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Mille Lacs Smallmouth Alliance Team Big Bass Challenge

imageWithout a doubt the month of October, is when a large number of the biggest smallmouth get caught on Mille Lacs, so what better way to showcase the amazing Mille Lacs smallmouth fishery, than to have the inaugural Mille Lacs Smallmouth Alliance (MLSA), Free the Fighter Team Big Bass Challenge, presented by In Tune Marine/Vexus Boats.

The event will be held on Saturday, October 6th and will follow the success and popularity of the Classic Bass Champions Tour, where following a smallmouth being caught, it will be weighed by a boat official, who will record the weight and then the angler will release of the fish back into the Lake Mille Lacs.

“It’s an honor to partner with the Classis Bass Champions Tour and present the Free the Fighter Team Bass Challenge,” said MLSA President, Jim DaRosa.  “Classic Bass is the leader in running catch, weigh and release tournaments.”

The entry fee for the tournament is $350, of which $110 is tax-deductible, and $50 of the entry fee will go towards the MLSA High School Scholarship Fund.  The tournament is limited to the first fifty teams, so don’t delay and Register Now.

A high school angler will accompany each team and serve as the boat official, who will watch each bass being weighed, record the weight and enforce any rule violations that take place.

There will be a pre-tournament meeting on Friday, October 5th at Izatys Resort, time is TBA.

The winning team will walk away with $5,000 (based on 50 boats) and the total payout of the event will be $12,000 (based on 50 boats).  Besides the cash prizes, there will be five merchandise winners, both in the morning and afternoon sessions.

The following day, on Sunday, October 7th, the MLSA will be hosting a High School Division event.  This no entry fee tournament will be offered only to the high school anglers who served as boat officials during the Team Big Bass Challenge the day prior.

The tournament will again follow the Champions Tour format and the high school anglers will be randomly paired together to form a two-person team.  Pro anglers will serve as boat officials and be randomly paired with the high school anglers.  If you are a high school angler and interested in participating, please Register Now.

The top five teams will be competing for $2,500 in college scholarships.

“Based on the recent Minnesota DNR smallmouth bass population studies on Mille Lacs, it shows that there are approximately 67,000 smallmouth bass over 12 inches.   In fact the DNR 2017 creel studies show that approximately 125,000 smallmouth bass were caught by anglers, meaning most fish were caught more than once…catch and release is working.”

“The Classic Bass Champions Tour format of catch, record and release, reduces livewell stress commented DaRosa.”

Sponsors of the event include:  In Tune Marine, Vexus Boats, Classic Bass, Simms, Abu Garcia and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

If you have any questions on these events or to learn more about the Mille Lacs Smallmouth Alliance, please visit, .

Navionics recently introduced Fishing Ranges, a new tool to customize your chart views in the Boating app.

Navionics recently introduced Fishing Ranges, a new tool to customize your chart views in the Boating app.


Display up to 5 depth ranges at the same time on the SonarChart™ layer, to plan your fishing trips and target the best place to cast the lure.


To use the new feature, you need the latest version of the Boating app, with an active Navionics+ subscription.


How to get it
1. Update your Boating app to the latest version:

  • if you have an Apple device, go to the App Store > Updates.
  • If you have an Android device, go to Play Store, search for your Boating app and update it.

2. Check your subscription status: open the app, go to Menu > Me.
3. Start customizing your maps: go to Menu > Map Options.


The Happiest 2nd Place Finisher

Photo courtesy of FLW



The Happiest 2nd Place Finisher


St. Croix pro James Niggemeyer picks away at Ouachita and comes away satisfied and thankful to be fishing the Best Rods on Earth



Park Falls, WI (August 16, 2018) – In the 2006 comedy Talladega Nights, the lovable and eccentric stockcar driver Ricky Bobby put being runner-up into perspective: “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” The infinitely upbeat 2018 FLW Cup runner-up, James Niggemeyer, sees standing on the second highest platform through an entirely different lens, however…



Photo courtesy of FLW



“You’re talking to the happiest second place finisher in the world,” said Niggemeyer. “Clent Davis literally had a career day in the biggest FLW tournament you can fish. Kuddos to him. I wasn’t even close to first. The conditions were tough, and I did the best with what I had.”


“I wouldn’t change a single thing,” said Niggemeyer, arguably the noblest guy on the circuit.

Fishing southern reservoirs in August and September has its challenges. On Lake Ouachita, for example, you have a blend of surface temps that kiss the 90-degree mark and ozone clear water conditions. What makes for a beautiful beach and barbeque backdrop, however, urges bass anglers to fish with stealth and finesse, while continuously thumbing through their encyclopedia of tactical options.


And Niggemeyer did just that.


He reached into his menagerie for very precise, technique-specific rods that matched each situation. But the bulk of his tournament-grade fish came buzzing by the surface, so the choice was easy: 7’4” heavy power, fast action, St. Croix Legend Elite casting rod (EC74HF).



Photo courtesy of FLW



In a tournament with a tough bite, having the right rod and reel combo is critically important. If Niggemeyer was going to weigh bag fish, he needed to buzz a lot of water, and make extra-long casts to skittish fish that were already stuffed with young-of-the-year shad. The 7’4” Legend Elite paired with a Cabela’s Arachnid reel was the ticket.


“The rod is so light,” said Niggemeyer. “I could make long casts repeatedly without feeling fatigued. The engineering built into this rod makes casting seem effortless. It’s literally so smooth I didn’t think about what I was doing—I was able to focus on getting bit and putting fish in the boat.”


Three 8 to 10-hour days of repetitively making 100’s of casts can completely wear an angler out. Niggemeyer credits the lean weights, handling comfort and peerless performance of his entire St. Croix collection to his overall success.


“Whether you are fishing in a tournament or fishing for fun, your goal is to land more fish. St. Croix builds quality equipment that makes you enjoy more success on the water with every cast.”



  • Integrated Poly Curve® (IPC®) tooling technology.
  • Advanced Reinforcing Technology™ (ART™).
  • Taper Enhancement Technology (TET) blank design provides curved patterns for improved action with increased sensitivity.
  • Super high-modulus SCVI graphite with FRS in lower section for maximum power and strength with reduced weight.
  • High-modulus/high-strain SCV graphite with FRS and carbon-matte scrim for unparalleled strength, durability and sensitivity.
  • Slim-profile ferrules.
  • Fuji® Torzite® tangle-free guides with titanium frames for unrivaled, 100% corrosion-proof performance.
  • Fuji® TVS blank-touch reel seat with built-in hood on spinning rods.
  • Fuji® PTS blank-touch reel seat with built-in hood on casting rods.
  • Anodized, machined-aluminum wind check.
  • Super-grade cork handle.
  • Kigan titanium hook-keeper.
  • Two coats of Flex-Coat slow cure finish.
  • Includes protective rod sack.
  • 15-year transferable warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service.
  • Designed and handcrafted in Park Falls, U.S.A.



Yamaha Donates Outboards to NOAA Protected Resource Division while Encouraging Advocacy to protect Calif. Coastal Marine Life and Conserve Marine Fisheries

Yamaha Donates Outboards to NOAA Protected Resource Division while Encouraging Advocacy to protect Calif. Coastal Marine Life and Conserve Marine Fisheries

KENNESAW, Ga.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Yamaha donated five F40 four-stroke outboards to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric (NOAA®) National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) Protected Resource Division (PRD), which is the most recent initiative in a long-term effort by Yamaha to protect marine life and encourage conservation on the Calif. Coast.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

Pacific Marine Mammal Center and SeaWorld volunteers use newly-donated Yamaha F40 outboards for marine mammal rescue on the Pacific Coast. (Photo: Business Wire)

The outboards will be installed on five West Coast stranding and entanglement response network rescue vessels, which will be used to safely and efficiently respond to the many reports of stranded and entangled marine mammals all along the Calif. coast.

“Yamaha’s commitment to the health of our nation’s fisheries and all coastal resources is the driving force behind the donation of these outboards,” said Ben Speciale, Yamaha Marine Group President. “The teams that will be using the outboards for marine mammal rescue contribute greatly to the Calif. coastline, and we are proud to support their efforts.”

Yamaha Marine will provide and install the five outboards on vessels for Calif. marine mammal stranding and large whale entanglement response networks including: SeaWorld Rescue, Pacific Marine Mammal Center®(PMMC), Marine Animal Rescue (MAR), Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institute (CIMWI), and Northcoast Marine Mammal Center (NMMC).

“We would like to express our sincere gratitude for Yamaha’s support and assistance through the donation of these outboards,” said Penny Ruvelas, Long Beach Office Branch Chief, Protected Resources Division. “It is important that the marine mammal rescue teams can navigate the Calif. coastline safely as they respond to calls and reports. Yamaha has enabled these teams to complete their tasks with greater efficiency.”

In a related effort, Yamaha has been working with industry and conservation organizations, such as the American Sportfishing Association® (ASA) and the Coastal Conservation Association® (CCA), to phase out the use of large-mesh drift gill gillnets often used in commercial swordfish fishing along the Calif. Coast.

Yamaha is encouraging the passage of S. 2773 and H.R. 5638, the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act. This federal legislation aims to phase out the use of indiscriminate mile-long large-mesh drift gillnets often used in commercial swordfish fishing on the Calif. Coast. If passed, the legislation will help transition Calif. coast fisheries away from gillnets to more sustainable gear types. Yamaha encourages anglers to support S. 2773 and H.R. 5638 by visiting or and sending a prewritten letter to members of Congress.

“Removing this destructive gear from West Coast waters and shifting the fishery to more benign methods is a high priority for our CCA California chapter. The support of conservation-minded companies such as Yamaha is simply invaluable to their efforts, and to our shared goal of healthy marine resources,” said Pat Murray, president of CCA National. “These kinds of partnerships are vital to conserving our marine resources, and ensuring anglers’ access to them.”

“On behalf of California saltwater anglers and the marine resource, thank you Yamaha for your generosity and leadership,” said Bill Shedd, Chairman of CCA California.

“Yamaha Marine continues to be an industry leader in supporting the conservation of our nation’s fisheries resources,” said ASA President Glenn Hughes. “The Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act is a bipartisan effort to end the use of destructive drift gillnets on the West Coast, and we are excited to work with Yamaha Marine to ensure its passage.”

In addition to these efforts, Yamaha has been an active supporter of the Marine Sanctuary System, also part of NOAA®, through participation in the Sanctuary System Business Advisory Council. In the weeks to come, Yamaha and NOAA® will announce additional Yamaha initiatives supporting the Marine Sanctuary System in Calif.

Yamaha Marine products are marketed throughout the United States and around the world. Yamaha Marine Group, based in Kennesaw, Ga., supports its 2,000 U.S. dealers and boat builders with marketing, training and parts for Yamaha’s full line of products and strives to be the industry leader in reliability, technology and customer service. Yamaha Marine is the only outboard brand to have earned NMMA®’s C.S.I. Customer Satisfaction Index award every year since its inception. Visit

This document contains many of Yamaha’s valuable trademarks. It may also contain trademarks belonging to other companies. Any references to other companies or their products are for identification purposes only, and are not intended to be an endorsement.

Endless Summer Clearance

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AFTCO 10% Pledge

AFTCO has always taken a Conservation First approach to business, and in 2018 we will continue our commitment to conservation through a range of conservation-driven initiatives for the freshwater market. Some of these conservation-focused programs include: AFTCO’s Live Release Bass Bus, community crowdsourcing conservation grant opportunities, the AFTCO Bank Bag Incentive Program, and a range of other programs aimed at honoring our company heritage. In addition to our 10% Pledge, we commit our company time and resources to the freshwater bass community.


Talk Anywhere Onboard Raymarine’s New Wireless Ready Ray90 and Ray91 VHF

Wireless handsets with inductive charging and lithium-ion batteries allow you to roam freely onboard and keep watch on vital communications.



Talk Anywhere Onboard
Raymarine’s New Wireless Ready Ray90 and Ray91 VHF



WILSONVILLE, OR (August 15, 2018) – Traditional marine VHF radios keep you confined to the helm with their short handset coil-cords that limit your ability to move about. Raymarine’s new Ray90 and Ray91 modular VHF radios give you the freedom to roam and communicate from anywhere onboard using optional wireless handset stations.


The versatile Ray90 and Ray91 modular radios offer you the convenience of having two wired handsets and three optional wireless handset stations.Wired or wireless, you’ll have full access and control of every feature these high-performance VHF radios have to offer.



An oversized LCD display and simple button control provide easy access to all of the Ray90/91’s features from any station.




Both models feature a powerful, commercial-grade marine VHF radio transceiver with the latest Class-D Digital Selective Calling for convenience and safety. The Ray90 and Ray91 are also equipped with a built-in loudhailer and fog-signal generator that can be easily activated by adding an optional hailing horn accessory. In addition to ship-to-shore and ship-to-ship calling, the Ray90/91 offer onboard intercom communications.  Use the radio’s intercom feature to make internal calls from station to station.


The Ray 91 model also has a built-in Class B AIS receiver. Connect the Ray91 to your multifunction display and instrument network to see the position and identity of nearby AIS-equipped vessels.



Ray90/91’s black box transceiver module hides out-of-sight keeping your boat looking ship-shape.




Simple Options for Expansion


The basic Ray90 or Ray91 system comes with a black-box transceiver module and a wired handset/speaker kit. The transceiver module hides out-of-sight and offers connections for an optional second wired station as well as a wireless hub. The wireless hub allows the Ray90/91 to host up to three wireless handset stations. Wireless technology is the ideal solution for adding VHF radio capability in hard-to-wire locations like tuna towers, flybridges or distant cockpits.


Wireless handsets are powered by built-in lithium ion rechargeable batteries for long life.  The wireless handsets use the latest inductive charging technology. Simply place the handset back in its supplied dock; there are no charging ports, contacts, or cables to worry about! Each wireless handset even has a convenient locator alarm to help you find it should you misplace it onboard. Simply trigger the handset finder from any other station and your lost device will cry-out to be found.



The modular Ray90/91 VHF system consists of a transceiver module and 1 wired handset/speaker station. Expand your system with an additional wired station, a wireless hub, and up to 3 wireless handset and speaker stations.




Compliant with the latest regulations for DSC-equipped radios, both Ray90 and Ray91 have an onboard GPS receiver and a connection for an external GPS antenna.  The radios can communicate with your other onboard multifunction displays and instruments using industry-standard NMEA2000 or NMEA0183 networking.


The Ray90, Ray91 and their wired and wireless accessories are available now from Raymarine dealers around the world.




Cabela’s School of Fish has record-breaking year!

Cabela’s School of Fish has record-breaking year!

Cabela’s School of Fish, recognized by many as the leaders in kids fishing education, recently completed their 6th-year of hosting fishing classes for kids, their parents, and other adults, and did so in record-breaking fashion!  School of Fish taught 30 open-water Schools in 2018 graduating 707 “water-ready” kids and had 287 adults attend as well!  The 30 classes and 707 kids are records for the organization.

“This is the first time we’ve taught 30 schools and we’ve never graduated over 700 kids before,” said Mike Frisch, one of the organization’s co-founders.  “We’re very excited about the continued growth of the program!”

Started in Alexandria, MN in 2013 as an open-water fishing class, School of Fish was very well received and, due to requests, added School of Fish ON ICE that fall.  Since then, a rod building class and Walleye School offering have been added to the curriculum offerings as well.

Cabela’s School of Fish has now taught 183 Schools in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, North & South Dakota, Nebraska and has graduated 3,890 kids and over 1,000 adults have attended in its existence!

“We had another awesome year with our open-water Schools, returning to several locations we have been to in the past and also expanded to our communities as well, including our first-ever Nebraska event,” stated Frisch.  “As always, our goal continues to be to provide kids and adults with the knowledge, skills, and equipment they need to get their fishing careers started.  And, just as importantly, we try to do that in a fashion that excites them about our sport!”

Frisch also lauded the program’s sponsors in helping grow Cabela’s School of Fish.  “Our supporters, many of which have been with us from day one, see the value in exposing kids and their families to fishing and the great outdoors.  Their great support allows us to provide quality education and good fishing equipment to help our students get their fishing careers off to great starts,” Frisch concluded.

In addition to Cabela’s title sponsorship, other sponsors include Larson FX Boats, Northland Fishing Tackle, Soderholm Insurance, KLN Family Brands, Shearer’s Snacks, Raymarine, Strike King, ShoreMaster, Fish On Kids Books, Distinctive Cabinet Design, Hannay’s Marine, CORE ICE, Artie’s Bait and Tackle, and Fishing the Midwest.

In addition, the National Professional Anglers Association and Future Angler Foundation teamed to provide rods and reels for each School of Fish graduate this year!

To learn more about Cabela’s School of Fish visit and select the “School of Fish” icon to be directed to the webpage.  Once there, visitors can see the upcoming schedule as well as view an information video to learn more about the program.

Cabela’s School of Fish is currently adding ON ICE classes for this fall and winter and, is also scheduling 2019 open-water classes.  Contact for more information.

SOF pr 18 photo

Team Zona Crowned College Bass Tour Classic Champions

Team Zona Crowned College Bass Tour Classic Champions

Tournament anglers of any age are expected to be able to call upon a skillset employable on any body of water that makes them versatile, efficient, and successful. On August 11 and 12, Collegiate anglers who qualified for the College Bass Tour Classic converged on northern Michigan to test their mettle against the bass that reside in two of its premier lakes. Based on the winning patterns this season, the new age of angler showcased by the College Bass Tour, is rapidly shortening the learning curve as a variety of techniques were employed on often challenging fisheries.

The format saw teams compete on Day 1 at Long Lake and carried their weights with them into Day 2 on Hubbard Lake. While many teams reported an aggressive bite on Long Lake that lasted throughout the day, few teams found similar success on the final day of the Classic on Hubbard Lake. Once the scales settled, Hunter and Jakob Zona were crowned the first ever College Bass Tour Classic Champions while Kyle and Collin Jump took the “Team of the Year” Title.

1st Place: Team Zona Emerges CBT Champs

After realizing that a poor finish at an earlier tournament had cost them their goal of winning the Team of the Year title, Jakob and Hunter Zona set their sights on winning the CBT Classic.

Bringing 14.59-pounds of smallmouth to the scales on Day 1, the team targeted rock humps with crankbaits in 1- to 6-feet of water.

The majority of his fish hit early in the cast biting on the shallower section of the rockpile. They burned Strike King KVD 1.5 square bill crankbaits in shad patterns back to the boat as

quickly as their Daiwa SV casting reels (7:2:1 gearing) allowed.
“We figured that the more casts we could get in, the better we’d do,” Jakob Zona said.

Never having cranked rocks before, Hunter was quick to pay attention where the bites were coming from. “You would want to grind the 1.5 against the rocks,” he said. Despite using Seaguar Abrazx fluorocarbon, it was imperative that they retied often.

Towards the end of the day, they switched to a green pumpkin 4-inch Strike King Ocho rigged on an 1/8- ounce Trokar jig head to sight fish for visible smallmouth holding on top of the rock piles. In essence, they fished their version of a Ned Rig.

The team shared some of their best water with fellow competitors McLane May and Ben Cole, both teams showing respect for the others’ territory.

Day 2 showed the team a lake that completely contrasted the day before- these smallmouth were stubborn.

Little did they know that Hubbard Lake smallmouth did not appreciate the clear sunny conditions presented. In total, they caught 6 keepers on the day, their limit anchored by a 6-pound beast, the biggest bass of the Tour.

Their practice told them they’d need to rotate between key shallow and deep-water areas. They sight fished two of the smallmouth that they weighed from 2- to 8 feet of water. The other 3 fish were caught relating to deep weeds and wood in 25- to 30-feet of water.

Despite only having one fish in the live-well by 11a.m., the team stuck to their game plan.

Drop shotting the newly released Strike King Z-Too, Jakob uncovered a key piece of information that helped them trigger the winning fish to bite. Using a Daiwa Tatula Elite Brent Ehrler drop shot rod, he recognized that after twitching the lure once, the bass would only bite if the bait was held completely still. Upon telling Hunter to “dead stick” his bait after pitching it out, they caught their last fish of the day which sealed the win.

Looking back, the team dropped one fish that could have increased their bag over the course of the tournament, but the rest stayed buttoned which they attributed to the #1 sized Lazer Trokar drop shot hook that they fished.

“It was a big day- and stressful,” Jakob started. “Long Lake was fun to fish but today we had to keep piecing things together and putting fish in the well.”

Heading into Day 2, Hunter was confident and ready to get at it. “I thought we had a good shot to win because we had such a good practice,” Hunter said. “When I caught that 6-pounder, I was shaking the whole time as I tried to get it in the boat.”

Team dynamics can prove interesting at the best of times, but these two brothers have a chemistry that works on the water. “We’re good friends- until one of us loses a fish!” Hunter said. All kidding aside, anyone that follows their social media knows these two are joined at the hip and a force to be reckoned with on any body of water.

2nd Place: Dorosh and Smalldon Almost Seal the Deal

John Dorosh and Zack Smalldon almost executed their game plan to perfection. Day 1 on Long Lake, they’d decided to focus on 3 areas. The first contained weed patches with wood and baitfish mixed in, the other a shallow sand and rock flat, and lastly a rocky point.

They finished the day with 12.61-pounds which was close to the weight they’d targeted for the day. They hoped to amass a much bigger bag from Hubbard Lake on Day 2 for a shot at the win.

They relied on two spots, both drop-offs in 5- to 8-feet of water, one a sand/sand grass transition, the other a sand/rock transition.

First thing in the morning, they tried to get their smallmouth going on a
topwater bite which proved unsuccessful. Instead, they relied on drop
shotting a 4 3⁄4-inch Roboworm in “Aarons Magic” rigged on a #2 hook.
They found that alternating between a 1/16th and 1⁄4-ounce drop shot weight was key for getting their fish to commit. They figured they caught 25 fish on the day.

Long casts were key as was shaking the bait all the way back to the boat with pauses mixed in.

Interestingly, Dorosh noted some odd behavior being the first week of August. “There seemed to be a couple of fish that acted like they were bedding,” he said. Typically, the spawn is long finished by late May/early June.

In hindsight, the team had no regrets.

“Today was awesome- everything went to plan,” Dorosh started. “Both days we caught fish differently and to place 2nd was the icing on the cake! The College Bass Tour Circuit surpassed all expectations.”

3rd Place: Vernia and Klein Finessed Smallmouth

As they launched Day 1, Mason Vernia figured that their smallmouth would be holding deeper so they targeted main lake points in 8- to 12- feet of water. Once they found a school, they’d hit them hard until they shut off and return later once the spot reloaded or reignited.

All of their fish came on a Ned-rigged Z-Man TRD worm rigged on a 1/20th-ounce head. Fished on a medium-light action spinning rod, they’d pop, drag, and lift the bait until they could coax a smallmouth into biting.

In second place heading into the final day of the Classic almost two- pounds behind the leaders, Vernia and Klein knew they had some work to do. After only catching 3 fish during practice, they knew the bite would be tough. A long run in the morning didn’t pan out forcing them to rely on Plan B.

They targeted a main lake flat that started in 6-feet of water that eventually sloped to 9-feet where it fell off into deeper water. The team found their smallmouth holding tight to mixed vegetation growing on top of a hump.

Klein and Vernia caught their fish on a Neko-rigged Yamamoto 5-inch Senko rigged with a tungsten nail weight that they’d cut in half that weighed anywhere from 1/32 to 1/64-once. Vernia didn’t mind having to fish such a light weight as it forced him to slow down and the fish bait painfully slow which triggered more bites.

Using wrist flicks to pop the bait off the bottom, the team stalked smallmouth as they moved throughout the day. Their 17-pound bag wasn’t enough for the win, but the team was happy to walk away with a 3rd place finish.

4th Place: Brothers Jump into 4th Place finish and TOY Title

Collin and Kyle Jump were incredibly consistent throughout the season. Though the team fell short of the Classic Title, they did solidify their place in history as the first College Bass Tour “Team of the Year”.

While all siblings might have their fair share of disagreements, these two seem to be on the same page all the time. “When you have a partner that you can have fun with and laugh with after your mistakes, that creates a good chemistry- and results,” they said.

The first day of the Classic saw them scrap their game plan not long after hitting their first spot. They’d planned on fishing shallow water with moving baits but their fish had disappeared. They remembered some mid-depth areas that produced for them the year before and once the mid-morning rain subsided and the sun emerged, they tapped into off- shore targets in 12- to 24-feet of water. Their hunch proved correct producing a 3 1⁄2-pound smallmouth. Day 1 saw them bring 13.46- pounds to the scales and within striking distance of the leaders.

On Hubbard Lake, they fished transitions from the bank through 5-feet of water and another in the 10-foot range focussing on fish relating to eel and sand grass patches. They used their Humminbird Solix units to drop to the fish. The grass that they were fishing only came up a few inches off the bottom. By afternoon, their fish moved out to the 15-foot mark.

Fishing a 7-foot medium-light action RaZr spinning rod, they fished a 3-inch Roboworm Alive Shad in “Aaron’s Magic” rotating between 3/16 and 1⁄4-ounce weights after discovering that heavier weights weren’t attracting bites. Fished on 16-pound Sunline braided line, they started with an 8-pound fluorocarbon leader but dropped down to 6-pound test in clear water.

Despite not winning the tournament, they were still very upbeat. “Whenever you can catch an 18-pound plus bag, it’s a good day! We gave it our all,” Kyle said.

5th Place: May and Cole Find Success Shallow

After their pre-fish on Thursday and Friday, McLane May and Ben Cole knew they’d be targeting shallow fish on Long Lake on Day 1.

Fishing water that ranged from 6-inches deep to 4-feet of water, they knew that their fish would be easily spooked.

“Being as stealthy as possible was key because these fish were really skittish. Making a good long accurate cast and not staying on top of them and spooking them was key,” May said.

Relying on 8-pound fluorocarbon line, they targeted fish sunning up shallow with a “Magic Goby” colored Strike King coffee tube rigged with an 1/8-ounce head inserted into the cavity. The lighter head allowed the tube to slowly spiral to the bottom where they team dead-sticked the bait. May noted that patience was key as smallmouth circle the tube only striking if it laid motionless for a period of time. They’d caught 25 bass by the end of the day knowing they’d need a big bag the following day to have a chance to win the event.

The team decided to finesse their fish from ditches and humps with weed clumps on them running through flats in 8-feet of water. The team caught their smallmouth on a Z-Man Finesse TRD worm in “Big Deal” and “Peanut Butter and Jelly” colors rigged on a 3/16-ounce head. A “Honey Candy” colored Strike King Dream Shot worm fished on a #2 hook and a 1⁄4-ounce weight produced the majority of their fish.

May did report the team lost two 4 1⁄2-pound smallmouth that would have given them the win.

May was more upset that he would no longer be eligible to fish the College Bass Tour next year as it was his last college tournament. “It really stinks- I want to go back to college just so I can fish this series!” he said.
College Bass Tour Classic Final Standings

1st Place, Jakob and Hunter Zona (34.49-pounds)
2nd Place, John Dorosh and Zach Smalldon (32.50)
3rd Place, Mason Vernia and Riley Klein (32.23-pounds) 4th Place, Collin Jump and Kyle Jump (31.93-pounds) 5th Place, McLane May and Ben Cole (31.43-pounds)

For more information on the College Bass Tour, visit or

The College Bass Tour would like to thank D&R Sports Center, Kevin VanDam and the following sponsors: Strike King, YETI, TH Marine, Huk Fishing, MidWay Chevrolet, Stopper Lures, Body Armor, Mossy Oak Fishing, Quantum, Humminbird, Bass Pro Shops, Plano, Mustad, Gemini Jerseys and The Kevin VanDam Foundation.

Ranger Pro Mark Rose Wins FLW Tour Angler of the Year

Ranger Pro Mark Rose Wins

FLW Tour Angler of the Year 

 Ranger pro James Watson receives 2018 Forrest L. Wood Sportsmanship & Community Leadership Award  


FLIPPIN, Ark. (August 15, 2018) – Ranger Boats Pro Mark Rose was officially awarded the 2018 FLW Tour Angler of the Year award during the Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Ouachita, Arkansas. The longtime Ranger pro has shown remarkable consistency and is widely regarded as one of the best sticks on tour. Along with the title, Rose was awarded $100,000. As part of the Ranger Cup contingency, Rose was also awarded a brand new Ranger Z518L.


“In the beginning, I had so much to learn,” said Rose. “Here 20 years later, being given this great award gives me the confidence to know I have come full circle. For me, it gives me lots of confidence and joy. I’m more thankful than anything.”

2018 FLW Angler of the Year Mark Rose


Rose started the season strong with a third-place finish on Lake Okeechobee. With a history of struggling on the Harris Chain, Rose fell in the AOY ranks with a 62nd-place finish at the second event. The angler put himself in contention again with three straight top-30 finishes and gained the points lead after his fifth-place finish at Kentucky Lake.


Rose doesn’t normally ever think about the AOY race during the season but the time between the final two FLW regular-season events did offer time to reflect on what the title would mean to him.


“From Kentucky Lake to when St. Clair was over, there was lots of time to think, crunch numbers and do all that stuff that I normally never do,” said Rose. “But, it’s $100,000 and a new boat so it’s on your mind. With that kind of bonus, you want to do everything you can to capitalize on it.”


Going into the final regular-season tour event at St. Clair, Rose lead by 64 points and needed to finish 64th or better to ensure no one could catch him. A disappointing 67th-place finished briefly opened the door for fellow Ranger pro Scott Martin. Rose sat next to the stage as other anglers weighed their fish that eventually bumped Martin out of the top-10, ending the opportunity for him to catch up to Rose.


The AOY title goes to the angler who most consistently performs well over the course of the regular season, and Rose thinks confidence in his gear is one of the keys to his sustained success.


“I want to have the best,” said Rose. “I fish out of a Ranger because it is the best boat. Out there on the water, these boats take so much abuse. Whenever I am out on St. Clair and Angler of the Year on the line, I don’t think about my boat. In 20 years of professional bass fishing out of a Ranger, I have never had my boat let me down.”


Rose adds this title to his eight career tournament wins, 49 top-10 finishes and more than $2 million in career earnings.


Another Ranger pro angler also received special recognition with James Watson being honored by the FLW with the 2018 Forrest L. Wood Sportsmanship & Community Leadership Award. The award signifies an angler has exhibited profound respect and civility for all competitors, fisheries, tournament staff and fishing fans.

2018 Forrest L. Wood Sportsmanship & Community Leadership Award winner James Watson


Hailing from Missouri, Watson has helped with FLW Community Outreach opportunities and worked with Shriners Hospitals for Children. The angler has also influenced others to join in to give time and money to Shriners. Knowing the future of fishing will live with the youth, Watson also dedicates his time to supporting the next batch of anglers.


“It was a complete honor and actually a surprise,” said Watson. “When Forrest got on stage and mentioned the Shiners hospital, it dawned upon me I was about to be called on stage. The hardest thing to give in our lives is time. My manager, Michelle, has given a lot of time and help to keep this campaign going so she deserves a lot of credit.”

About Ranger Boats

Headquartered in Flippin, Ark., Ranger Boats is the nation’s premier manufacturer of legendary fiberglass and aluminum fishing boats, with acclaimed models and series in the bass, multi-species, fish ‘n play, saltwater, waterfowl utility and pontoon boat segments. Founded in 1968 by Forrest L. Wood, Ranger Boats continues its commitment to building the highest-quality, strongest-performing boats on the water. For more information, go to

Skeeter Hosts Annual Northern Dealer Meeting in Breezy Point, MN

Skeeter Hosts Annual Northern Dealer Meeting in Breezy Point, MN

  • Unveils All-New 22-foot-Deep-V, the WX2200
  • Presents All-New 2019 Skeeter FX Apex Addition
  • Recaps current “Fall into Savings” sales promotion
  • Showcases New Models Equipped with Humminbird® Electronics

    KILGORE, TEX., August 16, 2018 – Skeeter Products, Inc. recently hosted its annual Northern Dealer Meeting in Breezy Point, MN, at the Breezy Point Resort, where Skeeter built momentum for what is expected to be another exciting and successful year for Skeeter’s northern market.

    Skeeter dealers learned about the all-new WX2200, Skeeter’s new flagship deep-v model.

    The WX2200 is now the largest deep-v boat Skeeter has ever produced. At 22 feet long, it offers the room anglers desire to fish comfortably and efficiently. Enhancements from Skeeter’s previous model, the WX2190, include enhanced front and rear deck space, a larger cockpit, an industry exclusive front and rear deck aluminum grid structure, and much more.

    Skeeter also unveiled the 2019 Skeeter FX Apex to its group of northern dealers. Skeeter correspondingly announced the continuation of bold, pre-designed color offerings on the ZX and FXLE models while customers can still custom color their FX model for 2019.

    Skeeter dealers had the opportunity to see Humminbird® and Minn-Kota® products featured on Skeeter’s packaged boats, a first-look opportunity for the northern dealers since Skeeter and Humminbird® joined forces.

    “Our Northern dealers are a critical part of our network, and are helping to drive product diversity and growth for our lineup of boats. They are also helping Skeeter provide a best-in- class experience for our customers – maximizing their love for boating and fishing on the water,” said Jeff Stone, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Skeeter Boats.

    During the meeting, dealers were reminded of the current “Fall into Savings” sales promotion* starting August 1st- October 15th*, which, for a limited time, offers up to a $2,500 instant rebate on qualified models. The chosen models are designed for Skeeter anglers and are equipped tournament-ready with a host of standard features from Yamaha, Humminbird®, Power-Pole®, and Minn Kota®. *

A leader in performance fishing boats for 70 years, Skeeter boasts one of the largest and most versatile line-up of fiberglass fishing boats, including its FX Series, ZX Series bass boats, SL Series and Solera 189 family boats, SX Series bay boats, WX Series deep-V boats, and MX Series multi-species boats.

For the 17th consecutive year, Skeeter has received NMMA’s® “Excellence in Customer Satisfaction for Fiberglass Outboard Boats” award. For more information, or to find a dealer nearest you, visit Find Skeeter news, team activities, happenings and events near you by following us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

© 2018 Skeeter Products, Inc. All rights reserved. This document contains many of Skeeter’s valuable trademarks. It may also contain trademarks belonging to other companies. Any references to other companies or their products are for identification purposes only, and are not intended to be an endorsement.

*Fall into Savings Sales Promotion: Instant rebate applied at time of final sale by dealer. Actual rebate amount determined by model selected. Some restrictions apply. See your local authorized Skeeter Dealer for complete terms and conditions.