SC Shrinkage

SC Shrinkage

“The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”

--Famous quotation, dubiously attributed to Mark Twain

 

“The coldest I’ve been in a damn bass boat was the last Classic at Hartwell.”

--Famous quotation, attributed to just about anyone who was there in March of 2015.

Net Fish and Chill

Net Fish and Chill

Many of my friends who live south of the latitude of what Alice Cooper referred to as “the Good Land” have asked me what got into my slushee-addled brain that convinced me to go ice fishing. Since I prefer warm weather to cold, and activity to sitting around, I can’t say I blame them.

Wrap Stars

Wrap Stars

As year 13 of the Elite Series experiment commences, BASS has once again offered up one of my favorite photo galleries of the year, full side shots of all of the competitors’ boat wraps. Not many surprises – mostly endemics, related non-endemics, and related fields like oilfield supply companies – not a Tinder-themed boat in the mix, nor is there one touting the benefits of medicinal cannabis.

#SPOILED

#SPOILED

I came home from El Salto a few weeks ago not quite mad, but a little bit disappointed. My biggest fish on this trip was 7 pounds 10 ounces, which made it the second smallest “big fish” on any of the 11 trips I’ve taken there. My smallest big fish came on my first trip, when I topped out at a little over 6 pounds. It is a special place, one that will spoil you, and the vast majority of the time I’ve topped 8, usually several times. To put that in a bit of perspective, I’ve only caught one 8 pounder in Virginia in my life, and that one just pushed the needle to that mark.

Hecho en Mexico -- Cogs, Gears and Widgets

Hecho en Mexico -- Cogs, Gears and Widgets

I’ve had a front row seat for lots of fishing industry scoop – everything from watching the Classic winner catch the fish that puts him over the top, to staying in Elite pros’ guest bedrooms, to having pro staff coordinators call me for my thoughts on whether a particular angler would be a good fit for their team. I feel like I have a pretty good sense of how certain things operate both on stage and behind the scenes, including some parts of product development, having attended several carefully orchestrated dog and pony shows from various manufacturers.

Things I Have and You Don't -- El Especial

Things I Have and You Don't -- El Especial

For those of us who knew Mike Bucca back when he was “Triton Mike,” a friendly fisherman looking for his place in the industry, it’s a little bit surprising to see him at a boat show, selling his namesake Bull Shad swimbaits. The dude is a rock star – posing for pictures, signing autographs, kissing babies. Watching him at the Richmond Fishing Expo this past Saturday reminded me of my 2007 trip to the Yokohama Tackle Show, where fishing fans lined up 100 deep to shake the hand of Yuki Ito of Megabass.

Hecho en Mexico -- Deep Spin

Hecho en Mexico -- Deep Spin

We spent plenty of time out deep on our recent trip to El Salto, looking for fish that have yet to spawn and are still fat with eggs and recent meals of tilapia and shad. Big crankbaits like the 10XD produced, but not as consistently as they do in May and June, when the schools are more tightly packed offshore. Carolina Rigs, football jigs and even just a plain Jane Texas rig all resulted in boated fish, as they have many times before, but on this trip we had a new player – a 1.5 ounce spinnerbait.

Hold the Phone

Hold the Phone

Anyone who’s known me for a long time knows that I am not a particularly adept or enthusiastic telephone conversationalist. In spite of that fact, I have two jobs that require me to spend multiple hours on the phone each day – first, discussing my clients’ legal issues, and second, talking to anglers from all over the world about tournament results, fisheries and techniques.

Buy Local

Buy Local

The last of our local bass-centric tackle shops died a few years ago. Sure, Bass Pro and Cabela’s are more accessible than ever before, but it seems to me to be ridiculous that the Potomac River – a world-class and exceptionally popular tournament venue – can’t support one kick ass place for me to squander my paychecks.