Front Deck


BASSMASTER - With the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK'S Sporting Goods returning to the lake where I won in 2008, you can bet I’ve put a lot of thought into it. Especially how I’m going to approach Lake Hartwell next week. For me, it will start with my practice mindset.

We talk a lot about how the Classic requires an all-or-nothing attitude; how there are no points to earn and how you have to fish to win. Well, for me to do that, I have to practice in the techniques that I believe can win. 

If you look at how tournaments are won, there’s a handful of baits that is much smaller than the universe of baits that guys get checks on. So I’ll be spending more time practicing with that selection of lures.

A good example is a swimbait like a YUM Money Minnow or the YUM Pulse. There are many different ways you can rig them, and if you get on that bite, you can win. 

A jig is another good example, and so are your classic powerfishing techniques like a spinnerbait, a big crankbait, even a jerkbait. 

Now, contrast this with dropshots and a shaky heads, which typically do not win tournaments; at least not on Hartwell during the prespawn. Of course, these are both great options, but this is not going to be the top choice for March on this lake.

I’m sure I’ll be overlooking some schools of fish — smaller fish — because I’m not going to be downsizing. To do so at a lake like Hartwell this time of year would mean you’re not fishing for the bite to win.

MLFjpgOnly seven fish were caught before 10 a.m. during the second of three elimination rounds at the Major League Fishing Summit Cup at Michigan's Lake Hubbard, but the remainder of the day saw 60 come aboard the boats of the nine competing anglers. The competitor who led the way with a nine-fish, 29-07 haul did all of his damage between 12:42 and 3:36 p.m. His biggest fish was a 5-09 smallmouth.

Weights were much tighter than on day 1, when one angler amassed 54 pounds and no others had more than 23-07. The No. 2 qualifier on day 2 had 25-15 and No. 3 boated 22-03.

Anglers competing on day 2 were Brent Chapman, Shaw Grigsby, Greg Hackney, Tim Horton, Mike Iaconelli, Alton Jones, Ish Monroe, Andy Montgomery and Jacob Wheeler.

The No. 4 qualifier caught a day-best 14 fish, but they averaged just 1-06. The last-place guy averaged better than 4 pounds per fish, but he only caught two.

Finesse worms fished offshore were again the predominant program. The total haul consisted of 63 smallmouths and four largemouths.

Elimination-round competition concludes Wednesday, with sudden-death set for Thursday and Friday. The championship round, which will consist of eight anglers, will take place Saturday.

Summit Cup competition will begin airing on Outdoor Channel in February 2018. Read more


Day 2: 5, 20-11 Photo by: B.A.S.S. / Seigo Saito Jones said that his big stringer "just kind of happened." He weighed in all largemouths, none of which were heavier than about 4 1/2 pounds.

"I don't have a spot where I can just pull up and wreck them," he said. "I'm having to fish (hard) for them. Each one of the biggest ones I caught was from a different locale. I'm running a pattern, but I'm doing it in a lot of different places.

"I stuck (and lost) one that I would've liked to have seen. I just never got a good hook in it. I'll throw at that spot again tomorrow."

He shared some of his spots with other competitors and had others to himself.

"I'm just fishing by the seat of my pants – I'm moving around a lot and I'm not too worried about crowds. I don't know about the wind tomorrow until I see it; wind always repositions fish, but I don't think they're going to swim five miles away. They'll be somewhere nearby and I'll just have to adjust and see what I can figure out." Read more

alton_jones_day_2Photo by- Seigo Saito.jpgPhoto by: Seigo Saito

Angling Stuff
Angling Hero Grandfather - "Papa taught me to fish and to love the sport."
Home Lake Lake Waco (TX) - "It's a sleeper. It's an awesome fishery."
Favorite Lake Falcon Lake- "It has lots of them, and they're big and dumb."
Least Favorite Lake Potomac River (MD)
Favorite Technique Junk fishing - Casting at shallow, visible targets
Primary Fishing Strength Pitching and flipping soft-plastics and jigs to visible shallow cover
Secondary Fishing Strength Sight-fishing
Biggest Weakness "I think I can hang with anybody at any technique. I just don't like that word 'weakness.'"
Boat Skeeter
Motor Yamaha
Fishing Sponsors Yum, Booyah, Bomber, Silver Thread, Legacy Outfitters (Waco, Texas ministry), Costa Del Mar sunglasses, Kistler rods, Ardent reels
Non-Fishing Sponsors Lifeline Youth and Family Services (charity in Fort Wayne, Ind.), John 3:16
Tow Vehicle (Sponsor) Chevy Suburban
Personal Stuff
Favorite Food Steamed crabs
Favorite Music Contemporary Christian and classic rock
Favorite Book/Movie The Bible (book)/Raiders of the Lost Ark (movie)
Non-Angling Hero Jesus Christ - "He's who my whole life is based on. His model, His example for how to treat others."
When Not Fishing "I love to hunt, I love to snow-ski and I love to ride dirt bikes. I do those when it's too cold to fish. And I also spend a lot of time in Bible study."
Why He Fishes "In fishing you always have a chance for success on the next cast. It's also a sport that provides me the opportunity for lots of faith in God because of the uncontrollables."


Load Your Live Well

Did that most recent cold front throw you a curve ball? Did the bite you were on suddenly disappear? There is always a solution to every problem, here’s one that has saved my day on many occasions. After severe cold fronts big bass almost always seek out the darkest shadows they can find. 

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