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American Bass Anglers Magazine November/December 2008


3 AFT Divisionals Champions 9 Wintertime Bass Patterns 15 Lightning Strikes Twice at the AFT Championship 17 The Road to the Bassmaster Classic 21 The Final Four 27 What’s on Your Christmas List? 29 Of Swim Baits and Smallmouth 31 Quick and Easy Tips to Make Your Boat Faster 33 Confidence and Colors 37 Deflating Deep-Caught Bass 39 South Central Regional 41 2009 Bassmaster Weekend Series Schedule 45 You’re in The Hall of Fame 49 Championship Results On the Cover: Two-time AFT Champion, Gary Thacker. BWS Champion, David Wiilliams. National Angler of The Year, Brandon Gray

American Bass Anglers Tournament Trail Magazine is published for the members of American Bass Anglers. The American Bass Angler’s American Fishing Tour is 30 years old and offers over 1,100 tournaments a year across the US. ABA offers the American Fishing Tour, The Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series, The Grand Slam Series and the American Couples Series with a choice of over 1,100 tournaments in which to compete. NATIONAL AND MAGAZINE STAFF President Morris Sheehan Vice President David Hagood Marketing Debra Talley - Director National Tournament Director Darrell Barker Business Development Director John Glenn Member Services Manager Ellen Phillips Member Serivice Specialists Klara Andrews, Linda Blagburn, Tosha Crunk, Angela Ebbert, Rochelle Rice, Tiffany Springer Internet Communications RC Barker/Kathy Barker Magazine/Graphics/Layout Chris Hagood Contributing Writers Brad Wiegmann, Colby Simms, Brandon Stanley, Gary Dobyns, Mark Lassagne, Chuck Boso For membership inquiries or change of address write to: American Bass Anglers, PO Box 475 Athens, AL 35612 or call toll free 1-888-203-6222. Also, visit American Bass Anglers online at: American Bass Anglers MBAA since 1975, Tournament Trail, Military Bass Anglers Association, and ABA are all registered or pending collective membership or service marks of American Bass Anglers, Inc. All rights reserved.

P a n n e l l Wi n s t h e A F T Midwest Regional By: Brad Wiegmann

Some days even the best anglers have trouble casting, hooking, or landing a bass. Other days, everything goes right. For Indiana Central, Division 35 open qualifier, Allen Pannell, everything went right; not just for 1 day but 2 days. His 19.59-pound total weight just edged out, Brent Anderson, by .05ounces. The tournament was held out of Kuttawa Marina on Lake Barkley in Kentucky. Pannell used 2 different lures to win the tournament: a green pumpkin, baby brush hog with chartreuse Spike-It dip on the tails and a 200 series, root beer colored, Bandit crankbait. The baby brush hog, he fished in and around crappie stake beds. The crankbait on a hump he had found the first day of the tournament. Interestingly enough, the oxbow turned out to be a bass haven as both Pannell and his roommate, Darrell Knies, both found the spot while pre-fishing; together they agreed to share the spot. Destiny played its hand when the second day of the tournament the bite died on the Kentucky Lake side while Pannell’s spot, some 50 miles south on Barkley produced a larger stringer of bass then on the first day. ABA life member, Pannell, who served over 22 years in the Army, now a retired Master Sergeant, credited his AFT Divisional success and regional tournament win to be prepared for the tournament. 3

“I checked the internet for fishing reports, looked at maps, and really searched hard for productive patterns when pre-fishing,” said Pannell. Pannell also relied on his Mercury 200 OptiMax outboard, Motor Guide trolling motor, Lowrance graph, Ardent high speed reels, Fishing Hot Spot Maps, and knowing that he had coverage by an Anglers Advantage insurance policy in case anything would happen. After the close win, the victory really did not seem real until the next day, “That’s when it finally hit me; I had actually won it. So, I started calling everyone and a lot of friends started calling me to congratulate me on winning the tournament,” said Pannell. Pannell summed it up, “To win a major bass tournament like the AFT Regional Championship; an angler has to be consistent, believe that the fish they found are quality fish, and be ready to change techniques or locations if you have to, and hope the pattern holds up through the tournament.” Pannell knows about success in bass fishing, he also added the ABA Army Midwest Angler of the Year to his list of accomplishments. While other anglers came within 1 keeper of winning the AFT Midwest Regional, only one angler, Pannell, seemed to have destiny on his side.

AFT Divisional Champions

Romano takes the South Central AFT Regional By: Brad Wiegmann

For AFT South Central Region tournament winner, Tony Romano from Cabot, Arkansas, it was just an opportunity to possibly have a respectable top 10 finish. You see, Romano had no time to prefish before the tournament started on Lake Dardanelle, being held out of Lake Dardanelle State Park Marina. So, his “pattern” focused on local holes that had produced bass in the past.

apart very slowly,” explained Romano. In fact, Romano said, “I had a big bass swirl at my hit but did not take it, so I told my co-angler to cast to that spot, he did but the bass did not bite,” he continued, “so, I spun the boat around and cast on the spot and a 5 ½-pound bass ate my jig.” After I caught that beg bass my co-angler looked at me and said, “It was just my day!”

While most anglers catch bass on a variety of lures during a 2 day tournament, Romano caught all of his on a 3/8-ounce black/blue jig with a Berkley black 3-inch Chigger Crawl trailer. Romano’s key area was within 5 miles of the take off ramp, towards the Illinois Bayou. Lake Dardanelle is known as one of the top bass lakes in Arkansas, proved to be a major challenge for anglers who had qualified for fishing the AFT South Central Region tournament. The water was extremely muddy and a strong current made for difficult conditions to catch bass. Romano focused on thin clumps of main lake, shoreline grass in 2 to 3 feet of water. The first day Romano caught 4 keeper bass and did have a couple bass strike at his jig while swimming it, but miss the hook. The second day conditions changed, it was cloudy and caught his limit really quickly, dropping it inside holes on the same jig. “The key for me for catching bass turned out to be slowing down, taking my time, and picking it all

Romano, who qualified thru the Arkansas Central, Division 47 open tournaments and AFT Divisional Championship believed the key to his winning the AFT South Central Regional tournament on Lake Dardanelle was, “Just putting my head down and fishing; I was confident that I could catch fish and win the tournament.” He competed out of a Triton 21X with 225 Mercury OptiMax outboard, rigged with Lowrance depth finders and a MotorGuide trolling motor. The retired U.S. Air Force, Master Sergeant, is already looking forward to next year and has already won the first, ABA 2009 Arkansas Central, Division 47 tournament. For Romano, winning the regional tournament on Lake Dardanelle proved it was “just his day”, but with already winning a tournament for the 2009 season, it may turn out to be “just his year” to win the AFT National Championship and be the AFT Angler of the Year.

AFT Divisional Champions


H o l s o n b a c k Wi n s t h e Southeast AFT Regional By: Brad Wiegmann

For Jim Holsonback, winning the AFT Southeast Region tournament on West Point Lake, Georgia, held out of Highland Marina, meant leap frogging ahead of the other anglers and holding on to win. Holsonback, from Hartselle, Alabama, began fishing the ABA circuit back in the mid-eighties and qualified to fish the AFT Southeast Region tournament thru the Alabama North, Division 29 open qualifiers and Divisional Championship out of his Triton bass boat. Holsonback relied on only a Stanley Ribbit in 2 colors to win the tournament with: all white and green pumpkin with a pearl belly. The key area was located 10 to 12 miles up the Chattahoochee River from the Highland Marina. Conditions proved to work in Holsonback favor during the tournament. The first day, Holsonback was able to bring in 4 keeper bass that weighted 11.02-pounds, leaping him into first place; a position that he never relinquished. Although most anglers would never fish a topwater frog on a breezy, blue bird day, Holsonback explain why he did, “I fish frogs over grass beds on Wheeler 5

in Alabama and catch fish on it, so I just started using it here to catch them; I just had the confidence to stay with the bait all day long, especially the second day when I only caught 2 fish.” Holsonback fished his frog in the very back end of pockets and creeks off the main river channel, around dead matted grass. The dead, matted grass as the direct results of low water and the lake filling back up over it; although, the lake water level did drop a little each day of the tournament. “I had no idea, during prefishing I caught some fish but when the tournament started I caught my big bass right away in the morning; I knew at that point I was going to throw my frog the whole tournament,” said Holsonback. Reflecting on winning the AFT Southeast Region Tournament Holsonback complemented the ABA staff, “It feels really great to win; I really enjoyed it and the ABA tournament staff treated us really good.” While the AFT Southeast Region Tournament is now over with for the 2008 season, the winner Holsonback showed other anglers how he turned his frog not into a prince but a tournament winning lure.

AFT Divisional Champions

Gray Takes the AFT Northeast Regional By: Brad Wiegmann

For Brandon Gray, from Bullock, North Carolina, following the nomadic blueback herring resulted in winning the AFT Northeast Region Tournament held on Kerr Lake in North Carolina. Kerr Lake is the largest lake in North Carolina and one of the biggest manmade lakes in the south. Gray qualified to fish the region tournament first thru the North Carolina Piedmont, Division 16 open qualifiers and then the Divisional Championship. Gray relied on 3 lures to catch his limit of bass on both days: 3/4-ounce football head jig with a black/blue/brown highlight strains with a black chunk trailer, silver 3/4-ounce Hopkins spoon, and a school bus pattern, flat sided, coffin billed crankbait. Gray reported catching 30 keepers and never losing any bass over the 2 day tournament. He worked the football head jig and stroked the spoon in 19 to 28foot of water around schools of blueback herring. When the blueback herring left the area, Gray would leave and search out another school of nomadic blueback herring with his graph on to fish around. After getting his limit deep each day, Gray would turn to the bank and fish his crankbait in 8 to 12-feet of water looking for a big bite.


The key areas Gray and his co-angler fished were within 3 miles of the launch ramp and around East Land Creek. Gray said, “I really had 2 good partners both days, they really made the differences in winning the tournament for me.” Another significant factor to Gray winning was the first major cold front of the year moved into the area, with no wind he was able to stay in contact with his lure and feel the bites. Gray also took advantage of living on Kerr Lake and fishing it daily; although, he stated that he tries to learn something everyday on the water, approaching it with an open mind. The secret to Gray ABA tournament success, “Winning any tournament to me, comes down to making good decisions with my time management or other decisions on the water; I feel like good decisions win you tournaments and bad decisions you lose.” Looking back at the AFT Northeast Region Tournament Gray noted, “Overall it was a whole lot of fun, the ABA staff put on a first class tournament; the meal, meeting, take off, everything, it means a lot to me to get to fish in this quality of fishing tournament.”

AFT Divisional Champions

WINTERTIME BASS PATTERNS Don’t give up on the bass just because it gets cold By: Colby Simms

A lot of anglers stow their boats and hang up their rods once winter arrives and cold weather sets in, and this can be a big mistake. Cabin fever is a dreaded illness that drives many anglers to the brink of insanity. The only the prescription available to curb this terrible affliction is to get out onto the water and fish, and wintertime fishing can produce some very large bass for anglers willing to brave the elements. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass are all susceptible to the right fishing tactics during the winter months.

Fishing Pressure and Bass Activity When water temperatures plummet in winter, a fish’s activity level will slow down. These fish move less and feed less, trying to conserve energy in the frigid temperatures of winter. Bass can be somewhat lethargic and less interested in finding a meal than they were just a few weeks earlier when they gorged themselves on the autumn smorgasbord. It is true that fish feed heavily during the fall months to bulk up in preparation for leaner times in winter. Just because the activity level of bass is slower in the winter doesn’t mean that they won’t feed at all. Bass will continue to feed throughout all of winter, but they are simply much more selective when doing so. Anglers must adopt specific strategies when targeting cold water wintertime bass to have a good chance at success. One major advantage that anglers have on their sides when venturing out on the water in winter is a huge lack of fishing pressure. Very few fishermen fish in the cold winter months when compared to the rest of the year, and lakes that are packed with boats during spring, summer and fall can be completely devoid of traffic when it gets cold. When bass get used to a lack of boat traffic and fishing pressure, they can become easier to catch, especially the big ones. 9

Water Clarity and Winter Fishing Typically, some of the best waters for cold wintertime bass fishing are clearer ones. Very clear waters seem to produce some of the best bass action during this time period. Plenty of stained water lakes and rivers can offer good action as well, but those with a light to moderate stain are often better than those muddy waters with a very heavy stain that considerably reduces a fish’s vision. Because wintertime bass can be so lethargic, they need to be able to use as many of their senses as possible to be as effective as they can in winter. Still, in most bodies of water, there are areas or sections of the body of water that offer clearer water than other and its best to focus on these kinds of places when the water is extremely cold.

Location Factors Bass location changes significantly as they move from fall feeding spots to the places where they will spend the winter.

Prime Structure & Cover Steep irregular shoreline banks and underwater breaklines (drop offs) with a steep slope to deep water, points, bluffs, holes and channel edges are all prime places to find cold winter bass. Aquatic weeds and grasses hold few bass in winter. Green, growing vegetation produces oxygen and holds lots of bass during the warm months of the year, but this cover holds few fish once cold weather sets in and the vegetation stops growing. When the vegetation dies off and decays, it can use up oxygen in the surrounding water, driving bass away from this cover until spring again when the sun shines longer in the day and the waters warm. Rock cover is very attractive to winter bass. Rock ledges, boulders, natural broken rock and rip rap placed throughout

Wintertime Bass Patterns

the lake can all be good cover options for bass in cold water. Wood cover also holds these fish. Standing timber, stumps, brush piles, logs and laydown trees are all top bass cover options in winter. Man made cover such as, bridge pilings, deep water docks, and fish attractors can also hold bass when it’s cold.

Winter Weather & Depth Bass typically hold in deep water throughout most of the winter period, at least in much deeper water than they used during the fall season. The term deep of course varies from lake to lake and river to river. On some waters such as ponds, small lakes and streams, deep may be eight or ten feet, while deep on other waters can be fifty, sixty, even one hundred feet of depth or more. For wintertime bass anglers, fishing big rivers, natural lakes and large man made reservoirs in areas of the country with steep hills and deep valleys can mean searching for fish in extreme depths. Whatever type of water cold weather anglers encounter, it’s a very good bet that bass will hold on the deep structures much of the time.

slowly is usually the best way to go when it’s cold. There are times when moderate retrieve speeds can produce better action. When the weather has been stable or warming and better than usual for the time of year, moderate retrieve speeds can excel. This of course is particularly true when the skies are clear and the sun in shining all day long for several days in a row. A high speed retrieve can also work with certain lures in the cold of winter, when a significant warming trend like this occurs, but high speed retrieves usually only work in the early portion of winter just after the transition from fall to winter occurs. The thought behind this is that the bass that fed heavily throughout fall in preparation for winter see this warming trend as one last ditch effort to pack on some weight before winter’s icy grip really takes hold for the season. Typically though, slow retrieve speeds are best throughout this season as bass are more reluctant to feed and their strike zone shrinks in size. Steady retrieves are often better than erratic ones. Bass don’t want to expend a lot of energy chasing down prey in cold winter waters. Additionally, just like bass, prey items move more slowly in the cold waters and a highly erratic retrieve with a lure can make the bait appear unnatural to a

Weather factors can play a big role in just how deep bass may hold in winter. Typical cold winter weather usually positions these fish deep, but when cold fronts and particularly nasty weather rolls through the area, it’s a good bet that bass will drop down even deeper on structure. When the weather has been warmer than usual however, bass will often move up into shallower water. This is especially true with clear skies and lots of sunshine to warm the upper layers of the water column. In these cases, bass may move up to take advantage of the warming water and a chance to increase their metabolic rate.

Presentation Considerations Presentation varies greatly when fishing for bass in the cold of winter. There are basically three levels of retrieve speed to consider for wintertime fishing. These three levels are slow, slow and slow. Seriously though, fishing Wintertime Bass Patterns


bass that is accustomed to seeing slower moving creatures within its environment. Dead sticking for bass is a good tactic in the winter months. Moving a lure a few feet and then allowing it to sit motionless for long periods of time can be a hot tactic in the cold. Slow up and down vertical jigging can also produce well in winter for bass anglers.

Cold Water Lure Options Minnowbaits, often called jerkbaits depending on where you fish in the country, can be an excellent lure choice for cold wintertime bassin’. The suspending models of these lures are particularly effective. Suspending minnowbaits can be worked down to their maximum depth and then paused for periods of time to trigger strikes from inactive bass. Suspenders will hold in place when paused, which can be deadly for lethargic fish. These baits can work well with a jerk that moves the bait forward a short distance. They can also work well with a steady retrieve for a few seconds. The real key is the pause. Sometimes a short pause of just a couple of seconds can trigger the more active bass to hit. When the fishing is extremely slow, long pauses of twenty, forty, sixty seconds or even more can be the ticket to success. Deep diving crankbaits can also produce bass in the cold. Slow steady retrieves can produce fish with standard floating cranks, but just like the minnowbaits, the suspending models of deep running crankbaits are often the best bet. Cranking and stopping these baits can be deadly for wintertime bass in deep water. Spinnerbaits are one of the best wintertime bass fishing lures because of their versatility. Slow rolling is a great technique for taking winter bass with a spinnerbait, bumping it through cover on deep water structures while keeping the blade just barely spinning. Spinnerbaits can be slowly hopped up and down off of the bottom, and then killed and dead-sticked on lake floor. Spinnerbaits can be vertically jigged through deep timber or boulders. The depth of the water and the weight of the bait must be considered. Standard size bass spinnerbaits can be good for this technique in 1/4, 3/8 or 1/2 ounce sizes, in shallow or moderate depth lakes and other bodies of water. When employing these lures in deeper waters like highland reservoirs, larger heavy spinnerbaits also called deep cranking spinnerbaits are usually necessary to quickly get into the deep water strike zone and stay there. In this instance, 3/4, 1 and even 1 1/2, ounce spinnerbaits can be the ticket. Attaching a soft plastic trailer to these spinnerbaits increases their effectiveness for wintertime bass fishing. Spoons and blade baits are classic winter bass fishing lures. These lures can be fluttered down to bass in the depths to trigger strikes. Jigging these lures in front of a fish’s face is often too much for them to resist. These baits can also be 11

hopped along the bottom or cranked very slowly along the structure. Jigs are another lure popular with wintertime bass anglers. Weedless style bass jigs paired with soft plastic or pork trailers can be vertically jigged or hopped slowly along the bottom and then allowed to sit motionless for a period of time to trip the trigger of cold water bass. One of the best methods to fish a jig in winter though, is to drag it. Slowly dragging the jig right along the bottom can be highly effective when contact with the bottom is maintained. In clear waters, smaller and more natural looking trailers like single tail grubs, eels and reapers are good options. When fishing in stained waters, larger and bulkier trailers like soft plastic crawfish, twin tail grubs, big twin tail chunks and even freakbaits can be hot when it’s cold. Soft plastics are another good choice for the lethargic bass of winter. Both texas and carolina rigs work to present these subtle lures to fish. In clear water, soft plastic jerkbaits that mimic dying shad and other baitfish are an excellent choice. Strait tail finesse worms, night crawler type baits and small curly tail worms are also effective. In stained water, large ribbon tail worms and the larger soft craws with big pinchers and legs work well. Freakbaits and lizards are also top options for this kind of water. Because bass often get a long look at a lure before deciding to eat it in cold water, anglers must make the bait appear as natural as possible. Light lines help a lure’s action appear more life like in the water to the fish. Anglers can really make jigs and plastics come alive on light line and lipped diving baits often wobble and wiggle just a little bit better when fished on lighter lines. Light line also helps an angler to get all sinking lures like spinnerbaits, jigs, spoons, blade baits and soft plastics down deep where cold water fish live much faster. This eliminates a lot of wasted time when the lure would be out of the bass’ strike zone. Crankbaits and minnow baits can reach much deeper depths when fished on light line. Using the lightest line that you can get away with, depending on cover and average fish size, will allow an angler to target fish with these lures that would otherwise be

Wintertime Bass Patterns

positioned to deep for the technique to be effective. The type of line employed for a wintertime bass hunt is also very important for maximum success. Because the best places to fish are often clear or lightly stained, line visibility is very important. Choosing a lighter line does still factor in here because lighter line is harder for fish to see that thick heavy line, but line type is more important. In winter, anglers can choose a low visibility monofilament line that blends in well with the water. Low-vis mono is hard for fish to see, especially when used in low pound test rating sizes. Another great option is fluorocarbon. Fluorocarbon fishing line is very special because it virtually disappears underwater. Fluorocarbon has a light refractive index that is virtually the same as water. Light can pass through fluorocarbon fishing lines in much the same manner that it passes through the water itself, and so fluorocarbon in basically invisible to fish. Light fluorocarbon lines are great for winter bass fishing, but in the instances when anglers must use heavier line because of thick abrasive cover or waters known to produce large fish,

anglers can get away with using much heavier lines when opting for fluorocarbon. Strikes from wintertime fish are often very light and subtle and hard to detect. This is why it is absolutely critical that anglers employ high quality graphite fishing rods that are extremely sensitive. Quality, sensitive graphite rods will make all the difference in the world when targeting the sluggish bass of winter. Many bass anglers see their winter catch rates soar when switching to high quality graphite rods. In addition, choosing a high quality graphite rod in a technique specific model will allow a winter angler even more success by utilizing a rod that was specifically designed for the particular task that they chose to fish.

Scent Considerations Utilizing scents is never more important throughout the entire year than when fishing in the winter months. Bass often approach lures slowly in winter and typically won’t move far to get a bait. This means that bass get much more time to consider whether or not to strike an offering. If

anything is not right, it may mean a missed opportunity, and when the lure that a bass considers eating in winter actually smells like real prey, the fish will be much more likely to take it. When choosing soft plastic lures to fish on rigs, choose scented baits that the fish are more likely to hit and hold onto. The same is true with jigs trailers. Adding a scented trailer to a spinnerbait makes it much more effective for bass in the winter. Spray-on scents can also be added to these baits to increase their effectiveness and are especially important after the bait has been in use for a while. When scented soft baits come out of the package, their scent is much more powerful than it is after fishing with it for a while, so using a spray on scent is like a recharge on a battery, bringing the bait back up to full attracting power. Spray-on scents are also great for use on hard plastic lures like crankbaits and minnowbaits. Let the spray scent sit on the bait for a few seconds after spraying, before casting it out, and the scent will stay on the bait for a little longer. Scents must be reapplied much more often to these hard plastic lures because the scents can’t absorb into the bait like they can with soft plastic baits or a jig or spinnerbait skirt. Scented weights can also be used in conjunction with soft plastics.

Important Winter Fishing Safety Tips Fishing in harsh winter weather can be dangerous, so it pays to be prepared. Keep all of the standard marine safety gear on board along with food, drinks and a survival kit. Fish

with a friend and always wear a personal floatation devise. Because anglers might very well have a lake all to themselves the chances of getting a tow back to the ramp during a breakdown is slim. Make sure that the boat is running good before heading out on the water, and consider trying to find good areas to fish that are not far from a boat ramp or road, when fishing on remote lakes or rivers, such as those in national forests or back country areas. Make sure all boat batteries are fully charged before a trip and keep a paddle on board in case the outboard motor and the trolling motor would both happen to go down at the same time. Carry a cell phone and marine radio. Keep towels and extra changes of heavily insulated cold weather clothing on board, along with rain gear that covers the body from head to toe. Always tell others where you are going and when to expect you back.

Get Out There The only real mistake that bass anglers can make in winter is not going fishing at all. Die hard anglers can’t simply sit in the house for months at a time waiting for pleasant weather to arrive. We must get out on the water somewhere, sometime. We must get out on the water to feel life, to feel it surging through our veins, to become one with our passion in God’s magnificent outdoor world. Fishing pulls at or heart strings and nature provides restoration for the soul. Life passes all too quickly by, so get out there and experience it. Good luck!

Lightning Strikes Twice at AFT National Championship

By: Brad Wiegmann

The majority of anglers know that lightning has a tendency to strike the same tall tree or tall objects over and over again. What anglers who qualified to fish in the American Bass Angler (ABA) American Fishing Tour National Championship did not know was lighting or in this case, Gary Thacker was going to strike twice. Thacker, who had won the AFT “Angler of the Year” and AFT National Championship back in 2003 seemed destined to win the tournament from day one. For a number of anglers, it was their first time to fish Lake Guntersville in Alabama; but Thacker, who lives only 80 miles away considers it a second home lake and has fished it numerous times before. Thacker used this home lake knowledge to his advantage everyday of the tournament to take home the first place prize a Triton/Mercury Boat package valued at over $50,000. Hear the Thunder Thacker began his tournament prefishing practice by going to spots where he had caught fish in the past, “Down on Lake Guntersville there are always certain things that work,” explained Thacker. “I had a really good practice, nothing went wrong and everything went right,” Thacker continued, “I found the fish, the first day of practice.” Practice was so good for 2 days that Thacker did not even go out the last day to prefish for the tournament. Thacker could hear the thunder of the lightning coming. 15

See the Lightning Wednesday morning proved to be a pivotal moment for Thacker in the tournament. “I had really planned to start fishing somewhere else, but I changed my mind for some reason and went to the area where I caught my biggest stringer of bass during the tournament,” recalled Thacker. For 3 out of 4 days during the tournament, Thacker fished the same 2 grass patches to win the tournament. In the end, Thacker would catch over 44pounds of bass out of those 2 grass patches, confirming that lightning can strike the same area over and over again. Winning the American Fishing Tour Championship Winning the American Fishing Tour Championship Tournament means Gary Thacker will receive guaranteed entry into the 2010 ABA Grand Slam Series Tournaments. For tournament anglers who do not know, the ABA American Fishing Tour is unlike other bass tournament trials with professional anglers that have sponsors paying their entry fees and expenses; the American Fishing Tour is designed especially for the weekend angler, no pros or guides allowed. The tournaments offer low entry fees, one-day qualifiers, level entry field, great sponsor contingency programs, 4 Regional Championships that included a draw prize for a Triton/Mercury boat package valued at over $30,000 this past year, no entry fee National Championship that awards the winner a Triton/Mercury Boat package valued at over $50,000 and allows the boater to use their own boat during competition. For more information on all the ABA tournament trials and to register to fish in them see or call (888) 203-6222. What the future holds As AFT National Champion, Thacker is looking forward to competing in the AFT, Bassmaster Weekend Series, and the Grand Slam Series tournaments. “I really like fishing the ABA tournaments, their tournaments are as good as it gets, very classy and their staff is great,” said Thacker. Winning Championship Strategy To win a fishing tournament that last 4 days, the winning angler must have a strategy to catch the winning total weight. How many keepers do you catch in one spot before you leave it, should I move to another area of the lake to catch bigger fish, what lure should I be casting, do I need to guard my area so no one else fishes it, or numerous other variables that factor into winning the tournament. Here’s a comprehensive look at Thacker’s strategy over 4 days to catch his winning stringer. The AFT National Championship Tournament take off location was at Lake Guntersville State Park on Lake Guntersville in Alabama.

Lightning Strikes Twice at the AFT National Championship

Day One Weight: 5 bass, 21.93-pounds

Cover/Structure: Same as day one but with less wind

Weather: Clear skies, no fog

Location: Same as day one.

Rod/Reel/Line: Team AllStar Grass Rod, Shimano reel, Power Pro 65-pound test braid line.

Strategy: Thacker started the day out believing that he should fish his big fish spot. During the day he did have big fish blow up on his bait but could not get them hooked. Thacker believes he would have had over 20pounds of bass but only hooks and lands 3 bass. Seeing all the big bass, Thacker plans to fish the same area of the lake, the last day of the tournament.

Lures: Pumpkin colored Reaction Innovation Swamp Donkey. Cover/Structure: Thacker fished 2 grass mats the size of a house that were thick but not real big with yellow pollen on top of it. Each day the grass mats would get smaller as the wind blew them around. All of his fish came in 4-feet deep water off a high hump.

Day Four Weight: 3 bass, 8.80-pounds Weather: Extremely foggy (fog delay), no wind.

Location: About 15 miles away from the take off ramp. Rod/Reel/Line: Same as day one. Strategy: Without a fog delay Thacker capitalized an early bite. On his first cast he caught a 3 ½-pound bass, on his third cast another 3 ½-pound bass, and a 5 ½pound bass 10 minutes later. Although Thacker lost several fish because the bass were not holding on to the bait, he did manage to cull 3 times. Day Two Weight: 3 bass, 8.29-pounds Weather: Foggy, bright sunshine and light winds later in the day. Rod/Reel/Line: Same as day one. Lures: Same as day one.

Lures: Same as day one. Cover/Structure: Same as day one but with no wind. Strategy: “I knew with my lead someone would have to catch a monster sack of bass to catch me, so I went out to try and catch a limit of bass,” explained Thacker. Overall Strategy for the tournament: “I knew what the bass would hit and I stuck with it, everyone else that fished tried everything and including other frog style baits but could not get a bite,” said Thacker. In the end, Thacker had caught 15 bass, for a total of 52.67pounds, almost 8-pounds more than second place finisher Brian Hester from Shreveport, Louisiana with a total of 44.68-pounds.

Cover/Structure: Thacker arrived at his first day spot only to find someone already fishing it. He left and went to fish a point with grass mats next to a creek channel. Location: Jones Creek area. Strategy: Try and catch 5 more good fish in a different spot then day one. Day Three Weight: 4 bass, 13.64-pounds Weather: Foggy early. Rod/Reel/Line: Same as day one. Lures: Same as day one. Lightning Strikes Twice at the AFT National Championship


The Road to the Bassmaster Classic By: Brad Wiegmann

It has been a long way to the Bassmaster Classic for David Williams from Maiden, North Carolina. While the journey had its shares of obstacles, it also had plenty of good times. Williams works during the week at Lyndon’s Riverview Sports in sales and also has his own taxidermy shop. His journey started by competing and finishing fourth overall in the points standing, North Carolina, Division 5 qualifiers. He then moved on to the Divisional Championship and finished fourth at Kerr Lake. Williams finished in 26th place at the Regional Championship which allowed him to keep fishing and progress to the $680,000 Bassmaster Weekend Series Championship. The final step was winning the $100,000 Bassmaster Weekend Series Championship operated by American Bass Anglers, Inc.. See for more information on competing in the Bassmaster Weekend Series Tournaments. Winning the Bassmaster Weekend Championship also includes


entry into the 2009 Bassmaster Classic and priority registration for the BASS Opens to the winner. Going to the Classic For Williams, winning the Bassmaster Weekend Series Championship means he is the road again. This time Williams will go to the Bassmaster Classic Championship. The event will be held February 2022, 2009 on the Red River in Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana. Williams will be competing for first place which pays $500,000 in cash. He will be 1 of the 13 rookies to challenge for the title against last years champion Alton Jones and other renowned pros like Kevin VanDam, Mike McClelland, and Rick Clunn. Unlike most of the other anglers fishing in the Classic, Williams has only 2 sponsors: David Fritts Outdoors and Lyndon’s Riverview Sports. Not having a big time sponsor does not seem to be intimidating Williams, “I have fished against most of these guys before and I know that they are some

The Road to The Bassmaster Classic

great competitors,” he continued, “but all I have to do is have a great week and Lord willing I will win it.” Williams did admit, “It’s going to be amazing down at the Classic; everyone is supporting me and pulling for me.” The location of the tournament also favors Williams, “I am looking forward to going down and I understand that I will get to do some power-fishing there.”

leaf spinnerbait in white/blue or pearl, and Bill Norman’s Deep Little N in a shad pattern.

Bassmaster Weekend Series Tournaments

Feelings on day 1: “I knew I had a real good day because it is hard to catch a limit over 12-pounds, so I was happy to have it,” said Williams.

The Bassmaster Weekend Series Tournaments offer anglers an opportunity to fish bass tournaments close to home. It has a low entry fee for both the Angler and Co-Angler with a guaranteed $5,000 minimum first place for the Boater. Along with one of the highest paying contingency program for owners of Triton Boats, Mercury Outboards, Motor Guide, and the Anglers Advantage Insurance Big Bass Award. “There is no other circuit or tournament trial that puts up $5,000 for the winner, no matter how many anglers are in the tournament,” William said about the Bassmaster Weekend Series Tournament and went on to say, “ABA tournaments run smooth and are a first class organization.” Championship Flash Back

Area/Location: Mid-lake, around the Highway 150 Bridge. Williams fished deep brush piles in creek channels. Results: 5 bass, 12.29-pounds

Day Two Lures: Same as day one but used a spinnerbait mostly because of the cloud cover. Area/Location: Williams fished the same pattern as day one but new water. Results: 5 bass, 8.14-pounds Feelings on day 2: “I knew I was still not out of it but catching a smaller limit really hurt me,” Williams continued, “I lost 2 3-pounders and lots of the bass were short striking the baits.” “I could have put the


Just what did it take to win the Bassmaster Weekend Series Championship and advance to the Bassmaster Classic Championship? Here is the inside scope on how Williams was able to come back and win even after being close to 3-pounds behind on day 2 and day 3.

Day One Lures: 3/8-ounce Shooter Jig in crawfish pattern with plastic chunk trailer, ½-ounce tandem willow The Road to The Bassmaster Classic


tournament out of reach for other anglers on that day had I caught them,” explained Williams.

Feelings on day 4: “The key to catching my fish on day four and everyday of the tournament Day Three was casting the lure and letting it hit the brush Lures: Same as day one. multiple times; in fact, sometimes 5 to 7 times at one brush pile,” Williams continued, “once Area/Location: Williams fished the same you got one to bite then it would trigger 2 or 3 to pattern again but continued to cover new water bass to get aggressive and I could catch them.” and different brush piles. Winning Weight: After fishing 4 day Williams Results: 5 bass, 9.84-pounds end up with a total weight of 42.33-pounds. The second place finisher, Jeff Coble from Feelings on day 3: “I knew I had to make up Manson, North Carolina, who was the third day some ground and went out to catch just leader only caught 6.75-pounds the fourth day largemouth, fishing was really slow in the and ended up with 39.92-pounds. morning but ended up with a limit by the end of the day,” said Williams. Get Out There and Fish Every angler fishing the Bassmaster Weekend Day Four Series hopes to win it all and fish in the Lures: Same as day one. Bassmaster Classic. “The best advice I can give to anglers is get out there and fish, never Area/Location: Williams started out fishing deep quit trying, keep practicing, and learn how to brush with a crankbait but could not get a bite, find fish,” he continued, “if you do, one day so he changed the area and began fishing something like this can happen to you.” For really shallow docks and brush piles. Williams, it was a long way to the Classic, but he finally made it. Results: 5 bass, 12.06-pounds.


The Road to The Bassmaster Classic


By: Brad Wiegmann

When the season began, numerous anglers had visions of finishing as “Angler of the Year” in their region. The road to being one of the final 4 AOY would take many twists and turns before each one would be crowned top angler by points after the regional championship. In the end, only 4 men would compete in a one day tournament to decide who would be crowned the 2008 American Fishing Tour AOY. Southeast Regional AOY Doug Orazine For Doug Orazine from Springville, Alabama, the road to the final 4 came through competing in the Alabama East Central Division 88, fishing in the Divisional Championship, finishing second in the Regional Championship, and was the point’s leader allowing him to compete as the Southeast Regional Champion. Although living only 2 hours away from the mystery AOY tournament lake, Orazine had only really 21

fished it a couple of times. Orazine prefishing practice consisted of checking some spots down around the Elk River and the Elk River itself. Orazine reported that he used a topwater lure and a shallow running crankbait in chartreuse shad to locate some productive areas. During the tournament, Orazine changed tactics and flipped an unpegged, 3/8-ounce soft creature bait in green pumpkin. The majority of his bass were caught in the 4 to 6-feet with the boat sitting in deeper water. For Orazine, the deciding moment in winning the Southeast AOY was when he changed tactics on West Point Lake, “I did what I was comfortable doing; I went to the shallow water with a big stick, instead of fishing deep.” Although disappointed about not winning the tournament, Orazine said, “It was a unique opportunity and lots of fun; the ABA staff were really great, my wife and family were impressed and enjoyed it.”

The Final Four

Southwest Regional AOY Tony Romano For Tony Romano from Cabot, Arkansas, the road to the final 4 came through competing in the Arkansas Central Division 16, fishing in the Divisional Championship and the Regional Championship, and was the point’s leader allowing him to compete as the Southwest Regional Champion. Romano prepared to fish for largemouth, but brought plenty of gear in case they fished a spotted bass lake. “I pack a little bit of everything and lots of “spot” fishing tackle,” said Romano. The 4 anglers had only 1 day to prefish for the tournament. “I do not think that hurt my chances of winning the tournament; in fact, it helped me,” explained Romano. Romano had never fished on the lake before and started out practicing on the Decatur Flats. He had planned to check out the grass beds on the flats, but most of the aquatic vegetation had died off. So, he loaded his boat up and trailer over to the Elk River. Romano found numerous lay downs and realized he could catch bass power fishing with a square bill crankbait. The key was having shad in close proximity to the wood.

Although Romano caught 20-30 keeper bass during the tournament, losing 4 quality fish probably cost him the tournament. Romano finished in third place with 5 bass, 8.14-pounds. “The tournament was a blast, the tournament director and observer were great; unfortunately, it was not my turn to win it,” said Romano. Midwest Regional Champion AOY Brent Anderson For Brent Anderson from Kingston Springs, Tennessee, the road to the final 4 came through competing in the Kentucky Lake Division 88, fishing the Divisional Championship, finishing second in the Regional Championship, and was the point’s leader allowing him to compete as the Midwest Regional Champion. Like the other 3 competitors, Anderson prepared before traveling down to the pre tournament meeting. “I did some serious homework on the lakes down in North and North Central Alabama; I looked on the internet for water temperatures, weights that won the local tournaments, and checked for ideas of what the fish were doing,” explained Anderson.

The Final Four


During the first day of prefishing, Anderson used a square bill computer chip board, shallow diver, balsa wood crankbait in a chartreuse and blue back pattern made by Vanndalizer ( to locate his fish with. When asked about the weather during prefishing, Anderson said, “It was a good day to fish but a bad day to prefish; it was hard to see and the fish were biting.” Anderson did check out the Elk River like the other competitors but eliminated it because of the distance to run opposed to lost fishing time. Instead, he focused on a drain about 3 miles away from the launch area and the rip rap near the Highway 31 Bridge. During the tournament, Anderson caught all of his fish on a prototype Vanndalizer tube bait in black with gold flake.

wanted to fish perfect, land and hook every fish; I did but still I came up a little short,” added Anderson. Although coming in just short of winning Anderson reported, “I have never been treated so well before a tournament; I really appreciate ABA, their staff, and all the hard work they do.”

Big tournaments cause for a lot of sleepless nights and Anderson testified he had several before the tournament. “It’s a winner take all tournament and I

Of all the competitors fishing for the 2008 American Fishing Tour AOY title and a new Triton/Mercury bass boat valued at over $50,000 dollars, none were as nervous as Gray up to the start of the tournament. “I definitely lost sleep over this tournament,” reported Gray. After they announced the location of the tournament, Gray went out and purchased a map. “I looked at the map to see how the lake was laid out, North, South, East, West, I thought about wind direction; I picked out the Elk River because it had deep and shallow water with a defined channel”, Gray continued, “somewhere in it the fish would relate to how I wanted to fish and if I could find bait, I would find fish”. Although the tournament was on a lake Gray had never been on before, he recalled, “I had a good feeling when they announced the lake, grass is not my strong suit and I would have a better chance of catching bass on a crankbait here; it’s what I do on my home lake, I always look to catch them on a crankbait.”

Northeast Regional AOY Brandon Gray For Brandon Gray from Bullock, North Carolina, the road to the final 4 came through competing in the North Carolina Piedmont Division 16, fishing in the Divisional Championship, finishing first in the Regional Championship, along with being the point’s leader allowing him to compete as the Northeast Regional Champion.

The weather conditions for anglers during prefishing were rainy and strong winds. Gray decided to use a 3/8-ounce Colorado/willow leaf tandem spinnerbait to locate fish with. During the tournament, Gray caught his fish on a 3/8-ounce


The Final Four

balsa wood, computer chip board square bill lip crankbait in Tennessee Shad pattern. When the tournament started, Gray went only a short distance form the launch ramp and caught his first keeper of the day. He then decided to go to the Elk River and focus on one pocket with some brush in it, to parallel a bluff wall that had wood on it, and a flat. The bass were feeding and relating to wood or shad. In fact, “The shad looked like they were spawning on the wood,” said Gray. In the end, Gray would catch 5 keeper bass and weigh in 13.25-pounds to win the 2008 American Fishing Tour AOY title. Gray pointed out that the pivotal moment to being AOY was hearing the Regional Tournament was on Kerr Lake and is my home lake. “It was really to my advantage and I capitalized on it being there,” recalled Gray.

As for the AOY Tournament, “The Tournament was great; Alabama has lots of great people and my wife had a terrific time shopping, I really want to thank the ABA staff, they run a A-1 operation,” added Gray. Not only did Gray win a new Triton/Mercury outboard, he also has his entries paid for in the 2009 ABA Grand Slam Series Professional Bass Tour. Needless to say, Gray reported he is really excited for the opportunity for more exposure and to fish them out of his new Triton/Mercury. “I feel Triton has the best boats and contingency paid back of any boat company,” said Gray. In fact, Gray had already picked out a new Triton Boat to purchase before winning one down in Alabama. For Orazine, Romano, Anderson, and Gray, the excitement of being one of the final 4 and winning American Fishing Tour “Angler of the Year” title is what every angler dreams about. For Gray, it has become a reality.

What’s On Your Boats

Triton 21X3 Pro

Triton TR-196

Triton 18 Explorer

For more details, visit or call your local Triton dealer


Lowrance LCX-27C

Lowrance iWay 600c

Lowrance Broadband Sounder-1

Lamiglas XMG 50 Series

e21 Carrot Stix

Ardent F500 Flip-N-Pitch

Ardent S-400M


St. Croix Legend Xtreme


Ardent XS600


What’s on Your Christmas List?

Christmas List? Tackle and Necessities

Wingman Lures 50 Peice Kit

Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits

Big Bite Baits

Fishbelly Lures

Hi-Seas White Lightning

Wave Worm

Ocean Waves Sunglasses

Ardent SmartCull System

Mustang Survival PFD


Royal Purple Motor Oil

Bioedge Scents

What’s on Your Christmas List?


Of Swim Baits and Smallmouths By: Brandon Stanley

Most of the bass fisherman keeping up with the latest techniques for catching big bass in late winter would agree that the float-n-fly is arguably your best bet for catching a trophy Smallmouth. Especially in the clear cold waters of Watauga Lake in Upper East Tennessee, but for those of you who are tired of doodling a 1/32 ounce crappie jigs under floats used for blue gills, there is another way. Just as the float-n-fly requires specialized equipment like 9' light action rods and 4 lb. fluorocarbon line, so does this alternative. You will need 8-9ft. heavy action rods and 20 -25 lb. line. How’s that for change?

This new technique goes totally against the grain of the "colder water equals smaller baits" theory and leans toward the "Bigger bait equals bigger fish” idea. Bill Dance once explained how a bass will chase bait, even in cold water, as long as they don’t burn more calories trying to catch their prey as they will gain by eating it. Here is a story to prove his theory. A story about 1 big smallmouth I landed and 1 big largemouth that got away on a trip to Watauga Lake last February. I set out that day equipped with an 8.5ft.Medium-Heavy saltwater rod I had used for King Mackerel fishing, and a big spinning reel spooled with 20-25 .lb monofilament. On the end of my line was 8 inch 4oz. Rainbow Trout Lake Castaic Swim bait I had ordered on-line for about 29

$18 after shipping. Since this lake is stocked with trout this time of year my odds dramatically increased. I fished about an hour throwing this huge lure, wondering if there was anything down there big and mean enough to tackle such bait. Every time the bait landed in the water it sounded like a 12 pounder jumping. This loud splash gets their attention sounding like competition for other big bass. Then they see your bait falling to the bottom looking like it had been wounded by whatever made that big splash. It’s all part of the presentation. Every 7-8 casts I would hang in a little brush and think it was a fish only to find I nearly lost my $18 swim bait. I had just made a cast parallel to and about 15' out off of a rip rap bank where the creek channel swung in close to the rocks. I let the bait sink for just a few seconds and started a slow steady retrieve just fast enough for the tail to kick back and forth when something mauled the little trout. My partner saw me set the hook so many times he didn’t believe me when I told him, "GET THE NET!!" This time something was pulling back and darting left and right. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when a mammoth smallmouth came boat side with my huge swim bait stuck to its face. I noticed the fish had bitten the red treble hook I had attached to the belly of the big bait. After taking a quick picture with my cell phone we unhooked the fish and placed her in the livewell for some additional pictures before releasing the fish later. On the very next cast, in the same spot I had hooked this fish, I hooked another one and this appeared even bigger. I fought and played the fish for a few minutes before it came unhooked about 4 ft. from the surface. But I got a good look at the big Largemouth before she managed to spit out the hook. I estimated the fish to weigh be between 6-7 lbs. I was so excited and pumped up by this point, that on the next cast I got in a hurry and forgot to let the rod fully load up before casting the 4oz. bait and it broke my rod in 3 pieces. That was one of the most exciting days of fishing I have ever experienced. You should see some of the looks I get when casting a 4oz. 8" trout replica in East Tennessee, they think I'm crazy, but I got proof that it actually works. You may not catch the number of bass you would with other baits but I truly believe you could possibly catch a world record Smallmouth from Watauga Lake or South Holton Lake

Of Swim Baits and Smallmouths

on big trout swim bait. Electro-shocking in these lakes has lead to rumors of Fish over 10 pounds and for a bass to reach that size they need an abundant high protein food source like rainbow trout.

The TWRA regularly dumps truck loads of stock trout into these lakes and the big bass are ready and waiting. Trout will come up on shallow points and flats early in the morning and late in the evenings to feed. I have noticed that the bass will sort of herd the trout into big schools and push them towards the back of coves and shallow pockets. Another excellent spot to try is where a major creek comes into the lake. Trout will stage in these areas waiting to run upstream and spawn when the creeks rise after a big rain. The school of big bass I got into were holding in a creek channel in about 15' of water adjacent to a big shallow flat where the creek enters the lake. This is an excellent spot for bass to ambush trout coming in & out of the creeks. Bass take advantage of the coverless terrain and push the trout shallower and shallower till they can't run any more and attack. I discovered this pattern while trout fishing a few winters ago. I was walking down the bank casting a small spinner for trout when I had a small one follow it up to the shoreline only to turn away without biting. Just as the trout made it out of sight a huge explosion in the water nearly scared me. As I walked on down the bank I noticed some small trout right against the bank facing out to deeper water. As they fled away from me walking the shoreline the bass were crushing them in less than 5' of water. Unfortunately, this all took place before I ordered my swim baits, but I had learned a valuable lesson in the predator -prey relationship of bass and trout.

After breaking my saltwater rod I bought an 8 ft. heavy action salmon and steelhead rod made for casting baits that weigh up to 4oz. and attached a wide spooled Abu Garcia casting reel with 20-25lb. mono. This setup allows me to handle the bait and the bass fairly well. It is tiring fishing such a big outfit but I feel like the rewards are well worth the time. It takes a different type of angler to fish exclusively for trophy sized bass, but just like a trophy deer hunter will wait for the largest bucks, trophy bass fisherman will persevere for the bass of a lifetime. There is a trout farm in the town of Hampton within a couple of miles of the lake where you can purchase live trout of various sizes by the dozen. People wanting to fish live bait should use lighter line; I recommend 10-12 lb .test and match the size of your hook to the bait you are using. I've had the best luck with trout 5-7" long and a 1/0 eagle claw baitholder hook rigged through the nose with a small splitshot or weightless. Whether you are a tournament fisherman looking for that kicker fish to seal the win or you are just wanting to catch one big enough to mount , you definitely need one of these big baits in your arsenal. I ordered mine from but you may also buy high quality swim baits at LandBigFish .com or Also, guide trips can be arranged on Boone or Watauga Lakes for trophy bass. Please call Brandon Stanley at (423)-612-2878 or e-mail at GOOD LUCK AND GOOD FISHIN!

Of Swim Baits and Smallmouths


Quick & Easy Tips to Make Your Boat Faster “I feel the need, the need for speed” - Maverick, Top Gun

Everyone likes to go fast, especially when you’re trying to get to your favorite spot on the lake. It doesn’t take much time and effort to make your boat go faster. A few minor adjustments can make you feel like you’ve upgraded from a canoe to a power boat. Right-size Your Prop A leading prop manufacturer recently estimated that 90 percent of all new boats have the wrong propeller installed at the factory. First, you’ll need a properly calibrated tachometer will help you find the optimum prop size. Second, you’ll need to find a dealer that will allow you to borrow and test several props in order to find one that suits your needs. You’re now ready to get your boat on the water and do some testing. When testing props, running your boat in the middle of the manufacturer’s wide open throttle range will help you more accurately determine which prop(s) increase speed. As a guideline, your boat will gain about 300 rpm for every two inches decrease in pitch. Your experience will vary depending on your equipment and the conditions. Get Rigid Aluminum props flex much more than stainless steel props. All of that flexing slows down your boat and hurts fuel economy. Swapping an inefficient aluminum prop for a rigid stainless steel prop will increase speed as much as 1 to 3 mph. It will also improve fuel efficiency. Stainless steel props cost more, but the payback in improved fuel economy will make it pay for itself relatively quickly. Reduce Engine Friction High performance motor oil can make meaningful improvements in your boat’s speed. For instance, independent tests have documented Royal Purple motor 31

oil increases horsepower and torque as much as 3% or more. Its ability to reduce friction and improve sealing also improves fuel economy, and reduces heat, wear and emissions. You can find out more at Reduce Boat Friction Many boat owners pay little attention to the bottom of their boat. Poorly applied bottom pain or a faint slime can dramatically increase your boat’s coefficient of friction and reduce your speed (and fuel economy). If you leave your boat in the water, consider using an antifouling bottom paint containing Micron. These paints help reduce drag. You can find out more at If you trailer your boat, spend a few hours and some elbow grease applying a good marine wax to help reduce drag. Get the Good Stuff At minimum, you should use the highest manufacturer’s recommended octane for your boat’s engine. You can squeeze out even more power by going with a higher octane and adjusting your ignition timing to compensate. It’s critical that you do not go so far as to hear detonation and damage your engine. You should also check to make sure your fuel filter is allowing fuel to flow freely. Go with the Flow Unrestricted air flow is just as important as unrestricted fuel flow in order to achieve maximum power. The air cleaner or flame arrestor on your boat can easily get as dirty as the air filter of your car and it should be cleaned regularly. Upgrading to a quality high-performance flame arrestor and/or adding a second flame arrestor can dramatically improve air flow. You can find more info at

Quick and Easy Tips to Make Your Boat Faster

Confidence and Colors By: Gary Dobyns

If bass fishermen didn’t get so crazy with lure colors, the storage compartments on boats could be half the size they are. Think about how big the sections of your favorite lure brands are at your local tackle store. The truth is only a small percentage of that selection really sells. The one thing you won’t be able to order from your favorite mail order catalog is confidence. In reality, you can usually catch fish on several colors as long as you have the confidence to throw it. With that said, let me point out that on many lakes there is a preferred color and often times you can eliminate some of the guess work when fishing a new lake by stopping by the local tackle store. Check out the colors they are low on or completely out of and that is usually the preferred color on that lake. Purple is a color that you don’t want to forget when you’re heading out to Lake Mead. It has been a favorite out there for years. If you’re heading off to the Delta, you can’t miss with June bug. A good stock of green pumpkin is a must for the spotted bass on Lake Oroville or Lake Shasta.


Yamamoto is one of those companies that makes over 300 colors and it would be impossible to carry even half of those with you on the water. Over the years I have tried to keep my color selections pretty simple and have narrowed it down to about a half dozen colors. If you narrow it down to a few of your confidence colors, it is easier to carry enough of those baits to get you through several days at a tournament. I hate to run low on a bait that I am catching them on. In most cases, I have found that six or seven colors are all you need in almost every situation.

Confidence and Colors

I would like to share with you some of the confidence baits and colors that are always in my tackle box: Hula Grubs: I always carry green pumpkin, cinnamon/black flake, watermelon with red and black flake, straight watermelon, watermelon with black flake and cinnamon/black and purple flake. These six colors have been very productive for me. If I am not getting fish to bite one of them, there is probably not much of a Hula Grub bite. Worms: Worms are one bait category that you can really get carried away with too many colors. I have also narrowed this selection down and the following colors should take care of most conditions and watercolor. I use Robo Worms for my finesse fishing and my box consists of the following colors: oxblood/red flake, Aaron’s Magic, hologram shad, baby blue gill and warmouth. This selection gives me a couple of brown and green worms to

resemble a crawdad, a couple of shad colors and a red colored worm. I keep a good stock of both 4 and 6-inch worms and can alternate between a darthead, dropshot or Texas rig with this selection. Senko’s: This is probably the most basic box in my boat with my favorites being green pumpkin, watermelon, laminate green pumpkin/watermelon, salt and pepper, daiquiri and peanut butter and jelly. Jigs: You will notice that I don’t vary jig colors much more than a Senko or a Grub. My jig box is pretty simple as well with brown jigs, brown and purple, brown and black, and black and blue. Rip Baits: I keep my selection of rip baits pretty basic. I like to have a chartreuse colored bait like the Table Rock shad, a white colored bait and I prefer a little chartreuse on this bait as well with my favorite color being chartreuse Shad. The ghost minnow color is my subtle color I keep for clear

water conditions. When I am looking for a flashy color I turn to American shad. Crankbait’s: The same colors that make up my ripbait selection make up my crankbait selection with a couple of crawdad additions in a red and black color and a brown colored bait. Replacing and adding one size larger hook is more important to me than colors. I like both the round bend and EWG hooks from Gamakatsu. I really haven’t gotten into the red hook craze but they must be working for some of you because they are pretty hard to get from Gamakatsu. Topwater: This box is the simplest of all with baitfish colors in silver, ghost minnow or white making up the majority of my top water selections. In lakes where there is a good trout population, I

throw a rainbow trout color pattern. I will always have a few baits with some chartreuse like an okie shad. With buzz baits and frogs, I always throw white or black. Spinnerbaits: I will change the blade color more often than I change skirt colors. The majority of the time, I will throw a white and chartreuse spinnerbait. On occasion, I will throw straight white as a good shad imitation and, a few times a year, I throw straight chartreuse. Blade colors is where I change the look of my spinnerbaits and my favorites are double gold, gold and nickel, double chartreuse and double white. I will usually change these colors according to water clarity and cloud cover. You should keep one compartment of your spinnerbait box open for trailer hooks. My preference is the Gamakatsu Siwash hooks in 2/0 and 3/0. Swimbaits: I keep this category pretty simple as well with rainbow trout and Ayu making up the top colors. The Ayu is a very good golden shiner imitation. I will throw the hitch pattern on Clear Lake in California to resemble the bait fish that is native to Clear Lake. This is a fairly comprehensive list of the baits that make up the majority of my bait selections day in and day out. If I am finding fishing tough and I start changing bait colors, I will make dramatic changes not subtle changes. The colors I have confidence in have been a big part of my success in tournaments year after year and I won’t venture away from them very often. Like many of you, I have bought thousands of dollars of tackle over the years and tried most all of the trends that have come along. My best advice to you is sometimes the hardest to follow…….keep it simple and have confidence.

Deflating Deep-Caught Bass By: Mark Lassagne

Bass caught in water 35 feet or deeper may have an over-inflated gas bladder (swim bladder). If released immediately, the fish can usually swim back down to the proper depth. However, if held for a period of time in a live well (for example in a bass tournament), the fish tires and its muscles can no longer compensate for the pressure. One indicator of this condition is that the bass appears to be bloated with an extended belly; another, and probably the best, is that the bass floats in the livewell or on the surface of the lake without being able

to swim down below the surface. An over-inflated swim bladder should be deflated to assist in the healthy release of the bass. Remember to keep the bass in water as much as possible during this procedure. Deflating a bass in a livewell or holding tank is much easier than trying to do it while leaning out of a boat.

crosses the lateral line. When inserting the needle, lift a scale and go under it rather than through the scale. Angle the needle towards the front of the fish and carefully insert the needle until the point should be close to the center of the fish. The distance that you have to insert the needle will vary with the size and thickness of the bass. You should hold the bass under water after getting the needle started. When you hit the swim bladder, air bubbles should come out of the back of the needle. Very gently squeezing the bass will assist the swim bladder in deflating. When the air bubbles slow down and the bass no longer appears bloated, carefully withdraw the needle. The bass should now be deflated and able to swim down below the surface of the water.

Insert Needle (see arrow on External Anatomy) Angling towards front to deflate a swim bladder, you will need a 2-inch hypodermic needle. These needles are sharp, so use caution when using them. Use the above picture as a reference to the correct location to insert the needle. Imagine a line from the notch in the dorsal fin to the anal opening. The insertion point will be on that line at a point about 1 inch below where the imaginary line


Deflating Deep-Caught Bass

South Central Regional by: Chuck Boso

A thick fog hung over the water as boats from all five divisions of the South Central region awaited take off. After a brief delay 144 boats were off and running. Anglers had their eye on a top prize of a Triton bass boat as well as thousands in prize money. But more importantly, everyone was hoping to finish high enough to qualify for this year’s Bassmaster Weekend Series National Championship. It was Texas’ Scott Dean who took home the grand prize with a two day total of 22.69 pounds to win the South Central Regional on Arkansas’ Lake Dardenelle.

the local anglers voiced concerns about unproductive spots throughout the lake and feared a tough tournament ahead. Most of their fears proved to be reality. When weigh-in came to a close on Friday afternoon, only 80 anglers had brought fish to the scales, while only 30 of the co-anglers weighed fish. Even those who were experienced on this lake were stunned. Black Angel Jigs Pro, Gabe Spencer said “the conditions were brutal” but he felt things would turn around on Saturday as the weather was expected to

Many teams arrived in Russellville a full week early to pre-fish and get a feel for the lake. They were welcomed by a helpful and professional staff from Lake Dardenelle State Park. In addition to a state of the art weigh in pavilion, anglers were treated to quality docking and launch facilities as well. Park personnel even provided a shuttle service from the parking areas back to the ramp. As anglers gathered at the tournament pavilion for registration on Thursday night, many were heard grumbling about difficulty of the lake. Even 39

South Central Regional

change. The conditions had little effect on Oklahoman Cade Alsbury. With only one day of pre-fishing, Alsbury had a good grasp on the lead when he amazed his fellow anglers with a five fish limit registering 12.73 pounds on the scales. However, his momentum was short lived as East Texas angler Scott Dean had a limit of his own totaling 17.09 pounds. Both anglers were the ones to beat going into day two. After the day two partner pairings were posted, anglers scattered around the pavilion to talk strategy. Flippin’ jigs and burning a square bill crankbait seemed to be the general consensus among those who caught fish on the previous day. Most teams agreed that the main body of the lake didn’t seem like it would produce a winner. Instead, many teams made the long dash up river to the break walls and rip rap hoping for a winning sack. Dean disagreed. While many of those teams returned from up river changed their luck and returned with nice fish, some stayed the course. Dean said he “stuck to his original plan and it paid off for him”. It looked as if Cade Alsbury would surpass Dean when he showed up with a four fish sack totaling 9.69 pounds. Dean stepped up to the scales with just two fish and the crowd watched as the scales indicated 5.6 pounds. The crowd cheered as Dean was declared the winner by just over a quarter of a pound, securing the well fought victory. Third place angler Creston Harrell of Oklahoma maintained his spot throughout the tournament and ended the event with a two day total of 19.69 pounds. Big Bass for the boaters was Darren Hernandez of Louisiana who’s only fish of the event was a nice 6.04 pounder. Perhaps the most improved over two days was fourth place finisher Dennis Edmonds. At the end of day two, the Colorado angler found himself in 12th place and concerned with what day two may hold. However, he found the bass with ease on Saturday and hit the scales with 11.88 pounds enroute to his 19.54 pound finish. On the co-angler side it was a Texas finish as Bill Ferguson came from over

three pounds behind on day one to take home the victory and prize money with his 11.17 pound two day total. Fellow Texan John Kelly also came from behind and secured the second spot with an overall total of 8.67 pounds. The state of Kentucky was represented well when Lynn Wilson’s impressive day two finish pulled him up to third place with his 8.5 pound sack. Oklahoma co-angler Russell Miller did well enough on Friday to take the lead with his limit 8.4 pounds. Although Miller blanked on day two, he still had a total good enough to keep him in the fourth overall position. Sixth place co-angler Randy Nowell had the Big Bass of day one with a nice 5.62 pound hawg beating out day two’s 4.46 pound Big Bass hauled in by Oklahoma’s Chuck Boso. The anglers were hosted by a top notch facility with a top notch staff. Lake Dardenelle presented numerous challenges for all competitors throughout the week. As always, the ABA/BWS anglers faced the challenges with little complaint. Submerged trees and floating debris took a toll on several boats but no one pulled out. All in all, a good time was had by all. More importantly, 29 boaters and 29 co-anglers secured spots in this year’s BWS National event which is scheduled for November 9-15 on North Carolina’s Lake Norman. This event will see the best anglers in the series face off for thousands in prize money and the title of National Champion. Good luck to everyone that qualified. Be safe and live the dream. Tight lines and good fishing.

Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series 2009 Schedule Florida

North Alabama Date 02/28/09 03/28/09 05/09/09 06/27/09 09/19-20/09

Lake Guntersville Lake Weiss Lake Wheeler Lake Neely Henry Lake Guntersville Lake

Ramp Guntersville SP Weiss Mart Marina Ingalls Harbor Gadsden Boat Dock Guntersville SP

Lake Lake Martin Lake Eufaula Lay Lake Alabama River Logan Martin Lake

Ramp Wind Creek SP Lakepoint SP Beeswax Landing Cooters Pond Lakeside Landing

Lake Percy Priest Center Hill Old Hickory Kentucky Percy Priest

Ramp Fate Sanders Marina Ragland Bottoms Bulls Creek Access Paris Landing SP Fate Sanders Marina

Lake Guntersville Chickamauga Ft. Loudoun Chickamauga Watts Bar

Ramp Goose Pond Chester Frost Park Tellico Rec. Dayton Boat Dock Tom Fuller Park


Lake Guntersville Chickamauga Ft. Loudoun Chickamauga Watts Bar

Lake Lake Eufaula Lake Oconee Lake Sinclair West Point West Point

Ramp Lake Point Sugar Creek Marina Little River Park Highland Marina Highland Marina

Date 02/07/09 03/07/09 03/28/09 07/11/09 09/12-13/09

Lake Lake Murray Clarks Hill Santee Cooper Lake Hartwell Lake Hartwell

Ramp Dreher Island SP Dorn John C. Land III Portman Marina Portman Marina

Date 02/08/09 03/01/09 03/15/09 05/31/09 09/12-13/09

Lake Sam Rayburn Toledo Bend Sam Rayburn Toledo Bend Sam Rayburn

Ramp Umphrey Pavillion Cypress Bend Umphrey Pavillion Cypress Bend Umphrey Pavillion

Lake Palestine Tyler Richland Chambers Cedar Creek Lake O' The Pines

Ramp Villages Marina Lake Tyler Marina Oak Cove Marina Log Cabin Johnson Creek Park

East Texas

East Tennessee Date 02/14/09 04/04/09 05/02/09 06/13/09 08/29-30/09

Date 01/31/09 03/14/09 04/18/09 06/06/09 09/26-27/09

Southeast Texas

East Tennessee Date 02/14/09 04/04/09 05/02/09 06/13/09 08/29-30/09

Ramp Venetian Gardens Camp Mack's Ed Stone Park Venetian Gardens Ed Stone Park

South Carolina

Central Tennessee Date 03/21/09 04/25/09 06/20/09 07/18/09 09/12-13/09

Lake Harris Chain Kissimmee St. John's River Harris Chain St. John's River


South Alabama Date 01/24/09 02/21/09 04/25/09 05/30/09 08/22-23/09

Date 01/17/09 02/28/09 04/04/09 05/09/09 09/19-20/09

Ramp Goose Pond Chester Frost Park Tellico Rec. Dayton Boat Dock Tom Fuller Park

Date 01/24/09 02/15/09 03/21/09 04/18/09 09/19-20/09

2009 Bassmaster Weekend Series Schedule

Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series 2009 Schedule Virginia

Arkansas Date 01/31/09 03/07/09 05/02/09 06/20/09 09/26-27/09

Lake Ouachita Lake Dardenelle Greer's Ferry Lake Millwood Arkansas River

Ramp Mountain Harbor Dardenelle SP Devil's Fork Marina Yarborough Alltel - Little Rock

Lake Pearl River Atchafalaya Basin Lake D'Arbonne Toledo Bend Red River

Ramp East Pearl Doiron's Landing D'Arbonne Marina Cypress Bend Grand Ecore

Lake Grand Tenkiller Ft. Gibson Arkansas River Eufaula

Ramp Martin's Landing Chicken Creek Taylor's Ferry Marina Port of Muskogee Eufaula Cove

Lake Kentucky Kentucky Lake Barkley Kentucky Lake Barkley

Ramp Kentucky Dam Kenlake SP Kuttawa/Lyon Paris Landing SP Kuttawa/Lyon

Lake Indian Alum Creek Rocky Fork Mosquito Erie

Ramp Moundwood New Galena East Shore Marina Mosquito Lake SP Sandusky - Shelby ST

Date 03/21/09 04/25/09 05/09/09 05/23/09 07/25-26/09

Lake Lake Anna Potomac Upper Chesapeake Potomac Potomac

Ramp Sturgeon Creek Smallwood SP Anchor Boats Marina Smallwood SP Smallwood SP

Date 06/20/09 08/08/09 08/29/09 09/12/09 09/26-27/09

Lake Chautauqua Seneca Lake Chautauqua Canandaigua Oneida Lake

Ramp Long Point SP North End SP Long Point SP Town Ramp Oneida Shores SP

East New York

Missouri Date 03/14/09 04/11/09 05/16/09 07/11/09 09/26-27/09

Date 04/18/09 05/16/09 05/30/09 06/13/09 08/22-23/09

West New York

Kentucky Date 03/07/09 04/18/09 06/06/09 07/25/09 08/22-23/09

Ramp Americamps North Bend SUA Holly Grove Marina North Bend SUA North Bend SUA


Oklahoma Date 04/04/09 05/16/09 06/13/09 07/18/09 09/05-06/09

Lake Lake Gaston Kerr Lake Lake Gaston Kerr Lake Kerr Lake


Louisiana Date 01/17/09 03/28/09 04/25/09 06/06/09 08/29-30/09

Date 03/08/09 03/28/09 06/06/09 06/27/09 07/18-19/09

Lake Lake of the Ozarks Table Rock Stockton Truman Table Rock

Ramp PB #2 Port of Kimberling Orleans Trail Marina Bucksaw Marina Port of Kimberling

Date 07/11/09 08/01/09 08/15/09 09/05/09 09/19-20/09

Lake Lake George Champlain/Whitehall Lake Champlain Sacandaga Lake 1000 Islands

2009 Bassmaster Weekend Series Schedule

Ramp Ticonderoga Mossey South Bay Plattsburgh Northville French Creek Marina


Donald and Donna Poteat American Couples Series 2008 Champions September 27th was celebrated in style by the 2008 American Couples Series National Champions. Not only will they celebrate that day as their wedding anniversary, but also as the day they won the 2008 National Championship. Donald and Donna Poteat of Morganton, North Carolina, with 25.77 pounds pulled out the win among the other couples gathered at Dale Hollow Lake in Byrdstown, Tennessee. The Couple was the leader for Day 1 and Donald was the Big Bass winner for Day 1. The Couple fished what worked for them on Day 1 again on Day 2. Fishing the Wolf River “as far back as the boat would float”, said Donald Poteat. They caught their fish on a Zoom, Ole Monster worm in Green Pumpkin. The Poteats were very excited and mentioned that this tournament was their 15th Wedding Anniversary present to each other! The top Sixty-one Couples in the country converged on Dale Hollow Lake to kick off the Couples Series National Championship. Only two boats filled a full bag limit and some Couples caught their only fish with 15 minutes left to go before check-in on day one. As leaders of the tournament after day one, their four fish, weighing in at 12.42 pounds was enough to put them in the lead. “We knew we just had to fish hard to hold on to our spot”, said Donna. “Instead of trying new spots, it just seemed natural that we would go back to where we found them on the first day. I’m glad it worked for us”, she continued. Earlier in the week, the couples were treated to a day and night of fun by the local community. Registration began at the Millard Oakley Public Library in Livingston, TN where the Couples filled bags with their goodies from 43

the community of Dale Hollow as well as the Official Sponsors of the American Couples Series. The Couples proceeded through the town of Livingston to check out the local merchants. Many shopped the antique stores, the local eateries, and book stores. The community set up a hunt for different stores the Couples must visit in order to win a Garmin navigator…drawing to be held on Saturday after weigh-in. The night ended at the Joel L. Evins Community Center where there was lots of great music, good food, fun games, and great conversations! A bluegrass band picked their way through the wonderful dinner the Couples enjoyed. The music set the tone for an upbeat night. Games were played throughout the night to help them get to know each other better. Some hog called and acted like Chickens….. There’s a whole ‘nother side to some of these guys and gals! The “You Might Be A Redneck Portion brought out the best in everyone. Our winners lines consisted of “You might be an angler if you plan your wedding around your fishing tournaments” and “You might be an angler if all your children are named after fishing lures.” Sheds a whole new light on “fishing as recreation!” The American Couples Series proved to be great fun for all who attended. “It doesn’t matter if you’re fishing for fun or for the competition; The Couples Series gives people the opportunity to spend time together on the water and enjoy nature at its’ finest. I know we have enjoyed it from the first time we went and are looking forward to our trip to Hawaii! I still can’t believe we won”, said the Poteats.

Donald and Donna Poteat: American Couples Series 2008 Champions

MINOR AND ANGELONE INDUCTED INTO ABA HALL OF FAME In the American Bass Anglers Headquarters in Athens, AL hangs a very special plaque with 16 names on it. I am referring to the ABA Hall of Fame. These names represent those that have given their time and efforts to making ABA an organization to be proud of. The names represent recognition, as to the type of ABA member, and the type of people that epitomize what ABA is all about. They epitomize devotion to the cause of ABA as an organization, the love of Bass fishing, fellowship, sportsmanship and promoting the weekend angler. The names represent hard work, years of loyalty and promoting what ABA has come to mean to so many people. In the short period I’ve been working for ABA, I have witnessed so much that makes up the backbone of American Bass Anglers. But the one thing that has stood out the most to me is the anglers, the dedication not only to the sport of fishing, but to each other as well as the ABA. Sure, we all have our differences in opinions, but at the end of the day, there’s something there that brings it all together. I witnessed a very special part of ABA this past week at the American Fishing Tour National Championship in Guntersville, Alabama, that was in 45

regards to the Hall of Fame members. You have to look no further than the faces of these guys to see how proud they are to be given this honor. During the week, the Hall of Fame members were part of the Changing of the Guards Ceremony, where longtime ABA United States flag bearer, Paul Tyler retired, and Bill Peeler took on the new role. It was a special ceremony. The Hall of Fame members removed the flag that Mr. Tyler had used during his tenure and began to fold it. During this portion, Darrell Barker, National Tournament Director, read the meaning of each fold which was something many of us had never heard. After this was complete, a new flag for Bill Peeler was unfurled and posted in its’ place. Another important ceremony that takes place each year at the National Championship, and in which the Hall of Fame members took part, was the “On the Water Flag Ceremonies.” The flags representing each military service are brought in by boat to those standing on shore to be posted. This is not to say that this is all the Hall of Fame members do throughout the year. They work hard for the American Bass Anglers all throughout the year. Some are Directors, some are Area Managers, and all are anglers. They work hard to

You’re in The Hall of Fame

promote American Bass Anglers—never for recognition—but always for the good of the organization they all love. It’s the dedication, loyalty, years of hard work, sportsmanship, and the love of bass fishing, among other qualities, that earn these anglers the Hall of Fame member title.

At the closing ceremonies of the American Fishing Tour National Championship, two well deserving members of American Bass Anglers where inducted into the 2008 Hall of Fame and will be added to that plaque hanging on the wall at ABA Headquarters. In front of the attending Hall of Fame members and a crowd of hundreds, Becky Minor and Joe Angelone were surprised with this honor. Becky Minor was the first Hall of Fame name to be called out Saturday afternoon. She was in complete shock as she walked out of the crowd to accept the award. Minor, from Parsons, Kansas, fished her first ABA National tournament in 1998 on Texoma and finished in 25th place, she even remembers getting a certificate for a new battery as her prize!

Becky Minor

to believe that I’m now part of that special fraternity.” Minor’s thoughts of ABA were, “I volunteered to be a Director because I want to fish and this is a great circuit to fish with.” She continued “What I love about ABA are the people. No matter where you go, the people are great. I’m really glad Morris is keeping this a trail for the weekend angler!”

Minor is the Director for District 58 and is an area tournament manager as well, helping out Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska and “anyone else that needs some help” stated Minor. She has been a Director since 2000. When asked what this award means to her, Minor stated “I am humbled and honored. Those guys have always been special in my mind and it’s hard

One of Minor’s favorite fishing memories with ABA is from back in 2000 on Lake Murray in South Carolina. She hooked into her big fish, then she and her partner pulled it in. This was the first day of the tournament and her 7 pound fish held out to be Big Fish of the tournament. Becky Minor’s closing thoughts were “It’s the people that make this circuit great.” I think we all can agree to that! Morris Sheehan, President of American Bass Anglers, had this to say about Becky: “Becky has been an outstanding supporter of ABA. Through her enthusiasm and ability to grow and develop a region of the country, Becky epitomizes the strength it has in its’ directors and managers. If we are thinking about a change or a new program, Becky is called and her opinion is valued over many others. Becky is the rock and the standard we use to access new directors.” The next inductee to be announced was Joe Angelone, who was also in complete shock when he heard his name called. Angelone has been fishing with the ABA since 1987,


You’re in The Hall of Fame

great. He brings you down to talk face to face about ABA and the plans for that District.” He finished by saying, “Morris is not only my boss but also a friend.” Joe Angelone’s last thoughts during our time speaking together were this, “If I didn’t have confidence and faith in an organization, then I wouldn’t be a part of it.”

Joe Angelone when it was actually MBAA. He is a LIFE member of the ABA. Angelone is part of the Northeast Bassmaster Weekend Series Tournament crew as well as a Tournament Manager for New York and Pennsylvania areas. Joe has been married to his wife, Marlene, for 41 years. When asked what being a member of the Hall of Fame means to him, Angelone replied, “It’s unbelievable. It’s something you dream and think about and hope you become a part of”, he continued, “it’s such a privilege and an honor. It’s an honor to be part of such an elite group of individuals.” Angelone said “it didn’t hit me until the following day.”

“Through his outstanding directorship, Joe brought us into an area of the country we had not realized before. Joe’s support for ABA has been unwavering and he is ready to accept any challenge we may have for him”, said Sheehan. The Hall of Fame is the highest honor ABA gives to a member. It is a testament to an inductee’s accomplishments, efforts and loyalty to American Bass Anglers and its members.

In regards to ABA Angelone said, “As far as I’m concerned, ABA’s the best fishing organization out there. The staff is outstanding and they’re always there to answer any questions.” A memory that Joe remembers well was the first time meeting Morris Sheehan, President of ABA. He recalls, “meeting Morris for the first time about being Director of District 4 was You’re in The Hall of Fame


First Place Boater Gary Thacker


Second Place Boater Brian Hester

Third Place Boater James Ward

Fourth Place Boater George Morneau

Fifth Place Boater Benji Dumas AFT Gallery: Boaters

Sixth - Tenth Place

Eleventh - Fifteenth Place

Chuck Hemm, Eric Schell, Dale Gorrell, Brent Anderson, Jeff Schatz

Joseph Rahuba, Brian Gambell, Chris McGee, Charlie Hodle, Gary Schroeder

Sixteenth - Twentieth Place

Twenty-First - Twenty-Fifth

Keith Schumate, William Jasper, Ron Nutter,Jr, Jim Clay, M. Keith Bardolf

Matthew Kroes, Jack Garrett, Bobbly Clark, Don M. Perkins, Don Warren

Big Bass - Boater Gary Schroeder 8.42lbs AFT Gallery: Boaters


First Place Co-Angler Jeffrey Prisza


Second Place Co-Angler Walter Prosser

Third Place Co-Angler Herbert Hoff

Fourth Place Co-Angler James Fleming Brown

Fifth Place Co-Angler Kyle Brooks AFT Gallery: Co-Anglers

Sixth - Tenth Place

Eleventh - Fifteenth Place

Keith Ford, Bill Turner, Mike Bedford, Douglas Buturia, Patrick Parten

Joseph Beall,Sr, Andre Toraine, Steven Smith, Kurt Hebert, Billy Wagoner, Edward Snider

Sixteenth - Twentieth Place

Twenty-First - Twenty-Fifth

Edward Snider, Michael Elsea, Robert Eckle, Henry Sparks, Gary Shepherd

Rodney Irvin, Juanita Conkright, Jason Harlan, Matthew West, Glimer Addington

Big Bass - Co-Angler Patrick Parten 6.52lbs AFT Gallery: Co-Anglers





Alvin Pannell, Donald Kneece, Eric Braden, Brian Hester, Abe Abernathy

Darrell Knies, Darrell Knies, Gary Schroeder, Ben McKinney, Lance Eckford, William Finger,Jr

Air Force


Tony Romano, Joe VanHooser, George Simonof*, Dale Murphy, Ronald Daugherty

Matthew Kroes, Albert McCoy, Randy Rhoderick, Wayne S. Heaney, Michael Vann

Homeland Security

Lady Anglers

Edward Snider, Michael Elsea, Robert Eckle, Henry Sparks, Gary Shepherd

Rhonda Ford, Robertina Filburn, Sharon Withers, Becky Minor, Joyce Cornell

AFT Gallery: Teams

Eagle Team

4-Man Team - First Place

Brandon Gray, Chris Bullock, Brent Anderson, Jim Clay, Doug Orazine

Richard Fanning, Randy Taylor, Jim Holsenback, Gary Thacker

Gone Fishin’

4-Man Team - Second Place

4-Man Team - Third Place

Troy Harrison, Dean Jones, Benji Dumas, Brad Bond

Jack Garrett, Willie Scott, Eric Brown, James Stephens

For more information and photographs of the 2008 American Fishing Tour National Championship, visit AFT Gallery: Teams


American Fishing Tour 2008 Championship Tournament Results - Top 100 Place

Boater Name




Non-Boater Name



1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 42 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65

Gary Thacker Brian Hester James JD Ward George Morneau Benji Dumas Chuck Hemm Eric Schell Dale Gorrell Brent Anderson Jeff Schatz Joseph JOE Rahuba Brian Gambill Chris Megee Charlie Hodle Gary Schroeder Keith Shumate William Jasper Ron Nutter Jr Jim Clay M. Keith Bardolf Matthew Kroes Jack Garrett Bobby Clark Don M. Perkins Don Warren Alvin Pannell Ronald Timmer Doug Orazine Wayne S Heaney Billy Appling Wilson E Barrow Jr Rodney Cromer Norman Ligon Jerry L Barnett Jr. Willie Scott William Goots Frank Ramsey Craig Maxwell Thomas Jones Ron Plocek Ben McKinney Kenny Beale Jr Michael Mantha James Jamie Stephens III Al Cannia Mark Inman Wayne Washburn Richard Fanning Gregory Lahr Russell Burroughs Tommy Hughes Dale Hart Lance Eckford Michael Holton Jared Mauthe Chris Wayand Gary Grove Jr Lee Black John Gillis Dean B Jones Jeff Smith Albert McCoy Randy Rhoderick Brad Bond Troy Harrison

12 8 8 6 7 7 5 6 6 6 6 8 8 6 4 5 5 6 6 4 5 6 5 5 4 6 5 6 6 5 6 7 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 5 5 4 6 5 5 5 5 5 4 4 3 4 4 4 3 3 4 4 4 4 3 3 4 3 3

52.67 44.68 32.94 32.27 32.06 30.80 29.86 28.83 26.01 25.74 25.39 25.11 24.95 24.21 23.43 22.89 22.52 21.19 20.70 20.60 19.73 19.62 18.89 18.51 16.86 16.85 16.69 16.22 16.12 15.96 15.75 15.51 15.37 15.01 14.81 14.70 14.26 14.21 14.17 14.04 13.98 13.81 13.81 13.47 13.31 12.74 12.59 12.4 12.1 11.55 11.24 10.91 10.84 10.35 10.33 10.10 10.06 10.01 9.96 9.93 9.52 9.10 9.08 8.58 7.92

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 33 33 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 44 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65

Jeffrey Prisza Walter Prosser Herbert Hoff James Fleming Brown Kyle Brooks Keith Ford Bill Turner Mike Bedford Douglas Buturla Patrick Parten Joseph E Beall Sr. Andre Toraine Steven C Smith Kurt Hebert Billy Wagoner Edward Snider Michael Elsea Robert Eckle Henry Starks Gary Shepherd Rodney Irvin Juanita Conkright Jason Harlan Matthew West Gilmer Addington Al Berkley David Koger Scott Randall Terry Brandenburg Robert Doig Rickey Ramey Dennis Hollis Phillip Lee Robert Powers Mark Ruble John Smith Gary Lee Shelton Parker Sr Brian Howell Gary D Dean Carlton Buchanan Larry Haivala Jerry Dial Bradley Dengel Edward Lightfoot Joe Wikoff Jay Noel Sharon Withers Alvin B. Kendall David Brown Ronald Booher Rick Klanke Chris Browning Lamar Hodges Billy E. Sanders Kenny Waid Stanley McCumber Jr Mark Allan Sipos Rhonda Ford Gene Henderson Robert Majerick Rogers Moore Joseph Damptz Aubrey Davis Becky Minor

7 6 5 4 3 4 3 2 4 2 2 1 3 3 2 3 2 2 3 2 3 3 2 2 1 2 2 1 1 1 2 1 2 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

15.83 14.69 14.49 13.82 11.05 10.74 10.65 10.48 10.47 10.38 9.57 9.01 8.68 8.21 7.66 7.50 7.22 7.01 6.99 6.57 6.30 6.06 5.35 4.97 4.87 4.64 4.46 4.42 4.31 4.23 4.14 4.11 4.06 4.06 4.06 3.91 3.55 3.38 3.35 3.03 3.02 2.93 2.89 2.82 2.82 2.74 2.66 2.64 2.56 2.49 2.40 2.39 2.35 2.30 2.29 2.20 2.19 2.08 2.04 2.03 2.02 2.00 1.95 1.94 1.93


Payout does not include any sponsor incentives


Boater Name




Non-Boater Name

66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100

Bob Wehrly Larry Inman Brandon Estep Robert Dean Larry J Coleman Bill Peeler Jr. Darian Kyle Richard Clark Gary Smock David Fritts Michael Garlen James Biggerstaff Roger Helm Steven Higley Steve Cochran Rob Bartholomew Robert Andrew Robinson Mitchell Oldnettle Tony Cannon Deny Dabbelt William Roberson Jr. Robert Jordan Kevin Revay Len Lindahl Chuck Hartzman Douglas Emerson Donald Kneece Bruce Deyoung Mike Miklos Russell Mason Mark Trousdale Barry Wood William Raynor Rusty Strickland Randy Lee Taylor

3 4 3 3 3 2 3 3 2 3 3 2 2 1 3 3 2 2 2 2 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 2 2 1 2

7.79 7.71 7.67 7.55 7.54 7.48 7.46 7.45 7.31 7.30 7.25 6.89 6.45 6.43 6.36 6.26 6.07 6.01 5.98 5.87 5.84 5.68 5.19 5.14 5.05 4.84 4.70 4.63 4.55 4.42 4.27 4.13 4.10 4.05 3.98

66 67 68 69 70 71 71 71 71 71 71 71 71 71 71 71 71 71 71 71 71 71 71 71 71 71 71 71 71 71 71 71 71 71 71

Christian Walter Dave Holland Larry Laney Derrell E Ballard Stanley Chandler Bob L Barkley Craig Bishop H Winfred Bowman Eric Keith Buchanan Mark Crosby Lawrence Gary Dickerson Ken Draskovic Tim Dunkle Dennis Foley Jim Foster James Glover Hilton Glover Jr Jason Higgins Ken Langford Kevin Malott John Morris Mark Mothersell Rick Murray David Nickle Ronald Norris Jerry Perry Raymond Pierce James Pollard Donald Richards Tony Richards Rodger Riddle Otho Sanders III Russell Scanlan Walter Scott Sheffield Tim Sloan



1 1 1 1 1

1.91 1.85 1.80 1.74 1.65

Bassmaster Weekend Series 2008 Championship Tournament Results - Top 100 Place 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 10 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28

Boater Name David Williams Jeff Coble Allan Engelmeyer David Wright Chris Malone Brian Gunn Chris Dill Darin Lankford Robbie Pelt Randy Childers Bob Perkins Ralph Hollifield Rex Chambers Anthony Monaco Cade Alsbury Justin Hamner Brian Bailey Curt Staley Richard Newton Dallas Weldon Benjamin Kurth Chris Yogerst Robert Griswold George Lambeth Jesse Verardo Jack White Barry Franklin Mike Hicks

Weight 42.33 39.92 39.00 32.49 31.99 31.92 30.49 30.42 30.23 29.97 29.97 29.53 29.07 28.75 28.52 28.47 28.33 27.94 26.56 26.04 24.62 24.57 24.53 23.73 22.87 20.60 19.75 19.35

Payout $100,000 $20,000 $10,000 $7,500 $5,500 $4,400 $3,300 $2,800 $2,700 $2,550 $2,550 $2,400 $1,900 $1,900 $1,900 $1,900 $1,900 $1,900 $1,900 $1,500 $1,500 $1,500 $1,500 $1,500 $1,500 $1,500 $1,500 $1,500

Payout does not include any sponsor incentives 57

Place 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28

Non-Boater Name Chad Wynn Cody McDaniel Chase Hunnell Jared Miller Justin Ohotto David Lepsic Charles Sharrock David Williams Charles Sipe Brad Wright Corey Blair Shawn Taylor Ronald Pawlowski Travis Galloway Lenny Baird Dennis Akers Charles Culley Matthew Bores Dan Caudle Dave Williams Brad Christy Don Bible II Tony Hudson John Fitzpatrick Ronald Thaggard Kirk Lafferty Ken Crossley Keith DiLuzio

Weight 17.83 17.44 17.08 16.52 16.26 16.17 15.99 15.82 15.72 15.68 15.35 15.21 14.98 14.84 14.06 13.55 13.38 13.34 12.82 12.49 12.45 12.26 12.24 11.90 10.49 10.19 10.10 9.96

Payout $20,000 $10,000 $5,000 $3,750 $2,750 $2,200 $1,650 $1,400 $1,350 $1,300 $1,250 $1,200 $950 $950 $950 $950 $950 $950 $950 $750 $750 $750 $750 $750 $750 $750 $750 $750

Place 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 46 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 59

Boater Name Ray Winans Samuel Canoe Chad McMurrian David Taylor Andrew Kartesz Terry Sternard Russell Lee Brandon Roop Thomas Hicks John Hutchins Wayne Diffee Carl Cavalier Ken Walters Jerry Pelfrey Brett Quader Chad Wiley John Shore Warren Severson Michael Wolfenden Brad Leifermann Richard Smith Justin Haynes David Barnes Sr David Sedani E P Fletcher Teddy Carr Michael Corbett Brandon Moore Robert Joslin Scott Gross Bob Plemmons Tim Brogan Chris Payne DeAndrae Kimbrough James Alfred Hill Scott Dean Keith Howell Jody Richey Mark Denney William Kemp Kevin Grider W Douglas Swan Steve Kordosky Charles Willis John Cox Scott Hoopaugh Landon Lomax Mark Lamb Chris Sanders Tim Cornelius Brian Peters Trent King Eddie Griggs Bill Rea Terry Peacock Chris Welch Mark Trousdale Jerry L Barnett Jr. Joe Berg Darrell West Travis Carpenter Josh Guess John Brown Steve Miller David Blackmon John Wood Tommy Stiles Deron Johnson T Isaacs Tommy Little Travis Clemen Ronnie Riley

Weight 19.18 19.06 18.94 18.80 18.71 18.52 18.38 18.33 18.19 18.17 17.94 17.93 17.85 17.79 17.75 17.56 17.47 17.26 17.26 17.25 17.22 17.21 17.08 17.07 17.00 16.94 16.34 16.27 16.20 16.14 16.10 16.05 16.03 16.00 15.87 15.85 15.80 15.12 14.82 14.81 14.68 14.63 14.52 14.24 14.20 14.11 13.85 13.77 13.60 13.25 13.05 12.96 12.89 12.65 12.59 12.56 12.48 12.32 12.11 12.08 12.04 11.94 11.76 11.55 11.50 11.37 11.33 11.10 11.04 10.99 10.97 10.82

Payout $1,500 $1,500 $1,500 $1,500 $1,500 $1,500 $1,500 $1,500 $1,500 $1,500 $1,500 $1,300 $1,300 $1,300 $1,300 $1,300 $1,300 $1,300 $1,300 $1,300 $1,300 $1,300

Place 29 29 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 65 67 68 69 69 71 71 73 74 75 76 76 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 89 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100

Non-Boater Name Danny Bush Jeffrey Lobaugh Jason Wiley Dan Basham Rick Davis Mitch Baskett Leonard Declue Bill Smith Troy West Gene Hollifield Joseph Robertson Richard Alekna Robert Morris Stan Bishop Justin Rivers Bill Ferguson Charles Waldrop Melvin Jennings Todd Urton Lisa Sternard James Marion Gerald Williams Bill Lunsford James Lewis David Sellers Bryan Waddell Randy Nowell Phillip Johnson Aaron Counts Joe Bridges Larry Landrum Charles Gunter Mark Landis Herb Fazenbaker Kermit Crowder Carlito Silvania Garry Cramer Jared Kenner Thomas McLean George Wells IV Arvis Holt Glenn Scott Pete Lumpkins Legrant Scott Jason Craft Edward Hazel Justin Carr Jonathan Bush Larry Ledford Dennis Smith Carl Branshaw Tony Gafford Jr Michael Norris Roger Schlachter Philip Bradford Allen Snyder Ron Taylor Greg Ray George Eiland Jr John R Dunnavant Jr Chuck Boso David Leever Tim Pretzer Michael Blackwell Robert Misuraca Mark Persson David Marshall Lynn Stark Thomas Messer Craig Pierce Jarod Miller Wayne McCaslin

American Fishing Tour Points Standings

Weight 9.77 9.77 9.42 9.41 9.38 9.22 8.98 8.94 8.83 8.80 8.74 8.70 8.65 8.60 8.53 8.48 8.37 8.34 8.18 8.06 8.03 7.99 7.93 7.91 7.89 7.76 7.72 7.71 7.65 7.61 7.48 7.39 7.34 7.25 7.23 7.08 6.96 6.96 6.93 6.89 6.85 6.85 6.83 6.83 6.60 6.54 6.51 6.35 6.35 6.32 6.22 6.20 6.14 6.12 6.06 6.04 5.83 5.72 5.50 5.44 5.43 5.43 5.32 5.30 5.28 5.22 5.16 5.04 4.97 4.94 4.93 4.90

Payout $750 $750 $750 $750 $750 $750 $750 $750 $750 $750 $750 $750 $650 $650 $650 $650 $650 $650 $650 $650 $650 $650

Price: $3.95 US, $5.95 Canada This Magazine is Published for the Members of American Bass Anglers

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American Bass Anglers Magazine Nov/Dec 2008