Tuesday Tour Update: Lucas looked shallow

Justin Lucas sets into a good fish in the reed clump.

Many of the pros on the Walmart FLW Tour love to fish shallow and for most it could be considered their strength. For guys like Justin Lucas, there are generally just a few tournaments a year where they can dissect shallow cover with a chance to do well in the event. The 2013 FLW Tour season (thanks in large part to a cooler spring) was the perfect year for the shallow guys to play to their strength in nearly every event - namely Lucas who notched his best season on tour by finishing sixth in the Angler of the Year points. "Because the fish weren't out deep this year I was basically able to run down the lake and fish what I thought looked good everywhere we went," said Lucas. Seventh-place pro Justin Lucas holds up his two biggest bass from day one on Lake Chickamauga. The Guntersville, Ala., resident got his season off to a solid start with a 36th-place finish at Lake Okeechobee. The second stop of the season would bring Lucas closer to home on Lewis Smith Lake. "I am from California and have only lived in Alabama for three years now and I have never made a cast on Smith Lake before," the 27-year-old pro said. "Though, Smith Lake reminded me a lot of the lakes I grew up with in California so it felt comfortable. I never fished deep there during the tournament. I spent my time on the bank and focusing on docks." By attacking Smith Lake with an approach not many keyed on Lucas would earn his first top-20 cut of the year. After cashing two checks from the first two events Lucas encountered his only slip of the season at Beaver Lake finishing in the low 80s. "Beaver was as simple as I got caught up with the A-rig. I was trying to make it happen because I knew it would do well in the tournament, but it just never went for me. It's as simple as that." Lucas gets the male to bite after 10 minutes of working the pair. Not one to dwell on a tournament, Lucas was focused and prepared for the next tour stop on Lake Eufaula. He would end up taking third at Eufaula by adjusting on the water as needed - ultimately catching the majority of his fish on the bank; including several that were on beds. "I never really had that great of a practice this year," Lucas went on to say. "It's easier to practice during a tournament when you are fishing shallow. That is what I did basically all year long but especially at Eufaula. I just tried to keep a fresh mind everyday on the water." Lucas kept rolling through the rest of the year with a 28th- and 15th-place finish from both Grand Lake and Chickamauga, respectively. His sixth-place finish in the AOY points trumped his previous highest finish of 21st back in 2011. So how did Lucas consistently put fish in the boat throughout the season? "I had a 6-inch Tightlines UV finesse worm wacky rigged on a spinning rod at every event. It really was a key player for me this year." Lucas, who is now in his fourth year on tour, also began to trust his decisions on the water more so than in years past. Justin Lucas celebrates after the battle."Grand Lake, Smith Lake and Eufaula were all lakes that I had never fished tournaments on before. I didn't really know what to expect with them and I think that helped out a lot. The other thing that helped me this year was feeling more comfortable with making decisions on the water. When I needed to go left, I would. And when I needed to go right, I did. It all worked out great and that was the biggest difference this year."

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/tips/2015-06-27-martin-earns-first-aoy-title

Martin Earns First AOY Title

Prior to the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour season, Scott Martin had banked a total of three top-10 Angler of the Year finishes in his 15-year career as a pro. It was impressive, but not indicative of his greatness. The truth of the matter is that Scott Martin was a winner, always taking risks in search of equal reward. That risky fishing has led Martin to more than $2 million in earnings, a Forrest Wood Cup win and four Tour-level wins. But the gambles burned him often enough that he never earned AOY. This year, Martin set out to fish more consistently in hopes of winning the $100,000 AOY award, and his plan succeeded admirably. With five top-20 finishes and 1,110 points (through the third day of competition on the Potomac), he seized the title as Bryan Thrift and John Cox, who came into the tournament in first and second, respectively, stumbled at the finish line. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-27-flw-signs-contract-for-south-korean-tournaments

FLW Signs Contract for South Korean Tournaments

At the day-two weigh-in of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River, FLW signed a contract that inked an exclusive licensing agreement with MirooNamoo Media Group from South Korea to begin sanctioning FLW bass fishing tournaments in the Eastern-Asian country. South Korea will run a series of FLW tournaments that advance anglers, who are citizens of the host country, to a new International Division at the Rayovac FLW Series Championship beginning in 2016. Two anglers will compete as pros with FLW providing Ranger boats, and two will compete as co-anglers. The top pro award at the Rayovac FLW Series Championship is $95,000, including a Ranger Z518C if the pro is Ranger Cup qualified, and the top co-angler award is a Ranger Z117. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-26-birge-dominates-roy-race

Birge Dominates ROY Race

Zack Birge isn’t wasting any time filling out his tournament-fishing resume. The Oklahoman won the 2014 Rayovac FLW Series Championship on Wheeler Lake last fall then joined up on the Walmart FLW Tour for 2015 and went on a season-long tear that earned him the Rookie of the Year award. Birge, alongside his wife, Kristina, was presented with his ROY trophy this afternoon on the weigh-in stage at the Potomac River tournament, where he finished in 77th place. He finished 29th overall in the AOY standings to best a group of 18 rookies. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-26-hunter-captures-co-angler-of-the-year-title

Hunter Captures Co-angler of the Year Title

Things couldn’t have worked out any better for first-year Walmart FLW Tour co-angler John Hunter, who wrapped up a phenomenal season from the back of the boat to win Co-angler of the Year and the Ranger Z518C with 200-hp outboard that goes with it. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-26-aoy-update-martin-controls-his-destiny-

AOY Update: Martin Controls His Destiny

Scott Martin is on the verge of winning the only major FLW title that has escaped him to this point: Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year. As John Cox and Bryan Thrift stumbled in the Walmart FLW Tour season finale on the Potomac River, Martin steamed ahead and made the top-20 cut in 11th place with 26 pounds, 9 ounces. The way the math checks out, if Martin finishes 19th place or better, he’ll win AOY. If he finishes 20th, he’ll be tied with Cox. The tiebreaker awards AOY to the angler with the most total weight for the season. If he finishes 20th, Martin can still win by bringing at least 11-13 to the scale on day three. Anything less and Cox survives to win. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-25-on-the-bubble-for-the-cup-

On the Bubble for the Cup

By rule, the top 35 anglers in the Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year standings make the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita Aug. 20-23. However, when a Tour pro pre-qualifies through another of FLW’s tournament circuits and also finishes in the top 35, an additional Cup invitation is extended to the angler in 36th place, and on down the list in the event of additional double qualifications. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-24-a-bass-fisherman-in-need

A Bass Fisherman in Need

Friends of FLW College Fishing angler David Cosner have established a fund to help the Texas fisherman pay medical bills associated with his long battle with Wegener’s Granulomatosis, a debilitating disease that gradually destroys the organs. Cosner, who founded the Texas State University Bass Cats and was named to the 2010 FLW College Fishing All-America team, was diagnosed with the rare disease in 2009 when he was 17 and since has had to undergo 215 surgeries. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-22-coy-and-roy-on-the-line

COY and ROY on the Line

FLW is hauling a lot of hardware to Maryland this week for the final stop of the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. The world’s largest tournament fishing organization is also going to be writing some fat checks. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-18-father-of-david-dudley-passes

Father of David Dudley Passes

James Dudley, the father of longtime Walmart FLW Tour pro David Dudley, passed away June 17 after a lengthy illness. He was a lifetime resident of Lynchburg, Va., and a member of Thomas Road Baptist Church. Like his son, James Dudley was also a tournament fisherman and competed in 73 FLW events. He finished in the top 10 in eight of them. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-12-is-this-the-new-bass-fishing-capital-of-the-south-

Is this the New Bass Fishing Capital of the South?

Dayton, Tenn., is situated on Richland Creek, a tributary that flows into the western side of Lake Chickamauga, one of the hottest bass fisheries in the country. Local officials with a flair for marketing – and good business sense – believe that Chickamauga can be the sellable “brand” that attracts bass fishermen to come and spend their time and their money in Dayton. They believe that old-fashioned Southern hospitality and small-town charm, plus trophy bass, are just the recipe for turning Dayton into “The New Bass Fishing Capital of the South.” READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-09-bass-bbq-is-back

Bass & BBQ is Back

Bass fishing and barbecue are favorite Southern pastimes, made even better when you spice them up with a little competition. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-04-bfl-payouts

BFL Payouts

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/tips/2015-06-01-2015-flw-tv-schedule

2015 FLW TV Schedule

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/tips/2015-06-01-miss-nina-wins-more-accolades

Miss Nina Wins More Accolades

When the letter that notified Nina Wood that she was being inducted into the Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame came awhile back, she was a bit surprised. None of the rest of us was. In a sense, it was a restatement of the obvious, another in a long line of awards and recognition earned by the co-founder of Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-19-missed-opportunities-at-beaver-lake

Missed Opportunities at Beaver Lake

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/tips/2015-05-12-strader-maintains-lead-at-halfway-mark

Strader Maintains Lead At Halfway Mark

Midway through the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour, Tennessee pro Wes Strader is in first place in the Angler of the Year race, and his prospects for winning it are as good as anyone’s. Two upcoming events, at lakes Eufaula and Chickamauga, “fish” in a way that suits his style, and he has a good track record on the Potomac River, the last Tour stop of 2015. A good finishing kick could earn the veteran his first AOY title. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-10-mother-of-ramie-colson-jr-passes

Mother of Ramie Colson Jr. Passes

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/tips/2015-05-07-community-outreach-sportsmanship-award-

Community Outreach (Sportsmanship Award)

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/tips/2015-05-06-tornadoes-sweep-across-oklahoma

Tornadoes Sweep Across Oklahoma

2014 Rayovac FLW Series Champion Zack Birge, whose appears in the Central Division Tournament on Kentucky Lake was cut short by tornados at his home town in Oklahoma, characterized the damage to his house as “a near miss.” READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-05-weekend-wrap-up-may-4-2015

Weekend Wrap-Up – May 4, 2015

This weekend saw history being made at the Rayovac level. Plus, it was a bush- and flipping-filled BFL Saturday and the College Fishing ranks produced some Guntersville giants. Here’s a recap of last weekend’s tournament action. READ MORE »