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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

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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 

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Cumberland

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Cumberland

Smallmouths dominated at the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland. Oklahoma’s Andrew Upshaw led the way with brown bass caught on a jig and a Ned rig on bluff bank transitions in the reservoir’s lower end. Behind him, only a couple of pros hedged their bets on targeting largemouths. The rest fished for smallies and considered green bass to be bonus fish and spotted bass to be limit fillers on the tough days. READ MORE »

Lake Cumberland Top 10 Baits

Lake Cumberland Top 10 Baits

In classic Southern smallmouth fashion, crankbaits and jigs dominated the top 10 at Lake Cumberland during the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship. The only exceptions were a few finesse baits and the tackle used by two pros who targeted largemouths. Here’s what worked. READ MORE »

Allison Comes from Behind on Cumberland

Allison Comes from Behind on Cumberland

By catching four quality smallmouth bass on the final day of the Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland, Missourian Chad Allison was able to come back from 10th place and win the co-angler division, earning more than $30,000. READ MORE »

Upshaw Closes on Cumberland

Upshaw Closes on Cumberland

For the second time this season, Andrew Upshaw is an FLW champion thanks to consistent days spent targeting big Southern smallmouths. The Tulsa, Okla., pro won the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland in Burnside, Ky., with a three-day total weight of 42 pounds, 15 ounces. The win comes less than seven months after Upshaw won the FLW Tour event on Cherokee Lake in east Tennessee. READ MORE »

Upshaw Moves Ahead at Cumberland

Upshaw Moves Ahead at Cumberland

Day two of the Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland was a bit tougher for some, given the post-frontal conditions featuring lighter winds, sun and cold temperatures. As projected, consistency has been the key and Andrew Upshaw continued to dial in his program adding 15 pounds, 1 ounce to his day-one bag of 14-15 for a total of 30 pounds even. READ MORE »

Zimbabwe’s Cousens Grabs Lead

Zimbabwe’s Cousens Grabs Lead

The FLW International Division is well represented in the Costa FLW Series Championship, and perhaps none represented the division better than Roger Cousens of Zimbabwe, who didn’t seem bothered by the stingy conditions of Lake Cumberland on day one. With the only bag that topped 17 pounds for the day (17-2), Cousens enters day two with a 3-ounce lead over Robert Nakatomi, who qualified from the Western Division. READ MORE »

How to Find Big-Water Smallmouth in Fall

How to Find Big-Water Smallmouth in Fall

The key to finding smallmouth bass on big water in the fall is to know where they’re coming from and where they’re heading, then connecting the dots in between. Swimbaits, blade baits, ChatterBaits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, drop-shots and Ned rigs all put bass in the boat. READ MORE »

New Dominates Seminole Regional

New Dominates Seminole Regional

Belmont, N.C., angler Bryan New, who’s regularly one of FLW’s top performers in the grassroots ranks, had established a dominant pace. New weighed in 22 pounds, 9 ounces on day one and added 20-2 on day two to carry a lead of 6 pounds, 15 ounces into the finals. A roughly 7-pound margin isn’t necessarily a sure thing on Seminole, but the fall bite was a bit slower than what the lake can produce, and it was obvious New was cruising. READ MORE »

Co-Angler Fernengel Finishes Strong

Co-Angler Fernengel Finishes Strong

He got bumped from the top spot by an ounce on day one, and slipped the third on day two. But Erick Fernengel of Lake Waukomis, Mo., finally ended up on top when it mattered most.  READ MORE »

Meador Repeats Co-Angler Win on Grand

Meador Repeats Co-Angler Win on Grand

Defending his title as co-angler winner in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, which was presented by T-H Marine, was impressive enough, but the way Steven Meador did it was truly remarkable. After earning the 2018 win on Grand by 3 pounds, 6 ounces, the Bentonville, Ark., co-angler repeated the victory with a three-day total of 27-15 for a much slimmer winning margin this time around – just 10 ounces. READ MORE »

Valdivia is Best in the West

Valdivia is Best in the West

California pro David Valdivia has consistently finished near the top of the standings in the Costa FLW Series Western Division. This year he finally won his first Strike King Angler of the Year award, and he did it by just one point in the standings. READ MORE »

How to Find the Best Docks in Early Fall

How to Find the Best Docks in Early Fall

While there’s almost no bad time of year to find a dock pattern, early fall is a prime season for it. The catch is that as shad transition throughout a reservoir in the fall, some bass go on the move with them. So dialing in a key stretch of docks or a dock pattern can at times be challenging, particularly on lakes with a lot of docks. READ MORE »

Farage Earns Fourth Co-Angler Win

Farage Earns Fourth Co-Angler Win

Weighing 14 pounds, 2 ounces on the final day of the Costa FLW Series Western Division event presented by Power-Pole on the California Delta, Jack Farage totaled 37-2 to edge ahead of Cesar Laguna for the co-angler win. The win is Farage's fourth as a co-angler at the FLW Series level and he took home a brand new Ranger boat because of it.  READ MORE »

How to Choose the Right ChatterBait

How to Choose the Right ChatterBait

If you were going to carry just one bladed jig, the ChatterBait Jack Hammer would be a great choice. But to say it’s the perfect ChatterBait for every scenario would be like saying ketchup is the perfect condiment for every food, or fluorocarbon is the only line you should use. Sometimes you need to opt for something just a little different to tackle a niche situation. As far as ChatterBaits go, there are a number of good options. READ MORE »

Check-in Time: Matt Reed

Check-in Time: Matt Reed

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with Texas pro Matt Reed.  READ MORE »

7 Ways to Fish the Megabass Dark Sleeper

7 Ways to Fish the Megabass Dark Sleeper

The Megabass Dark Sleeper is definitely a niche bait that most bass anglers ought to have in their arsenal. It’s a swimbait, but its size, shape, dorsal fin hook guards and action allow it to be applied in a similar manner as a jig. READ MORE »

When to Fish the Flashy Swimmer

When to Fish the Flashy Swimmer

In April, FLW Associate Editor Justin Onslow documented how Gross likes to cut the belly of his two favorite hollow swimbaits – the Scottsboro and the Zoom Swimmer – when rigging on a weedless hook to achieve a high hook-up ratio. However, that article didn’t break down where and why Gross prefers to use the Beast Flashy Swimmer hook versus a standard weighted, weedless swimbait hook. So we reached out to Gross for more info. READ MORE »

How to Make a Swimbait a Line-Thru

How to Make a Swimbait a Line-Thru

Jake Lawrence thinks the line-thru swimbait is more versatile than many tournament anglers realize. The Kentucky Lake and Pickwick guide and 2018 Costa FLW Series Lake Barkley champion frequently chucks one any time bass are shallow to not only put big fish in the boat, but to catch five good ones in a day. READ MORE »

Check-in Time: John Cox

Check-in Time: John Cox

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with John Cox.  READ MORE »

Review: AFTCO Hooded Performance Shirt

Review: AFTCO Hooded Performance Shirt

The AFTCO Jason Christie Hooded LS Performance Shirt checks every box. It’s a comfortable shirt with a unique hood design I really liked. I reviewed it recently on a couple of kayak-fishing outings and during several days spent shooting photos on the water at FLW Tour and Costa FLW Series events. READ MORE »