UPCOMING EVENT: YETI FLW COLLEGE FISHING - 2019 - Lake Erie

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Eckman’s Magical Moment

Eckman’s Magical Moment
Ryan Eckman

Sometimes amazing things are hard to explain, but for Ryan Eckman, there’s only one answer for the miraculous two days of fishing that resulted in his co-angler win in the FLW Tour event presented by Lowrance on the Harris Chain.

Leading pro pattern

Top five patterns 

Complete results

“It’s a God thing,” he says. “God is great always. Every day of the week.”

Eckman’s miracle run actually started on Wednesday, when he found out he’d been paired with David Dudley, who happens to be the Okeechobee, Fla., co-angler’s fishing idol. The young angler knew he’d have an amazing day, no matter how the fishing turned out.

“I told my girlfriend even before the tournament started that if I don’t even catch them I’m going to have a good time just fishing with David,” Eckman recalls.

The good time quickly turned into a great time when Eckman used a Zoom UV Speed Worm and a Yamamoto Senko to haul in a whopping 24-pound, 1-ounce stringer of bass to take the early lead.

He also learned a key detail yesterday that factored into Friday’s performance.

“Yesterday I was winding slow, and I had two fish follow it out as I was bringing it back to the boat. So I knew I needed to speed up my Speed Worm.”

About 20 casts later, Eckman caught a 5- or 6-pounder that anchored his massive limit.

This morning, fishing with Clayton Batts, Eckman says he and his partner just winged it and went fishing, which looked like it was going to work like a charm. The co-angler broke out the fast retrieve again and landed a 6-pounder at about 7:30. At this point, the “little moments” that reinforce Eckman’s belief that this win was out of his hands and simply meant to be started piling up.

“As soon as I got it in the boat and lipped it, I noticed the hook was barely in the mouth,” he says. “I thought right then I was going to blow it out of the water.”

Instead, it took an hour to get his next bite. As the day progressed, Eckman chipped away with a little fish here, little fish there, but not enough to feel confident he could win.

Also, his 6-pounder had gone belly up in the livewell shortly after he’d landed it.

“I doctored that fish. I spent all day long making sure that fished lived,” he says. “It lived from 7:30 until weigh-in.”

Eckman suffered two dead-fish penalties during the tournament, but keeping that giant fish alive saved a penalty that would have cost him the win.

Later, Eckman used a jerkbait during a brief breezy window to catch a 2-pounder that really helped his cause, but with less than an hour to go he was still one fish shy of a limit.

Nervous for obvious reasons, a wired-up Eckman was burning his worm, but at the urging of Batts he finally slowed it down dramatically – cast, pop, eight-second pause … repeat.

And then it happened.

“On my last bite, Clayton says, ‘I got one. Get the net.’ I went to set the rod down and felt a bite. So I set the hook, went and grabbed the net while it [the rod] was loaded up, kept tension on it, landed his fish, took the tension back up on mine and landed it. That fish, and it was only a 14-incher, is what won it for me. It was beyond believable.”

The final keeper gave Eckman 10-15 today and a tournament total of 35 pounds. He narrowly edged Robert Kimbrough of Vero Beach, Fla., by just 2 ounces.

“This has been a very, very, very long time coming,” Eckman says. “I can’t believe it’s real. I seriously cannot believe this happened. That’s the first tournament I have ever won, and I have fished hundreds of them.”

Complete results

 

Tags: curt-neidermier-  co-angler-headline  curtis-niedermier  2018-02-22-harris-chain-of-lakes 

Cup Top 10: Osborne Fished Finesse

Cup Top 10: Osborne Fished Finesse

Osborne spent the early visit graphing for brush in Hamilton’s lower end. In practice, it was more of the same, as Osborne spent only a couple of hours beating the bank. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Douglas Fished Brush and a Buzzbait

Cup Top 10: Douglas Fished Brush and a Buzzbait

Minnesota pro Josh Douglas is regarded as an electronics expert. But while he put his Lowrance units to the test at the FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton to find offshore brush piles, even Douglas couldn’t resist spending some time in the mornings hunting shallow bass. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Salzman Went Shallow to Deep

Cup Top 10: Salzman Went Shallow to Deep

Ryan Salzman earned an eighth-place finish at the FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton with a well-executed two-part strategy. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Webster Wormed Brush

Cup Top 10: Webster Wormed Brush

Among the FLW Cup pros that committed the entire tournament to one pattern was Joseph Webster, who weighed in a three-day total of 28 pounds, 2 ounces at Lake Hamilton. He finished seventh. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Felix Keyed on Clear Water

Cup Top 10: Felix Keyed on Clear Water

Eden Prairie, Minn., pro Austin Felix finished sixth in this year’s FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton, but he’s convinced that if the engineers operating Blakely Mountain Dam had released water on a more consistent schedule, the results might have been even better for him. Felix spent most of the tournament keying on the clear waters of Hamilton’s upper end. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Martin went up the River

Cup Top 10: Martin went up the River

Prior to practice, Scott Martin had no idea that the far upper end of Lake Hamilton, where the cold waters from the bottom of Lake Ouachita flow in through Blakely Mountain Dam, was such a drastically different mini-fishery within the reservoir. Then he started scouting it in practice and realized there was potential to win the tournament in the tailrace in areas where the water temperature was below 60 degrees. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Lawyer Mixes it Up for Fourth

Cup Top 10: Lawyer Mixes it Up for Fourth

Fourth-place pro Jeremy Lawyer was the highest finisher to utilize the shallow-early, brush-later strategy. Lawyer stacked together limits of 12 pounds, 1 ounce and 12-5 on the first two days to go into the final day in fourth place. He weighed in just 7 pounds on Sunday. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Ebare Fished the Tailrace

Cup Top 10: Ebare Fished the Tailrace

Most of the time, fishing Southern impoundments in August is all about slowly dragging worms through brush piles. That’s what Dakota Ebare planned to do at the FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton. How he wound up catching enough fish to finish in third place felt more like Southern stream fishing. Ebare spent three days fishing the tailrace below Blakely Mountain Dam where the cold, clear waters drained through from the bottom of Lake Ouachita. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Cup at Hamilton

Top 10 Baits from the Cup at Hamilton

While there weren’t too many patterns in play at the 2019 FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark., the nature of an August tournament in the South forced most of the top finishers to mix in a bunch of baits to catch their fish. Here’s what the top 10 used to catch schoolers and ply brush, docks and various types of shallow grass. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Walters Committed to Brush

Cup Top 10: Walters Committed to Brush

Coming into the FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton, Florida pro Kyle Walters figured the only chance he had to win was to stay away from the bank, where competing with the best in the sport was a tall order, and commit to finding as many brush piles as he could. READ MORE »

Thrift Finally Wins the Cup

Thrift Finally Wins the Cup

Everyone knew it was only a matter of time, and that time is finally now. Bryan Thrift is an FLW Cup champion. READ MORE »

Thrift on the Brink of First Cup

Thrift on the Brink of First Cup

For the second day in a row, Shelby, N.C., pro Bryan Thrift will go to bed with the lead in the 2019 FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton. Today, Thrift weighed in 12 pounds, 7 ounces for a two-day total of 27-10. He leads Florida pro Kyle Walters by 1 1/2 pounds. READ MORE »

Thrift, LeBrun Ounces Apart

Thrift, LeBrun Ounces Apart

The first day of the FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton offered better fishing than many expected, with plenty of limits crossing the stage and a bunch of quality fish caught by pros throughout the field. In the lead, as he so often seems to be, Bryan Thrift weighed 15 pounds, 13 ounces to start things off. Just behind him, Nick LeBrun of Bossier City, La., weighed an even 15 pounds and is hot on his heels heading into the weekend. READ MORE »

Hard Lessons and the FLW Cup

Hard Lessons and the FLW Cup

Two terrible tournaments to end the season cost Miles Burghoff his shot at the Polaris Rookie of the Year title. This week at the FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton, he's hoping to apply the lessons learned at the end of the season to his preparation for the championship event. READ MORE »

Riding Around Practice on Day 2

Riding Around Practice on Day 2

In a Ranger Z520L with a 250-hp Evinrude G2, it takes about 15 minutes to run from Carpenter Dam, which impounds Lake Hamilton, to the Blakely Mountain Dam that separates Hamilton from Lake Ouachita. If you stop and chat with 11 pros along the way, however, you’ll need most of the morning, but you’ll also wind up with a pretty sound idea of what’s going on at Hamilton for this week’s FLW Cup. READ MORE »

The First Morning with B. Lat

The First Morning with B. Lat

You won’t hear Brian Latimer complain about hot weather and tough fishing in Arkansas during this week’s FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton. For B. Lat, sweating it out on the water is vastly better than working in the heat installing landscaping and mowing lawns for a living, which is what he was doing just a few years ago. A lot’s changed since those days. Now, Latimer is an FLW Tour champion, with a growing fishing media company and his first shot at a Cup title. READ MORE »

McCaghren Lives Out Childhood Baseball Dream

McCaghren Lives Out Childhood Baseball Dream

FLW Tour pro Billy McCaghren, who’ll be competing in the FLW Cup this week at Lake Hamilton, says his childhood dream was not to be a pro bass angler. He wanted to play professional baseball. Well, this week, the Mayflower, Ark., angler gets to dabble in both professions. The 2019 FLW Cup qualifier will compete on Lake Hamilton in front of what is practically a hometown crowd, and last night he was honored for his fishing accomplishments by the Arkansas Travelers baseball team, which invited McCaghren to throw out the first pitch in a game against the Springfield Cardinals. READ MORE »

How Brad Knight Plans to Win the Cup

How Brad Knight Plans to Win the Cup

Brad Knight’s life changed forever in Hot Springs. In 2015, the Tennessee pro won the FLW Cup on Lake Ouachita, earning $500,000 and thrusting himself into the pro bass fishing spotlight. Now that he knows just what a Cup win can do for a tournament angler’s career, Knight is even more motivated to win the title again, which he’ll have a chance to do Aug. 9-11 on Lake Hamilton, right back in Hot Springs, Ark.  READ MORE »

The Boltons Win FLW Charity Derby

The Boltons Win FLW Charity Derby

In a couple weeks, Terry Bolton will be competing in the 2019 FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton with $300,000 on the line. This weekend, however, Terry and his wife, Dacy, are celebrating getting the win in the 2019 FLW Foundation Benefit Tournament on Kentucky Lake. READ MORE »

Training Future Pros at Summer Camp 

Training Future Pros at Summer Camp 

There were more than a dozen FLW pros in attendance for the first round of lakeside seminars at the Costa FLW High School Fishing Campthis morning. But within the crowd, chances are high that there are at least a couple dozen more future pros among the 230 high schoolers who traveled to Kentucky Lake to attend the camp.  It’s clear from the level of knowledge and experience the campers have exhibited during the seminars that these are some of the more accomplished high school anglers in the country. Their dedication is obvious, too. Campers came from as far away as Nevada, California, Vermont and even Montreal.  READ MORE »