Category Archives: Tournament Fishing



KVD Announces His Final Season as a Touring Pro

Columbia, S.C. – All good things must come to an end. Kevin VanDam’s last season as a professional touring pro will end after this year’s 2023 Bass Pro Tour season. Arguably the greatest tournament angler ever, has decided this years Bass Pro Tour season will be his last as a tournament angler. “This being my 33rd season as a touring pro, at the age and my place in life and career, I have decided I can be more impactful in the industry I love very much,” Kevin said. “I still have a lot to give back to the sport I am so passionate about.” Kevin is the most decorated tournament angler of all time with records that may never be broken. Seven BASS AOY Titles and an FLW AOY title; 4 Bassmaster Classic wins; 25 total BASS wins and 4 MLF wins. What’s more, KVD has competed in over 320 BASS events and owns 121 top-10 finishes (183 top-20’s). Amazingly, he has scored a top 10 in 35-percent of the BASS events he has ever entered.

Kevin is known as a loyal and committed partner to his sponsors. “I have a long history with the brands as a competitive angler. Brands like Strike King and Quantum have been with me since the beginning and Lew’s, along with Strike King and Quantum, have been invaluable partners that helped get me to where I am. The people at these brands are like family, and I look forward to being a better ambassador in the future and being even more involved,” Kevin proclaimed. Rather Outdoors CEO Ken Eubanks reminisces on the impact Kevin has had throughout the years. “Kevin’s impact on this business has been profound, and among those who contribute to the success of Strike King and Lew’s, he is simply without peer. Yet, when Kevin walks through the shop at Strike King, or sits at the table with the Lew’s team, we don’t see him as a business collaborator, or a pro we sponsor; we see him as family,” shares Eubanks.

Major League Fishing President and CEO Boyd Duckett noted, “Today is both a sad day and a time for celebration in our sport. Kevin VanDam, the greatest professional angler of all time, announced that he is retiring at the end of the season. Kevin has been an integral part of Major League Fishing from our very beginning and has been a pioneer in helping develop this league. There has never been a more unselfish angler when it comes to helping grow the sport of bass fishing, for the anglers or the fans.” Dave Mercer, long time emcee of the Bassmaster Elites Series, said, “Kevin VanDam is without a doubt, the greatest professional angler in history. Not only does his list of accomplishments dominate almost every single category of the record books, he changed & reinvented all aspects of the sport – both on and off the water. One of the most over used quotes in the world today is ‘The GOAT,’ but Kevin VanDam truly is the Greatest of All Time. Thank You Kevin!”

We at Rather Outdoors congratulate Kevin on his retirement from competitive tournaments and look forward to continued collaborations in the future.

 About Rather Outdoors

Rather Outdoors is a global outdoors corporation uniting some of the most recognizable brands in the fishing space. With historic and iconic brands such as Lew’s, Strike King, Quantum, Zebco, Fox, Matrix, Salmo and Fox Rage, Rather Outdoors provides a wide assortment of fishing products worldwide in an effort to enhance angler’s success and the enjoyment of outdoor pursuits. To learn more about the Rather Outdoors brands, visit

Flint River Bass Club Rules

The Flint River Bass Club was formed around 1970 and suggested rules were received from the Bass Angler Sportsman Society. These rules were developed from them and have been adjusted over the years. They serve the club well as they are now.

The Spalding County Sportsman Club rules differ in several ways.

The Flint River Bass Club was formed around 1970 and suggested rules were received from the Bass Angler Sportsman Society. These rules were developed from them and have been adjusted over the years. They serve the club well as they are now. The rules for the Spalding County Sportsman Club were developed locally and are a little different. See them at the link to the right.

Rules of the Club


Date of meetings:

  1. The Flint River Bass Club, Inc. will hold a regular scheduled meeting on the first Tuesday of every month, unless changed by the membership. Special meetings may be called, at any time by the President. The Board of Directors will meet when requested by the President.

Membership Limit:

  1. On April 2, 1974 the membership limit shall be expanded to and held at thirty five (35) members.

Membership Annual Dues:

  1. The annual membership dues shall be twenty dollars $20, payable before fishing a tournament.


Qualifications to fish a tournament:

  1. All tournament participants must be a member in good standing of the club prior to fishing their first tournament. (An exception to this rule is a member may bring a guest to a tournament. The guest can fish one tournament (annually) before joining the club. They will pay the same tournament fees as regular members and receive any money they win. A Guest must fish with a club member.) (A guest cannot take part in Progressive Big Fish Pot.) A person may join the club at the tournament site. POINTS FOR GUESTS DELETED

Insurance Requirements:

  1. All members using their boats in any club tournament or any related club function will be required to have in force a liability insurance policy in the amount of three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000.00) or $100,000 plus a one million dollar umbrella policy that cover liability on the boat.

Tournament Fees:

  1. Tournament fee shall be twenty ($25.00) per tournament. All tournament fees will be paid prior to the start of the tournament, unless a contestant is late for the tournament. If a participant pays his tournament fee and for any reason other than being disqualified for a rules violation, is unable to fish in the tournament, his money will be refunded.

There will also be a voluntary Big Fish Pot at each tournament. The fee is $5 and the total pot will be awarded to the member or guest weighing the heaviest bass in the tournament.

A voluntary Cumulative Big Fish Pot will also be collected. It is $5 at each tournament and will be awarded to any club member that is current in the pot weighing a bass at 6.0  pounds or more.  Once the pot is broken it will start over. At the end of the year, if the pot has not been broken during the year, or since it was broken, the club member with the heaviest bass weighed in will win the pot if current in it.  A member must be paid up in the pot when their fish wins the pot, you can not pay at the end of the tournament to win it.

A Voluntary Points Pot of $5 will also be collected at each tournament. At the end of the year the points winner will receive half of the money collect if current in the pot. The remaining half will be awarded to the winner of a drawing to be held at the January meeting among all the members current in the pot from the previous year. To get into the Points Pot, members have until March to get in it or stay out.  New members may catch up by paying all previous months if they get into the pot no later than the meeting after their first tournament.

Distribution of tournament fees:

  1. All entry fees from the tournament shall be divided as follows and distributed as follows: Four places will be paid in this order, first place – 40%; second place – 30%; third place – 20%; fourth place 10%.

Late for Tournament:

  1. A late constant will launch his boat and proceed to find another tournament participant before doing any fishing. He must pay his tournament fee, have his live well checked, confirm the tournament weigh-in time with a member who has already paid his entry fee and is fishing the tournament, and check his watch before he is officially in the tournament. A tardy contestant will not be allowed to make up for lost time.

Choosing a Partner:

  1. All tournament contestants will have the option to draw for a partner, choose a partner, or go alone, except for designated draw tournaments.

Boat Problem Prior to Start of Tournament:

  1. In an emergency, if a boat is totally inoperable prior to the start of a tournament, the contestants in the disabled boat may be placed in another tournament boat by invitation. On two day tournaments they may be placed in the same boat or a different boat by another invitation.


  1. It is required that all tournament participants wear a securely fastened, USCG approved, chest type life preserver anytime the combustible engine is operating and boat is on plane. Safe motoring conduct must be observed at all times by the tournament participants. Caution and good judgment, on tournament starts, must be observed. Every boat must have all required Coast Guard safety equipment.


Tackle and Equipment:

  1. Only artificial lures may be used. No live bait or prepared bait will be permitted, however, pork or pork type strips, rinds, etc., may be used. All bass must be caught live and in a conventional sporting manner. Only casting, spin casting, or spinning rods and reels may be used. All other types are prohibited. Only one rod may be used at a time.

13Boat Operation and Expense:

A full discussion should be held between the two partners prior to the tournament start as to a schedule of boat operation. A schedule must be set that permits each partner equal time to fish from the front of the boat and operate the trolling motor so he may select his choice of fishing locations. In the event that one contestant elects not to operate the trolling motor and such election is satisfactory to his partner, the contestant waiving the right to operate the trolling motor shall have the right to choose the fishing spots one half of the time. Any contestant found operating the boat in an obvious and deliberate manner so as to handicap, his partner shall be disqualified. Trolling with a gasoline motor as a method of fishing is prohibited.

Daily fishing partners are expected to work out satisfactory arrangements between themselves as to which partner will furnish the boat and motor, this should equal at least twenty dollars ($20.00) on one day tournaments.

Official Checkpoints:

  1. Tournament headquarters shall be in the launch site area. All fishermen must start and end each tournament day in this area. The official weigh-in station shall also be in this area. Contestants must not leave the boat to land a fish.

Permitted Fishing Locations:

  1. Fishing is permitted any place on the tournament waters, except within fifty (50) yards of another contestant’s boat that was first anchored at a location. All fishing must be done from the boat. Contestant’s must not leave the boat to land a fish.

Determination of Tournament Winners (Scoring):

  1. Placement in each tournament will be determined by pounds and hundredths of a pound. Tournament winners will be determined by the total pounds and hundredths accumulated during the time of the tournament. Only black, largemouth, spotted or smallmouth bass may be weighed. There will be a five (5) bass per day limit. Each contestant will be responsible for keeping his bass separate from his partners. The contestants with the highest total weight will be declared the tournament winner, with the next highest weight being second place, etc., until each contestant has been ranked. At the end of each tournament, Tournament Director will total each contestant’s total weigh and announce the top ten (10) places for the tournament.

Awarding of Bonus Weight 17. Deleted

Awarding of Points for Determining Club Standings:

  1. A point system will be used to rank members in the club. The points will be accumulated throughout the year to determine the end of the year standings, points will be awarded to the membership in the following manner:
  2. Meetings: All members present for the monthly meeting will be awarded ten (10) points each. Questionable attendance will be decided by the Board of Directors.
  3. Tournaments: All contestants will receive twenty (20) points for participating in each Tournament. In addition, placement points will be awarded on a decreasing scale with first place receiving one hundred (100) points, second place ninety (90) points, and decreasing by ten (10) points each place through tenth place which will receive ten (10) points. Participants weighing a fish but not placing in the top ten places will be awarded five (5) points. At least one fish must be weighed-in to receive any placement points.

Size Limits and Measurement of Fish:

  1. All bass must be a minimum of twelve (12) inches in length in order to be weighed-in. Other size limits shall be as per state regulations governing that specific lake or body of water. (A spotted bass will be determined by checking for a patch of teeth on the tongue. If the teeth are present it will be considered a spot.) All questionable fish will be measured on the official measuring board. As a penalty, One Pound for each undersized bass brought to the weigh-in station will be subtracted from that contestant’s total weight and the short fish will not be weighed. Official measuring board will be used for official measuring only. All Game and Fish laws that apply to length or size of fish apply to each individual lake regardless of the above rules. (You may not bring more than the club limit to the scales. The penalty for above the limit is eliminating the heaviest fish until the limit is reached. All fish brought to the scales will be considered for the above rules.)

Late Penalty:

  1. Contestants must be represented at the official weigh-in area on time. (In the ramp area and not fishing.) Any contestant (s) not reporting in by weigh-in time will forfeit three (3%) of his weight for each minute he is late. After fifteen (15) minutes he will lose all weight. This also applies to any Big Fish award. Each represented contestant will be given ample time to weigh-in his fish. Exact fishing hours will be announced at the registration time. If a tournament participant leaves a tournament early he must notify another participant on the lake or leave a note on the Tournament Directors vehicle. If you leave the tournament early you may leave your fish with another contestant who can weigh in for you.

In Case of Ties:

  1. In case of tie the places in question will be combined and the money will be divided equally by the two (2) contestants and tournament points for the highest place will be awarded to both contestants.


  1. The Tournament Director must be notified of any protest within fifteen (15) minutes after the contestant wishing to protest has weighed-in his fish. A written protest must then be submitted to the tournament Director within thirty (30) minutes of the notification. The Tournament Director will then turn the written protest over to the Board of Directors for a resolution of the matter.


Severe Weather Conditions:

  1. In case of severe weather conditions if a tournament is postponed it will be canceled and there will not be a makeup tournament.

Selection of Lakes, Launch Sites and Tournament Times:

  1. A tournament committee shall be appointed each year consisting of the top six (6) fishermen from the previous year. The top fisherman from the previous year will be appointed as Tournament Director for the year. One tournament shall be held each month on the first weekend after the monthly meeting when possible. Tournament sites for the year will be selected by the tournament committee prior to the January meeting. This slate of tournaments for the year will be voted on by the membership at the January meeting. Once adopted this schedule can only changed by following the procedure for a by-law change.

Selection of Top Six (6) Team Members: Deleted

  1. The club team for the Georgia Bass Chapter Federation (GBCF) and the Georgia BASS Nation Top Six Tournament shall be elected at the first meeting in January of each year. This team shall be selected from the club standings from the previous year (Jan.-Dec.), starting at the top of the list and continuing down until the team and the alternate (s) who elect to participate. The three boats listed for use in the federation tournament will be determined by the order of the participants’ final standings.

Club Responsibilities to Top Six (6) Team Members: Deleted

  1. The club shall furnish the total entry fee in the Bass Federation Nation (BASS) for the top six (6) if there are funds in the treasury.

Awards for Top Club Fishermen:

  1. At the end of the year, trophies, plaques or cash shall be awarded to the top fisherman and as follows: first runner-up, and for largest fish caught during the previous season in club tournaments. Plaques of recognition will be awarded to third through sixth place. The value of each type award shall remain relatively the same each year.

Responsibilities of Board of Directors on These Rules:

  1. Anything not covered in these rules shall be turned over to the Board of Directors for a decision. The decision by the Board of Directors shall be final and binding for this time and matter only. The board of directors shall be made up as: President, past president, vice president, sec. treasurer, and tournament director.

Method of Amending These Rules: 29. These rules may be amended by a majority vote of members present at any regular meeting, provided notice of the proposed change was stated in the monthly bulletin prior to the meeting calling for a vote. The procedure for an amendment to these rules are as follows:

  1. A motion and a second for a proposed amendment, stating the proposed amendment must be made at a regular monthly meeting. B. Discussion of the proposed amendment will follow. C. Vote on motion to propose the amendment. If motion passes the proposed amendment will be published in the next monthly bulletin and voted on at the next monthly meeting. If the motion to propose the amendment fails no further action will be necessary

Officers of the club shall be President, Vice President, and Secretary/Treasurer – they shall be elected each year from and by the membership of the club at the December meeting. The tournament chairman will be the top fisherman in the club point standings from the year before.

  1. Tournament committee shall be comprised of the executive officers and the top six fishermen. This committee will rule on all decisions. its decisions shall be final in all tournament matters.
  2. The tournament committee shall plan the dates and locations of all tournaments. The schedule will be presented for a vote by the club membership at the January meeting each year. After adoption, the schedule can only be changed by following the rule for a by-law change. Tournaments can be canceled by the tournament director due to dangerous conditions. NO canceled tournament will be rescheduled.
  3. Recorder shall be the same as the club tournament director. Duties shall consist of keeping complete tournament records and enforcing tournament rules.
  4. Tournament director will receive and distribute any tournament money.

Hot July Tournament At Bartletts Ferry

 The first Sunday in July eight members of the Flint River Bass Club fished our June tournament at Bartletts Ferry. We also had one youth fish the tournament.  The club has a special category for youth; they fish with an adult club member or family member and there is no entry fee for them. If they catch a keeper fish they win a prize package of fishing lures. We do not give participation prizes! 

    After eight hours of casting, we weighed in 27 12-inch keeper bass weighing about 31 pounds. There were three five-bass limits and one fisherman didn’t have a keeper.   

Lee Hancock won with five bass weighing 7.87 pounds and Doug Acree placed second with three weighing 5.74 pounds. Doug also had big fish with a 3.41 pound largemouth.  My five weighing 4.96 pounds was third and Niles Murray placed fourth with five at 4.80 pounds.  

Fishing with Lee Hancock, Jett Collins won the youth division with four bass weighing 3.57 pounds, enough to place fifth in the regular tournament.   

I started out pretty good with a keeper spot on a buzzbait within five minutes of our start at 6:00
AM. Then just over an hour later I got a keeper largemouth on a weightless worm under dock. Two in the livewell in less than two hours gave me hope. 

At noon the hope was about gone. It was miserably hot with no breeze to cool me off. And the lake had gotten really rough from pleasure boaters by 9:00 and it was dangerous to sit out in open water fishing. Too many folks do not pay attention to where they are going when driving a boat.  

Even halfway back in coves I thought I was going to get run over twice, once by a pontoon boat full of folks cruising the shoreline and once by a big wake boat pulling two little kids. 

At noon I decided to go to an area with some docks that have produced some keeper fish in June for me in the past.  My first cast with a shaky head hit a post and I got hung. Rather then go in and get it and mess up the fishing, I put that rod down, picked up a rod with a whacky rigged Senko on it and skipped it under the dock. 

A keeper spot grabbed the bait as it sank and I was able to pull it away from the post and land it.  Then on the next dock my first cast produced a keeper spot then another keeper spot, giving me my limit.  Then the same dock produced a spot too short to weigh. 

That was it. I fished docks for the last two hours and caught a couple more short fish, but no more keepers.  

The hot summertime is not the best time of the year for bass fishing.  Many bass go to deep water to avoid the heat and bright sun, and others get as far back into cover like docks for the shade. They are hard to cast to and even harder to land. 

It can be dangerous, too. Way too many folks get in boats and run around without a clue there are rules on driving a boat, just like a car.  I can’t count the times I have been meeting a boat going in the opposite direction and they insist on going to my right to try to pass me, the exactly opposite of the law. 

I prefer fishing at night this time of year, it is more comfortable, the fish bite better and there are fewer boats out there. The clubs used to have night tournaments in the summer but some members don’t like them so they got them ended rather than just not fishing them. 

It can be dangerous at night, but no more dangerous than during the day, and with fewer boats there is less dangerous.   

Bigger lakes offer places to hide from the pleasure boaters.  Fishermen can go way up creeks and rivers where stuff in the water keeps some pleasure boats out.  But skidoos seem to thrill in running such places and making them tough to fish. 

There are a few ways to cool off. I try to fish shady banks as much as possible. And dipping a cap full of water and dumping it over my head helps. Riding on plane in my boat creates a nice breeze, but the water is often so rough that is no fun. 

Even with all the problems, I would rather be out there fishing rather than sitting at home at a computer wasting time! 

Flint River Bass Club Fishing At Lake Oconee In 2017

 Two weeks ago 13 Flint River Bass club members and one youth fished our June tournament at Lake Oconee. We landed 23 keeper bass longer than the 14-inch minimum size that weighed about 41 pounds.  There was one limit and two members did not catch a keeper.

    Niles Murray wore us all out with a limit weighing 12.49 pounds and had big fish with a 3.99 pound largemouth.  My three at 5.34 pounds was second, Wes Delay placed third with two weighing 4.53 pounds and Don Gober was fourth with two at 4.34 pounds. 

    Harrison Edge, fishing with dad Ryan, won the youth division with two keepers weighing 2.22 pounds.  We allow youth to fish all our club tournaments with no entry fee and they compete only with other youth.  Any youth catching fish win a prize package rather than cash.

    Last Saturday 16 member of the Potato Creek Bassmasters fished our June tournament at Oconee.  We landed 26 keeper bass weighing about 49 pounds.  There was one limit and four members zeroed.

    Ryan Edge won with five weighing 9.27 pounds.  Donnie Willis placed second with four at 7.97 pounds and Jack Ridgeway came in third with four at 7.07 pounds.  William Scott placed fourth with three weighing 7.13 pounds and had big fish with a 3.60  pound largemouth, and my two weighing 3.5 pounds was good for fifth.

    Last Tuesday I went back to Oconee with Brad Stalnaker, a local tournament fisherman that knows the lake well. We fished nine hours in the rain getting information for the August Georgia Outdoor News Map of the Month article.

    The day was perfect for throwing a buzzbait on shallow grassbeds and seawalls, Brad’s favorite way to fish in the summer.  We landed about six keepers and Brad had one that weighed about 3.5 pounds.  Even with the good conditions, fishing was tough. I landed one keeper.  I am seeing a disturbing downhill pattern on Oconee for me, and the Sportsman Club is fishing it today.

    In the first tournament, I landed 11 bass under the 14-inch minimum size limit and just three keepers.  In the second one I had a dozen short fish and only two keepers.  With Brad I landed about eight short fish but only one keeper.

    I hope the fishing for keepers is better for me today and does not follow the pattern. If it does I won’t catch a keeper!  I am torn trying to decide whether to fish my pattern that produced five keepers in two trips or Brads that produced more keepers, but the conditions were very different.

    Lake Oconee is getting as bad as Lanier with all the big off-shore boats running around.  It is hard to fish after about 10:00 AM with huge waves rocking the boat and crashing into the bank.

    I hope it rains all day today!

Hot Tough Tournament At Lake Sinclair

Last Saturday 14 members of the Potato Creek Bassmasters fished our July tournament at Lake Sinclair.  Fishing from 5:30 AM to 12:30 PM unsuccessfully trying to beat the heat, we landed 24 bass longer than the 12-inch minimum with a total weigh of about 39 pounds.  There were three five-fish limits and six people did not have a keeper.

    Lee Hancock had a good catch far outpacing the rest of us with five weighing 11.80 pounds for first.  Raymond English was second with five weighing 5.42 pounds, Dan Dupree’s three weighing 5.23 pounds was third and my five weighing 5.19 pounds placed fourth. Donnie Willis had one fish but it weighed 4.94 pounds for big fish.

    Since we started before daylight I just knew I could catch some bass around lighted boat docks, but after hitting three in the first half hour I had not gotten a bite. I then went to a rocky point leading into a cove with grass beds and docks where I have caught many bass in the past.

    A good fish hit my buzzbait on the point but I missed it. I did not get another bite in that cove.  The next stop was a deep rocky point with a brush pile on it and I caught a short bass there. In a nearby cove nothing hit around docks but I finally caught a keeper at 8:00 AM in a brush pile about eight feet deep on a jig head worm.

    I got no more bites until 10:00 when a bass hit my jig head worm on a point. I set the hook and the fish came to the top and I saw it was a two pound plus bass. I guess I got too excited and tried to get it in the boat too fast.  It came unhooked as it came over the side of the boat, hit the deck at my feet, bounced twice and went over the other side. I almost went into the water trying to grab it.

    After that I was totally disgusted.  It was hot and I had lost a fish. But at 11:00 I decided the sun was high enough to drive some bass into the shade under docks. The third dock I fished, skipping a Senko under them, I caught my best fish of the day, about a pound and a half.

    I continued to fish docks and at noon caught my fifth keeper. I just had time enough to secure all my tackle and make a long run in very rough water back to the ramp.

    The Sportsman Club is fishing our July tournament today at Sinclair. I wonder if I can catch a bass under docks?

Hard To Catch Fish for Me In A Guntersville Tournament

I could have stayed home and cut grass last weekend rather than going to Lake Guntersville for the Potato Creek August Tournament.  In two days nine of us landed 24 keepers weighing about 58 pounds.  There were no limits and three fishermen didn’t catch a keeper in two days, I think.

    Kwong Yu won with six weighing 17.15 pounds and had big fish with a 5.47 pound largemouth, Tommy Reeves had four weighing 10.52 for second, Ryan Edge came in third with four weighing 10.35 pounds and Raymond English was fourth with five at 10.27 pounds.

    Fishing was tough.  The first day I tried everything I knew to do, from shallow grassbeds to deep ledges.  I caught some short fish that I could not weigh in.  The size limit at Guntersville is 15 inches for largemouth and smallmouth and there is no limit on spotted bass but our club has a 12-inch size limit on them.

    At 11:00 I hooked and lost what felt like a decent fish that hit a jig and pig on a shellbed on a 14-foot-deep ledge.  I fished several other places then at 2:00 went back to the shellbed and caught a 15-inch spotted bass on my first cast with the jig and pig.  An hour later I landed a 16-inch spot there that hit my jig as I reeled it in for another cast. That was a suicide spot that was just meant to get caught.

    That day Ryan led with four weighing just over ten pounds and Raymond was second with four weighing eight pounds.  The second day I never hooked a keeper although I fished the shellbed hard, starting there at daylight. 

    Kwong had the kind of day we all hope for the second day. On the first day, like me, he had two keepers weighing three pounds. But on Sunday he landed four weighing almost 14 pounds, including the big fish, and won.

    Fishing will continue to be very tough for at least another month, then the cooler weather should make fishing more comfortable and encourage the bass to bite.

Potato Creek Bassmasters May Tournament at Lake Hartwell

Last Friday and Saturday 13 members of the Potato Creek Bassmasters fished our May tournament at Lake Hartwell. From 6:00 AM to 4:00 PM Friday and 6:00 AM to 2:00 PM Saturday, it took us 18 hours to land 98 keeper bass weighing about 173 pounds.  There were 13 five bass limits and no one zeroed.

    Raymond English won with ten bass weighing 20.71 pound, beating Niles Murray who came in second with ten weighing 20.68 pounds.  Unfortunately for him but good for Raymond, Niles had a .06 pound penalty for a dead fish that made the difference!

    Lee Hancock had ten weighing 18.27 pounds for third and Glenn Anderson had ten for 18.9 pounds for fourth and his 5.0 pound largemouth was big fish. My nine at 14.42 pounds was way back for fifth.

    Hartwell seems to get me every year. Potato Creek has fished Hartwell this same weekend in May since I joined the club seven years ago, and it seems I always come up short.  Even though I went up Tuesday and camped at Hartwell State Park and looked for something that would catch fish for two days before the tournament, I did not find it!

    We put in for the tournament at the mouth of Little Beaverdam Creek, many miles by water from where I camped but only 15 minutes driving on the road.  Wednesday I drove to Hatton Ford Ramp, the tournament site, and looked around that area then put in at the state park to practice in that area on Thursday.

    I tried a variety of places and lures both days.  I thought I had found a pattern casting a weightless Trick worm to shallow cover on shady banks, catching a few keeper bass doing that on Wednesday. And Thursday I caught some on a buzzbait on a shady bank. That gave me something of a plan.

    I started the tournament pretty good, catching a limit of keepers before 6:45.  I ran back in a small creek I have been fishing since catching fish there in s Top Six Tournament in the 1980s and caught two on a spinnerbait around bushes.  Then at one dock I caught two on a topwater plug, missed two more on it, and caught my fifth fish on a whacky rigged worm.

    At about 8:00 I started running different things, hitting a couple humps and points.  Then at 10:00 I went back into a small creek and started catching better fish on a Carolina rigged Baby Brush Hog.  I quickly culled all five I had caught early then spent the next two hours culling up, landing about 15 keepers in two hours.

    For some reason I stopped getting bites around noon.  I tried a lot of different things that afternoon but had five weighing 8.71 pounds to weigh in, putting me in sixth place.

    Saturday morning I ran back to the same small creek where I started the day before and got one bite, from an 11 inch bass!  It started as “one of those days,” no keepers and on one cast the side plate of one of my favorite reels fell off, hit the deck and bounced into the lake!

After setting up another rod, I then ran to the creek where I had caught so many the day before, and got one bite, this time a 13-inch spot.  I have no idea what changed other than it was cloudy Friday and sunny Saturday, and there were a lot more boats running around Saturday.

    I kept fishing and caught two more keepers but broke my line setting the hook twice and missed two more bites.  Everything just went wrong. With 30 minutes left to fish I went back to a point near weigh-in and caught my fourth fish on a roadbed with ten minutes left to fish.

That was the best ending I could hope for on a bad day!

Spalding County Sportsman Club May Tournament at West Point Lake 

Last Sunday 11 members of the Spalding County Sportsman Club fished our May tournament at West Point Lake.  We fished nine hours, from 6:00 AM to 3:00 PM, to land 43 bass weighing about 74 pounds.  There were six five bass limits and one person did not weigh in a keeper.

    Raymond English blew us all away with a great catch of five bass weighing 17.01 pounds and had a 5.33 pound largemouth for big fish.  Glenn Anderson came in second with five at 12.58 pounds and had a 5.12 pound largemouth for second biggest bass.  Doug Acree had a five bass limit weighing 7.87 pounds for third, Lee Hancock had five weighing 7.60 pounds for fourth and my five at 6.88 pounds was fifth.

    I had a very frustrating start.  On a rocky bank that usually has some feeding fish at daylight, I hooked four bass that looked like keepers, and lost all four.  Two jumped and threw my buzzbait although had a trailer hook on it. And two jumped and threw my popping plug.

At 7:30 I finally hooked and landed a keeper spot on a shaky head worm, then at 9:00 I landed another keeper spot on a Carolina rigged worm.  I had tried a variety of places and baits without much luck and that continued until 11:30.

I decided to try something different so I went to one of the few docks in the area and skipped a whacky rigged Senko under it.  I saw a fish swim over and go down after it and hit it, and I landed a very skinny 16 inch largemouth.

The next three docks I fished produced two more keepers, one spot and another skinny largemouth, giving me my limit by noon.  Then it got tough again. I kept looking for docks to fish and caught another largemouth that culled one of my small spots at 2:00.

While Zane backed my trailer in for me I skipped the Senko to the dock at the ramp, saying this is my last cast today. I landed my seventh keeper, a small spot that did not cull, before I had to load my boat.  

BASS Founder Ray Scott Dead At 88 Years Old


from The Fishing Wire

Ray Scott Dead at 88

Ray Scott, the man who founded Fishing Tackle Retailer (FTR) and the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (BASS) and forged the modern sportfishing industry died in Montgomery, Alabama, Sunday night of natural causes. He was 88 years old.

Born in Montgomery in 1933, Scott’s legend is well known among bass anglers. He was an insurance salesman who dreamed of taking bass fishing to a wider audience. In 1967, while waiting out some bad weather on a fishing trip, Scott sat in his motel room and had an epiphany. He would create a bass tournament format that would be fair, honest, and compelling. He dreamed of a time when professional bass fishing would appear on television alongside traditional spectator sports.

“It all just came to me,” Scott said. “I knew it would work.”

In June of 1967, he organized and conducted the All-American bass fishing tournament on Beaver Lake in Arkansas — the first modern bass competition and the template for all that have followed. Six months later, he started BASS, one of the largest fishing membership organizations in history. In 1968, he published the first issue of Bassmaster Magazine. In 1984, he launched “The Bassmasters” television program. About that same time, Scott started Fishing Tackle Retailer magazine as a division of BASS. It was his foray into the larger tackle industry and created a platform through which he could speak to retailers and industry professionals across the country and across all angling demographics.

“He created an entire industry,” said FTR co-publisher Brian Thurston. “Ray was probably the most influential individual sportfishing has ever seen and one of the best promoters of all time.”

It would be almost impossible to overstate the importance of Scott in the bass fishing world specifically and in the sportfishing world generally.

While growing BASS — which peaked at about 750,000 members and still boasts over half a million — Scott impacted virtually every other aspect of modern sportfishing, from water quality to safety to catch-and-release. He was a visionary, a trailblazer, an evangelist, an igniter, a showman, a salesman, a marketer, an entrepreneur, a publisher, a conservationist, and a leader. Most of those who work in the bass fishing industry and many in the sportfishing industry owe their careers to him.

Scott sold BASS and FTR to a group of investors in 1986, but he stayed involved as an executive and as the face of BASS. In the 1990s, he created Ray Scott Outdoors, a communications and marketing firm for fishing industry products and companies. Throughout the ’90s, he was a fixture at industry trade and consumer shows.

But fishing was not Scott’s only interest or passion, he also founded the Whitetail Institute of North America, advancing nutrition and habitat efforts for America’s favorite big game animal. And Scott was involved in politics, supporting the presidential bids of George H.W. Bush in 1980, 1988, and 1992. For several decades, Scott dedicated much of his time and resources to supporting his church — Pintlala Baptist Church in Pintlala, Alabama.

He is survived by his wife, Susan, and four children. Funeral services have yet to be announced.

Flint River Bass Club May West Point Bass Tournament

Last Saturday nine members of the Flint River Bass Club fished our May tournament at West Point. We cast from 6:30 AM to 2:30 PM to land 21 keeper bass weighing about 30 pounds.  Three people had five bass limits and two members did not catch a fish.

Niles Murray won with five bass weighing 8.05 pounds and had a 2.99 pound largemouth for big fish.  Lee Hancock came in second with five weighing 6.19 pounds, my five at 5.88 pounds was third and Doug Acree placed fourth with four at 5.46 pounds.

I have a favorite shallow gravel point in the spring at West Point near the dam. Shad spawn on it and I have caught many fish on it in April and May in past tournaments.

In one tournament about ten years ago I got seven hits on my first seven casts with a topwater popper. I landed five, putting my limit in the live well in less than ten minutes.  They were 14-inch spots and I ended up culling all of them later but that was a fast, fun ten minutes!

Shad were spawning there Saturday morning and I caught two keeper spots and two hybrids in the few minutes before the sunlight hit the water.  Then it got tough.  I had only one bite, a small keeper fish that jumped and threw my buzzbait at about 9:00 AM. 

The wind got strong and it was surprisingly cold.   I headed up the lake to fish a protected creek at 11:00 AM and noticed a small secondary point that I like to fish in a cove. And it looked protected from the wind.

I pulled in there and caught three keepers, filling my limit in the next 30 minutes.  Although I fished hard I got only one more bite, a keeper that culled my smallest spot, at 2:00, just 30 minutes before weigh-in.

Two of my bass and both hybrids came on a topwater popper, two on a Carolina rig and one on a shaky head worm.