Sept 03, Inside BASS

Recent CITGO Bassmaster Classic runner-up Gary Klein has a wealth of experience that includes growing up in California, living in Texas and fishing tournaments in every corner of the country. Along the way, he has developed some time-tested theories on bass behavior.

One of those theories involves why bass strike lures.

"There are a lot of different reasons why a fish takes a lure," Klein said. "When a fisherman catches a fish on a lure, they just naturally assume that the fish was feeding. But that might not be the case. Probably 80 or 90 percent of the fish that I catch during the course of the year are non-feeding fish.

"A lot of the techniques and baits that are developed for bass fishermen to use to catch fish are not really based on whether the fish are feeding or are hungry. A lot of the techniques that I use, like speed-reeling a spinnerbait - let's face it, a 4- or 5-pound smallmouth has never seen double chartreuse blades reeled as hard as you can reel them. What you're doing is playing off of the personality of the fish. They're territorial. They're curious.

"You can aggravate them. They don't have hands, so they'll stop something with their mouth and then blow it out. I've watched them eat crawdads and if they're not hungry they'll crunch them and blow them out. They won't necessarily eat them. But that's when you can catch them."

PRAISE FOR IACONELLI. Despite being in incredible demand as the new Classic champion, Michael Iaconelli has not forgotten where he came from. Fellow pro and close friend Pete Gluszek marvels at the effort his fellow New Jersey angler went to in order to fulfill a commitment made well before his Classic victory.

"Mike had committed to participate in a charity event right after the Classic that was put on by a Ranger dealer in Maryland (to raise funds) for a fishing school for the underprivileged kids of Washington, D.C.," Gluszek said. "It was a tournament where there is a pro in the boat along with one of the kids.

"We left New Orleans on Wednesday at 10 o'clock, and Mike and I drove home. We drove all night long and we made it to the doorstep of this event about 10 minutes before it started. He could have easily got out of it (by saying), 'I just won the Classic. I'm tired. I'm swamped. I've been doing a lot press.' He couldn't even speak. He lost his voice. But he still did it. That says a lot about Mike."

SUMMERTIME KEEPERS. It's been a summer of precious arrivals for the Bassmaster family this summer. The pros who have welcomed the birth of new family members include Rick Clunn, Joe Thomas and Aaron Martens.  Marty Stone and Brent Chapman are due to become fathers in the next few weeks.

DID YOU KNOW? In the 35-year history of BASS, there have been 15 different winners of the Angler of the Year award. Interestingly, Roland Martin and Bill Dance traded the honor back and forth during nine of the first 10 years that it was awarded. Jimmy Houston interrupted their party in 1976.

PRO BIRTHDAYS. Japanese pro and transplanted Texan Ben Matsubu celebrates his 41st birthday on Sept. 9. Georgia's Johnny Lesesne is 45 on Sept. 11. Alabama pro Randy Howell turns 30 on Sept. 25, while Art Ferguson of Michigan will be 39 two days later. Kentucky's Mark Menendez becomes 40 on Sept. 28.

IF I HADN'T BECOME A BASS PRO . . . Kentucky pro Mike Auten says he would likely be working as a carpenter, the last job he had before becoming a tournament angler.

THEY SAID IT. "Yeah, I think about that (investing for retirement). You do think about that stuff. But, hey, there's some guys out here that fish forever - Tommy Martin, Roland Martin, Larry Nixon. I mean, it can be done." Texas pro Kelly Jordon, one of the sport's rising young stars.

For more information, contact BASS Communications at (334) 551-2375.