Over the past ten years I have been capturing some incredible underwater images of Largemouth Bass hunting and feeding in the wild and it was time to put some of the images into a video that everyone can enjoy..For me capturing the footage is the real fun and going into the edit phase is where I get a bit frustrated that my storyline is not perfect, but finally I feel that with my video Largemouth Bass XL I got it pretty close to what I visioned in my head
The opening scene is a question that I will ask for the rest of my life “what is it about these Largemouth Bass that drives us to constantly come back for more” I know that I have had the bass fishing obsession since I was six years old, how about you?
Early in the video I added some scenes of some Monster bass chasing and crushing rainbow trout and tried to show just how real the struggle is, and later the video I show many scenes of the food chain and how the small bass need to be aware of larger bass and just them trying to move from one area to another could mean your dinner for a Big Bass.
In future videos I will pick out specific scenes and and do some comentary of what I believe was going on while filming and after seeing the clips in edit…
So enjoy the video and please subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow me on Instagram at MikeLongOutdoors
I have caught Big Bass from shore, wading, bass boat, rental boats, rafts, and float tubes, but when I got my Pursuit Kayak from NuCanoe a whole new world of options opened for me to pursue those monster bass..Here is a video to explain some of what I like about my NuCanoe Pursuit Kayak.. #Nucanoedoit
For quite some time now I have been using swimbaits and more times than I can count I’ve had to modify them with an added hook in order to catch some tricky bass. There are lots of ways to add a hook, but the method I’ve used for years the ML Stinger Rig is one that you can rig in the field in a matter of minutes and add to your swimbait, or many other lures.
Some of the items you will need are some quality treble hooks, swivels, split rings, 22 gauge wire, or Christmas ornament hangers, and some split ring pliers.
For treble hooks I prefer to use the Owner Stinger short shank size 1. it has a semi flat side that sits against the baits real nice, and the hook points are bent in towards the shank of the hook which really help keep the hook out trouble like rocks, and wood.
Your going to need two size #3 split rings, one Stinger treble hook, and one #4 swivel. I try to match the size of the hook to width of the bait, and the conditions I will fishing.
A good pair of split ring pliers and small needle nose pliers really help in putting the ML Stinger Rig together, but you can use your thumb nail on the split rings if you have durable nails.
Step One: You want to start by having everything out in front of you ready to go, and start by getting one split ring open ready and ready for the barrel swivel.
Step Two: Now it’s time to add the barrel swivel.
Step Three: Add the second split ring to the barrel swivel.
Step Four: The needle nose pliers really help to turn the split rings onto the barrel swivel.
Step Five: Time to add the treble hook to the ML Stinger Rig.
You can prepare the ML Stinger Rig at home and some ready go as pictured above, or build what you need in the field.
Step Six: Time to add the ML Stinger Rig to your lure. I prefer adding the rig to the lure tie eyelet.
Once the ML Stinger Rig is attached it’s time to secure the rig to the lure.
Your going to need a Christmas ornament hanger as pictured above, or 22 gauge wire with the green coating which can be purchased at almost any hardware store. Look online for the Xmas hangers, or stock up in December.
Cut the hanger in the middle which should leave with two 2″ pieces, now you’ll need to bend one into a tight “U” shaped hairpin as pictured in the above right picture.
Now you’ll need to push the hairpin over the hook shank at a bit of an angle into the plastic swimbait.
When the Hairpin is placed properly it should look like the picture above. Make lots of Hairpins due to loosing them on fish strikes and catches.
Make sure the ML Stinger Rig is aligned correctly on top of the swimbait.
You can make your ML Stinger Rig longer if needed by adding one more barrel swivel and split ring. I have had the most success with the rig pictured above. The two good things about the ML Stinger Rig, is how easy it is to add, and with the barrel swivel your hook will stay hooked in the bass mouth and not twist out….Good Luck and stick a Hog!!
Over my 40+ years of Bass fishing I have seen lots of new products come out, and once in awhile something comes around that really gets my attention. When Owner came out with their “Beast” line of swimbait hooks I was stoked to see a big wide gap heavy wire hook with a fixed weight attached that I had to get a few and try them out.
The sizes Owner came out with first worked great for rigging swimbaits 5″-8″, and in 2016 Owner released a Monster Beast Hook a 12/0 which is giant wide gap hook that fits most of my 9″-11″ swimbaits.
The size chart above from www.tacklewarehouse.com shows all five Owner Beast Swimbait hooks with weight size, quantity per package, and price.
My two favorite sizes of Owner Beast Swimbait Hooks are the 12/0, and 6/0. They work great on my Rago Alpha trout in 6″ and 9″ lengths. One thing about me I’m a huge fan of weedless swimbaits, I like to fish my swimbaits where the Big Bass live and not every swimbait is weedless, but most can be converted weedless with the Owner Beast Swimbait Hook.
Each Owner Swimbait Hook comes with a Twistlock which is pictured above. This Twistlock has a center guide pin which makes it really easy to center the Twistlock on your swimbait.
The picture above shows the application process of Twislock into the swimbait. It is important to find the apex section on the nose of the swimbait and then push the center guide pin into the swimbait and with some light pressure applied on the Twistlock begin pushing it towards the swimbait. Now you will begin the twisting of the Twistlock into the swimbait keeping pressure towards the swimbait..
In the picture above you can see about how far to seat the Twistlock into your swimbait. Two things to watch for. One, make sure to keep the Twistlock as straight as possible in the swimbaits, and two, the hook needs to be in the vertical position as in the picture above or the hook eyelet will twist and tweak the nose of the swimbait.
Next step is to use a sharpie and make a small dot where the end of the hook will be in the swimbait.
Now it’s time to cut a 1″ line on the belly of the swimbait about 1/4 the depth of the swimbait. In the 2″ swimbait in the picture above I made cut around 1/2″ deep cut. You want to start cutting just past the end of the hook mark you made and continue about one inch towards the head of the swimbait.
Now it’s time to gently without putting to much stress on the Twistlock to run your hook through your swimbait. The trick is to keep the point of the hook as straight up as possible.
It is very important to make sure that the point of the hook goes through the top middle of the swimbait, or the bait will not run true while swimming. The picture above shows plenty of hook exposure, this swimbait is almost ready to use.
A little trick I use to make my swimbaits more durable and last longer is to add a little Mend-it soft plastic glue to the plastic.
By adding some Mend-it glue around the head area and around the hook, and hook barb area you strengthen the plastic which will give your swimbait longer life.
My advice on the Owner Beast Swimbait Hooks in size 12/0 is to use no lighter than 20lb line. I prefer 25, 28, and 30lb line for good barb sets, and a 8′-6″ MegaMag rod with a heavy back bone and your ready to hunt some big fish.
Over the years, as underwater sports cameras have evolved, I have been able to keep stride with this ever changing technology and sometimes add my creative twist of thinking outside the box to get those underwater shots that in the past we could only imagine. So I have decided to make a series of short videos of underwater bass activity to try to help unlock some of the mysterys of just what the heck these bass are thinking when we toss our lures out in their environment.
The baits I used in the video are my own Natural Series Swimmers AM Shads
One of the questions I hear a lot is “Why are the bass just following my bait?”
The picture above shows a large group of bass that were just curious about the swimbait and never made an advance towards it, just followed the bait and stayed just behind it. While filming, it was the middle of a hot Summer day, heading into a no moon phase and the water was clear and around 80 degrees.
I have found that in these periods of the year, and time of day, most bass in clear water will be low light feeders and once you find them they will be offshore, suspended just deep enough to stay out of the sun’s bright summer rays.
The above picture is a snapshot of a behavior I have seen many animals exhibit in nature and that is to rub their body, or scent onto the bait and mark it. I’m not totally sure why bass would do this, but the bass in the video never bit the swimbait just marked it.
Under the same mid-day hot and bright conditions I was able to get a few bass to chase down my swimbait and get a little more aggressive with it once I got the lure down around 25 feet.
After finding that perfect depth of water I was able to consistently keep my swimbait in the bass biting zone.
Enjoy the video!!
Thinking back well over 40 years of bass fishing one thing always comes to mind and that is how I have always liked to tweak existing lures, or build new ones from scratch that would work for the bass hunt I was currently on. I absolutely enjoy creating something from just a few ideas and testing it in the water and hoping it would trick those finicky bass, not every idea works, but you learn from each one. Tweaking, or adjusting a lure is something I do on almost every trip, so after time and time of doing this you kinda know what most bass fisherman are looking for in a specific style of lure.
I have also spent many years working with, or consulting with some of the finest swimbait makers on the planet, from Sean Donovan the original owner of Optimum Lures to Jason Scott (Castaic, Decoy Lures), to Matt Servant (MattLures), and Jerry Rago of Rago Lures. These guys are all legends in the swimbait world and have made several lures to date that have caught many personal best for thousands of bass fisherman. These men all have one thing in common, they are all driven to build the best lures on the market today.
For well over 30 years I have worked full time in the construction industry, but a few years ago after that industry collapsed I decided it was time to pursue one of my dreams and build lures for the general public and so my company Natural Series Swimmers was born.
It has been a learning curve making production lures. In the past I only had to make a few lures at a time which is much easier than trying to make 20-50 a week.
I Started with a picture of threadfin shad and an idea of how I wanted the bait to swim and after years of watching shad in the water and viewing countless hours of under water video footage of shad in their natural environment. I knew how I wanted to start.
Next it was time to make a carving.
I started with the picture of what I wanted the lure to look like, traced it out with some tracing paper and transferred that image onto some bass wood and then cut out my design. I made the shad in one piece first so I would have a future template that I could build multiple jointed baits with.
The end result which was made out of urethane and hand painted had to be field tested, which for me was one of funnest parts of the entire process. On the first field test of the glide shad I scored a few nice bass up to 11 lbs. and found I only needed to make a few minor tweaks as to where the hooks were placed and what size.
This 6″ 2.5oz. lure which I call my Glide Shad is an incredible little bait that did everything I designed it to do. I prefer to use the Glide Shad with a 7′-4″ Dobyns Rod (744) and 18Lb. Maxima Fluorocarbon line. I also add a #4 Duo Lock snap to every bait which really helps give the Glide Shad maximum freedom in the water. I balanced the baits with Owner size 1 treble hooks which work perfectly with the 6″ Glide Shad.
Every bait is field tested to make sure it meets my standards.
When working the Glide Shad it is very important to keep your rod tip pointed towards the lure and make it glide side to side with a reel retrieve only. I made a video which shows the Glides Shads swimming and how I’m “reel retrieveing” them to get the side to side motion.
My second glide bait is my Gliding Panfish
The Gliding Panfish is a bait that I have made for myself for quite sometime, I just thickened up the tail and smoothed the edges to make a more durable swimbait for production to the public. That is one problems I have with my personal baits is that they are not always built to take a lot of abuse, but built as life-like as possible and when fins break you just build a new one and your back in business.
This was another bait that I carved the template out of wood off of a concept I liked in a two piece bait. Once again this is a balanced swimbait that needs a steady reel retrieve to get the Gliding Panfish to swim hard left and right. This little 6″ swimbait is a beast around docks and trees where you can get the glide the lure partially into these targets where some giant bass are hiding out.
Field testing the new design went very well, I found I only needed to make a sleight hook adjustment which is now in all the new Gliding Panfish.
The Gliding Panfish comes with a #3 Duo Snap, two Owner Stinger 2X Black Hooks, custom Taxidermy eyes, and two magnum grade screw eyes to hold each section together. Each bait also comes with the “ML” initial and is numbered in the order it was built. Every bait is field tested before it is packaged. Along with a floating version, there is slow sink, super slow sink, and fast sink.
Attached is a link to a video showing the Gliding Panfish in the water and the proper rod position with a reel only retrieve:
Here is a link to the Glide Shad in Action:
By clicking on the “Store” tab on the homepage there will be a link to the Natural Series Swimmers that are currently for sale:
The Gliding Panfish are $105+shipping, and the Glide Shads are $68+shipping.
Coming soon are the AM Shads a soft plastic realistic looking shad with a internal bladder and weight system that gives this little 5″ bait a very realistic look in the water. This new bait is something I have been working on for awhile and just fine tuning the color patterns.
The first time I did a review on FlipinTheBirds weedless topwater bait I was very impressed. It was a bait that could be used not only on weed mats, but next to the tules, trees, or brush that can line any body of water. It is a realistic style of lure matching a small bird that hit the water and is in distress and since almost all bodies of water have birds around them it by far is a great choice for a lure.
FlipinTheBird comes in multiple colors from natural colors to bright colors for stained, or dirty water. I hand picked some of my favorite colors of FlipinTheBird from the Black Bird with Red Bird to White and Chartreuse Bird and my new signature Bird in Brown and Black.
I really believe one of the reasons the FlipinTheBird out fishes all other hollow body weedless topwater is its profile on the water. Since it has multiple strand wings and tail it puts out a much larger profile than any other lure of its kind, and while having rubber strands for wings it also gives the bird added vibration on the water which gives the bird a life-like presentation. Being a weedless hollow body bait these bird lures are absolutely a blast to fish during times when bass are tight to structure and occasionally in open water situations. I have had best success fishing the bird two ways; one by tossing the bird up tight against the tules, or tress and just letting it sit. And the second technique I like is to walk the bird across the surface with an ocasional pause in the retrieve.
On the original lures they had a tendency to land upside down from time to time, but FlipinTheBird has fixed that problem by adding some weight to the hook so the bait will always land on its belly instead of its back.My Mike Long Signature Bird in Brown body and Black head is not only is a new color for FlipinTheBird, but has a soft rubber popper added in the front of the bird to give the new signature bird some added water displacement and sound which has really increased the lures success in the catching bass department.
Check out a cool video I made of my Mike Long Signature Bird in Action:
Every now and then someone, or something comes along in life that changes everything. And as the fishing world collided with social media and technology improved with a new line of portable high definition inexpensive video cameras, it was only a matter of time before someone was going to put it all together into an awesome new video packed full of incredible bass fishing action
Big Big Bass Dreams Volume One is a story about one mans quest (Oliver Ngy) to catch that elusive monster bass on nothing but swimbaits. It was produced by Oliver Ngy, and directed and edited by Mike Gilbert. This epic bass fishing video takes you on a journey into the epicenter of Southern California’s Big Bass Country. The Video really gives you a taste of just how productive using swimbaits can be for catching large bass and just how important it is to be prepared and have a game plan before hitting the water for a all out swimbait assault.
Big Bass Dream Volume One also does a great job capturing the agony of defeat with giant bass coming off right at the boat.
Big Bass Dreams Volume One has more big bass caught from cast to catch than any other video ever to date. And how the video was edited with 27 minutes of edited bass catching action in sequence one, and just over 30 minutes of complete cast to catch bass catching action in sequence two is what makes these two sequences combined the most innovative bass fishing video ever produced.
Oliver Ngy is no stranger to bass fishing and while growing up and fishing in Southern California and having a passion for fishing with tons of success catching trophy bass he was able to capture some of his passion and put it into his video. I have watched many bass fishing videos where they bore you with to much talking and not enough action, but Big Bass Dreams Volume One has plenty of action along with some humor and some awesome music. I believe you’ll want to watch it over and over again.
Big Bass Dreams Volume did a great job showing if you invest a good amount of time into something you truly believe in then the sky is the limit. From Oliver’s infectious smile and laugh to the scenery of Southern California’s lakes, to the true stars of the video the bass I think you enjoy this video from start to finish.
To order your copy of Big Bass Dreams Volume One go to www.bigbassdreams.com
Fishing in San Diego where the lakes are small and easily accesible you very rarely get on a bite that you can keep all to yourself. After over 40 years of fishing these pressured waters I’ve learned a trick, or two to stay ahead of the crowd and the most important one is to keep your mouth shut. Easier said than done when your excited about a bite, or large catch……… Remember that day, or days when you had the lake all to yourself??
Or that time on the water you got to spend with you dad, or a good friend when you were young and boats were small and motors were much slower. Yes these days are almost all but gone.. We live in the age of the internet where information moves almost as fast as you can catch that personal best bass. There once was a time where if you caught a big bass and weighed it at the marina you had until the newspaper posted your catch and then the crowd came looking for the bite they read about in the newspaper.
These days with the internet if you catch a big bass under the dock and send a picture out to social media, or just a good friend the next thing you know your surrounded by boats and yes, that bite is over. Those giant bass just can’t take the pressure of all the boats, or bank fisherman bombing the area.
It’s one thing to get the verbal information that a big bass was caught, but when there is a picture on the web the CSI (crime scene investigation) crowd can pick your picture apart and pretty much figure out location, time of day, if it was warm, or cold by the sky and clothes your wearing and if there is a rod in the picture that too tells a story, I think you get the point. It’s hard to believe that there are so many people who really don’t respect someones bite, but that is the new high pressured world we all live in, everyone who bass fishes wants the to catch a giant bass and how they go about it is just like watching the television show Survivor.
I think from time to time we are all guilty of hi-jacking someone else’s bite, I guess it’s just a part of bass fishing especially when your in a slump, but exercising a little respect is always the best way to approach these situations. If that person who found the bite shows up and your sitting and fishing their honey hole that you did not find, I suggest backing up some and talking with them and letting them onto their spot and fishing just outside them. You never know when the situation will turn and they may be on your bite and spot. This approach has really worked well for me, but when you get large groups on your bite all bets are off.
For me every time I go fishing I try to challenge myself and find the bite myself, it’s a much better feeling in the end if you catch a large bass and you figured it all out yourself it’s a feeling of satisfaction that I hope all fisherman can experience at least once in their life.
Another way I try to challenge myself is if everyone is on a good bite at one lake, I try to go against the grain and go to another lake that is dead quiet with almost no fisherman there and test my talent and see if I can get a quality bass, or two. This has really helped my fishing because I’m concentrating much more on the lake, weather, sun and moon trying to figure out where the bass are and what time they will bite instead of worrying about a bunch of fisherman in front of me, or on some of the key spots in the lake.
Fishing is suppose to be enjoyable and when you look back on your life and all those fishing trips you want to feel like you always did it the right way and not that you cut corners to get to the prize your after in life. Remember you’ll always feel better after a fishing trip if you just exercise a little respect while on the water, it goes a long way!
Have you ever caught a Bass in a Clown Suit? More commonly known as the Peacock Bass, South Florida is the only place in the main land USA that they live. They’re a tropical fish that require warm water to survive.
I went out to hunt for these unusual looking fish with local guide Chris Licato, AKA “The Swamp God.” Chris is the ultimate guide with a flair all his own; he talked about techniques, locations and presentations all the while giving positive feedback. He never brought a rod or caught a fish.
He’s the kind of guide whose main goal is your enjoyment and experience. A lot of guides will fish during trips and not surprisingly catch the biggest fish, which is not cool in my opinion. The Peacock Bass are by far stronger and fight harder, pound for pound, than a Largemouth! They don’t achieve the massive size of the ones in the Amazon, but still have the same “Never give up“mentality and could be described as a Smallmouth on steroids!
As the case with the Largemouth, Chris recommends that the fish be released, but with that being said, I believe the limit is two per day. The fish are most active during the warmer months in Florida. Check out Chris at his website, swamp god outdoors or send him a PM on Chris’ Face book page for the best times to come. Chris will provide all the tackle, but if you like bring some of your own, he’ll also instruct you on what to bring and what to wear. Kudos to Chris for a fantastic fishing trip and for our friendship. I have a new-found respect for these Bass in Clown Suits! I also want to thank Breathe Like a Fish, Bassaholics, Glacier Gloves and California Reservoir Lures, Bozo the Clown Killer Jigs for their fine products that made this trip that much more enjoyable.
For those who did not know I have been working with BassMaster Senior editor Ken Duke over the last month on how to catch the biggest bass of your life. We are on step 3 which covers fitness, nutrition, hydration, and proper clothing. Check it out and let’s here your feedback.
Now that the days are longer than the nights, and the waters around the country are in the low-to-mid 80’s, and the bass’ metabolism are as high as they’ll get all year long, it is time to fish some of those fun reaction baits.
The sun is very intense in the Summer and bass, who have no eyelids to block out the suns rays, will seek shaded cover for ambush, and feed in low-light conditions early in the morning and late in the evening; before and after the sun rays hit the water. Maybe it’s that shaded side of the lake, or in the grass, or in the deeper waters where the suns rays can’t quite penetrate. Summertime is all about finding these areas and choosing the right reaction bait to entice and catch those aggressive Summer bass.
The small splashing and the subtle popping noise of the popper simulate small baitfish feeding on bugs on the surface of the water and what bass can turn down such an easy meal.
Nothing is more fun in fishing than seeing a bass blast a topwater bait off the surface. Another good lure in the early morning, along the shallow water, is a walk and spit style lure like a Daiwa TD Pencil. This type of bait you can walk and splash water at the same time.
Bottom line early morning before the suns rays hit the water you have night time feeding bass up shallow trying to catch baitfish that are trapped on the shore where they feel safe and there is some submerged cover, so any style of lure that floats and can move some water whether it be splashing, or side to side movement is going to get a bass’ attention.
My first choice early morning is a popper, I prefer it due to its smaller size, moves slowly, makes a good noise, and stays in the strike zone longer. I will switch after the popper does not get as many hits up shallow and when I feel the bass have moved out a little deeper. I will switch to the TD Pencil and work the lure a little faster and try to cover water to find those roaming bass.
If there is grass along the bank I will toss a popper right along the deep water weed edge and work it fairly fast trying to trick those bass to come out of the weeds and attack. If the popper does not get their attention, I will use a hollow body frog on top of the weeds. If in a boat I will cast to the bank and work it onto the weed mat with some moderate downward pumps of the rod all the way back to the boat. A bit of advice is to keep the boat at least 20-30′ from the deep water edge of the weed mats, so when you work your frog back in towards the boat the bass have a chance to follow it through the weeds until the lure hits open water and they can see it and attack it. I have caught hundreds of bass that have followed the frog and tried to hit it and even push the weeds up a bit and follow the frog until it hits an open pocket, or the weed edge and then blast it, so staying off the weed edge may put more fish in the boat.
When working a grass mat your going to need a med-heavy rod, a high speed reel and at least 50lb. braid for line. I prefer four colors of frogs, black, brown, green, and white with black being the most productive for me. I believe the darker color provides a better silhouette that helps a bass see it through the dense weeds and track it better. Rule of thumb when frog fishing, when you see your frog get bit count one thousand and one and then set the hook. This will give the bass a chance to compress the hollow body of the frog and expose the hook.
Towards the middle of the day you can find a good amount of fish deeper especially if your fishing a lake that has depths around 100′, or more. Where I live the lakes are deep and the night time cycle pushes plankton to the surface which the shad will feed on in the early morning. Once the sun hits the water the plankton start to sink in the water column and the shad will follow the plankton and so will the bass. The lakes can be as clear as 40′ in the Summer so the plankton and shad will be around this depth.
My lure choice when fishing this scenario is a 1/2 ounce shad patterned spoon on 8-10 lbs monofilament line and 7′ medium action rod. I’ll cast the spoon across creek channels where most of the shad balls are and count down till I believe the spoon is in the zone and then pop the rod hard from the 9:00 to 12:00 position giving about 2-3 seconds between pops until I feel a hook-up. This can be a great way to put numbers of bass in the boat during the middle of the day, but typically not the bigger bass which are most likely structure oriented in ambush mode during the heat of the Summer days.
Towards the end of the day I love to work a larger surface style soft swimbait along the shoreline, fan-casting from shallow to deep. The rod of choice is at least 7’8″ med-heavy action rod. I like a slow gear ratio reel 5.1-1 with 18-20 lbs monofilament line. I like the slow gear ratio so I can keep the swimbait in the strike zone longer.
I like at least an 8″ bait and will always start with a bass patterned color. A nice steady retrieve with the occasional pop and pause in the cadence is good. Sometimes I’ve found if the wind is light that a faster retrieve is better. The Eagle style swimbait I use has the fishing line run through the bait and then tie to a size 2 treble hook. This hook rig works great for keeping bass hooked due to the way the hook is in the bass’ mouth and not the entire swimbait that a bass come break surface and use the weight of the bait to shake it free.
There are hundreds of great Summertime reaction lures out on the market today, so lets hear what your favorites are.
As I’ve gotten a little older the sun has really been harsh on my skin. I have had plenty of days that when I got home after 12 hours of Summertime fishing that I felt like my skin was on fire and I was completely wiped out. I was dehydrated, and my skin was trying to heal from the sunburn so my body was tired and sluggish and it was hard to sleep. After years of wearing flip flop style sandals, shorts, and tank tops I started to realize I needed to wear shoes, pants, a long sleeve shirt, buff for the neck and face, a good hat, and light weight sun gloves.
After finding the right Sun protection clothing I have had much better success on the water by being in the game of fishing and not burnt by the sun and tired, sluggish, and overall miserable on the water. I can spend as long as I want out fishing in the brightest of sun and at the end of the day when I remove all my sun protection clothing I feel great and my skin is the same as when I started in the morning.
I put together a short three minute video to help with sun protection clothing.
“What swimbait should I use and why?” is one question that I get asked quite often. Well, to be absolutely honest, in order to answer that question there are a few factors to take into consideration. First, you must ascertain what forage fish lives in the water where you plan to fish and then what time of the year you’ll be fishing the body of water.
Where I live the majority of what the bass are feeding on year-round ranges between Threadfin Shad, Bluegills, Sunfish, baby bass, Crappie, Golden Shiners, crawdads, and Rainbow Trout. So one of the first things I need to do before finding a swimbait to match the hatch, is to determine what time of the year it is before choosing a swimbait size and color pattern. During the fall and winter months, most of the lakes here in San Diego stock Rainbow Trout between 6″ and 18″ so matching that hatch is crucial if you want to have any swimbait success. In swimbait fishing during these seasons the size of the prey that is predominant is important for two reasons. First, it is always important to match the size and color of what the bass are currently feeding on because they tend to program themselves to feed on one particular forage at a time and hone their hunting ability as they do; it is just how their mind works to survive. Secondly, during the winter and early spring months where the days are much shorter and the water is much cooler, a bass’ metabolism slows down and it tends to not feed as much during the day. But when they do feed they spend their energy on catching one larger meal that might take well over four to five days digest. So they may only hunt once or twice a week in cold season conditions.
I have witnessed large bass in cold winter waters look as if they were dead and barely moving, remaining very lethargic throughout the day. That being said there are fewer windows of opportunity due to colder conditions; the bass are almost in a hibernation mode waiting for a bright sunny day to warm their body and spark their metabolism and get them to feel like feeding. Their digestive system slows down and so does their desire to feed, but when they do, they will eat that one big meal and digest it slowly.
As the seasons change and the days get longer and warmer during the Summer and Fall months, the waters also warm. This increase in temperature boosts the bass’ metabolism and they will feed more often. Sometimes they’ll hunt several times per hour, but when they do they tend to feed on much smaller forage 1″-5″ in size which is a much easier meal to digest.
They expend lots of energy chasing smaller fish so they have to eat more often to replenish their fuel supply. Some of the forage fish such as Threadfin Shad, panfish, and baby bass, which are abundent after the Spring spawn, are high on the bass’ list of what they will feed on. So it is very important to match the size of these smaller baits first as well as the the color of what you believe the bass are currently feeding on. To explain this better imagine it’s a hot Summer day and you just went to the gym, or ran a race and afterword your going to want to re-fuel and eat a few small meals so your body can break down the foods quickly. If you eat too much too quickly you’ll load up your system and become sluggish and tired. Your body urges you to eat smaller meals throughout the day. The bass goes through the same motions during the warmer Summer and Fall months and its body urges it to feed on smaller meals throughout the day that its metabolism can easily break down.
If your lunker hunting with these smaller swimbaits during the warmer Summer and Fall months and your going through numbers of bass, but have yet to catch a lunker, don’t automatically switch to a larger swimbait. Try to think where the lunker bass are holding. They may not be right on the surface busting on the shad like the smaller bass, but may be 10′-15′ below the ball of shad waiting for an injured shad to fall to them or waiting to eat one of the small 4″-6″ baby bass chasing the shad on the surface. I find in the Summer on some of the hottest days the bigger bass will be low-light feeders, feeding in the early morning, or on cloudy days on the surface, or deep in the mouth of a cove during the heat of the day. Docks and sunken trees are a few other areas of low-light and shade where these monster bass could be hiding in ambush.
Something to also pay close attention to is the speed of the bait, I prefer a slow-medium retrieve during the colder months and a fast retrieve during the warmer months with lots of ripping and jerking the smaller lures to entice a bight. The water temperatures definitely dictates the lure speed and retrieve style, so slow and steady in colder water and fast with some erratic small fish evasion movement.
So downsizing swimbaits in that 3″-5″ size during for the Summer and Fall months is going to be a great decision that will allow you to catch more bass and still have that chance for a trophy bass, while during the colder months that larger swimbait for those cold lurking lunkers should be a great choice.
We’re proud to announce the first in a series of short videos that detail the secrets of monster bass. A year in the making, this series is the culmination of hundreds of hours of work to bring you the very best information about big bass we could put on film. We’ll explore their habits and habitat, and take a look at why they do the things they do. The main focus on these short videos is to help you find and catch the biggest bass you can.
Our first video, “In Search of Big Bass,” gives you a bass’ eye view of their habitat and feeding habits. If you’re a fan of bass fishing, this is a must see video!
UPDATE: Thanks for the response! We’ve listened to your feedback (now less than the price of a premium cup of coffee)!
When I recieved my 7″ Drift Master from Pizz Customs I was not sure what to expect, but when I got to the lake to test the Drift Master I was very impressed. Pizz is well known for custom paint jobs on lures and reels, but soon will be known for making glide style swimbaits with what ever color you desire on your Drift Master Swimbait.
Lure: Drift Master
Lure Style: Glide Bait
Weight: 2.5 Ounces
R.O.F.: Slow Sink
Material: Hard Resin
MLO Rating: 4.5 out of 5
The Drift Master is a two piece bill-less glide bait built to glide left and right on a slow retrieve, or fast retrieve. This bait shocked me with how much balanced movement it had from a slow to fast retrieve it thumped my rod tip, it also on cadenced reel retrieve would glide at least 2′ left and right.
I always use a quick clip to attach my lures and the Drift Master had a little more freedom using the quick clip, if you don’t want to use a clip you should add a 40-60lb. split ring to allow the Drift Master to have full movement in the water.
All the hardware on the Drift Master is heavy duty from the screws eyes, to the split rings this is a very well thought out and built bait. I was very impressed at the detail around the head of the bait. Pizz Customs added just enough fine detail on the gill plates area to give the Drift Master added life in the water.
Pizz Customs made a custom tail out of a very soft durable material that should last for the life of the bait. The tail is attached with super glue and should stay in place, but I would suggest checking it once in awhile to make sure it is secure.
To order the Drift Master go to www.pizzcustoms.com
Pro: Incredible swimming bait, the Drift Master at a slow to fast retrieve lure that thumped my rod tip with all the balanced action that came off the bait. The paint job was very life-like and Pizz Customs painted the inside of the hinge of the bait which really impressed me.
Cons: The hooks were a bit weak and I bent one a bit on a hook set, I would suggest adding your favorite hook.
MLO Rating: 4.5 out of 5
When I think back on all my years of bass fishing there is always one image that sticks out in my mind and that is the image of a bass getting its head above the water and tossing my lure into the air. It’s happened so many times to me I have lost count. Even when I’m prepared for it I’ve had some bass charge towards the boat faster than I can reel up the slack and then come up and shake their head and toss my lure out. I guess it’s all just part of the battle and you’ve got to be prepared if you want win by landing the bass.
The three pictures above show a bass jumping completely jumping out of the water and not on this jump, but the next jump spit my swimbait out. Why does this happen? Water is much denser than air, so if a bass can shake its head back and forth underwater two times per second it probably can easily double if not triple that same head shaking ability above the water making it that much harder to keep the fishing line tight and the hook set in the bass’ mouth. Another factor is the weight of the bait, the heavier the bait the easier a bass can use that added weight to its advantage and toss the heavier lure from its mouth when above the water.
One technique that I practice after a hook set is keeping the rod tip close to the water and sometimes burying it into the water. At 6′-4″ this is not an easy task for a tall guy unless I’m using a long fishing pole.
There are many times where I will get down to one knee and keep my rod as close to the water as possible. This really helps when I see my line coming out of the water towards the bass that is about to jump, I can easily bury the rod tip down into the water reel faster and hopefully slow down, or prevent the bass from jumping out of the water. The primary goal is to always keep the line tight and control the bass. We joke about this “tight lines” but it is no joke when your fighting a monster bass and it gets some slack line on you by getting its head out the water and shaking it. So thinking it through while battling the bass and staying very calm will help prepare you for what an angry bass might do while the fight is on.
Another technique I try to practice if the situation allows it is to fight a large bass by keeping the line tight and letting it go through any underwater weed, or submerged grass. I have found two things while doing this; one if I can get some underwater grass, or weed on the bass’ face and blind it some it seems to trick the bass that is safe and slows its swimming surges and gives me a chance to land the beast. Two if I can get some underwater grass and weeds on my line the added weight helps to slow the bass down in the water and also slow down the head shakes when the bass tries to jump.
So next time your on the water keep the line tight and control the bass and you’ll be wearing a big ole smile on your face.
”Best tool of the modern days”
Since the boom in social networking sites like Facebook, I’ve become a big fan of the technology. I should just say I can’ live without it, but I don’t just share whatever I’d think is cool or just chill online chatting with friends. I utilize social networks as a tool to connect with fellow anglers out there who share the common love for fishing.
It shows that fishing really is the common language we use to share experiences with each other. In fact, we all love sharing that passion. I wouldn’t be just randomly talking to people and say “What’s up, do you fish?” or something like that, but I like how we find one another and really start talking with enthusiasm about our shared passions. I believe the motivation is pure and helps us connect with fellow anglers across the country who feel the same way we do. That “fishing passion” opens me up to unlimited opportunities and possibilities.
Being A “GLOBE RIDER” – Beyond just online friends
After couple years of interacting with bunch of fellow anglers from different countries on Facebook, I really started thinking that I should visit them so we could fish together. The timing was perfect too.
Aurel (now one of my best friends) from Hungary, contacted me, offering me kind words on what I do through fishing and also mentioned he would take me to some good waters if I ever had a chance to visit him in Hungary.
So I immediately got back to him and said “Can I go visit you?” He said “Why not?” Just a few months later, I was standing at the famous Heroes’ Square in Budapest where I started the “Globe Ride.”
You might say I’m totally reckless, but I always remind myself what comes first to your mind is the best idea you could come up with. The decision was right.
Aurel was the right person for my first global trip (my first Euro trip as well), as he obviously has the greatest personality. Thanks to him, I got to experience fishing a much different kinds of water and fishing for species I had never caught before like Pike and Perch. He arranged for me to fish with bunch of his fellow Hungarian anglers too.
The crazy thing was that there were people who came down to the hotel I was staying in just to see me and say hello. They even gave me a special bait with my name printed on it right before I flew back to Japan. It was just very flattering to me that I have such passionate people who live far away from where I live and think about me.
With the success on my first global ride, I continued planning trips with my fellow anglers. It was and has been pretty tough traveling around the world finding time between work and using my major finances to do it., but I knew I had to make it through because something good is waiting.
For the second trip, I ended up going to the East of France and Switzerland (Geneva-Montreux). Again, everyone I met was very supportive, and this trip was just as successful. I have lots of stories to tell from the trip, but it would make this article a hundreds pages long.
Instead, I’ll close this chapter with a simple message of thanks to all the people who make these trips possible. From the friends who let me stay in their place for a couple of nights to help me save money, to the others who share their wisdom and guidance and generous attitudes.
NEXT Time: Asia & Beyond
I have had a blast lately sharing some of my underwater bass pictures here on MLO and trying to tell a story through series of pictures. I have also had lots of requests for more underwater bass pictures so here are a few more bass pictures to share with everyone.
In the pictures above I was just able to catch this monster bass around 14 lbs. come out of nowhere to chase down this 2 lb Rainbow Trout. It was an incredible site to see in person let alone capture on film.
Thanks for viewing my pictures here on MikeLongOutdoors and please leave some feedback on what you would like to see here on MLO in the future.
I get asked all the time “How do you catch so many big bass” well the simple answer is eliminating water and spending more time in productive water. Basically if I spend a day just fishing down the bank I will only cover a small amount of productive fish catching water, where as if I spend my day on certain areas of the lake that I have found to hold bass like ledges, hard bottom areas with rock, sunken trees and bushes, and one of my favorite areas where I live docks then my success rate will be very good and thus i’m a happy guy.
In the pictures above you can see classic examples of how bass will congregate on a ledges with deep water access. I have found that if these ledges have a flat on one side and deep water access on the other side that they will be a highly productive area of the lake that I want to spend more time on throughout the day.
Another productive area of a lake is a small isolated rock pile. This is another area that can hold a trophy bass and if approached quietly and correctly it can be a highly productive spot to visit throughout the day.
Some lakes have tules, or what some call “cat-tails” that are rooted below the surface into the soft lake bottom around the shallow water areas and sprout anywhere from a few feet, to 15′ above the water. These tules can hold hundreds of bass as well as baitfish throughout the year.
The trick to finding the productive water while fishing tules is finding pockets within the tules due to hard bottom where the tules cannot root. Once an area is found it’s all about finding the right lure to flip into these pockets and the correct rod, reel, and line to get these hiding bass out of this thick cover.
One of my favorite spots to fish on a lake is a dock, especially one that has deep water access. In the picture above a very large school of bass had moved up from deep water to hunt the the small bait fish that were grouped up around the dock in part due the ecosystem that thrives around the dock area.
The picture above is a great example of why I love to fish docks. These docks can hold some very large bass throughout the day, especially when it’s sunny. These giant bass love the shade that the docks offer.
So if want to have more success while out on the water, then my advice is to try studying and finding the productive areas of the lake that will hold quality bass and spend more time in these productive areas of the lake and keep a journal of your catches and by paying close attention to the productive water triggers like low-light, the sun postion in the sky and what moon phase your in as well as when the moon will be overhead. By paying attention to these fine details you will understand when to be on the productive areas for maximum success. Good Luck!!
In my pursuit of chasing and learning more about giant bass over the years, I have been able to take a break from time to time and use my underwater camera to get some incredible underwater shots of big bass in their natural environment and catalog some of what these monster bass do throughout the day and throughout the four seasons of the year.
In the picture above it was the day of the rainbow trout stocking and after a few weeks of the trout being stocked on the same day the bass became conditioned to be at the same place at the same time for the trout buffet. On this particular day I would guess that at least 1/3 of all the large bass over 12lbs in the lake were under the boat dock staged and waiting for the easy trout hunt.
This is by far one of my favorite shots a bass in the 14 lb. class chasing a freshly stocked 2 lb. Rainbow Trout on the launch ramp. She was so fat she could barely swim straight and missed at least three trout while I was filming her wild pursuit.
Here is another shot of the same bass trying to pin a trout on the bottom. Most of the large bass I have witnessed during trout stockings seem to try this pinning technique in order to get the trout head towards their mouth. This behavior makes a lot of sense to me due to all the years of success bottom crawling swimbaits.
Here a giant bass sits tucked under a dock days after a trout stock, digesting and waiting for the next trout truck to arrive. Throughout the year I am amazed how many giant bass can be found just under your feet under a boat dock. This low light environment is a perfect place for a giant bass to hold especially with how many smaller fish that are attracted to the area around a dock. I have found that some of the best ecosystems in a lake are under and around docks.
As the Winter months end and Spring approaches some of the true giant bass of the lake head towards shallower waters and start mapping out and staying very close to where the spawning flats will most likely be. This is a great time of the year to find a large bass near to a ledge, large rock, or sunken tree next to a spawning flat.
As Spring time approaches and the water temperature reaches the right level the male bass begins making a nest and spraying their pheromones in preparation for spawning. This pheromone attractant acts as a big bass love drug to hold these giant female bass shallow where they really don’t want to be due to intensity of the sunlight on their eyes.
During post spawn these exhausted giant female bass stay near the shallow waters and spend what little energy they have left to hunt some panfish. You can really tell the difference in the bellies of pre spawn bass vs. a post spawn bass.
As winter sets in and the days get shorter and the storms arrive, run off from the storms muddy the water and change the water temperature. Bass metabolisms change and the big girls tend to move around less, so you can find some giant bass just sitting on the bottom next to some of the best structure real estate in the lake and if you slow your approach with a jig, or plastic worm you may land that trophy bass of a lifetime..
I hope you enjoyed my bass pictures and they gave you a little more insight into the world of the Large Mouth Bass and they inspire you and help you to better understand the world of the largemouth bass.
I have had some emails about purchasing some of my bass pictures, they will soon be available on MikeLongOutdoors.com Thank You for viewing and for your support!!
I had been looking for a good bait casting travel rod for a reasonable price and I found that with the Santiam Fishing Rods in the Alaskan Travel Series. I wanted a light low profile three piece bait casting rod that I could put into my day pack and also mount onto my mountain bike.
Series: Alaskan Travel Series
Overall Length: 7’0″
Weight: 6.2 Ounces
Material: High Modulus Graphite
Line Weight: 8-17lb.
MLO Rating: 5 out of 5
Santiam Alaskan Travel Series 7′-0″ SFC-703
Each piece is custom built to fit into the next and I found them to fit perfectly. As for movement while casting and setting the hook I had zero joint movement.
Pros: Santiam uses a high modulus graphite blank which for the low price of $69 off their website is an absolute steal. one year warranty is also awesome. I found the three piece rod to work just as well as a one piece rod with the same specs.
Cons: You need to remember to spray silicone to the female ends,or the ends tighten up a bit.
MLO Rating: 5 out of 5
MattLures is at it again with their latest creation in the MattLures series of hard swimbaits with their 7 1/2″ glide bass, with three sink rates; floating, slow sink, and fast sink and five colors to choose from perch, smallmouth, light bass, dark bass, and walleye.
Bait: Glide Bass
Weight: 4 ounce
Color: Dark Bass
Sink Rate: Slow Sink
At 7 1/2″ the MattLures Glide Bass is one of the smaller glide baits on the market today, but having a glide bait in a bass color fills the need of many trophy bass fisherman around the globe
The MattLures Glide Bass is a lipless single jointed swimbait that was designed to glide left and right at slow speeds as well as fast speeds.
MattLures once again stayed true to style of building natural looking swimbaits. Full fins, scale patterns and a lifelike paint job.
The tail of the MattLures Glide Bass is made of a soft material that flexes slightly and should not break for the life of the bait.
Every now and then in life someone comes along who really understands the sport of trophy bass fishing and Brett Richardson is one of those people. Brett is an In-Fisherman contributor and has been chasing trophy bass for over five decades. He is a multi-species fisherman who has chased monster fish from the great USA all the way into Canada. Brett has been a freelance writer as well as guide who loves to do seminars and help people world wide with his articles and incredible DVD’s Brett’s DVD series was created for the serious bass hunters who want to obtain specific info on how to hunt and catch trophy bass throughout the year in any body of water.
Zoning Migratory Bass, and Water Elements are two must have DVD’s for understanding where the big bass and why, and reading the water.
Vertical Spring Bassin is a great DVD to help to understand where and why the big girls group and hold till the warm sunny spring days pull them back to the shallow banks to spawn. And Crucial Factors for Post-Spawn Bass will help answer some of the questions about where those big exhausted females go after the spawn.
Factoring Variables for Summer Bass is a DVD for the true trophy bass hunters and Getting a Grip on Traditional Bass is a great DVD for all levels of bass hunters.
Bite Windows is a great DVD that will really help to answer some of those questions about why bass don’t bite all day and The Hunt for Summer Pelagic Bass is one of my favorites. I promise it will make you think outside the box when fishing for those big stubborn Summer bass.
Equations for Fall Turnover and The Quest for Fall Bass will definitely help to answer some of those tough questions about where those monster bass go in the Fall months and how to pattern them.
If you would like to purchase an individual DVD, or the DVD collection they are available by contacting Brett Richardson at email@example.com he accepts PayPal and all DVD’s are shipped the next day. Thank You for reading and please support Brett anyway possible!
Starting this week, guest writer and world traveler Takatoshi Murase shares his unique perspective on bass fishing. In this multi-part article, his enthusiasm and passion for the sport transcends language, showing us that a love of fishing connects every culture on the planet.
Takatoshi Murase Unites the world, one fish at a time.
I was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. I started ocean fishing when I was 9, then got into bass fishing at age 10. Nothing serious, I just loved how exciting fishing could be. By age 19 in 2003, I moved out to Southern California to train at a tennis academy in Ojai, playing in on a college team thereafter.
This is the only period where I didn’t spend time on the water. While I was at the academy, my English tutor told me about a nearby bassin’ lake called Lake Casitas and that’s when I realized California is one of the best places for bassin’ on the planet. With this famous lake’s proximity, I knew that I would have to start bringing my tackle over from Japan.
Hooking up with those cool local sticks I met while I was in SoCal, I learned a lot of the skills, tips, and knowledge that would push me to fish harder than I ever fished in my entire life. I returned back home in Tokyo in 2010 after my long-term SoCal experience. These last 2 years, I have been focusing on traveling around the world. I have made it to Hungary, Eastern France, Switzerland (Geneva-Montreux), Malaysia, and Florida. My experience abroad in SoCal really opened up new doors and possibilities to the things I’m most passionate about.
Now, a new chapter begins.
Bass fishing is obviously what I’m most passionate since I really started fishing.. But it’s not my ONLY interest in fishing. I have been interacting with fellow anglers around the world through Facebook, sharing experiences, pictures, thoughts, etc. and that really blew my mind, taking me to a completely different level.
I’m very impressed and surprised that they are comfortable talking to me and sharing their passion for fishing; one we share in common even though I mainly fish for bass. It showed me that what we fish for just doesn’t matter. For instance, my fellow anglers in Malaysia would love to exchange tips and thoughts with me knowing that we fish for a different target, but some how the conversations still increase our shared knowledge.
Some of the skills and strategies I use for bass would suitably fit their techniques for catching snakeheads, and their skill can translate for catching bass. So that simple fishing connection creates an intimate atmosphere between us, which really shows fishing is universal.
At some point, this everyday global interaction with fellow anglers out there through the social network led me to a mentality that why not go visit them, fish together, share passion and get experienced in completely different cultures.
My bait is better than yours … Trophy Hunters wanted: fish this way please. Keep in mind that I fish for fun so some of what I’ll say is naive to a degree. I don’t know the inner workings of the bait making business nor do I know what classifies one as a Big Fish expert. What I do know is there’s a lot of back and forth going on about who made this bait first and people drawing up guide lines for being a true Trophy Hunter. It’s a sad commentary on the sport when we have all this drama and division when you realize we’re talking about fishing.
Renowned Poet Ted Hughes once said and I agree …
Fishing provides that connection with the whole living world. It gives you the opportunity of being totally immersed, turning back into yourself in a good way. A form of meditation, some form of communion with levels of yourself that are deeper than the ordinary self.
We need to keep in mind that there’s room for all kinds of baits and fishermen; nothing is cast in stone, nothing is new under the sun. I’m sponsored by a bunch of folks, but it doesn’t stop me from liking other baits or enjoying how one trophy hunter pursues his passion over another. The world has enough trouble occupying our worries, we don’t need any in the sport we love. These are tough times on a lot of people, most of which we never hear about … loss of loved ones, health, jobs, the economy and the list goes on …
My hope is that we can all have fun in this sport we call fishing and not let the noise in the background affect our love of the game. You can draw a line in the sand but you can’t draw one on the water. Stay on Em … Peace!
Wow! I just hit the elusive 70 mph mark on ole Betsy; that’s what I call my bass boat. How did I do it? Taking a look at my gear and figuring out how much of it was tackle overkill & excess weight.
Listen up, it was actually pretty easy. The first item on my list was to get rid of every bait and tackle box that hadn’t been used in eons. An example would be my Senko boxes; I had in excess of 10 different colors and sizes. What stuck me was that 90% of the time, I only used two colors: the green pumpkin/black flake and the Junebug. Now, those two are the only ones I carry, this process of elimination continued throughout the day.
The next item on my list was to get rid of two anchors and since I’ve been using the DigIn shallow water anchor system they weren’t needed, all they were doing was taking up space and adding weight. I’m sure at some point I’ll wish i still had them, but for now, the weight had to go!
Moving on I started looking at how the items in my boat are distributed. After removing all the excess tackle and accessories I re-positioned the rest of my stuff equally on both sides. Here’s the final picture of the tackle that I carry on my boat and, when I’m on the road fishing with someone else, all I have to do is grab my bag … Done!
A few other tips I used to cut down on weight; I never top off the gas tanks in my boat or my truck, why haul around all that extra weight? I’ll get what is needed for the day plus a little extra. Also, don’t fill your live wells up until you get to your 1st stop. Remember its all about keeping your boat weight down.
Batteries are a huge weight consideration; get the lightest ones you can buy. I have a problem with this one because the cost of the new high tech batteries are through the roof, some of them going for a thousand bucks, or more, each. Needless to say I’m running the big ole heavy ones!
Take a look at your boat folks and see what your carrying around and how much needless weight it amounts to. With the gas prices being so high, these ideas will save you a ton of money. BTW I very rarely run faster than 50 mph so the 70 mph I hit the other day was only to prove my point, LOL!
Until next time “ Stay on Em” …. Let the picture below be the reason your boat is overweight !
The February Contest winner of the Dobyn’s 867 HSB Swimbait Rod is Marty Stone of Evington,Virginia! Hopefully this rod will come in handy when he fishes on his favorite spot on Lake Conner! Congratulations Marty! Thanks for playing everyone and stay tuned for another giveaway announcement on March 3rd!