Self squeaks out co-angler victory on Sam Rayburn

Eric Self, right, reacts as he's named the co-angler champion by weighmaster Chris Jones. Self collected $20,000.

LUFKIN, Texas - If you are 24 years old and recently graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte there are endless options for what you could be doing. But for Eric Self, you would be fishing as a co-angler in the Walmart FLW Tour on Sam Rayburn taking home a cool $20,000 for capturing the top prize - not a bad graduation present. Co-angler champ Eric Self with one of his better fish caught Saturday. His stringer weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces.Self - who is coming off a top-10 finish at the last event on Lake Hartwell - came out swinging to start the week after cracking 18 pounds, 4 ounces on day one to sit tied atop the leaderboard. He slid to his lowest position of the week on day two when he dropped to second with just three bass that weighed 8 pounds even. He managed a limit today that tipped the scales at just 7-7 yet it gave him the victory by just three ounces with a three-day total of 33-11. "I'm pretty excited," said an overwhelmed Self. "I have to say that I never would be here without FLW College Fishing. I fished the very first FLW College event and never looked back. I wasn't that into fishing until I got to college and joined the club at the University of North Carolina - Charlotte. From that point on I couldn't get enough and now I'm doing this (fishing as co-angler on the FLW Tour) and own a boat so it is pretty awesome." You would never have guessed that Self is a relative new-comer to bass fishing with his five years of collegiate fishing being his primary source of knowledge. Considering that in that time he captured seven top-10 finishes, two of which were wins in the 2013 Southeastern Division events on Wheeler Lake and Lake Guntersville. Self recently turned down his chance to fish in the FLW College Fishing National Championship in order to compete on Lake Hartwell for the Tour event just a few weeks ago. The Lawndale, N .C., co-angler had little experience with fishing grass until he began fishing at the college level. It was that experience that helped him on Rayburn this week. "The first two days of the tournament I fished up shallow around the grass," explained Self who majored in criminal justice. "I threw traps and vibrating jigs and would rip them through the vegetation when I got hung. I liked throwing moving baits to get the bigger bites." For the first two days of competition Self used a 5/8-ounce XCalibur Rattle Bait in Rayburn Red on 14-pound line. His main weapon was a hand-tied vibrating jig - bluegill colored - thrown on 20-pound test. It wasn't until today that he made the switch to an ER Lures football jig and shaky head. The football jig was Jason's Magic Craw colored with a Big Bite Bait's flipping plastic - due to the fact he didn't bring any jig trailers. He threw a Zoom Magnum Finesse worm (green pumpkin) on the ER Lures shaky head. With a tournament win under his belt so early it in his career it provides some relief with thoughts of qualifying for the Forrest Wood Cup but also financially as well. "I have been dating my girlfriend Chelsea for 6 years now and I promised her that if I won an event I would buy her a ring. But it won't all towards the ring, I still need to buy a bunch of fishing tackle." Barnett second Kerry Barnett placed second in the co-angler standings. The Arkansas fisherman had 33-pounds, 8 ounces and collected $7,500.For the second week in a row Kerry Barnett of Waldron, Ark., has found himself within the top five in FLW competition. His three-day total of 33 pounds, 8 ounces earned him the second spot in the FLW Tour on Same Rayburn just one week after taking fourth as a co-angler in the Rayovac FLW Series event on Toledo Bend. "This has been a blessed two weeks," said Barnett of his back-to-back top 10 appearances. "I just have had a lot of confidence in what I was doing on the water and I think that helped a lot." His main bait of choice was a perch-colored Z-Man ChatterBait with a Big Hammer swimbait on the back on day one. After that he switched to swimming a Yamamoto Senko on 20-pound line. The fish were active enough that he could steadily reel it through the grass on day two and when a fish would come up to eat it he would pause the Senko allowing the fish to eat it. Today he had to slow the presentation down to more of a pump and pause type of approach where he would lift the bait and let it fall. Day one found Barnett with four fish that weighed 10 pounds, 12 ounces. He caught a limit on day two that hit the scales at 11-15. While he only caught two fish on the final day they were the right ones considering they weighed 10-13. "I caught my big one on my second cast and the other fish shortly after that," said Barnett. "It was just a great day and I couldn't be happier." Considering he overcame a case of pneumonia just months ago, Barnett is taking life in stride. Sadly, he lost his brother Emmet to pneumonia back in December of 2013. "Emmet and I used to fish a lot together. We fished club tournaments and eventually started to fish team tournaments and Emmet started what we called `Team Barnett'. He got shirts made and we just loved spending time together. I know he is in a better place and is watching over me." For his efforts, Barnett took home a check for $7,500. Crawley third Stephen Crawley of Bush, La., had a productive weight in the co-angler ranks. He collected $5,000 for third place.After grabbing the lead on day two, Stephen Crawley of Bush, La., slipped from the lead by just 7 ounces with a three-day total of 33-5. Crawley got things rolling with a 15-pound, 4-ounce limit on Thursday. He backed that up with another limit weighing 11-15 on day two. Today, his four fish weighed 6-15 putting him just ounces from victrory. The Louisiana co-angler is another former FLW College angler who has embarked on his first season on the FLW Tour. He actually decided to fish the Tour this year because of the reality series "Circuit Breaker" that FLW started in 2013. "I wish I had just one more fish today but what can you do," said Crawley. "I fished clean all week so I'm happy about that." Crawley used a variety of baits this week including an XCalibur Rattle Bait, Spro frog, D&M Custom Baits vibrating jig and some assorted soft plastics. A 735c Dobyns was his main rod of choice for the tournament with a Shimano Curado. He used 12- to 17-pound Seaguar InvisX depending on the bait. He works on his parents horse farm when not fishing and will be heading home with an extra $5,000 for his efforts. Billeaud, Kavros round out top five Billy Billeaud of Lafayette, La., hauled a total of 32 pounds, 10 ounces of bass from Sam Rayburn this week despite catching just two fish on the final day to land in fourth place. He was awarded $4,000 for his catch. Chuck Kavros has made it to the top 10 once this season already back on Lake Okeechobee and he kept the momentum rolling this week with a fifth-place finish. His 30-15 three-day total earned him a check worth $3,000. For complete co-angler results click here.

Tags: co-angler-headline 

/news/2015-03-27-day-2-remember

Day 2 Remember

Brad Roberts didn’t just catch more weight than his pro. By the time day two was over, the co-angler had weighed in the biggest bag of any angler on the day. Leading the co-angler side going into the second day of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Evinrude on Lewis Smith Lake, Roberts sacked a giant 18 pounds, 13 ounces to complete a two-day sweep with an impressive 32-1. “This feels awesome,” Roberts says. “I could only fish three [FLW Tour] events this year, and I picked this one because it’s a lot like Dale Hollow and Lake Cumberland back home. Obviously, I picked the right one.” How impressive was what the Faubush, Ky., angler pulled off? His 18-13 beat the biggest pro weight on day two by 9 ounces (Jason Reyes, 18-4), and his 32-1 cumulative weight would have put him in fourth on the pro side after two days. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-o-donnell-earns-co-angler-win

O’Donnell Earns Co-angler Win

“Every time I would think “oh no, this isn’t going right,” I would catch a big one,” says O’Donnell. “I guess it was meant to be.” 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/2015-02-14-carrillo-cool-in-victory

Carrillo Cool in Victory

He’s probably the most relaxed competitor this writer has ever encountered in tournament fishing. Just don’t mistake his cool demeanor on the outside for a lack of intensity deep down inside. Ricardo Carrillo of Laredo, Texas, was all business on the water at this week’s Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division event on Lake Amistad presented by Frabill. Carrillo caught 11 pounds, 15 ounces, 6-10 and 5-4 in three days for a tournament total of 23-13 to win the co-angler division by more than 3 pounds. For his efforts, Carrillo earned his very first bass boat, a Ranger Z117 with 90-hp outboard. READ MORE »

/news/2015-02-07-leue-lands-co-angler-title

Leue Lands Co-angler Title

Lake Havasu City, Ariz. – Believe it or not, Daniel Leue of Colusa, Calif., was the only co-angler to bring in a five-bass limit every day of competition this week in the first Western Division event on Lake Havasu presented by Mercury. Though, that doesn’t mean the second victory of his career came easy. The average quality of fish in Havasu kept Leue on his toes but thanks to his 16-pound, 2-ounce limit (the largest of the tournament) on the final day he walked away victorious. READ MORE »

/news/2015-01-24-clewiston-native-wilson-is-co-angler-champ

Clewiston Native Wilson is Co-angler Champ

He was born and raised in Clewiston, and for the last eight years Moses Wilson has been pouring his heart and soul into building a professional fishing career on his hometown waters of Lake Okeechobee. Today, Wilson took a long step forward in his quest by winning the co-angler division of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event presented by Power-Pole on Lake Okeechobee. Wilson caught 13 pounds, 7 ounces today while fishing with pro Mark Daniels Jr. for a three-day total of 38 pounds, 2 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2014-11-01-callaghan-wins-co-angler-title

Callaghan Wins Co-Angler Title

ROGERSVILLE, Ala. – James Callaghan got matched up with the right pros when it counted the most here in the 2014 Rayovac FLW Series Championship on Lake Wheeler and his three-day total weight of 24 pounds, 3 ounces won him the co-angler title and the Ranger Z117 boat package that went with it. READ MORE »

/news/2014-10-04-cifuentes-wins-co-angler-title

Cifuentes wins Co-angler Title

ZAVALLA, Texas – Imagine traveling FLW Outdoor’s fishing circuits as a co-angler with legendary pro Larry Nixon…practicing with him…rooming with him…and just talking bass fishing 24-7 with one of the most decorated bass fishing pros in the modern world. READ MORE »

/news/2014-09-20-gillespie-claims-co-angler-crown

Gillespie Claims Co-angler Crown

LA CROSSE, Wis. – Carl Gillespie of Old Hickory, Tenn., couldn’t have asked for a better week. It seemed hard enough for many of the pros to connect with quality bites, let alone the co-anglers. But Gillespie stayed focused and posted double-digit limits every day of the event en route to his first title as a co-angler. READ MORE »

/news/2014-08-23-co-angler-crocker-sweeps-james-river

Co-Angler Crocker Sweeps James River

RICHMOND, Va. – Coming to the scales with only two bass on the final day of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on the James River had Michael Crocker a little nervous, but strong performances the first two days enabled the Maryland co-angler to complete the wire-to-wire victory. READ MORE »

/news/2014-08-15-new-crowned-co-angler-champ

New Crowned Co-angler Champ

COLUMBIA, S.C. – When Bryan New left the dock at Dreher Island State Park this morning, he could hardly control his excitement. Before him lay an opportunity, and it was an opportunity he believed he could seize. After catching 7 pounds, 9 ounces on day one of the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Murray, New came into today’s competition atop the co-angler leaderboard by more than 2 pounds. All he needed to do was catch a couple of solid fish and he’d have a shot at the win. Three keepers would almost certainly seal the deal. After two consecutive top-five finishes at the Forrest Wood Cup, this was New’s best shot at the title. And he went out and earned it. READ MORE »

/news/2014-08-14-new-nets-co-angler-lead

New Nets Co-angler Lead

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Calling your day on the water a “grind” is one of the biggest clichés in the sport of bass fishing. However, it is probably the best way to describe day one of the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Murray presented by Walmart and hosted by Capital City/Lake Murray Country. When the scale closed Bryan New of Belmont, N.C., set the bar with four bass that weighed 7 pounds, 9 ounces to take the lead by 2-5. READ MORE »

/news/2014-06-28-kelley-crowned-co-angler-champ

Kelley Crowned Co-angler Champ

PARIS LANDING, Tenn. – The third time was indeed the charm for Cody Kelley here at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Evinrude on Kentucky Lake, as the Arkansas fisherman won the co-angler title with a combined stringer weight of 54 pounds, 9 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2014-06-21-crowder-clinches-potomac-win

Crowder Clinches Potomac Win

MARBURY, Md. – Kermit Crowder, of Matoaca, Va. completed his wire-to-wire victory with the largest sack of day three, 12-15, and tallied a total of 39-8 in the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on the Potomac River. READ MORE »

/news/2014-06-07-co-angler-setzer-steals-the-show

Co-Angler Setzer Steals the Show

FLORENCE, Ala. – At just 26 years old, Braxton Setzer of Auburn, Ala., is experiencing a phenomenal sophomore season on the Walmart FLW Tour from the back of the boat. He already holds two top-10 finishes from Hartwell and Beaver Lake – where he came close to grabbing the title – and now he gets to taste victory after crushing 21 pounds, 5 ounces today to claim the $20,000 check. READ MORE »

/news/2014-06-07-sward-swings-connects-on-wilson

Sward Swings, Connects on Wilson

FLORENCE, Ala. – Everyone wants to be on top – and Justin Sward eventually got there at the BFL All-American presented by Walmart on Wilson Lake. But entering the final round one notch off the lead gave the co-angler from Birmingham, Ala., a sense of tranquility that no doubt contributed to his banner day READ MORE »

/news/2014-05-17-vieira-wins-delta-nail-biter

Vieira Wins Delta Nail-biter

BETHEL ISLAND, Calif. – In the final round of Rayovac FLW Series Western Division action on the California Delta, Darren Vieira learned how to through a punch. Actually, a punch bait, is more accurate and the co-angler from Martinez, Calif., used this knowledge to lock up his first FLW victory with a 3-day total of 42 pounds 2 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2014-04-26-acree-wins-co-angler-division

Acree wins Co-angler Division

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. – What’s the fastest way to learn the most about bass fishing? Become a co-angler in FLW Outdoors events. READ MORE »

/news/2014-04-12-co-angler-title-taken-by-mcdonald

Co-angler title taken by McDonald

ROGERS, Ark. – Winning on the Walmart FLW Tour from the back of the boat is no small feat and often time highlights a career for that lucky person. This week, that honor belongs to longtime FLW angler Mike McDonald who tackled a tough Beaver Lake and came out on top. READ MORE »

/news/2014-04-05-co-angler-parker-prevails-at-grand-lake

Co-angler Parker prevails at Grand Lake

GROVE, Ok. – Topping the Co-angler Division, Charles Parker, of Broken Arrow, Ok. caught three fish for 10-7 to push his tournament total to 35-9 and secure the Rayovac FLW Series Central Division win on Grand Lake. READ MORE »