Admittedly, we at FLWOutdoors.com have a pretty standard approach to covering bass tournaments. Following weigh-in, a story is posted each night that includes interviews from the top five pros. In general, this method works as fans are naturally drawn to those who are catching the heaviest stringers. Occasionally, the system fails to capture an interesting story. At Lake Eufaula, sixth-place finisher Kelley Jaye was that interesting story.
Yep, just what we need – yet another Alabama rig opinion piece. I promise mine will offer a different perspective, one coming from a writer with no vested interest. In a nutshell, I contend that one of the main arguments against the A-rig is completely unfounded. Let me start with a quick story.
Secret is out as Minnetonka, Minn., company launches new Scatter Rap line
The company that introduced the Original Floater, Shad Rap and DT Series says its newest line of lures could be its most successful yet. And so far, action is speaking louder than words as all the major industry retailers, including Walmart, have purchased a piece of the action.
North Carolina pro seeks continued success after breakout season
All too often in professional fishing the limelight goes to those who make the top-10 cuts and hoist the six-figure checks above their heads. Matt Arey never made any of those cuts, nor did he win a tournament in 2012, yet he still had by any standard a “career year.”
Trigger X Flutter Worm fits bill as Senko alternative
I’ll admit it; I’m a Senko aficionado. My friends, family and even co-workers chide me for how often I throw Yamamoto’s famous soft-plastic stickbait. Guess what? I don’t care. Mock me all you want, but if you’re a serious bass fisherman, you appreciate the efficacy of the Senko. It’s simple, and in the spring, it’s nearly impossible to beat.
News and notes from the annual sportfishing convention
While I’ve watched ICAST from afar for many years, the 2012 show was the first I attended in person. My foremost impression is that you cannot appreciate the true scope of the event unless you’re physically present. The sheer size of the show is overwhelming with over 400 exhibitors and 375,000 feet of show room floor, which makes for incredibly sore human hoofs by the end of the 8-hour day. The theme of the week was growth. Fishing license sales are up and both exhibitors and buyers were optimistic about continued industry growth. This is all great news.
Ever-improving Meyer quietly climbs to fifth in Angler of the Year race
On the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour, Chris Gilman is known as “Mr. Consistency” as he seemingly never has a bad tournament. Although they target a completely different species of fish, 29-year-old Cody Meyer is following in Gilman’s footsteps on the Walmart FLW Tour.
We knew it wouldn’t take long for the top FLW Tour pros to tweak the umbrella rig, we just didn’t know exactly what direction it would go. After witnessing the recent FLW Tour Major on Table Rock Lake, it appears that direction is smaller, flashier and more nimble. Case in point – Spencer Shuffield.
Recent rains in the Branson, Mo., area have the water levels rising once again. Fishing fans may remember that the 2011 Walmart FLW Tour event scheduled for Table Rock Lake had to be canceled due to severe flooding. Last year, Table Rock was 20 feet above full pool at one point. Presently the lake is a more reasonable 4 feet above normal.
Canadian angler gains huge fan following after top-20 finish
There were several compelling storylines at the season-opening Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee – from Roland Martin’s impressive return to Brandon McMillan’s emotional fifth-place finish just weeks after his father’s passing. Randall Tharp, of course, garnered the most attention by breaking through and notching his first Tour win on his favorite lake.
When the 2012 National Guard FLW Walleye Tour schedule was announced back in December, the first person on everyone’s mind was Bill Shimota – specifically how the schedule fit him to a “T.” Of the five venues FLW is visiting, Shimota has won major tournaments at three of them. And the two locations where he hasn’t won happen to be his favorite bodies of water.
I’m frequently asked for fishing gift advice around the holiday season – often by wives, girlfriends and mothers. The spectrum varies from a tackle box suggestion for a 5-year-old to deep-diving crankbait recommendations for the hardcore ledge fisherman, but the advice for women is typically cut and dry. Among men, the question I’m most often asked is how to build an efficient tackle box – one that consists only of quality lures that get regular use. Unfortunately, that one is anything but cut and dry.
It’s been almost a month since Paul Elias first tied on an Alabama rig and completely transformed Lake Guntersville and the final Walmart FLW Tour event of the 2011 season. The insanity surrounding the five-wire contraption, which looks more like my 8th-grade head gear than a fishing lure, hasn’t died. In fact, this could be just the tip of the iceberg.
As a Minnesota fisherman, I’m at my happiest in April when the snow is just about melted and you can feel the sun’s warmth getting stronger. My mouth waters with anticipation for the coming season as I plan trips, work on tackle and rig the boat. Weeks later the black crappies slowly make their way to the shallows, followed in sequential order by bass and then bull bluegills. Once I’m sick of skinny water, I can head offshore where the walleyes are chomping. Pure bliss. In May and early June I spend just about every free second I have on the water.
By now, everyone knows Scott Martin walked away as the winner of the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup. It was an impressive offshore performance that rightfully earned him the trophy and the big check. Second-place pro Randall Tharp had his chances, but failed to capitalize on some big bites he received the first and last days. But don’t feel too bad for Tharp, because his time is coming – likely sooner rather than later.
The pomp and circumstance of ICAST 2011 has come and gone. After 1,270 booths and 400,000 square feet of product, we are left with a list of 22 Best of Show winners. These 22 products are considered the stars of the world’s largest sportfishing trade show. But I will argue the success or failure of these products has yet to be determined.
It’s the second weekend in May, and that means walleye opener in the great state of Minnesota. Thousands of anglers will be heading north this afternoon en route to walleye factories such as Leech, Cass, Winnie, Upper Red and of course, Mille Lacs.
The state of Wisconsin has been in the news lately for various reasons. On the fishing front, there is a bill working its way through the State Assembly that would eliminate the ban against culling in bass tournaments. That’s overdue and if passed, will eliminate tons of confusion and controversy. Based on last year’s ABA fiasco in La Crosse, a lot of people think Wisconsin’s fishing laws are crazy. But if you want crazy, come on over to my home state of Minnesota.
It’s the spot infamously coined as the “bubble boy” – reserved for the highest-finishing player who doesn’t get paid at the World Series of Poker Main Event. And that’s where FLW Tour pro Tim McDonald stood last July in Las Vegas, 748th out of the 7,319 players registered. Had McDonald finished one place higher, he would have earned the guaranteed minimum of $19,263.
It might sound trite, but each year I make a fishing-related New Year’s resolution. In 2011, I’m upping the ante and making two. One is a lofty goal that will certainly take longer than a calendar year to perfect. I’m just hoping to get the basics down and begin to feel comfortable. The other is simple and can hopefully be conquered within a few weeks.
I’m not going to beat around the bush; I’m awesome. I absolutely smoked the fish yesterday – mainly bass, but plenty of crappies and northern pike too. I’ll even tell you where I was fishing – Lake Minnetonka in the west metro of the Twin Cities. My best five probably weighed around 25 or 26 pounds. They were all largemouths and they found a temporary home in the livewell of my new Ranger Z520.
We’re over two weeks removed from the 2010 FLW Walleye Tour Championship on Leech Lake, and I still can’t stop smiling (I’m not alone either). And to be honest, the smiles are long overdue. After a trying year, things are finally turning around in the walleye industry, and the prospects for 2011 look incredible.
One morning back in July, my spouse abruptly woke me to a news report of continued violence on the U.S.-Mexican border. At 6 a.m., I was in that halfway stage between sleep and consciousness. Why is she waking me up? My alarm doesn’t go off for another hour. In a daze, I remembered hearing the terms Mexican drug cartel, Falcon Lake, Today Show and machine guns.
As of yesterday, July 19, Lake Lanier is officially off-limits to all Forrest Wood Cup qualifiers. In other words, the first round of practice is in the books. Competitors can return to action Saturday, July 31, the first of four official practice days. The word from prepractice is that despite the sultry summer conditions, a few plump spotted bass were caught.