Mueller crappie-fished to win, Evers fished a dredge hole, How to Freestyle jig

2 derbies last weekend, a Bass Pro Tour won by Edwin Evers, a Bassmaster Elite won by Paul Mueller. Paul’s gettin’ more love in this one because a) it’s the first one he’s won, b) schedule-wise I was able to talk to him first and c) he talked a LOT. Sayin’ it so you know I don’t think 1 trail or the other is more important or whatever. This is just me scrambling to cover #toomuchbassin on a deadline mang! Enjoy….

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

Today’s Top 4

Paul Mueller’s winning Lanier baits.

‘Bout time Paul! Big congrats to him on his first blue trophy. Before gettin’ to his baits, couple quick stories about Paul:

1. First met him at the ’14 Classic, which he almost won as a Nation dude. Even though I was doing some work for B.A.S.S. there, he wouldn’t tell me what bait he was using — but did tell Zona and Sanders like 10 minutes later. Called him on it, he felt bad, said Sanders asked him questions all serious while Z stood right behind him breathing hard and smacking his fist into something. Been there man….

2. Paul’s an electronics nutcase. So much that he wastes spends all kinda time feeshn for stuff like crappie and perch (on purpose), sometimes through holes in hard water, just cuz he loves the video game nature of it. Here’s Paul as a kid — with a WAY nicer TV than the Kumars had:

Seriously I used to worry about Paul — he’d be postin’ all kinds of panfish enthusiasm on his Insta and I’m all: ???! Those are fish smaller than a shoe and fight even WORSE…than a dang shoe!

Might’ve even called him one time and asked if he needed a few extra marbles…can’t remember, but I didn’t have all mine either so…(heehee Mueller!).

Anyhow, all that panfeeshn kinda won Paul this tourney! Crazy. Here’s his baits, full pattern story with LOTS o’ juicy deets on

Most of his fish were on a swimbait:

> 3.25″ Reins Fat Rock Vibe Shad (bluegill). “Bluegill was the deal — smoke with gold/blue fleck.” 1/2-oz Do It Molds Herring Head underspin mold (without the blade), 3/0 Gamakatsu Jig 90 style 111 hook, 7′ 6″ MH Dobyns Champion 764 Paul Mueller Smallmouth Special Rod (not available yet), Lew’s Custom Pro Speed Spinning Reel (3000 size), 15-lb Gamma Torque braid to 12′ 8-lb Gamma Edge fluoro leader.

Freestyle rig:

> 3″ Reins Bubbling Shaker (bluegill). “The 3.5 was too big — [the fish] would just grab back end, you wouldn’t get a hook in them.” 3/16-oz Do It Molds Freestyle Jighead with a #1 Mustad 32746 hook (90-degree jig). 7′ 2″ L Dobyns Xtasy 721 Rod, same reel but 2000 size, 10-lb Gamma Torque to a long 6-lb Gamma Edge fluoro.

LOTS o’ pattern deets here.

“Is that a crappie jig?”

– One of Paul Mueller’s marshals talkin’. Actually was probly at least 2 question marks at the end of that question, and I can picture our bassin’ bro sayin’ it with a mix of shock and disgust on his face like:

Hahaha! Paul Mueller fished a crappie tournament but won a bass tournament!! That’s ALMOST this crazy:

(Hope there’s no cuss words in that!)

Paul said the marshal was commenting on his 3″ bait on a 3/16-oz jighead — and it WAS a crappie jig! Paul:

> “It’s the same stuff I use for crappie [and] it’s a cold-water smallmouth killer.

> “All those years crappie fishing — that’s the best way you can get good with Panoptix and that technique.”

Takin’ yer word fer it brutha!

Edwin Evers won BPT #2 on a dredged spot??

No lie:

> “I found out through Andy Morgan that the area I fished was closed off due to dredging [in practice] and I didn’t realize it because I didn’t try to go in there in practice.”

And that’s how he had a spot to himself. Here’s what it looked like (I think this is it):

And here’s his baits — full pattern on the BassBlaster website:

> #1 bait was a Berkley Pit Boss (b/b), 3/0 Berkley Fusion19 flipping hook, 3/8-oz Bass Pro Shops tungsten weight, 20-lb BPS XPS fluoro, 7′ 6″ H Johnny Morris Rod, Johnny Morris Platinum Reel (8.3).
> #2 bait was a 7/16-oz Andy’s Custom E Series Finesse Jig (same bait he won the Grand Classic on) in “green craw” with a 2.75″ Berkley Powerbait Meaty Chunk (gp), 17-lb XPS fluoro, 7′ 3″ H BPS Carbonlite rod, same reel.
> He caught the big 8-lber on a dropshot: 4.75″ Berkley Bottom Hopper (junebug), 1/0 Straight Shank Hook, 1/4-oz BPS tungsten weight, 20-lb BPS XPS braid (yellow) to 10-lb XPS fluoro, 6′ 9″ M Johnny Morris Platinum Rod, Platinum Reel size 3/3000.
> 1/2-oz “Brett Hite’s bait” (lol, gp with gp trailer), 20-lb XPS fluoro, 7′ 1″ MH Platinum Rod, same reel but 6.8.
> “A couple things were real important. With my Navionics mapping — I got it updated — you can really see the shallow areas so you can differentiate between the bulkheads and the natural shoreline…. And I was able to pull up Google Earth on my Lowrance, which was really helpful. I was basically in search mode from the start.”

Whole pattern write-up’s here.

Here’s you your 2nd-place baits/patterns.

2nd Conroe BPT: Jeff “no nickname?” Sprague

> “Started the event with a TX-rigged Gene Larew Tattle Tail Worm (b/b). Ran out of those on day 3 and resorted to a similar stick bait. 5/0 offset hook, 5/16-oz Flat Out Tungsten Weight, 17-lb P-Line, Lew’s Pro Ti Reel (7.5), 7′ 2″ MH Lew’s Speed Stick Rod.

> “Area was shallow — 1-3′ spawning flat, and bank grass with pad mixture….”

2nd Lanier Elite: Zaldaingerousness

Chris Zaldain luuuuuuuvs fishin’ little swimbaits. Might go back to his days raising tropical fish as a kid…which he probly didn’t do but little swimbaits are how he won the 2015 Angler of the Year Champeenship on Sturgeon Bay, MI. Here’s what he did at Lanier:

> The meat of my weight came from swimbaits. During low-light cloudy days, the small 3″ Megabass Spark Shad on a 3/8-oz ballhead slow rolled in 35-60′ was best. Hiuo color when cloudy (white one), “glow marker” when sunny (translucent).
> When the sun came out, my 1/2-oz Santone Z-Spin head with a Megabass Hazedong Shad worked best crashing it into brush and standing timber tops in 35-45′. 4″ Hazedong in “moroko” and 3″ in “ghost shad.”
> 3″ Megabass Hazedong Shad (ghost shad) and 4.5″ Roboworm (prism shad). Dropshotted vertically (35-60′) when I saw them on the Solixes. Had to be 2-3 fish on the sonar for this to work. Singles wouldn’t bite.

Rest of the top 5 from both tourneys I can get ahold of will be in Thurs’ Blaster….


1. BPTer John Murray speaking THIS THURS in TN.

Feb 21, 6:30pm at Grace Point Fellowship Church, 130 VFW Road, Kingsport, TN. Besides being a great dude, John may have won more bass boats than anyone alive so make sure you ask him how he did it. Pretty sure it had something to do with…WINNING.

2. Fish with BPTer Brandon Palaniuk and Elitist Chad Pipkens.

Sounds like a charity fundraise too.

3. Does BPTer Wesley Strader speak English?

Believe so, just his version of it includes words like “hornswoggled,” if I’m spelling that right. Believe that word was invented by this dude:

4. Is BPTer Jacob Wheeler his own channel?

20K YT subscribers but 116K views on his BPT #1 vid. Not Brandon Palaniuk channel #s yet but looks like he’s on his way….

5. FLWer Terry Bolton on BassEdge Radio.

6. 5 going into Bass Feeshn Hall of Fame.

Mark Davis, David Fritts, Davy Hite (guess you need “Dave” in your name this year? lol) plus 2 guys no longer with us: Zoom baits founder Ed Chambers and B.A.S.S. illustrator Chris Armstrong. Well deserved to all of ’em.

No offense to Mark and Davy, but thinkin’ I can’t miss any speech given by Fritts hahaha!

7. LA DNR start their hatchery bass spawning on Feb 14.

Awwwww…that’s weird.

8. TX: More zebra mussels means less shad?

9. ‘Lectric pickup truck company gets $700 mil…

…investment, funding round led by amazon. Key question: When your outboard’s louder than your truck, are you still a redneck??

10. 40% off Buff end of season sale!

Gitcha stout warm stuff!
11. Rapala corporate is crushing it.

> …grew sales in all geographical [international] areas. Our position with major customers in North America is strong…we witnessed double-digit sales growth….”


Big congrats to Melinda R for winnin’ the Rapala giveaway! Make sure you’re follerin’ the BB on @JayKumarsBassBlaster on Facebook and @bassblaster on Insta! (Between giveaways right now, more comin’ soon!)

Tip of the Day

Paul Mueller: How to Freestyle.

FREEEEEE-STYYYYYYYLIN’! If you think this is just for smallies or spots, you’re nuttier than a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Check it, good vid shows how he works the bait with the Panoptix:

Plus a few tiddybits from this post:

> …suspended bass are looking up to feed ,and when in a negative mood they often do not want to chase a lure to the bottom.

> “It can be done anytime you are watching your electronics and seeing suspended bass. It also works great along weedlines and also when bass are finicky right after spawning.

> “There are only a handful of techniques that will work when the water is really cold, and this is one of them. It’s the same when it is extremely hot, and the fish are lethargic.

> “The bait is constantly hovering above the fish, and it does not hit the bottom. You can lift it up and down and drop it right on the nose of fish you see on your electronics. I like to fish it with a constant shake. I do not stop it — I’ll raise it up and down but will keep shaking as I am doing it.”

Quote of the Day

“I went from having 12 lbs to 25-26 lbs in 30-40 minutes.”

– FL’s Kail Stevens talkin’ ’bout a maaaaaagical time at the Okeechobee BFL when he caught a 7, 8-11 and 6 in a row, on his way to a 32-10 limit. #stout

He caught ’em flippin a 4.25″ Gambler Stinger (b/b) and Gambler Big EZ swimbaits (b/b and gp). Gambler baits workin’ on the Big O, go figure….

Shot of the Day

You don’t need to believe to get/feel how this story is cool:

That verse is Psalm 37:5 (shot by @andycrawfordphotos) — here’s the story:

> Day 4: “I had 13 lbs by 12:00…way behind the 8 ball. I had a Bible verse I wrote on my hand with a marker. Psalm 37:5: ‘Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this.’ It was a down moment during the day — I looked at that and it gave me confidence. I felt like the Lord was telling me to go back to that primary spot.

> “My first fish was 5.25-lber. I caught a 4-lber a half hour after that. That was the winning fish — I won by 14 oz. It came down to just a few bites on the final day.”

Paul also said:

> “The coolest thing about it — the money hasn’t even sunk in yet and that trophy is way cool — but the coolest thing about it is watching God at work. The amount of people that reached…. We are just servants of His — He uses us as vessels sometimes.

> “You have to stay humble so it’s all about Him. It’s really cool how many people were watching [the weigh in] at an outdoor expo back home…some people who never go to church…think the only way we hear from God sometimes is through other believers. So the opportunity to give a testimony was pretty cool.

> “Just give credit to where credit’s due — I’ve been like that since day 1. All my success has come from God….”

Preach it bruh!

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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