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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.

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Jake Lands 7.7 Largemouth Fishing with Paul

Testimonial

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