UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Dale Hollow Lake

Thliveros Brings it Home

Thliveros Brings it Home

Back in 2013 Nick Thliveros earned the first win of his FLW career. He was a co-angler at the time, though getting that first trophy and check helped reinforce his desires to move to the front of the boat. In 2016, he committed to that dream, and now in his fourth year as a pro fishing the Costa FLW Series, Thliveros has a second win under his belt – this one from the front of the boat at the 2019 season opener for the Southeastern Division on Lake Okeechobee.

Complete results

Heading into the final day of the tournament, which was presented by Power-Pole, Thliveros clung to what would normally be considered a small lead on Okeechobee – just 4 pounds, 7 ounces – and figured he needed to catch a solid bag to have a shot to win. In fact, most pros had high hopes for big weights on the final day. However, the fishing didn’t quite live up to the hype, and Thliveros’ 10-15 catch was more than enough to lock up the W and earn a check worth $54,000.

The key for Thliveros was to take advantage of the conditions the lake presented: cool, dirty and low water. He took his search outside the main body of the lake and settled on a canal area between Henry Creek and J&S.

“I wanted to find consistent water, and that area I caught them is where I caught them last year when the lake wasn’t normal [high and dirty from a hurricane],” Thliveros says. “I was catching prespawn fish that were waiting to pull up, and they were feeding. I was cranking rock, and all of my fish were within 5 feet of the bank.”

The canal system produced some good fish, but it was a key bite on day two that really gave him confidence to keep doing it.

“I was getting a reaction bite from a lot of fish,” continues the 25-year-old pro. “I’d feel them bump the bait or they’d be hooked on the back hook, and I didn’t feel like it was right. On day two, my co-angler caught a few on a Senko, and I missed a few early. I was thinking maybe I needed to change. I flipped for a bit, but went back to the crankbait, and a few casts in I caught my first keeper. It was a 6-pounder. That fish told me I didn’t need to put the crankbait down, so I kept it in my hand.”

Later on day two, Thliveros caught another solid fish back near Clewiston while cranking a rock spot that is part of the original rock from the rim ditch. Those clutch bites put him up to the 19-pound range and ultimately would help give him the win.

Cranking rock got him to day three, but that bite was fading as warmer weather finally got the bass out of their funk and thinking about spawning. That’s when Thliveros made the best decision of his career.

“Jason [Abram] and I were sharing water all week, and it was fine,” explains Thliveros. “Today, Jason and I were fishing toward each other. As we came together he caught a 9-pounder. We were so close that I just gave him a high five. It stung a bit because I only had two little keepers. But I didn’t get spun out. It got my wheels turning because he caught that fish flipping, and I saw more fish up cruising, and I knew my cranking bite was over. So, I pulled the plug and ran to the lake.”

At 10:45 Thliveros scrapped the plan that got him to the final round and ran to the Monkey Box to a place fellow competitors and friends Darrell Davis and Tim Frederick had told him about. It was a shallow area where fish were setting up to spawn, and Thliveros figured worse case he could scrounge up a few 2-pounders to save the day. It worked.

“I was going for broke,” he says of the move. “As soon as I got in the area I saw fish cruising and rubbing on beds. I stayed in there and got some good bites. It was a key move that won the tournament for me.”

Thliveros cranked a Lucky Craft silent square-bill. There was a fair amount of people fishing where he was the first two days, and he believes the silent crankbait got him a few more bites. He also used a 7.1:1 gear ratio reel, which allowed him to run the trolling motor at a higher speed and still crank efficiently, but also get a better reaction bite when he slowed down in an area.

Today, he relied on a Nichols jig with a blue bug-colored Strike King Rage Craw and a Texas-rigged black, blue and silver-colored Bitters Salty Sling with a 1/32-ounce Bullet Weights tungsten weight to catch his fish.

While the money is a nice perk that goes along with the win, for Thliveros there’s so much more to it. The son of legendary FLW Tour pro Peter T, Nick says having his dad compete in the tournament and be there alongside him during weigh-in was better than any amount of money.

“The fact is that my dad is my mentor and my hero,” Nick says. “He has as many hours on the water as anyone who chases bass. To be able to finally put it together and win with him here is a special moment. I’ve always wanted to win as a pro with him here. I take a lot of pride in it, and I see it as a bit of a passing of the torch in a way.

“To celebrate we’re going to the Elks lodge in Clewiston for steak night, and I’ll tell you what, I’m buying for everyone.”

 

Top 10 pros:

1. Nick Thliveros – St. Augustine, Fla. – 46-1 – $54,000

2. Cody Nichols – Fayette, Ala. – 42-0 – $22,200

3. Jason Abram – Piney Flats, Tenn. – 42-0 – $15,350

4. Brett Preuett – Monroe, La. – 39-9 – $$13,250

5. Sandy Melvin – Boca Grande, Fla. – 38-2 – $12,250

6. Bryan New – Belmont, N.C. – 38-2 – $9,625

7. Lance Oligschlaeger – Gallatin, Tenn. – 38-1 – $8,300

8. David Parsons – Dothan, Ala. – 35-10 – $7,300

9. Billy Hall – Greenback, Tenn. – 34-6 – $6,300

10. Val Osinski – Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – 32-4 – $4,700

Tags: kyle-wood  headline-story  2019-01-31-lake-okeechobee 

Au Best in the West

Au Best in the West

While 2020 has been a year to forget for many people, Tai Au will cherish it forever. Though Au has dabbled in Toyota Series competition over the span of nearly a decade, this was the first year he went all-in to fish the entire division. In doing so, he won the season opener on Lake Havasu, banked a top 10 on the California Delta and closed it out with another win on Clear Lake to handily win the Western Division Strike King Angler of the Year title. 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 »