How Wheeler won Pickwick, What Martens is fishing now, Plopper docks?

Please watch and listen to Mark Daniels Jr’s video about how he feels and what he fears. It is not political and it is not negative. It is just one of our own saying things — some in the context of bass fishing — that probably have never occurred to most of us. Thank you and much love MDJ.

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Today’s Top 4

How Jacob Wheeler won at Pickwick.

Don’t usually cover the FLW Toyota Series in-depth but been Jonesin’ to get some tourney info plus Jacob won it so…how ’bout that? Anyone surprised he won another one? Didn’t think so. Full meal pattern deal is on the BB website — includiin’ what the current did to the fish — but here’s the baits part:

> “The current was running whole tournament til Saturday. So in lot heavier current…with that [Rapala] DT20 I could get it down there quicker. A lot of the [cranking] places were 13-18′ — some even 12′. With the DT20 I could get it down there quick and keep it in the strike zone longer.

> “Cranking also is a way of catching big ones…reaction bite….”

Cranking rig: Rapala DT20 (Caribbean shad), 12-lb Sufix Advance Fluoro, Duckett 360 Reel (5.3:1), 7′ 11″ MH Duckett Micro Magic Pro cranking rod.

> “When the fish were a little tougher, or not as grouped up, and I couldn’t get them to bite a crankbait, I used an old-school worm. A TX rig is something we’ve thrown on ledges for years, but sometimes we forget about it. It was something not everybody was throwing. I could go behind guys and get a few bites.”

Worm rig: 6″ Googan Lunker Log (gp blue), 4/0 VMC Heavy Duty Worm Hook, 3/8-oz VMC Tungsten Worm Weight, 14-lb Sufix Advance Fluoro, Duckett Paradigm Reel (8.3:1), 7′ 6″ H Duckett Wheeler signature rod.

> “My 3rd presentation was the old-school spinnerbait I caught ’em on at Eufaula [his MLF BPT win this year]. …4″ Storm Largo Shad on the back to imitate a little-bit bigger-profile gizzard shad. That’s what I felt like a lot of those bigger fish were eating. I got a couple really good bites on that, but not a lot of bites.”

Jacob calls that spinnerbait the “Ole Big.” It’s made by a bud of his in IN who owns Accent Baits. It’s a 1-oz bait with a big CO/willow combo, listed on Tackle Warehouse as the J Wheeler Custom. He fished a few colors but his #1 was chartreuse shad. 7′ 3″ MH Duckett Wheeler signature rod, Duckett 360 Reel (6.3), 20-lb Sufix Advance Fluoro.

5 incredibly serious Qs with J-Wheels.

3, 2, 1, blastoff:

1. Is it even hard for you to do well anymore?

Yes! Absolutely. This year has been pretty good, but yes. Put it this way — to do well, you better put in a lot of work.

2. Is it hard for you to do badly now for some reason?

If I don’t work, I will do badly. I’ve noticed that. If I put my time in and really put a lot of effort in an event, I normally do pretty solid.

3. Don’t you maybe now need a bigger sound instead of just “ding?”

[Laughs] Maaaaan, I don’t know. I got a big giant bell in here, goes goooooooong for special occasions.

Here’s one Gary likes:

4. What happens in your brain when you’re fishing? Is it a color, a sound or something else?

[Laughs.] My brain is always going, analyzing every little thing. I’m always thinking about the next move and the strategy behind the day…playing the chess game because that’s what it is, at all times.

5. Are you now a 2-Wheeler, 3-Wheeler, 4-Wheeler or 18-Wheeler?

[Cracked up lol.] I’m gonna go with the 18-Wheeler and call it good.

What Aaron Martens is fishing now.

Yep he’s fishin’! GREAT to hear and see. Here you go — a bunch o’ options:

1. 6″ Roboworm (orange crusher), 3/16-oz Picasso Rhino Head, 12-lb Sunline SX1 Braid to 10-lb Sunline FC Sniper fluoro leader, Shimano Conquest 843S SJR Rod with a Shimano 2500 Stella Reel.

> Fish it at varying depths between 5′ and 20′ on hard-bottom shoals, brushpiles and breaks.

2. Realis Pencil 110 (komochi wakasagi), 30-lb Sunline SX1 to a 20-lb FC Sniper leader, G. Loomis GLX 843C MBR Rod, Shimano Metanium XG Reel.

> Fish come up schooling or chasing bait this time of year so I always have this topwater ready. Points, around docks, rocks, steep banks and under trees.

3. Realis Vibration 68 Apex Tune (AM hasu), 16-lb Sunline FC Sniper, Shimano Conquest 842C MBR Rod and a Shimano Metanium XG Reel.

> Majority of the time cast and retrieve at medium speed or at a medium-slow to slow speed if the fish aren’t as aggressive to get the lure closer to the strike zone. Another technique I use with this lure is jigging it — let the bait fall to the bottom, lift and drop. Speed varies depending on the way fish are biting.

4. 1/2-oz Picasso Suijin Jighead with a 4″ Fluke (albino) on 14-lb FC Sniper, Shimano Conquest 903C MBR Rod and a Shimano Metanium XG Reel.

> Fish it with a steady, slow retrieve on points, ledges, shoals or high spots. I’ve also been using a 1/4-oz a lot too for shallower water.

5. 3/8-oz Picasso Shockblade Pro (various colors), 20-lb Sunline FC Sniper, G. Loomis GLX 843C MBR Rod with a Shimano Metanium XG.

> Most of my bites have come on a medium-slow retrieve, bumping cover: grass, bushes, tree, rock. This bait has a really erratic action ,and in the warmer water it’s extremely effective.

6. Picasso Straight Shooter Pro Jig (shad-color trailer), 18-lb FC Sniper , G.Loomis GLX 843C MBR Rod with a Shimano Metanium XG.

> This is a multiple-use bait. Most of the time I’m target fish with it — so skipping it or pitching to a target. Also great for fishing offshore or shoreline grass as a good medium between a finesse bite and a reaction bite. It’s a must-have this time of year — this is the lure I’ve thrown the most this past month.

7. 3/8-oz Picasso Fantasy Football Jig (gp), 14-lb Sunline FC Sniper, G. Loomis GLX 843C MBR Rod with a Shimano Metanium XG.

> Make long cast on shoals, points and ledges mostly in the main lake, but also in some larger creeks. I’ve been dragging it slowly — keeping constant contact with the bottom. As the fish become more aggressive, I start hopping it more.

8. In the pic up top: Realis G87 15A (komochi shad and citrus shad), 14-lb FC Sniper, G. Loomis IMX Pro 969C CBR Rod with a Shimano Curado DC HG Reel.

> Fish this on river ledges and ends of shoal points that run into the main river, in 15-20′.

“Bass don’t learn from one generation to the next. Baits that worked for your grandfather will work for you.”

Mark “glass 3/4 full” Menendez talkin’ truth! But…I still can’t get any bass to bite one of the best baits way in the past: A Daredevle Spoon…lol! A bunch of pike follows on that thing but never caught a fish on it….

More from Mark:

> I did some of that looking around the other day and to my surprise ran across some older lures that had special applications on the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament trail. I hadn’t used them in years, but when I picked them up I smiled at all the good times I had with them. I ordered a few of them. It’s true, I don’t need them right now, but I will at some point in the future.

I think the takeaway there is he found an excuse to order some baits, which is ultra fun AND important…HAHAHA you know it’s true bass-heads!


Ain’t dog treats, it’s automotive tunin’. Very interested to see how his torque and MPG turn out.

2. Jacob Wheeler’s on BassEdge Radio.

3. Chris “chainrat” Groh won a #chainrat derby.

Glad to see the guys out there — here’s how he did it at the Fox Chain O’ Lakes which I always thought was in WI but turns out it’s in IL. 1-2 punch deal:

> “The strange thing about this derby is most everyone went in blind ‘cuz the Fox Chain has been closed for a solid week due to flooding and it opened back up to “no wake” the evening before the derby.

> “I fished high-percentage spwaning grounds in search of post-spawn frog fish and fry-guarders, and it worked!! Basically ran HISTORY!!I have a lot of it! I’m a Chainrat!! Lol.”

Was stoked! Believe his pard was Creighton Delgado and here’s what they (or at least Chris) did:

> SPRO Bronzeye frog (killer gill), 50-lb Berkley X5 Braid (low-vis green), Abu Revo Beast Reel, 7′ 3″ HF Abu Veracity Rod.
4. Get to know Dustin Connell.Good post. Couple lines that stood out:

> “…I had planned my whole life and my college degree around fishing professionally. Yet here I was out on a job site in a hard hat every day.”

> “Most kids can’t wait until they’re 16 to get their hands on the wheel of a car or truck and have something to drive around with their friends, but not me — I wanted a boat.”

5. Lew’s gets Jamey Caldwell for American Hero Series rods/reels.

Great match. Just wish Jamey wasn’t so fat tho….


6. FL: Could the Carolina rig play at the MLF heavy hitters?

That’s what Big Show Scroggins says. Love to see it….

7. FLW put out Covid tourney guidelines.

Weird, bummer, totally understand. Heard at least one tour might be fever-testing guys when they show up…?

8. WI: 387 jobs gone at ‘Rude plant.

Dang hate to hear that. Evinrude says the plant will be “repurposed” but no timetable yet.

I still can’t see how just killing the brand/market/tech makes any sense. If someone gets it, pls enlighten me. But:

> This post says Evinrude owner Bombardier is really struggling financially, but that still says to me they should’ve sold it. Shoot, every day without sales or a market, the vsalue goes down!

> This post from ’19 said ‘Rude only had 3.7% of the outboard market. Yikes.

Sounds like something changed corporately. In AR, where BRP is shutting down its Alumacraft plant:

> “We were really surprised. They’d been talking about a possible expansion. It’s been a fixture in the community for years and years.”

Maybe the US has to start protecting some of these brands and businesses?

9. WV: Charity bass tourney, Kanawha River, Jul 11.

Benefits the Children’s Home Society of WV’s Charleston locations, the Davis Creek Child Shelter and the Permanency Program.

10. TX: Hydrilla has been decreasing in lakes.

Sounds mostly natural? Also says any more than 40% hydrilla in a rez is less optimal.

11. TX: But salvinia found on Fork.

12. IL: HS all-decade bassin’ team.

Amazing they’ve been doing it for 10 years already….

13. KS: Sounds like Topeka has some HS hammers.

Couple of ’em are Ethan Haufler and Logan Redeker who are fishin’ the TB nationals for the 2nd year in a row and have only been fishing tourneys for 2 years. #stout

14. TX: Unusual warden report.

From here:

> While patrolling Lake Lewisville, two Denton County game wardens responded to a call of an assault to find that a bank fisherman had flung his lure towards a boat, hooking a female occupant in her right hand. As the woman pulled the hook loose, she lost her phone. Charges are pending.

15. MI: New state record bluegill gojira?

Couldn’t find confirmation but word is this was caught in Edwardsburg, MI and weighs a little under 4 lbs. Anyone got a confirmation link?

Headline of the Day 1

Find the right bait for largemouth bass season

If anyone can do this — find the one right bait for the whole season, and it’s not Brett Hite’s bait or a Senko of some kind — pls lmk….

Headline of the Day 2

Florida Largemouth Bass being stocked on Kentucky Lake

Sure hope they make it IN the lake too….

Line of the Day

20-year-old Adam Hollis was charged with negligent operation of a boat, boating under the influence, possession of alcohol under 21, NASBLA boating violation, and implied consent after TWRA observed a boat with a passenger on the bow and found Busch cans rolling around on his boat.

Scary deal, from this post. Glad for his sake and everyone else’s they stopped him.

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

FLWer Nick LeBrun’s Plopper tippin’s, includin’ docks.

Some good’ns in here and goes with the Shot of the Day so…from the FLWers site:

> “I throw black and white…the loon color or white pearl. A lot of people throw the bone color, and that’s why I don’t throw the bone. I like throwing the white, especially after catching a 6-lber on it in the [2018 FLW cup]. That was a confidence-builder for me.”

Word — 1 fish can give you confidence!

> “…I find myself throwing the black most of the time. I don’t have some special formula of ‘Well, when the pond straw is light brown and the squirrels are running on the left side of the tree, that’s when you throw the black.’

> “I take the factory hooks off, and I replace them with #2 Hayabusa treble hooks…a little bit lighter-wire hook compared to what comes on it. I just think the hooks that they put on there are a little bit overkill. Also, the Hayabusa trebles come with an NRB coating that makes the hook kind of slick, and in my mind, it helps me get a few more fish in the boat.
> “I have a lot of confidence fishing behind the dock. It’s hard to throw a Plopper under a walkway out the other side. It would be so much easier to do that with a frog or even a buzzbait or a spook. You take that Plopper and put some heat on it, and if you are a few inches off, you might tear it up…. I like it, though. It’s uncoventional. People don’t think of a treble-hooked bait to pitch into tight places, but it will pay off.”

One mo’:

> “A lot of times, if I have the bass target-oriented, I like catching them on a stationary topwater like the Bill Lewis StutterStep, but sometimes a Plopper-style bait helps you cover more water.”

Quote of the Day

Not unlike romance, seduction is only meaningful when a fish plays hard to get.

– Sounds kinda funny, but after thinking about it…I’m a little disturbed. Pictures in my mind — like taking my wife to dinner and crossin’ a bass’s eyes — get mixed up in a weeeeeird way. I’m serious…I think….

Can’t link it, at:

Shot of the Day

Give it up for Kai Anthony Richards — hit me from @thesixthkai — who got this real nice smallmouth on a #130 Whopper Plopper (munky b*tt)…IN NEW JERSEY! What?? Lived here almost my whole life, had no idea that scenery with that kinda fish existed…especially in a place near where I used to work (in a warehouse tho so…):

Ya got me
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