Category Archives: News

PRADCO Acquires War Eagle Lures – News

Some big news in the fishing industry and in the local lure manufacturing front was announced today. PRADCO Outdoor Brands announced they have acquired War Eagle Custom Lures, formerly based in Rogers, Arkansas. War Eagle is a very popular brand with many loyal anglers who love their spinnerbaits and buzzbaits.

PRADCO announces acquisition of War Eagle Custom Lures of Rogers, Arkansas.
PRADCO announces acquisition of War Eagle Custom Lures of Rogers, Arkansas.

When discussing the announcement with a friend, they immediately wondered aloud if the War Eagle name would survive the
acquisition. According to the actual press release distributed by PRADCO for the announcement, War Eagle appears to be remaining as an individual brand as it joins a PRADCO lineup that includes names like Booyah, YUM, Bandit, Bomber, Norman, Smithwick, Rebel and others.

“As part of PRADCO Outdoor Brands, War Eagle Custom Lures will be shipped to customers along with POB’s entire portfolio of brands from PRADCO’s distribution center in Calera, Alabama.”

As a heavy user of both Booyah and War Eagle spinnerbaits and buzzbaits, I’m looking forward to following how this plays out. War Eagle Custom Lures also produces a line of jigs, spoons and jig heads in addition to the famous spinnerbait and buzzbait offerings.  This should make it easier in the future when ordering War Eagle lures, which should at some point be available on Lurenet.com along with some of my favorite YUM, Booyah and Norman items.

Although War Eagle Custom Lures has been based in Rogers, Arkansas, the management of the brand is staying local. According to the release:

“All product development, marketing, accounting, manufacturing and purchasing functions will be managed in Fort Smith. Brand Manager Chad Warner will have responsibility for War Eagle.”

Read the full release about the announcement on the Lurenet.com blog site.

 

2017 NWA Natural State Kayak Anglers Season Preview

One of the largest kayak bass fishing tournament tNatural State Kayak Anglers (NSKA)rails in the country, Natural State Kayak Anglers, is about to start for 2017 and we contacted some veteran NSKA anglers for their take on the upcoming season schedule. The Natural State Kayak Anglers (NSKA) tournament series is a great way to improve your fishing skills, meet other anglers and most importantly to have a lot of fun on the water.

The 2017 NSKA Tournament Schedule

Jeff Malott is the tournament director for NSKA events this year, we asked him some general questions about the upcoming season:

What’s the best change you made this year to the NSKA tournament trail?

Jeff – Changing tourney management over to 100% use of tourneyX.com will be a real game changer. No more long waits at weigh in and the ability to follow a live leaderboard should take our events to another level.

Knowing you are not fishing the tournaments this year, what’s the one event you will miss fishing in the most?  

Jeff – To ensure the NSKA events go smoothly I won’t participate locally this season. The one event I’ll miss most will probably be the NWA Road Runner, only because I historically do really well, lol.

Which event will have the most impact on the AOY race?

Jeff – With there being only 1 drop this season (best 5 of 6 count towards AOY), all events are going to have a huge impact, but a good start is essential so probably Swepco in NWA and Spadra in the River Valley.

Roundtable – NSKA Angler Season Preview

Natural State Kayak Anglers Taylor Frizzell, Justin Phillips, Rob Barnica and myself shared predictions and thoughts on the upcoming schedule for 2017:

Which NSKA event will produce the longest length? 

Jeff – The longest string should come from the road runner event, folks can really tune in on the handful of big bass lakes around NWA and the River Valley.

Taylor – I think the NWA road runner will produce the the longest length. Only because there will be so many bodies of water in play that you won’t have 60+ anglers on the same lake. I feel like someone will end up with a area pretty much to themselves and be able to really work the body of water.

Jason – To me it is clearly the online event, anglers will have multiple days to put a limit together.

What’s the key in getting off to a fast start for the season?

Rob –  For myself it simply placing top 10 in a tournament. This is my first year fishing kayak tournaments.

Justin – For me it comes down to preparation, practice and homework. All of these have one thing in common. Trying to maximize control over known variables. In short, take care of what you can and when hiccups come you’ll be less inclined to get rattled and more inclined to formulate a solid Plan B.

Jason – I’ll be happy if I can get any sleep the night before tournaments. It’s hard for me to do because I’m excited and ready to go.

Which event do you have circled where you want to do the best?

Rob – The first one at Swepco Lake. It’s a huge confidence booster to know you can compete in your first year with so many great anglers.

Taylor – I’m looking forward to the KBF/NSKA event the most only because I feel like turn out will be amazing and it will give a lot of competitive NWA guys a chance to prove themselves on a larger scale. It’s going to be a lot of fun to have that opportunity to fish a big event and not have to travel hours to do so.

Jason – Probably the NWA Road Runner…there is so much strategy involved on where to go it is interesting to see where anglers wind up fishing.

Swepco Lake is notorious for being a wind tunnel in March. How might this impact how anglers attack the lake? What’s the winning length going to be?

Justin – It really depends on how much wind and what anglers are willing to put up with. Wind can be great in some circumstances but if it’s white capping not many will want to deal with that. The protected pockets may become so packed a guy will be able to walk across the water and not get his feet wet.  If it’s not too bad it may keep everyone more dispersed. I predict 84 inches will win.

Rob – The wind is simply a mindset. Between anchors and pedals I don’t feel it’s a huge obstacle. Winning length on Swepco will be 90+ inches.

Taylor – The wind tunnel in March is always interesting. It makes you really be on your toes and you have to be able to adapt to this on a whim. I think the paddlers will hug the banks and try to attack the coves and the peddlers will have more of an opportunity to fish where they want. It will also make the finesse guys figure out a strategy to put fish in the boat. I know last year I had to change tactics several times based on the wind. It tends to make it really hard to keep your position when Texas rigging or Jig fishing. I used a Ned rig a lot last year but when the wind picked up I had to change my plan of attack. I think for the winning length at Swepco will be over 90 inches because of the size of fish that are in that lake.

The NSKA/KBF event is on Beaver Lake in April. Last year the lake was high and muddy, so far this year it is low and very clear. How do you expect this change to affect this event?

Justin – If it stays as it is the low water will keep the fish pooled in tighter areas. With the decent year on Beaver Lake last season that may prove to provide great regardless of your style. However, I wouldn’t get overly excited just yet. The spring rains may flood and upset the apple cart. If that happens the water would probably become muddy and power fishing techniques will come more into play. 

Rob – Hopefully it keeps the big boats away from several spots. Obviously the lake and all structure has changed. Let’s pray we don’t have a torrential downpour the week before our tournament.

Jason – Should benefit the finesse anglers mid-lake to the dam. A lot of others may run up closer to the river looking for some stained water. I’m happy we’ll get a shot at Beaver Lake before the FLW pros do. Last couple of years they hammered the lake right before our event.

With the NWA River Road Runner focused on river fishing, where do you think the hotspots for anglers will be for this event?

Rob – Illinois, Kings and White would be my best guess.

Justin – I’d like to look at War Eagle, could be a solid choice.

Jason – There are some great river fishermen in NSKA and I’m not one of them. Have heard great things in the past about the Illinois and Kings. Might be that there’s a honey hole on a little known creek or river that may be the secret to victory.

For the NWA Road Runner, strategy comes into play big time for this event – big bass lakes can pay off or burn you. What’s the best high risk high reward destination for this event?

Taylor – The NWA roadrunner high risk high reward destination is Swepco Lake. The fact that there are so many large fish in that lake makes it a go to option but the time of year makes that lake a coin flip. If that water is hot the angler who knows how to fish deep and entice the fish to bite could have a winning outcome, but at the same time it could set them up for failure.

Jason – When I think about the biggest bass in NWA I tend to think Lincoln Lake. That place has the ability to provide a good limit with two to three 20s in it, but it can be fickle sometimes. I’d say Lincoln is the best home run chance.

There is a weekend online tournament in July, that is obviously a different type of deal than a one day event. How should anglers approach this differently than a normal tournament?

Rob – Due to being my first year, I really don’t know the answer. I’m still learning myself.

Taylor – The summer slam online is going to be an interesting event. I feel like Anglers should stick with what they’re comfortable with but at the same time it might take stepping out of that comfort zone to win. I personally won’t run to the “go to” lakes that we normally would in the spring. It’s going to be a hot summer I think and I feel like the rivers are going to have an advantage over the lakes for this particular event but with fishing you honestly never know where the money stringer is going to be.

Jason – Those who fish the most over the weekend won’t necessarily win, I think it will be the angler that picks the right spots at the right time.

Get Ready – It’s Go Time!

Check out the Razoryak Tournament Trail website for info about NSKA as well as the River Valley, Central Arkansas, and NE/North Central trails. If this is your first tournament season, read this article on Five Catch Photo Release (CPR) Protips and the one on a Kayak Fishing Tournament Packing List for helpful information.

Like this article? Check out other recent kayak fishing posts:

Tear Em Up Fishing – Making the Outdoors Great Again

Mark Collier is on a mission to get anyone and everyone out fishing and his new brand Tear Em Up Fishing is designed to do just that. I’ve fished with Mark before and he’s a good guy who’s also a great ambassador for the sport of kayak fishing. I was intrigued by what he was doing with Tear Em Up Fishing and asked if he’d answer some of my questions about his new movement.

Tear Em Up Fishing Logo

What is Tear Em Up Fishing?

Tear Em Up Fishing is something I have wanted to do for a very long time. As long as I can remember, if anyone asked if we were catching anything, my stock answer was always, we are tearing em up! It didn’t matter if we were catching a boat load or nothing at all. We were…TEARING EM UP!

I started fishing at a very young age with my parents and have been fortunate to have fished on both coasts, the Midwest and in the South. It doesn’t matter what part of the country you are in, everyone says tearing em up when describing their fishing success (or lack thereof). The average Joe can relate to Tearing Em Up and that is our target audience.

What made you start Tear Em Up fishing?

The inspiration was a desire to have fishing apparel at an affordable price and available to the average Joe. And, I wanted to encourage folks to get out and go fishing. Young or old, short or tall – go fishing and experience the thrill of tearing em up!

What are your goals with Tear Em Up Fishing?

As I’ve mentioned, we want to spread the word about Tear Em Up Fishing. We want to build a brand the average outdoorsman can relate to. We want to offer products that ANYONE can afford, offer products that people will like, find comfortable and be a little different. Tear Em Up Fishing is definitely not ever going to be a cookie cutter business!

I know you’ve created and marketed Tear Em Up apparel. If someone wears your branded apparel, what does that say about them?
Tear Em Up Fishing Kayak Mark Collier
River fishing in the Ozarks.

Yes. We are in the process of launching our website to get the word out about the Tear Em Up Fishing brand. We are also working on getting our name trademarked along with some other marketing activities. Our brand says, “We love to fish, are passionate about the outdoors and like supporting the little guy.” The brand will not be the big name apparel that you can get at a box store.

Tear Em Up fishing has been sponsoring or donating prizes to some kayak or fishing groups, which ones and why are you supporting them?

Some of the groups we have sponsored or donated to include: Hooked On Heroes; Malvern Boys & Girls Club; River Bassin Tournament Trail; Kayak Bass Series Tournament Trail; and Kayak Bass Anglers of Central Arkansas. Supporting Hooked On Heroes is easy – look at what they do for our Veterans!

We support the Malvern Boys & Girls Club because of what they do for kids – they are our future! Take a kid fishing, introduce them to what we all love. There is nothing better and more rewarding personally than introducing a young person to fishing.

We also sponsor some great tournament anglers around the country who are really helping us advance the brand. Tear Em Up Fishing has Pro-Staff  in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Missouri and Ohio.

You have been working some fishing shows recently, what are you working to accomplish and how has the reception been?

We had a booth at the Wichita Sports Show and we also had one at the Big Bass Bash at Lake of the Ozarks in the fall. Tear Em Up was received very well at the shows. Wichita was our first big show, with our Tear Em Up towels, hats and T-shirts selling very well very well there. We are planning on setting up at FLW events in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. We want Tear Em Up Fishing in the public for folks to see. The more exposure we get the better for our brand. Along with Tear Em Up apparel, we are dealers for Carrot Stix rods, Cal Coast Fishing, and Glo-Pro lures. We will also be carrying, hunting, fishing and other outdoor merchandise.

What is the best way for people to keep up with Tear Em Up Fishing and what all you have now and into the future?

Right now, the best way to check out our merchandise is on our Facebook page, and our website www.tearemupfishing.net should be launched this month . People can also follow us on Instagram, YouTube channel and Twitter.

I noticed a phone number on your Facebook page cover photo which is unusual for a company to do. Why publish a direct phone number?

Phone number is for anyone to call with questions, wanting information or wanting to make an order. We want people to be able to talk to someone personally if they need to reach our customer service. Folks fish for a reason – usually a personal reason and we want to be responsive and available to Tear Em Up Fishing’s customers.

Mark and the Tear Em Up Fishing team are headed in the right direction and from what I’ve seen their brand is catching on among anglers who are looking for their own voice in the average Joe fishing space. Great things seem to be headed their way due to their clear vision of message and no-nonsense approach. We have little doubt that a year from now when we ask Mark how it’s going, we’ll know what he’ll say – “We are TEARING EM UP!”

Cheating in CPR Kayak Bass Fishing Tournaments

The kayak fishing tournament social media world was buzzing today about an announcement by KBF, KBS and other groups about an individual who was caught cheating in live and online tournaments. In short, this individual was caught using altered Hawg Troughs to

faketrough
This photo posted by KBS shows a real Hawg Trough compared to photos from the offender, who obscured his board and fish with his wrist.

make fish appear longer than they were in CPR (Catch, Photo, Release) photos, and, was using multiple altered Hawg Troughs to allow them to submit the same fish at different lengths. A couple of pretty good breakdowns were provided by Kayak Bass Series and by Chad Hoover in a long and transparent video. (NSFW – Language)

After the news broke today (Tuesday, April 19), social media platforms such as Facebook were buzzing with comments, declarations and anger from other kayak anglers. There is no secret that some people cheat, and anyone who didn’t think that was going on is naive. What made this revelation so noteworthy was the scale at which this individual had cheated – across several tournament formats and trails. He has been publicly humiliated and April 19 was likely the worst day of his life. And, he deserves it.

As for the issue of cheating…I believe Tournament Directors (TDs) have to be vigilant in guarding against cheating. TDs do a fantastic job and are generous with their time donated to running events for their anglers. In my opinion, TDs have a responsibility to ensure a close scrutiny on photos submitted for prize winning anglers. Spend a few extra minutes evaluating the winning photos to ensure nothing is going on. Competitors trust the officials to maintain the integrity of the sport. Once cheating or the rumor of cheating becomes associated with the sport, it will stunt the growth of tournaments and people’s confidence in the outcome of events. I’ll continue to compete because I enjoy it, but there are others who will walk away if they think cheating occurs. Now is the time to be extra careful and promote transparency.

Here are a few suggestions I would like to see to help discourage cheating and encourage transparency with CPR tournaments:

  • TDs should take a few moments with the photos of top finishers to ensure they look right. (some of pic examples from the cheater should have been easy to spot with a little more scrutiny of the fish)
  • The photos of winning fish limits and big bass should be posted publicly so they can be viewed. This happens now with online tourneys and could be helpful in local tourneys.
  • Reduce any stigma surrounding someone reporting something questionable or unusual. If people are not comfortable in reporting someone breaking the rules, then the cheaters prosper.
  • Adoption of globally used rules for measurements, pre and post tournament procedures and use of identifiers would help streamline the rules and make it easier to spot anomalies.

This individual wasn’t the first to cheat (we all likely know someone who was caught) and won’t be the last. The fact that this has sent shock-waves through the kayak fishing community speaks to the importance of integrity in the sport. Kudos to those who uncovered this scam and systematically assembled the evidence in a way that left no question of how the rules were being violated.

Community and camaraderie are some of the most valued attributes of the kayak fishing experience – a few cheaters won’t take that away from us.

Norman Lures Acquired

Thinn
Norman’s Thin N

One bit of news in the tackle business world caught my attention as Norman Lures was recently acquired. Norman Lures is a local company (based in Greenwood, Ark.) and has been producing
baits for more than 50 years. This news is interesting to me because of the fact Norman Lures is a local company, one of the oldest and well-respected bass fishing brands and is a producer of some of my favorite crankbaits.

Depending on the time of year, my kayak has several Norman lures on board including the Deep Little N, Thin N and Fat Boy in particular. It’s been announced that the specific Norman lures like the DD22, Deep Little N, Mad N, Flat Broke, and Fat Boy will be continued. No definitive word yet on some of their other lures. I’m personally a big fan of the Thin N, so I hope they keep it around.  The Thin N has a unique “coffin-bill” shaped lip that combines with the thin profile to give it a different wiggle than many other squarebills. This could mean I need to stash some more Thin N lures just in case they become unavailable.

Overall, this seems like positive news and will allow a great brand and some great baits to continue to be available to fishermen. Norman Lures was purchased by PRADCO Outdoor Brands, and you can read more about the acquisition in the Southwest Times Record. PRADCO produces many brands that I love to use including Booyah, Yum, Smithwick, Bomber, Bandit, Heddon, Rebel and Arbogast.