Wheeler dots addiction, Bank bashing, Better tourney tips

“We have been sleep-walking into a prison for far too long.”


I listen to podcasts/vids most of the day, heard a guy say that. Stopped me in my tracks. He was talkin’ ’bout world politics/health/big biz/etc, but I wondered what that means for outdoorsmen, beyond just 2A rights here in the US.


I mean, I just wanna fish and maybe shoot a few critters, don’t really want to spend precious free time on distasteful stuff like politics or whatever. On the other hand, some for sure “anti” stuff is spreading at the legislative level…which I’ve always sorta paid attention to since my years reporting on it in DC. Anyhoo, gonna mention a couple things in this’n, not to BE political, just to make us all aware, myself included.


And as we (mostly Stevie Bowman) talked about on Stray Casts, B.A.S.S. founder Ray Scott was aggressively political – on behalf of his members, his biz, and bass ‘n water as a whole. He mobilized Bassmaster members to be political too. Maybe we need to get back to that. Think about it….


Done with the “deep thoughts” – let’s go!

Today’s Top 5
Jacob Wheeler admits he had a dots addiction.
Not just any dots either, just the special-edition ones:


> Last year at Heavy Hitters on Toho, I just knew I was going to win that event. I was fishing brushpiles in Kissimmee and using forward-facing sonar to look into the piles. …I purposely saved piles with the biggest dots for the last day. I couldn’t sleep the night before – I had seen plenty of big dots I was sure I could catch.


> When I returned the final day, those dang dots would not bite! I caught fish, but nothing over the 3-lb minimum. I casted at big dots over and over – denied! I zeroed….


> I got so consumed with trying to catch those dots that it bogged down my intuition and locked up my decision flow when those attributes were needed most. I should have relied on my gut and the weather to tell me which piles to throw at – not a screen. 


> Whether the dots bite or not, the thing forward-facing sonar does best is provide a real-time glimpse of the underwater world. Are the baitfish up or down in the column? Are the bass moving away from my presence or coming to my presence? Are the bass aggressive? Are they negative? Are they neutral? How close are they to the cover? Are they acting any different as the clouds break and the bright sun suddenly penetrates the water?


> There is a difference between just chasing dots and connecting those dots into understanding what’s going in the bigger picture. …great fishing innovations such as forward-facing sonar are always a double-edged sword. They can shine brightly one minute and lead you down a black hole the next.


FYI in case you think ‘lectronics are gonna make you AOY in your club or loadin’ the boat every time just fun-fishin’….


Btw someone please school me on what these deals are on the front of Jacob’s boat:

Innerestin’ wrinkle: Live coverage puts spectator boats on pros.

Guess that’s no surprise – cuz bass-heads can sniff out anything fish-related mang! – just really never thought about it before. From this Bassin’masters tourney blog post…which I clicked on because it said “Gussy draws large crowd,” and I was like, Why would that be? Is Gussy all of a sudden famous in TN?? Well:


> I am sure that Gussy had no idea at blast off this morning that he would be leading first thing with 16 lbs 13 oz. He has drawn a large crowd, especially for the 1st day and this early in the morning.


> …speaking to one of the locals, I asked, ‘How did you guys find him this morning so fast?’ He replied, ‘We were watching Live and because of the landmarks we knew exactly where he was.'”


HAHAHA yeah! I’m picturin’ a bunch o’ local bass-heads all stacked up, boats in tow, at a local eatery, seein’ where Gussy’s at and then chargin’ out to the localest ramp!


They get there and Gussy’s like:

Will say as I do every year: Please consider NOT fishing during pro tourneys. Bass will still be on those spots when the guys leave….
Maine looking at requiring biodegradable HOOKS and BAITS??

WTHeck! The inmates running the asylum up there or what?? From here:


> …LD 695 was introduced in 2019 and would have prohibited fishing in inland waters using nonbiodegradable hooks or certain nonbiodegradable artificial lures….


“Would have” I think means if passed, and unclear at the link whether it’s still in play tho looks like it is. Don’t regular ol’ hooks rust or am I missing something…?


Remember that ME has already banned lead weights, and also is paranoid about soft-plastics even tho:


> An examination of 18,000 stomachs from fish by MDIFW revealed on average only 2% of the fish had soft plastic lures in their stomachs.


Man I hope that wasn’t the only reason they killed those 18K fish….

Disclaimer: If there’s a good common-sense reason for this stuff I’m missing or haven’t seen yet, pls lmk….
South African bass-heads call bank fishing “bank bashing”!
Love that! It’s exactly what we do! We’re bashing the bank, bashing the cover, bashing the baits, bashing ditch melons on the head, you name it, it’s a BASH! (In my case I bash the water too…always workin’ on the ol’ presentation….)


> “We decided to go up to the canal close to the dam wall, but it was occupied and we made a decision to bank bash.”


Also saw this quote – when Ish Monroe sees it he’ll probly fly over there and clean up:


> “Soon we saw bass breaking the surface in impossible-to-cast locations inside the reeds.”


Ish has never seen impossible-to-fish reeds that he can’t winch giant bass outta.


In other African bassin’, here’s what Namibian largies look like:

Only diff is they come in kgs instead of lbs lol.
Hunter Shryock found a new way to get skunked.
Used to mean no bites, but maybe now you can get a hookup AND get skunked?
1. Randy Howell and Randall Tharp get Fish Monkey gloves.


No link 🙁 – and I guess if you ain’t named Randy, you ain’t gettin’ sponsored…just kidding.


2. Andy Montgomery gets TrueTimber camo.


This makes me wonder whether Andy can be quiet in the woods…or any situation…


3. Mark Menendez says his flippin’ was awful at the St Johns.


Cuz he was rusty – love the honesty:


> When I got a bite I knew exactly what I needed to do to get another one. But when I tried to do that it didn’t always happen. If I was to be blunt about it, I’d tell you it was somewhere between sloppy and embarrassing. My accuracy skills were awful.  


I feel like Mark is talkin’ ’bout me…


4. Should we be worried about Seth Feider?


Check this headline from his most recent Bassin’mastery bloggin’:


> Slow down for success


I mean, the word “slow” doesn’t even exist in Seth’s world. Physiologically, the amount of caffeine he ingests I’m pretty sure makes anything “slow” impossible. But at the St Johns:


> This year I fished through my best area on day 1 with a ChatterBait on warp speed and never got a bite…so I went back there on day 2, slowed down and caught a bunch of the fish that I knew were there all along.




> I turned off my electronics, put my trolling motor on a 3 setting and fished everything that looked good. …also letting the bait soak in order to trigger a bite.


???? Mr Crabs was like:

5. Pretty sure Elite rookie KJ Queen wins best tow vehicle.

Not the sketchy white van deal lol! Reminds me of many guys whose names you know struggling to make it and sleeping in their vans sometimes. Ketch ’em KJ! (Forgot who gave me the heads on that – tx man!)


6. Gene Gilliland now on National Fish Habitat Partnership board.


Bassmaster’s head conservation dude, good guy fo sho. Release says he got a “seat” on the board…wonder if it’s a butt seat… Think I’m kidding? Here’s a young Gene (right) with y’all know who in the middle. Gene’s a bass-head! Photo from donny barone:

Too cool. Anyhow, Gene here’s my request in your new gig: more lakes with more habitat, and fewer endangered species. I think if you can convince folks to flood more land, it will do all 3…


7. Mortgage company sponsoring 4 Elites.


Seeing a bunch of newer-type sponsors coming in to both tours. Wonder why, maybe the covid-increased fishing hype?


8. MLF bagged Palestine because it woulda strained local resources.


Didn’t know that. #stout.


9. TN: Salutin’ the Watts Bar yak derby folks…


…who were basically sitting in water when it was 20 degrees out. When I see those guys on my local lake in that kinda weather – sometimes with waves that are small for me but big for them – I’m amazed and sorta scared for ’em.


Btw winner Ryan Lambert won with a JackHammer and Ned rig…which proves 2 things:


  1. It’s never a bad time to JackHammer.
  2. Z-Man baits definitely don’t work…


10. MD/VA: Runoff more a factor than municipal waste…


…for causing sex changes in Potomac ‘n Susquehanna smallmouth bass? Either way chemicals are the issue, seems like.


11. TX/LA: Fish kills might happen due to the freeze.


Luckily they have tons of fish. Hopefully the big ones slid back as deep as they could….


12. NJ DNR stocked 2,800 largies in Hopatcong last year.


One of the best lakes in the state and should stay thataway.


13. NM: Politically correct effort to change DNR stalls.


Sounds like it’s not gone tho:


> Sen. Jeff Steinborn and Rep. Nathan Small, the 2 Democrats pushing the bill, told the committee it’s time to modernize the Game and Fish Dept and shift the focus to broader conservation efforts beyond big game species given the threats of drought and climate change.


> The NM Wildlife Federation, environmentalists and animal welfare advocates all voiced support for the legislation. …sportsmen groups and the NM Chamber of Commerce were among those in opposition.


Keep fighting for common sense NM folks! Everyone else make sure to pay attention to what your “reps” are trying to push through in your states!


14. DC: Fish/boat groups working with radicals on legislation?


Interesting. The Environmental Defense Fund = yikes. Are they just part of the DC club now? Fyi there’s a lotta documented crossover between so-called “environmentalists” and animal rights folks. Hope this deal’s all good, just watch your 6 fishing/boat peeps.


Btw, this recent WI article about a wolf hunt calls animal rights folks “conservation groups.” The doublespeak is real man.


15. Fly fishing biz says climate change is threatening fishing?


Saltwater – I personally doubt it (fine if you don’t), but innerestin’ because they’re going that way AND they want government to solve it??


Thing I always wonder is, if we can’t reliably figure out local weather a week or 2 ahead of time, how can we tell what’s going to happen to the entire planet weather-wise 50 years from now or whatever? And who is asking for those dang meatless McDonald’s burgers man???


Can’t take credit for these insights – first heard ’em when I was in detention with this guy:

Zona got us BOTH in trouble that day. Z was one of those dudes who never got in trouble, and somehow still doesn’t…except, you know, with his wife Karin….


16. IA: Canada geese getting sick from eating shad.


Sounds like with the ice, dead shad is all the food they have access to. This proves American bass are tougher than Canadian geese.


Can’t link it, at:



Headline of the Day


Bass Fishing Team eager to bait hooks


Pretty sure that’s not exactly what they’re eager to do….

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


Here you go:


> …on the St Johns River, I was making a long run. On the 1st day that left me with exactly 2 hours and 12 minutes to fish. My key presentation was pitching a Strike King Shim-E-Stick around lilypads. Sometimes it would get hung on those thick pad roots, and rather than go in and disturb the habitat I’d just break off.


> My time on the water was limited…I’d rigged multiple rods with the same lure, so after breaking off all I had to do was reach down and grab another, rather than wasting precious minutes retying.


> I see lots of novice tournament anglers heading out on the water with no goal, and that’s a huge mistake. If it’ll take 18 lbs to get a check, you have to fish differently than if it’ll just take a limit. At Rayburn, where it usually takes 25-30 lbs to win, if you’re catching 2-lbers you’re doing something wrong.


My fave one:


> …if you attribute all of your lost fish to bad luck you’ll end up losing a lot more. Very often it’s your equipment, most frequently your rod. 


AHA! Rod = hookset = hookset style + bait type. Or something like that. There’s a bunch o’ gold there for us all. Gonna keep tryin’ to mine it….

Quote of the Day
“Without a doubt, my greatest victory in fishing to date was winning the BFL All-American.”


Stephen Browning talkin’, big statement from a long-time pro. Still one of the greatest tourneys in bassin’ every year, and I salute everyone who even gets into it. What else he said:


> “Trying to get where you need to get in competitive fishing, you have to have a break. Winning that event gave me confidence to compete, but it also gave me the money I needed to go to the next level.”

Shot of the Day
Cali salty guys do the phantom arms holdup deal too hahaha!

Any other Eddie VH fans or just geetar pickers out there, Ed’s most recent guitar tech – Tom Weber, who lives in KY – got hit hard from covid and sounds like he’s about to lose his home. If you can/want to send him a little help, here’s his GoFundMe.


He said one of my fave quotes about Ed:


> “Ed doesn’t play the guitar – the guitar submits to Ed’s will. It’s truly an amazing thing.”


No doubt!

Ya got me!
Jay Kumar’s BassBlaster is a daily-ish roundup of the best and funniest (sometimes worst) stuff in bassin’, picked 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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