UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Clear Lake

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 

White Drops 24-12 at Clear Lake

White Drops 24-12 at Clear Lake

Tom White of Costa Mesa, Calif., fished the first two events of the Toyota Series Western Division season as a co-angler where he found decent success. Now, in the final event of the season White stepped up to the boater side and took the lead on Clear Lake after day one with a 24-pound, 12-ounce limit. The former Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI angler will hold close to a 5-pound lead over Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour pro Jared Lintner heading into day two. While 4 pounds would be a decent lead on a lot of fisheries, this is Clear Lake, and anything can happen tomorrow. READ MORE »

Big Bags on Deck at Clear Lake

Big Bags on Deck at Clear Lake

The Toyota Series Western Division wraps its season this week on famed Clear Lake in California. The lake is frequently noted as one of the best bass fisheries in the country and Clear Lake is shaping up to kick out plenty of bass this week. READ MORE »

Whitehead Tops on Pickwick

Whitehead Tops on Pickwick

Boater Christopher Whitehead of Tupelo, Miss., brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 33 pounds, 1 ounce to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Mississippi Division Super-Tournament at Pickwick Lake. For his victory, Whitehead earned $5,942. READ MORE »

Tramel Rolls at Old Hickory

Tramel Rolls at Old Hickory

Boater Josh Tramel of Smithville, Tenn., brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale this weekend weighing 34 pounds, 5 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Music City Division Super-Tournament at Old Hickory Lake. Tramel earned a total of $5,540 for his victory.  READ MORE »

Topwater Gives Trim the W

Topwater Gives Trim the W

Boater Nick Trim of Galesville, Wis., brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 34 pounds, 9 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Great Lakes Division Super-Tournament at the Mississippi River. For his victory, Trim earned $6,690. READ MORE »

Langford Wins on Smith Mountain

Langford Wins on Smith Mountain

Boater Todd Langford of Great Falls, Va., brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 33 pounds, 4 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Piedmont Division Super-Tournament at Smith Mountain Lake. For his victory, Langford earned $5,065. READ MORE »

Rockefeller Frogs on Clarks Hill

Rockefeller Frogs on Clarks Hill

Boater Joshua Rockefeller of Harlem, Ga., brought a two-day total of nine bass to the scale weighing 21 pounds even to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine South Carolina Division Super-Tournament at Clarks Hill Lake. For his victory, Rockefeller earned $4,668. READ MORE »

Strong Day One Carries Sifers

Strong Day One Carries Sifers

Boater Jeramiah Sifers of Sellersburg, Ind., brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale this weekend weighing 22 pounds, 14 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Hoosier Division Super-Tournament at the Rough River. Sifers earned a total of $6,917 for his victory. READ MORE »

Lieblong Again at Dardanelle

Lieblong Again at Dardanelle

Jason Lieblong is no stranger to Toyota Series titles on Lake Dardanelle. He claimed his first back in August of 2015 and five years later thanks to a final-day bag worth 15 pounds, 15 ounces (the biggest of the event) Lieblong added his second Series trophy to the mantle. The Conway, Ark., pro finished the event with 40-9 overall, moving up the leaderboard every day of the tournament. For winning the Plains Division opener presented by Fish-Intel, Lieblong took home over $70,000 thanks largely to the FLW PHOENIX BONUS, which earned him and extra $35,000. READ MORE »

Dobson Grabs Second Toyota Series W

Dobson Grabs Second Toyota Series W

Weighing 18 pounds and 9 ounces on day three for a 59-3 total, Scott Dobson moved from second to first to win the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River. The win is Dobson’s second in Toyota Series competition and his eighth overall with FLW. For the win, Dobson takes home $27,534 and further burnishes his record as one of the best smallmouth anglers on the planet.   READ MORE »

Bennett Takes Dardanelle Lead

Bennett Takes Dardanelle Lead

Backing up his day-one weight of 13 pounds, 6 ounces, Joe Bennett brought 13-14 to the scale to take the lead at Lake Dardanelle in the Toyota Series Plains Division opener presented by Fish-Intel. Bennett will carry 1-1 lead into Saturday’s final round over Kevin Riney as he looks to grab his first victory with FLW. READ MORE »

Burton Edges Ahead at the Detroit River

Burton Edges Ahead at the Detroit River

Day two of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River saw the pros stuck in the river itself again due to the wind. Moving up from fourth place into the lead, Wilson Burton weighed 20 pounds, 4 ounces to get up to a 40-11 total. With the only 20-pound bag of the day, Burton slipped past Scott Dobson by just one ounce, who weighed 19-12 and sits behind him with a 40-10 total. READ MORE »

Montevallo Takes College Open Title

Montevallo Takes College Open Title

As tough as Kentucky Lake was fishing this week in the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open, Grayson Morris and Jacob Pfundt of the University of Montevallo leading after day one and finishing the job on Thursday resulted in one of the more impressive wins you’ll see. After weighing in a day-one best 12-13, the duo backed it up with another 12-7 on day two for the victory, displaying the kind of consistency it takes to grind it out in tough fishing conditions. For their efforts, Morris and Pfundt were awarded a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-hp Mercury outboard. READ MORE »

King Tops Day 1 at Dardanelle 

King Tops Day 1 at Dardanelle 

Zach King of Clarksville, Ark., used a Heddon Zara Spook to catch 14 pounds, 11 ounces claim the day one lead in the Toyota Series Plains Division event on Lake Dardanelle presented by Fish-Intel. King will take a 6-ounce lead over Matt Wood of Jessieville, Ark., into day two.  READ MORE »

Dardanelle Midday Update – Day 1

Dardanelle Midday Update – Day 1

Thursday’s opening round of the Toyota Series Plains Division opener at Lake Dardanelle followed the script many anglers predicted. Despite many favorable conditions at the beginning of a peak fishing season, muddy water and bright sunshine made fishing difficult across the 34,000-acre Arkansas River impoundment. READ MORE »

Stokes Leads on the Detroit River

Stokes Leads on the Detroit River

Strong winds kept the pros in the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River pinned to the actual river, but the fishing was still very good. Plenty of anglers brought in 17 pounds or more, and the leaders are all concentrated around the 20-pound mark. In first, Troy Stokes of Brownstown, Mich., weighed 21 pounds, 4 ounces to kick things off. READ MORE »

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 1

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 1

Right off the bat, the anglers in the field at the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River were thrown a curveball by the weather. This morning, with increasing wind forecasts, tournament officials made Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair off-limits, thereby penning up the 87 pros and co-anglers on the American side of the Detroit River. READ MORE »

Montevallo Leads College Open 

Montevallo Leads College Open 

As expected, weights were down across the board on day one of the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open on Kentucky Lake. With high water during what’s typically a tough transitional time of year, it took just 12 pounds, 13 ounces for Grayson Morris and Jacob Pfundt of the University of Montevallo to grab the lead. READ MORE »

Dickneite Again on Lake of the Ozarks

Dickneite Again on Lake of the Ozarks

Boater Andre Dickneite of Freeburg, Mo., brought a five-bass limit to the scale Sunday weighing 18 pounds, 7 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event on Lake of the Ozarks in Warsaw, Missouri. For his victory, Dickneite earned a total of $3,794. READ MORE »

Wallis Sacks 19-14 on Truman

Wallis Sacks 19-14 on Truman

Boater Mike Wallis of Hallsville, Mo., brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 19 pounds, 14 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event on Lake Truman in Warsaw, Missouri. For his victory, Wallis earned a total of $5,009. READ MORE »