UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

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: david-a-brown  article 

/tips/2016-07-28-flw-podcast-128-mark-rose

FLW Podcast 128 - Mark Rose

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-23-1000-islands-day-3-midday-update

1000 Islands Day 3 Midday Update

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-22-1000-islands-midday-update-day-2

1000 Islands Midday Update Day 2

Day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands got started on a slightly different note this morning when FLW’s tournament directors declared Lake Ontario off limits due to hazardous conditions. The change threw a few of the top pros off their primary plans, but regardless the 137-boat field will be cut down to the top 10 after today, so adjustments need to be made in order to qualify to fish the weekend. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-19-flw-podcast-126-icast

FLW Podcast 126 - ICAST

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-14-2017-walmart-flw-tour-schedule

2017 Walmart FLW Tour Schedule

In what has become an annual tradition at FLW, the 2017 Walmart FLW Tour schedule was announced at a press conference and industry gathering held Thursday on the show floor at ICAST in Orlando, Fla. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-12-si-se-puede-yes-we-can

Si Se Puede ... Yes We Can

Mexico’s Lake Zimapan is different in many ways from the lakes to the north such as Florida’s Lake Okeechobee and California’s Clear Lake, but one element it has in common with those famous fisheries is big bass. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-11-5-rookie-lessons-learned

5 Rookie Lessons Learned

People have asked me what my first year on the Walmart FLW Tour was like. Well, it was like running headfirst into a hurricane for a few months. I came out the other side a little battered, bruised and smelling like fish. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-11-flw-podcast-125-scott-martin

FLW Podcast 125 - Scott Martin

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-08-review-lew-s-custom-speed-stick-lite

Review: Lew’s Custom Speed Stick Lite

Recently I had the opportunity to try one model in particular – the 7-foot, 4-inch Magnum Pitchin’ rod. After fishing with it several times, I’ve concluded that it performs as advertised, is sensitive and lightweight, and is well worth the money. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-08-reunited-and-it-feels-so-good

Reunited, and it Feels so Good

This year I really had a reunion with finesse fishing. Most of my better tournaments came from fishing some type of finesse presentation. Finesse tactics seemed to always give me a certain confidence about the day. While finesse tactics are nothing new to the game of bass fishing, this year I regained the confidence and joy of catching bass on smaller offerings. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-08-2016-icast-preview

2016 ICAST Preview

The doors to ICAST don’t open until next week, when everyone gets out on the showroom floor in Orlando, Fla., but there are already plenty of snippets of information available. FLW’s media crew will be there in full force to bring you coverage of the hottest new products, as well as the annual New Product Showcase awards. For now, take a gander at some of the early birds. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-07-flw-canada-kicks-off-at-tri-lakes

FLW Canada Kicks Off at Tri-Lakes

Among these Canadian all-stars was the eventual winning team of Chris Vandermeer of Peterborough and Jeff Slute of Millbrook. Capitalizing on a strong day one shallow-water smallmouth pattern, the duo took advantage of the slick-calm conditions using a silver-hued topwater popping plug to agitate the lake’s bronzebacks into attack. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-30-flw-tour-pro-cooksey-recovering-after-accident

FLW Tour Pro Cooksey Recovering After Accident

Walmart FLW Tour sophomore Dalton Cooksey of New Concord, Ky., is recovering at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee following a single-car accident that took place Wednesday afternoon. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-30-flw-podcast-124-jeremy-lawyer

FLW Podcast 124 - Jeremy Lawyer

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-29-stetson-blaylock-s-recipe-for-a-wacky-rig

Stetson Blaylock’s Recipe for a Wacky Rig

From March until the end of the fishing season I’m going to have a wacky rig on deck. It’s a really effective way to fish anytime the fishing is tough, or if the fish are up cruising banks. Anytime fish are about 5 feet deep or less, I can catch them on the wacky rig. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-28-morgan-claims-third-flw-tour-angler-of-the-year-title

Morgan Claims third FLW Tour Angler of the Year Title

MINNEAPOLIS – Livingston Lures pro Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tennessee, added to his incredible fishing resume by winning his third Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year title Saturday at the FLW Tour's final 2016 regular-season event on Lake Champlain.... READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-24-three-things-by-dd-kentucky-lake

Three Things by DD: Kentucky Lake

Kentucky Lake did not go the way I intended. I was pumped and ready to rock out a top-20 finish. I had great expectations of myself, but nothing seemed to come together. Practice was dicey, but I thought for sure I could put something together to make the cut. That was until day one came, and the whole vibe of my day instantly went from eager to agitated. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-23-how-to-catch-smallmouths-with-hair-jigs

How to Catch Smallmouths with Hair Jigs

The “right” hair jig for smallmouths is a small 1/16- to 1/8-ounce marabou jig with a round or mushroom-shaped head. The jig is similar to marabou jigs used by crappie fishermen, but bass models will often have a larger, stronger hook and possibly a longer or thicker skirt. Naturally, anglers have their favorites, and there are subtle differences in jigs that make some better than others. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-22-two-exciting-events-to-look-forward-to

Two Exciting Events to Look Forward To

We are in the last stretch of the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour. Awaiting us is the Lake Champlain tournament in just a few days. A couple of things will be settled there: the pro field for the Forrest Wood Cup and the Angler of the Year. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-21-tagging-along-with-sprague-in-kentucky

Tagging Along with Sprague in Kentucky

Through the first four events of the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour season, Jeff Sprague finished inside the top 20 every time and challenged for the win at Beaver Lake. After stop No. 4 on Pickwick, Sprague took over the lead in the Angler of the Year race. This is the story of his first tournament as the AOY leader – stop No. 5 on Kentucky Lake. Currently, Sprague is preparing for the finale on Lake Champlain. He’s in second place in the AOY standings. READ MORE »