UPCOMING EVENT: TACKLE WAREHOUSE PRO CIRCUIT - 2020 - Harris Chain of Lakes

Dortch wins ROY Crown

Dortch wins ROY Crown
Bradley Dortch

Bradley Dortch’s familiarity with tidewater fishing didn’t exactly help him blow out the competition in the final 2017 FLW Tour event on the Potomac River, but at least it helped him claim the Rookie of the Year title over fellow Alabama pro Justin Atkins. Dortch, who grew up fishing the Mobile River Delta of south Alabama, also placed 9th in the Angler of the Year standings and earned a berth in the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Murray in August. He finished 86th on the Potomac, while Atkins came in 47th in the tournament, which ends Sunday.

Thrift wins Angler of the Year

Haraguchi earns Co-angler of the Year

“Making the Forrest Wood Cup was my main goal this season, but Rookie of the Year is a nice bonus,” says Dortch, 37, of Atmore, Ala. “When the schedule came out last year, I was glad to see the Potomac River in there because I figured it would be my kind of deal. But I never thought it would be the make-or-break tournament for Rookie of the Year or that I would even be in the running.”

Dortch established himself as a contender with a fast start that saw him place 15th at Guntersville, 87th at Lake Travis and then first at the Harris Chain of Lakes. Atkins was ninth at Guntersville and took the ROY lead, but Dortch gradually moved up on him in subsequent events and took over first place for good at Beaver Lake, where he finished 14th. Dortch then wound up in 32nd place on the Mississippi River out of La Crosse, Wis., and ranked 50 points ahead of Atkins coming into the Potomac. The title didn’t come easy however, as Dortch had to scrape and claw his way to back-to-back consistent limits this week in order to claim the prize.

Bradley Dortch

“Fishing the Potomac reminded me of fishing back home,” says Dortch, who credits his years as a Costa FLW Series and T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League co-angler for laying the groundwork for a successful rookie season. “I was really looking forward to fishing it, being it was tidal water. Still, I was a little surprised I didn’t do better. My finish wasn’t what I thought it could be and certainly not what I hoped it would be, but I weighed in two limits and overall feel good about how I fished. I just never could get on the better fish.”

Dortch recalls that it was his performance in the season opener at Guntersville in February that provided him with the cash and the confidence that would help him gain momentum through the rest of the season.

“I told my wife [Rebecca] that if I could make a check every two out of three tournaments, we would be in good shape,” he says. “Guntersville showed me that I was ready to step up. When you first start out, you wonder what it’s going to be like to fish against the best. You have doubts and that can work on your mind. But finishing 15th at Guntersville really helped my mental attitude.”

Dortch considers himself “a jack of all trades and master of none” when it comes to fishing, but hopes to have a career patterned after Andy Morgan and Bryan Thrift, two seasoned veterans known for their overall consistency on all types of fisheries. In the meantime, Dortch plans to return home to celebrate his championship with his wife and their 12-year-old daughter, Presley.

 “I’ve already got a place picked out for the Rookie of the Year trophy,” confides Dortch. “It’s up in my man cave above the garage, right next to the trophy I got at the Harris Chain.”

Tags: colin-moore  headline-story  2017-06-15-potomac-river 

Fitzgerald Finishes Strong at St. Johns

Fitzgerald Finishes Strong at St. Johns

Trevor Fitzgerald of Belleview, Fla., moved ahead one spot in the standings on the final day of competition at the St. Johns River to earn his first Toyota Series victory. His three-day catch of 57 pounds, 12 ounces earned him the win by a 6-pound margin. READ MORE »

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 3

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 3

Day two of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener on the St. Johns River brought more fish, bigger fish and eight bags over 20 pounds – a marked improvement over what we saw on day one. Day three could go either direction, though, as a small cold front overnight left behind bluebird skies and abundant sunshine today. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 2

It’s been a question of when, not if: When is the first big wave of spawners going to move up on the St. Johns River? That question may have been answered on day two of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener, as more and more anglers brought big fish across the weigh-in stage, with many of the bass coming from beds or shallow cover where fish are staging to make their big move. READ MORE »

Big Day Puts Blair Ahead at St. Johns

Big Day Puts Blair Ahead at St. Johns

Jason Blair caught 22 pounds, 3 ounces – the biggest limit of the tournament so far – to take over the lead at the Toyota Series Southern Division season opener on the St. Johns River. The West Palm Beach, Fla., pro has a two-day total of 39-15 and a 1-pound, 11-ounce lead over yesterday’s leader, Trevor Fitzgerald. READ MORE »

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 2

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 2

After a warm but windy day to start the Toyota Series Southern Division opener on the St. Johns River, day two brought lower temperatures, rain and a shifting wind that blew right up the chute early this morning. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 1

The St. Johns River is fishing tough, and while weights were down across the board on day one of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener, the top five found a way to get the job done with some impressive stringers of big Florida bass. READ MORE »

Fitzgerald in Front on St. Johns

Fitzgerald in Front on St. Johns

Trevor Fitzgerald of Belleview, Fla., took the lead on day one of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener at the St. Johns River with a five-bass limit that weighed 21 pounds, 2 ounces. Fitzgerald has previously won a Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event on the St. Johns and is in contention to make his 12th top-10 finish with FLW. READ MORE »

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 1

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 1

As expected, the St. Johns River is still fishing pretty tough in the Toyota Series Southern Division opener, which kicked off this morning. The St. Johns holds plenty of good fish, but she’s not all that willing to give them up. READ MORE »

Littich Nets Big O Title

Littich Nets Big O Title

Boater Thomas Littich of Cape Coral, Florida, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 23 pounds, 14 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston, Florida. For his victory, Littich earned a total of $7,220, including a $2,500 FLW PHOENIX BONUS contingency award. READ MORE »

Dover Wins on Keowee

Dover Wins on Keowee

Boater Randy Dover of Buford, Georgia, brought five to the scale Saturday totaling 15 pounds, 10 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake Keowee in Seneca, South Carolina. For his victory, Dover earned a total of $5,627. READ MORE »

Robinson Slings a Blade on Martin

Robinson Slings a Blade on Martin

Boater Dusty Robinson of Eclectic, Alabama, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 13 pounds, 4 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake Martin in Alexander City, Alabama. For his victory, Robinson earned a total of $5,686, including a $1,000 Mercury contingency award. READ MORE »

Bethel Wins on Seminole

Bethel Wins on Seminole

The Bethel University duo of Brad Ableman of Latham, New York, and Wilson Smith of Southaven, Mississippi, won the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI event at Lake Seminole Friday with a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 1 ounce. READ MORE »

South Forsyth Wins on Seminole

South Forsyth Wins on Seminole

The South Forsyth High School duo of Brett Morlanne and Michael Landernaeu, both of Cumming, Georgia, brought four bass to the scale Saturday weighing 12 pounds, 5 ounces to win the 2020 FLW High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing Lake Seminole Open. READ MORE »

Johnson Gets No. 1 on Lanier

Johnson Gets No. 1 on Lanier

Boater Jason Johnson of Dawsonville, Georgia, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 19 pounds, 1 ounce to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine at Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Georgia. For his victory, Johnson earned a total of $13,596, including the lucrative $7,000 FLW PHOENIX Bonus contingency award. The victory was the first win of Johnson’s FLW career. READ MORE »

Huff Wins it on Toledo

Huff Wins it on Toledo

Cody Huff has had a heck of a run these last few weeks on Toledo Bend. It started when he and Dakota Pierce of Bethel University won the Bassmaster College Series event last week. This week, Huff went solo and loaded up a 61-pound, 11-ounce total for a $35,395  payday in the opening event of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Toledo Bend – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Toledo Bend – Day 2

Cody Huff has been red hot on Toledo Bend for the last week and with one more day to go it’s his tournament to lose. That being said, there is a laundry list of local pros looking to take full advantage of any slip he may have in the final round of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division season opener. READ MORE »

Huff Hauls Ahead at Toledo Bend 

Huff Hauls Ahead at Toledo Bend 

Cody Huff appears to be unstoppable on Toledo Bend. Last week, the Bethel University angler won the Bassmaster College Series event on Toledo with his partner Dakota Peirce. This week, he's weighed 43 pounds, 12 ounces through two days and appears to be cruising toward the win in the first Toyota Series Southwestern Division event of the year. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Toledo Bend – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Toledo Bend – Day 1

Everyone knew this tournament wouldn’t be the slugfest Toledo Bend is known for, but that didn’t stop the top pros from assembling some decent catches on day one of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division opener. READ MORE »

Johnston In Front at Toledo Bend

Johnston In Front at Toledo Bend

Toledo Bend isn't fishing like its normal self at the moment, but the lake still kicked out some solid bags to start the Toyota Series Southwestern Division season opener. Leading the pack after day one is Stephen Johnston of Hemphill, Texas, who set the pace with a 23-pound, 8-ounce limit thanks to the help of a 10-7 kicker. Behind him are several locals waiting to make their move, with the rest of the top five all within nearly 4 pounds of Johnston. READ MORE »

Swindle Wins on Guntersville

Swindle Wins on Guntersville

Boater James Swindle of Parrish, Alabama, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 20 pounds, 7 ounces to top 223 boats and win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine at Lake Guntersville in Scottsville, Alabama. Swindle earned $6,000 for his victory.  READ MORE »