UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Norman

Tuesday Tour Update: Q&A with Wesley Strader

Tuesday Tour Update: Q&A with Wesley Strader
Walmart pro Wesley Strader culling.

(Editor's note: Moving forward, FLWOutdoors.com will be unveiling a host of new editorial content focusing exclusively on FLW Tour pros. The latest in that effort is a feature entitled "10 Questions" where FLW editors will attempt to pick the minds of FLW Tour pros by posing questions ranging from the serious to the light-hearted. The ultimate goal is for readers to get to know the thoughts, opinions and personalities of some of the best anglers the sport has to offer.)

10 Questions with Wesley Strader

How's this offseason been for you so far? Have you been staying busy?

Walmart team pro Wesley Strader shows off his catch."Well I'm just getting over a boat crash that happened at a recent BASS Open (Ross Barnett Reservoir). My boat was damaged and I dinged myself up pretty good. I have some facial damage but it definitely could have been a whole lot worse. I've never had anything like this happen to me before. Basically, it was one of those freak deals. I wasn't going that fast, maybe 45 mph max, but I wound up hitting one of those big channel marker poles. My boat got banged up pretty good and I'm still waiting on what my insurance company is going to tell me, but I think I'm probably going to need a new hull. On the plus side, my bruises are finally starting to go away and it really could have been a whole lot worse.

As far as fishing goes, I've still been trying to fish as much as I can. I've probably fished three or four tournaments since the Cup. I'm also getting ready for the upcoming hunting season - deer season and duck season. Other than that, I've been working on some sponsor things, you know how that goes. But I have some exciting sponsor stuff in the works so we'll just have to see what happens."

Which venues are you looking forward to fishing in 2014?

"Of course I'm looking forward to the Tennessee River tournaments (Pickwick Lake and Kentucky Lake) but I'm also really looking forward to that Sam Rayburn tournament. I've fished that lake a bunch of times before but I've never fished it in March so I'm kind of interested to see how that goes."

What do you think of the upcoming Tour schedule in general?

"For the most part, this year's Tour schedule really suits my style of fishing. I think the one thing that I'd say is that the Kentucky Lake tournament will probably be a little tough for me because it's later in the season (June) than I would have liked. By that time, the fish won't be bunched up in big schools so it'll be a little more challenging for me. I'd much rather have been there in May so I could be flipping bushes. But overall, I really like the schedule and I'm looking forward to it."

Are you planning on fishing any of the EverStart Series divisions this year?

Walmart team pro Wesley Strader mugs for the camera en route to a 19th-place finish after the second day of Cup competition."I'm planning on fishing the EverStart Series Southeast Division. But that being said, what I don't think most people realize is that the travel expenses are exactly the same whether you're fishing a Tour event, an EverStart or whatever. So when I leave the house, I'm (automatically) spending at least $1,500 - sometimes $2,000 - on travel. So to make a living you really have to make sure you bring home those $10,000 checks consistently. I'm not saying I can't win an EverStart, but it really helps (financially) if you can. So making a decision on which (EverStart) events to fish isn't always that easy."

What's your take on the recent news that the FLW Tour was banning the A-rig?

"I didn't have a problem with the A-rig (per se) but to me, the real (issue) is that it really takes a physical toll on a lot of people because there are some physical limitations for some of the guys - especially in summer when you're throwing those 10-ounce heads. Throwing that bait time after time can lead to shoulder problems so it can be a (taxing) bait to throw. A prime example is Larry Nixon. He just can't throw that bait all day long for four or five days in a row (due to physical limitations) and he's one of the best anglers out there.

Another issue is that the A-rig, at least for me, was kind of like defensive fishing. There were times when I knew I had to throw it just to give myself a chance to win. It's definitely a big-fish catching bait. But personally, when you start putting 10, 12, 15 baits on the A-rig it starts getting a little excessive. It just takes away from fishing. To me it really takes away from the guys who really know how to dissect a lake. It takes away the professional aspect of fishing as well. So I'm happy the change was made."

What's the most overused or most annoying cliche in bass fishing?

"At least you didn't zero ..."

What music are you listening to these days?

"I listen to a lot of different stuff. I listen to contemporary Christian music, alternative and I-hate-my-mom-and-dad type of music - not that I hate my mom and dad. I like to listen to groups like the Black Keys, Soundgarden and Audioslave. But I really like a lot of different types of music."

As one of the veterans on Tour, what's the one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you first started out?

Wesley Strader shares a quick laugh before takeoff. "Patience - specifically not giving up on a certain area too soon. I also wish I'd had more patience with a few baits when I first (got exposed) to them. I had a ChatterBait in my hands three years before Bryan Thrift and Andy Montgomery ever came along. So I kind of regret not sticking with that bait when it was first introduced to me. I probably threw that bait 10 times when I first got it and thought it was the biggest piece of junk that I'd ever seen in my life. So obviously I was completely wrong about that. But there have been plenty of other winning baits that I didn't have enough patience with at the beginning that I wished I had taken more time to learn - especially that ChatterBait. (In retrospect) there are so many possible ways to fish a ChatterBait and since I've learned how to fish it, it's opened a lot of new doors for me. I guess I just wish that I'd adapted a lot sooner than I did because I really would have had a leg up on the competition."

Once you realize you're not in a position to win an FLW Tour event, who do you quietly root for?

"You know, there are a lot of guys I'd like to see win, Michael Neal for one. I'd also like to see my best friend Shad Schenck win - just my friends in general. We have kind of a tight-knit group of guys that (pull for each other) so I'm always rooting for guys like Scott Suggs, Jason Christie, Andy Morgan and Brent Ehler - guys like that. So I can't really narrow it down to just one."

What is the one technique, if any, that you'd like to improve upon?

"I'd probably have to say fishing in deep, clear water. I'd really like to improve upon my ability to look at a fish on a graph and know if they're going to bite."

Tags: gary-mortenson  article 

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 3

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 3

It is the final day here at the Toyota Series Western Division event on Clear Lake and another beautiful day with the top 10 pros and co-anglers trying their best to take home the title. READ MORE »

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 2

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 2

The second day of the Toyota Series Western Division event on Clear Lake began with slightly cooler weather, but it has turned into a beautiful day here in the Golden State. READ MORE »

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 1

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 1

The first day of the Toyota Series Western Division event on Clear Lake started with calm conditions and pleasant weather. Some of the anglers surveyed today were struggling to get bites and others seem to have the fishing dialed in. It appears to be feast or famine so far, but there will be some solid bags crossing the stage starting at 3 p.m. PT this afternoon. READ MORE »

TITLE Coming to the Mississippi

TITLE Coming to the Mississippi

FLW and Explore La Crosse announced Thursday that the 2021 Tackle Warehouse TITLE, the Pro Circuit Championship, will be held Aug. 17-22, 2021, on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Although FLW’s top championship has been held on the Mississippi River once before – in Moline, Illinois in 1998 – this event marks the first time that FLW has hosted its premier event in La Crosse. READ MORE »

Fish Northern Rivers for Smallmouth

Fish Northern Rivers for Smallmouth

From the Mississippi River to the Peshtigo River, Wisconsin and the surrounding region has miles of flowing water chock full of smallmouth bass. In the recent Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota, Matt Stefan targeted rivers flowing into Green Bay for the majority of his catch, and in doing so, he was able to tap into a skillset that he’s groomed for years on the Wisconsin River and other flowages near him. READ MORE »

2021 Toyota Series Championship Hits Pickwick

2021 Toyota Series Championship Hits Pickwick

FLW and the Hardin County Convention & Visitors Bureau announced Wednesday that Counce, Tennessee, will host the prestigious 2021 Toyota Series Championship, Oct. 28-30, 2021, on Pickwick Lake. READ MORE »

Annual Bass Fishing Hall of Fame Auction Goes Digital

Annual Bass Fishing Hall of Fame Auction Goes Digital

The Bass Fishing Hall of Fame is excited to announce its first Digital Hall of Fame Week, which will be anchored by a massive online auction offering up an incredible selection of fishing-related items not available elsewhere. READ MORE »

2021 All-American Heads to Douglas

2021 All-American Heads to Douglas

FLW announced Tuesday that the 38th annual Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American will be held on Tennessee’s Douglas Lake in 2021. READ MORE »

2021 National Championship set for Grand

2021 National Championship set for Grand

FLW announced Monday that the 12th annual Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship will be held on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees in 2021. The tournament, slated for March 3-5, showcases the nation’s best collegiate anglers and awards the winners a $33,500 prize package, including a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard and automatic entry into the 2021 Toyota Series Championship where they will compete for a top prize of up to $235,000. READ MORE »

Dardanelle Midday Update – Day 3

Dardanelle Midday Update – Day 3

Championship Saturday of the Toyota Series Plains Division opener at Lake Dardanelle presented by Fish-Intel followed its pattern of the week with anglers failing to capitalize on sparse opportunities. READ MORE »

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 3

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 3

With the wind laying down a bit, the top 10 anglers in the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River have been able to go wherever they pleased today. With crisp morning temperatures, plenty of sun and a north wind, the conditions have largely been quite good, with mixed results from the anglers. READ MORE »

Dardanelle Midday Update – Day 2

Dardanelle Midday Update – Day 2

Anglers said Thursday that current didn’t matter during the first round of the Toyota Series Plains Division opener presented by Fish-Intel at Lake Dardanelle, but apparently it matters more than they thought. READ MORE »

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 2

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 2

With strong wind from the north again, the Toyota Series Northern Division field was again confined to the actual Detroit River. On day one, the fishing was quite good, and several pros crossed the 20-pound mark and plenty of limits hit the scales. Today, things seem a little tougher. READ MORE »

Tommy Skarlis, 1965-2020

Tommy Skarlis, 1965-2020

FLW learned today that former FLW Walleye pro Tommy Skarlis of Denver, Iowa, passed away after a battle with brain cancer. He was 55. READ MORE »

Smith Wins Southeastern AOY

Smith Wins Southeastern AOY

Originally from Wisconsin and sometimes wearing a Green Bay Packers hoodie on stage, Dustin Smith doesn’t fit the mold of Toyota Series Southeastern Division Strike King Angler of the Year. Still, Smith hammered out a pair of top 10s and a 27th-place showing en route to the title, and his style of fishing was simply perfect for this season in the Southeastern Division. READ MORE »

Potomac Midday Update – Day 3

Potomac Midday Update – Day 3

Clouds have lingered throughout the morning, which most of the top 10 were thankful for as the bite has been better than it was during practice when conditions were calm and sunny. READ MORE »

Potomac Midday Update – Day 2

Potomac Midday Update – Day 2

Clouds once again greeted the field for day two of the Toyota Series Eastern Division event on the Potomac River and the fish were biting this morning. With low tide this morning around 8:40 a.m. ET – about an hour and a half later than yesterday – more anglers had time to capitalize on the strong bite revolving around that window today. READ MORE »

Potomac Midday Update – Day 1

Potomac Midday Update – Day 1

It was a gloomy start to the first day of competition for the Toyota Series Eastern Division event on the Potomac River, and though it seems like a fishy day, so far the fish don’t seem to think so. READ MORE »

2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Schedule

2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Schedule

The 26th season of FLW’s top professional circuit will feature six regular-season tournaments showcasing the best 150 anglers in the world competing for as much as $135,000 in a five-biggest-fish format on top bass fisheries at peak times. The 2020 season culminates in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit TITLE presented by Toyota, where the top 50 pros will compete for as much as $235,000 in a catch, weigh, immediate-release format. READ MORE »

Wheeler's Wheelhouse

Wheeler's Wheelhouse

The past 20 months of Jacob Wheeler’s fishing career have been nothing less than incredible. In 2020 alone, the MLF pro notched a Bass Pro Tour win on Lake Eufaula, an FLW Toyota Series victory on Pickwick Lake, and dominated the first-ever FLW Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga. READ MORE »