UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Lake Wylie

B. Lat Becomes a Champion

B. Lat Becomes a Champion
Brian Latimer

Brian Latimer has dreamed his entire life of being crowned an FLW Tour champion, and after years of hard work and dedication, it has finally paid off. The Belton, S.C., pro led coming into the final day of the FLW Tour event on Lake Seminole, presented by Costa, and though it wasn’t easy, he sacked up 21 pounds, 3 ounces to lock up the win with 80-15 overall. He edged out day-one leader Braxton Setzer by 2 pounds, 1 ounce in one of the most emotional victories seen on the FLW stage.

Get to know Brian Latimer

While his weights may reflect a somewhat easy week on the water, the truth is far from it. With just a handful of bites each day, “B. Lat” had to make them count, and despite losing some fish in the last few days, he stayed focused and determined, avoiding the dreaded spinout that many pros would experience.

“It happened,” Latimer says of his win. “It really happened.”

To make it happen, Latimer had to evolve over the week, adjusting to the fish as he went. While flipping shallow grass did much of the heavy lifting, without his cranking spot on day one to catch the majority of his 19-1 limit, who knows what would have happened?

“I caught my 19 pounds on day one cranking in the [Flint River],” he says. “On days two and three, I started in the river again hoping that would materialize again, because that’s easy, and I was hoping to catch a limit quick, but it never happened. So, today, I went straight down to my flat early so I could spend all my time where I’ve been catching my biggest fish.

“It was slow, just like it’s been every day, and the first bite I missed – just didn’t grab it good. But I think the heartbreaker was my first two good bites I hooked up with, I lost them. I was really down and out, and then I caught that big one that was probably 7 pounds. Then, a few minutes later, I caught another one that was pushing 4.”

After getting those good bites, he boxed another decent keeper and hit a dry spell. With three fish in the box around lunchtime, things were starting to look like the tournament may not swing his way.

“I didn’t get a bite for a very long time after that, so I decided to go do something else and mentally reset,” admits Latimer.  “I went sight-fishing, found one right away, immediately cast over there, hooked up on the fish and it comes off. I was like, ‘Oh, it’s a bed fish, it’ll swim back.’ The thing never came back.”

The fourth-year pro brushed it off, as there were fish cruising everywhere up shallow. He shortly found another fish on a bed, flipped his drop-shot over, hooked it and lost it. His cool, calm demeanor was about pressed to the breaking point. He took it in stride, though, and decided it was time to abandon sight-fishing and go back to what got him to the final day – flipping grass.

“Looking back, losing those two fish won the tournament for me,” Latimer adds. “Because If I had caught those two, I would have continued sight-fishing, and that wouldn’t have given me enough to win. So, I went back out to the flat and caught two more 3-pounders.”

The juice for Latimer was a main-river flat in the Flint River. It had clumps of hydrilla (and other vegetation), and those clumps are where fat, sassy prespawn bass called home.

Latimer has fished plenty of tournaments on Seminole over the years and has learned what areas to focus on, but surprisingly, he inadvertently stumbled on what would become the winning spot.

“I was going to fish an island nearby, and I sat down short of it, looked down and saw some good looking grass,” he says. “I flipped around it and caught a 4 1/2-pounder. That was the only fish I caught from there in practice, but it looked good, and I thought it could be something to do if I needed to.”

He started the week catching his fish on a Bill Lewis MR-6, but the real hero was a Texas-rigged Z-Man Palmetto BugZ with a 1/2-ounce weight flipped on a 7-foot, 3-inch Favorite Phantom rod. The water in his area was dirty for most of the event, which is where the Palmetto BugZ shined. On day three, however, the water had cleaned up and he switched over to a wacky rig on spinning tackle to catch some key fish early.

Latimer’s pro career hasn’t been the smoothest ride so far, but it never damped his drive and determination – only fueled it. His rookie campaign in 2016 was his best season to date with a 46th-place finish in points, but the following two years found him in 63rd and 96th. This season started off tough on Sam Rayburn with a finish near 100, though he quickly rebounded at stop No. 2 on Lake Toho, where he placed 20th.

After his win this week, Latimer sits 17th in Angler of the Year points standings and is poised to make his first FLW Cup in four years as a pro.

“It’s so weird, I’ll be completely honest with you,” he explains. “I had what looks like a pretty bad year last year, but I’ve been catching fish for two years. For some reason, I’d catch decent ones in practice and in the tournament, they shrink. This year, the same thing is going on, but they’re the right size in the tournament. Nothing feels different; practice is still drama-filled just like it’s always been.

“You’d have to fish with me or fish tournaments at a high level to understand what I’m talking about here. Nothing’s really changed. I’m comfortable out there. I just catch what I can catch and do what I can do.”

Latimer has paid his dues and put his time in across the FLW ranks from the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) circuit, Costa FLW Series and, now, the Tour. His father, Jimmy, was a die-hard tournament angler before Latimer was born, so he really had no choice but to grow up around bass fishing. For lack of a better term, B. Lat was hooked from an early age, and it consumed him to the point where he quit sports in high school just so he could fish more.

Now, with the trophy and check in hand, the long hours on the water, time spent away from his family and money spent on fishing seem well worth it.

“Dude, you’ve got to trust the process,” he says. “I’ve been telling myself that for years. Just trust the process. Work hard, put your head down and don’t worry about it. Work and work and it’ll come.”

 

Top 10 pros

1. Brian Latimer – Belton, S.C. – 80-15 (20) – $102,500

2. Braxton Setzer – Montgomery, Ala. – 78-14 (17) – $30,200

3. Sheldon Collings – Grove, Okla. – 76-2 (20) – $25,100

4. Terry Bolton – Benton, Ky. – 72-6 (20) – $20,000

5. Rob Kilby – Hot Springs, Ark. – 62-14 (20) – $19,000

6. Scott Martin – Clewiston, Fla. – 62-10 (20) – $18,000

7. Miles Howe – San Juan Capistrano, Calif. – 59-6 (19) – $17,000

8. Bradford Beavers- Summerville, S.C. – 55-8 (17) – $16,500

9. Joshua Weaver – Macon, Ga. – 51-1 (16) – $15,000

10. Hunter Freeman – Monroe, La. – 49-2 (15) – $14,000

Complete results 

Tags: kyle-wood  headline-story  2019-03-07-lake-seminole 

Abram’s Dream Comes True

Abram’s Dream Comes True

All week on Lake Martin for the third stop of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit the weights have been close, so it was only fitting that the final weigh-in followed suit. READ MORE »

Lake Martin Day 4 Coverage

Lake Martin Day 4 Coverage

Complete coverage of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit's third stop at Lake Martin in Alexander, Ala. READ MORE »

Abram One Day Away

Abram One Day Away

Day three of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event on Lake Martin was a bit tougher for the 30 pros on the water, and while quality has been tough to come by all week, that was especially the case today READ MORE »

Lake Martin Day 3 Coverage

Lake Martin Day 3 Coverage

Complete coverage of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit's third stop at Lake Martin in Alexander, Ala. READ MORE »

Abram Out Front on Martin

Abram Out Front on Martin

Same story, different day on Lake Martin for the third stop of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit. When it comes to catching fish, Martin is on fire at the moment. However, just like on day one, big bites are tough to come by on the Alabama fishery. READ MORE »

Lake Martin Day 2 Coverage

Lake Martin Day 2 Coverage

Complete coverage of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit's third stop at Lake Martin in Alexander, Ala. READ MORE »

Adams Leads at Martin

Adams Leads at Martin

Catching fish wasn’t going to be the issue for the third stop of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event on Lake Martin and after day one that certainly was the case. With the entire field catching a limit, the weights are stacked with a little over 4 pounds separating 100th and 10th. Finding a Lake Martin kicker was Barron Adams, who sacked 17 pounds, 2 ounces to take the lead – thanks in large part to his 8-13 Berkley Big Bass. Just 15 ounces back is Derrick Snavely and the weights tighten up a lot from there. READ MORE »

Lake Martin Day 1 Coverage

Lake Martin Day 1 Coverage

Complete coverage of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit's third stop at Lake Martin kicks off a day early from Alexander, Ala. READ MORE »

FLW Live Leaderboard - Lake Martin

FLW Live Leaderboard - Lake Martin

FLW media staff provide unofficial weight estimates for the third stop of the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Lake Martin. READ MORE »

FLW Shifts Start Date at Lake Martin

FLW Shifts Start Date at Lake Martin

FLW announced today that this week’s Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event at Lake Martin, originally scheduled to start Thursday, has been shifted and will now begin competition Wednesday. Hosted by the Alexander City Chamber, the tournament will remain a four-day event and will now run through Saturday. This decision is based on a desire to allow pros, who began practicing for the tournament March 15, to safely complete the event and return home as quickly as possible amid evolving COVID-19 guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control. READ MORE »

Practice Report: Lake Martin

Practice Report: Lake Martin

March in Alabama can be boom or bust in terms of weather, but luckily this week’s forecast calls for mostly gorgeous springtime weather for the third stop of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Lake Martin. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits and Patterns from Havasu

Top 10 Baits and Patterns from Havasu

Results from the Toyota Series Western Division event at Lake Havasu probably didn’t surprise any Western anglers who are familiar with the fishery. For folks in other parts of the country that might only have followed FLW’s early February events on the Colorado River reservoir, the tournament results might have opened some eyes to just how good the fishing can be on Havasu. Particularly on day one, the lake delivered, kicking out 12 limits of more than 20 pounds, including Tai Au’s limit of 26 pounds, 1 ounce. The success on day one resulted from a perfect storm of conditions for catching spawning bass on beds.  READ MORE »

Dice Gets it Done on Smith Mountain

Dice Gets it Done on Smith Mountain

Jack Dice of Lynchburg, Virginia, brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 22 pounds even to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Smith Mountain Lake in Huddleston, Virginia. For his victory, Dice earned a total of $5,246. READ MORE »

Steckler Claims Ozark Title

Steckler Claims Ozark Title

Cory Steckler of Rocky Mount, Missouri, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 18 pounds, 7 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake of the Ozarks in Osage Beach, Missouri. For his victory, Steckler earned a total of $13,457, including the lucrative $7,000 FLW PHOENIX Bonus contingency award. The victory was the second win of Steckler’s FLW career. READ MORE »

Graham Wins on Dale Hollow

Graham Wins on Dale Hollow

Brett Graham of Cold Spring, Kentucky, brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 18 pounds, 11 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Mountain division opener at Dale Hollow Reservoir in Byrdstown, Tennessee. For his victory, Graham earned a total of $6,000. READ MORE »

Au Finishes Strong at Lake Havasu

Au Finishes Strong at Lake Havasu

Tai Au of Glendale, Ariz., weighed in a five-bass limit worth 16 pounds, 15 ounces today to finish off a wire-to-wire win at the Toyota Series Western Division season opener on Lake Havasu. Au’s three-day total was 61-3.  READ MORE »

Medlock Brings it Home on Big O

Medlock Brings it Home on Big O

Weighing the biggest limit of the final day worth 19 pounds, 4 ounces, Brandon Medlock locked up his third Toyota Series title in the Southern Division event on Lake Okeechobee. With 54-4 overall, Medlock won comfortably and was essentially the only pro to put together two very good days of fishing, with a 13-9 catch on day one as his worst day. READ MORE »

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 3

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 3

The final day of the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Okeechobee is proving to be just as tense as expected. With the entire top 10 less than 4 pounds apart, anything can happen, and it’s entirely possible that someone in ninth or 10th catches a big bag to come from behind. READ MORE »

Au Stays Ahead on Tougher Day Two

Au Stays Ahead on Tougher Day Two

Tournament leader Tai Au managed to stay in first place by recognizing key environmental factors and knowing when to change up his baits. Yesterday, four of the five bass that Au weighed in were bass he caught sight-fishing. Today, he didn’t look at any of the bass he brought to the scale. Au still managed to weigh in 18 pounds, 3 ounces, taking his two-day total to 44-4. He’s searching for his first FLW victory this week.  READ MORE »

Medlock Ahead on Okeechobee

Medlock Ahead on Okeechobee

Despite nice weather this week, which has been a rarity for FLW tournaments in Florida this year, the fishing on Okeechobee just hasn’t been what the lake is capable of producing. Still, Okeechobee hammer Brandon Medlock rallied on day two dropping 21 pounds, 7 ounces on the scale to take the lead in the Toyota Series Southern Division event on the Big O with 35 pounds even. READ MORE »