I met Dennis Tietje at a Bassmaster Tour event on Toledo Bend in early 2003. Although he would not join the Elite Series for another seven years, he was already fairly well-known in Louisiana/Texas fishing circles. More importantly, he was a crawfish farmer, so he hosted a bunch of the pros for a big boil at his camp on the lake. My friend Bill and I were fishing the tournament as co-anglers, and while we weren’t technically on the guest list, OT Fears, who’d met Dennis while pheasant hunting in Kansas a few years earlier, dragged us along.
In March of 2016, Kevin Hawk wrote a column for the Inside Line titled, “A Difficult Decision.” Less than six years earlier he’d stood atop the fishing world, hoisting a Happy Gilmore check at Lake Lanier to celebrate his victory in the Forrest Wood Cup. He went on to have a solid-but-not-exceptional career on the FLW Tour, and then in the Bassmaster Opens before qualifying to fish the Elites starting with the 2013 season.
Georgia pro Micah Frazier claimed his first tour-level win this past weekend on New York’s St. Lawrence River, coming back from 10th after Saturday to claim the crown. Fish fans might’ve been surprised by the location of his first big victory, but anyone who’s been following his career for a while probably knew it was coming. He’s fished three of the last four Bassmaster Classics and barring an epic collapse will fish another one at Guntersville in March.
With a few hours between our arrival at the King Salmon, Alaska airport, and dinner at the Bear Trail Lodge, our hosts took me and Keith Combs on a tour of that portion of the Bristol Bay Borough. In other words, we headed 13 miles to the end of the area’s longest road, down to the borough seat of Naknek, which as of the 2010 census had a year-round population of 544, down from 678 in 2000.
When the Bassmaster Tour visited the Potomac River 30 years ago, everyone knew that Jay Yelas was likely going to spend some time on an abandoned wharf called Fox’s Ferry. Why wouldn’t he? It contributed to a win in 1993 along with several other top five and top ten finishes. I’m sure that other anglers fished it during practice and competition, but on some level everyone knew it as “Jay’s spot.”
Last Thursday, the New York Times published a lengthy (approximately 3,000 words) feature on the state of bass fishing titled “This Is the Most Lucrative Moment in History to Catch Bass.” The writer, Haley Cohen Gilliland, previously of mega-serious and prestigious publications like The Economist and Vanity Fair, did a fantastic job with what is likely a difficult topic for people outside of our orbit to understand.
In June of 1997, I fished an FLW Tour event on Minnesota’s Lake Minnetonka as a co-angler. I remember the event largely because I finished 14th, and after failing to catch my limit fish on Day Two I missed the top ten cut by less than a pound and a half. Had I made it, I would’ve gotten to weigh in the next day at the Mall of America, which would’ve been pretty cool -- how many people can say that they’ve weighed in their fish, then immediately hopped off the stage and bought an Orange Julius?