), but they were small. The bite was good when the wind was blowing, but slowed when it calmed down,” Fitzgerald said. To add to his challenges, Fitzgerald lost a huge bass late in the day while punching a mat close to the weigh-in site. Last year’s champion, Rich Howes of nearby Oviedo, Fla., struggled in the first round. He has been battling vertigo for several months, and a relapse right before this event has made fishing a physical challenge. Howes weighed in three small bass on Day 1 for 4-1 and sits in 144th place. At stake are cash and prizes and a berth in the 2015 Bassmaster Classic on Lake Hartwell, S.C., for the winner who fishes the full series of three Southern Open events. On the co-angler side, Bryan Jones of Zephyrhills, Fla., leads the way with a three-bass limit weighing 16-8. “My fish came from six to seven feet of water on a spinnerbait. I was slow rolling it. The action was pretty slow — just a bite now and then.” Boats will take off Friday at 7 a.m. local time from Big Toho Marina, 101 Lakeshore Blvd., Kissimmee, FL 34741. The weigh-in on Day 2 will be held at the same location. On Saturday, the final weigh-in will be held at Bass Pro Shops, 5156 International Dr., Orlando, FL 32819. To follow the action, visit Bassmaster.com. Courtesy of BASS Communications.

 
Posted By The Bass Hog
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A spin-off of the successful Bassmaster Elite Series Marshal program, the new Elite Experience offers intense instruction and personal coaching by Elite pros — and the opportunity for fans to actually go fishing with one. Offered in conjunction with the 2014 Bassmaster Elite Series season, most Elite Experience sessions will happen Saturdays and Sundays. Saturdays will be filled with seminars and workshops conducted by Elite pros. The next day will be a pro-am tournament in which two Elite Experience participants will be paired with an Elite pro to form a three-angler team. Each team will compete against all other Elite Experience pro- am teams on a body of water near the concurrent Elite event’s fishery. Each team can weigh in five bass. The heaviest bag will determine the winner. Prizes will be awarded, with payouts based on the number of entries. In addition, the one angler with the largest bass will win a prize. The height of the Experience will be when the winning team members are brought up on the Bassmaster Elite Series stage and recognized for their accomplishment. “The Elite Series Marshal program has been so successful, we decided to expand on the opportunities for fan-pro interaction,” said Bruce Akin, CEO of B.A.S.S., owner of the Elite Series. “Intense instruction followed by applying what was learned can only add up to a well-spent — and fun — weekend.” As the B.A.S.S. tournament director, Trip Weldon has steered the Marshal program, which pairs a fan with a pro as the official observer during competition. He’s heard firsthand the stories about how much marshals learn when riding along with the pros. “But in the boat, actually fishing alongside an Elite pro, Elite Experience participants are going to come away with a lot more of those stories to tell their families and friends,” Weldon said. “Elite pros are excited about this opportunity. We’ve had excellent buy-in from them on this new idea.” The structure of the seminars and workshops, said Weldon, will allow participants to move from pro to pro to learn what makes them successful. Topics will cover a wide range of tournament tactics. The format will give each Elite Experience angler a chance to “learn from many experts what makes them Elite pros,” Weldon said. Six Elite Experience sessions are planned for 2014. They are: Saturday, March 8 – Lay Lake, Alabama (tournament only) Saturday and Sunday, March 22-23 – Rodman Reservoir, Florida Saturday and Sunday, April 5-6 – Bull Shoals, Arkansas Saturday and Sunday, May 17-18 – Piney Creek, Arkansas Saturday and Sunday, June 14-15 – Nickajack Lake, Tennessee Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 23-24 – Onondaga Lake, New York For more information about the program, or to register after Feb. 3, contact the B.A.S.S. tournament department at 205-313- 0900. About B.A.S.S. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has served as the authority on bass fishing. The organization advances the sport through advocacy, outreach and an expansive tournament structure while connecting directly with the passionate community of bass anglers through its Bassmaster media vehicles. The Bassmaster brand and its multimedia platforms are guided by a mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry- leading publications — Bassmaster Magazine and B.A.S.S. Times — comprehensive website Bassmaster.com and ESPN2 and Outdoor Channel television programming, Bassmaster provides rich, leading-edge content true to the lifestyle. The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series, B.A.S.S. Nation events and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Bassmaster Classic. Courtesy of BASS Communications.

 
Posted By The Bass Hog
Jaeger wins co-angler title OKEECHOBEE, Fla. (Jan. 11, 2014) – Keith Fels of Ocala, Fla., weighed four bass totaling 7 pounds, 15 ounces Saturday to win the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event presented by Power-Pole on Lake Okeechobee with a three-day total of 14 bass weighing 54 pounds, 15 ounces. For his victory, Fels earned $40,000 and a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard motor. Fels notched his seventh career top-10 FLW finish on Lake Okeechobee in grand style, banging out a 10-pounder on the second day of the tournament to build an insurmountable lead over the rest of the field. “I figured out something on Okeechobee I guess,” said Fels. “It’s something different I do with it. I don’t know, it’s kind of a secret. “I was just pitching to holes in the hydrilla,” continued Fels. “It was probably a foot or a foot and a half deep, really pretty shallow. The fish moved in there yesterday; they weren’t in there today. The wind changed directions. It moved them, I guess.” “She (the 10-pounder) hit it and I missed it. I thought it felt like a good one, so I flipped back in and she got it,” said Fels. “Then she got down in the hydrilla and I was pulling up like 50 pounds of hydrilla, and I got it right to the boat and my line broke right by the reel. The line fell down and coiled up by the hydrilla, so I reached down and wrapped it around my hand and pulled it in. My co-angler was freaking out; he said, ‘Oh my God, that’s a 12-pounder!’ “Slowing down was the key,” finished Fels. “I wasn’t getting bit during practice. I was probably fishing too fast. I slowed way down and let the bait sit and the fish just came and picked it up. Fels said he caught most of his big fish on a jig with a Gambler MegaDaddy or a Why Not on it, and also did some punching with those same baits and a 2-ounce weight. Mike Evans caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co- angler division Thursday – a 10-pound, 8-ounce bass – that earned him the day’s Rayovac FLW Series Big Bass award of $200. The Rayovac FLW Series consists of five divisions – Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of three tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the Strike King Angler of the Year title, which allows them to fish the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup. This was the first Rayovac FLW Series event of the 2014 season. The next Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division tournament will be Mar. 14-15, at Santee Cooper in Manning, S.C., and is hosted by the Clarendon County Chamber of Commerce. For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow FLW on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWOutdoors. Courtesy of FLWOUTDOORS.COM

 
Posted By The Bass Hog
ATHENS, Ala. (Jan. 9, 2014) (A link to the video announcement: http://new.livestream.com/accounts/6406405/events/2676579) The Weekend Bass Series Championship has been renamed the Ray Scott Championship, announced American Bass Anglers officials who conducts the largest and most prestigious tournament trail for weekend anglers. “I am both honored and humbled that this great weekend angler championship will be named after me,” said Scott, a bass fishing legend. “My heart has always been with the weekend bass angler from the very first days of this great sport. I like the format used in the Weekend Bass Series because it really tests the mettle of the angler in fair and honest competition and it will be exciting to watch the best anglers rise to the top and take this championship.” Most people know Ray Scott as the founder of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society and for his involvement with promoting professional bass fishing over the past 45 years. However, he has also been honored many times for his influential work in conservation, boating safety and the fishing environment. He received the prestigious Horatio Alger award and was named by Field and Stream magazine as one of “Twenty Who Have Made a Difference” in the American outdoors during the 20th century along with people like Theodore Roosevelt and Aldo Leopold. “Ray Scott is a true living legend who created B.A.S.S. and the sport of bass fishing as we know it today,” said Morris Sheehan, president of American Bass Anglers, Inc. “We are extremely excited to have him in this position. Ray has been a very strong supporter of ABA and will serve as the official spokesman for ABA activities. He will do personal appearances on behalf of ABA and membership promotions throughout the year. This will be the most prestigious award ever given in bass fishing history. It is exciting that the first-ever Ray Scott Championship will crown the best weekend bass angler in the country in Ray’s home state.” Set for Nov. 12-15, 2014, the first Ray Scott Championship will be held on Wheeler Lake in Decatur, Ala. The no-entry fee championship will be awarded to the first-ever Ray Scott Champion. The Boater Division winner will receive $100,000 in cash and possibly more than $100,000 in contingency bonus money from sponsors. The Co-Angler Division champion will also win a big payout including $50,000 in cash and possibly more than $50,000 in contingency bonus money from sponsors. As a special Ray Scott Championship bonus, the Boater Division and Co-Angler Division champions will each receive entry fees and sponsorship into the one of two professional bass fishing series of the angler’s choice. The sponsorship includes entry fees into three professional events and sponsorship support. This sponsorship will put the champion within striking distance of one of two professional bass fishing championships. The Weekend Bass Series’ 2014 season kicks off on Lake Murray near Columbia, S.C. on Jan. 18, 2014. The anglers will run out of Dreher Island State Park, located at 3677 State Park Road in Prosperity, S.C. For more information about the Weekend Bass Series or the Ray Scott Championship, visit www.weekendseries.com About American Bass Anglers: The Weekend Bass Series provides weekend anglers a professionally operated competitive tour with a path to professional bass fishing. American Bass Anglers commitment is to provide low-cost, close-to-home tournaments for the weekend angler and at the same time offer each competitor an upward path for individual angler progression. For more information about American Bass Anglers and the American Fishing Tour, The Weekend Bass Series, the American Couples Series or the annual Military Team Bass Tournament, visit www.americanbassanglers.com. For more information about Ray Scott and the history of bass fishing, visit www.rayscottbassretreat.com. Courtesy of ABA/David Hagood

 
Posted By The Bass Hog
OKEECHOBEE, Fla. — Kyle Oliver and Hunter McKamey of the University of Central Florida overcame an unexpected cold front to win the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Southern Regional on Lake Okeechobee with a two-day total of 39-12. The duo held on to a Day 1 lead and brought 20 pounds, 13 ounces of bass to the scales on Saturday to clinch the win. In practice, the record field of 130 college teams enjoyed clear skies and 80-degree weather, but frigid temperatures the night before competition changed the bass bite and the anglers’ plans. On Friday, winds at 25 miles per hour prevented half the field from reaching the spots they found productive in practice, but those conditions, including the 40-degree temperatures, actually helped the UCF winners. Fishing a vast pad field with Zoom Speed Worms and Gambler Burner Worms, Oliver and McKamey caught fish that were preparing to spawn, as well as bass moving out of the spanwing areas due to the cold. “The weather benefited us more than anybody else,” said McKamey. “We saw that everybody was flipping in our area in practice. We tried flipping but didn’t catch much.” The UCF Knights decided to use moving baits instead. After catching a 2-pounder and a 3-pounder in the area by reeling worms, they left the spot to save it for Day 1 of competition. “The spot we were fishing had pre-spawn fish coming in, and the cold weather made the fish that were in the reeds come out,” said Oliver. “So all those fish merged in our spot. We probably caught 30 fish today and 40 fish yesterday.” Jake Gipson and Charlie Hurst of the University of Alabama brought in the biggest bag of the event on Saturday, weighing 24- 15 and moving into second place. Their biggest bass, an 8-7 lunker, tied fellow Crimson Tide anglers John B Davis and Payton McGinnis, who brought in a bass of the same size on Friday. The two teams tied for the Carhartt Big Bass award. Kyle Smith and Shelby Concon of the University of Florida finished in third place with a two-day total of 35-15. The Top 18 teams qualify for the 2014 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship, which will be held this summer. For more information, visit Bassmaster.com. Courtesy of BASS Communications.