2019 Championship & School of the Year Preview

Championship week at the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops is one of the most exciting weeks of the year.  Hundreds of college anglers travel from across the country to make their way to Florence, AL and Pickwick Lake.  The week is full of prizes, good food, and activities to keep the anglers busy.

Festivities kick off with a bang on Tuesday afternoon.  Competitors make their way to McFarland Park to enjoy Yamaha Angler Appreciation Night.  Upon arriving, they are greeted with a pizza dinner and tons to do.  Yamaha offers demo rides in Yamaha powered Ranger boats, Garmin provides Panoptix LiveScope demonstrations, and Abu Garcia puts on the Flip, Pitch & Cast Contest.  This night is a great treat for the anglers to take a break from the rigors of practice, and get out to socialize with other student anglers.

Next up on the schedule is the Angler and Sponsor Banquet.  Dozens of supporters of the Bass Pro Shops Collegiate Bass Fishing Series are on hand providing product to the anglers and talking to them about their brands.  This is possibly the best night of the year for all of the college anglers.  They will leave tonight with a wide assortment of great products.  On top of great food and prizes, we have our first opportunity to talk to the field about their expectations for the first day of tournament action, as well as break down the race for Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia.

Also up for grabs this week is a spot in the upcoming Ranger Cup University Challenge.  The highest finishing Ranger Cup qualified team will earn an all expenses paid trip to compete in an every fish counts format event.  We provide coverage from the 2018 Ranger Cup University Challenge.  Adrian College faces off against Bethel University on a great body of water in Texas.  Be sure to sign up and get involved in this program!

In the final portion of this episode we will highlight fish care and conservation.  For these young anglers to enjoy a sustainable resource for years to come, conservation is key.  Companies like T-H Marine, AFTCO, Bass Pro Shops, Yamaha and many others make this one of their top priorities.  Learn about the efforts in place this week at the Championship including G-Juice, AFTCO Bass Bus Live Release Boat, and the AFTCO Bank Bag program.

This episode is packed full of great content that you don’t want to miss.

Wind…Friend or Enemy When Bass Fishing?

Mother Nature plays a very impactful role in determining the success or failure of a fishing trip.  Whether it’s safety concerns, level of comfort for the angler out on the water, or just how good the fish are biting, wind is a key element to factor into a fishing trip.  In this episode of the Bass Pro Shops Fisherman’s Handbook, host Wade Middleton and special guest Bassmaster Elite Series Pro Clark Wendlandt take to the water on a windy, early spring morning on Decker Lake near downtown Austin, TX.

You’ll see a lot of great rod bending bass fishing action on a day most would have stayed at home. But not this duo, as they cover water and catch big bass while sharing insight into why and how they’re fishing.

The first pro tip to note about fishing in the wind is: go with the wind, don’t fight it.  There is a great misconception out there about how to effectively fish in the wind.  Many people think it is important to fish into the wind, allowing you to present your bait in a more natural presentation going with the current, or downstream.  Though the logic makes sense, this is just not true.  An angler can fish with the wind and be just as effective.  Wade and Clark prove that exact fact in this episode.  Fishing with the wind also allows for easier boat control.  Having things easier on you, the angler, makes fishing in the wind a more enjoyable experience.

Picking out the right bait is another key element to having success in the wind.  Begin by only fishing moving baits.  This list includes crankbaits, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, and lipless crankbaits.  These lures are easier to cast, control, and fish in the wind.  Often times you will find that it is very difficult to maintain bottom contact with a soft plastic bait.  Moving baits are the best option in windy conditions.

The last item to look at when gearing up for fishing windy conditions is clothing.  Proper clothing can keep you warm and dry as the wind blows across the lake.   Guidewear from Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s is designed specifically for these conditions.  From a well designed hood, to a great cuff system on the sleeves, this system will keep you dry.  Clark believes this set is great to be worn in both cold and warm conditions.  The material used in Guidewear is durable and comfortable enough to be worn in any scenario.  When it comes time to gear up for a windy day, be sure to pack a set of Cabela’s Guidewear.


Bass Pro Shops – Johnny Morris Platinum Signature Casting Rod

Bass Pro Shops – Johnny Morris Platinum Signature Baitcast Reel

Bass Pro Shops – Crankin’ Stick

Cabela’s – Guidewear Advance Parka

Cabela’s – Guidewear Advance Bibs

Ranger Boats – Z521L

Yamaha – VMAX SHO 250 HP

Power-Pole – Blade 2.0

Garmin – GPSMAP Electronics

Garmin – Panoptix LiveScope

Garmin – Virb XE

Sunline – FC Sniper

SPRO – Little John

Stike King – Rage Bug

Strike King – KVD 1.5 Squarebill

2018 AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open – Day 2

It’s time for the final day of competition at the AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open.  Nearly 500 college anglers will take to Lake Dardanelle in hopes of winning this prestigious event.  Following the first day of competition, weights are stacked closely at the top and it appears to be anyone’s ballgame to win.  However, Lake Dardanelle is known for being a very stingy fishery.  This means that although a team may have caught them well on day one, they may have a great deal of difficulty duplicating their performance again on day two.

Tournament fishing is one of the most difficult sports out there.  Each day anglers take to the water not knowing what conditions may be presented to them, and what pattern the fish will be targeting on.  Add to the mix the fact that several hundred boats have been going down the bank casting to the same areas, and all indications point towards extremely difficult conditions. Tune in to see exactly how final day action will play out.

During this episode we will also introduce you to more great initiatives from AFTCO.  AFTCO is known for their dedication to conservation.  Conservation is what ensures there will be healthy bodies of water and fish populations for future generations.  From the Bass Bus Live Release Boat, to the Bank Bag Program, AFTCO has measures in place to make sure they are doing their part.  We will hear from the competitors as they express their appreciation and gratitude for what this great company is working to accomplish.

Grosse Savanne

Mike Iaconelli, Carl Jocumson and Hank Parker….Bass Bonanza at Grosse Savanne.

Going Soft for Largemouth Bass

One of the best times of the year to be out on the water fishing is during the spring. The weather is warming, plants are blooming, and more importantly, the bass are spawning. During the spawn, bass will push up into shallow water to make their beds. This makes them easier to see, and anglers can target these fish effectively by flipping soft plastic baits. In this episode, host Wade Middleton and professional angler Jeff Kriet are searching the shallows for bedding bass while using Big Bite Baits soft plastics. In recent years, a soft plastic stick bait has rapidly become one of the most popular baits nationwide. The small, slender profile of these worms allows the bait to float slowly through the water column with a swift swaying motion. This action drives bass insane as they cannot resist the opportunity to eat this enticing object. Big Bite Baits produces one of the best soft plastic stick baits on the market in the “Trick Stick.” Available in a wide variety of colors, the Trick Stick can be fished both weightless, or without a weight. This gives anglers the opportunity to rig the bait in a multitude of ways. The main two presentations are: Texas rig, and wacky rig. Along with that, the bait can be worked on light line, and with heavier line and a bait caster. During this show, Jeff and Wade work the Trick Stick in and amongst flooded cover, picking off spawning fish at a rapid rate. In the second half of the show, Jeff Kriet introduces us to another great bait from Big Bite Baits. That bait is the Tour Swim Worm. Currently a prototype, this bait will be introduced to the public very soon. Pro staff members have worked to test this bait over the span of 18 months to ensure it will perform under any and all conditions. The Tour Swim Worm is designed to swim effortlessly through shallow grass when Texas rigged. This swimming action can be achieved by separating the tail, allowing the tail to move rapidly when retrieved back to the boat.

Here are several more details about the Tour Swim Worm from Big Bite Baits:

-Available in two lengths: 5.5” & 7.5”

-Features a ringed body with solid core allowing for easy hook placement

-12 different color patterns

-5.5” is available in a 10 pack

-7.5” is available in an 8 pack

Be sure to tune in to learn about these great soft plastics from Big Bite Baits.

Bass Pro Shops – Johnny Morris Platinum Signature Casting Rod

Bass Pro Shops – Johnny Morris Platinum Signature Baitcast Reel

Ranger Boats – Z521L

Yamaha – VMAX SHO 250 HP

Power-Pole – Blade 2.0

Garmin – GPSMAP Electronics

Garmin – Panoptix LiveScope

Garmin – Virb XE

Sunline – FC Sniper

Big Bite Baits – Trick Stick

Big Bite Baits – Tour Swim Worm

Eagle Claw Trokar – TK180 Finesse Worm Hook

Bass Fishing from Top to Bottom

Every angler has a favorite story or moment which sparked their passion for this great hobby and sport.  For many, those origins tie back to pond fishing as a young child.  Ponds are great places to learn how to fish, and try new techniques.  On this episode, host Wade Middleton takes a break at deer camp to escape to a farm pond for several hours.

This particular pond is loaded with a variety of vegetation along the surface of the water.  No one bait is better cut out for this situation than a SPRO Bronzeye Frog, in particular the Bronzeye Jr.  Paired with Sunline FX2 braided line, and a Johnny Morris Platinum Signature Casting Rod, Wade begins to get bite, after bite, after bite.  It is important to break down the conditions you face with a given body of water.  This pond was loaded with vegetation along the surface, so Wade deducted that the only way to target these bass would be to use a SPRO frog.

Not all situations will dictate that a topwater be the main presentation you use.  Lakes with lower water levels will present a different set of circumstances.  In the next portion of this show, Wade is joined by good friend, and professional angler Jeff Reynolds.  The two head out onto a body of water that is in the middle of a winter draw down.  This means the lake level is well below normal, and all cover along the bank is out of the water.

Provided these conditions, the two decide to go in search of fish holding to offshore structure.  In this specific scenario, a bottom bait is a good selection.  On this episode we will focus on both the Ledge Shaker Jig Head, and MVP Football Jig from Secret Lures.  Both of these baits feature the pivot divot head design.  A very unique construction, the pivot divot head maintains great contact, and feel along the bottom.  It also allows the bait to stand up naturally.  This life-like appearance under the water triggers a lot of bites.

Having the right gear is key to a successful fishing trip.  But until you determine what portion of the water column the fish are located in, this gear is worthless.  So the next time you take to the water, start by locating the fish, then select the right bait, and then you can start catching some bass!


Bass Pro Shops – Johnny Morris Platinum Signature Casting Rod

Bass Pro Shops – Johnny Morris Platinum Signature Baitcast Reel

Ranger Boats – Z521L

Yamaha – VMAX SHO 250 HP

Yamaha –  Side-by-Side Vehicles

Power-Pole – Blade 2.0

Garmin – GPSMAP Electronics

Garmin – Panoptix LiveScope

Garmin – Virb XE

Sunline – FX2 Braided Line

SPRO – Bronzeye Jr. Frog

Secret Lures – Ledge Shaker Jig Head

Secret Lures – MVP Football Jig

Bass Fishing from Lake Wilson, Alabama and Lake Bastrop in Texas

Americana Outdoors meets up with Pro Clark Wendlandt as he goes fishing with Power-Pole’s Curt Hill on Lake Wilson, Alabama. Then our own Jeff Reynolds take us out for fishing adventures on a bass fishing adventure on Lake Bastrop, Texas.

In this episode you’ll see how anglers use Power Poles Shallow Water Anchors to their benefit to help with boat positioning as Clark and Kurt pick apart the shallow grass on Lake Wilson outside of Florence, Alabama. Then we join Jeff Reynolds on the water at Lake Bastrop in Texas where he’s dealing with cold weather. While fishing Jeff shares information on how he deals with tough fishing conditions on any lake and how you can catch fish. While on the water he shares insight on using Secret Lures Ledge Shaker, crankbaits, and other products to trick fish into biting when others can’t get bites!

Some of the products you’ll see in this episode include:

Ranger Boats

Yamaha Outboards

Garmin Live Scope

Sunline FC Sniper

Strike King

Secret Lures Ledge Shaker

Big Bite Baits Finesse Worms

Power Pole Blades

Bass Pro Shops

Cabela’s Guide Wear

Bass Fishing Tip on Water Temperatures

Veteran Pro and three time FLW Angler of the Year, Clark Wendlandt offers advice on how water temperatures affect bass.

How to Find Fish – Patterning

Touring Pro, Clark Wendlandt, offers some expert advice on how to catch more bass

Must Have Fishing Line

In fishing, there are some things that are out of an angler’s control, having the right line tied on should never be one of those things!