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Entries in Bass Pro Shops (17)

Saturday
Jun172017

Svebek Overtakes Broussard to Win Bassmaster Central Open

ORANGE, Texas — Carl Svebek III has been a professional angler for most of his life.

He cut his teeth fishing tournaments on Sam Rayburn Reservoir, and he went on to fish in several major series as an adult. Eight years ago, Svebek dropped out of sight. He stopped fishing professionally. He had lost his title sponsor and was going through a divorce. So he decided to give up the sport he loved to spend more time with his children who hadn’t seen much of dad while he was on the road fishing.

Svebek returned to pro angling 18 months ago. He made the biggest splash of his professional career today by winning the Bass Pro Shops Central Open on the Sabine River here on the Texas/Louisiana border. Svebek weighed a limit of five bass on Saturday that totaled 12 pounds, 3 ounces. It gave him a three-day total of 36-12, which was just enough to vault over T-Roy Broussard, who led the tournament the first two days.

Svebek, who also moved to Orange last year, was in second place heading into Saturday’s competition, and he took the hot seat with only Broussard remaining to weigh-in. The Port Arthur, Texas, resident had only 10 pounds in his sack, which sealed the win for the 50-year-old Svebek. An ecstatic Svebek leaped into the air and pumped his fist repeatedly as the hometown crowd burst into celebration.

Svebek was choked with emotion as he spoke to the crowd, and he spent at least 10 minutes hugging family and friends before breaking free to discuss his victory.

“This is absolutely a dream come true,” he said. “To be able to win this tournament in front of all these people from Orange is really special to me. I’ll never forget it.”

He won’t have much time to forget the big win. Svebek now will prepare for the final Central Open of the season which will be held on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees in October. If he fishes in that tournament, he will earn a berth in the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

No way he’s missing the final Central Open, he said.

“I’m fishing the Bassmaster Classic,” he marveled aloud to the large crowd who greeted him offstage. “Can you believe it?”

To get there, Svebek fished the marshes just on the Louisiana side of the Sabine River, which was about a 20-minute run downriver. He eased into an extremely dense area crowded with “just about every kind of grass you can imagine,” he said.

“There were a lot of lily pads, especially on the shorelines,” he said. “There was milfoil and hydrilla. I was in about a foot and a half of water, and it was clear. That was key; getting the clean water. There was very little tidal movement in there, and that kind of helped me.”

Svebek said his key bait for the week was a Zoom Super Fluke (bluegill color) rigged Texas-style with a Bass Pro Shops XPS EWG hook. He also put a swivel about 1 foot up the line to help keep his line from twisting on long casts he was making to open pockets inside the foliage.

“I really liked the way the bait worked with the swivel,” he said. “It sounds ridiculous, but it was just enough weight that when it hit, if I paused for a minute, it would give it time to go down. I know I caught two 4-pounders this week on the initial fall. After 12 noon, I would put on a Bass Pro Shops frog. I wouldn’t get many bites doing that, but when I got one, it was a game-changer. The 4-pounder I had today was on that frog.”

That kicker may have been the bass that pushed Svebek to the Central Open win. As he held the championship trophy aloft on Saturday, he realized just how far he had come since his return to professional angling.

“To be honest, I didn’t know where I was going a year and a half ago,” he said. “I was struggling. I was having a hard time finding a job in the oil business. And then my good friend David Jones (whose Orange-based Gopher Industrial sponsored the Central Open) called me up and offered me a job. And he gave me a chance to go fishing again. I missed it, and I’m eternally grateful for him for letting me do this again.”

Svebek won a Skeeter ZX200/Yamaha SHO200 boat and motor package worth approximately $45,000, as well as $7,893 in cash. He picked up an additional $500 by winning the Power-Pole Captains Cash Award.

Broussard seemed destined to win the Central Open after his strong start, but he finished a hard-luck second. He weighed a respectable bag on Saturday (the fifth heaviest of the 12 anglers,) but it wasn’t enough to hold off Svebek’s hard charge. Broussard did split the $750 Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award with Johnny Nguyen. Both anglers weighed a 5-5 bass, which tied for the heaviest in the tournament. Broussard also won the Livingston Lures Leader Award of $250 for holding the Day 2 lead.

The remaining pros in the Top 12 were third, Chad Morgenthaler, 34-10; fourth, Jeff Avery, 34; fifth, Shane Cormier, 33-12; sixth, Randy Sullivan, 33-10; seventh, Josh Bertrand, 29-14; eighth, Matthew Delaney, 29-9; ninth, Trey Smith, 29-8; 10th, John Garrett, 29-2; 11th, Jonathan Simon, 28-6; and 12th, Terry Luedtke, 26-8.

Michael Soliz of Orange won the co-angler division with a three-day total of 19-2. Soliz actually tied with Jordan Burks of Joplin, Mo., for first place, but Soliz won the tiebreaker as he had a higher single-day total than Burks. Soliz won a Triton 179 TrX Mercury 115 ELPT four-stroke boat and motor package with his victory.

In the nonboater division, Burks received the Phoenix Boats Big Bass award of $250 with a 5-15 bass. Mark Powers of Platteville, Colo., received the Livingston Lures Leader Award of $250 in merchandise for being the Day 2 leader in the co-angler division.

Thursday
Jun082017

‘Swamp People’ Star to Compete In Bassmaster Open on Sabine River

T-Roy Broussard got his first taste of professional bass fishing when the Bassmaster Elite Series made a stop in Orange, Texas, back in 2013.

Broussard, who hails from nearby Port Arthur, grew up hunting and fishing in the Sabine River Delta, and he spent the better part of that tournament shadowing eventual champion Todd Faircloth through the same marshes. He also met anglers Shaw Grigsby, Cliff Crochet and Mark Davis, among others that week, and he was impressed by the ease with which pros often hooked big bass.

Broussard, who gained national renown of his own as an alligator hunter on the television program Swamp People, was so taken by watching the pros in their element that he decided to try his own luck in professional bass fishing. He had some success on several circuits he tried, and when Opens anglers were permitted to compete in the 2015 BASSfest on Kentucky Lake, he signed up.

Broussard since has scaled back his pro fishing schedule, and this year he’s entered in only the three 2017 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Opens tournaments. The second of that trio will be held June 15-17 on the Sabine River and its tributaries, and it puts Broussard back on the water, where he both grew up and fell in love with professional bass fishing.

The 47-year-old Broussard is fishing this year’s Central Opens while his stepson, Donovan Henderson, competes as a co-angler. Broussard finished 84th at the Central Open on Table Rock Lake, Missouri, back in March. He’s hoping to markedly improve on that finish when he competes on the Sabine and its vast network of surrounding bayous, sloughs and backwaters.

But to hear Broussard tell it, he’s not sure he’ll be able to fare much better than he did on Table Rock, even though he knows southeast Texas waterways as well as anyone.

“We’ve had so much rain and all that freshwater really flushes the river out,” Broussard said. “So I’ve been spending a lot of time in the marshes as far south toward the river as I can. I think the key for me is to get away from the crowd as much as possible. But I’m not going to lie. I think this could be a tough tournament.”

Broussard said a combination of factors could make finding heavy bites difficult for the approximately 350 pro and co-anglers fishing the Central Open. Besides the heavy amount of rain seen along the Texas/Louisiana border the past few months, temperatures also have been cooler than usual. High water has prevented saltwater from pushing northward into the estuary as it routinely does in late spring and summer along the Gulf Coast.

That saltwater pushes bass into the back ends of canals and into smaller cuts, which makes them easier to pinpoint. Without those conditions, however, establishing a pattern can be difficult.

“Donovan and I spent 15 days or so poking around, looking for the right things,” Broussard said. “We haven’t found it yet. The best we could do was combine for 13 pounds one day. I honestly think 10 pounds a day could make the Top 12 cut, and 13 or 14 pounds a day could win it.”

Broussard said he’s learned that professional fishing is much harder than he imagined. When he watched Faircloth catch a four-day total of 49 pounds, 6 ounces, to win an Elite Series tournament back in March 2013, he figured it would be easier.

“There’s so much pressure to do well when you’re at home,” Broussard said. “That first year, I saw them on all these bayous I know so well, and I thought this would be like taking candy from a baby. It’s not. It’s hard. All these guys are good — in the Elite Series and the Opens.”

No matter the conditions, Broussard and Henderson will swing for the fences on the Sabine.

“The last Central Open of the year is in Oklahoma in October, and that’s right after alligator season, so we won’t have much time to practice for that tournament,” Broussard said. “This is our chance to do something. I’m not predicting too much from us, but we’re going to work at it and have fun no matter what.”

Takeoff for all three days of the Bass Pro Shops Central Open No. 2 will begin at 6 a.m. CT at the City of Orange (Texas) Boat Ramp, 1000 Simmons Drive. Weigh-in will begin at 3 p.m. each day at the same location. Pros can weigh five bass and co-anglers weigh three. Each must measure at least 12 inches. The field will be cut to the Top 12 pros and an additional 12 co-anglers after the second day of competition is complete.

The winning pro will earn entry into the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, assuming he or she competes in all three Central Opens, as well as a Skeeter boat/Yamaha motor package and cash worth approximately $50,000. The top co-angler will win a Triton boat/Mercury motor package.

Friday
Apr142017

Near State Record Bass Caught in Florida

Dominic Montalto recently caught a bass just 8 ounces off the Florida record of 17-4.  Taken at a private pond in Estero, his 16-pound, 12-ounce lunker is now the heaviest catch leader for season 5 of the TrophyCatch program.

“When I first saw the fish, I thought it was a log with a volleyball under it – until it moved,” said Dominic. “Once I realized it was a big bass, I started targeting it and just kept trying until it took the bait.”

Dominic was fishing from shore around dusk, using a Johnny Morris Titanium 8 heavy-action rod with a Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier 7.1:1 reel and a XPS Z9R Perch Swimbait lure in bluegill color.

He is 19 years old and learned to fish from his father, Joe. The Montalto family refers to themselves as a “fishing family,” noting that they made the move from Illinois to Florida a year ago and specifically selected their home based on nearby fishing ponds. Dominic  attends Florida Gulf Coast University, where he is pursuing a degree in physical therapy.

A team of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) biologists verified the accuracy of Dominic’s scale, catch videos and photos.

TrophyCatch is a partnership between FWC biologists, anglers and fishing industry leaders, such as Bass Pro Shops, that rewards the catch, documentation and release of largemouth bass weighing 8 pounds or heavier in Florida. To be eligible for prizes, anglers must submit photos or videos of their catch to TrophyCatch.com, showing the fish’s weight on a scale, before releasing it. FWC biologists use TrophyCatch data for bass research, to make informed decisions about the management of Florida bass fisheries, and to promote the catch-and-release of trophy bass.

Dominic’s trophy bass qualifies him for the TrophyCatch Hall of Fame Club, which offers rewards for catches weighing 13 pounds or heavier. Hall of Fame Club catches are celebrated at a ceremony each year and club members receive $100 gift cards to Bass Pro Shops and/or Rapala, a fiberglass replica mount from New Wave Taxidermy, a $50 SpiderWire merchandise credit code, and a Fitzgerald Rod, among other prizes. Since the beginning of Season 5 in October, 12 Hall of Fame bass have been approved.

Dominic’s catch also puts him in the lead for becoming the TrophyCatch Champion, which is awarded to the angler with the heaviest catch of the season. Anglers have until Sept. 30 to submit their catches.

Anglers are also eligible to win the TrophyCatch Grand Prize, which is awarded to the angler with the heaviest combined weight of approved catches throughout the entire season. The Grand Prize includes a Shimano prize pack of G. Loomis and Metanium combo, and a Lake County tourism prize pack of a three-day, two-night stay in Lake County with a fishing trip guided by professional angler Tim Frederick. Second prize includes a Shimano prize pack of Expride and Chronarch MGL combo. Third prize includes a Shimano prize pack of Exage and Casitas combo. 

The FWC encourages anglers to join TrophyCatch as citizen-scientists to assist in fisheries management and the conservation of Florida’s lakes and rivers. A new TrophyCatch mobile app is available for download on both Apple and Android devices. For more information about the TrophyCatch program, email Amber Nabors at Amber.Nabors@MyFWC.com.

Wednesday
Mar292017

Ray Scott, Bill Dance, John Anderson Honored by Bass Pro Shops

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. --- B.A.S.S. founder Ray Scott, legendary angler Bill Dance, and country music artist John Anderson were honored for their conservation achievements by Bass Pro Shops (BPS) and its founder Johnny Morris during a holiday ceremony at BPS headquarters here.

“All of us at Bass Pro Shops are proud to honor these individuals for their unwavering dedication to conservation,” said Morris. “Long recognized and well respected as leaders for their conservation efforts and support, they continue to help restore and conserve our natural resources and important habitats for North America's wildlife.”

As recipient of a Fisherman's Best Friend Award, Scott is best known for popularizing catch and release among bass fishermen. "Today more than 98 percent of bass weighed in during national B.A.S.S. tournaments are returned alive to the waters," BPS said. "He also advocated against the dumping of aquatic herbicides into public waters."

A recipient of the same honor, Dance is a long-time friend of Morris and they have worked together often to promote conservation issues. Most recently, Dance played a key role in the placement of a Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid in his hometown of Memphis.

Anderson was recognized as Conservation Partner of the Year because of his "strong belief in the need to give back more to conservation than we take" and for donating his time and talent with performances at national conservation conventions. Love of the outdoors, inspired by his father, was the inspiration for his popular song, "Seminole Wind."

Additionally, former U.S. Marine Mark Geist was recognized with a special Defender of Freedom Award.

Former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon attended the event, as did NASCAR star Martin Truex, Jr. Nixon was honored last year for his leadership in conservation and outdoors issues during his administration. Truex was there to thank Morris and BPS for its donations to the Martin Truex, Jr. Foundation in support of cancer research.

Wednesday
Aug262015

World-Class Suwanee Bass on Display in Florida

If it's not already, a world record Suwannee bass soon will be swimming in the 9,200-gallon aquarium at Bass Pro Shops in Tallahassee, Fla. It was just two ounces shy of the record when released there this sumemr, after being caught in the Ochlockonee Rivery by Ferrol "Roscoe" Holley, Jr.

After catching the fish on June 26, Holley contacted Andy Strickland, a biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), who immediately went to meet him. The 3.75-pound bass was weighed on a certified scale and measured 16.5 inches long. The state and world record is 3.89 pounds, caught by Ronnie Everett in 1985 on the Suwannee River in Gilchrist County.

Give it a few good meals in the Bass Pro Shops’ aquarium and customers should soon be watching a world-record feed at noon each Tuesday/Thursday and at 2 p.m. on Saturdays.

First, Brian Claborn, Bass Pro Shops’ aquarist, treated the bass to ensure it was healthy and held it in quarantine. Once it was given a clean bill of health, Claborn and Strickland arranged for Holley and his family to come to the store and release the bass into the aquarium. Strickland also presented Holley with a “Big Catch” certificate.

Big Catch is the FWC’s oldest angler-recognition program, which traces its history to 1953 when a “fishing citation” program was run by Florida Wildlife Magazine (now the free online FloridaWildlifeMagazine.com). The actual Big Catch Angler Recognition Program began in 1990, and since then thousands of anglers have enjoyed having their catches recognized.

Anglers can register for free at BigCatchFlorida.com to submit their catch or view other anglers’ catches. A customized certificate is rewarded to any angler who legally catches and photographs one of 33 popular Florida freshwater fish species that exceeds the qualifying length or weight. The program includes categories for specialists (five qualifying fish of the same species), masters (five qualifying fish of different species) and elite anglers (10 qualifying fish of different species). In addition, a youth category makes this a family-friendly way to get kids involved.

The final Big Catch category includes the freshwater grand slams. A Bass Slam includes catching a largemouth, spotted, shoal and Suwannee bass in the same year. A Bream Slam is awarded for catching any four of bluegill, redear sunfish, spotted sunfish, warmouth, redbreast sunfish or flier in one day, and an Exotic Slam requires catching a butterfly peacock, Mayan cichlid and oscar in one day. These programs help encourage anglers to try new species, locations and techniques, and provide fun family challenges.

Holley’s near-world-record Suwannee bass is in the same group of black basses as largemouth bass, shoal bass, spotted bass and the newly-identified Choctaw bass. With the exception of the largemouth, these other basses are all primarily riverine and within Florida are only located in the panhandle and tributaries of the Suwannee River. The FWC is proposing new rules to continue to protect all of these species (see MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Speak out on bass rules” to learn more and comment.)