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Posted By The Bass Hog

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — After eight events covering rivers, lakes and man-made reservoirs from Florida to Louisiana to New York and in venues known for the Monkey Trial, the Liberty Bell and the finest country music theaters, the 2014 Bassmaster Elite Series regular season is finally in the books.
 
AOY Down To Six
 
Only six anglers have a mathematical chance to win the 2014 AOY award: Greg Hackney (664 points), Aaron Martens (649), Todd Faircloth (647), Jacob Powroznik (623), Keith Combs (623) and Mark Davis (618). Hackney, Faircloth, Powroznik and Combs would be first-time winners. Martens is the reigning AOY and a two-time winner while Davis has three titles — the last awarded in 2001.
 
Martens is 15 points behind Hackney, and Faircloth is 17 back. Both are regulars in the AOY hunt, and both will need help from the leader if they’re going to win the title. If Hackney has a good tournament, Martens and Faircloth are fishing for second place. But since Bays de Noc is new water for the Elite pros, it’s tough to handicap this all-star field. Martens has a reputation as a finesse angler and smallmouth whisperer, but Hackney and Faircloth are extremely versatile and at the peak of their powers.
 
In fourth and fifth place are Powroznik and Combs, both with 623 points (Powroznik leads by virtue of a tiebreaker). Powroznik won earlier this year at Toledo Bend, and locked up the Bassmaster Rookie of the Year award at Cayuga. Since even the last-place angler at the AOY Championship earns 51 points (the winner gets 100), it’s going to be very difficult for Powroznik or Combs to come from so far behind to win. Combs posted his best AOY finish last year when he was fifth.
 
As for Davis, his chances for an AOY title this year would be best described as very, very slim. Essentially, he’d have to win the championship while Hackney finished 47th or worse and the others would have to struggle as well. Nevertheless, Davis has been a big part of the race this year, leading in points for much of the season. If he could pull out a miracle at Bays de Noc, he’d be the oldest AOY in history at nearly 51.
 
Classic Berths
 
In addition to the race for AOY, a large number of 2015 Bassmaster Classic berths are at stake in the AOY Championship.

Conspicuous Absence
 
The other big story in the 2014 AOY race is who’s not involved — Kevin VanDam. After 24 consecutive Bassmaster Classic appearances and nearly as many Top 10 AOY finishes in that time, VanDam struggled this year and finished 53rd — out of the AOY race and out of the 2015 Classic. He has seven AOY titles, which ranks behind only Roland Martin, who has nine.
 
VanDam’s streak of consecutive Classic appearances is second only to Rick Clunn’s 28 in a row between 1974 and 2001. Both have won four Classics.
 
And KVD’s nine straight seasons in the Top 10 of the AOY race ranks behind only Larry Nixon’s 12 in a row (1977-88) and the 11 in a row posted by Clunn (1975-85) and VanDam himself (1992-2002).


                                         Courtesy of BASS Communications.


 
Posted By The Bass Hog

FLIPPIN, ARK. (August 19, 2014) Austin Felix and Chris Burgan, collegiate anglers from the University of Minnesota, won the Ranger Cup University Fish-Off with 34 keeper fish that totaled 80 pounds, 3 ounces in a winner-take-all, made-for-TV event on Texas' Lake Bastrop. The tournament, which utilized the Major League Fishing rules format where fish are weighed and released on the boat, pitted the Minnesota anglers against a team from Tennessee Tech.


Felix and Burgan, who qualified for the expense-paid competition by being the highest-finishing Ranger Cup University-qualified team in the FLW College Fishing Championship, topped Tennessee Tech anglers Justin Arms and Landon Anderson, who qualified for the event with their highest place of finish for a Ranger Cup University-qualified team at the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship.

Both teams received a grand-prize package that included travel, lodging and meals, as well as the opportunity to compete in a new, fully rigged Ranger Z118C. The made-for-TV fish off will be televised nationally on a future episode of "Americana Outdoors" with the winners taking home $2,000 in prize money as well as prizes and bragging rights for their school.

"The whole event was brilliant and we enjoyed the whole thing. Bastrop was a great selection for the lake," said Felix, the recent University of Minnesota graduate who also qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup by winning the FLW College Fishing Championship. "For us, the Ranger Cup University program has been huge and we appreciate so much what it does for us collegiate anglers. The sign up is easy and it allowed us to win a lot of extra money plus all the perks that came along with the trip to Lake Bastrop. I'm shocked that not every collegiate angler is signed up for it - especially since it's free to participate in it and you don't even have to run a Ranger."

Modeled after the most lucrative contingency program in the industry, the Ranger Cup, Ranger Cup University is open to collegiate anglers fishing in either FLW- or Boat US-affiliated competitions. Signup for Ranger Cup University is free and exclusively for collegiate anglers, regardless of which brand of boat they own. To remain qualified in the program, anglers need only adhere to clothing and decal requirements. The program also allows anglers to reap the rewards of a professionally run contingency program regardless of tournament results. As part of the Ranger Cup University program, participants will be able to receive discounts on already-discounted tournament through Gemini Custom Apparel, with no artwork or set-up fees. Through Gemini, anglers can purchase fully customized jerseys for as low as $48.

For more information on Ranger Cup University, to register and read all about the program guidelines, go online to RangerBoats.com.

About Ranger Boats
Headquartered in Flippin, Ark., Ranger Boats is the nation's premier manufacturer of legendary fiberglass and aluminum fishing boats, which include series of bass, multi-species, fish 'n play, waterfowl utility and saltwater boats. Founded in 1968 by Forrest L. Wood, Ranger Boats continues its commitment to building the highest-quality, strongest-performing boats on the water. For more information, go to RangerBoats.com.

Courtesy of Ranger Boats.


 
Posted By The Bass Hog
South Carolina Angler Amasses 51 Pounds of Bass, Wins $500,000
 
 
COLUMBIA, S.C. (Aug. 17, 2014) – Chevy pro Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C., crossed the stage with a five-bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 14 ounces Sunday to claim the title of Forrest Wood Cup Champion at the Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Murray presented by Walmart. Gagliardi, with a four-day total of 19 bass for 51-2, won by a narrow 1-ounce margin over Straight Talk Wireless pro Scott Canterbury of Springville, Ala. and won the $500,000 prize in professional bass fishing’s world championship that featured 45 of the best professional anglers from across the country casting for the sport’s top cash award of $500,000.
 
“This is unbelievable,” said Gagliardi, who overcame an early-season disqualification at the first FLW Tour event of the year on Lake Okeechobee and managed to qualify to compete in the Forrest Wood Cup in just five events. “To win the Forrest Wood Cup, no matter where it is, is the most prestigious event that I could win in our sport. But to do it here, in front of all of these people who were rooting for me, it really just makes it so much more special.
 
Gagliardi said that he caught his fish this week on three key baits. On day one, he caught fish on a 5-inch Scaled Sardine-colored Basstrix swimbait with a 3/8-ounce Buckeye Lures jig head. He caught a few of his solid keeper fish up the Saluda River on a Texas-rigged 10-inch Zoom Ol’ Monster worm, and his key bait on Sunday was a Yamamoto Baits D-Shad soft plastic jerkbait.
 
“Every time this year that it looked like my run was going to end, I would catch a big one at the end of the day and stay alive,” Gagliardi said. “I’m super hard on myself when I don’t perform as well as I think I should, but my wife Kristin is always pulling me out of those little slumps. After my disqualification at Okeechobee, it was one of the lowest points of my life. I literally thought I had a zero-percent chance of making this tournament. She stayed positive and forced me to be positive too and that was crucial for me this season. I could not possibly be any happier at this moment.”
 
Bryan New of Belmont, N.C., won the co-angler division and $50,000 Friday with a two-day total of seven bass weighing 15 pounds, 14 ounces followed by Jason Johnson of Gainesville, Ga., in second place with six bass weighing 12-8 worth $10,000.
 
FLW Tour pro Rich Dalbey of Greenville, Texas, was awarded the third annual Forrest L. Wood Sportsmanship and Community Leadership Award on Saturday.
 
                                                Courtesy of FLW Outdoors.

 
Posted By The Bass Hog
COLUMBIA, S.C. (Aug. 16, 2014) – Pro angler Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 13 pounds, 5 ounces to take the lead after day three of the Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Murray presented by Walmart. Ehrler, with a three-day total of 15 bass for 39-1, holds a 3-ounce lead over Chevy pro Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., who has a three-day total of 15 bass for 38-14 in professional bass fishing’s world championship that features 45 of the best professional anglers from across the country casting for the sport’s top cash award of $500,000.
 
“I’m catching fish doing a number of different things,” said Ehrler, who is poised to become the first ever two-time Forrest Wood Cup champion after winning the event in 2006. “I’m catching some moving fast and covering the bank; I’m catching some schooling fish and I’m catching some fish deeper with bottom baits. The bite seemed to be a little bit better today. I think the clouds this morning definitely helped.”
 
“Today was strange because I ran some areas where I didn’t catch them in practice and I was able to catch a few,” Ehrler said. “I did lay off some areas where I think I can catch them tomorrow. I’m not sure how many fish are there, but I’m going to run the areas that I really believe are holding fish and hopefully there will be a good enough stringer there to finish things off.
 
“I’ll definitely have some butterflies in the morning,” Ehrler continued. “When I won back in 2006, it wasn’t even a goal of mine to win the tournament. It was my first Forrest Wood Cup appearance and I was just happy to be there. Now that I’ve done it I feel like I can actually win, so that will definitely add to the stress a little bit more because I feel like I have a great opportunity.”
 
Final results for the remaining field can be found on FLWOutdoors.com.
 
Overall there were 68 bass weighing 172 pounds, 1 ounce even caught by pros Saturday. The catch included eight five-bass limits.
 
Bryan New of Belmont, N.C., won the co-angler division and $50,000 Friday with a two-day total of seven bass weighing 15 pounds, 14 ounces followed by Jason Johnson of Gainesville, Ga., in second place with six bass weighing 12-8 worth $10,000.
 
 
The final 10 anglers will take off from Dreher Island State Park located at 3677 State Park Road in Prosperity, S.C., at 7 a.m. Sunday. Weigh-in will be held at the Colonial Life Arena located at 801 Lincoln St. in Columbia, S.C., beginning at 5 p.m. Sunday.
 
 
                                     Courtesy of BASS Communications.

 
Posted By The Bass Hog

PHILADELPHIA — Michael Iaconelli hopped five feet down off the Bassmaster Elite Series stage, turned and hoisted his 55-pound winner’s trophy, then practically danced with it up through the roaring audience stacked on the concrete steps of the Great Stage of Penn’s Landing.
 
“I won today, but not for me. I won for you guys,” said Iaconelli, Philly-born and raised in New Jersey.
 
Sunday, Ike nailed what few anglers have been able to: win a Bassmaster Elite Series event on home water. He topped that by whipping the field by no less than 8 pounds.
 
His winning total was 47 pounds, 14 ounces — a respectable weight for any midsummer tournament, and, as Iaconelli pointed out, proof that the Delaware River is a fishery worth any bass angler’s time.
 
His prize was $100,000 and an instant qualification for the 2015 world championship, the Bassmaster Classic.
 
Iaconelli won by having spots to hit at low, mid and high tides.
 
“That was absolutely key. Every day I was able to rotate when the tides changed to those areas,” he said.
 
“When that water got low, there was no water for those fish to live on the flats, so they all get sucked into that ‘hard stuff’ in deeper water,” he said.
 
“Every incoming tide, that place lights up because current washes through the barge,” he said.
 
Iaconelli, the only angler in the event to turn in four five-bass limits, said he caught 80 percent of his bass — all largemouth — on two lures. One was a 1/2-ounce, small-profile finesse jig, a prototype he’s helping design for Missile Jigs, a new expansion of fellow pro John Crews’ Missile Baits. The color was brown-purple.
 
“On this river, over the years, small-profile baits do a lot better (job),” he said.
 
He tipped the jig with a high-action Berkley Chigger Chunk in green pumpkin.
 
His other key bait was a Berkley Havoc Pit Boss in “Okeechobee craw” — green pumpkin and blue metalflake. The setup on the Pit Boss was a 3/8-ounce VMC tungsten weight and a 5/0 VMC flipping hook.
 
Iaconelli said the other 20 percent of his catch came on a shaky head rig of a Havoc Bottom Hopper in the junebug color on a 3/16-ounce VMC jighead and a white Molix Lover vibration jig.
 
“I rotated between all of those baits,” he said.
 
After leading for two days, the final round started out stumping Iaconelli.
 
He made the call to go into the creeks, where he figured the low water would drive the bass to certain accessible targets.
 
“I dropped my trolling motor, made two casts, and caught a 3 1/2-pounder,” he said. “Really key. I thought that was the precursor (to more action), but an hour later I hadn’t had another bite.”
 
He returned to the main river. The first dock he pulled up to yielded a 2 1/2-pounder.
 
“So I said, ‘They’re telling me to stay on the main river.’ I never had another bite on the main river,” he said. “It was that kind of day, when I scrapped (what I was doing) and started again.”
 
He gambled and went into a creek near a bridge, where the Molix Lover produced his third bite and keeper.
 

                                           Courtesy of BASS Communications.


 
Posted By The Bass Hog

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. — Chatuge Reservoir behaved exactly the way Jake Whitaker and Andrew Helms expected, which led to the University of North Carolina Charlotte team’s win at the 2014 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship.
 
“It’s tough fishing out here,” said Whitaker, who grew up only 2 hours from Chatuge and has fished it multiple times.
 
“The way to do it is to commit to getting big bites, even if you don’t get very many,” he added.
 
The plan worked for the college duo. They caught 11 pounds, 12 ounces on the first day, followed it up with 12-11 on Day 2, and closed out the competition with their biggest bag, 14-2.
 
“I’ve never worked harder in my life,” said Whitaker, after he weighed his catch. “We should have more, but I lost two 3-pounders.”
 
And right here is where we would tell you how they caught their overall weight of 38-9, but that’s information they’re not yet willing to divulge. Anglers guard their secrets well when competition is still on the line, and while the championship has concluded, the 2014 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Classic Bracket looms — on the same fishery, beginning tomorrow.
 
During the bracket, they will be fishing solo in a series of head-to-head elimination brackets, made up of anglers in the Top 4 teams of the championship. The competitor left standing at the end of the day on Aug. 5 earns a berth in the 2015 Bassmaster Classic.
 
“It’s going to affect me for sure,” said Whitaker, crediting Helms with the first fish of every competition day so far. Both anglers are planning to employ the same undisclosed pattern that they’ve used each day, but now they’ll be doing it separately.
 
The last three years, the Classic Bracket has resulted in teammates fishing against each other on the final day. In 2011, it was Stephen F. Austin’s Andrew Upshaw and Ryan Watkins. In 2012, it was Auburn University’s Matt and Jordan Lee (teammates and brothers). And in 2013, it was Jordan Lee again versus his teammate, Shane Powell.
 
If it comes down to that for Whitaker and Helms, they plan to be extremely supportive of each other.
 
“I’d like for him to win it as much as I’d like to win it,” said Whitaker. Helms said the same of his teammate.
 
The solo fishing and elimination format will make the next few days tough on them and the students from Bethel University, University of Louisiana Monroe and Tennessee Tech University, who also qualified.
 
“It makes you work for it,” said Whitaker. “The one who brings in a double-digit limit every day is going to be the one who wins.”
 
Double-digit limits on Chatuge the last several days have been hard to come by, at least more than one day in a row. On the final day of the championship, only two teams out of the five that fished caught more than 10 pounds. Several anglers reported losing key bites, and one — Brett Preuett of University of Louisiana Monroe — spent a solid 3 minutes trying to horse in what he thought was a huge bass. “But then it turned out it was a striper,” he said with a laugh, while showing off a bloody scrape on his leg that he obtained during the fight.
 
The anglers from all five teams that competed on the final day of the championship thanked their teammates and college clubs for backing them.
 
“Look out there,” said an emotional Zach Parker of Bethel University while he was on stage, gesturing toward the crowd. “They all came out here to support us. This team is awesome.” 
 
Courtesy of BASS Communications.


 
Posted By The Bass Hog

BASS Opens Logo
 

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — Lake Champlain has been good to touring pro Shinichi Fukae.
 
The Palestine, Texas, pro earned his first B.A.S.S. victory at Champlain today by taking first place in the pro division of the Bass Pro Shops Northern Open presented by Allstate with a three-day catch of 56 pounds, 13 ounces. He earned the top prize of a Nitro Z9 bass boat/ Mercury 225 Pro XS outboard rig worth $40,000 and $7,595 in cash. 
 
He caught all of his fish on two baits — a Gamakatsu shad-shaped worm on a drop shot rig and a 4-inch Senko attached to a 3/16-ounce wacky rigged jighead. The drop shot rig worked best for smallmouth while the wacky rig coaxed bites from quality largemouth. Fukae noted the drop shot is his key bait whenever he fishes Lake Champlain because he can “catch so many fish on it.”
 
The Texas pro disclosed he had both deep and shallow patterns working during this event. “I caught the big largemouth in shallow water — not too shallow though — (about 10 feet),” he said. “I had three or four key spots where I was fishing shallow and then deep back-and-forth. When I fished shallow too much they wouldn’t bite, so I would leave for a couple of hours and then come back there.“ The deep pattern produced smallmouth for him each day.
 
The victory fulfills Fukae’s dream of fishing a Bassmaster Classic since he will earn a berth in the 2015 Classic to be held on Lake Hartwell in Greenville, S.C., if he competes in the final Northern Open. “I’ll be happy when I fish the Bassmaster Classic,” Fukae said.
 
Latham, N.Y., angler Sean Wilkes caught the heaviest bag of the tournament today to climb into second place with 54-15. He caught his limit of largemouth today flipping a black-and-blue 1/2-ounce jig in shallow grass.
 
“That was my Plan D. My first plan was to fish a grassbed that had fish all over it, but when I got down there I wasn’t catching them,” he said. “I found out that one of the locals had ripped apart the grass before I got there. So I went to Plan B and that didn’t work out. Plan C didn’t work out either. Plan D was actually my kicker plan.”
 
The other Top 5 pro division finishers included Mike Iaconelli, Pittsgrove, N.J., in third, 53-8; Sam George, Athens, Ala., fourth, 52-3; Micah Frazier, Newnan, Ga., fifth, 52-0.
 
James Schneider of Watervliet, N.Y., won the co-angler top prize of a $25,000 Triton 17 Pro bass boat/Yamaha F115LA outboard with a three-day total of nine bass weighing 32-1. He caught all of his fish the first two days on a Li’l Hustler spinnerbait, but today he had to mix up his presentations with the spinnerbait and a tube bait.
 
Scott Siller, Milwaukee, Wis., and RC Cooper, Nashua, N.H., tied for the Carhartt Big Bass of $500 as both anglers caught 5-15 largemouth.
 
The Livingston Lures Leader Award of $250 for finishing as the top pro on Day 2 was given to Scott Siller. The Day 2 leader on the co-angler side, James Schneider, received a Livingston Lures gift pack worth $250.
 
Anglers in both divisions who advance the most places up the leaderboard from Day 1 to Day 2 receive the “Allstate Good Hands, Great Day” award. Pro division angler Chris Zaldain received $250 by jumping 68 places from 107th to 39th. Co-angler Marvin Stith Jr., earned $150 by climbing 72 places from 115th to 43rd.
 

                    Courtesy of BASS Communications.