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Caught in the Act: How One Fisherman’s Cheating Scandal is Rocking the Bass Fishing World!

Fishing has always been seen as a peaceful and honest sport. It’s a great way to connect with nature, spend time with family and friends, and maybe even catch some dinner. But recently, the sport of bass fishing has been facing a big problem: cheating. The latest incident of cheating in a bass fishing tournament has many wondering how much more the sport can take.

Earlier this month, David Moore from St. John’s, Indiana, was caught cheating in a bass fishing tournament in Chicago. Moore used some sneaky tactics to try to win the tournament. He hid fish on a stringer in the Calumet River, a place where fishing was not allowed before the tournament. On the morning of the competition, he retrieved these fish and put them in his boat’s live well. He even imported fish from another state without the necessary permit, which could spread harmful fish diseases. If Moore hadn’t been caught, he would have unfairly won the top prize of $1,300.

This isn’t the first time cheating has rocked the fishing world. Over the years, there have been many incidents where people have tried to bend or break the rules to win. Some have stuffed fish with weights to make them heavier. Others have caught fish outside the designated tournament waters, which is strictly against the rules.

Cheating not only tarnishes the reputation of the sport, but it also takes away from the honest and hardworking anglers who play by the rules. These fishermen spend hours practicing, scouting locations, and perfecting their techniques. When someone cheats, it undermines all their hard work.

So, why do people cheat in fishing tournaments? Some do it for the money. Prizes in big tournaments can be very tempting. Others do it for the fame and recognition that come with winning. In some cases, cheaters simply think they can get away with it because they believe there are not enough checks and balances in place.

But the consequences of cheating can be severe. In Moore’s case, he faces multiple criminal charges, including theft and wasting natural resources. These are serious offenses that could lead to hefty fines and even jail time.

The fishing community needs to come together to combat this problem. Tournament organizers should increase surveillance and adopt stricter rules to make it harder for cheaters to get away with their schemes. Anglers should also be vigilant and report any suspicious behavior. If you see something that doesn’t seem right, say something. It’s up to all of us to protect the integrity of the sport we love.

We should also remember the importance of ethical behavior in life, both on and off the water. Fishing should be about the joy of the sport, not just winning a prize. Let’s teach younger generations the value of honesty, fair play, and respect for nature.

In the end, cheating hurts everyone involved and damages the sport we all cherish. Let’s work together to make sure the waters we fish in remain fair and honorable. Whether you are a seasoned pro or a weekend warrior, we all have a part to play in keeping the spirit of fishing alive and well.

If you ever witness any illegal activity in the fishing world, don’t hesitate to report it. You can complete the Target Illinois Poachers (TIP) incident reporting form or call 877-2DNRLAW.

Fishing is more than just catching fish; it’s about respect – respect for the rules, respect for the fish, and respect for each other. Let’s hold on to that respect and ensure that the sport of bass fishing remains free from cheating.



Lee Leads Wire-to-Wire to Win MLF General Tire Heavy Hitters 2024 Presented by Bass Pro Shops on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes

Alabama pro earns third MLF Bass Pro Tour win on fishery and earns $100,000 top prize, Kevin VanDam catches 7-12 largemouth to win $100,000 Big Bass award

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (May 23, 2024) – The first time Abu Garcia pro Jordan Lee of Cullman, Alabama, ever tasted tournament victory, competing on Lake Guntersville at age 17, he earned the win throwing a topwater frog. Ever since, he’s continued to hone his skills with his favorite technique, waiting for a chance to show them off on the national stage.

When he finally got the chance at General Tire Heavy Hitters Presented by Bass Pro Shops on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, Lee made sure to take advantage.

Lee caught each of his seven scorable bass during Thursday’s Championship Round and nearly all his weight throughout the event walking a Berkley Swamp Lord over matted hydrilla on Lake Toho. His 27-pound, 14-ounce final-day total proved just enough to clinch a second Heavy Hitters championship belt.

Link to Photo Gallery of Championship Round Highlights
Link to Video of Fish-Catch Highlights from Championship Round of Heavy Hitters on the Kissimmee Chain

Lee entered this week as the clear favorite thanks to his two prior wins on the Kissimmee Chain in Bass Pro Tour competition, including the inaugural Heavy Hitters event in June 2020. And for much of the event, he made it look easy. He led Group B through both days of qualifying, stacking more than 60 pounds on SCORETRACKER® during a Day 1 he called “insane,” then won the Knockout Round.

Come Championship Thursday, though, his fish proved far less cooperative. Whether due to five days of fishing pressure, the variable minimum weight increasing to 3 pounds or the calm, blue-sky conditions that greeted the Top 10, the entire field had to grind for bites, Lee included. It took him two hours to book his first scorable bass.

But, leaning on the hundreds of hours he’s spent frogging mats on Guntersville through the years, the Alabama native eventually figured out which tricks to try to generate just enough bites. He crawled his frog painfully slowly, especially when he knew he was around active fish. He also doctored one frog, removing the silicone strand legs and replacing them with super-glued jig rattles, saying the added noise helps attract bass through the thicker slop.

Most important was knowing where to look amid a sea of hydrilla. Lee learned during practice that he could get more bites through bigger mats than small, matted clumps. From there, he covered water to identify which areas were better than others, using the extra practice time he earned during the Qualifying Round to expand his list of waypoints. That proved vital, as Lee said certain mats stopped producing during the course of the event due to fishing pressure and boat traffic.

“They had to be hollow underneath, … and where you had that kind of cheese,” Lee explained. “They weren’t way out on the outside where there was isolated clumps. I was looking for the bigger mats in areas where they just looked fresh almost, and I was looking for blowholes, where fish come up, blowing through the mat.

“It’s Guntersville 101. I do this every fall since I was 16, the exact fishing that I did this week. It was no different. The grass was the same, and it was just awesome because of how identical it fishes to there.” 

Lee used beefed-up tackle to throw his Swamp Lords, which he believes was key. He primarily wielded a Jordan Lee signature series 7-6 heavy rod from Abu Garcia — designed to be a flipping stick — instead of his usual, 7-3 frog rod. He also turned to a 7-9 punching rod in the thickest mats, spooling both with 50-pound Berkley X5 braid. The heavier rods gave him more power to winch bass out of the thick grass.

“I didn’t want to mess up the mats,” Lee said. “That’s kind of what I’ve learned about going in and getting them, you ruin a place, and then you’ve got to drag them out. You can catch a fish right there in the same hole that you’ve caught one before, and that happened a ton this week where you’d find them just packed in out of the same spot.”

Lee bounced from spot to spot Thursday morning before landing on a mat that produced a three-fish flurry in the final half four of Period 1, giving him the lead. He extended his advantage with two more scorable bass around noon.

Then, his bite went dormant. Lee went more than two hours without adding to his total. During that time, several anglers crept within one scorable bass of his lead, and Poche eventually passed him with a little more than 90 minutes left in the competition day.

Lee didn’t panic, though. He returned to one of the mats he’d fished early in the morning. While he didn’t get any bites there initially, he’d noticed that it didn’t show signs of fishing pressure. The decision proved to be worth $100,000.

“I thought there was some fish around there,” Lee said. “I had some bites throughout the week right there. But I just decided that was really my only other place I thought wasn’t getting a lot of fishing pressure.”

While Lee lifting a trophy (or, in this case, a belt) has become a common sight at the highest level of tournament fishing, he’ll remember this win for how he pulled it off.

“I’m really just blown away how good it was to me this week, catching them one of my favorite ways, fishing this heavy hydrilla,” Lee said. “I grew up fishing like this. I was really comfortable when I found this bite. And it was just a special bite. It got tougher as the week went on, but I stayed patient, and man, it was just awesome.”

The top 10 pros at the General Tire Heavy Hitters 2024 Presented by Bass Pro Shops on the Kissimmee Chain finished:

1st:        Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., seven bass, 27-14, $110,000
2nd:       Keith Poche, Pike Road, Ala., five bass, 23-10, $25,000
3rd:       Matt Becker, Ten Mile, Tenn., five bass, 19-4, $20,000
4th:        Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., four bass, 18-14, $118,000
5th:        Brandon Coulter, Knoxville, Tenn., three bass, 12-5, $20,000
6th:        Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., two bass, 8-7, $44,500
7th:        Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texas, two bass, 8-1, $13,500
8th:        Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., one bass, 7-0, $17,500
9th:        Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, two bass, 6-12, $11,000
10th:     Alton Jones, Jr., Waco, Texas, zero bass, 0-0, $8,000

Full results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Overall, there were 31 scorable bass weighing 132 pounds, 3 ounces caught by the final 10 pros in Thursday’s Championship Round. A bass had to weigh at least 3 pounds to be deemed scorable in the Championship Round.

The six-day General Tire Heavy Hitters Presented by Bass Pro Shops at the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes was hosted by Experience Kissimmee and showcased the top 30 pros that qualified via the Bass Pro Tour competing in a no-entry fee tournament for massive daily Big Bass Bonuses and a payout of $100,000 to the winner.

The 15 Anglers in Group A competed in their two-day qualifying round on Saturday and Monday – the 15 anglers in Group B on Sunday and Tuesday. After each two-day qualifying round was complete, the top eight anglers from both groups advanced to Wednesday’s Knockout Round. In the Knockout Round weights were zeroed, and the remaining 16 anglers competed to finish in the top 10 to advance to the Championship Round. In Thursday’s final-day Championship Round, weights were zeroed, and the highest one-day total won the top prize of $100,000.


Television coverage of the General Tire Heavy Hitters 2024 Presented by Bass Pro Shops will be showcased across six two-hour episodes, premiering at 7 a.m. ET, Aug. 10 and running each Saturday through Sept. 14 on Discovery. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on Discovery, with re-airings on the Outdoor Channel.

Proud sponsors of General Tire Heavy Hitters 2024 Presented by Bass Pro Shops at the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes include: Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Barbasol, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, BUBBA, Fishing Clash, General Tire, Kubota, Lowrance, Lucas Oil, Mercury, Mossy Oak Fishing, NITRO, Onyx, Plano, Power-Pole, REDCON1, Star brite, Toyota, U.S. Air Force and YETI.

For complete details and updated information on Major League Fishing and the Bass Pro Tour, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF’s social media outlets at Facebook, XInstagram and  YouTube.



Power Your Kayak For Longer Days & More Fish

Power Your Kayak For Longer Days & More Fish
Norsk Lithium provides the perfect power solution for every level of kayak angler 
New Hope, Minn. (May 23, 2024) – Kayak fishing has grown far past paddling a repurposed recreational kayak into a small pond with a spincast rod & reel combo. With vast improvements in boat design, the emergence of kayak fishing tournaments, clubs, and networks of anglers coast to coast, south to north, the sport has become as sophisticated as regular multi-species boat angling.Some kayak anglers’ boats look like mini bass boats, fully outfitted with numerous graphs, forward-facing sonar, shallow-water anchors, a trolling motor, and other power-hungry accessories.All of this extensive rigging requires lightweight, powerful, and reliable batteries—like Norsk® Lithium models that are powerful, featherweight, easy-to-transport, and easy-to-monitor and perfectly meet the growing power needs of today’s kayak anglers. 
Winning ‘Yak Tournament Pro On PowerNorsk Lithium pro and multi-circuit kayak tournament angler, Daniel Zimmerschied, has fished a total of 33 tournaments with seven 1st place finishes; two 2nd place finishes; two 3rd place finishes; and 18 top 10 rankings. Zimmerschied is also an active content producer; check out his YouTube channel, DZ Born2Fish. Zimmerschied has been fishing out of either Old Town Predator 136 or a Hobie Pro Angler 360 over the past five years, beginning his kayak tournament career in 2017 – although he’s been kayak fishing since 2011. He fishes MinnYak, Slay Nation, MNKFA, and other online tournament circuits. As far as electronics and trolling motor setups on each boat, his primary tournament boat is an Old Town Predator 136 with Minn Kota trolling motor featuring Spot-Lock and AutoPilot, which he says is “amazing” for keeping him positioned perfectly to catch fish during the pressure of tournament hours. His Hobie is current in the rigging stages with a 50Ah Norsk Lithium battery designed specifically for kayak fishing, complete with shoulder strap for easy transport on- and off-water. To power the Minn Kota trolling motor on his Old Town rig, Zimmerschied utilizes a Norsk Lithium 12V 100Ah battery for tournaments and a 12V 50Ah Norsk Lithium battery when fishing for fun. Talking tech, Zimmerschied runs a 10-inch Garmin and LiveScope LVS34 from either the 100Ah or 50Ah Norsk battery, with no RF interference issues powering each off the same battery. “Both batteries power everything for a full day of using the trolling motor full throttle and operating LiveScope all day. I just like the 100Ah for tournaments as extra insurance.” Zimmerschied said he did a test run with the 100Ah battery the other day, operating his trolling motor and LiveScope for 8 hours plus, including engaging Spot Lock “numerous times” and running the Minn Kota at full throttle from spot-to-spot. “I started the day at 97% battery power and when I got home I still had 37% battery life, which I can also monitor during tournaments in real-time via the Norsk Lithium Guardian™ cell phone app. That’s pretty cool.”
King Talks Kayak TechActive kayak angler and social media content producer and influencer, Nicole King, is another Norsk battery user and has had very positive experiences since switching from other power. Running a Hobie Pro Angler 12 Pedal Drive ‘yak, King switches between 14.8V “orange” Norsk Lithium 15 and 20Ah “orange” Norsk Lithium batteries with USB ports depending on what type of fishing she’s doing that day. “I run the 20Ah for my LiveScope, and if I’m just using my Lowrance Hook2, I run the orange 15Ah and also use it to power my GoPro. The 20Ah will run my LiveScope all day on the water, and the 15 will power my Lowrance unit for a couple of full days on the water,” notes King.“What I really love about Norsk batteries is not only the clean power for clear imaging, but just how lightweight they are—with a battery power indicator that tells you how much battery you have left. Plus, the two USB ports allow me to charge my phone and GoPro, as well as power my fish locators.” 
Tech Specs: Norsk Lithium Kayak Batteries
50Ah 12.8V LifePO4 Battery w/Guardian™ App Equipped with Bluetooth™ & compatible with the Norsk Guardian™ App for iOS & Android Norsk Guardian Advanced Battery Management System (BMS) Features M8 Terminal Posts & Included Lock Nuts for Easy Rigging Shoulder Strap for Easy On- & Off-Water Transport Weight: 13.5 lbs. Compact Footprint: 7.8” x 5.3” x 7.8”
50Ah 14.8V Lithium Ion Battery w/Charger Designed For Use With Live Imaging Or 360 Sonar Systems All-Day Performance With High Power Draw Electronics Weight: 6.9 lbs. Compact Footprint: 5.94” x 3.85” x 5.125” Perfect for Garmin LiveScope, Humminbird MEGA live, or Lowrance Active Target 1 or 2 Compatible w/ Leading Third-Party Shuttles Like ArcLab, Fin Gear, and Summit 3A 16.8V Lithium Ion Battery Charger Included
20Ah 14.8V Lithium Ion Battery w/Charger Designed For Use With Live Imaging Or 360 Sonar Systems All-Day Performance With High Power Draw Electronics Weight: 4.2 lbs. Compact Footprint: 5.9” x 3.85” x 3.70” Perfect for Garmin LiveScope, Humminbird MEGA live, or Lowrance Active Target 1 or 2 Dual USB Ports 3A 16.8V Lithium Ion Battery Charger Included
15Ah 14.8V Lithium ion Battery w/Charger Enhanced Clarity for Live Imaging in a Compact, Lightweight Design 15% – 20% longer runtime compared to a 12V battery of same capacity to maximize use with forward-facing sonar Weight: 2.7 lbs. Compact Footprint: 5.94” x 2.56” x 3.66” Dual USB Ports Perfect for Garmin LiveScope, Humminbird MEGA live, or Lowrance Active Target 1 or 2



Jordan Lee Leads Final 10 into Knockout Round, Thrift Banks $30K Big Bass Award at MLF General Tire Heavy Hitters on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes 

Lee earns Knockout Round win by 7-13, Thrift boats 7-pound, 11-ounce largemouth to win $30K Knockout Round Big Bass Award, Final 10 anglers set for Thursday’s Championship Round

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (May 22, 2023) – The two anglers who dominated their respective groups during the Qualifying Round at General Tire Heavy Hitters Presented by Bass Pro Shops picked up right where they left off during Wednesday’s Knockout Round.

Abu Garcia pro Jordan Lee of Cullman, Alabama, led the way with 49 pounds, 14 ounces. Trading the top spot with him throughout the day was pro Brandon Coulter of Knoxville, Tennessee, who wound up right behind him with 42-1. California pro Brent Ehrler , the only angler to find a consistent bite during a grueling third period, finished third with 40-2, while Bryan Thrift’s 7-11 won him $30,000 as the Berkley Big Bass.

While it’s not often that the same bite in the same areas holds up throughout an entire Bass Pro Tour event, it sure looks like Thursday’s Championship Round is shaping up to be a slugfest between Coulter and Lee, both of whom have done their damage in matted hydrilla in Lake Toho with Berkley Swamp Lord frogs. The two anglers have been the most dialed in since competition began on the Kissimmee Chain, and both secured their spots in the Top 10 during the first period Wednesday before laying off their best water.

There will be no holding back during the Championship Round, when not only will $100,000 and the title belt be on the line for the tournament winner, but another $100,000 will be up for grabs for the angler who catches the biggest bass. Watch the action from 7:45 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. ET on the MLFNOW! live stream at MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV app.

Link to Hi-Res Photo of Bryan Thrift’s $30,000 Big Bass Winner
Link to Photo Gallery of Knockout Round Highlights
Link to Video of Fish-Catch Highlights from Knockout Round of Heavy Hitters on the Kissimmee Chain

No surprise, Lee started the Knockout Round in the area that produced the bulk of his 63-4 total from his first day of qualifying – still the best day any angler has put together all week. However, he found “the grass had changed, so the fishing kind of changed with it.”

That forced Lee to adjust his location a bit. He didn’t land his first scorable bass until almost an hour after lines in. But once he relocated a school, the beatdown was on.

During a two-hour window that included a 15-minute period break, Lee stacked 12 scorable bass totaling 33-4 onto SCORETRACKER®, more than enough to cement his place among the Top 10.

“It was awesome,” he said. “I didn’t really know how many fish I could catch after a couple days of fishing, but I think it went really good.”

The key for Lee was covering water quickly to find sweet spots within the vast expanse of hydrilla. He explained that most of the bass seem to be congregated within small zones, the locations of which have changed a bit during the event due to grass growth and fishing pressure.

“It’s not a lot of big, giant mats with just fish everywhere,” he said. “It’s more like you find them, and they’re schooled up in one spot, and that’s where I’m catching them.”

Around 11 a.m., realizing his spot in the Championship Round was secure, Lee eased off the gas and shifted his focus to finding new hotspots and trying to catch the biggest bass of the day. He said he succeeded in the former and nearly in the latter, boating a 7-3 lunker midway through the third period.

Lee also saved a few areas that he’s discovered during the event for the Championship Round. His plan is to run from spot to spot until he finds one with a population that he thinks can earn him a second Heavy Hitters belt and a third BPT win on the Kissimmee Chain.

“I bounced around a lot,” he said, “and that’s what I’m going to do tomorrow is bounce around and try to find the area that’s most productive.”

One variable Lee and the rest of the Championship Round field will have to contend with is a boosted variable minimum weight. In a wrinkle unique to Heavy Hitters, bass will have to weigh at least 3 pounds to count toward anglers’ totals. As a result, Lee thinks the winning strategy will center less around finding numbers of fish and more on generating a handful of the right bites. Landing those bigger bites – far from a given when fishing a frog among thick mats – will also be pivotal.

“I still think you’re going to have to catch six or seven, at least – maybe a few more – to get the win, and some big ones, some of those 6- and 7-pounders,” Lee said. “You’ve always got to have your best day on the last day to win.”

The top 10 pros from the Knockout Round that advance to Thursday’s Championship Round on the Kissimmee Chain are:

1st:        Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., 16 bass, 49-14
2nd:       Brandon Coulter, Knoxville, Tenn., 13 bass, 42-1
3rd:       Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., 13 bass, 40-13
4th:        Matt Becker, Ten Mile, Tenn., seven bass, 25-4
5th:        Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., five bass, 21-15
6th:        Alton Jones, Jr., Waco, Texas, five bass, 20-13
7th:        Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texas, seven bass, 20-10
8th:        Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, seven bass, 20-9
9th:        Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., four bass, 16-6
10th:     Keith Poche, Pike Road, Ala., four bass, 13-2

Eliminated from competition after the Knockout Round on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes are:

11th:     Marty Robinson, Lyman, S.C., four bass, 12-12
12th:     Jeff Sprague, Wills Point, Texas, five bass, 12-9
13th:     Ryan Salzman, Huntsville, Ala., five bass, 12-7
14th:     Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn., four bass, 12-4
15th:     Mark Rose, Wynne, Ark., three bass, 11-4
16th:     Takahiro Omori, Tokyo, Japan, two bass, 4-6

Full results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Overall, there were 104 bass weighing 337 pounds, 1 ounce caught by the 16 pros on Wednesday, which included three 7-pounders, two 6-pounders and two 5-pounders caught from the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes.

Berkley Big Bass Bonus Award Winners:

                Group A Day 1: Ryan Salzman, Huntsville, Ala. (9-3), $10,000
                Group B Day 1: Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala. (7-14), $10,000
                Group A Day 2: Brandon Coulter, Knoxville, Tenn. & Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif. (7-10), $10,000
                Group B Day 2: Mark Rose, Wynne, Ark. (7-9), $10,000
                Knockout Round: Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C. (7-11), $30,000
                Championship Round: TBD, $100,000

The General Tire Heavy Hitters at the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes Presented by Bass Pro Shops features the MLF catch, weigh, immediate-release format, in which anglers catch as much weight as they can each day, while also feeling the pressure and intensity of the SCORETRACKER® leaderboard. A bass must meet the 2-pound minimum weight requirement for a bass to be deemed scorable in the Qualifying and Knockout Rounds, but for the final day Championship Round a bass must weigh at least 3 pounds to be deemed scorable.

The 15 Anglers in Group A competed in their two-day qualifying round on Saturday and Monday – the 15 anglers in Group B on Sunday and Tuesday. After each two-day qualifying round was complete, the top eight anglers from both groups advanced to Wednesday’s Knockout Round. In the Knockout Round weights were zeroed, and the remaining 16 anglers competed to finish in the top 10 to advance to the Championship Round. In Thursday’s final-day Championship Round, weights are zeroed, and the highest one-day total wins the top prize of $100,000.

The final 10 anglers will launch Thursday at 7:30 a.m. ET from Big Toho Marina located at 69 Lakeview Drive in Kissimmee. The General Tire Takeout will be held at the park, beginning at 4 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend all launch and takeout events and also encouraged to follow the event online throughout the day on the MLFNOW! live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

To qualify for General Tire Heavy Hitters, the weight of an angler’s single-largest bass from each event of the seven 2023 Bass Pro Tour events was recorded. The 30 anglers with the heaviest total from those seven bass qualified to compete in this event.

The MLFNOW!® broadcast team of Chad McKee and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action on Championship Thursday from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET. MLFNOW!®  will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com, the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app, and Rumble.

Television coverage of the General Tire Heavy Hitters 2024 Presented by Bass Pro Shops will be showcased across six two-hour episodes, premiering at 7 a.m. ET, Aug. 10 and running each Saturday through Sept. 14 on Discovery. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on Discovery, with re-airings on the Outdoor Channel.

Proud sponsors of General Tire Heavy Hitters Presented by Bass Pro Shops include: Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Barbasol, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, BUBBA, Fishing Clash, General Tire, Kubota, Lowrance, Lucas Oil, Mercury, Mossy Oak Fishing, NITRO, Onyx, Plano, Power-Pole, REDCON1, Star brite, Toyota, U.S. Air Force and YETI.

For complete details and updated information on Major League Fishing and the Bass Pro Tour, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF’s social media outlets at Facebook, XInstagram and  YouTube.



MLF Pros Visit Osceola County High School Anglers Fishing Club to Talk About Boater Safety

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (May 22, 2024) – Four of the professional anglers competing at General Tire Heavy Hitters 2024 Presented by Bass Pro Shops at the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes in central Florida visited with some local young Osceola anglers this week to talk about staying safe while on the water.

Major League Fishing (MLF) pros Ott DeFoe, Edwin Evers, Andy Montgomery and Britt Myers took some time Monday evening to meet with student anglers from the Osceola High School Anglers Fishing Club at their bi-weekly club meeting to talk about boater safety – particularly the importance of selecting and always wearing the right personal floatation devices (PFD) every time they are on the water.

The MLF pros compete across the country, but DeFoe said he enjoys stops like this to remind young anglers about the importance of safety, on or off the water.

“No one ever thinks they’re going to be in an accident,” DeFoe said. “It often happens when you least expect it. We want to make sure to remind all of these young anglers that it can happen to anyone, no matter how experienced they are. Wearing your life jacket is one of the most simple things that you can do to greatly improve your safety on the water. I wear my Onyx PFD absolutely every time I crank up my big outboard.”

 Montgomery, who had the student anglers cracking up with his stories of testing out ‘improper’ life jackets, said he wanted to remind the Osceola teens to make sure they had the right life jackets for the right situation.

“It’s important to wear the correct life jackets – not some of those ‘belly jackets’ that make you float upside down – you can’t breathe out of your toes,” Montgomery joked. “Whether you’re using an automatic-inflatable life vest or a full life jacket, always make sure to check they are in good condition and appropriate for your activity on the water.” 
Lamar Chisholm, founder of the Osceola County High School Anglers Fishing team, said that the student anglers were very receptive of the pro anglers and their advice.

“The kids had a great time hearing from the pros, and everyone was super appreciative of the new Onyx PFDs, goodie bags and pizzas that the anglers brought with them,” Chisholm said.

After the presentation, the Osceola anglers were treated to a pizza party, life jackets and goodie bags donated by MLF and MLF’s Exclusive Life Jacket sponsor, Onyx. Many MLF anglers wear Onyx’s automatic inflatable life jackets, and the same personal flotation device (PFD) is also the required game-day safety wear for MLF camera crews and officials throughout all competitions, including the General Tire Heavy Hitters event this week.

The MLF event was held in conjunction with National Safe Boating Week. National Safe Boating Week (May 18-24) is the official launch of the 2024 Safe Boating Campaign. The yearlong campaign promotes the value of voluntary, consistent life jacket wear by recreational boaters. U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in four out of every five recreational boating fatalities in 2022, and that 75 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.

More photos from the event can be found HERE.

For complete details and updated information on Major League Fishing and General Tire Heavy Hitters 2024 Presented by Bass Pro Shops at the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF’s social media outlets at Facebook, XInstagram and  YouTube.



Jordan Lee Coasts to Qualifying Round Win, Rose Wins $10K Big Bass Award at MLF General Tire Heavy Hitters on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes 

Wednesday’s Knockout Round field set as eight anglers advancing from Group B

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (May 21, 2023) – Despite locking up a spot in the Knockout Round of General Tire Heavy Hitters 2024 at the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes Presented by Bass Pro Shops during his first day on the water, pro Jordan Lee of Guntersville, Alabama, used every minute of the second qualifying day for Group B to his advantage.

Lee hauled his biggest bass of Tuesday, a 6-pound, 7-ounce specimen, over the gunwale just seconds before the end of competition. The buzzer-beater anchored his tally of 19-6 on six scorable bass, which was more than enough to maintain his spot atop the standings. His two-day total of 82-10 topped legendary pro Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan – competing in his final event – by 21-11.

While Lee and the other anglers who started the day near the top of SCORETRACKER® spent much of the day in what he called “search mode,” pro Mark Rose of Wynne, Arkansas, provided the most entertaining action. Rose, who started the day in 14th place, blasted 37-13 on seven bass, including a 7-9, which earned him $10,000 as the day’s biggest catch.

Link to Hi-Res Photo of Group B Qualifying Round Winner Jordan Lee
Link to Hi-Res Photo of Mark Rose’s $10,000 Big Bass Winner
Link to Photo Gallery of Group B Day 2 Highlights
Link to Video of Fish-Catch Highlights from Group B Day 2 of Heavy Hitters on the Kissimmee Chain

Like Brandon Coulter a day prior, Lee’s objective Tuesday wasn’t to catch as much weight as he could. Instead, he used the day to prepare for Wednesday’s Knockout Round with a little bit of offense and a little bit of defense.

Lee spent much of the day exploring new water, looking for more schools of bass living in the matted hydrilla on Lake Toho. He’s optimistic he found a few spots that could produce if the bite falters in his Day 1 area, including the one that produced his 6-pounder just before lines out.

“I had three bites here in about five minutes,” Lee said of the spot. “So, maybe I’ll have a little something up here to myself. I don’t really know. It looks good, but we’ll see tomorrow.”

Lee will hope he never has to turn to the backup plan. He did his best to make sure the zone that produced the bulk of his 63-4 on Sunday — a mark no other angler eclipsed across two days of qualifying combined — can carry him through the rest of the tournament, chasing off at least one other angler who stumbled upon the spot.

While Lee almost certainly will have company there tomorrow, he’s all-in on his frog bite, throwing a Berkley Swamp Lord on his signature 7-6, heavy Jordan Lee casting rod from Abu Garcia. The 2020 Heavy Hitters champion told MLFNOW! viewers that he’s been waiting for a tournament that could be won frogging mats like he does during the fall on Lake Guntersville in his home state of Alabama. Given that he and Coulter both used the technique to lead their respective groups through qualifying, this looks like his chance.

“I feel like tomorrow is going to be fun,” he said. “I’ve got some areas I feel like I can put the trolling motor down and (Power-Pole) down and frog, and that’s what we’re going to do. I feel like you can get right in a hurry, for sure.”

The top eight pros from Qualifying Group B that now advance to Wednesday’s Knockout Round on the Kissimmee Chain are:

1st:        Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., 24 bass, 82-10
2nd:       Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., 20 bass, 60-15
3rd:       Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texas, 20 bass, 56-2
4th:        Takahiro Omori, Tokyo, Japan, 17 bass, 55-15
5th:        Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn., 15 bass, 45-15
6th:        Mark Rose, Wynne, Ark., nine bass, 42-7
7th:        Keith Poche, Pike Road, Ala., 13 bass, 36-1
8th:        Jeff Sprague, Wills Point, Texas, 11 bass, 33-9

Group B anglers finishing the event in 9th through 15th place are:

9th:        Andy Montgomery, Blacksburg, S.C., nine bass, 31-15
10th:     Randall Tharp, Port St. Joe, Fla., 10 bass, 28-8
11th:     Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala., eight bass, 26-2
12th:     Dylan Hays, Hot Springs, Ark., seven bass, 22-10
13th:     Britt Myers, Lake Wylie, S.C., eight bass, 21-9
14th:     Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., seven bass, 21-3
15th:     Gerald Spohrer, Gonzales, La., six bass, 17-7

Full results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Overall, there were 78 bass weighing 252 pounds, 2 ounces caught by the 15 pros on Tuesday, which included one 7-pounder, three 6-pounders and four 5-pounders caught from the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes.

The General Tire Heavy Hitters at the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes Presented by Bass Pro Shops features the MLF catch, weigh, immediate-release format, in which anglers catch as much weight as they can each day, while also feeling the pressure and intensity of the SCORETRACKER® leaderboard. A bass must meet the 2-pound minimum weight requirement for a bass to be deemed scorable in the Qualifying and Knockout Rounds, but for the final day Championship Round a bass must weigh at least 3 pounds to be deemed scorable.

The 15 Anglers in Group A competed in their two-day qualifying round on Saturday and Monday – the 15 anglers in Group B on Sunday and Tuesday. Now that each two-day qualifying round is complete, the top eight anglers from both groups advance to Wednesday’s Knockout Round. In the Knockout Round weights are zeroed, and the remaining 16 anglers compete to finish in the top 10 to advance to the Championship Round. In Thursday’s final-day Championship Round, weights are zeroed, and the highest one-day total wins the top prize of $100,000.

In addition to the tournament, Big Bass Bonuses are awarded in each round of competition with payouts of $10,000, $30,000 and $100,000 awarded to the single biggest fish in the Group A and B Qualifying, Knockout and Championship rounds.

Anglers will launch each day of competition at 7:30 a.m. ET from Big Toho Marina located at 69 Lakeview Drive in Kissimmee. Each day’s General Tire Takeout will be held at the park, beginning at 4 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend all launch and takeout events and also encouraged to follow the event online throughout the day on the MLFNOW! live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

To qualify for General Tire Heavy Hitters, the weight of an angler’s single-largest bass from each event of the seven 2023 Bass Pro Tour events was recorded. The 30 anglers with the heaviest total from those seven bass qualified to compete in this event.

The MLFNOW!® broadcast team of Chad McKee and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action live on all six days of competition from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET. MLFNOW!®  will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com, the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app, and Rumble.

Television coverage of the General Tire Heavy Hitters 2024 Presented by Bass Pro Shops will be showcased across six two-hour episodes, premiering at 7 a.m. ET, Aug. 10 and running each Saturday through Sept. 14 on Discovery. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on Discovery, with re-airings on the Outdoor Channel.

Proud sponsors of General Tire Heavy Hitters Presented by Bass Pro Shops include: Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Barbasol, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, BUBBA, Fishing Clash, General Tire, Kubota, Lowrance, Lucas Oil, Mercury, Mossy Oak Fishing, NITRO, Onyx, Plano, Power-Pole, REDCON1, Star brite, Toyota, U.S. Air Force and YETI.

For complete details and updated information on Major League Fishing and the Bass Pro Tour, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF’s social media outlets at Facebook, XInstagram and  YouTube.



Olney’s Lee Flips Wood to Win Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event at Lake Shelbyville

Boater Jeffrey Lee of Olney, and Strike-King co-angler Lane Argo of Edinburg, Illinois.
Edinburg’s Argo Tops Strike King Co-Angler Division

SHELBYVILLE, Ill. (May 20, 2024) – Boater Jeffrey Lee of Olney, Illinois, caught a five-bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 4 ounces, Saturday to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on Lake Shelbyville . The tournament was the first event of the season for the BFL Illini Division. Lee earned $3,289 for his victory.

Sometimes in tough bass tournaments, all you can do is put your head down and grind all day. That’s exactly what Lee did to get his win.

“I figured out that there was only one area of the lake really – the lower end – that had any fish for me,” he said. “Other guys did better up on the mid- and upper lake, but I stayed on the lower end and basically flipped shallow wood all day.”

Lee targeted stumps, laydowns and other wood cover with a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver in the dirty Sanchez color.

Some of the wood was on the bank, but Lee also fished deeper cover that wasn’t visible by eye.

“I have 360 and forward-facing sonar and was able to make accurate flips instead of blind-casting,” he said. “You’ve got stuff you can see visually and you’ve got the stuff that you can’t see. And neither one was any better than the other. You just had to put your head down and just go as hard as you could go all day long.”

The day started fast for Lee. He put three keepers in the box by 7 a.m., including a 4-11 kicker, but then the action slowed. He broke off a 4-pounder that might’ve put the tournament away sooner, but it wound up not costing him thanks to a key fish late in the day.

“My fifth keeper actually came when we were in the very back of a pocket,” he recalled. “I had seen some fry, and I knew that since the fry were there, there had to be a guarder. I threw my wacky worm up there, and she didn’t bite it, but as I was reeling it in she chased it. So I knew she was there. I threw back in there, and I caught her and she was almost 3 pounds. And that was kind of the ice. That was at like 1 o’clock.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

1st:          Jeffrey Lee, Olney, Ill., five bass, 13-4, $3,289
2nd:        Ethan Fields, Breese, Ill., five bass, 12-8, $1,644
3rd:         Hunter Russell, Salem, Ill., five bass, 12-6, $1,097
4th:         Riley Walk, Neoga, Ill., five bass, 11-13, $767
5th:         Matt Swalls, Carterville, Ill., four bass, 11-5, $1,053
6th:         Colby Schrumpf, Highland, Ill., five bass, 10-0, $1,403 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
7th:         Cliff Pass, Lenzburg, Ill., four bass, 9-10, $548
8th:         Travis Boley, Weldon, Ill., five bass, 9-8, $493
9th:         Michael Black, Toledo, Ill., three bass, 9-1, $411
9th:         Garrett McDowell, Windsor, Ill., five bass, 9-1, $411

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Matt Swalls of Carterville, Illinois, caught a bass that weighed 5 pounds, 7 ounces, and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $395.



Lane Argo of Edinburg, Illinois, won the Strike King co-angler division and $1,644 Saturday, after bringing three bass to the scale that totaled 7 pounds, 13 ounces.

The top 11 Strike King co-anglers finished:

1st:          Lane Argo, Edinburg, Ill., three bass, 7-13, $1,644
2nd:        Jojo Johnson, Benton, Ill., three bass, 6-12, $972
3rd:         Brandon Depew, Odin, Ill., four bass, 6-11, $549
4th:         Andrew Boring, El Paso, Ill., three bass, 6-6, $384
5th:         Ryan Murphy, Paris, Ill., four bass, 6-0, $329
6th:         Aaron Arning, Walnut Hill, Ill., three bass, 5-5, $301
7th:         Chase Johnson, Quincy, Ill., two bass, 4-3, $260
7th:         Robert Lindley, Greenville, Ill., two bass, 4-3, $260
9th:         Dale Renth, Mascoutah, Ill., one bass, 3-15, $391
9th:         Brad Thacher, Hardin, Ky., two bass, 3-15, $194
9th:         Jason Halverson, Belvidere, Ill., two bass, 3-15, $194

Dale Renth of Mascoutah, Illinois, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $197, catching a bass that weighed in at 3 pounds, 15 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.

The next event for BFL Illini Division anglers will be held June 29, at Rend Lake in Sesser, Illinois. To register for the event as a boater or a co-angler, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com or call (270)-252-1000.

The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the region based on point standings, along with the five tournament winners of each qualifying event, will qualify for the Oct. 10-12 BFL Regional tournament on Pools 13-17 of the Mississippi River in Quad Cities, Illinois. Boaters will fish for a top award of $60,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a 200-horsepower Mercury or Suzuki outboard and $10,000, while co-anglers will compete for a top award of $50,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a 200-horsepower Mercury or Suzuki outboard.

The 2024 Phoenix BFL Presented by T-H Marine is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 events throughout the season, five qualifying tournaments in each division. The top 45 boaters and Strike King co-anglers from each division, along with the five qualifying event winners, will advance to one of six BFL Regional tournaments where they are competing to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the BFL All-American.



Wieda Gets the Win at Home at Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event at Ohio River-Tanners Creek

Boater Sean Wieda of Alexandria, Kentucky, and Strike-King co-angler Ryan Sykes of Fairfield, Ohio.
Ohio’s Sykes Tops Strike King Co-Angler Division

LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. (May 20, 2024) – Boater Sean Wieda of Alexandria, Kentucky, caught a five-bass limit weighing 9 pounds, 4 ounces, Saturday to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) Presented by T-H Marine on the Ohio River at Tanners Creek . The tournament was the first event of the season for the BFL Buckeye Division. Wieda earned $4,279 for his victory.

For Wieda, this was a big “finally” moment – winning a BFL event on his home waters.

“I’ve been fishing here for 25 years, and I’ve come close to winning a bunch,” he said. “I’ve got several seconds and thirds. Springtime is my favorite time of year. The water was up, and the fish were spawning. The biggest key for me was I was fishing for spawners that you couldn’t see. A lot of people try to catch the ones up on the bank, and what I do is try to find where the males are and back off in front of them in like 2 or 3 feet of water, which is deep water for the river.”

Wieda calls the technique “blind sight-fishing.” He says often the females will be out a hair deeper, just out of sight. Making repeated casts out in front of visible beds and understanding how to trigger bites are keys to Wieda’s approach.

“Most of my fish were caught on a soft plastic I call the Wieda Bug that I make,” he said, “and my biggest fish was caught on an Ark Z-Series (Z-Alpha) square-bill.

“The (fish I caught on the) square bill was a spawner also,” Wieda added. “Sometimes you can get them to react to something like that. That fish was 2 to 3 feet off the bank, and I couldn’t see her or anything, but I saw the male up there and I ran the crankbait through there four or five times.”

When fishing the soft plastic, Wieda used a 7-foot, 6-inch Ark Randall Tharp Series rod with the Ark Gravity 8 reel.

Wieda, who owns Wieda’s Marine, a Phoenix Boats dealership, also offered a sincere thanks to his support team.

“Thanks to my crew at Wieda’s Marine,” he said. “Not only do they take care of customers all over the United States, but they take really good care of me and allow me to get out there and fish. I’ve been fishing them (BFLs) for years. It was good to finally win here. I’ve had some other wins, but I’ve never won there on my home water, so that was pretty special. I’m excited.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

1st:          Sean Wieda, Alexandria, Ky., five bass, 9-4, $4,279
2nd:        Nick Leonard, Amelia, Ohio, five bass, 8-7, $2,140
3rd:        Mark Dove, North Vernon, Ind., five bass, 8-3, $1,212
3rd:        Kevin Spivey, Hamilton, Ohio, three bass, 8-3, $1,817
5th:         Jason Steele, Hamilton, Ohio, five bass, 7-12, $856
6th:         Michael Nesbitt, St. Paris, Ohio, five bass, 7-9, $749
6th:         Roger Hahn, Fairfield, Ohio, five bass, 7-9, $1,049
8th:         Chad McCarty, Tipp City, Ohio, five bass, 7-7, $642
9th:         Chris Martinkovic, Hamilton, Ohio, five bass, 7-2, $571
10th:      William (Bill) Spivey, Middletown, Ohio, five bass, 7-0, $499

Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Kevin Spivey of Hamilton, Ohio, caught a bass that weighed 3 pounds, 8 ounces, and earned the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $605.



Ryan Sykes of Fairfield, Ohio, won the Strike King co-angler division and $2,140 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 6 pounds, 7 ounces.

The top 10 Strike King co-anglers finished:

1st:          Ryan Sykes, Fairfield, Ohio, five bass, 6-7, $2,140
2nd:        Landen Wisener, Russells Point, Ohio, four bass, 5-8, $1,070
3rd:        Brian Blinn, Troy, Ohio, three bass, 5-7, $712
4th:         Aaron Napier, Franklin, Ohio, four bass, 4-15, $499
5th:         James Jeffers III, Athens, Ohio, four bass, 4-10, $510
5th:         Douglas Shope, Arcanum, Ohio, four bass, 4-10, $410
7th:         Jesse Foster, Franklin, Ohio, four bass, 4-7, $357
8th:         Andrew Worrall, Burlington, Ky., four bass, 4-6, $321
9th:         Rob Webber, Elyria, Ohio, three bass, 4-5, $285
10th:      Brent Jones, Okeana, Ohio, three bass, 4-4, $250

Chad McQueen of Fairfield, Ohio, earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $302, catching a bass that weighed in at 3 pounds, 4 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.

The next event for BFL Buckeye Division anglers will be held June 8, at Mosquito Lake in Cortland, Ohio. To register for the event as a boater or a co-angler, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com or call (270)-252-1000.

The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the region based on point standings, along with the five tournament winners of each qualifying event, will qualify for the Oct. 3-5 BFL Regional tournament on Kerr Lake in Henderson, North Carolina. Boaters will fish for a top award of $60,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a 200-horsepower Mercury or Suzuki outboard and $10,000, while co-anglers will compete for a top award of $50,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a 200-horsepower Mercury or Suzuki outboard.

The 2024 Phoenix BFL Presented by T-H Marine is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 events throughout the season, five qualifying tournaments in each division. The top 45 boaters and Strike King co-anglers from each division, along with the five qualifying event winners, will advance to one of six BFL Regional tournaments where they are competing to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the BFL All-American.

Proud sponsors of the 2024 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine include: 7Brew, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, BUBBA, E3, Epic Baits, Fishing Clash, General Tire, GSM Outdoors, Lew’s, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, REDCON1, Strike King, Suzuki, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, WIX Filters and YETI.

For complete details and updated tournament information, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular Bass Fishing League updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF5’s social media outlets at Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.



Whataburger brings bold flavors to Wheeler Lake with fourth-consecutive Elite Series sponsorship 

May 21, 2024

Whataburger brings bold flavors to Wheeler Lake with fourth-consecutive Elite Series sponsorship 

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — For the fourth consecutive year, Whataburger, the beloved burger chain known for bold flavors and fresh ingredients served up just like you like it, has signed on as a Bassmaster Elite Series tournament title sponsor. The 2024 Whataburger Bassmaster Elite at Wheeler Lake will be held June 13-16 in Decatur, Alabama.

“At Whataburger, we’re all about creating memorable moments, and that’s exactly what we’ve been able to do with the Bassmaster Elite tournament over the last four years,” said Whataburger Director of Sponsorships Jeff Altman. “Wheeler Lake is a prime location for these anglers and their families and fishing fans from all over to enjoy a day at the lake and celebrate afterwards at their nearest Whataburger. It’s truly a special experience we’re proud to be a part of.”

The last B.A.S.S. event to be held on Wheeler Lake was the May 2023 St. Croix Bassmaster Open presented by SEVIIN, where Wisconsin pro Adam Rasmussen won with 54 pounds, 15 ounces. Wheeler is the second-largest lake on the Tennessee River in northern Alabama and stretches 60 miles from Guntersville Dam to Wheeler Dam near Rogersville. Stumpy flats and creek channels are popular areas to find bass midlake, while the lower end features steep banks and long points.

Whataburger locations in nearby Decatur, Athens, Florence and Huntsville will keep anglers and fans fueled up on their way to the free, family-friendly Elite Series Outdoors Expo at Ingalls Harbor in Decatur, held in conjunction with the Elite Series event. The Outdoors Expo will bring together fishing and Whataburger fans alike to learn about exciting new menu items and play games to win prizes at the Whataburger tent. 

“We’re very excited Whataburger is serving as title sponsor for the Bassmaster Elite at Wheeler Lake,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Chase Anderson. “The Wheeler Lake event is always a very popular stop for tournament anglers. North Alabama is bass fishing country, and we look forward to welcoming fishing fans from the area. The Whataburger partnership is a great fit for everyone, and we always enjoy their on-site presence where they share the Whataburger experience and promote North Alabama’s Whataburger locations.”

Live coverage of all four days of the Whataburger Bassmaster Elite at Wheeler Lake starts Thursday, June 13 on Bassmaster.com. The tournament will air on FS1 on Saturday, and, for the first time, coverage of an Elite Series event will be available on FOX on Sunday. For more information, visit Bassmaster.com



Bass Fishing the Texas Rig for More Success!

Crafting the ultimate Texas rig setup involves meticulous attention to various components, each integral to maximizing your success on the water. The foundation starts with a high-speed baitcasting reel, which enables efficient line retrieval and optimal bait presentation within the strike zone. Coupled with a strong drag system, this setup ensures robust hook sets and effective fish management. The choice of rod is crucial; a longer, medium-heavy to heavy rod with a fast action tip enhances casting distance, sensitivity, and control. The line selection is equally important, with fluorocarbon offering superior abrasion resistance and low visibility, aiding in stealthier presentations. Finally, the weight of the rig, preferably tungsten, should be chosen to match the bait profile and fishing conditions, ensuring the right fall rate and movement to entice bites. Each of these components are key to building a Texas rig that is not only effective but also highly responsive to the nuanced challenges of bass fishing.Our newest FreshBaitz Mandingo Trick Worm is the ultimate game-changer for anglers with a passion! Engineered for the angler who knows SIZE does matter, this lure is designed to attract only the BIGGEST bass with a penchant for the larger bait. The Mandingo Trick Worm boasts a solid 7-inch body enhanced with a hyperactive ribbed design, ensuring irresistible mouth-watering action for those trophy bass. Officially available in a vibrant array of 8 colors. Each worm is made from durable, high-grade Non-Salted plastic for lifelike action and unparalleled durability. Perfectly balanced for a variety of rigging options and scented for total and maximum attraction, the Mandingo Trick Worm promises year-round effectiveness in lakes, rivers, and streams. Whether you’re rigging it on a Shakey Head, Drop Shot, Texas Rig, or Carolina Rig, these worms are your ticket to landing the big ones. Proudly made in the USA by real anglers to help elevate your fishing experience and catch more bass year-round!
The gear ratio of a baitcasting reel is pivotal in determining its efficiency for Texas rig fishing. A fast gear ratio, typically between 7.1:1 and 7.5:1, is ideal as it allows for quick retrieval of the line once the bait moves out of the strike zone. This speed isn’t about moving the bait faster through the water—rather, it ensures that the angler can reel in slack swiftly and make subsequent casts more efficiently. This keeps the bait in the strike zone longer, increasing the chances of a bite. Fast reeling is crucial especially when a bass strikes and moves towards the angler, requiring quick line retrieval to maintain tension and facilitate a successful hook set. A higher gear ratio helps in quickly adjusting bait position and responding to sudden changes in fish behavior. It also aids in efficiently managing fishing time, allowing more casts over the course of a fishing session, which potentially leads to more bites. Quick action reels enhance handling and performance of the rig which is crucial for bass.The new FreshBaitz Lizards deliver a realistic profile that excels in both power and finesse techniques. Act fact, we just released new Ghost and 10w30 Syntheic Lizard designs! The unique forward-facing leg design creates drag that holds it in the strike zone longer or produces wild flapping action with every pull of the rod. Additionally, its slightly ribbed solid body and large head hold your hook in place and provide much better weedless performance making it the ideal bait to use in any condition. Water clarity always plays a super big role in color selection but in any season year-round, you can’t miss when using colors such as Watermelon RedBlack & Blue, or Green Pumpkin. Its flexible tail design ensures added movement, tempting even the most cautious fish. The superior 5.5-inch profile stretches to a whole 7 inches which is perfect for predatory fish including bass year round. Made from long-lasting durable high-grade non-salted plastic for total and maximum attention-grabbing action underwater.
A strong and reliable drag system is critical when fishing with Texas rigs, as it must handle sudden pulls and ensure a firm hook set without slipping. Drag settings around 14 pounds or higher are typically recommended to penetrate the tough jaws of bass, especially in scenarios involving heavy cover where pulling the fish out quickly is necessary. The ability to adjust the drag during the fight allows anglers to manage larger fish more effectively, preventing line breaks and hook pulls. This system needs to be robust enough to set the hook firmly yet adjustable to accommodate the powerful surges during a fish’s attempt to escape. An optimal drag system also contributes to smoother line release under tension, which enhances the angler’s control and finesse in bait presentation. Ensuring the drag is neither too tight nor too loose helps in maintaining the perfect balance needed to handle unexpected movements by the fish.  A finely tuned drag system is an indispensable component of the Texas rig.We use our Fresh Scorpion because it closely imitates a crawfish. Our newest 10w30 Synthetic , Slimer Green, and Barbie Pink Scorpion colors work wonders. The Scorpion is a revolutionary new look to soft plastics. Its intricate detailing and texture mimic the nuances of a real crawfish, making it hard for bass to resist. Of course, water clarity always plays a role in color selection but in any season, you can’t miss using colors such as Green Pumpkin SeedBrown BarkMagneto. This bait not only appears natural to fish but gives them something to become curious about. The Scorpion paired with a stand-up jig is deadly because the jig actually sits the bait upright in a defensive stance. The subtle color variations across the bait further enhance its appeal, mimicking the natural color shifts found in live prey. Each Fresh Scorpion has a unique and exclusive 3-axis tail design that is engineered like no other soft plastic bait. Our Scorpions are made by anglers from high-grade non-salt plastic to provide superior life-like action-triggering strikes!
The rod for Texas rigging should be chosen with precision; length and power are crucial. A longer rod, usually between 7-foot-4 and 7-foot-8, aids in achieving greater casting distances and provides the leverage needed for both setting the hook and managing fish. Medium heavy to heavy rods are preferred because they offer the backbone necessary for solid hook sets and sufficient flexibility to fight the fish without risking breakages. The right rod not only supports better line management but also enhances the angler’s control over the presentation of the bait across various conditions. Longer rods also facilitate easier handling of longer line lengths during casts and retrieves, crucial in wide or structured waters. The increased rod length helps in sweeping movements needed for hook setting in deep or obstructed areas, ensuring the hook penetrates effectively. A robust rod with adequate power can efficiently absorb the shock and stress during intense battles with bigger and aggressive bass.Our Fresh HellaMite is scented for complete and total attraction underwater along with being made in the USA by real fishermen just like you. Our newest Glow and 10w30 Synthetic HellaMite colors are a must-have. We also just released new eye-catching colors including the Slimer Green and Barbie Pink HellaMite. Act fast, these colors won’t stay in stock for long. If you’re fast enough you can also grab our seasonal limited-release Pumpkin Spice HellaMite along with the Money HellaMite. We also recently restocked our GhostRed BugPurple RainBrown BugElectric Chicken, and Goby Wan colors. The HellaMite’s solid body and hyperactive ribbed tail design produce a life-like quivering action with every twitch of the rod. Additionally, its unique flat underbelly detail enables this bait to be fished as a drop shot, Ned rig, neko rig, and even a small Carolina-rig, making it the ideal bait in any condition. When the water is clear, the fish can see the bait and look like real food, causing strikes. 
A fast action rod tip is essential for several reasons. It offers improved sensitivity, allowing anglers to detect subtle nibbles and lighter bites that might otherwise go unnoticed. It enhances the rod’s responsiveness, facilitating accurate and efficient casting. The fast tip also plays a role in hook setting, providing a quick and powerful action necessary to secure the hook in the fish’s mouth firmly. When combined with the right rod length and power, a fast action tip contributes to the overall performance of the Texas rig setup. This tip flexibility is particularly advantageous in situations where precision is required to target specific structures or cover. The fast action also allows for better manipulation of the bait, giving it a more lifelike movement through twitching techniques. The quick responsiveness of a fast action tip can mean the difference between a missed opportunity and a successful catch, especially in competitive angling scenarios. A fast tip ensures minimal delay from the inital detection to reaction.Our Fresh Beetle delivers ultimate versatility in a soft plastic bait. Its slim yet wide body design and four claws are engineered to naturally glide and wobble as it moves through the water. This design ensures they remain enticingly active longer than conventional baits. Its unique texture also provides a realistic feel, making bass hold on longer once they bite. Water clarity plays a big role in color selection but year-round you can’t miss when using go-to colors such as Chocolate MintOx Blood, or 10w30 Synthetic beetles. The hyper-active swimming claws are designed thin with long-lasting durable non-salt plastic to make them come alive with the slightest movement. The Fresh Beetle offers an enticing 4-inch profile and is scented for complete and total attraction! You can rig these Beetles as a Jig/ Chatter Trailer, Flippin/ Punching, Texas Rig, Swing Jig, and Carolina Rig. Making the beetle beyond perfect in any weather condition year-round!
Fluorocarbon line is favored for Texas rigging due to its advantageous properties. It’s highly abrasion-resistant, making it suitable for fishing around underwater structures like rocks and tree stumps. Its low visibility in water enhances bait presentation by making the line less detectable to fish. Fluorocarbon has a slight stretch, which is crucial during the fight with a fish as it provides a buffer that can prevent the hook from tearing out. Its density also helps in transmitting vibrations and maintaining a better feel of the bait through the water. The material’s resistance to UV light and chemicals ensures long-lasting durability, reducing the need for frequent replacements. Fluorocarbon also sinks faster than monofilament, making it ideal for bottom fishing techniques and maintaining a tighter line. Its properties significantly reduce the chances of spooking fish increasing the chances of strikes and is a top choice for anglers seeking to optimize their setup for clarity, sensitivity, and durability.Using a stick-styled worm is the most tried and true ways to catch fish. We have a wide variety of 5-inch Worms to choose from but we recently released new Glow and Ghost Worms! You can also experience our new wacky rigging kit while it’s ON SALE! The WACKY Pack offers our most popular colors and essential tools for wacky rigging. If you’re fast enough you might be able to grab the limited-release Pumpkin Spice Worm before it’s completely sold out along with some of our newest colors including the Brown WormElectic Chicken Worm, and Goby Wan Worm colors. The high-grade non-salt plastic they’re made from provides positive buoyancy and it even floats underwater! We also released new 6-inch Worms including CharmeleonRainbow TRTBoneChocolate Mint, and Fire TGR are all available in 5 and 6-inch. We’ve also recently released new 8-count packs of worms available in Watermelon RedBlack & Blue, and Green Pumpkin. We also offer worms that have the unique ability to shift from one color to another. Scented for total attraction underwater.
Choosing the right weight and material is essential for the proper presentation of Texas rigs. Tungsten weights are preferred over lead due to their greater density, which enhances sensitivity and allows for more precise feedback on light bites and bottom structure. The weight should complement the bait size and the fishing environment; it must be heavy enough to achieve the desired sink rate but not so heavy that it impedes the natural movement of the bait. In weed-heavy or dense cover, heavier weights might be necessary to penetrate and reach the target zone effectively. The compact size of tungsten also means it’s less likely to snag, offering a cleaner presentation as it moves through vegetation or rocky bottoms. Tungsten weights create a louder, more distinctive sound when they contact rocks or hard surfaces, potentially attracting more attention from fish. The tungsten is an optimal choice for anglers looking to enhance their Texas rig setups for more efficient fishing.We have a wide variety of terminal tackle to choose from. For Scorpions, we love to use the Stand-Up Jig because it sits your bait up-right in a defensive stance! The popular All Purpose Hooks are built with an extra-wide gap and are made to accommodate a wide range of soft plastics. The Mosquito Hooks work for drop-shotting and perfectly accommodates a wide range of soft plastics. The Block Head Jig is perfect for ned rigging the HellaMite with its mushroom-style head that seamlessly matches a wide variety of soft plastics. The Offset Block Head Jig, offers the same mushroom-style head with a unique offset hook, making it a go-to for weedless Ned Rig applications. The Shakey Ultrahead can permanently secure baits by inserting the pin in the center and screwing the twist lock coil spring for perfect rigging every time! The Ultrahead Wacky Jig features precise weight positioning and hook orientation for the ultimate wacky presentations. For fast Texas rigging, we use the Bullet-Type Rig which has an attached weight saving you pressure time when fishing cover. The 4x Jungle Flippin Hook is designed for big fish and the toughest conditions. The Range Roller Jig Head is crafted for precision with its high center axis design, perfect for hover-strolling and mid to bottom strolling with forward facing sonar, ensuring an enticing rolling action for soft plastics.