Rick Clunn 2016 St Johns River Bassmaster Elite Greatness- the quality of being great, eminence, distinction, the concept of a state of superiority affecting a person or object, acquisition of status by the people who have contributed to an organization. All of the above are easily found official definitions of the word. Greatness comes in all shapes, sizes and forms, usually in short fleeting glimpses of time.

There is another form of greatness, one that covers a longer period of time, is much more enduring and has a much more profound impact if you have developed the ability to appreciate it when you see it. This is the kind of greatness I had the privilege to witness this past weekend. Covering the Bassmaster Elite Tournament on the St Johns River quickly went from the work of gathering various forms of coverage and interviews to an emotional chance to see greatness in its truest form.

There is a legend in our sport and I would encourage those who are spectators to the sport to enjoy his presence in it while it lasts, and those who participate in the sport to model themselves after. His name is…….Mr. Rick Clunn. Yes I called him Mr. Clunn, where I come from Mr. is a sign of respect, an acknowledgement of one’s vast level of experience. Mr. Clunn achieved more the first half of his long and illustrious career than even the best Professional Fishermen achieve in an entire career. Mr. Clunn is knocking on the door of 70 years old, had not won an event in 14 years, barely had the strength after a long week of fishing to hoist the trophy he won over top of his head, yet there he was the last man standing, the winner, at a highly competitive level in his sport, at a time in his life when most of us are enjoying a peaceful retirement.

Rick Clunn & KVD 2016 St Johns River Bassmaster EliteI remember as a young amateur tournament angler, reading a Bassmaster Magazine article about how even after his 4 Bassmaster Classic wins Mr. Clunn still stayed at campgrounds during his days on the trail, passing on the luxury of staying in a nice hotel more suited for such an accomplished Pro. His answer to the writer’s inquiry was “I Prefer to be in the outdoors, feeling the same weather the fish do, and understanding how they react during those conditions gives me a worthwhile advantage.” At the time it sounded like a response from an angler possibly losing touch with all of the advantages of modern technology, like the sport may pass him by. I forgot about greatness, it is earned through hard work, humility, ambition, and possibly most important persistence.

After 2 days Mr. Clunn made the 50 cut with a little over 31lbs, then greatness happened. Day three you could hear the buzz behind stage at the tanks, someone had a monster bag, the competitors knew it, the fans would have to wait for Dave Mercer to run through the weights, hinting at what was to come. Up the steps from the tanks to the stage, Mr. Clunn was feeling no pain from the previous three days of competition; instead he hid the stress of knowing what was to come the final day like a grizzly old poker player. Over 31lbs of fish in one bag, the biggest limit of the tournament by far, gave way to Dave Mercer displaying a vertical leap of excitement that would have had NFL scouts at the combine amazed. The crowd roared and gave standing applause, they could only hope to see what was to happen the final day, but it was as if they already knew…….Greatness.

Rick Clunn 2016 St Johns River Bassmaster Elite The final day it became a battle of the old guard and the current guard, well established Pro, Greg Hackney with plenty of credentials of his own vs. the Grey Beard, Mr. Clunn. In the end Mr. Clunn didn’t just hang on for the win, like the Greek God Neptune unwilling to give up his reign of the sea, he threw down his trident winning by a 4lb margin. The crowd a mixture of old and young, was respectfully silent as Mr. Clunn humbly shared a few moments on stage with his family and spoke words of, well……..greatness.

Rick Clunn 2016 St Johns River Bassmaster Elite

“I enjoy being around the young guys on the tour, they drive me to compete, as they should if they are any good.” Not the words of declining veteran of the tour jealous of their youth, but of a true competitor who respected the excitement they bring to the sport. “ and for all you folks out there my age…..everyone peaks at some point in their life, but don’t think for one second that just because of your age your greatest moments have to be behind you” Spoken like a great competitor, a great role model for the young guard, a great father. Like I said…….Greatness.

Bass Matrix is Bigger and Better in 2016

The 2016 Professional Bass fishing season is upon us!  Here at Bass Matrix we are looking forward to a new and exciting season including several awesome new features.

We would like to start with thanking all of you for your support of our inaugural year online.  We had so much fun bringing Bass Matrix to life, and in particular covering Carl Jocumsen’s stay with us and his incredible tournament on the Chesapeake Bay.  We had so much fun that we decided to do it bigger and better this year!

This year Bass Matrix will be covering tournaments up and down the east coast, starting with the St. Johns river in Florida!  We will be at the event, gathering content exclusive to Bass Matrix including photos, videos and interviews with the Pros!
We appreciate your continued support as together we grow the most interactive, complete website for bass fishing!  If you have a suggestion that could make a better experience on the site, just let us know.  We love to hear from you!

Tight lines.
John and Juli

Bass Fishing

Ask any pro…

Ask any pro what is the biggest difference between the success rate of the casual weekend angler and successful professionals and one of the first things he will say is the ability to transition from “spot” fishing, to pattern or conditional fishing. As the casual angler we pull up to a spot and fish it knowing we have caught fish there before and sometime we are successful and sometimes not.

What makes the difference?

Knowing and understanding why they were there to begin with. Part of that understanding is pulling as many factors and variables of information together that replicate the times that we were successful.

That is where The Bass Matrix comes in.

We have the first totally searchable database, from any point of information you enter, that will then pull all your results based on the variables you enter. 

No more looking at way points on your GPS and trying to remember the conditions in which you caught them. Look up the location and conditions you are faced with, and if you have fished those conditions previously and logged your info you will retrieve all your info on them in the order of the most success by weight.

Will this site make you a professional overnight?

Absolutely not, but if you log your information correctly it will help you keep track of successful vs unsuccessful fishing conditions and that will always make you a better fisherman.

We would love to hear your feedback!

What Is Bassmatrix?

Over 20 years ago when I began bass fishing and had aspirations of becoming a professional tournament fisherman, I started collecting every bass fishing  publication I could get my hands on.

Many of the pros at the time talked about how they had binders of material they had saved of tournaments they had fished including articles cut out of these publications. So that made me even more meticulous about saving them.

My dream of being a professional tournament fisherman has faded over time, however my love of helping others learn about the sport did not (part of the reason I wasn’t a great tournament fisherman….can’t help myself but to share when I found a good pattern or spot which isn’t conducive to tournament success)

Fast forward a few years and going through the piles of publications I had in my house I came up with the idea of a program or website that would hold all the tournament info I had sitting in front of me and if I could make it all completely searchable that it would help fisherman see and learn patterns they hadn’t tried before.

I have even had success in local tournaments using this method which helped form the idea. I was fishing a local tournament on the Potomac River, had fished there before but had really stumbled with very little success. So before this tournament I went through all my publications and read about every tournament I could find on the Potomac. Now I knew that the most recent tournament results would not help because they were too recent and all the local fisherman would be trying those patterns and wearing it out. So I went back a couple years and fished a 2nd place pattern where a guy had fished a sewage plant discharge and finished in second place. It was a finesse technique called a split shot rig that I had never tried before. So I tried it in practice and had success, and during the tournament finished in first place and caught the biggest bass of the year in my club tournament. An idea was born, and here we are trying to develop and refine that idea.

I hope you find it useful and helpful in your future fishing.


Bassmaster Elite - Carl Jocumsen

On Our Way To Weigh In

On our way to day 2 weigh in for the Upper Chesapeake Bay Elite tournament and it appears our friend and guest Carl Jocumsen crushed them today. Unofficial tally has him in 1st place with about 18 lbs today, which would be the heaviest bag of the tournament. We will get some pictures to post when we get there and try to get a quick video from him this evening. Follow Carl on his quest for his first Elite win at or on and see him weigh in live!

Carl Jocumsen

What a great day!

The Bass Matrix Team would like to congratulate Carl Jocumsen on a great showing on the first day of the Bassmaster Elite on The Upper Chesapeake. After a tough morning with not a single bite fishing the spots he had found the last practice day, Carl took a minute to gather himself sit down in his boat and ask himself “what should the bass be doing”. After studying his Navionics Map for a moment he settled on a spot nearby he had not tried and first cast hooked and lost a 5 pounder He did not let that get him down and his very next cast landed a 5 pounder

Carl then settled in to catch 4 fish for almost almost 14.5lbs. He is the only angler in the top 20 with only 4 fish and currently sits 12th on day one. Carl thought he had the area to himself but soon discovered that 1st place Aaron Martens was fishing close by. While some would be discouraged to discover this, Carl sees it as confirmation he is on the right fish and with only 3 anglers making the run south today, he shouldn’t have to fight the crowds recirculating spots in the Northeast River and surrounding areas tomorrow.

The big lesson to be learned here is when struggling to find a bite it is never a bad idea to take a minute and rethink what you are doing and more importantly what the fish should be doing. This is part of the process of going from “spot” fishing to pattern fishing and fishing the conditions in front of you not the ones behind you.

We wish Carl luck tomorrow, and will keep you posted on how he is doing.

Carl Jocumsen and Kayla Palaniuk

Pre Tournament Dinner

Shared a wonderful pre tournament dinner this evening with BASS Pro Carl Jocumsen and his girlfriend Kayla Palaniuk, cousin of BASS Pro Brandon Palaniuk. Cooked Filet on the Grill, with delicious sides. Enjoyed some light fun conversations including some hilarious boat ramp horror stories, as well as a few tournament stories.  A fun evening ended early so Carl can get his rest. We wish him luck, and will continue to follow his progress throughout the rest of the week. Follow Carl through this tournament on his blog at, or through Basstracker.

BASS Pro Carl Jocumsen

BASS Pro Carl Jocumsen

I am honored to say that BASS Pro Carl Jocumsen from Australia is staying with me this week during the Upper Chesapeake Bay Elite Tournament this week. Was able to help him out by rewiring the power supplies to his Hummingbird Units that were losing power when he cranked big motor over. So far it has been fun and enlightening to see what a Pro has to go through on a daily basis to make it at this level. We hope to bring you some more detailed articles and possibly even an interview before he moves on to his next tournament. Stay tuned for more. To look up more on Carl and his season so far go to

Back to your roots

Go Back To Your Roots

Remember when fishing was simple?

One pole, a small tackle box, a pond small enough to throw a rock across? It’s where almost all of us got our start, over the years we improve and hone our skills, we read about the latest baits, then it’s 2 rods, a bigger tackle system, a small boat, and before you know it you’re fishing local tournaments on a 30+ thousand dollar bass boat with dreams of making it big and hoisting that classic trophy over your head.

Every once in a while it’s good to go back to your roots.

I believe in it so much that I have a single rod rigged up with 10lb test line and a small bag of tried and tested true lures and hit local retention ponds in my area. Its how I learned to site fish for bedding bass over 10 years after starting bass fishing. I have learned more about fishing from small retention ponds than any other body of water.

Most important of all of them, how to relax and truly enjoy the sport without the competition that so often overtakes us even as casual local tournament participants.

If you haven’t done it in a while, try it!

Grab an old rod and only the lures you might fit in your pocket and test your skills in a body of water you have driven by a hundred times but have never fished. Trust me you won’t be disappointed.

Kid Fishing

Take a kid fishing

Still a couple days left in the week to plan a short fishing trip with a kid. Take your own or someone else’s. Exposing a child to the outdoor world increases their awareness of their environment, and how much impact they can have in it. It gets them away from the electronics, even if it’s just for the day or a couple hours.

Just be sure to keep it fun, interesting and light for them.

If they want to fish for 30 minutes and then throw rocks in the water… then throw rocks in the water with them, or take them on a nature walk around the water to see how many different animals they can find.

Remember it’s about exposure, not how much they catch at a young age.

They have time to grow into the fisherman you may already be.