FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE
The 2015 bass tournament season is officially underway and I am super-excited about the changing dynamics. There is no doubt that the economy is improving and the 250-boat field that fished the first Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Okeechobee is testament to that.
Crankbaits, jerkbaits and lipless crankbaits are popular search baits in the prespawn, but to me it’s hard to beat a spinnerbait. You might not get the same numbers of fish as the other baits will, but as a general rule you’ll get bigger fish.
FLW, the world’s largest bass tournament-fishing organization, has renewed its partnership with Livingston Lures, an industry-leading manufacturer of innovative, technologically advanced lures that catch fish in fresh and salt water. The two organizations have partnered since 2013. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.
Igloo Products Corp., the industry leader in cooler manufacturing, has renewed its partnership with FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
FLW announced a multi-year agreement with Quaker State® motor oil that will showcase the motor oil brand to millions of outdoor and fishing enthusiasts. The tremendous marketing benefits offered by FLW in digital advertising, social media, promotions on-site at the events and connections with top anglers in the world makes the organization a perfect fit for Quaker State.
There’s no telling how many times I’ve sat in my boat after dark or before daybreak trying to find a bait in a locker or spooling new line. All the while I’d be holding a Maglite in my mouth or trying to adjust a headlamp where I need the light.
Larry “The General” Nixon is set to run a Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits-wrapped Ranger for the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour season. The legendary angler has earned more than $1.6 million in his FLW career. This is the third year he has been sponsored by Yamamoto Baits.
FLW announced today that Lionel Botha of Okeechobee, Fla., and Nick Prvonozac of Warren, Ohio, have been added to the field for the upcoming Walmart FLW Tour season, bringing the total field count to 154 pros. Botha and Prvonozac both finished the 2014 FLW Tour in the top 100 and thus qualified for priority entry into the 2015 Tour. Both anglers entered before the cutoff date, but an internal delay in processing their payments kept them off the original list of 152 anglers. FLW immediately corrected the mistake when it was discovered. “We hate that a mistake was made in processing entries for Lionel and Nick and, as a result, they were not included in the original field that we announced earlier this week, but we are thrilled that they will be fishing the FLW Tour again in 2015,” says Kathy Fennel, FLW president of operations.
FLW’s team of photographers and reporters captured some indelible moments during the 2014 Walmart FLW Tour season.
With Keith Daffron of Ranger Boats
In Episode 60, hosts Jody White and Kyle Wood talk with Keith Daffron, vice president of sales at Ranger Boats, about his history with the iconic boat builder, the recent sale to Bass Pro Group and some other aspects of Ranger's business. Then they break down? sponsorship news, talk through the newly announced Walmart FLW Tour field, make some predictions and pick their teams for the Rayovac Rumble.
Jason Harper takes us on a tour of Jimmy Houston's Ranch in Oklahoma. You won't believe what Jimmy is up to in the offseason.
Five or six years ago Guido Hibdon won a tournament at Lake Eufaula by sitting in one spot and casting crankbaits and soft plastics over and over again to a point that had a couple of big rocks off its end.
On Thursday, Jan. 8, the 68-year-old Chapman went to a local doctor to take a stress test, but was unable to complete it. He returned the next morning, but when Chapman exhibited symptoms of a heart attack, an ambulance was called to rush him to an area medical center. He died en route in the early afternoon of Friday, Jan. 9.
FLW has renewed its sponsorship agreement with Z-Man Fishing Products, Inc., the fastest-growing lure brand in America, for the fifth consecutive year.
My dad started taking me fishing when I was two. My very first job was at Hi’s Tackle Box and after that I spent a few years working for Fisherman’s Choice. I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve been able to spend my life doing what I love and enjoy doing.
The 20th season of the Walmart FLW Tour will feature 152 of the best professional anglers from 26 states and one Canadian province.
The 2014 season contained a number of superlative moments, but only a few that neatly fit into a few seconds of looping soundless action.
Walmart has announced the members of its professional angling team that will hit the water in 2015.
Pro Tips Weekly with Ish Monroe
Everybody has his own ideas about the best baits and approaches for bedding bass, but I’ve had the best luck using the 7-inch Mizmo Ish Tube for fish that weigh more than 5 pounds.
Want a cure for cabin fever? Just want an excuse to leave the snow shovel at home?
Is cabin fever getting the best of you? If so, why not go bass fishing this winter? Let’s see what top competitors have to say about where and how to catch a few.
Strike King Lure Co. and Walmart FLW Tour standout Cody Meyer today announced a partnership agreement for 2015. “Cody came very highly recommended to us as not only a talented and innovative young pro angler, but also as a genuinely great guy, both of which are very important to our organization in terms of fit and value to our brand,” says Allan Ranson, chief operating officer at Strike King. “In all my research and dealings with Cody, I have been extremely impressed and feel certain that he will greatly add to our new-product development and brand marketing, especially as it relates to West Coast relevance.” “I consider it a great honor to be joining Strike King. It is both humbling and exciting,” says Meyer, the 2014 Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year runner-up. “They build products that are staples in the tackle boxes of anglers everywhere. They are the perfect combination of innovation, function and value.”
2015 season kicks off at Okeechobee
It’s here, finally. This weekend marks the kickoff to the 2015 FLW season with the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Gator Division event on Lake Okeechobee on Jan. 3, followed shortly by a Rayovac FLW Series event Jan. 22-24, also on Okeechobee. The 2015 FLW season is sure to be a wild ride. Though the Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Ouachita will be hard-pressed to live up to the drama of Anthony Gagliardi’s win at Lake Murray in 2014, it is a great location, and history suggests that we could be crowning the first two-time champ come August. The rest of the Walmart FLW Tour schedule also offers a lot to look forward to, though it is but a fraction of the 240 tournaments that FLW will run in 2015. In fact, up to $20.5 million in awards are potentially on the table in 2015, and 2,321 trophies, from the Forrest Wood Cup to a BFL co-angler trophy, will be handed out at more than 80 unique bodies of water from Virginia to California.
A new year is here, and it’s time for us to look at ourselves and take stock. Last year wasn’t so bad and, in fact, was good in a lot of ways. But it still could be better in some respects, and we need to work on aspects of our lives that will make 2015 even better.
What a year it was. 2014 ranks as one of the most exciting seasons in FLW history, and that includes everything from the Walmart Bass Fishing League level to the Forrest Wood Cup. On the cusp of a new year and a new season, we decided to take a look back at our 10 favorite stories of 2014. Please share your highlights from this season with FLW fans at Facebook.com/FLWFishing.
Many of the readers who follow FLW know me as one of the pros who fishes the Walmart FLW Tour. What many of you don’t know is that I also work in the industry. I get to see what happens behind the scenes more than the average fisherman or fellow fan does. I get to see the sponsor contracts, and the ins and outs of how business works.
A new Ranger, a Lowrance HDS, a set of Power-Poles – chances are Santa will bring us a few of the things we’ve asked for on Christmas, but some items might have to wait for another yuletide or until the Claus household becomes a bit more financially stable.
Although you couldn’t tell it by the weather up north, bass are moving toward their spawning areas in a lot of Southern lakes. In south Florida, where the FLW tournament season is set to begin in about a week, they’re already spawning. Though there are certain rules that apply to fishing the spawn, I’ve developed an approach that has helped me catch fish when other things have failed.
Among the benefits of having sponsors are the unique opportunities that they provide to you. For instance, during this offseason I got to travel to China for the first time in my life to work with one of my main sponsors, River2Sea, designing and perfecting the Ish Monroe Series. I stopped in Hong Kong on my way there and back. It’s so high-tech and advanced; it’s amazing.
“I’ll take the memory of that day to my grave,” said Jason Johnson, the day after he and Repel pro Cody Meyer put together a 38-pound limit of spotted bass. Little did he know that limit would turn out to be the “smaller” limit of spots just a couple of days later. Johnson, a longtime co-angler on the Walmart FLW Tour who plans to compete as a rookie pro in 2015, has been planning to make it out west, away from his native Lake Lanier, for a while. So far, the trip has been worth it. After cracking a 30-pound limit on a local largemouth lake to start the trip, Meyer and Johnson never returned to it – the lure of the region’s magnum spotted bass was too strong, and the spotted bass fishing has been far too good. They shared their story, which has been playing out on Meyer and Johnson’s Facebook pages this week.
It seems that 2014 was a good year for tech junkies who love to fish. Not only did Apple release the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but Lowrance just unveiled its new HDS Gen3 system, which includes a trio of touch-screen units. Best of all, the third generation of HDS technology now allows you to synch data wirelessly with your other devices.
Tour Talk is a regular column where members of FLW’s media team and industry professionals – pundits, if you will – answer questions regarding tournament results, top pros and industry trends. On the agenda in this installment are the Rayovac FLW Series Championship, changes to the Walmart FLW Tour and the future of FLW College fishing.
Rod lockers require extra tugging to loosen frosty grips, and your shadow swells with the layers of fleece and hooded sweatshirts. Nevertheless, bass will still bite when frosty air nips at your nose. Walmart pro Wesley Strader knows that despite the shivering conditions, this time of year is ripe with big-bass potential.
David A. Brown
In the wake of recent news that Bass Pro Group has acquired Ranger Boats, as well as Triton and Stratos brands, from Platinum Equity, folks in the industry immediately began asking questions about the future of the iconic boat builder, its relationship with FLW, and whether or not the acquisition would lead to positive change for the industry.
FLW, the world’s largest bass fishing tournament organization, has announced a sponsorship agreement with Navionics, a leader in electronic navigation charts and systems for marine and outdoor sporting use.
Bass Pro Group announced today an agreement to acquire Fishing Holdings, LLC, a manufacturer of fishing boats that include Ranger Boats and the Stratos and Triton boat brands from Platinum Equity.
With Philip Jarabeck
In Episode 57, hosts Jody White and Kyle Wood cover some recent FLW news, talk about Jody’s recent trip to Ranger Boats and give a tip about jerkbait fishing. Additionally, Jody talks with FLW Tour pro Philip Jarabeck about his 2014 season, how he made his way to the FLW Tour, fishing in Florida and his five favorite hardbaits.
Brush Pile Basics
December and January are the two months when anglers really start preparing for the coming season, whether it’s firming up sponsorships, planning tournament schedules or restocking baits and equipment. This is also the time of year when a lot of anglers plant cover in the lake or the lakes where they fish so they’ll be productive the following year.
Don’t let the chill of Jack Frost dissuade you from getting out on the lake this winter. Fish are still catchable, and bass will often congregate in schools this time of year, so the action can be faster than you’d expect once you find them.
A comparison of fishing styles
The 2014 Forrest Wood Cup will always be remembered as one of the most intense championships in FLW Outdoors history. In the end, a single ounce separated winner Anthony Gagliardi from runner-up Scott Canterbury.
FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, has announced a multiyear sponsorship renewal with Strike King Lure Company, an industry-leading manufacturer of lures, baits and fishing apparel.
With Matt Arey
In Episode 56, hosts Jody White and Kyle Wood talk with FLW Tour pro Matt Arey about his 2014 season, the recent co-angler rule changes, hunting, tackle organization and his plans for 2015. Then they dig into some recent news, ranging from Yamamoto Baits signing with FLW to their respective Thanksgiving breaks.
MINNEAPOLIS – FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, announced today a continued partnership with JL Marine Systems, manufacturer of Power-Pole shallow-water anchor systems. 2015 will mark the fifth consecutive season that the two organizations have partnered. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
FLW announced today that Buck Knives has signed a multiyear sponsorship agreement with the company.
The late fall-early winter period finds Walmart FLW Tour pro Jonathon Newton snooping around the creeks of Pickwick Lake and other Tennessee River impoundments in search of bass rounding up remaining shad.
David A. Brown
Consider the following fishermen who have reasons to be especially grateful this Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving usually brings a lot of family time, but it can also give you a little time to get on the water, either on a local lake that has been left alone while many outdoorsmen focus more on hunting season, or on a relative’s farm pond. If you do decide to go fishing during the holiday, the tips from these pros might help you put a few more in the boat or on the bank.
The fishing season can be quite a grind, and almost everyone on Tour has had to fish through some type of ailment for at least a little while. The pros below all had some more serious issues, and they took time in the offseason to address them.
FLW and Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits, a leading manufacturer of premium fishing tackle, have announced a sponsorship agreement for the 2015 season. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
FLW’s senior director of tournament operations highlights what’s coming in 2015
For a lot of FLW anglers, it’s crunch time in regards to sewing up sponsorships for 2015. Whether you’re fishing at the high school or college level, in BFLs, the Rayovac FLW Series or on the Walmart FLW Tour, gaining some form of sponsorship is critical to enabling you to make a profit from competitive fishing.
Todd and Troy Hollowell each filming fishing show
Todd is the Type A older brother with an obsession for bass fishing. Troy is the Type B younger sibling that enjoys the whole buffet, whether it’s bass, crappie, walleye, muskie or whatever.
Sometimes even the bad things that happen to people have unintended consequences that are good.
With Michael Neal
In Episode 55, hosts Jody White and Kyle Wood talk with FLW Tour pro Michael Neal about his 2014 season, how he fishes umbrella rigs on Lake Chickamauga, his Thanksgiving plans and his outlook for 2015. Then they dig into some recent news and talk about their own Thanksgiving plans.
A strong, gusting wind can really have a negative effect on fishing. If you’re sight-fishing, fishing drop-shots or fishing targets in clear water that you need to see, wind definitely works against you. It affects the action of a lure, your ability to feel the bait and how you present it.
We spent an afternoon with Walmart pro Mark Rose on Kentucky Lake this Fall. Rose discusses fall fishing tactics, his career, and his Outdoor Ministry.
With Troy Hollowell
In Episode 54, hosts Joe Opager and Jody White talk with FLW Tour pro Troy Hollowell about his rookie season, his recent shoulder surgery, the new Big Humble crankbait from CP Baits and his outlook for 2015. Then they dig into some recent news, talk about ranking anglers and play a game on Joe’s final episode.
For some reason, this time of year smallmouths like to hang around objects in the water, whether it’s just a small feature or something as big as a car. They’ll still move around, but it’s like they move from rock pile to rock pile – or whatever – instead of just swimming around aimlessly. So you’re target-casting at objects that are likely to be holding fish.
Even the best pros take a wrong turn in the road once in awhile
The top pro anglers “lose” far more than they win. Even making the top 10, which is considered a good finish, still isn’t winning. After all, who remembers the guy who finished sixth a Beaver Lake nine years ago?
Stop number 5 of the Walmart FLW Tour brings JT Kenney and Chad Grigsby to Pickwick Lake in Florence, Alabama. Tensions rise during ledge fishing events, when multiple boaters often crowd around the same choice spots. Can the guys each muscle their way in and turn around their lackluster 2014 season?
It’s been a couple months since I fished my last FLW event, the Forrest Wood Cup in Columbia, S.C., where I got to watch history in the making. The championship weigh-in was very exciting as it featured the local favorite Anthony Gagliardi taking home the top prize with a 1-ounce margin of victory.
Another year gone, and another off-season flying by. I’m still trying to catch up on all the stuff around the house that I let go during the season. Chores like painting the garage or little fix-it-up jobs around the house and yard seem to never end. By the way, I am currently fighting it out with fire ants, and even though they seem to have won most of the battles so far, I guarantee they will not win the war.
With Jason Johnson
Today’s Lowrance sonar/GPS combos are so powerful, even the entry-level units are waaaay more advanced than what was available just a few years ago before we had GPS, SideScan or DownScan.
Forrest Wood Cup Champion, Anthony Gagliardi appeared on Good Morning Columbia to discuss his win on Lake Murray and how he has spent his winnings.
In late summer, one fishing pattern is to flip and pitch jigs or soft plastics, or to fish frogs, in matted grass where bass are hunting for bluegills and minnows to eat. When does this pattern stop?
In terms of depth, there’s not much difference between 3.2 feet and 4.8 feet – a bit over a foot and a half. In fish-catching terms, however, the difference in the fall could amount to 20 pounds of bass.
With Adrian Avena
In Episode 50, hosts Joe Opager and Jody White talk with FLW Tour pro Adrian Avena about fishing his way up from college, his practice for the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on Wheeler Lake and his 2015 goals. Then they review the FLW action on Clear Lake, break down the Northern Conference Invitational on the Potomac River, look ahead to the weekend’s slate of tournaments, and give the BFL Weekly Update.
Take a in depth look at Frog Fishing with Ish Monroe.
With Clent Davis
With Jay Yelas
In Episode 48, hosts Joe Opager and Jody White talk with Chevy pro Jay Yelas about the upcoming Rayovac on Sam Rayburn and his season on Tour. Then they cover some recent news, make picks for the Rayovac Rumble, talk with FLW Tour pro Clent Davis about his new puppy, preview the weekend’s slate of BFL Regionals and give the BFL Weekly Update.
Right now a lot of tournament fishermen are trying to land sponsor deals for 2015. Consequently, I guess it’s pretty accurate to say that the No. 1 question any long-term pro angler gets asked this time of year is, “How do I get sponsors?”
With Travis Fox
In Episode 47, hosts Joe Opager and Jody White talk with FLW Tour pro Travis Fox about getting into fishing, his finish in the Rayovac on the Mississippi River and winning the Strike King Angler of the Year title in the Rayovac FLW Series Central Division. Then they review the Rayovac on the Mississippi, congratulate Greg Hackney, play a little Over/Under and give the BFL Weekly Update.
Fishermen are starting to catch on to the importance of profile when using buzzbaits, especially in the fall when the fish are more particular. When you’re fishing a buzzbait and the fish either miss it or just swirl at it, usually it’s a speed thing or the profile in the water isn’t right. They’re keying on something, and you’ve got to figure it out.
Tournament season is a busy time for professional anglers. For the wives they leave behind at home, life is busy too, especially if the wives are also moms. For our family, the 2014 season was one full of trials.
To begin my ridiculously long off-season, I’ll reflect on my 2014 tournament season. The Walmart FLW Tour was hard on me. Of course, it started with that mechanical disaster en route to the first-day weigh-in at Okeechobee (the season-opener) and concluded with my first whiff on the Forrest Wood Cup in 13 years. I’ve erased it completely already, so I can’t reflect on any of it. It was atrocious!
With Greg Bohannan
In Episode 46, hosts Joe Opager and Jody White talk with Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts pro Greg Bohannan about his season, the upcoming Rayovac FLW Series event on the Mississippi River, the Everett Chevrolet Big Bass Tournament and a variety of other topics. Then they review the College Fishing Invitational on Kentucky Lake, preview the Rayovac, talk about a few other FLW topics and give the BFL Weekly Update.
We’re still not done with summer yet, but the season is changing and putting the fish closer to the bank again. My three go-to baits for this time of year are a Brian’s Bee, a small Yamamoto buzzbait rigged with a Zoom Horny Toad instead of a skirt and a Yamamoto Chikara 100 square-bill.
The Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame (The Hall) in Hayward, Wis., recently announced its 2015 class of Hall of Fame inductees, and the list includes FLW President of Marketing Trisha Blake and FLW President of Operations Kathy Fennel. The Bass Federation, FLW’s partner in fishing, was also inducted as an organization.
When David Dudley was a kid, he started playing football, basketball and baseball with the same intensity that he eventually brought to tournament fishing. From the time he was 6 until he graduated from high school, he was involved in intermural sports every season: flat-out and full speed ahead.
Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” might be too dramatic a description, but the message of a man’s commitment to individuality and doing things his way certainly fits Walmart FLW Tour pro Scott Martin.
David A. Brown
With Bill Taylor
In Episode 45, hosts Joe Opager and Jody White talk with FLW Tour Tournament Director Bill Taylor about putting together schedules, the date change for the FLW Tour event at Chickamauga, his appearance on the "Scott Martin Challenge" and a few other topics. Then they review the College Fishing event on New Melones, preview the College Fishing Central Conference Invitational on Kentucky Lake and give the BFL Weekly Update. ?
I knew I was going to fish the Forrest Wood Cup on March 8, 2014, when my University of Minnesota teammate Austin Felix and I won the FLW College Fishing National Championship and earned a spot in the biggest tournament of the year. The Cup is a tournament every angler dreams of fishing, but I had no idea what the implications of a berth in this legendary tournament would bring.
FLW announced Friday that the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Chickamauga, originally slated for June 4-7, 2015, has been rescheduled to take place the following week, June 11-14, 2015 to avoid a conflict with the recently announced 2015 B.A.S.S. Elite Series. Take-off and weigh-in locations remain unchanged.
When the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour kicks off, California pro Jimmy Reese will be embarking on his first season – a rookie in the strictest sense of the term, but hardly a novice.