We lost Irwin Jacobs, Is KY lake done? Make WAY more casts to targets

Today’s Top 5

Sounds like we lost Irwin Jacobs.

If you haven’t heard, Irwin Jacobs — FLW founder/owner and a former owner of Ranger Boats and other bass boat companies — has passed on, along with his wife. Whatever happened, sounds like it was tragic. Very sorry to hear, and hope the Jacobs family is doing as okay as can be expected at this time. Bless you folks.

Gotta say a few things about Irwin — nothing really thought out, just as they’re coming to me:

If you forgot or never knew, know this: When you look at a 6-figure winning check or a wrapped boat or a multi-day tourney where weights are zeroed or a great contingency program or amazingly televised pro bassin’ or more than one top-level tour (and for sure other stuff), you can thank Irwin for it.

I don’t know how many of these things he thought of himself, but he made them all possible — through his vision and passion for changing the sport, and partly through hiring a guy who hadn’t done much in tournament bass TV before: Jerry McKinnis.

When I started back in the early 2000s, covering bassin’ like a sport was a brand new thing. MANY people in the biz didn’t like it, but Irwin recognized the need for it right away. I spoke with him many times over the years, and it was pretty fascinating. I found him mostly fair (though biased to his POV of course), very knowledgeable, fearless, determined and motivated to change the status quo in tournament bass fishing, which he (and his folks) did.

Did he get mad at me a few times? Heck yeah — I was in the middle of the “bass wars” of the time, so that was kinda my job, the messenger getting shot deal. Did I take it personally? Heck no, and don’t think he did either. One time I thought I’d hurt his feelings by mistake, my bad, so while I was up north stopped by his office to apologize. He could not have been more gracious.

Those are just some things that came to me. I’ve heard that Irwin occasionally rubbed some folks the wrong way — hey man, who hasn’t? I sure have…and still do. And for whatever it’s worth, in my journey through life I’ve seen that people with vision and/or money and/or guts who succeed tend to fire-up some folks. That’s just normal I guess.

Either way, I didn’t know Irwin personally. This is just a little brain download about a guy who thought he could do something major for bassin’, and did. I really appreciate what Irwin did, and just now realize that I miss him doin’ his thing in our little corner of the world.

Guess you could say it this way: He changed bass fishing for everyone, forever.

Hope you FLW folks are doing okay too. Wishing the Lord’s peace for you all.

Way huge ditchies of the week!

Kevin D caught this DD fishing with Mark Pack on Lake Fork on that bait, which I believe is this bait:

Ron M got him this 12-08 on Lake Baccarac, MX with his grandson Jackson B on a 1-oz Omega Jig (watermelon red):

An AR cold front didn’t stop Bruce L from gettin’ his PB (10 even, 23.75″) on an unnamed public lake. Used a 4″ Berkley Pit Boss (junebug) on a 1/2-oz HD Tackle Stealth Search swing head:

Jeremy E caught this ditch melon literally outta a NC ditch! On a dang Beetle Spin! Props for bein’ able to stick that hook:

Give it up for Ethan P, who caught the Eagle Mntn Lake, TX junior bass record (10.35 lbs) in a tourney! The Lone Star Junior Bassin’master to be exact. Used a M-Pack Lures Swim Jig (bluegill) with a Grande Bass Beaver Bug (gp) on 17-lb Seaguar flouro:

Closin’ ‘er out with this INSANE 41.76-lb limit caught yesterday, day 1 of the WON Bass Open on Clear Lake, CA:

Guessin’ Noy Vilaysane and Ryan Furno found those fish waitin’ in line at the county fair for deep fried mac n cheese…?

More top Hartwell Elitist baits.

Tx much to the fellers for doin’ this while tryin’ to find 1 bass at Winyah Bay (heehee!). If’n ya missed it, Brandon Cobb’s winning baits/pattern is here.

2nd: Stetson Blaylock
> YUM Christie Craw (white with the nose painted red, painted the nose of the bait red, “it’s just something I’ve always done”), 3/0 Gamakatsu G-Finesse Flipping Hook, 7/16-oz sinker, 20-lb Seaguar InvizX fluoro, 13 Fishing Concept Z Reel (8.1), 7′ 4″ MH 13 Fishing Envy Black Rod. “Used this on beds, strictly when I saw a fish.”

> “I stayed within a couple miles of 1 particular creek, and caught the bulk of my weight until the final day in that 1 area…2-3 mile stretch. Fished in 1-4′ depending on how good I could see.”

> Why his weights got better: “I was just figuring out what those bigger fish were doing and how they were acting. Honestly it was more about not having a clue the first day — I knew I could catch some fish, but I didn’t know if I could catch good ones. As it went on, I figured out what those better fish were doing and acting. Thy were all spawn or just about to spawn fish.”

If you saw the videos B.A.S.S. posted of Stetson catching fish on top, here’s what he said about it

> “That was just divine intervention on the final day. I’d not thrown either [topwater] the entire week, but I rigged them up the night before Championship Sunday and ended up catching 2 of my better fish on those baits. I didn’t catch a fish other than those 2 on either bait.”

Those 2 baits were a BOOYAH Poppin Pad Crasher (sunburn) and an old Rebel Pop-R (chrome black/back “but the chrome’s all gone”).

3rd: Micah Frazier

> Sight-fishing: YUM Christie Craw (white), 3/8-oz Swagger Tungsten Weight, 3/0 Gamakatsu Flipping Hook, 20-lb Sunline Shooter, 7′ 3″ MH Abu Veracity Rod, Abu Revo AL-F Reel (8:1).

4th: Drew Cook

> “I was bed-fishing in 2-6′ and throwing a wacky rig to some beds and docks as I was looking.”

> Big Bite Baits Fighting Frog (tilapia magic) on a 4/0 Gamakatsu G Finesse Heavy Cover Hook with a pegged 1/4-oz tungsten weight. 20-lb Seaguar InvizX fluoro on a 7′ 4″ H Dobyns Champion XP 744 Rod.
5th: Shane LeHew
> 5.25″ Berkley Powerbait General (gp), 2/0 Berkley Fusion19 Drop Shot Hook, 10-lb Berkley X5 Braid, 8-lb Trilene 100% fluoro, Abu Revo X Spinning Reel (20 size), 7′ M Abu Veracity Spinning Rod.
> 4″ Powerbait Lizard (watermelon red), 3/0 Berkley Fusion19 Flipping Hook, 1/4-oz weight, 15-lb Trilene 100% fluoro, Abu Revo STX Reel (8:1), 7′ MH Abu Veracity Rod.

> “I was throwing the General out in front of me — I kept that in my hand. I would try to catch them sight fishing with that first, and if that didn’t work I’d work it with the lizard.

> “I spent most of the time on the lower end where there was cleaner water. I tried to fish un-obvious stuff — indentions in the bank, not really even pockets. Everybody else was just running pockets.”

6th: Mark Menendez
> Spinnerbait: 3/8-oz Strike King Premier Pro Model Spinnerbait (2 gold CO blades, St John’s Special Skirt, chartreuse plastic, and Rapid Fishing Solutions Disk to hold the trailer hook, 17-lb Seaguar AbrazX fluoro, 7′ 3″ H Lew’s Custom Speed Stick Football Jig Rod, Team Lew’s Lite Reel (6.8).

> “I fished pinch points in a major creek, 3-8′. The Game Hawg did the majority of the work days 1-3 and the spinnerbait added key fish those days. Day 4 the oxblood worm was magic on spawning fish to rally and move up 4 additional places.”

Were the Costa weights a bad sign for KY Lake?

For a couple years now, lots of folks have been talking about how KY Lake (and sister lake Barkley) was getting seriously worse — or at some point would — because of all the Asian carp in the lake. Then there’d be a tourney with some big weights, and the talk would subside a little. This time it was different. Here’s some #s from last weekend’s FLW Costa there:

  • 147 anglers, 3 days
  • 30 zeroed
  • 28 had less than 5 lbs, so 1/3 of the field had less than 5 lbs
  • 32 had 5 to 9+ lbs
  • 27 had 10 to 14+ lbs, so 86% had less than 15 lbs
  • 14th place and up had 20+ lbs
  • Winner Jake Morris had 44-02 but just 10 fish!

KY Lake has been one of the most important lakes in bass fishing for decades. Not just because of major tourneys (or lots of tourneys) there, but because lots of baits and techniques have been developed or outed there: stroking a jig, various ledge techniques, magnum spoons, etc.

So if we lose this lake — let alone other TN River lakes — to stupid carp, it would be a significant deal for our sport…or maybe it already is. I can’t imagine anything more important to all freshwater fishing than wiping out those critters. It’s a BIG DEAL.

This also is a bad sign:

And weird….

Top 10 Costa baits: spinnerbaits dominate again.

KY’s Jake Morris won it by a big 7 lbs in Barkley with 2 spinnerbaits: Zorro Aggravator Spinnerbaits (chart/white, willow/CO blade combo) with a Zoom Fat Albert Grub (white):

Here’s what the baits of the whole top 10 looked like:

Spinnerbait = 50% — also mentioned were Hildebrandt, War Eagle with a red kicker blade, and a BOOYAH single CO with a YUM Pulse swimbait (aka the Jason Christie special).

Bladed jig = 50%Jack Hammer = 30%

Flip plastics = 40%Berkley Pit Boss = 20%

Jig = 20%

10% each = Crankbait and Wobble head

Tough as it was, not surprised to see 2 dudes from OH in the top 10: Steve Floyd (2nd) and Cole Floyd (5th). They’re both from the same town, so thinkin’ they’re relations?


1. Dave-E Hite honored by SC Senate.

Pretty cool deal. Here’s how the proclamation starts:

> To recognize and celebrate Davy Hite for his exceptional angling skill, broadcasting ability, stewardship of the outdoors, turkey chili and service to our country, and to congratulate him on his selection into the 2019 Bass Fishing Hall of Fame in Springfield, MO.

Never saw Davy as a big turkey chili guy?

Okay I added that part. But the rest is legit.

[Can’t link it but it’s at:]

2. What Elitist Cory Johnston likes about the Elites.One of the Canadian invaders. Here’s where they live:

Believe Gussy’s got the longest drive ever in bassin’….

3. B.A.S.S. is associate sponsor of a NASCAR car.

Martin Truex Jr’s #19 Toyota Camry. If you Google it, this $$ range for a NASCAR associate sponsorship has been kicking around for a few yrs: $250,000-$2 mil. Big range, but seems to indicate that B.A.S.S. has no $$$ issues.

4. New FLW/Abu/Boy Scouts contingency program.

Believe Tom Redington is reppin’ the Scouts on the FLWs this year….

5. WI smallie group opposes year-round brown bassin’.

[Can’t link it but it’s at:]

Since smallmouths group up big-time in the winter:

> “We feel the fish need to rest, need a break from fishing each year. They are vulnerable, especially in late fall and winter, and we’re strongly in favor of keeping protections in place for them.”

6. FL: You want lots or bigs?


From a recent study about stocking bass in FL:

> Our study suggests stocking is a comparatively powerful tool for achieving high catch rates in largemouth bass fisheries, but may perform poorly at meeting other objectives of largemouth bass management such as production of trophy fish.

7. AR: New Greers Ferry management plan.


More native veggies, more forage stocking, no wiper stocking and more.

8. Didja see T-H’s Gen 2 clip cull system yet?

G-Force Conservation Culling System Gen2. Changes:

The Clip:

  • Simplified design for easier use
  • Built to be durable, using quality plastic molding and stainless steel
  • Great with holding tight on a fish’s lips, using stronger plastic and a spring-loaded grip
  • Designed to be quick and easy, ideal for one-handed use
  • Meets and exceeds tournament standards as it won’t puncture a fish’s lip

The Buoys:

  • Easily detach from the color-coded lines
  • Conveniently store away on the storage rack that is included
  • Include 6 color-coded options for quicker, smarter culling

9. David Kilgore selling his 2017 Bass Cat Puma.

10. New collegiate bass podcast with OSU.

11. Sick vid of the Lunkerhunt Fetch swimbait.

Underwater vid. Always wondered what that bait’s action was. Check the Fetch on TW.

12. Check BUFF’s new CoolNet UV+.

> Uniquely engineered with 95% recycled Repreve Performance Microfiber and HeiQ moisture management technology that pulls sweat away from your skin and into our evaporative cooling fabric design, so you stay cool, light and comfortable.

> Designed with 4-Way Ultra Stretch construction that features UPF 50+ sun protection, CoolNet UV+ is the ultimate protection from the sun’s harmful rays — so you can stay outside longer.

I’m sure they mean “fish longer.” BUFF makes the best Buffs = no-brainer.

13. AFTCO has a new kids line of clothes.

Most importantly it includes a Squatch T-shirt, tho unfortunately not with a bass-fish. 🙁

14. Lookit the color of this Japanese swimbait!

How great is this:

15. NE having a contest to take people fishing.

Cool idea:

> The Take ‘Em Fishing Challenge encourages experienced anglers to take a pledge to go fishing with someone who either has never fished before or who hasn’t fished in several years. Anglers who take a photo of themselves taking someone fishing can enter an online drawing for dozens of prizes….

16. Several states considering new Outdoor Recreation Offices.

17. Coast Guard is promoting PLBs.

Personal Locator Beacons. More about those in the BB post about tourney safety.


Chew on this, let me know:

How long is too long a run to make in a tourney?

Prompted by talkin’ to some Elitists at the Winyah, and this post by Chris Zaldaingerousness:

Tip of the Day

How many casts do you make to a target?

Thought of it from an old Bassin’masters post about AL guide Jimmy Mason cranking docks with a Bomber Model 2A:

> Mason strives to “clip” one of these corner posts with his crankbait on every cast. He starts by making parallel casts along the front of the dock. Then he runs his crankbait parallel to each side of the dock. He finishes by cranking the back of the dock under the walkway.

> “I’ll make several casts to each post. If I feel certain the dock holds a bass, I might make 10 to 15 consecutive casts to the same post.”

> When he’s fishing floating docks that are held to the shore with cables, Mason targets the cable where it connects to the dock under the surface. Similarly, he repeatedly targets the cable and the connection with his crankbait.

15 casts to 1 post! Repeated casts to every piece of a dock!

This kinda thing always makes me think of a story about Roland Martin when he was a guide on Okeechobee, I believe. A client made a cast or 2 to a target with a buzzbait. No fish, but Roland was convinced a fish was there so he made 20+ casts, 1 after another, and finally caught the fish he knew was there.

Quote of the Day

“When I bail out and go to something I have confidence in, it calms me down and prevents me from going into full-blown panic mode.”

– Astute observation from Elitist Hunter Shryock on the Bassin’masters site. He MIGHT be becoming my new fave Bassmaster column, tho I miss Hackney’s….

Shot of the Day

Bet this prop came off fast hahaha! @bigg_fish_ortega shot:


Charges dropped against man accused of abandoning pet fish

> …a NC man accused of leaving his pet fish behind without food when he was evicted.

The MLFers did NOT bring the charges (lol). Whole deal sounds crazy…cuz it is!

Ya got me
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