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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
DEL RIO, Texas — Minnesota angler Andy Young topped the hard- charging Stephen Browning to win the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open presented by Allstate on Lake Amistad by a mere 1 ounce. The day started with Young in second place behind Shreveport, La., angler Randy Allen, who has a ranch 25 miles north of Del Rio and frequently fishes Amistad. “I thought I was fishing for second,” said Young. “The local hammer (Allen) had 18-pounds each day, and I was about 11 pounds behind. I just went out and did the best I could.” The best he could do ended up being a 13-pound, 10-ounce limit that gave Young the winning total of 39-6. While Allen caught only one keeper and dropped to third place with 37-12, Browning caught the heaviest limit of the day (14-6) and climbed into second with 39-5. “This is a lifelong dream,” said Young of his victory and qualifying for the 2015 Bassmaster Classic if he fishes the two remaining Central Opens. “I have been telling all my friends back home that I am living a dream, and I am afraid someone is going to pinch me and wake me up.” Young also won the top prize of a Triton/Mercury rig worth $40,000 and $7,083 in cash. The Minnetonka Lake guide made his dream come true on Saturday by catching three of his biggest fish on a Hog Farmer Bait Company Alabama Rig adorned with Big Bite Baits Cane Thumpers. He caught his other two keepers on a drop shot rig with a Biovex Kolt Fish Tail. He fished the Alabama rig 12 to 15 feet deep and the drop shot 21 to 25 feet deep along rocky humps and points. Browning followed up a tough first day with a 20-14 limit the second day to jump back into contention. “I had two stinking bites after Day 1, and I didn’t tuck my tail and run,” the Bassmaster Elite Series pro said. The Arkansas competitor caught all of his keepers on an Alabama rig with Z-Man ElaZtech DieZel Minnowz on main lake flats 35 to 45 feet deep. “I was throwing it out and waiting for it to hit bottom and then just really slow reeling it,” he said. “I think the key for me was using 20-pound Gamma Fluorocarbon rather than braided line like I usually do.” Rounding out the Top 5 in the pro division were Cody Ryan Greaney of Texas in fourth place with 34-3 and Jordan Lee of Alabama in fifth with 31-9, Texas angler Joe Lee caught a three-fish 6-13 limit to win the co-angler division with 26-1. He took home a Skeeter/Yamaha rig valued at $25,000. All of Lee’s keepers bit either a Texas- rigged Zoom Trick Worm or a finesse worm on a drop shot rig. Another highlight of this tournament featured Jordan Lee and Matt Lee competing in the pro division Top 12 on the final day. The two brothers both fished for the Auburn University team and gained valuable tournament experience in the Carhartt College Series. Allen earned the Carhartt Big Bass award of $500 for catching the largest bass (10 pounds, 1 ounce) of the event. Winning the Livingston Lures Leader Award of $250 for finishing as the top pro on Day 2 was Allen. The Day 2 leader on the co- angler side, Joe Lee, earned a Livingston Lures gift pack worth $250. The angler who advances the most places up the leaderboard from Day 1 to Day 2 receives the “Allstate Good Hands, Great Day” award. Pro division angler Jason Lieblong of Conway, Ark., picked up $250 by jumping 94 places from 121 to 27. Co-angler Jonathan McDougald of New England, Ark., took home $150 by climbing 63 places from 83 to 20. Toyota Bonus Bucks paid $1,500 to Young, who was the highest placing eligible pro angler entrant and $1,000 to the second highest placing pro, Browning. On the co-angler side, the top eligible entrant received $300, and the second highest placing eligible co-angler gets $150. Courtesy of BASS Communications.

 
Posted By The Bass Hog
DEL RIO, Texas — Bookending 18-pound limits for two days has put Randy Allen in the driver’s seat at the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open presented by Allstate on Lake Amistad. The former Bassmaster Elite Series pro backed up Thursday’s 18- pound limit with an 18-3 limit Friday to retain the lead in the pro division with 36-3. “It’s just been one of those weeks; when it is your time, it is your time,” said Allen. He is careful not to be presumptuous. Because of Amistad’s ability to produce huge limits of bass, Allen knows he has to keep up the pace. “Tomorrow, we could see 20-pound sacks come in. I just hope I can hang in there with them.” As the second round began Friday, Allen was unfazed by the pressure of leading the event. “I just thought it was incredible to be in first,” he said. “It was the first time it has ever happened to me, so I just wanted to go out and have fun and go catch fish. I had no reason to get upset and stressed out over it.” The Shreveport, La., angler did get a little excited when he completed his limit with a 4-pounder. “I was freaking out when I caught that fish,” he said. A sequence of events in the afternoon typified Allen’s good fortune for the day. “I was running down the lake and decided I needed to stop because I was freezing to death and needed to put my coat back on,” he recalled. After stopping he decided to pull up on a point and told his partner they would make about five casts there. “On the second cast I caught a good fish and culled one of the babies I had,” he said. “I culled another fish, and the last fish I had was the big one.” Allen experienced another first with his biggest fish of the day. “This is the first time I have ever gone back to a big fish that I caught in practice and made the exact same cast and caught that fish,” he said. “God has really blessed me this week. The fish are so deep that two times I thought I was hung, and I just stayed with it long enough to realize my line was moving. The bite was really weird — it was so soft. I am just force feeding them and leaving the bait in front of them as long as I can.” Minnesota angler Andy Young caught four bass weighing 13-11 to move into second place with 25-12. “I fought and scratched all day to get that fifth bite but it never happened,” said Young, who guides on Lake Minnetonka. “I am doing a lot of dropshotting in deep water and around rocks. We fish deep rocks on Minnetonka all the time.” Arkansas Elite Series pro Stephen Browning caught the biggest limit of the day (20-14) to take over third place with 24-15. Jordan Lee of Alabama is in fourth with 23-5, and Cody Ryan Greaney of Texas is in fifth with 22-14. Texas angler Joe Lee jumped to the top spot on the non-boater side with 19-4. The 50-year-old water purification equipment salesman recorded the biggest three-fish catch of his life Friday with 15 pounds, 15 ounces while fishing 30 feet deep with a 4-inch finesse worm on a drop shot rig. Courtesy of BASS Communications.

 
Posted By The Bass Hog
Georgia’s Weaver Leads Co-Anglers CLEWISTON, Fla. (Feb. 7, 2014) – The morning started with much cooler conditions on Friday for pro angler Brett Hite of Phoenix, Ariz., and the field of 178 of the world’s best bass- fishing anglers on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Okeechobee presented by Mercury. Hite still managed to bring a limit weighing 23 pounds, 8 ounces – the day’s sixth-best stringer – to the scale to increase his lead in the four-day event that has anglers casting for a top prize of up to $125,000. Pro leader Brett Hite has a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 58 pounds, 7 ounces. Hite’s two-day total of 10 bass weighing 58 pounds, 7 ounces is the fourth-largest days 1 and 2 total in FLW Tour history. He is currently on pace to shatter the FLW Tour’s all- time heaviest weight record of 106-10 set by Brandon McMillan on Lake Okeechobee in 2011. Hite now holds a comfortable 12-pound, 9-ounce lead over 2013 Forrest Wood Cup Champion Randall Tharp of Port St. Joe, Fla., who sits in second place with 10 bass weighing 45-14. “Today the morning was cooler and the water temperature dropped,” said Hite, who has three career tournament wins in FLW competition. “It started off a little slower today. I had a limit around 10 or 11 (a.m.) with three big ones and two smaller ones. Then there was a lull in the middle of the day. Then, around 1:30 they started gearing back up again and I really made some decent culls. “Things have just been going right. I’m fishing the way that I like to fish, and I’m relaxed. I’m confident with what I’m doing.” Like Thursday, Hite said that he caught his fish on three or four different baits. “There are a lot of people around me,” Hite said. “But they’re not fishing the same pattern or style. I’m keying on a specific thing, and I think that’s why I’m getting some of those bigger bites. “The areas that I’m fishing in have tons of hydrilla and grass,” Hite said. “It’s what I like to call the salad bowl. It’s got lots of hydrilla, eel grass and pepper grass, and there is no shortage of fish there. I still have some spots saved, as well. I wouldn’t say they are my best spots, but some of my spots that I didn’t think were my best … I have been able to catch some big ones there. It’ll help tomorrow not having all of the boat traffic running around.” The top 5 pros that will fish Saturday on Lake Okeechobee are: 1st: Brett Hite, Phoenix, Ariz., 10 bass, 58-7 2nd: Randall Tharp, Port St. Joe, Ala., 10 bass, 45-14 3rd: Matt Herren, Trussville, Ala., 10 bass, 41-3 4th: Leon Williams, Fairdale, Ky., 10 bass, 41-2 5th: Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts pro Greg Bohannan, Rogers, Ark., 10 bass, 40-13 Kyle Prskalo of Hobart, Ind., caught Friday’s FLW Big Bass in the co-angler division weighing 8-9 to win $250. Overall there were 747 bass weighing 1,522 pounds, 11 ounces caught by co-anglers Friday. The catch included 118 five- bass limits. Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $25,000 this week plus valuable points that could help them qualify for the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. The top 35 co-anglers in the point standings from the six events on the 2014 Walmart FLW Tour will qualify. Anglers will take off from the Clewiston Boat Basin located at 709 Hoover Dike Road at 7:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. 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. Courtesy of FLWOUTDOORS.com

 
Posted By The Bass Hog
Kline wins co-angler title LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. (Feb. 1, 2014) – Billy Skinner of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., weighed five bass totaling 17 pounds, 15 ounces Saturday to win the Rayovac FLW Series Western Division event presented by Mercury on Lake Havasu with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 59 pounds, 5 ounces. For his victory, Skinner earned $40,000. The top 10 pros on Lake Havasu were: 1st: Billy Skinner, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., 15 bass, 59-5, $40,000 2nd: Jason Borofka, Salinas, Calif., 13 bass, 47-5, $15,500 3rd: John Fuqua, Oxnard, Calif., 15 bass, 46-8, $12,000 4th: Shaun Bailey, Lake Havasu city, Ariz., 14 bass, 46-5, $10,000 5th: Ed Arledge, Valley Center, Calif., 12 bass, 42-15, $9,000 6th: Kevin Hugo, Chino, Calif., 12 bass, 38-9, $8,000 7th: Gary Pinholster, Lake Havasu, Ariz., 11 bass, 38-4, $7,000 8th: Jimmy Reese, Witter Springs, Calif., 12 bass, 37-10, $6,000 9th: David Kromm, Kennewick, Wash., nine bass, 30-11, $5,000 10th: Chad Martin, Nocolaus, Calif., 10 bass, 30-7, $4,000 Complete results can be found at FLWOutdoors.com. Patrick Whitaker caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the pro division Friday – a 7-pound, 15-ounce bass – that earned him the day’s Rayovac FLW Series Big Bass award of $300. Todd Kline of San Clemente, Calif., won the co-angler division and a Ranger Z117C with an Evinrude or Mercury outboard motor with a three-day total of 13 bass weighing 41 pounds, 4 ounces. The top 10 co-anglers on Lake Havasu were: 1st: Todd Kline, San Clemente, Calif., 13 bass, 41-4, Ranger Z117C with an Evinrude or Mercury outboard motor 2nd: Blaine Christiansen, San Jose, Calif., eight bass, 31-4, $5,000 3rd: Gary Haraguchi, Redding, Calif., nine bass, 25-5, $4,000 4th: Daniel Leue, Colusa, Calif., eight bass, 25-1, $3,500 5th: Aaron Agner, Anderson, Calif., seven bass, 21-4, $3,000 6th: Roy Desmangles, Lincoln, Calif., eight bass, 20-10, $2,500 7th: Michael Schoffner, Roseburg, Ore., seven bass, 19-3, $2,000 8th: Debbie Carnahan, Flagstaff, Ariz., eight bass, 18-9, $1,750 9th: Lonnie Foster, Kneeland, Calif., six bass, 18-8, $1,500 10th: Roger Haas, Morro Bay, Calif.,seven bass, 17-1, $1,250 Blaine Christiansen caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division Friday – a 5-pound, 10- 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 Western Division event of the 2014 season. The next Rayovac FLW Series Western Division tournament will be April 15-17, at the California Delta in Bethel Island, Calif., and is hosted by Hook, Line & Sinker. 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
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.