Meet the Champ: Marcus Sykora

Veteran angler Marcus Sykora walked away with the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American on Wilson Lake. He won by almost 4 1/2 pounds.

Marcus Sykora is joined onstage by Mason and Madison. Marcus Sykora epitomizes the all-America dream of a working guy working on his bass fishing career. How's he doing? Well, last weekend's victory at the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American on Wilson Lake pretty much sums it up. The $100,000 paycheck will certainly help with everything from future tournament expenses to all those things this dedicated family man likes to do for his wife, Andrea, 6-year-old daughter, Madison, and 4-year-old son, Mason. But beyond the immediate cash flow, Sykora says he's thrilled with that elusive prize - punching his ticket to the Forrest Wood Cup on South Carolina's Lake Murray, August 14-17. "Earning a spot in the Forrest Wood Cup means everything to me," he says. "It's the highest platform - the pinnacle of our sport. Starting through the grassroots level of the BFL and getting to that pinnacle is very exciting. It's something I'm very proud of. Hopefully I'll represent the BFL nation proudly." Marcus Sykora, the 2014 All-American champion, earned a ticket to the Forrest Wood Cup with his win on Wilson Lake Sykora, who qualified for the All-American through the Illini Division, has 22 top-10 finishes in the BFL, with eight victories to his credit. In 2012, he claimed a trio of victories on Lake of the Ozarks, Truman and Barkley. In addition to his BFL accomplishments, Sykora has also been a solid competitor in the Rayovac FLW Series Central Division. Here, he has two top 10s on Lake of the Ozarks (seventh in 2010, third in 2013). Is he pondering a step up to the Walmart FLW Tour? The State Farm Insurance agent says it's coming, "at some point in time." "I don't know if my timing is right," Sykora says. "I have young children at home, and I have an important business to run. It's definitely something that's on my mind. There are a lot of moving parts, and I don't want to be on Tour and have to worry about anything stressful back home. "I'm 37, and I think I'm just now entering my prime fishing years," he adds. "You have to have enough experience to be consistent. The more seasoned you become, the more of a weapon you can be." Making his home in Osage Beach, Mo., Sykora says his Lake of the Ozarks home waters have provided a diverse training arena in which to hone a broad range of fishing skills that will serve him well in just about any scenario he faces when fishing on the road. "We're doing everything from flipping way up underneath docks in a foot of water to fishing structure in 25," Sykora says. "Also, we have four distinct seasons, and I think this is what makes Midwestern fishermen very successful. We get to see a lot of different phases that the fish enter, so we get a good idea of their habits, movements and forage base. "The only thing we don't have is grass," he continues. "If we had grass in Missouri, I think we'd have it all." Sykora says he was a Tennessee River fan long before his win on Wilson. But with an assortment of Ozark powerhouses within easy reach, Sykora says he's lucky to have his roots planted in such an awesome fishing region. "We have Truman Lake, which is a lowland reservoir that's really flat with lots of timber, stumps and wood; we have Lake of the Ozarks, which I would call a borderline highland reservoir with a lot of fish at a lot of different depths; and we have Table Rock, which is a highland reservoir with crystal-clear water," he says. "So within an hour's drive of my house, I could be fishing a tournament one day where I'm fishing less than 5 feet, and the next day I'm fishing more than 40, and I don't skip a beat. I think that's really what the Ozark-style fisheries have done for me as far as preparation outside the state of Missouri." Another dominant performance kept Marcus Sykora on top at the BFL All-American at Wilson Lake. With the whirlwind of All-American "love and support" still swirling around him, Sykora admits he's had little time to start planning for Lake Murray. Nevertheless, he points to the pressure-cooker mentality of his BFL roots as a refining tool that should help him perform in multiday events like the four-day Forrest Wood Cup. "I like that in the BFLs you don't have the time constraints of a multiple-day event, so you're not away from home as much," he says. "But what I think makes the BFL such a challenging format is that you have to catch big fish and catch them now. You're not fishing for points; you're fishing for the win. "Also, you're not only fishing against guys who travel out of their zip codes, but you're also fishing against the top sticks on that lake," adds Sykora. "You have to make quick decisions. Everything has to go right, and you only have eight hours to make it go right." If things go well, this All-American champ will have four eight-hour opportunities to earn another trophy - a much bigger, brighter trophy - at the Forrest Wood Cup Aug. 14-17. For the complete story of Sykora's All-American victory, click here. For more about the Forrest Wood Cup, go to ForrestWoodCup.com.

Tags: article 

/tips/2015-06-30-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. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-30-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/2015-06-27-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-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

READ MORE »

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

2015 FLW TV Schedule

READ MORE »

/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

READ MORE »

/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

READ MORE »

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

Community Outreach (Sportsmanship Award)

READ MORE »

/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 »