HoHfC Logo black.jpgbalsax.jpgbassbraid.jpgbasscat-logo.jpgcosta-logo.pngfx.jpggarmin.pngmanns.jpgmercury.jpgpowerpole.jpg

Paul in the News

20150508 080947

Bass don’t have much deep water where they can hide in the winter at Ross Barnett, but the only thing that makes Ross Barnett a bad January fishing day is a hard, blowing north, northeast or northwest wind.

Bass are in their winter pattern in early January. Generally, if you put a lure in front of them, they’ll attack. I’ll concentrate my fishing on the riprap near the dam and in Pelahatchie Bay and on the riprap and pilings on either end of the Pelahatchie Bridge and the Highway 43 bridge.

Bass are in their winter pattern in early January. Generally, if you put a lure in front of them, they’ll attack. I’ll concentrate my fishing on the riprap near the dam and in Pelahatchie Bay and on the riprap and pilings on either end of the Pelahatchie Bridge and the Highway 43 bridge.

Riprap. First I’ll fish the riprap by the dam. The bass will be in the shallow water on the rocks or holding on the first drop-off in about 8 to 10 feet of water. The rocks will draw heat from the sun, and the shallow water around them will concentrate baitfish. I’ll start casting a gray ghost Mann’s Baby 1-Minus on a 7-foot-1, medium-action FX Custom rod with a 7.3:1 Bruin reel and 20-pound White Peacock fluorocarbon. I’ll cast parallel to the riprap and crash the lure into the rocks in foot-deep water. On any warming January day, the shad, the bluegills and other baitfish will hold as close to the rocks as possible, as will bass. 

I’ll also have on my casting deck a 3/8-ounce Classic spinnerbait with a white skirt, gold Indiana blades and a trailer hook. I’ll crash that spinner bait at a 45% angle into the rocks from the shallow water, slow-rolling the spinnerbait to turn the blades out to about 4 feet deep. I’ll use a 6-foot-10, heavy action FX Custom rod with 23-pound fluorocarbon on a 6.2:1 reel.

Complete Story


By Mike Pehanich - November 30, 2020 The challenge of moving from a five-fish tournament format to the relentless pressure of catch-what-you-can competition has tested the nerves of virtually every angler on the MLF Bass Pro Tour.

That certainly has been the case for Paul Elias, the Mississippi pro who has etched his name in bass fishing history and the angling record books in dazzling fashion during the course of his career. At age 69, he has, as they say, “seen it all.” No angler in the 80-man Bass Pro Tour field draws from a deeper well of experience to assess the respective challenges professional bass anglers have faced during the sport’s evolution.

But, as the oldest angler in the field, Elias feels more tightly compressed each season, caught between a younger and increasingly talented angler field and the unyielding pressure of Father Time, as manifested in two shoulder operations in 2018.

“It’s been a nightmare for me, in a way,” he admits. “With our new electronics from Garmin and everyone else, there’s always something different to learn. LiveScope (Panoptix) technology is basically video game bassin’. I’m not near as good at it as these young kids. It’s hard for me to keep up.”

Comeback Kid

As for the transition from five-fish limit competition to the cumulative SCORETRACKER® format, Elias is learning to “fish faster and read water quicker than I’m used to.”

He has faced formidable challenges on every front. But if he should rise to compete once again at an elite level, it wouldn’t be the first time.

Several times during his career, he has come back from winless droughts and strings of out-of-the-money performances to win with eye-popping, tour de force triumphs such as his “kneelin’ and reelin’” Bassmaster Classic win on the Arkansas River and first “all-smallmouth” win on New York’s Seneca Lake.

Full Story


Alabama rig will catch anything, and there’s plenty of fish to catch

By - Paul Elias I like to catch fish, lots of fish. I earn my living by catching bass, but anything that tugs on my line is fun to catch. The more tugs I get in a day, the more I enjoy myself. 

That’s why Pickwick is my choice for Mississippi lakes in December. I can catch largemouths, smallmouths, spots, white bass, stripers, catfish and crappie using some of the same rigs.

Alabama Rigs 

During most of a December day at Pickwick, I’ll be fishing an Alabama rig. This umbrella-type, multi-bait rig will catch suspended fish, ledge fish and fish holding near the bottom. I can cover lots of water and catch numbers of fish. 

I’ll tie two Alabama rigs on two rods. The first will have ¼-ounce jigheads with 4-inch, pearl-colored, soft-plastic swimbaits that imitate shad. I’ll tie this rig onto 50-pound bass braid and fish it with a 7.3:1 Bruin reel and a 7-foot-10, heavy plus-action FX Custom Rod. 

The other rod will have tied on an Alabama Rig with 3/8-ounce jigheads featuring wide-gap hooks that can be rigged Texas-style. I’ll bring the hook out top of the swimbait so it lays on the back of the bait. I’ll skin-hook the point to make it weedless. 

I’ll crawl the Alabama Rig on the bottom or through any type of cover. Remember, I’m basically a tournament bass angler, so I can cast and retrieve a vertical jig or use any type of fishing tactic except trolling. However, if you’re fun-fishing, and your arm gets tired from throwing the Alabama rig, slow-troll that rig, cover plenty of water and catch a lot of fish. The Alabama rig is probably the best trolling bait available.

Full Article 

By Paul Elias - Lake Eufaula was an awesome way to start the season for me, and I can’t wait to get started this week on Okeechobee. I’ll tell you, I feel 100 percent better than I did last year. Seriously, it’s like night and day. I feel like I’m back in the game. 

The MLF Bass Pro Tour format is so amazing. I’ve been fishing professional tournaments for decades, but the stress and excitement with this format is addicting. I was close to making the cut – OK, maybe not that close, since I needed a 3-pounder or better to make the Knockout Round, but I finally felt great again fishing a tournament. 

Muddy water made it tough to see any fish at Eufaula. I had these little No. 6 treble hooks on a squarebill crankbait and I couldn’t see the position of bait in mouths or see what size the bass was. It was driving me crazy. I really needed a kicker fish, but I didn’t lose any fish. First tournament in two years where I didn’t lose several fish. Funny thing though, on the first day I caught 23 crappie, throwing a little swimbait, and had four scorable bass. Nobody else was catching crappie, I would’ve won the crappie tournament that day, if there was one.

Excited to Fish Okeechobee

Fishing Lake Okeechobee is something I can’t wait to do. I won a Super B.A.S.S. event there in the late 80s. 

Fishing the Okeechobee of old, you could get on the edge of pepper grass, get on your trolling motor, and go until you found them. Find a point of grass or a dip in the grass and you’d eventually locate fish. But, the back-to-back hurricanes and high water destroyed a lot of the grass. I think the key to finding fish this time around is locating hay and reeds with the new vegetation mixed in.

We’ll be working through a lot of buck bass, and the winner will have to catch a few kickers. With the 2-pound minimum for a scorable bass, we’re going to throw a lot of fish back that don’t weigh. It’s going to be different, but I like it. We’re pretty much hitting Okeechobee on the head as far as time of year. The lake is low – but not too low – and the bass are accessible. 

Somebody is going to have a strong average on Okeechobee, especially with the 2-pound minimum. You can slow down and fish for the big kickers and not be passed up by somebody catching 1-pound schoolers.

We’ve had two beautiful days of practice, but then it’s going to blow 15 to 25 mph winds on the first day of the event, out of the north. Anybody focused on the south end is going to get hammered. Then the wind is expected to blow out of the east the next day, which means that very few areas won’t be hit by the wind.

Dugout canoe foundeeee.jpg

By MARK THORTON, - When Vincent Spradley went fishing recently, he came away with the catch of a lifetime from Tallahala Creek.

He and 15-year-old daughter, Brittany, who live in the Glade Community, and buddies Tommy Elias, 35, of Purvis and Jacob Livingston, 25, of Laurel returned to shore with a dugout canoe that could be more than 300 years old.

Spradley could only see about 7 inches of the 17-foot canoe sticking up at an angle in the middle of the creek, between the boat launch off Highway 29 South at Spurline Road and Tuckers Crossing.

“I saw it Saturday while I was riding the creek with my dog and fishing,” Spradley said. “I started fishing, but I kept thinking, ‘I better go back and look at that.’”

When he went back and took a closer look, he was glad he went back to check out the “log” that caught his eye.

“I felt of it and I said, ‘That’s a canoe,’” Spradley recalled. “I must have drove by it a hundred times.”

It was upside down in the creek, so what couldn’t be seen was a hollowed-out log with a seat sculpted into the wood at the end.

It was in knee-deep water and it took about three hours for Spradley and his crew to carefully dig it out. Livingston called Wayne County Sheriff Jody Ashley – a former conservation officer – and Ashley put him in touch with a state archaeologist who advised them how to preserve the canoe.

“They told us we needed to keep it wet or it could dry out and fall to pieces,” Elias said as he poured water from a pitcher onto the canoe. “We want to do things right. This is history.”

Conservation officer Keith Jones, who met them at the Highway 29 boat ramp, reiterated the advice about keeping it wet as they tried to figure out how they were going to transport it. There wasn’t much question what they were going to do with it.

“It’s not on sale, it’s for sale,” Spradley said. “This is the find of a lifetime.”

His daughter said she had done some research and learned that Native Americans would bore a hole in a canoe’s hull to “free the spirit” of the recently departed owner. There was a hole in the bottom of the canoe, a couple of feet from the seat.

Elias’ father is longtime Bassmaster pro fisherman Paul Elias.

“He ain’t never caught nothing like this,” his son said with a laugh. “This is something.”

State Historic Preservation Officer Jim Woodrick said that the canoe is likely from the 1700s, and officials can’t speculate about what tribe it could have come from — or even that it was made by Native American hands.

What he does know is that it’s a “remarkable find” to have anything that was hand-made in the 18th century.

“We have at least one (Indian dugout canoe) in the museum’s collection,” he said. “I’ve been here since 1997, and I’ve only heard of two or three being found in the state during that time.”

There is some question about who the owner of the canoe is, though.

“As I understand it … anything found in the streambed of a waterway belongs to the State of Mississippi,” Woodrick said, “but we need to do a little more investigation and have some more discussions.”

While the find’s keepers are holding their breath waiting for the ruling, the canoe is still submerged in a safe place.

“We want to preserve it ourselves,” Livingston said.


Photo by Phoenix Moore - BRANSON, Mo. – What were you doing in January of 1976? It’s possible you weren’t even born yet, as is the case with this author. For Paul Elias, it was the start of a long and storied career as a professional bass angler. 

The 1976 Bassmaster Florida Invitational on St. Johns River was the beginning of what would lead to many innovations from the legendary bass angler, who is still slugging it out 43 years later, on the MLF Bass Pro Tour.

Along the way, Elias has won a Bassmaster Classic, set a weight record that still stands, and also introduced the masses to the Alabama Rig after a 2011 FLW Series victory on Lake Guntersville, Alabama. The Mississippi native has been a significant force of change and altered the way we fish to this day.

Getting Off the Bank

As we watched the anglers of the Bass Pro Tour fish Table Rock Lake, several all of them were offshore, and using their electronics to locate bass. That wasn’t always the case, and the field should thank Paul Elias and other pioneers for helping lead the way to fishing structure in deeper water.

“I’ve made my career by fishing off the bank, and it used to be much harder to locate the spots – now the mapping cards are so good, and everything is on your GPS,” he points out. 

There was no idling on your big motor and dropping waypoints in those days.

“I looked at an old paper map of Logan Martin recently: I had things written down like ‘line up this tree and the end of this gable and then line up with this power line’ it was so funny to see,” Elias recalls about having to triangulate every offshore location instead of relying on a GPS waypoint to get back to the spot.

“During practice in those days, I would study maps and ride around to search and search, and if I could find two or three spots with a few stumps or a rockpile, I was lucky to find that many places. I would also have them all to myself.” 

It wasn’t until he won the 1982 Bassmaster Classic on the Alabama River that folks started to see the power of getting off the bank, and that event itself spurred two other innovations: deeper diving crankbaits and longer rods.

Full Story


By Dave Landahl - Photo by Phoenix Moore - It was 1980-something. The Who was on their first farewell tour, Ronald Reagan was the President of the USA, Cheers was a smash hit on television, and Paul Elias was on top of the bass fishing world. 

The Mississippi pro was not only one of the first public figures since Abraham Lincoln to rock a full, bushy hipster beard, he had also staked a claim to the top of the bass-fishing world with a victory in the 1982 Bassmaster Classic on the Arkansas River. For the foreseeable future, Paul Elias was positioned to be the king of the hill in professional bass fishing.

And then it all came crashing down.

Dear Paul: Get your priorities straight, trust your gut

Chatting with a writer from his home in the small southern Mississippi town of Luarel, Elias speaks frankly about that era of his life – painfully frankly sometimes – and without an abundance of joy. He’s rightfully proud of his tournament-fishing accomplishments: in addition to his Classic win, he accumulated 12 Top 10s in a four-year period in the early 1980s. 

But decisions Elias made during that time in his life and the turmoil that followed shook him to his core; so much so that the 67-year-old legend admits that he’s still recovering.

“When I look back at my early career, I realize I made a lot of mistakes,” Elias admits. “If I could send a letter to myself back then, I’d let myself know that I did a good job sticking to my style of fishing, and that it would pay off with wins and a Bassmaster Classic championship. But, I’d also tell myself to change my personal life around. I was all about my career back then. I should’ve put God and my family first, but instead I put my fishing career above everything.”


Complete Story


Major League Fishing announced the groupings for the first two days of fishing in their first ever Bass Pro Tour event on Lake Toho next week. The competition starts Jan. 29, 2019 and group A will fish then. While Group B will fish on the Jan. 30 2019. Here is who will be competiting in each group. For more details visit  

Bass Pro Anglers
Group A

Mark Daniels
Gary Klein
Casey Ashley
Brandon Coulter
Andy Montgomery
Dave Lefebre
Randy Howell
Randall Tharp
Mark Davis
Ish Monroe
Kelly Jordon
Jared Lintner
Gerald Spohrer
Fred Roumbanis
Edwin Evers
Brett Hite
Chris Lane
Michael Neal
Justin Lucas
David Walker
Zack Birge
Jason Lambert
Mike McClelland
Tommy Biffle
Russ Lane
Matt Lee
Stephen Browning
Andy Morgan
Ott DeFoe
Roy Hawk
Jacob Wheeler
Greg Vinson
Keith Poche
Takahiro Omori
James Watson
Jordan Lee
Tim Horton
James Elam
Cody Meyer
Shin Fukae

 Group B

Aaron Martens
Adrian Avena
Bradley Roy
Jeff Kriet
Jeff Sprague
Skeet Reese
Terry Scroggins
Dustin Connell
John Murray
Shaw Grigsby
Alton Jones
Brent Chapman
Britt Myers
Jacob Powroznik
Luke Clausen
Boyd Duckett
Gerald Swindle
Jason Christie
Josh Bertrand
Todd Faircloth
Greg Hackney
Scott Suggs
Jesse Wiggins
Wesley Strader
Cliff Pace
Paul Elias
Cliff Crochet
Johnathon VanDam
Brent Ehrler
Anthony Gagliardi,
Justin Atkins
Kevin VanDam
Bobby Lane
Alton Jones Jr.
Mike Iaconelli
Fletcher Shryock
Mark Rose
Brandon Palaniuk
Marty Robinson
Dean Rojas


By John Johnson - BassFan Senior Editor At 67, Paul Elias will be far and away the oldest competitor fishing the Bass Pro Tour in its inaugural season. Heck, a hefty percentage of his fellow BPT anglers weren't even born when he won the Bassmaster Classic in 1982.

Obviously, the grizzled Mississippian isn't on the roster due to his recent Elite Series results. He's qualified for only two of the past 13 Classics (the most recent was in 2015) and he had a particularly rough go this year, finishing 55th or lower (outside the money cut) in all eight events and landing at No. 105 on the points list.

MLF officials have proclaimed all along, though, that with taking the sport to a larger audience the primary goal of the BPT, criteria other than recent performance was factored into the angler selection process. Elias' past achievements (the Classic win, the B.A.S.S. four-day weight record of 132-08 set at Falcon Lake in 2008, etc.), combined with him being an all-around good guy and someone who looks at the sport from a much broader perspective than just what will benefit him personally, was sufficient to garner him the invitation.

"He's got some serious credentials and a ton of veteran knowledge, but on top of that, he's always been a great spokesman for the sport," said MLF co-founder Boyd Duckett. "He's got a great personality, he comes across well on TV and he wants to be part of making a difference in the sport and leaving a legacy for the future.

"He fit a lot of our criteria and we're really proud to have him."

Happy to Be There

Elias said he wasn't exactly shocked to receive a BPT invitation, but "I wouldn't have felt wronged if I hadn't." He remained on the Elite Series the last two years only via the Legends exemption that awards points for Classic victories and Angler of the Year titles.

He thinks he stands a chance to fare pretty well under the MLF format of counting every legal fish caught during a competition day.

"Naturally, the guys who've done the MLF thing for years are going to have an advantage and I think there's quite a few anglers who are going to have to make some changes to their styles, but I think it's going to complement my style to a certain extent," he said. "Some of that will depend on how much time we're going to have to fish during the day, and we haven't been told that yet, but it could open the door to a lot more offshore stuff.

"A guy who goes out and finds a school of pound-and-a-half to 3-pound fish can excel in that format vs. a guy who goes out and gets seven or eight bites."

He used the St. Lawrence River, a frequent venue for the Elite Series, to expand upon his point.

"Say you go there and you know it's going to take well over a 3-pound average of smallmouth (under the five-fish limit format) to get a check. Now say I went out and caught 30 smallmouth and brought in five that weighed 16 pounds. If it took a 3 1/2-pound average, then I'm a pound and a half off at the end of the day and probably in 80-something place.

"But maybe I caught 20 more fish than some of the guys averaging 3 1/2 pounds. That would really come into play."

Time had Come

Elias was heavily involved in the now-defunct Professional Anglers Association (PAA) when it was founded in the mid 2000s and had hoped that it would evolve into an effective angler advocacy organization, but that never transpired. Eventually, it's No. 1 function was to offer members an additional series of tournaments, but it ran into all kinds of hurdles, many of them involving sponsorship conflicts.

"I was totally against holding our own tournaments and as soon as that started I could see the writing on the wall," he said. "After that, I just kind of backed off and left things alone. All the while I was listening to a lot of the anglers, most of the younger ones, complaining about the entry fees and the payouts (on the Elite Series and FLW Tour) and they just didn't understand how much power they had. It took something like the BPT to come along for them to see the light.

"It took a big thing like a 70-percent exodus (from the Elite Series to the BPT) to wake everybody up. If that didn't happen and everybody just continued going along with it, then why would anything change? It would've been the same old thing it's been all along."

Now he's interested to see the specifics of how the MLF folks go about presenting BPT tournaments to fans without a weigh-in at the end of each day as the centerpiece. And at this point, he's not giving a lot of thought to when his long career will reach its conclusion.

"I'll do this three-year deal for sure (BPT anglers have received a guarantee for that duration) and then we'll see where we're at. They'll either kick me out or I'll have to decide whether I'm going to stay or not."


> Elias recently had surgery on his left (non-casting) rotator cuff and hopes his shoulder will be completely rehabilitated by the time the BPT season kicks off in late January. "It'd bothered me bad for about a year and a half – I had two tears and some bone spurs in there and it got to the point where I knew I had to do something. The biggest handicap had been landing fish. I'm just so accustomed to landing them with my left hand and I lost a few when I couldn't get a grip; I'd get stretched out and it just hurt too much."

Read more:

Jake Lands 7.7 Largemouth Fishing with Paul


Paul, Wanted to drop you a line and again thank you for the great time Lance and I had. The time spent with you on the electronics was amazing,but the real deal was when we put that knowledge and applied it out on the water on Friday.We guessed our best 5 would of been in the 42 lb range, with both of us catching our personal best fish of our lifes.We had 2 over 10 and 1 around 9 from your lake. We are getting ready to start into the Everstart series this year and your class will definitely help us out.

Thanks again, Frank

In Depth Fishing Lessons Click Here

Just a quick email to let you know how much I enjoyed my trip to Pachuta. As an avid angler I found In-Depth Fishing to be a master's level course in the sport of bass fishing.  I learned a great deal and it was fun to apply the lessons while catching lunker bass (see photos).  Lake Eddins is an extraordinary fishery! Click Here

David McLarnon
Natick, MA

Fisherman – What a remarkable opportunity to fish and learn from a legend in bass fishing! Fellow bass fishing enthusiasts my name is Robert Chandler who works as an engineer day to day down in southwest Louisiana and I am just your average weekend angler aspiring to locate and put more fish in the livewell more consistently. Recently, I read an article in the Bassmaster magazine that Paul Elias who when I was a teenager had just started his fishing career Click Here