CHRIS BRESSLER (MINNESOTA)
An experienced multi-species and tournament angler, Chris has fished all across the Ice Belt on the Trap Attack, True Ice and the NAIFC tournament circuit. Most recently, Chris has been on the leading edge of the Slender Spoon revolution, using both the Slender Spoon and Pro Series Slender Spoons to target trophy walleyes, pike, perch, and crappies from Nebraska to Canada.
An ice fishing ambassador, Chris always takes time to talk tactics and tackle with anyone looking to improve their angling knowledge. He also spends countless hours in the off-season combing through his ice tackle and gear, ensuring that when it comes to landing the big fish, or capturing that moment in a photo, he will be ready no matter the on-ice scenario.
Finally, if you want to see Chris at his best, point him at a new body of water or on a tough bite, and he will chase down the schools and throw the highest-quality presentations at them until they bite. Ultimately for Chris, pursuing fish in the harshest conditions and coming out victorious is the most satisfying quest available in the outdoors today.
BOB GILLISPIE (IOWA)
Bob Gillispie purchased Custom Jigs & Spins from Walt & Poppee Matan in 1997. An avid fisherman, Bob had always dreamed of owning his own tackle company and now he has five! Before purchasing Custom Jigs, Bob purchased The Worm (formerly Chuck’s Worm) in 1992. He added Double “00” Lures’ Flu-Flu line of jigs in 2004 and in 2006 started up Vertiglo Tackle. Finally, in 2008, Bob purchased the B-Fish-N Tackle Company, which will solidify the Custom Jigs & Spins brand and its subsidiaries as a major force in ice fishing and open water fishing lures.
Bob’s philosophy is simple: “If we continue to offer the highest quality tackle that catches fish, we will have a successful business for many years to come!”
Custom Jigs & Spins’ lure division wants to hear from you. Drop us an e-mail, visit us on Facebook or send us a photo of your great catch on our lures!
JP BUSHEY (ONTARIO, CANADA)
JP Bushey has spent a lifetime fishing all over north-central Ontario, from The Great Lakes to the Canadian Shield. Big water is his forte and JP’s sons will make four generations to call Georgian Bay their home. He also fishes Lake Simcoe, Lake Nipissing, the Bay of Quinte and dozens of inland lakes. A former fishing guide, active outdoor writer, educator and seminar speaker, he maintains “teaching anglers to get better will always be the juice, for me. And helping people improve their fishing success is something I’ve always got time for. Be it on paper, the Internet or at a retail appearance, I love seeing people get fired up about fishing and the strides they’re making as anglers. Any role I can play in that will always be my biggest reward.”
LUKE HAUGLAND (IOWA)
During his youth, Luke Haugland was an ice fishing fixture on Iowa’s Lake MacBride. After several years of fine-tuning his fish-catching skills on MacBride and others and he became a field tester for Custom Jig & Spins.
Since those formative years, Haugland has traveled throughout the Midwest in search of trophy fish through the ice, and, today continues to design baits and other products that allow anglers to catch more fish. He is adamant about teaching the next generation of anglers how to fish as well enjoy every aspect of the sport, including the importance of selective harvest to ensure a positive fishing future.
Haugland has appeared on many TV shows, including “Midwest Outdoors” and “In-Depth Outdoors.” He has been the subject of many articles, and has written extensively for Midwest Outdoors Magazine, idofishing.com, wefishiowa.com, iowaoutdoors.com and thornebros.com.
PAT KALMERTON (WISCONSIN)
Pat Kalmerton grew up in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, learning to hunt and fish under the instruction of father Roy Kalmerton, a lifelong outdoorsman and Wisconsin DNR officer of 30 years. By age 12, Pat was first-mating on charter boats—by 20 he’d earned his U.S. Coast Guard Captain’s license. Today he owns and operates Wolfpack Charters on Lake Michigan.
Pat quickly developed a reputation as an expert angler and hunter with abilities beyond his years, partially due to the lessons in conservation biology and sportsmen’s ethics that his father stressed as necessary to become a “complete outdoorsman.”
Whether it’s through TV, radio, fishing and hunting magazines, educational seminars, or sharing the day’s adventure with clients, Pat considers it a privilege to have that interaction and perhaps make their next fishing or hunting trip even more successful. It’s hard for him to keep quiet long if he thinks he can help others improve their fishing and hunting.
“I thrive on showing my clients how to catch fish,” says Kalmerton. “Whether it’s the first fish they’ve ever caught or a once-in-a-lifetime trophy, that’s where my passion is.”
KEVIN FASSBIND (WISCONSIN)
Kevin Fassbind is a year-round tournament angler, targeting bass on open water and panfish through the ice. Kevin has made a total of 12 Wisconsin Bass Federation and Wisconsin BASS Nation State Teams, including being crowned 2009 State Champion. Among his accomplishments, he won the 2006 state Mr. Bass tournament. Kevin has also earned “Team of the Year” status five times in team tournament trails. On hardwater, Kevin and his ice fishing partner Nick Smyers have seven Top Three tournament finishes since they began fishing the NAIFC in 2010, including a second and third place finish in the last two NAIFC National Championships. The team has also earned second place Team of the Year honors for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. When Kevin isn’t fishing competitively, he’s instructing other anglers how to find and catch more fish.
LOREN KEIZER (MINNESOTA)
Loren took up fishing at a later age than many, but since he was “hooked,” he has made quick work of becoming an expert in the field. Over the years he has surrounded himself with a core group of great anglers, guides, and professionals who taught him the finer points of angling, ice fishing in particular.
Living in the “Heart of Lakes Country” in Detroit Lakes, MN, allows Loren to spend countless hours on the water fishing, learning and teaching others to enjoy angling and everything that goes along with it. One of his greatest joys is teaching others to fish, especially his boys Lucas and Caleb. He hopes that they can develop a love for fishing and the outdoors like he has.
PHIL LAUBE (MINNESOTA)
Phil Laube, better known among his ice fishing friends as “PFP” (Panfish Phil), grew up ice fishing in north-central Wisconsin. When not working on the family farm, his dad would take Phil and his brother fishing to nearby reservoirs or lakes in pursuit of bluegills, crappies and perch.
After college, Phil moved to Montana for two years and spent most of his winters fishing walleyes on Lake Fort Peck. When the opportunity came to move to Minnesota’s Brainerd Lakes area, he jumped on the opportunity. His primary reason for the move was the endless fishing opportunities in northern Minnesota.
For the last 20 years, he has spent his free time in search of icing big bluegills and crappies— only taking short breaks to chase down walleyes, northern pike and whitefish.
He prefers power fishing, always on the move looking for the next lake with giant pans. The pursuit of 10-inch ’gills and 14-inch crappies makes every new lake an adventure.
In addition to the pursuit of big panfish, Phil spends most of his time taking his four kids and their friends ice fishing. Just like his father, he wants to pass on the ice fishing tradition to future generations.
RUSS MADDIN (MICHIGAN)
Russ Maddin has been a fly-fishing guide in Northwest Lower Michigan since 1995. In fact, teaching others the art of angling has been this Traverse City, Michigan, resident’s only job—ever. And it’s from his fly-tying vice that some of the most innovative and advanced flies have come to creation.
But when the Great Lakes State’s frigid winter envelopes rivers and lakes in ice, Maddin’s passion (and we mean passion) turns to ice fishing. From hefty panfish to huge trout and salmon as well everything in-between, Maddin uses all makes and models Custom Jigs & Spins baits. “I have been tying Custom Jigs & Spins’ lures to my line since the very first day I started ice fishing, and they have been a staple in my tackle totes ever since.”
TY MACHELEDT (MINNESOTA & DAKOTAS)
Growing up in the heart of Otter Tail County, I was blessed to start fishing at a young age, and became a third generation guide in our family. My passion grew as I got older and I started to take clients fishing in the summer. But ice fishing has always been my favorite! Now I live and work in South Central North Dakota, fishing the prairie pothole lakes. Whether it’s chasing trophy perch in a small slough, or walleyes, pike, or crappies on bigger waters, I live to take others fishing and teach them what I have learned from my years fishing. I’ve been a CJS fan since day one ’cause their baits flat-out catch fish.
CHEKAI MATAN (CROATIA)
Chekai is a man of many faces ... all of them have beard, hat and glasses! He operates a small Chekai factory in Lepoglava, Croatia, where his Tungsten Heavy Metal ice jigs are fabricated by local craftsmen and craftswomen and shipped to America to Custom Jigs & Spins via hot air balloon, just in time for excited fishermen!
“Chekai is always be movies buff. With newest lapstop computer, TRS-180, Chekai watching all classic movies. Stars War and Wizards of Oslo, are Chekai’s favorites! So Chekai decide why not make it small episodes of classic movies with me, Chekai as star and rest of Custom Jigs crew for helpers? I think we did good jobs!”
So, a new collection of Custom Jigs & Spins “Great Moments in Cinema History” commercials has been released. Watch for them on MidWest Outdoors TV and you can find a link to them from www.customjigs.com website and YouTube. There are eight vignettes in all covering the classics!
WALT & POPPEE MATAN (ILLINOIS)
In 1989, Walt & Poppee took over Custom Jigs & Spins and operated for about 8 years, taking it from a small basement operation to the manufacturing juggernaut it is today.
When they realized that they needed a “face” for the company—rather than hire an ad agency—Walt & Poppee decided to teach and promote ice fishing on their own. The only problem was, that they had never actually gone ice fishing. Since then, Walt & Poppee educated themselves and millions of ice anglers; having had nearly 1,000 articles on ice fishing published in various publications such as Midwest Outdoors and Fishing Facts. They’ve also appeared in dozens of In-Fisherman articles.
Unlike other “pro” anglers who have ghost writers, Walt & Poppee are proud to have written all of their own articles and provided their own photography.
Along the way, the duo has appeared in dozens of Midwest Outdoors TV episodes and several episodes of In-Fisherman TV. Their crazy antics are well known in Custom Jigs & Spins’ many zany commercials over the years … which they starred in and directed!
Show biz aside, they’re just a couple regular guys who love ice fishing, have fun doing it, but enjoy helping viewers and readers become better fishermen, too.
Walt & Poppee are still on staff at CJ&S, developing new products. Their designs have changed how ice anglers fish. The Ratso and Shrimpo challenged the necessity of live bait; Gill Pills and Diamond Jigs made precision panfish jigs the norm for every angler; they introduced two-tone glow finishes via the Demon; and their Chekai and Majmun jigs have made super-premium Tungsten affordable and available to all! And last we heard, Walt and Poppee are already beta-testing awesome new bait designs for next year!
Walt’s personal World Record achievement includes a C&R 38” flathead cat on 2 lb. test ... Poppee’s biggest achievement is still having his son by his side, doing what he loves most...ice fishing!
GRANT PROKOP (MINNESOTA)
I feel blessed to have grown up in the land of 10,000 lakes, where I have opportunities to explore new waters every day! The thrill of exploring new lakes and finding hidden honey holes has fueled my passion even further for ice fishing. With over 1,000 lakes in Itasca County alone, I’ve spent a lot of time attempting to master the art of fooling finicky bluegills, crappies, walleyes, and trout in Northern Minnesota’s inland lakes. I stay on the cutting edge of the ice fishing industry by guiding and running my new sporting goods store in Cohasset, Minnesota (Thousand Lakes Sporting Goods). I’m a big fan of Custom Jigs & Spins—what more can I say? They just plain catch fish!
JESSE QUALE (WISCONSIN)
Jesse Quale has been the owner and operator of Green Water Walleyes Guide Service for over 17 years in central Wisconsin. He is the premier guide on Castle Rock and Petenwell, having lived there his entire life. He can handle small to large groups of anglers and furnishes all the equipment you need to have a great day on the ice.
Jesse catches a ton of fish jigging 4.5 mm Chekai jigs each season. He is also a big fan of the RPM and Slender Spoon for crappie, white bass, walleye and catfish. You will learn how to effectively fish these lures if you fish with Jesse.
Besides guiding, Jesse has fished tournaments for over 20 years, including the MWC, RCL, WWA, WATT, Team Extreme, Team Walleye and many regional and club tournaments. “Through all of these experiences I’ve learned I enjoy teaching other outdoorsmen techniques that make them more successful anglers and hunters.”
Whether open-water or ice, Quale is sought after for his fish-catching knowledge of the Castle Rock, Petenwell and various Wisconsin Flowage waters. Contact Jesse at www.greenwaterwalleyes.com.
NICK SMYERS (WISCONSIN)
Nick Smyers is a year-round tournament angler, targeting panfish through the ice and bass on open water. Nick and his ice fishing partner Kevin Fassbind have seven Top Three tournament finishes since they began fishing the North American Ice Fishing Circuit (NAIFC) in 2010. The team earned 2nd place in overall points standings for both the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Besides competing, Smyers and Fassbind often give presentations at seminars put on by the NAIFC, detailing their strategies for locating and catching fish.
In addition, Smyers has made five Wisconsin Bass Federation State Teams, including being crowned state champion in 2012. One of Smyers’ highest achievements came in 2009 when he finished in second place at the TBF National Championship and qualified for the BFL All-American. Nick earned his way back again this year and will be taking another shot at the TBF Living the Dream package.
JASON RYLANDER (MINNESOTA)
Jason Rylander was born and raised in West Central Minnesota. His first fishing memories are of catching bluegills with his grandpa off the family dock. At age 10, Jason was exploring the lake from a 14 foot boat with a 10hp motor. His passion for fishing grew. Years later, college brought him to Bemidji, MN, where he and his family now make their home. Currently, Jason guides for North Country Guide Service and heads the Turtle River Walleye league, a league that began in the late 1980s.
“The best thing about guiding is helping a client catch a ‘first’ or a ‘biggest’; nothing beats the smiles and joy in their eyes,” says Rylander.
He also enjoys taking kids outdoors, especially his two sons.
In the boat, Jason prefers to chase walleyes. Once the water gets hard, he loves chasing panfish around the Bemidji area. He’s also a self-admitted “burbot junkie,” who loves the pursuit, fight and occasional table fare that oft-overlooked eelpout provide.
Feel free to contact Jason through www.northcountryguides.com.
REED YLITALO (MINNESOTA)
I call myself very fortunate to have a great wife who supports me in chasing the dream of a young professional hunting and fishing guide. I strive to call in waterfowl and put the fish under my clients whether we are in the boat or standing in the ice. My goal every day is to provide my clients with a trip of a lifetime! Along the way, I’ve been blessed to work with Custom Jigs & Spins products. They continue to catch fish trip after trip! Some of my go-to baits are Custom Jigs & Spins’ tungstens, like the Chekai and Majmun. When fishing shallower, I’ll turn to the ’Gill Pill or small Demons. From big ’gills to crappies to walleyes and pike, there isn’t a species or bait category missing from CJS! And for open water, B Fish N Tackle makes wickedly-good plastics, H20 Precision Jigs are a staple in my fishing arsenal! Contact Reed at wingsandwalleyesguideservice.com.
MIKE & ERIN GATE (ONTARIO)
Mike Gate is owner/operator of Sunset Cove Resort and Gate's Bait on Lake of the Woods. He has been guiding since the age of 13 and he knows waters well. Besides running a 4 season resort, fishing, hunting, flying bush planes and raising his family, Mike can be seen on many episodes of Outdoor Bound Television.
Mike along with his wife, Erin, welcome you to Sunset Cove. It is a 'year round resort, with fantastic ice fishing in the winter. It is here when crappie, perch, walleye and lake trout put on the feed bag and Mike is ready with an arsenal of Custom Jigs & Spins lures to tempt them. You can find more info on Sunset Cove Resort at www.sunsetcoveresort.net or on facebook: Mike Gate or Sunset Cove Resort & Gates Bait
PAPA KARL HUNTER (ILLINOIS)
Papa Karl has been living along the shores of the Mississippi River all his life. This river rat follows walleye, catfish, white bass, bluegill and crappie as the seasons change. A retired pharmacist, Papa Karl follows his son-in-law and CJS owner Bob Gillispie along on most ice fishing and open water adventures as his personal medicine man.
Karl prefers to ply the hardwater of the Mississippi River backwaters and small ponds in Iowa and Illinois above all else. He is also a big proponent of the Flu Flu and uses it year round for all species, especially walleye. Look for Papa Karl on the Custom Jigs & Spins youtube channel!
Driven by the passion to help his customers experience some of the best fishing Wisconsin has to offer, Bret ensures that the needs of his customers are met on every trip.
Bret works with his experienced staff of reputable guides to help make your next guide trip a smashing success. Each one of our guides works personally with any given fish house to ensure customer service is at the forefront.
With an intimate knowledge of Green Bay including the Door County area waters, the Fox and Menominee Rivers and the surrounding area waters, Ice Fish Green Bay has multiple bites dialed-in at any given time, for several different species of fish. Working with a network of guides, Bret knows where the bite is hot even before the day begins. Bret excels at teaching new techniques to novice and expert anglers alike. He welcomes the opportunity to share his experiences with others and to continue to build his field of knowledge each day. Knowing how to adapt to conditions often means the difference between no fish and a limit.
With top of the line electronics and equipment, Bret constantly monitors for changing conditions and makes adjustments accordingly. As a true four season, multi-species angler, Bret has the expertise to get his customers on trophy sized fish of most any species that swims in the Bay, including trophy walleye, lunker smallmouth, giant pike, huge muskies, tasty perch and whitefish, trout and salmon and even monster sturgeon. Whether in the boat or on the ice, most days you can find Bret wearing a smile, catching fish and having a good time somewhere on the water. Bret’s easy going nature ensures a fun day on the water for everyone.
As a devoted husband and father, Bret enjoys introducing more families and children to the tremendous sport of fishing. He also welcomes the opportunity to assist seasoned anglers in their quest for a trophy fish.
In this regard, Alexander Sport Fishing has been featured in national publications, such as In-Fisherman Magazine, as a leading source of fishing information in the area. Bret is pleased to be among the top guides in the region selected by John Gillespie, In Fisherman, Fishing the Midwest with Bob Jensen, Legends of the rod and reel, Mid West Outdoors, Kent Herbeck Outdoors, Northland Adventures, Keys Outdoors, and Discover Wisconsin for there programs.
Your ice fishing guide trip will be comfortable, fun, and loaded with big fish. Ice Fish Green Bay has great sponsors which equals; warm heated Frabill shacks to fish out of, power ice drills to get to the fish fast, Vexilar Flashers to fine tune the exact presentation, and quality rods and reels when it counts the most.
All you need is a good "fish" attitude, and leave the rest up to us!
Captain Ken Poludnianyk (Wisconsin)
Ken is the owner/operator of Jack’s Charter Service, which has established itself as Lake Michigan’s premier charter fishing service. We have been fishing the waters off Milwaukee and Racine Wisconsin for years. It is always my goal to provide a safe, fun, enjoyable and of course successful day on the water. As a full time USCG licensed charter captain and licensed guide I will give you 100% on every trip as it is my reputation every time I leave the dock. I understand that my business depends on my reputation to provide a memorable experience for each and every one of our guests.
We fish for Salmon and Trout on a 36 foot Tiara out of Milwaukee and Racine Wisconsin on Lake M ichigan. We also fish for Walleye out of Green Bay Wisconsin and Escanaba Michigan on our new 2017 621 Ranger. We fish 365 days a year by also guiding ice fishing tips for Brown Trout and Steelhead in the Marinas and Tributaries in and around Milwaukee. We are fully insured for all of our River Guiding, Ice Guided Trips and of course trips on both of the boats.
Ken has been featured on many Outdoor shows as well as numerous articles in publications. He has more wins and top 5 fishing tournaments than any other Milwaukee Charter. Ken is also Pro-Staff and sponsored by most of the top names in the fishing industry. I look forward to helping you catch your dream fish!! jackscharterservice.com
RYAN & KATIE KING (MINNESOTA)
Ryan and Katie and Mississippi river rats who are on the water chasing walleye year 'round. Ryan grew up in the small town of Harland, Wisconsin and his passion for fishing began at the age of 4, at his grandma and grandpa Manney’s cabin in Poy Sippi, Wisconsin. He would fish for hours on end below the Poy Sippi dam with my grandpa and my father, Tom King.
Ryan now lives in Woodbury, Minnesota with his wife Katie King and their two dogs, Spanky and Scooter. He spends most of his spare time days and nights fishing out of his Lund Pro-V with a giant B-Fish-N AuthentX decal on the side!
"Katie is my best friend and fishing partner! In fishing my greatest reward is getting other people out of their element and into the elements, and watching the excitement on their face as a big fish comes on deck. I fish primarily walleye, year round, but also fish Muskie and salmon on Lake Michigan.
I donate my time to take a kid fishing and am a proud member of B-Fish-N Tackle and Custom Jigs & Spins Pro Staff as well as all my other sponsors. I look forward to the opportunity in helping to bring new youth members to the fishing industry with a focus on being good stewards of the water and protecting our resources."
COWBOY KEVIN WILLIS (ILLINOIS)
Cowboy Kevin is a for-reel cowboy and fisherman. His home body of water is the Fox Chain 'O Lakes in Northern Illinois. Arguably one of the toughest bodies of water to fish, it has the most boat traffic of any body of water per acre in the U.S.. Kevin dodges yachts, jetskies and pontoon party barges while plying the water for walleye, muskie bass and panfish. He is a finesse expert in using the B-Fish-N H20 jigs in 1/16 and 1/32 ounce sizes on light line for walleye.
Kevin fishes the Chain Walleye series along with several national tournaments each year. Kevin has been featured on many Custom Jigs & Spins ice videos, look for him on facebook and the Custom jigs & Spins youtube channel.
DOUGLAS ANOMAN (INDIANA)
Doug has been fishing various walleye circuits over the past 30 years. His home body of water is Southern Lake Michigan and has a cabin on Lake Petenwell in Wisconsin. He takes large perch, walleye and lakers from the big pond each season on B-Fish-N Jigs, Custom Jigs & Spins Slender Spoon and RPM Minnow's. We are proud to have Doug on our pro staff!
Captain Kyle Tokarski (Wisconsin)
Captain Kyle Tokarski a full time guide for Alexander sport fishing and ice fish Green Bay. Kyle grew up in central Wisconsin fishing walleyes and Musky's and then moved to Green Bay to fulfill his childhood dream to be a fishing guide on the trophy waters of Green Bay.
Kyle has made a name for himself as being one of the best in the bay after only a few years under his belt. Kyle's go-to technique for giant walleyes are rip jigging AuthentX Moxi's and B3 Blade baits.
Kyle works for Bret Alexander and is his right hand man on the water. Kyle's Pride and joy is to chase trophy walleyes and muskies. And if your looking for a run and gun guide he is you guy.
You can find him on facebook @Kyle Tokarski
John Jamison and Mark Thompson (Kansas)
John is one of the founders of Rippin Lips tackle. He helped in the design process of the original SuperCat rods, Tournament Grade Circle Hooks, Bootleg Dip Bait and Scent Trail Attractant. Countless articles have been written about John and his soft spoken partner Mark Thompson’s catfish tournament tactics in In-Fisherman, Catfish Insider and dozens of other catfish publications.
While John and Mark are elder statesmen on the tournament circuit, their techniques and tactics are cutting edge. Sponsored by Lund Boats, they fish out of a Lund Pro Guide tiller and use the Minnkota Terrova pointed into the current to allow them to slowly slip downstream while bumping bait for blue cats. This is a relatively new technique that many catfish anglers have adopted as a tournament winning strategy.
Captain Brad Durick
Brad is a nationally known catfish guide, outdoor writer and educator coming from the famed Red River of the North out of Grand Forks, North Dakota. Brad is the only full time channel catfish guide on the Upper Red River.
Brad spends countless hours researching river channel cats to fine tune patterns to catch more and bigger catfish. This research led to the release of his 2013 book Cracking the Channel Catfish Code and his 2016 follow-up Advanced Catfishing Made Easy. In addition to writing two books, Captain Brad writes catfishing articles for various publications. He is also instructs Catfish University seminars each winter around the Midwest.
Brad has appeared on many television shows such as In-Fisherman, G3 Sportsman, Midwest Outdoors, The Outdoors Report, Dakota Destinations, Outdoorsman Adventures, Jason Mitchell Outdoors, and Catfishing America. He is also a regular on Lindner Media’s Anglingbuzz.com He has also appeared in numerous magazines and publications such as In-Fisherman, Outdoor Life, Game and Fish Magazine, Catfish Magazine, Iowa Sportsman, Dakota Country and many others.
Captain Brad Durick is partner with: G3 Boats, Rippin Lips Fishing Products, Cat River Anchors, Frabill, Plano, Dexter Knives, Big Frig Coolers, Yamaha Outboards, Drift Master Rod Holders, Drayton, ND Chamber of Commerce and Red Roof Inn of Grand Forks, ND.
You can reach him at 701-739-5808, firstname.lastname@example.org
Justin Cook & Gary Ryan (Missouri)
"If you ain’t first, you’re last!" might as well be Justin Cook and his catfish tournament partner Gary Ryan’s motto. These two have racked up a bunch of top tournament victories in major tournaments in Lake of the Ozarks, Cabela’s King Kat - Lexington Kentucky, Sea Ark Owners, D & H Outdoors and back-to-back victories at Cabela’s King Kat in 2014 ad 2015 at Tawakoni Texas.
While they have two completely opposite personalities; Justin is brash and talks a little smack, while Gary is soft spoken and always thinking, their personalities complement each other when they are in a tournament together.
Justin points out that, "I really enjoy fishing for catfish and tournaments give me a chance to fish new water, test my skills and to be quite honest, there’s the thrill of winning! I’ve grown up fishing most of my life. I’ve put a lot of time and effort into learning what I know today. Now that I have kids, I’ve slowed down some but it’s worth it. I love spending time with my family."
Justin and Gary have been featured in articles and television shows such as: 2014 Lund Lineup Brochure, July 2014 In-Fisherman, Visual Films: Missouri River Cat Tournament, Catfish Winners Circle on Facebook for 2014 most weight weighed in at a tournament, 2013 In-Fisherman Catfish Guide and 2016 In-Fisherman Catfish Guide.
"Gary and I plan on fishing Monsters on the Ohio , Monster on the Mississippi, Cabala’s King Kat in Texas, Brunswick Cat and the SeaArk owners tournaments. Gary & I hope to see some new competitors at these tournaments...and obviously we will take your money!"
Bink and Janet Fox
The tournament catfishing community is a small but friendly (with a few exceptions) group of people who get together to compete, share techniques, fish top catfishing bodies of water and make friends. While everyone in the group can’t agree on everything, they will all agree on one thing - that Janet and Bink are two of the nicest people you will ever meet!
You can find Rippin Lips favorite pro Staff team of Bink and Janet Fox at a major catfish event near you!
You can follow Bink on facebook: James, Bink Fox
Roger & Marty Gerloff (Missouri)
These feared tournament tackle busting brothers have been using Rippin Lips SuperCat rods and Tournament Grade Circle hooks in all of their recent top ten tournament finishes. Sometimes they fish together, other times they compete against one another.
You can’t miss Roger, as he fishers out of one of the sleek new Crestliner Catfish Edition series deep-vee hulled boats instead of one of the jon boat style rigs that many tournament anglers use. Roger gives newcomers this pointer; "Big rivers can be rough water. Current, wind and barges can really create some big waves and a deep-vee hull will keep you fishing harder and safer, longer!" While Roger is sponsored by Crestliner Boats, Marty is sponsored by Lund Boats. It seems that these two can't agree on anything...except that catfish are the king of the freshwater fish!
Look for Roger and Marty at the major catfishing tournaments across the nation.
Rocky Childress (Team Cat Whisperer) (South Carolina)
Rocky fishes every tournament he can out of a new Express XP220 Catfish Edition, powered by a Yamaha 150 Fourstroke, rigged by Clemson Marina.
Follow Rocky on Facebook: Rocky Childress
Follow Rocky on Youtube: TeamCatWhisperer
• Cabela's King Kat Super
• Santee Cooper Monster Cat Quest
• Southeastern Catfish Club-
• Cabela's King Kat Southern Championship
• Lake Hartwell, Clemson, SC Lake Hartwell Cat Chasers
Travis Robertson (Missouri)
"I have been catfishing for as long as I can remember, but just last year I entered in my first catfish tournament which was the Mississippi River Monsters in Memphis. I had no clue what I was getting into and I learned a lot in two days. I stopped by the Rippin Lips booth at the show to look at some SuperCat rods and there I meet Walt Matan from Rippin Lips and more importantly, veteran angler Bink Fox. I bought a couple rods and Bink gave me some pointers and tried to help me a bit which I greatly appreciated.
I then decided to fish the Monsters of the Ohio tournament with my good friend and expert catfisherman Jeremy Ransom. Jeremy did a lot of scouting starting two weeks before the tournament, so we had a solid game plan. This helped us in taking first place and also catching my new personal best catfish on a Rippin Lips SuperCat rod.
I plan on fishing the Mississippi River Monsters, and Monsters of the Ohio at this time. I will be going to Catfish Convention as well. I hope to do a few more tournaments but as of now that's all I have scheduled."
Captain Rich Bay (Kentucky)
Kentucky Lake is blessed with numbers and size of channel catfish, which Rich catches on Rippin Lips Bootleg Dip bait. He will also take you out for flatheads, which prefer a lively bluegill on the end of a circle hook.
By the way, Rich guides his clients out of a state-of-the-art Lowe pontoon boat! It’s tricked out like a bass boat with full electronics, a Minnkota Terrova on the bow, Minnkota Talon’s on the stern, two drift socks and a Mercury Four Stroke. With this rig Rich can accommodate 4 or more anglers and he can spider rig, troll, drift or anchor with the precision only found on a smaller rig.
You can reach Captain Rich Bay at www.kickinbass.net
Tim Peppers (Georgia)
Tim Peppers is an intense catfisherman that never met a catfish he didn’t look like! He is so smitten with these whiskery fish that he hosts a facebook page along with his wife and "once ‘n a while tournament partner, Sherry Rebbeca. The site is called Uncharted Catfish Elite which is open to all, regardless of catfishing experience.
When Tim isn’t extolling the benefits of Rippin Lips SuperCat Rods, to anyone who will listen including his mailman, next door neighbors, pharmacist, bank teller and drive through gal at the Hardee’s, he is out in the boat in search of the next big catfish. He has caught some big-uns, too and is a former holder of the Georgia Coosa River record.
Tim fishes the Coosa Valley tournaments in Georgia, the Hookem Hold’em Catfish Trail, Monsters of the Mississippi River and Monsters on the Ohio Tournaments.
Like Uncharted Catfish Elite on Facebook for some great catfishing action!
Tony Deboeuf - (Team Cat-A-Holic) (Missouri)
My team name is TEAM CAT-A-HOLIC. In 2016 I became a Pro Staff member for Rippin Lips and very proud to be part of the team and support their products. I really like the Rippin Lips 8 footer teamed up with Ming Yang MC600!
I will be fishing tournaments all year. Some of the states I will be in are; Texas, Kansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois. I'll be fishing ICATS in Iowa, PBSS Flathead in Kansas, Twisted Cats in IL. and Mo., Cabela's King Kat in Texas Tennessee, Mississippi River Monsters in Memphis Tennessee and Monsters on the Ohio in Kentucky."
Tony also has a little side business repairing reels and developing new catfishing products. He also has been chronicling his adventures on youtube. When Tony retires, he really works!
Follow Tony on facebook at: Team Cat-A-Holic
Mike Paul (Ohio)
"I'm a father of three wonderful daughters, one in college, a freshman, and an 8th grader that all love to fish. I am a veteran catfish angler. Been doing the tournament scene since the late 1980s. I’ve collected several wins over that time."
Mike also developed, manufactures and sells NeverSnag Anchors, which is the preferred anchor for serious catfishermen. It’s lightweight and compact, yet will hold a large boat in heavy current.
"While I love to catfish from my boat, I still love action from the bank. The Bank catfisherman is an overlooked angler. I often stop to chat with bank fishermen, who usually are in need of a few pointers. I’m excited about Rippin Lips 10 and 12 foot medium heavy spinning rods. These catfish catapults are perfect for the catfisherman who hit the banks, you can cast with them a country mile!
I try to promote fishing whenever I can. I have personally donated over 50 rod reel combos and tackle boxes to KY division of Ducks Unlimited to give away to youth. I’ve also donated countless numbers of the same here in Ohio to various clubs supporting youth and handicap involvement in the sport of fishing.
I fish a dozen or so club and smaller tournaments and 4 to 6 national events per season."
You can reach Mike at www.neversnaganchors.com
Chuck Snyder - (Team Hookset) (Ohio)
Whether he fishes out of his Alumacraft 1860 tunnel hull or on the bank, the catfish beware! Besides Bootleg Dig Bait, his other favorite baits are cut bluegill, live creek chubs and live gold fish. His PB channel is a 15 pounder and flathead weighed a hefty 47 pounds.
Chuck fishes the Cabela’s King Kat trail, Tuscarawas River Monster Series, Northern Ohio Tournament Trail among others.
Melinda and Bryan Folsom (Georgia)
Team Backwoods Catters
This husband and wife team loves to fish! In fact most birthday, anniversary and holiday presents revolve around fishing. While many couples idea of a romantic moment is a candlelight dinner this hardcore angling couple’s idea of romance is an all-nighter in the boat fishing for monster flatheads!
They were both raised in the outdoors by their parents and grandparents starting out fishing for bream, on to bass and finally now their passion is catfishing! They are ardent believers in practicing Catch Photo and Release and promote their passion to anyone on the bank or boat.
Melinda and Bryan are a force to be reckoned with in the catfishing tournament circuit, with many top ten finishes over their career. They fish more than a dozen large and small tournaments a year including Bass Pro Big Cat Quest, Mississippi River Monsters, Monsters on the Ohio and the Hold’ em Hook circuit.
Always available for a laugh or a tip or to share a big fish picture, look for Melinda and Bryan at backwoods Catters on facebook.
Terry Rogers (Kentucky)
Terry is a competitive tournament catfisherman and avid outdoorsman from Paducah, Ky. He, along with his fishing partner William Clapp, compete in several local and national tournaments each year including Monsters On The Ohio, Mississippi River Monsters, and the SeaArk Invitational.
Terry grew up fishing the Kentucky portion of the Mississippi River and also the Ohio, Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers and has accumulated a wealth of knowledge while fishing these rivers for big cats and is currently exploring the idea of starting a catfish only guide service on these waters.
Terry has always considered himself a conservationist when it comes to catfishing, always selective harvest and CPR wherever he goes. Where ever Terry is, you can usually find him talking catfishing with someone and sharing some of the vast knowledge he has acquired over the past 40 or so years of catfishing. Terry says of himself......"Catfishing is in my blood, it's a very big part of who I am."
You can follow Terry on facebook and youtube. His videos are very popular and informative.