James Niggemeyer – The Move to Fork

James Niggemeyer talks about his move to Texas and a successful, yet, financially taxing 2005 season. Photo Brenda Serrano.

James Niggemeyer talks about his move to Texas and a successful, yet, financially taxing 2005 season. Photo Brenda Serrano.

A couple weeks ago we posted a video about James Niggemeyer and the first pivotal tournament of his career, the one that actually kept him in competitive fishing. Today we have another video on James’ career – how he packed up and left southern California to move to Lake Fork Texas and started a new path towards being a professional angler. [Read more…]

James Niggemeyer – Almost His Last Leg

James Niggemeyer. ICAST 2014. Photo Brenda Serrano.

James Niggemeyer. ICAST 2014. Photo Brenda Serrano.

In 1997 professional bass fishing hopeful James Niggemeyer was on what seemed to be his last leg for a while. Tapped out with credit card debt, he knew the final regular season Anglers Choice Lake Shasta pro-am would be his last for a long time. Still he hoped to finish high enough to make the year-end championship. [Read more…]

Shaw Grigsby Jr. – Pro-on-Pro vs. Marshal

Shaw Grigsby Jr. ICAST 2014. Photo Brenda Serrano.

Shaw Grigsby Jr. ICAST 2014. Photo Brenda Serrano.

When this whole competitive bass fishing deal started back in the late 60s, cheating and rigged tournaments were some of the biggest obstacles that Ray Scott faced. In order to alleviate those dark shadows, Scott decided on a tournament format where anglers would be paired together, different pairings for each day. This would not only significantly decrease the chances that two anglers would go into cahoots with each other but also provided policing from within.

For nearly 30 years after that first Beaver Lake event, pros would be paired with pros on the Bassmaster and other trails throughout the country. The format had its benefits but also had its downfalls. [Read more…]

Kevin Hawk – From Trout to Tournaments

Kevin Hawk ICAST 2014. Photo Brenda Serrano.

Kevin Hawk ICAST 2014. Photo Brenda Serrano.

Elite Series angler Kevin Hawk got his start fishing with his father and brother for trout in the local San Diego lakes. By chance his father also had some friends that bass fished – they took him and he was hooked.

Hawk’s teenage years were spent fishing local waters and events until he started climbing up through the ranks fishing local team events through the western Strens. His qualification into the 2009 FLW Cup as the last angler would change his life. [Read more…]

Shaw Grigsby Jr. – From Motorcycles to Bass Fishing

Shaw Grigsby Jr. ICAST 2014. Photo Brenda Serrano.

Shaw Grigsby Jr. ICAST 2014. Photo Brenda Serrano.

Shaw Grigsby Jr.’s been a stalwart on the Bassmaster scene since 1977 but did you know that he started because he didn’t have a motorcycle race one weekend? Prior to that weekend he’d fished about once a month with his father but his primary hobby at the time was motorcycle racing.

Well, after Grigsby fished his first event with a close friend, his hobby soon changed. [Read more…]

Iaconelli – The 2006 Classic

Mike Iaconelli being interviewed about his 2006 Classic incident at ICAST 2014.

Mike Iaconelli being interviewed about his 2006 Classic incident at ICAST 2014.

Controversy seems to follow Mike Iaconelli no matter where he goes. His 2003 Classic celebration on the front deck of his boat was met with divided support – some understood the feeling he must have had knowing he’d accomplished his goal of a Classic win, while others thought it was showboating. In fact, the 2003 Classic was really the first time we got a view of IKE.

Prior to that 2003 win, he almost quit the competitive world of bass fishing. But that Classic win not only reinvigorated his confidence that he could fish at the top level, it brought him into the spotlight. No longer would he be considered a Federation angler who fished the tour – he would be seen as a competitor – and a colorful character. Television crews loved him because you never knew what outlandish thing he would do next. [Read more…]

Jay Yelas – From Cheeseballs to Classic Winner

Jay Yelas ICAST 2014. Photo Brenda Serrano.

Jay Yelas ICAST 2014. Photo Brenda Serrano.

Around the 1988 time frame I was still working at the tackle shop and going to college. Although I wasn’t fishing, I kept up on what was happening on the tournament scene from the anglers who came into the shop. What happened in ’88 seemed to be a changing of the guard. Long time western pros such as Don Iovino, Bobby Garland, Fred Ward and Larry Hopper had a new angler to contend with – a kid just out of college named Jay Yelas.

I vividly remember some of the local anglers coming into the shop who fished the Red Man circuit in the day – guys that knew “The River Lakes” like the back of their hand. They were donating entry fees to Yelas’ graduate studies – his field of study being professional bass fisherman. [Read more…]

Crankbait Master David Fritts

David Fritts at ICAST 2014. Photo Brenda Serrano.

David Fritts at ICAST 2014. Photo Brenda Serrano.

Over the course of time there have been a handful of anglers who have become famous due to the crankbait. Rick Clunn, of course, has made a solid career out of throwing crankbaits and is the reason for the squarebill’s resurrection at least twice since the mid-70s. Paul Elias is another angler who’s kneeling-and-reeling technique brought him fame – and fortune. But if one were to take a poll from anglers over 40 who the best professional crankbait fisherman is, I would bet the results would turn out to show David Fritts as number-1. [Read more…]

How He Became KVD

Kevin VanDam talking about how he started his career at ICAST 2014. Photo Brenda Serrano.

Kevin VanDam talking about how he started his career at ICAST 2014. Photo Brenda Serrano.

In the event you haven’t figured it out yet, I used ICAST as a platform to talk with tour-level pros about their beginnings. KVD was no different.

I have always been fascinated by KVD’s career – starting from his Federation days through his first year on tour. The reason for that is I spent my summers in Michigan from 1986 through roughly 1990. Around the 1988 timeframe I went back for my annual summer visit and as soon as I got off the plane, my buddy Dave told me there was some kid cleaning everyone’s clock in the state. That kid was Kevin VanDam. [Read more…]

Roland and Scott – A Cup and a Bunch of Hardware

Roland and Scott Martin having some fun at ICAST. Photo Brenda Serrano.

Roland and Scott Martin having some fun at ICAST. Photo Brenda Serrano.

I look forward to events such as ICAST because it brings everyone together in one setting no matter what trail they fish. At these events I’ve seen Roland Martin and I’ve seen Scott Martin, but rarely have I ever seen them at the same event or if they were, I’d never actually seen them standing together. I’m sure it’s tough on both of them, being pulled in every-which direction due to sponsor obligations, business meetings and signings. 

But this past week in Orlando I, by chance, was able to get the two of them together for a really cool talk.  [Read more…]

Experiences – Randy Blaukat

Professional Angler, Randy Blaukat

Professional Angler, Randy Blaukat

In this series of videos we ask Tour-level pros questions about how they got their start in professional bass fishing – be it a childhood experience, an early tournament they fished or some other experience they had along the way.

Please understand the sound in these videos is not the best due to the high background noise and the fact our microphones were not working. Still, they provide a cool look back into these pros early careers and what shaped them into the anglers they are today. [Read more…]

Mercury’s Lake-X – Part Two

The infamous Lake-X observation tower. Photo Brenda Serrano.

The infamous Lake-X observation tower. Photo Brenda Serrano.

Yesterday we posted Part One of a piece on Mercury Marine’s Lake-X. Today we present Part Two of that tour with Elite Series angler Bernie Schultz and John Litjens – a long-time Mercury employee and manager of Lake-X. [Read more…]