Looking for a Kayak ?

Kayak fishing is exploding around the country but not all Kayaks are created equally. Wesley Strader introduces the new COOSA FD from Jackson Kayaks. Take a look at a few of the features that separate this boat from the rest.

The Coosa FD is based on the top selling Coosa HD hull and deck layout but adds a long-awaited Flex Drive system (patent pending) allowing for hands-free propulsion. The new Flex Drive System offers forward and reverse operation and includes a unique articulating system for deep and shallow water navigation. A daggerboard protected tri-blade propeller combined with articulation gives the Flex Drive a performance increase over other drives and helps with keeping the system clear of obstacles and easy to clean. The Coosa FD comes with the fore-aft trimming and our Hi-Lo Elite Seat System giving it flexibility in seating positions that puts the pedaler in the most comfortable position possible. The Flex Drive is easily deployed with the flip of a lever, has adjustable pitch, a 1:12 ratio and will be upgradable to a new motor drive system available in 2018. The Coosa FD has all the the features of the best-selling Coosa HD, from rod tip protection system to gear track surrounding the Ergo Seat and more. The combination of one of the best designed all-around kayaks and the new Flex Drive makes this a leading combination for hands-free kayak angling!

See the full Jackson line up here.

Kevin VanDam’s Three Favorite Lures for Fall

Kevin VanDam loves football, archery season for whitetail deer, and thoughts of bass binging on baitfish. And those are just three good reasons the 7-time Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year calls autumn his favorite time of year.

“Oh yea, there’s no doubt life is good this time of year,” says VanDam. And football is a large part of October’s goodness for he and his treasured family.

“Of course I love my home state Detroit Lions, but I maintain a friendship with Willie Young, an avid angler and pass rush specialist for the Chicago Bears, who used to play for Detroit,” he says.

“Plus, my twin sons Jackson and Nicholas are in college at Grand Valley State University. Their football team owns the highest winning percentage in college football history, and we were recently on campus for Family Weekend when the Lakers won 49 to 0,” says the ever-competitive VanDam.

But fall is certainly not only about football for the VanDams. They have long had a healthy appetite for whitetail deer hunting, and October 1st kicks off the start of Michigan’s archery season that they treasure in much the same way bass covet baitfish during the calendar’s fourth quarter.

“Fall is all about the bait, and in a lot of reservoirs that’s going to involve bass keying on shad in major creek arms of the reservoir,” says VanDam. “That pattern is talked about constantly, and it’s true, but not every quality bass follows bait to the back of a creek — there’s still plenty of good fish eating bait on flat, shallow, points along the main lake too.”

No surprise then, all three lures pro bass fishing’s greatest angler chose as his favorites for fall are shad imitators.

His starting line-up includes a squarebill crankbait, a topwater walking bait, and a jerkbait. And just as importantly as what lures he specified … is knowing where and when to use them … and what equipment he matches them to.

Squarebill crankbait – He chooses his namesake KVD 1.5 from Strike King and says, “It’s just such an efficient bait because the bass are moving shallow, and they’ll bite it in just about any color of water,” says VanDam.

“The dream scenario for a squarebill at this time of year is a rocky creek channel swing in the back of a major tributary, with shad active near the surface of the water,” he adds.

While some pros speed up to faster gear ratio reels in autumn, VanDam remains faithful to the same 5.3:1 ratio from Quantum that he cranked up Bassmaster Classic and Angler of the Year titles with during his illustrious career.

“With the larger spool and line capacity on the new Smoke HD reel, I’m still picking up plenty of line to maintain a good speed,” explains VanDam, who pairs it with a forgiving 7’ 0” TourKVD cranking rod.

Topwater Walking Lure – If ever there was a prime time for topwater lures – it’s now, and VanDam says lures like Strike King’s Sexy Dawg have magnetic qualities.

“A topwater like the 4.5” Sexy Dawg has incredible drawing power. You can attract bass from far away to come bite it in clear to stained water, as long as there’s not too much wave action on the surface,” says VanDam.

VanDam uses a higher speed 7.3:1 reel for this lure, and prefers 50-pound braided line. “Braid is so much easier to get the lure to walk, plus you get better hook-ups when they bite,” he explains.

Jerkbait – Kevin VanDam and jerkbaits go together like October and falling leaves, and he says that few lures search-out bass on shallow, flat, main lake, secondary points like this one.

“Again, not every bass in the lake swims to the back of a creek in search of shad at this time of year,” emphasizes the 4-time Bassmaster Classic Champion. “There are plenty of quality fish to be caught on the shallower flat points on the main lake too. And by keeping your boat in about 10-feet of water, and casting up there to four or five feet of water on those types of points, can be an awesome way to catch ‘em at this time of the year,” emphasizes the 4-time Bassmaster Classic Champion.

VanDam emphasizes the need for a quality reel capable of making long smooth casts for jerkbaits, and currently relies on Quantum’s new Smoke S3 in a 6.1:1 spooled with 12-pound fluorocarbon.

From first downs to falling leaves, autumn is indeed an awesome time of the year to catch bass chomping on baitfish, especially with three lures chosen by Kevin VanDam arrowed squarely into your bass fishing knowledge base.

You can get all the tackle KVD uses here.


Elite Series Pro Wiggins Takes Lead At Bassmaster Southern Open On Smith Lake

Jesse Wiggins of Cullman, Ala., takes the lead on the second day of the 2017 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open No. 3 held on Smith Lake out of Jasper, Ala., with a two-day total weight of 26 pounds, 7 ounces.

                                                                                                                   Photo by Thomas Allen/B.A.S.S.

JASPER, Ala. — “Two-thirds of the work is done.”

That’s what Jesse Wiggins told the crowd Friday during the second round of competition at the final Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open on Smith Lake.

Now the 27-year-old pro of Cullman, Ala., needs to finish strong to win yet another Opens tournament — and this one is on his home lake, to boot.

Wiggins, who just finished his rookie season on the Bassmaster Elite Series, jumped to the top of the leaderboard Friday with a five-bass limit that weighed 11 pounds, 5 ounces. His two-day total of 26-7 gave him almost a 2 1/2-pound lead over Rick Morris, who is second among the 12 anglers who survived the cut to fish Saturday.

The winner of the tournament will clinch a berth in the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, but Wiggins has already secured a spot in next year’s “Super Bowl of professional bass fishing.” He won the first Southern Open of the season on Florida’s Harris Chain of Lakes, which he admitted took the pressure off him this week.

“It really did make things easier for me,” said Wiggins. “I’ve already qualified for the Classic, but I’m greedy. I always want to win, especially if there’s money on the line.”

And there is. Not only will the Southern Open winner earn a generous cash prize, but there’s also a Skeeter boat/Yamaha motor package up for grabs. The grand total in cash and prizes is valued at more than $50,000.

“Hopefully I’m in position to win,” Wiggins said. “It’s going to be close, but I’ve got a chance.”

While some other leading anglers are fishing suspended bass offshore, Wiggins said he’s fishing structure along shorelines. He said he’s labored for every catch he’s had, as unseasonably warm temperatures have made getting bites difficult.

Wiggins said he had only four bass with an hour left to fish, but he changed locations and hooked two keepers in the final minutes of Friday’s competition. He likely would have survived the Top 12 cut without those catches, but the extra weight propelled him into the top spot.

Wiggins is used to winning on Smith. He’s been a force in local tournaments here for years, and he proved his mettle against other pros last year when he won a Southern Open on the lake to qualify for the 2017 Bassmaster Classic. His knowledge here, despite his youth, is practically unprecedented.

“We had a cool snap in August and the water temperature dropped about five degrees then,” Wiggins said. “They started biting, but then it warmed up again and they stopped. But I tell people the main reason they stop biting on Smith Lake is because of all of this boat pressure. That’s why I fish for fish that people can’t buzz over.”

When the tournament wraps Saturday, the Top 5 anglers in the Southern Open points standings will earn invitations to compete in next year’s Bassmaster Elite Series.

On the co-angler side, Todd Lee of Jasper takes the lead with a two-day total of 13-4.

Brent Crow of Hartselle, Ala., maintains the lead in the pro division for the Phoenix Big Bass Award with a 5-6 largemouth. Leading the nonboater division for the Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award is Charles Fochtman of Moneta, Va., with a 4-15 spotted bass.
The event will conclude Saturday with a 6:30 a.m. takeoff at Smith Lake Dam Access . The final weigh-in will take place at the Bass Pro Shops location in Leeds, Ala., beginning at 3:45 p.m.

The tournament is being hosted by the Walker County Chamber of Commerce.
2017 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Title Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops

2017 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2017 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Premier Sponsors: Huk, Humminbird, Mercury, Power-Pole, Shell Rotella, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha, Berkley

2017 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Supporting Sponsors: T-H Marine, Advance Auto Parts, Carhartt, Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Phoenix Boats, Shimano

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (, television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation presented by Magellan Outdoors, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Costa Bassmaster High School Series presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

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