UPCOMING EVENT: FLW Pro Circuit - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Butler Hangs On

Butler Hangs On

Brent Butler weighed in a bag he’ll never forget on day two of the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event on Lake Chickamauga. Not only was the 37-pound, 5-ounce stringer his best ever, it also sent him to day three of the tournament, presented by T-H Marine, with a large enough lead to finish the job with another 16-11.

With a total of 68-8, Butler edged out FLW Tour pro Bryan Thrift by 5-8, thanks to a 6-pounder he caught as time was winding down on day three.

Butler's day two pattern 

Complete results 

Butler’s victory is far from devoid of great storylines. The high school teacher and humble family man hammered on Chickamauga giants all week, yes, but the results are only part of the story. His passion for fishing is where it all starts.

“God first, family, fishing, outdoors,” he says, still wrangling back the emotion of the final weigh-in. “All I ever wanted to do was compete. I may never be able to do it for a living and that’s okay. I’m content.”

That desire to compete began early in Butler’s life, ever since he saw a Bassmaster tournament on TV for the first time.

“I used to walk the banks with my dad,” he recalls. “He would take me to the local Thursday night tournament whenever I was 13 or 14 years, and I would stand there with two rods in my hand just wanting to compete … I got turned down so much, but I didn’t quit. I said, ‘someday you’ll know who I am.’”

If that day didn’t come before his win on Chick, it certainly has now. Sacking up a 37-plus-pound bag is an incredible feat. To back it up with two more quality bags and to beat out some incredible anglers (including FLW Tour hammers Bryan Thrift and Buddy Gross) on the final day more than validates it.

As impressive as winning an FLW Series event is, what really stands out about Butler’s win is the way he did it. As he explained on the weigh-in stage in front of an FLW Live camera, each day presented different challenges, and each day he changed his approach to deliver what he needed to win.

“I ended up having to scratch yesterday’s pattern, because the fish changed on me, and I just went with my gut,” he explains. “I scrapped it all at 12 o’clock and took off and went wide open and got what I got.

“Day one it was [throwing lipless crankbaits in shallow water]. Day two was Alabama rigging and jerkbaits. Today was a trap, four jerkbaits, an [umbrella] rig and a swimbait.”

Everything Butler found in practice was gone by day one of the tournament. Changing weather conditions, water levels and current wiped out what was working for him leading up to the event. From that point on, he decided to “just fish,” adjusting to the conditions and changing his tactics in whatever way he had to.

And that’s probably to be expected from someone who coaches a high school fishing team. In fact, his team was competing on Watts Bar at the same time he was waiting at the tanks at Bass Pro Shops on day three. Even on the cusp of a victory, his mind was on how his team might be doing.

That’s just the vibe Butler gives off. Humility. Giving back. Doing it all for the right reasons.

“You look at this guy right here (Bryan Thrift), a straight up hammer,” he says of the final-day competition. “You look back behind you and you see nine of them behind you coming to get you.”

Knowing who he was up against was part of the reason he was able to land 37-plus-pounds on day two. After he landed two double-digit fish in a row, Butler’s co-angler Michael Campbell raised the possibility of laying off his fish to save them for the following day.

“’You got a decision to make,’” says Butler, quoting Campbell. “‘You going to pull off of them or what are you going to do?’” I said, man, you do not understand what caliber of fishermen we're up against.”

Butler had the right mentality. He had the right skills. And above all, he had the right perspective, which allowed him to trust his instincts.

“At 12 o’clock –12:30, 1 o’clock – I had one fish, [my co-angler] had three or four and we took off,” he says. “I was fortunate enough to just go with my gut and put something together today.”

That “something” proved to be a Costa FLW Series win, and another opportunity to prove what he’s capable of and who Butler is.

 

Top 10 pros

1. Brent Butler – Vonore, Tenn. – 68-8 (15) – $45,800 

2. Bryan Thrift – Shelby, N.C. – 63-0 (15) – $17,200

3. Derek Hicks – Rocky Face, Ga. – 61-0 (15) – $12,850

4. Cody Nichols – Fayette, Ala. – 57-11 (15) – $10,750

5. David Gaston – Sylacauga, Ala. – 53-13 (15) – $9,750

6. Rusty White – Harrison, Tenn. – 52-10 (10) – $8,675

7. Dustin Evans – Eads, Tenn. – 49-8 (15) – $7,300

8. Brandon Stanley – Johnson City, Tenn. – 48-12 (12) – $6,300

9. Buddy Gross – Chickamauga, Ga. – 48-3 (14) – $5,300

10. Steve Stanfill – Dawsonville, Ga. – 38-14 (10) – $4,200

Complete results 

Tags: flw  bass-fishing  fishing-tournament  lake-chickamauga  justin-onslow  headline-story  2019-03-21-lake-chickamauga 

2020 Lake Dardanelle Preview

2020 Lake Dardanelle Preview

Situated between the Ozark National Forest to the north and the Ouachita National Forest to the south, Lake Dardanelle in Northwest Arkansas is a roughly 34,000-acre impoundment on the Arkansas River that offers a multitude of unique and varied opportunities to catch quality bass. READ MORE »

Carper Wins Big on St. Johns River

Carper Wins Big on St. Johns River

The 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine continued competition Saturday at the St. Johns River in Palatka, Florida – the first time that the Gator Division presented by A.R.E. has opened their season on the St. Johns River – and featured a major return on investment for the winner. READ MORE »

Oklahoma’s Carper Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event on Florida’s St. John’s River

Oklahoma’s Carper Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event on Florida’s St. John’s River

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: PALATKA, FLA. – The 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine continued competition Saturday at the St. John’s River in Palatka, Florida – the first time that the Gator Division presented by A.R.E. has opened their season on the St. John’s River – and featured... READ MORE »

Choo Choo Division Kicks off at Lake Guntersville

Choo Choo Division Kicks off at Lake Guntersville

According to pro Casey Martin, who once won a BFL on Guntersville with a whopping 40 pounds, 11 ounces, it’s not unreasonable to expect a mid- or upper 20s bag to win this time. READ MORE »

Florida Spawn: Key on Bottom Hardness

Florida Spawn: Key on Bottom Hardness

According to FLW Pro Circuit angler Tim Frederick, who’s lived in Florida since he was 4 years old, one of the most important factors for successfully locating both spawning and staging bass in the coming weeks is bottom hardness. In most situations, the harder the bottom the better, but there’s more to it than that. READ MORE »

FLW Series Championship Returns to Lake Cumberland in 2020

FLW Series Championship Returns to Lake Cumberland in 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BURNSIDE, Ky. – FLW (Fishing League Worldwide), in conjunction with the Somerset Tourist & Convention Commission and the Burnside Tourism Commission, announced today that the 2020 FLW Series Championship will be held at Lake Cumberland in Burnside and... READ MORE »

Record-Setting Field Opens Phoenix Bass Fishing League:

Record-Setting Field Opens Phoenix Bass Fishing League:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BROOKELAND, TEXAS (Jan. 6, 2020) – The 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine opened competition Saturday at the historic Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Brookeland, Texas, and featured a record-setting field size – 230 boaters and 230 co-anglers. The season... READ MORE »

Lasyone Tops Record Field on Rayburn

Lasyone Tops Record Field on Rayburn

The 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine opened competition Saturday at the historic Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Brookeland, Texas, and featured a record-setting field size – 230 boaters and 230 co-anglers. The season opener, the largest field in more than 20 years, took off with multiple anglers left on the waiting list.  READ MORE »

Reese’s Lake Baccarac Adventure

Reese’s Lake Baccarac Adventure

With a home base of Clear Lake in California, FLW Pro Circuit pro Jimmy Reese is pretty used to phenomenal fishing. But, until Thanksgiving, he’d never sampled the bass fishing in Mexico. Now he has, thanks to a Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits trip to Lake Baccarac Lodge that turned into the trip of a lifetime and produced some truly outstanding fishing. READ MORE »

FLW Series Tournament Registration Off To An Impressive Start

FLW Series Tournament Registration Off To An Impressive Start

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BENTON, Ky. - FLW (Fishing League Worldwide) announced today that entries into the FLW Series have increased over last year, and nearly one-third of those competitors are new to the Series. In the first 43 days of tournament registration, the number of entrants into... READ MORE »

At 19, Lane Olson Isn’t Intimidated

At 19, Lane Olson Isn’t Intimidated

It’s not uncommon for a 19-year-old to pack up and move away from home to pursue independence and a career of his or her choosing. Of course, in many cases, that career is still several years away, on the other side of classes and tests and internships. READ MORE »

FLW Announces 2020 FLW Pro Circuit Roster

FLW Announces 2020 FLW Pro Circuit Roster

BENTON, Ky. – FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, announced today the 2020 FLW Pro Circuit roster. There was high demand to compete on the 2020 FLW Pro Circuit, with more than 165 anglers requesting a spot on the circuit in its first year since the acquisition by... READ MORE »

FLW, TBF Extend Strategic Partnership

FLW, TBF Extend Strategic Partnership

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BENTON, Ky. – Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) and The Bass Federation (TBF) announced today a new strategic partnership. This agreement extends bass fishing’s longest-running alliance between two pioneering organizations in service to grassroots anglers from coast to... READ MORE »

FLW Announces Schedule, Rules and Entry Dates for 2020 High School Fishing Season

FLW Announces Schedule, Rules and Entry Dates for 2020 High School Fishing Season

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BENTON, Ky. – Today FLW (Fishing League Worldwide) announced the schedule, rules and entry dates for the 2020 FLW High School Fishing season. New for 2020, the winning team (two anglers) at the National Championship will both advance to the 2020 FLW Series... READ MORE »

Phoenix Boats Signs as Exclusive Boat Sponsor of FLW

Phoenix Boats Signs as Exclusive Boat Sponsor of FLW

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BENTON, Ky. - FLW (Fishing League Worldwide) announced Tuesday that it has reached a sponsorship agreement with Phoenix Boats, a leading boat manufacturer known for innovation, performance and an angler-centric business approach. Effective... READ MORE »

FLW Announces Schedule, Rules and Entry Date For 2020 FLW College Fishing presented by YETI

FLW Announces Schedule, Rules and Entry Date For 2020 FLW College Fishing presented by YETI

BENTON, Ky. – Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) announced Thursday the schedule, rules and entry dates for the 2020 FLW College Fishing presented by YETI season, highlighted by the FLW College Fishing National Championship on the Harris Chain of Lakes in Leesburg, Florida, and advancement opportunities for anglers to compete in the Bass Fishing League (BFL) All... READ MORE »

FLW Announces Details for 2020 FLW Pro Circuit

FLW Announces Details for 2020 FLW Pro Circuit

TULSA, Okla. – Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), announced today the full details, including rules, entry dates, schedules and the location for the 2020 Championship. The circuit will feature a field of 150 pro anglers competing across seven regular-season tournaments, which culminate to the FLW TITLE. A new event, the TITLE will showcase the top 50 pros from the FLW... READ MORE »

South Carolina’s Miller Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Wild Card Tournament on Kentucky/Barkley Lakes

South Carolina’s Miller Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Wild Card Tournament on Kentucky/Barkley Lakes

GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. – Boater Michael Miller of Greenville, South Carolina, caught a two-day cumulative total of 10 bass weighing 31 pounds even to win the no-entry fee T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Wild Card tournament on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. For his efforts, Miller earned one of the final berths into the 2020 BFL All-American Championship... READ MORE »

Miller Wins Wild Card on Kentucky Lake

Miller Wins Wild Card on Kentucky Lake

Weighing limits of 15 pounds, 13 ounces on day one and 15-3 on day two, Michael Miller of Greenville, S.C., overcame a tough-fishing Kentucky Lake to win the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Wild Card and qualify for the All-American. READ MORE »

Major League Fishing Closes Acquisition of Fishing League Worldwide

Major League Fishing Closes Acquisition of Fishing League Worldwide

TULSA, Okla. - Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today that the acquisition of Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) has closed. This agreement brings together the league behind the no-entry-fee Bass Pro Tour and the largest grassroots organization... READ MORE »