Chris Johnston and top 5 baits, Elite boat tests?? Best swimbait reel?

Sorry little late on this’n — need a higher retrieve ratio on my fingers n brain!

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

Today’s Top 5

How Chris Johnston brought the Canadian hammer down.

Chris is the first Canadian in the history of the Canada, the US, the world and I guess anywhere else to win a Bassmaster Elite. Is that a big deal? You betcha britches it is man! Full deal on how he did it is on the BB site, but here’s his bait + a little more info.

He dropshotted 1 spot near the mouth of the river the first 2 days, but after that it was all lake:

> The river spot was a sharp rise from the main river edge up to 35′ which topped out and made a flat. The fIsh sat on the lip or spread out on the flat.

> Those 10 [day 3 lake] spots were only similar in that they were “irregularities.” Other than that they were in 20-40′ — breaks, rockpiles, boulders

> “The biggest thing was using my Garmin LiveScope — I’m not just saying that because I’m sponsored by them. I was looking for rockpiles, and I could see where the fish were because they’re usually up from the bottom a couple feet. If I could get the bait to them before the boat went over them, I could catch them.”

> He noted that by the end of the tourney the smallmouths were boat-shy even in the wind/rough water.

> “That Merc motor on the Ranger — you have to be able to rely on that equipment to go out on big water safely…rough water and have the confidence to get back. It’s just a mental part of the game.”

5 Qs with the champ.

He laughed at all of these so I guess Dave Mercer ain’t the only Canadian with a sense of humor…?

1. Does it feel like Canada is conquering the United States now?

> “No not yet.”

[Also said this is what it was like fishing around all the American hammers last week:]

[He wouldn’t tell me who the black cow was….]

2. Did Dave Mercer lean on the scales to help you out in this deal?

> “If he did I would’ve set a new record weight!”

[HAHAHA! We both love ya Dave! Or at least I do, can’t tell about Chris…lol]

3. Is your brother still talking to you since you won one first?

> “He’s been a lot quieter this week in practice. I guess he wants to beat me that much more now.”

4. Is it true there’s actual largemouth bass in Canada or are they just greener smallmouths?

> “There’s actually a lot of largemouths. I grew up fishing largemouths, believe it or not.”

5. Okay semi-serious: What’s the best thing about winning this deal?

> “The 100 grand’s pretty nice, I’m not gonna lie. Being the first Canadian to ever win a Bassmaster is something no one can ever do again — that’s pretty sweet in itself.

> “It’s also getting all blown up across Canadian broadcasting, which has never promoted fishing. That’s really sweet to see — fishing in Canada is now getting more recognition.”

2nd-5th St Lawrence River Elite baits.

2nd: Paul Mueller

Paul led the deal for 3 days, I believe fishing Lake Ontario which typically has beeger feesh:

> “Berkley Maxscent Flat Worm — natural shad and goby — on a dropshot rig.”

> Rock in 17-35′.

3rd: Brock Mosley

> 1/2-oz Z-Man JackHammer (gp) with a Netbait Big Spanky on a 7′ 6″ MHF Ark Invoker Rod with a Shimano SLX Reel (6:3), 15-lb P-Line Tactical Fluorocarbon.
> Bill Lewis StutterStep [topwater] on a 7′ 3″ MHF Ark Tharp Honey Badger Series Rod, same reel, 50-lb P-Line braid.
> Dopshot: Netbait Drifter, 7′ 2″ Ark Invoker Spinning Rod, Shimano Stradic Reel, 10-lb P-Line braid to 6-lb P-Line fluorocarbon.

4th: Chad Morgenthaler

> Dropshot: 3.6″ Berkley Maxscent Flat Worm (gp party and black), #1 Gamakatsu Split Shot Drop Shot Hook, 1/2-oz Strike King Tour Grade Dropshot Weight, 15-lb Gamma Torque braid, 8-lb Gamma Edge fluorocarbon leader, Team Lew’s Custom Pro 4000 Reel, 7′ M Lew’s Custom Pro Rod [don’t see that rod or reel on TW?].

5th: Micah Frazier

Reminder that Micah won last year’s St. Lawrence Elite, using the exact same bait (go figger):

> Shoals in 16-25′.

Gotta shout-out Paul’s 7-13 smallmouth!

Lookit this thing!

Massive 22 1/4″ long and 17 1/4″ girth, and didn’t wallow like a tubby DD largemouth:

> “I’ve fought a good number of strong smallmouth bass in my life, but none like that. It was mean. You’re talking about a big, mean fish. I just tried to keep my composure. It was like I wasn’t even in the tournament anymore. I was thinking, ‘I have to catch this fish just for my overall being.'”

Pretty sure Paul meant something like this…

…but honestly just guessin’….

Check the Elite boat testing program.

Little known fact (possibly) is that B.A.S.S. offered pros a Velveeta sammich with 2 toppings of their choice if they participated in the boat testing program. Here’s a few takers from last week:

– Top: Chris Zaldain (I think?) was testing for floatation and underwater visibility.

– Bottom L: Paul Mueller was testing to see if he could see over the bow when at a 35-degree angle, and was wearing a mouthguard for when that sucker came back down.

– Bottom R: Clark Wendlandt was seeing whether gravity affects boats in Australia.

Props to the B.A.S.S. shooters for gettin’ these deals….


1. Brock Mosley fished well even tho he was distracted.

> “Wednesday my head just was not in the game. And honestly, that’s why I’m largemouth fishing, because what I’m doing is fairly simple and I can just put my head down and fish.”

> “[Hank Cherry] saw me in practice and how my head wasn’t in it and how I was worried and just wasn’t being my normal self. And once [his baby daughter was born], he said, ‘Man, just calm down, the baby is here, she’s healthy, your wife is healthy, go out there and just do your thing.'”

Bet that was real tough for sure…congrats to the Mosleys!

2. Bobby Lane will fish shallow largies at the upper Miss FLW.

Pretty sure most guys will, and there’s a LOT of shallow cover up there. He says he’ll have 2 flipping and 2 frog rods on the deck. Important note: The same water body TYPES fish the same, no matter where they are in the country. So the upper Miss lock/dam/pool system will fish pretty much the same as, say, the Red River, LA.

3. Edwin Evers cranking tip.

Don’t be afraid to try “odd” angles:

> No matter the structure and cover you’re targeting, there will be a “best” angle for you to approach it. Keep casting and changing your angle until you figure it out. Then keep making that same cast.

4. Marty Stone will be on FLW Pro Circuit lives.

Just by saying that the FLW Live deal is already smarter…heehee!

5. That new league, the NPFL, says it’s close to a ’21 schedule.

6. T-H Marine’s having a hoodie sale mang!

T-H logo on a T or hoodie looks goooood!

7. LA: HS teams got gear stolen at Toledo Bend.

Hate hearing this stuff:

> According to the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Dept, early Saturday morning a thief or thieves stole rods and reels, tackle, and other fishing gear from 6 boats that were parked at Cypress Bend Resort on the LA side of the lake.

8. SD: Zebras found in Pickerel Lake.


Line of the Day

…bass fishing in MI is a lot tougher than places like FL and TX. So people who are good here are good anywhere….




1. That Lew’s BB1 reel David Fritts cranks with has a “multi-stop” anti-reverse — meaning the handle doesn’t stop right away (which is called “infinite” anti-reverse) but instead it moves a bit. Thanks to the bass-heads who sent that correction in.

2. Unintentionally cropped out the “Bass Force” in Alton Jones’ bait pic cuz I was too focused on the baits! That’s the Bass Force app btw….

3. The new Megabass Vision 110 is actually the 110+1 Jr — the smaller version of the deeper-diver. They aren’t available on TW yet. Thanks to Kevin “the Baitman” Baxter and his sidekick “rock pigeon” for the clarity.



1. Avoid E15 fuel at all costs (for your boat).

2. YETI reminder: Pre-chill your cooler.

Great tips at that link like:

> We recommend following a 2/3 ice, 1/3 contents ratio.

I think I’ve violated just about all of those tips…doh. And I didn’t even know about YETI Ice?

On right now…
Note: The TackleWarehouse links in this email are affiliate links, meaning if you go through them to make a purchase I might earn a commission…at no cost to you. Click here if you want to learn a little more about links in the BB.

Tip of the Day

What JD Blackamore loves for swimbaitin’.

Cali bass-head JD Blackamore is an all-black-wearin’ big-swimbait-throwin’ dude whose Insta is full o’ bigs like this’n:

Heck no life ain’t fair man! But I guess we can’t all be peeps with lots o’ hair ketchin’ the bigs around beeyootiful scene’ry lol! Anyhow JD has had the new Daiwa Tatula 300 Reel for a while so I asked him about it, and I thought what he said was some pretty innerestin’ swimbaitin’ tippage:

On a 10 scale, how good is this real for swimbaitin’.

> “I give this reel a 10 out of 10 for fishing big swimbaits.”

Okay why?

> “A couple reasons…. For me it’s one of the farthest-casting reels I’ve thrown, and the advanced braking system makes it very manageable to adjust to conditions.

> “It’s also got a deep 300-size spool so you’re able to spool up plenty of heavy line, while also being very palmable and comfortable in the hand, unlike most big-bait reels out there.”

What things do you like the most about it?

> “A couple of my favorite features are the power handle and knobs. The reel also comes in 3 speeds — 6.3, 7.1 and 8.1. My favorite is the 8.1.

> “A lot of guys like that slow ‘creep’ speed, but I always prefer a reel that’s as fast as I can get away with. But what makes the 8.1 or 7.1 key is the handle and knobs that back the power of each crank. Daiwa put in a 110mm-size handle and all-new large power-size knobs. This makes that 8.1 speed feel a lot more under control when fishing a big glide bait and keeping that side to side glide cadence.

> “The reel also has Daiwa’s T-Wing System which eliminates friction from most reel’s line guides when casting. When casting heavy line — like 25- to 30-lb fluorocarbon — that big line coming off the spool will rub on a traditional-style line guide. But with Daiwa’s T-wing, it opens up completely when you hit the clutch to cast and you can get the most out of every cast.”

Didn’t know that…. Can you give us the exact rod and line you like to use with that reel?

> “2 rods I pair with this reel are the all new 7′ 9” H Daiwa Tatula Bass Swimbait Rod and the 8′ 6″ XXH Evergreen International Combat Stick.
> “The line I use for this reel is always straight 25-lb fluorocarbon. For the past year I have been using Daiwa’s New J-Fluoro Samurai — best fluoro I’ve ever used.”

What’s your favorite swimbait?

> “The Deps Slide Swimmer 250 in any color that’s natural to the water you’re fishing. My favorites are trout, flash carp or bass.”

Quote of the Day

“I spent a week here before the event just marking waypoints.”

PA’s John Lorenzo talkin’ ’bout his Cayuga BFL win. Then said:

> “Each waypoint that I marked was just 1 or 2 bites, and I had to hit all of them.”

Dude wanted it no doubt!

Shot of the Day

Seen a few things caught on a frowg but never one o’ these. Craziest thing is it was caught by Kevin VanDam, so either Kevin was fishing slower than he ever has before or that’s a new super-fast breed o’ snappers:

Okay also crazy (to me) is the color of that frog and Kevin fishing somewhere where there’s turtles???

Btw shell-heads can be fast:


If you’re feelin’ down, just git you a little Saxsquatch:

Thanks to bass-head Kenny A for the heads!

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’!

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