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Entries in tournament fishing (30)

Wednesday
Jun212017

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.

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.

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.

Thursday
Jun012017

B.A.S.S. Celebrates 50th Anniversary of First Tournament

A half-century ago, when Ray Scott of Montgomery, Ala., wanted to entice outdoor media to cover his upcoming press conference, he didn’t soft-sell the event.

He invited the journalists to meet him in Springdale, Ark., and learn about “The Biggest, Most Important Happening In Bass Fishing History.”

The “happening” was the All-American Bass Tournament on Beaver Lake, Arkansas, an event many mark as the beginning of the modern era of bass fishing. The tournament was held June 5-7, 1967 — 50 years ago next week. The tournament was successful enough to launch the professional fishing careers of Bill Dance, Stan Sloan, Don Butler and others, and it inspired Scott, an insurance salesman turned promoter, to conduct a “tournament trail” of events across the country.

And it spawned the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society — B.A.S.S. for short — which would grow into the world’s largest fishing organization with more than 500,000 members and a magazine, Bassmaster, currently read by 4.5 million people each month.

Bassmaster’s June issue marks the milestone of tournament fishing with a cover story written by Bob Cobb, who contributed greatly to the All-American’s success.


In Why We Fish, I documented the  impact that B.A.S.S. has had on every aspect of sport fishing, from tackle, boats, and equipment to conservation and catch-and-release. Here's an excerpt from "The B.A.S.S. Factor":

“I remember a B.A.S. tournament on (Oklahoma’s) Lake Eufaula in the early 1970, when I was in high school,” said B.A.S.S. Conservation Director Gene Gilliland. “Roland Martin won it.

“Afterward, he and Forrest Wood (founder of Ranger Boats) sat out on the dock and talked about how to make livewells better to keep fish alive. The tournament environment, I think, spawned a lot of innovations, especially in boat design and safety features for both the occupants and the fish.

“Maybe they would have shown up anyway eventually,” he continued. “But their development was sped up by tournaments and they became available to the public sooner.”

Kill switches, boat hulls, electronics, trolling motors, trailers, and tow vehicles are but a few additional items that owe their current state of development to B.A.S.S. and its professional anglers. Others include specialized rods, reels, baits, lines, tackleboxes, sunglasses, and clothing.

“If my granddaddy could see the equipment today, he wouldn’t believe it,” Bill Dance said. “He just wouldn’t believe what fishing has become.”

Roland Martin added, “So many of us now are on design staffs. The tackle and marine industry use us for a lot of different things, but especially research and development.”

Sunday
May072017

Fans Will Have Much to See and Do at Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest

 

Sam Rayburn Reservoir is on a very short list of the all-time best fisheries to host a major bass tournament. Not surprisingly, more professional Bassmaster tournaments have been held on the 111,400-acre impoundment in east Texas — 31 — than on any other fishery in the United States.
 
Beginning with the 1968 All-American won by Bill Dance and continuing through more recent victories by current stars like Rick Clunn, Kevin VanDam, Edwin Evers and Shaw Grigsby, the events have thrilled and entertained fishing fans for nearly five decades.
 
But none, it is safe to say, have offered bass fishing fans the wealth of things to see and do and experience that will be available at the upcoming Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), to be held May 17-21.
 
That’s not surprising, since Texas Fest is the result of a merger of the fan-friendly Bassmaster BASSfest Elite Series tournaments of recent years and the uniquely formatted Toyota Texas Bass Classic (TTBC), conducted on Texas lakes for the past 10 years.
 
“We’re excited to develop Texas Fest into one of the biggest events in competitive fishing while featuring the great work Texas Parks & Wildlife Department does to ensure the quality of outdoor recreation for the future,” said Brent Hillyer, vice president/Marketing for Gulf States Toyota, which created and sponsored TTBC from the beginning.
 
“Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest will combine the best features of the Toyota Texas Bass Classic and our own BASSfest tournament — both of which had become immensely popular among anglers and fishing fans,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. “Texas Fest will host a special Fan Appreciation Day offering anglers and their families opportunities to meet, greet and learn from the world’s best professional anglers.”
 
And, borrowing a page from TTBC, the event will feature a catch-weigh-release format. Anglers’ catches will be weighed on identical scales by judges assigned to each boat. Immediately after being weighed, the fish will be released back into the lake. The top 5 weights will be counted in each competitor’s daily catch, and the pros will bring in their largest bass, if 21 inches or longer, to the weigh-in stage at the George H. Henderson Jr. Expo Center in Lufkin each afternoon.
 
Dave Terre, Texas’ chief of Inland Fisheries Management and Research, said Texas Fest will showcase the catch-weigh-release system, which can enhance fish survival.
 
“This is a big deal for tournament bass fishing, no doubt,” Terre said. “We did it in TTBC for 10 years, and it really has its feet now. It presents an alternative format for the world of professional bass fishing and has moved the needle in the direction of fish care and conservation.”
 
Terre is also grateful that the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest continues a tradition of providing funding for his agency. Over the years, TTBC has generated more than $2 million for TPWD.
 
“We now have Gulf States Toyota, Toyota Motor North America and B.A.S.S. all coming together to provide this new tournament to benefit Texas Parks and Wildlife Department,” Terre said. “The tournament is under a new sponsorship arrangement — and a new name — but the funds that are generated out of this event will continue to build and continue to support youth fishing outreach initiatives in the state.”
 
With a $1 million payout available to the 109 Bassmaster Elite Series pros, including $100,000 to the winner and a $50,000 Toyota Tundra truck to the angler who catches the heaviest bass of the week —  along with an automatic entry into the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods — competition can be expected to be fierce.
 
Fans onshore will be able to follow all the action as it happens on Bassmaster LIVE and through the BASSTrakk leaderboard. Plus, they’ll have plenty to occupy their time — and their children — between LIVE updates.
 
On Friday and Saturday at the George H. Henderson Jr. Expo Center site, a “Get Hooked On Fishing” interactive children’s program will be open from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Activities include casting lessons, fishing in the Bass Pro Shops Catch & Release Pond, and a chance to meet bass pro and former NFL wide receiver Kendall Newson, founder of the Teach a Child to Fish Foundation. School children from Lufkin area schools will be taking part in activities as part of a special field trip opportunity on Friday.
 
Youngsters will also be able to test their abilities to fish, pitch and cast on the popular Toyota CastingKids range, which will also be in operation during the Bassmaster Elite Series Outdoors Expo through Sunday.
 
Fan Appreciation Day is Saturday, May 20, when the Elite anglers take a day off fishing to participate in activities at the Expo and in Bassmaster University seminars, all taking place at George H. Henderson Jr. Expo Center. Festivities begin each day, Saturday and Sunday, at 10 a.m. Sunday is Military and Public Safety Personnel Day.
 
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Outdoor Adventures Area at the Expo is designed to entertain outdoor sports enthusiasts while teaching them about activities and resources. Among displays and hands-on activities are Archery, Boater Education, Casting, Coastal Fisheries Expo, Daisy Air Gun, Fish Fundamentals Aquarium, Invasive Species Awareness, Operation Game Thief Trailer — Wall of Shame, River & Stream/Texas Paddling Trails, Vamos a Pescar/Take Me Fishing Trailer — Learn to Fish, Texas State Fish Art, Texas State Parks, Toyota ShareLunker Trailer, TPW Bass Management, Water U Doing Road Trip and Wildlife Crime Scene Investigations.
 
In addition to its CastingKids course, Toyota is offering an experience geared to adults: the Toyota Ride and Drive obstacle course, open to qualified drivers 18 and over. Fishing families in the market for a new bass rig can take part in demo boat rides provided by Skeeter, Yamaha, Nitro, Triton and Mercury at Cassels-Boykin Park. Free shuttle transportation is provided between the Expo Center and the park.
 
Among dozens of vendors at the Outdoors Expo, leading manufacturers will be displaying and/or selling their products. Fishing fans will certainly want to tour the Berkley Experience Trailer. In addition, they can check out products and displays from Huk Performance Fishing, Power-Pole, Humminbird, Minn Kota, Phoenix Boats, Carhartt, Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels, Livingston Lures, Phoenix Boats, Shimano, T-H Marine and many others.
 
Also on Saturday of Texas Fest, the most exclusive high school bass tournament will be held on a nearby body of water. To qualify, students have to be named one of the 12 members of the 2017 Bassmaster High School All-American Fishing Team presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods. In addition to being honored as one of the most outstanding student anglers in the nation, the All-Americans will get to participate in a one-day fun-fishing tournament as the teammate of one of the Elite anglers.
 
The standout anglers were selected from among more than 380 nominations of students in grades 10-12 representing 40 states across the nation. After reviewing tournament résumés, community service activities, academic achievement and recommendations from coaches and school officials, a panel of judges selected the Top 12 high school anglers in the country.
 
From watching the first boats take off from Cassels-Boykin Park at 7 a.m. CT on Wednesday, May 17, to the final weigh-in at the Henderson Expo Center on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. — and including the family-friendly activities and seminars in between — all venues are free and open to the public
.