Tuesday Tour Update: Patrick Bone ups the ante in 2014

Patrick Bone sets himself up on day 1 to make a run at his second Major title as a co-angler this year.

A guy walks into a blacksmith's shop and starts nosing around. The blacksmith sees him out of the corner of his eye, but doesn't pay much attention to him. Before long it becomes obvious that the visitor is a know-it-all, as he feels compelled to tell the blacksmith the best way to do this or that. The blacksmith ignores the man. He's busy making horseshoes. The visitor eventually wanders over to the anvil, where a horseshoe the blacksmith just finished is cooling off. The nosey intruder suddenly picks up the horseshoe, and just as quickly drops it. "Hot, ain't it?" asks the bemused blacksmith. "Nah," says the know-it-all, trying to preserve some of his bravado. "It just don't take me long to look at a horseshoe." Patrick Bone has heard all such blacksmith jokes, because he is one or, more accurately, a farrier. The difference between the two basically is that a blacksmith makes things from iron - including horseshoes - while a farrier's main occupation is nailing prefabricated shoes to a horse's hooves to protect them. He might make or reshape shoes along the way, but keeping horses road-ready and their feet healthy is his main concern. Bone's interest in shoeing horses was an offshoot of his days competing in rodeos back home in Georgia. He's made a good living from it, too, but after 17 years in the business, he's ready to forsake his farrier tools completely and become a full-time bass pro. Bone, who hails from Cleveland, Ga., is off to a good start. Co-angler Patrick Bone holds up his trophy for winning the FLW Tour event on Table Rock Lake.As a Walmart FLW Tour co-angler the past three years, Bone has accumulated more than $40,000 in earnings. He's also earned almost $25,000 more fishing the Walmart BFL series - including two All-Americans - and other FLW circuits. His biggest win to date, however, came on the pro side at a B.A.S.S. Open on Douglas Lake last year. Not only did it increase Bone's bank account substantially and earn him a berth in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic, but his win at Douglas over more experienced pros did wonders for Bone's self-confidence. Bone now has switched to the pro side in the Walmart FLW Tour, and his first test will come at Lake Okeechobee in February. He'll be fishing out of a Ranger Z119 pushed by a Mercury 225-horsepower engine. "I'm looking forward to it," says Bone, 34. "I've always been a very competitive person and I want to be considered among the best at the top level. So far it's all worked out pretty good." For various reasons, Bone didn't fish all the FLW Tour events the previous two years. His last full season came in 2011, when he collected almost $16,000 fishing out of the back of the boat and placed third in the Co-angler-of-the-Year running. "It came down to the last day of the last tournament that year, which was at Pickwick," recalls Bone, who rates jigs and square-bills as his favorite lures. "I had a 38-point lead and all I needed was 2 pounds and 14 ounces to lock it up. I bombed. It was a crazy deal; the pressure didn't get to me, basically it just wasn't my time and I wasn't on any fish. I had an awesome year otherwise. I never practiced for any event - just showed up and went fishing - and made the top 20 in four of the six tournaments." Bone is convinced that his competitive nature plays off the skill level of his competitors. That being the case, he had plenty of inspiration in 2011. Spencer Shuffield won Co-Angler of the Year then, and Keeton Blaylock was second. Co-angler stalwarts Mike Helton and Richard Peek rounded out the top five. Of those, Bone, Shuffield and Peek have now gone pro. One of the more obvious advantages of interning as a co-angler is that it enables a fisherman to study the techniques and strategies of more experienced pros who might specialize in various approaches. Although Bone grew up fishing the deep waters of Lake Lanier with his mentor and fellow farrier Doug Workman and his brother, the late Daniel Workman, his years spent fishing out of the back of a boat have provided the tools to make him a formidable pro. He fished his first tournament out of the back of Daniel Workman's boat in 2000, but Bone has been a dedicated bass fisherman since he was 10 and was running his own boat soon after his 18th birthday. In his formative years, spotted bass on deep structure were the usual targets. Co-angler Patrick Bone proudly displays the largemouth that helped him net the big bass award on Lake Chickamauga in 2011."I'm more familiar with fishing offshore, but I caught most of my fish at Douglas out of water about 8-feet deep," notes the Georgia pro. "In fact, my favorite thing is to fish docks - the tighter the better. I really like to take them apart. I'm fairly versatile, though I wouldn't say that's my best trait. I think it's my work ethic that I apply to what I want to do in life. In the farrier business, I went a long way fast. I passed the certification level when I was 20 and that's pretty unusual. "The biggest thing is that I have the same outlook on everything. Being a farrier and making a living for your family (Bone has a wife and son) is hard work. I've developed a good work ethic that carries over to my fishing." If a survey of all the top FLW pros over the years were made, no doubt a strong work ethic would be as one of the common denominators that helped the standouts reach the stars. What wouldn't show up, under the header of career background, is professional farrier. In that at least, Bone is one of a kind.

Tags: blog  colin-moore 

/news/2015-03-23-what-went-down-at-kentucky-lake

What Went Down at Kentucky Lake

Save for the contrarian crankbaits used by the eventual winning team from the University of Arkansas-Fayettville, it seemed that the vast majority of teams in the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake relied on umbrella rigs. Here’s a rundown on what the top 10 used to catch most of their bass. Each of these teams is now pre-qualified for the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-22-arkansas-anglers-win-college-open

Arkansas Anglers Win College Open

Consistency was the key for the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville here in the FLW College Fishing Kentucky Lake Open as Zachary Pickle and Drew Porto won the event with a two-day total of 43 pounds, 12 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-top-patterns-from-kentucky-lake-

Top Patterns from Kentucky Lake

Thanks to nearly identical bags from days one and two, the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville netted the title in the FLW College Fishing Open held on Kentucky Lake. While the top prize of a Ranger Z117 with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard was at stake, teams were also battling to make the top 10 in order to punch their ticket for the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-03-21-college-open-day-2-midday-update

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 »

/news/2015-03-20-missouri-anglers-lead-college-open

Missouri Anglers Lead College Open

Andrew Nordbye and Adam Almohtadi of Northwest Missouri State University of Maryville, Mo., took the lead in the opening round of the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake with 25 pounds, 2 ounces. Heading into Saturday’s second and final round, the University of Kentucky’s Ryan Collins and Hunter Fulcher sit in second place with 22-14, while Ethan Flack and Konnor Kennedy of the University of Alabama are currently third with 22-9. Details to follow. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-day-1-patterns-from-the-college-open

Day 1 Patterns from the College Open

The Northwest Missouri State University team of Andrew Nordbye and Adam Almontadi took the day-one lead in the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake. While their pattern seems to be effectively refined – they were using only one lure and had no others out on the deck – Nordbye and Almontadi don’t have this one sewed up yet. The rest of the top five is just a few pounds behind the leaders. Here’s how they made it into contention going into the final day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-college-open-day-1-midday-update

College Open Day 1 Midday Update

“You should have been here yesterday” might have been the motto for the first day of fishing in the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake. Though many of the 194 teams entered in the two-day event out of Moor’s Resort & Marina reported good to excellent practices, many of the same anglers were complaining about a lack of fish on opening morning of the competition. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-record-catch-for-record-college-field-

Record Catch for Record College Field?

GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. – Panama City, beach parties, Florida sunshine, bikini weather – big deal. Who needs Spring Break when you’ve got Kentucky Lake in March? OK, maybe that’s a stretch, but how else to explain why a record-setting number of teams showed up for the FLW College Fishing Open tournament here? The official tally of bass fishing teams is 201, according to College Fishing Tournament Director Kevin Hunt, making this the largest collegiate fishing event ever. Teams from every corner of the country are represented here, with squads from as far away as Eastern Washington University competing the next two days. A flotilla left Moor’s Resort & Marina this morning, with individual boats scattering in all directions. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-18-college-open-will-be-a-record-setter

College Open will be a Record-Setter

When the first FLW College Fishing Open tournament gets underway out of Moor’s Resort on Kentucky Lake Friday morning, it will make history as the largest college event ever staged. Typically, college tournaments are staged as divisional events where only teams from a particular geographical region can participate, but the Open marks the first time any eligible college team can compete. The response to the new format has been overwhelming. According to FLW College Fishing Tournament Director Kevin Hunt, 184 teams representing colleges and universities from coast to coast are entered (as of this morning), and more might be en route. Teams have until Thursday evening at 6 to register at the rules meeting. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-03-18-expect-change-and-adapt-to-it

Expect Change and Adapt to It

Ish Monroe explains how to adapt to changing conditions and recommends to always fish your strengths in this weeks blog. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-03-17-so-you-want-to-be-a-co-angler-

So You Want to be a Co-Angler?

First and foremost, I know I’m fishing the tournament as a co-angler and I make sure that I not only stay out of my pro’s way, but I do what I can to assist him throughout the day. This starts at the ramp with assisting him with the launch where possible. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-03-16-tour-newcomers-andrew-young

Tour Newcomers: Andrew Young

If you look at Young’s track record in the Angler Profiles of FLWFishing.com, there’s not much there. The only FLW tournament he’s fished is the Tour opener on Lake Toho, where he finished 102nd. Prior to that, Young hadn’t fished so much as a Walmart Bass Fishing League event, but that doesn’t mean he lacks talent or savvy. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-03-16-a-30-piece-puzzle-with-four-pieces-missing

A 30-Piece Puzzle with Four Pieces Missing

The whole time I was down in Florida during the FLW Tour opener on Lake Toho I felt like I was trying to put together a 30-piece puzzle with four pieces missing. The weather was right, the water temperature was right, the thousands of acres of vegetation looked right, but one thing was wrong: the fish! READ MORE »

/tips/2015-03-12-a-clean-slate

A Clean Slate

The 2015 season opener of the Walmart FLW Tour wasn’t at Okeechobee, as in recent years, but at Lake Toho in central Florida. I was excited about the change, and even more pumped to start a fresh new season after blowing my motor on day one of the first event last year. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-11-lake-toho-storylines

Lake Toho Storylines

The Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Mercury on Lake Toho provided the 20th-anniversary season a proper sendoff. It was emblematic of the seasons that came before and had all of the hallmarks that FLW fishing fans have come to expect. A couple of strong 11th-hour charges for the title, environmental challenges in the form of dramatic weather and water changes, and a nail-biting finish were befitting of two decades of the Tour. We wanted to break down a few of the more subtle storylines as well, in order to put this season’s opener into perspective. Here goes. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-07-a-morning-with-the-leader

A Morning with the Leader

Sullen gray skies and a gusting northeast wind contrast with the weather on opening day of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Mercury here on Lake Toho. JT Kenney jumped out to the lead with a solid stringer of almost 30 pounds on Thursday, but Saturday is altogether different, and expectations match the weather. No pattern is weatherproof, including Kenney’s, but at least he knows that neither is anyone else’s. The brisk northeast wind is scooting his boat along at a fairly fast clip, and he’s fishing a spinnerbait that helicopters with every cast. To this point, the spinnerbait hasn’t attracted more than a small pickerel and two small bass in the first hour of the semi-final round. Still, the veteran pro has been here before, and knows what a change of weather will do to Florida bass. Gradually, the wind will lay and the day will grow warmer. Kenney is saving his better spots for then. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-06-randles-takes-co-angler-crown

Randles Takes Co-angler Crown

The whole premise behind being a successful co-angler is to fish the spots that the guy in the front of the boat hasn’t already hit. Here on Lake Toho and connected lakes – with their miles of lily pad fields and vast mats of various types of aquatic vegetation – finding such targets of opportunity is never a problem, though some co-anglers are better than others at mining the ones that actually have bass in them. Chad Randles of Elkhorn, Neb., proved he had what it takes to pry bass out of their Toho cubby holes as he won the co-angler title here in the Walmart FLW Tour season-opener presented by Mercury. Randles weighed in a pair of limits over two days that totaled 29 pounds, 15 ounces. Mark Holman of Cornelius, N.C., was second with 27-11, while John Hunter of Shelbyville, Ky., placed third with 27-7. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-05-boom-or-bust-at-toho

Boom or Bust at Toho

To varying degrees of success, tournament anglers are used to figuring out lakes that seemingly are a bundle of contradictions. Be that as it may, Lake Toho threatens to boggle their collective minds as the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour kickoff event presented by Mercury gets underway this morning. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-02-27-toho-bound

Toho Bound

You have to understand that having home field advantage in fishing is the absolute worst. There are so many demons; you have too much information, you start fishing the lake’s history – it goes on and on and it’s very hard for a professional angler to mentally break that barrier. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-02-25-tour-newcomers-capt-blake-smith

Tour Newcomers: Capt. Blake Smith

Capt. Blake Smith, who’s signed on to fish the Walmart FLW Tour this year, will tell you that he’s a “true rookie” when it comes to big-time bass tournaments, which is true. However, he’s no newcomer to competitive fishing. READ MORE »