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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
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

JASPER, Ala. — Jacob Powroznik had one goal in mind when he signed up for the entire 2021 Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens schedule: requalify for the Bassmaster Elite Series.

Saturday was another major step toward accomplishing that goal, as Powroznik rallied in the final round to win the second Central Open of the season, on Alabama’s Lewis Smith Lake, with a three-day total of 37 pounds, 9 ounces.

After catching 11-12 on Day 1 and 11-8 on the second day, the North Prince George, Va., native landed 14-5 of spotted bass on the final day, propelling him past Days 1 and 2 leader Nick LeBrun, who caught just three keeper bass on the final day to finish with a three-day total of 33-6.

Not only does Powroznik maintain his lead in the Falcon Rods Bassmaster Opens Angler of the Year standings, but he also punches his ticket to the 2022 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk at Lake Hartwell. The win is his fifth in Bassmaster competition.

“It is a dream come true. That is what you fish for,” Powroznik said. “My best friend Hank (Cherry) has won it two years in a row, so now I’ve got something to shoot for. I put myself in to requalify for the Elite Series, and then to be able to come here and win this tournament is a blessing.

“It all kind of came together and I can’t wait to get to Hartwell. God is good and I love bass fishing.”

Powroznik’s pattern all week centered around standing timber in deep water areas where suspended spotted bass were feeding on blueback herring. Some of the trees he was fishing were in over 100 feet of water, but the bass were suspended only 20 feet deep.

“I was fishing in ditches that run into pockets and they had to have standing timber that was taller than anything else,” he said. “The thermocline was at about 35 feet this week, so those bass would never go below that.”

After experimenting with several techniques in practice, Powroznik settled on a V&M Drop Shad rigged on a 3/16- or 1/4-ounce jighead paired with a Quantum Smoke spinning outfit and 10-pound High Seas braid and an 8-pound fluorocarbon leader. He added his Lowrance Active Target units were essential as he could watch how the bass reacted to the bait as it fell to them.

“The technique is called tight-lining,” he said. “When I know it is going to fall right to them, I’ll hold my rod and it will pendulum down. It looks like a dying shad or a herring, whatever they are after. They didn’t want anything with a paddletail, they wanted it kind of clean and one of them was going to get it.”

Powroznik noticed distinct feeding windows for the spotted bass.

“They would bite right off the bat and then there would be an hour or two lull,” he said. “Once it got to be around noon, that’s when they clustered around those trees a whole lot better. And then they would slack off toward the end.”

While there had been a couple of striper fishing boats in his areas throughout the tournament, Powroznik didn’t have very much fishing pressure around him throughout the week. When he arrived at his spot Saturday, there were a few more boats, but he was able to find success.

“I don’t ever say this, but I told my buddy that I might have found the winning bag of fish,” Powroznik said. “I ended up catching a big one right off the bat and then I caught another one. I am never sitting still, so I moved around and ended up catching another big one. They were bigger than the ones I had been catching all week.

“Being around the striper fisherman, they know what is in there and the stripers feed on herring and so do the big spots.”

After leading through the first two days with 15-2 on Day 1 and 12-13 on Day 2, LeBrun weighed in just three bass for 5-7 to drop into second place.

“It was a great week,” LeBrun said. “Something changed with those suspended fish. It was tough to get bites and when they did they were small and I hadn’t had that problem all week. It seemed like the bait was up at the surface a lot more and I think that was due to the lack of boat traffic. When the fish were busting, I couldn’t catch them.”

Hometown favorite Jesse Wiggins finished in third with 33-3, jumping up from fifth place with a Day 3 bag that weighed 10-10.

“Overall, I’m not satisfied but I’m pleased,” Wiggins said. “It could have been a lot worse. I know how fickle it is and it could have been a really bad deal. I’m excited to be in the Top 10. It was a tough week and this lake doesn’t handle boat pressure really well, especially during a tough time of year.”

After a tough Day 1, Wiggins went all in on a largemouth pattern on Day 2 to catch 12-6 to get to the final day.

“The water cleaned up a little and I was able to grind out 10 pounds on Day 1,” Wiggins said. “I started on my river stuff Day 2 and they were biting. I caught them all on a Jackall Firecracker Buzzbait and then one on a squarebill.

“Today I went back up there and caught a few on a buzzbait and a couple on a shaky head and my second biggest one on a squarebill.”

With a 5-15 largemouth on Day 1, Brandon Ackerson won the Phoenix Boats Big Bass of the Tournament and earned $750.

With 1,371 points, Powroznik leads the Falcon Rods Bassmaster Opens Angler of the Year standings. Tommy Williams is second with 1,301 and Daisuke Aoki is third with 1,269.

Joseph Webster leads the Central Opens standings with 381 points while Jay Przekurat and Brandon Lester are tied for second with 378.

The final Central Open is scheduled for Grand Lake in Grove, Okla., Oct. 21-23. 

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

1.  Jacob Powroznik        North Prince George, VA 15  37-09  200  $50,400.00

  Day 1: 5   11-12     Day 2: 5   11-08     Day 3: 5   14-05  

2.  Nick LeBrun            Bossier City, LA        13  33-06  199  $24,480.00

  Day 1: 5   15-02     Day 2: 5   12-13     Day 3: 3   05-07  

3.  Jesse Wiggins          Logan, AL               15  33-03  198  $17,280.00

  Day 1: 5   10-03     Day 2: 5   12-06     Day 3: 5   10-10  

4.  Kyle Austin            Ridgeville, SC          15  31-08  197  $14,900.00

  Day 1: 5   10-04     Day 2: 5   10-10     Day 3: 5   10-10  

5.  Cody Huff              Ava, MO                 14  28-15  196  $12,528.00

  Day 1: 5   11-04     Day 2: 5   09-10     Day 3: 4   08-01  

6.  Tom Frink              Cedartown, GA           10  27-08  195  $11,520.00

  Day 1: 5   14-02     Day 2: 5   13-06     Day 3: 0   00-00  

7.  Jay Przekurat          Stevens Point, WI       10  24-15  194  $10,800.00

  Day 1: 5   13-03     Day 2: 4   10-02     Day 3: 1   01-10  

8.  Cody Bird              Granbury, TX            10  23-06  193  $10,080.00

  Day 1: 5   14-10     Day 2: 4   07-07     Day 3: 1   01-05  

9.  Allen Stewart          Lakeview, AR            11  23-00  192   $7,920.00

  Day 1: 5   09-11     Day 2: 5   11-14     Day 3: 1   01-07  

10. Robin Erb              Crane Hill, AL           9  20-14  191   $6,480.00

  Day 1: 4   08-08     Day 2: 5   12-06     Day 3: 0   00-00  

Courtesy of  BASS Communications.


 
Posted By The Bass Hog

CLAYTON, N.Y. — Fall’s seasonal transition took a big chunk out of Cal Climpson’s practice findings, but the Canadian pro located enough quality to assemble a limit catch of 27 pounds, 7 ounces to lead Day 1 of the Basspro.com Bassmaster Northern Open at the St. Lawrence River/1000 Islands.

The recent arrival of cooler weather and big winds have cracked the whip on large schools of smallmouth that had been lounging in deep water. With schools fragmenting and scattered fish starting to push shallower, consistency has become challenging.

“I had quite a bit of fish located in practice, but a lot of my spots were dry today, so I had to work really hard to get that weight,” Climpson said. “I wish I knew where they moved to. The fish that I caught were ones that stuck around in the same depths as they were in practice.

“This is classic September; the fish are in all depths right now. The water temperature has dropped 7 to 8 degrees in the last week and a half, and the fish are not as grouped up as they were in August.”

Knowing that Lake Ontario has historically produced a higher quality of fish than the St. Lawrence — river fish burn more calories in the higher current — Climpson began his day in the big water.

“I snuck out into the lake, but then it started getting rough, so I ended up in the river around noon,” Climpson said. “What I caught was about fifty-fifty between the lake and the river.”

For his Lake Ontario work, Climpson ran about 7 miles out and targeted an area of rock and transition bottom (rock to gravel) in 25 to 35 feet. Noting that large, isolated boulders were the key spots, Climpson said his Garmin LiveScope played a key role in his success.

“I’d be casting around until I saw one and then I’d start targeting it,” he said. “I was able to catch a couple of fish that I saw on LiveScope.

“When it was calmer this morning, I was using the trolling motor to try and cover some water, but once the wind picked up, I just let it (propel my drift).”

Climpson said he found that the fish were on the move, even within the spot he fished. To counter this, he made measured drifts that worked progressively across the hard bottom. Drifts that yielded a catch earned a follow-up pass.

Back in the St. Lawrence River, Climpson caught fish with a similar game plan.

Anchoring his bag with the 6-9 he caught in the lake, Climpson said he tried a variety of baits, but caught all of his fish on a drop shot. While keeping his bait particulars guarded, Climpson said he used a 3/4-ounce weight to keep his drop shot on target in rough water.

“I actually caught fish on three different drop-shot baits,” Climpson said. “I just rotated through the baits if I didn’t get bit.”

Cooper Gallant of Bowmanville, Canada, is in second place with 27-0. Committing his day to Lake Ontario, Gallant fished a long point using a drop shot to target several key areas in depths of 7 to 30 feet.

“I had (most of) my weight by 10 and then I upgraded once around 1 o’clock,” Gallant said. “Then I just went looking the rest of the day.

“I knew I was on a 25-pound bag in practice and I knew 27 was possible. Honestly, today I thought I had 25. I didn’t even weigh them. I just like to throw them in the livewell and surprise myself at the end of the day.”

Gary Adkins of Green Bay, Wis., is in third place with 25-10. Spending his day in the lake, Atkins said that carefully controlling his drift speed for natural presentations was essential to his success. He also benefited from a change in conditions.

“I caught my biggest fish — a 5-7 — around 1 o’clock,” Adkins said. “Actually, once the wind picked back up, the bite got better because of more current. I’m on a structure that needs current and when that current blows up on there, the fish move up to feed.”

Sharing the third-place spot is Kevin Park of Waymart, Pa.

Climpson, Brock Belik of Orchard, Neb., and Chris Hellebuyck of Waterford, Mich., share the lead for Phoenix Boats Big Bass honors. Each angler caught a 6-9 smallmouth.

Sakae Ushio of Tonawanda, N.Y., leads the co-angler division with 15-3. Matthew Mccarthy of Marysville, Ohio, holds the Phoenix Boats Big Bass lead among co-anglers with a 6-12.

Jonathan Kelley of Old Forge, Pa., leads the Bassmaster Northern Open standings with 551 points. Alex Redwine of Blue Ash, Ohio, is second with 545, followed by Spike Stoker of Cisco, Texas, with 533, Michael Iaconelli of Pitts Grove, N.J., with 527 and Hugh Cosculluela of Spring, Texas, with 522.

Jacob Powroznik of North Prince George, Va., leads the overall Falcons Rods Bassmaster Opens Angler of the Year standings with 977 points.

Friday’s takeoff is scheduled for 6:30 a.m. ET at the Antique Boat Museum. The weigh-in will be held back at the museum at 2:30 p.m. Coverage of the event will be available at Bassmaster.com.

1000 Islands Clayton Chamber of Commerce and the Antique Boat Museum are hosting the event.

Courtesy of BASS Communications 2021.


 
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

Millions Watch Bassmaster Comeback On Lake Eufaula

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The highly anticipated return of the Bassmaster Elite Series season and Buddy Gross’s dramatic final-day comeback lured in approximately 2.8 million viewers, who followed live, on-the-water action from the DEWALT Bassmaster Elite at Lake Eufaula for four days on ESPN2.

“Thanks to our longtime partner, ESPN, we were able to air more than 19 hours of real-time coverage, reaching more viewers and creating fans across the country,” said Bruce Akin, B.A.S.S. CEO. “Our Elite Series anglers reeled in big bags while also doing an incredible job taking the time to explain the sport to those who might be watching bass fishing for the first time.”

Between televised coverage on ESPN2 and the livestream on Bassmaster.com and ESPN3, fans watched more than 85 million minutes of tournament coverage.

It wasn’t difficult for everyone from enthusiastic fishing fans to complete novices to get drawn into the action at Lake Eufaula, which saw a new leader each day of the event and featured a bevy of impressive catches. On the Final Day, Gross surged from 10th place — more than 7 pounds behind leader Scott Canterbury — to take home his first Elite Series win and the $100,000 prize.

While the increased viewership is encouraging for the growth of sportfishing, it also reflects the tremendous growth in both interest and participation that fishing is enjoying so far this year.

States across the country have seen remarkable growth in fishing license sales as many seek to reconnect with their families and the outdoors. Iowa, Minnesota, Vermont and Louisiana all report more than 50% higher fishing license sales in 2020, according to their state conservation agencies. Considered a hotbed of recreational fishing, even Alabama has experienced a 37% jump in resident fishing license sales.

An hour-long episode of The Bassmasters television show featuring highlights and analysis from the Lake Eufaula tournament will air later this year on ESPN2, ESPN Classic and the Pursuit Channel. A complete 2020 tournament schedule can be found at Bassmaster.com/tv-schedule.

Courtesy of BASS 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.