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…]

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…]

Back to 1970 with Roland Martin

Photo Brenda Serrano.

Photo Brenda Serrano.

A couple of days ago I posted a piece on Kevin VanDam and I stated that I’d followed his career before he was actually KVD. Most of that was because of my close friend and mentor, Dave Green, but after 1991 I followed his career because he was nearly my age and he was kicking everyone’s sphincter on the The Trail. You had to follow Kevin in his early years – you were forced to merely because of his success against anglers twice his age.

Today, though, I’m posting a piece about my first bass fishing hero – Roland Martin. You have to understand, when I first joined B.A.S.S. in 1974, Roland was the king. He’d won the past three Bassmaster AOYs and his articles in Bassmaster Magazine taught me how to think as a bass fisherman. Every article he wrote I read, digested and tried to apply to my fishing – as a 10 year-old. I didn’t just go fishing at the park or local lake to practice my casting (sorry Stan, I practiced my casting in the street much to the chagrin of my neighbors and their car windows), I went with the intent on finding a pattern and catching fish. That’s what Roland Martin instilled in me. There was a method and if you could figure out where the fish were with respect to season, temperature, depth and other factors, you’d catch fish. [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 One

Kelly Johnson of Lockheed fame had his Skunk Works. Mercury Marine's Carl Kiekhaefer had his Lake-X. Shown the the building where Kiekhafer and his crew of mechanics, drivers and engineers secretly worked on Mercury outboards for nearly half  century.

Kelly Johnson of Lockheed fame had his Skunk Works. Mercury Marine’s Carl Kiekhaefer had his Lake-X. Shown is the building where Kiekhafer and his crew of mechanics, drivers and engineers secretly worked on Mercury outboards for nearly half century. Photo Brenda Serrano.

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending this year’s precursor to ICAST, a function known as Tackle-X, held on the hallowed grounds of Mercury Marine’s mysterious Lake-X. An “invite only” event, Tackle-X would bring industry, media and the Kirchman Foundation together for a relaxed day at the lake to talk fishing, meet with old friends and new, and visit a place few have tread on. Here’s the lead-in to the invite: [Read more…]