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South Carolina’s Walters Takes Dominant Win On Lake Fork – Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest

QUITMAN, Texas — A late-day decision turned victory into a double-dip of tournament stardom, as Patrick Walters of Summerville, S.C., notched a dominant win at the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks & Wildlife Department with a four-day total weight of 104 pounds, 12 ounces.

Walters placed second on Day 1 with 25-14 and took over the Day 2 lead by adding 26-14. On Semifinal Saturday, his limit of 29-6 — the event’s biggest catch — sent him into Championship Sunday with a 25-pound lead.

Today’s limit of 22-10 allowed him to surge across the finish line and secure his spot in the Century Club, which recognizes an angler for catching 100 pounds of fish in a four-day event. Walters won with an all-time Bassmaster Elite record margin of 29-10.

“What a week; it doesn’t seem real,” Walters said. “Everyone wants to catch 100 pounds, and it feels good.”

While his victory was never in serious jeopardy today, Walters found himself a couple pounds shy of his second objective with time running out. A 15-minute flurry in his last hour of fishing delivered three fish that elevated him well past the century mark.

Walters attributes his closing success to a gutsy relocation. All week, he had been targeting suspended bass amid main-lake standing timber in 10 to 20 feet. When he realized his spots weren’t firing, he moved to a small pocket and caught his final three fish around stumps in less than 5 feet of water.

“On Day 2, I caught a 4- and a 5-pounder in there, but I didn’t go back in there on Day 3; I said, ‘I’m going to save it,’” Walters said. “I think it was the wind. We’ve had the same direction wind the last three days and it has blown directly into that pocket.

“All the bait is in there and every single day, it has gotten more loaded. Today, my fish in the treetops would not eat my bait. They’d chase it for 40 to 50 feet and wouldn’t commit.”

Walters’ analysis was more than speculation. All week, he relied heavily on his Garmin LiveScope to monitor fish positioning and adjust his retrieves in an effort to trigger bites.

“I could tell something was not right; they were not eating it,” Walters said. “I said, ‘I gotta leave. I gotta go shallow.’

“I knew I needed 10 pounds to safely win, but I knew I needed 18 pounds to get to the Century Club and that was the goal today; to go get that belt.”

Walters caught his fish on a trio of jerkbaits; a Rapala Shadow Rap, a Megabass Vision 110+1 and a Duo Realis bait. Varying the selection and trying different colors was essential to bite generation.

Walters said he was very particular about the standing timber he targeted. Recognizing when and where fish were positioning to feed was the cornerstone of his pattern. Realizing that the plan was starting to fizzle proved stressful today, but Walters said he focused on maintaining faith in Lake Fork’s potential.

“All year long, it’s been about staying calm and know that it can happen in five casts. Don’t spin out. Stay calm, keep your head in the game and fish 8 hours.”

Keith Combs of Huntington, Texas, finished second with 75-2. A limit of 11-7 on Day 1 left him in 39th place, but Combs added 23-14 on Day 2 and rose to 11th. Catching 21-12 on Saturday, he moved up to third before finishing with 18-1 today.

Most of the week, Combs has fished big ridges with a chartreuse/blue Strike King 6XD. Today, that pattern produced three of his best fish and the other two he caught on a shad color shallow running crankbait fished over a shallow bar.

“Another angler had been starting on that shallow spot; I would start on another spot and then hit that spot second but I’d never catch them,” Combs said. “Today, he didn’t make the cut, so I went there first.”

Jay Yelas of Lincoln City, Ore., placed third with 69-14. Sticking with the pattern that has served him all week, he ran upriver and caught limits of 19-2, 19-2, 14-7 and 17-3 around shallow wood.

“I had a few different special spots; some were docks, some were stumps, one was an isolated laydown,” Yelas said. “Every day, I’d go back and fish these same targets. I cycled through them all four days.

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“Today, I started on that laydown and caught one. I came back at noon and caught one, came back at 2:30 and caught a 6-pounder. I’d caught six or seven fish off that tree the first three days.”

Noting that this spot had a large amount of shad, Yelas said he quickly realized he could leverage this feeding spot each day. He caught his fish on an MGC Tackle spinnerbait with a chartreuse/white skirt and a 3/8-ounce white/chartreuse Z-Man ChatterBait JackHammer with a white Yamamoto Zako trailer.

Clark Wendlandt of Leander, Texas, won the Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of the Year title with 680 points, while David Mullins of Mt. Carmel, Tenn., finished second with 677. Walters was third with 669, Brock Mosley of Collinsville, Miss., was fourth with 669 and Jake Whitaker of Fairview, N.C., was fifth with 663.

Austin Felix of Eden Prairie, Minn., won the Bassmaster Elite Series Rookie of the Year title.

Seth Feider of New Market, Minn., won the Toyota Tundra Big Bass award of a Toyota Tundra with his 9-9.

Combs also took home $3,000 for being the highest-placing entrant in the Toyota Bonus Bucks program, and Mosley earned $2,000 for being the second-highest placing entrant.

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BASSMASTER News

Livesay Wins First Bassmaster Elite Series Title On Chickamauga Lake

DAYTON, Tenn. — Lee Livesay had options, but he committed to a singular game plan based on patience and execution to win the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Chickamauga Lake with a four-day total of 58 pounds, 2 ounces.

Livesay of Longview, Texas, turned in daily limits of 13-0, 13-3, 16-13 and 15-2. Notching his first career victory, the second-year Elite Series pro won the top prize of $100,000.

On Day 1, three of the fish that made up his 10th-place sack ate a football-head jig — one on a Hiwassee River bluff and two by the Highway 60 Bridge. He caught the other two by fishing a Scum Frog Launch Frog over main-lake grass mats, a technique that accounted for each of his bass the final three days.

“I stayed in between the Dayton Boat Dock and the Highway 60 Bridge the whole time (Days 2-4),” Livesay said. “It was so tough, you had to keep your bait in the water the whole time. That area is where I had the most bites.

“The farther south you went, the more fishing pressure you got; the farther upriver, the more pressure you got. I had a little zone where I was comfortable. Right where that river comes into the lake, that’s where you have the most nutrients, the most fish and you have current flow. That’s where I decided to set up.”

Livesay was particular about the types of mats he fished, with seclusion and current flow topping his criteria. Also, venturing far into the mats’ shallowest reaches allowed him to target bass that see little to no fishing pressure.

“Quiet was the deal for me, so I was push-poling into the area with no trolling motor noise,” he said. “Also, there’s a lot of tiny shad around the outer edges of the mats, but the shallower you got, the fewer shad you’d have. They were eating bream about the size of my frog.”

Alternating between black, white and yellow frogs, Livesay added tungsten weights to the baits to improve casting distance and create attention-getting noise. Most importantly, the additional weight created a deeper impression in the mats and made the frogs easier for fish to track.

“I was making long casts and working my bait fast,” he said. “I’d let it sit for (a few seconds) to let the fish get comfortable, but then I’d start working it fast again. When I’d move it again, I’d want them to be looking for it. It’s all reaction.”

On Championship Monday, Livesay said he knew the afternoon bite would offer his best opportunities, as increasing sunlight predictably positions fish under mats. After catching his first keeper around 9:50 a.m., he steadily compiled a solid limit of 2- to 2 3/4-pounders (estimated weights) before finding one that went about 4 pounds at 1:36. A late-day cull secured his winning weight.

He also kept a swimbait on his deck for fish that he saw busting shad on the edges of mats but ended up catching all of his fish on the frog.

Visibly overcome with emotion as B.A.S.S. emcee Dave Mercer announced his victory, Livesay summarized his tears: “I’ve been wanting this my whole life. That’s 35 years of dreaming and a lot of hard work.”

Mike Huff of Corbin, Ky., finished second with 56-6. Mounting an impressive comeback effort, Huff placed 50th on Day 1 after finding only three keepers for 6-12. Catching a Day 2 limit of 12-3 moved him into 33rd and adding the event’s second-heaviest bag — 19-1 — on Day 3 pushed him up to third. His Championship Monday limit weighed 18-6.

Huff caught his fish on bluffs with a 3/8-ounce Cumberland Pro Casting Jig with a Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Creature Hawg trailer. He turned in the event’s most exciting performance Monday thanks to a 7-13 largemouth that dramatically changed his outcome.

“I was targeting bluffs with laydowns and current breaks,” Huff said. “That was key; they were sitting right behind those laydowns.”

Jake Whitaker of Fairview, N.C., stuck with his comfort zone, fished a unique pattern and finished third with 49-0. Committing to a marina, he dialed in a few particular boat slips that held a lot of bait and a dependable supply of bass.

Making long skips into the slips with a 2.8-inch Keitech swimbait on a 1/8-ounce swimbait head, Whitaker turned in daily limits of 11-2, 14-3, 11-14 and 11-13.

“After the second day of practice, I hadn’t caught anything, and I said, ‘I gotta do something that I know how to do just to catch a few fish,’” he said. “The second day of practice, I went in that marina and they started schooling.

“I pulled out a fluke, caught two keepers and I said, ‘Okay, there are some keepers in here. But for that place to last for four days, that’s just the good Lord blessing me.’”

Huff’s 7-13 secured Phoenix Boats Big Bass honors.

Todd Auten of Lake Wylie, S.C., took home $3,000 for being the highest-placing entrant in the Toyota Bonus Bucks program, and Chad Pipkens of DeWitt, Mich., earned $2,000 for being the second-highest placing entrant.

David Mullins of Mt. Carmel, Tenn., remains in the lead for the Bassmaster Angler of the Year with 623 points, while Austin Felix of Eden Prairie, Minn., follows in second with 618. Clark Wendlandt of Leander, Texas, is third with 607, followed by Whitaker with 594 and Kyle Welcher of Opelika, Ala., with 592.

The tournament was hosted by the Rhea County Economic Development & Tourism Council. 

2020 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota


2020 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Abu Garcia,Berkley, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Ranger Boats, Skeeter Boats, Talon, Yamaha

2020 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Bass Pro Shops,Carhartt, Garmin, Huk Performance Fishing, Mossy Oak Fishing, Rapala

2020 Bassmaster Elite Series Conservation Partners: AFTCO, Huk  

2020 Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite At Chickamauga Lake Local Host: Rhea County Economic Development & Tourism Council

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Big Final Day Lifts Palaniuk To Win In Bassmaster Elite At Santee Cooper

CLARENDON COUNTY, S.C. — Championships come down to decisions and execution — two things that Brandon Palaniuk mastered en route to amassing a four-day total of 72 pounds, 2 ounces for a dominant win at the Bassmaster Elite at Santee Cooper Lakes brought to you by the United States Marine Corps.

Notching his fifth Elite victory — his second in 2020 (the first at Lake Champlain) — Palaniuk earned a top prize of $100,000.

After leading Day 2, Palaniuk entered Championship Sunday in third place, just 1-3 behind Carl Jocumsen. On Sunday, the pro from Rathdrum, Idaho, added a limit of 22-11 to his previous weights of 21-1, 18-13 and 9-9 to edge Jocumsen.

“This one is so unexpected,” Palaniuk said. “Every single one I won before, I had a good practice and I knew that I would have a shot at the Top 10 and a shot at the win. This one came out of nowhere.”

Spending his tournament in Lake Marion, Palaniuk attributed his final-round success to a prelaunch decision to start in the mouth of the Potato Creek area. Having started there on Day 1, he had a feeling the area was ready to reward him again.

“I was sitting at the dock this morning and something told me to go try it,” Palaniuk said. “With the (warm) weather, the humidity, I felt like I could catch them on topwater, but when I got there, the water was dirty.

“I couldn’t get them to eat it, so I just picked up a 1/2-ounce bladed jig with a 4-inch white X-Zone Swammer. I had not caught a fish on this all week and I caught a 4-pounder and a 3 1/4-pounder.”

Palaniuk caught a lucky break that he exploited when he saw a big fish blow up just out of casting range. Idling toward the commotion, he spotted a brushpile he had not found earlier in the week.

“I tied up a drop shot and caught a giant (7-12) on 10-pound test,” Palaniuk said. “I caught my other limit fish on the drop shot, but I ended up culling them out later.”

Palaniuk’s drop-shot rig comprised a green pumpkin blue flake X-Zone Deception Worm rigged on a No. 1 VMC Finesse Neko Hook with a 1/4-ounce VMC teardrop weight.

Later in the day, Palaniuk returned to the Jack’s Creek area, which produced several of his fish this week. There, he caught two of his keepers by punching a black/blue laminate X-Zone Muscle Back Finesse Craw on a 3/0 VMC Heavy Duty Flippin’ Hook with a 1 1/4-ounce tungsten weight.

“I think it came down to versatility; that’s why I was able to have the kind of day I had,” Palaniuk said. “Without that big one on the drop shot, without those two I caught this morning, I wouldn’t have been able to win.”

Palaniuk overcame a Day 1 penalty of 2 pounds, 4 ounces for inadvertently making a cast with six fish — one more than his legal limit — in his livewell. Palaniuk self-reported the infraction.

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“It went through my head about 47 times in the last hour (before weigh-ins),” Palaniuk said. “I kept thinking, ‘If somebody beats me, let it be (more than the penalty weight).’

“One of the things I say a lot is, ‘Control the controllables.’ When I do something like that, it bothers me because it’s something I can control and I knew this event was going to be so tough that 2 pounds is not something you want to be giving up.”

Hailing from Queensland, Australia, Jocumsen took the Day 1 lead by catching the event’s heaviest sack — 25-8. He slipped to second on Day 2 after adding 12-7 and regained the top spot on Saturday with a 4-fish bag that weighed 12-11. On Sunday, Jocumsen missed his limit again and weighed four bass for 13-8 and tallied 64-2.

Each day, Jocumsen started by fishing a grassy depression midlake with a white Z-Man JackHammer ChatterBait with a white Yamamoto Zako trailer. He then moved to grass mats where he punched with a black and blue Molix SV Craw rigged on a 4/0 Owner Jungle hook and a 1 1/4-ounce Woo! Tungsten weight.

“The early spot kicked off like I had hoped it would today,” Jocumsen said. “It was cloudy and dark this morning and they were feeding and I got two good ones.

“After that, I went punching. The sun came out, there was a little bit of wind, everything was right. I had a few opportunities, I had the bites, I just didn’t put them in the boat.”

Cory Johnston of Cavan, Canada, finished third with 61-9. Spending all week in Jack’s Creek, Johnston turned in a consistent performance with daily weights of 17-7, 14-6, 15-3 and 14-9.

“I found the most fish there in practice, so I thought my best bet was to figure out what was going on in that creek day-to-day,” Johnston said. “I caught them flipping a black creature bait, a 3/8-ounce swim jig with a Strike King Rage Craw trailer and a black Spro Bronzeye Poppin’ Frog.”

Palaniuk’s win moved him into 15th place in the Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of the Year standings with 493 points. Clark Wendlandt of Leander, Texas, holds the lead with 587, Johnston follows in second with 550 and David Mullins of Mt. Carmel, Tenn., is in third with 540.

Jeff Gustafson of Keewatin, Canada, won Phoenix Boats Big Bass honors with his 9-7.

Bernie Schultz of Gainesville, Fla., took home $3,000 for being the highest-placing entrant in the Toyota Bonus Bucks program, and Brandon Lester of Fayetteville, Tenn., earned $2,000 for being the second-highest placing entrant.

The tournament was hosted by the Clarendon County Chamber of Commerce. 

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Talley Finishes Strong For First Career Victory At Bassmaster Elite Event On Guntersville

SCOTTSBORO, Ala. — Frank Talley has dreamed of winning a top-level professional bass tournament his entire life.

But with three small children at home, he kept that dream in his back pocket for two decades in favor of coaching youth sports teams, fishing local tournaments and just being a good husband and dad.

Saturday, at age 45, the second-year Elite Series pro affectionately known as “Frank the Tank” saw his dream come true, weighing in 18 pounds, 2 ounces of bass during the final round to win the NOCO Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville with a four-day total of 64-3.

Talley earned $100,000 and the cheers and tears of his family, who drove 14 hours through the night Friday from their home in Temple, Texas, to be there for his big moment.

“I was perfectly fine with just raising my kids — that’s why we had kids,” Talley said. “Finally, when my youngest boy got into high school, my kids and my wife kind of had an intervention. That sat me down and said, ‘You’re gonna go do this.’

“That’s what helped me understand it was OK to finally go and chase this dream — and they’re the reason I’m standing here with this trophy now.”

Good fishing instincts also played a role in Talley’s success, especially with a key decision he made before his first cast Saturday morning.

Beginning the final round in sixth place with 46-1, Talley intended to make the same run upriver from the launch site at Goose Pond Colony that he’s been making all week. But he said a “gut feeling” caused him to stop on a small stretch of eelgrass before he reached his trusty spot — and the almost-immediate payoff was a 5-pound largemouth that put him in the lead to stay.

“It just looked right,” Talley said of the spot he started on Saturday. “On the first cast, I caught a 10-incher. Then about six casts later, I caught that 5-pounder. I boat-flipped that fish — I didn’t realize it was that big.

“I fished the entire length of that bank and ended up catching a limit there, which included the second big fish I caught, about a 4-pounder.”

Talley did most of his damage on that early-morning stretch with the same lure he’s been using during the early morning hours all week — a 1/2-ounce Strike King Thunder Cricket in green pumpkin. His trailer for most of the week was a Strike King Rage Swimmer in pumpkin with a pearl belly. But when he ran out of those, he switched to a Strike King Blade Minnow in green pumpkin with the tail tinted chartreuse with Spike-It dye.

He said the bait accounted for 95% of his weight this week.

“I’ve made most of the money I’ve made this year with that Thunder Cricket,” said Talley, who has now made five straight Top 40 cuts on the Elite Series. “Long ago, I was a West Coast guy and I know how to do all of the deep-water drop-shot fishing and all of that. But that’s how I like to fish.

“I like to be up around shallow cover, and that Thunder Cricket gets the job done up there.”

Talley fished the bait on a 7-foot, 3-inch Lew’s Magnum Hammer Rod with a medium-heavy action and a Lew’s Custom Pro 6.8:1 reel spooled with 17-pound Strike King Tour Grade fluorocarbon. He said the reel was “not too fast, not too slow,” which makes it perfect for the motion of the vibrating jig.

When the fishing slowed on the Thunder Cricket — and he wanted a change of pace that might produce a bigger bite — he switched to a white Strike King Sexy Frog that he modified with a plopper-style tail to help it cause more commotion on the water’s surface.

Talley fished the frog on a 7-2 Lew’s rod and a Lew’s Pro-Ti baitcasting reel spooled with 50-pound Strike King Braid.

“I ended up catching several big ones on that frog this week,” he said. “It was the perfect change-of-pace bait when I wanted to go looking for one good fish.”

Talley’s Saturday catch of 18-2 was his best of a week that included limits of 14-3 Wednesday, 16-5 Thursday and 15-9 Friday. Unlike many of the pros who felt like Guntersville was fishing a little tired after a week of pressure, Talley said he thought things were just starting to get right.

“I was just fishing eelgrass walls, and there was no rhyme or reason for why they were on one and not the other,” Talley said. “It could have been bait, could have been current.

“But whatever it is, they’re chomping now. I think they’re finally getting adjusted to this weather, and it’s about to be really, really good.”

The win moved Talley into 26th place in the Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings, putting him in good position to reach the 2021 Bassmaster Classic. His fellow Texan Clark Wendlandt took the AOY lead with 503 points, followed by Japanese rookie Taku Ito (478) and Minnesota veteran Seth Feider (466).

Another Texas pro, Chris Zaldain of Fort Worth, earned $1,500 for catching the Phoenix Boats Big Bass of the week — an 8-6 largemouth he landed on Day 1.

A pair of South Carolina anglers claimed Toyota Bonus Bucks prize money. Brandon Cobb took home $3,000 for being the highest-placing entrant in the Toyota Bonus Bucks program, and Jason Williamson earned $2,000 for being the second-highest placing entrant.

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The tournament was hosted by the City of Scottsboro.

2020 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2020 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Abu Garcia,Berkley, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Ranger Boats, Skeeter Boats, Talon, Yamaha

2020 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Bass Pro Shops,Carhartt, Garmin, Huk Performance Fishing, Mossy Oak Fishing, Rapala

2020 Bassmaster Elite Series Conservation Partners: AFTCO, Huk

2020 Bassmaster Elite At Lake Guntersville Local Host: City of Scottsboro  

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BASSMASTER News

Matsushita Rallies For Victory At Bassmaster Central Open On Sam Rayburn

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JASPER, Texas — A stellar start positioned Masayuki Matsushita to overcome a Day 2 stumble and mount a final-round surge to win the Basspro.com Bassmaster Central Open on Sam Rayburn Reservoir with a three-day total of 60 pounds, 14 ounces.

Hailing from Tokoname Aichi, Japan, Matsushita took the Day 1 lead with 27-10 — the event’s largest catch — but slipped to second after adding 15-5 on Friday. On Saturday, he rallied and added 17-15 to win by a margin of 1-9.

Speaking with the assistance of fellow angler Calvin Balch of Porter, Texas, Matsushita said he was fishing midlake, just south of the 147 Bridge. He targeted a mix of brushpiles and trees in 20 to 30 feet of water.

“I was fishing fast and (making a milk run) between my spots,” Matsushita said. “My Humminbird MEGA 360 was very important for finding my spots.”

Matsushita caught several of his fish on an 8-inch golden shiner-colored Deps Sakamata Shad Texas-rigged on a 7/0 Owner wide-gap hook. He also fished a Texas-rigged redbug Zoom Ol’ Monster worm.

His key bait Saturday was a Neko-rigged Zoom Magnum Trick Worm in the redbug and green pumpkin colors. This bait produced his biggest bite — an estimated 5-pounder — shortly after takeoff around 7:30 a.m.

“I was staying far away from my spots and made long casts,” Matsushita said.

The tournament’s varying weather patterns factored into his success. Day 1 saw mostly sunny conditions, while Days 2 and 3 brought more of a partly cloudy complexion.

“On Day 1, clouds were very good,” Matsushita said. “Day 2 and Day 3, clouds were not good. Sun was better. Maybe it put fish in the brushpile shade.”

For his efforts, Matsushita won a first-place prize of $50,167 and earned a spot in the 2021 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic, which is scheduled for March 19-21 on Lake Ray Roberts. His Classic berth is contingent on his fishing the final two Central Opens of the season.

In a moving display of pure triumphant emotion, Matsushita doubled over with his hands on his knees when Tournament Director Chris Bowes announced his victory.

Moments later, the winner held his trophy aloft and let out a triple chorus of victory screams that won over the Jasper, Texas, crowd nearly as much as Matsushita’s moving statement of his lifetime goal.

“My dream has always been to fish the Bassmaster Classic,” he said. “This tournament made that happen.”

Josh Douglas of Isle, Minn., improved from third place on Day 2 by adding a final-round sack of 17-6 to finish second with 59-5. Douglas also buoyed his performance with a big Day 1 weight of 22-5. He weighed 19-10 on Day 2.

Douglas targeted brushpiles in 8 to 22 feet. Throughout the week he caught most of his bass on a Texas-rigged 10-inch Biospawn ExoRibbon Worm. On Saturday, his top baits were a drop shot with a Roboworm in redbug and morning dawn colors and a Keitech swimbait on a 3/4-ounce swim jig with the skirt removed.

“The depth range changed for me and as the tournament progressed, I started catching them better in the shallower range, like 15 and under,” Douglas said. “I don’t know if that’s because the water’s coming down a little, but those 17- to 20-foot spots got a lot of pressure and those bigger fish were just sliding out.
 

“I was just fishing areas like The Canyons, the Deer Stand and Jackson Hill; areas (where) I know fish want to live shallow in the grass. But with the dropping water, they were just coming out to me.”

Kris Wilson of Montgomery, Texas, saved his best for last and finished third with 57-11. After placing 11th on Day 1 with 18-5, Wilson improved to seventh on Friday by adding 19-6. On Saturday, he weighed in 20 pounds — the final round’s heaviest catch.

Noting that he has approximately 3,000 waypoints on Rayburn, Wilson came into the event with a preselected set of offshore targets. Running as many of his spots as possible in practice helped him dial in the productive ones.

“After two days of practice, I figured out that I couldn’t get bit deeper than 20 feet, so I started concentrating on everything less than that,” Wilson said. “I caught my fish on a 6th Sense C-10 crankbait in a shad color and a Texas-rigged 11-inch hand-poured purple worm.”

Bryan New of Belmont, N.C., took the lead in the Falcon Rods Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens Angler of the Year standings with 547 points. Gerald Swindle of Guntersville, Ala., is in second with 543, followed by Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., with 541, John Hunter Jr. of Simpsonville, Ky., with 505 and Randy Blaukat of Joplin, Mo., with 484.

Albert Collins of Nacogdoches, Texas, won the $750 Phoenix Boats Big Bass prize for his 9-7 largemouth. Shaine Campbell of Brookeland, Texas, who placed sixth overall with 51-12, won the $500 Garmin Tournament Rewards.

Hayden Heck of Lufkin, Texas, won the co-angler division with a three-day total of 28-5. Overcoming a slow start, which found him placing 51st with a Day 1 bag of 5-11, Heck rocketed into fourth after adding 13-11 on Friday.

Weighing 8-15 in Saturday’s championship round pushed him across the finish line by a margin of 1-12.

“Drop shotting and dragging a 10-inch worm and a trick worm out deep did it for me,” Heck said.

William Young of Livingston, Texas, won the $250 Phoenix Boats Big Bass prize in the co-angler division for his 9-0.

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Palaniuk Comes From Behind To Win Bassmaster Elite Event At Lake Champlain

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — Turning in his best performance of the week, Brandon Palaniuk leveraged a blistering afternoon bite to sack up 21 pounds, 6 ounces and win the Bassmaster Elite at Lake Champlain with a four-day total of 80-1.

This is the fourth B.A.S.S. win for the 2017 Angler of the Year from Rathdrum, Idaho. He earned a first-place prize of $100,000.

After a strong start yielded a pair of 4-pound-class fish by 8:30 a.m., Palaniuk continued catching quality smallmouth throughout the day. A key move and a heads-up response led him to the gold mine that produced a 4-4, a 4-6 and a 4-8 between 12:10 and 1:56 p.m.

“I had one boulder and I shut down before I got to it and as I came off pad, I see a dot on my (Humminbird) Down Imaging and I’m like, ‘Holy cow, that looks like a giant smallmouth,’” Palaniuk said. “I grabbed my rod, threw my bait back before I even dropped my trolling motor.

“The boat’s drifting away, I drop my trolling motor, I pick up and my line’s swimming off. I set the hook and a 4 1/2-pounder goes airborne — way back there. After I caught that fish, I rolled up to the boulder and they were stacked on top of it. Then, every single boulder on that flat in 28 to 32 feet of water had a 4-plus-pounder on it.”

Sticking with what produced the majority of his bites this week, Palaniuk caught his final-round fish on a drop shot with a green pumpkin/blue fleck X Zone Finesse Slammer. He used a No. 2 drop-shot hook and a 3/8-ounce VMC tungsten teardrop weight.

After three days of mostly calm conditions, Championship Sunday brought strong winds, clouds and occasional showers. Noting that the wind likely moved schools of baitfish into the areas he fished, Palaniuk said his game plan came together as well as he’d hoped.

Keeping himself within striking distance all week, Palaniuk placed eighth on Day 1 with 19-12, slipped to 11th on Day 2 with a limit of 18-10 and made the final Top 10 cut on Day 3 by rising to fifth with 20-5.

“It was just one of those days where everything worked out,” he said. “All week long, I said, ‘Just give me a shot,’ because I looked at the weather and I knew we were going to get that windy weather we got in practice.

“I had a really good practice and I felt like I could literally drive around, look at my (Humminbird) LakeMaster charts, pull up on a spot and catch big ones. I think the wind this morning helped push those baitfish up and it moved a lot of those fish up. Those fish aren’t resident fish; they chase schools of bait.”

Spending his day targeting flats with scattered rock and boulders within the Inland Sea (Champlain’s northeast section), Palaniuk said his pattern was so reliable he actually moved with the bait schools. He started on a likely spot and drifted with the wind until he no longer spotted fish on his Humminbird 360.

“When I started not seeing them, I’d jump to the next place and catch another big one,” Palaniuk said. “I hit one magical school this afternoon and every single boulder I could see on with Mega 360 (Imaging) had a big one on it.

“I literally started laughing while I was fighting them, because it was that good.”

Seth Feider of New Market, Minn., finished second with 78-14. After mixing it up with largemouth and smallmouth for three days, he focused on the latter Sunday and caught a limit of 19-14 to go with his previous bags that went 20-1, 21-7 and 17-8.

Feider caught his bass on a flat with a grassline point in 12 feet. He used a medium-diving crankbait and a Carolina-rigged Zoom Speed Craw.

“It’s where I’d been starting every day and then leaving and going largemouth fishing (around marina docks),” Feider said. “I knew with the cloudy skies my largemouth bite was out today, so I leaned on it as hard as I could.

“I got really lucky and caught two great big ones that gave me a chance. It just wasn’t enough.”

Jamie Hartman of Russellville, Ark., finished third with 78-5. Hartman took the lead on Day 1 with 22-1 — the event’s biggest bag — and held the top spot for two more days with bags of 20-3 and 17-8. He added 18-9 Sunday.

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Focusing on a rocky point with grass, Hartman caught his fish on a Carolina rig with a craw bait and a 3/8-ounce peanut butter and jelly color Riot Baits Lil’ Creeper jig with a twin-tail trailer. Today’s dim weather seemed to stifle the hot morning bite he had experienced the previous three days.

“The bites were slow; very spaced out — it took me until 11 before I had a decent weight,” Hartman said. “The mornings had been slow, but when the sun would come up, it was like a light switch and they started eating good. We didn’t get that today.”

Feider won the Phoenix Boats Big Bass honors with a 6-6 largemouth he caught on Day 2, earning an additional $1,000.

Hartman took home $3,000 for being the highest-placing entrant in the Toyota Bonus Bucks program, and Jason Williamson earned $2,000 for being the second-highest placing entrant.

The tournament was hosted by the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau, City of Plattsburgh and Clinton County with support from the Office of the Governor of the State of New York.

2020 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2020 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Abu GarciaBerkley, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Ranger Boats, Skeeter Boats, Talon, Yamaha

2020 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Bass Pro Shops,Carhartt, Garmin, Huk Performance Fishing, Mossy Oak Fishing, Rapala

2020 Bassmaster Elite Series Conservation Partners: AFTCO, Huk

2020 Bassmaster Elite At Lake Champlain Local Hosts: Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau, City of Plattsburgh, Clinton County 

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BASSMASTER News

Hartman Maintains Lead At Bassmaster Elite Series Event On Lake Champlain

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. —

Reversing his game plan, Day 1 leader Jamie Hartman of Russellville, Ark., added 20 pounds, 3 ounces to Thursday’s weight of 22-1 and retained the top spot in the Bassmaster Elite at Lake Champlain with a two-day total of 42-4.

Hartman ended Day 1 by stopping on a rocky point close to the tournament site and catching a 4-pounder 10 minutes before the 3 p.m. weigh-in began. Friday, he started on this spot and quickly lit up the BASSTrakk leaderboard by securing a solid limit of smallmouth in less than two hours.

“I took a lot of pressure off this morning in the first hour and a half, I had 18 1/4 pounds,” said Hartman, a New York native who moved away from his home state to pursue a career in professional bass fishing. “Then I figured I only needed two more 4-pounders, but it took all the way to the last two hours to do it.

“That spot was on my way to a big flat I wanted to fish in the lake’s north end, so I just said I’m going to start there and see if the fish were there, and they sure were. Hopefully, they’ll reload and I’ll get on them tomorrow morning.”

Having fished this spot in years past, Hartman said his nearly immediate bite on Day 1 told him the point held greater potential than he had anticipated. With Friday’s calm, clear conditions contrasting Thursday’s partly cloudy and increasingly breezy complexion, he started Day 2 expecting fireworks and the bass mostly cooperated.

Hartman caught those early fish on a Carolina rig with craw bait on a 3/0 Owner extra-wide gap hook. He used a 1-ounce weight and a 3-foot leader, which helped him keep his bait above the grass.

“The spot had scattered grass and rock, so the Carolina rig was absolutely perfect, and my hookup to landing ratio is really good,” he said. “I said I was going to put it in my hand this week before we started because I lost so many fish last week [at the SiteOne Bassmaster Elite on the St. Lawrence River]. I said I’m going to swing with the big one this time.

“I was using a steady retrieve and whenever I’d come through a patch of grass, I’d pop the rig to snap it out of that grass. They’ll whack it every time when I do that.”

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By midmorning, he decided he was not going to upgrade on his starting point, so he made a move to avoid burning up too much of the spot’s population. Heading to his northern flat, he focused on scattered grass in about 10 to 15 feet.

“I didn’t want to keep hammering my starting spot,” Hartman said of his plan to manage the bass. “I didn’t even go back to it on the way in. I didn’t want to catch another one off that spot; I need them for tomorrow.”

When the Carolina rig failed to produce, Hartman went to a 1/2-ounce Riot Baits Lil’ Creeper jig with a swimbait trailer. He was again targeting smallmouth but ended up making a key cull with a largemouth around 2:30 p.m.

Seth Feider of New Market, Minn., is in second place with 41-8. After anchoring his fourth-place Day 1 catch of 20-1 with a 5-4 largemouth, Feider added a limit of 21-7 Friday that included another huge largemouth that went 6-6.

Feider caught Friday’s big fish by targeting boat docks with milfoil and flipping a 5/8-ounce Outkast Tackle jig with a chunk-style trailer. While largemouth on marina docks produced most of his Day 1 weight, today told a different tale.

“I did most of my damage this morning on smallies; I ended up weighing four smallies and one buckethead (largemouth),” Feider said. “My smallmouth spot was a grass point in 10 to 12 feet on a big flat. I caught two on drop shot and two on a crankbait.”

Koby Kreiger of Alva, Fla., is in third place with 40-1. After posting 18-1 Thursday, he added 22 pounds on Day 2. Noting that a Heddon Super Spook Jr. and two jerkbaits — a Lucky Craft Pointer 100 and a Megabass Vision 110 — produced his fish, Kreiger said today’s calm, sunny conditions plus a cleaner performance yielded a better sack.

“It slicked off, which made it easier for me to see the fish and for them to see my bait,” Kreiger said. “Yesterday, I jumped off a couple and today, I fished clean.

“I’m fishing a great big flat in 10 feet with isolated rocks and isolated grass patches on it. I can see them pretty far out with my Humminbird 360; that shows me what’s in front of the boat when I’m drifting.”

Feider is in the lead for Phoenix Boats Big Bass honors with his 6-6 largemouth.

Saturday’s takeoff is scheduled for 6:45 a.m. ET at Plattsburgh City Marina. The weigh-in will be held at the marina at 3 p.m.

Live coverage of the event will be available starting at 8 a.m. on Bassmaster LIVE at Bassmaster.com with simulcasts on ESPN2 and ESPN3. Check local listings for ESPN2 times.

The tournament is being hosted by the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau, City of Plattsburgh and Clinton County with support from the Office of the Governor of the State of New York.

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BASSMASTER News

Late-Day Bonus Helps Hartman Take Lead At Bassmaster Elite On Lake Champlain

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. —

An afternoon decision paid off big for Jamie Hartman of Russellville, Ark., who nabbed a day-ending bonus that helped him claim the Day 1 lead of the Bassmaster Elite at Lake Champlain with 22 pounds, 1 ounce.

At the day’s conclusion, Hartman’s name appeared next to three of the Top 10 Big Bass — a 5-pounder, a 4-14 and a 4-4. He also added a 4-0 just 10 minutes before the weigh-ins opened at 3 p.m.

“I upgraded in the last few minutes on the way in; I was pretty much done and I just hit something on the way in, made three casts and caught a 4-pound smallmouth,” said Hartman, a native New Yorker. “That spot was just a steep drop with some grass on top of it.

“I’ve fished it in the past and I’ve never caught a big fish off of it, but I’ve caught some decent fish. I was basically scouting for tomorrow, so after catching a 4-pound smallmouth, I think they’re there.”

Hartman’s late-day bonus spot exemplified the type of habitat he eventually settled into. Finishing his day with a mixed bag of three smallmouth and two largemouth, Hartman actually got off to a slow start but eventually turned his day around by adjusting his location.

“I went up north and the water was so calm that it was tough for me to get bit at all,” he said. “I ground it out for a while, got a couple of bites and made one move. When I finally made the move to go fish what I wanted to fish, it all came together. I bounced around to several different spots within the same area, making decisions on what to fish.”

Hartman generally described his area as a mix of rock and grassbeds in 12 to 15 feet. The key, he said, was targeting the right type of grass, specifically taller patches of milfoil.

“I was watching my electronics and making sure I was around patches of grass,” he said. “I was making sure I was in the high enough grass.”

Hartman caught his bass on a mix of soft-plastic presentations. Although he tried to get the fish interested in reaction baits early, a Carolina rig proved most productive.

“I tried to catch them on a swimbait like I did in practice. But there was no wind, so they wouldn’t eat it,” he said.

With the grassy shallows of the Ticonderoga area at Champlain’s lower end presenting the tempting potential for big largemouth, Hartman admitted he considered making the 70-mile run.

“When I had a slow start, I thought I had made the wrong decision by not running to Ti, but I slowly started to put it together,” he said. “I just kept reminding myself: pick off one at a time. They’re good ones, so we’ll keep going.”

Buddy Gross of Chickamauga, Ga., is in second place with 21-2. Noting that Champlain’s smallmouth have often confounded him in the past, Gross mainly focused on largemouth Thursday. But with the lake about 4 feet below normal, he caught them in places where he has targeted smallmouth.

“I had spent a lot of time looking for structure for smallmouth, but the largemouth took over some of my spots and it’s really helping a lot,” Gross said. “As low as the water is, it’s pulling the largemouth out to the first places on the drops, and it’s making them a little easier for me to find them.”

Fishing the lake’s north end, Gross caught his fish on a prototype bullethead jig from Nichols Lures with a Zoom Chunk trailer and a Z-Man Jack Hammer ChatterBait with a Zoom Z-Craw trailer. The latter, he said, proved most strategic in finding his bites.

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“I used moving baits to cover a lot of water,” he said. “I haven’t been getting a ton of bites, but when I do, it has been quality. So, I’m having to run a whole lot of water.”

Micah Frazier of Newnan, Ga., is in third place with 20-8. Targeting solely smallmouth, he committed to the lake’s north end where he targeted offshore humps, shoals and boulders in 15 to 40 feet.

“I caught my fish on a drop shot with a Yum Warning Shot and a 3/8-ounce weight,” Frazier said. “I had a midmorning flurry, and then I caught a couple of bigger ones later once the sun came out.”

Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Md., is in the lead for Phoenix Boats Big Bass honors with his 6-2 largemouth.

Friday’s takeoff is scheduled for 6:45 a.m. CT at Plattsburgh City Marina. The weigh-in will be held back at the marina at 3 p.m.

Live coverage of the event will be available starting at 8 a.m. on Bassmaster LIVE at Bassmaster.com with simulcasts on ESPN2 and ESPN3. Check local listings for ESPN2 times.

The tournament is being hosted by the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau, City of Plattsburgh and Clinton County.

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BASSMASTER News

Johnston Battles Rough Water To Win Bassmaster Elite At St. Lawrence River

CLAYTON, N.Y. — His home waters were off-limits this week, but that didn’t stop Canadian standout Chris Johnston from winning the SiteOne Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River with a whopping four-day total of 20 smallmouth bass that weighed 97 pounds, 8 ounces.

The first Canadian to claim an Elite title, Johnston was the only competitor to break 20 pounds each day. Hailing from Peterborough, Ontario, he placed second on Day 1 with 27-0 and held that position for two more days with weights of 24-12 and 23-0.

Entering Championship Sunday a little more than 2 pounds off the lead, Johnston added a final limit of 22-12 to surge ahead of Connecticut pro Paul Mueller and win by a margin of 1-10. Mueller had led the event all three days going into the final round.

“This has been a crazy year fishing-wise for me; I had two of the worst tournaments probably in my career and to bounce back and win on the St. Lawrence, of all places, is just incredible,” said Johnston, who finished 71st and 59th in the first two Elite Series events this year. “I’ve wanted a big tournament win on the St. Lawrence River bad, and it finally came together.

“I’ve watched Bassmaster my whole life and even if you’d asked me three or four years ago, I didn’t think I’d be here in this position. It’s been surreal. I can’t even describe how cool it feels.”
 

Throughout the week, Johnston used several baits, including a tube, a Ned rig and a black hair jig. On Sunday, he caught his fish on a drop shot with a green pumpkin Berkley Flat Worm. He needed a 3/8-ounce tungsten weight for proper presentations on Lake Ontario, where steady 6- to 8-foot waves made everything more difficult than it had been the three previous days.

The first two days saw Johnston plucking early keepers from a rocky point inside the river and then moving out to fish Lake Ontario rockpiles in 20 to 40 feet. On Saturday and Sunday, he did the majority of his work in the Great Lake.

The tournament’s first three days offered mostly calm conditions, but Sunday saw strong southwest winds which created conditions so rough that many anglers who qualified for the Championship round elected to stay in the safer confines of the St. Lawrence River. A lifetime of experience told Johnston Lake Ontario held his best opportunity to catch a winning bag, so he committed to one key area with several rockpiles in 20 to 50 feet of water along a 500-yard stretch.

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“The biggest thing with the weather is just getting to your spot,” Johnston said of his safety-conscious navigation. “Once I got there, I just went upwind and drifted into the spot and then held on the spot as long as I could. Then I’d blow off the spot and do another drift.”

In 2019, Johnston experienced the inverse of this year’s finish, leading the St. Lawrence event for three days before settling for the runner-up position.

“Finishing second last year makes this win all that much sweeter,” Johnston said. “I can’t wait to get home and celebrate with family and friends.”

Johnston earned $102,000 for his victory. 

Mueller finished in second place with 95-14. After leading the event for three days, he found the rough waters of Lake Ontario less generous. In the Championship round, he added 18-15 to his previous weights of 27-1, 25-1 and 24-13.

He targeted rockpiles and rock breaks in 17 to 21 feet and caught all of his fish on a drop shot with a Berkley Flat Worm in the natural shad color. Uncertain of how long it would take him to run back through the rough water to the weigh-in site, Mueller left the lake around 1:45 p.m. and ended up with time to fish the river.

“Honestly, I think I feel like I left too early because I didn’t know how rough it was going to be,” Mueller said. “I felt like everything else I did today was flawless. I should have pushed it to the max, but I had no idea how long it was going to take to get back and that’s just inexperience on a body of water with that type of wind.”

Mueller’s second prize earnings came to $27,000. He will also take home $3,000 for being the highest-placing entrant in the Toyota Bonus Bucks program.

Brock Mosley of Collinsville, Miss., finished third with 84-2. His daily weights were 24-2, 19-13, 20-4 and 19-15.

Celebrating the birth of his second child on Wednesday, Mosley bucked the overwhelmingly smallmouth-heavy trend and targeted St. Lawrence’s robust, but largely overlooked, largemouth population around residential docks and flat rock shoals.

“I caught all of my fish on a 3/8-ounce green pumpkin Z-Man Jack Hammer ChatterBait because I could cover a lot of water,” Mosley said. “That was the key. I had to cover a lot of water to run into a good one.

“I used a couple of different trailers so I could fish an area with one trailer and then go back through it with a different trailer. I ended up catching a few smallmouth, too, but I caught them fishing for largemouth.”

Mueller won the race for Phoenix Boats Big Bass of the week with his 7-13 smallmouth. The bass, which he described as the “fish of a lifetime,” was just 7 ounces shy of the New York state record and is believed to be the largest smallmouth ever caught in a B.A.S.S. event.

The tournament was hosted by Jefferson County in cooperation with the Village of Clayton and the 1000 Islands Clayton Chamber of Commerce.

2020 SiteOne Bassmaster Elite At St. Lawrence River Title Sponsor: SiteOne

2020 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2020 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Abu GarciaBerkley, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Ranger Boats, Skeeter Boats, Talon, Yamaha

2020 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Bass Pro Shops,Carhartt, Garmin, Huk Performance Fishing, Mossy Oak Fishing, Rapala

2020 Bassmaster Elite Series Conservation Partners: AFTCO, Huk

2020 SiteOne Bassmaster Elite At St. Lawrence River Local Hosts: Jefferson County, Village of Clayton, 1000 Islands Clayton Chamber of Commerce

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BASSMASTER News

Clear Lake Named Best Bass Fishery Of The Past Decade

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Since 2012, Bassmaster Magazine has released annual rankings of the country’s best bass fisheries. While tournament data could not be gathered because of the COVID-19 pandemic, crunching numbers gathered over the past eight years revealed a surprising Best Bass Lake of the Decade — California’s Clear Lake. 

“Typically, creating the rankings takes more than two months as we dig through current tournament data as well as state fishery information on stocking efforts, catch rates and angler access,” explained Bassmaster Magazine Editor-in-Chief James Hall. “Instead, we used all of this research and rankings from the past eight years to create an incredible — and somewhat surprising — ranking of bucket-list destinations for anglers.”

While long-considered a West Coast powerhouse, Clear Lake has never topped the Best Bass Lakes list until this year. However, in the past decade, California’s largest natural lake has also never ranked below 10th in the country and has been the top-ranked Western fishery for the past three years. Anglers can expect to consistently catch big bass in a fishery where an average bass weighs in at over 5 pounds. In fact, a bass over 16 pounds was landed at Clear Lake last year. Combine that production with a pristine setting in California’s wine country, and you have the definition of a bucket-list fishing destination.

Alabama’s Lake Guntersville, home of the 2020 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk, took the No. 2 spot, matching its 2019 rank. Like Clear Lake, the Big G has never been named the Best Bass Lake in the nation, but it is rarely out of contention. Guntersville is known for its breathtaking scenery and easy access, but big fish swim there as well. Most big-bass prizes are awarded to fish topping the 8-pound mark, with 10-plus-pounders taking center stage on occasion.

True giants call our third-place fishery, Lake Erie, home. While most of the tournament data comes out of Buffalo, N.Y., anglers can expect smallies in the 6-pound range anywhere along the shoreline, which includes New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Michigan’s Lake St. Clair, where you can catch the smallmouth of a lifetime surrounded by Instagram-worthy scenery, is in the fourth spot.

Rounding out the remainder of the Top 10 lakes are California’s Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta at fifth; Toledo Bend, on the Louisiana/Texas border, at sixth; Texas’s Sam Rayburn Reservoir at seventh; Texas’s Falcon Lake at eighth; Idaho’s Lake Coeur d’Alene at ninth; and Florida’s Lake Okeechobee at tenth.

The rankings identify the Top 25 lakes in the nation based on head-to-head comparisons, as well as the top lakes in four geographical regions — CentralWesternSoutheastern and Northeastern.

“We divide the nation into four regions and rank the lakes in each region to give anglers perspective on the fisheries they can most likely reach,” Hall explained.

As for bragging rights on which state has the most fisheries in the all-decade rankings, that title goes to Michigan with seven lakes. Right behind the “Great Lake State” there is a three-way tie with California, Florida and Texas each placing six lakes on the list.

 

Bassmaster Magazine’s 100 Best Bass Lakes of the Decade     

Top 25   

Clear Lake, California

Lake Guntersville, Alabama

Lake Erie, New York/Ohio/Pennsylvania/Michigan

Lake St. Clair, Michigan

Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta, California

Toledo Bend, Louisiana/Texas 

Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Texas

Falcon Lake, Texas

Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

10 Lake Okeechobee, Florida

11 Lake Champlain, New York/Vermont

12 St. Lawrence River (Thousand Islands), New York

13 Pickwick Lake, Alabama/Mississippi/Tennessee

14 Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees, Oklahoma

15 Chickamauga Lake, Tennessee

16 Lake Fork, Texas

17 Lake Havasu, Arizona/California

18 Oneida Lake, New York

19 Candlewood Lake, Connecticut

20 Columbia River, Oregon/Washington

21 Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota

22 Lake Seminole, Georgia/Florida

23 Santee Cooper Lakes (Marion/Moultrie), South Carolina

24 Lake Charlevoix, Michigan

25 Sturgeon Bay (Lake Michigan), Wisconsin

Get the rest of the Top 100 @ Bassmaster.com