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Hawk Talk - Plano Champion Chase on Lake St. Clair/Detroit River

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October 4, 2013

Lake St. Clair has been on fire the past few years, but tracking tournament results this year showed it wasn’t fishing as well as in year’s past.   In fact, most tournaments launching out of the Detroit River (in between St. Clair and Erie) were being won on Erie.  I knew my competitors were also doing their homework and many would dedicate themselves to Erie.  In addition to Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie and the Detroit River, we could also fish the St. Clair River and Lake Huron.  The boundaries were wide open and I expected anglers to take advantage of all the fishable waters.

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Last Updated on Friday, 04 October 2013 07:28 Read more...
 

A Morning With Gary

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By David A. Brown

October 3, 2013

As I pulled through the gates at the Inn at BK Ranch, I couldn't conceal a grin of anticipation. Like many,
I had wanted for quite some time to meet the owner and legendary bait maker Gary Yamamoto. And
by "meet" I mean more than the 15 seconds I get with him when he comes off the tournament stage –
fish bag in his right hand and his beloved long haired Chihuahua Bella lounging across his left forearm.
Well, through a recent media retreat, I finally got to meet Gary Yamamoto. It was nice, it was cordial and
it was gracious. But you know what was really cool – I got to meet "Gary."
At his Palestine, TX property, he and his lovely wife Beverly showered us with hospitality that included
several meals of fresh Kobe beef from the Wagyu cattle that graze sloping fields between the ponds we
fished. Now, some might assert that media event hosting inherently brings the big welcome. It does;
but Gary treated us like family – cooking for us, serving us, laughing with us and clearly enjoying his
unofficial role in this event's coordination.
Gary's private ponds offered plenty of photo material for forthcoming media projects, but this one felt
as much like a vacation as it did the highly productive work trip it turned out to be. Memory making
moments were many. Among them:
Gary told us all about his Wagyu cattle operation and why the Kobe beef has such incredible taste,
texture and health benefits.
We met Wataru Iwahori – the stick from Kawasaki City, Japan – and heard about his life-changing
opportunity of spending a year with Gary. (Wataru has undoubtedly learned much from his time visiting
and fishing with Gary, but probably his biggest takeaway will be the difference between cooking sake
and drinking sake. Ask Gary about that one sometime.)
I spent time each morning and afternoon snapping photos of the hummingbirds that buzz and aerially
joust around the feeders Beverly keeps on the back deck. And, of course, we got a kick out of the
prominent position Bella and her playmates Chica and Carmen hold at BK Ranch.
Yeah, we're still talking about the same guy whose professional angler credits cross the Pacific from
Japan's vibrant tournament scene to America's FLW and B.A.S.S. circuits; the same guy who has fished a
pair of Bassmaster Classics and X Forrest Wood Cups, and the same guy who literally revolutionized the
industry with that simple little worm called a Senko.
But beyond the business, beyond the international recognition, beyond the quiet, somewhat introverted
personality belying the bigger-than-life reputation – beyond all this, there is a guy who just really digs
fishing.
How do I know? Well, I got to see it live and in stereo. Yep, among the many wonderful experiences
I've been blessed with, few will ever top the honor and sincere enjoyment of tracking Gary and his pro-
staffer/pal Tom Monsoor as they strolled around one of the small ponds on BK Ranch and put his new
topwater baits through a rigorous workout with some serious bass.
Taking nothing away from his undeniably impressive resume and upholding the respectful view I
honestly have for the man, I can say to a certainty, that there's a very refreshing chunk of regular guy
inside this industry icon.
He'll grin just as widely at a pound-and-a-halfer as he does a 6. We saw him catch both and he clearly
enjoyed the totality of this morning's experience.
He recoils bitterly when he misses a fish and mutters a few things I'd have to bleep out for a live
broadcast.
He talks smack. Oh boy, does he talk smack!
Five minutes after Gary released his biggest fish (that 6-pounder) on the Shibuki popper, Monsoor's
Tate' walking bait fooled one flirting with 8. Did his fishing buddy congratulate him? Nope.
Any high fives? Uh-uh.
In true regular-guy form, Gary jabs: "See, you had to catch a bigger one just to out-do me!"
We all chuckled at that one, but it got better.
Shortly after relocating, Gary's popper touches down and a big bass must have been sitting there
watching it fall because the splash and the strike happened simultaneously. Gary sets the hook and
misses.
Bleep!
Well, Monsoor fires a cast to the same spot and immediately draws the ire of his host.
"You have this whole pond and you cast right into my spot!"
By now, I'm about to hyperventilate from laughing so hard. But the show ain't over yet.
Monsoor actually catches a fish right out of the same spot where Gary had just missed his.
Wow – that didn't sit well.
Gary's indignant response: "See, you only caught that fish because I got their attention."
The only thing funnier, was an earlier moment when Gary stood ankle-deep in a muddy, weedy slop;
leaning over and diligently working to revive his 6-pounder. The fish was a little slow to recharge its
batteries, so Gary stayed with her to make sure she'd be able to swim away safely.
Here's the good part. Gary stands up to stretch his back and right when he bends over to check on the
fish, it kicks off and throws a tail full of mud and weed across his arms and shirt.
Bleep!
Bleep!
Bleep-Bleep!
Bleep!
Okay, let's regroup and analyze. First, in case you're missing the vibe, this is all very tongue-in-cheek.
The morning unfolded as I've described it, but don't take Gary's ornery responses as anything more than
the good-natured ribbing that friends give one another.
That's how regular guys roll. It's nothing more than a subtle bonding tool that's been going on for ages.
So what's the point? Well, it's very simple: The world knows Gary Yamamoto, but not many realize
there's a really funny, sincere, genuine and downright likeable guy who prefers that you call him Gary.
As a professional, I was honored to have met the former. As a person, I'm really happy I got to know the
latter.
Thanks Gary.

As I pulled through the gates at the Inn at BK Ranch, I couldn't conceal a grin of anticipation. Like many, I had wanted for quite some time to meet the owner and legendary bait maker Gary Yamamoto. And by "meet" I mean more than the 15 seconds I get with him when he comes off the tournament stage – fish bag in his right hand and his beloved long haired Chihuahua Bella lounging across his left forearm.

Well, through a recent media retreat, I finally got to meet Gary Yamamoto. It was nice, it was cordial and it was gracious. But you know what was really cool – I got to meet "Gary."

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Last Updated on Monday, 14 October 2013 09:48 Read more...
 

Pick of the Products - The New Tournament Snap

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By Stan Fagerstrom

September 9, 2013

Shinichi Fukae has done it again.

If you’re a regular reader of this Pick of the Products column you undoubtedly remember the column that appeared here not long ago dealing with the new Swivel Shot set up Fukae developed for Gamakatsu Hooks.

That new drop shot device has had widespread acceptance among many of the pros who depend on using the drop shot when the situation they’re up against demands a finesse approach.

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Last Updated on Monday, 09 September 2013 13:26 Read more...
 

2013 Eastern Divisional - Making Every Bite Count

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By Jim Gildea


September 30, 2013

I’ve probably fished tougher tournaments in my fifteen years of tournament fishing, but right now I can’t think of one. To say that the TBF Eastern Divisional on the Connecticut River was tough would be an understatement.

Out of 98 anglers, only three caught a limit each of the three days and a quarter of the field didn't catch five keepers over three days. Most of the fish are small in the river, but there are big ones to be had. Brittany Johnson caught a 5 lb 3 ounce smallie on Day Two (she got it on a 5-inch Senko, color 329), and there were a number of 4 and 5 pounders weighed in each day. But overall, catching a limit was an accomplishment, so you knew every bite was going to count.

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Last Updated on Monday, 30 September 2013 14:14 Read more...
 

Write Like Wright

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By Pete Robbins


September 9, 2013

I never wanted to write like Hemingway, Thomas McGuane or Norman Maclean or even like Tim Tucker, for that matter. There are lines and themes and characters that I’ve admired in each of their work, but I never set any of them up as a template for what I wanted to do in my second career. At times I’ll read a piece by someone like Chuck Klosterman or Michael Lewis and there will be a turn of phrase so perfectly crafted that it makes me envious, but none of them have written about bass fishing – yet. Once, on vacation in Mexico, I was so wowed by one of Scott Raab’s paragraphs that I got up off the toilet without finishing my business, walked the book into the next room, and read it aloud to my wife. She was less impressed, not to mention horrified. Nevertheless, despite the lack of a clear role model I still hold out hope that there remains time to stamp out an identity for myself as someone with a small portion of those writers’ gifts without being a thief.

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Last Updated on Monday, 09 September 2013 13:04 Read more...
 


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