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Admin Jan 24 '19

Hello True Image. I wanted to share a a picture from this past weekend March 19th 2016. I Fished the Wild Wild West tournament at Roosevelt Lake in Arizona. 
"I didn't weigh in a fish the first day but on the second day I weighed in a Limit! 
I just want to thank True Image finnese baits, its staff, and its True Image pro team for all their support! That's my go to bait. I also qualified for the Wild Wild West Championship Tournament and I'm really looking forward to competing this Tournament this coming September on Lake Mead. Hope to see you all there."

Wacky-rigged Senkos delivered the fish that Kyle Baker needed for his co-angler win.

STOCKTON, Calif. - Obviously, Kyle Baker was pretty fond of the co-angler lead he earned on day one, because after losing it for a day, he stormed back to win his division in the EverStart Western Division event on the Cal Delta. Hailing from Lancaster, Calif., Baker opened with a division-leading weight of

  A chunky 6-pounder anchored Kyle Baker 

16-13, but slipped to third on day two with his 11-pound, 3-ounce catch. Today, he sacked up 13-14 - the heaviest co-angler weight - and won with a three day total of 41-14. His final round weight included a kicker of 6-plus pounds. Baker threw a wacky-rigged 5-inch green pumpkin Senko on a 1/0 hook. In the thickest of cover, he punched a Sweet Beaver in the sprayed grass color with a 1 ¼-ounce weight. "I was watching where my pro threw and trying not to throw where he threw because we were fishing in some tight cover," Baker said. "I got the bites I needed and executed when I had to. My big fish was the last fish I caught."

Admin Jun 13 '15
Up through the ranks Become a bass professional

Wesley Burnett is an example of careful planning for progress as a tournament bass angler. After experience in regional tournaments, Burnett entered the EverStart Series as a co-angler. His expectation was that he would be able to fish from the rear of the boat and absorb lessons from more experienced anglers and maybe earn some money at the same time. When he won the EverStart Challenge from the back of the boat it was clear that his plan was working.

   From there, Burnett fished the Wal-Mart FLW Tour and won Co-angler of the Year. Then Burnett switched to the Pro Division of the FLW Tour and the EverStart Series as well, claiming the EverStart Series Central Division points championship.
   His systematic strategy has paid off handsomely. Become a bass fishing professional

Alvin Shaw made the leap from small-business owner to Kellogg's pro.

Most of us begin with romantic career ideas. From the time I was in fourth grade, mine was to play for the Detroit Tigers. Somewhere along the line we enter more prosaic occupations, and most of us do well in them with no real career planning involved. But what are the career ideas that get tournament bass anglers into the work they do? When does the notion that they would fish for a living get planted? And what do they do to realize that ambition? A few successful FLW Outdoors anglers tell us the what, when, where and how of planning a career in bass fishing.

Getting started

Wesley Burnett of Hot Springs, Ark., was the Rayovac Series Central Division Angler of the Year. Burnett started fishing, as many of us did, as a child. He grew up on a river known for catfish. On one of a series of family vacations, while Burnett was wading in the river, his grandmother said, "He's going to be a fisherman when he grows up." Burnett joined a bass-fishing club when he was 12 years old. As he read about bass fishing, his heroes became those anglers whose profiles appeared in magazines and newspapers. "All my life, that's what I've wanted to do - fish tournaments," he said. "FLW Outdoors has given me a great opportunity."

   Burnett seized the opportunity as a young man, and it is the only career he has had. In contrast, Alvin Shaw of State Road, N.C., became a professional angler after enjoying success in another career. Indeed, Shaw still works as a self-employed contractor, specializing in private-residence construction. When Shaw completed high school, he started his own company and built it up for 20 years. Half a decade ago, Shaw sold his business interests to devote more time to fishing.

While in business, Shaw fished club tournaments, though he did not have the sort of boat that tournament anglers depend on. Shaw built a house for a man who had purchased one of the boats used in a national championship, and he traded for the boat. "I began fishing the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, and for seven or eight years I did really well," he said. "When the FLW Tour formed, I thought, "I'll get into that.'" Shaw started as a co-angler with the Wal-Mart FLW Tour and jumped to the pro side after posting an eighth-place ranking in the points standings. "This was a calculated risk," Shaw said. It has paid off, however, as Shaw has finished in the top 20 at the Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship several times since.

   While Burnett and Shaw lived in areas of the country where fishing tournaments are prevalent, Western anglers Dean Rojas and Skeet Reese had to wait their turn, all the while dreaming about their own bass-fishing careers.
   "Basically, that's all I wanted to do since I was 13, watching TV shows," said Rojas, who now lives in Grand Saline, Texas. "What I've done is to position myself to do that."

   Rojas got started by fishing regional tournaments and competing on the team circuit. "My break came when big-time professional tournaments came to the West Coast," he said. Rojas noted that it took 10 years to get to the place he is now at the top of the professional bass fishing world. "There were lots of years of struggling," he said.

Professional Bass Fishing

Hard work and dedication earned Skeet Reese his place at the top of the bass-fishing world. Reese, who lives in Auburn, Calif., has been a full-time professional angler for years and has been fishing tournaments for 16 years. He, too, is fulfilling a lifelong dream. "I've always wanted to be a tournament angler for a living since I was 12 years old, but I never knew how," he said. "I was scared to death. I knew I would either fish tournaments on the side while having a full-time job or commit 100 percent." Reese was managing a tackle store in northern California when "big-time" professional tournaments went West. "I had to make a decision," he said. "I set up a guide service before I quit my job." Guiding, however, faded quickly. "I was very fortunate," he said. "I won five tournaments back-to-back, so I could put some cash away."

Managing the business

Managing a tournament career is like managing a small business. While anglers do not have inventories to sell, they must manage cash flow, plan travel, maintain equipment and do lots of the other things small businesses owners do to stay in operation. In order to be successful, it is imperative that anglers manage their affairs and hone the skills they need through a college education or on-the-job training.
   Burnett attended Applied Life Christian College in Hot Springs with a plan to become a pastor, ministering to the needs of young people. While there, he was taught a critical skill for the business aspect of tournament anglers - public speaking. Sponsors expect tournament anglers to make presentations, conduct seminars, and look and sound good while doing it.
   Shaw had extensive experience in managing his own business before jumping into professional angling. He already knew how to manage money, schedule activities and make disparate pieces of an enterprise fit together.

Pro Bass Fisherman

Dean Rojas

   Other anglers, like Rojas, tried the college experience but found that delegating the business duties to someone else is the smartest option for their particular needs. While Rojas attended San Diego State University, he found that he was not much of a student. "I'm a hands-on kind of person, so San Diego State was a waste of time for me," Rojas said, "though not for my wife. She got a teacher's degree."
   Rojas added that his wife handles most of the business-related activities for the family. "She does most of the paperwork, the taxes, the accounting, that sort of thing," he said. "She's the foundation, and she's been through it all."
   Like Shaw, Reese also had business experience. His experience, however, was related to fishing. "When I was managing the tackle store, I learned a lot about the industry and marketing," he said. "I can go to manufacturers and talk business. I can tell them that I can cater to Generation X and appeal to a new marketing group. This is a good way to attract sponsors. The only way to survive in this business is with quality sponsors. There are only half a dozen guys who could survive on their winnings alone. I'm a tournament fisherman, and I need sponsors."
   Reese's wife, Kim, handles lots of the day-to-day business management. "She's sort of the business manager," Reese said. "She does the bookkeeping and accounting. I write down the schedule, where I have to be and when, and she coordinates all that."

Family obligations

Any profession that requires family members to travel creates stress on relationships. Tournament angling is no exception.
   Burnett's wife travels with him. "I have a camper on the back of my truck," he said. "We simply live in our camper."
   Shaw's family circumstances permit him to travel without sacrificing relationships. His children are grown, and his wife has her own job. If Shaw makes the final cut at a tournament, his wife usually flies to the tournament site to offer encouragement.
   Rojas met his wife just as he began tournament fishing. "I told her right off the bat that's what I wanted to do," he said. "When I go to tournaments, we load the entire family, including two small boys, into the RV. We all travel together."
   Reese married after starting his full-time tournament career. Consequently, his wife had a pretty good idea of what to expect from the beginning. Furthermore, his wife comes from a family where the breadwinner was a musician. "Kim's dad traveled all over the world, so she grew up understanding the traveling lifestyle," Reese said.

Common threads

None of these successful FLW Outdoors professionals had what schools of business administration would call a "strategic plan." They did, however, have three things in common.
   One: each assessed the nature of life as a professional angler and wanted to do that. Though not a "plan," they knew what they were getting into.
   Two: each saw an opportunity, and from different stages of life, seized it, even after recognizing the risk presented by relying on fickle bass.
   Three: each had built a record of success in competitive bass angling at a lower level.
   These anglers, and many more on the FLW Outdoors tournament trail, have managed to build successful careers with the support of their families thanks to their insightful planning.


College training may not seem to be critical to success in professional bass fishing. There are no college curricula on the subject, and there is no substitute for time on the water. Higher education, nonetheless, provides skills of use to professional tournament anglers. As all aspects of life become more technical, college training will doubtless become a more common thread in the field.
   With 40 years experience advising college students, were someone to approach me and indicate a desire to join the professional tournament trail, here is what I would advise:
   Major in whatever you like. To be successful as a student, you need to be in a curriculum you enjoy. Be sure, whatever major you choose, to get lots of biology and wildlife management.
   Think of professional angling as a small business. Take some courses in the business college, especially those dealing with small-business management and accounting. Take a couple of courses in public speaking to prepare for presentations and seminars.
   With these ideas in mind, you should be well on your way to building a solid foundation for a bass-fishing career.

Admin Jun 11 '15

For a beginning bass angler, bass fishing can quickly become expensive and complicated. Deciding what gear to purchase can be an overwhelming task. A stroll down the aisles at Bass Pro Shop or the local tackle store will make your head spin with all of the tackle choices available. There are shakey heads, wacky worms, spinner baits, chatter baits, crank baits, jerk baits, drop shots, beavers, and creatures just to name a few. Then there is bait color selection, which is a very in-depth topic itself. Just ask a group of seasoned anglers their favorite color, everything from cotton candy to swamp grass will be mentioned. Adding to the confusion, there are rod, reel, line and weight selections. Where does an angler begin?

Bass are hard enough to figure out, so keeping gear selection simple will make the learning experience more enjoyable and save money. Here are some basic tips to help get started.

Rod Selection:

While there are many different technique specific rods on the market, almost everything can be done with a 6 ½ - 7 foot medium heavy rod. For casting at close range targets with a square bill crankbait or a spinnerbait, a 6 ½ foot rod is a great tool. For flipping/pitching or longer casting situations, a 7 footer is a better option. There are times, like punching and deep cranking, when a technique specific rods is more effective. However, 90 percent of the bass catching techniques can be done with a rod mentioned above.

Reel Selection:

Reel selection can also be complicated, but most applications can be handled with a middle of the road gear ratio like a 6.4:1. By staying in the middle, it is easier to speed up the retrieve if a faster presentation is needed or slow it down if it needs to be fished slower. It’s more difficult to fish slowly with a 7:1 gear ratio or fast with a 5:1 gear ratio. Faster reels definitely have their place, like when needing to reel up a bunch of line to get a bass out of cover quickly. Slower reels are better for deeper cranking situations. A 6.4:1 is a great reel gear ratio for beginning anglers who need a tool to do it all.

Line Selection:

Line can be a complex topic. There is braid, fluorocarbon, monofilament and a few other types. Line size also needs to be considered for different situations. But, this article is for beginners and about keeping it simple, so let’s focus on simplicity.

If looking to buy only one type and size of line, 17-pound monofilament is versatile and will handle almost every application. It’s tough and can handle pulling bass from most cover, but also small enough to cast lighter baits like squarebill cranks. It can also be used for spinnerbaits, top waters and most soft plastics. Fluorocarbon line is an excellent upgrade for an advanced presentation. Fluorocarbon is very sensitive and can detect the subtlest of bites, and its low stretch characteristics allow for optimum hook penetration on the hook set.

One situation the lines mentioned above will not cover is fishing heavy vegetation like thick grass or lily pads. When throwing frogs around lily pads or grass, 50-65 pound braid is a must. Frogs can be thrown on monofilament, but there is a likely chance the fish will be lost when they bury themselves in the pads.

Weight Selection:

Spend the extra money and buy tungsten versus lead weights. Tungsten has several advantages and going cheap in this situation is a big disadvantage. Tungsten weights are smaller than lead, which helps make the presentation smaller and will allow for better hook sets. Tungsten is very dense and helps to transmit vibration through the line, to the rod handle. The increased transmitted vibration enables better bite detection, and determining bottom composition—wood rock, sand, etc. If there is no vegetation, a ¼ ounce weight is a great choice. When fishing around brush or light vegetation, or needing a faster fall, use 5/16th ounce. Beginning anglers can do almost everything with those two weight sizes.

Bait Color Selection:

The key to bait color selection is visibility and natural appearance. The rule of thumb is to use lighter colors in clearer water and darker colors in stained water. Lighter colors appear more natural when the water is clear and darker colors are more visible in stained water.

In most situations, only three colors of Soft Plastics will be need. If the water is clear and the skies are blue, Purple Dust is a great choice. If it’s cloudy or the water is semi-stained Amber Green is hard to beat. If the water is stained to muddy, black and blue is outstanding. If only one color is available, buy Amber Green. It’s very versatile and natural because most prey in the water appear as a hue of green. Yes, there are many other colors out there, and several of them are great, but these three basic colors can be very effective, especially when learning and trying to keep it simple.

When it comes to crankbaits, if the water is clearer go with silver colors to match the shad. If the water is more stained go with brighter colors like chartreuse or fire tiger so the bait is more visible to the fish. For spinnerbaits a white and chartreuse skirt will cover most situations.

See you on the water. Get A Limit!

Admin Jun 9 '15

Every bass fisherman dreams of finding a secret spot that is loaded with bass and sees very little pressure. Many of these spots are on public lands and are easily accessible by anglers that are willing to put in a little work. Follow these easy steps and you are on your way to finding your own secret spot!

Find Available Public Lands:

There are lots of opportunities for discovering public lands with fishing hot spots. Conducting a little internet research will help. I will categorize public lands in three different groups and discuss options for researching and finding fishing opportunities for each.

City & County Lands:

Many city and county parks have undeveloped lands or wooded areas that contain ponds, rock pits or wetlands that hold bass. Try looking at city and county parks and recreation web sites. As an example, there is a county park located less than 2 miles from my house. This park is visited by hundreds of people each week who enjoy playing sports on the various baseball and soccer fields in the park. An internet search, through a mapping web site, revealed a hidden swampy looking wetland area located in an undeveloped portion of the park. Fishing is incredible! I often go back when I need a quick bass fishing “fix”.

State Lands (Hunting Lands, State Parks, State Forests, Water Management Lands):

Many state lands are open to the public. Although fishing is allowed on many of these lands, anglers are usually not the primary user group. On hunting lands, fishing is normally allowed but access may be restricted to certain days. Searching through your state’s Fish & Wildlife Agency web site will help you identify potential properties that can be fished. On other state lands, non consumptive uses such as hiking, biking, bird watching and horseback riding are usually the most popular forms of recreation. Doing an internet search of the state agency web sites responsible for state forests, state parks and water management district lands will lead you to productive fisheries in your area. As an example, I located a remote rock pit in a state park that is a good mile walk or bike ride from the nearest road. The 5 acre lake is a Crankbait and Worm fisherman’s dream and worth every bit of effort to get there!

Federal Lands (National Wildlife Refuges and National Parks):

Many federal lands offer great bass fishing. A thorough internet search through the United States Fish and Wildlife Service or National Park Service websites will reveal properties in your area that have bass fishing potential. As an example, one of the busiest National Wildlife Refuges in my state has several isolated ponds that are off the beaten path. These ponds offer incredible fishing!

Map It!

After you find potential public lands, the next step is to thoroughly inspect a map of each property. My favorite way is to use mapping web sites such as Bing Maps and Google Earth. Click on the Satellite or Earth feature to locate water bodies on each property. You can really zoom in to study each area in detail and determine the best and shortest path to and from each body of water. I like to use both Google Earth and Bing to compare the body of water from different aerial photos.

Check Your Regulations:

This is a must. Pay special attention to area specific licensing requirements, days/hours of use, parking/driving restrictions and fishing regulations. By knowing up front what you need to do will often lead to a more enjoyable day. As an example, many National Wildlife Refuges require a no cost Refuge Fishing Permit. This requires the angler to read over and agree to abide by the refuge regulations before signing the permit.

Go Fishing!

After you have located your spot and read over the regulations, it’s time to go test out your new spot! A good rule of thumb is to keep your bait selection simple for the first visit. When going to a new spot, sight unseen, I like to bring a medium light spinning rod with 8 lb. fluorocarbon and a small selection of True Image finesse worms. This set up will catch just about anything, large or small. I keep my color selection to light colors such as Blue Flash or 4NS for clear water and darker colors such as Amber Blue or June Bug for darker waters. Once I get familiar with the lake, I will tailor my tackle according to the terrain and vegetation. Don’t be afraid to “Go Big” and upsize your tackle after learning the particulars of your spot! Giant bass will often thrive in little waters!

Doing a little homework and putting in a little effort can be very rewarding when trying to find a secret fishing spot. There is nothing like the excitement of taking that first cast into waters unknown. Join the excitement and take steps to find your own secret spot. You’ll be glad that you did!

Admin Jun 9 '15