Travis Elite baits, Prehistoric smallies, How to raise an angler

Today’s Top 5

Drew Benton wins his first Elite…future star?

I know that’s a big statement, but this is what’s making me think…maybe:

Check that out. Landing a bass, flashing his pearly whites and fist in the air all at the same time. Hard to pull off even if you were tryin’ and he wasn’t. Nice shot Stevie Bowman.

Believe this is Drew’s 3rd year on the Elites, often a turning-point make/break year. So far this season he’s finished 101st, 73rd, 45th and 1st. Also placed no lower than 12th in the last 3 Opens he’s fished. So something’s firin’.

Asked him if it was yoga, the A-Mart Doritos diet or what — he said:

> “I just started fishing with confidence again. Fishing my strengths [shallow power fishing] and not worrying about how I think it’s going to be won or how anyone else is catching them. Just doing my own thing, to my strengths. When you do that, you’re always confident in what you’re doing.

> “When things start going your way and you get a little momentum in this sport, you fish a lot better. You make better decisions. It’s crazy how much momentum is such a factor in a thing like fishing, but it is.

Said winning an Elite “gives me the confidence that I have the ability.”

> “I’ve always visualized it happening, which is huge. You have to visualize yourself having success to have it. But to visualize it and actually do it are 2 different things.

> “It’s really good for my career, and not from just a sponsor standpoint. It gives you staying power.”

Props, man, love it. Love the fist-bump to the Lord too! (What it looks like….)

How Drew caught ’em.

Full details on the BassBlaster site, but here’s his baits. He made a couple key adjustments detailed in the full post, the first of which was focusing on the deepest marinas:

> Bagley Knocker B (shad — pic shows bluegill cuz he is out of shad) in the marinas. Mixed in a clear walking bait when it was high-sun and slick. 7′ 1″ H Phenix Feather Rod, Lew’s Magnesium Reel (7.5), 65-lb Seaguar Smackdown braid.
> 6″ Nichols Mini Magnum Flutter Spoon (gizzard). “The deeper [the marina], the better. The deepest was 110′, the shallowest was 60′. The fish were suspended 5-15′ down. With the deeper water, the shad stayed there all day.” 707 H Phenix MBX Rod, same reel, 20-lb Seaguar InvizX fluoro.
> “I also mixed in Doomsday Laggin’ Dragon (shad). It’s shaped sort of like a Senko — you throw it out and twitch it…it falls, it flutters…. It sinks under the smaller fish.” TX-rigged, 4/0 Owner EWG Worm Hook, 7′ 1″ H Phenix Feather Rod, 15-lb Seaguar InvizX fluoro.

One more thing: Drew says when the water’s ultra clear he prefers his eyes over his electronics like:

HAHAHAHA! Not really, story behind that pic is in #4 below.

What 2nd-5th fished at Travis.

Dig it:

2nd: Jacob “do I really talk like Aaron Martens?” Wheeler

> Wheeler fished a couple spoons and 4 topwaters: walkers, plopping-style baits and prop baits. Spoons were a 7/8-oz jigging spoon to fire up the school, and a bigger flutter spoon.

> Fished the topwaters on points, bushes and pockets, covering a lot of water — “I’d average 1.5 mph while throwing it. I was rolling down the bank, running as much stuff as I could, and eventually I’d find a couple.”

> Topwater gear: 7′ 6″ H Okuma TCS Rod, Okuma Helios Reel (8.1), 50-lb Sufix 832 braid.

> Fished the spoons in 30-40′, humps and points.

> Spoon gear: 7′ 11″ H Okuma TCS Rod, Okuma Helios Reel (7.3), 20-lb Sufix Invisiline fluoro.

3rd: Cliff “2nd in the AOY race” Pace

> Carolina-rigged mostly main lake points in 20-30′. V&M Drop Shad (gp/watermelon laminate), 3/0 offset shank Mustad worm hook, Hi-Seas Mighty-Mini Swivel, 3/4-oz Elite Tungsten sinker, 15-lb Hi-Seas fluoro leader, 20-lb Hi-Seas fluoro mainline, 7′ 4″ 7-power TFO signature Pacemaker 747 Rod.
> “The jerkbait deal was just wind — whatever the wind was blowing on. Really just junk-fishing. All main-lake stuff.” Jackall Squad Minnow 115 and Jackall DD Squirrel (I think) jerkbaits (ghost minnow and SG threadfin when it was overcast). “I used the [Squirrel] on deeper, more vertical stuff.” Mustad 2x Strong Triple Grip trebles, 12-lb Hi-Seas fluoro, 6′ 10″ 4-power signature TFO Pacemaker 6104 Rod.

4th: Keith “honey” Combs

> Strike King 10XD crank and Strike King Sexy Spoon — both herring, and both with Owner ST-35 trebles. Prototype Shimano Curado cranking rod and 7′ 6″ H Shimano Curado rod for spoon, Shimano Curado Reel (7.3), 15-lb Seaguar InvizX fluoro. Fished them in 25-40′ on main lake points and drains.

5th: Brent “still leading AOY — and I am a” Chapmaniac

> 3/8-oz homemade buzzbait with a swimbait trailer. “Fished it early, covering rocky banks during the shad spawn.”

> 10″ Zoom Ol’ Monster Worm (plum). “Fished it after the buzzbait bite slowed. Pitched it in bushes and trees in 2-20′.”

Stuff I need to highlight from Travis.

1. Wesley Strader didn’t win. WTHeck is the world coming to, when there’s a Bassmaster tourney and Strader doesn’t win it?? Should we be building below-ground shelters in our yards? Good news: You can get yer Strader fix on his website, where he’s ramped up his apparel game. I NEED me a “Grinnin’ like a mule, Eatin’ saw briars” tee.

2. Props to Marty Robinson. Drew talkin’:

> “When I got back in [after day 3], I was assessed a 15-minute penalty at the start of day 4…for falling out of the boat and stepping on the dock. It made me nervous because I was doing all my damage first thing in the morning.

> “I was fishing [that early spot] with Marty Robinson and called him [that night about it] He said, ‘You have an opportunity to win so I’m going to stay out of there. That was huge of him — I really appreciate it.”

Marty was in 11th after day 3 and stayed there when it was all over after posting his lowest weight of the tourney on day 4. That’s old-school #stout mang!

3. Did Ray Hanselman weigh a derp?

You tell me:

Thanks to bass-head Chris D for being on the BB #derp patrol!

4. Bobby Lane used a spinning rod??

Bear in mind he’s from FL so…. I bet him he’d never use one at Travis, he said he would. Guess he wanted to win that part of my beef jerky collection…but doesn’t look like to me he knows what to do with a spin-rod?

5. Uh Kriet, don’t just…hold up one…I mean….

Oh there’s a HOOK in there! Okay, gotcha mang…hope you’re okay?

8.78-lb brown mega-melon caught outta Sturgeon Bay!

Biggest one ever caught in the Sturgeon Bay Open — Ben Antoneiwicz ketched it, posted by @uncutangling:

Derby was won by Jason Stangel and John Ullmer with 58.87 lbs for 10. Their biggest fish was a pathetic 7.54 lbs…lol. Pretty sure that’s these guys — the derby FB page ain’t real descriptive:

No baits mentioned. Most disturbing: Wally-eye anglers did real well in that thing. What up with that, bass-heads??

Just a couple weeks ago, this 8-10 was caught, which equates to an 8.63-lber — also on the misnamed “Sturgeon” Bay. Matty Peters caught it on a 3/32-oz (!!) black hair jig in 4′. Not him the pic but wowza:


1. Jason Lambert won the KY Lake FLW with 100+ lbs.

Will get into the deets next Blaster, but can tell you this: None were Asian carp.

Check this: Scotty Martin was 2nd with…73-09. Mark Rose, in 5th, had 71-11. That’s a dang 30-LB DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 1ST AND 5TH!!!!!!!

Kid Rock was there, and I was like, “Hey Kid, whachoo think of that homie?” He’s all:

He always says that tho….

2. FLWer Chad Grigsby gets Real Truck.

Truck accessories.

3. GA QB Jake Fromm got a Plopper in his leg.

Ended up in the hospital takin’ care o’ that million $$$ muscle. Check it:

4. Favorite looking for junior pro staffers.

5. Models show Great Lakes water temps increasin’…

…over the next few decades. If that means more bassin’, solid.

6. Info on the new Merc outboards.

7. Now you can get Mossy Oak camo on a weddin’ ring.

Bet some bass-head’s already done it….

Line of the Day

“It was like a log.”

Dude describin’ what it was like to reel in a huge wally-eye. Whoop-dee-doo.

Tip of the Day

How to raise a fisherman from birth.

Might be the greatest tip ever…remember to REMOVE THE HOOKS bass-heads! Wish I’d thought of this for my kids lol. Click to see the short vid posted by @wootungsten:

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Meme of the Day


Shot of the Day

From the Travis Elite. Assumin’ this is an optical illusion cuz if not that’s some closeness right there:

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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