Hypertech Real Team | Buddy Gross | Mark Menendez | John Garrett

Hypertech Reel Team



Hypertech has announced their newly formed fishing team, the Hypertech Reel Team. The team consists of Bassmaster Elite Anglers Buddy Gross from Chickamauga, GA, Mark Menendez from Paducah, KY, and Bassmaster Opens angler John Coble Garrett from Union City, TN.
The Hypertech Reel Team now has an awe-inspiring group of angler team members. The Bassmaster Elite 2021 tournament season opened February 11th on the St. Johns River with Palatka, FL as the tournament headquarters and launch site. The St. Johns River Elite Tournament will start a nine-tournament series for the Elites and will end in New York in July at the St. Lawrence River Elite Tournament. Both Gross and Menendez will compete in all nine events, with both having goals to win Angler of the Year and qualify for the 2022 Bassmaster Classic.

Menendez finished the St Johns River Elite tournament in fifth place with a total weight of 67 pounds and 5 ounces, winning $20,000 in the event. Gross finished in 28th place with a total weight of 41 pounds and 5 ounces, winning $10,000 in the event. This is an excellent start for the year for both anglers in both monetary winnings and in points totals towards AOY status. Menendez got a lot of exposure as Bassmaster posted many pictures online of Menendez fishing on days two and three of the event and in the weigh-ins for all four tournament days. Most of Menendez's catches came on Strike King Game Hawg or Strike King Rage Craw soft plastics in the Junebug color, and Menendez was pitching these lures around cypress trees and scattered lily pads.

John Coble Garrett will also start his Bassmaster Opens tournament season in Florida on March 4th at the Harris Chain of Lakes and finishes the Opens series at Grand Lake of the Cherokees in Oklahoma in October. Garrett will be competing in all three of the Opens Regional Divisions (Southern, Central and Northern divisions with three tournaments each) and working towards point totals for the Opens AOY and Opens Divisional championships. If Garrett can accumulate enough points in the point totals at year-end, he could qualify for Elite status for 2022 and possibly even a spot in the 2022 Bassmaster Classic.

"We are thrilled to be a part of this talented trio of anglers and, most importantly, bring awareness of our brand to a very loyal base of enthusiast," said John Lambert, General Manager at Hypertech. With over 35 years in the automotive performance industry, Hypertech expands its marking efforts into the outdoor markets. Most anglers and outdoor enthusiasts drive trucks, and Hypertech' s current offerings include a wide variety of products to improve vehicle performance in power, torque, fuel economy, and drivability.

Teaming with Gross, Menendez, and Garrett will provide Hypertech with thousands of miles of real-world testing and feedback. "We are developing products specifically to enhance not only an angler's towing experience, such as trailer tire pressure and temperature monitoring systems, but also products to improve launch ramp and towing experiences with our React Throttle Optimizer," said Lambert.

Hypertech Reel Team Member John Garrett Places 3rd at 2021 Bassmaster Open at Pickwick Lake



Bartlett, TN -- John Garrett, a member of the Hypertech Reel Team, fought hard at the Bassmaster Open at Pickwick Lake, taking home third place honors in a closely contested battle for the top spot. The event took place from April 29 to May 1 near the Pickwick Dam in Counce, Tennessee. This area offers opportunities for largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass catches with a variety of cover and structure options. Despite the tough competition and tricky conditions, the young angler scored a great finish in the three-day tournament.

John arrived early and quickly located some productive areas during his exploration of the lake, using Humminbird electronics onboard his Skeeter boat. This practice session allowed him to choose his locations and dial in his rod, reel and bait combination. He utilized a Strike King KVD 6XD deep diving crankbait in the Powder Blue Back Chartreuse color pattern. This is in combination with a Lew’s Custom Pro Ledge Series rod that was 7 feet and 10 inches in length with a heavy action and fast tip. He paired this rod with a Lew’s BB1 baitcasting reel with a 7.1:1 gear ratio and filled with Tatsu Fluorocarbon 12-pound test line. John also replaced the stock treble hooks on the 6XD crankbaits with Owner Hooks Stinger Treble 3X ST-56 in Size 2.

On the first day of the tournament, the weather was cloudy with rain and wind off and on all day long. John was boat number 140 out of 220 pro anglers, so he had a later start time and a later weigh-in time. With his later start time, he did not have as long to work the shad spawn pattern but did catch an early smaller limit. He ended up culling the bass he caught during the shad spawn with larger bass. His limit on the first day weighed 21 pounds and 12 ounces and landed him in second place.

The weather was clear and sunny on the second day of the tournament, and the shad spawn did not last very long so anglers who were able to use that pattern successfully on the first day were left scrambling on the second day to find another pattern. John continued using his 6XD crankbait on the river ledges and drops in the 15-to-20-foot range, where there was a spawning flat close by. His weigh-in total for the second day was 18 pounds and 12 ounces and he remained in second place at the end of the day.

The third and final day of the tournament had clear sunny weather, so John focused on his ledges and drops with the 6XD crankbait and caught keeper bass all day long. He could not come up with the big bass bite though and ended up with a solid limit weighing 16 pounds and 3 ounces. John’s performance earned him third place in the tournament, which sent him home with $18,000 in prize money and great momentum heading into the next Bassmaster Open tournament at the James River, near Richmond, Virginia on May 13-15.

Currently, John is in third place in Angler of the Year points for the Central Division after one tournament and in 36th place in Angler of the Year points in the Southern Division after two tournaments. Overall, John is in 9th place in Angler of the Year total points. These AOY points are critical to earn an invitation to compete in the 2022 Bassmaster Elite series.

For more photos from the tournament check out Bassmaster's gallery here

2021 Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Lake Fork, April 22-25 in Quitman, TX



Hypertech Reel Team members, Buddy Gross and Mark Menendez were in full competition April 22nd – 25th fishing Lake Fork, near Quitman, Texas. The Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite event at Lake Fork did not go quite as well for Mark Menendez and Buddy Gross but both added valuable AOY points for the year end chase.

Mark Menendez”s three-day total of 24 pounds and 7 ounces placed him in 80th place for the event. “My ride back home to Paducah, KY will give me plenty of time to digest the events of the tournament. I had some opportunities but just did not execute as well as I wanted. This event was just a stumbling block, but we have a lot of fishing left in the 2021 Elite schedule. This is something I can analyze and draw from later,” said Menendez. Menendez has his eyes set on the next Elite event coming up very soon.

Buddy Gross didn’t have an outstanding day on Thursday but was able to rebound on Friday with a nice weigh-in limit of 5 with on Friday that qualified him to fish on Saturday. Buddy only landing two keepers on Saturday, his three-day weigh-in total of 41 pounds and 5 ounces was short of making the cut to Sunday’s final day. Buddy finished in 48th place earning him a share of The Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster prize money up for grabs. “The $10,000 check made the ride home to Chickamauga, GA somewhat easier,” said Gross.

Both Mark and Buddy are currently in a great position for the Bassmaster Elite Angler of the Year point totals after the first five Elite tournaments. Buddy is currently in 24th place with 309 points and Mark is in 28th place with 301 points.

2021 Bassmaster Southern Open at Douglas Lake Dandridge, TN April 15 - 17



If you do not like riding on a thriller roller-coaster ride, then do not become a professional angler on any of the upper tier tournament bass fishing tours. There are so many emotional highs and lows that occur day in and day out during both practice days and tournament days. You can be a hero one moment and at the bottom of the cesspool the next. Just recently John Garrett came off the Bassmaster Southern Open (April 15-17) tournament at Douglas Lake near Dandridge, TN with a less than desired result. He was certainly riding the highs after his 14th place finish at the first 2021 Bassmaster Southern Open at the Harris Chain of Lakes near Leesburg, FL. When the Bassmaster Central Open at Smith Lake in Alabama from April 1 – 3 was cancelled due to flooding in the area, adjustments had to be made in schedules and planning. He started planning for the next Bassmaster Southern Open at Douglas Lake in East Tennessee.

During practice for the Bassmaster Open at Douglas Lake John had found several very key areas with schools of larger bass on them. The bass appeared to be in these areas because the lake was being drawn down by about a foot per day all during the practice times, with the currents positioning the bass to be better able to ambush their prey. John was very excited for the tournament to begin so that he could focus on catching a limit of these larger bass. On two consecutive casts at his primary area on the last day of practice, he caught two bass in the 4-to-5-pound range and then backed off to let the area rest. Another plus was that this area was relatively close to the tournament launching site. His choice of a Strike King 6XD crankbait proved to be a very effective tool for working these areas.

Normally, John does not like an early draw for the first day take-off but in this case, he wanted a chance to be the first angler to fish his primary area and he wanted to stay on it for most of the first tournament day. He felt confident that this area could allow him to place in the top 20 for the first day and with some luck, maybe even in the top 10. With 220 Pros and 160 plus co-anglers competing, almost every key structure in the lake was going to have anglers concentrating on it. In the back of his mind, John also wondered how many anglers might have found the same areas he wanted to target. To his great relief, he was awarded boat number 20 for take-off on day one which placed him in the second flight out, so he had a great opportunity to be the first angler to fish his primary area.

At this point TVA decided to stop letting as much water out of Douglas Lake and the water levels stopped their trend over the last week of dropping by a foot or so per day. That meant that the currents flowing down the lake and out of the coves basically slowed down or stopped all together. And this changed the positioning of the bass schools to the point that the larger bass just disappeared, and John could not locate them again. There were plenty of smaller bass weighing two pounds or less and John caught these bass all day long. At the weigh-in for the first day, he ended up with a limit weighing 11 pounds and 10 ounces and was very disappointed in his results. Another roller coaster ride from a high level of excitement to heavy disappointment.

The second day of the tournament was practically a replay of the first day and John ended up with a limit weighting 10 pounds and 11 ounces. His two-day total was 22 pounds and 5 ounces, and he placed in 91st for the tournament. The tournament results after the second day were very tight on the weight totals as John was only three pounds away from 40th place and getting a prize check and only 5 pounds away from 10th place and getting to compete on the third and final day for the championship. John caught over 40 keeper bass over the two days but could not get the size he needed. After getting his limit each day, he would switch techniques and work a drop shot rig over deeper water, trying to locate the larger bass, but to no avail.

Next on the schedule will be the Bassmaster Central Open at Pickwick Lake scheduled for April 29 – May 1 at Counce, TN. John has a lot of experience on Pickwick from his years on the Bethel University collegiate bass fishing team and is looking forward to the challenge. He also fished a Fishers of Men Team Tournament on Pickwick several weeks ago and he and his partner won the tournament so John will have plenty of areas to check out during practice.

2021 Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Pickwick Lake, March 18-21 in Florence, AL



It was a short trip to the Pickwick Lake location to compete in the third Bassmaster Elite tournament for Hypertech Reel Team member, Buddy Gross (Chickamauga, Ga). “I’m so looking forward to fishing on Pickwick Lake, I’ve had great success there and know the area well. These types of lakes can be overwhelming and intimidating. They are big and have large flats with grass beds and ditches and they also have river ledges with deep water access” said Buddy.

Buddy make the final cut and qualified for Championship Sunday. The top 10 anglers would take on Pickwick Lake once again to determine who would hoist the blue championship trophy and take home the big check.

Mother Nature created a little havoc forcing Sunday to be cancelled and the anglers to compete on Monday. It’s exciting and quite an accomplishment to make the final day but it wasn’t the day Buddy had hoped. It was a grind and scramble to get fill his bag with a five bass limit weighing only 7 pounds and 14 ounces. Buddy placed 10th for tournament and took home a nice $15,000 check and valuable Angler of the Year points.

AFTCO Bassmaster Elite at St. Johns River, Palatka, FL on February 11-14, 2021



The Hypertech Reel Team make a strong appearance at the opening Bassmaster Elite tournament with Mark Menendez finishing the tournament in fifth place with a total weight of 67 pounds and 5 ounces and winning $20,000. Buddy Gross advanced into Saturday’s elimination round and finished 28th with a total of 40 pounds and 5 ounces and winning $10,000 in the event.

This is an excellent start for the year for both anglers in both monetary winnings and in point totals towards Bassmaster Elite Angler of The Year (AOY) status. Mark Menendez got a lot of exposure as Bassmaster posted many pictures online of him while fishing on days two and three of the event. He also was featured in the weigh-in pictures shown on Bassmaster.com for all four tournament days.

Mark has an article here on Bassmaster.com talking about his experience at this tournament

Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Tennessee River, Knoxville, TN on Feb 25- 28, 2021



The Hypertech Reel Team was back on the road traveling to East Tennessee for stop number two on the 2021 Elite tour. The weather welcomed Mark Menendez and Buddy Gross with days of cold and wet fishing conditions. Mark had a better start on day one with a five bass limit weighing 11 pounds and 11 ounces and finishing the day in 8th place. Buddy struggled on day one and weighed in only two bass for a total 4 pounds and 15 ounces and finishing the first day 52nd position, certainly not what he was expecting.

Mark once again was extremely consistent on the second tournament day, bring in a limit of five bass for a two-day total weight of 22 pounds and 5 ounces. He finished the second day in 9th place and advanced to the third day of competition. Buddy’s second day weight was a little better but not what he had anticipated. Buddy’s tournament ended early as he did not qualify for the third day of competition and he ended up in 60th place. He collected a check for $2,500 along with 41 important AOY points.

Day three for Mark Menendez was not as productive as the first two days and Mark was able to land only one small keeper bass. Mark finished the tournament with a total weight of 23 pounds and 11 ounces and in 31st position. Mark was awarded a nice check for $10,000, earned 70 AOY points, and enjoyed a much shorter drive home from Knoxville to his hometown Paducah, KY than from the earlier tournament in Florida. Mark is currently sitting in sixth place in the AOY listings with a total of 166 points.

Bassmaster Open at the Harris Chain of Lakes, Leesburg, FL on March 4 – 6, 2021



John Garrett had a long week prior to the tournament as his new Skeeter bass boat and Yamaha outboard package was not ready so he and his grandfather, Johnny Garrett, drove to the Skeeter factory in Kilgore, TX to pick up a factory Skeeter bass boat and Yamaha outboard that Skeeter agreed to sell to John as an interim solution. Johnny replaced the lower unit (bent propeller shaft) and the powerhead, and he and John then test drove the boat and checked all the accessories before starting to Florida.

John was able to practice for a short time on Sunday before the tournament but had to end his day early when the trolling motor stopped working. While fishing an area before the trolling motor died, a high school team in a national tournament held on the lake asked if they could fish the area John was working and he told them that would be fine. Then he watched one of the high school team catch a nine-pound bass from that spot and they ended up in second place in the tournament. On Monday he was able to get the trolling motor repaired and on Tuesday he got a full day of practice along with a half day of practice before registration on Wednesday afternoon. John had located several very productive areas in addition to the spot he gave to the high school team and was eager for the tournament to start.

On the first tournament day John was the fourth boat in the draw and was able to go to any spot he wanted to start the tournament. But those fickle bass were true to form and had vacated the areas that John had located, so he had to fish new areas to find the bass. He felt that he was very lucky finish the first day with a limit of five bass weighing 16 pounds and 4 ounces and was in the top 20 at the end of the day. Most of the bass in his limit were caught on a shad-colored Strike King KVD 1.5 Squarebill crankbait or a shad colored KVD Red Eye Shad lipless crankbait. None of the soft plastic lures used in practice or the KVD suspending jerkbaits were productive during the tournament.

It seemed during the first tournament day that many of the heavier weigh in limits were caught in the afternoon, so John was hoping that would work for him on the second day as he would be one of the last boats to start on day two and would have much more time to fish in the afternoon. John planned to focus on getting for a limit of bass in the live-well and then go to an area where two large bass were spawning during practice. The first bass that John caught on the second day was a small keeper that absolutely swallowed his crankbait. He tried to remove the lure but was not able to get it removed and the bass later died. Once it died, he could not cull it for a larger bass and had to accept a four-ounce penalty at weigh-in also. He was able to get his limit but the two large bass were gone from the spawning site. His day two weight total of 29 pounds and 15 ounces which placed John in 14th place for the tournament. He won $4,070 in prize money and 187 in Angler of the Year points. This ended up being a great way to start of the Bassmaster Opens tour for 2021.

Buddy Gross

Buddy Gross from Chickamauga, Ga may have started his professional career later in life than most professional anglers, but he began having success early in the game. He won first place in two events on the FLW Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, in one event on the FLW Toyota Series, and in one event in the FLW Phoenix Bass Fishing League. Buddy’s total earnings on the FLW tours were over $462,000.

“I grew up watching bass fishing on television all my life and tried to never miss a Bassmaster tv show as a kid. It has always been my dream to become a Bassmaster Elite Pro,” said Gross. In 2019 Buddy decided to also compete on the Bassmaster Open series, focusing on the four tournaments in the Eastern Division to make his dreams come true. He was still competing on the FLW tours, making for a very busy 2019. He was successful enough to quality for the Bassmaster Elite Series for 2020. He has since competed in 19 Bassmaster events, won an Elite tournament and its $100,000 prize, and placed in the money in 16 of the 19 events with over $224,000 in winnings to date from Bassmaster tournaments.

For the 2021 Bassmaster Elite Series, Buddy was very excited to be selected as a member of Hypertech Reel Team, joining fellow Bassmaster Elite member Mark Menendez and Bassmaster Opens member John Garrett.

John Garrett

John Coble Garrett from Union City, TN was the youngest college angler to win the Bassmaster College Bracket as a sophomore in 2016 and that earned him a spot into the 2017 Bassmaster Classic. Later in 2017 he put his professional fishing career on hold until he could graduate from Bethel University with a degree in Marketing, all while still fishing tournaments on the university’s bass fishing team. For 2020, John starting his professional career by competing in the Bassmaster Open Eastern and Central Divisions. John fished in 2nd place at the 2020 Bassmaster Central Open on the Arkansas River and he placed 21st in the Eastern Open at Lake Hartwell.

For 2021 John landed a spot as a member of Hypertech Reel Team, joining Mark Menendez and Buddy Gross. John will represent the team while competing on the Bassmaster Open Series while Elite Pros, Mark Menendez and Buddy Gross will compete in the Bassmaster Elite Series. John’s current goal is to qualify for the Bassmaster Elite Series for 2022 and join his teammates.

John has excelled both on his high school bass fishing team (Obion County Central) and on again on the Bethel University bass fishing team honing his fishing techniques and bass finding skills since grade school. With his focus to excel under pressure and his deep spiritual faith, this rising star is poised to have a very successful career in the fishing industry.

Mark Menendez

Mark Menendez is a Bassmaster Elite series professional bass angler and has made a successful living for over 30 years while touring on the highest levels of the Bassmaster tournament series. Mark was recently selected as a member of the 2021 Hypertech Reel Team and joins fellow Bassmaster Elite member Buddy Gross and Bassmaster Opens member John Garrett in rounding out this very strong and competitive team.

Mark Menendez has spent most of his life around Kentucky and Barkley Lakes near his hometown of Paducah, KY. He has fished tournaments all up and down the Tennessee River chain of lakes and toured nationwide while competing in Bassmaster events. He has successfully earned more than $1.25 million to date in Bassmaster tournament pay-outs, has won three Bassmaster tournaments, and has been a six-time qualifier for the Bassmaster Classic, the top tier of competitive bass fishing. Mark has competed in 246 professional tournaments with Bassmaster and has earned a pay-out in an amazing 128 of these tournaments. Being in the money in over 50% of tournaments at these levels is showing amazing consistency regardless of the lake location or time of year.

"City driving went from 17 mpg to 19 mpg …that’s a game changer"



Mark Menendez, a member of Hypertech Reel Team, started the 2021 Bassmaster Elite Tournament season with two strong performances, earning a 5th place finish at the St. Johns River Elite event and a 31st place finish at the Tennessee River Elite event. A strong performance is not something new for Mark. And it is no different with his personal vehicle, a 2018 Ford F150 equipped with the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine.

Mark reported that "Preparation is always on-going for any professional angler. Little details such as checking the tire air pressure on my truck and on my boat trailer, maintaining proper fluid levels in my truck, verifying the oil levels in my Yamaha outboard, and properly charging the Optima batteries in my boat will eliminate potential issues on the road and on the water." Under-inflated tires will lower your fuel mileage and could be dangerous for driving, especially when pulling a modern bass boat at interstate speeds.

Saving money, especially with the recent increases in fuel costs, is important in today's economy. When Mark learned about Hypertech's Max Energy Spectrum Power Programmer for his 2018 F-150 truck equipped with the 3.5L EcoBoost engine, he welcomed the opportunity to try the unit. After the very easy 20 minute or so installation, he related that "I am two weeks into my Hypertech programming in my 2018 Ford F-150. I have driven over 250 city miles in this time period, and I have noticed an almost 15% increase in gas mileage! Before, my average city driving was just under 17 miles per gallon of gas, and after the programming changes made with the Hypertech Spectrum, I saw my average city driving mileage improve to 19 miles per gallon! I am impressed. It was an easy installation, and the fuel savings are beginning to quickly add up."

Next on Mark's schedule is the upcoming 2021 Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite event on Pickwick Lake at Florence, AL. This event will begin on March 18th and complete on March 21st. Mark's comment was "This will be my first road trip towing my Skeeter bass boat with my new Hypertech Spectrum programming installed in my Ford F150. I know exactly what gas mileage I was getting going to and from the St. John's River Elite tournament in Florida back in February. I am eager to get on the road to document and compare the fuel savings that my new Hypertech programming will provide while towing my boat to and from tournaments!"

Vehicle: 2018 Ford F-150 equipped with the 3.5L V6 T/C EcoBoost Engine

Featured Product: Hypertech Max Energy Spectrum part number 3000



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