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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.



Record Breaker – The Story of Roy Landsberger’s Ohio State Record Largemouth Bass

by Mike Reeves

On the evening of May 26th, 1976, Roy Landsberger hooked and landed a 13.13 pound largemouth bass from a small pond in Northeast Ohio.  To date, it is the largest bass ever recorded in Ohio’s history.

For nearly 40 years the record has remained unbroken.  In the eyes of many, it is a mark that is untouchable.  While the record itself is known by most avid Ohio bass anglers, the story behind the catch remains shrouded in mystery – until now.  What follows is the story of Roy Landsberger’s Ohio record largemouth.

Roy Landsberger with the Ohio State Record Largemouth in 1976

Landsberger with his record catch on May 27, 1976

In 1973, three years prior to breaking the record, Landsberger had returned to his hometown of Kensington, Ohio after serving in the Vietnam War.  As a soldier in the United States Army, Landsberger had driven a tanker truck that supplied fuel to US aircraft for missions in Laos and Cambodia.

Resting 20 miles due-east of Canton on the outskirts of Appalachian country, Kensington was a quaint town, surrounded by rolling hills, lush forests, and fertile farmland.  Landsberger took a job as a laborer at the nearby Robert F. Donahey Tree Farm.  Donahey was an insurance executive from Cleveland who had built a home on the 1,000-acre farm where he and his crew raised evergreens that were eventually harvested as Christmas trees.

One of the perks of Landsberger’s job was that he was permitted to fish the seven spring-fed ponds that were clustered together on the property.  The ponds were connected to each other by a series of small runoff creeks, and the largest pond, which was approximately one and a half acres in size, featured an earthen dam and concrete spillway.  In the eyes of 25 year old Landsberger, there was no better way to melt away the rigors of a long day’s labor than to fish along the banks of the ponds at the end of a shift.

On the evening he broke the record, Landsberger went fishing by himself, as he had done most every night that spring.  Armed with his antique Bache Brown Spinster reel, which was manufactured by the Lionel Train Company, and a red fishing rod his mother had acquired for him using S&H Green Stamps, Landsberger trekked to the earthen dam bank of the big pond.

The pond tapered from two feet at the edge to approximately 12 feet at the bottom of the drop off.  Landsberger stealthily crept his way down the bank, casting a yellow and black spotted Arbogast Jitterbug along the water’s edge.  As darkness began to fall, and with little action to speak of, he told himself he would retrieve the topwater plug and make one final cast.  Splashing and plopping as it danced its way back to shore, the Jitterbug was suddenly inhaled by an enormous fish, right at Landsberger’s feet.

“It hit right as I was about to lift the lure out of the water.  Because it hit so close and it was pretty dark out, I couldn’t tell right away what kind of fish it was.  I was using twelve pound line, and it was pulling line from my drag really quickly, so I knew it was big”, explained Landsberger.

The fish surged towards deeper water, and Landsberger expertly turned it to the shallows.  He thought he had gained the upper hand, but the fish decided it wasn’t quite done, making a second push for deep water.

“As I was fighting the fish back towards the bank for the second time she surfaced and I saw her mouth.  That’s when I knew it was a bass”, he said.

Not willing to risk losing the giant fish, Landsberger saw his chance to land her as she made her approach to shore.  He stepped into the water up to his knees, and lipped the behemoth by her lower jaw.

“When I looked down into her throat I realized she had only a single hook from the Jitterbug in the meaty part of her upper mouth.  My first thought was that bass just don’t grow this big”, he said.

Landsberger knew he was holding an extraordinary fish.  Thinking quickly, he strung the fish up through its gills with a piece of rope, tied it to the metal grate that covered the spillway overflow, and then ran a short distance to Mr. Donahey’s house.

“I told Mr. Donahey about how big the fish was, and he decided to call Lester Jones, the area game warden, to let him know about the catch”, he recalled.

Upon the arrival of Jones, Landsberger drove the men in his pickup truck to the edge of the pond, leaving the headlights shining to where the monster was tied-off.

“Jones couldn’t believe her size.  He was astonished.  He knew it was something special and told me we had to get it on ice until the big shots from the ODNR office in Akron could come inspect the fish”, Landsberger recalled.

Jones had brought with him a set of baby scales, the same set he always used when an angler called in a possible record catch.  He placed the fish, still alive and dripping with eggs, on the scales.  To the men’s disbelief, the needle settled just above the 14 pound mark.  Landsberger put the fish in the plastic vegetable storage bin at the bottom of Donahey’s refrigerator, and covered her with ice.

Donahey, Landsberger and Lash with the Ohio State Record Largemouth Bass

Donahey, Landsberger and Jones on May 27th, 1976

The next afternoon, May 27th, three officials from the ODNR made their way down to Kensington and met Landsberger, Jones and Donahey at a meat locker in town that had a set of certified scales.  In the presence of all men, the fish was weighed at an astounding 13.13 pounds.  From nose to tail it measured 25 and 1/16 inches.

But there was a problem.  Because none of the officials had ever seen nor heard of a pure Northern strain largemouth of that size living in Ohio, they were skeptical, and took the fish with them to be examined at The Ohio State University Fish Division in Columbus.  Officials suspected that Landsberger’s fish could possibly be a transplanted Florida strain largemouth.

A week prior to the one year anniversary of the date Landsberger landed the fish, it was determined after undergoing numerous tests at OSU that the fish was, in fact, a thirteen year old female pure Northern strain largemouth, giving Landsberger the official Ohio state record.

Shortly after the record was recognized, Landsberger was contacted by Jack Lash, a renowned taxidermist from Massillon, Ohio.  Lash took the fish and mounted it, free of charge, for Landsberger.  Today, Landsberger keeps the mount, as well as the original rod, reel and the Jitterbug at his home in Kensington.

Roy Landsberger with the mount of his Ohio State Record Largemouth Bass 2

Landsberger in January, 2014 with his record bass and the original Jitterbug

The newspaper reporters called – everyone wanted to hear about his record bass.  But Landsberger never capitalized on the record financially, and to this day hasn’t earned a penny as a result of the catch.

“I didn’t have a clue about fishing for big bass at the time.  I didn’t realize that companies would endorse you if you were using their rod and reel.  If only I had been using a Shakespeare, who knows”, he exclaimed.

After breaking the record, Landsberger decided to take a trip to Dale Hollow Reservoir, home of the world record smallmouth, in pursuit of possibly breaking another record.

“I went down to Dale Hollow and rented a boat for an entire week, and didn’t catch a single smallmouth”, he said, laughing at the futility of the trip.

What made the Donahey pond special?  What about its makeup allowed for a bass to grow to such an impressive weight?  For starters, according to Landsberger, it benefited from two sources of fresh water inflow, which included a creek and a natural spring at the bottom of the pond.  The pond supported a strong forage base, consisting primarily of large shiners, shad, bluegills, crawdads, and bull frogs, all of which thrived in the clear, cool water.

“I’m convinced that fish thought she was eating one of those big bull frogs when she struck”, he said.

To Landsberger’s knowledge, the ponds had been stocked at some point in the past, although he couldn’t offer details beyond a fleeting recollection, meaning the genetic source of the record fish will likely never be known.

You’re probably wondering about the location of the pond?  Located approximately five miles to the south of Kensington, it remained, untouched, in its record-breaking form, until 1987 when the Boy Scouts of America purchased the land from Donahey and created the Seven Ranges Boy Scout Reservation.  Shortly after the purchase, the seven ponds on the property were flooded and dammed-up to create a single 30-acre impoundment, known today as Lake Don Brown.

Lake Don Brown.

Lake Don Brown

Although the lake is not open to the public, Landsberger has hosted a small bass tournament on the lake each year for a few of his closest friends.

“That fish’s genes are still in there.  I’ve been fishing for them ever since, but haven’t caught another big one like that.  The biggest we’ve caught during any of those tournaments is six pounds – but I know there’s still a big one in there”, he opined.

Lake Don Brown..

Lake Don Brown

Now 63 years old, Landsberger retired last year after nearly 40 years in the tree farming business.  A father of three, and grandfather to three granddaughters, he still fishes regularly on Northeast Ohio’s many inland lakes, as well as Lake Erie.

As our conversation came to an end, I asked him if he believed the record would ever be broken.

“I thought it would be broken by now, I really did.  It’s been almost 40 years and nobody’s done it.  I just don’t know.  I just don’t know”, he replied softly, as his thoughts drifted back to a warm May evening in 1976 when a young man went fishing, and accomplished something truly extraordinary.


Ohio’s Collegiate Bass Fishing Teams – 2014 Edition

Competitive bass fishing is perhaps the fastest growing sport in college athletics.  With more than two hundred schools competing nationwide, and several televised national championship events that boast prizes in the range of $100,000, the sport is undoubtedly here to stay.
In 2014, there will be a competitive tournament circuit called the Ohio Collegiate Tournament Series, which is open to any Ohio college that fields a bass fishing team.  The series will visit a number of Ohio fisheries, and the schedule can be viewed in the 2014 Circuit Schedules page.
There are currently close to ten Ohio colleges that field competitive bass fishing teams.  Those schools who were willing to share a little about themselves include Bowling Green State University, Kent State University, Lake Erie College, Ohio University, The Ohio State University, The University of Akron, Xavier University, and Youngstown State University.  Ohio Bass Blog contacted these student-athletes to learn about each of their organizations.  Here is what they had to say (in alphabetical order).

Bowling Green State University Bass Club

Submitted by BGSU Club President Kevin Klensch
The Bowling Green State University Bass Fishing Team was founded in 2011, and currently has seven active members.  We all share a common interest in fishing, and it isn’t uncommon for our club meetings to begin with 45 minutes of telling fishing stories.
We have fished the FLW Collegiate tournaments in the Northern Division for the past two years.  Along with the FLW tournaments, we also fished the Boat U.S. National Championship in 2013.  This year we will fish the Boat U.S, FLW and B.A.S.S. Collegiate tournaments.
BGSU Bass Fishing Club
In between tournaments and school, we try to fish together as much as possible.  Lake Erie’s Western Basin, the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair are all within an hour drive of the campus, so that is where we spend our weekends fishing.  In early spring, Ohio’s infamous walleye run in the Maumee River is only a 20 minute drive from campus, and calls us to wade in the frigid water to catch those toothy fish.
With the help of local sponsors such as Zap Lures, Economical Bass Baits, and Snack Daddy Lures, we are able to fish these tournaments.  We are always looking for more support and opportunities to promote the products that we use, and to promote local businesses.  We represent our school and sponsors positively and respectfully.
Any BGSU student who is interested in joining the BGSU Bass Fishing Club can contact us through our Facebook page by searching Bowling Green State University Bass Fishing Club, or by emailing Kyle Klensch (kklensc@bgsu.edu), Jason Scott (jasonscottfishing@yahoo.com) or Zach Goeglein (zgoegle@bgsu.edu).
BGSU’s 2014 Tournament Schedule:
March 14-16:  B.A.S.S. Collegiate Open on Lake Chickamauga
April 4-5:  Cabelas Big Bass Bash on Kentucky Lake
May 3:  FLW College Qualifier on Smith Mountain Lake
May 21-23:  Boat U.S. Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship on Pickwick Lake
June 13-14:  B.A.S.S. Eastern Regional on Watts Bar Lake
July 12:  FLW College Qualifier on Chesapeake Bay
August 23:  FLW College Qualifier on Chautaugua Lake

Kent State University Bass Fishing Club

Submitted by KSU Club President Evan Kruse
The Kent State University Bass Fishing Club was founded in Fall 2008.  That first season we had four members, and we have grown to about 28 currently.  As of right now, we have 10 new names that have shown interest in joining our club in 2014.  I predict this season to be our best yet.
We were founded to be eligible to fish the FLW Tour College Fishing Series, which can be viewed at collegefishing.com.  The club sponsors us to fish all across the East Coast, essentially for free.  Our anglers provide the boats, but the club provides gas money up to $100 per member.  The only costs that fall on our members are hotels and food expenses.  We send eight members to these tournaments annually.  First place for qualifiers will come home with a check and potential berth to a regional qualifier.
KSU Bass Fishing Club
We also fish local grass roots tournaments here in Northeast Ohio (dobass.com).  The tournament director for these events, Rory Franks, directs around 30 tournaments a year, and provides us multiple opportunities to fish tournaments for free each year.  This year we are holding a major Ohio college tournament in April for all participating schools at Mosquito Creek Lake.
Aside from fishing tournaments, we do a lot of sponsor appearances throughout the winter to help promote our organization.  We are sponsored by over 20 companies, including: Columbia; Tacklewarehouse.com; Fin,Feather, and Fur Outfitters; Cabela’s; Pure Fishing Online; Frog Toggs; Rodmakers Shop; and many more.  We have great jerseys that show off our great sponsors and represent our team well. 
The amount of time anglers put into our club is up to them. The more they put in, the more they get out of it, and the better chance they have of fishing tournaments for free.  Nothing we do is ever mandatory.
We do have club dues that are due at the second meeting you attend each semester, and they are $25 per semester.  We require that members maintain a minimum GPA of 2.3 to be in the club.  As long as members are above that mark, they’re ready to fish.
We are in the process of planning four club tournaments through the spring semester.  These tournaments do not pay out cash prizes, but rather are held for our club points standings.  In 2014, these tournaments will be held at Mogadore Lake, West Branch State Park, Deer Creek, and Walborn Lake.
Interested members can contact us on Facebook by searching “Kent State Bass Fishing Team“.  Our official website is www.fishKSU.com.

Lake Erie College Bass Club

Submitted by LEC Club President Cody Furr
The Lake Erie College Bass Team was started in the spring of 2012.  We started with only two members and have grown to eight currently.  After some fundraising we were finally able to fish the FLW College Series in the Northern Division in 2013.
Lake Erie College Bass Team
All of our members play on the Lake Erie College football team, so we are a close group.  It is not unusual for us to get done with a spring practice and head right to the Big Lake or the Grand River, which is less than five minutes away from campus.  The downfall to having everyone on the football team is we cannot compete in the tournaments that take place in the fall.
We are under the direction of Kevin Hoogenboom, and also have a lot of support from our sponsor, Hookerz Tackle.  We are always looking to add members to our club.  We do not make it mandatory to fish in tournaments.  A few of our members just enjoy being in the outdoors and doing something they love, and that is fine.  Along with other schools, we are in the process of fundraising the money needed to provide our own bass boat to meet the new FLW rules.  If we can get that done we will compete in the FLW Northern Division, and we are already set to fish local trails in Ohio as well.
Anyone who is interested in supporting our club, or any Lake Erie College students who interested in joining the club can contact the President, Cody Furr at Cfurr@lec.edu.

Ohio University Fishing Club

Submitted by Club Vice President Justin Telep
The Ohio University Fishing Club is an organization designed for anyone who likes to fish.  You don’t have to fish in tournaments to be in the club as we have numerous members who do not tournament fish.   Around campus we have the Ohio River and Hocking River, along with many state park reservoirs to fish at.  We organize camping trips every semester, usually to the AEP ReCeation Lands, where there are an unlimited number of untouched lakes within hiking distance.
Ohio University Fishing Club
Our club is about 30 members strong and growing every year.  We have many sponsors that can help our anglers get the best gear out there.  Our sponsors include Tackle Warehouse, Dobyns Rods, Gone Fishing Sunglasses, Gemini Jerseys, Pure Fishing, Frogg Toggs Rainwear, Real Grip, and Lews Reels and Rods.  Two years in a row we have had one of our members be part of the Fenwick Earn Your Wings College team.
Our Club is a pretty tight group of anglers, hunters, and outdoorsmen, so it is not always about fishing.
Some of our members on the competitive bass fishing side fish with the local Athens County Bassmasters Club.  We have fished FLW tournaments since 2009 with a best finish of second place on the Ohio River in 2012.  Last year we sent two teams to the regional championship on the Chesapeake Bay.
Our tournament schedule is going to be a lot different this year as we will not be fishing the FLW tournament series because we will not be able to provide our own boat in order to compete.  So instead we are organizing an Ohio Collegiate Weekend Tournament series where we will be fishing against the other colleges in Ohio on a regular basis.  The schedule for this series is still in the process and we are working with other schools interested in competing within the great state of Ohio. 
If you have any questions about this or want to get your school involved in this tournament series, please contact Justin Telep at jt796612@ohio.edu.
If interested in joining the club, or want to know more about our club, please contact club president Zach Ferenbaugh zf398810@ohio.edu,  Vice President Justin Telep jt796612@ohio.edu, or by the club email Anglers@Ohio.edu.

The Ohio State University Bass Fishing Club

Submitted by OSU Club President Tom Csepe
The Ohio State University Bass Fishing Club is both a competitive tournament team, as well as a fishing club that is available for any Ohio State University student to join. 
The club is for recreational fishermen and women who share the love of fishing.  We fish local ponds at our meetings, which gives everyone a chance to hang out, forget about the stresses of college life, and get out to the water.  Club members can enjoy our club events, and they also have access to discounted fishing gear from our many sponsors.
Our fishing team is geared more towards the competitive bass angler.  Our team consists of 6 to 10 members who represent OSU in college level tournaments.  To earn a spot on our roster, we have two tryouts.  In the first tryout, everyone must fish from shore, due to the limited amount of boats we are able to provide.  The top 6 anglers from the first tryout then enter the second tryout, where they have a chance to run a boat, and fish a lake while competing against the other anglers.  Once you make the team, you are on it until you graduate so we usually only take two new members each year.
OSU Bass Fishing Club
This year our team will be fishing the FLW College Northern Division series.  Our first tournament is at Smith Mountain Lake on May 3rd, followed by Chesapeake Bay on July 12th and Chautauqua Lake on August 23rd.  We hope that a few of our teams will do well enough to qualify for the Invitational tournament on October 11th on the Potomac River.
If interested in our club and/or team, members can contact President Tom Csepe at csepe.2@osu.edu, or they can contact the team email at osubassfishing@gmail.com.  We can also be found on Facebook under “Ohio State University Bass Fishing.”

The University of Akron Bass Club

Submitted by UA Club President Christian Combs
The University of Akron Bass Club was founded in 2011 with an aim to promote the sport of bass fishing in the college realm.  We started small with only 6 or 7 committed members, but it didn’t take long for our program to take-off.  Just 3 years later, we have more than doubled that number to include a 20-man roster and an established coach to guide us along the way.
University of Akron Bass Fishing Club
The UA Bass Club was mostly founded upon competitive fishing and eligibility to fish the FLW College Fishing Series against other college students.  However, this does not mean that you have to be an experienced fisherman to join.  Membership is open to ANY male or female student attending the university at least part-time, regardless of skill level, with or without a boat.  We typically hold 8 club tournaments throughout the year—four during the spring semester and four during the fall semester—at various lakes around campus including Portage Lakes, West Branch Reservoir, Lake Milton, and Nimisila (See our spring 2014 schedule below). 
At each club tournament, anglers are awarded points based on their performances, and these points get added up at the end of the season to determine who qualifies for the FLW tournaments during the summer.  Those traveling to FLW tournaments are responsible for their own fuel and food purchases, while club funding covers the hotel costs.  Teams that finish in the top 15 gain entry to fish the FLW College Fishing Regional Championship, as well as additional money prizes for teams placing in the top 5.
With the help and support we receive from sponsors like Kames Sports, Vic’s Sports Center, Venom Lures, Lew’s Fishing Tackle, Purefishing, Tackle Warehouse, and Frogg Toggs, we are lucky enough to be able to compete on both a local and national basis.  That being said, we try to do as much as possible to show our appreciation for both our sponsors and the community. Aside from fishing, we as a club participate in numerous hours of community service including conservation projects, lake clean-ups, and volunteer efforts at a local kid’s fishing derby at Portage Lakes.  We are always looking for other volunteer opportunities as well.
Whether you’re looking to get into more tournament fishing or you simply want to meet people who share a common interest in fishing, the University of Akron Bass Club is for you!  Any UA student who in interested in joining can contact us through our Facebook page by searching The University of Akron Bass Fishing Club, or by emailing Christian Combs (cwc20@zips.uakron.edu) or Derrick Lockhart (dml30@zips.uakron.edu). GO ZIPS!
2014 UA Bass Club Tournament Schedule:
April 12th – Portage Lakes, Old State Park Ramp 7:00am-3:00pm
**April 27th – Ohio Collegiate Bass Tournament TBA
May 3rd – Deer Creek, Ramp TBA 7:00 am-3:00pm
May 17th – West Branch, Rock Spring Rd. Ramp* 7:00am-3:00pm
May 31st – Lake Milton, Jersey St. Launch 7:00am-3:00pm
June 7th – Alternate Date

Xavier University Bass Fishing Team

Submitted by Alex Vaisvil, President of the Xavier University Bass Fishing Team
Xavier Bass Fishing is a relatively young team that has high aspirations.  We have grown from ten to eighteen members in the last year, and have gone from looking to catch fish in tournaments, to competing in each and every one we enter.  There have been some recent exciting developments with our team, including the addition of St. Croix, Quantum, Stanley, Culprit, and Hitch Everything as team sponsors.  And although it was not the greatest news when FLW announced that it would no longer be providing collegiate anglers with boats, it has given us a reason to fundraise for one.
Xavier University Bass Fishing
In the meantime, we will be fishing three Bass Fishing League tournaments, along with the FLW Collegiate Nationals and one qualifying tournament.  The BFLs will be on Dale Hollow Lake and Lake Patoka in March and April.  The whole team gets a chance to fish one out of three of these tournaments. 
The National tournament is at Lake Keowee in South Carolina, which will be televised on NBC Sports Network. We are very excited for this, as it is our first trip to Nationals, but hopefully not the last. The one qualifying tournament we are going to fish this year will be on Lake Chautauqua.
If any college or high school students are interested in Xavier University Bass Fishing you can contact Alex Vaisvil at vaisvila@xavier.edu. Also, if you want to stay up to date with what is going on with our team, or to find links to our sponsors, visit our website at www.xavier.edu/clubsports/bass-fishing, or check out our Facebook page at Xavier University Bass Fishing Team.
Our club is part of one of the fastest growing sports in the United States and we are keeping pace with hard work and dedication.

Youngstown State University Bass Club

Submitted by Chuck Cremeans, YSU Club President
The Y.S.U. Bass Club was founded in 2013 by me and current Vice President Zachary Alcorn.  I’d fished tournaments on a local level, and always wanted to branch-out.  So when I heard about college fishing I sat down with Carrier Anderson, the head of student organizations at our school.  She pointed me in the direction of Joe Conroy, head of the Y.S.U. sports department, who was pumped to help us get started.  We filed the necessary paperwork and began registering for tournaments.
YSU Bass Club
In 2013 we had an 8th place finish at Smith Mountain Lake, a 2nd place finish at the Potomac River, and slipped a little at Lake Champlain to 20th.  At the 2013 Invitational Tournament at Chesapeake Bay we sealed our way into the 2014 National Championship, which is coming up in March.  We’ll be competing to represent our school and to bring the trophy and a new bass boat back to Ohio!  
We have high hopes for this upcoming year, but we couldn’t be where we are now if it weren’t for the help we received from our sponsors.  First is Vic’s Sport Center.  If you need boat work done or are looking to buy a boat, these guys won’t steer you wrong.   Our other sponsor, Sweeney Chevrolet, provided us with a vehicle for traveling to and from our events!  A big thanks goes out to Bobby Stackhouse at Sweeney.   
The schedule for the upcoming 2014 season will be great.  We plan on fishing the full collegefishing.com schedule, and also plan on hosting an event of our own.  In addition, we will be helping out with the X-Series, which is run by George Byers.  The X-Series offers a fun and competitive circuit to anglers in NE Ohio, and George has been a tremendous help to our team.
We are always looking to add new members, so if you attend YSU as a full-time student and are interested in getting involved, drop us a line!  If you aren’t a student, but are interested in learning more about opportunities to support our club, we welcome you to contact us as well.  I can be contacted by email at chuckcremeans@ymail.com or by phone at 330-727-0449
I will tell you this about the college fishing experience – there is nothing like it.  We have met some great guys and a couple girls along the way.  I have made some close friends and can’t wait to fish against them again this year.  I want to wish all the Ohio teams the best of luck in 2014.

The 10 Week Winter Fishing Check List

It’s that time of year again, when all your brain wants to think about is fishing – but you can’t go.

Here’s my winter preparation check list to help you get your fix.  Ten tasks over the next ten weeks will get you to the start of the season here in Ohio.  Click here to download the list.  You can print it and hang it on your fishing wall or refrigerator.

Week 1: Clean and Service Reels
Depending on how many reels you have, this could possibly take a full week.  The price of new reels is getting out of hand, so maintaining those you have is critical.
Cleaning Rods and Reels
Clean all exterior components of your reels with a Q-Tip.  You can soak the cotton ends in lighter fluid to help remove any stubborn gunk.  After the exteriors are cleaned, you have two options for servicing the interior components.  Option 1 involves doing a full-blown servicing.  For step-by-step details on how to  do this, check out How to Clean and Maintain your Baitcasting Reel.  Option 2 is to simply clean and/or replace and oil the easily accessible bearings.  Although Option 2 isn’t as thorough, oftentimes it will get you through the season.
Week 2:  Repair and Clean Rods
All it takes is one small nick or bur in a line guide to cost you the biggest fish of your life.  Run a Q-Tip around the lip of each eyelet of your rods.  If there is a rough spot, the cotton on the Q-Tip will snag.  Replacement guides and rod tips can be purchased online from a number of stores.
Cork rod handles can be cleaned with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, or with a rag that has been dipped in nail polish remover – honestly, they will look like new.
Week 3: Purge Unused and Old Tackle
We’re all guilty of “over purchasing” when it comes to our tackle.  Every year I remove dozens of unused bags of soft plastics, crankbaits, and spinnerbaits from my tournament tackle.  My general rule is that if I haven’t used a bait in the past season, it’s got to go.  Purging your tackle will not only allow you to remain organized, but will reduce the weight you are carrying in your boat or in your tackle bag.  Fill up an old jar with unused crankbaits until it’s full – then sell it on Ebay.
Old Crankbaits
Week 4: Replace Crankbait Hooks
Replacing the treble hooks on your hard baits can be tedious – but it’s an extremely important maintenance task.  In particular, look for hooks that show signs of rust or that have blunt or bent hook tips.  This is the perfect opportunity to upgrade cheap factory hooks with bigger, badder versions.
Week 5: Replace Worn Out Skirts
There’s nothing more annoying than firing a cast with your favorite spinnerbait and losing the skirt in the process due to a worn-out rubberband.  Replacing the skirts is a quick and easy process.  Learn how by reading and watching at How to Make Custom Spinnerbait and Jig Skirts.
Week 6: Take Inventory and Order New Tackle
My favorite “to do” item of the off-season.  Once the old is out, it’s time to replenish any of your go-to baits and anything new you’ve had your eyes on.  Stop in at Ohio’s own Fin Feather and Fur Outfitters if you want personal service and great prices.  If you can’t make the drive, it’s tough to beat the selection at Tackle Warehouse (www.tacklewarehouse.com).
Tackle Warehouse
Week 7: Organize and Label Tackle 
Now that you’ve got all your new tackle, time to get organized.  You can buy an inexpensive label maker at Wal Mart to label your boxes and other storage containers.  For storage of hard baits, I prefer the Lambeau models with Zerust protection.  And for a couple of bucks each you can get  container boxes for storing your soft plastics.
Storage Labels
Week 8: Schedule your 2014 Fishing Tournaments and Trips
The misery is almost over, and soon you’ll be on the water.  If you haven’t already, get your fishing weekends planned.  If you’re a tournament angler, be sure to check out the Ohio Bass Blog Tournaments Page and fill out your calendar.  If your preference is chasing lunkers, here’s a list of some of the best bass lakes in Ohio.  Your best chances for a trophy are ice-out through May.  If you only have time to hit a few, Clear Fork, Burr Oak, and Rocky Fork are tough to beat for big Ohio bass.
Week 9: Learn One New Technique for 2014
Learning a new technique for the new year might sound a bit cliché.  With that being said, I do it every year.  After a couple of years you’ll be pretty pleased with your bag of tricks.  FLW Bass Magazine has done a tremendous job over the past few years of covering the latest trends and techniques of the pros.  Plus you can read my articles!
Week 10: Learn One New Knot
Spring is here!  Add a new knot to your arsenal.  My newest addition was the Snell knot for those heavy-cover, straight-shank flipping scenarios (I’m thinking Indian Lake in late August).  If you don’t know them already, the Palomar, Improved Clinch, and Blood knots are bass fishing staples every serious angler should learn.





Coping with the Cold

Most bass fishing articles suggest that the best solution for dealing with the winter doldrums is to stay indoors and take care of offseason equipment maintenance.
While I agree that servicing your reels, cleaning the cork handles on your rods, and replacing the rusted-out treble hooks on your crankbaits are all important tasks that need to be taken care of before you make your first casts next spring, I find that the best way to stave-off seasonal depression is to go fishing.
St. Joes 5 lbs 8 oz 1
Mother Nature has a tendency to make fishing trips this time of year difficult.  Ice and snow buildup can create treacherous travel conditions.  Windchills in the teens will not only freeze your fingers and toes, but will lock your reel and eyelets with ice.  And water temperatures that barely crack the freezing point will slow the bite.  But to me, it’s worth it, because there’s no better feeling than twitching a jig and pig while the snow fills your boat…and then sticking a cold water hawg.
Runaway Bay Garrett 12-7-13
If you decide to take a fishing trip this winter, here are a few pointers that will improve your chances of success.
1. When it comes to lure selection, jigs, jerkbaits, bladebaits, and dropshots are tough to beat this time of year.  Slow presentations can be effective, but are not a requirement.  Bass will chase a bait even when water temps are in the high 30′s.
2. Focus on the banks that are receiving the most direct sunlight.  Sunshine will quickly raise the water temperature, and bass will get surprising shallow to sun themselves.  I’m shocked at how shallow they will get here in Ohio in the winter.
3. Stay warm by layering up and investing in a nice rain suit.  Keeping your hands warm is paramount – if you can’t feel your hands, you can’t fish.  Wear a pair of think cotton or wool gloves under a pair of flexible neoprene gloves.  Tape a chemically activated hand warmer to the underside of each wrist.  This will warm your blood before it enters your hands.
Runaway Bay 12-7-13
4. The minute the air temperature drops below 32 degrees, the guides on your rods and reels, and even your line, will begin icing up.  Occasionally spraying your guides and line with KVD Line and Lure Conditioner will slow the ice from building up.  If that isn’t working, simply stick your rod into the water and shake it around to quickly melt the ice away.
5. Be safe.  Falling out of your boat this time of year can be deadly.  Never fish alone, and make sure you have a life jacket handy in the event someone does take a spill.
For more information about fishing Ohio waters for bass during the winter, check out Winter Bass Fishing in Ohio: Part 1 and Winter Bass Fishing in Ohio: Part 2.
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Fall Trapping for Greens and Browns

Whether you’re targeting largemouth or smallmouth, a rattle trap is arguably the most effective late Autumn lure choice for loading the boat.

There are a lot of trap models available, and each brings its own unique characteristics.  From my experience fishing Ohio waters in the late fall, I’ve found that it’s important to experiment with size, color and even sound.

In clear water scenarios, shad imitating colors such as white, bone, and chrome are good color choices.  Pay attention to the shad in the lake you’re fishing, and do your best to match both the color and size of your trap as closely as possible to the forage.  Oftentimes a silent or slow knocking trap will outfish a loud rattling one in clear water.

Griggs November 2nd Smallmouth

In stained water, I prefer “louder” colors that make the bait easier for the bass to see, such as firetiger or chartreuse.  I also choose a bait that creates a loud rattle and vibration under these conditions.  I’ve observed that smallmouth seem to prefer loud colors and rattling, regardless of the water color.  Here are a couple of big river smallies from Griggs Reservoir that fell for a trap last week.

Griggs November 2nd Smallies on Trap

While a simple cast and wind presentation can be deadly, traps are diverse lures that can be fished at varying speeds around a wide range of cover.  Here are some of my favorite ways to fish a trap.

Pump it Down Drop-Offs

When you locate a drop off on a point or off the end of a flat, try casting the trap shallow and working it down the drop off with a pumping motion. Be sure to let the trap fall and settle to the bottom between pumps, mimicking a wounded shad.  For this presentation, I prefer a trap that shimmies and flutters as it falls.  The Strike King Red Eye Shad or Duo Realis Vibration Lipless Crankbait are great choices.

Burn it Across Flats

Flats in the backs of coves or on the main lake in close vicinity to drop offs are perfect areas to burn a trap along the bottom.  For this presentation, nothing beats the original Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap.  Cast it out and let it sink to the bottom, then reel as quickly as you can.  A high-speed 7:1 gear ratio reel will let you retrieve the bait rapidly, eliciting aggressive strikes that practically rip the rod from your hands.  If you can get away with it, upsize your hooks to increase your catch rate.

Rip it Through the Grass

Working a trap along grass lines and over the top of dead or dying grass clumps can trigger strikes.  Don’t be afraid to cast up into the grass.  As it becomes bogged down in the weeds, snap your rod tip and rip the trap free.  Most bites will be reaction strikes, and will come as soon as the bait frees up.


More Fall Buckeye Bass’n Action

Cooler nights mean one thing – bass are moving shallow and feeding aggressively.  Anglers are catching big bass in the shallows, keying on wood and dying grass with jigs, soft plastics, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits.  And with a warming trend forecasted for this week, the bite should really kick into gear.  Here are some photos from the past week of bass fishing in Ohio.

Steve Holsinger, Griggs Reservoir, Oct. 30th

Steve Holsinger Griggs Smallie 10-30-13

Marshall Yarnell, Clear Fork, Oct. 23rd

Marshall Yarnell - 10-23-13 - Clear Fork

Tim Luttrell, Oct. 26th

Tim Luttrell - 10-26-13 - Armco Lake

Greg Norris, Sr. AEP, Oct. 26th

Senior - AEP - 10-26-13

Sol Curtis, AEP, Oct. 26th

Sol Curtis - AEP - 10-26-13

Mike Reeves, Scioto River, Oct. 27th

Mike Reeves - Scioto River - 10-27-13

Will Southan, Scioto River, Oct. 27th

Will Southan - AEP - 10-27-13

Mike Reeves, Scioto River, Oct. 27th

Mike Reeves - Scioto River - Smallie - 10-27-13


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