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Tips for Cranking Nonemergent Grass and Lily Pads

Spring is a great time to pick up a crankbait and work it through the grass and lily pads before they get too thick.  I recently re-read an article I wrote for FLW Bass magazine where I interviewed Ohio tournament angler Curt Fiessinger about cranking nonemergent grass and lily pads.  Fiessinger had used the technique to target pre-spawn largemouth en route to winning the Buckeye BFL on Indian Lake in April of 2012, and he shared some great tips for this technique.  Take a look at page 9 of the PDF (page 116 of the magazine):

October 2013 Edition

Having recently used this technique, I have two additional notes for improving its effectiveness.

First, if you cut the hook that faces the front of the bait off of each treble hook, your bait will come through the pads and grass much cleaner than if you don’t make any hook modifications.  As to whether you’ll lose more fish without all the hooks intact, the answer is probably yes. But losing a fish or two is a small price to pay for getting more bites.

KVD 1.0 with front treble cut

Second, ditch your standard crankbait rod for something a little heavier.  A medium graphite or glass rod won’t give you the backbone you need to rip the crankbait out of the pads and grass as it gets hung up. Again, you might lose a fish or two with the heavier rod, but you’ll get more reaction strikes as the bait slingshots free from snags.


Ohio Mega Bass Team Spots Still Available for 2014 Season

The Ohio Mega Bass Tournament Trail still has a few open slots for teams who would like to compete in 2014.  The season kicks off April 19th on Buckeye Lake.  To learn more, visit the OMBTT website at www.ombtt.com.  Check out the 2014 season preview video!
Ohio Mega Bass Tournament Trail 2014 Season Trailer


Three New Lure Recommendations for Early Spring Bass’n in Ohio

One of the benefits of writing for FLW Bass Fishing magazine is that I get to sample a lot of new and innovative lures.  Here are three lure recommendations that I’m confident will put more bass in your boat this spring.

Duo Realis Vibration 68 Lipless Crankbait – This lipless bait is a game changer in my mind.  In only a few trips, it’s proven itself every time I’ve picked it up.  What sets it apart from many of the other lipless cranks on the market is it’s castability, true retrieve, and eye catching color patterns.

The bait features an aerodynamic design, and as a result, I think it casts much further than other lipless baits of comparable size.  It’s balanced perfectly, and will run true, even when burned at high speed.  Two of my favorite colors are Red Tiger and Mat Blue Back Chartreuse Tiger.  If a simple cast and retrieve method isn’t working, try hopping it back to the boat – it will shimmy as it falls, and most fish will pick it up on the drop.  This bait really put me on some nice smallmouth last fall.  Ohio Bass Blog sponsor Fin Feather & Fur Outfitters carries a nice selection of these baits.

Duo Realis Vibration 68 Smallies

Shane’s Baits Blades of Glory Umbrella Rig - If you haven’t had a lot of success on an umbrella rig yet, don’t give up.  The umbrella rig has it’s time and place in Ohio – particularly in clear to slightly stained water when there’s a nice chop on the surface.  After playing around with a number of umbrella rigs on the market, I wasn’t overly impressed.  Many of them were built with stiff wire and didn’t look very lifelike when swimming along.

During an interview for FLW, I came in contact with the Lehew family out of Charlotte, NC.  Three generations of Lehew’s are heavily involved in the fishing industry, including Shane Lehew, who fishes on the FLW Tour.  The Lehew’s have created an impressive new umbrealla rig, known as the Blades of Glory.

What sets this unique rig apart is it’s interchangeable arms that allow anglers to quickly swap out components, and replace worn or broken arms.  The arms are designed to flex more than other umbrella rigs because they’re made with a thinner gauge wire, which gives it a more natural look than rigs that are stiff and rigid.  But what really sets this bait apart is it’s light weight.  At just two ounces, you can throw this thing all day without wearing yourself out.

This bait is completely customizable, and you can add arms that come rigged with or without blades.  There is even a pre-rigged buzzbait arm attachment, and a “scent tube” for adding your favorite bass attractant.  To learn more about these rigs, go to www.shanesbaits.com.

Shanes Baits - Blades of Glory  

Damiki Lures Vortex 75 Blade Bait – The Vortex 75 is an awesome bladebait for fishing for suspended cold water bass.  You can vertically jig it through bait schools, or cast it to a ledge and hop it back.  I like this bait more than other bladebaits I’ve used because of it’s extremely reflective holographic finish, and the exaggerated vibration it emits.  When the sun catches the finish on the Vortex, it lets off a flash that mimics a dead or dying shad perfectly.  And because of the excessive vibration it makes, bass don’t have any trouble locating it in a school of bait.  To read more about the Vortex 75, visit the Damiki website at http://damiki.shptron.com/c/hard-baits_blade-baits_vortex-75.

Damiki Vortex 75


Great Lakes Largemouth Series Offers Unique Tournament Format for Bass Anglers

The Great Lakes have long been known for providing bass anglers with world class smallmouth bass fishing action.  But in recent years, the largemouth bass have been grabbing the attention of many Great Lakes anglers.

As “green fish” populations in the backwaters, bays and marinas of Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair have exploded, bass anglers have found that in addition to being numerous, the largemouth are big, healthy, and easily coaxed into biting.  Popular techniques for targeting these shallow water lunkers include flipping, cranking, and frogging.

Big Bass GLLS

Today, the Mojo Sportswear Great Lakes Largemouth Series is the fastest growing “largemouth only” tournament organization on the Great Lakes.  Entering its fourth season, the G.L.L.S. will host 30 team tournaments in 2014, spread amongst five total divisions in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

This unique tournament concept has garnered strong support from sponsors and bass tournament anglers alike, and as a result, the G.L.L.S. boasts a 100% payback championship event with a $5,000 guaranteed first place prize.  To qualify for the championship, teams must simply compete in 4 of the 30 regular season tournaments.  The championship event will launch from the Ottawa County Ramp in West Harbor (Lake Erie).  With divisions covering Central Lake Erie, Toledo, Mentor Lagoons, Presque Isle Bay, and the Detroit River/Lake St. Clair, Midwest bass anglers don’t have to look too far to find a tournament in their backyard.

Currently, the G.L.L.S. Central Lake Erie Division (sponsored by Knox Marine) boasts the largest participating field, at 50 teams.  It’s anticipated that all division will draw 25 or more boats on average, including the Bass Pro Shops Toledo Division, the most recent division to be added to the G.L.L.S.

Great Lakes Largemouth Series

G.L.L.S. members enjoy exclusive member discounts and contingency incentives, which makes those who qualify eligible for thousands of dollars in additional purse money.  To review the G.L.L.S. contingency program, please visit: http://www.greatlakeslargemouthseries.com/about/contingency-awards/

Mojo Sportswear (www.mojo-gear.com) has partnered with the G.L.L.S. for the 2014 season as the title sponsor of the series.  G.L.L.S. members who purchase a G.L.L.S Mojo Sportswear Tournament shirt for $25 (including shipping) will be eligible for added tournament bonuses.  Specifically, the top 3 highest finishing teams who purchases the G.L.L.S Mojo Sportswear Jersey and wear it at the championship will be awarded with a Mojo Sportswear gift card.

For more information about the G.L.L.S., please visit their website at www.greatlakeslargemouthseries.com


A Couple of Early Spring Ohio Slaunches

If you want to catch the biggest bass of your life, now is the time to go hunting for it.  Full of eggs and feeding heavily, the heaviest bass in our lakes are usually caught right after the ice comes off.

On Saturday, Dylan Skaggs and I launched on a small public lake in southeast Ohio in search of big bass.  Skaggs was rewarded with this pair of pre-spawn giants, which weighed 7 pounds 3 ounces and 6 pounds 2 ounces, respectively.

Dylan Skaggs 7-3 and 6-2

When we launched in the morning, the water was in the 45-47 degree range.  We concentrated on the deeper areas of the lake, working jigs, jerkbaits and crankbaits along laydowns and rocks.  As the sun reached its high point, we moved to a flat on the northeast side of the lake, where the sunlight was quickly heating the shallows.  The water in this area was 51 degrees, and a number of big fish had moved up to sun themselves on the ends of shoreline laydowns and next to shallow stumps.  That slight temperature uptick made all the difference.

We flipped soft plastics along the cover, a good bait selection for lethargic bass due to the slow rate of fall.  The key was to work the bait deliberately, allowing it to soak before putting action into it.  As the sun continued to warm the lake, we were also able to trigger a couple of bites burning traps along the flats.

The lesson here is that it’s critical to pay attention to your surroundings this time of year.  Picking up on minor details, like a 4 degree temperature change, can turn your day into a success.

Mike Reeves DCIM100GOPRO


Special Spring Discount on Alien Labs Bottom Buster Shallow Water Anchor System

Although at the current moment the weather in Ohio doesn’t feel very spring-like, the reality is that it’s mid March, and our bass will soon be moving shallow in preparation for the spawn.  A tool that can significantly enhance your ability to target these skinny-water fish is a shallow water anchor system.

This week, Ohio Bass Blog sponsor Alien Labs is offering a 10% discount to all Ohio Bass Blog readers on it’s Bottom Buster, a manually operated shallow water anchor system.  Beginning today and ending Sunday March 23rd at midnight, you can visit the Alien Labs website at www.alienlabsusa.com and enter the discount code “ohiobassblog” in the Apply Coupon box at time of checkout to receive 10% off your entire order!  To receive an additional $5 off, simply share Alien Labs on social media by using the Facebook or Twitter share buttons on the product page.  This is a great offer on a fantastic product.


Alien Labs USA

Shallow water anchoring systems have transformed the way bass anglers can attack shallow cover.  Although there are a number of these anchoring systems available on the market today, most of them are expensive, ranging anywhere from $500 to $2,000 for a single anchor.  Fortunately, Ohio-based Alien Labs has created a unique system that performs at a high level, but at a fraction of the cost of other anchors.
Bottom Buster Image 1
By pinning a bass boat to the bottom of the lake, the Bottom Buster neutralizes the effect of strong currents, waves, and wind on boat positioning.  The result is better casting accuracy, and the ability to pick apart shallow cover that would otherwise be challenging to fish.  In certain tournament scenarios, such as bed fishing and dock fishing events, not having one equipped can put an angler at a serious disadvantage against his competition. The Bottom Buster is individually crafted with high-quality materials by Ohio tournament angler Matt Bores, and priced at a very affordable $249 (plus tax).  The system consists of three main components:  a RAM Mount; an anodized aluminum sleeve; and a durable eight foot long fiberglass pole.
Bottom Buster Image 2
The mounting system can be affixed to any flat surface of the boat with four stainless steel bolts.  The most common mounting positions are at the bow (either affixed to the trolling motor track or the top of the bow), or at the stern (affixed to the transom or jack plate).  Most mounting systems on the market can be mounted in a limited number of areas, making the Bottom Buster truly unique. The sleeve is tightened onto the RAM Mount ball the same way an electronics unit is tightened to a mount.  Constructed of a sleek black anodized aluminum, the sleeve is durable and can be positioned at any angle the angler prefers. An eight foot fiberglass pole is manually inserted down through the sleeve, and pushed into the bottom of the lake to anchor the boat firmly in place.  The 7/8” diameter pole is jointed, and can be broken down into two four foot pieces and stored in a rod locker when not in use.  The tip of the pole is machined out of stainless steel, making it impressively strong and rust/corrosion resistant.  The rubber gripped handle allows for easy handling of the pole.  The pole also doubles as a push pole for those skinny-water situations.
In addition to the many fishing scenarios where the Bottom Buster comes in handy, it also can be used to anchor your boat while you or your partner are grabbing the truck to load up, eliminating the need to tie off to the courtesy dock!  And the  Bottom Buster isn’t just for bass boats.  It’s a great for  kayaks, jon boats, and canoes as well.
For any angler who is looking to gain a competitive advantage without spending a fortune, the Bottom Buster is the perfect solution.  For more information about the Bottom Buster, or to place an order, please visit www.alienlabsusa.com, or stop by Ohio Bass Blog sponsor Fin Feather & Fur Outfitters and ask to speak with Steve or Tyler.

Knox Marine’s 2014 Spring Open House

Knox Marine will be hosting its annual Spring Open House event on March 15th and 16th at its sales and service facility located on the banks of Knox Lake in Fredericktown, Ohio (Directions).

The Spring Open House is an excellent opportunity to meet the friendly staff of Ohio’s best bass boat dealership and service department, while checking out Knox’s full selection of Ranger and Lowe bass boats.  There will be special offers on new boat purchases, as well as discounts on select boating parts, electronics, accessories, and fishing tackle and equipment.  For specific sale details, please visit the Knox Marine website at www.knoxmarine-ltd.com.

As an added bonus, David Fritts (1993 Bassmaster Classic Champion, 1997 FLW Cup Champion), and touring pro Joe Balog will be teaching fishing seminars throughout the weekend.  The seminars are free, and open to the public.  For more details regarding seminar times, please contact Knox at (740) 694-7774.  The doors open at 9 am, so be sure to mark your calendar.

Knox Marine’s Service Department

For any bass boat owner, finding a quality service department is critical.  We put our boats through a lot of rough conditions, and things inevitably break.  And when your boat is out of commission, there is no higher priority than getting it fixed – and fixed correctly – so that you can get back on the water.  That’s where Knox Marine comes in.  With over 75 years of combined marine service experience, Knox’s staff of Mercury and Evinrude factory trained technicians will quickly diagnose your issues and fix them in a timely and professional manner.  And they stand behind their work.

To me, the service department at Knox Marine is the best in Ohio.  It’s so good that I drive over an hour to get there.  Although there are many reasons why I consider it the best, two examples in particular come to mind.

Mike Steel, Owner

First is the manner in which they conduct their service appointments.  If you schedule a specific time for your boat to be serviced, Knox will actually work on your boat during that time.  That means a lot when you’re coming from out of town, because you can bring your boat home the same day you brought it in for service.  The technicians will even allow you to observe them as they perform the work, explaining to you what they’re doing and answering any questions you may have about your boat.  How cool is that?

Second is the problem solving advice that they are willing to provide over the phone.  If you’re a Knox Marine customer, and something breaks or stops working on your boat while you’re on the water, you can call the service department and Mark, Jeff, Steve or Mike will do everything they can to help you diagnose and fix the problem.  They have bailed me out of a number of situations on the water, including one incident in which I was broken down on the Ohio River, 30 miles from the launch ramp!  That type of service is rare, and is just another example of Knox Marine’s commitment to going the extra mile for their customers.

New and Used Boat and Motor Sales

Knox offers a full lineup of new Ranger Bass Boats, Ranger Aluminum Boats, and Lowe Aluminum Boats - all powered by Evinrude and Mercury outboard motors.  If you’re interested in purchasing a new boat, or if you simply want to learn more about a particular model, give Steve Dalton a call.  Steve has many years of experience selling boats, and as a tournament angler, he understands what is important to bass anglers when it comes to choosing the right boat.  Knox also carries a wide selection of used boats, and new and used motors!

Steve Dalton, Owner

Parts and Accessories

Knox carries Evinrude genuine parts and accessories, and Mercury precision parts and accessories.  They keep their parts department well stocked, and if they don’t have a part you need, they get it for you quickly.  Don’t hesitate to call Matt Blakesley if you have a question on parts or warranty.

Boat Storage

Knox also offers indoor boat storage for their customers.  The cost is extremely affordable, and the process is easy.  Simply schedule a winterization appointment when you’re ready to put your boat away for the season, and drop it off with Mark or Jeff at the service department.  They will winterize your boat and then transport it to the storage facility for you.  When you’re ready to pick it up in the spring, they’ll have it ready to go.  As of the date of this article, the rate is $220, and allows you to store your boat from October 1st through April 30th.

Knox Marine Supports Ohio Based Tournament Organizations and Businesses

Knox Marine provides support to the Ohio bass fishing community by sponsoring Ohio based tournament circuits, including the Ohio Mega Bass Tournament Trail, Bass Pro Shops Ohio Tournament Trail, the Lake Erie Largemouth Series and Ohio TBF.  And they support local businesses by stocking products in their tackle shop from Ohio based Venom Lures, A.C.T. Lures, and Hookerz Tackle.

So if you don’t already have a trusted service department for your bass boat, or you’re looking for a change, don’t hesitate to give Knox Marine a call – you’ll be happy you did.

Team Knox Marine


Fin, Feather & Fur Outfitter’s 2014 Spring Bass Weekend!

This weekend, Fin, Feather & Fur Outfitters will be hosting its annual Spring Bass Weekend at its flagship store in Ashland, Ohio.  With a full schedule of bass fishing seminars being taught by Bassmaster Elite Series and FLW Tour anglers, and a huge selection of bass fishing gear marked at discounted prices, attending the show is a great way to kick off the 2014 Ohio bass fishing season!  For more information on the many products that will be on sale, check out the official Fin Feather Fur Let’s Go Fishing Sale Flyer.

Beginning Saturday morning, these free seminars will offer a fantastic opportunity to learn from some of the best anglers in the sport. The two-day schedule of professionals includes:

Saturday March 1st
Aaron Martens (2013 B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year) 11:00 a.m. – Noon
Kevin Hawk (2010 Forrest Wood Cup Champion) 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Sunday March 2nd
Kevin Hawk (2010 Forrest Wood Cup Champion) 11:00 a.m. – Noon
Aaron Martens (2013 B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year) 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Bill Lowen 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. – “Catching Shallow Water Largemouth”


About Fin, Feather & Fur Outfitters

“The Fin” (as many within the Ohio bass fishing community affectionately refer to it as) carries an enormous selection of bass fishing products and gear that rivals any of the national outdoor retailers.  The fishing department, which is located in the left-wing of the 72,00 square foot Ashland store, is stocked with the most popular brands and models of rods, reels, electronics, terminal tackle, soft plastics, crankbaits, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, jigs and anything else you could possibly need for the upcoming bass’n season.



The Staff

Although The Fin’s product selection is impressive, it’s the quality of their employees that differentiates them from the competition. Managed by Ohio tournament angler Steve Hatfield (Two-Time Mosquito Madness Champion), The Fin’s fishing department is staffed by a group of friendly bass fishing experts who strive to deliver the highest level of customer service.  The staff at The Fin knows their stuff.  All of them spend considerable time on the water chasing bass around Ohio’s waters, and several of them are avid tournament anglers, which means they understand what is important to bass fishermen.  They are well-trained when it comes to the technical side of the products they sell.  Both Steve and Sales Associate Tyler Young can talk to you in depth about every fishing product they carry and explain to you how those products will help you catch more fish.

The Fin will be sponsoring Ohio Bass Blog again in 2014, and has offered to provide Ohio Bass Blog readers with a new segment called “Fin Feather and Fur Tips and Techniques”.  This segment will run occasionally on the front page throughout the season, and will feature some of the Fin’s great products in action on Ohio waters.  Stay tuned for more!



Fin, Feather & Fur Supports Ohio Bass Anglers and Local Businesses

Besides the large product selection and great service, another reason to support Fin, Feather & Fur is because they support us – the Ohio bass fishing community.  The Fin sponsors many Ohio based bass tournament circuits, including the Ohio Mega Bass Tournament Trail, DoBass, Great Lakes Largemouth Series, Bad Bass Champs, The Bass Pro Shops Ohio Tournament Trail, several of Ohio’s collegiate bass fishing teams, and a number of annual open tournaments.  Their contributions allow these circuits to provide competitors with a superior tournament experience and increased payouts.  The Fin also supports Ohio based bass fishing companies, carrying a number of local brands like Warrior Baits, Ohio Pro Lure, and Hookerz Tackle.





So whether you’re looking for a new Humminbird unit for side imaging the offshore humps on Clear Fork Reservoir, a heavy flipping stick for punching the pads at Indian, or just some friendly advice from a bass fishing expert, stop by Fin, Feather & Fur Outfitters this weekend and say hello – you’ll be glad you did! The Ashland store is located at I-71 and US-250, and can be contacted at (419) 281-2557.  Be sure to follow The Fin on Facebook.


2014 Ohio Bass Circuit Rundown

Considering fishing an Ohio bass circuit in 2014?  Take a minute to review what some of the state’s most popular circuits have to offer this upcoming season (in alphabetical order).  To view a full listing of Ohio’s bass circuits, visit the 2014 Circuit Schedules page.


American Bass Anglers/American Fishing Tour

The American Bass Anglers/American Fishing Tour is the largest tournament trail for the Weekend Angler.
We are an individual draw circuit where an angler enters as a boater or non-boater and is paired together the morning of the tournament.  Boaters are guaranteed the use of their boats.  If there are not enough non-boaters, by the luck of the draw, some boaters will fish by themselves.
American Bass Anglers
Membership is $25 a year.  One day tournament entry fees are $70 ($75 at  ramp), and 2-day Divisional Championship tournaments are $140 ($145 at  ramp).  This fee includes Big Bass.  The National Championship Tournament entry fee is $170.  There are over 800 tournaments nationwide that a member may fish just by showing up.  They all count towards their points for the National Championship Tournament.
To qualify for the National Championship Tournament, we count an anglers 4 best one day tournaments by points finish and their best 2 day Divisional  Championship Tournament by points.  These tournaments may be in one or multiple divisions.  Points are based on a field of 20 anglers, 200 points for first place then down 1 point for each place.  Divisional Championship points are doubled, 400 and then down 2 points per place.
The top 500 anglers are invited to the National Championship Tournament!  Each Division recognizes an Angler of the Year.  This is determined by an anglers 4 best one day tournament points and their 2 day tournament  points in only one division.  The National Championship Tournament will be held Old Hickory Lake, in Hendersonville, Tennessee.  The dates are October 19-24, 2014.
Some major changes have taken place for the 2014 tournament.  For boaters, we will continue down the national points list until all 250 boater positions have been filled.  Also, the ABA/AFT will administer polygraph/voice stress tests to all winners and a select number of anglers who receive a check.
The Championship Tournament will have 3 winners.
1) National Champion.  The overall winner of the tournament based on the highest total weight for the event.  All anglers are eligible, boater or non-boater.  They will receive a fully rigged Triton 21XS boat with 200 hp Mercury motor package, Odyssey batteries, TH Marine Hot Foot and Jack Plate and Carlisle Tires with Blackrock wheels.
2) Non-boater Champion.  This angler will be the highest place of finish non-boater based on total weight for the event.  Only registered non-boaters will be considered for this award.  They will receive a fully rigged Triton 19XS boat with 150 hp Mercury motor package with Odyssey batteries, TH Marine Hot Foot and Jack Plate and Carlisle Tires with Blackrock wheels.
3) Angler of the Year.  Angler of the Year will be the highest place of finish Divisional Angler of the Year angler based on total weight for the event.  Only Division Anglers of the Year will be considered for this award.  They will receive a Triton 21XS boat with 200 hp Mercury motor package, Odyssey batteries, TH Marine Hot Foot and Jack Plate and Carlisle Tires with Blackrock wheels.
For more information contact the American Bass Anglers at www.americanbassanglers.com or  phone 256-232-0406.  Contact K. Barry Davis, Ohio Area Manager, American Bass  Anglers/American Fishing Tour at abaohio@aol.com or phone 614-746-1191.
K. Barry Davis – Ohio Area Manager, ABA/AFT

Bad Bass Champs

The Bad Bass Champs Trail is proud to present the 2014 tournament trail.  The trail is a one-time $100 membership fee per team per year, a $120.00 entry fee per qualifying event (big bass included), and a $200 Championship fee (big bass included).  This is truly one of the most affordable circuits to fish with hands down the best percentage payout in the area.
Not only is the trail sponsored by Triton Boats, it is also sanctioned by Triton Gold, and offers anglers and sponsors something that has never been incorporated into a tournament trail – PATRONAGE INTEGRATION!  This is probably the only circuit in Northeastern Ohio that Anglers will be able to fish an attractive FREE TOURNAMENT as part of their yearly points race.  For the seventh year in a row Fin, Feather & Fur Outfitters are on board for a 2014 FREE tournament.  This tournament will be free to all teams that qualify and every team comes away with a prize!
Bad Bass Champs
Bad Bass Champs
Bad Bass Champs
So if you are a new angler and are looking for an affordable way to enter the tournament bass fishing world or are an experienced angler that wants to compete against the best fisherman in the area, Bad Bass Champs is the Trail for you!!  Our fields span seasoned veterans to new and up and coming anglers, fathers and sons, fathers and daughters and husband and wife teams are also quite common.
We are family-friendly, professionally run, and well aligned with our sponsors and anglers!  We can’t wait to be the trail to serve your tournament needs in 2014.  Please visit our website or contact us if you would like more information at www.badbasschamps.com.
Ray Maynard – Bad Bass Champs

Bass Pro Shops Ohio Tournament Trail

NEW Bass Pro Shops Ohio Tournament Trail!
After 8 successful years with a Nationally known tournament trail Dave Davis of Trenton, Ohio & Ky Reed of Gahanna, Ohio (along with Patrick Davis, Mike White, Mike Wilson, Steve Fyffe & Bryan Bias) have COMBINED two well established tournament circuits (the Ohio Central Division Weekend Challenge and the Southern Ohio Bass Challenge) into ONE AWESOME STATEWIDE TOURNAMENT TRAIL and have stepped out on our own“!
For 2014, Bass Pro Shops and SIZZLE Marine will headline our sponsor list bringing Ohio a STATEWIDE Tournament Circuit that is FUN and AFFORDABLE, PLUS, gives our competing anglers a chance to take home a little cash and some AWESOME prizes!
The upcoming season will be comprised of 6 weekend “Circuit” events where anglers will fish for cash & points with a chance of qualifying for our Championship at Kentucky Lake in the Spring of 2015!  Our 12 “Thursday Nighters” at Delaware will also be included in qualification for this awesome event and for the first time in Central Ohio, BOTH Divisions will be 100% PAYBACK!
How we did this is quite simple.  82% will be PAID BACK AT THE RAMP and the remaining 18% will be added to our “Championship Fund”.  We’ve done the math – by keeping the remaining 18% at home (instead of lining the pockets of a “National Director”) we’re anticipating over $10,000 in cash and prizes to be awarded (depending on participation)!  Our BPSOTT Circuit Division tournaments are “Members Only” events and applications for Membership can be found on our website at: www.bpsott.com.  Keep in mind, for our “Weekend” Division, we’re “capping” membership at 50 TEAMS (up to 100 members) to keep our weigh-ins smooth, manageable and FUN!
Our six “OPEN” Tournaments will take place throughout the season on lakes in Central Ohio.  Our entire 2014 season actually kicks off with the “SIZZLE Marine Spring Challenge” at Alum Creek on Saturday May 3rd at the New Galena Ramp.  Two of our six Open events are “Benefit” tournaments with one benefiting Annehurst Swim Team in Westerville and the second benefiting PELOTONIA and the James Cancer Hospital at OSU! (see: www.pelotonia.org).  Our “OPEN” events are OPEN TO EVERYONE and you do NOT have to be a member of BPSOTT to participate!
Those that have fished either Circuit in the past know what quality events we host and we welcome you to join us in our new endeavor.  For those who haven’t fished with us and are considering to do so, we welcome you as well into our “Family”!
For more information such as our complete schedule, rules, Open applications, membership information, etc., please see our website at www.bpsott.com.
Ky Reed and Dave Davis – Co-Directors of BPSOTT


Much of the “old” stuff for DoBass remains solid and working well!  Mosquito Madness IX this May 3rd & 4th filled up in just 36 hours!!!  This will be our ninth $10,000 first place payout!!!  Our 100% payout OPEN series, NOAA, is also just 5 boats away at this early stage from a full field, returning $6000 to first place on just 60 teams!!!
NEW for DoBass in 2014 is quite the paradigm shift for anglers of the region:
Our cult like following of  true electric only anglers in both the KSU LaDO! and Electric Elite Invitational series have now EXPANDED recreational opportunities to GAS boats!
Akron City Watersheds (E.Branch, LaDue and Mogadore) always maintained a unique perspective for anglers as there were no boats permitted over 18′ and most importantly, any gas engines and/or tanks had to be removed in order to access any of the waterways.
Effective 3/1/14 these lakes (and our events) are now OPEN to watercraft of any size and outboards can remain intact.  The electric only restrictions are still in place, and any “external” gas tanks must be removed prior to launching.  But internally contained tanks on typical bass rigs remain acceptable!
This HUGE change opens the door for many who traditionally strayed from the innovative hillbilly rigs typical to our events.  We welcome the “glass” to our bass!!!   There will be more updates online at www.DoBass.com.
Another exciting innovation for 2014 includes The Mosquito “thaw” OPEN on 4/6/14, which will offer a GUARANTEED $1,000 prize to the highest finishing collegiate team participating in addition to regular payouts!!!
This OPEN event will allow ANY active registered collegiate angler to get into the boat with a team already registered for the event!  We hope to facilitate a similar angling opportunity as FLW for college anglers who often are without rigs, driving long distances and dealing with challenges of a dorm room and their gear!  We will facilitate pairings online and hopefully further tie in this region’s anglers with collegiate anglers from all over Ohio.  College anglers can feel free to team up with partners from their region and join us on the bass factory of Mosquito Creek Lake!
Visit www.fishKSU.com for more details and learn just how easy your one or two man team can be eligible to provide a day on the lake for a college angler AND potentially add to your winnings by $1000 just for having them in the boat and fishing!
Rory Franks – DoBass Tournament Director

Great Lake Erie Largemouth Series

The Great lakes Largemouth Series is a team tournament series dedicated to “largemouth only “on the Great lakes.  In 2014, the G.L.L.S. will offer five divisions throughout Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.  We have a new division in Toledo, Ohio, which will kick off the season with a 100% open April 13th to introduce anglers to this untapped fishery.  The Cleveland division is moving from downtown Cleveland to Mentor Lagoons, which will allow anglers to fish these protected backwaters.  The new Detroit River/St Clair division now has three events on the Detroit River and three events on Lake St Clair.  The Central Lake Erie division will host eight events again this season and Presque Isle Bay now offers six events.  The G.L.L.S concludes the season with a 100% payback championship with a minimum $5,000 guaranteed first place prize.
Great Lakes Largemouth Series
In 2013, the G.L.L.S paid out over $10,000 in cash and over $6,000 in prizes at the Championship.  The best thing about the championship is that it is not a point qualify event.  Every team that fishes a minimum of four events automatically qualifies for the championship.  This allows teams to fish their local circuits and find four dates to fish any tournaments throughout any G.L.L.S divisions to qualify for the Championship.  For more information on schedules, past results, incentives, and register team, visit www.greatlakeslargemouthseries.com or call David Hoheisel at 614-361-5548.
Dave Hoheisel – GLLS Tournament Director

Ohio Mega Bass Tournament Trail

OMBTT is entering its 8th season in 2014.  In that time, we have paid out close to $600,000 in prize money to our anglers as a result of our 100% payback concept!  We have some of the best anglers in the state fishing with us, so stiff competition and a friendly atmosphere can be expected at our events.
Ohio Mega Bass Tournament Trail
Our Points Champion for 2013 was the team of Will Englefield and Chris Cooper, who are two-time AOYs and former Classic Champions as well.  They will fish the 2014 season for free, a $1,400 value.  Our 2013 Classic Champions were Rob Thivner and Seth Downing, which earned them an $8,000 payday!  We paid out over $31,000 for our Classic last year with 47 boats participating.  Kentucky/Barkley Lakes is where our Classic is held every year, which allows our anglers to get away from the crowded lakes we experience year round here in Ohio.  It’s also a great way to end the year with a trip to a world-class fishery.  Big Bass for the 2013 season regular season was a 4.88 largemouth at Delaware Lake caught by the team of Steve Roush and Brian King, good for a $1,360 check.
In our current economy, many anglers choose to fish for the biggest bang for their money – that’s what OMBTT can offer with its 100% payback format.  Some of the things we do that separate us from other tournament circuits include:  posting tournament results to our website in an expedient manner; providing regular Facebook and website updates to keep our anglers up to date on the latest circuit developments; practicing unsurpassed fish care during our weigh-ins; treating everyone who fishes with us with respect; and paying back 100% of all entries.
Our staff teams and sponsors make this all possible.  When it comes to sponsors, we do our best to drive business to them.  We are very selective in choosing our sponsors, and strive to partner with only the most reputable companies.
OMBTT offers Pot of Gold Open tournaments each season, which are two-day events with big payouts.  Last season, our POG event at Indian Lake paid out $8,470 to a 47 boat field, $3,000 of which went to first place.  And our POG Mosquito Lake event paid $8,805 to a 42 boat field, $3,680 paid to first.
If you are interested in fishing OMBTT in 2014, please check us out at www.ombtt.com.  We’d love to have you!
Jami Norman OMBTT Director

Taking His Shot – Ohio Angler Nick Prvonozac Takes on the 2014 FLW Tour

Have you ever dreamed of fishing professionally?  This season Nick Prvonozac, one of Northeast Ohio’s best known anglers, will test his skills against the top bass fishermen in the world when he competes on the 2014 FLW Tour.

Ohio Bass Blog will be following Nick throughout the season, providing readers with an inside look at life on tour for the first year pro.

Nick Prvonozac

Feel free to post questions for Nick on his Facebook Page, or even add him to your FLW Fantasy Fishing team by joining the Ohio Bass Blog league (league ID# 18037).  The password to join is ohiobassblog, and Ohio Bass Blog will be giving away a prize package to the overall winner at the end of the season.  It’s free to play, so sign up now!

This is the first installment of the season-long series.  Ohio Bass Blog did a Q&A with Nick before this week’s season opening FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee in Central Florida.

Ohio Bass Blog:  Nick, you’ve been extremely successful fishing individual and team circuits both locally and nationally over the years.  What circuits have you fished, and what are some of your career highlights?

Prvonozac:  The first tournament I ever fished was in May of 1991 on Pymatuning Reservoir.  My brother and I placed 16th out of 120 teams.  I had been bass fishing for a few years prior to that event but it was a real confidence booster to get a check in our first ever tournament!  I spent the rest of the year spending as much time on the water as I could.

The following year, we decided to fish a team trail called M.T.O.C. and at that time it was one of the largest circuits in Ohio.  Our first event was on West Branch.  There were almost 120 teams and we placed second – we were so excited and proud.  The very next M.T.O.C. we fished was at Mosquito and we placed second again.  That was the validation we needed to further pursue tournament fishing.  For the next three years we continued to place high with a few more second place finishes.

Then it happened, I won my first event on Lake Erie, Sandusky Bay in 1995.  It was a real turning point in my fishing career because there were a lot of top-notch Lake Erie anglers in the event.  Winning against them gave me the confidence to know that not only could I compete, but I could win!

Two years later we won our first boat in the Greater Ohio Team Trail (GOTT) Championship.  That was the first boat ever won in Northeast Ohio.  Full of confidence, I entered my first B.A.S.S. pro tournament in the spring of 1999 in Texas on Sam Rayburn Reservoir.  I finished second place, and won a Ranger boat plus $3,000.  There were a “who’s who” of pro competitors in that event, with over 300 pros from around the nation.  As it turned out, some guy from Michigan named Kevin Van Dam won!

I continued to solidify my career and went on to win another 13 bass boats by winning team championships and angler of the year titles from The X-Series, Trade Winds Marine, Midwest Sportsmen, GOTT, and Anglers Choice.  Recently, I won back-to-back angler of the year titles in the Ohio Division of the Bassmaster Weekend Series and finished fifth in 2012 and sixth in 2013 in their national championship tournament.

Nic Prvonozac 3

Ohio Bass Blog:  What made you decide to step up to the professional level this season?

Prvonozac:  It’s been my goal to fish professionally from the first time I picked up a rod and reel.  I felt it was finally time to go for it this season, and a few things worked out that allowed me to take a run at it.

Ohio Bass Blog:  It’s said that fishing full time as a tour pro can be extremely expensive.  What’s the cost to fish a full season, including entry fees and all other expenses?

Prvonozac:  The cost of fishing the FLW Tour is $24,000 for six events. Factor in an additional $12,000 for traveling expenses and you’re looking at $36,000 for the year minimum!

Ohio Bass Blog:  Who are the sponsors that are supporting you this season?

Prvonozac:  My financial sponsors to date are Nu Threadz and Durica Insurance.  My product sponsors are Pradco Outdoors Brand, Tuff Line, Ranger Boats, Mercury, Vic’s Sport Center, and Lowrance.  I’m currently seeking a “Title” sponsor to showcase their company logo on my boat and truck as I compete in the world’s largest tournament organization this season, the FLW Tour.

Ohio Bass Blog:  What boat are you running this season?

Prvonozac:  I will be running a Ranger Z520C with a Mercury 250 HP.

Nick Prvonozac 2

Ohio Bass Blog:  What do you expect will be some of the dominant patterns for each of the six stops on the Tour this season?

Prvonozac:  The first event on Okeechobee will probably be won flipping, sight-fishing, and/or topwater fishing.  Hartwell  and Beaver will probably be pre-spawn fishing/touch-and-go, depending on the weather.  Big Sam will be spawn or post-spawn.  Pickwick and Kentucky Lake will see an offshore bite.

Nick Prvonozac with a 7 pound largemouth he caught in Florida on 1-31-13

Ohio Bass Blog:  What are your goals this season on Tour?

Prvonozac:  My minimum goal for the 2014 FLW Tour is to win Rookie of the Year, and finish within the top 60 a minimum of three times out of six events.  What I’m really setting my sights on is to win Rookie of the year and Angler of the Year in the same season.  I don’t think that has ever been done before so it would be an awesome feat to achieve.  Also I would like to qualify for the FLW Cup, and do well there.

Ohio Bass Blog:  What do you think will be the most difficult part of fishing the Tour?

Provonozac:  The most difficult part of fishing the Tour this year for me will be securing a title sponsor.  When you are not nationally known, a lot of sponsors don’t know who you are, and that limits the amount of sponsor connections you can make.  When you meet someone face-to-face, or they see how you interact with the public at the events, that puts a greater face value on your marketability.  Hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to make some of those important connections this season.

Nick Prvonozac 3

Ohio Bass Blog:  What do you consider to be your greatest strength as an angler?

Prvonozac:  My greatest strength as an angler is my determination and faith.  Everything I have accomplished in the past has built a foundation for my success on the water, and I thank God for the gifts that He has given me.

Ohio Bass Blog:  If you could only use one lure year-round, what would it be and why?

Prvonozac:  It would definitely be a jig because I have won more money in tournaments “pitching” than with any other technique.

Ohio Bass Blog:  What was it like finishing second to Van Dam in a major tournament?

Provonozac:  Finishing second place at the 1999 Bassmaster Texas Invitational was an experience I’ll never forget.  I had done a lot of research on Sam Rayburn prior to the event and had some general areas of the lake that, based on the time of year and seasonal patterns, I thought would be great reference points to start with.  Armed with that information, I knew there was going to be an offshore bite that time of year.

I gave myself plenty of practice time to graph out the bottom terrain and prepare for the event.  I showed up two and a half weeks before the first day of official practice.  Mind you at that time, B.A.S.S. had a mandatory one week off limits prior to the start of official practice.  I tried to catch some fish in practice but my main focus was to think of places the fish would be three weeks later.

I had found several staging areas in transition zones where the fish would probably stop on as they traveled to and from their wintering areas to their spawning areas.  During the course of the three official practice days, I was able to relocate several schools of bass staging for the spawn. I never saw any competitors on these spots except for one, so I was really excited for the first day of competition.

On the first day I drew a Pro from Missouri and told him what I had found in practice.  He agreed to take my boat and give me the start of the day.  When we pulled up to my first spot of the morning, we were greeted with another competitor sitting right on the sweet spot.  I wasn’t shocked because I had seen a lot of traffic in that area but I was hoping to be the first one there.  We made a complete circle around them without a bite and watched them catch ten fish.

At that point, I told my partner we needed go to my other spots because I had never seen a boat on them.  As we came around the corner and my spot became visible, I was mortified to see another boat near it.  I ran close enough to see if they were exactly on it and raced to my third spot in disarray.  When we stopped on my third spot, which wasn’t that far away, my partner nudged me and said, “That was Van Dam”!  I couldn’t believe Kevin Van Dam was fishing one of the best spots I had found in practice.  I shrugged it off and focused on the positives.  I figured he would throw crankbaits, and not slow down to throw a Carolina rig.

While fishing my third spot, we watched KVD leave and after about an hour we headed over there.  On my first two casts to the sweet spot, I caught back-to-back four pounders.  It was awesome!  I had found, 100% on my own, the exact spot “KVD” had found.  After three days of competition, Kevin Van Dam won the event and I ended up a few pounds short of the victory.  Even though I didn’t get a “win” in the books that week, it was still a personal victory for me.


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