Category Archives: BASS Tour

Basketball smasketball….

Sure this is an exciting week because of March Madness, but what has me all geeked out right now is the warm weather in Minnesota, on the bring of open water bass fishing in March and the Bassmaster Elite Series starting tomorrow on the St. John’s River.  So here are my picks, listen to the podcast to get the 411 and the logic.

Podcast Powered By Podbean

Mean while, I need to remember to call tomorrow and check if my hot foot will be done so I can pick my boat up before the weekend!   I did fill out a few NCAA brackets, but I spent more time thinking about my Fantasy Fishing lineup.

Still need to get caught up on the latest Major League Fishing episode.

2012 Bassmaster Classic Final Day – Red River

If you were glued to your laptop. tablet or phone all day you probably had a pretty good idea that this was going to be a two horse race at the final weigh-in.  BASS does a good job of getting you a feel of what is going on and who the players are but leave just enough detail out to make it exciting to watch the final weigh-ins online and the following weekend on ESPN2.

Congratulations to Chris Lane on becoming the 42nd Bassmaster Classic champion.  More details will come out this week with exact details on locations, lures and patterns, but I think there are a few things that are already interesting. 
Chris Lane
Photo by James Overstreet

I thought the biggest part of Chris Lane’s victory was his game plan and his decision to fish a pattern rather then just devote his Classic hopes to a single area.  He really did the best job of managing his fish, the spectators and executed very well.  Day 1 he milked an area for a solid 16lbs bag that tied him with his brother for 6th.  Then on day 2, he fished completely new areas feeling his day 1 spot was depleted.  He fished in both pools 4 & 5, locking midday.  Part of the reason was, he thought spectators could be an issue in his Pool 5 area, so he chose to lock down to start his day in 4 and then return midday to finish up and fish for bigger fish in a smaller area and maximize the end of his day closer to the ramp.

Pile of used Ugly Otters building up on Day 3 of his Classic Victory!

He credits a few G4 tube bait from Luck E Strike and a Gambler Ugly Otter creature bait, predominantly in Bowen’s Silver.

It was awesome to watch another angler achieve a life long dream and secure a career in personal bass fishing, seems like every time someone other then KVD wins a classic, I get goose bumps and chills as the scale locks in and they clinch victory!


2012 Bassmaster Classic Day 2 – Red River

As expected, things changed on day 2, from the weather to the conditions to the fish to the leaderboard, it was a ripple effect.  Greg Vinson still holds down the runner up spot, but instead of being an ounce behind Mr. Poche he is a full pound behind a surging Chris Lane who brought a tournament’s best 19lbs 4oz to the scale today.

Photo by James Overstreet

For me, their were two surprises today following today’s coverage, there is a fair amount of sight fishing happening as bass are moving up on beds and the other was Timmy Horton’s super sweet throwback jump suit.  I didn’t expect bedding fish to be factor, but it is obviously happening.  Even sweeter was Horton’s tournament attire, I am guessing he will wear it again tomorrow as he was tied for 3rd biggest bag of the day.

The top two anglers do have a little distance from the pack, but not much.  I think it is pretty wide open down through the top 6 or so and the top 12 are still in the game.  Outside of the top 12, it would take some serious 20lb plus bags and some stumbling on top to make that happen. All reports point this to being a grinder’s tournament, jigs and soft plastics seem to be dominating.

Everything is shaping up to be another exciting Bassmaster Classic final day!  I am putting my money on Vinson, but Lane is surging, either way a huge career booster for either angler!

On a side note, my fantasy team surged from 19% to 45% and I still got 3 guys alive fishing day 3 that can move me up, but only 1 is a any threat at all for the top spot, which is Keith Combs and he is a long shot at 11th.


2012 Bassmaster Classic Day 1 – Red River

Interestingly enough the top of day one’s leaderboard is not held down by the biggest stars in bass fishing.  The top spot is held down by a home grown Cajun by the name of Keith Poche with a stout 17lbs 13oz, but his lead is ultra slim as Alabama’s Greg Vinson is only a single ounce behind.  Quite possibly the bigger issue for the leaders is the 6 anglers with 16lb bags right on their heels and there are some heavy hitters in that bunch of anglers (Edwin Evers, Lane Brothers, Ott Defoe, David Walker & Dustin Wilks). See Full Standings

Photo by Seigo Seito

The top two anglers have nearly a 2lb lead over the next group and a positive for them is that they both commented that they did not have much company and have a good amount of water to themselves.  This could be a very positive sign over the next two days for Poche & Vinson, but I would be very afraid of Evers and Walker, look for these guys to make a move tomorrow.

In all reality, anybody with 10lbs or more are not completely out of it if they can put 18-20lbs on the scales the next two days.  Overnight lows are supposed to drop a bit tonight and tomorrow is supposed to be cooler, calm & sunny.  This is more then likely to cause a shake up in the leaderboard come tomorrow afternoon.  So yes, anglers like KVD are still in this, but they need to make a move tomorrow to be in the hunt on Sunday.

Man do I regret taking Keith Poche out of my fantasy fishing line-up and inserting Brandon Palaniuk during our podcast on Wednesday

Make sure to tune into tomorrow, great coverage from BassCam, War Room, & BassTrakk, but do keep in mind, there are always errors on the BassTrakk.

We’ll close out this entry with a neat little video from Poche’s practice….


Ready for the 2012 Classic?

While a February Bassmaster Classic almost assures it will never be in my back yard, I do admit it if fun to look forward to this time of year.  Today was the last official day of practice for the 49 anglers, tomorrow is media day and the tournament action starts Friday morning  Hopefully we do not have the fog delays that plagued the 2011 Bassmaster Classic.

For those that have been part of my Fantasy Fishing leagues in the past, I have joined forces with Bass Utopia.  So join the Bass Utopia League, they will be doling out the prizes, I think the winner of Classic week will be winning a Abu Garcia Veritas flipping stick!!!!  So be sure to join the group, play every week and you could be a winner!

If you need help picking a lineup, check out our Fantasy Fishing Insider podcast.  Too lazy for that, check out my starting lineup for this year’s Classic.  I will be posting my lineups here all season long, but you will have to tune into the podcast to get the logic and details.

Along with the Classic, comes the itch to start buying tackle and gear, so to make room, I have been adding things to my eBay store this week, so check it out for some bargains!

Also, quick report on the 2nd Elimination Round from Major League Fishing, it may have been more exciting then the first show.  Couple of notables:
Alabama Rig or Meat Rake was a factor again
IKE goes psycho, big surprise???
Jerkbait is a major player again
Flipping Bite is found

Anticipation grows for the next episode, waiting a week between episodes has been only downside thus far…

My thoughts on 2012 Bassmaster Elite Series Schedule

Looks like 8 stops again this year, nice mix of venues.  Although, I have reason to believe some/all pros knew some of these venues ahead of time as several Elite Series pros were sighted fishing in La Crosse a few weeks ago.  Also, nothing about an All-Star week as of now, so maybe details still to come or maybe gone all together.

Also note, several conflicts with FLW Tour, so no chance of full time 2 tour pros in 2012.  But with only 8 event, many pros will have to supplement with PAA, EverStarts or Opens to make a full schedule to support their families and sponsor obligations.

Dates: March 15-18
Venue: St. Johns River

Host: Palatka, Fla.
Notes: Back to St. Johns, should be another fun event and sight fishing should play a role again.

Dates: March 22-25
Venue: Lake Okeechobee

Host: Okeechobee, Fla.
Size: 470,000 surface acres (about half the size of Rhode Island!)
Impounded: Natural with many levees and dikes
Notes: The Big O is on fire right now, should be an awesome event and expect a century belt or 2 to be handed out here.  Very exciting to have a BASS Tour level event on Okeechobee.

Dates: April 19-22
Venue: Bull Shoals Lake

Host: Arkansas
Size: 45,000 surface acres
Impounded: 1951
Been awhile since BASS has been here on a Tour level, but Bull Shoals is a historic fishery and adds a nice flavor to the mix of events for the season.

Dates: May 3-6
Venue: Douglas Lake

Host: Dandridge, Tenn.
Size: 30,000 surface acres
Impounded: 1943
Notes: Not much history here, but they did have an Open event last year.  Good to see the best anglers on some new water.  Good lake, but will provide some challenges, not a whack fest by any means.

Dates: June 7-10
Venue: Toledo Bend Reservoir

Host: Many, La.
Size: 185,000 surface acres (fifth largest man-made reservoir in the U.S.)
Impounded: 1969
Notes: Toledo Bend has been a very popular stop on the Bassmaster Tournament Trail over the years. Thirteen professional events have been held here, including the 2011 Bassmaster Elite Series Battle on the Bayou won by Arizona’s Dean Rojas with 70-15. Should be a good time to be there, deep bite should be heating up and anglers  should catch some monsters and heavy bags!

Dates: June 21-24
Venue: Mississippi River

Host: La Crosse, Wis.
Notes: I think this event will open some eyes, these guys are really going to catch them here.  Expect majority of anglers to weigh limits and lots of 3lb fish to be found, both largemouth and smallmouth.  They will probably launch out of the top of Pool 8, probably an even split of anglers will lock up to Pool 7 or stay in Pool 8.  You will learn about the home of the “Swim Jig”.  This section of river has everything.  Watch out for Frog anglers to potentially dominate here!  Put this on my list to either bring boat down to watch or enter as Marshall.

Dates: June 28-July 1
Venue: It’s a secret … for now.

Host: We’re not saying, but they’ll be ready.
Size: Big enough!
Impounded: Some time ago.
Notes: I think it is pretty safe to assume, this event will be a easy day’s drive from La Crosse.  So I predict the western edge of Great Lakes like Sturgeon Bay or Escanaba (most likely destination).  Possibly a few lakes in Minnesota like Mille Lacs, Leech, Vermillion or Minnetonka.  Winneconne/Winnebago in Wisconsin.  Or maybe a swing back through to Missouri.  Either way, I think you can count on another event close to us upper midwest anglers.

Dates: Aug. 23-26
Venue: Oneida Lake

Host: Syracuse, N.Y.
Size: 51,072 surface acres
Impounded: Natural
Notes: Frequently referred to as “the thumb” because of its proximity to the New York’s famed “Finger Lakes,” Oneida has been a very popular B.A.S.S. stop in the last decade. In fact, B.A.S.S. has been here 7 times since 2003, including 3 Elite tournaments. Should be exciting as the Bassmaster Angler of the Year award and more than 30 Bassmaster Classic berths are finalized in New York.

What are your thoughts on schedule?  I do like that its a bit more stretched out as well, gives me more time to get my Fantasy Fishing lineups set!

Waiting for ice to melt

We are close to losing all this damn ice and then it will be game on soon enough. In the mean time, been listing some bass fishing goodies on my Bass Fishing eBay Store.  I am even starting to thinking about rigging my rods for practice of my first tourney in May already….

Congrats to Edwin Evers, nice come from behind victory at Citrus Slam (St Johns River) by Power Pole today.  Gotta feel good to punch his ticket to 2012 Bassmaster Classic, now he can fish stress free.  Double E is quickly becoming one of the sport’s elite, it would be cool to have Evers challenge KVD & Skeet for the AOY this year!

Photo: B.A.S.S./Gary Tramontina

Also, check out this quick video about the IMA Square Bill crankbait featuring Matt Paino from the recent Fred Hall show in Long Beach, CA!

My fellow MN anglers, stay strong, we are almost there!

St. John’s River Fantasy Picks

Been too busy to blog lately, been to Mexico and back this week already.  Still manged to get the podcast done, sorry for short notice, talked to producer to work towards publishing by Tuesday of tournament weeks.  So go here to listen to Podcast.

Otherwise, my picks – KVD, Big Show, Bernie Schultz, Chris Lane, & JVD.  BTW – what does JVD gotta do to get his face on the Fantasy Game?

I saw that JVD got some of KVD’s cookies, so I am convinced he is good to go this week!

Also, got some goodies on listed in my Bass


Fantasy prizes coming soon for Beaver & Harris chain, still need to hear from Harris Chain winner….

Winter Fishing Rod Maintenance

This post may be a little late for you anglers down south, but there are many of us that have plenty of time to clean up our rods and get them ready for spring fishing.  I was cleaning up a few rods to sell on my Bass

and the rest to clean them up for spring.  Once cork handles get super dirty, then tend to get slippery and lose their grip, which is not a formula for success when fighting big fish in the rain.

So while cleaning my rods, I made a quick video.  Click here if you don’t see it on page.

Hope some of you find it useful and make sure you follow my tip on not using your spouse’s good towels

As long as we are watching videos, here is an extended clip of Kevin VanDam’s post Bassmaster Classic press conference in case you missed streaming live on the internet.  KVD shares some really good nuggets about how he adapted and outfished some of the best anglers in the world. 

Click here for video

Also, congrats to Bryan Thrift for his FLW win on Beaver Lake today.  He is quickly becoming the biggest name on the FLW tour.  Thrift and Ehrler are pretty equivalent of what KvD & Skeet are on the Elite Series.

Stay tuned for Elite Series BASS Fantasy Fishing picks for the Harris Chain early this week!

2011 Bassmaster Classic Summary

Wow, what an event!  The weights did end up being huge like I expected, maybe even bigger then I expected, but not who I saw winning before it all started.  Cut right to the chase, Kevin VanDam dominated this event and rewrote a bunch of the record books this weekend.

In & around a host of fellow competitors,
VanDam whacked a 28-00 day-3 creel at the 2011 New Orleans Bassmaster
Classic & won easily by a monstrous 10 1/2-pound margin. His 69-11,
15-fish total smashed the previous Bassmaster Classic total-weight
record of 56-02 set by Luke Clausen at Toho in 2006.

The win continues a streak that may never be matched for as long as the sport endures. With his win today:

# Equalled Rick Clunn for most Classic victories (4) & Joined Clunn, who was previously the only angler to win back-to-back Classics.
# Won his 3rd Classic in 6 years.
# Won 5 of the 6 most recent major B.A.S.S. titles – Angler of the Year (AOY) in 2008, 2009 and 2010, and the Classic in 2010 and 2011.
# Inched within a single win of Roland Martin’s record for total career B.A.S.S. wins (19). (VanDam’s 2 12-boat-field post-season wins not included.)
# Surpassed Roland Martin’s record of 9 major B.A.S.S. titles. Roland won 9 AOY titles. VanDam has now won 6 AOY titles and 4 Classics. (Martin still holds the record for most AOY titles).
# Became the only angler ever to win 2 Classics on the same venue.
# Set a new 3-day (5 bass limit) Classic weight record of 69-11.
# Eclipsed the previously unthinkable mark of $5 million in career earnings. 

Photo courtesy of BASS – Jerry Cunningham

KVD did it by finding a great pod of big fish in an area that he had them coming to him, in true pre-spawn fashion, but so did several others.  So how did he separate him self from many other great anglers fishing the same water, luck?  Not hardly, after being glued to the coverage all they way through the post tourney press conferences, here are the bullet points on why I believe he pulled away from the field:
– Put tournament in his control, by finding right fish close enough he was not effected by fog and short fishing times
– Day 2, he felt the fish stop eating his spinnerbait they did on day 1 early on, he made a critical bait switch to a crankbait, his signature Strike King 1.5 Square Bill (chart blk back), before others clued in.  That is how he got his seperation on day 2.
– He also dialed in to the retrieves and what triggered this fish better each day then his competitors, example he used a 5.4:1 signature Quantam reel , which helped him slow down his crankbait better then other anglers that he said were fishing too fast much of the time.
– Magic Cookies don’t hurt either!!!

I think Brent Chapman had a chance, but I think in the end it was “our” warm water up north that cost him on the final day.  He said his Mississippi River fed area dropped water temperature 10 degrees over night.  So my guess is that all the melting snow in the Midwest finally reached him and cooled the water down enough to push back his fish enough to take him out of shot, although it’s doubtful that Venice area even when perfect could produce 25lb plus bags like Lake Cataouatche did.

KVD credited all his signature Quantam gear spooled with 20lb fluorocarbon, and two lures (Signature Spinnerbait in Chartreuse Sexy Shad Exclusive to

& his new Strike King 1.5 Square Bill in Chart/Blk), better get them fast, because they will sell fast!!!

Hats off to Derek Remitz, fished a great tourney, just could not get big bites on day 1 ended in 3rd and also Federation Nation Champion Brandon Palaniuk who ended up 4th, not sure why I took him off my Fantasy Team at the last minute   I look forward to watching Brandon on the Elite Series this year.