Big bass, and lots of them, can spoil us rotten

FLW Tour pro Tom Redington lands his quarry.

The writer's opinions and observations expressed here are his own, and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views, policies or positions of FLW. "Defense wins championships." How many times have you heard that and seen it proven true? There's no denying that in the truest sense of most sports, a smothering defense in football and basketball, or a dominating pitching performance in baseball, is nearly unbeatable. Winning is what matters in the end, but if you could spin a magical sporting event wheel and go to any games past or present, what would you want it to land on? A defensive masterpiece? Or would you rather see Dan Marino passing for 500 yards and Barry Sanders dodging five tacklers on the way to 80-yard touchdowns; Magic Johnson's no-look passes being answered by Michael Jordan's thundering dunks; or Reggie Jackson or Albert Pujols smashing three homers in a World Series game? As any TV executive in charge of ratings will tell you, we love offense, and the more the better. The same goes for fishing. Consistent pros like Andy Morgan and Cody Meyer get the utmost respect from their peers. They're able to scrape together good limits in the poorest of conditions on the worst lakes when most others struggle. In many ways, a slow bite on a tough lake might be the truest test of angler skill, with the win only going to an angler that overcomes countless obstacles to put together a winning pattern for four days. Still, I hear more talk about slugfest tournaments than any others. And even among the most veteran pros, there is a special buzz anytime we hit a big-bass lake when it's hot. Over the past few years, the Walmart FLW Tour has hit some of the very best lakes in the country, and I find it hard to keep under the speed limit on the way to them. Okeechobee, Chickamauga, Guntersville, Champlain, Kentucky Lake, Grand Lake and Pickwick are a few that quickly come to mind. They're all known for giant bass or quantities of big fish, and both in some cases. Sometimes poor conditions or the wrong time of year can dampen the big-bass buzz, but never has a lake lived up to the hype like Lake Fork at the Texas Bass Classic in early May. With 18 of the top 20 ranked bass pros fishing in a field that also included some of the most savvy bass anglers in the country, it was a record-setting catch. Check this out: Walmart FLW Tour Pro Stetson Blaylock caught 102.75 pounds over three days, averaging 6.85 pounds per fish. Few anglers have ever broken 100 pounds in a three-day tournament, and to my knowledge only Greg Hackney and Terry Bolton have done it in a pro-level event (at the 2008 FLW Series East/West Fish-Off on Falcon Lake). Despite a monster creel of almost 103 pounds, Stetson finished second. He wound up more than 7 pounds out of the lead. Take a minute to digest that. As everyone knows by now, Keith Combs went on an epic offensive for three days straight, with an all-time record-setting total for a three-day, five-fish-limit event of 110 pounds, a 7.33-pound-per-fish average. Seventh place was almost 93 pounds, or an average of about 6 pounds per bass for 15 fish. Just about anywhere else, a 20-pound stringer each day would earn a landslide victory. Sorry, little buddy, at Lake Fork in the Texas Bass Classic that sort of stringer would get you 41st place in a 50-angler field. I've guided on Lake Fork for 10 years now and absolutely love catching monster bass on a regular basis, but there is a dark side. I've lost count of how many times I've heard the following phrases uttered, or even said them myself: "Our best five only went 28 pounds today, just a bunch of 5-pounders." Or, after landing a 7- or 8-pounder: "That fish was pulling really hard, and when I first saw the head come out of the water, I thought it was a big one." Disappointed by a 7 or 8? Really? That's human nature, though, and how it affects expectations. After winning 27 World Series championships, New York Yankees fans will settle for nothing less than a title, and we bass anglers can be just as hard to please. Fishing a lake like Fork when the bite is on will spoil you. Your fishing buddies might tire of seeing a dozen big-fish picture texts from you, but I'd definitely recommend the experience to anyone. No doubt all of us fishing the Walmart FLW Tour on Pickwick Lake and Kentucky Lake in the coming weeks hope to have similar problems, complaining about boatloads of 4- and 5-pounders without being able to catch any "good ones." In fishing, being spoiled is a good thing, especially come tourney week. You can follow Tom's fishing tips and updates on Facebook and Twitter. For fishing articles and videos, check out his website.

Tags: blog  tom-redington 

/tips/2015-05-19-blog-what-might-have-been-at-eufaula

Blog: What Might Have Been at Eufaula

Lake Eufaula is in the books, but ever since the tournament I haven’t slept very well. If you know me, you know I just “love” losing fish, but I think this latest event was the worst of my career. I finished 12th, which isn’t so bad, but the “what could have beens” got me again. On the last day of practice, I caught nearly 30 pounds, including one around 10 pounds and a 7 1/2-pounder, making it a day I’ll never forget. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-12-blog-frogging-of-a-different-kind

Blog: Frogging of a Different Kind

As a bass fisherman, I have a special feeling for that time of year when I can start fishing a frog again. I’m not sure if the rush of adrenaline I feel is from that first explosion when a bass crashes the frog, or the anticipation of it. Whatever it is, I love it! READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-07-redington-leads-on-kentucky-lake

Redington Leads On Kentucky Lake

Tom Redington of Royse City, Texas grabbed the day-one lead in the Rayovac FLW Series Central Division event presented by Evinrude on Kentucky Lake with a five-fish limit that totaled 24 pounds, 13 ounces. Redington has a 1-ounce lead over Chris Blackwell of Clarksville, Tenn., while Brandon Hunter of Benton, Ky., is third with 22-10. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-06-blog-make-a-plan-and-work-the-plan-

Blog: Make a Plan and Work the Plan

I’m not going to sugarcoat it: I’m bombarded with an array of emotions and a new to-do list every day. I’m not good enough. I don’t have the money. Make a Facebook post. Call mom. I don’t have enough time. I’m too tired. I’ll be treated poorly. Rig rods. Do sponsor work. People won’t like me. My son will miss me. I’ll miss my family. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-24-blog-east-vs-west

Blog: East vs. West

I’m not going to say the West is better than the East, or vice-versa. However, I am going to say that where fishing is concerned, there are some distinct differences between the two. The list is long and I’m sure that you can think of many additional differences, but here are a few things I have found that separates the two locales. For the purposes of this blog, let’s make the dividing line the Mississippi River although I think we should include Texas with the East. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-21-blog-the-bucket-list

Blog: The Bucket List

I lived my first 25 years in the Midwest, and I used to get horrible cabin fever this time of year. Sitting in front of a television and watching Jimmy, Hank, Roland and Bill catch monster bass on a spinnerbait on every single cast only made it worse. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-15-power-shotting-on-beds

Power-Shotting on Beds

Tom Redington explains how power-shotting can be a productive technique to catch bedding bass. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-14-blog-back-in-the-groove

Blog: Back in the Groove

It feels good to be in full swing of the tournament season again. We just finished the second stop of the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake, and it was an excellent event. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-14-5-pivotal-moments-in-my-career

5 Pivotal Moments in my Career

The FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake marked the beginning of my senior campaign. While it was great to get on some open water for the first time in months (though we didn’t finish very well), it also had me looking back at five events that, more than any others, led me to this point. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-14-a-year-of-new-firsts

A Year of New Firsts

There are a lot of firsts in my life now: my first full year on the Walmart FLW Tour, the first time not to fish any full B.A.S.S. circuit in many years, the first time to fish with co-anglers in a long while, the first time to compete at Beaver Lake, and so on. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-10-up-then-down-again

Up, Then Down Again

The highs and lows in this sport are amazing. They are amazing and sometimes hard to deal with. Sometimes you just have to test yourself on how thick your skin really is. For example, consider my highs and lows in the last few months. READ MORE »

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

The Bucket List

Gleaned from my various fishing travels over the years, here are 10 places ­– in no particular order – that I’ve fished that I believe should definitely be on your bass fishing “bucket list.” Some are fantastic winter getaways, but other will require you to wait until warmer weather arrives. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-07-sweet-home-alabama

Sweet Home Alabama

Hey everyone, I'm just getting back and caught up from the second stop of the Walmart FLW Tour at Lewis Smith Lake. The lake was fishing like never before, and all the fish have grown up quickly on those blueback herring. Now that I've been back home a week and watched all the videos and read all the articles about the top 10 anglers I can say I have zero regrets! READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-02-when-everything-comes-together

When Everything Comes Together

Dave Lefebre describes what baits and techniques he used to win the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake in this week's blog. 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-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 »

/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/2015-02-25-3-thoughts-on-toho

3 Thoughts on Toho

I was without power for three days after the first storm, but it snowed again this weekend and there is supposed to be more weather on the way. Suffice to say, I can’t get to Florida and Lake Toho fast enough. READ MORE »