VanDam now networked, Fukae’s secret bed rig, Cold water poppers?

Today’s Top 5

KVD moves to a networked rig.

Kevin VandDam is now with Minn Kota. This is RARE, folks — when an “established pro” (understatement) makes a change like this. If you were thinking Spot-Lock, yep, and then some. Called Kevin and he said:

> “This is not a decision I took lightly at all. It’s just the future is total connectivity of your equipment. [Johnson Outdoors] has definitely taken the lead in that as far as everything tied together. There’s other good electronics, shallow-water anchoring and trolling motors, but to have all the components designed and engineered to work together is an advantage.

> “To have…Lakemaster mapping and your Ultrex synched with your [Humminbird] depthfinder synched with your Talons will make me a much more efficient angler.”

Remind your bass-head selves that KVD didn’t need and to my knowledge doesn’t look for new sponsors. He just has to have what he sees as a competitive advantage so he made a change. Fo sho doesn’t happen every day in bassin’.

KVD talkin’ in the press release:

> “Few things have impacted bass fishing like Spot-Lock has. We saw a new level of boat control on the Bassmaster Elite Series last year and the guys using Ultrex had a distinct advantage. It makes managing your boat while fishing, rigging and even culling so easy that it has literally changed the way people fish for the better.”

Dang. I have some serious #gearenvy now…you?

Here’s Brandon Palaniuk welcoming the new guy to the Minny Kota team:

Honestly shocked that vid’s actually funny. “Brandon congratulations on that AOY trophy. Your first one, right?” lol

Btw Kevin was with MotorGuide from the beginning of his career, and is still running a Merc — notable since MotorGuide is under the Merc brand.

Okeechobee FLW winning baits.

FL’s Tim Frederick had 85-04 and only won it by 1-04 over MD’s Bryan Schmitt — caught a 9-lber in the last 10 mins:

> …relied on his knowledge of how big females set up on pieces of cover — typically on the points and edges of a patch of cover….

> …start by casting a Texas-rigged Strike King Ocho [gp] on a 3/16-oz weight at the cover trying to feel for a bed. “I could actually feel the bed when I was dragging my bait through. When I did, I really slowed down and made multiple casts. I was fishing slow. It might’ve taken me 5 minutes to finish one cast.”

> Whether the Ocho caught a fish or not…he’d follow up with a custom vibrating jig [black/blue], reeling it slow enough to be in contact with the bottom. When he felt it hit the bed, he’d rip it up and let it flutter….

> …threw both on 15-lb fluoro to try and coax a few more bites. [That sounds straight-up crazy UNLESS you match it to the right rod.]

Here’s his baits…

…and the top 10 baits broken down:

Bladed jig = 50% — Reminder that the original, the Chatterbait, first got known in early-season derbies on Okeechobee so it should be a #must there.

Senko-type = 40%Ocho 20%, Senko 20%

Flip plastics = 30%

Swim-jig = 20%

10% each = Spook, Crankbait, Jerkbait — Scott Canterbury (8th) fished an old-skool Bagley BangOLure.


  • Tim Frederick runs a Falcon Boat, so this is the first time a Falcon has done burnouts at the finish line. Congrats to ’em.
  • First major derby I can remember where the Ocho was dominant (1st and 3rd). The Ocho isn’t round, it’s 8-sided — here’s Steve “Rage” Parks explaining what those sides do.
  • Chris Brasher (6th) fished a 6th Sense Jigsaw, new bladed jig not yet out.
  • Former Elitist Chad Morgenthaler finished 7th, and the Canadian hammer bros Cory and Chris Johnston who finished 9th and 10th respectively.

How to land fish FL style.

Brandon McMillan didn’t win the Okeechobee FLW (finished 5th) but did win the internet (click pic for the vid):

Not sure what the net’s there for? lol

Glad he’s okay. This shot cracks me up:

Like, “Wait…I’m HERE and the bass is THERE?” lol

Do you fish a popper in cold water?

I’ll go first: I don’t. Because it can’t work. Not supposed to work. But…do the bass know that? Let’s ask one:

That weird or what? All largies think they’re named Larry. Crazy. Anyhow since all us bass-heads can’t even think something works without seeing it with our own eyes, here’s you some cold-water poppin’:

That’s a BOOYAH Boss Pop…on a swizzle stick!

Check this crazy rig.

For redfish around grass in the inshore salt — looks kinda bassy too:

Rig: Matrix Craw — which I think is made for reds? — and Owner Flashy Swimmer:

> …can be retrieved quickly as a search bait or bounced along the bottom like a jig….

Some folks on the Facesbook said they use a similar rig for bedding bass….


1. TX: Body recovered after Lake Austin boat crash.

Night crash. Another fishin’ brother lost and arm and a leg. Dang. Please be careful out there folks.

2. FL: 2 boats collided on Okeechobee FLW day 1.

Sounds like everyone was okay:

> Andy Young of Mound, MN and William Campbell of Middlesboro, KY were involved in a boat collision…. The collision happened while both anglers were running the lake and met at an intersection, with Campbell’s boat striking the port side of Young’s boat….

> Young and his co-angler were ejected, but were able to return to their boat after Young’s mandatory ignition shutoff device disengaged the engine.

> Both boats were able to return to the launch site at the Clewiston Boat Basin. The accident is under investigation by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.

3. Edwin Evers gets TrueTimber.


4. Brandon Palaniuk lost it.


They say the ice deal was only a temporary condition but he’s now fully open-water and doctors are monitoring him closely….

Lol, believe he was fishing a Rapala Jigging Rap.

5. Classic competitor will fish for Catch-A-Dream.

> Ryan Butler, the 2017 Bassmaster Team Championship Classic Fish-Off winner from Blue Eye, MO….

Outdoor experiences for sick kids. #stout

6. FLWer Carl Jocumsen gets Scosche Industries.

Sounds like headphones and such?

7. AL: Eufaula makes audacious claim.

Check it:

Big Bass Capital of the World?? You going to take that Cali, TX, FL?

> Eufaula cemented its self-proclaimed title as the “Big Bass Capital of the World” Tuesday with the dedication of the city’s newest attraction — a 10′ bass statue named “Manny.”

> “We had about 40 suggestions on what to name the new statue…” They ultimately chose “Manny” to honor Eufaula fishing legend Tom Mann.

> …coming up with the idea as a way to promote Eufaula as a tourism destination.

Better have the giant basses to back it up yo!

Love seeing ol’ Ray out there. Bless you Ray!

8. FL: International derby on Okeechobee this weekend.

9. PA anglers will be able to buy licenses on phones…

…next year at the earliest.

10. TX: College derby on Rayburn Feb 11.

11. MO: How a HS bassin’ program grew.

45 members!!

12. Aussie bassers get ready for season.

Good on ya mates!

Tip of the Day

Shin Fukae’s secret Japan bed-fishing rig.

Believe he calls it the “free rig” because the line moves free through the dropshot weight eye. It’s secret here in the U.S. (mostly) but getting popular in Japan. Have at it bass-peeps!

Ingredients: dropshot weight with an eye, hook, any bait but he likes a Senko.

Quote of the Day

I’m not the kind of guy who needs to be immersed in the fishing industry 12 months out of the year. I need a break.

– HAHAHA! That’s FLWer B-Rad Knight talkin’ ’bout takin’ some huntin’ time. Dang good blog post on Tripped over it, check it out.

Shot of the Day

Anyone know what Jacob Wheeler is doing here with his left hand?

Multiple choice:

a) Holding the line tight to the spool
b) Guiding his right hand to the right spot…or left spot?
c) Riding the lightning
d) He has no idea
e) All of the above

f) None of the above

If’n ya guessed d) he has no dang earthly idea why he casts like that, you #win the day! Seriously — I asked him about it, and that’s pretty much what he said.


Aggressive wild turkeys in Rocky River interfere with mail delivery

> A brood of aggressive wild turkeys have interfered with mail carriers’ abilities to deliver mail to homes….

> Mail carriers are attempting to deliver the mail, but they have nothing to steer the turkeys away. Residents have had to pick their mail up at the post office.

Carriers have nothing?? How ’bout using your dang feet…to chase after ’em, kick ’em, whatever. They are BIRDS. We are PEEPS. C’mon man….

Ya got me
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