Maybe I just woke up cranky (my back still aching from a wild Lake Mead race already two weeks ago), but sometimes I’m not ready to accept every angler testimonial of what I should buy.

What set me off today was a Facebook promo for a spinbait featuring former California pro Kevin Hawk. It’s a dynamic shot, and as a former Forrest Wood Cup winner, Hawk is a credible guy. But for me, (more…)


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Top shelf

QUIET on the rooftop during practice period.

While bruises and muscle strains have yet to heal, the U.S. Open is now in the rear view mirror. A third, three-time winner, Clifford Pirch, has been crowned (joining Hall of Famer Mike Folkestad and angling savant Aaron Martens in that achievement) yet everyone who was there, all 330-plus anglers, will take something home.

Gratefully, I’m bringing my boat home, intact, after a harrowing ride in the final 12 minutes of the opening day. A broken locker latch, trolling motor prop and tie-down and my cell phone were the primary victims.

Someone said they saw us desperately trying (more…)


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LOCALS show in Temple Bay...

LOCALS show in Temple Bay…

After spending a couple of days at the end of August and a couple of days this past week in advance of the U.S. Open that starts Monday, I can say without equivocation, the weather forecasters have blown up our practice.

Unlike the common monsoonal flows over in Arizona and Nevada–and this weather must be related–we also have the dying hurricane Norbert petering out of the eastern Pacific and moving up and across the Southwest.

Bottom line, we had sunshine and modest winds for most of practice after flash flooding about a month ago. (more…)


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safety net

SAFETY NET in place allows limited opening to avoid flying smallmouth.

Maybe it will help and maybe it won’t. But when I leave tomorrow for the U.S. Open, I will have scrambled with one more, last-minute concern.

Yesterday it was rub rail removal and screw tightening (with Loctite) plus a 50 cent knob to keep my net from slipping off my console while fishing. Then last night (with the help of my bride of 43 years) I added a mesh netting over the livewell openings.

Truth be told, I’ve never lost a fish that sky-rocketed out of the box when it saw the light of day. But then, I don’t fish many tournaments and, more importantly, I don’t see many smallmouth during the year. (more…)


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4M2Z3407

KVD’s reign appears to be over…

UPDATED–Kevin VanDam did not have a good year. Check that, the iconic KVD did not have a good last two years.

But just a note to apologists. His 53rd place finish this year in the 106-angler Bassmaster Elites is not an illusion.

You have just witnessed the end of the dominance and uncanny consistency of the guy who once made every right decision and out-worked virtually every other competitor.

Is he through? No. His experience over (more…)


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Hoping (even praying) for a wet El Niño winter may not be enough to make it happen. That’s my take, based on today’s El Nino Watch from the Climate Prediction Center. Sure, the predictions are based on a discussion of the conditions being witnessed, so a consensus may or may not be reached, but it looks like I may not have to do any preemptive roof work after all. (more…)


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Not all rods and reels

NOT QUITE READY, but I’m getting there…

I was hoping to get over to Lake Mead this week, having spent last week putting together all this summer’s rod, reel and line combinations for another shot at the U.S. Open.

But what I had not allowed for was so many other things associated with boat and motor prep, along with storage reorganization. Before I could get to the highway, I needed my annual Anglers Marine water pump replacement, computer diagnosis, plus a strap here, a hinge there, plus some bulk oil for the extra miles I plan to run before Sept. 8.

I won’t bore you with the specifics, (more…)


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El cap closed

A bass boat (NOT PICTURED in this file photo) was involved in a fatal collision at El Capitan Lake.

UPDATED–If you heard about the death of a young angler {officially two anglers} and bass boat involvement in the crash at El Capitan Lake yesterday (click here) then you know everyone in the sport has a knot in their stomach about this.

And while not all the facts are clear, finger-pointing will fix on someone. Yet, I have to think that of the potential causes, sheer lunacy is probably not the primary issue. (more…)


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Probably before your time, they had binoculars and telephones and guides for hire. These were the hated instruments of guys who were looking to get information on a body of water–before the next tournament.

If you were an active competitor close to a certain body of water, chances are, you got a call or two–or several. And for just about as many details as you would release, you would get grilled on conditions, areas and baits. Kind of like, “Where were you on the night of the 15th?” (more…)


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highest speed

NEW Speed Freak…

Several weeks back I rued the fact I could not find a full 7 1/2-foot rod for a specific method [flukes] for less than $360. I settled on four inches shorter (for now) and $230 less.

At that time, it became clear to me as I hunted all around the web, that I couldn’t find one because I wanted something that most people don’t want. So while I may be scratching my head over Quantum’s new 8.1:1 retrieve Smoke Speed Freak baitcaster introduced this week, I’ve come to the conclusion: somebody wants one. (more…)


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