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Saturday, March 30, 2013
John Crews has ascended into rarefied territory.
At the recent Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament at Falcon Lake on the Texas/Mexico border, Crews hit the 100-pound mark for four days of fishing.
His catch - 103.13 pounds - was good for third place in the event, dubbed the Rigid Tools Falcon Slam.
Winner Keith Combs had 111.5 pounds, while runner up Rick Clunn just edged Crews with 105.6 pounds.
"The average size is still big," Crews said of the lake's bass. "But it doesn't have near the population that it had five years ago."
The third place finish was Crews' best in an Elite Series event since his third place finish at Lake Guntersville in the spring of 2010.
Earlier that season Crew notched his one and only Elite Series win, taking the trophy on the California Delta.
Crews has flirted with the magical century mark before, hitting 96.3 pounds to finish ninth in a 2007 tournament on South Carolina's Santee-Cooper system.
He had 92.11 pounds at the above-mentioned Guntersville tournament.
The high finish at Falcon bumped Crews up to eighth in the Elite Series standings, and came following a couple of recent tough tournaments.
At the Bassmaster Classic in February, Crews was in 16th going into the final day of fishing but could manage only a three-fish bag for 5.7 pounds, which dropped him to a final 22nd place.
At the season-opening Elite tournament on the Sabine River in Texas, Crews recovered from a two-fish first day to finish 26th.
At Falcon, Crews said he caught most of his fish on a Missile Baits Missile Craw, fishing around flooded mesquite trees.
He caught some fish fishing deep with a SPRO Little John DD crankbait.
Missile Baits is the lure company Crews launched last year.
When he isn't fishing, he stays busy with the business, which warehouses and distributes its products from Salem.
"It's a lot of fun," Crews said of running Missile Baits.
Dick's Sporting Goods is on board as a dealer, but Crews says a lot of his demand is from smaller tackle shops.
The line's best seller is the D-Bomb, which isn't surprising. Fellow pro angler Ish Monroe won a tournament using the bait last season.
All of the baits are doing well, he said.
"We don't have any duds in the lineup," he said.
"If it's something I'm not going to fish with, it doesn't make it."
ESPN2 will air a recap show featuring the Falcon Lake tournament this morning at 8 a.m.
Starting mountain bikers young
Adult mountain bike racers have flocked to the casual Wednesday Night Disco Series on Mill Mountain.
While the races have attracted some young guns, mountain bikers 16 and under are getting their own low-key, weekday evening race series in the Roanoke Valley.
The East Coasters Junior Cycling Team is launching a race series at Roanoke's Fishburn Park.
Races will be held starting Thursday at 6 p.m.
Other events are planned for April 17, and May 1, 15 and 29.
The entry fee for the races is quite attractive: free.
Those familiar with Fishburn Park's trail system might be a bit concerned. The trails that wind through the park's wooded section are surprisingly technical, with some difficult switchback and plenty of teeth-chattering roots.
The planned course avoids those trails and is beginner friendly.
It starts at the picnic area, heads up the hill toward the parking lot and then circles through one section of easy single track.
Then it runs along the grassy side of the creek to the lower end of the park before circling back to starting area.
Races will vary from a single lap to four laps, depending on the age and skill of the riders.
Toddlers from 2 to 4 can enter the tricycle/balance bike category, which will be held on a grassy straightaway.
While the races will be casual, organizers are also planning to offer group rides for kids who aren't up for competition.
More details on the race series, including a map of the course, are available at www.eastcoasters.com, calling 774-7933 or by stopping by the shop at 3544 Electric Road in Roanoke County.
The rundown of upcoming races in Western Virginia helped spur some input from a couple of folks who hadn't seen my earlier calls for submissions.
I will continually post race information in the weekly outdoors calendar (runs Wednesdays in the Sports scoreboard), in expanded calendar listings on the Outdoors page and in notebooks.
So race organizers, send away. If you have a website for the race (and who wouldn't?) please make sure the site is updated to reflect 2013 race dates and info.
Weekly fishing report
The weekly fishing forecast and report returns to its home in Thursday's Sports section this week.
I rely on information from the public for the report, so please send your reports, questions and pictures.
Weather JournalWarmth next 2 days hits icy wall