Four of the most accomplished and popular pros find themselves in Orange, Texas just 30 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to begin the 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series Season. VanDam, Iaconelli, Scroggins and Swindle graciously share their insight about the Sabine River, saltwater catches and satellite radio favorites.
Q: Did you scout or pre-fish the Sabine River prior to arriving here this week?
KVD: No, not at all, in fact I haven’t even studied it on Google Earth.
A giant cardboard paycheck brought a grin to Bassmaster Classic Champion Cliff Pace’s face when he was presented $7,500 in Toyota Trucks Bonus Bucks money.
The new champ has long towed his Skeeter with a Tundra, and this is not the first check that Pace has hauled home from Toyota’s angler friendly cash bonus program. Much like the superior wisdom he’s displayed for fishing, the $7,500 he’ll add to his Classic winning $500,000 first place prize proves he was wise to sign-up for the Toyota Trucks Bonus Bucks Program several years ago.
Terry “Big Show” Scroggins is a big guy. And for the past several seasons, the 6-foot tall 235-pound Floridian has largely been perceived as a lover of the flipping stick and thick vegetation. There’s truth to that. But throughout the 2012 Elite Series season … truth … was not always reality.
The numbers don’t lie. According to the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings, “Big Show” was the third best angler on tour this past season. And he caught more than half the keepers he hauled to the B.A.S.S. scales using finesse techniques and a spinning reel.
The first ever Toyota Trucks Bonus Bucks Owners Tournament was a celebration of shared passions among more than 160 anglers who fished in the event October 14th at Queen’s Landing on Lake Norman, NC.
Event organizers representing Toyota along with B.A.S.S. staff members greeted each participating team and presented them with free lures and line from Pradco and Berkley, a Carhartt sweatshirt, and a free special edition Bonus Bucks rod from Quantum before they ever made their first cast the next morning.
She was baking cinnamon rolls when I phoned in an attempt to find the heart behind yet another of the gestures that makes professional bass fishing intangibly special.
This time, “intangibly special” was found in the form of a half-dozen envelopes that stood out like a donkey at The Kentucky Derby on the front seat of KVD’s Tundra. Each of the six envelopes labeled with the name of a fellow Bassmaster Elite Series competitor in his mother’s handwriting.
Based on bringing back-to-back 16-pound stringers to the scales, Mike Iaconelli has earned a solid seat inside the top of the standings at the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament on Bull Shoals.
“I’d estimate that 60-percent of the keepers I weighed-in so far came on Warts,” said Iaconelli, the 2006 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year.
No, Iaconelli isn’t referring to virally induced bumps of the epidermis, but instead the vintage, erratic tracking, original Wiggle Wart lures launched to the market in the early 1970s by Storm Lure Company, then based in Norman, Oklahoma.
Yep, that’s how he described it. “This is my Mac Daddy Hammer during the spawn.” It was a youthful quip that goes far in explaining what makes the 44-year-old KVD so dominant. A candid verbal expression of endless energy, passion and excitement for what he does.
I’m not exactly sure what a Mac Daddy Hammer is, but I’m pretty sure it’s not an early ‘90s rapper in baggy pants because VanDam is more a fan of Metallica and Saliva. What I do know is that his comical expression of choice indicates a high level of excitement for one of his absolute favorite lures when bass are spawning.
The 2012 Bassmaster Elite Series season kicks off this week in Terry “Big Show” Scroggins’ hometown of Palatka, Florida. And while his home-field advantage is obvious, so is his heart for making sure everybody has a good time, and nobody walks away hungry.
Alton Jones had barely settled into his seat in front of a microphone at a post-Classic press conference when officials presented him with two giant cardboard bonus checks from BoatU.S. Angler and Toyota totaling $9,000, to add on to the $30,000 he had just earned from B.A.S.S. for a 4th place finish on Shreveport’s Red River.
Kyle Busch traveled around Texas Motor Speedway in his No. 18 Toyota Camry at roughly 140 mph.
But two days earlier, Busch slowed to half that speed, boating at 70 mph in Mike Iaconelli’s Bass Cat for the sake of fishing for a good cause on Lake Lewisville near Dallas.