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College Wrap Up

This past weekend the UW-Whitewater fishing team sent 2 teams down to Arkansas to compete in the Bassmaster College Series event at Norfork lake. The first team consisting of Michael Zawicki and Carson Tucker finished up in 78th place out of 220 boats. During their practice, they struggled all week and couldn’t find a reliable pattern but with the weather conditions changing daily, they knew anything could happen. On the first day of the tournament, they struggled to find numbers of fish but they were able to get two key bites with one weighing over four pounds which was enough to keep them in the hunt for the next day. During the second day, they decided to switch up their game plan because they felt that the big fish from the day before clued them into a new bite. However, this was far from the case, and with almost three hours to go in the event, they decided to switch up tactics again and go searching for shallow fish. During those three hours, they were almost able to scratch up a limit and brought 4 fish to the scales. The fish were beginning to, move up due to the warmer weather and they were able to pick some of those fish off with wacky worms in the buck brush. The fishing definitely changed in a split second and they found the bite a little too late but fishing is always a learning experience.

The second team consisting of Nick Harenda and Nick Mallmann finished the event in 113th place. Throughout practice, they had a more consistent bite and were able to get some bites on a swimbait pretty consistently. Throughout the event, they fished the main areas they had confidence in but with lots of fishing pressure, they had to fish used water for most of the event. Even with those factors in mind, they were still able to catch some key fish each day which really bumped their weight up. They just couldn’t finish up a limit each day which was hard for many teams at the event. This tournament was definitely a learning experience for both teams and a great experience in general. Next up is Saginaw Bay in June, let’s hope the team of Michael and Carson can qualify for nationals at that event!

Here in Wisconsin, the weather is just starting to get warmer and the grass is beginning to grow. That is usually a sign of good things to come especially for fishermen. Springtime bass fishing can be the best but it’s important to know some key concepts and ideas. Today, I’m going to explain some of those ideas that generally always work. In the spring, the water is very cold but bass will still bite you just have to know how to present the bait. When the water is in the 40-50 degree range it’s important to fish slowly. During that time, the fish are very lethargic and they don’t want to chase food around so it’s important to use baits that are slow like a blade bait, Alabama rig, or a swimbait. That way, you can creep the bait right by the fish’s face and react him to bite. Also during this time, looking for deeper water is very key. Primary or secondary points on lakes are usually the best because that will be the first stopping point for the fish as they begin to move shallower. As the water warms up, the fish will continue to move shallow so they can eventually spawn. Here, faster moving baits like a chatter bait, spinnerbait, or crankbait may work. One key thing to look out for is where the sun is positioned during the spring. Since the water is cold, the fish will migrate to areas where the sun is beating down on the water whereas in the summer the fish will look for shade. Also, rocks hold a fair amount of heat and normally heat the water around it faster than other areas do so that is also a good place to look for fish. As the water keeps warming into that 50-60 degree range the fish will start getting ready to spawn. However, right before they spawn the fish will move shallow and will feed up on food so that they can make it through the spawning process. This is when you want to be fishing! Hopefully, some of these tips can help you next time you get on the water!

On a Roll

This past weekend, the Bassmaster Elite Series held its fourth event of the year which was located at Chickamauga lake in Dayton Tennessee. Usually, the elite series doesn’t come to lake Chickamauga this early in the season which made everyone wonder how the fishing was gonna be. The last time they had an event at Chickamauga it was held in the fall where Lee Livesay won while throwing a frog in very matted vegetation. This time around it was very different because the bass were in an odd stage and there was no vegetation to be found. After the first day of the event, Carl Jocumsen took the lead with a massive bag weighing 24 pounds and 12 ounces. All throughout the event, Carl was throwing a big glide bait which he was able to get some of those big fish to commit but with a slip up on day two, he slid down the leaderboard only catching four fish for eight pounds. Instead, Matt Robertson took the lead on day two and at this point, it seems as if the winner could be anyone on the final day. One interesting key thing to note is that Wisconsin native Caleb Kuphall was in the hunt for the win on all four days. After the third day was complete, Brock Mosley snuck into the lead, and going into the final day, it was anyone’s game. As I watched Bassmaster live on the final day I quickly realized that the bite was very tough. It seemed as if all of the anglers were struggling to even catch a limit of fish. Since the fishing was so tough, it was hard to predict who the winner would be so the weigh-in was going to be very important. After the weigh-in concluded, Jason Christie rose to the top and won the event. He already has two wins this year! One was the Bassmaster Classic and the second was this event. This is also the second time Jason Christie has beat out Brock Mosely for the top spot but I know eventually Brock Mosleys win is coming. Christie won the event throwing a colorado bladed spinnerbait in chartreuse and blue. he also used a green pumpkin jig with some orange in it to get those finicky fish to bite. Only time will tell if he wins another one this year!

This week we are going to step away from the professional level of competitive bass fishing and I am going to talk a little bit about college bass fishing. Here on campus, there is a club fishing team of which I have the pleasure of being the President. We have over 50 members and we continue to grow year after year. This year we are competing all over the country and we currently have one team consisting of two anglers down at Table Rock Lake in Missouri for a Major League Fishing college event! Later this month, I and three other members will be heading down to Arkansas to fish a Bassmaster college event on Norfork lake. We are excited about this experience, and we are thrilled to be fishing against other colleges all around the country. There will be 250 boats and 500 anglers at this event so it will be a really cool experience and I’m sure the nerves will kick in before takeoff on the first day. To prepare for this event, we have been studying and looking at past tournaments to see what baits or areas might work the best. I even reached out to one of our sponsors, Super K Jigs, and asked if he could make me some custom jigs to use at the event and he did not disappoint! The jigs were then sent to me and they look amazing, I can’t wait to use them in a few weeks. To prepare for this tournament I spent this last weekend fishing a small lake in Illinois. At that lake, I was able to fish for the first time since last November which really helped. I was able to gain some confidence. We as a team will also be going to other tournaments throughout the rest of the year but Table Rock and Norfork are the only two tournaments during the school year. Later in the year, we will be sending eight teams and sixteen people to La Crosse Wisconsin for a Major League Fishing event. I am excited to see how our teams this year and hopefully a few teams can even make the national championship event!

This past week, the Major League fishing pros competed in their biggest tournament of the year. The top 40 anglers from the past year qualify to fish the Redcrest event that takes place once a year. Every angler’s goal each year is to make it to Redcrest because of two reasons. First, It shows how consistent you are and how you are able to compete against all of the rest of the best anglers in the world. Second, they get a chance at 300 thousand dollars! This year, the event was held at Grand lake O’ the Cherokees in Tulsa Oklahoma. Each angler competed from March 23rd to the 27th. Throughout that time, each day, the anglers tried to catch the most fish possible over the two-pound minimum so that they could add as much weight as they could to their score. After each day, the field was cut into smaller portions, and eventually, the last day consisted of ten anglers battling it out one on one for the trophy and top prize. The anglers that made it to Sunday consisted of Bobby Lane, Luke Clausen, Jacob Wheeler, Dustin Connell, Andy Montgomery, Zack Birge, Edwin Evers, Jordan Lee, Bryan Thrift, and Michael Neal. On that last day, fishing started out tough due to the cold morning temperatures but once the water was able to warm up a bit the anglers were able to start catching a few. Since the morning was so slow, it created lots of drama toward the end of the day because all of the weights were so tight and any angler had a shot to win. With about five minutes left, Luke Clausen was at the top of the leaderboard with Bobby Lane right behind him. However, with under two minutes to go, Bobby Lane hooked up with largemouth bass and was able to land it. He weighed it the first time and the scale read 1-15 so he weighed the fish again. This time the scale read 2-0 which then gave Bobby the lead. As time expired, Bobby was still at the top and took home 300 thousand dollars and a story to tell for the rest of his life. Bobby hasn’t had a high tour-level win in quite some time so he was overcome with many emotions when he heard the official tell him he was the 2022 Redcrest champion!

This past weekend, 94 anglers competed at Santee Cooper chain of lakes in South Carolina. Unstable weather conditions leading up to the event made it a mystery if the anglers would be able to hit the century mark. In the Bassmaster Elite Series, if an angler has a combined weight of over 100 pounds within one single event, they become a part of the century club. This is a very hard thing to do and only a certain number of anglers have done it over the years. Fortunately, two anglers at this event were able to reach the century club. Drew Cook won the event with 105 pounds and 5 ounces. Drew led the event every day and was able to catch all of his fish off beds using a Big Bite Baits Fighting Frog. Drew Cook is one of the best bed fishermen on earth and he was able to exploit his precision and accuracy to the fullest extent this week. From his techniques to the equipment he used, he was able to catch every fish that he needed to get in order to raise that blue trophy. The second angler who was able to break the century belt was Caleb Kuphall. Caleb is a Wisconsin native angler and has become a big threat on the Bassmaster Elite Series. He finished the event with 103 pounds and 1 ounce along with a second-place finish. Each day, Caleb brought some massive fish to the scales but a slip up on day two of the event made him fall short of the victory. He only came in with four fish on that day and had very little fish for the type of fish he was used to catching. Either way, he showed that Wisconsin anglers are able to compete with all of the anglers in the country. Pat Schlapper is also a Wisconsin native and he was able to finish 10th in the event. The last Wisconsin angler on the Bassmaster Elite Series is also a rookie and he is currently leading rookie of the year and finished Santee Copper with a 24th place finish. Hopefully, all of the Wisconsin anglers can keep the ball rolling into the next event!

Tomorrow the Bassmaster Elite Series will start its third event of the year on Santee Cooper Lakes located in Clarendon, South Carolina. In 2020, the Bassmaster Elite Series stopped at Santee Cooper and Brandon Palaniuk won that event with 72 pounds and 2 ounces. During that event, the fish were in a late spawn phase and some were even in post-spawn patterns. Palaniuk was able to catch some key fish using forward-facing sonar while targeting small brush piles with a drop shot. However, this time around things are going to be very different. Santee Cooper and the surrounding lakes are very low right now. Usually, cypress trees play a big role on that lake but with the low water levels, the fish may have moved into deeper parts of the lake. To add more fuel to the fire, South Carolina temperatures have been ultra-low the past few days but it seems as if the water temperatures within Santee Cooper haven’t decreased at all. Throughout the event, air temperatures will start to increase and a full moon is also expected to hit during the event so it will be interesting to see how the anglers catch them and how many pounds it will take to win. Bassmaster fantasy teams will be very hard to choose this week because of the tough conditions and the unknowns. Some anglers are coming off a great finish from the biggest event of the year, the Bassmaster Classic, so it will be interesting to see if they can keep the ball rolling. In bucket A, popular picks such as John Cox or Brandon Palaniuk will be good picks but keep an eye out for some dark horses like David Mullins or Stetson Blaylock. For bucket B any angler on the list can catch them here but I am expecting Greg Hackney and Bryan New to have a great event. Jason Christie is just coming off of his Classic win so keep an eye out for him to make a push in the bucket C list. For bucket D I think this pick can be really easy if you look at determination and drive. This is why I see Brock Mosley and Michael Iaconelli having a great event. Lastly, bucket E can always be tough but I can see Hunter Shryock having a great event because of his continued consistency.

Here are my picks for the upcoming Bassmaster Elite Series event. Hopefully, they can all be towards the top of the leaderboard!

This past week, B.A.S.S. held its 52nd Bassmaster Classic and my goodness it lived up to all of its expectations! This year the event was held at Lake Hartwell in South Carolina. This tournament is considered to be the super bowl of bass fishing and the anglers had three days to secure the top prize. The winner would win $300,000 which would change their life forever. Warming trends throughout the week we’re setting up for the fisherman and they were eager to get on the water for the first day. After the first day of competition, Bryan New pulled away with the lead by weighing 20 pounds even. However, the weights were so tight it was still anyone’s ball game. Going into day two, the anglers were excited to go after big fish so that they could make a jump up the leaderboard to set them up to win on the final day. During the second day, some anglers struggled but most of the anglers towards the top were able to make a few culls late in the day in order to keep them in contention for the final day. Kyle Welcher and Jason Christie were tied with 36 pounds and 7 ounces going into the last day so it was seriously anyone’s tournament to win. Throughout the final day, anglers were trading blows and catching fish all throughout the day but the weights were so tight it was almost impossible to know who won without them weighing in. It seemed as if the title would be between three different anglers: Kyle Welcher, Jason Christie, and Stetson Blaylock. Stetson was the first to weigh in and sat in the hot seat all the way until Welcher weighed in. Kyle weighed in 17 pounds and 4 ounces and took over the top spot but there was one angler left to weigh in. Kyle and Jason were tied to start the day so Jason needed 17 pounds and 5 ounces to win the Classic. As Jason brought his fish to the scales no one had any idea who would win but Jason ended up weighing 17 pounds and 9 ounces to seal up the win! Jason and his family took home a $300,000 check, a Classic trophy, and a life-changing experience. Jason Christe has led in two other Classics before but hasn’t been able to close the door on one so this win had to be even more special for him.

Here are the final moments of the Classic weigh-in! Watch Jason Christie win his First Bassmaster Classic trophy!

We are just two days away from the start of the 52nd annual Bassmaster Classic. For the bass fishing community, this is the biggest event of the year and is considered the super bowl of bass fishing. This year, the classic will be held at Lake Hartwell in Anderson, South Carolina. Warming trends throughout the state of South Carolina are setting up for a very interesting and unique event. Lake Hartwell has a very large population of largemouth bass but it’s also a blueback herring lake so many spotted bass will school up to feed on large amounts of bluebacks making a big bag of fish very realistic for any angler. Throughout the event, fish should be pushing shallower and shallower due to the warm weather which will only make the fishing better.

This is what the Bassmaster Classic trophy looks like. At the end of the week, someone will be hoisting that 50 pound beast over their head which will change their life forever.

This year, the angler watch is on high alert. Many fishermen who follow the sport are very interested in who is going to win the event. One of the biggest anglers to watch out for is Hank Cherry. Hank has won two classics back to back in 2020 and 2021. If he wins this classic he will be the first angler in history to win back to back to back classics. Another angler that is on high alert is Scott Martin. Scott has had a hall of fame type career but has never fished a Bassmaster Classic. This will be his first one and if he is able to get the win he will do something that his father was never able to do. Roland Martin was a very impressive fisherman back in the day and won almost every event imaginable besides the Bassmaster Classic. Also, Brandon Cobb is the hometown favorite and knows Lake Hartwell like the back of his hand but will he be able to put all the pieces together to get the job done? Another very popular storyline this week is the presence of past MLF anglers. This week Jason Christie, Greg Hackney, Brandon Palaniuk, Jacob Powroznik, and Gerald Swindle will be back on the Classic stage after having a few years’ absence from fishing MLF instead. These anglers came back to B.A.S.S. so that they had a chance to compete in the highest tournament which is why it will be interesting if one of them will be able to seal up the win.

Here Scott Martin is traveling to his next spot during the last practice day. We will see if all of that looking and fishing will pay off!

With all of this going on, the world’s biggest fishing expo is also held during the event. This will be held at the Greenville convention center throughout the whole event. Companies will be there to showcase products. Each day, thousands and thousands of people will attend this very highly anticipated event. Here, people will have a chance to see new products for the first time, grab a bite to eat, watch fishing, and even meet some professional anglers. Also, The Bassmaster Classic will be live on FOX Sports 1 on Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 12pm so make sure to tune in to watch all of the action go down! Tune in next week to see who will take home the 52nd Bassmaster Classic Trophy!

Event #2

With spring fast approaching, southern states are starting to fish again! This past week, B.A.S.S. held their second event of the year which was located at Harris Chain of Lakes in Leesburg, Florida. Conditions for this tournament were set up perfectly for the anglers but some of them were unable to execute. The rising water temperatures, full moon, and fish movement made it easy for some to find fish, but others still struggled. During this four-day event, a different angler lead every day. However, Buddy Gross was able to pull off the win with 77 pounds and 11 ounces. Buddy is from Chattanooga Tennessee and took his first win in 2020 on Lake Eufaula. I have a feeling this will not be the last time Buddy Gross wins an event! After the second event ended, B.A.S.S. immediately turned their focus to the Bassmaster Classic. This event is the biggest event in the fishing industry and only happens once a year. Many people call the Bassmaster Classic the Super Bowl of bass fishing. The Classic will be held from March 4th-6th. At this event, the best anglers in the world will compete for a quarter of a million dollars for that first-place spot. While the tournament is taking place, the Bassmaster expo will also be taking place in the Greenville Convention Center. Vendors and companies will be present showing off new products and inventory while watching the best anglers in the world.

MLF has also started its second event which is taking place on Lake Fork in Texas. This lake is known for giant bass but the lake is currently down four feet so that crews can fix the dam on the southern end. Jacob Wheeler made it through the qualifying round with over 121 pounds of fish with 30 fish total. The championship round is supposed to be tomorrow but with freezing temperatures and severe weather, the tournament has been postponed until Friday. Tune back in next week to see who won!

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