UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Dale Hollow Lake

Bolton Hangs On

Bolton Hangs On

Terry Bolton’s professional fishing career almost ended before he finally had his moment. The moment every tournament angler dreams of. The moment decades in the making, so close so many times, yet still so far out of reach.

Today, Bolton finally grabbed hold of that moment, and he didn’t let go.

With a 17-pound, 6-ounce bag on day four of the FLW Tour opener on Sam Rayburn, which was presented by Polaris, the 24-year Tour veteran did something he’s been within ounces of doing so many times before: He won. He won his first Tour event, and he did it despite a handful of tremendous anglers — including standout rookie Nick LeBrun and the best angler on the planet, Bryan Thrift — breathing down his neck in a furious effort to outpace the Benton, Ky., pro.

Bolton bagged 33 pounds and 9 ounces on day two of the event, which set the wheels in motion for everything that followed. He added 19-10 on day three to retain the lead, and his 17-pound bag today brought his winning total up to 91-3.

Complete results

But for all the fish Bolton caught this week, there were two moments that truly stood out for the man who has earned more than $1.2 million in his FLW career.

On day two, Bolton pulled up to a spot at which he caught all 20 pounds and 10 ounces the day before. He made some casts, landed a lot of fish and got up to “27 or 28 pounds” before he decided to move. Almost.

“I was going to leave, and I was afraid a local boat was going to get in there, so I decided to stay. Lo and behold I catch a 9-8 and I catch 33 [pounds],” Bolton explains. “My staying there is what won it, because I stayed and caught that 9-pounder. I don’t know if you call it dumb luck or a good decision.”

Winning a Tour event takes a little of both, and given how many good decisions Bolton has made in his career, it was about time Lady Luck helped him out.

Still, a 33-9 stringer doesn’t guarantee anything when you have two more days to fish. Bolton still needed to catch some fish, and with a steady day three, it all once again came down to one good decision on the final day.

“I knew I wasn’t going to win with what I had,” he says. “I was running around and I wasn’t catching anything and I was tired. I said, ‘I’ve got to go somewhere different.’ I’ve got this one school of fish; I don’t know how big they are. I hadn’t been to them all week, and I ran to them, and lo and behold they were good ones. I wish I’d have gone to them an hour sooner.”

Bolton found a 4 1/2-pounder and a couple 3-pounders in that spot, which he caught on a Rapala DT 10 crankbait, but none of those fish mattered more to Bolton, at least at the time, than the 4 1/2-pounder he lost in that stretch.

“I really thought at 2:51 — I lost a 4 1/2-pounder trying to net it — and I thought, ‘Well, there it goes. You’ve done it again.’ And I knew Nick [LeBrun] was a really good fisherman, and I knew he’d catch them today, and I thought, ‘Well, you probably left the door open.”

Bolton has had plenty of close calls before, most notably at Kentucky Lake in 2006. So, at 2:51 Monday afternoon, when Bolton was again so close to the top finish and he watched a big fish swim away from his boat, it was no surprise Bolton thought his chances of winning swam away with it.

When it’s meant to happen, it just happens.

“It was my turn, and that’s all I can say about it,” Bolton says.

He waited a long time for his turn, but he’s grateful he got one. When Bolton considered retiring this offseason — a proposition he says was 60-40 in favor of retirement — he had no way of knowing just how close he was. And now that he’s finally gotten it, the fire is rekindled. It’s all about his next shot. And the next after that.

“My whole deal is if I don’t make the Cup it’s a failure,” he says. “I had a good tournament here, but I’ve got to have more good tournaments if I want to make the Forrest Wood Cup. I’ve been in the top five in two or three Forrest Wood Cups. It’d be cool to win it now. We got this out of the way.

“I’ve made two BFL All-Americans. I was a BFL points leader in my division. I won an EverStart. Now I’ve won a Tour [event]. A Cup now. An Angler of the Year or a Cup.”

Bolton admits that he didn’t give his best effort last season. His goal in 2019, once he decided to keep fishing, was to give it his best effort and have fun doing it. His best effort included making some terrific decisions about where he fished and what he fished with.

Most of Bolton’s fish came on Rapala DT crankbaits — either a DT10, a DT14 or a DT16 — in Caribbean shad or demon colors. He rigged his DTs on either Magnum Crankbaits 2 or Magnum Crankbaits 3 Lew’s Custom Pro Speed Stick Ledge Series Casting rods, paired with a Lew’s BB1 Pro Speed Spool in 5.1:1 gear ratio spooled with either 12- or 14-pound Sufix Invisiline fluorocarbon.

And, as is often the case with the man nicknamed “Blade,” the spinnerbait came into play throughout the tournament as well. He leaned on a white 3/4-ounce Accent spinnerbait to do some of his damage, as well as a Carolina rig equipped with a 5-inch Zoom Lizard in green pumpkin.

Bolton spent his entire tournament targeting many of the same areas, seven or eight of them, all laden with grass.

“I was basically fishing bare spots on inside grass lines in the morning, when those fish were up feeding on bait, catching them on a DT10, DT14 and some on a spinnerbait. Then, after 11 o’clock, I was going to the outside grass line drains and fishing 15- to 18-foot deep with the DT16 and 3/4-ounce spinnerbait.”

It was a pattern that Bolton found in practice and executed to perfection over the four days of competition. It was also a pattern that was a testament to the hard work Bolton is committed to putting in this season, paired with the fun he is certainly already having.

“I had probably the worst year I’d ever had in my career last year,” he says. “I was pretty low. I just wanted to come out and have fun and give my best effort, and I did this week. It all worked out. If it wasn’t for some encouragement, I was close to hanging it up.”

Instead of hanging it up, Bolton just wrapped up the biggest accomplishment of his career.

 

Top 10 pros

1. Terry Bolton –Benton, Ky. – 91-3 (20) – $125,000

2. Nick LeBrun – Bossier City, La. – 90-7 (20) – $30,000

3. Bryan Thrift – Shelby, N.C. – 88-13 (20) – $25,000

4. Chad Warren – Sand Springs, Okla. – 83-13 (20) – $20,000

5. Jim Tutt – Longview, Texas – 78-7 (20) – $19,000

6. Colby Schrumpf – Highland, Ill. – 70-7 (20) – $18,000

7. Jordan Osborne – Longview, Texas – 67-10 (20) – $17,250

8. Tom Redington – Royse City, Texas – 67-10 (20) – $16,000

9. Sam George – Athens, Ala. – 67-10 (20) – $15,000

10. Charles Sim – Nepean, Ontario – 60-2 (20) – $14,000

Complete results

Tags: justin-onslow  headline-story  2019-01-10-sam-rayburn-reservoir 

Previewing Dale Hollow

Previewing Dale Hollow

When the Toyota Series Central Division wraps up its season on Dale Hollow Lake next week – a lake known for its smallmouth fishing, thanks in big part for producing the world record smallmouth back in 1955 – its anglers probably won’t be weighing in masses of brown fish. READ MORE »

Laufenberg Claims Mighty Miss Prize

Laufenberg Claims Mighty Miss Prize

Boater Cade Laufenberg of Onalaska, Wisconsin, brought a three-day total of 15 bass to the scale weighing 50 pounds, 1 ounce to win the no-entry fee Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Regional Championship at the Mississippi River. For his victory, Laufenberg earned $60,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and automatic entry into the 2021 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American Championship, June 3-5, at Douglas Lake in Dandridge, Tennessee. READ MORE »

Butler Runs Brush for Cherokee Win

Butler Runs Brush for Cherokee Win

Boater Josh Butler of Hayden, Alabama, brought a three-day total of 12 bass to the scale weighing 29 pounds, 3 ounces to win the no-entry fee Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Regional Championship at Lake Cherokee. For his victory, Butler earned $60,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and automatic entry into the 2021 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American Championship, June 3-5, at Douglas Lake in Dandridge, Tennessee. READ MORE »

Johnson Wins on Sam Rayburn

Johnson Wins on Sam Rayburn

Going into the final day, Blake Schroeder was just 3 ounces ahead of Aaron Johnson in the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn. Tight to the end, both anglers brought more than 18 pounds to the scale, but Johnson’s 18-14 bag boosted his total to 54-14 and earned him the win. For the victory, Johnson takes home $31,751 and the second FLW win of his career. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Sam Rayburn Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Through two days of competition, it’s looking like the shallow grass bite is the deal in the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn. Leading the way, Blake Schroeder had tallied a pair of 18-pound bags from shallow grass, and the pros behind him aren’t slacking on the grass game either. Heading into the final day, it’s going to be a true shootout for the win, with a Texas-sized kicker a bite away for everyone in the field. READ MORE »

Schroeder Slides Ahead on Rayburn

Schroeder Slides Ahead on Rayburn

Climbing from fourth to first, Blake Schroeder took over the lead in the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn with his second-consecutive 18-pound bag. Weighing 18-3 on day one, the Texas pro put an even 18 pounds on the scale on day two for a 36-3 total. Behind him, the weights are stacked, and five other pros are within 5 pounds going into the final day on the big Texas lake. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Sam Rayburn Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Day one of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn offered pretty good fishing and a lot of options. Anglers in the top 10 fished deep, shallow and in between to catch their fish, and no one pattern dominated the leaderboard. READ MORE »

Moore Sacks 21 on Rayburn

Moore Sacks 21 on Rayburn

Taking the lead on day one of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn, Cole Moore weighed an even 21 pounds to kick things off. Though the fishing was not really up to the massive heights it can reach on Rayburn, it was far from bad, and plenty of pros put together limits in the teens both shallow and deep. READ MORE »

Morrow Keeps Rolling

Morrow Keeps Rolling

Boater Troy Morrow of Eastanollee, Georgia, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 32 pounds even, to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Savannah River Division Super-Tournament at Lake Hartwell presented by Fish-Intel. For his victory, Morrow earned $6,415. READ MORE »

Boggs Takes Regional on Chickamauga

Boggs Takes Regional on Chickamauga

Boater Drew Boggs of Lebanon, Tennessee, brought a three-day total of 15 bass to the scale weighing 40 pounds, 11 ounces to win the no-entry fee Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Regional Championship at Lake Chickamauga. For his victory, Boggs earned $61,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and automatic entry into the 2021 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American Championship, June 3-5, at Douglas Lake in Dandridge, Tennessee. READ MORE »

Daves Wins James River Regional

Daves Wins James River Regional

Pro Chris Daves of Spring Grove, Virginia, brought a three-day total of 15 bass to the scale weighing 50 pounds, 1 ounces to win the no-entry fee Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Regional Championship on the James River. For his victory, Daves earned $60,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and automatic entry into the 2021 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American Championship, June 3-5, at Douglas Lake in Dandridge, Tennessee. READ MORE »

Cook Goes Wire-To-Wire

Cook Goes Wire-To-Wire

He put his name on the map as one to watch on day one. Today, Corey Cook put his name on the hardware as one of the best on Lake of the Ozarks right now. READ MORE »

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 3

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 3

Lady Luck shines on us all sometimes, but sometimes she doesn’t. For this morning, at least, she sure wasn’t shining on Corey Cook READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks – Day 2

Scrapping plans and making long runs can be a scary deal, but the risk can be worth the reward. READ MORE »

Cook Still Leads on Lake of the Ozarks

Cook Still Leads on Lake of the Ozarks

Corey Cook stumbled a bit on day two of the Toyota Series Plains Division event on Lake of the Ozarks. Bringing in 15 pounds, 4 ounces, Cook weighed an average bag and boosted his total of 38-13, which is still more than 4 pounds ahead of second place. Behind Cook, Andy Newcomb is in second with 34-6, and Shane Long is in third with 31-9. READ MORE »

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 2

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the Toyota Series Plains Division on Lake of the Ozarks has started out pretty much like yesterday – pretty weather but pretty short on fish. READ MORE »

Cook Blasts 23-9 on Lake of the Ozarks

Cook Blasts 23-9 on Lake of the Ozarks

Day one of the Toyota Series Plains Division event on Lake of the Ozarks was pretty tough by the standards of the fishery, with just one angler cracking the 20-pound barrier. Blowing the doors off the competition, at least on day one, Corey Cook hammered out 23 pounds, 9 ounces to take more than a 6-pound lead over second place. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks – Day 1

When the fish are on the move, it can make life miserable for anglers. Day one of the Toyota Series Plains Division event on Lake of the Ozarks showcased that pretty well. READ MORE »

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 1

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 1

The Toyota Series visited Lake of the Ozarks this exact same week in 2019, and it launched under torrential rains, gusting winds and a strobe light's worth of lightning that delayed the takeoff until 8:15 a.m. A year later, the weather couldn’t be more beautiful for the second stop of the Plains Division. READ MORE »

Wes Monroe Wins on the Ouachita River

Wes Monroe Wins on the Ouachita River

Louisiana’s West Monroe High School duo of Jay Cash and Jackson Lemoine caught four fish Saturday weighing 9 pounds, 11 ounces to win the FLW High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing Ouachita River Open event in Monroe, Louisiana. READ MORE »