FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE
ICAST 2014 is in the rearview mirror. Like usual, it was a whirlwind of handshakes, shutter snaps and Q&A with the tackle industry’s best product designers and marketers. If you missed any of the action, don’t worry. You can still check out all of FLW’s coverage from the show at FLWOutdoors.com/ICAST. We sent a team of 14 writers, photographers and videographers to Orlando to report on all the great new gear and gadgets that made it to the Orange County Convention Center.
Colin Moore, Jeff Samsel, Ross Robertson and Keith Jackson
ORLANDO – It’s official; during a press conference held at ICAST, the fishing industry’s largest annual trade show, FLW announced the locations of its 2015 Walmart FLW Tour stops in front of anglers, fans and industry media. Beginning with a swing through Florida in early March and winding up near the nation’s capital in June, the Tour will visit six of the best bass fisheries in the United States.
It says a lot about the growth of fishing and the fishing tackle industry that the first national fishing tackle show was held in the ballroom of Chicago’s Sherman House Hotel in 1958. And it wasn’t a very big ballroom. In fact, a few of the exhibitors simply rented nearby suites and showed their wares there. About 20 of the 30-some-odd companies that exhibited in that first show – then called the American Fishing Tackle Manufacturers Association Fishing Tackle Trade Show – still exist, and their names resonate in the fishing world: Zebco, Bagley, Frabill, Plano, Berkley, PRADCO, South Bend, Wright & McGill and Yakima Bait Company among them.
A Walmart FLW Tour season is a long and eventful thing. For 24 days, more than 300 pros and co-anglers – the best anglers in the world – duel it out in bass-fishing competition across the country. Stories develop every day. News is made. Techniques are perfected. There are daily highlights. We could never list them all, so we didn’t. But we did come up with a list of 12 highlights that we think best tell the story of the 2014 Walmart FLW Tour season. Click on the links to read more about each.
Northern Conference makes second stop July 12
NORTH EAST, Md. – FLW College Fishing is headed to the Chesapeake Bay July 12 for the second of three regular-season stops in the Northern Conference. A field of up to 50 college teams will be competing for a top award of $2,000 and a berth in the Northern Conference Invitational tournament.
Evinrude is giving test drives of their new E-TEC G2 outboard on Kentucky Lake at the Walmart FLW Tour event.
Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Lufkin, Texas was the site for the third stop of the 2014 Walmart FLW Tour. Rayburn was one of the most anticipated stops of the Tour as it is a fishery not often visited in the past at the Tour level. Watch how Chad Grigsby and JT Kenney conquer these unfamiliar waters.
With Greg Hackney
In Episode 33, hosts Joe Opager and Jody White talk with FLW Tour pro Greg Hackney about his dominating win on Pickwick Lake, a new crankbait from Strike King and his outlook for Kentucky Lake. Then they go over recent fishing news ranging from the weekend’s BFL events to FLW Fantasy Fishing and look ahead to the Rayovac FLW Series event on the Potomac River and the FLW College Fishing Southern Conference tournament on Grand Lake.
There’s a topwater bite all summer somewhere on the lake you fish; it’s just a matter of finding it. There might not be enough topwater fish to win a tournament, but it’s a lot of fun, especially if you’re just out fishing for the heck of it. Topwater fishing in the summer is all about the baitfish.
Southern Conference event set for June 21
FLW College Fishing is headed to Grand Lake June 21 for the second regular-season stop in the Southern Conference. Up to 50 college teams will be competing for a top award of $2,000 and a berth in the Southern Conference Invitational tournament.
Here we go again. For the second year in a row, Dayton, Tenn., pro Andy Morgan carries the Walmart FLW Tour Kellogg’s Angler of the Year lead into the final event of the season. And once again, the final event is being held on the Tennessee River, this time on Kentucky Lake. Morgan seems relaxed as ever, with his nonchalant, down-home attitude overpowering any pressure he might be feeling. He’s also an expert at dodging inquiries about the AOY race when questioned about it in public. We were able to catch up with him finally, however, and we fired questions at him about the AOY, his place in bass-fishing history and, much to his delight, turkey hunting. Here is our version of 20 questions (OK, it’s actually 24 questions) with Andy Morgan.
More than 175 anglers began the 2014 Walmart FLW Tour season with hopes and dreams of making it to the Forrest Wood Cup. Only 35 of them will, and with just one tournament to go, on Kentucky Lake, a handful of pros within striking distance of 35th place will have to kick it into high gear if they want to be part of the show at Lake Murray August 14-17. They’re trying to replace those pros who are already above the cut line, but with too small a cushion to rest easily. This latter group is composed of the “bubble boys” – the anglers teetering dangerously close to the line separating in and out. And of course, the prospects of the 2014 standouts at the top of the list are unofficially sealed. Barring major catastrophe, they’ll finish with enough points. The goal of a handful of these fortunate few at Kentucky Lake is to try to run down and overtake current AOY leader Andy Morgan. All this considered, we decided to take a look at some of the pros currently sitting within 10 spots of 35th place in the AOY standings, and weigh their odds of making it to the Cup.
MINNEAPOLIS (June 4, 2014) – FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, and Ranger Boats, makers of the highest-quality, strongest-performing boats on the water, announced today that Ranger has signed a multiyear extension of its exclusive sponsorship with FLW. FLW and Ranger have enjoyed the longest-running boat sponsor relationship in the sport, with a history that dates back to FLW’s formative years in the early 1980s as Operation Bass. Operation Bass was purchased in 1996 by Minneapolis businessman Irwin Jacobs and renamed FLW in honor of Ranger Boats founder Forrest L. Wood.
Third stop of Central Conference to take place May 31
FORT MADISON, Iowa. – FLW College Fishing is headed to the Mississippi River May 31 for the third and final regular-season stop in the Central Conference. Up to 50 college teams will be competing for a top award of $2,000 and a berth in the Central Conference Invitational tournament.
“Defense wins championships.” How many times have you heard that and seen it proven true? There’s no denying that in the truest sense of most sports, a smothering defense in football and basketball, or a dominating pitching performance in baseball, is nearly unbeatable.