How to old school Rapala, Giant and deformed melons, Costa winning baits

Today’s Top 5

Panda pig mule donkey melons of the week!

Adrian Echols smashed this 13-14 FL TrophyCatch melon-ham from Lake Istokpoga:

Joe-E M caught this 10-10 east TX melon on a silent Norman DD22 (sunfish) — a mere 10 minutes into a BassForecast peak feeding time period. Check this: He caught 4 of his 5 biggest (10.10, 8, 6.10, 6.8) during that same peak time period, which was 3:38 to 4:45…and 100+ degree air temps and awesomely humid:

Yak bass of the week right here — @maniyakfishing88 harvested this large small-melon with 10-lb Seaguar AbrazX fluoro:

“After a week at the Sabine, it’s nice to drop the Minn Kota in a place that actually has bass!”

Brent Ehrler post on Insta. Fo’ real man, dang. Here’s the shot that went with it:

Can’t say he looks totally stoked but maybe it’s a Cali cool thang….

Big bait buffet wins Barkley Costa.

Not sure if any baits are NOT used in Barkley/Kentucky lakes derbies, but it sure looks like “finesse” ain’t in the vocab of fishermen there. BUT last weekend’s FLW Costa Series tourney there did see some dropshottin’.

Was won by local Jake Lawrence with 72-04 — #stout over 3 days and almost 7.5 lbs better than 2nd. FLW says most of his feesh were fooled by a 10″ V&M J-Mag Worm (redbug) on a swing head or Neko-rigged. But Jake also fished a Castaic Jerky J swimbait on a Scrounger head, a hair jig, a football jig and a spoon — all KY Lake must-haves:

Here’s what the baits of the top 10 looked like:

Swimbait = 50% — Shocked that only the winner fished a Jerky J on a Scrounger.

Big worm = 40% — 10.5″ Zoom Ol’ Monster = 20%, Shakey head = 20%

Football jig = 30%

Crankbait = 20% — Surprised this wasn’t a higher number.

Dropshot = 20% — Both used a Zoom Swamp Crawler, also one Roboworm in guess what color (rhymes with “warning swan”).

10% each = Spoon, Hair jig, Jig, Stick worm (on a shakey).


> MI dude Garrett Paquette finished 2nd, long way from home. Tryin’ to think of any other good fishermen from MI, drawing a blank…heehee!

> FLWer Andy Morgan (6th) was the only guy in the top 10 who fished a plain ol’ jig, in his case a War Eagle Flipping Jig with a Zoom Z Craw:

> 3 dudes from MO were in the top 10, includin’ Stacy King, who’s a-lookin’ and a-feeshn real good — GREAT to see:

Trip on these weird-shaped basses from planet bass.

Bass can be beautiful, but let’s face it — not all of ’em. So let’s launch off with this Camanche, CA spot Robert N caught apparently just after it ate a duck, a super-sized chili dawg, and a peanut buttah milkshake with extry chocolate chips:

One Johnny “the Missile” Crews spanked this “I wanna be a crappie or white bass for Halloween” largie on the Sabine:

Another Elitist caught this’n, not sure what to call it…maybe a derrrr?

CC McC got this bonus derp on Lake Anna, VA using a Fitt River Darter soft jerkbait:

Windin’ ‘er up with my fave shot of the week, from a guy with the last name FISH! Hit me with this pic from El Dorado Lake, KS — said, “Here’s a couple of derps for ya.”

HAHAHA love it! Also love that someone else is in the boat, so he’s pausin’ the feeshn day to take that goofy shot for the Blaster…!

Few more Hack Qs.

Just…can’t…do a 100% normal interview with these Elitists, and it’s twice as hard with Hackney cuz he likes to fun it up as much as I do — so here’s a few more Qs I asked him. First one is kinda serious:

1. Do you realize you seem to have an advantage when air temps are high? How hot does it have to be for you to win tournaments??

> “It’s funny, but [hot weather] doesn’t bother me. I like that hot weather. [At the Sabine] it was 80 degrees at 4:00 in the morning, in the dark. It can be too cold [for him], but it can’t be too hot.

> “At 12:30 to 3:00 it was so hot you could hardly breathe, and that’s when my confidence was at the highest. Typical summertime — the hotter it gets, the better. That’s when some of the biggest ones show up.”

2. Do you like Slurpees and what’s your favorite flavor?

> “Typically a pickle-flavored one is what I like after a long, hot day on the pond.

> “During practice I get a jar of pickles — I drink a third of a jar a day, and eat all the pickles too. [I laughed and he said] I really do that.

> “I don’t like those energy drinks. I’d rather just drink water.”

3. Why do you decide to win some tournaments and not others?

> “[Laughed] Because you can’t make that decision. I have no control over that, that’s the problem. Because if I did, everybody would quit. If I could control when I won, it would be over.”

Seriously tho, Hack mentioned 2 T-H Marine items were key in his win:

> “The T-H Marine Eliminator trolling motor nut really silences the trolling motor. I run a MotorGuide trolling motor, which is already quiet, but you put that nut on it and it completely silences it. I fished the same fish over and over. When you’re fishing a ditch 20′ wide making 10′ casts you will be close to the fish and need to be silent.

> “That T-H Marine Atlas Jack Plate was key too for getting around in that mudhole.”


1. Halfway thru the Elites, here’s your AOY top 10.

Some past AOY winners in there:

2. Why Jacob Wheeler had a catch DQd at the Sabine.

Good explanation by B.A.S.S.’s Bryan Brasher (that’s B-cubed or B3). Bryan talks about criticism that Wheeler and B.A.S.S. got. Of course they did:

3. What Gerald Swindle (2nd) used at the Sabine.

Seems like G’s outta bandwidth so this is from a Rapala report:

> …discovered a deeper pattern when he caught 2 quality bass on a BX Brat squarebill in about 5-6′ during the 3-day practice….

> “My primary decision…going to fish deeper than everybody. So I fished on the outside of the trees, dropshot and shakey head…up and down this canal until I knew it by heart, throwing a shaky head…just trying to fish slow….

> …Arashi Cover Pop was another difference maker…”The whole deal with that Cover Pop is you have to fish painfully slow….

Brandon Palaniuk (7th) and Ott DeFoe (14th) also fished a BX Brat, and Brandon also fished a Cover Pop.

4. Matty Lee’s fave summer baits.

> Strike King 6XD (green gizzard shad) for fishing “Indian mounds” (aren’t those on land??) and snapping turtle heads.

> If the water’s “too clear for a crankbait” or he needs to change the look, a 6.5″ Strike King Shadalicious swimbait (green gizzard shad again) on a 1/2-oz Strike King Squadron Head.

> For bigger bites, he ties on a Strike King J-Lee Comeback Jig (brown) — which he calls the Matt-Lee Standup Jig — with a Rage Craw (honey candy).

The bait info above is all solid. Some of the rest is possibly true but I can’t say at this time….

5. Justin Lucas outs the new Berkley Popper.

Berkley Bullet Pop:

6. MLFers get deal with Sqwincher.

Always thought a Sqwincher was what your forehead did when you forgot your sunglasses at home and fished without ’em, but turns out it’s an electrolyte drink. 3-yr deal is pretty stout….

Btw since I started losing my hair I think I’m up to a fivehead now….

7. MO: Bighead carp shot in Bull Shoals.

Potentially very bad news. That’s an Asian carp:

These Asian carp are the biggest threat to bassin’ we’ve probly ever seen. Seriously.

8. MO: Opens Champeenship on T-Rock in Oct.

Not sure if this is due to Johnny Morris world domination and no one will go on the record with a comment….

9. MN: Brian Robison charity derby on upper MS in 2 days.

10. Is this Mike Long’s big bass secret?

Stalkin’ the bigs from a yak in the reeds?? Click it for a brief vid:

11. WV derby makes beauty queen kiss biggest smallie.

If she caught it herself maybe, but….

Have heard lots of things happen in WV we don’t know about…hahaha WV peeps!

12. MS: Ross Barnett gets 25K FL fingerlings.

13. MN: ‘Nother big fundraiser at the Fishing Challenge.

Pretty cool annual deal, raises funds for the MN Adult & Teen Challenge drug and alcohol rehab program and ministry — $302K raised this year alone.

The new High School Bass Division, sponsored by Sea Foam, gave college scholarship $$ to the top 3 teams.

14. Cliff Prince’s son Syler wins another.

Kid’s a hammer — must get it from his mother’s side lol:

> Syler Prince and Austin Peters won the TBF Jr State Championship last weekend on the Harris Chain, FL.

> Syler won [the TBF FLW Jr World Championship] in SC last year as an individual. TBF has made it a team tournament this year.

Caught their 11.52 on a 3/4-oz Greenfish Tackle High Class double willow spinnerbait, Bass Assassin Fat Job (junebug) and 1/2-oz Fitzgerald tungsten weight and a Strike King KVD Squarebill (chart/black back), all fished on Fitzy rods.

Sounds like they did anyhow:

> …they plan to fly over the lake in an airplane pulling a banner reading “Don’t Let Your Kids Become Hookers! Be Kind to Animals — Don’t Fish!”

Derp. Always reminds me of the time Peta was at a Classic in AL, and the guy in the Peta fish suit passed out from the heat. Bunch of “hookers” saved him.

16. Win a Nitro Z-18!

Bassin’ rig of the bassin’ chaplain, Chris Wells. $100 per chance, drawing will happen Dec 1. Click it here to buy you a ticket…or 2. I just bought mine:

Chris does the most important work there is, so pls grab a tix if you can….

17. How to fish a Carolina search rig…

…and regular C-rig, from Alpha Angler’s Jake Boomer:

He likes the Alpha Hitter rod for the search, and the Clutch rod for the actual C-rig…and you can catch ’em on either rig. His bait o’ choice is a Strike King Magnum Rage Bug.

18. Gitcha a finesse topwater.

‘Bout time for the Lunkerhunt Dragonfly — 3″ long, 1/4-oz, 4/0 hook:

19. Bill Lewis baits giveaway.

Runnin’ now on the book of Faces.

20. Check the SPRO Rat in action.

SPRO BBZ-1 Rat — keeps a good beat. Note the retrieve speed:

21. Why is this dude smiling?

Let’s see: Owns Favorite rods, gets to fish for “work,” catching smallmouths — does he need any other reasons??

22. What a Japanese angler used to win…

…a big Japan derby. Think his name is Ryo Shinozuka?

Believe that’s a:
> Little Reins Hog with a 7g (1/4-oz) weight and 1/0 Power Stage hook.
> 3″ Reins Heavy Swamp with a Mosquito Heavy Guard hook
> Lucky Craft RTO 1.5 DD

Best gem from Google translate:

> This time it proved this time “the theory that prevails when children are born” transmitted to the top 50 pros.

23. Ray Hill new VP of retail sales at WileyX.

Check their offerin’s on TW. Pretty sure their deal is shatterproof lenses….

24. Bass Anglers for Saltwater Conservation new website.

Name still cracks me up. New website is here. I’m starting a new organization called “Baitfish netters for crankbaiters and swimbaiters in most water types except swamps but no offense to swamp peeps.”

I get what Yamaha is doing with this — good intentions — but man it just seems odd. Getting bass fishermen involved in red snappers, longline fishing and saltwater laws seems like a pretty far stretch, don’t it?

25. Best tourney name ever?

LA salt derby called: Swollfest Fishing Rodeo. Hahaha! But seriously: Maybe the Sabine shoulda been the Dinkfest Hamster Roundup?


Guess Keith Poche’s voice to text deal got it wrong when it said he used a “Humminbird” spinnerbait — really was a Humdinger. Tx to Rich Z for the clear-up!

Tip of the Day

How to fish an old-school Rapala minnow.

Caught a TON of fish on what’s now called the Original Floating Minnow when I was a kid. Then I stopped throwing it cuz I got smarter than I needed to be about baits (lol) and also stopped using spinning gear, which could cast that light balsa bait. But Elitist Bernie Schultz still fishes it, I’m 100% sure it still catches ’em so here’s how you do it:

> “Throw it out there and wait for the impact rings to dissipate. Then twitch it a couple times and let it float back up and sit. The idea is to get movement without the bait moving forward, and keep it in the strike zone. That’s the key — 90% of the strikes happen when the bait’s sitting almost still on the surface, or when you first move it after it’s been paused.”

> If your lake map shows a significant dropoff…you can tempt clear-water smallmouth up from the depths by twitching an Original Floating Rapala on the surface. Cast past the dropoff and slowly work the bait back towards the edge, pausing between twitches. With even a light breeze to disrupt the water surface, this tactic can be effective any time of day. Vary the length of your pauses between twitches until you determine what will drive the bass to attack.

> For the best results, fish it on a 6′ 10″ to 7′ 2″ M to ML spinning rod. If you’ll be fishing mostly shallow…spool up with 10-lb Sufix Elite mono….

I only fished silver/black back and it caught literally everything. And I also just reeled it in cuz what else are you supposed to do??

Quote of the Day

We don’t have a normal job and we don’t keep normal hours.

Ott “Buff” DeFoe talkin’ ’bout bein’ an Elitist. So then I’m thinkin’ that logically this means the Elitists ain’t themselves normal, which makes me think of:

So if those aren’t normal to you and me, then they must be normal to the Elites, which means…not sure but I bet Jeff Kriet would have a logical explanation…which wouldn’t be normal either….

Shot of the Day

If you’re fortunate to land a job in the fishing biz, here’s what you can look forward to doing every dang day! The Rapala crew….

Actually, a well-known saying in the fishing biz is once you’re in, you fish less….

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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Git on these yo!

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