October 29, 2013 by Gary Mortenson
(Editor's note: Moving forward, FLWOutdoors.com will be unveiling a host of new editorial content focusing exclusively on FLW Tour pros. The latest in that effort is a feature entitled "10 Questions" where FLW editors will attempt to pick the minds of FLW Tour pros by posing questions ranging from the serious to the light-hearted. The ultimate goal is for readers to get to know the thoughts, opinions and personalities of some of the best anglers the sport has to offer.)
10 Questions with Wesley Strader
How's this offseason been for you so far? Have you been staying busy?
"Well I'm just getting over a boat crash that happened at a recent BASS Open (Ross Barnett Reservoir). My boat was damaged and I dinged myself up pretty good. I have some facial damage but it definitely could have been a whole lot worse. I've never had anything like this happen to me before. Basically, it was one of those freak deals. I wasn't going that fast, maybe 45 mph max, but I wound up hitting one of those big channel marker poles. My boat got banged up pretty good and I'm still waiting on what my insurance company is going to tell me, but I think I'm probably going to need a new hull. On the plus side, my bruises are finally starting to go away and it really could have been a whole lot worse.
As far as fishing goes, I've still been trying to fish as much as I can. I've probably fished three or four tournaments since the Cup. I'm also getting ready for the upcoming hunting season - deer season and duck season. Other than that, I've been working on some sponsor things, you know how that goes. But I have some exciting sponsor stuff in the works so we'll just have to see what happens."
Which venues are you looking forward to fishing in 2014?
"Of course I'm looking forward to the Tennessee River tournaments (Pickwick Lake and Kentucky Lake) but I'm also really looking forward to that Sam Rayburn tournament. I've fished that lake a bunch of times before but I've never fished it in March so I'm kind of interested to see how that goes."
What do you think of the upcoming Tour schedule in general?
"For the most part, this year's Tour schedule really suits my style of fishing. I think the one thing that I'd say is that the Kentucky Lake tournament will probably be a little tough for me because it's later in the season (June) than I would have liked. By that time, the fish won't be bunched up in big schools so it'll be a little more challenging for me. I'd much rather have been there in May so I could be flipping bushes. But overall, I really like the schedule and I'm looking forward to it."
Are you planning on fishing any of the EverStart Series divisions this year?
"I'm planning on fishing the EverStart Series Southeast Division. But that being said, what I don't think most people realize is that the travel expenses are exactly the same whether you're fishing a Tour event, an EverStart or whatever. So when I leave the house, I'm (automatically) spending at least $1,500 - sometimes $2,000 - on travel. So to make a living you really have to make sure you bring home those $10,000 checks consistently. I'm not saying I can't win an EverStart, but it really helps (financially) if you can. So making a decision on which (EverStart) events to fish isn't always that easy."
What's your take on the recent news that the FLW Tour was banning the A-rig?
"I didn't have a problem with the A-rig (per se) but to me, the real (issue) is that it really takes a physical toll on a lot of people because there are some physical limitations for some of the guys - especially in summer when you're throwing those 10-ounce heads. Throwing that bait time after time can lead to shoulder problems so it can be a (taxing) bait to throw. A prime example is Larry Nixon. He just can't throw that bait all day long for four or five days in a row (due to physical limitations) and he's one of the best anglers out there.
Another issue is that the A-rig, at least for me, was kind of like defensive fishing. There were times when I knew I had to throw it just to give myself a chance to win. It's definitely a big-fish catching bait. But personally, when you start putting 10, 12, 15 baits on the A-rig it starts getting a little excessive. It just takes away from fishing. To me it really takes away from the guys who really know how to dissect a lake. It takes away the professional aspect of fishing as well. So I'm happy the change was made."
What's the most overused or most annoying cliche in bass fishing?
"At least you didn't zero ..."
What music are you listening to these days?
"I listen to a lot of different stuff. I listen to contemporary Christian music, alternative and I-hate-my-mom-and-dad type of music - not that I hate my mom and dad. I like to listen to groups like the Black Keys, Soundgarden and Audioslave. But I really like a lot of different types of music."
As one of the veterans on Tour, what's the one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you first started out?
"Patience - specifically not giving up on a certain area too soon. I also wish I'd had more patience with a few baits when I first (got exposed) to them. I had a ChatterBait in my hands three years before Bryan Thrift and Andy Montgomery ever came along. So I kind of regret not sticking with that bait when it was first introduced to me. I probably threw that bait 10 times when I first got it and thought it was the biggest piece of junk that I'd ever seen in my life. So obviously I was completely wrong about that. But there have been plenty of other winning baits that I didn't have enough patience with at the beginning that I wished I had taken more time to learn - especially that ChatterBait. (In retrospect) there are so many possible ways to fish a ChatterBait and since I've learned how to fish it, it's opened a lot of new doors for me. I guess I just wish that I'd adapted a lot sooner than I did because I really would have had a leg up on the competition."
Once you realize you're not in a position to win an FLW Tour event, who do you quietly root for?
"You know, there are a lot of guys I'd like to see win, Michael Neal for one. I'd also like to see my best friend Shad Schenck win - just my friends in general. We have kind of a tight-knit group of guys that (pull for each other) so I'm always rooting for guys like Scott Suggs, Jason Christie, Andy Morgan and Brent Ehler - guys like that. So I can't really narrow it down to just one."
What is the one technique, if any, that you'd like to improve upon?
"I'd probably have to say fishing in deep, clear water. I'd really like to improve upon my ability to look at a fish on a graph and know if they're going to bite."