Bass Fishing Pro Brad Hallman Reveals Weirdest Catch
This is the saga of an overly aggressive freshwater mussel.
"It was a big one and it actually snapped onto my line while I was dragging a Carolina rig on Lake Texoma," recalled Brad Hallman, a bass fishing pro from Oklahoma. "I actually felt that tick on my line and set the hook. They're not round, so they run sideways when you pull one in.
"The funny thing is there's no getting your line out of it. You can't open it. You've got to cut your line."
Another Rojas Dream Season?
Imagine making the Elite top-12 cut in five of the first six Elite Series events and not leading the Angler of the Year heading into the home stretch of the 2006 season.
That is exactly the situation for Dean Rojas of Arizona, who has made the finals in every tournament but the Pride of Augusta on Clarks Hill Lake, where he finished 67th. Despite walking in Kevin VanDam territory - his streak of nine consecutive finals appearances ended earlier this year - Rojas finds himself trailing Michael Iaconelli by 54 points.
"To have the season I'm having so far, it's magical," the transplanted Texan said. "It's really a fun time right now.
"I couldn't even fathom making that many cuts, let alone the Angler of the Year title. Everything right now is just kind of clicking right along for me. I'm just excited to go to the next one."
Could fishing fans be witnessing another dream season like the one Rojas had in 2001 when he won two BASS tournaments, posted three other top-four finishes and set prestigious BASS records for largest five-bass catch and four-day total on Lake Tohopekaliga?
"It definitely has that kind of feel to it," he said. "I think right now it's a little more special because I kind of know what to expect and how to handle a lot of the stuff.
"But I don't think I'm on a roll. I haven't won anything yet. I haven't won a tournament. I've had some high, consistent finishes. I've put myself in a position to win, but I haven't won anything."
Rojas opened the Elite season with a 12th-place showing at Lake Amistad in Texas, followed by a runner-up finish at Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Then came a sixth-place finish at the Santee Cooper Showdown in South Carolina and an 11th- place showing at Lake Guntersville in Alabama. After stumbling at Clarks Hill, he got back on track with a fifth-place performance at Grand Lake in Oklahoma.
Looking for the reasons why certain anglers get on a role is tricky, but Rojas thinks he knows the answer.
"I think the most important thing is the actual schedule itself," he said. "We got out of the real cold months where a lot of the luck factor plays into those because of the weather and all of the fronts coming in.
"We've had more stable weather and good tournaments where the fish wanted to bite. I love it.
"I'm happy with everything that's been going on. Obviously, I want to win Angler of the Year. That's my big goal. But I've got to think one fish at a time and one tournament at a time. We've still got five tournaments to go. Heck, this is fishing, I know anything could happen."
Byron Velvick and his fiancée Mary Delgado both competed in the recent Sooner Run on Grand Lake. But who won their personal match-up depends on how you look at it.
Delgado finished 60th in the co-angler division, while Velvick placed 95th on the angler side. But he caught a total of four bass weighing 15 pounds, 11 ounces; she had four bass totaling 8-15.
That must have been an interesting discussion on the ride back to their Tampa, Fla., home.
Alabama pro Gerald Swindle returned home from the Bassmaster Memorial to find a package from one of his biggest fans. He will likely never forget what it contained.
Inside was an American flag that had flown during a combat mission in Afghanistan. It was sent by a woman in the Alabama Air National Guard who told Swindle he is her favorite angler. In fact, she and her husband had posed with him for a photo during the 2006 Bassmaster Classic in Kissimmee, Fla.
The active duty guardswoman asked Swindle to fly the flag on the back of his Triton boat during a tournament. He plans to honor that request during the Elite Series practice and competition on Oneida Lake in Syracuse during the week of Fourth of July.
"It's an incredible honor," Swindle said. "It's hard to believe that someone thought enough of me to send me this."
Brent Broderick will enjoy a unique situation when he competes as a co-angler in the Elite Series' Bluegrass Brawl on Kentucky Lake this week and then as a pro on the same lake a week later in the Bassmaster Northern Tour opener.
"It's a neat story how that came about," the Ohio angler said. "I was fishing the Tour event at Lake Eufaula and someone interviewed me about starting the Northern Tour season on Kentucky Lake.
"I basically said the Elite guys were going to be there the week before and I was planning to come early and practice with the Elite guys. But when it came time for their tournament, I wasn't going to be seen out on the water because I know too many of the guys. And I don't think it is fair. Plus, I didn't want to step on anybody's toes by practicing on somebody's water while the Elite anglers were there.
"Word of what I said got back to Mercury and Kevin Luebke (manager, freshwater endorsements) called and told me that it was great that I actually cared about the other team members. So he decided to put me in the Elite tournament as an amateur. I was just so tickled. So it's going to be great."
Veteran Florida pro Peter Thliveros' boat design sports the logo of Tru-Tungsten. "They're one of my newest sponsors," the Bassmaster Memorial winner said. "I've been with them a little over a year.
"They've got a complete line of stuff out now. And they've taken some ideas I've had and turned them into products. That makes me want to promote them even more."
DID YOU KNOW?
Television icon Bill Dance was the first repeat winner in BASS history. He won three tournaments in 1968 and went on to earn two BASS Angler of the Year titles.
Ish Monroe will be 32 on June 20, while fellow Californian Skeet Reese will blow out 37 candles on June 30.
IF I HADN'T BECOME A BASS PRO
Lori Masters, a competitor on the Women's Bassmaster Tour, might still be pursuing another career that involves a lot of driving. The Antioch, Tenn., angler used to be a long-haul trucker.
THEY SAID IT
"I questioned why people get excited about bass fishing, but I look back to when I was younger and I did, too. Most of the guys in this sport are down to earth. We're accessible to fans. We don't get shuffled off the stage and no one gets to talk to us." - Mike McClelland telling the Tulsa World newspaper that fan support is greatly appreciated.