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Daily Limit: Bass Hall of Fame

WOW is the venue as well as the feeling most will have Thursday as the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame (BFHOF) inducts its class of 2017 at its first home, which are very special digs. “We’re pretty exciting about how everything is coming together. It’s a really big night for our organization,” said Donald Howell, president of the BFHOF board of directors. “When you’ve got the opportunity to be a part of Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife, it’s incredible.” That’s right, the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, which for years has searched for a physical landing place, is inside the Bass …

Hall of Fame honors sport’s trailblazers

As winter begins to tiptoe into Michigan, I’m really looking forward to attending the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame induction ceremony next week in Springfield, Mo. The gala event, emceed by Dave Mercer, will be Nov. 9 and is open to the public. It promises to be a very special night for all bass fishermen. If you are close come join me as we honor our sport. The Bass Fishing Hall of Fame always has had a special place in my heart because of the great people it honored in the past. Many of the legendary anglers that I idolized as …

A-rigs a great cold-water presentation

Do you remember a few years ago when Paul Elias won a big tournament on the new Alabama Rig and shocked the world with such a big catch? Well, we’re real close to the A-rig season. In fact, it’s already in full swing in the north where water temperatures are plunging into the 50s. That seems to be the key to A-rig fishing – cold or cooling water. For those unfamiliar with the Alabama Rig, it consists of a multi-wire apparatus on which you snap on jigheads matched with swimbaits. You can add up to five baits on one rig, providing …

Learning from your mistakes

It’s been a busy fall for me with sponsor obligations, filming commercials and TV shows since the Elite season ended. As we move into winter, I will focus on last year’s season, what I could have done better and what needs improvement for next year. Every year is different. The 2018 season presents new challenges with visits to new lakes and at different times of the year. And, with the new no-information rule, we’ll have to put more emphasis on preparation and organization to maximize our time during each practice and the tournament. My 2017 was actually a pretty good year, …

Magical time for big smallmouth

There are several things I like about the fall, but nothing tops my list more than fishing for big smallmouth in northern Michigan. The month of October, especially when the water cools down, is the prime time for fishing for big ones. Obviously, we always fish for big ones, but they become more accessible when they are moving shallower and gearing up for the winter. The bite for numbers of smallmouth can be nothing short of spectacular, but the quality is what makes it so special this time of year. During the summer, the fish spend their time deep on most …

Efficient fish management and culling

I don’t have to tell you how tough the competition is on the Bassmaster Elites and what a huge difference an ounce or two can make in the standings of a tournament. Subsequently, small weights can affect where you finish in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of Year standings. A huge part of that is fish management, especially on these good fisheries where we are catching a lot of similar-size fish. Fish management involves many things, from maintaining a good livewell environment to keeping your bass healthy and culling out smaller fish efficiently. If doesn’t matter whether it’s in a small club …

A funky time of year

We finished up the Bassmaster Elite Series season last week with the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of Year Championship at Mille Lacs Lake. My hat’s off to Brandon Palaniuk for having an a amazing season. Brandon showed his maturity the way he kept his cool despite the tight race and formidable opponents breathing down his neck. The fish at Mille Lacs were beginning to show signs of the transition to fall patterns. Some were caught deep and others were caught fairly shallow. That’s what happens when we start having cooler nights. But this appears to be shaping into a funky start to …

Don’t overlook spinnerbaits this fall

Spinnerbaits. Remember them? They still catch big fish and can really catch ‘em in the coming months of fall. Admittedly, they have kinda been pushed aside. Years ago, no one fished without having at least one tied one on. But over time, our lure arsenal has grown to include baits that perform similarly but with different actions. We’ve got swimbaits with more eye appeal and some vibration; square bill crankbaits that emit action, vibration and erratic movements; bladed jigs with some vibration and less flash than a spinnerbait; and swim jigs that move horizontally through the water column but more subtly. …

Give me fluorocarbon for drop shotting

Drop shotting has become a staple on the Elite circuit, especially during the second half of the season when we fish a lot of smallmouth waters. A huge drop shotting trend among Bassmasters is to spool their spinning reels with a small diameter superline (braid) and add a long fluorocarbon leader. Even so, it’s interesting to see that an equal number of touring pros still prefer straight fluorocarbon over the braid/fluorocarbon combination. And while I will use the braid combo on occasion, I am among those who prefer to fish with straight fluorocarbon when drop shotting. There really isn’t a right …

Lake St. Clair’s all-time classic lure

There are two things you can count on at Lake St. Clair – the wind will eventually blow hard enough to stir its 430 square miles of water into ocean like proportions – and the smallmouth will usually bite a 4.5-inch tube jig. The second day of practice for the 2017 Advanced Auto Parts Bassmaster Elite Series on St. Clair was no exception. “A man could use a Motrin after a day like this,” said Kevin VanDam upon finally reaching calm waters near the protected harbor of a Harrison Township boat ramp. VanDam had been riding the spine-jarring waves for more than …