Over the years, B.A.S.S. has experimented with a variety of “novelty” tournament formats, with mixed results. Most recently it’s been with the Classic Bracket at Niagara, but in the past there’s been the Wild Card, the Superstars and even team formats.
As a result of his stellar 2016 Elite Series campaign, Gerald Swindle became the 11th angler in B.A.S.S. history to earn multiple Bassmaster AOY titles.
You glass-half-empty guys will say that he needs five more to catch KVD and seven more to equal Roland’s total. The glass-half-full types will counter with the fact that he has more of ‘em that Skeet, Ike, Hack, Denny, Hank or – gasp – Clunn, six certain Hall of Famers who can be identified by one name apiece.
In the end, Seth Feider’s only option at La Crosse was to fish his butt off and hope for the best. It paid off with a personal-best 2nd place Elite Series finish and a chance to progress on to Mille Lacs, where if a few Jenga pieces fall in perfect order he might even be able to make it to the 2017 Bassmaster Classic.
In America, I’m told, most babies’ first words are either “mama” or “dada.”
In Mexico, I’m convinced, most fishing guides’ first words are “You have dye?”
Seriously, every time I’ve been to El Salto or Picachos or Mateos, I’ve quickly learned that you don’t throw a watermelon lizard or a green pumpkin Senko in the drink without dying the tail chartreuse before it gets wet. Otherwise you’ll get a serious case of stinkeye from your guide and perhaps some under-the-breath Spanglish decrying know-nothing gringos.
Another year, another great tour-level tournament on the Potomac, once again won by an out-of-stater. In fact, this year’s winner Justin Lucas is a two-timing out-of-stater, having migrated from California to Alabama. Despite the fact that he professes to love the Potomac, it’s a near certainty that he never considered moving here. That’s fine – there have been no superstar anglers who honed their trade on the Potomac, so why should he break the streak?
My Montana cutthroat replica arrived a few days ago, looking as if it had been freshly snatched from the Bitterroot. It’s been 11 months since I caught the trout, and seeing it again brought me back to a really good memory – positive not just because the trip was a celebration of our 10th anniversary, but also because it occurred in a remarkably beautiful place as one puzzle piece in an exceptional vacation. Furthermore, in a life filled with what some people might say are too many days chasing fish only to throw them back, it was my first fly fishing experience.
Unlike the other mounts in our house, the decision to purchase this replica was not preordained. I’d always said that I’d get a replica made when I caught a double digit largemouth, so when I caught a 12 pounder on my birthday in 2012, I ordered one that afternoon. Before our second trip to the Amazon, the Redheaded Wife and I had decided that if either/both of us caught a peacock bass of 18 pounds or more, we’d get a replica made. She caught two nineteens and I caught a twenty and a twenty one, so we each earned one for the wall. When I went trout fishing, though, I had no such prior notions. In fact, nearly a year later, I still don’t know whether this fish was a “trophy” for the Bitterroot or for anywhere else, and I really don’t care. This one is less about some semi-arbitrary marker of trophy status than it was about rediscovering what I loved about fishing in the first place.
I’m certainly not going to take away any credit from Justin Lucas. He found the best spot on the river last week and figured out the best way to catch the fish. But for a late game Herculean charge by Jason Christie to pull within four and a half pounds, he would’ve won by double digits. It was the second of what many informed observers expect to be many Elite Series titles in his career.
It sort of seems like ancient history, but it wasn’t all that long ago that the bass world was frantic about Powroznikgate.
For those of you who’ve forgotten, the Bassmaster Classic Bracket tournament on the Niagara River was held in a bracket style format, with the winner getting an automatic berth in the 2017 Bassmaster Classic. Seven of the eight competitors had already more or less clinched spots in big rodeo, with Koby Kreiger being the sole outlier. Jacob Powroznik, Kreiger’s friend and roommate on the road, not only took a dive when he and his buddy were matched up, but he actually coached Kreiger through the process of catching a bass to beat him.