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Posted By The Bass Hog


MUSKEGON, Mich. — How’s this for a twist on a professional fishing tournament? Kevin VanDam, Edwin Evers, Cliff Pace and Hank Cherry didn’t really care which of them caught the biggest bags of bass after two days of competition on Muskegon Lake in the Evan Williams Bourbon Championship.
All that mattered to any of them was that they were one of the four pros to advance to the final round Sunday.
Their weights of Muskegon bass erased, the four finalists will begin again on nearby White Lake. The one-day shootout format means the pro with the most weight on Sunday will be the champ and claim the $50,000 first prize of the $100,000 purse.
The Evan Williams Bourbon Championship, the main event of the Friday-Sunday Toyota All-Star Week out of Muskegon, began with 14 Bassmaster Elite Series pros. Each competed for two days on Muskegon Lake in hopes they’d be one of the final four.
For the record, Elite Series rookie Cherry of Maiden, N.C., headed the leaderboard after Saturday with 30 pounds, 5 ounces over two days.
Cherry started his day by hooking into a 3-pound largemouth on a spinnerbait off a point he’d never stopped at before.
“That set the mood,” he said, adding that the point got his attention because of the way the wind was blowing on it.
He moved on to his other spots, amassing a limit. He hauled in a 4-pounder at about 2 p.m., the final fish to push his weight close to 17 pounds.
At 2:30, he called it quits for the day and checked in. One reason he left the water was because recreational boat traffic had chopped up the weeds in his key areas, and the water became unfishable, he said.
He was done anyway. “I figured I had over 16 pounds, and someone would have to really rack them to catch me,” he said.
Home-state favorite Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo didn’t, but his 12-6 for the day and a two-day total of 26-6 was enough to stay in the game.
VanDam said he had a “big bite” early Saturday on his second stop.
“That was what put me in (the finals),” he said. “I’m excited to be fishing tomorrow.”
Evers had his own way of celebrating: He hooted with jubilation.
Evers brought in 13-3 Saturday to claim his ticket to White Lake. One catch made all the difference.
“It was that smallmouth I caught right off the bat; it was a giant,” Evers said. “It was a 4-pounder. It was the fish that really changed things for me.”
He filled his five-fish limit with four largemouth, going at them any way he could think of. He flipped a jig, tried a topwater and flipped docks all day long.
“A little bit of everything,” he said.
Pace, the 2013 Classic champ from Petal, Miss., who led the Muskegon competition on the first day, held on to claim the last seat for the trip to White Lake.
“I fished for smallmouth here. I thought it would be the way to survive — which I did,” Pace said.
One shy of a five-fish limit, his Day 2 game was based on quality, not quantity. 
He’s over the smallmouth, he said.
“On White, I’m going to fish for kicker largemouth. You won’t see me with a spinning rod,” he said.
All 14 All-Star pros were given just one day of practice on White Lake earlier in the week. It was all the time most have ever had on the small fishery, with the exception of VanDam. 
There’s no admission fee for Bassmaster events.

Courtesy of BASS Communications.  Photo:  James Overstreet.

Posted By The Bass Hog


MUSKOGEE, Okla. — Knowing those tight little places to flip his lures into made the difference for Dale Hightower today at the Bass Pro Shops Central Open on the Arkansas River.

The Mannford, Okla., angler lives about an hour from the river, so he relied on his knowledge of the waters to catch a five-fish limit weighing 15 pounds, 2 ounces and take the lead in the pro division. To find the bass, Hightower would make a couple of flips to certain trees and catch a keeper, then move on to the next target.

“That is just home field advantage, knowing where those little key spots are,” said Hightower, who qualified for the 2011 Bassmaster Classic through the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship.

“There is so much pressure on the river, and a lot of us are fishing the same stuff,” Hightower said. “You just have to do something a little bit different and put that bait in a little bit different spot where you don’t think everybody else has hit.

 “The day started out pretty well. I had four by 8:15 and caught a lot of fish.  I didn’t have that good of a practice. It was kind of hit and miss, and I wasn’t sure what I had. I knew where some fish were and kind of laid off of them. I went out Sunday, and I didn’t even have a keeper. It was discouraging so I definitely knew what not to do.”

Staying off his better spots in practice paid off for Hightower as he caught 12 keepers today.  “I didn’t stay and burn up the same fish today so I am happy about that. Hopefully I’ve got something left in the bank for tomorrow.”

Despite breaking down and having to hitch a ride from fellow angler Mark Tyler to get his fish to the weigh-in on time, Trevor Romans finished in second place with a 14-9 limit. “Other than the boat problems, my day went pretty well,” said Romans. “I had a limit in about three hours and then kind of backed off my fish.”

The Plano, Texas, angler was able to fish for about five hours. On his way back, his motor lost power, and he had to have it towed back by the Boat US tow service.

 Rounding out the Top 5 on the pro side are Mark Goines, Shady Point, Okla., third, 14-2; Stephen Mitchell, Rinehart, La., fourth, 13-13; and Dennis Tietje, Roanoke, La., fifth, 13-11.

Hulbert, Okla., angler John Thomas leads the co-angler division with three fish weighing 9-13. “We had a better day than I expected,” he said. “We caught quite a few fish. I had five or six keepers on today.”

Thomas caught all of his fish flipping to wood.

Courtesy of BASS Communications.

Posted By The Bass Hog



CASCO, Maine — A Connecticut B.A.S.S. Nation team member leads the 2013 B.A.S.S. Nation Eastern Divisional after Thursday’s competition. This time, it’s Connecticut’s Paul Mueller, who overtook the top spot from his teammate, Al Gambardella, on Maine’s Sebago Lake.
Mueller, a guide on Candlewood Lake, brought in 10 pounds, 6 ounces on Day 1 to land in second place. On Day 2, he added 11-7.
“Yesterday, all my bass were cookie cutters,” said Mueller, referring to his Wednesday limit of 2-pounders. “Today, I had a 4-pounder.”
A 5-7 bass helped Gambardella on Day 1, but he brought in a limit of small fish on Day 2. Gambardella is only 4 ounces behind Mueller, though, so it’s still anyone’s game.
“I need to slow down, grind it out and see what happens,” said Gambardella.
Mueller agrees that it will be a grind, but he’s looking for that one big fish to keep him at the top.
“On this lake, one 6- or 7-pounder will seal the deal,” said Mueller.
That weight seemed unbelievable at the beginning of the Day 2 weigh-in. Jimmy Lowe, the tournament director for the Maine B.A.S.S. Nation and the weighmaster for this event, said he expected to see a 6-pounder brought to the scales. The crowd laughed. When asked to vote if a 6-pounder would cross the stage on Day 2, only three people raised their hands.
Lowe was right. Lewis Mendall of Rhode Island hoisted a 6-1 beauty near the end of the weigh-in. He’s currently in the lead for Carhartt Big Bass honors. The angler who catches the biggest bass of the tournament will take home $500.
So when Mueller says a 6- or 7-pounder is what he’s looking for on the final day, he might be right.
“The potential is there,” he said. Mueller wanted to catch smallmouth, but he hasn’t been able to find the right ones. “If the wind blows tomorrow, I can put smallmouth in the equation. It takes wind to get them to position right.
“The fish are on the move in a weird transition. They’re suspended — not on a bank and not schooled. They’re kind of isolated and very spooky.
“I’m just going to fish the conditions, the way I’ve been doing,” continued Mueller. “The fish are repositioning every day. It’s a grind.”
As tournament leader, Mueller is also tops on his state team. If Mueller’s lead in Connecticut holds up, he’ll join his colleagues from other states at the 2013 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship on Lake Dardanelle in Russellville, Ark., Oct. 24-26. Other state leaders at the end of Day 2 are Lawrence Hogue, Maine; Randy Phillips, Massachusetts; John Wright, New Hampshire; Randy Lamanche, New York; Larry MacPhail, Ontario; Leo Bevelaqua, Rhode Island; Eric Corbella Salvia, Spain; and Skip Sjobeck, Vermont.
Connecticut fell from first place on Day 1 to the host state, Maine, which now leads the state competition with 116 pounds, 9 ounces. Connecticut is still in the race with 110-13, and New York is in third with 81-4.
As leader on Day 2, Mueller wins the $250 Livingston Lures Leader Award. Point Sebago Resort awards $300 to the angler with the biggest bag each day. For Day 2, that prize went to John Wright of New Hampshire, who brought in 11 pounds, 12 ounces.
The adults will be joined on stage by competitors in the one-day Junior Bassmaster tournament. Launch takes place at 6:15 a.m. ET at Point Sebago Resort in Casco, Maine, and the weigh-in will be in the same place at 2:15 p.m. ET.


Courtesy of Bass Communications.

Posted By The Bass Hog

Kermit Crowder


ATHENS, Ala. – The Toyota Bassmaster Weekend Series, operated by American Bass Anglers, Maryland Division 21 two-day divisional championship, held Sept. 7-8, 2013, on the Potomac River proved even more lucrative than usual for Kermit C. Crowder.

Running out of Smallwood State Park near Marbury, Md., the Petersburg, Va., angler caught seven bass weighing 28.56 pounds to win the Boater Division. He also won the tournament big bass honors with a 6.87-pounder.

Crowder not only collected a $3,691 in winnings from ABA for his victory, but he took home generous prizes from the Royal Purple Royal Treatment program as the highest finishing Royal Purple Royal Rewards boater participant in the event. As a Royal Purple Level 1 participant, Crowder won a gallon of Royal Purple oil and a Royal Purple hat.

Are you registered to receive your rewards after the next BWS tournament? To register, just purchase any Royal Purple product and follow the rules posted at

For more information on this bonus program, call ABA at 256-232-0406. On line, see

About American Bass Anglers: American Bass Anglers commitment is to provide low cost, close to home tournaments for the weekend angler and at the same time offer each competitor an upward path for individual angler progression. For more information about American Bass Anglers, visit


The Bass Hog Jonathan Marlow finished 31st overall and was lucky enough to fish with Kermit Crowder on day 1 of the tournament.  This was the final event of the 2013 season and the Bass Hog Jonathan Marlow finished 25th overall for the season and appears to have advanced to the post season Northern Regional to be held in Williamsburg, VA on the James River October 11-12, 2013.


final standings two day tournament:


final standings for the year MD division 21:


Courtesy of American Bass Anglers/David Hagood.

Posted By The Bass Hog

SANDUSKY, Ohio — Failure is not an option, and Fletcher Shryock is feeling the pressure going into the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Open on Lake Erie out of Sandusky, Ohio, Sept. 12-14. The stress is self-imposed, but the young pro from Newcomerstown, Ohio, can’t alleviate it — not with a Bassmaster Classic berth at stake.
“I have to win,” Shryock said. “I’ve got this hero-or-zero mentality. I’ve been carrying it for a while, and it’s not fun. It makes you feel like you have to swing for the fences or try something oddball to make it work instead of just letting things happen the way they should sometimes.”
Shryock said he’s ready to compete on Lake Erie — which sits at No. 5 on Bassmaster Magazine’s list of “100 Best Bass Lakes” for 2013 — and he’s as prepared as he can be for constantly changing conditions. He is concerned about the fickle nature of the fishery’s smallmouth bass.
“I had the best day of smallmouth fishing of my life the other day, weight-wise,” Shryock said. “I stopped back on the same area later that day and never caught another bass. It had been one 4 1/2-pounder after another, but when I got back, it was drum and walleye. Timing will be key. I’m going to keep running the stuff where they are likely to show up. With so much wind blowing, the fish move around a lot.”
Shryock has given his game plan considerable thought, deciding that he will focus on making a small number of bites count.
“I think to win up there right now, you might only get six or seven bites in a day,” he said. “At the St. Clair event, I only had a handful of bites and didn’t execute. You have to execute to win.”
Shryock made the long run to Erie from Lake St. Clair in Detroit, Mich., during the Bassmaster Elite Series Plano Championship Chase in late August. He finished 89th but is more optimistic about his chances in the Erie Open next week.
 “I think it was the bait I was using. And things just didn’t go my way,” Shryock said. “I’ve spent eight days now, counting the St. Clair tournament, fishing (Erie). I’m ready.”
Another Bassmaster Elite Series pro, Michael Simonton of nearby Fremont, Ohio, predicts that weather will play a role in the Northern Open.
“In September and October, there’s a good chance we’ll have a day canceled,” he said. “If the wind blows out of the northeast, it will be rough. The waves have all the way from Buffalo to build until they get down to the western basin.”
 “We’ll go from launching and running 70 miles to running just 25 or 30 miles,” he explained. “I only had three or four hours to fish (at the Elite event), and it was super rough. With waves that big, sometimes casting can be ineffective because you get a big loop in the line. That makes it hard to pick up the bite.
“At this tournament, I’ll have almost double the time to fish. That is a humongous difference.”
Simonton predicts anglers will catch bass from 3 feet to 30 feet deep, though he expects the winning smallies to be hooked in the 20- to 30-foot range.
Simonton says largemouth fishing can be productive, but he’s confident it’s going to take bronzebacks to win the three-day tournament with more than 61 or 62 pounds total.
Other Elite Series pros competing include: Kurt Dove of Del Rio, Texas; Boyd Duckett of Demopolis, Ala.; Matt Greenblatt of Port St. Lucie, Fla.; Charlie Hartley of Grove City, Ohio; Kevin Hawk of Guntersville, Ala.; Timmy Horton of Muscle Shoals, Ala.; Randy Howell of Springville, Ala.; Michael Iaconelli of Pitts Grove, N.J.; Chad Pipkens of Holt, Mich.; Chip Porche of Bixby, Okla.; Derek Remitz of Grant, Ala.; Jonathon VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich.; and Chris Zaldain of San Jose, Calif.

Courtesy of BASS Communications.