Accomplishment: Winning a bass tournament. Rank: Exciting.
Accomplishment: Winning a bass tournament against 137 other teams. Rank: Very Exciting!
Accomplishment: Winning a bass tournament against 137 other teams, by more than 14 pounds. Rank: "Exciting" would be an insult to this accomplishment.
Accomplishment: Winning a bass tournament against 137 other teams, by more than 14 pounds, and putting more than 20 pounds in the boat on a single cast (two 7-pounders and a 6). Rank: This ranking just got stupid.
Accomplishment: Winning a bass tournament against 137 other teams, by more than 14 pounds, and putting more than 20 pounds in the boat on a single cast (two 7-pounders and a 6-pounder), then culling all three? Rank: Come on, man.
Daniel and Adrian Barnes, a couple of bass-fishing brothers from Belton, Texas, know that feeling. The two won the Texas Tournament Zone Trail tournament on Lake Austin Feb. 22 with a five-fish limit weighing 43.22 pounds. Second place weighed in 29.06 pounds for a difference of 14.16-pounds.
Just to make a little more impact, 43.22 pounds divided by 5 fish means the Barnes team had an 8.64 average weight! And, to pile on, Adrian boated more than 20 pounds in a single cast. He had three big bass attack his YUM Flash Mob Jr. at the same time.
None of those bass made it to the weigh-in stage. Sticking mostly with the Flash Mob Jr., the pair continued to cull fish throughout the day. Four of the five fish the brothers weighed in were caught on FMJ (the other was caught on a jerkbait).
The Barnes brothers have been fishing umbrella rigs for several years, but now throw the FMJ almost exclusively.
"The blades and size is what does it," Daniel said. "They just seem to catch more fish."
Adrian had fished a tournament on Lake Austin two weeks prior, and with only 30 minutes before his weigh-in he found a spot that was holding a lot of fish. It was a ditch running toward a dock and the bank, and brushing against an underwater grassy point. Big prespawn bass were staging on this point.
It wasn't a very big spot, only about 30-yards wide, but the brothers decided to start the day there with the hopes of simply getting five fish in the boat before heading off to search for bigger fish. It didn't work out that way.
"We had a limit in seven or eight casts," Daniel said.
Plus, it was a good limit, and they worked that one point all day long and caught more than 60 fish throughout the day, including two weighing more than 9 pounds. After "culling and culling," Adrian made a cast and felt a substantial weight slam his FMJ.
"He goes, ‘this is a giant,'" Daniel said. "I got the net and he says, ‘I think I've got more than one on here.' They got a little closer to the boat and he goes, ‘OMG, I've got three giants on here!' I got them in the net and we were both stunned."
The list of tournaments won on the YUM Flash Mob Jr. seems to grow every week. Anglers are cashing checks on the FMJ at all but the very top level of competition (B.A.S.S. Elite and the FLW Tour banned the rig for being too effective). The lightweight rig was used by Georgia's Patrick Bone to win a B.A.S.S. Southern Open and qualify him for the Classic last year, and Jason Christie won an FLW Tour event with the rig before it was banned.
And, impressive double and triple catches are not uncommon. In late April of last year, Donnie O'Neal – also fishing Lake Austin – set the hook on a double catch with a total weight of more than 19 pounds (one weighing 11.8 and the "dink" weighing 7.8).
It's no longer a secret that this downsized umbrella rig catches big bass, sometimes several at a time. As a result, the rig is flying off the shelf so fast that stores are running out. Daniel Barns said it's tough to find a single FMJ even in the many tackle shops and Walmarts surrounding the Dallas Metroplex. When a new shipment arrives they're purchased almost as fast as they get on the pegs.
"They are few and far between around here," he said. "You can't find them anywhere."