One of the most interesting studies in bass behavior was recently unveiled on (Research Proves Vulnerability Is Hereditary Trait) with results based on 20 years of controlled angling on a pond in Illinois. You can read the entire feature, but among the highlights, it noted that at the end of the catch and release study, about 11 percent of the population of 1700 had never been caught, though the report said those fish had been in the pond for four years.

One of their conclusions seemed to be that it is bed fishing that tends to create an “evolutionary” population of harder-to-catch-bass by not protecting the offspring of those fish with “more vulnerable” characteristics. To counter that population trend, it was recommended that spawning fish be avoided altogether, or released immediately, with areas set aside as sanctuaries.

But I wonder, is that what we want (more…)

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Looks like Roy Hawk of Knightsen has decided to take over the western tournament scene, just taking his second straight Stren Series event. With a three-day total of 42-6, he won today at Roosevelt Lake. Just a few weeks back, he did the same thing at Clear Lake, and now it will take little more than continued steady performances to earn him the Angler of the Year title—and top money winner.

Unfortunately for Duane Dunstone, who we have been following this week, his deeper fish apparently did not hold up for one more round, and he could only manage 5 pounds, giving him sixth place overall. What did he learn from the experience?

He should be calling any time to let us know…. (more…)

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Tami Curtis (Tami on Tour) didn’t make the cut today at Roosevelt Lake, but she did move up into the money, by catching four fish on the day. That makes back-to-back money finishes for her in the co-angler ranks of the Stren Series.

Yesterday’s pro leader Duane Dunstone, barely slipped to second, but is looking for the knockout on Saturday. “I had those fish by 9 a.m.” he told me this evening. “I saved that area, but I’m going to abuse that area tomorrow. I hope there’s fish waiting for me.”

Fishing the clear water (61 degrees) in 10 to 12 feet of water he feels comfortable with his chances. “I knew I could catch a limit of overs in a little deeper water. Today I chased the fish that were up shallower, trying for a bigger fish.”

But with the field trimmed to just 10 boats, Duane should have things his own way on the final day. “I know I have the fish over the slot limit,” he said, adding, “Nobody in the top 10 I know is fishing my area.”

In her words, Tami’s day was “quite interesting.” Indeed, she related, “A snake almost got into the boat. But the second we spotted it, I got a bite and the wind was blowing us toward the snake. It really scared me, because it kept coming, but it finally veered off.”

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Tami Curtis (Tami on Tour) caught fish, but not the right ones, but one of her network pros, Duane Dunstone has the lead in the FLW Stren Series contest at Roosevelt Lake.

When I talked to Duane this evening and he said, “I wanted the lead to hold up (he weighed early) and it did. I just have to do it again.” Duane’s tools to catch a 16-pound bag? “Berkley Baits. I really am using Berkley Baits, ” he told me.

As for co-angler Tami, it was the usual slot-limit frustration (13 to 16 inches here.) “I must have caught 15 fish,” she said. “They just weren’t the right ones (one over and one under for right at 4 pounds.)”

Her drop-shot rig, however, was quickly adapted by her pro on the day, and he accounted for more than 25 bass, but virtually all the bites turned into fish just short of 16 inches. “It’s a little discouraging,” said Tami. “You’re culling mere ounces. You’re not sure if you should just guess and not waste time and just try and get a big one.”

Nonetheless, for her first trip to the waterway, she was impressed. “This is a great fishery,” she said.

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kent-at-elsinore1Anyone with time on the water would probably have made the same assessment—or else they would get very discouraged by a lack of success. I’m talking about the Lake Elsinore (click here) black bass population. Some very good anglers came out in the last six months or so and struggled at times. What I expressed to them was, “It’s not you.”

The numbers (just from a fisherman’s perspective) don’t match up with the amount of shallow cover you find out there. A good area can be pretty darn good. But it can also be sitting between two miles of “empty.”

Fortunately, the DFG is watching and checking. One thing, there is no shortage of bait…

(Left) KENT SIMMONS, parking valet guru to the stars, goes Robo drop-shot at the north end. (more…)

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lores1“I couldn’t tell you that five years ago,” said Bassmasters Classic champion Skeet Reese, when I interviewed him a couple of days ago.

What he couldn’t tell me about then was how much different a sophisticated, technical approach would have changed his tournament fishing and his success. “I always thought fishing was not rocket science,” he confessed. “But the older I’ve gotten, the more I analyze and the more I realize how scientific it is.”

In particular, I was trying to find out the role of sunglasses, especially since seeing cover (not seeing fish) was a matter that came up in his post-Classic interviews. His Wiley X’s (click here) helped him then, but what role did they play for the rest of the Elite tour? (more…)

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Okay. I’ve got more Flick Shake worms and wacky jigs from Jackall Lures (click here) if you can come up with the correct answers from the following western angler/Bassmaster tournament history.

The quiz is made up of three questions.  First one to respond by email to: and leaves me their name and mailing address will win. (Sorry, previous quiz champions on this site are ineligible.)

First question: On what reservoir was the first Bassmasters Classic held?

Second question: What California bass angler holds the B.A.S.S. record for the heaviest one-day catch in Bassmaster history?

And finally: How much did the all-time one day catch weigh?

HINT: The catch is way bigger than you could imagine. And NO, it was not Dean Rojas. The question is Bassmaster history, not short-sighted ESPN bass history.

WE HAVE A WINNER! The humble, but fast Googling Kellen Ellis of correctly answered: Lake Mead as the site of the first Classic; Rip Nunnery of Cerritos as the angler with the heaviest one day catch; and the weight, an incredible 98 pounds, 15 ounces. (Did I forget to tell you? The limit was 15 bass per day at the time.)

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cropped-az-smallmouthStill trying to find enough fish to make the money in Wednesday’s Stren Series opening round at Roosevelt Lake, Tami Curtis checked in with word that finding fish over 16 inches in length is a chore.

“It’s still just two or three ‘overs’ a day,” she said on her cell. “We’re catching lots of fish, but getting keepers (over the slot limit) is tough.”

She did manage a 4-pound largemouth from the brushy banks, but her highlight today may have been a smallmouth weighing better than 3 pounds. (See the accompanying photo.)

So far, the puzzle has been to find those larger fish. But the tough fishing bodes well for any co-angler who puts a few in the boat. Wednesday evening we should find out if there is any rhyme or reason to the pattern.

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How you act on the water when no one is looking is the great standard of bass fishing sportsmanship.

But what if someone was looking and in fact, that someone had their video recorder pointed your way, catching you in an unlawful act? That’s what had me queasy this past week. If the rumored video of one of California’s prominent tournament fishermen snagging fish actually shows up on YouTube, it will be the end of a fishing career– (more…)

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While California continues to hope for the best when it comes to rainfall and reservoir levels, Roosevelt Lake in Arizona is brimming full as we speak. And for the first time since the new, higher dam was constructed, it is a sea of flooded brush and rock.

But it also features a 13-16-inch slot limit, which may pose a challenge for the contestants fishing next week’s Stren Series event, beginning April 15. I got a call from Tami (Jennings) Curtis, fishing as a co-angler in the event and she paints quite a picture of the Arizona bass factory. BTW Tami does the “Tami on Tour” column in WON BASS.

“It’s 100 percent full,” she told me, and it had been kicking out “overs” (more…)

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