BPT behind the scenes, Pro angler butterflies, You should high viz braid

Sorry for the 1-day delay bass-heads! As you’re a-readin’ this, I’m still down in cold-ish FL at the first MLF Bass Pro Tour wildcat…no way was I missing it for a few reasons, notably it’s the start of a dang NO ENTRY FEE TOUR! That’s YUGE! So here you go, the top 5 from down here.

>> If you’re getting the BassBlaster for the first time it’s cuz a bud signed you up!

Today’s Top 5

Well, it’s for real.

Did you doubt the Bass Pro Tour? I did…a little. I mean, yep they have most of the known hammers, and yep they’ve sorta had the deal down since it’s an extension of Major League Fishing. But that’s no guarantee — lotsa stuff gets launched with all kinds of people, money or whatever, and doesn’t really have the STUFF, you know? Doesn’t have IT.

Well, so far BPT seems to have the cornbread, possibly with jalapenos — but:

> I’m talkin’ from seein’ just the first 2 days of the first-ever one. I was sniffin’ the wind, but it’s a little early to get a good scent.

> This may be obvious, but really think the make or break for this won’t be the pros. It’ll be all the folks you don’t know and may not ever see. It’s a TALL ORDER to pull off what they’re doing, even if they had a year of lead time. Will they do it? Gitcha some popcorn and take a seat in the front row….

> Will the “almost all bass count” format stick? Sounds weird but you’ll get some insight on how the pros feel about it below.

Couple mo’:

> No one told me any specifics, but from readin’ the tween-lines I’d say what we’re seein’ ain’t even close to the whole MLF/BPT enchilada. It’s not even this much:

Here’s a little proof — got a tour of the production truck…

…1 door in there had a special forces-lookin’ dude by it — Gary Klein went in. I tripped Marty Stone for a distraction, peeked in and here’s what I saw:

Thinkin’ that’s how they extract all those MLF deets from Gary’s brain? Or something else weird and unnatural?

It’s for sure different.

Honestly I think it’s mostly different. Had no idea really how different it was til I got down here and started talkin’ to the guys and listenin’ to the Live deal. For sure way different than what we’re used to. Few examples from the guys:

> Jared Lintner — “Out of habit I put all my culling buoys in my livewell…. It’s a different strategy. You don’t plan your day being in at a check-in time. So you don’t have to be anywhere. You don’t plan on hitting a spot here or there on your way back” [because there is no back — it’s just lines out at a certain time].

> Chris Lane — Talkin’ ’bout no check-in: “You don’t put anyone’s life in danger, you don’t beat up your fish or equipment, and we always have 100% live release.”

> Brandon Coulter — “Score adds excitement to the whole day. If we’re playing 1-on-1 basketball, if there’s no score what do you do with the last possession? With the regular [bass tourney] format, there’s no game-winning shot. There’s so much more strategy in this too. In the 3rd period today I got to go practice — I had a big-enough lead. You never could do that before.”

> Matt Lee — “You can’t talk to anybody. I’m staying with Jesse Wiggins and we can’t talk about the tournament. So we have no idea of what’s going on. Usually you’d have cut-weight guesses” [before the tournament, but not in these tourneys].

> Marty Robinson — “I love the breaks [timeouts] during the day…stop and take 10-15 minutes to think about things. And eat something too.”

> Josh Bertrand — “I think we’ll be healthier — those days off are key for our bodies to recover.”

> Kevin VanDam — “Scoretracker is your best friend or your worst enemy. If you can light up Scoretracker it gets in people’s heads and changes the way you fish.”

More different stuff:

> These guys have so many days off now I heard rumors of 2 new book clubs and a Jenga league, which I pick A-Mart to win.

> Splitting the field with days off means everyone isn’t fishing the exact same conditions.

> The anglers can change the rules anytime, by votin’. Just before this one they voted to allow wearing jeans (seriously). This may or may not have been motivated by Casey Ashley sayin’ he could absolutely not be a legit country musical star if he couldn’t wear jeans. Word, man, word.

> The guys are noticeably more chill at the end of the day. Not sure if it’s cuz they all know where they are in the standings already or no entry fees or what.

> They also seemed to have lotsa fun. Okay it’s the first derby so everyone’s a little happy-happy, but the “all fish count” deal seems to work out like a cross between tourney fishing and fun-fishing. BUT we’re not yet at the point where some guys are 7 tournaments in and way down in the standings so….

> There’s a whole load of new terms — periods, stages, rounds — I feel like I’m in medical school. It’s also kinda Jason Bourne with terms like “sudden death,” “elimination” and “Treadstone.”

Okay — Treadstone isn’t part of MLF…yet…but I’m pretty sure I heard Boyd Duckett say it to Johnny Morris. Also this dude was at the ramp the afternoon of day 1. Took a pic of him and then was like, What in the heck am I doing?? — dropped my camera in the bed of Kriet’s truck and beat feet outta there:

Pretty sure he was takin’ notes on Marty Robinson’s baits….

Does it FEEL different?

Asked the feeshn dudes cuz I figured it would or should, but you never know:

Day 1 anglers

> Matt Lee — “It’s kind of like fishing a Classic. It’s a blur, practice-wise, gameplan…. It feels like a wildcat tournament here with 40 boats.”

> Tommy Biffle — “It feels just the same: The weather turned bad.” [Cold front…he laughed after that.]

> Fred Roumbanis — “It feels fresh. It’s a fresh start. No records or anything.”

> Stephen Browning — “It’s felt different ever since I drove over the FL border. I’m not sure if we were in a rut and didn’t know how to get out of it or what. It’s a new beginning in pro fishing and in our careers.”

> Brett Hite — “It’s new, so it’s different. We still have to find the fish, it’s just every fish counts now.”

> Michael Neal — “I’ve always had the mentality to catch as many as I can and the big ones will come. I have the same baits tied on as if I was fishing a 5-fish tournament.” [He’s an MLF vet.]

> Andy Montgomery — “It doesn’t feel different. It feels like a bass tournament.”

> James Elam — “I did the same thing for 6 yrs, so it’s something different. Just the anticipation of that…and I like the feel of it so far. It’s a little bit more laid back, but when the tournament starts it’s more amped up.”

> Jared Lintner — “I haven’t had butterflies or a freaky weird excited feeling in a long time. I feel it now. It’s very different.”

> Ott DeFoe — “It feels different because it is. In our [pre-tournament] meeting the other day, it was almost like there were no boundaries between the anglers. Everyone was friends. That’s unique. We’re all in this together.”

Day 2 anglers

> Skeet Reese — “No. I’ve been doing this 7 years [MLF]. I’m still fishing against guys I’ve known forever, and new guys.”

> Alton Jones Sr — “It’s my 29th season as a pro, but it kind of feels like my first season again. I didn’t get nervous til last night. The last time I was this nervous was at a Classic.”

> Greg Hackney — “It feels about normal. As a 45-yr-old man it feels like this every day. Really, I’m pretty excited — it’s a big deal. No entry fee gives you a totally different outlook on life. I’m $20,000 ahead of where I was this time last year. How many guys in the eons of the sport were kept back because of that — mentally were put in a place where they never got to fish to their full potential?”

> Britt Myers — “I had the worst practice but I was still excited. I couldn’t even sleep before the first group went out.”

> Cliff Crochet — “It feels different because it’s a new tour and hopefully part of something big. But competing in a fishing tournament, it’s the same rush it’s always been.”

> Terry Scroggins — “It feels good…laid-back environment, no entry fee, no pressure, just go out and have fun.”

> Adrian Avena — “Definitely anxious and nervous.”

> Dean Rojas — “I’m excited…a lot of anxiety, almost like it’s my first tournament. It’s weird.”

> Jeff Sprague — “It’s different for me. It’s exciting to be a part of it.”

> John Murray — “It feels totally different. I’ve been nervous for 3 days. In 34 years being a pro, this is the most nervous I’ve been in a long time — nervous like amped up. The total fish count gets me nervous because I’d never considered it before.”

> Jacob Powroznik — “I’m a little nervous about catching the first one, but it’s still us against the bass.”

> Anthony Gagliardi — “It’s definitely different. It takes me back to when I first started, feeling that newness. I’m anticipating this more than if it was a regular tour event.”

> Jason Christie — “It does feel different…don’t know how this will shake out at the end of the day, the end of the tournament and the end of the year. Will I have to change the way I normally fish?”

> Paul Elias — “I’m kind of nervous. More excitement than anything.”

> Jeff Kriet — “It feels like my first tournament ever. I’m excited, I’m pumped up about fishing…nerves I haven’t had in years.”

> Mark Rose — “This is a groundbreaking moment so it’s good to be a part of something history-making, but at the end of the day it’s another day at work. You have to put fish in that Scoretracker.”

> Bobby Lane — “It feels a lot different. It’s new — a new breath of air. I haven’t felt this much pressure in 10 years. It’s a weird thing.”

> Boyd Duckett — “Everyone here wants to get off to a good start. It’s the beginning of a new era. It’s a new scoreboard. It’s like now we’re all freshmen.”

> Marty Robinson — “It’s a lot different. The whole setup, the whole format, how everything works. I’m excited and I think everybody here has butterflies.”

> Kevin VanDam — “The biggest thing is the change in the format. I’m used to having to adapt to formats and cuts…. This is really unique because we’re at a big-bass fishery but numbers still matter. Strategy will be different every day.”

> Brandon Palaniuk — “A lot of things are different, but the goal is still the same — to win. It’s still most weight.”

> Todd Faircloth — “All the buildup leading up to this day…anticipation…it’s a pretty special moment for me. I think this is history right here. It’s the start of something special.”

> Shaw Grigsby — “It’s so exciting to be a part of it. I’ve definitely been nervous the last few days. Every fish counts. I can’t catch 5 and relax. You can’t do that. You have to keep on going.”

> Mike Iaconelli — “It feels like less pressure. It’s weird. I feels more relaxed. Maybe it has something to do with no entry fees.”

Was practice different?

In the regular MLF tourneys there’s no practice. So no one had practiced before this event for one of these formats — except for Boyd of course (heehee):

> KVD — “I definitely practiced differently. You want to find schools of fish…an area with the potential for multiple bites.”

> Jacob Wheeler — “I’ve practiced 1,000 times, but I’ve never practiced for one of these things. Do I find fish, do I find groups of fish — I realized I was overthinking it.”

> Jeff Kriet — “I never had a hook in any bait. Why would you?”

> Mark Rose — “No different. Read the water the best you can, make the best decisions you can and have an open mind.”

> Brandon Palaniuk — “For this one, no. It’s FL so it’s just figuring out how to get a bite.”

> Stephen Browning — “I didn’t practice any different than if we had a 5-fish limit.”

> Matt Lee — “Practice was cut in half [vs the Elites]….felt like I needed to find an area where I could sit down and fish.”

> James Elam — “You have more condensed time. You don’t get to fish as many areas and have to fish quicker.”

> Alton Jones Sr — “I watch the conditions that are coming and I practice that way. Find a plan A, B and C….”

> Alton Jones Jr — “If you’re fishing for 5 big ones or numbers, I don’t think the gameplan is any different.”

> Cliff Crochet — “I didn’t practice different. I fish to get bit. Then a pattern may evolve for bigger bites.”

> Dean Rojas — “You don’t have time to run around so you need areas where you get a lot of bites. As long as you’re around them, you’ll get a big one.”

> Skeet Reese — “No different. Just figure out how to get bites….”

> Jeff Sprague — “Practice is the same…as many bites as we can get. The big fish will come when you find the right stuff.”

> John Murray — “We had such bad conditions during practice…. On lakes I know better I will practice differently.”

> Jacob Powroznik — “No, I always practice to get bites. When I don’t get bites, that’s when my mind starts to wonder.”

> Jason Christie — “I practiced the same. I know how to do what I do, then I’ll see if it has to change.”

Other semi-random stuff from BPT #1.

Here you go:

> Brett Hite said he’s using his livewells as trash cans. “We’ll have the cleanest livewells ever after a season.”

> A bunch of guys who were fishing day 2 were at the day 1 launch to see the first day. Thought that was cool. Here’s a few scenes from that morning:

> Fred Roumbanis scared people all the way to FL with this dang missile (“flashlight”) on his rig:

> Ott DeFoe was NOT bare-footin’ at the launch even though I was…sorta — flip-flops in 40 degrees.

> Never seen anyone eat a bacon-and-egg sammich with as much pure joy as Andy Montgomery at the launch. No he was not nervous…! Judging by where he finished, will recommend a change to ham and egg tomorrow — hahaha Montgomery!

> I know the fish don’t care what color your skin is and I’m a little on the fence about calling this out, but I’m gonna do it — loved seeing it, 2 great fishermen:

> You might have caught on Live that Gerald Spohrer was using a Missile D Bomb in a color you can only get from Z’s Tackle in LA: zematoma. Johnny Crews says it’s “black with pearl blue swirl and small purple flake.” Here you go:

> Alton Jones Sr is so thin now I passed him in a doorway and didn’t see him. Only reason I knew he was there was he gave me a stiff arm…at the highly-attended Fellowship of Christian Anglers meeting Monday night (#CmonMan):

> Believe Randy Howell fished a Flanders Rig and if so we are gonna have words…. Btw, of all the pizza toppings available, here’s what he picked: #roniornuthin

> Paul Elias had rotator cuff surgery TWICE at the end of last year, and despite 6 weeks of intense rehab said his shoulder hasn’t loosened up so…HE CAN’T FLIP. Ouch.

> 2c on the Live broadcast — GREAT job JT Kenney and Marty Stone. Love JT’s random “sea monster”-type comments. My fave JT term for a big bass: “substantial foe.” Fave Marty Stone term for bass: “wildlife creatures.”

> Johnny Morris made the honorary first cast. First cast idea is cool and I know Johnny’s treated like the Pope of Bassin’ right now, but the only thing that mattered to me was what kinda reel he used. I checked — he did use a baitcaster and didn’t backlash, so props. Kenny “the bassin’ computer” Duke reminded me that waaaaaaaaay back Johnny qualified for a few Classics, but that needs an asterisk cuz that was before Billy Dance realized his eyeglass prescription was wrong:

Hahaha that’s not Ed Bassmaster!


1. BPTer Josh Bertrand gets Hercules Tires.

Also FLWer Josh Douglas. Guess they like Joshes….

2. LA: 3 pros in “Bass with Class” at Grosse Savanne Lodge.

Feb 21-24 with Elitist Keith Combs and FLWers James Niggemeyer and Matt Reed. Grosse Savanne bass are huge and some may never have seen a bait before so…. Find out more by emailin’

3. Elitist Hank Cherry gets Picasso baits.

No link. 🙁

4. Elitist Seth Feider gets Omnia Fishing.

New online tackle retailer.

5. Full list of Berkley brand pro staffs.

Too many to put here. Looks like they are gettin’ after it big-time.

6. TN: Chickamauga is the 4th BPT stop.

Too bad the bigs don’t live there…!

7. MLF gets Skeeter/Yamaha.

No link but interesting. Also got Gator Guards, also no link. 🙁

8. SC: Will Santee Cooper be sold?

The whole utility, but it comes with the lakes (Marion and Moultrie).

9. Gitcha Wade Middleton visor fix at

10. FL: Herbicide application temporarily stopped…

…for public comment:

> Beginning Jan 28, the FL FWC will temporarily pause its aquatic herbicide treatment program throughout the state. During this pause, staff will work to collect public comments regarding the FWC’s aquatic plant management program.

They’ll have meetings and you can send your rants to

11. Gitcha shot at some Yo-Zuri baits!

The dudes at Yo-Zuri tell me they’re ramping up giveaways and are doing it through email so man you got that box checked! IF you’ve signed up for their emailin’ list at Click here to get there mang!

12. Bass Pro Shops gets new prez from Lowe’s.

13. New company has all-electric fiberglass boat.

“Luxury” pontoon. Must be $$$ cuz no price listed on the website.

Tip of the Day

You switch to hi-viz braid yet?

For deeper stuff in particular — here’s Zona on why he switched:

> “10-15 years ago a lot of us laughed at hi-vis braid wondering, What on Earth do I need this for? I need camouflage! Well, that’s gone by the way wayside.

> “Now you combine the castability, lack of stretch, sensitivity and visibility, and you’re just putting more odds in your corner to land more fish. Period. I’m now fishing it any time I’m fishing a wacky rig, Neko rig, power-shotting, dropshotting or fishing small finesse swimbaits.

> “The deeper I’m fishing, the more important the line becomes, even more important than my rod, really, for telegraphing bites.”

That last part is pretty dang innerestin’. Z fishes Seaguar Hi-Vis Smackdown Braid in “flash green.” Says he like it because it’s super visible, holds its color and is quiet coming through your guides. His leader choice is Seaguar AbrazX fluoro.

Quote of the Day

“…bottom line, in the Major League Fishing format, you have to catch fish.”

– JT Kenney on the day 1 MLF Live broadcast. JT, hombre, pretty sure ANY format of any tournament that’s about ketchin’ the feeshes is that way hahaha! Too funny man….

Shot of the Day

Love this MLF/BPT shot of the Hack Attack — right fish, right light, right attitude: #SquatchHammer


NC 3-yr-old Casey Hathaway says he hung out with a bear after he vanished from his grandmother’s backyard

Let me put that into context. First, the real world ain’t Disney — bears don’t cuddle kids. Second, hundreds of people searched for the boy for 2 days and yet he was found just half a mile away only 50 yards into the woods — in an area I’ll bet you anything was searched a few times already. Third, he was totally fine after 2 days of no food and water — in freezing temps. All thanks to a friendly…”bear”??

Ya got me

Jay Kumar’s BassBlaster is a daily-ish roundup

of the best, worst and funniest in bassin’, as curated by me — Jay Kumar. I started, co-hosted Loudmouth Bass with Zona, was a B.A.S.S. senior writer and a bunch more in bassin’. The Blaster is the #2 daily read on any given day in the wide world o’ bass so thanks for readin’!

Sign up another bass-head!

If you’re forwarding every Blaster to other bass crackheads, tx much — or you can email me the addys and we’ll take care of it! We’ll never send spam, sell the list or anything else crazy….

Use the best stuff!

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Gitcha Bassin' Fix

To Top