Paul Mueller’s winning bait, Hammer your spots, 14-lber caught!

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Today’s Top 4

Paul Mueller won the St Johns fishing fast in a FL cold front.

So of COURSE he won it..?? First let’s talk about the 2-day delay of the start of the derby. This pic won it on Insta:

Anyhow, word is the Weldon family reunion was down there, they all fished a 2-dayer in the wind, and Trip and Hank both weighed strings over 30 lbs…after practicing with a local “relative”….

HAHAHA okay not really! But I DID hear that several well-known pros decided to save their fish quotas for a future tourney….

LOL! Sorry for the guys who didn’t ketch ’em in what sounded like a brutal deal, but boy howdy — we have a winnah! Paul “if it’s cold I’m in it” Mueller won his 2nd in 2 years. Paul’s from a tiny little state named Connecticut, which has a silent “c” and way too much traffic. But who cares — dude won an Elite! Here’s how it went down — all the deets on

> “I started fishing, covering water — that was the key for me. It had a lot of lily pads, some hyacinth mats, some rocks, but mostly pads.

> “…was amazing…. You’d think that after a front like that you’d have to slow down in FL. That’s the consensus. But I made the swim-jig work that day [lily pads and stems].

> “I used a 3/8-oz Strike King Hack Attack Swim Jig (black/blue) with a Zoom UV Speed Craw (junebug), 50-lb Gamma Torque braid, a 7′ 4″ XH Dobyns Rod and Lew’s Super Duty Reel (8.3). I was fishing it AL style — pumping it, really moving that swim-jig between the pads, looking for a reaction bite.

> “I started catching fish right off the bat. And as the water came up and the day got warmer, I started getting bigger fish. I lost a fish that was probably closer to 9 than to 8…would’ve been my personal best bass….” [He still had a limit of 20-08.]

> “Day 2, same approach. I weighed 4 of the 5 fish on the same swim-jig. The only fish not on the swim-jig was the largest — I punched a mat at the end of the day and caught that fish when the water was up …6-04, salvaged my day….” [He weighed 5 for 16-02 and was in 1st.]

> “[Day 3] I went into that creek and only caught 1 on the swim-jig. It was just dead. Here’s where things were meant to be — the Lord gives you the wisdom at the right time of what to do. …I was way out of it mentally — I thought I’d dug myself a hole.

> “…creek a little south called 6 Mile Creek. I’d fished it day 2 in the morning. It had deep hyacinth mats and I punched those mats. I punched up 2 little fish for 2 and 3, then punched up a winning 6-1 bass. That fish won me the tournament. I had 4 fish and lost a 12-13” — so I had 5 bites and put 4 in the boat.

> “If the boat was sitting in 10+’ of water…3-5′ was the flat stuff and 8-10′ was the steeper stuff. If the bank was sitting in 10′ and all of a sudden started to transition to a flatter bank, that intersection is where the fish would be.

> “The Garmin mapping was helpful. …areas with the bigger fish were transitions from a steeper bank to a slower-tapering bank, or when the deep water swung a little closer to the bank, like a little indent of deep water. The fish would pull up when the water would come up. I was able to eliminate stretches [with the] Lake Vu G3 mapping.

> “That creek didn’t have a lot of big mats on it.”

Punch rig: 3″ BB Cricket-style plastic (junebug), 4/0 Strike King Hack Attack Heavy Cover Flipping Hook, 1-oz tungsten weight, 65-lb Gamma Torque braid, 7′ 6″ XH Dobyns 766 Flip Rod, Lew’s BB1 Pro Reel (7:1).

How he got on those fish in the first place and a whole lot more on the BB website.

5 random questions with the champ.


1. When’s the last time you fished a 5-day tournament?


2. When’s the last time you won a tournament with 4 fish?

Never, but I made my first Classic on Lake Dardanelle [2013] with only 4 fish on the final day. I had 4 fish and 1 key big bite, it was a fish catch I’ll never forget.

3. Does it have to be cold for you to win a tournament? [Remember he won the Lanier Elite last year.]

[Laughed.] Maybes it’s a Feb thing. This tournament does not pertain to that at all…but yeah I do like cold tournaments. I consider myself a cold-water fisherman. I fish when people hunt and ice-fish when people put their boats away. So yeah I love fishing when it’s cold, and I feel like the amount of time I’ve fished when the water is cold has translated to different things, just not in this event. This was a God deal man. This was a gift.

Before this I’d only made 1 check in FL — I wasn’t anywhere near comfortable fishing FL. And I hadn’t had a casting rod in my hand for months. So coming down to this tournament, I was like, Am I even ready to start this year? I should have come down early to fish somewhere. Can I even cast a casting rod anymore?’ Then I picked it up and was like, Okay I can still cast. That’s the honest truth.

[I’d say maybe mentally and physically the cold doesn’t mess with him as much as maybe other dudes?]

4. How do you train to become a pro bass fisherman in CT? Is it even possible??

I fish all the time. I’m all-in with it. I guide, I compete, and when I don’t do that I’m pouring jigheads, watching stuff on YouTube — it’s all-consuming.

I made it to the Elites and won 2x in 2 years — that’s all God. A lot of people [in the US] are better than I am, they just don’t take the risk. I’m just really blessed man. I owe everything to God because it’s not easy to do this. A lot of things have to line up and He’s made a way.”

5. What’s the fancy meal you bought with your winnin’s?

I didn’t buy one. Being a veteran on the Elite Series, I know to save your money, don’t spend it. What I ate [last night]…a leftover fried chicken sandwich that we cooked the other night….

Here’s what I recommended to Paul for the next time he wins:

Just, you know, be near one o’ those AFIB deals….

Dude caught a 14 in TX!

Blake Cockrell caught this 14.36 — 26.35 inches!! — outta what looks like chocolate milk in Lake Alan Henry, TX:

Nice feesh! All that’s been said so far:

> …on a crankbait in 5-10′ of water while targeting spotted bass….

Rumor is the bait was a 20-yr-old Bomber Fat Free Shad which MIGHT be one of the baits you’ve forgotten about but shouldn’t have….


“Sometimes, anger is a good thing if you manage it correctly. Today I was able to manage it correctly….”

Mike Iaconelli talkin’ ’bout gettin’ mad at the fish — sorta — and goin’ from zero to makin’ the cut. Definitely impressive, just not…real…sure…Ike CAN manage it? One time we were fishin’ together, no one around, he snapped off a buzzbait and was like:

Another time we were down in FL fishin’ a for-fun bank deal and I was gettin’ the bigger bites — all of a sudden he was flippin’ like:

I was like, “Mike put that thing away man you’re gonna get us arrested!”

Lol Ike you know this is mostly true man! This is a Jersey hug btw….

Btw Mike caught one bass filled with helium:

Sucker almost floated off on him….


1. Ish Monroe (BPT) and Carl Jocumsen (Elite) get Bubba.

Knives, feeshn tools and stuff that says Bubba on it. Ish cooks like a sophisticated Bubba and Carl I guess is an Aussie Bubba so all good….

2. John Crews gets Striker.

Rainwear — don’t think I’ve heard of it before but Paul Mueller was wearin’ it too…. Website

3. Sounds like Cliff Crochet’s KastKing rods are out.

> …spiral-wrapped casting rods featuring American Tackle Microwave Air fishing line guides on all-new-design KastKing fishing rod blanks. KastKing developed 5 models along with MLF pro angler Cliff Crochet….

4. Drew Benton gets Mossy Oak.

He will now be invisible when fishing southern bottomlands….

5. BPTer Zack Birge gets Gator Waders.

Love to see him wear ’em on the boat! lol Website

6. Elitist Garrett Paquette gets SPRO/Gammy/Douglas Rods.

7. FLWer Hunter Freeman gets Zee soft-plastics.
Haven’t heard of ’em — website

8. Fish with Keith Combs in March.

> Mar 21-23 is the Keith Combs Bass with Class hosted by Grosse Savanne Lodge in Lake Charles, LA.

> The class will offer a unique learning experience for anglers of any skill level as well as world-class fishing…. A variety of topics will be covered in daily seminars and anglers will be able to apply those techniques on the water while fishing with Bassmaster Elite pro Keith Combs.

> Classes will be tailor-made for the anglers so if there is a specific technique you want to learn or get better at, it will be covered. Space is limited. To find out more:

9. Aaron Martens has new socks/shoes/neither.

Been fishing for years in those toe sock deals, now he’s in “waterproof socks” — which the rest of us would call “shoes” or “boots:”

Of course they’re in the “Aaron’s magic” color….

10. Lots guys get Huk.

Pronounced “huuuuuuuuk.” Not really. Anyhow:

> New Elites: Drew Benton, Brandon Lester, Lee Livesay, Tyler Rivet, Shane Lineberger

> New BPTer: Bryan Thrift

> New FLWers: Tyler Stewart, Kyle Hall, Jake Morris

> Still on the team: Ott “ABC” DeFoe, Greg “Squatch it” Hackney, Jacob “not JPow” Powrzonik, Cajun Baby “Cliff” Crochet, B-Rock Mosley, B-Rad-Lee Knight

11. TN: Chickamauga Elite postponed til March.

Due to flooding. Supposed to be this week, now March 19-22.

12. Few BPT observances.

Haven’t watched all of it but a couple format observations:

> The “win a round go straight to the final round” deal has some legs — Jacob Wheeler and Randall Tharp were sluggin’ it out yesterday for that win.

> The minimum scoreable bass definitely is a good thing in my opinion. Guys were short at least a few times and it mattered. One example: Randall Tharp was 8 oz back from the top, caught a 1-12 in the last couple minutes but id didn’t count so….

On to the guys:

> Edwin Evers was substantially below the elimination line, then caught this 6-10 with like 15 minutes left to make the 20 cut — and apparently just before his boat slid off the lake (that horizon line). Only surprising thing is he wasn’t already leading the whole field by like 15 lbs, and I say that with the greatest respect for all the other hammers.

> Zack Birge is from OK but appears to have picked up a good fishin’ habit from the TN boys:

Do that in OK this time of year and you’re liable to get some black toes….

> Brett Hite brought surprise and shame to his relatives by fishing crankbaits along with his Brett Hammer. He said he would not apologize for his conduct (lol):

> Justin Lucas’ boat deck looked like my office does…

…and that ain’t a compliment lol! Check it — lotta rods all over the place:

I think it was reflecting Justin’s mental state at the time…he missed the 20 cut….

> When KVD talks, he sounds like a meteorologist who actually knows what’s happening with the weather instead of just fibbin’. Very innerestin’. Watchin’ KVD switchin’ colors today was pretty fascinatin’ too:

> Props to Chris Lane on the Lithium Pros battery commercial. Ott DeFoe’s also in it and good on camera, guess I just got my peepers opened or re-opened by Chris. Give that dude a mic! Chris is pretty dang funny too….

> Marty Stone might know too much? I think all that knowledge pushed out his hair…which might be the case with several of us…. Should mention Darth Vader was also bald:

13. MLF gets Grundens.

Believe they’ve been known as a commercial feeshn/rubber slickers brand, recently got into recreational. They also picked up former surfin’ pro and now CA basser Todd Kline, aka Toddo Krine.

Been thinking about challenging Todd to a fishin’ and surfin’ contest but I think I’d probly lose both so still lookin’ for an upside in that deal….

14. Boaters/Cos can sign up together for FLW Series.

> When registering for a Toyota Series tournament in 2020, FLW is now offering the option for a pro and co-angler to link together to guarantee their spots in the tournament.

15. Jarrett Edwards Outdoors on WFN.

WFN Tuesdays at 8 pm. Good dude. Show’s not just bass but mostly, I believe.

16. TX/LA: T-Bend bass tracking study will start over.


> …the first batch of study fish — 26 in all — died within about 2 weeks after the research got underway.

People on Twitter are saying it’s cuz of global warming, the President, the dark state opposed to the President, red meat, the state of CA, coronavirus, taxes and, of course, the high level bassin’ around there.

Not really….

17. GA: 37 peeps did the GA Bass Slam last year.

Had to catch at least 5 of the supposed 10 bass species in GA which are:

For some reason they don’t include the rare but catchable Hawg, Fence Panda, Ditch Melon and, of course, Derp.

Still think there’s only 3 species of bass — I guess 4 includin’ derps — but I’m not over here with a DNA testin’ machine so….

18. Abu is the new title sponsor of the FLW college series.

19. IL HSer signs with McKendree University, IL.

Wyatt Pazdro of Minooka Community High School. Congrats!

20. TN: New boat titling law proposed.

21. T-H Marine made biggest acquisition yet.

First Source, the marine accessory division of Maurice Sporting Goods which was recently acquired by Big Rock Sports:

T-H head man Jeff Huntley talkin’:

> “We are thrilled to complete our largest revenue acquisition to date. Our new First Source division will allow T-H Marine to expand into new product categories and continue to grow our product-based portfolio that we offer to both our OEM and after-market customer bases.

> “…greatly strengthens our capabilities in aftermarket retail and e-commerce channels for our customers.”

Release also said: “…indicated that there will be more to come.”

22. Mississippi River flooding a concern again.

Just like last year. Here’s posts on the Midwest and Southeast. Guess the good news fish-wise is it’s restoring some backwater/marsh areas but….

23. 3 great lakes are very high.

Uh…talkin’ water level, not, you know…[crying laughing emoji]:

> Michigan, Huron and Superior…broke all Jan records for water levels….

Apparently lake-front folks might see their cribs flooded….

Line of the Day

Bass fishing has been okay but they are biting.

Uh…if they’re biting sounds like bass fishing is GOOD then?

[Can’t link it — at]

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

Edwin Evers says to hammer your areas.

Doesn’t really ay those words but that’s how I’m a-readin’ it. Innerestin’ and a little different take on power vs finesse from a lil ol’ pecan farmer who can ketch ’em — from the MLF site:

> In conventional tournaments I considered myself to be mostly a power fisherman but with a balance of finesse. For me, the distinction between power and finesse has little to do with bait size or whether it’s a horizontal or vertical presentation. For me, power fishing is about fishing fast, and finesse fishing is about fishing slow.

> If you have a different definition, that’s fine. I just want you to understand what I mean when talking about power and finesse.

> When I’m fishing an MLF or Bass Pro Tour event, I take a power approach. I have to. I can’t afford to start with slow-moving baits, hoping I’m in the right area and that the fish are feeding. I need to cover water, to trigger bites by fishing aggressively, and I can’t afford to fall too far behind the other anglers

> Some folks might think a finesse approach, with smaller baits and lighter lines, would be best in an every-fish-counts format, but that’s not been my experience.

> …if I’m fishing an area and I think that flipping a jig would be the best way for me to catch some quality fish, I’m going to reach for my flipping outfit…. If I’m right…I’ll catch 3 or 4 quality bass fairly quickly.

[Wow that sounds easy!]

> But instead of taking that information and trying to apply it to similar places around the lake — classic pattern fishing — I’m going to double back on the water I just fished and try to capitalize on that area….

> But this time around, I’ll…fish a wacky worm or something else to give the fish a different look. And if there’s not another boat nearby, I’ll try to let that area rest for a little while. After things calm down, I can often go back and catch more fish in an area I just worked through.

Don’t think I’ve ever fished a spot that thoroughly in my entire life?

Quote of the Day

“I’ve talked to a lot of professional fishermen and none of them has ever caught a fish with money in it.”

– True but I’ve seen many a time when a pro caught a fish that had money ATTACHED to it hahaha! Anyhow, that’s a pastor talkin’, believe it or not. Was researchin’ why Jesus made Peter “cast a line” to catch a fish with money in it to pay the temple tax, and I came across’t that line. Too funny.

Btw, if you’re curious here’s my 2c about why Jesus did that: He knew Peter was a fisherman and could do that, it didn’t take money to do (it does now tho! lol) and most of all, Peter had to DO something for it = obedience.

Pastor included this kinda funny way it coulda gone down:

> Imagine Peter walking down toward the lake. He runs into an old friend, “Where are you going Peter?” “Ah, nowhere really.”

> “Yeah but you’re carrying a fishing pole. What are you planning on catching? What kind of bait do you have?” “I didn’t bring any bait.”

> “What? How can you catch a fish without any bait? What kind of fish are you trying to catch?” “I don’t know! You wouldn’t believe me if I told you — the Master, Jesus, sent me to catch our taxes.”

> “What? We’ve both been fishing all our lives, and our fathers before us, yet I’ve never heard of anyone catching taxes! Next time I need some taxes, I’ll come have you catch me some! Ha Ha! See you later Peter!”

Shot of the Day

Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaang. Just when I thought I’d seen all possible types of bassin’ shots, @casey_yoern comes up with another one — via @jdblackamore:


Cluster of massive great white sharks off Carolina coast remains a mystery

> While the experts don’t have a clear explanation for what’s going on…they do believe the sharks could have been driven north by warmer weather in FL.

For sure not an expert, but I think we all know what concentrates predators. Think of it thisaway: Free hot dogs after the weigh in.

Ya got me

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