I’m using the official launch date of Southern Trout Eaters as July 3rd, 2011 as per this post announcing the film on the Trophy Fishing Forum of calfishing.com.

I wanted to thank  the angling community at large, and certainly the swimbait fishing community for the support and genuine aloha around the release of Southern Trout Eaters.   We announced a 6″ Triple Trout Giveaway on our Facebook Page that ends tomorrow at 5pm Central Time.  We just posted a ‘success stories wanted’ contest on our Facebook Page and will be giving away six of our pre-rigged with Owner Hardware,  8″ Huddleston Deluxe Rainbow Trouts.   That contest ends this Friday at 5pm Central Time.   Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more.

At some point, if you are passionate about something and work at it long and hard enough, you want to have an advanced conversation that gets into the weeds, that explores things with photos and video, that tests things out, that documents trials and errors, you want to hear opinions and inputs of others who share the same passion, you want to hear the good, the bad, and some controversy.    At least, that is where we are at.  That is what professionals do.      And to have so many people watch and comment on Southern Trout Eaters on online forums and on the Tackle Warehouse product page, so overwhelming favorably, just speaks volumes to me about the risks we should take, the directions to head, and who we engage to get there.

Southern Trout Eaters fans are all over the world, not just the United States, which is incredible.  Our blog traffic has increased 5-10X  at peak times,  year- over-year.  Our YouTube channel has gone from virtually nothing to almost 200,000 hits in a year and approx.  500 subscribers.   We were able to get a copy of the DVD to Manabu Kurita in Japan, and he sent us a kind note in return.  I have received phone calls from guys who have won BassMaster Classics and FLW Tour Events giving me huge props on the film and what we did.  Someday I hope to document some of it with film.  It would be incredible to get some of these guys talking about Southern Trout Eaters who have been tournament fishing as long or longer than I’ve been alive.  Some of my favorite feedback has come from friends and family who do not fish.  People who for the first time I think sort of understand what it is we do and the search we are on.

Those of you who are clicking thru the links in our blog, or thru the product page at southerntrouteaters.com,  or the ‘shopping link’  to purchase products from Tackle Warehouse are helping us out tremendously and that model is working.  Between the sales of the DVDs and your support of our Affiliate agreement with Tackle Warehouse, you are making our fishing possible.  You are holding us accountable and helping us show we are providing content that has value.   So I say thank you and I plan on returning the favor with some fresh new content this summer, non-trout eater, swimbait fishing that I think you will enjoy, via Youtube.    DVD just takes so much more time, effort and cost, it will be saved for special projects only, is what my gut tells me is the right way to play it.

Keep an eye on our Facebook Page, we’ll have some more contests this week.  Thank you all for your support, looking forward to the next 365 days.

Headquarters of southernswimbait.com, Cotter, Arkansas. That is the White River out the window, and my humble little desk. One of the most profound lessons of the last year has been the realization I need to get off the road. I recently moved back in with Mom&Dad and am working on my 2013 season already. Too much time on the road, not having your own place to hang your hat, and not having an office (no matter how simple), a social life, a gym, or any normal things has been hurting me.  Arkansas is all the way around a good thing for me, my wallet, and my fishing. I hope to edit like the wind from my little desk this summer and keep after it. I’ve struggled at times the last 365 days with what the heck I’m doing:  35 years old, no money, no job, no girlfriend sort of thing but between Arkansas, the continued success of Southern Trout Eaters and southernswimbait.com, and the 1.5 Terabytes of unpublished data I have of stuff people will enjoy watching, I’ve got a clear path into 2013 and beyond.  Thank you for your support and helping me find my path.

I caught all 10 fish I weighed in on the 8″ Triple Trout in Sexy Shad.  I was not on winning fish, but 15 pounds per day isn’t horrible fishing.  Lake Guntersville put out some high 20s and 30+ pound sacks last week, but if you notice, a small minority of guys (who tend to guide here year round, or live in the area) knew the ledges where the big ones pulled out first.  Only JT Kenney, who is no slouch on any lake, was the sole ‘out of towner’ in the Top 10 on the final day.

The 8″ Triple Trout, Sexy Shad was my workhorse for 2 days on Guntersville. Fishing shallow grass in 2-6 feet of water, focusing on the edges and wherever I could see it go from shallow to deep, right on the edge, wind blown or rainy, the better. I have never weighed all my fish in any FLW Outdoors event on a bigbait, so this is a step in the right direction.


The winning and Top 10 fish were deep.  Like 30 feet deep.  Most of the Top 10 guys agreed that the fish were suspended and not glued to the bottom, which made the umbrella rigs + swimbaits and the single stand alone swimmers good choices.  Justin Lucas nailed two 30 pound sacks swimming a single Hollow Belly mid water column off one spot.  The same spot Richard Peek fished.  They shared a single spot.  Casey Martin fished a couple spots and found himself sharing water with JT Kenney and Mark Rose.   Basically, the ledges of the TN River aren’t stacked with fish yet.  The big ones are clearly moved out, but there is miles and miles of ledge without fish.

Justin Lucas’ right hand and right bait. The Hollow Belly or Paddle Tail Tube or the Shadalicious…a common theme onstage on the final day. I realized I’d made a mistake to not commit more time to the mid water column, I either fished out deep and on the bottom or up shallow and over the grass. But suspended fish in a few key areas is what won, and the swimbait was the right bait.


Grass Fishing:

I committed to shallow grass fishing for the event because that was the only thing I had going. I couldn’t find the ledge bite.   I was super stoked to find fish eating the 8″ Triple Trout though.  The Sexy Shad color is just a good choice, and they really ate it well.  I caught 12 keepers on the first day, and missed one big bite right at the boat.  The rain the first day seemed to help the bite and prevent me from seeing the big follower too well, but still, I felt like any cast I could easily stick a 5-7 pounder.  I fished around North Sauty in fairly community hole type water.  In fact, I fished around guys like Tharp and McMillan, so I figured I couldn’t be too out of my head.   My co-angler partners got a kick out of me throwing that Triple Trout and getting fish on it.  I think they are now Triple Trout converts.  15 pounds per day isn’t great on Guntersville right now, but it was good enough for 38th place and a check, and helped me secure 8th place overall in the South East Division for 2012, which just for pride sakes, is cool.

Lake Guntersville Milfoil. You typically have 6″ to 1 or 2 feet of clearance above the grass to fish your Triple Trout. Sometimes I get fouled up, but most times, I could just grind the Triple Trout over the milfoil, put a lot of stalls and pauses in the bait, and the fish would be smash it. Fun fishing, but not winning fish.


More to come on Guntersville and recapping the Everstart. I got a few inbound requests on what I did, and I’m hoping to provide some film and footage that better shows what I was doing up shallow in the grass, and what the other guys are doing out deep on the ledges to catch these bigger sacks.



Click the above image to be routed to Tackle Warehouse, buy a copy of Southern Trout Eaters (and whatever else you might need), check out, and you'll be entered to win one of two 3 Dot Triple Trouts. Raffle Ends 2-29-12.

Thanking Mr. Whitmer for his contribution to our film in both person and in bait, and thanking him again for allowing us the opportunity to give away a couple of beautiful baits that anyone would be stoked to have.   The Triple Trout is a hard bait.  Hard Baits require much more scrutiny than do soft baits.  The Triple Trout catches fish in all latitudes and longitudes trout or no trout, and is a bigbait you need to be fluent in.   We featured the Triple Trout in the Southern Trout Eaters DVD of course, and show how we fish it in ‘moving bait’ conditions and in straight up Southern heat.   S-Swimmers are part of the tool kit, and the Triple Trout is right next to the set of wrenches.

CLICK HERE to view the page to buy your copy of our  Southern Trout Eaters DVD, and see the banner at the top of the page that outlines the raffle from Tackle Warehouse.   Bottom line is, buy a copy of Southern Trout Eaters in February and you’ll be entered into the drawing to win one.

Owner ST-36 Stinger Hooks and Hyper Wire Split Rings added to the raffled baits for your fish hooking and landing pleasure.
Boot&Vortex Tails, weedless and not, braided line and 5 good bites a day, is that too much to ask for?

This is my 4th year on Okeechobee.  The lake is fishing WAY differently than in years past.  The lake is choked out.  The vegetation so thick in most areas, you simply cannot get to a lot of areas that we used to fish.  The fish are more main lake/outside edge of the grass line, where they’ve never really been when I’ve bee here.   What that means is new locations, and new ways to catch them.  You can actually fish hanging trebles and non-weedless baits, but with the water falling, weedless is better than not most times.  Still, new lake to me, fishing pretty old school I imagine, lots of flipping and punching going on, and just light pitching.   But unless you know where the big ones are, that is a brutal way to go about Okeechobee, and the zillions of miles of shoreline grass, mats, and edges.

Guys are going to smash them. I mean, 25-30 pound sacks.  Flipping and punching.  I’m not doing either. I’m going with the swimmers.  I have a small-medium-large approach, and let me be clear, I’m fishing the Everstart and FLW Tour Event, so this is the first of two events I’ll be fishing, so I’ve got reason to not fully disclose everything, until after the Tour Event (Feb 12th).  I’ve had some big days on the grass swimmers.  I’m fishing new baits, new water, new techniques and taking my bigbait approach to the grass, and some days, it works.  However, the last 2 days of practice have sucked.  I haven’t been catching them quite like I want to be at all.  They aren’t eating the bigbaits right now for some reason.  They sorta bump it and I’m talking 5-7 bites on a GOOD day, more like 1-2 bites some days.    This isn’t the Okeechobee where you catch 20-40 fish no problem.   I could come in with 1 or 2 fish tomorrow, but I’ve made up my mind to fish my game, fish my strengths and sorta let this be a test run for the Tour Open.

Braided line, bigbaits, and 8 foot rods can be killer.  Okeechobee can give and Okeechobee can take.  This place flip flops from whipping my butt and stoking me out.  Tomorrow, I’m boat 12, which wasn’t what I wanted, but whatever, first flight, early weigh in, gotta go for it.  I know I’m around some quality fish, and God willing, I get 5 bites in the boat.    Have a long day on Friday, and our weather has been pretty much gorgeous, but again, the lake is different.  In year’s past, I’d be putting 75-100 fish in the boat per day with 80 degree air temps.  It’s just not that way, despite the good weather.   The flippers and punchers are going to get ’em, but only a handful are going to get the big ones.  Too many guys are struggling and scratching.  I’m way better at focusing on 5 bites with a swimmer in my hand than punching a Beaver with the rest of the world.  You want to talk about overwhelming, try tackling Okeechobee with a flipping rod.    So thick and choked this year too.

Wish me luck, I’m going to need it.   Gonna take all my powers and skills to get 5 fish in the boat tomorrow. I’m not fishing for 2 pounders and fishing the safe and conservative route. I’ve never had fish eating the baits I’m throwing, leading up to a tournament and I gotta go for it.  This could be a big disaster for this Everstart, but even so, I’m considering this a sort of dress rehearsal for the Tour Event.   I just don’t feel like compromising and playing it conservative.  I’m tired of fishing every game but my own.  I’ve had as many as 12-15 bites and 25 pounds easy on my better days.   The weather has been warming things up and I expect boys to catch ’em, just not everyone is going to have 20+ pounds. I guess it will take 12 pounds per day to get a check. I think I can get 12 pounds in 2-3 of the right bites per day.   No bed fish going, but that too might change come Tour time.    Anywho, gonna try and have some fun, fish my strengths and my game, and if Day 1 doesn’t pan out, even more reason on Day 2 to go back and do it all over because I’m not gonna get 30 pounds fishing texas rigged trick worms, which is a good bait right now!