UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Santee Cooper

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 

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