James River baits, Sea lions stop flippin’? Bassin’ prom arrival

Once again didn’t get to fish this weekend but I did get boat bonding time in the driveaway. Mission was to simplify to what I’m best at – meaning bladed jigs, jigs, walking bait, ol’ reliable jighead with a curl-tail grub…and I almost made it! What I mean is, I love tackle too much. But I did get 4 rods outta the box and in the garage:
– Spybait
– Hard swimbait
– 1 re-rig needed
On the right track lol! Let’s go!
Today’s Top 5
Brandon Palaniuk’s winning James River baits.
This one surprised me. Obviously Brandon’s a great fisherman, but the tidal James is tough, finicky, and rarely seems to hold good weights day to day for the same person unless maybe you’re a local (last name of Daves??). The James is so tough, it was possible for Brandon to rocket up from 50th to 1st in 1 day…after catching 22-06 in 1 HOUR. Insane.
Then went out and caught almost 18 lbs, once again in the last hour of the day, to win the Open by 3.5 lbs with 53-12:
> “I got beat to [his winning] spot on day 1, but I figured out the cast late in the day [day 2]. You had to make the exact cast. If you were off 2′ left or right, you wouldn’t get bit. It would happen in the first 5 cranks of the reel handle.”
His baits:
> “Fished the Magdraft in current seems and shade lines in 3-10′ where the big gizzard shad were congregated. Incoming tide seemed better because it pushed the baitfish higher up in the water column.”
Forgot rod ‘n reel for that deal so I’m just gonna guess Alpha Angler DSR Spinning Rod and Daiwa Exist 3000…with SLP Works custom options looks like?
> “Fished the dropshot around isolated cover in 2-4′ when the tide would slow way down and almost bottom out. Could be anything from pads to docks to stumps.”
James River top 10 baits breakdown.
Was gonna do a quick one but a bunch to shout out – deets from the
Jig = 40% Missile Mini Flip Jig (20%)
Buzzbait = 30%
Bladed jig = 30%
Flip plastics = 30%
Crankbait = 30% – 2 squarebills and gotta shout-out this old school Mann’s Baby 1-Minus (gold/black back) fished by Mike Hicks (6th) who was on the Bassin’masters Tour in the early 2000s. Wonder if Paul Elias gave him that bait:
Swimbait = 20% – both Magdrafts
Dropshot = 20%
Senko = 20% – 1 wacky, 1 TX
10% each = Spinnerbait, Frog (used a SPRO Bronzeye and BOOYAH Pad Crasher), Swim-jig, Worm
1. Local Nick O’Las Bodsford (2nd) gets the “Old-schoolin’ on the James” Award for fishing a blue fleck ringworm (a James staple – real surprised more of the top 10 didn’t chuck it) on a 3/16-oz Charlie Brewer Slider Head…but looks like a Darter Head?
2. Is TX’s Hugh Coscullueala (9th) Brandon’s biggest fan? No idea but he also fished a Magdraft and dropshotted, and wore SIMMS rain gear so…?
3. Guess Horny Toads on buzzbaits ain’t the deal there. 3 guys buzzed, and the plastics on ’em were: X-Zone Muscle Back Craw (white), 6th Sense Stroker Craw (b/b), Zoom Split Tail (chart). Here’s Bo with that Split Tail – on a black buzzbait with a gold blade:
4. KY’s Tommy Williams (7th) had the sparsest-lookin’ spinnerbait skirts (rubber ones) I’ve seen in a couple decades:
5. Rookie Elitist KJ Queen’s dad Jeff finished 3rd using Queen baits. Word is he only sleeps in a queen bed and blasts “We are the Champions” at takeoff…
6. Bunch of Missile mentions which is weird because Missile ain’t even from VA…oh wait. But John Crews ain’t eith… Okay makes sense, good job Crews!
Mega bag alert! Almost 30 with a 3 FISH LIMIT!!
The Okefenokee Bassmasters were at Tired Creek Lake, GA, where a couple weeks ago Amanda Carter caught a 14.6. Well, turns out that was just one of several bloated melons to be a-swimmin’ there cuz Bob Royals and Michael Brooks had 3 for 27.7!!!
2nd and 3rd weighed 15+…because that’s normal! Thanks much for Trevor M for the heads.
“There were a bunch of sea lions in the mats and I couldn’t get a bite.”
– SEA LIONS?? Like “yeah I could catch ’em flippin’ but man just too many sea lions. I mean, seals ‘n orcas are cool but not the sea lions.” that’s Cali Delta ‘Yota winner Logan Huntze talkin’. His brother won the co side. Logan also had another great quote:
> “I want to thank my buddy Steve for letting me use his boat and my buddy Ryan for giving me a ride back to weigh-in.”
Sooooo sounds like things didn’t go so well with that loaner boat? EMOJ Congrats mang!
Btw those sea lions are hangin’ in the mats cuz they know the law’s after ’em:
The only way to show up at a prom!
> The 5 high-schoolers arrived to prom in a boat towed by a road tractor…Heather Houchins recorded on video the 5 juniors rolling in, dressed up in formal wear and stepping out of the boat.
> “It’s a custom-built ’88 Ford road tractor and a Falcon bass boat. We own a local fishing lure company so we are a fishing family.”
Gonna run it by my daughter, see what she says….
1. Here’s Paul Mueller’s Neely Henry baits.
> “My primary bait that I caught the majority of my fish and most of all my big fish was a Deps Evoke 2.0 squarebill (chart/black).” Dobyns Champion 735 CB Glass Rod, Lew’s BB1 Pro Reel (7.1), 14-lb Gamma Edge fluoro.
> “Rocky banks and riprap as well as offshore flats with rock and stumps, 2-6′.
> “Also caught some fish on a shakey head – a Zoom Swamp Crawler (watermelon candy) on 1/8-oz custom shakey head with a custom Gamakatsu hook.” Dobyns Xtasy 723 SF Rod, Team Lew’s Speed Spin 2000 Reel, 10-lb Gamma Torque Braid to 8-lb Gamma Edge fluoro.
> “Offshore in 2-7′, rock and stumps.”
Paul wanted me to put a pic here of him holding up some big yellow perch and I was like, “Paul no one cares about perch man.” And he was all, “Yes they do!” And I was like, “This is about BASS FISHING.” And he said, “No it’s not! Perch eat bass!” I was like, “Is that what you catch ’em on?” After that I never heard back.
Wasn’t sure where that one was going…
2. Chris and Cory Johnston won another American tourney.
Sturgeon Bay Open, said “American” cuz they were the only 2 Canadian entrants I guess cuz Canada won’t let any other fishermen out? (Besides Gussy.) Anyhow, did not divulge their winning baits – to me or any other foreigner – but did say in this vid they fished “typical” tubes, dropshot, swimbait.”
Third time they won it, this time with 53-04.
JackHammer learnin’ I hope (haven’t listened yet).
He never says he’s giving it to me but I’m sure that’s part of the plan…EMOJ
Said so but looks like he might have met Barry instead? Or maybe there’s too many steroids in the water down there, which would maybe explain all those huge TX bass??
7. CA: Peeps talking like this drought will be super bad.
How bad? Rumors that lakes might get shut down. Hope not.
Check Oroville:
8. SC reservoirs need a huge habitat effort?
From an email sent out by the SC Boating and Fishing Alliance – Ross Self, SCDNR fish chief, talkin’:
> “Habitat has become an increasingly critical issue as the state’s reservoirs age, and the timber and woody debris that existed when the waterways were impounded have broken down over time. Enhancement of larger reservoir habitat is a huge effort and will require innovative thinking and partnerships to really move the needle.”
Sevierville, which at one time was almost home of a Bassmater theme park (true story):
> The Little Pigeon River and its tributaries will be the site of this 2-day event that allows anglers to fish from the shore, wading or from a kayak.
I realize homelessness is a complicated issue but I love that idea.
Headlines of the Day
Talkin’ earthworms. Why would they ever not work??
It’s called “spawning” you dang weirdos…
Line of the Day
On right now… 
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Tip of the Day
Big baits = big fish? Sometimes fo sho, tho look up how many trophy bass have been accidentally caught with crappie jigs…. Anyhow, some wisdom from Mark Daniels Jr:
> “…I look down the throat of all of the fish I catch to see if I see any forage in there. I want to fish the size of what they’re eating. I think bass anglers will often use the same size bait and not adjust, just because a big topwater or larger swimbait is what they always use.
> “I think a lot of people overlook the baitfish size. It’s crucial and can make a difference. Fish are looking at those small baitfish, and baits that look a lot bigger look out of place next to them.
> “In clear water, bass will often shy away from bigger baits even if they’re eating bigger fish. Going to a smaller swimbait is a way to make your bait look like an easy target because it’s non-threatening.”
Quote of the Day
“The boy who hit me saved my life.”
– Quote and amazing story from Willie Adkins Jr. who recently won with B.A.S.S. Nation Southeast Regional at Lake Hartwell, GA. More:
> On his way to a tournament 3 yrs ago, Adkins was involved in a car accident that broke his left arm. Not only did the car accident leave doctors worried his arm may need amputation, Adkins also discovered he had stage 4 kidney cancer, and surgery was performed to remove one of his kidneys.
> Adkins has a long scar on the back of his arm from surgeries to put replacement bones in his arm. While the cancer has not yet been beaten, Adkins said he is going to continue to fight the disease as long as he can.  
> “I’ve still got it. I’m still fighting and it’s not going to get me. I don’t care, I’m not going to give up. I’ve fished this B.A.S.S. Nation for years and years and never even came close until this year. That boy saved my life in that car wreck and he gave me this, what else could I ask for?”
That’s a tough man with an amazing attitude of gratitude = #stout. Bless you bassin’ brother:
Shot of the Day
Check bass-head Jason G’s 6-yr-old boy Ryker doin’ I guess “the hug hold”?? Hahaha love it man! Jason said:
> “He is still learning to detect strikes but fishes almost exclusively soft-plastics because it is safer than him slinging around trebles and he is a little young still to handle a baitcasting rig.
> “Caught it on a Strike King Fat Baby Finesse Worm in ‘dirt’ color. Set him up with a TX rig because the weeds were getting his nose-hooked dropshot setup hung up too often.
> “…we were about to head in but I decided to give it a few more minutes because we had just gotten to a big-fish spot….”
Heck yeah you did! Good job dad!
Gotta say because his daughter is smiling in that pic – that “happy for each other catching big ones” deal ended for my kids (boy ‘n girl) when they got in their teens. Now they’re super competitive…funny sometimes, annoying sometimes, but I love the competitiveness….
Could not find the link but innerestin’:
Ya got me!
Jay Kumar’s BassBlaster is a daily-ish roundup of the best and funniest (sometimes worst) stuff in bassin’, picked 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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