July 17, 2014
ORLANDO – It’s official; during a press conference held at ICAST, the fishing industry’s largest annual trade show, FLW announced the locations of its 2015 Walmart FLW Tour stops in front of anglers, fans and industry media.
Beginning with a swing through Florida in early March and winding up near the nation’s capital in June, the Tour will visit six of the best bass fisheries in the United States.
Millions of dollars are on the line, as well as the Kellogg’s Angler of the Year title, which goes to the season’s best pro and carries a $100,000 prize. Pros will also be vying for a spot in the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup, the richest tournament in all of bass fishing. The location of the 2015 Cup will be announced in August at the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart and hosted by Capital City/Lake Murray Country.
Here’s a look at the 2015 schedule, and an overview of what fans can expect from each destination.
1. Lake Toho – Kissimmee, Fla.
Date: March 5-8, 2015
Hosted by: Experience Kissimmee, Osceola County Department of Tourism
What to expect: Lake Tohopekaliga – or Toho, as it’s more commonly known – and its adjoining fisheries – West Lake Toho, Lake Hatchineha, Cypress Lake and Kissimmee – make up the first stop of the 2015 season. Look for some big stringers to come out of this Florida fishery, and for many of those fish to be caught off beds. This event should arrive at prime sight-fishing time.
2. Lewis Smith Lake – Jasper, Ala.
Date: March 26-29, 2015
Hosted by: Chamber of Commerce Walker County
What to expect: The last time the Tour visited Lewis Smith Lake in Alabama, Western ace Brent Ehrler won with his trademarked finesse tactics. This time around, with a late March spot on the schedule, expect more of the same: light line, light lures and light rods in the reservoir’s clear water. Spotted bass will be a major factor, as will deep-water presentations.
3. Beaver Lake – Rogers, Ark.
Date: April 23-26, 2015
Hosted by: Rogers Convention & Visitors Bureau
What to expect: Beaver Lake is an FLW Tour staple, but in the last few seasons this tournament has been anything but predictable. Techniques have ranged from ultra-light presentations in the deep, clear lower end, to flipping shallow cover in the stained riverine portions, to chunking crankbaits, jerkbaits, jigs and more in between. Short-term weather windows and seasonal conditions always dictate the outcome, so we’ll have to wait until April to really predict how this one will shape up.
4. Lake Eufaula – Eufaula, Ala.
Date: May 14-17, 2015
Hosted by: Eufaula Barbour County Chamber of Commerce
What to expect: Deep, shallow and somewhere in the middle – this duel on Eufaula will showcase a wide variety of techniques and patterns. Last time around in 2013, ledge-fishing expert Randy Haynes uncovered a tournament-winning offshore pattern, but with so much shallow cover in Eufaula, this one is really anyone’s game. The lake should be fresh into its postspawn season, and bass should be hungry and unlikely to pass up anything that looks like food, so good weights can be expected.
5. Lake Chickamauga – Dayton, Tenn.
Date: June 11-14, 2015
Hosted by: Rhea Economic & Tourism Council
What to expect: Just as in 2013 when FLW visited Lake Chickamauga in Dayton, Tenn., this one will be a ledge shoot-out. With the early June Tour date, expect the fish to be fresh out on the drops, which means they’ll be ganged up in large schools and eager to bite. Still, Chickamauga will fall early enough in the season that a few shallow patterns could produce top-10 results, especially for the contingent of local pros (Michael Neal, Wesley Strader and AOY Andy Morgan among them) who understand how these fish progress through the postspawn.
6. Potomac River – La Plata, Md.
Date: June 25-28, 2015
Hosted by: Charles County Board of Commissioners
What to expect: It doesn’t matter what time of year you visit the Potomac River, the No. 1 factor will always be the tides and how they affect fish positioning and feeding. The Potomac favors anglers who understand the effects of rising and falling waters, which are dictated by the river’s connection to the ocean. It’ll be a shallow derby, for sure. Grass, wood cover, docks and other classic shallow bass habitat will hold most of the river’s largemouths, so anticipate a combination of frogging, flipping, ChatterBaiting and other power tactics to produce the win.
FLW is the industry’s premier tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money nationwide in more than 240 tournaments across five tournament circuits, four of which provide an avenue to the sport’s richest payday and most coveted championship trophy – the Forrest Wood Cup. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world. For more information about FLW visit FLWOutdoors.com and look for FLW on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.