UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Potomac River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

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 

Curveballs at the Cup

Curveballs at the Cup

When the field of 52 anglers arrived in Hot Springs, Ark., for the official practice period for the 2019 FLW Cup, they were greeted with sunshine, humidity and brutal daytime temperatures in the upper 90s. Early in the week, there was little mention of anything other than the same – a typical Arkansas summer forecast of sunny and hot. READ MORE »

Slow Down in Brush for More Success

Slow Down in Brush for More Success

Many times, hitting as many brush piles as possible is the key to success, with Bryan Thrift’s 2015 FLW Tour win on Lake Eufaula serving as a prime example of that strategy. However, with the fishing pretty tough on Lake Hamilton, both Wade Strelic and Joel Willert turned to more methodical approaches to generate bites. READ MORE »

Lawyer Loads Up on Cover Cash and Bonus Bucks at Cup

Lawyer Loads Up on Cover Cash and Bonus Bucks at Cup

Jeremy Lawyer’s fourth-place finish at the FLW Cup on Arkansas’ Lake Hamilton was enough to earn him an extra $1,000 from LEER Cover Cash and $3,500 from Toyota Bonus Bucks. The third year FLW Tour pro used a two-prong approach of fishing shallow with a topwater and probing deep brush piles with a drop-shot to notch his best finish to date in the Cup. READ MORE »

Rapala Varsity Bass Set to Air Wednesday

Rapala Varsity Bass Set to Air Wednesday

The second episode of Rapala Varsity Bass presented by General Tire will air today at 2 p.m. CT. In Episode 2, Noah Ezickson and his teammate Connor Walsh journey to the fabled Alabama fishery of Lake Guntersville. Utilizing his diverse fishing experience from his travels around the world, can the Wake Forest University team qualify for the 2020 YETI FLW College Fishing Championship? READ MORE »

FLW Marshal Don White Wins New Ranger Boat

FLW Marshal Don White Wins New Ranger Boat

Angler Don White of Columbus, Mississippi, was announced as the first winner of a brand new Ranger Z521 courtesy of the FLW Marshal Program. READ MORE »

Henderson Holds Steady to Take FLW-KBF Cup Crown

Henderson Holds Steady to Take FLW-KBF Cup Crown

Even with day-one leader Eric Jackson taking a massive lead into the final day of competition and 70 more of the best kayak anglers on the planet behind him, Clint Henderson did what he said he was going to do. He won the Dee Zee FLW/KBF Cup presented by YakAttack and the $15,000 top prize. READ MORE »

Jackson Crushes on Day One of FLW-KBF Cup

Jackson Crushes on Day One of FLW-KBF Cup

Eric Jackson is simply a hammer fishing from a kayak. The FLW Tour pro and owner of Jackson Kayak is fresh off an individual and team gold-medal-winning performance in the 2019 Pan Am Bass Kayak Championship (not to mention a third-place finish in the final 2019 FLW Tour event on Lake Champlain), and his five-fish limit of 98.25 inches on day one of the Dee Zee FLW/KBF Cup presented by YakAttack puts him in stellar position to earn another victory on Saturday. READ MORE »

2020 FLW Tour Schedule

2020 FLW Tour Schedule

FLW announced today its regular-season schedule for the 25th season of the FLW Tour, which kicks off in January 2020. The schedule was revealed to anglers and media at the annual pre-FLW Cup banquet in Hot Springs, Ark. READ MORE »

Alan Reed Dishes on FLW-KBF Cup Practice

Alan Reed Dishes on FLW-KBF Cup Practice

We caught up with Reed after his practice on Wednesday to get the scoop on how Ouachita is fishing and what the outlook is for the two-day event that begins Friday and runs concurrently with the FLW Cup on neighboring Lake Hamilton. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for the Cup

FLW Live Schedule for the Cup

FLW Live will air all three days of the FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton, beginning with on-the-water coverage Friday, Aug. 9. READ MORE »

McCaghren Lives Out Childhood Baseball Dream

McCaghren Lives Out Childhood Baseball Dream

FLW Tour pro Billy McCaghren, who’ll be competing in the FLW Cup this week at Lake Hamilton, says his childhood dream was not to be a pro bass angler. He wanted to play professional baseball. Well, this week, the Mayflower, Ark., angler gets to dabble in both professions. The 2019 FLW Cup qualifier will compete on Lake Hamilton in front of what is practically a hometown crowd, and last night he was honored for his fishing accomplishments by the Arkansas Travelers baseball team, which invited McCaghren to throw out the first pitch in a game against the Springfield Cardinals. READ MORE »

By the Numbers: 2019 FLW Cup

By the Numbers: 2019 FLW Cup

The FLW Cup is a week away, and 52 of the best bass anglers on the planet are all gearing up for a chance at the $300,000 top prize and a slice of bass fishing immortality. READ MORE »

Meet FLW Pros at Pro Day This Weekend

Meet FLW Pros at Pro Day This Weekend

FLW has teamed up with Bass Pro Shops and Greeson’s Polaris to host four Pro Day events on Saturday, Aug. 3. Fans can take photos and get autographs from the pros, or just talk fishing and get some in-store tackle-buying advice.  READ MORE »

From the All-American to the Cup

From the All-American to the Cup

Brennon McCord is a self-described quiet, easygoing guy, but the 22-year-old T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League All-American champion hopes to make some Lake Hamilton noise in his first FLW Cup appearance. For the moment, understandably so, he’s still basking in the afterglow of a victory that earned what he calls the biggest honor of his career. READ MORE »

FLW Cup Predictions

FLW Cup Predictions

With the FLW Cup just a little over a week away on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark., anticipation is starting to grow. We wrangled several FLW staff members and FLW Tour pros who aren’t fishing this year’s Cup and asked them to give their take on who will win and how it’ll be done, along with any other prediction they have. READ MORE »

How Brad Knight Plans to Win the Cup

How Brad Knight Plans to Win the Cup

Brad Knight’s life changed forever in Hot Springs. In 2015, the Tennessee pro won the FLW Cup on Lake Ouachita, earning $500,000 and thrusting himself into the pro bass fishing spotlight. Now that he knows just what a Cup win can do for a tournament angler’s career, Knight is even more motivated to win the title again, which he’ll have a chance to do Aug. 9-11 on Lake Hamilton, right back in Hot Springs, Ark.  READ MORE »

Thrift Eyeing Final Feather in His Cap

Thrift Eyeing Final Feather in His Cap

Another year, another FLW Cup. Which means, once more, one of the top storylines going into the championship is, “Will this be the year Bryan Thrift finally wins it?” When you have the pedigree of Thrift – arguably the top angler in the sport – it’s bound to come up. After all, he’s won Rookie of the Year, two Angler of the Year titles (and finished in the top 10 another 11 times) and 11 tournaments (six tour, five Costa FLW Series). READ MORE »

Previewing Dee Zee FLW-KBF Cup

Previewing Dee Zee FLW-KBF Cup

For the first time ever, FLW and Kayak Bass Fishing (KBF) have joined forces for the championship of kayak bass fishing. Running in conjunction with the 2019 FLW Cup (on nearby Lake Hamilton), the FLW-KBF Cup will feature a stacked field of qualifying anglers all vying to take home a top prize of between $15,000 and $25,000, depending on final field size. READ MORE »

Training Future Pros at Summer Camp 

Training Future Pros at Summer Camp 

There were more than a dozen FLW pros in attendance for the first round of lakeside seminars at the Costa FLW High School Fishing Campthis morning. But within the crowd, chances are high that there are at least a couple dozen more future pros among the 230 high schoolers who traveled to Kentucky Lake to attend the camp.  It’s clear from the level of knowledge and experience the campers have exhibited during the seminars that these are some of the more accomplished high school anglers in the country. Their dedication is obvious, too. Campers came from as far away as Nevada, California, Vermont and even Montreal.  READ MORE »

300 Campers Headed for Murray State

300 Campers Headed for Murray State

On Wednesday, 230 high school students and 70 adults (coaches, parents and club advisors) from as far west as California and as far north as Vermont will gather at Murray State University in western Kentucky for the second annual Costa FLW High School Fishing Camp. That’s nearly double the number of participants from last year’s inaugural camp. READ MORE »