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Posted By The Bass Hog

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — B.A.S.S., along with 30 other conservation organizations, has signed a letter urging Congress to restore funding for sportfishing projects suffering under the current federal budget impasse.

“The letter asks Congress to get off ‘high center’ and do its job, pass a budget and fund conservation programs,” said B.A.S.S. Conservation Director Gene Gilliland, “especially including the Sportfish Restoration Act which is the most important bill up for reauthorization from the freshwater fisheries management standpoint.”

The letter to leaders and members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, was sent Tuesday afternoon on behalf of 31 conservation organizations. It stated:
 
“The undersigned sportsmen, conservation, outdoor recreation business and resource professional organizations, collectively representing millions of American hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts would like to urge the Congress to start in earnest the process of a bipartisan and bicameral budget deal that lifts the sequester and can begin to reinvest in absolutely critical conservation funding priorities.
 
“As you know, the expiration of the Murray-Ryan budget deal in just a few short months raises the distinct possibility of a return to sequester-level funding for the domestic discretionary programs that are essential to so many segments of economic growth and job creation. When it comes to the outdoor recreation economy, Budget Control Act funding levels are simply inadequate, and in many cases push a backlog of costs onto future generations of Americans.
 
“As conservation has shrunk as a percentage of the federal budget by half from 1978 until today, the outdoor recreation economy has continued to grow; but that phenomenon is unlikely to endure. If investments in recreation, habitat restoration, access improvement, and facility maintenance continue to fall, we can likely expect the health of the American $646 billion outdoor recreation economy, which employs millions, and puts billions into federal, state, and local tax coffers to suffer.
 
“The impact of insufficient funding is clear: shuttered visitor’s centers, unmaintained trails, closed campgrounds, reduced staff, and degraded habitat. These reductions in service keep Americans from enjoying the outdoors to their fullest potential, and in so doing, unnecessarily constrain an entire segment of the American economy, perhaps most pointedly in the rural countryside most dependent on the annual spending of hunters and anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts. Furthermore, the Wildlife Restoration and Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Funds (Trust Funds) are a user pays – public benefits system of fish and wildlife conservation derived from hunters, recreational shooters, anglers and boaters instead of federal income tax dollars. As mandatory programs, the Trust Funds are already being sequestered, and the sequestration rate is expected to increase to 8.5 percent in FY2016. These Trust Funds are the lifeblood of many state resource agency operating budgets, and any bipartisan budget deal should address the issue of sequestering these critical trust funds.

“Many of our organizations applauded the Murray-Ryan budget deal, and likewise we stand ready to support the next iteration of the bipartisan budget leadership necessary to keep American outdoor traditions alive for many future generations.”
 

Courtesy of BASS Communications.


 
Posted By The Bass Hog
Everhart wins co-angler title
 
HENRICO, Va. (July 27, 2015) – Flash Butts of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division tournament on the James River. For his victory, Butts earned $5,514.
 
“I spent a lot of time practicing for this tournament so to have something to show for it is really exciting,” said Butts, who has two wins and 26 top-10 finishes in his FLW career. “I’m very happy with how the day unfolded.”
 
Butts said he primarily targeted fish in the incoming tide between the northern tournament boundary lines down to where the James meets the Appomattox River.  
 
“I mixed in a few other spots that had some nice wood up shallow – especially stumps,” said Butts. “I caught a nice bass before 9 a.m., two more keepers between 9:30 and 10, and another at 11:30.”
 
Butts caught all of his fish – including the biggest bass of the tournament – on a Texas-rigged black grape-colored Zoom U-Tail Worm.
 
“I only had five bites all day,” Butts said. “The big bass came around 1 p.m. There was a little ditch in about a foot of water with two stumps nearby. I put my Power Poles down to anchor, pitched the worm, and it hit about five feet from the boat beside the stumps.
 
“I’d call myself extremely lucky to have caught the heaviest bass out of five total bites,” said Butts. “It turned out to be a great day.”
 
Butts also caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the pro division, a fish weighing 8 pounds, 1 ounce and earned the day’s Big Bass award of $450.
 
David Everhart of Kearneysville, West Virginia, weighed in four bass totaling 11 pounds, 1 ounce Saturday to win $1,757 in the co-angler division.
 
Hurst caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division and earned the day’s Big Bass award of $225.
 
The top 50 boaters and 50 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 15-17 Regional Championship on Lake Wateree in Camden, South Carolina. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard.
 
Courtesy of FLW Outdoors.

 
Posted By The Bass Hog
MUSKOGEE, Okla. (July 28, 2015) – The Shidler High School team of Austin French and Dillon Nash brought five bass to the scale Saturday weighing 14 pounds, 5 ounces, to win the 2015 Oklahoma State High School Fishing Championship on the Arkansas River. The win earned the team the title of state champions and qualified the team to compete in the High School Fishing Southern Conference championship on the Arkansas River in October along with a pair of jerseys specially-designed for the Oklahoma state champions.
 
The duo was able to bring in the biggest bass of the tournament – a 3-pound, 11-ounce fish – which earned the team two new reels from Lew’s Fishing.
 
The top three teams on the Arkansas River that advanced to the Southern Conference Championship were:
 
  1st:        Shidler High School – Austin French and Dillon Nash, five bass, 14-5
  2nd:       Oklahoma Student Angler Federation – Jacob Keenom and Kaden Knoch, five bass, 13-8
  3rd:        Stilwell High School – Rhett Meyer and Brett Girdner, five bass, 11-0
 
The 2015 Oklahoma State High School Fishing Championship was a two-person (team) event for students in grades 7-12. The top 10 percent from each TBF/FLW state championship field will advance to a High School Fishing conference championship along with the top three teams from each of the seven TBF/FLW High School Fishing Opens held this season. The top 10 percent of each conference championship field will then advance to the High School Fishing National Championship, coinciding with the TBF National Championship and an FLW Tour stop in the spring of 2016. The High School Fishing national champions will each receive a $5,000 college scholarship to the school of their choice.
 
In addition to the High School Fishing National Championship, all High School Fishing anglers nationwide automatically qualify for the world’s largest high school bass tournament, the 2015 High School Fishing World Finals, held on Pickwick Lake in Florence, Alabama, on July 8-11. At the 2014 World Finals more than $40,000 in scholarships and prizes were awarded. Visit HighSchoolFishing.org for details.
 
Courtesy of FLW Outdoors.

 
Posted By The Bass Hog

MCKENZIE, Tenn. — From start to finish Alex Heintze and Justin Watts of Baton Rouge, La., held the lead at the Costa Bassmaster High School National Championship presented by TNT Fireworks.
 
Saturday, the Livingston Parish Bassmasters team added a third consecutive 20-plus-pound catch and made the win official. After three days on Kentucky Lake the teenagers caught 66 pounds to win the Costa Bassmaster High School Series’ most elite tournament. Their winning total included daily five-bass limits weighing 20-10, 23-14 and 22-2.
 
The deep-diving lure never factored in the team’s strategy, nor did the lake’s signature ledges. Instead, Heintze and Watts relied on their fishing strengths in south Louisiana’s shallow bayous.
 
“We didn’t come here to fish the ledges, so we committed to fishing shallow,” said Heintze, 16, a junior at Denham Springs High School. “The lake set up to fish shallow anyway with the water so high.”
 
The team’s first stop during practice ended the search for bass. Flooded shoreline habitat, the presence of baitfish and inundated ditches attracted enough bass to sustain their strategy for three days.
 
“The high water was the difference,” said Watts, 15, a sophomore at Live Oak High School. “Without it the fish wouldn’t be there, and I doubt they will be tomorrow.”

 

The team alternated between a tube jig and topwater frog. That choice was a black Spro Dean Rojas Signature Series Bronzeye Frog. A Strike King tube jig Texas rigged with a 1/4-ounce weight and 4/0 Trokar hook completed the lure arsenal.
 
A zig-zig action with the frog was a must and mimicked the motions of the baitfish. The anglers alternated between the two lures to maximize time in the strike zone. When success with the frog slowed, they switched to a flipping presentation with the tube jig.
 
On Kentucky Lake the team struck early, and their bites came quickly. All of the 20-pound limits were caught by 9 a.m. The team fished the same 150-yard stretch of shoreline.  
 
Louisiana teams claimed the Top 2 spots in the tournament. Braden Blanchard and Cade Fortenberry, fishing for St. Amant High School in St. Amant, La., took second place with 51-15.
 
The B.A.S.S. Youth Nation Junior Championship coincided with the high school tournament. The 26 qualifying teams from as many states competed for two days on Carroll County Thousand Acre Recreational Lake.
 
Aaryn Minyard and Hunter Meadows of the Oklahoma City Junior Bassmasters won the tournament with 28 pounds, 7 ounces. The entire catch came on Saturday after the anglers failed to boat a bass on the opening round.
 
“Friday, we figured out late in the day that we should be fishing deeper,” Meadows said. “Today, we caught our fish on a submerged roadbed sloping from 15 to 20 feet.”
 
The team caught fish on a 3/4-ounce green pumpkin Strike King jig and a Carolina rigged lizard. The rig was an 8-inch Zoom Magnum Lizard with a 3/4-ounce weight.
 
Bethel University, an event host, offered four-year scholarships valued at $20,000 each to Heintze and Watts. The scholarship offer was also extended to Jacob Bruener, who competed in the junior championship. Bruener, a student at Douglas High School in Nacogdoches, Texas, caught a largemouth weighing 11 pounds, 14 ounces, from Carroll County Thousand Acre Recreational Lake. The catch is under review as the new lake record.
 

Courtesy of BASS Communications.


 
Posted By The Bass Hog
ORLANDO, Fla. (July 16, 2015) – FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, announced an exclusive licensing agreement with Sunny Lake (Beijing) Sport Development, LLC, from China to begin sanctioning FLW bass-fishing tournaments in the Eastern-Asian nation at a contract signing today at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST). The agreement was signed by FLW President of Operations Kathy Fennel and Gang Li, Vice President of the Florida Culture Exchange Association (FCEA) representing Sunny Lake Sport Development.
 
“We are very excited to bring FLW tournaments to China,” said Gang Li, Vice President of Florida Culture Exchange Association. “The agreement between FLW and the FCEA will be a fantastic partnership that will be a very effective combination of sports media and marketing platforms.”
 
China will run a series of FLW tournaments that advance anglers, who are citizens of the host country, to a new international division at the Rayovac FLW Series Championship beginning in 2016. Two anglers will compete as pros with FLW providing Ranger boats and two will compete as co-anglers. The top pro award at the Rayovac FLW Series Championship is $95,000, including a Ranger Z518C if the pro is Ranger Cup qualified, and the top co-angler award is a Ranger Z117.
 
China is the third country to sign on for international sanctioning, joining Canada and South Korea as FLW partners under the new program. The highest finishing pro from the newly introduced International Division at the Rayovac FLW Series Championship will advance to the following year’s Forrest Wood Cup for the chance to compete on the sport’s biggest stage for $500,000 – the biggest payday in bass fishing. FLW will also provide a Ranger boat for use in the Forrest Wood Cup.
 
“We are thrilled that China has signed on as the third country to begin hosting FLW events,” said Kathy Fennel, FLW President of Operations. “Competitive bass fishing is poised for explosive growth, and FLW is leading the way. We have long touted our anglers as the best in the world, and now with the integration of our new international division in the Rayovac FLW Series we will truly see global competition.”
 
Additional FLW qualifying tournaments in other countries are forthcoming. Watch FLWFishing.com for details.
 
Courtesy of FLW Outdoors.

 
Posted By The Bass Hog
ORLANDO, Fla. (July 16, 2015) – FLW announced the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour regular-season schedule Thursday in a live press conference held at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST). The 2016 season will feature six tournaments, broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network, the Pursuit Channel and the World Fishing Network, which will showcase the best bass anglers in the world competing in the most competitive and lucrative circuit in the sport.
 
2016 Walmart FLW Tour Regular-Season Schedule:
  • February 4-7        Lake Okeechobee              Clewiston, Fla.   
             Hosted by Roland and Mary Ann Martin’s Marina & Resort and the Hendry County Tourism Development Council
  • March 17-20         Lake Hartwell                     Anderson, S.C.   
              Hosted by the Anderson Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • April 14-17           Beaver Lake                        Rogers, Ark.       
             Hosted by Visit Rogers
  • May 5-8                 Pickwick Lake                    Florence, Ala.     
             Hosted by the Florence/Lauderdale Tourism Bureau
  • June 9-12             Kentucky Lake                   Gilbertsville, Ky.
             Hosted by the Kentucky Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • June 23-26           Lake Champlain                 Plattsburgh, N.Y.              
             Hosted by the City of Plattsburgh and the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau
 
The 2016 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart will be held Aug. 4-7. The location for the championship event will be unveiled on-stage at the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
 
Courtesy of FLW Outdoors.

 
Posted By The Bass Hog
MINNEAPOLIS (July 1, 2015) – Tien Austin of Honolulu, Hawaii, correctly picked five of the top 10 anglers in last week’s Walmart FLW Tour event at the Potomac River presented by Ranger Boats. For her picks, Austin won $5,000 by playing FLW Fantasy Fishing, held in conjunction with the FLW Tour fishing tournament.
 
“I was completely taken by surprise when I found out I won,” said Austin. “I’ve been playing FLW Fantasy Fishing for a while but have never been in contention for a cash prize.
 
“My whole family plays FLW Fantasy Fishing. It’s how we stay connected since we live so far away from one another,” continued Austin. “It’s our own special social media game.”
 
Austin said she didn’t have a clear-cut strategy when she was picking her top anglers. Instead, she used advice from her grandfather, who is an avid follower of FLW tournaments, to make her picks.
 
“He really knows his FLW facts and statistics,” said Austin. “I’ll definitely be seeking more advice from him when I pick my team for the Forrest Wood Cup.”
 
Finishing in second place on the fantasy side for the Potomac River event was D.R. Villanueva of Nixa, Missouri, who won $1,000, and in third place was Will Hartshorn of Palm Coast, Florida, who won $500. Several other winners from across the globe took home prizes including cash, ShopFLW gift cards, hats and baits.
 
The 2015 Fantasy Fishing season consists of seven tournaments surrounding the Walmart FLW Tour regular season as well as the season-ending Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing. Fans compete for more than $7,000 in cash and prizes from each of the six tournaments and a top prize of $5,000. The cumulative grand prize for the highest ranked player at the end of the season is $10,000.
 
To begin playing, visit FantasyFishing.com and sign up. Select a team of 10 anglers against an allocated $200 salary cap and select your guess for the tournament winning weight as a tiebreaker. Create a league to play against your friends and compete for bragging rights. Player’s modifications to their teams must be finalized by 11:59 p.m. ET the night prior to the tournament.
 
For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.
 
Courtesy of FLW Outdoors.

 
Posted By The Bass Hog
World’s Best Anglers Eye $500,000 Title in Historic 20th-Anniversary Event
 
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (July 30, 2015) – The Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of professional bass fishing, will return to Lake Ouachita and the Hot Springs, Arkansas, area August 20-23 to crown bass fishing’s top angler of 2015. Hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, the tournament will feature 50 of the world’s best bass-fishing professionals and co-anglers casting for the sport’s biggest awards – $500,000 cash in the pro division and $50,000 cash in the co-angler division.
 
“This is going to be a very exciting tournament,” said Scott Martin of Clewiston, Florida, the reigning FLW Tour Angler of the Year who claimed his Forrest Wood Cup victory on Lake Ouachita when FLW last visited back in 2011. “The Forrest Wood Cup is the fishing tournament that nobody forgets. I’ve had five other major victories in my career, and some people may remember them, but no one forgets the Forrest Wood Cup.”
 
Martin said that multiple different patterns would be in play amongst competitors and that he expected the fishing to be even better than when he won in 2011.
 
“I think topwater baits, buzzbaits, walking baits and prop baits will all be dominant for the shallow-water anglers, as well as flipping jigs in the shallow cover,” Martin said. “The water levels are up right now, so flipping the heaver cover could be a really good pattern to get on. If I’m fishing out deep, I’m bringing all of my tackle – everything from drop-shot rigs, to 10-inch worms, to big crankbaits, big swimbaits and underspins.”
 
Martin said that he expects anglers will need to catch at least 13 pounds a day in order to make the top-20 cut and fish the weekend, and he expects the winner to weigh in a four-day total right around 60 to 61 pounds.
 
Anglers will take off from the Brady Mountain Resort and Marina located at 4120 Brady Mountain Road in Royal, Arkansas, at 7 a.m. each morning at the Folger’s Morning Takeoff. Each days weigh-in will be held at Bank of the Ozarks Arena located at 134 Convention Blvd. in Hot Springs, Arkansas, beginning at 5 p.m.
 
On Saturday and Sunday the first 500 children 14 and under each day who are accompanied by an adult will receive a voucher to redeem for a free rod and reel combo courtesy of KATV ABC 7 after the evening’s weigh-in. Also on Sunday one lucky fishing fan will win a brand new Ranger Z520C bass boat with an Evinrude G2 outboard motor courtesy of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The Ranger Boat giveaway is free to enter but the winner must be present at the conclusion of Sunday’s final weigh-in to win.
 
The Folger’s Morning Takeoffs, FLW Expo, Bass & BBQ event, live concerts and weigh-ins are all free and open to the public.
 
Courtesy of FLW Outdoors.

 
Posted By The Bass Hog
FLORENCE, Ala. (July 14, 2015) – The T.L. Hanna High School team of Derek Freeman and Trevor Callaham from Anderson, South Carolina, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 20 pounds, 2 ounces, to win the final round of the 2015 TBF/FLW High School Fishing World Finals on Pickwick Lake in Florence, Alabama. The win earned the team earned more than $20,000 in college scholarships, prizes and Cabela’s gift cards with their win. The college scholarships totaled $18,000 – $8,000 to any school of their choice, as well as an additional $10,000 if they choose to attend Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee.
 
“This is a true blessing,” said Callaham, a recent graduate who will be attending Tri-County Technical College in Anderson this fall. “”I couldn’t ask for anything else.”
 
Open to all students participating in the TBF/FLW Student Angler Federation’s High School Fishing program, the World Finals is the largest open championship in the nation. The entire field of 166 teams competed head-to-head on days one and two, after which the top two teams from each state advanced to square off in the semi-final round, where weights were zeroed. All other teams battled in a consolation round.
 
The top 10 teams from the semi-finals and the top 10 from the consolation round moved forward to the finals on day four. In addition, a special last-chance drawing gave one lucky team a golden ticket to the finals.
 
Freeman and Callaham weighed five bass for 17 pounds, 12 ounces on day one, landing in 7th overall. A 15-pound, 8-ounce day-two limit propelled them to the semi-finals with a 33-pound, 4-ounce total, good for 6th place. They qualified for the finals on day three with a 15-pound, 9-ounce limit that put them in 8th place overall and advanced them to the final day.
 
In the final round, they turned in their best showing of the tournament with a 20-pound, 2-ounce limit – anchored by a 7-pound, 5-ounce behemoth. Throughout the event, the South Carolina duo weighed all largemouths, despite Pickwick’s propensity to produce nice smallmouth and spotted bass. Their winning pattern focused on main-lake ledges primarily in 14 to 23 feet of water.
 
“After hitting it hard on day one, we managed our spots on days two and three, and then swung for the fences in the finals,” said Freeman, a recent graduate who plans to attend Clemson University this fall. “All but one of the ledges were on the river channel.”
 
Top baits for competitors throughout the week included deep-diving crankbaits, hairjigs, drop-shot rigs and shaky-head rigs.
 
The 2015 TBF/FLW High School Fishing World Finals was a two-person (team) event for students in grades 9-12. Designed to give young anglers and their families an all-encompassing, fun-filled experience, the World Finals also included a pizza party, a live music concert and catfish banquet – courtesy of the Alabama Cooperative Extension office and the Catfish Growers Association of Alabama – plus a multi-species fishing tournament on day four for all teams who did not make it into the finals.
 
Courtesy of FLW Outdoors.

 
Posted By The Bass Hog

ORLANDO, Fla. (July 14, 2015) – The Mystik Lubricants-sponsored trio of Bill Dance, Cody Detweiler and Dave East brought a five-bass limit to the scale Tuesday morning totaling 17 pounds, 1 ounce to win the inaugural ICAST Cup presented by FLW bass-fishing tournament on Lake Toho. For their victory, the trio each earned trophies to take home and the title of ICAST Cup Champions. 

The event marked the start of ICAST, the largest sportfishing trade show in the world. The tournament launched out of Big Toho Marina in Kissimmee, Florida, and featured 61 teams competing for bragging rights and to raise money for the KeepAmericaFishing™ foundation. Each company that sponsored a boat donated a minimum $100 entry fee to the foundation in order to compete. After the final fish had been weighed Tuesday, more than $6,300 was raised for the KeepAmericaFishing™ foundation. 

“I’ve said many times that you’re only as good as the people you fish with and Cody (Detweiler) certainly knew what he was doing,” said Dance, the professional bass-fishing legend who has hosted Bill Dance Outdoors for more than 40 years. “I was very, very fortunate today and I fished with two great guys.” 

The team estimated that they caught around 10 bass in the three-hour event, with the majority of their fish caught on a white and red Bass Pro Shops XPS Buzzbait and a few on a watermelon red-colored frog. They targeted two grassy areas within sight of the marina for the duration of the event. 

“We were fortunate to get out there and catch our fish in the first two hours of the day,” Dance said. “This is the first year that this tournament has been held and I had a super time. I really enjoyed the early start and the quick format and it is all for a great cause. If the Good Lord is willing, I’ll be back next year.”

Complete results for the tournament can be found at ICASTCup.com.

 Photos from the event can be found at FLWFishing.com/icast. 

 Courtesy of FLW Outdoors.