New guy St Johns baits, Speed reeling cranks, Wheeler LiveScope thoughts

Folks in the southern freeze, please take care. Anyone need extra prayer please lmk. Crazy. That whole weather deal seems sketchy to me, but maybe not as weird as a dang Elite ROOKIE winnin’ his first Elite??


WTHeck’s up with the Elites? Last couple years (since “the split”) we’ve seen MULTIPLE 2-derb winners in the same season, a rookie AOY, and now a rookie shows up and wins the first dang Elite he ever fished??


I mean, should I be buying bitcoin and shackin’ up next to the Roumbanis compound? Whole thing is as weird as that bubble tea stuff:

No thanks man, I ain’t drinkin’ baked beans….


Quick note about BB tourney coverage: Obviously Elites and BPTs get priority. If I can get to the Pro Circuits, Opens, etc I will – especially if a tour pro wins or nutty/interesting stuff happens. But no guarantees because it’s just me on duty. The delayed MLF deals I still can’t wrap my head around how to cover, but will get ’em in when I can. Also looks like a lot less info now about how each BFL is won so prolly less of that in here.


Should get with Skeet tomorrow so will have his deal Thursdee. Berkley baits involved in both wins this weekend – is it who they sponsor or the baits? Answer: Yes.


One more thing: Might sound corny but I love you folks. Whenever I think of bass fishing, I think of bass FISHERMEN (and gals). I also literally always think of these words of Jesus: “You are the salt of the earth….” Yes you are! So get out there and be salty hahaha!


Lol, but seriously that’s an extremely powerful statement, and compliment. Let’s git gittin’ to some far less-powerful words….

Today’s Top 5
Who the heck just won the St Johns Elite??
This guy:
Goes by the fittin’ name Bryan NEW. N-e-w, as in New guy, New kid on the block, brand spankin’ New, New sheriff in town, New car smell – okay not that last one, but who the heck is this dude! I mean, he’s not just a dang Elite rookie, he also never fished a B.A.S.S. tourney til last year AND he beat Godzilla “Greg” Hackney by almost 10 lbs!!

That’s cuz it IS crazy Al…I mean Weird Al. Anyhow, here’s some of how he caught ’em – full deal with a lot more info is on the BB site here:


> “Every day I would kind of go through stuff I’d caught ’em on the day before, but do it quick and then go to fresh stuff. It was pretty much always random…looked right…fishing slow…didn’t make many moves, 2-3 a day…all random….


> “I liked more-isolated pads or more-open ones. I didn’t like ones that were really thick. If you’ve got a lot of pads, you’ve got a lot of targets. There’s a lot of places they can be, and there’s no way you can hit every one of them. So if there’s less, you can pick it apart easier.


> “All were on flats – 1-3′ deep on all of it.”


He had 2 nearly identical flip setups for the pads:


1. Setup 1: 5″ Zoom Zlinky (b/b), 5/0 Berkley Fusion19 offset worm hook, 1/8-oz pegged Reins tungsten weight, 18-lb Sunline Shooter fluoro, Abu REVO STX Reel (7:1), 7′ 3″ H Fitzgerald Stunner HD Rod.


2. Setup 2: Same bait, same hook, 1/4-oz weight also pegged on 22-lb Shooter. 7′ 3″ Fitzgerald All Purpose Rod, Abu REVO AL-F Reel (8:1).


> “I wanted one with a little bit lighter line, a little more finessey – I would use it on more-isolated stuff or if it was really slick, no wind.


> Why black/blue baits: “I didn’t try a different color. I’ve caught ’em doing that before in FL. I don’t throw b/b anywhere other than FL – yeah if the water’s dirty I may [throw it elsewhere], but in FL b/b and junebug’s all I ever throw. With a Senko-style bait that’s always what I do: b/b.”

Shell bars rig: 1/2-oz Berkley Warpig lipless (bleeding shiner), 14-lb Sunline FC Sniper, Abu REVO STX Reel (7:1), 7′ 3″ MH Fitzy Vursa Rod.


Bars were in 5-7′:


> “I was kind of stroking it or yo-yoing it. Whenever you try to make a fish bite that doesn’t want to, when you snatch it up like that I think lot of the time you’re triggering them to bite….”

5 Qs with the New Champ.
Hey Elitists – anyone hazing the new guy yet?? I mean, he kinda deserves it big-time now. Anyhow Bryan’s got a sense of humor so that’s good:


1. Do you feel rude at all for running off with the first blue trophy you had a chance to take?


> “Absolutely not.”


2. What’s the reason you broke up with Matt Arey to start going out with – you know, going out to fish with – Bryan Thrift?


> [Laughs] “He’s cooler.”


[You hear that Arey hahaha!]


3. You’ve won at Seminole, the Kissimmee Chain and now the St Johns – what’s up with you and FL?


> “I don’t know. Seminole and Kissimmee were pretty much offshore hydrilla. I have a love for that – I really like that kinda fishing.


> “I’ve spent so much time down there since 2012, I just get it – I don’t know how to explain it. I’m comfortable…. For several years I hated it, then once I finally figured it out, I just understood it.”


4. The Elite Series dude you most admire and why.


> “Probably Clark Wendlandt. I mean he’s just a stand-up guy, a great, unbelievable fisherman, and I actually fished with him as a co-angler on Beaver Lake several years ago and just had a good time.”


[Forgot to ask how many times Clark cussed…bet it was less than 10. HAHAHA kidding, he would never!]


5. Pre-game meal: cereal or a bacon, ham, sausage ‘n egg biscuit ‘n gravy?


> “Neither, but I do like good biscuit ‘n gravy. I don’t eat breakfast.


> “My wife is from Saluda [SC] which is at Lake Murray. She makes an awesome pot roast, the best you’ve had in your life…Velveeta shells mac ‘n cheese with Saluda rice. I’ve eaten a lot of food all over the country, and I’ve never had rice the way everybody cooks it in Saluda. It’s delicious….”


Can you tell we were talkin’ right before dinner? I did ask him for that pot roast recipe….

“I never turned on LiveScope.”
– Yep Bryan talkin’. That really messed some folks up:
All he said about LiveScope, but rest of what he said about ‘lectronics ‘n stuff is in the BB post…can’t fit it all here, lo siento.
Jacob Wheeler’s thinkin’s on LiveScope, aka “forward facing sonar.”
That’s too many words – should we call it FoFaySo? Anyhow, good stuff from a guy who for sure knows. Anyone who thinks that LiveScope takes the challenge out of it or it’s magical will be happy-happy to read this. From the MLF site:


> Yes, you can see fish out there. Yes, you can cast to them. But guess what? The fish don’t always bite! I speak from experience when I say it can cost you hours of casting at them, only to see them follow your lure back and laugh at you.


> You can change lures, change sizes, change actions, change colors – even change the color of the eyeballs if you want! An hour later they still follow your stuff back, snubbing you.


> It’s like a bed-fish that looks so catchable on tournament day. It’s locked down, it’s rolling on your stuff. You keep thinking: It’s going to bite the next cast! An hour later it swims off and never comes back. Then you realize: If I had just spent the last hour of the day throwing a wacky worm down the bank instead of being snubbed by a big one on bed, I probably could have culled a couple more times and made the cut.


> Trust me, the forward-looking silver bullet has done me the same way. When I get so focused trying to catch them off the screen, I lose touch of my overall awareness of time, weather, current, fishing pressure, etc. These are factors my intuition needs to keep a good decision flow going. When I get caught up on the screen, it starves my decision-making process.


That’s my experience too, even tho you know I’m not even 1% the fisherman Jacob is. Live sonar is great, is fun and for sure is a powerful tool, and if you fish tourneys it sometimes is a requirement. But it ain’t nearly the full deal….

Here’s the dude who won the insane Black Rifle Coffee/Sea Foam truck ‘n boat giveaway.

Lucky feller is firefighter and TN bass-head Brandon Crimmons. Great vid (IG) put together by Black Rifle. Only sketchy parts are a) the winner’s fave pro is Gerald Swindle and b) Jamey Caldwell was involved which is weird because he doesn’t know a dang thing about bass fishing or black rifles ❄️. ⬅️that’s a snowflake Jamey hahaha!


Lol just MESSIN’! G’s even funnier/crazier in person (mostly – sometimes he’s ultra-serious) and Jamey’s WAY more dangerous in person but you’d never know it…unless you play for the wrong team, if you know what I mean. He’s been known to ketch ’em too…. That’s Jamey in the pic with Brandon – click it to watch the vid.


Heard that day Brandon was called into work by the boss-man – bet he wasn’t thinkin’ he won a boat lol! Congrats dude!


Such an insane giveaway – confirms to me that the Black Rifle dudes are stone cold cray-zay…so I hope they and/or Sea Foam do another ridiculous one. Love it!

Did I say “think”??


2. How David Mullins’ tourney went.

Q: Does David need a new nickname instead of “Doomsday” – like maybe “Birthday,” “Spillway” or maybe even “Milky Way”??


3. Patrick Walters is on BassEdge DoeeRae.


Radio I mean.


4. Austin Felix is still rockin’ flannel pants.


Of course he is. I’m assumin’ the flipflop tanlines are leftover from last season:


> The championship event, scheduled to start on Sunday, Feb 21, has been postponed 1 day to allow for safer travel conditions. The tournament will now take place Monday through Friday, Feb 22-26, on Lake Palestine in Flint. The practice day for the anglers will now be on Sunday, Feb 21.


More important: I did not know that the tourney is presented by Old Wisconsin Sausage! ANY sausage sponsorship lends huge authenticity to the whole bassin’ experience man – love it! Dreamin’ about an Expo “sausage experience”…


6. TX: Unusual 10+ catch.


Unusual because the guy was using a belly boat and caught it out of Kirby Lake? Never heard of it and thought belly “boats” were just a Cali thing for bass, but either way congrats to Roy Saunders for this 10.22 – on a brown/orange craw:


7. MLF HS fishing gets the US Army.


HS anglers will now be required to run 2 miles before every blastoff


Reminds me of the days when FLW had the National Guard as a sponsor.


8. TX: Watch Wade Middleton’s visor attack Choke Canyon.


The man, the visor legend. I was like, “Wade are you a Vizorian from the planet Vizor?” He was all, “Do what?” And I was like, “That’s not a denial man! I knew it!”


9. SC: New state fishing/boating coalition.


Guess why so many outdoor businesses have moved there:


> …more than 30 representatives of SC-based boating and fishing businesses are gathering in the state capitol at Columbia to introduce the newly formed SC Boating and Fishing Alliance with Gov. Henry McMaster headlining the list of speakers.


10. Shimano fishing sales up 9.7% in 2020.


Remember if you can’t afford Shimano, there’s always:

Shishamo! I am NOT sayin’ those knockoff reels are worth your $$ at all!


11. MN: Alumacraft is 75 yrs old.


Can’t link it, at:


12. New 600-hp Merc Verado has a couple cool deals.


Notably this, no word if it might come to lower-hp motors:


> The industry’s first steerable gearcase on an outboard pivots independently underwater while the engine’s powerhead remains in a space‑saving fixed position. With help from contra‑rotating propellers, it also has better “bite” in the water for docking and other close‑quarters maneuvering.

Line of the Day


Kevin VanDam ist ein amerikanischer Profi-Bassfischer


I think that’s German? Whatever it is, pretty sure we all know what it says….

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


Like as fast as you can for cast after cast – and it ain’t just about reelin’ fast! As always, the little things make a difference. He talks about triggering strikes with moving baits, the technique and gear, and the bait mods needed in some cases. Good detailed rundown on the BB YT:

His lipless speed-reelin’ gear:


Berkley Warpig lipless crankbait


17-lb Berkley 100% Fluorocarbon


Duckett Paradigm Reel (8.3:1)


7′ 10″ Duckett Micro Magic Rod


He also likes to burn the Berkley Dredger crankbait (10.5).

Quote of the Day
“It can sound like a nuclear sub down there.”


BPTer Kelly Jordon talkin’ ’bout what happens when spectator boats leave their ‘lectronics on:


> He added it can also cause interference on the pro’s sonar as well.


My only Qs:

– How does he know what it sounds like down there?

– Has Kelly ever been in a nuclear sub? If so, this would answer some (not all) questions I have about him….


Just remember, if you wanna play it safe:

Shot of the Day
LA got a lotta rain last week and this was seen on the Amite River. Sure hope our bassin’ brother, whoever it is, got his rig back dang:
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