Tuesday Tour Update: Blaylock's break out season

Stetson Blaylock took fifth on Lake Eufaula by fishing a Senko in shallow water.

With the Walmart FLW Tour regular season at a close the focus now switches to the Forrest Wood Cup in August. Still lingering fresh on the minds of many is the newly crowned Angler of the Year in Andy Morgan who managed to seal the deal in front of his friends and family on Lake Chickamauga. In the shadow of Morgan stands 24-year-old Stetson Blaylock who wrapped up his best year on tour to date with a second-place finish in the AOY race. "Finishing second sucks," said Blaylock, who is in his fifth year as a pro. "In my mind Andy Morgan is the best fisherman out there. To finish second behind him makes me feel a little better because he has been doing this so long and is so good. At the same time it makes me want that title more now than ever." After a few years of success in BFL competition and the EverStart Series, as well as being a co-angler on tour, Blaylock made his leap to the front of the boat on the FLW Tour in 2009. In just his third tournament that year he captured his first tour-level win on Lake Norman proving that at just 21 years old, Blaylock could hang with the best of the best. Stetson Blaylock loads up. Fast forward to 2013 and you will see that Blaylock has shown plenty of consistency on tour. Out of the five years he has fished as a pro, Blaylock has qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup four times. And out of the 32 events he has fished throughout those five years - Cups included - he has only missed making a check seven times. Not too bad for a 24 year old. "With this year being my first top-10 finish in the points for AOY I consider this to be my break out year," said Blaylock. "I have been so close to having a year like this but I always seem to have one mediocre tournament and one bomb - I consider that finishing below 60th or 70th place. "I just felt more comfortable this year and my decision making was better. I suppose I can credit a little bit of my success to not going up north this year either. I don't know what it is about those northern lakes that get me but I just can't quite make it happen up there." Blaylock says that with each season that passes on tour he becomes more confident in trusting his decisions to leave what he found in practice and go find new areas. "Lake Eufaula was a great example for me this year of how my decision making improved. I went into the tournament thinking that a ChatterBait, swim jig and frog were going to be the deal since that is what Eufaula is known for. After a day of throwing those baits and not getting bit I knew I had to find something else. So, I just went looking at bare banks and started to catch quality fish. I trusted my decision and had confidence to find something different and it worked out." Stetson Blaylock, Benton, Ark., completed the FLW Tour event on Grand Lake in ninth place overall.After a fifth-place finish on Eufaula, Blaylock turned around and posted a ninth-place showing on Grand Lake just a few weeks later. That was quite the streak considering that just weeks before Eufaula found Blaylock in 56th place after the Beaver Lake derby - his worst finish of the season. Blaylock finished his season strong with by placing 22nd at Chickamauga to put a cap on his best year to date. "I hope that everything that is going for me carries over to the Cup this year," Blaylock continued. "The Red River seems to be a place for me that come tournament time I usually bomb. It should be the toughest bit we have seen this year which means it will come down to good decision making. I have never placed higher than 50 percent in the Cup so I am ready for it. "But this year lined up just right and I feel blessed and fortunate for this year. I feel so close to finding what guys like Dudley and Thrift have. I just have to do a little bit more to reach that AOY title. I know the Cup is coming up but I am already excited for next season."

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/tips/2015-04-26-queen-and-black-crowned-high-school-fishing-champs

Queen and Black Crowned High School Fishing Champs

Kristopher Queen and Tyler Black of the North Carolina Student Angler Federation won the 2015 SAF High School Fishing National Championship on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake. Queen and Black bested a field of the 10 best High School Fishing teams in the two-day competition. They caught 17 pounds, 2 ounces on Saturday to make it to today’s final round of five teams in second place. Then today, the Tar Heel State’s best backed it up with 17-15 to surpass Oklahoma’s Trevor Yates and Jacob Keenom, the day-one-leaders, by 4 pounds, 6 ounces with a two-day total of 35-01. Queen and Black earned a $10,000 scholarship for their win. READ MORE »

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Keenom, Yates Grab High School Lead

Oklahoma’s Trevor Yates and Jacob Keenom sacked a five-bass limit weighing 17 pounds, 3 ounces to top the leaderboard on day one of the Student Angler Federation High School Fishing National Championship on Grand Lake. Kristopher Queen and Tyler Black are hot on their heels in second with five bass weighing 17 pounds, 2 ounces. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-25-a-high-school-fishing-grand-finale

A High School Fishing Grand Finale

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Weekend Wrap-Up – April 21, 2015

With the College Fishing National Championship and the kickoff of the Rayovac FLW Series Central Division going on, this past weekend was pretty hotly anticipated. Lucky for fishing fans, it sure lived up to the billing. READ MORE »

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Grand Lake Midday Update Day 3

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Grand Lake Midday Update

As the second day of competition in the Rayovac FLW Series event on Grand Lake draws on, the sight-fishing bite is still strong, but day-one leader Todd Castledine has been unable to capitalize thus far. READ MORE »

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Grand Lake Day 1 Midday Update

GROVE, Okla. – After the fog delay stalled action on day one of the Central Division opener on Grand Lake the anglers are now enjoying perfect weather for sight-fishing. Lingering light fog and clouds gave way to calm, sunny conditions this afternoon. READ MORE »

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20 Questions with Ray Hanselman

Ray Hanselman is on fire. The Del Rio, Texas, pro won back-to-back Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division tournaments to start the 2015 season. His first win was in February on Lake Amistad, which is Hanselman’s home lake and where he runs a guide service. His second win came last week on Sam Rayburn. READ MORE »

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Weekend Wrap-up – April 13, 2015

The week after the Easter break turned out to be pretty spectacular. We saw incredible feats at the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division event on Sam Rayburn and the FLW College Fishing event on Table Rock. Plus, BFL competition was hot across the country. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-10-top-5-patterns-from-sam-rayburn-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Sam Rayburn Day 2

Two limits of more than 20 pounds have pushed Del Rio, Texas, pro Ray Hanselman atop the leaderboard at the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division tournament on Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Mercury. Hanselman is flipping and pitching plastics to flooded brush and trees, with careful consideration to the spots that allow him the best targeting efficiency. The lake level remains at a 15-year high, so anglers are chasing scattered bass in areas the fish rarely see. Overcast skies dominated the day, and isolated showers popped up throughout competition. Overall, productivity was lower than that of day one, with fewer fish and limits caught, and overall weights down. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-08-the-bucket-list

The Bucket List

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/tips/2015-04-08-college-fishing-takes-on-table-rock

College Fishing Takes on Table Rock

KIMBERLING CITY, Mo. – FLW College Fishing is headed to Table Rock Lake April 11 for the first of three regular-season stops in the Central Conference. A full field of college teams will be competing for a top award of $2,000 and a berth in the Central Conference Championship tournament. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-08-walmart-bfl-tournament-preview

Walmart BFL Tournament Preview

The 2015 Walmart Bass Fishing League season will continue with six tournaments on Saturday, April 11. The Arkie Division will take on Lake Dardanelle, the Bama Division stops on Lake Martin, the LBL Division heads to Kentucky Lake, the Ozark Division competes on Lake of the Ozarks, the Piedmont Division opens their season on Kerr Lake and the Savannah River Division continues on Lake Hartwell. Up to 400 boaters and co-anglers will be competing for top awards of up to $8,000 and $3,000 respectively in the one-day events. READ MORE »

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Hibdons Suspend Tournament Careers

Veteran Missouri pro Guido Hibdon and his grandson, Payden, have decided to leave the ranks of the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour, but hope to resume their tournament careers in the future. Like several other pros, the Hibdons, of Sunrise Beach, Mo., were victims of cutbacks in sponsor dollars that began last fall and left many anglers scrambling for financial support just before the 2015 tournament season opened. Dion Hibdon, Guido’s son and Payden’s father, lost a major sponsorship when Chevy pulled out as an FLW backer and dissolved the Chevy fishing team to which Dion belonged. However, the Bassmaster Classic and Forrest Wood Cup champion will continue to fish the Tour. He’ll travel to tournaments with his younger son, Lawson, 18, who will fish as a co-angler. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-06-tour-talk

Tour Talk

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Strader Leads the AOY Pack

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/tips/2015-03-30-high-school-anglers-fish-for-their-future

High School Anglers Fish for Their Future

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Guntersville Midday Update

With numerous local boats on the water, a number of the top 10 pros have been unable to fully capitalize – Cameron Gautley didn’t have a limit at noon and Trevor Fitzgerald, Jay Kendrick and Rob Digh had yet to complete theirs as well. READ MORE »

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College Open Day 2 Midday Update

The sun is shining, the weather is warmer and the bass aren’t biting, at least not for most of the first-round leaders here in the FLW College Fishing Kentucky Lake Open. As the second and final day of competition unfolds, the leaders are struggling to maintain their positions. READ MORE »