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Posted By The Bass Hog

MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. Nov. 30, 2017 Many anglers got their start in competitive fishing by teaming with a partner in local weekend events on their home lakes. Team tournaments have always been known to be a lot of fun — and there have been times when these tournaments could be a good money-making venture. But only for the past four years have team events offered a path to the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.
Founded in 2014, the Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship starts with the same simple concept as most team events around the country. Two partners fish for two days out of the same boat for bass that will go in the same livewell. The team with the heaviest total weight wins.
This year, the tournament will head to Mountain Home, Ark., Dec. 6-9 with competition on Norfork Lake.
After deciding a team champion on the final competition day, the six anglers from the Top 3 teams are sent back onto the lake for a two-day solo tournament. The winning individual earns a berth to the Classic.
The Team Championship is comprised of the top teams from organized tournament trails around the country. The trails must register with B.A.S.S. before the season.
The program has been a hit from the start — and has only gotten bigger. In 2014, 38 trails from around the country competed in the inaugural tournament. That number grew to 57 trails (with 11,866 members) in 2017, and the fourth annual Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship will draw more than 170 boats.
The winning team will take home the trophy and a Nitro Z20 boat powered by a Mercury 225 Pro XS with a Minn Kota trolling motor and Lowrance electronics valued at $41,995. In addition, teams finishing through 34th place will earn a check based on a 170-boat field.
B.A.S.S. officials expect continued growth for the Team Championship, as the event gives grass-roots anglers a chance to chase their dreams.
The 101 Boat Dock (565 Howard Cove Rd.) in Gamaliel will be the location for daily takeoffs at 6:45 a.m. CT, with weigh-ins following at 2:45 p.m.
The Mountain Home Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting the event.

2017 Bassmaster Team Championship Title Sponsor: Toyota Bonus Bucks

2017 Bassmaster Team Championship Premier Sponsors: Mercury, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha, Huk, Humminbird, Minn Kota, Shell Rotella, Power-Pole

2017 Bassmaster Team Championship Supporting Sponsors: Livingston Lures, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Carhartt, Phoenix Boats, Shimano, T-H Marine, Advance Auto Parts

Courtesy of BASS Communications.

Posted By The Bass Hog

June 1, 2017--MARBURY, Md. – The seventh and final regular-season event of the 22nd season of the FLW Tour, the most competitive circuit in professional bass fishing, is coming to Marbury June 15-18 for the FLW Tour at the Potomac River presented by Costa Del Mar. Hosted by the Charles County Board of Commissioners, the tournament will feature 320 pros and co-anglers casting for top awards of up to $125,000 cash in the Pro Division and up to $25,000 cash in the Co-angler Division.

The FLW Tour last visited the Potomac River in 2015, when pro Clark Wendlandt of Leander, Texas, took top honors with a four-day cumulative weight of 60 pounds even. This year, local pro Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Maryland, said he expects a lot more weight to come from the tidal fishery.

“I believe the weights will be substantially higher than when the Tour visited in 2015,” said Schmitt, who has 20 career top-10 finishes on the Potomac River in FLW competition. “The grass has really improved over the last two years and there’s a lot food in the system for these fish. The bass haven’t had to expend a lot of energy and have gotten big in a short amount of time.”

Schmitt said areas like Chicamuxen Creek, Wades Bay, Aquia Creek and Nanjemoy Creek will be popular because they tend to harbor the cleanest water.

“I think a lot of competitors will work their way into shallow, protected bays and cull through a ton of fish,” said Schmitt. “They’ll have to try to find that 4-pounder that sets them apart from the rest of the field – they’re out there.”

Schmitt said an assortment of baits including soft-plastic worms, jigs, frogs, stickbaits and swimbaits will be featured in this event. The Maryland veteran predicted the winner will need as much as 80 pounds of bass over four days to secure the win, a major increase in weight from just two years ago.

“If we don’t get any heavy rainfall or flooding prior to the event, I think we’re going to be in for a pleasant surprise,” said Schmitt. “This fishery can definitely produce 20 pound limits a day right now.”

Anglers will take off at 6:30 a.m. EDT each day from Smallwood State Park, located at 2750 Sweden Point Road, in Marbury. Thursday and Friday’s weigh-ins, June 15-16, will be held at Smallwood State Park beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s weigh-ins, June 17-18, will also be held at Smallwood State Park, but will begin at 4 p.m.

Prior to the weigh-ins Saturday and Sunday, fans are invited to come out and experience the free FLW Expo at Smallwood State Park from noon to 4 p.m. The FLW Expo is a great opportunity for fishing fans of all ages to meet-and-greet with top FLW Tour anglers, enjoy games, activities and giveaways provided by FLW sponsors, and learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities.

Youth are also invited to participate in the free FLW Foundation Unified Fishing Derby at Smallwood State Park, located at 2750 Sweden Point Road in Marbury, on Saturday, June 17, from 9-11 a.m. The event, hosted by FLW Foundation pro Cody Kelley along with other FLW Tour anglers, is free and open to area youth (18 years of age and younger) and Special Olympics athletes (all ages). Rods and reels are available for the first 50 participants to use, but youth are encouraged to bring their own if they own one.

The total purse for the FLW Tour at the Potomac River presented by Costa Del Mar is more than $800,000, including $10,000 through 50th place in the Pro Division.

Courtesy of FLW Communications.

Posted By The Bass Hog

MARSHALL, Texas (April 3, 2017) – The Woodlands College Park High School duo of Chad Mrazek of Conroe, Texas, and Joe Beebee of The Woodlands, Texas, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 24 pounds, 11 ounces, to win the 2017 FLW High School Fishing Texas Open tournament on Lake O’ The Pines in Marshall, Texas. The win advanced the team to the 2017 High School Fishing National championship, held June 27-July 1 at Pickwick Lake in Florence, Alabama.

A field of 45 teams competed in the no-entry fee tournament, which launched from the Lakeside Recreation Area in Jefferson, Texas. The event was hosted by the Marshall Convention & Visitors Bureau and East Texas Baptist University.

In FLW/TBF High School Fishing competition, the top 10-percent of teams competing advance to the High School Fishing National Championship.

The top four teams on Lake O’ The Pines that advanced to the 2017 High School Fishing National Championship were:

  1st:        The Woodlands College Park High School, The Woodlands, Texas – Chad Mrazek, Conroe, Texas and Joe Beebee, The Woodlands, Texas, (five bass, 24-11)

  2nd:      Queen City High School, Queen City, Texas – Kyle Parker, Douglassville, Texas, and Ryan Ream, Atlanta, Texas, (five bass, 18-14)

  3rd:       Quitman High School, Quitman, Texas – Colin Brown and J.C. Brisendine, both of Quitman, Texas, (five bass, 17-13)

  4th:       Harker Heights High School, Harker Heights, Texas – Preston Pittman and Alex Chambers, both of Harker Heights, Texas, (five bass, 17-11)

Rounding out the top 10 teams were:

  5th:       Beckville High School, Beckville, Texas – Lane McKnight, Beckville, Texas, and Brayden Cross, Henderson, Texas, (five bass, 16-13)

  6th:       Hallsville High School, Hallsville, Texas – Logan Watson, Longview, Texas, and Rowdy Smith, Henderson, Texas, (five bass, 16-3)

  7th:       White Oak High School, White Oak, Texas – Seth Kutch and Trenton Gross, both of White Oak, Texas, (five bass, 15-3)

  8th:       Sanger High School, Sanger, Texas – Teddy Reynolds and Ryan Penton, Sanger, Texas, (five bass, 14-12)

  9th:       Lumberton High School, Lumberton, Texas – Skye Ball, Lumberton, Texas, and Nicolas Peoples, Kingwood, Texas, (five bass, 14-12)

  10th:     Parkway High School, Bossier City, La. – Bennett Hopkins and Tyler Hilton, both of Bossier City, La., (five bass, 14-8)

Complete results from the event can be found at

The 2017 FLW High School Fishing Texas Open was a two-person (team) event for students in grades 7-12, open to any Student Angler Federation (SAF) affiliated high school club in the United States. The top 10 percent of each Challenge, Open, and state championship field will advance to the High School Fishing National Championship. The High School Fishing national champions will each receive a $5,000 college scholarship to the school of their choice.

In addition to the High School Fishing National Championship, all High School Fishing anglers nationwide automatically qualify for the world’s largest high school bass tournament, the 2017 High School Fishing World Finals, held in conjunction with the National Championship. At the 2016 World Finals more than $60,000 in scholarships and prizes were awarded.

Full schedules and the latest announcements are available at and

Courtesy of FLW Outdoors.

Posted By The Bass Hog

Feb. 12, 2017 KNOXVILLE/JEFFERSON COUNTY, Tenn. — At only 26 years of age, Jacob Wheeler has already won more than his share of big-money bass tournaments.

But he’s never won one under the same set of circumstances he faced this week during the Bassmaster Elite at Cherokee Lake — and he’s quick to admit that he may never do it again.

After a week of adversity that some anglers don’t face in an entire season, Wheeler won the event and its $100,000 first-place prize with a four-day total of 69 pounds, 13 ounces. A final-day catch of 18-3 — his biggest of the tournament — helped him jump from third place into the winner’s spot.

Jamie Hartman finished second with 69-3, and Jesse Wiggins, who held a slim lead through the first three rounds of fishing, placed third with 69-0.

“I’ve won a few tournaments in my day,” Wheeler said. “But this one is by far the craziest, coolest win I’ve ever had — there’s nothing even close to it.

“Just all of the adversity that went down was so crazy — and through all of that, to go out and not only catch a limit every day, but to also catch winning bags every day, that’s just amazing.”

Wheeler had a fairly normal opening round, catching 17-10 to land in second place. But on the second day, things got crazy.

During pre-practice, Wheeler said he graphed the entire lake and had 1,600 waypoints marked from one end of the fishery to the other on his depthfinder. But an electronics mix-up on Friday left him without half of those waypoints, and he had to do much of his fishing by memory.

Then on Saturday, one of his batteries malfunctioned, leaving him without a working trolling motor. So he took advantage of a little-known B.A.S.S. rule that allows a stranded angler to fish with another competitor as long as a marshal is present.

While fishing with Elite Series rookie Dustin Connell, Wheeler caught two of his biggest fish of the day and brought 17-1 to the scales to land in second place heading into Championship Sunday.

“I had a lot of places to fish on this lake,” Wheeler said. “I think that’s what helped me fight through all of the things that happened as much as anything else.”

On the final day, having a wide selection of areas to choose from made all the difference.

“I had a backup card with all of my waypoints, so I had them back for days 3 and 4,” Wheeler said. “I could run to every rock, every boulder, every piece of structure I had found in practice.

Wheeler relied all week on a VMC Moon Eye Jighead with a 3-inch soft jerkbait in simple pearl white. He was watching for smallmouth on his Lowrance depthfinder and literally dropping the bait to specific fish in 20 to 30 feet of water.

He caught the biggest part of his limit during one 10-minute stretch around 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

“It was absolutely crazy,” Wheeler said. “I was fishing a little pond, and I came across a wad of fish. There were so many of them that I thought they might be stripers. But I know the difference between stripers and smallmouth on my graph, and I thought those looked like big, old smallmouth.

“I dropped my bait down and about 20 of them came up at one time. It was crazy.”

“Later in the day, I went to fish a place down near the dam where I caught a lot of my really big, big fish this week,” he said. “I went there, I hooked one, and it was a 3 3/4-pounder. That was the winning bite, and it happened about 20 minutes before quitting time.”

Courtesy of BASS Communications.

Posted By The Bass Hog

KNOXVILLE/JEFFERSON COUNTY, Tenn. — When B.A.S.S. announced it would be holding its first Bassmaster Elite Series event of the 2017 season on Cherokee Lake in the mountains of eastern Tennessee in February, some anglers wondered if they might need ice suits and heaters on the front decks of their boats just to stay focused on fishing.

But Brandon Card, an Elite Series competitor from Knoxville, said the area simply hasn’t had that kind of weather this year.

Card said it’s been one of the mildest winters he can remember — and when the anglers begin the event, scheduled for Feb. 9-12 with takeoffs and weigh-ins at Cherokee Lake Dam and TVA Boat Ramp, they’re likely to have multiple options for catching big fish.

“I have a lot of experience on Cherokee,” Card said. “But we’ve never had a winter this crazy, just in terms of how mild it’s been. I think we’ve just got to expect the unexpected in this one. Fish are going to be so scattered. They’ll be all over the place.”

Though some anglers dread frigid temperatures, Card said local anglers like him could have actually benefited from those conditions.

“I think if it had been one of those brutal winters, it would have definitely played into the east Tennessee guys’ hands,” he said. “But now, it kind of opens it up to anybody and everybody. There’s going to be a few fish in those predictable wintertime haunts, but that’s not going to be the winning pattern.

“Fishing history isn’t going to do much for you.”

The announcement of the tournament date and location — combined with a B.A.S.S. rule change that will now allow Elite Series anglers to use rods up to 10 feet long — led many to wonder if a finesse technique known as float-and-fly could be a big part of the event. The method allows anglers to fish a small jig on a long leader under a bobber to target suspended fish.

But Card said the mild winter may take that out of the equation as well.

“I don’t think it’s going to be as much of a factor as it might have been,” he said. “I’m sure there will be fish caught that way, but you could probably go down that same stretch of bank and catch them on a spinnerbait. So why would you want to watch a bobber if the water temperature is in the low 50s and you can catch them in other ways a lot faster.”

Regardless of how the fish are caught, those who know the lake well expect a close tournament from start to finish.

“Cherokee is so good, and there are going to be so many fish caught that to distance yourself, it’s going to take some good fortune,” said Brandon Coulter, another Elite Series angler who calls Knoxville home. “The situation won’t really benefit the local anglers, because everybody’s going to catch them.”

Coulter said that could make for some exciting daily weigh-ins.

“I really think 13 or 14 pounds probably won’t put you in the position you want to be in, but 16 will,” Coulter said “It’s going to be more like one of those northern tournaments – like the one we had on Cayuga Lake last year when 16 wouldn’t get you a check, but 17 would.

“Cherokee Lake will prove its reputation as an outstanding bass lake in terms of both size and numbers of fish,” said Adele Sensing, director of tourism for the Economic Development Alliance of Jefferson County, Tenn. “The smallmouth are good and plentiful. The number one reason that a tournament wants to come to an area is great fishing, and Cherokee Lake will deliver.”

Kim Bumpas, president of Visit Knoxville, agreed.

Courtesy of BASS Communications.


Posted By The Bass Hog


LUFKIN, Texas (Feb. 6, 2017) – The Sam Houston State University team of Dillon Harrell of New Caney, Texas, and Dustin Moreno of Shepherd, Texas, won the YETI FLW College Fishing Southern Conference opener on Sam Rayburn Reservoir Saturday with five bass weighing 22 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the club a $2,000 club scholarship and advanced the team to the 2018 FLW College Fishing National Championship.

“Dillon and I have been fishing together since we were 8-years-old,” said Moreno, a senior majoring in business. “We’ve always talked about competing like this when we were growing up, so this win feels like it has been a long time coming.”

“At 12 members, our bass club at Sam Houston is pretty small,” said Harrell, a sophomore majoring in agricultural business. “We’ve placed at college tournaments before, but have never won. I’d love to see this club grow to 30 members within the next couple of years and this win will definitely help.”

Harrell said the two primarily fished hydrilla and secondary points in 4 to 8 feet of water throughout the event. They said they ran through multiple areas, including locations near Mud Creek and the Highway 147 bridge.

“When we pulled up to our first area we found a lot of boat traffic from another tournament,” said Harrell. “We thought we could get a quick limit there, but only caught two fish. We targeted schooling fish and grinded out a limit at our second stop by 11 a.m.”

Moreno said they used a shad-colored 6th Sense Snatched 70 X Lipless Crankbait to catch their initial limit.

“Around 2 p.m., we focused on a secondary point and caught two bass that were close to 7 pounds apiece on an umbrella rig with Xcite Baits swimbaits,” said Moreno. “We culled out our two smallest fish and on the very next cast I caught a 4-pounder. We went from 12 pounds to 24 pounds in 15 minutes.”

“I’ve never seen anything like that,” said Harrell. “I’ve fished in those areas for a lot of tournaments, but I’ve never doubled my weight in a matter of minutes. It was ridiculous.”

FLW also advances one additional team to the National Championship for every 10 teams over 100 that compete.

Complete results can be found at

This YETI FLW College Fishing Southern Conference opener was the first regular-season qualifying tournament of 2017. The next event for Southern Conference anglers is a tournament scheduled for May 6 on Fort Gibson Lake in Wagoner, Oklahoma.

YETI FLW College Fishing teams compete in three regular-season qualifying tournaments in one of five conferences – Central, Northern, Southern, Southeastern and Western. The top ten teams from each division’s three regular-season tournaments, along with an additional qualifier for every 10 teams over 100 that compete, along with the top 20 teams from the annual YETI FLW College Fishing Open will advance to the 2018 FLW College Fishing National Championship.

College Fishing is free to enter. All participants must be registered, full-time students at a college, university or community college and members of a college fishing club that is recognized by their school.

Courtesy of FLW Outdoors.

Posted By The Bass Hog

JONESTOWN, Texas (Feb. 2, 2017) – The second tournament of the 22nd season of the FLW Tour, the most competitive circuit in professional bass fishing, is coming to Jonestown Feb. 16-19 with the FLW Tour at Lake Travis presented by Quaker State. The event, hosted by the City of Jonestown and the Austin Sports Commission, will feature 330 of the world’s best bass-fishing professionals and co-anglers casting for top awards of up to $125,000 cash in the Pro Division and up to $25,000 cash in the Co-angler Division.

“This tournament is going to be a lot of fun because many of us haven’t fished Lake Travis competitively,” said FLW Tour pro Tom Redington of Royse City, Texas. “A lot of the field will be making new discoveries in terms of fishable cover and structure. I think there will be a few anglers that break away and do something really unique.”

“If it gets windy and sight-fishing isn’t an option, I see a jerkbait or crankbait doing well out deep,” continued Redington. “The water on the main lake is above full pool, which means there’s a ton of submerged cover for bass to suspend in. We may be fishing trees, rocks and bushes that are 50 feet down. Some of the points run a half-mile out into the lake. Finesse jigs and drop-shots rigged with soft-plastics will be big. If competitors want to be shallow but still fish the main lake, a spinnerbait or flipping a creature-bait will do the trick.” 

Courtesy of FLW Outdoors.

Posted By The Bass Hog

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Econo Lodge, a part of the Choice Hotels family of brands, will be the presenting sponsor for two Elite Series events during the 2017 season, B.A.S.S. announced today. They include April 6-9 at Toledo Bend Reservoir out of Many, La., and June 2-5 at Lake Dardanelle out of Russellville, Ark.

“Working with B.A.S.S. just makes great sense for Econo Lodge,” said Craig Mustard, head of domestic brand management at Choice Hotels. “Like the rest of the Choice Hotels family of brands, Econo Lodge celebrates that travel is not only about the destination, but also the people connections made along the way — whether for business, pleasure or even sport. Supporting events like the Bassmaster Elite Series tournaments is yet another way that we are helping to bring people together in an easy, memorable and enjoyable way.”

Additionally, Econo Lodge once again will sponsor the “Bassmaster Elite Series: Winning Ways” television show. It will have partner branding for two original one-hour programs on ESPN2 and six re-airs on ESPN2 and ESPN Classic. It sponsored the program in 2016 as well, along with a presenting sponsorship for the Bassmaster Elite on the Potomac River.

Econo Lodge is noted “as an easy stop on the road where you can find a great place to stay at a great rate, too.” It includes free continental breakfast, Wi-Fi and premium movie channels in its won’t-break-your-budget rates. It’s also part of one of the world’s leading lodging companies. With more than 6,400 hotels in more than 40 countries and territories, Choice Hotels offers 500,000 rooms to travelers around the world. Additionally, another 745 hotels are in the “development pipeline,” according to the company.

Toledo Bend will be the third of nine stops on the Elite Series tour during 2017. Just last year, Kevin VanDam notched the 21st B.A.S.S. event victory of his illustrious career, amassing 96 pounds, 2 ounces over four days at Toledo Bend. Following a long dry spell, which included missing the 2015 Classic, it was his first win in five years.

Additionally, that tournament was notable because Elite Series pros helped the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries stock 10,000 Florida-strain largemouth bass fingerlings. Some of those fish might be caught this year in the Bassmaster Elite at Toledo Bend presented by Econo Lodge, but they probably won’t end up on the weigh-in stand for a couple more years.

Lake Dardanelle, Arkansas, will be the sixth stop on the Elite Series tour. The Elite Series last visited there in 2014, when Jason Christie claimed the first-place title with 20 bass weighing 72 pounds, 3 ounces.

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 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (, television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

Courtesy of BASS Communications.

Posted By The Bass Hog

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. (Jan. 31, 2017) – YETI FLW College Fishing is heading to Lake Havasu Feb. 11 for the first of three regular-season stops in the Western Conference. A full field of college fishing clubs will be competing for the top award of a $2,000 club scholarship and a berth into the 2018 College Fishing National Championship.

“The fish are still in their winter patterns at Lake Havasu,” said Costa FLW Series pro Joe Uribe, Jr., of Surprise, Arizona, who won at Lake Havasu when the Series last visited in 2015. “The lake has been fishing pretty typical for this time of year. The fish are still out staging, but we’ve had pretty warm weather lately and if it continues the fish should start to move up and think about starting to spawn very soon.

“At Havasu, the fish tend to stay shallow year round. I don’t fish anything deeper than 20 feet,” Uribe continued. “There is a lot of habitat and man-made structure in the lake – cages, brush piles, plants, pipes, tubes. The bait fish and bass hunker down in that stuff.”

Uribe said that anglers targeting the structure would likely be finesse fishing, using jigs, drop-shot rigs and tubes. He said that anglers would also be found up the river, flipping a jig, throwing spinnerbaits and ChatterBaits in the backwaters.

“My advice for the college anglers would be that they aren’t going to have to venture too far from the takeoff to catch fish,” Uribe said. “The Windsor basin is where we launch and there is a lot of current there from the river dumping into the basin. There is a lot of habitat and bait there, and plenty of stained water. If I was fishing in this event I’d hit the coves and points with crankbaits and jerkbaits in the morning, then as the sun comes up I’d throw a drop-shot rig or a tube on the points and shallow reefs.”

Uribe predicted that the winning team would bring a five-bass limit weighing right around 20 pounds to the scale.

Anglers will take off from the Windsor Beach ramp at Lake Havasu State Park, located at 699 London Bridge Road in Lake Havasu City, at 7:30 a.m. MST Saturday. Weigh-in will be held at the launch beginning at 2 p.m. Takeoff and weigh-in are free and open to the public.

Schools are allowed to register up until the morning of the tournament. Entries may be made either by phone or at

Schools registered to compete in the Lake Havasu tournament, which is hosted by the Lake Havasu City Convention and Visitors Bureau include:

California State University-Chico – Tyler Firebaugh, Danville, Calif., and Chad Sweitzer, Chico, Calif.

California State University-Chico – Michael Woods, Olivehurst, Calif., and Travis Bounds, Roseville, Calif.

California State University-Chico – David Griswold, Oroville, Calif., and Nicolas Fortino, Chico, Calif.

California State University-Long Beach – Rick Zatarain and Andrew Serar, both of Long Beach, Calif.

California State University-Long Beach – Cole Thomas, Lakewood, Calif., and Via Thao, Long Beach, Calif.

Grand Canyon University – Joseph Dwyer, Scottsdale, Ariz., and Cody Blood, Galt, Ariz.

Northern Arizona University – Marcus Green and Jake Hartzler, both of Flagstaff, Ariz.

Northern Arizona University – Jim Herrero and John Herrero, both of Kingman, Ariz.

University of La Verne – Landon Moore and Daniel Vazquez, both of San Dimas, Calif.

Courtesy of FLW Outdoors.


Posted By The Bass Hog

CONROE, Texas — Kelly Jordon is not a weatherman.

He can’t say for sure what the conditions will be when 52 of the world’s best anglers descend on Lake Conroe, an hour outside of Houston, for the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, March 24-26.

But as a Texas native and a 22-year veteran of the Bassmaster Tournament Trail, Jordon knows the bass are likely to be in some phase of their annual spring spawn — and he says the angler who best identifies that phase is likely to be the winner of the 47th annual event.

“Most of the bass in the lake are going to be somewhere around the spawning mode, simply because of the time of year,” said Jordon, who finished 50th in the 2016 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings and barely missed qualifying for the Classic. “If I was going to guess — depending on what the weather does — I’d say we’ll be toward the final quarter of the spawn. There will still be some fish on the beds, but there will also be a lot of postspawn fish.”

A spawn/postspawn scenario could provide a lot of options, and it could certainly lead to some giant fish being brought to the scales at the Houston Astros’ Minute Maid Park.

Jordon said the bluegill will likely be coming up to spawn, and big bass can often be found feeding around bluegill beds. Big male bass are also likely to be guarding recently hatched fry, and big females that are hungry from the spawn could be roaming the shallows.

Though some bass are likely to still be on the beds, Jordon said he doesn’t expect sight fishing to be a dominant technique.

“Sight fishing will definitely play,” he said. “But I don’t think somebody can win on sight fishing alone. You’re likely to see several giant fish caught off beds or maybe a key 5-pounder at a time when someone really needs it. But I don’t think it’s something you’ll be able to totally hang your hat on.”

As for the type of structure that’s likely to be most popular, Jordon said anglers will have their pick.

“The water color will depend on how much rain we get and which part of the river you’re fishing,” he said. “The water way up on the upper end could be a lot more stained than the lower end. But when you get up there, you’ll find plenty of backwater stuff, some side creeks, some marinas, some residential areas with canals, big gigantic flats — a little bit of everything.”

The lower end of the lake could appeal more to dock fishing specialists.

“Once you get down there, the lower half of the lake — if not more than half — is pretty much wall-to-wall boat docks and seawalls. Whether you want to fish shallow shoreline cover or deep shoreline cover, there’s tons of it available. You can find seawalls that may have 10 feet of water around them.

The abundance of boat docks, in particular, caught the attention of Classic competitor and noted shallow-water expert Cliff Crochet of Pierre Part, La., during pre-practice. Before the official off-limits period began Jan. 16, he posted a blog on titled, “Docks, docks and more docks,” complete with a photo of one dock-filled bank.

Roy’s final blog from pre-practice was titled “Crushing pre-practice” and showed the Kentucky angler holding two largemouth that appeared to be in the 6- to 7-pound range. 

“I think there’ll be at least one 30-pound bag caught — if not several,” said Combs, who finished second in the 2016 AOY race. “I think there will be a 10-pounder brought to the scales every day. That’s just the way Conroe is.”

Courtesy of BASS Communications.