What up 2020 bass-heads! New year = another chance to a) catch your biggest b) catch your most c) FISH d) find out about some new bassin' stuff!

Last 2 weeks were the most time I've taken off in a few years -- few highlights:
 
- I'd like to announce I'm entering the NFL draft -- bahahahaha! Don't think I weigh enough....
- I bonded again with pizza (okay happens 'bout once a week).
- My wife said I was more chill, had a look on her face like "Thank God." Ouch, message rec'vd.
- Watched a bunch of amazon Prime's "All or Nothing" on the Carolina Panthers. Loved seeing what a leader Cam Newton is -- re-reminded me that the media mostly gets stuff wrong when they have opinions about people.
- Spent a bunch of time with the Lord, part of it studying what authority is. Just scratched the surface but mind-blowing.
- Gonna fish more....somehow. It's a big part of who I am...you know what I'm sayin'!

Hope you're startin' 2020 off right! On that note, please give ya a big ol' bass-head welcome to these new BB sponsors:

Nishine Lure Works -- Insanely nice and cool baits designed by Japan bait-design master Hiroshi Nishine. Website here, FB here, @nishine_lure_works on the 'gram.

MotorGuide -- You know who this is! New motors look legit...think I'm gonna run a new Tour.... Website here, FB here, Insta @motorguideco.

X Zone Lures -- New-ish brand, good soft-plastics, just announced Brandon Palaniuk is their newest guy so you know they're legit yo! Website here, FB here, @xzonelures on Insta.

Okuma/FishLab -- The Okuma bass stuff is better than ever (and good), and the new Fish Lab baits so far are the real deal so a good sign mang! Okuma site, FB, Insta @okumafishingusa. FishLab site, FB, Insta @fishlabtackle.

Hardcore -- Very cool Japanese brand and baits, cousin of Yo-Zuri.

Stoked to intro 'em to you this year. Quick reminder about how folks become BB sponsors: 1) I have to dig their stuff, which means I think you will too; 2) they have to dig the Blaster and understand what it is (if that's possible lol); 3) I have to be able to serve them right; 4) I pray about it.

If it matters, I've said no to more folks than I've said yes to, for a variety of reasons and nothing at all against those companies...so it is absolutely not about the $.

To all the pro peeps, here's you a song for the upcomin' season -- Rival Sons' "Keep on Swinging," 'specially you Bass Pro Tourers hahaha! See you at one of the first 2 Elites (and the Classic of course) and one of the first 2 BPTs.


And for the rest of us, don't forget to gitcha 2020 license! 
 
>> If you're getting the BassBlaster for the first time it's cuz a bud signed you up!

Today's Top 4
"...fishing is harder than it looks."
- Startin' the year off DEEP with BPTer Luke "Skywalker" Clausen. Heck yeah it's hard! Unless you're fishing with a Senko/Dinger or a Mr. Flanders.... Anyhow, my questions are:

1. How does fishing LOOK? Other than ultra cool I mean.... Does it really look easy?

2. Is anything as easy as it looks? Like: school? Bowling? Cooking? Being cheesy??


Srsly tho -- good post from Luke. One of my fave lines from it: #life

> ...a fishing career is really about managing the ebbs and flows that you come across.

Few bassin' things I got from the new Star Wars movie.

Gotta say it wasn't a great movie if I found myself thinkin' 'bout bassin' a decent amount of the time:

1. The Empire needed to do a deal with Humminbird, Garmin or Lowrance cuz fishermen can make more accurate casts with rod/line/baits through water than the Empire and its "soldiers" can target anything through the air or space with dang laser beams.

The Resistance too -- here's their "radar" or whatever it is (looks like this):


#cmonman -- this 'bird unit looks like 1,000x more sophisticated:



2. Maybe only 1-2 critters in that deal that looked like they could be a bass bait:


If the Hollywooders really wanna broaden their critter 'magination, they reeeeeally need to do some on-the-water research -- doable in southern Cal, or just road trip it to Tackle Warehouse in NoCal (dumpster dive!).

3. Heard this part was filmed on the Great Lakes during an actual bassin' derby:


Skywalker gal was all, "Forget the river, there's bigger fish in the lake" hahaha!

4. S'posin' if I was in the military I'd be crackin' up at the complete lack of tactics and common sense in Star Wars battles. Like, "Hey let's stand up and run at the guys with guns!" #doh -- like the movie was made by these dudes:


MUST shout-out this vid for Star Wars fans: Yoda singing "My Stick" = $$$. No idea how people even think of doing that stuff.

"...qualifying for the Elite Series via the Opens...most challenging initiative any angler can undertake." 
- ex-B.A.S.S. and ex-FLWer Randy Blaukat tellin' it like it is/will be. Gonna be more hammers in that deal than a Home Depot. Rest of the quote:

> "Regardless of your skill level, achieving this feat will take a career-type year on the water. The 2021 Elite Series qualifiers will have earned it like never before."

Don't know 'bout "never before" but they sure will have earned it. Very curious to see the Open fields -- heard rumors that Trip Weldon's twin sister will be fishin' 'em:


Hahaha!

What does this say about pro bassin'?

So my questions:

> Could this be why pro bassin' stays away from the West Coast?

> Does this mean FL is the most dangerous state for bassin'?

> Is this why so many pros move to AL or TN (neither state in the above graph)??

> Why are Squatchies more common in largemouth vs smallmouth states?

Lol -- everything has a bassin' connection! That YT channel (click the pic) is pretty cool btw -- shows graphs over time so you can see how things change.

News

1. We lost Wes Campbell of TTI Blakemore.

Passed on at 65 of natural causes, sounds like. His dad invented the Tru-Turn hook and Blakemore I guess is known mostly for its Road Runner "horse-head" style underspins. Bless you fishin' brother.

2. We lost Mark Bissler of Garmin.

Just 31 yrs old, car crash. Was a Marine and helped Garmin pros rig and fix their stuff. I didn't know him but heard he was a good dude.

Gotta run the "bio" line from his Insta cuz I love it:

> "fish will be the last to discover water"

Bless you bassin' brother.



3. Brandon Palaniuk gets X Zone lures.

He was Zoom. This to me is very innerestin'. Brandon doesn't do things that ain't extremely well thought-out, and wouldn't be doin' this without a) belief in the baits and b) knowing he can have a significant influence on the baits:

> "Floating claws, high-quality plastic, and no cheap fillers are just a couple of examples of small details that make a huge difference in bait design when that bait touches the water.  I've always enjoyed bait design, so this is an opportunity to get those ideas out there and add to an already impressive lineup of baits."

[You're like, "Wow Jay, he said just what you said in the press release." Lol got me...but I was thinkin' it already...I think?]

The X Zoners also have Elitist Bran "Don" Lester.

BP also gots him Rod Glove. Here's RG on the TW, and X Zone.

4. Elitist Brandon Cobb gets Mossy Oak.

5. Mark Davis is back in a Bass Cat.

Long-time Skeeter man, Bass Cat before that. No link :( but here's a CURRENT shot of Mark (right) and Bassin' Cat prez Rick Pierce sportin' the gold chain/chest hair deal -- more of a saltwater look Rick! lol



6. New guys on the MotorGuide staff.

Elitists: Stetson Blaylock, Micah Frazier, Skylar Hamilton, Jason Williamson.

MLF BLT: Luke Clausen, Timmy Horton.

B.A.S.S. or FLW: Brian Latimer and Bailey Boutries.

7. Gerald Swindle, Brian Latimer get Lew's/Strike King.

"Partial" sponsorships, meaning G will fish Lew's reels and B-Lat said:

> "I've got great rod, hardbait and softbait sponsors, but having a Lew's reel in my hands, spooled with Strike King Tour Grade line and fishing with Tour Grade tungsten...."

Sounds like Costa angler Cole Floyd has the full meal deal.

Oops Shaw Grigsby is also Lew's now.

8. Cliff Crochet gets Crusher Lures.

If you've never heard of 'em, here's the website.

9. Elitist Bill Weidler gets Lifted Jigs.

Here's the Lifted stuff on TW -- I dig the EWG Ned Head.

10. Elitist Derek Hudnall gets SPRO and Gammy.

11. Alton Jones learned something from his own app.

Actually from Aaron Martens through the new BassForce app, owned by them and several other pros':

> ...a recent Lake Falcon (TX) outing to make his point. "I was fishing standing timber and catching a few quality bass on YUM soft plastics when I decided to see what the other BassForce pros had to offer.

> "Aaron Martens recommended a flutter spoon, which surprised me for this setting and compelled me to try it. Sure enough, the spoon delivered right away and produced one of my biggest bass of the trip."

Love the idea, hope it works as advertised. So far just iOS/Apple only:

> BassForce is available in 2 subscription options, either standard or premium. Standard provides access to 1 pro of choice, at a cost of $9.99/mo. A premium subscription gives total access to all 9 BassForce pros, and costs $19.99/mo.

The pros whose recommendations are in there are: Alton, Aaron, KVD, Jason Christie, Edwin Evers, Brandon Palaniuk, Skeet Reese, Gerald Swindle and Jacob Wheeler.

I'd listen to all those guys...except one.

Hahaha kiddin'!

12. Johnny Murray on BassEdge Raydeeo.

Alllll riiiiiiiight! Nice to see Johnny gettin' some love.

13. Ex-FLWer Todd Castledine is fishing the Opens.

Pretty sure it's cuz it gave him the most opportunities to fish the Strike King Popping Perch...?

14. MI: KVD, Zona gonna be at Novi Feeshn Show THIS WEEK.

The Ultimate Fishing Show, Suburban Collection Showplace, 46100 Grand River Ave. KCD's there THIS THURS only. Zona's there THIS FRI only.

15. NC: David Fritts, Timmy Horton will be at Expo THIS WEEKEND.

Bass & Saltwater Expo at the NC State Fairgrounds, Jan 10-12, other pros as well.

16. More pro jerseys for St Jude.

Cody Meyer, Seth Feider, Michael Neal. #stout

17. BPTer David Dudley says Ned Rig kills fish (vid).

Sketchy math, not really a comparison to anything else, but worth mentioning just cuz he says it's "murdering bass all over the United States." Not my experience but maybe YMMV??

18. So B.A.S.S. reinstated the Legends exemption...

...just to get Gerald Swindle and Brandon Palaniuk back in. So says Bernie Schultz in his latest post. He's cool with it (now)...but after revealin' this secret Bernie is now boat #81 for the first 2 Elites (heehee!).


19. Here's where you can test-drive a Vexus (pdf).

Revolution Tour dates. Heard the opening act on the tour will be these dudes:


Btw, here's a recent vid of Randy Hopper and other Vexus dudes talkin' 'bout the boats. Most innerestin' line was from Keith Daffron:

> "Really at the end of the day, we're an engineering company that happens to build boats."

Those engineers sure can fish tho....

20. New Phoenix bonuses for FLW events.

FLW Pro Circuit, FLW Series, BFLs.

21. New Ranger Cup deets for BFLs.

22. Bassin' Cat sponsoring the Wild West Bass Trail.

> "We have long supported the western anglers who face a different set of challenges and opportunities than those in other parts of the country," said Bass Cat president Rick Pierce.

Pretty sure he was talkin' CA taxes and politics -- lol Rick!

23. New Yammy promotion.

24. Rapala is sponsoring Bassmaster Fantasy Feeshn.

25. Huge limited-quantity Spook sale!

Abby-normal colors not available anywhere else. $2.99 apiece -- click it here.


(Anyone actually watch that show??)

26. No updates from the National Professional Fishing League?

Just see some hints/not saying much posts on their Facebook page? Remember this is the newly announced national "working man's tour."

27. Bass boat crash on Hartwell...

...sounds like all are okay, thank the Lord man:

> According to Fire Chief Charlie King...a man was fishing [I think in his boat?] when a boat hit him, knocking him into the water.

28. AL: B.A.S.S. helping with new weigh pavilion on Smith Lake.

Alabama Power too.

29. CA: Clear Lake tourney count new-normal again.

> To date, the DFW has issued 31 event permits for Clear Lake and 49 club tournaments for 2020. This has been the standard for the past 5 years. At one time the DFW issued up to 70 event tournaments for the lake and more than a 100 annual or club tournaments.

30. AZ has a new Hawg Bass Challenge.

Sounds like a new big and trophy bass thing = good!

31. PA tourney anglers help family with medical need.

Love to hear these stories. Bassers are great man.... #stout

32. SIMMS has a new CMO.

Chief marketing officer = Strick Walker. Comes from Merrell and before that Patagonia. Welcome to the bass-head world man! Its...different and great!

Former SIMMS head marketing dude Rich Hohne -- who wore waders but definitely "got" bassin' -- left for the MT footwear brand Oboz...which I'm sorry I've never heard of....

33. Aqua-Vu has a new owner.

MN bizman Kolt Ringer, doesn't sound like he's been in the fishing biz before.

34. Outdoor Sportsman Group wants ad sales mkting director.

Here's the addy, can't link it: cynopsis.com/jobs/director-ad-sales-marketing-4/

OSG is the Outdoor Channel conglomerate.

35. MN: Silver carp found in southwest part of the state.

First time...not good....

On BassBlaster.rocks right now...
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Tip of the Day

How MDJ 'lectronically catches 'em now.

Cool tidbits from the MLFers website:

> ...I still use standard 2D sonar to find baitfish, which is the biggest key this time of year.

> ...I think there's a misconception that you have to be around some kind of structure to find bass. From my experience, none of that matters during the late fall and into the winter when the water starts to reach 55 degrees and below.

> The bass will roam and search for baitfish and become pelagic [roam open water] for a few months before they start thinking about spawning...goes for smallmouth, spotted, and even largemouth bass. All they care about is finding food.

> I like to fish a 3/4-oz jigging spoon in a solid white color because it is such a good bait to fish vertically beneath the boat.

> I also like a Ned rig on a 1/5-oz Z-Man Finesse ShroomZ Jighead, and even though it doesn't look like a shad the "green pumpkin goby" color of the Z-Man Finesse TRD or the Z-Man Trick ShotZ are 2 of my favorites.... 

> I'll also use a dropshot and the Damiki Rig with a Z-Man StreakZ in the "smelt" or "shiner" color on a 3/8-oz jighead. 

> ...it is best to keep the bait above them. If they are down 40' I'll drop my lure to 35' and just let it sit there. This works with all of the different lures...you can often see them coming up to it, and they will eat it when it is sitting still.

> If the fish come up to inspect it but don't bite, I'll pull it up another few feet.

Quote of the Day

"It's like if someone turned off the lights, you are going to start reaching for a chair, a wall, or something to hold onto."

- Jason Christie talkin' 'bout what happens when he doesn't get a bite after 4 hours of fishin'...hahaha! Nope, he's talkin' 'bout bass! Seriously -- here's the full quote:

> "It's like if someone turned off the lights, you are going to start reaching for a chair, a wall, or something to hold onto. I think bass are the same way, and it makes them feel more comfortable to have their backs against something when they can't see as well."

So many questions like:
- Is Jason really the bass in this deal? And if so, what is he scared of?
- Why would you reach for a chair if it's dark?
- If a bass had his back against a rock, would the bass be vertical?

Or this could be related to way too much treestand time/lack of on the water time, which I understand....

Shot of the Day

NICE TX YUMbrella rig double! This is really the best thing about A-rigs -- catching more than 1 at the same time:

 
Ya got me

Jay Kumar's BassBlaster is a daily-ish roundup
 of the best, worst and funniest in bassin', as curated by me -- Jay Kumar. I started BassFan.com, co-hosted Loudmouth Bass with Zona, was a B.A.S.S. senior writer and a bunch more in bassin'. The Blaster is the #2 daily read on any given day in the wide world o' bass so thanks for readin'!

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