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Posted By The Bass Hog

FLW College Fishing

HENDERSON, N.C. (June 16, 2012) – By a mere ounce Brett Meyn and Blaine Chitwood, the team from Radford University, won the National Guard FLW College Fishing Northern Conference event on Kerr Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 10 pounds, 7 ounces. The victory earned the team $5,000. The win also helped them advance to the Northern Conference Championship.
      With winds gusting up to 15 miles per hour, Meyn indicated that it was key to their victory. “Without the wind we would not have been able to catch our bass. We were targeting secondary points with grass and the wind was pushing the bait fish in those areas for the bass to feed on; without the wind there would have been no bait fish to lure the bass.
      “We had our first two fish pretty early and I would say that before 9 we had our limit,” Meyn continued. “My partner (Chitwood) was drop-shotting and I was using spinnerbaits to catch our limit. After we had five I switched to a swimbait and we were able to cull.
      However, it was still a nerve wracking day for the team. Getting a late start back to weigh-in (according to Chitwood they only had three minutes to make it back) they ran into a sailboat race that was taking place in the middle of the lake. Rather than circumvent the event they went through the middle of the race and had the Coast Guard hot on their trail signaling them to get out of the way of the race.
      Rounding out the top five teams and also advancing to the Northern Conference Championship are:
      2nd:            Ohio State – Quinn Miller and Jeff Moorman, five bass, 10-6, $1,500
      3rd:             Slippery Rock University – Corey Randour and Benjamin Tawney, five bass, 10-1, $1,000
      4th:             Virginia Tech – Preston Chrisman and Carson Rejzer, four bass, 9-4, $1,000
      5th:             Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania – Kevin Hollasch and Jonathan Miller, five bass, 5-15, $1,000
Courtesy of FLW Outdoors.

Posted By The Bass Hog

Bassmaster Opens Logo
RICHMOND, Va. —  Joshua Wagy couldn’t have asked for a better time to catch his heaviest five-fish stringer from the James River than during the first 2012 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Open, June 14-16. The 23-year-old DeWitt, Va., native thought he could count on 12- to 14-pound bags each day and take a nice check home, but his 19-11 from Day 2 vaulted him into serious contention for the win. He also earned a $250 Bass Pro Shops gift card courtesy of the Luck “E” Strike Heavyweight Award.


Wagy only brought four fish to the scales today, but they weighed 7-7 and gave him a total of 39-4, which edged out Robert Whitehurst by six ounces. Whitehurst finished with 38-14.


“I don’t really know what to say,” Wagy said as he stood with the trophy in front of the crowd at the Ashland, Va., Bass Pro Shops. “To win here in front of my family and friends is a big, big deal for me, especially since my dad taught me most of what I know.”


“I told my co-angler, ‘I’ve got to make a game-changing decision,’ and we went to my last little place that I hadn’t hit yet,” he said. The move proved most prudent, as he started getting bites, slowly amassing the 7-7 that carried him to victory.


He relied on a Lobina Lures Rico topwater popper-style bait and a Texas rigged 7-inch Berkley PowerBait worm for most all of his catch. He pitched the Rico far back under overhanging trees and along laydown logs, and allowed the worm to be washed along by the current for a natural presentation. The other part of his plan was running the tide and hitting his spots for the right amount of time.


“I got most of my bites on the first bit of the outgoing tide, and you had to be at the right spots at the right time, otherwise they weren’t biting,” he said. “The tide is everything, because none of my spots are super-secret, they’re all kid of community holes.”


Along with the Classic berth, Wagy took home a cash prize and a boat and motor package worth $50,000.


Robert Whitehurst, one of the more consistent anglers in the field, walked away with a runner-up check worth $13,632. In third place is bass fishing legend Woo Daves, who fought hard after a subpar Day 1. He ended up with a total of 37-15. In fourth place is last year’s Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open winner Kelly Pratt with 37-11, and in fifth place is Horce Linwood Boltz with 37-9.


In the co-angler division, Alan Jackson held on to his lead today by catching 5-7 today, which gave him a total of 21-0. Jackson relied on 3/8-ounce, white Terminator spinnerbait. Altering the rate of retrieval proved to be the ticket to his getting bit. For his win, Jackson will take home a Skeeter bass boat with a Yamaha outboard.


Ben Parker’s 6-1 largemouth from Day 1 ended up being the Carhartt Big Bass of the tournament, earning him $500.


Courtesy of BASS Communications.

Posted By The Bass Hog

Bassmaster Opens Logo

RICHMOND, Va. -- Jim Dillard of West Monroe, La., is on a quest to fulfill his career-long dream: To qualify for the Bassmaster Classic. He’s been fishing professionally for the past 7 years, mostly on another circuit, but has recently made the switch to the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens for a crack at the Classic. The 2012 Northern Open is being held out of Richmond, Va., June 14-16.


Though Dillard is miles from home, he feels comfortable fishing the tidal James River system.


“The good Lord shined down on me today,” he said as he weighed in 17-1 on Day 1 of the first 2012 Northern Open. “I feel real comfortable fishing a system like this because I grew up fishing the Red and Ouachita rivers; there is a lot of the same stuff here.”


“I knew where and how I wanted to fish, and I got a good bite early on and just rolled with it,” Dillard said. “It’s a lot of junk fishing in pads, stumps and wood, so there’s really no pattern except fish everything in sight.”


Dillard also credits a high tide for his bite. Though tomorrow’s tide will likely be different, he plans on sticking to what got him to the top. He’s currently leading the Luck “E” Strike Heavyweight Award, which gives the pro with the heaviest 5-fish limit a $500 bonus at the end of the tournament. Former Elite Series pro Ben Parker of Springville, Tenn., leads the Carhartt Big Bass Award with a 6-1 largemouth. Dillard currently has just more than a pound lead over current runner-up Kevin Hawk of Guntersville, Ala.


Hawk relied on a Gary Yamamoto Senko all day, and said that he had to work it at a snail’s pace to get a bite. His 5-fish limit weighed 15-14. In third place is Steven Colgin with 15-11; in fourth is Whitney Stephens with 15-9; and in fifth is Allan Glasgow with 15-2.


In the co-angler division, Randy Bowles of Lanexa, Va., leads the pack with a whopping 10-pound, 4-ounce three-fish limit. He said that the high water that blessed Dillard made fishing tough for him today.


“I had to fish really slow; it was a grind,” he said. “That high tide makes ’em act different.”


Bowles flipped a jig in shallow water. Behind him is Donnie Mead of Richmond, Va., with 10-1. In third place is Alan Jackson (no relation to the singer) with 9-11. In fourth is Robert Seymour with 9-7; and in fifth place is Ian Miller with 8-14. Co-anglers are vying for a top prize of a fully rigger Skeeter/Yamaha boat and motor package.

Courtesy of BASS Communications.

Posted By The Bass Hog

Bassmaster Opens Logo

In July 2011, Kelly Pratt of Williamsburg, Va., parlayed a lifetime of James River expertise into an entry in the tournament of his dreams, the Bassmaster Classic.


Like any angler who’s had a taste of the Classic, Pratt wants seconds. To get it, once again he’ll have to beat about 140 other anglers in a Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Open out of host city Richmond, Va.


The three-day competition will begin Thursday, June 14, and run through Saturday, June 16, out of Osborne Park and Boat Landing in Henrico, Va. The final-day weigh-in will be at the Ashland, Va., Bass Pro Shops store.


Some of those 140-plus anglers entered as pros are darned good fishermen. Several are even Bassmaster Elite Series anglers — Michael Iaconelli, Stephen Browning, Fred Roumbanis, for example. But few could match Pratt’s experience of 50-plus years on the James.


As Pratt, who will turn 53 in July, put it, “I was born and raised with my feet in the water.”


His story is like those of many local favorites who enter Open tournaments. He cut his fishing teeth on the rivers around home. His father was his teacher. They fished mostly from the bank, and mostly just for fun. Since he started entering tournaments at age 20, he’s won about 100 James River events, he said.


Unlike some local favorites in Opens, Pratt won handily on the James in that 2011 Open. His margin of victory was more than 5 pounds over seasoned Alabama pro Randall Tharp. Pratt’s haul was 42 pounds, 6 ounces over three days to take the Northern Open prize that included the 2012 Classic qualification.


This time around, the competition will be June 14-16, about a month earlier in the fishing season. The earlier dates might change the game on the James, but the river’s tidal conditions often dictate the bite.


The June 14-16 event is the Northern Open circuit’s season opener. Each of the season’s three tournaments will award a Classic berth to the winner in addition to a boat-and-cash purse worth more than $50,000. To claim the Classic spot, the Open winner must compete in all three of the division’s tournaments.


About 140 co-anglers will also be on the James River this week. They’ll compete from the backs of pros’ boats for a first prize of a bass rig valued at $35,000.


The 280 anglers have already begun to arrive in Richmond, Va., and the surrounding area. Open anglers can practice for as many days as they wish to leading up to the competition. The full field will compete for two days. Only the Top 12 pros and co-anglers will advance to the finals on the third day.


The public is invited to watch the morning launches from Osborne Park, 9530 Osborne Turnpike, Henrico, Va. Takeoff time is set for 6 a.m. ET. Weigh-ins on the first two days will be at Osborne park beginning at 2 p.m. ET. The finale weigh-in will move to the Bass Pro Shops location in Ashland at 11550 Lakeridge Parkway; it’s set to begin at 3 p.m. ET. There is no admission charge for any Bassmaster event. will provide online coverage.



Posted By The Bass Hog

elite series logo

MANY, La. — Brent Chapman will turn 40 in early July. That’s a milestone he didn’t want to celebrate without having ticked the box next to a top career goal: a Bassmaster Elite Series win.


Let the party begin.


Starting at 11th place on Thursday, then jumping to lead for the next two days, the pro from Lake Quivira, Kan., closed on the Toledo Bend Battle trophy Sunday. His winning weight of 83 pounds, 9 ounces gave him a margin of victory of 4 pounds, 4 ounces over Cliff Pace of Petal, Miss., who tallied 79-5 for second place.


“I feel awesome,” said Chapman. “This is one more check-off on the list of my goals.”


His Elite win was worth $100,000, enough points to take over in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year points race and a berth in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic.


The Classic qualification was his second of the season; the first one came by winning a Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open in February. Because he already had the 2013 Classic entry sewn up, it was the Elite victory that made his day. He was never sure he had the win until the scales stopped moving on his Sunday bag.


“I truly felt I needed 20 pounds today to have a shot at winning this,” he added. “I had a lot more than I thought I did.”


The Sunday scales settled on 23-11. The icing on the weight was a last-hour bass that almost offered itself to him.


“I throw my spoon out, go to reel it in, and I see the spoon at about 5 feet from the boat — and a 4-pounder is behind it. I ‘killed’ the spoon — kind of dropped it — and the bass sucked it in. I just whipped it into the boat. When stuff like that happens, I think, ‘Maybe I am supposed to win this deal.’”


Throughout the week, the winner’s focus went much deeper. He worked several spots, but particularly one area that held schools of big bass 25 to 30 feet deep. He used a 5-inch, 1 1/4-ounce flutter spoon with a silver finish modified with a 2/0 Lazer TroKar treble, or worked a Tightlines green pumpkin UV Hog on a 3/4-ounce football jig.


The spoon was a lure he picked up at a tackle store, and it had no brand name, Chapman said. A lover of fishing banks and shallows, Chapman steeled himself to go deep during the Toledo Bend Battle, and turned to the spoon to help him.

Posted By The Bass Hog

GREEN RIVER, Wyo. — Shane Baertsch was finished fishing at 10 a.m. today, but even with four hours left to fish, the Montana angler had enough to take the Day 2 lead at the 2012 Cabela’s Bassmaster Federation Nation Western Divisional on Flaming Gorge Reservoir.


“I switched to fishing for bedding bass this morning after the wind died and caught two good smallmouth — 2 to 2 1/4 pounds each — off beds,” said Baertsch, a foreman at Montana Rail. “Those filled out my limit. I never threw anything back today.”


Baertsch’s total weight is 23 pounds, 15 ounces. Behind him are Wyoming’s Stephen Siddoway, 23-11; Idaho’s Josh Polfer, 23-10; and Arizona’s Andy Bravence, 23-8.

Baertsch worked a reaction bite yesterday, when it was good enough for a limit of 11 pounds, 14 ounces. He continued it this morning when the conditions changed. And as long as nobody gets to his spot — a 200-yard area — he thinks he could find another limit there tomorrow.


Baertsch tied for his team lead yesterday with Randy Gust, but now he has a 4 1/2-pound lead on Gust, which puts him in a good position for a qualification to the 2012 Cabela’s Bassmaster Federation Nation Championship in October on Alabama’s Wheeler Lake.

He joins several other team leaders with a 4-plus-pound margin. Andy Bravence of Arizona, Jason Hemminger of California, Frank Villa of Colorado, Franco Vallejos of New Mexico and Ryan Furno of Oregon all have strong leads in their states and could potentially leave tomorrow’s weigh-in with an invitation to the championship.


Other states have much tighter races. Mike Lavallee of Utah has 19 pounds, 14 ounces, only 10 ounces more than Tyler Swaney. Jeremy Percifield has a slim 5-ounce lead over Gene Batey Jr. in Washington’s competition. A weight of 3 pounds separates Idaho contenders Josh Polfer (leader) and Brent Shores, as well as Nevada contenders Timothy Klinger (leader) and David Naugle. In Wyoming, Stephen Siddoway is a little more than a pound ahead of Bill Golightly.


The state team competition heated up today, with Washington making a huge leap from seventh place yesterday to second today with 159 pounds, 11 ounces total. That puts Washington less than 14 pounds behind two-day leader Wyoming. Utah now sits in third place with 151 pounds, 15 ounces. The winning state will take home a Triton/Yamaha/MotorGuide/Lowrance boat package worth $35,000.


On the whole, the competitors kept their fish today, rather than throwing some back earlier in the morning in hopes of getting a bigger bite. The no-cull rule has forced anglers to make their best predictions of what size fish lie in wait for them. If they guess wrong and throw what they think are small fish back, they could end up without a limit.


The biggest fish today was a 4-pound, 13-ounce smallmouth caught by Mike Kramer of Utah.


Courtesy of BASS Communications.

Posted By The Bass Hog

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- For B.A.S.S. conservation director Noreen Clough, maintaining the status quo in the nation’s fisheries is not enough. Her goal is to see fish habitats thrive, and a new partnership with B.A.S.S. and Friends of Reservoirs (FOR) promises to further that objective. B.A.S.S. officially became an affiliate member of the FOR in May.

“Friends of Reservoirs offers an outstanding opportunity for B.A.S.S. and the B.A.S.S Federation Nation conservation programs to concentrate our habitat restoration and enhancement efforts where they will do the most good,” said Clough, who served 20 years with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “The Reservoir Fish Habitat Partnership (RFHP) under the National Fish Habitat Partnership was a dream come true for me as B.A.S.S. conservation director, and through Friends of Reservoirs partnerships, we can make that dream a reality.”

“Most of the reservoirs in this country are approaching or exceeding 50 years old and are mired in the ‘bust’ portion of their lifecycle,” said Boxrucker. “To sustain the quality of angling currently enjoyed, the decline in habitat quality needs to be reversed or future generations of anglers will not enjoy the same quality of angling that we, and those who taught and inspired us to fish, have enjoyed.”

The National Fish Habitat Partnership ( was formed in 2007 to bring together aquatic resource users to address habitat issues across the country. The RFHP ( is charged with the task of forming partnerships among reservoir users to address declining habitat and water quality in our nation’s reservoirs. The RFHP has developed the infrastructure to help bring reservoir users together to restore and enhance the quality of aquatic habitat in reservoirs to the benefit of society. Through the FOR, RFHP is creating a network of concerned agencies, organizations and individuals to work cooperatively in restoring reservoir fisheries habitat.

For more information on reservoir habitat restoration efforts, visit


Courtesy of BASS Communications.