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Entries in Bassmaster Classic (19)


Decatur Heritage Team Wins B.A.S.S. High School Invitational

Photo by Shaye Baker/B.A.S.S.

Mitchell Gowen and Brianna Tucker of Decatur Heritage outfished 65 other high school teams Saturday to win the 2013 B.A.S.S. High School Invitational on Wheeler Lake in Decatur, Ala., according to

This was the first event of its kind and netted the team a spot in the 2014 B.A.S.S. High School Classic, which will be held in conjunction with the 2014 Bassmaster Classic. Gowen and Tucker will be joined in the Classic by the rest of the top 8 finishers from the invitational.

“I just want to thank God for giving us the opportunity to fish,” said Tucker, who was responsible for four of the five fish the team weighed in Saturday. “I also want to thank our boat captain.”

Norman Brown, their boat captain, said that things did not start off with a bang, but his team stayed focus and for that he was proud of them, as they eventually checked in with 16 pounds, 15 ounces of largemouth bass.

“Around 9 [a.m.] I think they only had one fish,” he said.

“Once we started catching them, it kind of happened all at once,” Tucker said.

“She caught the first three back-to-back-to-back,” Brown said.

That initial burst was triggered by water generated through Guntersville Dam.

The team fished a few spots upriver from Decatur, and it wasn’t until the current arrived that the team finally found its groove.

“The last two we had to scrape for,” Brown said. “We probably caught 10 fish. The biggest one they weighed in was around 4 and 1/2 [pounds] and the smallest was about 2 and 3/4 [pounds].”

Finding a consistent, quality bite helped Decatur Heritage overcome some of the bigger fish weighed in Saturday, including the 5-3 Carhartt Big Bass caught by Jake Turnbloom and JT Russell of Briarwood Christian.

The majority of the fish that Tucker and Gowen brought to the scales came on a Norman DD22 crankbait. Gowen also caught one fish dragging a big worm.

In addition to Tucker’s and Gowen’s 2014 B.A.S.S. High School Classic berth, the duo and Brown received exclusive backstage privileges for the entire 2014 Bassmaster Classic.

Joining Tucker and Gowen in the 2014 B.A.S.S. High School Classic are runners-up Jarrett Martin and Billy Powers of Gallia Academy High School, third-place finishers Tanner Jones and Clay Teague of Tuscaloosa County High School, fourth-place finishers Beau Ashcraft and Shawn Zellers of Wabash Valley Bassmasters, fifth-place finishers John Garrett and Peyton Lyons of Obion County Student Anglers, sixth-place finishers Ryan Winchester and Justin Burris of Clinton High School, seventh-place finishers Jake Lee and Jacob Mashburn of Clinton High School, and eighth-place finishers Ben Stone and Christopher Bensel of Dixie High School.


B.A.S.S. Nation Conservation Fund Will Enhance Fisheries Conservation Efforts

B.A.S.S. Nation members create fish habitat with spider blocks in Oregon's Prineville Reservoir. Photo by Chuck Lang

The FishAmerica Foundation, the conservation arm of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is partnering with B.A.S.S. LLC, to form the B.A.S.S. Nation Conservation Fund. The B.A.S.S. Nation Conservation Fund will fund activities, projects and programs related to fisheries and aquatic resource conservation and research. The fund will be used exclusively by B.A.S.S. Nation state clubs to implement projects that enhance fisheries conservation on the grassroots level.

A donation from Simms Fishing Products provided the seed money for the new Conservation Fund which emphasizes grassroots approaches to restore fisheries resources and habitat in the U.S. and parts of Canada. The Conservation Fund will specifically target projects which benefit black bass species and their habitats.

The B.A.S.S. Nation Conservation Fund is seeking proposals for new grant projects from B.A.S.S. Nation clubs beginning July 2013. The deadline to submit grant proposals is October 31, 2013. The awardees will be announced at the February 2014 Bassmaster Classic in Birmingham, Ala. The call for proposals will be sent from B.A.S.S. LLC to B.A.S.S. Nation clubs the first week in July 2013.

“The FishAmerica Foundation is pleased to partner with B.A.S.S. and its many B.A.S.S. Federation Nation clubs,” said ASA Vice President Gordon Robertson. “B.A.S.S. has a long tradition of investing in fisheries and aquatic habitat conservation. Working with B.A.S.S. clubs to improve fisheries habitat is a natural extension of FishAmerica’s mission.”

According to B.A.S.S. National Conservation Director Noreen Clough the partnership with FishAmerica provides B.A.S.S. a unique opportunity to expand their grassroots conservation efforts. “Grants made at a generous one to one match will allow B.A.S.S. clubs to expand their capabilities for fisheries and fish habitat conservation,” said Clough. “We thank Simms Fishing Products for providing their contribution to kick off our fundraising efforts. It’s important that we all do our part to ensure our fisheries and their habitats are healthy now and in the future.”

The FishAmerica Foundation, the conservation and research foundation of the American Sportfishing Association, is dedicated to keeping our fish and waters healthy. FishAmerica unites the sportfishing industry with conservation groups, government agencies, fishing tournament clubs and organizations, corporations and charitable foundations, investing in fisheries conservation and research across the country. FishAmerica’s matching grants empower citizen conservationists in their own communities. Since 1983 FishAmerica has invested more than $11 million in 1,000 fisheries conservation and research projects nationwide.

B.A.S.S. is a membership organization with approximately 500,000 members nationwide. Approximately 20,000 of those individual members are organized into clubs that are affiliated with B.A.S.S. Federation Nation chapters in 47 States, Canada, Italy, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Japan. In addition to participation in competitive fishing events, B.A.S.S. members are dedicated to fisheries conservation and youth education activities. Although B.A.S.S. offers an array of services to its member, it remains focused on issues related to conservation and water access.

(Press release from the American Sportfishing Association.)


Another State Record Largemouth Caught in Oklahoma

Dale Miller with Oklahoma state record largemouth caught at Cedar Lake. ODWC photo.

Bass anglers have been making big news frequently in Oklahoma these past few months.

The latest is the second state largemouth in less than a year from Cedar Lake. Using an Alabama rig, Dale Miller caught the 14-pound, 13.7-ounce lunker on March 13. It measured 26 1/8 inches in length and 23 inches in girth.

“Last month, I bought a fishing license, and this month I have the state record for the largemouth bass,” said the angler from Panama, Okla.

Miller’s fish surpasses a 14-pound, 12.3-ounce bass caught by Benny Williams, Jr. on March 23, 2012.

"Catching the state record largemouth bass in Oklahoma is a huge deal, but it's even more significant that the state record largemouth has now been caught two springs in a row in less than 12 months' time from the same lake," said Barry Bolton, chief of fisheries for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC). "It speaks to the quality of fishing we have in our state. It speaks to our Florida largemouth bass stocking program. And it speaks to our state's anglers."

This latest record follows the state playing host to the Bassmaster Classic in February and two 40-pounds-plus stringers caught at Arbuckle Lake in January. (See Oklahoma Stocking Turns Arbuckle into Big Bass Fishery.)

ODWC says this:

The last two state record largemouth bass as well as several from the state's Top 20 Largemouth Bass List have been caught in the southern and southeast regions of the state. Fish are cold-blooded, so their metabolisms work faster in warmer conditions and they grow more rapidly. Lakes in the southeast region of the state tend to warm up earlier and cool off later in the year than in other regions, which affords these fish a longer growing season.

According to Gene Gilliland, assistant chief of fisheries for the Wildlife Department, Cedar Lake has been known to produce big largemouth bass for anglers in recent years --- not only because of its southeastern location, but also because it has a history of receiving Florida strain largemouth bass through the state's stocking program.

"They grow pretty fast down in that part of the state due to the long growing season," Gilliland said. "Cedar Lake has produced several double-digit fish in the last five years. The U.S. Forest Service played a role in the success story when they renovated Cedar Lake several years ago. This renovation created a "new lake environment" that along with the Florida-strain genetics, long growing season, good habitat and abundant forage has led Cedar Lake to become an outstanding bass fishery."

Anglers who believe they may have hooked a record fish must weigh the fish on an Oklahoma State Department of Agriculture certified scale, and a Wildlife Department employee must verify the weight. For a complete list of record fish and the procedures for certifying a state record, consult the current "Oklahoma Fishing Guide" or log on to


Ike Speaks Out for Clean Water

During the Bassmaster Classic, Bass pro Mike Iaconelli talks about importance of clean water.

Check it out on YouTube.


Drought Threatens Future for Fishermen, Fisheries

A water crisis is looming, with sport fisheries and anglers as the likely losers, according to Jim Martin, conservation director for the Berkley Conservation Institute.

“It’s a problem that no one wants to talk about,” he said, pointing out that have of the continental U.S. now is under drought conditions.

“We have to start talking about it.”

Martin gave that message at a freshwater summit sponsored by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership during the recent Bassmaster Classic in Tulsa, Okla.

The country needs a plan to prioritize the use of water and to manage development, he said. And the sooner the discussion begins, the more influence that outdoor enthusiasts will have.

Once the crisis hits and recreational use of water is competing against agriculture, manufacturing and urban populations, the fishing industry won't have the votes to compete.

 "A hundred million sportsmen are going to be lost in the shuffle," he said.

Read more in Tulsa World