Most political lake in America, More pro baits, Drop on smudges?

Be safe out there this weekend bass peeps! Lot of folks will be operatin’ inebriated so maybe drive like an old lady merging onto the Indy 500…. As I remind my kids, most people who own a boat have NO IDEA how to drive it safely — know I’m a-preachin’ to the choir but please keep that in mind! Bless you, and check these Coast Guard stats from ’18, just released:

> Alcohol continued to be the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents….

> Operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, machinery failure, and excessive speed ranked as the top 5 primary contributing factors in accidents.

> Where the cause of death was known, 77% of fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of those drowning victims…84% were not wearing a life jacket.

Life jackets, kill switch, granny driving, head on a swivel — catch some fish too!

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

Today’s Top 5

Starbucks finally gettin’ with it.

Check it:

Hahaha love it! Shot sent in by bass-head John S, who got it texted to him from his better half — how cool is that! Whole fam’s infected with the bassin’itis!

Really wanna try that “color” — I’m cool with the green but not sure I want pumpkin in my coffee man eeeeew.

The most political lake in America?

Talkin’ ’bout this because I find it disturbing — fish “management” decisions based on what MIGHT happen rather than what actually IS happening or DOES happen.

The lake is Mille Lacs, MN — known for being a big-time walleye lake, but also an amazing smallmouth fishery. The MN DNR seems intent on “preserving” the walleyes but not the smallies. Here’s what’s going down:

Aug 12 meeting

> Mille Lacs fisheries manager Tom Heinrich stated that the Mille Lacs [walleye] fishery was at 91% of the seasonal [kill] allocation.

The DNR creates that allocation so who knows whether it’s legit, and that is an ASSUMED mortality % based mostly on catch/release-only fishing and water temps.

> Heinrich said that though the lake was at 91% allocation, projections for the rest of the year did not show harvest exceeding both the allocation and the 10% overage cap.

In other words, all good through the rest of the season.

> …Heinrich explained that since the harvest of the previous year had been approximately 10,000 lbs under, those lbs could be put forward towards the overage this year [if the catch went over].

So the 2018 ASSUMED harvest was under the DNR’s own limit, and thus they could carry that “underage” into 2019, which they said should also be under.

> MN fish chief Brad Parsons: “When the 2013 [year class was] the only game in town, that’s why we got super conservative. It doesn’t look like they are the only game in town anymore.”

So…there’s lots of fish now, so the DNR doesn’t need to be conservative anymore.

Aug 26 (2 weeks later) announcement by the MN DNR

> Walleye fishing on Mille Lacs Lake will close Friday, Sept 6, so state anglers do not exceed a safe walleye harvest level.

2 weeks ago you said everything was cool (based on your own limits)??

> “We’re glad anglers had the opportunity to harvest walleye in May and fish for walleye through much of the open water season,” said Brad Parsons…. “Because angling pressure and walleye catch rates were high, the coming closure is necessary to stay within established limits.”

WERE high, not ARE high? Either way, you just said a closure wouldn’t be necessary. So what changed…in 2 weeks?

> High angling pressure and catch rates in Jul and Aug when water temperatures were at their warmest increased hooking mortality, resulting in a larger-than-expected walleye kill.

C’mon man. That’s an assumption. No evidence/data given.

> “…it’s still important to proceed with caution to ensure continued recovery of the lake’s walleye. The restrictive regulations we enacted in previous years protected young walleye, allowing the population to increase to a number not observed since before 2007.”

So the walleye population is at its highest #s in 12 years?? Everyone who fishes there knows you can walk across the lake on walleye backs and never get your feet wet….

What a fire drill. Here’s how I read all the above:

“The walleye fishery at Mille Lacs is the best we’ve seen it in over a decade and alleged fish mortality is UNDER the limits we set for the last 2 years, so we are shutting down the fishery — after we said we wouldn’t.”

WTHeck?? Not sure if the DNR is pulling the strings or someone else, but dang: If that’s solid fish management, I’m a ham sammich. Be worried MN folks! And the rest of us, let’s keep our eyes open for this bunk in our own states.

Did I mention that the MN DNR is still letting folks fish with live bait? On one of the best smallmouth lakes in the country? And that folks who can”t keep walleyes there will keep smallmouths?

Is the Mille Lacs smallmouth fishery next for this regulatory nonsense? Will it expand to other lakes? Does the MN DNR understand that they WORK FOR the folks who buy fishing licenses, including folks who make their living on and around lakes?

Dang I’m fired up. Just one guy, just my 2c, but to me this stinks like:

Maybe this is just the most poorly managed lake in America?

If I’m wrong and/or missin’ somethin’, pls lmk.

2nd-5th BPT Redcrest Championship baits.

On the upper Mississippi River:

2nd: Greg Hackney

Championship round:

> 3/8-oz Strike King Hack Attack Heavy Cover Swim Jig — “I used 2 colors, white and black/blue, and paired both with matching color Strike King Rage Craws. Fished current seams in a huge grass flat.
> “The other bait I used was a 3/8-oz Hack Attack Select Buzzbait [only at Academy] with a Strike King Gurgle Toad (pearl). Fished it around current breaks on islands.
> “I used Lew’s Super Duty Reels (7.1) for both techniques, 50-lb Gamma braid on the swim-jig and 20-lb Gamma Edge Fluorocarbon on the buzzbait. Rods were my signature series Lew’s Hack Attack Buzzbait/Spinnerbait Rod, and the Swimjig/Frog rod [rods only at Academy].

Qualifying rounds:

> “I caught all my fish on offshore hard spots, some as deep as 12-14′ and some as shallow as 3’…fishing backwaters off the main river that had lots of shad.

> “Lures were a Strike King KVD 1.5 (chart/black back and chart/powder blue), a Strike King 5XD and Strike King Cut R Worm (junebug).
> “7′ Lew’s Hack Attack cranking rod and Lew’s BB1 Pro Reel (6.6) on crankbaits, and 7′ 3″ Hack Attack Special Jig Rod with Lew’s Custom Pro Reel (8.6) on the worm. I used 14-lb Gamma Edge fluoro on both.”

3rd: Greg Vinson

> Jerkbait — 110-style (pearl) on a 7′ 2″ M MHX NMB862 Rod, Shimano Chronarch 150 HG Reel, 15-lb Seaguar Tatsu fluoro. “Hard rock corners and eelgrass edges in 3′.”

> Topwater — 4″ walking bait (sexy shad), 7′ 6″ MHX CB907 Cranking Rod, Shimano Metanium Reel (6.4), 40-lb Seaguar Smackdown Stealth Gray Braid. “Cast topwater to rock corners and schooling fish in eelgrass beds. 7′ 6″ rod and braid were critical for hookups on long casts and for moving fish out of the grass.”
> Frog — Snagproof Bleedin’ Frog (black but changed skirts to black/blue round rubber), 7′ 2″ H MHX NEPS86HF Rod, Shimano Chronarch 150 XG, 65-lb Seaguar Smackdown Stealth Gray.

4th: Zack Birge

> Frog — Deps Buster K Frog (swampster), 7′ 3″ Favorite prototype Pro Series Rod, Bantam Reel (8.1), 30-lb Yo-Zuri Superbraid. “I fished this initially everywhere I went — my primary setup.”
> Plastic setup — Wacky-rigged Googan Baits Lunker Log (gp), 7′ Favorite Rush Spinning Rod, 15-lb Yo-Zuri Blue Superbraid to a 8-lb Yo-Zuri TopKnot Fluoro leader. “I fished this in the same areas when they seemed to lay off the frog bite.

> “Depth was mainly 1-2′ max. Primarily small cuts next to a main source of current flow. Any little nook or cranny that had some water movement with a cut bank or some duckweed had fish in it.”

5th: Fred Roumbanis

Freddy said he fished “super shallow:”

> TX-rigged weightless Gene Larew Salt Flick’R (gp candy), Dobyns 733 Champion Rod, Sixgill Banshee Reel (7.1), 8-lb Cortland leader.

2nd-5th Cayuga Elite baits.

2nd: Jeff Gustafson

> “Caught all my fish on these two baits: 3/4-oz football jig (Gammy hook, wire weed guard) with a Z-Man Turbo Crawz, and a 3/8-oz football jig — made by my pal at home, Jamie Bruce, with an Owner hook — with a Z-Man Hula Stickz (all were gp). The jig had a little orange in the skirt but gp was all I was really going for.
> “Fished the jig on a 7′ 5” MH G. Loomis NRX 893C — in my opinion the BEST “do everything rod” there is. I fish bucktail jigs, topwater, spinnerbaits and Chatterbaits on this thing. Shimano Bantam MGL 150 HG Reel (7.1) — love this reel, it’s very rigid/tight, I could feel everything the jig was doing with it. 15-lb Seaguar InvizX Fluoro.
> “Fished the Hula Stickz on a 7′ 3” M G. Loomis NRX 872S, new Shimano Stradic FK Reel (also very tight, a pleasure to fish with), 10-lb PowerPro Braid (yellow), 10-lb fluoro leader.

> “The yellow — or any colored braid — is key for 2 reasons. You can watch for bites while the jig is sinking, and you know when it hits the bottom — so it keeps you efficient. I was pitching it around in 20-30′ and wasn’t wasting any time wondering when it hit bottom. Most times it would hit bottom and a fish would have it within 10 seconds, or I would reel it and pitch it out again. Almost like flipping in deep water, if that makes sense.

> “Found all of my fish with my Humminbird Helix 10 machines. Found some with Down Imaging and my best school with Side Imaging on the edge of some grass in 20′.

> “For real, I relied on these machines huge at Cayuga. I think I only caught 2 fish the last 2 days of practice, I spent all my time idling, looking for fish. When my wife picked me up at the ramp on the 3rd day of practice it hurt to stand up!

> “Spot-Lock was very important during the event as well because some of my spots were little clusters of rock that were specific casts. Once I caught a fish I could lock down and pluck off everything I could.

> “I caught nearly all of my fish at the St. Lawrence on the Hula Stickz as well — it’s a legit fish-catcher everywhere. It’s a Ned rig bait that is consistently straight, full of salt and a little bigger profile than a TRD. I’ve probably gone through 500 of these baits this year.”

3rd: Chris Zaldain

> “I thought I could win Cayuga on deep largemouth relating to hard structure, since the milfoil growth was behind schedule. I’m talking 25-35′. But my early morning/early tournament largemouth turned into late smallmouth. I recognized this and made a swimbait adjustment.

> “Started with a 4.2-inch Megabass Hazedong Shad (moroko) on a 1/2-oz Santone Z-Spin (hollow point color). Largemouth preferred this around deep alewife schools.

> “I weighed 5 smallmouth on day 4, and had the big brown bites that would have got me within an ounce of that blue trophy.

> “Smallies were picky, but I figured out they were eating yellow perch on rockpiles. I switched to a 3” Megabass Spark Shad in baby bass (silver, yellow, green colors) on a 3/8-oz ballhead jig. I HAD to bump it off the deep rocks to trigger the bites.”
> Gear for both swimbaits: 6′ 11″ Megabass Destroyer Addermine Rod, 2500-sized spinning reel, 15-lb Seaguar Flash Green Smackdown Braid to 10-lb Seaguar Tatsu fluoro leader for the Hazedong Shad, and 8-lb Tatsu leader for the Spark Shad.

4th: David Mullins

Fished eelgrass in 12-15′:

> Crankin’ — Strike King 5XD (green gizzard with #3 Owner STX trebles), 7′ 11″ rod, 5:1 reel, 12-lb Sunline Sniper fluoro.
> Wormin’ — Doomsday Magnum Roku (prototype size, gp), 4/0 Owner Jungle Flippin’ Hook, 7′ 3″ H Doomsday 47 Series Rod, 8:1 reel, 18-lb Sunline Shooter fluoro.

5th: Seth Feider

> “Flipped grass in 7-11′.

> “Sparser grass was fished with a 5/8-oz Outkast Tackle Stealth Feider Jig (money craw) with a BioSpawn VileCraw (gp). 7′ MH Daiwa Tatula Elite AGS Brent Ehrler Rod, Daiwa Steez CT Reel (8:1), 30-lb Sufix 832 Braid to 20-lb Sufix Advance Fluorocarbon leader.
> “Fished thicker grass with a TX-rigged BioSpawn VileBug (gp), 4/0 VMC Heavy Duty Wide Gap Ringed Hook, 5/8-oz Woo Tungsten Weight, 7′ 3″ MH Daiwa Kage Rod, Daiwa Tatula SV Reel (8.0), same line setup.”

TX is buildin’ a new bassin’ rez!

Did I know this already? In northeast TX — from a good Athens Review article:

> Bois d’ Arc Lake…16,600-acre reservoir is the first major impoundment built in TX in nearly 3 decades. The last was 19,000-acre O.H. Ivie, which opened in 1990.

Huge deal cuz:

1. Big reservoirs don’t get made anymore in any state, partly because of cost — this one’s $1.6 bil (with a B) — and partly cuz of stuff like Endangered Species concerns.

2. This is in TX where they grow the basses big and the state intentionally tries to make ’em bigger. #props

3. It’s a brand new bass lake!

4. Could this actually decrease crowding on other nearby lakes??

Should be ready by 2022. More mouth-waterin’ factoids:

> Most of the timber and brush is being left in coves and the lake’s upper half…. The lake also will inundate a complex of county roads, bridges, culverts and close to 250 stock tanks ranging from 1/4 acre to 10 acres.

> …will be about 70′ at its deepest point with an average depth of 20-25′ at full pool. “It’s got a pretty complex shoreline of about 67 miles too…suspect the lake will fish pretty big….”

> …about 2,000 advanced growth (6-8″) Toyota ShareLunker offspring will be stocked in the rearing ponds this fall. More FL bass stockings will follow when the lake undergoes partial filling next year.

Someone I know please buy a house on that lake….


1. Worldwide Watson gets Tackle HD.

Check THD’s offerin’s on TW. Some cool stuff fo sho.

2. Elitist Carl Jocumsen on when to Spot-Lock vs Talon.

Good short vid:

3. New Reel Faith testimonies on the ‘gram.

Ott DeFoe, Todd Faircloth, Mark Rose, Brandon Card and more fellers sharin’ their faith with ya.

4. Greg Hackney won a gunfight (vid).

Clint ain’t got nothin’ on him. @kane_simpson_fishing with the too-funny mashup on the Insta. Dude is some kinda genius with the stuff. Check this one on rebuildin’ Jeff Kriet, which uses Boyd Duckett’s actual voice.

5. JT Kenney eats a pickle in his bassin’ tub (vid).

Not a ditch pickle/melon, a regular pickle. That worth bein’ in the BassBlaster? I think so.

6. YUM released more Ned baits.

Reminder that Micah Frazier won the St. Lawrence on the new Ned Dinger. YUM also has a new 2.5″ Ned Craw and 2.75″ Ned Minnow. Word is the Craw is the most realistic Ned Craw on the market, and unless I’m misremembering believe it’s unusual to have a minnow bait ‘specially designed for Neddin’?

More on naming the Micah custom color in a future Blaster….

7. BioSpawn baits in demand universe-wide.

Seth Feider said he got this shot in his yard:

BioSpawn baits at the TW….

8. LA finally okays HS bassin’…

…at least for a “probationary” year, this school year. Show ’em boys!

9. GA bass yakker chased by 10′ gator.

Yikes. Dude got away and the gator got shot — 2 good outcomes mang!

10. FL: Kissimmee Chain grass mgmnt meeting…

…Sept 4.

11. 6th Sense has a new Prawn bait.

Not out yet:

12. Where can I get 1 of these keychains??

Only in Japan? @lureanglehama

13. PA: Eels being re-intro’d to eat non-native crayfish.Who knew that could happen….

14. NB: After 1 smallie found in Miramichi River…

…peeps want all smallies killed outta Miramichi Lake. Says the brown bass were illegally intro’d there in 2008.

15. AL has hard-card fish/hunt licenses now.

Credit card-type material. Makes sense.

16. More aquatic grass = less “climate change?”

> “As it turns out, coastal wetlands including seagrasses have more carbon per area than forests. Yet, we’re losing coastal wetlands faster than we’re losing forests.”

Not sure why it would just be coastal, but either way hopefully this helps the fight to restore the LA Delta….

17. Stay away from Regular 88 gas!

> …may contain up to 15% ethanol (E15) — enough to harm the boat motor and void the engine manufacturer’s warranty.

19. Blaster apparel’s on sale for Labor Day yo!

30% off from today til Sept 5. Code is: LABORDAY

Git you some!

The DeerBlaster is here!!!

Do you hunt the wily whitetail? Do you get your deer fix enough? If your answers are “dang straight!” and “ain’t no way” then click on the logo and sign up yo! Once’t a week DeerBlastin’ at ya! Git you a feel for it at….

Tip of the Day

What do you look for on your ‘lectronics?

This line from a Chris Zaldain Bassin’mastery tip makes me think — makes me KNOW — I’ve missed some basses down deep:

> Always keep in mind is that fish don’t always show up on your screen as an arch. I know you hear about that proverbial “arch” all the time but that only happens when conditions are perfect. It’s much more common to see a line or even a smudge. Experience is the best teacher here.

Now I think I see some fish on my phone…and laptop….

Quote of the Day

“Bouncing a crankbait off an underwater stump is like lighting the fuse on a firecracker.”

– Great line from this post. Guess the bass is the firecracker?

Shot of the Day

Yep, bassin’s FUN even when you ain’t castin’! This-here’s @brentehrlerfishing doin’ the boat version of driftin’:


Redneck genius! These dudes created a Predator-type turkey blind from a GhostBlind and a bicycle. Full vid here on the Insta.

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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