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WELCOME TO THE BASS HOG'S BLOG.  PROFESSIONAL BASS FISHING CO-ANGLER AND OUTDOOR LEGEND.  GET THE LATEST AND GREATEST NEWS AND UPDATES ABOUT FISHING.  PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG USING THE RSS FEED LINK IN THE BOTTOM RIGHT HAND CORNER OF THIS PAGE.  ADD THE FOLLOWING URL TO YOUR RSS FEED  http://apps.thebasshog.com/Blog/Rss FOR YAHOO, OUTLOOK, AOL, GOOGLE, HOTMAIL OR OTHER EMAIL ACCOUNT OR TABLET. YOU CAN ALSO FOLLOW VIA http://thebasshog.com/news.html. THANK YOU.

Posted By The Bass Hog

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Volunteers, community organizations and Bassmaster anglers will come together at three venues to help make a positive impact on Elite Series fisheries thanks to the Lake Clean-Up Challenge sponsored by AFTCO and Yamaha Rightwaters™. The events will be held April 6 in Dayton, Tenn., June 4 in Counce, Tenn., and August 27 in La Crosse, Wis.

Conservation efforts are a cornerstone of the B.A.S.S. tradition, and leading efforts to collect litter can have a sizable impact on the waterways the organization and its fans frequent.

“B.A.S.S. was founded on three things: tournament fishing competition, youth participation and conservation,” B.A.S.S. Conservation Director Gene Gilliland said. “We’re thrilled to partner with AFTCO, Yamaha Rightwaters and the communities we’ll be visiting for Elite events on Chickamauga Lake, Pickwick Lake and the Upper Mississippi River for these Clean-Up Challenges. One of the things that we want to try to do is to improve the resource anytime we have a chance.

“An event like this builds camaraderie between those participating. It builds goodwill with the communities that host our events. Most importantly, it helps us leave the venue better than we found it.”

At each event, participants will receive a gift package from AFTCO and Yamaha Rightwaters. Plus, registered volunteer organizations participating in the Lake Clean-Up Challenges will be eligible for conservation grants from AFTCO and Yamaha Rightwaters. The brands will select the conservations grants — totaling over $25,000 for 2022 — based on their participation in the Lake Clean-Up Challenges and the group’s overall conservation or public service mission.

“Clean water is vitally important to the health of fisheries, and we're excited to partner with Yahama Rightwaters and B.A.S.S in rewarding local groups for participating in the type of collective action needed to keep our waterways clean,” said AFTCO President Casey Shedd. “We hope that these clean-up challenges will also bring further awareness to the need for single-use plastic reduction and more careful waste disposal consideration.”

“Marine conservation is at the heart of the Yamaha Rightwaters mission and every community clean-up effort can make a major difference in our nation’s waterways,” said John O’Keefe, Senior Specialist, Government Relations, Yamaha U.S. Marine Business Unit. “We proudly join forces with B.A.S.S., AFTCO, a great league of pro anglers and community volunteers to help preserve these great fisheries for today’s competitors as well as future generations of anglers.”

The three Lake Clean-Up Challenges are timed so that Bassmaster Elite Series pros are able to join volunteers to protect the fisheries where they compete. This is particularly important to these pros, who recognize the opportunity to make an even bigger impact on the river and our sport by showing how important it is to help these environments thrive.

“At every stop we make, it seems like there is a lack of education about the harm leaving trash behind does to the environment,” said Bassmaster Elite Series pro Carl Jocumsen. “We want to do our part to change it.”

In order to participate, volunteers and groups must preregister by contacting Gene Gilliland, B.A.S.S. Conservation Director, at ggilliland@bassmaster.com.

“Whether they’re part of a junior Bassmaster club, fishing team, church group, Scout troop or a group of civic-minded friends, anyone who wants our waters to be clean and free of trash is welcome to join us lake-side for these events,” said Gilliland.

Courtesy of BASS Communications.


 
Posted By The Bass Hog
MONROE, La. — Matty Wong said he envisioned the Bryan V. Kerchal Memorial Trophy sitting on his passenger seat during the 25-hour drive from his home in Culver City, Calif., to the TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Championship.

Turns out, it’ll be there.

Wong caught 15 bass for a three-day total of 35 pounds, 9 ounces to win the championship that concluded Friday on the Ouachita River in north Louisiana. In addition to the hardware, Wong collected a $20,000 Nation’s Best first prize presented by Nitro/Mercury and a spot on the Bassmaster Elite Series in 2022. He’ll have use of a fully-rigged Nation’s Best tournament boat for the Elite season, which he emphatically stated he’ll join.

Wong also earned a berth into the 2022 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk scheduled for March 4-6 on South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell. Washington’s Taylor Smith (second place, 33-15) and former Elite Series angler Jared Miller who hails from Oklahoma (third, 33-7) also claimed spots in the Classic.

Wong, a 33-year old Hawaii-born angler, rallied from an 8-ounce deficit heading into Day 3. He fished cypress laydowns on the main river channel throughout the week and was consistent with his catch. He caught a 12-2 limit on opening day and followed with an 11-2 limit on Day 2, trailing only Alabama’s Coby Carden heading into the finals.

Wong caught a 12-5 bag Friday, with no fish weighing more than 3 pounds.

“I caught a 3-pounder to start the day and felt OK,” he said. “Then I caught another 3-pounder and felt good. When I caught my third 3-pounder, I actually started crying.”

Wong doesn’t hide his emotions. He shed tears again on stage shortly before taking the hot seat with only Carden left to weigh. Carden, who’s reached two previous Classics, mustered only a 6-8 limit on the final day and fell to seventh overall.

That left Wong holding the trophy he dreamed was sitting shotgun on last week’s long drive across the continent.

“This whole thing is a dream,” he said. “I’m absolutely speechless.”

Wong leaned on a variety of balsa wood squarebill crankbaits to boat his best bass, with bluegill, shad and chartreuse as his go-to colors. He also flipped a brown jig and used a War Eagle spinnerbait with a chartreuse blade and chartreuse trailer.

“It basically was trash fishing,” he said. “But I was looking for unusual stretches of laydowns. I was looking for places on the riverbank that were on a bend, after a sandbar or a long stretch of mud.”

Smith, 36, caught the big bag on Friday – a 16-8 limit that vaulted him from 12th place to second. It is the second time he’s finished runner-up at a B.A.S.S. Nation Championship, having done so on Lake Hartwell in 2019. He’ll head there again for his second trip to the biggest event in bass fishing.

“Being in the Classic for me is pretty special,” he said. “Whether it’s Ping-Pong or cornhole, I want to win. So, there will still be pressure.”

Smith used an aluminum boat on Friday to reach a backwater area that wasn’t accessible earlier in the week in his fiberglass boat. He threw a white Bandit crankbait on Day 3 and wound up catching the second-biggest bag of the tournament.

Miller, 37, caught a 13-4 limit on Day 3, moving from seventh place up to third and into a spot in the Classic. His primary bait was a Berkley MaxScent Creature Hawg (green pumpkin).

“Half my fish this week came from squeezing behind docks and the other half came from main-river laydowns,” Miller said.

Both Smith and Miller will have their entry fees paid into the 2022 Bassmaster Opens in all divisions. 

Also fishing on Friday were: fourth, Arkansas’ Chris Johnson, 32-6; fifth, Wisconsin’s Jim Barczak, 31-11; sixth, Utah’s Ben Byrd, 30-6; seventh, Carden, 30-4; eighth, Rhode Island’s Mike Wolfenden, 28-0; ninth, South Africa’s Justin Karan, 26-13; 10th, Missouri’s Ray Cates, 26-4; 11th, Pennsylvania’s Aaron Green, 24-15; 12th, Wisconsin’s Dustin Drath, 23-12; 13th, Arizona’s Zack Holwerda, 20-6; and 15th, Minnesota’s Richard Lindgren, 17-4.

A total of 101 anglers from 47 states and three foreign countries competed this week for $96,000 in prize money. The field was narrowed to 14 after Thursday’s cut, including the Top 10 boaters, Cates and Drath from the nonboater division, and Green and Lindgren as leading anglers in the championship from their respective B.A.S.S. Nation regions. Missouri’s Nick Luna finished 14th overall with 17-5 but didn’t make the cut to the final round.

Carden won $1,000 for having the big bass of the tournament (5-7).

Cates won the nonboater division on Thursday. He collected the Louis “Pee Wee” Powers Memorial Trophy as well as a $10,000 cash prize courtesy of Nitro/Mercury. His 4-3 bass was the heaviest among nonboaters and he won another $500 for that catch.

Drath, who finished second among nonboaters, won $7,500, part of a $31,500 purse split among the Top 12 in that division.

As part of the Yamaha Power Pay program, Jason Pittman of Covington, Miss., earned $5,000 as the program’s highest placing entrant while last year’s B.A.S.S. Nation champion and current Elite Series pro Pat Schlapper of Eleva, Wis., claimed an additional $2,500 for being the second-highest placing entrant.

Courtesy of BASS Communications.


 
Posted By The Bass Hog

August 16, 2021

Akin_Bruce.jpgBIRMINGHAM, Ala. — After 10 years serving as CEO of B.A.S.S., Bruce Akin will be retiring September 30, company officials announced today. B.A.S.S. Chairman Chase Anderson will be assuming responsibility for the organization’s day-to-day operations and serving as CEO.

Over the past year, Akin oversaw the beginning of a new multiyear television deal with FOX Sports, which ensured live broadcast coverage for every Elite Series event and the Bassmaster Classic for the first time in history. The eight hours of live coverage during the 2021 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk reeled in nearly 2 million viewers to the FOX broadcast network and FS1.

Under Akin’s leadership, B.A.S.S. also set records for attendance at both the Bassmaster Classic and Elite Series events, introduced junior, high school and kayak tournament trails, revived the Redfish Cup Championship and recorded growth in almost every facet of its business, including membership, viewership, readership and digital engagement, with record-breaking engagement on Bassmaster.com and Bassmaster social media channels in 2021.

“I am incredibly proud of everything B.A.S.S. has accomplished in the past decade and am especially excited about the growth we’ve seen as a brand and across our sport,” Akin said. “During a challenging time, we’ve seen how important fishing is and how people gravitate to the outdoors, and I look forward to seeing how the industry continues to serve anglers. B.A.S.S. has a storied history and a bright future, but I am excited to get started on this next chapter in my life.

“Through working with our associates, anglers and sponsors I’ve made some great friends in this industry. It really will be the people I’ll miss most.”

Akin originally planned to retire last year but stayed on to guide the organization through the pandemic, ensuring that the Bassmaster Elite Series completed its full schedule. This solid leadership during an uncertain time was part of why Akin was named one of the Birmingham Business Journal’s Executives of Influence for 2020.

Akin is a respected and effective leader in the sportfishing industry as part of the American Sportfishing Association Board of Directors and as an active member of the Center for Sportfishing Policy and Keep America Fishing. He has also long been active in civic affairs, serving the community as part of the board of advisors for The University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences, board of directors of the St. Vincent’s Hospital Foundation and Leadership Birmingham.

“Bruce has been instrumental in growing B.A.S.S. over the past decade and has demonstrated a tireless dedication to serving our associates, anglers, members, fans and business partners,” said Anderson. “Bruce’s leadership has been instrumental in positioning B.A.S.S. as the growth-focused industry leader we are today. Thanks to Bruce’s solid guidance, we are better positioned for the future and focused on being the leader in the sportfishing industry for many years to come.”

Anderson Media Corp. acquired controlling interest in B.A.S.S. in 2017 and Anderson has been working as Chairman of B.A.S.S. LLC while also serving on the board of directors and in strategic roles for several other Anderson family-owned companies.

“I have been working directly with our associates, anglers and business partners for the past four years, and am excited for the opportunity to expand my role and work more closely with everyone in a more hands-on capacity. Much of my time has been spent on the operations of B.A.S.S., and I look forward to dedicating even more of my time to working with our great team as we continue to grow. My family and I have always had a long-term view of the business and organization, and I’m really excited about our future. I have so enjoyed working closely with Bruce and he’s been a great mentor and friend. I wish him the absolute best in retirement.”

No other changes to the organization’s daily operations are currently planned.

Courtesy of BASS Communications.


 
Posted By The Bass Hog

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — It was a day of firsts for Bill Perkins, as the New York pro made the most of his Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens debut to dominate the Northern Division event at Oneida Lake from start to finish with a three-day winning total of 52 pounds, 3 ounces.   

Courtesy of BASS Communications.

With weights of 18-11 and 17 pounds, the first two rounds gave Perkins a slim lead each day. On Championship Saturday, he stepped on the gas, added 16-8 and crossed the finish line more than 2 pounds ahead of second-place A.J. Slegona Jr., of Walker Valley, N.Y.

Because Perkins didn’t fish the first Northern Open of the season on the James River, he’s not eligible for an automatic berth into the 2022 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk. That berth will go instead to Texas pro Ray Hanselman, who was sitting on the verge of Classic qualification in the Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of the Year standings. 

But Perkins, a resident of Rochester, N.Y., still earned the Skeeter Boats top prize of $45,000 — and was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief.

“I haven’t let loose in three days; I haven’t slept, I haven’t eaten, I’ve been losing my mind, but it was all worth it,” he said. “I don’t know what to say, I’m just superappreciative.

“Thank God — He blessed me this week and He’s blessed me time and time again. I thank B.A.S.S., I thank my family and friends. The last three days have been epic. I won’t ever forget it.”

Spending his tournament in the midlake region, Perkins targeted rocky bottom structure in about 14 to 20 feet.

The first two days, he had to contend with full-field crowding, plus strong winds that presented challenging conditions. While there was no escaping the boat pressure, Perkins managed to moderate the latter impediment with tackle adjustments.

“I was fishing a drop shot with a 2.8-inch Keitech Easy Shiner and a 1/4-ounce tungsten weight, and a 1/6-ounce Z-Man finesse Ned head with a Z-Man TRD in the goby Bryant color,” Perkins said. “I had to go heavier on my weights to keep the baits on the bottom.

“Even with that adjustment, it was hard to make accurate presentations because I was getting blown off my spots by the wind. Even with Spot-Lock, I was getting blown back.”

A field that was reduced to 10 for the final round allowed Perkins the freedom to fish just about anywhere he wanted. The biggest advantage, however, was the nearly flat conditions, which allowed him to closely inspect his area with his Humminbird MEGA 360 and make precise presentations.

“I’ve been running multiple areas and today, I sat down on my best spot in Fisher Bay because there wasn’t as many guys on the water and I had it all to myself,” Perkins said. “There was a bunch of isolated rock in there and I was just slowly picking it apart.”

Surprisingly, Perkins was unable to get bit on his drop shot or Ned Rig Saturday, so he switched to a 1/2-ounce Keitech tungsten football head with a green pumpkin Keitech Spider Grub. Working this bait with a painfully slow retrieve delivered prompt results.

“I had a limit today by 8:04 and I caught my biggest one — about a 4 1/4 — at 7:30,” Perkins said. “That took the pressure off.”

Day 1 yielded only six bites and Perkins had to endure several hours of catching only drum before boating a bass at 11:30. Day 2 started more productively, with a limit by 10:04, but Perkins would catch only six fish. He attributed his final-round success to persistence.

“The key was staying put,” he said. “I got all my good bites in Fisher (the first two days) and I said, ‘There’s not going to be nearly as many guys today, I’m gonna buckle down in there.’ I had it all to myself — it was great.”

Slegona placed second with 50-2. After a 21st-place bag of 15-12, he added 17-14 on Friday and entered Championship Saturday in third place. Matching Perkins’ final-round weight allowed him to rise one spot.

Focusing on main-lake rock shoals in 10 to 12 feet, Slegona fished a Carolina-rigged Zoom Speed Craw in grassy areas. In more open areas, he used a 1/2-ounce Keitech football jig with an Erie Darter trailer.

“I only had six to seven bites a day throughout the tournament,” Slegona said. “It was just all about timing. They turn on at different times and, every once in a while, you get the right rockpile with fish biting on it.”

Sam George of Athens, Ala., finished third with 49-8. He caught 18-2 on Day 1 and tied Thomas Hughes of Cicero, N.Y., for third place, then added 16-10 on Friday and moved up to second before slipping back a spot with a final-round limit of 14-12.

Targeting a large main-lake grass flat with gravel patches, George caught his fish by drop shotting a Strike King Rage Swimmer in sexy shad and a Strike King KVD Dream Shot in honey candy.

“I got a little dialed in on Day 1,” George said. “I had a rough start and didn’t get a lot of bites, but late in the day, I got on a little area where it started happening for me.”

Liam Blake of Syracuse, N.Y., won the $750 Phoenix Boats Big Bass award.

George won the $500 Garmin Tournament Rewards for being the highest finishing competitor using Garmin products.

Brandon Palaniuk of Rathdrum, Idaho, leads the Northern Open standings with 392 points. Mike Iaconelli of Pitts Grove, N.J., is in second with 381, followed by Hugh Cosculluela of Spring, Texas, with 372, Alex Redwine of Blue Ash, Ohio, with 360 and Jacob Powroznik of North Prince George, Va., with 357.

Powroznik leads the overall Falcon Rods Bassmaster Opens points standings with 878 points.


 
Posted By The Bass Hog

June 13, 2021 FORT WORTH, Texas — Hank Cherry now occupies some rare air in the sport of professional bass fishing, and he has the bank statements to prove it.

The Lincolnton, N.C., pro, caught five bass Sunday that weighed 13 pounds, 1 ounce and won the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk with a three-day total of 50 pounds, 15 ounces.

He is only the fourth angler in the 51-year history of the Super Bowl of Professional Bass Fishing to win the event in back-to-back years. He earned another of the iconic Classic trophies and his second $300,000 check in 18 months.

Another North Carolina pro, Matt Arey, finished second with 49-1 and lost at least one big bass on Championship Sunday that might have put him over the top.

“I feel bad for Matt, and I told him I’ve been where he was,” Cherry said. “I had the same thing happen to me and mine happened a lot closer to the boat.

“I’m not giving it back — not apologizing for it. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.”

Cherry, a nine-year veteran of the Bassmaster Elite Series, finished third in his first Classic back in 2013 on Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees. Like Arey, he lost a crucial fish in that event that would have given him the trophy.

He went through a tough stretch in the Classic after that, finishing no higher than 27th in three tries. But then he put the bad memories of 2013 behind him last year on Lake Guntersville when he caught 29-3 on the first day and rode that mammoth bag to a wire-to-wire victory.

He didn’t quite go wire-to-wire this year, starting in third place on the first day with a limit of 20-4. But as suffocating heat moved into the area, the fishing got tougher and Cherry remained consistent enough to stay on top with a Day 2 catch of 17-10 and a final-round bag of 13-1 that was just enough.

He caught the bulk of his weight during the week flipping flooded bushes along the shoreline and throwing a jerkbait around riprap along the dam.

“The bite in the bushes is going away,” Cherry said. “It’s so hot out there right now. The water temperature was 71 degrees when we got here for practice, and I saw it as high as 87 today. A lot of those bushes are starting to break down, and those fish just don’t want to be there.

“I was fortunate to get enough out of them to win.”

For flipping the bushes, Cherry used a 3/4-ounce tungsten weight with a 4/0 flipping hook and a variety of soft-plastic baits, including a Berkley Pit Boss, a craw lure and a beaver-style bait.

“I would just alternate between five or six baits, back and forth,” he said. “That probably wasn’t as much for the fish as it was for me. Whatever I was using, I was doing the same thing. But it felt like I was doing something different.”

When the bass got extremely lethargic in the 99-degree heat Sunday, Cherry did actually make a change to his flipping setup, switching to a 1/4-ounce tungsten weight with a 3/0 hook. He had two fish in his livewell at the time but caught three bass to fill his limit within 30 minutes after making the switch.

“I caught maybe the dumbest bass in the lake,” Cherry said. “I flipped into a bush and instead of going into the bush, that lighter bait kind of ricocheted off of it. The bass actually swam out of the bush to get the bait and swam back in with it.”

That fish weighed almost 4 1/2 pounds and helped Cherry recharge on a day when he said sweat was constantly rolling into his eyes and blinding him.

When Cherry fished the rocks along the dam, he used a new jerkbait called a Berkley Stunna in the stealth shad color. He believes he caught the tail end of the jerkbait bite, just as he did with the flipping bite.

“The bushes I was fishing, if the lake was at normal pool, they wouldn’t even be in the water,” Cherry said. “So, you know the fish are probably itching to move away from there and go offshore.

“I think the same is true around those rocks. The heat is just radiating off those things — and if it makes us miserable, you know it probably makes them miserable, too.”

Cherry joins Rick Clunn (1976-77), Kevin VanDam (2010-11) and Jordan Lee (2017-18) as the only back-to-back Classic winners. This marks his fourth victory with B.A.S.S., including last year’s Classic, an Opens win on Smith Lake in 2012 and an Elite Series victory on Muskegon and White Lakes in 2013. He was the 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series Rookie of the Year.

Cherry said he enjoyed his reign as the 2020 Classic champion even though the year was marred by the COVID-19 pandemic and many of the personal appearances he might have made as Classic champ didn’t happen.

Whether this next reign will be different, he couldn’t say for sure.

“I don’t know what to expect, I really don’t,” Cherry said. “I’ll just take it as it comes — and I’ll never doubt just how blessed I am.”

Frank Talley of Temple, Texas, took home Berkley Big Bass honors and an additional $2,500 for his 8-3 caught on Day 1.

As part of the Yamaha Power Pay program, sixth-place finisher Scott Canterbury of Odenville, Ala., earned a $20,000 bonus.

Cherry took home an additional $7,500 for being the highest-placing entrant in the Toyota Bonus Bucks program, and Chris Jones of Bokoshe, Okla., earned $2,500 for being the second-highest placing entrant.

The Bassmaster Classic was hosted by the Fort Worth Sports Commission and Visit Fort Worth.

Courtesy of BASS Communications.


 
Posted By The Bass Hog

LEESBURG, Fla. — When Patrick Walters happened across a golden opportunity, the Bassmaster Elite Series pro from Summerville, S.C., stepped on the gas and sacked up a five-bass limit of 24 pounds to lead Day 1 of the Basspro.com Bassmaster Southern Open at the Harris Chain of Lakes.

Walters, who opened his 2021 season with a fourth-place finish in the AFTCO Bassmaster Elite at St. Johns River, said he typically approaches Florida events by moving fast in practice to locate productive areas and then slowing down with methodical tournament execution.

Thursday saw him go off script.

“Honestly, sometimes, it’s just fluke luck,” Walters said of his unexpected morning events. “I started throwing a (lipless crankbait) on a spot, and I looked down and saw two of them chasing my bait.

“I said, ‘Okay, maybe there’s some fish here.’ I passed through there, turned around and started whacking them. I probably caught 30 fish there and had my weight by 10 a.m. and then I left.”

Committing his day to Lake Harris, Walters found those morning bass in about 6 feet of water. He attributed the attraction to the right mix of habitat and clarity.

“There’s a little bit of clear water, there’s some hard bottom, there’s some grass; it’s just that good mixture,” he said. “It’s also a little shallower than most people are fishing.”

With a cold front dropping overnight and tournament morning temperatures by about 10 degrees, Walters surmised that Thursday’s postfrontal “bluebird” skies had repositioned the shallow fish. The ones he was catching were postspawn fish that had pushed out from recent bedding areas and staged in a comfortable recuperation area.

“I should have had about 28 pounds (based on the length of the fish), but every single one of them was skinny as a rail,” he said. “I think they just stopped at the first feeding spot.

“The good thing is I caught them pretty well and I didn’t have to burn any of my other water. I didn’t touch any of the stuff I’d found in practice, so I’m going to go back tomorrow and ride this as long as I can.”

Noting that his spot is most productive in the morning, Walters said he caught his bass on a mixture of lipless baits and jerkbaits. Returning in the afternoon, he found a couple more bites that encouraged him to keep that spot in his Day 2 game plan.

“There was some dirtier water that moved in later in the day, so I may go there (on Friday) and not catch another fish, but I pulled in there around 2 and caught a couple more on a Zoom Mag Trick Worm,” he said.

Walters said his productivity belied a lean practice.

“My other spots were similar but a little different,” he said. “Practice was tough, but I thought I could catch a limit in (my spots). It’s a little different type of cover than what I fished today.

“The good thing is I didn’t have to fish those spots today. I had some good flipping bites in practice, but I didn’t get any flipping bites today.”

Scott Gibbs of Rome, Ga., is in second place with 21-5. Making his Harris Chain debut, he crafted a concise game plan of targeting hydrilla and eelgrass in Lake Harris and Little Lake Harris and stuck with it all day.

Gibbs caught his fish slow rolling a reaction bait.

“My plan was to hit some areas where I thought there’d be some good postspawn fish,” Gibbs said. “I had three key areas and I made a little milk run.”

Alex Wetherell of Middletown, Conn., is in third place with 20-11. He looked for shallow bed fish, but when that search came up empty, he moved offshore and used a combination of moving baits and slower presentations to target postspawn bass in deep grass.

“I looked for the thicker stuff, and the cleaner the water, the better,” he said. “Those were the only two good spots I had and I milked them all day. Thankfully, they had some good fish on them.”

Charles Proctor of Conway, S.C., is in the lead for Phoenix Boats Big Bass honors with a 9-0 largemouth.

JW Battle Jr. holds the overall lead in the co-angler division with 13-11, and Jeff Fellows holds the Phoenix Boats Big Bass lead among co-anglers with an 8-8 largemouth. Both anglers are from Orlando.

Besides prize money and a berth in the 2021 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk, the anglers are fishing this week for valuable points that will count toward the Falcon Rods Bassmaster Opens Angler of the Year title. The title, which was won last year by North Carolina pro Bryan New, carries a cash prize of $10,000.

This year’s Opens circuit includes three divisions — Southern, Central and Northern — with three events in each. The Top 3 finishers from each division’s points standings will receive an invitation to fish the 2022 Bassmaster Elite Series, as will the Top 3 from the overall standings accumulated in all three divisions.

Friday’s takeoff is scheduled for 6:45 a.m. ET from Venetian Gardens (Ski Beach). Friday’s weigh-in will be held at the Venetian Gardens (Ski Beach) at 2:45 p.m. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be held at Bass Pro Shops in Orlando at 4 p.m.

Lake County and the City of Leesburg are hosting the tournament.

2021 Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens Series Title Sponsor: Basspro.com

2021 Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2021 Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens Series Premier Sponsors: Berkley, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Ranger Boats, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha

2021 Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens Series Supporting Sponsors: AFTCO, Bass Pro Shops, Garmin, Huk Performance Fishing, Marathon, Rapala

Courtesy of BASS, LLC Communications.


 
Posted By The Bass Hog

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Public boat ramp closures in South Carolina and Kentucky, as well as extended federal guidelines limiting social gatherings to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, have prompted B.A.S.S. to postpone four additional upcoming tournaments.

The Bassmaster Elite at Santee Cooper Lakes in Clarendon County, S.C., Carhartt Bassmaster College Series at Lake Cumberland presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series at Lake Cumberland presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors and Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster Junior Series at Lake Cumberland, all three to be held in Jamestown, Ky., are being rescheduled for later in the year, B.A.S.S. officials announced today.

“B.A.S.S. believes it is imperative to heed the advice not only of the CDC but of our elected officials as our country navigates this national crisis,” said Bruce Akin, B.A.S.S. CEO. “We are encouraging our anglers, staff and fans to live smart and fish smart, practicing responsible social distancing measures and doing their part to help limit the spread of this disease.”

B.A.S.S. has postponed eight events originally scheduled between March and May and is evaluating upcoming tournaments based on precautions and advice from the CDC and public officials as well as local mandates regarding public spaces and events.

“Although we are disappointed to postpone the Bassmaster Elite Series event previously scheduled for April 16-19, the health and safety of event organizers, the anglers and our community is our top priority,” said Tiffany Myers, Director of Tourism for the Clarendon County Chamber of Commerce. “We are continuing to work with the B.A.S.S. organization to reschedule the event at a later date.”

While the national State of Emergency is in place, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has closed boat ramps and landings on the state’s lakes, rivers and waterways. Additionally, he has ordered anyone arriving into South Carolina from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or New Orleans to self-quarantine for two weeks.

As more states adopt “shelter in place” recommendations and continue to limit operation of nonessential businesses, B.A.S.S is also considering the impact that potential logistical issues and travel restrictions, including Canadian border closures, may have on anglers’ ability to travel to tournaments.

During this national crisis and uncertain time, B.A.S.S. is encouraging people, where possible, to use this unexpected time to enjoy the outdoors and recreational fishing in a safe and responsible way with their new “Live Smart, Fish Smart” campaign.

B.A.S.S. is also producing stories and videos designed to ensure those staying inside can still connect to the sport, and people, they love. This includes upcoming content covering topics such as teaching fishing skills to kids and bank fishing basics.

 

Fans of fishing and the Bassmaster Elite Series anglers can find live Q/A videos, inspiring stories, helpful tips and more at Bassmaster.com. B.A.S.S. is also encouraging outdoor enthusiasts and tournament anglers alike to share photos with the hashtags: #livesmart #fishsmart #bassmaster.

About B.A.S.S.

B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 515,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2 and The Pursuit Channel), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For more than 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

 

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens Series, TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bassmaster Team Championship, new Huk Bassmaster B.A.S.S. Nation Kayak Series powered by TourneyX presented by Abu Garcia and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk.

Courtesy of BASS Communications.

 


 
Posted By The Bass Hog

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Across the country, there are thousands of ultra-talented bass anglers who would have loved to compete in this week’s 50th Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk.

Only 53 got the opportunity — and from start to finish, there was no doubt which one of them owned the event.

Hank Cherry, a 46-year-old pro from Lincolnton, N.C., and an eight-year veteran of the Bassmaster Elite Series, caught five bass on Championship Sunday that weighed 19 pounds, 8 ounces. It gave him a three-day total of 65-5 and put the exclamation point on a dominant wire-to-wire victory that netted him a $307,500 first-place prize.

The competition was held at historic Lake Guntersville, but Cherry’s raw emotion shined through most back at the final weigh-in, which was held at Legacy Arena inside the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.

“I talked to (fellow competitor) Paul Mueller in the boatyard, and he told me the devil was gonna try to get in my head today,” Cherry said. “He said just tell the devil to get out of your boat. He said tell him you don’t have time for him.

“That’s what I did. I caught my first fish and then I lost a big one. I could hear those voices in my head, but I didn’t listen to them. I just went and caught four more.”

This was the fifth Classic appearance for Cherry, and he had come close to hoisting the trophy once before — back in 2013 on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake, when he came in third after losing a key fish on jerkbait.

That same lure was one of his weapons of choice this week during three days of fishing that saw him catch 29-3, 16-10 and 19-8.

He did most of his damage during Friday’s first round with a Z-Man Jack Hammer ChatterBait. The bait allowed him to cut through a strong wind on his way to a tournament-best bag that featured a pair of 7-2 largemouth.

On Days 2 and 3, he relied mostly on his own Hank Cherry Signature Series Jig from Picasso in green pumpkin with a matching Berkley MaxScent Chunk trailer and the jerkbait — a Megabass 110+1 in the French pearl OB color. He replaced the factory hooks on the jerkbait with Berkley Fusion EWG No. 5s.

“I changed the hooks out to make it sink just the right way,” Cherry said. “About 90 percent of the fish I caught would be when it was directly falling. I had it heavy enough that I could see it falling, and if I saw one following it, I could watch them kill it.”

Cherry suffered an arm injury on Day 1 that he said may have limited the amount of running he did the rest of the week. But the major factor in his limited travel, he said, was the wind that blew hard on Lake Guntersville for most of the tournament.

He spent practically the whole event fishing one causeway and one grass flat.

“I never put gas in the boat all week,” Cherry said. “Y’all know me. If it’s windy, I’m not going to be making a lot of long runs — and anyway, I just didn’t need to.”

Cherry said Garmin LiveScope allowed him to keep track of the giant schools of gizzard shad that were drawing fish to the area. He also said a solid understanding of the way bass use causeways helped him catch big limits each day.

“Everybody has a misconception about those causeways,” Cherry said. “They think they should just fish the four corners. But bass use those causeways like highways. When they’re coming in, they come through the causeways and go down the rocks and to the back. Then they go exactly the same route when they come back out.

“That Garmin LiveScope just made them easy pickings.”

The win brought Cherry’s career earnings with B.A.S.S. to $934,500. He now has three career victories and 10 Top 10 finishes.

Perhaps more important than any statistic, however, was the fact that he exorcised some old demons that had lingered in the back of his mind since his near miss at Grand in 2013.

“When I caught that biggest bass on a jerkbait (Sunday), I felt some redemption,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot — and I’m still learning. I learned from this event how to handle the situation when you start with a big lead and have to protect it. I learned that your body will do wild things when you need that last fish to seal the deal, but you have to work through it.

“Those kinds of things make for an amazing feeling — and once it sinks in that I won this thing, I think that will be the most amazing feeling of all.”

South Carolina pro Todd Auten finished second with 58-10, and Arkansas angler Stetson Blaylock was third with 58-1.

Hank Cherry added an additional $7,500 to his winnings for being the highest-placing eligible angler in the Toyota Bonus Bucks program. Todd Auten was awarded an additional $2,500 for being the second-highest placing eligible angler in the Toyota Bonus Bucks program.

Virginia pro John Crews took the Berkley Big Bass award for the day with a 6-10 largemouth. But the Berkley Big Bass award for the week went to Auten for the 7-9 he caught on Day 1.

2020 Bassmaster Classic Title Sponsor: Academy Sports + Outdoors

2020 Bassmaster Classic Presenting Sponsor: Huk Performance Fishing Apparel

2020 Bassmaster Classic Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2020 Bassmaster Classic Premier Sponsors: Abu Garcia, Berkley, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Ranger Boats, Skeeter Boats, Talon, Yamaha

2020 Bassmaster Classic Local Partners: Alabama Power, Black Rifle Coffee, Books-A-Million, Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Jack’s Family Restaurants, Thompson Tractor, TNT Fireworks, TVA, Wind Creek Casino

2020 Bassmaster Classic Hosts: Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau, Alabama Tourism Department and Marshall County Convention & Visitors Bureau

About B.A.S.S.

B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 515,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2 and The Pursuit Channel), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For more than 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens Series, TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bassmaster Team Championship, new Huk Bassmaster B.A.S.S. Nation Kayak Series powered by TourneyX presented by Abu Garcia and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk.

 

2020 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk 3/6-3/8

Lake Guntersville, Birmingham  AL.

(ANGLER) Standings Day 3

 

   Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   Total $$$

 

1.  Hank Cherry Jr         Lincolnton, NC          15  65-05    0 $300,000.00

  Day 1: 5   29-03     Day 2: 5   16-10     Day 3: 5   19-08  

2.  Todd Auten             Lake Wylie, SC          15  58-10    0  $52,500.00

  Day 1: 5   20-00     Day 2: 5   18-00     Day 3: 5   20-10  

3.  Stetson Blaylock       Benton, AR              15  58-01    0  $40,000.00

  Day 1: 5   18-05     Day 2: 5   19-04     Day 3: 5   20-08  

4.  Seth Feider            New Market, MN          15  54-00    0  $30,000.00

  Day 1: 5   16-10     Day 2: 5   15-09     Day 3: 5   21-13  

5.  Micah Frazier          Newnan, GA              15  54-00    0  $25,000.00

  Day 1: 5   20-00     Day 2: 5   16-00     Day 3: 5   18-00  

Courtesy of BASS Communications.


 
Posted By The Bass Hog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About B.A.S.S.

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

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

Courtesy of BASS Communications.


 
Posted By The Bass Hog

GREENVILLE/ANDERSON, S.C. —A star-studded field of 51 bass anglers has qualified to compete for more than $1 million in the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods. Only one spot remains to be filled in the world championship of bass fishing. It will go to the individual winner of the Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship, to be held in December.

Long known as the Super Bowl of Bass Fishing, the Classic will take place — for the third time — on Lake Hartwell at Anderson, S.C., March 16-18. Morning takeoffs will be from the modern Green Pond Landing and Event Center in Anderson, and weigh-ins and the popular Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods will be held in Greenville on those dates.

Among the 13 former Classic champions competing for the $300,000 first prize are two who have won on Hartwell: Casey Ashley of Donalds, S.C., the winner in 2015, and Alton Jones of Lorena, Texas, the 2008 champion. Also aiming for bass fishing’s biggest prize are defending champion Jordan Lee of Guntersville, Ala., and four-time Classic winner Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich.

VanDam also owns seven Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year titles. 

2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods Contenders 

Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C. (9) 
Josh Bertrand, Gilbert, Ariz. (3) 
Hank Cherry, Lincolnton, N.C. (4) 
Jason Christie, Park Hill, Okla. (6) 
Luke Clausen, Spokane, Wash. (4) 
Keith Combs, Huntington, Texas (7) 
Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala. (1) 
Brandon Coulter, Knoxville, Tenn. (1) 
John Crews, Salem, Va. (11) 
John Cox, DeBary, Fla. (1) 
Mark Daniels Jr., Tuskegee, Ala. (1) 
Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark. (20) 
Ott DeFoe, Knoxville, Tenn. (7) 
Brent Ehrler, Newport Beach, Calif. (3) 
James Elam, Tulsa, Okla. (3) 
Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla. (17) 
Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texas (16) 
Seth Feider, Bloomington, Minn. (1) 
Jacob Foutz, Charleston, Tenn. (1) 
Micah Frazier, Newnan, Ga. (2) 
Marty Giddens, Eclectic, Ala. (1) 
Luke Gritter, Otsego, Mich. (1) 
Greg Hackney, Gonzales, La. (15) 
Jamie Hartman, Newport, N.Y. (1) 
Randy Howell, Guntersville, Ala. (16) 
Michael Iaconelli, Pittsgrove, N.J. (19) 
Alton Jones, Lorena, Texas (19) 
Steve Kennedy, Auburn, Ala. (9) 
Bobby Lane, Lakeland, Fla. (11) 
Russ Lane, Prattville, Ala. (7) 
Jordan Lee, Guntersville, Ala. (4) 
Matt Lee, Guntersville, Ala. (2) 
Brandon Lester, Fayetteville, Tenn. (3) 
Aaron Martens, Leeds, Ala. (19) 
Mike McClelland, Bella Vista, Ark. (11) 
Rick Morris, Lake Gaston, Va. (6) 
Cliff Pace, Petal, Miss. (7) 
Brandon Palaniuk, Hayden, Idaho (8) 
Clifford Pirch, Payson, Ariz. (5) 
Jacob Powroznik, Port Haywood, Va. (4) 
Skeet Reese, Auburn, Calif. (18) 
Bradley Roy, Lancaster, Ky. (2) 
Caleb Sumrall, New Iberia, La. (1) 
Carl Svebek, Orange, Texas (1) 
Gerald Swindle, Guntersville, Ala. (17) 
Stanley Sypeck Jr., Sugarloaf, Pa. (1) 
Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich. (27) 
David Walker, Sevierville, Tenn. (12) 
Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn. (2) 
Jesse Wiggins, Cullman, Ala. (2) 
Jason Williamson, Wagener, S.C. (3) 

(Note: Number in parentheses indicates number of Classics qualified, including the 2018 Classic.)

Courtesy of BASS Communications.