When dangerously high waters moved back the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Elite at Sabine River presented by Econo Lodge, many of the 109 anglers quickly made alternate plans. What was first choice? Why fishing, of course, as Aaron Martens can attest. “I can’t say I’m too upset about the Sabine postponement when it frees me up to catch this!” Read on for the A to Z of how Elites filled the week.
Photo: Courtesy Aaron Martens
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Gerald Swindle, coming off his best Classic finish in more than a decade, shows off some of his spotted bass action on Smith Lake. If you haven’t seen it, go read G-Man’s insightful take on what not winning a Classic in 17 tries does to a pro angler -- at least him -- in “Missing pieces of me.” Great stuff.
Photo: Courtesy Gerald Swindle
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And speaking of Swindle, Fletcher Shyrock borrowed some of his words after landing this giant. He wrote, as G-Man would say, “I found Ol’ Clyde!”
Photo: Courtesy Fletcher Shyrock
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The off week gave Darrell Ocamica a chance to head back to Idaho for a super important date. “When they cancel an Elite event and you have some unexpected days off, you celebrate this dude’s 6th birthday. So glad I could come home.”
Photo: Courtesy Darrell Ocamica
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“I was able to spend Easter with the family,” Shaw Grigsby posted. “After church and an Easter egg hunt, Bryce, Charlotte and I really enjoyed a new children's book about fishing. It is ‘Down by the River’ by Andrew Weiner.”
Photo: Courtesy Shaw Grigsby
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Shaw and his grandson, Bryce, also attended a Florida Gators baseball game, the top-ranked team in the country, in pretty prime seats to boot.
Photo: Courtesy Shaw Grigsby
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Being home allowed Rick Clunn to share in the photo taking before the prom of his youngest son, River. Melissa and Rick entertained a number of River’s friends and dates that evening on their Ava, Mo., property before they went to the dance.
Photo: Courtesy Rick Clunn
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Justin Lucas watched some Masters golf -- notice winner Patrick Reed on the big screen -- with his son, Cooper. “He’s getting big,” Justin posted. On Easter Sunday, Lucas put his brother, a professional golfer, Kevin, on his first Guntersville bass. Lucas also took the off week to purchase fishing licenses for eight states the Elites will visit this season, leaving with this thought. “I can’t tell you how much I wish there was a federal fishing license good for every state.” Great idea. How about a lifetime All-America fishing license?
Photo: Courtesy Justin Lucas
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Some Elites, like John Murray, spent time fishing with their kids. Murray took out his son, T.J., and his friend. “Been a good, but cold spring break - don’t think the cold bothers these two!!”
Photo: Courtesy John Murray
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Mark Zona, who should have been in Little Rock hosting Bassmaster LIVE, instead got to take his twins boys, Hunter and Jakob, out fishing with wife, Karin. “Our boys last high school spring break before they graduate in about a month. We sure ended it with a bang at Big Cedar Lodge and Table Rock Lake. Now time to get back to work, headed to tape more 2019,” Mark posted.
Photo: Courtesy Mark Zona
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Marty Robinson got to witness his son, Mitchell, do well in his own competition. “My youngest son and his partner were runner-up in the SC B.A.S.S. Nation Junior State Championship at Lake Murray (April 7). They’ll get to fish the B.A.S.S. Nation Junior National Championship this summer.”
Photo: Courtesy Marty Robinson
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And others just fished for the pure enjoyment, like Casey Ashley. “Nice day for some Crappie fishin! — in Lake Secession, South Carolina.”
Photo: Courtesy Casey Ashley
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Others took the day to compete against their kin, like Brent Chapman taking on his son. “Headed out for an afternoon of #provsjoe against Mason. We’ll see if he can back his big talk up!”
Photo: Courtesy Brent Chapman
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Dave Lefebre took the time off to give back to the community. “Glad to get home from Texas a week early to take part in the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Youth/Mentor day! Had blast meeting new friends. Thanks to all who came out in the cold to support the kids!”
Photo: Courtesy Dave Lefebre
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Ott DeFoe’s wife, Jennie, might have upset the applecart, or at least might have made their son jealous. Ott wrote, “Babe caught a few of Parker’s fish while he was at school today.” Uh-oh. We’re sure she put them back for him to get them another day.
Photo: Courtesy Ott DeFoe
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While most of the Elites were keeping their lines wet and tight, Seth Feider was froze under. “Why tho?” he posted. “Most of the Elite boys are bassin’ and I'm over here feeling like the karate kid with a shovel and Mr. Myagi like ‘Snow on, snow off.’” That’s what you get if you live in Minnesota … or maybe even Oklahoma this spring.
Photo: Courtesy Seth Feider
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Jason Christie, home in the Sooner State, might not have been frozen off the water, but a powerful cold front did the trick. “What do you do when it storms all day? Get new tires, of course!” he posted. He was out the following day very early reporting, “It’s crazy cold here, but a cold sunrise is still better than sleeping in!” On another post showing his daughter holding a bass, he said he taught her how to hold it out in front of her body a bit for the photo, an important lesson.
Photo: Courtesy Jason Christie
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Christie’s Oklahoma running mate Edwin Evers got another kind of work done, expanding his pecan operation. “Here’s what this Elite angler does on an unscheduled week off. Happy to have gotten 500 pecan trees planted, thanks to all my great help. I can tell you, fishing is much easier!”
Photo: Courtesy Edwin Evers
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It was time to do something Randall Tharp and his wife, Sara, don't often get a chance to do at home. They attended a concert. “Date night in Dothan last night. Me, Sara and Cody Jinks!” Let’s hope they ditched Jinks later on.
Photo: Courtesy Randall Tharp
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New dad Brandon Lester did what a lot of other Elites might or might not be able to get to this spring -- turkey hunting. “Finally caught up with a good bird this morning,” he wrote. “Pretty awesome 30th birthday present I reckon!”
Photo: Courtesy Brandon Lester
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Impromptu vacations were made once Sabine was postponed, and Jacob Wheeler and his bride, Alicia, ran into Kevin and Sherry VanDam on their travels. “What are the odds of seeing @kevinvandamfishing at the same spot this morning in Key West?! Literally, we were both shocked!”
Photo: Courtesy Jacob Wheeler
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And how about his saltwater trip and these nice catches? Jacob posted, “There’s nothing better than eating sashimi minutes after catching them!”
Photo: Courtesy Jacob Wheeler
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Speaking of good eating, Matt Herren prepares to cook up a mess of crappie. His wife, Candy, took this shot and posted, “Matt calls these fish sticks.” Bet he’s perfected sizzling some slabs, and we’d love to try them.
Photo: Courtesy Candy Herren
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And as long as we’re thinking of food, check out what Jeff Kriet was up to. “Favorite food ever!!!” he posted. “How many pounds can you eat?? I'm good for 15!!” Wow, that’d give you about ¼ pound of meat. (We’re not mentioning sucking the heads.) Naw, crawfish are worth the effort.
Photo: Courtesy Jeff Kriet
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The postponement allowed Ish Monroe to hit the San Francisco Bay about two hours from his home in Hughson, Calif. “I got to start my saltwater fishing early with my first white seabass! Fishing on the California Dawn! One of the best captains in SF Bay.”
Photo: Courtesy Ish Monroe
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Brandon Palaniuk and Tiffany McCall decided to check out the Big Easy, including Legends of Jazz Park shown here. “Did some touristing yesterday in New Orleans! Not much for big cities, but the rich history and culture there is one of a kind,” he wrote. It wasn’t long that he took the off time to scout Lake Travis, where the Elites will fish in late May. Palaniuk said the fishery reminded him of the West Coast.
Photo: Courtesy Brandon Palaniuk
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Skeet Reese had the same idea. “Well since the Sabine River tournament got canceled, I figured I better make use of my free time and pre-fish Travis Lake since I've never been here before. Apparently it has a few good ones in it, but a whole lot of little ones.”
Photo: Courtesy Skeet Reese
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Chad Pipkens just said he was in Texas, but it’s assumed it was also Lake Travis. “Happy Easter from me and this beauty in Texas! I hope everyone has a great day. Make all of them count!”
Photo: Courtesy Chad Pipkens
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Mike McClelland joined in. “When BASS cancels the tourney on Sabine, you do a little scouting on Lake Travis.” It will be the first Bassmaster tournament on the lake, which is northwest of of Austin. The host city of Jonestown.
Photo: Courtesy Mike McClelland
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“Blasted em!” David Walker wrote. “David Mullins and I had a great day chasing around these #tennesseesmallmouth. Crazy weather conditions for April but fishin is hot!”
Photo: Courtesy David Walker
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Let’s go back out West to northern California to check on Jared Lintner. From what we can make of it, Lintner caught this fish in a Clear Lake derby on April 6, but his buddy here is trying to take credit for it. “When Mike tried to say it was his, but, we all know the truth,” Lintner posted.
Photo: Courtesy Jared Lintner
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Back a couple thousand miles to the East Coast and near San Mateo, Fla., where Terry Scroggins is looking for the bed that is “just right.” “It’s the season! Lookin for Mrs. BIG,” he posted. He’d love to make grandmother bear go beddy bye.
Photo: Courtesy Terry Scroggins
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In Texas, Alton Jones Jr. did some bed fishing himself and landed this 10.07, which was a pound under his personal best. “All smiles with this latest video!” he posted. “Be sure and check it out! Some bigs were caught!”
Photo: Courtesy Alton Jones Jr.
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Alton Jr.’s dad was over at Loafers Bend on Lake Whitney fishing with B.A.S.S. artist Arturo Murga, who said, “Fishing with the master of Texas.”
Photo: Courtesy Arturo Murga
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Chris and Trait Zaldain rubbed elbows Sunday with NASCAR folks at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth near their home. “Ignore my kid in a candy store face, but this guy right here is our favorite driver! We’ve got good vibes about this race, too! Get’em Martin Truex Jr.!” Alas, Truex was first out of the race and finished last.
Photo: Courtesy Chris Zaldain
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And we say good night by watching Seth Feider sleep near his newborn, Rose Anne Feider, who came into this world at 9:36 p.m. on April 9. The baby weighed 8.3 pounds -- a true lunker -- and was 21.5 inches long. Mom Dayton Feider posted this image, writing “I just can’t handle how cute this is.” We concur.