Things to watch for at Classic, Classic bait options, Free Rapala hats

Leaving for El Clasico Magnifico on Thursdee but will get a Blaster done for that day so all good. If you’re at Conroe/Houston, remember to gitcha a PhotoBlast — maybe with me in it — to have a shot at winnin’ a PILE o’ BOOYAH and YUM stuff (pic below). Enjoy the show — the Classic IS all that!

Today’s Top 5

5 things to watch for at the Classic.

1. Many baits/techniques — This Classic is a little warmer/farther ahead (spawn-wise) than recent ones and the fish are bigger. So we could see all kinds of baits working at this one: plastics, cranks, swimbaits, bladed jigs, jigs, etc.

2. Day 2 is more important than day 1 — Whoever’s in the top X (10? won’t know til after day 1) after day 1 and catches them better day 2, look out. A little weather-dependent, but usually day 2 is the separator. That shows the guys who are figurin’ ’em out, not the guys on the fish that are going away.

3. Someone can make a big jump on day 3 — Always the chance for an Evers/Howell/Clunn-like insane day 3, but what I mean here is this lake has lots of DD fish so if a guy is 5 lbs or 8 lbs out of 1st after 2 days, so what?

4. Who’s just happy to be there? — If a guy is just happy to be at a Classic, he won’t win it. How many Classic rookies win? How many Super Bowl rookie teams win? If you’re just fishing it, the Classic isn’t great. Winning it is great.

5. Faith vs fear — Seen this so many times at Classics: Guys who lose faith in their fish, or even in themselves, and spin out. Here’s what that internal war looks like:

True when it’s your time things go your way — fish bounce in the boat instead of out, Trip winks at you and pushes down on the fish in the basket, etc. [HAHAHA just kidding on that one]. But it’s also true that you have to BELIEVE it’s your time, mang!

> Related: Who in this year’s field will have the confidence to fish for just 5 big bites a day? Remember…it’s THE Classic.

Check Keith Combs:

> In four of the five major events that I’ve won, including two at Conroe, the most keepers I’ve caught in a day of fishing was 7. On a few occasions, I was fortunate to have 5. …I know that the guy who wins this event will not be catching 20 fish a day. He’ll probably land 5 to 10 of the right ones.

Word. If Combs wins this one he should change his last name to “Conroe.” Or maybe “powder blue back chartreuse.”

More on Classic baits.

Here’s the deal:

> Will moving baits figger at the Classic? Yep.

> Will slow baits figger? Yep.

> Topwater and/or underwater? Yessir.

> Soft-plastics? Si.

> Cranks, jerks, spinnerbaits, bladed jigs, jigs, TX rigs, etc.? Reckon so.

Personally I’m crossin’ my fingers that we NEVER see another underspin at this or any Classic, but you never know….

Wish I had BassGold crankin’ to tell you what’d win it — bait- AND weight-wise — cuz it’s been right every dang time (seriously) but we’re still a-workin’ on the redo. So instead I was gonna ask Chuck Norris, the expert on Texas everything, but chickened out because:

Baits we probly WON’T see at the Classic.

Lots of fish + bigger fish = lots of bait choices BUT here’s a few we probly won’t see:

Double Plopper Buzzbait (a Whopper Plopper maybe, but not that)

Savage Suicide Duck (maybe Palaniuk??)

SPRO Rat (if any major derby gets won on that, time to move to a bunker in Idaho)

Westy Worm (Lintner maybe??)

Spy Baits (no need for ’em)

Seeing any of these baits fished would be like…I don’t know…guess it’d be like The Rock wearing a fanny pack.

What in the….

What will Combs fish?

Keith Combs, Keith Combs, Keith Combs — he’s in the same spotlight Jason Christie was before last year’s Classic. And just like Jason wasn’t the only OK pro in it last year (Edwin “Pea-can” Evers anyone?), Combs has a lotta TX company this year. But since he’s mentioned all the time, let’s take a quick-like look at how he made his Texas/Conroe/crankin’ rep:

> Oct 2011: Won the Conroe TTBC (with 76-12) crankin’ a Norman DD14 (nutter shad) into “older” brush in 4-9′ — actually won it after a fish-off with Ike. [This was before he was a Strike King guy.]

> Oct 2013: Won the Conroe TTBC (with 62-12) fishing brush on non-flat bottoms. Cranked a Strike King 5XD (powder blue back chartreuse) and a Strike King KVD 1.5 squarebill (black back chartreuse), but also a worm and jig. J-Pow was 3rd, B-Lane 4th, KVD 5th, Zaldaingerosity 6th, McClelland 7th, Christie 7th (tie), Ike 9th.

He also won the TTBC at Fork in May 2014 crankin’ Strike King 6XD (chartreuse/powder blue back) and Strike King 10XD (sexy shad), plus a swimbait; and won the Falcon Elite in March 2013 crankin’ that same color 6XD.

So: Texas + crankin’ = Combs. Gonna go out on a limb here and say this is what he’s thinking:

Guess that’s a TX bassin’ gang sign….

Spectator boat guide to the Classic.

Swindle quote:

> The boat traffic here is as intense as anywhere we’ve ever competed.

Heck yeah it is/will be. On that note, if you’re on the water a-watchin’, here’s my 2c about it:

1. Shut down way before you get anywhere near a competitor.

2. Stay at least 100 yards from all competitors and do not talk to (distract) them.

3. Make sure your electronics are off…all day.

4. Do not run over and see what a guy was fishing when he leaves a spot. Just leave it alone. If you’re a local and can’t find that spot next week just by using your eyes, I’m a ham sammich. If you have poor impulse control, get some meds.

This AIN’T about it being public water. It’s about being a courteous human being. I’m sure I’m preachin’ to the choir….

5. For cryin’ out loud, DO NOT fish a competitor’s spot! That’s a jackleg move x infinity. You need to be thataway, kick the nearest telephone pole, git it outta your system. Locals: Not fishing one weekend won’t kill ya, mang, I do it all the time…. 🙁

6. BE CAREFUL. Expect hundreds of boats out there, and some % of them will be drivin’ like they just got outta prison, if you know what I mean. On that note:

> When a competitor pulls up his little motor and gets ready to blow outta there — or looks like he is — don’t be in a rush to follow the dude, be first in line, whatever. Take your time.

> Watch out for other flotillas follerin’ other anglers. Can get nuts in a hurry when two flotillas cross paths.

> WEAR PFDs when runnin’!

Just tryin’ to look out for ya. Btw speakin o’ Swindle, his new beard-man look is workin’ for him:

Saw that and said to my kids, “That’s pretty cool, I might do it.” My son texted me, “You’d look like this dad:”

Would say he got his sense of humor from me but don’t think he was kidding?

Bonus Stuff at the Classic!

Brought at ya by your friendly neighborhood Bassin’Blaster, for folks who will be attendin’ this week’s Bassmaster Classic:

1. PhotoBlast the Classic!

Here’s your LAST REMINDER — for those of you who’ll be there, check this:

That’s about $500 worth of BOOYAH and YUM stuff!! All you have to do is:

1. Post at least one pic or SHORT vid from the Classic. Must be funny!
2. You gotta be in it or part of it (vid).
3. ONLY show floor or weigh-in stuff. NO SHOTS from on the water. Not down with disturbing the competitors or anything unsafe. Repeat: NO SHOTS on the water or docks.
4. NO STUNTS or anything to embarrass anyone. Please DO NOT do anything dumb or dangerous. C’mon man. Looking for funny and/or enthusiastic, that’s it.
5. Post it to Insta or FB and tag it @bassblaster (@jay kumar’s bassblaster on FB), @booyah_baits and @yum_baits, and hashtag it #bassblaster.

I will choose a winner. Reminders 2:

> I’ll be at the Classic. Extra points if you find me and get a pic.

> Extra points if you get an Elitist at the show to do/say something. Tell ’em it’s for a Blaster contest.

2. Gitcha a FREE Rapala hat!

While y’all is stoppin’ by the Rapala/Guy Harvey booth (#2413) for some great blow-out deals on Rapala tees, hoodies and such, say “BassBlaster” to someone there who looks official and word is you’ll get one o’ these Rapala hats — free! While supplies last….


1. TX: 3 fishermen shot along Mexico border.

Sounds like they were on the US side of the Rio Grande, 1 man has passed (RIP fishin’ brother) and 2 will recover. Here’s a vid of a reporter pointing out bullet holes in the hull. Dang it.

2. Classic winning weight predictions.

A few:

> Duckett: 75 lbs.

> Combs: 70+ lbs.

> Jordan Lee: 70+ lbs.

> Montgomery: 63 lbs.

3. Combs gets Shimano.

4. Fish with Ike and the Dean on El Salto.

This will be Gluszek finding the fish and Ike marking them…. HAHA kiddin’ Ike! (Gluszek, call me bro.)

5. Strike King has 8 anglers in the Classic.

Think that’s the most of any bait company? Rapala and Zoom are next with 5.

6. Here’s the full Classic field…

…in case yer wonderin’.

7. BOOYAH releases the Prank.

> A lipped popper, the Prank can be worked on top as a popper that spits water thanks to a cupped and shaved mouth. But it also doubles as a shallow-running crankbait where the shaved back helps impart a serious swimming action. A feather-dressed treble adds the final touch to entice strikes.

Word is this bait is the real deal — from Elitists who tested it. Seems like ever since frogs took off and the Whopper Plopper secret got out, all kinds of topwaters are in play…but the Prank ain’t just a topwater:

8. Now we know why Brett Hite went to Z-Man?

Check the new ChatterBait Jack Hammer — Hite was all about the Japan-only EverGreen Hack Hammer bladed jig, and guess he still is:

9. CA: Delta bite is on.

10. OH: Cinci forward Gary Clark is a bass-head.

Cinci as in the team in the hoops tourney:

> Clark’s favorite passion outside of basketball is fishing. He was on a bass-fishing team in high school in Clayton, NC….

Gotta root for that team now!

11. KY/TN: APSU Governors Bass Tournament in May.

May 13, Kentucky Lake. Most important part:

> …will serve sausage biscuits prior to the tournament and hamburgers and hot dogs at weigh-in.

12. AR: Big Bass Tour will be at Dardanelle in ’18.

$15K from the Russellville Advertising and Promotion Commission says so.

13. KY: Beaver Lake bass will be removed.

Too many small ones. Props to the DNR for doing it.

14. MN: Asian carp found in St. Croix River.

Not good.

15. New Bassin’ Cat “stripe.”

Could be cool:

16. Trapper intros new treble.

Not on TW yet but they do have the Trapper soft-plastic hooks.

17. Lowrance announces 16″ screen unit.

If you can’t see it you need these:

Btw Lowrance is celebrating its 60th bday this year.

18. New Crestliner PT 18 tin boat.

I be needin’ a new tin boat Crestliner! (Hint.)

19. Here’s the gear FLW uses for streaming.

For all you A/V Clubbers….

20. Expect more big-box sports failures?

Due to “the Amazon effect” — which basically means a shift to buying online. All I can say to that is: der.

Tip of the Day

Seth Feider on the Rapala DTs.

Speakin’ of Classic baits: Already talked about Combs and the Strike King cranks, so gotta remind y’all about the David Fritts co-designed Rapala DT cranks — which technically have won at least one Classic. Here’s Seth Feider on why he likes ’em — and the other Rapala pros say the exact same thing (that tighter action is key):

Quote of the Day

You not tricking us…nobody’s real life is perfect as your Facebook. You got an ugly dog, you can’t skip docks…don’t know, but there’s something.

– Jimmy “James and the Blue Flames” Overstreet talkin’ on, yep, Facebook. You can’t skip docks…lol.

Shot of the Day

This dude’s always so pumped up in his shots. Check that bait — looks like it has a shovel on the front:

Sign up another bass-head!

If you’re forwarding every Blaster to other bass crackheads, tx much — or you can email me the addys and we’ll take care of it! We’ll never send spam, sell the list or anything else crazy….

Use the best!

Git on these yo!

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Jay Kumar is the guy who created, co-hosted Loudmouth Bass with Zona, was a B.A.S.S. senior writer and a whole lot more in bassin’. Jay Kumar’s BassBlaster is a daily-ish roundup of the best in bassin’, and is the #2 daily read on any given day in the wide world o’ bass.

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