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Entries in tournament fishing (34)


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.)



Angler Answers Anti-Tournament Criticism in Minnesota

Jake Lee (left) and Jacob Foutz of Bryan College maintain their lead on the second day of the 2017 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops on Lake Bemidji out of Bemidji, Minn., with a two-day total weight of 34 pounds, 10 ounces.

Angry that the Bassmaster College Series National Championship is being held on "his" waters, a Bemidji, Minn., area resident wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper. That letter is below, followed by a response from guide Jason  Rylander.

His reply to the anti-tournament comments is spot on, and reveals Rylander to be an excellent spokesman for recreational fishing, tournament style and otherwise.

The letter writer asked good questions, but what offended me, and I suspect many others, is that he already has made up his mind that tournaments are a bad thing and really isn't looking for answers to those questions. HIs anti-tournament bias is a commonly held view in the North, often based on the beliefs that the water is theirs and that fish are to keep and eat.

Letter to the editor: How many fishing tournaments can our local waters handle?

I live on the Mississippi River east of Bemidji. It’s a narrow, serene stretch of water that this morning is crawling with big bass boats. The air smells like gasoline. Promoted by the marketing department at Bemidji State University, the Bassmaster College National Championship fishing tournament is in town.

“Pre-fishing” has begun. Ninety heavy boats. Six full days of fishing ending with the weigh-in on Saturday. So I have questions.

How many fishing tournaments can our local waters handle in one summer? Who decides this? What is effect on water quality of 90 heavy powerboats over six days? What is the relationship of fishing tournaments to the introduction invasive species (zebra mussels, milfoil)? The Bassmaster tourney is catch-and-release, yes, but with what effect on fish kept in live wells the entire day? Do “pro” fisherman ever read studies on delayed fish mortality? And what are the larger messages of the Bassmaster world view?

Expensive boats, high tech equipment, faster-is-better fishing, then leave town? Bemidji State University recently won a major, national award for sustainability. We can do far better by our school, our waters, and our general economic development than these tournaments.

A sign on my dock reads, “Bassmasters Not Welcome.”


Mr. Weaver, you asked a few questions in your letter to the editor in today's Bemidji Pioneer. Let me answer them the best I can.

1. Lake Bemidji, and its connecting waters, typically only host a few local bass club chapter outings. They don't regularly host any large scale bass tournaments.

2.The DNR issues permits for these tournaments upon approval; including all of the local walleye derbies held on Lakes Bemidji and Irvine.

3. The water quality effect of 90 bass boats for 6 days will be minimal. A vast majority of these boats are set up with new motors with higher pollution/efficiency regulations than most of the motors you see go past your dock. The boats are designed for shallow water, and will be forced to respect the no-wake zones.

4. Although I have no research from any studies to back up my opinion here. The tournament anglers will have to follow state laws regarding AIS. In my experience, most avid anglers are more diligent about cleaning their boat, trailer, and live wells than your average boater/pontooner. I'm sure an organization such as Bassmaster is taking all necessary precautions to avoid any spread of AIS.

5. Bass mortality in tournaments is pretty low. They survive very well in livewells, much better than the walleyes. The study I found with the highest delayed mortality rate was 27%. This isn't good, I'll admit that. There wasn't a study available that I could find for MN tournaments though. I was happy to hear that Bassmasters is providing release boats that will be releasing the fish back near the waters they were caught from.

6. I don't know much at all about the Bassmaster larger message, aside from they are promoting angling, getting kids outdoors, and providing an awesome competition for college anglers. Aside from maybe making a few bucks and employing a handful of people, I am unaware of any hidden agendas.

Mr. Weaver, I disagree with your letter to the editor. I believe events like this are great for the community, bring extra income in for local businesses, and the exposure the area will get is far worth it. I've heard that the television airing will be viewed by as many as 5 million people on ESPNU.

These are young people who love fishing, who are promoting the sport of angling, and I think Bemidji is blessed to have them here for a week. Let's have them leave here having felt welcome and with good memories, so that someday they might return with their families to vacation and enjoy all that Bemidji has to offer.

To have them drive past your dock, with your "Bassmasters Not Welcome" sign, is embarrassing. I'm going to make my own sign, "Bassmaster College Anglers Welcome to Bemidji."


Lunker Helps New York Youth Take Lead in Bassmaster Junior National Championship

HUNTINGDON, Tenn. — The Bassmaster Junior National Championship is a team bass tournament, and all but one of the 51 teams are made up of two anglers between the ages of 7 and 13.

The one solo angler, Rein Golubjatnikov proved Tuesday that one is more than enough when he brought in a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 13 ounces. The 13-year-old New Yorker seized the first-round lead in the two-day junior championship on Carroll County 1,000 Acre Recreational Lake in northwest Tennessee. The tournament has attracted anglers from 28 states and Canada — all of whom advanced through the B.A.S.S. Nation ranks to the championship.

None were as impressive as Golubjatnikov, whose bag was anchored by an 8-2 lunker that easily was the heaviest bass of the day. Golubjatnikov said he fought the big bass for nearly two minutes as it worked its way underneath his boat before he could net the bass. It was a considerable battle as the eighth grader tips the scales himself at only 85 pounds.

To put the “boy vs. bass” struggle into perspective, the equivalent would be the average adult man battling a 20-pound bass. He’s used to catching big bass, as he advanced to nationals on the strength of a 22-4 bag on New York’s Cayuga Lake. The 8-2 heavyweight he caught Tuesday, however, was a personal best.

“They don’t have bass like that in New York,” Golubjatnikov told the large crowd gathered in downtown Huntingdon for today’s weigh-in.

They do in Carroll County’s 1,000 Acre Recreational Lake though, and Golubjatnikov (whose boat captain/coach is his dad, Ken) said he fished a variety of lures in shallow and deep water on Tuesday. Rein targeted baitfish for most of the day, and he had a 4-pounder to go with his 8-plus kicker on Day 1.

Considering the results, he said he’ll stick with the strategy on the final day of the championship on Wednesday.

“I was really excited,” he said. “It was really cool to catch a fish that big. It was like a once in a lifetime thing.”

Rein is fishing alone this week as school is just letting out this week in Pittsford, N.Y., where he lives. He was able to take his final exams early, but he knew he likely would fish alone if he made the nationals (which he did for the third consecutive year as New York’s youth champion). He finished seventh in last year’s junior championship when he paired with Garrett Lawton to catch a two-day total of 8-1.

One day into the 2017 tournament and he’s nearly doubled that output — by himself.

Golubjatnikov has competition hot on his heels, however. The Louisiana duo of Jordan Sylvester and Jacob Tullier caught a limit that weighed 15-1. Sylvester boated a 5-7 bass to anchor the team’s bag and put them only 12 ounces behind the leader. It was the second-heaviest bass caught on Tuesday.

“I think tomorrow’s going to be fun,” Sylvester said. “We’re going to go out and try to do the same thing we did today.”

Golubjatnikov and the Louisiana pair were the teams to weigh double-digit bags on Tuesday. The tandems of Bradlee Parish and Tyler Guin of Mississippi and Colby Carrier and Abe Lafrance of Maine both weighed 9-15 totals, but the Mississippi boys are in third place officially because they boated five bass on Tuesday. Carrier and Lafrance caught four keepers.

Florida’s Fisher Cusic and SammyJay Acree are in fifth place with 9-12.

In all, the 101 junior anglers caught 195 bass on Tuesday for a total weight of 271-2. There were 28 limits among the 50 teams that came to the scales. Only one team zeroed.

Today’s weights will carry over to the final day of fishing on Wednesday. The team with the best two-day total will split $2,000 in scholarship money, though if Golubjatnikov still leads the field after the final weigh-in, he will have the entire prize to himself. Members of the second-place team will share $1,000 in scholarship funds.