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Entries in tournament fishing (36)


Steve Honeycutt: Bass Fisherman And Everyday Hero

How important is fishing during our time in this life? This story from Why We Fish explains it pretty well.

*    *    *    *   *

To say that fishing helped Steve Honeycutt to live longer would be presumptuous.

But it certainly made him happy and, more importantly, helped him endure, as his body failed but his spirit never bowed to the fatal cancer that took his life too soon.

Steve fished until the end of this life --- and then some. Instead of a suit, the long-time tournament angler chose a tee shirt with an angler on the front and the message “Afterlife is Great! Simple as That” to wear at the final celebration of his life in Lexington, N.C.

Wife Kay, who agreed to bass fishing at Lake Norman on their honeymoon years before, remembered that he made the decision to wear that shirt following a biopsy at the hospital. “I looked at him like he was maybe still under the effects of medication,” she recalled, but knew that he was serious. After all, she had made him a hat to wear and throw in the air for his “graduation” from radiation treatment. When chemotherapy took his hair, she saw him pose for goofy photos with his sons, who shaved their heads in loving solidarity.

And she had been with him when he climbed Georgia’s Stone Mountain just a month before his passing. In an e-mail update that Steve sent to friends, he said of the trip, “I tell you, that was a proud moment for me. It is one of the hardest things I ever attempted (considering physical shape). I declared I would not try it again, but I may already be having second thoughts.”

Simply, Steven Curtis Honeycutt, age 50, father of three, and member of the Archdale Bass Club, was just a guy who lived an ordinary life --- in an extraordinary way. During an eight-month battle with cancer, everyone he knew, everyone he met, was inspired by his unassuming heroism, according to long-time friend Bill Frazier, who spoke at the celebration.

“I know Steve,” he told the gathering. “He does not want us grieving. He’s wandering around the dock up there, worrying the snot out of someone about what hot lure the fish are biting and where he can get one.

“He’s negotiating with old Saint Pete about how much tackle he will be allowed to take on his next fishing trip with the Master Fisherman.”

Frazier also explained that Steve had been one of his “everyday heroes.”

“Some people idolize comic book fantasies or sports icons,” he said. “The heroes in my life always have been there every day. They are not necessarily close to me, but they are real. You can hear them, see them, and they see you!

“They are family and friends who laugh and cry, lead by example, struggle and smile as they stumble along like the rest of us, slaying common, everyday dragons that we all face. But what makes them special is that they make it look easy.

“Steve became one of my everyday heroes long ago. We were fishing buddies.”

Before he left the lakes on this plane for those on the next, Steve logged in as much time on the water as he could, competing in two events. At his club tournament, he could muster only enough strength to fish half the day. But of his participation at the North Carolina B.A.S.S. Regional less than a week later and less than two months before he died, he said, “I was able to fish the entire two days. God gave me that much more energy and stamina in just six days. I’m so blessed I can barely stand it! I didn’t finish very well, but I had a great time.”

On the final day, a teammate saw him sitting away from the crowd and looking out at the water. Concerned, he went over and asked Steve if he was all right.

“Yeah, man,” Steve said. “It is the greatest day of my life.”

Frazier explained such a description did not diminish the importance of family and friends to his fishing buddy. “Fishing to Steve was a justification to himself of who he was --- unselfish but competitive, flexible but strong, beaten down but never a quitter. He was a warrior, courageous and unconquerable.”

And back in April, after being treated with chemotherapy and radiation for esophageal and stomach cancer, he decided that serving as a marshal at the Elite Series Blue Ridge Brawl bass tournament was more important than going to his doctor to find out the results of more biopsies.

The tests confirmed that the disease had spread to his liver, but Steve was unbowed. He stayed at the B.A.S.S. tournament to fulfill his obligation as a marshal and spend time in a boat with some of the world’s best bass anglers.

Steve was a big supporter of B.A.S.S., Frazier added. “Not the fish. The organization. By having just a regular old membership, it was the same thing to him as being in the NFL. He may have been irritated about one policy or another, but he never stopped supporting what he thought was the greatest bass fishing organization in the world.”

Frazier, wife Kay, and so many more of us whom Steve touched wouldn’t be a bit surprised to learn that he has started a B.A.S.S. chapter and is staging bass tournaments with his afterlife fishing friends.




Lake Simcoe Yields Canada One-Day Record Weight

Jason Clay and Matt Belzil set a Canadian five-bass tournament record for weight with 31.89 pounds Sunday in Ontario's Lake Simcoe Open.  That's an average of more than 6 pounds per smallmouth in the event hosted by the Aurora Bassmasters.

In 2010, the previous record one-day record of 31.5 pounds also was caught in the Lake Simcoe Open.


New Arkansas Bass Plan Includes Smallouth, Spots

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) has released its blueprint for improving bass fishing. Unlike previous versions in 1990 and 2002, this latest Reservoir Black Bass Management Plan focuses on smallmouth and spotted bass, as well as largemouth.

In announcing this latest update, AGFC said the mission of plan "is to facilitate the management of a fishery--- fish, habitats, and people--- and provide background and guidelines for AGFC's management of Arkansas reservoirs and lakes while utilizing the best available science and practicing adaptive management."

According to the plan, variables that resource managers must consider include sampling, habitat, health and disease, tournament fishing, supplemental stocking, population characteristics, and human dimensions.

Goals include the following:

  • Managing black bass fisheries using the best data available for decision making, including current and historical standardized sampling data, the scientific body of literature, and this plan.
  • Striving to better understand black bass anglers and to increase interaction with them to make them aware of our efforts, incorporate their preferences into management decisions, and foster greater collaboration and trust from both parties.
  • Using science-based methods to evaluate reservoir habitat quality, and prescribe both chemical and physical methods for habitat enhancement where necessary.
  • Maximizing efficiency and effectiveness of the AGFC culture system to produce sufficient quantities of fish to meet management goals. Evaluating the contribution of stocked fish to reservoir fish populations to ensure that resources are maximized.
  • Seeking to obtain the personnel, equipment, and other resources necessary to carry out the provisions of this plan.

Bassmaster High School Series Expands in 2018; College Series Gets New Format

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops and the Bassmaster High School Series presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods schedules were announced today with intriguing updates for 2018.
The High School Series has been expanded to four Opens in 2018, and the Bassmaster College Series will showcase a new format enabling college bass fishing teams to compete in a national tour comprising four tournaments and the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops.
Through this year, a college team could only compete in the event within their regional “conference,” plus a wild card qualifier that gave anglers a second chance to reach the national championship. The 2018 college tour will consist of Central, Eastern, Western and Southern events — providing higher-payout incentives and more opportunities to qualify for the 2018 College Series National Championship.
The College Series tour will begin Jan. 25-27 at the Central qualifier on Toledo Bend Reservoir, Louisiana, which was recently ranked fourth in the Central Division of Bassmaster Magazine’s 100 Best Bass Lakes for 2017.
“Toledo Bend Lake Country/Sabine Parish Tourist Commission/Sabine River Authority are looking forward to hosting the Bassmaster High School and the Bassmaster College Series on Toledo Bend during the 2018 season,” said Linda Curtis-Sparks, director, Sabine Parish Tourist Commission. “We are excited about having these young anglers to our area. We feel that they represent the future in the fishing industry, plus they will be here during a prespawn period for our lake, so the weights could be record setting. It is going to be fun!”
From there, college anglers will travel to the Southern event hosted by the Florence/Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau on Pickwick Lake, Alabama, April 19-21.
“We are super excited to be hosting the 2018 Bassmaster College Series in Florence, Ala.,” said Suzie Shoemaker, manager, sport/event sales at the Florence/Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau. “College anglers bring fantastic economic impact to our community, and we look forward to having them back!”
Cherokee Lake, Tennessee, will be the third fishery on tour at the Eastern event on May 10-12 — the Economic Development Alliance of Jefferson County, Tenn. will be the host. And finally, anglers will head west to Clear Lake, California, May 23-25, where the tournament is hosted by the Konocti Vista Resort & Marina.
In addition to the four tour events, the Bassmaster College Series will also partner with the B.A.S.S. Nation to hold state-qualifying tournaments. Anglers will now be able to compete for a berth in the national championship through their respective state’s event — formats will vary.
All tour events will be open to any college or university interested in participating. Teams can attend all four Opens and the state qualifier if they chose to do so.
Also new this year, anglers will vie for the opportunity to become the 2018 Bassmaster College Series Team of the Year. Each of the tour’s three-day events will feature point system scoring, based on field size, allowing anglers to compete for the title, cash and prizes.
The goal for the restructure is to allow anglers five opportunities — the four tour events and a state-qualifying event — to compete for a berth in the national championship and a shot at becoming the Bassmaster College Series Team of the Year.
“The college demographic continues to change and evolve,” said B.A.S.S. College and High School Series Senior Manager Hank Weldon. “We want to continue to offer a series that accommodates all college anglers, whether that be a team who can compete in a multievent tour or anglers who can only travel to a state-run event. The 2017-18 competition year should be really exciting to watch.”
Much like the College Series, the 2018 Bassmaster High School Series will now feature four Opens events — Central, Southern, Eastern and the new Western Open.

The High School Opens will continue to be one-day tournaments with a briefing and sponsor greeting held the night before competition. However, also new this year for the High School Series are up-to-the-minute competition updates.
“The one thing we hear from parents and fans watching the coverage on is that they would like to know where their teams stand throughout the competition,” Weldon noted. “In 2018, we are launching BASSTrakk on each team’s boat for all High School tournaments — fans will be able to follow their teams closely on the water at each event.”
The kickoff event will be Jan. 28 at the High School Series Central Open on Toledo Bend Reservoir, just one day after the first College tournament. Toledo Bend Lake Country will be the host for this event, as well.
From there, teams will travel to Lay Lake, Alabama, for the Southern Open on March 24 hosted by Visit Shelby County, Ala.
Visit Anderson, S.C., will host the Eastern Open and third stop for the High School Series on April 14 on Lake Hartwell, which is also the fishery for the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods slated for March 16-18. The final regular-season stop will be the Western Open at Clear Lake, California, on May 2 also hosted by the Konocti Vista Resort & Marina.
High school teams in each of the four Opens will be competing for berths in the Bassmaster High School Championship presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods. The dates and location of that event will be later announced.
To view registration dates for both college and high school tournaments, and for more information on the Bassmaster College Series state-qualifying events, visit
2018 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops

Event Title                             Lake                                   City                            Date            
Central Tour Event           Toledo Bend Reservoir   Many, La.                  Jan. 25-27     

Southern Tour Event         Pickwick Lake              Florence, Ala.             April 19-21

Eastern Tour Event          Cherokee Lake            Jefferson City, Tenn.      May 10-12     

Western Tour Event           Clear Lake                  Lakeport, Calif.            May 23-25
2018 Bassmaster High School Series presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods

Event Title                          Lake                                       City                                Date             
Central Open                   Toledo Bend Reservoir         Many, La.                   Jan. 28

Southern Open                  Lay Lake                         Shelby County, Ala.      March 24       

Eastern Open                    Lake Hartwell                    Anderson, S.C.            April 14         

Western Open                   Clear Lake                         Lakeport, Calif.            May 26                      


Bass Boss Ray Scott Shares Strategy in Better Bass Fishing

Roland Martin (left) and B.A.S.S. founder Ray Scott in 1975, after Martin won a B.A.S.S. tournament at Santee-Cooper.

One of best things about starting to write for Bassmaster in the 1980s was that I got to know B.A.S.S. founder Ray Scott. During the 1985 Bassmaster Classic in Arkansas, I shared a table with him and then Gov. Bill Clinton for a barbeque dinner at the governor's mansion in Little Rock. We've shared a few other meals at Classics and other events as well. For awhile, I was the ghost writer for his B.A.S.S. Times column. He's a story teller, entertainer, and salesman like no other, and he's also a pretty good fisherman.

I asked him to contribute to my first book, Better Bass Fishing, and this is what he provided:

Anglers never should overlook the power of provocation, according to Ray Scott, founder of B.A.S.S. and father of competitive bass fishing. That lesson was emphatically driven home to him while on Alabama’s Lake Eufaula with Harold Sharp, his long-time tournament director.

“I was fishing the front and running the trolling motor,” Ray remembers. “Harold was in the back and yet somehow he was catching twice as many bass as I was. Finally, I asked him what his secret was.

Sharp told him: "You’re making them mad and then I’m catching them."

“There’s no other fish in the world like a bass,” Ray continues, “and many times provocation is more important than ‘Let’s have lunch.’

"Yes, bass eat when they’re hungry, but they also strike to protect their territory. I’ve seen a bass hit a bait, then swim a little ways and spit it out. It’s a primary instinct.

“But you have to remember that what provokes that bass won’t stay the same. It could change in 2 minutes or 10 days. And it’s not because they think that we’re trying to catch them. They’re just doing what bass do.

“The guy who slows down and studies the fish, who can put the numbers together to figure them out, will do better than the others.”

(This book is available at Barnes & Noble, but often is sold out at Amazon, which does keep my other books in stock.)