THE LATEST NEWS

Hartman Makes a Habit of Winning Toyota Bonus Bucks

It wasn’t long ago that Upstate New York native Jamie “The Hammer” Hartman resigned his job as a truck driver, put all his belongings in storage, and hit the road in a Toyota Tundra with his bass boat in tow to chase his dream of being a full-time professional bass angler.

It’s safe to say, Hartman’s dreams are coming true. And in the past three months, he’s won $6,000 in Toyota Bonus Bucks, for top Bassmaster Elite Series finishes at both Lake Hartwell, and his victory on Lake Guntersville.

“I tell guys they’re crazy if they’re fishing tournaments and not towing with a Toyota,” says Hartman. “Not only are they missing out on the chance to win Bonus Bucks, but the reliability you get with a Toyota is absolutely awesome.”

Hartman should know. He’s now purchased three Tundras, and has spent a total of 226,000 miles towing his bass boat with them, and has zero complaints.

“I love the comfortable ride. I love the dash layout. But most of all, I love the towing power. I absolutely love the towing power!” emphasizes Hartman, who won Guntersville pitching shallow matted grass with a Riot Baits “blue steel” colored soft plastic lure.

Hartman described his come from behind win at Guntersville as a huge shock. But the fact he cashed yet another Toyota Bonus Bucks checks is barely a surprise at all. He’s cashed checks in the majority of the B.A.S.S. events he’s competed in, and subsequently cashed several Bonus Bucks checks too.

However, you don’t have to be a pro like Jamie Hartman to cash in on Bonus Bucks. You just have to drive a 2015 or newer Toyota tow vehicle, sign up free for Bonus Bucks, and like Hartman, be the highest finishing registered participant in one of the dozens of local and regional tournaments supported by the program.

To learn more, please visit, www.toyotafishing.com, or call (918) 742-6424, and ask for Kendell or Chip, and they’ll help get you signed up.

Final-Day Comeback At Guntersville Gives Hartman First Elite Series Victory

SCOTTSBORO, Ala. — When Jamie Hartman burst onto the scene with the Bassmaster Elite Series in 2017, he seemed like a virtual lock to eventually hoist one of the trail’s coveted blue winner’s trophies.

New York pro Jamie Hartman jumps the field from 10th place to win the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville after weighing 23 pounds, 15 ounces for a combined four-day total of 79-10. Photo by Seigo Saito/B.A.S.S.

He had five Top 10s that first season — including a second- and a third-place showing — prompting many to believe he could be a true superstar in professional bass fishing.

A back ailment cut Hartman’s season short in 2018 and delayed his quest for an Elite Series win.

But it couldn’t derail it.

The New York native, who now lives in Arkansas, caught five bass Monday that weighed 23 pounds, 15 ounces and claimed his first Elite Series victory with a four-day total of 79-10 at the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville.

“It’s just a godsend to be back here on the Bassmaster Elite Series,” Hartman said. “I’m just so happy to be able to do this for a living and to finally get over the hump with a win.

“I never say this — and I really don’t even know how to describe it. But I had a creepy, creepy feeling coming into this week that I was going to win.”

Having never seen Lake Guntersville before the official practice period began Tuesday, Hartman did what most anglers would likely do — he headed straight for the lake’s famous ledges and tried to find big schools of bass deep. But he struggled deep on Day 1, bringing in only 14-13 and landing in 46th place.

That’s when he finally admitted to himself that he needed to commit to a shallow pattern he had identified along a grassy stretch of shoreline. He caught 20-10 on Day 2 and 20-4 on Day 3 to begin Championship Monday in 10th place.

“It’s the third week of June, so there was no reason not to go deep,” Hartman said. “But that bite got progressively worse every day from practice through the first day of the tournament.

“I had several schools located deep. But on that first day when we lost the wind, I lost two of those schools.”

That’s when he moved to a spot that was loaded with fish in 3 feet of water. He described it as a “simple cutout along the bank that probably wouldn’t stand out to anyone.”

He caught some of fish flipping and punching baits through thick grass. But he did all of his damage Monday with an unspecified bone-colored walking topwater lure.

He had more than 18 pounds by 7:30 a.m. and continued culling up throughout the day. His biggest fish — a largemouth that weighed 6-7 — came around 1 p.m.

“The wind made that spot better today — and the cloudy conditions,” Hartman said. “I felt going out like there was a chance they would be stacked in there, and they were stacked.

“To come from behind in a tournament like this — and to catch all of the fish on top — it just doesn’t get much better than that.”

Hartman outscored Texas pro Chris Zaldain and Matt Arey who both weighed in 79-4, by 6 ounces. Louisiana pro Caleb Sumrall brought 77-10 to the scales to finish fourth.

A major storm rolled through Scottsboro just as Hartman was handed the trophy — and in the chaos of 40 mph winds, he wasn’t sure of even the smallest details.

He just knew he won.

“I don’t know if I won by an ounce or 10 ounces,” he said. “And it really doesn’t matter.”

Florida angler Bernie Schultz earned $1,500 for Phoenix Boats Big Bass of the week with a 7-0 largemouth he caught on Day 1. Another Florida pro, Drew Cook, took the lead in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings and the DICK’S Sporting Goods Rookie of the Year race.

Hartman won the Toyota Bonus Bucks prize of $3,000 for being the highest-finishing eligible angler, and Sumrall collected $2,000 on Toyota Bonus Bucks for finishing second-highest.

2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2019 Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville Sponsor: Academy Sports + Outdoors

2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors:  Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Skeeter Boats, Talon, Triton Boats, Yamaha, Abu Garcia, Berkley

2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Bass Pro Shops, Carhartt, Lowrance, Mossy Oak Fishing, T-H Marine, Academy Sports + Outdoors

2019 Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville Host Sponsors: City of Scottsboro

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 510,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For more than 50 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, BassPro.com Bassmaster Open Series, TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

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Media Contact: Dave Precht, 205-313-0931, dprecht@bassmaster.com | Gettys Brannon, 864-490-7864, gettys@mcalistercommunications.com


2019 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament at Lake Guntersville 6/21-6/24
                           Lake Guntersville, Scottsboro  AL.
                            (PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 4

   Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   Total $$$

1.  Jamie Hartman          Newport, NY             20  79-10  100 $100,000.00
  Day 1: 5   14-13     Day 2: 5   20-10     Day 3: 5   20-04     Day 4: 5   23-15
2.  Chris Zaldain          Fort Worth, TX          20  79-04   99  $25,000.00
  Day 1: 5   17-03     Day 2: 5   19-13     Day 3: 5   23-10     Day 4: 5   18-10
3.  Matt Arey              Shelby, NC              20  79-04   98  $20,000.00
  Day 1: 5   22-10     Day 2: 5   21-06     Day 3: 5   18-13     Day 4: 5   16-07
4.  Caleb Sumrall          New Iberia, LA          20  77-10   97  $15,000.00
  Day 1: 5   20-02     Day 2: 5   16-10     Day 3: 5   20-13     Day 4: 5   20-01
5.  Matt Herren            Ashville, AL            20  77-07   96  $15,000.00
  Day 1: 5   18-11     Day 2: 5   20-11     Day 3: 5   19-12     Day 4: 5   18-05
6.  Chad Pipkens           Lansing, MI             20  76-10   95  $15,000.00
  Day 1: 5   18-04     Day 2: 5   18-05     Day 3: 5   20-11     Day 4: 5   19-06
7.  Lee Livesay            Gladewater, TX          20  72-11   94  $15,000.00
  Day 1: 5   20-08     Day 2: 5   15-14     Day 3: 5   22-06     Day 4: 5   13-15
8.  Hank Cherry Jr         Lincolnton, NC          20  72-03   93  $15,000.00
  Day 1: 5   21-06     Day 2: 5   17-15     Day 3: 5   17-06     Day 4: 5   15-08
9.  Brandon Lester         Fayetteville, TN        20  72-00   92  $15,000.00
  Day 1: 5   22-00     Day 2: 5   21-07     Day 3: 5   14-13     Day 4: 5   13-12
10. Kelley Jaye            Dadeville, AL           20  71-05   91  $15,000.00
  Day 1: 5   14-09     Day 2: 5   24-12     Day 3: 5   17-12     Day 4: 5   14-04
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
PHOENIX BOATS BIG BASS
     Bernie Schultz           Gainesville, FL     07-00      $1,500.00
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
 1        67       354      1157-03
 2        69       358      1095-08
 3        32       172       547-11
 4        10        50       174-03
----------------------------------
         178       934      2974-09

Mueller Flexes His Muscles On Lake Guntersville Again, Takes Day 1 Elite Series Lead

SCOTTSBORO, Ala. — More than half the field caught at least 16 pounds of bass during Friday’s opening round of the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville, and 14 anglers topped the coveted 20-pound mark.

Paul Mueller’s historic success on Lake Guntersville continues as he takes the lead on Day 1 of the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville with 22 pounds, 14 ounces. 

                                                                                                              Photo by  Seigo Saito/B.A.S.S.

Meanwhile, Connecticut pro Paul Mueller showed once again why Guntersville is one of his favorite lakes in the United States.

Mueller, who finished second in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods on Guntersville, took Friday’s opening-round lead on the famed fishery with five bass that weighed 22 pounds, 14 ounces.

“I didn’t really see this coming because I didn’t catch a lot of big fish in practice,” Mueller said. “The fish aren’t doing what they should for this time of year, so it’s been mentally exhausting trying to figure them out.

“But you only need five — and I’m glad I was able to put something together.”

Mueller’s first claim to fame in the big leagues of bass fishing came when he had a whopping catch of 32-3 on the second day of the 2014 Classic. That was a February event, and Mueller — who had qualified for that Classic through the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship for grass-roots anglers — was quick to point out that none of that strategy played into his success Friday, when temperatures rose to the low 90s.

Despite his heavy weight, he said Friday was anything but easy — and BASSTrakk statistics backed up that claim. The five bass he weighed were caught at 7:25 a.m., 8:09 a.m., 11:02 a.m., 1:59 p.m. and 2:07 p.m.

The weigh-in began at Goose Pond Colony at 2:15 p.m.

“For a while there, I was just worried about getting a limit,” said Mueller, who earned his first Elite Series victory earlier this season at Lake Lanier. “Then I kind of put it together late.”

Mueller attributed his late-afternoon success to a slight change in technique.

“I downsized a little bit,” he said. “I caught them on a 10-inch Reins Bubbling Shaker in the morning on a Magnum Shaky Head. Then I switched over to a 7-inch Bubbling Shaker on a drop-shot rig.

“I spent the last part of the afternoon using a spinning reel.”

Mueller will enter Saturday’s second round with just a 4-ounce lead over North Carolina pro Matt Arey, who weighed in 22-10.

Arey was less specific about how he caught bass than Mueller, but he said Lake Guntersville’s famous summer boat traffic — which always increases greatly on Saturdays — could play a role in how he does on Day 2.

“What I did today is definitely repeatable,” Arey said. “In a perfect world — if I could get out there and rotate through my places without company — absolutely I could do it again. But on a lake that gets this much pressure, we all know that’s not going to happen.”

The only other pro who reached the 22-pound mark Friday was Brandon Lester. The Fayetteville, Tenn., angler, who has extensive experience on Guntersville, caught 22-0 and rests just 14 ounces out of the lead.

“I’m not gonna call this my home lake, but it’s probably as close to home as I’ll ever get to fish in an Elite Series tournament,” Lester said. “I’ve got quite a bit of experience here — and to my surprise, I was able to get on pretty much everything I wanted to fish today.”

Lester said he’s fishing offshore — and even with more boat traffic Saturday, he’s confident he’ll be able to reach at least some of the areas where he was successful Friday.

“The one spot where I caught most of my fish is a really big spot,” Lester said. “There are five or six little sweet spots on it, and there’s not likely to be a boat on every single one of them.

“But I will say — from past experience on this lake — when the boat traffic increases, it really affects these fish. So, who knows what will happen tomorrow?”

Veteran Florida pro Bernie Schultz took the lead for Phoenix Boats Big Bass with a largemouth that weighed 7-0.

The tournament will resume Saturday with takeoff from Goose Pond Colony at 6 a.m. CT The weigh-in will be held back at Goose Pond at 2:15 p.m., with only the Top 35 anglers advancing to Sunday’s semifinal round.

B.A.S.S. Nation members, Bassmaster High School anglers and dozens of other volunteers will fan out across the Lake Guntersville shoreline to take part in the B.A.S.S. Nation Cleanup project, which will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday. Other volunteers wanting to help out in the cleanup are welcome to participate.

While competition is underway, the Miracle Mile Festival at Goose Pond will feature live entertainment, prize giveaways, food vendors and more. The Festival begins at 11 a.m. The Mercury Concert Series will provide live music prior to the weigh-in.

2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2019 Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville Sponsor: Academy Sports + Outdoors

2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors:  Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Skeeter Boats, Talon, Triton Boats, Yamaha, Abu Garcia, Berkley

2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Bass Pro Shops, Carhartt, Lowrance, Mossy Oak Fishing, T-H Marine, Academy Sports + Outdoors

2019 Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville Host Sponsors: City of Scottsboro

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 510,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For more than 50 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, BassPro.com Bassmaster Open Series, TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

-30-
Media Contact: Dave Precht, 205-313-0931, dprecht@bassmaster.com | Gettys Brannon, 864-490-7864, gettys@mcalistercommunications.com


 2019 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament at Lake Guntersville 6/21-6/24
                           Lake Guntersville, Scottsboro  AL.
                             (PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 1

   Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   Total $$$

1.  Paul Mueller           Naugatuck, CT            5  22-14  100
  Day 1: 5   22-14
2.  Matt Arey              Shelby, NC               5  22-10   99
  Day 1: 5   22-10
3.  Brandon Lester         Fayetteville, TN         5  22-00   98
  Day 1: 5   22-00
4.  Chris Johnston         Peterborough Ontario CA  5  21-14   97
  Day 1: 5   21-14
5.  Hank Cherry Jr         Lincolnton, NC           5  21-06   96
  Day 1: 5   21-06
6.  Drew Benton            Panama City, FL          5  21-03   95
  Day 1: 5   21-03
7.  Clark Wendlandt        Leander, TX              5  20-14   94
  Day 1: 5   20-14
8.  Lee Livesay            Gladewater, TX           5  20-08   93
  Day 1: 5   20-08
8.  Tyler Rivet            Raceland, LA             5  20-08   93
  Day 1: 5   20-08
10. Bernie Schultz         Gainesville, FL          5  20-07   91
  Day 1: 5   20-07
11. Carl Jocumsen          Queensland TX AUSTRALIA  5  20-06   90
  Day 1: 5   20-06
12. Dale Hightower         Mannford, OK             5  20-04   89
  Day 1: 5   20-04
13. Caleb Sumrall          New Iberia, LA           5  20-02   88
  Day 1: 5   20-02
14. Clent Davis            Montevallo, AL           5  20-00   87
  Day 1: 5   20-00
15. Garrett Paquette       Canton, MI               5  19-15   86
  Day 1: 5   19-15
16. Brandon Cobb           Greenwood, SC            5  19-12   85
  Day 1: 5   19-12
17. Greg DiPalma           Millville, NJ            5  19-08   84
  Day 1: 5   19-08
18. Bill Weidler           Helena, AL               5  18-15   83
  Day 1: 5   18-15
19. Brock Mosley           Collinsville, MS         5  18-14   82
  Day 1: 5   18-14
19. Randy Pierson          Oakdale, CA              5  18-14   82
  Day 1: 5   18-14
21. Scott Canterbury       Odenville, AL            5  18-13   80
  Day 1: 5   18-13
22. Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL              5  18-12   79
  Day 1: 5   18-12
23. Matt Herren            Ashville, AL             5  18-11   78
  Day 1: 5   18-11
24. Seth Feider            New Market, MN           5  18-08   77
  Day 1: 5   18-08
25. Cory Johnston          Cavan CANADA             5  18-07   76
  Day 1: 5   18-07
25. Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN           5  18-07   76
  Day 1: 5   18-07
27. Quentin Cappo          Prairieville, LA         5  18-04   74
  Day 1: 5   18-04
27. Chad Pipkens           Lansing, MI              5  18-04   74
  Day 1: 5   18-04
29. Gary Clouse            Winchester, TN           5  18-03   72
  Day 1: 5   18-03
30. Steve Kennedy          Auburn, AL               5  18-01   71
  Day 1: 5   18-01
31. Drew Cook              Midway, FL               5  17-10   70
  Day 1: 5   17-10
32. Shane LeHew            Catawba, NC              5  17-09   69
  Day 1: 5   17-09
33. Chris Zaldain          Fort Worth, TX           5  17-03   68
  Day 1: 5   17-03
34. Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ               5  16-10   67
  Day 1: 5   16-10
35. Chris Groh             Spring Grove, IL         4  16-10   66
  Day 1: 4   16-10
36. Rick Morris            Lake Gaston, VA          5  16-06   65
  Day 1: 5   16-06
37. Ray Hanselman Jr       Del Rio, TX              5  16-02   64
  Day 1: 5   16-02
38. Keith Combs            Huntington, TX           5  16-00   63
  Day 1: 5   16-00
39. Robbie Latuso          Gonzales, LA             5  16-00   62
  Day 1: 5   16-00
40. Todd Auten             Lake Wylie, SC           5  15-11   61
  Day 1: 5   15-11
41. Kyle Monti             Okeechobee, FL           5  15-10   60
  Day 1: 5   15-10
42. Yusuke Miyazaki        Forney, TX               5  15-10   59
  Day 1: 5   15-10
43. Jay Yelas              Lincoln City, OR         5  15-05   58
  Day 1: 5   15-05
44. Brian Snowden          Reeds Spring, MO         5  15-00   57
  Day 1: 5   15-00
45. Stetson Blaylock       Benton, AR               5  14-14   56
  Day 1: 5   14-14
46. Jamie Hartman          Newport, NY              5  14-13   55
  Day 1: 5   14-13
47. Kelley Jaye            Dadeville, AL            5  14-09   54
  Day 1: 5   14-09
48. Shane Lineberger       Lincolnton, NC           5  14-07   53
  Day 1: 5   14-07
48. Jason Williamson       Wagener, SC              5  14-07   53
  Day 1: 5   14-07
50. Ed Loughran III        Richmond, VA             5  13-11   51
  Day 1: 5   13-11
51. Skylar Hamilton        Dandridge, TN            5  13-09   50
  Day 1: 5   13-09
52. Hunter Shryock         Newcomerstown, OH        5  13-07   49
  Day 1: 5   13-07
53. Luke Palmer            Coalgate, OK             5  13-05   48
  Day 1: 5   13-05
54. David Fritts           Lexington, NC            5  13-02   47
  Day 1: 5   13-02
55. Mark Menendez          Paducah, KY              5  13-00   46
  Day 1: 5   13-00
56. Frank Talley           Temple, TX               5  12-11   45
  Day 1: 5   12-11
57. David Mullins          Mt Carmel, TN            5  12-08   44
  Day 1: 5   12-08
58. John Crews Jr          Salem, VA                5  12-06   43
  Day 1: 5   12-06
59. Derek Hudnall          Baton Rouge, LA          5  12-05   42
  Day 1: 5   12-05
60. Micah Frazier          Newnan, GA               5  12-04   41
  Day 1: 5   12-04
61. Brad Whatley           Bivins, TX               5  12-04   40
  Day 1: 5   12-04
62. Jeff Gustafson         Keewatin Ontario CANADA  5  11-14   39
  Day 1: 5   11-14
63. Koby Kreiger           Alva, FL                 5  11-09   38
  Day 1: 5   11-09
64. Brandon Card           Knoxville, TN            5  11-03   37
  Day 1: 5   11-03
65. Rob Digh               Denver, NC               5  10-13   36
  Day 1: 5   10-13
66. Jake Whitaker          Fairview, NC             5  10-10   35
  Day 1: 5   10-10
67. Brett Preuett          Monroe, LA               4  10-07   34
  Day 1: 4   10-07
68. Chad Morgenthaler      Reeds Spring, MO         5  09-10   33
  Day 1: 5   09-10
69. Patrick Walters        Summerville, SC          5  09-06   32
  Day 1: 5   09-06
70. Mike Huff              Corbin, KY               3  07-12   31
  Day 1: 3   07-12
71. Rick Clunn             Ava, MO                  3  05-12   30
  Day 1: 3   05-12
72. Tyler Carriere         Youngsville, LA          2  03-11   29
  Day 1: 2   03-11
73. Randy Sullivan         Breckenridge, TX         1  02-06   28
  Day 1: 1   02-06
74. Harvey Horne           Bella Vista, AR          2  01-14   27
  Day 1: 2   01-14
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
 1        67       354      1157-03
----------------------------------
          67       354      1157-03

Crews Compares Guntersville 2010 to this Week

Guntersville is truly one of America’s all time great big bass factories, and it’s played host to B.A.S.S. events with about the same frequency Vegas hosts prize fights. And when the Elite Series was here in 2010, it was an absolute post-spawn slugfest and longtime Toyota Bonus Bucks participant John Crews was right in the thick of the boxing match.

Skeet Reese threw the final punch in 2010, catching 100 pounds of bass in four days to win, but Davy Hite and John Crews stayed squarely in the fight.
So as the Elites blasted-off for Day 1 Friday morning, Crews reflected clearly on how it all went down nine years ago, and how he expects it to go this week in 2019.

“The offshore bite in 2010 would have scored a 9 out of 10, but this year, for Guntersville, I’ll rate it a 3 out of 10 — which is about the equivalent of a 5 out of 10 on most reservoirs,” says the Salem, VA pro who owns Missile Bait Company.

In other words, Crews is by no means saying it’s terrible here where the Tennessee River carves a bass infested path through the Southern Appalachians. Twenty-pound limits will still be plentiful, but fans probably shouldn’t expect the megabags pros like him pulled from these waters nine years ago.

“I caught 99% of my bass that week on a Spro Little John DD which hits bottom in 16 to 18 feet of water, and most of the bass were positioned at about 12 feet,” he recalls fondly.

Crews weighed in a jaw dropping 28 pounds on Day 3 of the 2010 event, and says he fished a very clean and efficient derby with no regrets, despite a bass that was well over 10 pounds jumping off —an image that’s still hooked clearly in his memory.

“I’ll commit to fishing deep today, but I’m only on a couple schools of fish, not the strong schools we saw here nine years ago. You could catch 12, 15, 20 bass off one spot that year, but this week, I think it will be a ‘one here-one there’ kinda deal,” predicts Crews.

He netted $20,000 for his high finish nine years ago, plus a fat Toyota Bonus Bucks check, maybe this week Crews will have to fight a little harder, but don’t bet against him landing his share of leaderboard busting jabs, and a shot at the $100,000 top prize.

Arey and Canterbury Talk Saltwater, Sasquatch, and Ducks at Guntersville

Matt Arey and Scott Canterbury have won more than $2 Million in their veteran pro angling careers — including an impressive collection of tour level tournaments. The two comical class acts are now roommates on the Bassmaster Elite Series, and they took a moment to share what fans can expect to take place on Alabama’s largest and arguably most famous reservoir when the event kicks-off Friday morning.

Q: It’s been six weeks since the last Elite Series tournament. What’s the coolest thing you did during that time?

Canterbury: Caught a bunch of saltwater fish, including a 21-pound Snapper, on a trip to Orange Beach, AL.
Arey: Watched my daughter Reese graduate from kindergarten.

Q: How many 25-pound limits or bigger will be weighed-in on Day 1.
Canterbury: Two
Arey: One

Q: What’s your favorite thing about Lake Guntersville?
Canterbury: It’s close to home, and you can catch bass here from 3 to 25 feet deep on a variety of patterns.
Arey: The duck hunting. I discovered how many ducks call this place home during a winter bass tournament years ago, and my buddies and I have made several annual trips here to hunt gadwalls, canvasbacks and other species.

Q: Name four lures fans can expect Elite Series pros to throw a lot this week.
Canterbury: Deep crankbait, 11” NetBait C-Mac worm, 6” swimbait, Drop Shot.
Arey: Football jig, deep crankbait, 6” flutter spoon, hair jig.

Q: What will surprise fans most about this tournament?
Canterbury: How several pros will be fishing the same spots.
Arey: Agree. A lot of guys will be fishing for the same exact schools of fish.

Q: You were asked to choose one lure that’s applicable to Guntersville for the photo. Why did you choose a jig?
Canterbury: Because I can fish a 5/8 ounce Matt Herren jig from Dirty Jigs with a Net Bait trailer as a pitchin’ lure, or drag it on the bottom out deep just about anywhere on this lake.
Arey: I chose a ¾ Titan Tungsten football jig to drag around the deeper schools of bass. It’s a prototype with a skirt that’s hand-tied in Cleveland County, NC where “Knobby” the Sasquatch lives.

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