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Entries in bass tournaments (26)

Friday
Apr202018

Powerful Opposition Kills Public Access Reform In Louisiana

A bill that would have restored anglers’ rights to access public waters in Louisiana was voted down in the state legislature this week by a vote of 37-59.

Proponents of House Bill 391, including B.A.S.S., the Louisiana B.A.S.S. Nation and the Louisiana Sportsmen’s Coalition (LaSC), were disappointed but not surprised at the loss, said Gene Gilliland, national conservation director for B.A.S.S.

“Everyone knew going in that this was likely to be a contentious issue and that it might take several years to find a good fix,” he explained. “When the vote came to the full House of Representatives, wealthy landowners and energy companies with deep pockets and armies of lobbyists persuaded legislators from many parts of Louisiana that are not even affected by this issue to vote against the bill.”

Gilliland said the bill’s author, Rep. Kevin Pearson (R., Slidell), told him his bill was perhaps the most talked about piece of legislation in this session, and although it was voted down, it raised awareness of the problem statewide.

HB 391 would have restricted the ability of private landowners to prohibit boater access to navigable waters flowing over or through their lands. Almost alone among the 50 states, Louisiana permits private property owners in tidewater areas to bar public access to those waters and to do so without posting them against trespassing.

“Almost everywhere else, the law says that, ‘If you can float it, you can boat it,’” Gilliland pointed out.

“Louisiana is one of the only states in the nation where you can be traveling by boat on public, navigable waterways, and suddenly with no warning find that you are not,” according to the LaSC. “As a result, families out for a day of fun have been subjected to armed challenges from guards hired by big landowners and told to leave the unmarked, seemingly open water.”

Because of the inconsistencies in access, B.A.S.S. announced last year that it would no longer conduct professional bass tournaments in Louisiana’s tidal regions, including the Louisiana Delta, which has hosted four Bassmaster Classics, and others where public access is being increasingly restricted. In the upcoming Bassmaster Elite at the Sabine River out of Orange, Texas, competitors have been told they cannot fish in Louisiana waters.

Gilliland said Pearson made it clear that B.A.S.S.’s decision to stay away from Louisiana until this issue is resolved played a major role in raising awareness among the public and his fellow legislators.

“Although the bill is dead for this year, Rep. Pearson is fully committed to making a run at this issue again next year,” Gilliland said. “We hope that prior to next year’s session there will be meetings of all the concerned stakeholders, including B.A.S.S. and the Louisiana B.A.S.S. Nation.

“We want to build a consensus on how public access to the waters of Louisiana can be preserved for recreation and commerce, while respecting landowners’ rights.”

The LaSC said in a statement this week that it is encouraged by the fact that 37 state representatives voted for the reform despite “powerful opposition” and little time to prepare for a legislative push.
 
It added, “This was always going to be a multi-year fight, and we are optimistic that the progress made in this year’s legislative session has moved up the expected timeline.”

Friday
Mar232018

Kentucky To Try Less Restrictive Size Limits For Tournaments

 

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources will study the impact of less restrictive regulations on bass size limits during bass tournaments.

The test will allow anglers to weigh in smallmouth and largemouth bass that are 12 inches or longer. Tournament anglers still will  release them after they are weighed.

The three-year test is limited to two tournaments each on Lake Cumberland and Cave Run Lake.

Current rules say anglers at Cave Run Lake must release all largemouth bass between 13 to 16 inches, and all smallmouth shorter than 18 inches. Lake Cumberland has a 15-inch minimum size limit for largemouth and an 18-inch limit for smallmouth bass.

The study will help biologists determine if the changes would affect the overall fishery in the lake.

 

Friday
Mar092018

Healthy Bass Less Likely To Stockpile At Tournament Weigh-In Sites

Nationwide studies suggest that how far tournament-caught bass disperse from a weigh-in site is directly related to their condition, according to Todd Driscoll, fisheries biologist for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).

"In general, it appears that if largemouth bass are released after tournaments in good shape, only short-term stockpiling occurs at release sites, as most fish disperse form release sites within 2 to 3 months and up to 40 percent of these fish may return to original capture sites," he said.

While displaced fish have demonstrated homing abilities up to 13 miles, he added, few make it back to their original territories if they are moved more than 6 miles.

"In contrast, as tournament-related stress increases, bass will disperse less," the biologist explained.

Additionally, specific rates of movement following individual tournaments likely are affected by available habitat, food availability, fish size, water temperature, and location of release, such as main lake or cove.

Meanwhile on one of the country's most popular tournament lakes, Texas' Sam Rayburn, a study indicates "that population-level impacts of tournament-related bass relocation and concentration are likely low.

"No question, stocking at release sites does occur, as we estimated that 31,050 bass were transported to weigh-in sites during the one-year study," Driscoll said.

"But we also estimated that tournament anglers transport only 5 percent of the total largemouth bass population of legal-length in one year. Simply put, only 1 out of 20 bass are subjected to relocation and potential crowding at release sites each year."

Just how popular is tournament fishing at Rayburn? TPWD estimates that 52 percent of that fishery's anglers participate in at least one competition per year, compared to only 6 percent of all Texas fishermen.

"We also estimated that there are over several hundred bass tournaments per year at Sam Rayburn, with tournament fishing comprising 36 percent of the total annual fishing effort (including practice fishing), and 46 percent of the bass fishing effort," Driscoll said.

Tuesday
Jun062017

Kennedy Wins Bassmaster Elite at Lake Dardanelle

Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala., wasn’t dominating the event until he weighed 16 pounds, 9 ounces of bass during the final weigh-in to take home $100,000 and the third championship of his career at the GoPro Bassmaster Elite at Lake Dardanelle presented by Econo Lodge.

A big bass late in the day on Monday that weighed 5-10 anchored his five-bass limit and pushed his four-day winning weight to 63-12. The last time Kennedy topped a Bassmaster Elite Series field was in 2011 at Georgia’s West Point Lake.

“I’ve been so close so many times before, and I’ve usually lost tournaments because of a missed bite, or losing a fish before I could get it inside the boat,” Kennedy said. “It sure feels good to win one, especially after nearly winning this year’s Classic on Conroe.

Kennedy won $50,000 for an impressive second-place finish at the 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods in March on Lake Conroe in Texas.

The 48-year-old veteran made a 100-mile round trip each day to fish a small backwater just below the Ozark Dam on the Arkansas River.

“I found that spot during practice, and since the water is over 20 feet high right now, I was able to get my Bass Cat into the small pond-like area,” he said. “Once I got in there, I was impressed with the amount of life that was present. There were gar surfacing everywhere, shad flicking and bass feeding, which told me it was worth a visit each day.”

On Friday’s opening round of competition, he made the run to the dam and caught 16-10, which had him quietly in ninth place. Saturday morning he went to the same location, caught 14-3 and moved up the leaderboard into fifth place.

“On Sunday I caught 16-6, which had me in third place and I knew I had a real shot,” he said. “After I caught that big fish today I felt like I had it locked up, but Mark Davis kept it too close for comfort.”

Davis of Mount Ida, Ark., led the event on both Saturday and Sunday, but could only manage 13-10 on the final day and finished second, only 1-10 behind Kennedy.

Most of the fish that Kennedy brought to the scales this week were caught on a 3/4-ounce D&L Advantage flipping jig with a white plastic trailer.

“I used the exact same program at the Classic back in March,” he said. “There was still a bit of a shad spawn going on this week, and by swimming the jig through the willows, stopping it and letting it fall along the edge of the weeds, the bass would absolutely smoke it. I also caught several fish on a green pumpkin swim jig, and a few on topwater.”

With Kennedy’s wife and children there to congratulate his victory, he was elated.

“It’s been a while,” he said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform and do well, and when I don’t succeed I take it hard. It means a lot to my family and me to bring home one of those coveted blue trophies.”

Other top finishers included Kevin VanDam, third with 60-11; Mark Menendez, who won here in 2009, fourth with 57-9; and Dean Rojas, fifth with 56-7.

Ott DeFoe, who finished 15th at Dardanelle with 41-12, has a slight lead over Jacob Wheeler and Brandon Palaniuk for Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year with three more regular season tournaments remaining in the Elite Series. He was awarded $1,000 for leading the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points race at the end of the event.

David Mullins of Mount Carmel, Tenn., claimed the $1,500 Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award for a 6-pound, 8-ounce largemouth he caught during Friday’s opening round.

Davis won the Livingston Lures Day 2 Leader Award of $500 for leading the tournament on Saturday’s second day of competition.

Jamie Hartman of Newport, N.Y., won the Toyota Bonus Bucks Award of $3,000 for being the highest-placing eligible entrant in the program. The second-highest-placing eligible entrant, Cliff Pace of Petal, Miss., received $2,000.

Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., earned the Power-Pole Captain’s Cash Award of $1,000 for being the highest-placing angler who is registered and eligible and uses a client-approved product on his boat.

Monday
Apr032017

Be a Good Sport When You're on the Water

 

(Author's note: This article was written awhile back for young anglers. But the same advice also is applicable to adult fishermen.)

You and your partner are having little luck and time is running out in the bass tournament. But as you pass a point at the mouth of a cove, you notice anglers in another boat are catching fish.

There seems to be plenty of room, and they are fishing public water. You have as much right to be there as they do. Why not join them?

You know why. It wouldn’t be ethical.

“All of us who fish competitively have had experience with ethics on the water,” says a long-time bass pro from Arkansas. “And the first rule is the Golden Rule. You don’t move onto another person’s water.”

The second ethics rule among tournament anglers, she adds, is a variation of the first. “You don’t go to that spot the next day either, if the tournament is still going on. That is someone else’s water. Find your own fish.”

Sometimes you can do that, she continues, simply by noting what makes this honey hole special and then looking for similar places that are not occupied.

An angler who wants to claim a hole, meanwhile, should practice good angling etiquette. He can do that by moving back and forth to signal that this is his water. Otherwise, some might mistakenly believe that he is fishing down a bank, instead of working a specific area.

In general, angling etiquette is a code of courtesy that shows consideration for others and, in doing so, encourages ethical behavior. Angling etiquette is visible, such as yielding to the boat on the right or to a smaller, slower craft cutting across your bow.

But what, exactly, is ethical behavior, aside from not crowding into another’s fishing spot?

 “Your ethics are the rules or values you use to help choose behavior that is fair to others and to yourself,” says Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). “We practice ethical behavior when we ‘do the right thing’ even when we think we won’t be caught or punished for our behavior.”

When trying to decide whether your behavior will be ethical, says TPWD, consider these questions: Is it legal? Would it be good if everybody did it? Would it make you proud?

Also, don’t allow someone’s questionable behavior to influence your judgment. In other words, two wrongs don’t make a right.

Sometimes, too, what you perceive as “wrong” isn’t seen that way by others.

“Especially in tournaments, we (bass anglers) are so intent, so focused,” says the pro. “Others, like water skiers and jet skiers, don’t understand that. And it’s not their mission to pay attention to things like the fact that they’re going between us and the shore. We have to understand that.

“And we shouldn’t get mad if we decide to fish a good spot where there’s going to be a lot of traffic. We have to accept the fact that people are going to go by.”

As a fisherman, however, you do know that motoring between an angler and a nearby shoreline is not good etiquette and possibly even unethical if it harms his fishing.

Here are some other actions that reflect good etiquette and ethical behavior by anglers:

  1. Honor another’s trust. If someone shares with you his “secret spot,” don’t tell anyone about it, no matter how tempted you may be.
  2. Whether in a boat or on shore, don’t cast your line across another’s or into “his water.” Doing so not only is unethical but could result in a tangled mess that keeps both of you from fishing.
  3. Understand and follow fishing and boating regulations. Obeying the law is not only ethical; it also keeps you from paying fines and possibly even going to jail and/or having your fishing privileges revoked.
  4. Handle fish gently. Don’t suspend them out of the water with fishing line. Don’t touch the gills. After you net or lip them, don’t allow them to flop around on shore or in the bottom of the boat. If a fish “swallows” the hook, cut off the line at the eye and leave it in.
  5. Never keep fish just to “show off.” You should be prepared to clean and eat any that you take home.
  6. Have your boat ready to go before you back it down the ramp. When you take it out, move it quickly out of the way so that others can use the launch area.
  7. Help with loading, unloading, and cleaning the boat.
  8. Take live bait home with you or dispose of it well away from the water instead of dumping it into the lake. Be certain that your boat and trailer don’t carry any uninvited hitchhikers, such as nuisance plants or zebra mussels.
  9. Don’t move fish of any kind from one water body to another. In addition to being unethical and illegal, it could do irreversible damage to a fishery that you were trying to improve.
  10. Always ask permission before crossing private property or fishing a pond or stream on private property.
  11. If you are wading, try to avoid trampling aquatic vegetation. Enter and leave the water at places where the banks are low or at gravel bars, so you will do less damage to the shorelines.
  12. If you are fishing on private land and keeping fish, offer to share your catch with the landowner.
  13. Leave an area just as clean as you found it. And especially never discard line or soft plastic baits. Even better, pick up the trash left behind by others. Littering, of course, is against the law. Picking it up shows respect for the resource.
  14. Avoid spills and never dump pollutants, such as gas and oil, into the water.
  15. Share your knowledge and enjoyment of the sport by taking others fishing.
  16. Through your own behavior, promote angling ethics and etiquette.

Sometimes when you are on the water, you will run into situations that do not fit into any of the above and you will be forced to make decisions with little time to think. In such cases, listen to your conscience, make the ethical choice, and you never will go wrong.