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Posted By The Bass Hog

October 27, 2022 BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Besting a field of nearly 800 other B.A.S.S. members in the “I Am Bassmaster” cover photo contest, Anastasia Patterson of Sumter, S.C., is living out a calling for competitive angling that started when she was just eight while serving as an ambassador for the sport.

“I have so many Bassmaster magazines I have kept over the years, gotten some signed and even used them to help me learn new techniques,” said Patterson. “I never imagined I’d actually be in one, much less on the cover, and it really motivates me to work hard and fish harder so this hopefully won’t be the last time.”

More than 16 years ago, Patterson declared her desire to be a professional angler while attending the Elite Series Santee Cooper Showdown. Now balancing a career in event planning with tournament fishing, Patterson frequently went hunting or fishing before competing in pageants in middle school and high school. And while focused on breaking into the highest ranks of professional angling, she draws on past hurdles and doubters to help push her to succeed.

“I recognized that there weren’t many people on that stage who looked like me,” said Patterson of that tournament at Santee Cooper. “Not just the color of my skin, but the fact that there were no women.

“I told a guy in high school that I wanted to fish professionally, and he said that a woman would never make it, period. I let that swim around in my head for a while. Then, I decided to use it as fuel.”

After high school, Patterson attended Presbyterian College, where she founded the school’s bass fishing team and competed collegiately for more than three years. Since then, she has continued tournament fishing — notching a second-place finish on the USA Bass side of the 2022 ICAST Cup — and remains heavily involved in the fishing industry.

But Patterson’s ultimate goal remains unchanged: “I want to fish at the Elite level. I’m not worried about being the first woman to achieve this; I’m simply focused on achieving it … I don’t know how to put it into words, but I think the Lord called me to do this at a young age. And I do not have a plan B.”

The “I Am Bassmaster” cover photo contest, which ran from April 1 through August 31, gave B.A.S.S. members the opportunity to demonstrate how they personally embody one of the three basic tenets of the B.A.S.S. shield — passion for fishing, protection of the sport and desire to pass on the tradition.

“‘I Am Bassmaster’ means everything to me honestly,” explained Patterson. “It’s all your hopes and dreams and hard work meaning something, but not only yours, [but] the legacy of those who went before you and those who will go behind you in this sport.

“I Am Bassmaster … but it’s way bigger than me.”

A full listing of the other finalists and all of the stories behind their cover-worthy catches appears in the November/December issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Courtesy of BASS Communications.Anastasia Patterson

Posted By The Bass Hog

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Standard opinion among the anglers fishing the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open #1 presented by Allstate was that the tournament couldn’t be won on Toho.

If you wanted big bass, Kissimmee was the place to fish.

Chad Morgenthaler proved them wrong, spending all three days on the host lake and rallying from ninth place to win the season opener.

In a tournament laced with some of Florida’s top anglers, the Coulterville, Ill., veteran Elite Series pro sneaked into the back door with a big sack on a day when the frontrunners struggled.

His last-day catch of 22 pounds, 3 ounces was more than enough to carry him to the top and give him a 52-7 total.

Kissimmee expert Bobby Lane, who had the second biggest bag of the day (14 pounds), finished second with 48-13, and Todd Auten of South Carolina was third with 48-1. Gerald Swindle of Alabama and second-day leader Brandon McMillan rounded out the Top 5 with 46-9 and 46-4, respectively.

“Being hard-headed and staying on Toho was really a key to my success,” said Morgenthaler, who punched his ticket to the 2016 Bassmaster Classic, providing he fishes the remaining two Southern Opens. “Everyone said you can’t win on Toho, but all of my big fish in practice came up here.”

He stuck with one bait all three days — a Missile D Bomb soft plastic creature bait — that he pitched into isolated cover in 3 to 4 feet of water far offshore. The color was bruiser flash, a black/blue variety.

“It’s a good mid-sized bait, so I didn’t have to worry about whether it was too big or too small, and it would slither through the matted vegetation easily,” he explained.

He rigged it with a 3/0 straight shank Gamakatsu heavy flipping hook and a 1 1/2-ounce tungsten weight. Most anglers use 4/0 hooks with the D Bomb, he noted, but switching to the 3/0 improved his catch ratio considerably.

“I was targeting the main-lake areas that the fish were moving to from the wintering holes,” Morgenthaler described. “These were fish just starting to move up and the cold fronts we’d been having were holding them back. Some guys were catching fish that moved up but I suspected the majority of big fish were still in transition. The sunny, warm day today put them right where I was fishing.”

The victory earned him more than $48,533, including a Nitro Z9 bass boat and tandem Nitro trailer rigged with a Mercury 225 Pro XS, Minn Kota Maxxum Trolling Motor and Lowrance HDS-7C electronics.

Floridian Alan Agnoli blew out the co-angler division with 32 pounds, 3 ounces, while Robbie Anderson of Crystal River, Fla., was second with 22-11. Terry Law of Tavares, Fla., was third with 22-3. Agnoli, who caught 17 pounds, 11 ounces (three fish) to take the second-round lead on Friday, won a Nitro Z7 bass boat rigged with a Mercury 150 Pro XS, Nitro Single Axle Trailer, Minn Kota Maxxum Trolling Motor and Lowrance Mark 5X electronics.


Also Saturday, B.A.S.S. issued the following statement:
"Based on an investigation of an incident Friday during the tournament on Lake Tohopekaliga, B.A.S.S. today disqualified two anglers from the event. Pursuant to B.A.S.S. rules, Ish Monroe of Hughson, Calif., and Keith Poche of Pike Road, Ala., were disqualified from the Open. Additional penalties for both anglers may be imposed pending the outcome of additional investigations that are ongoing at this time. Because of those investigations, B.A.S.S. will not comment further on the decisions."

Courtesy of BASS Communications.

Posted By The Bass Hog

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Anglers competing in the 2015 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open presented by Allstate on Lake Tohopekaliga are going to find a different body of water than they experienced in last season’s event.
Although the 2015 tournament will be held Jan. 15-17 — only a week different than when it was last year — Van Soles, the 2014 champion, says the Kissimmee system will provide a new set of challenges.
First, Central Florida has received a lot of rain, and the lakes could be as much as 3 feet higher than they were in 2014.
More importantly, the vast mats of vegetation that were there last year have been “decimated” by chemical treatments, according to Soles, who fishes the lake several times a year.
“I’d say there is 50 to 70 percent less vegetation than what we saw a year ago, due to the heavy spraying,” Soles lamented. “Nearly everything was killed in Hatchineha, and Kissimmee took the worst hit of the larger lakes. In all the years I’ve lived here, I’ve never seen the weeds sprayed and killed like they were the past year.”
The Florida pro, who won by pitching a Gambler BB Cricket into matted grass, predicts the changing habitat will affect how bass are caught during the three-day event.
“There are a few isolated areas where you might find some grass to flip, but all the areas I fished last year are totally destroyed,” he said. “An angler might be able to catch a limit flipping, but he’ll have a tough time putting a five-fish limit together with that pattern alone.”
That’s not to say the lake won’t give up quality catches. Soles said it has taken catches weighing 25 pounds or more to win one-day local tournaments. He forecasts the Southern Open winner will average 18 pounds a day, but wouldn’t be surprised if some 30-pound bags are weighed in — providing the weather is stable.
The fish were starting to move toward the spawn in late December, and he anticipates some will be bedding during the tournament. He saw males cruising the shallows, and some of the females he caught were ready to spawn.
The full moon — a time when spawning activity picks up — occurs before and after the tournament, but sight fishing should still be in play.
“A lot depends on how stable the weather is,” he said. “With high water and less vegetation, the key will be to find cleaner, warming water.”
Due to the lack of shallow cover, Soles thinks the tournament could be won on offshore shellbeds, dropoffs and deeper grass where vegetation wasn’t chemically treated.
“I think that’s where you will find the staging fish that haven’t been disturbed,” he added.
Wind could be a huge factor. Without the vegetation to filter the shallows, Soles explained, any persistent wind will dirty up the shorelines and spawning flats.
“An angler will have to monitor the wind and the weather and be cognizant of what the wind will do to those areas each day,” he explained.
The tournament will launch each day at 7 a.m. ET at Big Toho Marina. Weigh-ins will be held at 3 p.m. ET at the marina the first two days, with the final weigh-in on Day 3 held at the Bass Pro Shops in Orlando at 4 p.m.
Soles knows his 2014 win will be tough to repeat.

Courtesy of BASS Communications.