UPCOMING EVENT: FLW Pro Circuit - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Tour Brothers

Tour Brothers
Brandon Cobb & Justin Atkins

I doubt they know what they got themselves into. At the tender age of 27, it’s hard to understand the significance of a major event, like leading a world championship bass tournament, or winning enough money to pay cash for your first home. But FLW Tour youngsters Brandon Cobb and Justin Atkins are in just such a situation, sitting in the top two spots, respectively, of the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup with just one day of fishing remaining.

What’s even more unique is the relationship shared by the two. Cobb and Atkins, along with a third young gun, Shane LeHew, have roomed together for the duration of the FLW Tour’s regular season, regularly pooling money and resources to ensure each lives to fish another day. Along the way, the trio has developed a close fishing relationship, sharing everything from productive lures to secret spots, the whole time focusing on the goal of qualifying for the Cup.

Both Cobb and LeHew have a few years of Tour experience under their belts, while Atkins is finishing his rookie season. Each member of the group continues to struggle with establishing himself as a pro.

“We’re young,” Cobb says. “For all three of us to keep doing this, we all have to get checks. Money’s an issue.”

The boys did so regularly, cashing checks and finishing high enough in the regular-season points race for each to punch a ticket to the Big Show. And, while LeHew stumbled on day two of the Cup to fall out of contention, Cobb and Atkins excelled.

Now they’re faced with a unique dilemma.

Cobb and Atkins are both fishing offshore locations for schooling fish. In fact, they confirmed that they are sharing some locales – although only loosely deciding a rotation pattern for each spot. Up until now, things have been cordial, and the outcome quite fortunate.

“He knows I’m gonna respect him out there, and I know the same,” Atkins says.

But with one day remaining to decide the 2017 champion, how will they work things out?

It appears the answer lies in an overall – and purposeful – lack of communication, possibly for the first time this season.

“I don’t want to know where he is,” Cobb says about Atkins.

Both teammates agree that the key to catching Lake Murray’s fickle schoolers is timing.

“Today, I started down the line a little farther,” Atkins says. “I started on a spot that was normally about fourth on my list.”

Cobb confirmed that, soon after, he was fishing behind Atkins, and while that wouldn’t normally be an issue, Cobb felt timing was to blame for a short lull in his action.

“I noticed I go too close to him; too close in my timing,” he explains.

Once Cobb adjusted his rotation a bit, things fell into place. Timing was the key. Each locale needed a half-hour or so to rest before the fishermen could come in and get the bass fired up again.

With such factors being somewhat out of their control, both Cobb and Atkins are convinced that things will play out as they’re meant to be, without the need for more careful planning or attempting to overcomplicate their unique agreement.

Their relationship was born, and forged, by a necessity to survive in a world foreign to much of society. Now, here they are, staring down a life-changing outcome.

“It would be awesome to watch him win,” Atkins admits about his friend.

Cobb says he’d be the first to shake the hand of a victorious Atkins. But each confirmed that he would rather be the one to win, obviously.

Today’s younger anglers – these two being perfect examples – seem much more willing to share information and help each other out than their veteran counterparts. It’s as if an understanding exists that they share a unique focus on making a life out of what most consider impossible.

However, it’s nearly impossible that each of these two stellar young anglers won’t now have a decision to make that may very well impact the other. For the duration of an entire grueling season, each has been just as concerned for his buddy – his Tour brother – as he has for himself. But now, it’s all on the line. Let’s hope that doesn’t change things.

Regardless of the outcome, each can be proud of accomplishing something most anglers can only dream of. But, at 27, it might be a long time before they realize it.

Tags: joe-balog  headline-story  2017-08-11-forrest-wood-cup 

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