Co-angler practice in depth

When FLW Outdoors laid the foundation for its pro-am formats, officials intentionally chose the title "co-angler" to describe the angler who fishes from the back deck rather than traditional monikers like "no-boater" or "amateur." FLW Outdoors realized that many "amateurs" were not only boat owners, but also good anglers who wanted more visibility in the sport. With that, the role of the co-angler has evolved. For example, it used to be that pros practiced and "amateurs" showed up just to fish the tournament. These days, however, more and more co-anglers are also putting in practice time to get a feel for what the fish are doing. Should co-anglers tow their own boats to tournaments or practice with a pro? How can co-anglers who do not own a boat get hooked up with a pro to practice? These will be the topics of the next two installments of the Co-angler's Clinic. For co-anglers who own boats, deciding whether or not to take your rig to a tournament largely depends on the type of FLW Outdoors event you are fishing, number of days you can practice, the tournament venue and its distance from home. The answer to this question starts with identifying your goals as a co-angler. If you want to learn about specific techniques and find alternative tactics for catching fish in "used" water, then practicing with a pro is your best bet. If you are trying to find fish in hopes of convincing a pro to go to them during the tournament, then you will be better off taking your own boat. Co-anglers who get into FLW Outdoors events near their home usually opt for practicing on their own. Being native to the area offers many advantages, including inherent knowledge of the lake and its fishing patterns. Also, the chances of a pro entertaining a co-angler's fishing suggestions increase if the co-angler is a local. Checking a few sweet spots before the tournament could pay off if a pro is open to suggestions. However, if you are a co-angler headed to foreign waters, then you might let the particular circuit dictate your decision as to whether you want tow your boat for practice. The Wal-Mart FLW Tour, for example, is made up mostly of touring pros. They usually spend somewhere between three to 10 days practicing for an FLW event. By the time the tournament starts, they usually know exactly how and where they want to fish. Even if a co-angler brings a boat and finds the honey hole of lifetime, the chances of convincing an FLW Tour pro of going to it are slim. In this case you will probably learn more about what's going on and, more importantly, what you need to be prepared for by practicing with a pro. BFL events are quite different. BFL boaters are often faced with a limited amount of practice time. A BFL boater that gets one day of scouting on an unfamiliar lake will likely be all ears for suggestions if his co-angler has practiced a day or two. Somewhere in between are the EverStart and TTT events, which can be evaluated case by case based on a few other conditions. Distance from home and the number of days you can practice are legitimate concerns. Towing a boat 500 miles for one day of practice on a lake you know absolutely nothing about may be arbitrary. Also, the venue and your accommodations should be considerations. If you are in a 200-boat tournament and staying in one of only three motels in town, parking your rig is likely going to be a nightmare. Conversely, if the tournament is being held in a city with a myriad of motels or you have a cabin out by the lake with plenty of room, then taking your own boat becomes a more viable option. If you do plan on practicing from your boat in hopes of swaying a pro to your fishing areas, here are a few suggestions: • Practice near the put-in. The closer your areas are to weigh-in, the better your chances of sampling them during the tournament. Occasionally, pros will come in a few minutes early and fish near the check-in. If you have a productive place or two nearby, the pro might be willing to give it a shot. Trying to convince a pro to go to fish that are 30 miles out of the way is much more difficult to do. • Know your spots well. If a pro should agree to try one of your places during the day, be able to put him right on the spot. Your credibility begins to diminish by the minute if a pro takes you to your spot and there is a lot of: "Well, I think it's over here ... or maybe it's over there. ... I'm not really sure." Be direct about how to get there and exactly where to start. • Be prepared to make a deal. Don't be surprised if your pro agrees to go to your fish under the condition that he can return to them the next day should the area pan out. • Some pros are automatically resistant to trying a co-angler's spot for a variety of reasons. When you meet your pro at the pairing, avoid introducing yourself with stories of the big ones you caught in practice. Wait until the appropriate time in the conversation and simply tell him you practiced on your own and you have some places in mind if he is interested and leave it at that. • Don't exaggerate your catch in an effort to influence your pro. Most pros can see right through this and it ruins any chances of going to your area. • Don't badger a pro with your recommendations all day long. Again, it's perfectly fine to make a suggestion or two, but leave it at that. The pro is going to be more likely to try your place if you have been patient and helpful. • Shake fish off in practice. Practice as if you were going to fish the tournament yourself. Of course you will want to check a couple for size but "sore-mouthing" 15 keepers from one spot the day before the tournament can be counterproductive and it's not necessarily a good selling point with your pro. Remember, a pro has complete control of the boat. If a pro does not want to sample your areas, don't get frustrated. He or she paid the higher entry for that right and you must respect that.

Tags: co-angler-clinic  rob-newell 

/news/2015-05-26-top-10-patterns-from-lake-seminole

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Seminole

Clint Brown won the Rayovac FLW Series event presented by Evinrude on Lake Seminole by targeting late spawners and obscure stretches of bank that received little pressure during the week. Here is a look at how the rest of the top 10 competitors fared. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-23-brown-rallies-for-seminole-win

Brown Rallies for Seminole Win

When the Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Seminole started on Thursday, hot, slick conditions prevailed. The air temperatures pushed into the 90’s, water temperatures hovered between 80 and 85 degrees – summertime was on. Or was it? READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-23-jeter-takes-co-angler-crown

Jeter Takes Co-Angler Crown

Call it a local’s sweep at the Rayovac FLW Series on Lake Seminole. While local pro Clint Brown of Bainbridge, Ga., won the boater Division, his Bainbridge neighbor, Greg Jeter won the Co-angler Division to make it a local twofer. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-23-lake-seminole-day-3-midday-update

Lake Seminole Day 3 Midday Update

Second place pro Clint Brown was gaining some serious ground on Reneau as Brown had boxed four solid keepers for about 11 pounds on his very first spot – all caught from protected backwaters with a topwater. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-22-reneau-grabs-lead-on-seminole

Reneau Grabs Lead On Seminole

Though Reneau has weighed in 15-1 and 20-7 over two days for a total of 35 pounds, 8 ounces, he says he is only getting about six bites per day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-22-top-5-patterns-from-seminole-day-2

Top 5 Patterns From Seminole Day 2

A shake-up occurred on day two of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Lake Seminole. Day one was all about slow, summertime fishing in the lake’s deep timber. Overnight a frontal passage dropped water and air temperatures and left a north wind howling down the lake. As a result, the timber bite cooled off and those fishing shallower waters climbed up the leaderboard. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-22-lake-seminole-day-2-midday-update

Lake Seminole Day 2 Midday Update

The hot summer at Seminole turned back into spring this morning as a cold front blew through the area dropping air temps some 10 degrees with a blustery north wind. Sweatshirts were needed again as the cold air felt more like April than May. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-enfinger-leads-on-seminole

Enfinger Leads On Seminole

Enfinger said he got off to a “fast start” this morning, sacking a limit by 10 a.m., but he only upgraded twice after that, catching about eight keepers on the day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-top-5-patterns-from-seminole-day-1

Top 5 Patterns From Seminole Day 1

Bradley Enfinger took the day-one lead at the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Lake Seminole fishing suspended bass in timber. Others in the top-5 fished both wood and grass on day one. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-lake-seminole-midday-update

Lake Seminole Midday Update

Lake Seminole is known to be more of a quality lake than a quantity lake and that trait showed on the morning of day one as anglers who were catching fish were not necessarily getting many bites, but 3-pound pluses seemed to be the norm for the ones hauled in over the gunnel. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-seminole-summer

Seminole Summer

Last week, the Walmart FLW Tour plied the waters of the Chattahoochee River on Lake Eufaula. This week, the Rayovac FLW Series moves 60 miles south on the “Hooch” to Lake Seminole for the final event of the Southeast Division. Running offshore brush piles was the dominant theme on Eufaula last week, leaving some to wonder if a similar pattern could work on Seminole, since the two legendary lakes are connected by the same river. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-18-top-10-patterns-from-lake-eufaula

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Eufaula

Bryan Thrift won the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State on Lake Eufaula by keying on isolated pieces of cover – brush piles, stumps, logs, rocks, etc. – for four days and hitting as many spots as possible during competition hours. Others in the top 10 fished a very similar program, but there were a few wild cards. Here’s the rundown of Eufaula’s top finishers. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-17-thrift-by-3

Thrift by 3

The “numbers game.” It’s a term that Bryan Thrift used to describe his fishing on Lake Eufaula back in 2013 when he finished runner-up to Randy Haynes in a Walmart FLW Tour event. The method to his numbers madness was to hit as many solitary objects – stumps, brush piles, rocks, logs – on the bottom of Lake Eufaula as humanly possible in an eight-hour tournament day. When Thrift saw that Lake Eufaula was back on the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour schedule for May of this year, he grinned that patented Bryan Thrift grin because he already knew how to crunch the numbers at Eufaula. And Thrift is still grinning. After sacking up a final-day catch of 15 pounds, 5 ounces to top off 69-14 for the week, Thrift made the numbers work for his fourth FLW Tour win. He added another $125,000 to his bank account. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-15-morrow-marches-ahead

Morrow Marches Ahead

Day two at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State at Lake Eufaula challenged anglers with tougher conditions as clouds and wind hindered much of the offshore bite. But while some of the top 10 struggled to duplicate their success from day one, Troy Morrow moved from second up into the driver's seat with a day-two catch of 18 pounds, 1 ounce. His total for the event stands at 39-09, giving him a 1-04 lead over day-one leader Clent Davis. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-15-top-5-patterns-from-lake-eufaula-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Eufaula Day 2

Troy Morrow took over the lead on the second day of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State on Lake Eufaula. Morrow did most of his damage late in the day once other pros in earlier flights had checked in. He’s working a milk run of brush piles, as are many of the top pros, but the continued fishing pressure is starting to really affect the bite. Here’s how the rest of the top five is dealing with the pressure. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-14-top-5-patterns-from-lake-eufaula-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Eufaula Day 1

Clent Davis, the day-one leader of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State on Lake Eufaula, described his fishing methodology as being a “numbers game.” He’s hitting as many isolated pieces of offshore cover as possible in a single day. Some of the other leaders behind him used similar terminology to describe their fishing. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-14-davis-leads-stacked-top-10

Davis Leads Stacked Top 10

Ordinarily, when four professional bass anglers catch more than 20 pounds on the first day of a major tournament on Lake Eufaula in early summer, no one is surprised. This week, however, Eufaula is a bit off its game due to a cocktail of challenging conditions. Pros expected this to be a low-weight event. It won’t be, if the day-one weights are any indication. Clent Davis of Montevallo, Ala., weighed in a five-bass limit that registered 22 pounds, 9 ounces to take the lead by 1-01 over Georgia pro Troy Morrow. Adrian Avena and Ramie Colson Jr. are tied for third with 20-10, while the next five in the standings all topped 18 pounds. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-28-top-10-patterns-from-beaver-lake

Top 10 Patterns from Beaver Lake

No matter what the conditions are at Beaver Lake, Matt Arey has an uncanny ability to dial up the right baits to match the appetite of the lake’s fickle bass. This year the Quaker State pro relied primarily on two baits for his win. The first was a 5-inch hand-poured swimbait teamed with a 7/0 Gamakatsu EWG Monster Worm Hook tied to 20-pound-test P-Line fluorocarbon. The second was a wacky-rigged Lunkerhunt Lunker Stick impaled on a Gamakatsu 1/0 split-shot/drop-shot hook. The power/finesse combination provided Arey with a search-and-destroy program. He would use the swimbait as a “search bait” to find fish and then follow up with the finesse of the wacky rig for bedders that would not commit to the swimbait. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-26-arey-does-it-again

Arey Does it Again

Quaker State pro Matt Arey of Shelby, N.C., wowed the crowed in Rogers, Ark., today with an incredible 17-pound, 3-ounce five-bass limit to come from behind and win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake. This is Arey’s second consecutive Beaver Lake FLW Tour victory. Arey’s final-day surge was enough to surpass two-time reigning Angler of the Year Andy Morgan, who led yesterday but weighed in only 9-08 today and fell to third. Arey’s four-day total was 55-06, earning the pro $125,000. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-25-top-5-patterns-from-beaver-lake-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Beaver Lake Day 3

Andy Morgan didn’t light up the world on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac on Beaver Lake, but he caught what he needed to maintain the lead and put a 1-pound, 9-ounce cushion between he and Matt Arey. Most of the rest of the top 20 scrambled today, abandoning their patterns and trying new options to try and make the final-day cut. Here’s how the top five got it done. READ MORE »