Pig melons of the week! Weighting frogs, More top pro baits

Quick update on my daughter: She’s better but still low energy. About day 6 now. It did get to her lungs a bit — Covid apparently is actually a lung thing. Thanks much for the prayers. She’s a big-time believer, has taught me a thing or 2….

As her dad, responsibility and (weirdly) a little fear that comes from that are the biggest things I deal with. Prayer — the kind where you hear back from the Lord — has given us peace and hope/expectation.

Talked to a few more peeps whose spouses or kids had/have it. All doing fine so far. Hope it’s the same for any of us who get it. I might have it — kinda don’t know how I couldn’t? Anyhow, felt a little off yesterday, better today. Gonna try one of my lame-ish workouts (hahaha! sad but true), see how I do.

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

Today’s Top 5

Pigs, hawgs n sows of the week!

Daniel R smashed this 12.52 (other fish is a 7!) at Lake Mtirikwe, a little-known rez in AZ…kidding! In Zimbabwe. Caught it on a Megabass Vision 110+1 jerkbait (GP pro blue) on the stock hooks:

Joe S was pretty stoked to catch this FL 12-04 on a Medlock Jig with a Skinny Dipper (watermelon red):

How ’bout Anthony smashing his 12.10 PB at Lake O’ The Pines, TX last month on a brown jig:

Bo Adams smacked this tub-o-lard 11.87-lb in a Collins Bass for Cash derby at Jordan Lake, NC:

Doyle B got this 11.04 at Lake Weatherford, TX on a Champion Jig (watermelon candy) and YUM Christie Craw:

Jerry Ballesteros with a 11+ ham slab caught at a Lake Pyramid, CA on an undisclosed bait:

Olin T caught this 10.86 in an AL pond on a 6″ Avid Bass Tackle jointed swimbait that he modified to make it a wake bait. Said it was in 2′ in some scattered pads:

5 more Qs with the Classic champ.

Had more things I was curious about, so hit up “Hanktankerous” Cherry with ’em:

1. Did finishing 3rd at the Grand Classic (2013) teach you anything that helped you in this one?

I think the experience taught me how to handle the on-the-water crowds…spectators and the boats. Just the experience of seeing them following me and see how they were following Kevin [VanDam] the 1st day. You have to approach places differently…treat people with respect so they’ll give you respect…they’ll respond and treat you better.

2. You had 1 top 10 in ’16 and 1 in ’17, none in ’18, then 2 in ’19 and now you won the Classic this year. Are you fishing better?

I don’t know if better is the word — I think it’s cleaner. I’m not making the stupid mistakes, and I’m not losing anything. I’m just fishing clean.

…just tried mentally and physically with practice and off-season fishing…with hooksets, everything is crisp and I’m always checking my equipment…make sure hooks are super-sharp. People don’t realize that a lot of fish we lose is usually because of a dull hook, like your crankbait his the rocks….

Lots of fish we lose are in our control, we just don’t realize it.

3. What happens when you win the Bassmaster Classic? Does your life change right away or…?

My life changed right away just because my name’s gonna be on that trophy, just the 50th one there is. But with everything going on in the world right now, we’re just trying to be as centered and grounded as we can be. I’m sure when it’s all over and we get back on the road it’ll be business as usual, but right now we’re just trying to keep it business as usual around the house.

4. Who’s your biggest fishing influence?

My dad. He was there…introduced the crickets and bream buster…. Taught me how to tie knots. I guess he gave me all the basics.

[On the tourney side] I guess Hank Parker. Just kind of following his career — watching his career and how he did it. Him being so close to home, it was real. I always had it in my head that I could get there and do it.

5. What advice do you have for someone who’s obsessed with 1 bait or style of fishing and their buds are tellin’ them not to be?

There’s no issue from being obsessed with 1 bait or style. But if you don’t learn to do other things, you’re not going to be dangerous all the time on the water.

The jig is probably my strongest suit — I’m probably better with that in my hand than any bait. There’s times for that, times for a jerkbait, and I carry a lot of spinning rods now. [In the past he] wouldn’t pick up [spinning rods] took people like Powroznik, Hackney and Bryan Thrift beating it into my head that it doesn’t matter how you catch ’em, you just gotta catch ’em.

More top baits from the Fork-Athens BPT.

2nd: Alton Jones Jr

> BOOYAH Pad Crasher (shad frog), 7′ 1″ H Kistler Helium 3 Rod, 65-lb Seaguar Smackdown Braid. Used in spawning areas when conditions would not allow sight-fishing [he was catching them on the frog, not just using it to find the fish].
> 6″ YUM Dinger (gp purple), used for fan-casting to targets and casting to beds from a distance.

> YUM Bad Mamma (gp purple), used for sight-fishing.

> Same setups for the soft-plastics: 7′ H Kistler Z Bone Rod, 65-lb Seaguar Smackdown Braid to a 25-lb Seaguar Blue Label fluoro leader.

> All fish came in less than 3′.

[MDJ was 3rd, “won Fork,” full story here at the BassBlaster site.]

4th: Brent Chapman

> 3/8-oz bladed jig with a 4″ swimbait (b/b when sunny, white when cloudy/rainy), 7′ 3″ KastKing Speed Demon Pro vibrating jig rod, KastKing Bassinator Elite Reel (6.6), 20-lb Gamma fluoro.

> “Everything in less than 4′ — shoreline reeds you could see or the submerged hydrilla out in front of those.”

> 4″ craw (b/b), 5/0 TK130 Trokar Flipping Hook, 3/8-oz Eagle Claw Lazer Tungsten Sinker, Eagle Claw Pro Rigging Stop, 7′ 5″ flip stick, KastKing Bassinator Elite Reel (8:1), 20-lb Gamma fluoro.

> “Same places, just flipping the visible reeds.”

> “I did the same thing on Fork and Athens. At Athens, I caught 2 key fish on a jerkbait as well (gold/black back).”

5th: Brandon Coulter

> Crankin’ on fork: Rapala DT10 and DT 16 (Ike’s Caribbean shad), and Norman DD22 (shad). DT10: 7′ 4″ MH mod Savage Gear Squad Rod, Berkley Trilene 100% Fluoro. DT16 and DD22: 7′ 11″ MH mod Savage Gear Battletek Rod, Trilene 100% Fluoro.

> Shallow rounds (not sharp points) in the backs of spawning creeks. One key area was 10′ and the other was 16′.

> Wacky on Athens: Savage Gear Armor Tube Worm (b/b), #1 Neko hook, 7′ 1″ M Savage Gear Black Ops Rod. Blind-casting beds in 1-3′.

Bait breakdown from the Martin FLW.

This one — at Lake Martin, AL — was a soft-plastic-o-rama, won by TN’s Jason Abram by just 1-01 over MI’s Ron Nelson. Jason fished spots in the morning and docks for largies later:

> …Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper (white trash or lime ice) on a prototype 3/16-oz Reaction Innovations jighead. Then he’d chase pre-spawn largemouths under docks by skipping a Reaction Innovations Flirt Worm (merthiolate) on a 3/0 Gamakatsu hook and walking it out.

Here’s how the baits of the top 10 finishers looked:

Swimbait = 50% — Mostly Skinny Dipper and Keitech Fat types.

Carolina rig = 30%Strike King Rage Bug, Zoom UV Speed Craw, V&M Swamp Hog — no Baby Brush Hogs?? Get arrested for that in TX….

Senko/Stickbait = 20% — believe these were wackys

10% each = Worm, Dropshot, Swim-jig, Ned, Flip plastics

Guess who fished the swim-jig — Tom Monsoor (7th), with a Yamamoto Swim Senko:

How many times would you try to make this cast?

BPTer Greg Vinson:

> …Lake Fork…8-lb 4-oz fish was sitting between these 2 dock posts. The right cast seemed almost impossible but managed to finally get it dialed in despite the huge mat of gator grass between me and the fish.

Honestly if it was me, I’d probably have given it 4-5 casts max ASSUMIN’ I didn’t get snagged, in which case I’d probly get all ticked off and stomp outta there (sad I know)….

Greg said his line was 25-lb Seaguar AbrazX fluoro….


1. WA banned ALL fishing for 2 weeks.

At least. [Can’t link this stuff but it’s at] Don’t like it one bit and no it doesn’t make sense to me. If docks/ramps are an alleged issue, just ask folks not to use ’em:

> “This is not a decision we take lightly, but it’s the right thing to do for the health and well-being of Washington’s families,” said WDFW director Kelly Susewind.

Kelly’s bio says he’s a geological engineer whose last gig was in environmental policy. My 2c: His boat must be 5′ long to not get the right social distance…lol. Srsly: Dude was not trained or hired for this stuff. Stay in your lane man, and:

2. Gerald Swindle in the Blount County, AL Sports Hall of Fame.Some cool info about G in the post like:

> “From the first day I went fishing, it’s what I wanted to do. There was just this weird dynamic of how I wanted to get better at it. I’d cast for hours and hour and hours. I’d cast into a cup. I’d cast into a bucket. I’d spin a lure between legs of the table, bounce it off a chair. All that started at Locust Fork, in Blount County.”

G with his bro Ernie at the ceremony:

3. What it’s like to be in Ike’s boat.

Cody Prather’s a veteran bassin’ camera dude and can write REAL well — worth readin’, couple highlights:

> My days with Iaconelli always start the same way. One simple rule. A rule, a request, really more of a plea: “Mike, don’t lick my camera lens.”

> I see him as the guy who embodies the wildness of this sport. I also see him as a freight train running to the back of the boat, and I’m tied to the tracks.

Hahaha! Love it!

4. Couple no-name dudes talkin’ bassin’.

Wannabes…HAHAHA! Fun to listen to. Couple things:

> Neither one of these guys is nearly that nice in real life…or maybe that’s just when they’re around me (heehee!).

> Listen to the deets KVD remembers, even from when he was 7 YRS OLD. Crazy.

5. The most serious I’ve ever seen Andy Montgomery.

Honestly scares me a little — shoot he doesn’t even look that serious when he’s putting a jig into a dime-size hole on the inside back corner of a boathouse dock:

Also makes me think that maybe he really DOES have an engineering degree? HAHAHA Andy!

6. Good post on why B.A.S.S. postponed derbies.

By B.A.S.S.’s digital fish head Jim Sexton. Trip Weldon also wrote a good one. Said he’s local fishing derbies…wonder who the TD is…?

7. MN: The good news on the new Mille Lacs regs.

Thank you to Jim B for the info:

> All smallies and largies over 17″ caught on Mille Lacs must be released immediately, a limit of 3 bass (both species).

> Prior to this, anglers could keep one smallie over 21″. Now all bass over 17″ have to be released immediately.

> The live bait ban in July is new this year. This means the boats that take anglers out from launches and resorts all over the lake won’t have people gut-hooking smallies while they’re fishing for the almighty walleye.

Believe the Mille Lacs Smallmouth Alliance and other groups had a big hand in this — good job fellers….

8. Some braids will be made with different raw material.

Slightly different, sounds like:

> …will help reduce the environmental impact of its Dyneema fibres, used in some of the world’s top fishing lines.

> The move will see Dyneema transition to bio-based feedstock…. Bio-based Dyneema will be available from April this year.

> Fishing brands licenced to use Dyneema in their lines includes Berkley, Momoi, Daiwa, Spiderwire and Sufix.

9. SC: Check the Clarks Hill BFL winner’s #OG rig.

Love this. Kyle Austin won partly using a Carolina rigged Zoom Lizard that was black with a chartreuse tail. C-rig = older-school, lizard on a C-rig definitely old-school, and the black/chart tail color is fer sher old-school.

10. The new BUFF stuff is out.

Check it ^. These new “pixels desert” UV+ Insect Shield Arm Sleeves are cool:

11. AR: Folks still making baits at PRADCO.

Cuz peeps are still buyin’ ’em cuz peeps are still fishin’ n buyin’. Never thought (for some reason) of people who make baits as servin’ us, but now I realize they are so THANKS to everyone makin’ fishin’ stuff in these times.

12. Check the U of Buffalo bassers…

…on a new Rapala #WeAreCollegiateBass Podcast.

13. Collegiate Bass Fishing gets Tactacam.

Garmin also has a reward program on that trail.

14. Mustad’s new-ish Tuf Line brand has a new look/website.

15. This dude’s Tundra mods are insane!

Insanely cool — didn’t even know half this stuff existed:

LOT of coin dropped on that deal. Or you could just go with this new ‘lectric “Pickman” pickup:

Wonder how many clowns fit in that deal….

16. MN testing alternative to road salt.

Because it does/could change/pollute the water:

> …to test the environmental effects of an alternative to road salt — potassium acetate, the liquid de-icer often used on airport runways.

> It’s biodegradable, it doesn’t corrode infrastructure, and it works in colder temperatures than salt does. It’s also 7 times more expensive.

17. WY: Invasive mussels can survive the winters.

Heck yeah they can! #GreatLakes Not in WY yet tho….

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

Good Jason Christie frog-fishing tips.

Couple good ones from the MLF site — here’s a couple deals but worth a full read:

> “Probably 90% of the time guys talk about frogs, they’re thinking grass, mats, thick weed beds. But I’ve caught big stringers over the years on frogs fished in open water, on lakes you wouldn’t consider fishing a frog first. A frog is the most ‘finesse-y’ topwater bait made. It has no rattles. It’s as lifelike as can be.”

> “Around mats that are very thick, I go to a 25-BB frog. 3 to 7 BBs is probably the norm….”

> …weighting his frogs…”increases casting distance. I think it also increases hookups, though that may seem weird. It adds more weight to the frog. When the fish comes up to bite it, the frog stays where it needs to be. It doesn’t move as much.”

Quote of the Day

“The Carolina rig took everyone off the bank — where I like to fish.”

Rick Clunn quotin’ Denny Brauer after the C-rig got hot and Denny won a tourney flippin’. Lol! From a good Rick post on rememberin’ what used to work because it still works — just peeps have forgotten about it or never learned it….

Shot of the Day

T-H Marine said too cool not to share, and I’m right with ’em — check these flush-mounted yak ‘lectronics, includin’ that HydroWave: #stout


Gotta thank the Robertsons — we’ve been watching lots o’ Duck Dynasty. Clean redneck family fun = love it! ‘Specially the redneck parts…. Here’s one we gotta lotta laughs outta last night. Check this 40 seconds of pure $$$ from Phil Robertson:

Peeps been recommending the “Tiger King” deal on Netflix, which I’ll get to. First had to finish the 2nd season of “Formula 1: Drive to Survive.” Had zero knowledge of or interest in F1 racing til I watched that deal — amazing. Might be the most competitive, highest-dollar, most-exclusive (only 20 pros at the top level) sport in the world. And goin’ that fast looks like a blast! Note: cussin’ in it….

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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