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

ROY Update: Lake Chickamauga

ROY Update: Lake Chickamauga
Miles Burghoff

We didn’t bother with an update on the Polaris FLW Tour Rookie of the Year race after the fifth stop of the FLW Tour season at Cherokee Lake. At that point, Miles "Sonar" Burghoff had the overall lead in the AOY standings and a 108-point lead for ROY. It looked like it was locked up.

That’s no longer the case. Fellow rookies Bradford Beavers and Ron Nelson are less than 40 points behind Burghoff, meaning the young pro will need to catch ’em at the season finale at Lake Champlain to win the title that had looked like it was his all along. If he does, Burghoff will take home the trophy and a Polaris Sportsman 570. If he doesn’t, Beavers or Nelson might be able to sneak up on him and steal the title at the buzzer.

Here’s a look at the three contenders for the title.

Complete standings

 

Miles Burghoff

Miles Burghoff – 971 points

Finishing 117th at Chickamauga dropped Burghoff out of the Angler of the Year race and back into the ROY race. After finishing 46th or better in every other Tour event, Chickamauga was essentially the only time all season that the rookie has stubbed his toe, and it was his worst finish ever in a multi-day tournament. Now he needs to prove he can come back strong at Champlain.

Burghoff doesn’t need to do too much to lock up the title. He leads Beavers by 31 points, so making the day-three top-30 cut would do it. Even a finish in the 40s might get the job done.

Burghoff has fished Champlain for Bassmaster Opens twice before, in 2014 and 2018, and he finished 41st or better both times. Of course, both those events were held in the late summer, as opposed to the late spring. The Champlain he’ll see this time around isn’t going to be the same as the one he’s got experience on. Even so, he ought to be able to adjust, and maintaining his average should safely lock the award away.

 

Bradford Beavers

Bradford Beavers – 940 points

We’ve been looking forward to Beavers’ debut on Tour for a while now, and his year so far has more than lived up to the promise he showed in the Costa FLW Series and the FLW Cup. Finishing 121st at Sam Rayburn was an awful start to the year, but since then, Beavers has rolled, finishing 54th at Lake Toho and then banking a pair of top-10 finishes at Seminole and Grand Lake. Now, with one to go, Beavers is just 31 points off the ROY lead and basically locked into the FLW Cup.

After winning the Costa FLW Series event on Santee Cooper and then making the cut in the Tour event on Chickamauga, Beavers is heading up to Champlain with a lot of momentum. He may need it all, because it’s going to be his first-ever trip there.

The South Carolina rookie has shown himself to be more than adaptable through the years, and he’s got a real affinity for grass fishing, but Champlain is a lot of water to figure out in a few days. If he does figure it out and Burghoff stumbles a little, Beavers will have accomplished something awfully impressive.

 

Ron Nelson

Ron Nelson – 932 points

In much the same way Scott Martin is lurking in the AOY race, Nelson is circling like a shark in the ROY race. Just 39 points back, Nelson has fished four Costa FLW Series events on Champlain. Two were in mid-July, and he finished 62nd and 36th. The others were in June of 2017 and 2018, and Nelson won them both. He’s one of the favorites at the finale.

On Tour, Nelson has turned it on recently, knocking out a 16th-place showing at Cherokee, and earning his first top 10 and leading day three at Chickamauga. That surge has pushed him from a solid rookie season into range of ROY.

Having fished the Northern Division of the Costa FLW Series for five years and never finished outside of the top 10 in AOY, Nelson has more Northern experience than Beavers and Burghoff combined. He’s undoubtedly got a big advantage in history and comfort up north over the rookies ahead of him. However, finishing 120th at Sam Rayburn and 74th at Grand Lake is going to require some heroics to overcome, and he’s gonna need a little help from the leaders. But, it’s not inconceivable that Nelson could end up fishing on Sunday with an ROY and a win on the line.

 

Here’s how the top 10 rookies sit in the overall AOY standings:

10. Miles Burghoff – 971 points

13. Bradford Beavers – 940 points

15. Ron Nelson – 932 points

28. Wade Strelic – 857 points

31. Dakota Ebare – 844 points

32. Joel Willert – 844 points

37. Tyler Woolcott – 830 points

39. Ryan Salzman – 826 points

41. Dickey Newberry – 821 points

44. Nick LeBrun – 807 points

Complete standings

Tags: miles-burghoff  -sonar  -bradford-beavers  -ron-nelson  jody-white  post-tournament  2019-05-02-lake-chickamauga 

How to Prep Like a Pro

How to Prep Like a Pro

When it comes to getting ready for a season of tournaments, there are plenty of ways to do it. But, there’s no denying that for most people, being prepared will lead to better performance on the water. READ MORE »

2020 Harris Chain Preview

2020 Harris Chain Preview

One of the most fun places FLW visits, the Harris Chain is a collection of lakes in central Florida that includes Lake Harris, Lake Apopka, Lake Griffin, Lake Eustis, Lake Dora, Lake Carlton, Horseshoe Lake, Little Lake Harris, Lake Denham and Lake Beauclair. In all, the pros have the run of 10 lakes, plus the myriad residential canals, rivers and backwaters that spread out off of them. READ MORE »

2020 Lake Hartwell Preview

2020 Lake Hartwell Preview

Built on the Savannah, Tugaloo and Seneca rivers on the border of South Carolina and Georgia, Lake Hartwell is a fairly typical example of a Southeastern spotted bass and largemouth fishery. Though there are shad and bream, the primary forage is blueback herring. Hartwell has very little vegetation outside of flooded dog fennel, and the primary cover types are docks, rock, shoreline wood, brush and cane piles. READ MORE »

2020 Detroit River Preview

2020 Detroit River Preview

Though the Pro Circuit finale takes off from the Detroit River, that’s hardly the only place the pros will be fishing. Takeoff is near the southern mouth of the river, giving pros easy access to the west end of Lake Erie. At the other end of the river is Lake St. Clair, which has been home to some of the most epic smallmouth beatdowns on record in recent years. READ MORE »

New Challenges, New Opportunities

New Challenges, New Opportunities

Now with 2019 in the rear-view mirror, 2020 is in the crosshairs, and I look forward to the challenges ahead. With the rebranding of the Tour to the new FLW Pro Circuit, there are some great new opportunities that both fans and competitors will benefit from. READ MORE »

Bulldog Division Kicks off at Lake Lanier

Bulldog Division Kicks off at Lake Lanier

Perhaps the hottest spotted bass lake in the East, Lanier should be rocking for the Bulldog Division opener. With lots of plump wintertime spotted bass coming to the scale, along with some largemouths, it would be no surprise to see a winning weight in excess of 20 pounds.   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 »

Check-In Time: Matt Becker

Check-In Time: Matt Becker

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with Matt Becker.  READ MORE »

The Top 19 Stories of 2019

The Top 19 Stories of 2019

From the beginning, 2019 was a good year of fishing. The FLW Tour got off to a rollicking start on Sam Rayburn, and it really stayed pretty great from there, with a lot of good fishing and a killer Angler of the Year race. Beyond the Tour, all the other circuits had plenty of highlights, too. We saw impressive feats accomplished at all levels and some very exciting individual events. READ MORE »

The Top 50 Stories of the Decade - Part 2

The Top 50 Stories of the Decade - Part 2

From start to finish, the last decade was a wild ride for fishing. The top stories are amazingly diverse, with huge business changes, some incredible tournament feats, and entirely new techniques and lures taking center stage. READ MORE »

The Top 50 Stories of the Decade

The Top 50 Stories of the Decade

From start to finish, the last decade was a wild ride for fishing. The top stories are amazingly diverse, with huge business changes, some incredible tournament feats, and entirely new techniques and lures taking center stage. 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 »

Woolcott Ready for Year-Two Rebound

Woolcott Ready for Year-Two Rebound

When Tyler Woolcott headed out on Sam Rayburn in January 2019 for his first day of competition as an FLW Tour pro, he took off sandwiched between Brad Knight and Bryan Thrift, two pros starting their 11th and 13th seasons at the front of the boat. In stark contrast, Woolcott was beginning his pro career without having fished as a boater at any level of FLW competition. READ MORE »

How to Fish Offshore Grass in Florida

How to Fish Offshore Grass in Florida

In recent years, fishing a lipless bait, a spinnerbait or a vibrating jig in offshore grass in Florida has lit up the leaderboard in many tournaments. Tyler Woolcott, a second-year pro from Port Orange, Fla., has plenty of experience tracking the bass in offshore grass throughout the seasons, and you might be able to learn a thing or two from him. READ MORE »

How to Catch Winter Bass on Hair Jigs

How to Catch Winter Bass on Hair Jigs

“It’s hard to pass up smallmouths in the winter,” Slegona says. “When they get bunched up out there you can have a lights-out day. So, when that water temp drops below 50, I break out the hair jig box, and I put it away again in the spring when the water gets warm.” READ MORE »

Less Stress and More Fun

Less Stress and More Fun

After qualifying for the FLW Tour out of the FLW Series Northern Division for the second time in 2018, Slegona finally had the money lined up and hit the big leagues. So, he pointed his Tundra and Skeeter toward Texas in December to start an adventure that was a lifetime in the making. READ MORE »

Make a Tiny Swimbait Your Winter Go-To

Make a Tiny Swimbait Your Winter Go-To

Wintertime and late fall fishing can be super fun, especially up north, when smallmouths are often fat and fairly grouped up. However, it’s not the time of year when you want a ton of rods on deck, and having a confidence bait or two is a must. For Casey Smith, the go-to winter weapon is super simple: a little bitty swimbait on a jighead. 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 »

How to Rock Fall Largemouths

How to Rock Fall Largemouths

Smith says that the best time for fall largemouth fishing happens after the first big cold snap, when the water finally drops below 60 degrees.   READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Cumberland

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Cumberland

Smallmouths dominated at the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland. Oklahoma’s Andrew Upshaw led the way with brown bass caught on a jig and a Ned rig on bluff bank transitions in the reservoir’s lower end. Behind him, only a couple of pros hedged their bets on targeting largemouths. The rest fished for smallies and considered green bass to be bonus fish and spotted bass to be limit fillers on the tough days. READ MORE »