UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Potomac River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Tuesday Tour Update: Mac wants supersized sophomore season

Tuesday Tour Update: Mac wants supersized sophomore season
Fifth-place pro Brandon McMillan holds up a 6-pound, 7-ounce largemouth, the largest bass from day one on Smith Lake.

Outside of south Florida, Brandon McMillan was unknown in professional bass fishing until February 2011 when he slammed 106 pounds, 10 ounces of Okeechobee bass on the scale - clinching the Walmart FLW Tour Open and the record for heaviest total tournament weight. Since then, McMillan has steadily increased his tournament scope and workload.

In 2012, "Big Mac" ventured outside the comforts of the sunshine state to fish the entire EverStart Series Southeast Division and the results were once again impressive.

"Fishing the EverStarts was a great experience," said McMillan, who took second in the Strike King Angler of the Year race. "It's a stepping-stone circuit. I got to experience several different lakes and fish against some good fishermen. It was helpful, very helpful in preparing me for the next level. I mean, there's got to be a dozen Tour pros that fish the Southeast - guys like Kreiger and Kenney. You can kind of measure yourself without paying the higher entry fees."

With that experience, the 30-year-old McMillan embarked on his rookie FLW Tour season with high hopes. He started 2013 on his home pond, but it was quickly evident that Okeechobee was fishing different and mat flipping was no longer the dominant tactic. McMillan still eked out a $10,000 check but left his home state a bit frustrated.

Brandon McMillan reties his lure.Smith Lake, stop No. 2 on the schedule, had McMillan worried as it's known for spotted bass fishing in deep, clear water - essentially a 180 from Okeechobee.

"Thankfully, the guy that owns 4x4 Bass Jigs lives about an hour from Smith. He doesn't fish it much, but he told me that they stocked Florida strain largemouths in the creek where I was staying. That's what I grew up fishing so I figured I'd start there. That worked and I just kept expanding. Throughout the week I caught them in water less than 5 feet, most were in like 2 feet of water. I would just turn the boat wherever it was blue on my Lowrance mapping - meaning flat, shallow water.

Despite bringing in only four bass, McMillan was fifth on day one with over 15 pounds - all healthy largemouths.

"On the second day of the tournament I started where I lost a great big one and saw a great big one the first day. I was burning a spinnerbait on the way into the pocket and I saw two chase the spinnerbait. So I turned around and saw three more giants coming in; they swam right past the boat. The water was still pretty cold, but they were just coming in to spawn; they had to be. I just couldn't get them to bite. If I would have used the A-rig, I would have made the top 10, there's no doubt in my mind. At the time, I just didn't know enough about it to use it. I lost some big ones that cost me that tournament, but at least I got to fish my way."

McMillan headed to northwest Arkansas determined to learn the ins and outs of the Alabama rig.

"I had a great practice at Beaver too. Within two hours I figured out I could catch them on those bluff walls with the rig. But come tournament time I couldn't get anything going. I don't know what happened, but it was very discouraging. Drew Benton went behind me and caught two giants. Christie was in that same general area. Kreiger was there and he made the top 10. Nobody did me wrong, but man it was frustrating."

The final tally at Beaver was 136th place, the first bomb of McMillan's career. From there, the season evened out and McMillan finished 53rd in the Angler of the Year race.

"My goal was to make the Cup coming in, so from that standpoint it wasn't acceptable," said the Clewiston, Fla., resident. "I mean, it was so so. I missed the Cup, but not by a lot of points. It was two keepers at Beaver Lake that kept me from the Cup. I should've done better at Grand too because all those guys were catching them flipping. And I thought I was going to do well fishing shallow at Chick. I'm not happy with it, but I don't think I'm that far off either. The goals for next year are to make a good showing on Okeechobee and to make the Cup. Other than that, making a top 10 at one of the other five would be great as I continue to just get my feet underneath me."

McMillan signals one to Tharp, but adds McMillan continues to work his day job as a driver for UPS. Ultimately, he wants to reach a point in his career where he solely focuses on fishing. However, McMillan isn't in a rush and frankly doesn't see that change as imminent.

"I've got a great job and if I walked away and fishing didn't work out I couldn't just come back. So it would have to be a really great opportunity. I'm going to keep fishing and working until something changes. To have UPS work with me on my schedule so I can fish is great."

Notes:

At the BFL Super Tournament on Lake Okeechobee in September, McMillan was involved in a dangerous head-on boating collision. He was running a pig trail lined with tall cattails and bulrush and when he rounded a blind corner, he instantly saw another boat coming directly at him.

"I hopped the head of his boat. My lower unit and engine got completely taken off by the passenger seat. Thank God he didn't have a co-angler with him. It was scary, but everybody walked away. I totaled my boat but it could have been a lot worse."

McMillan's positive news from the off season includes an announcement of three new sponsors. His wrap and title sponsor for 2014 will be Grid One Electrical Construction out of South Bay, Fla. In addition, he added Shimano and G Loomis as his reel and rods sponsors.

"With those new sponsors and my existing ones 2014 shouldn't cost me a dime in entry fees or expenses. I'm extremely grateful and happy with that."

Lastly, McMillan offered a quick Okeechobee update. He said the water levels are high (14.30), but are falling every day.

"There are a few fish spawning now, but everything seems to be late. Come Tour time, it should be good and you could see some 100-pound weights again. Saturday I had 25 or 27 pounds but then the next day they were gone."

Tags: brett-carlson  article 

Check-in Time: Brian Latimer 

Check-in Time: Brian Latimer 

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 Brian Latimer.  READ MORE »

Big Little Boats

Big Little Boats

There is a massive surge in innovation in the fishing kayak industry, as evidenced by a showroom floor packed with canoes, kayaks, boats – and, in many cases, a combination of all of them – at ICAST 2019. READ MORE »

4 Hot New Reels from ICAST

4 Hot New Reels from ICAST

2019 is the year of the trolling motor at ICAST, but it wouldn’t be ICAST without at least a few next generation reels from some of the best manufacturers in the business. READ MORE »

New Baits from ICAST 2019

New Baits from ICAST 2019

Here’s a primer on some of the baits that we thought stood out at the show. It’s not a comprehensive list. Rather, it’s just a taste of what will probably make a splash on the market in the coming months.  READ MORE »

Sign up for Polaris Sportsman Giveaway

Sign up for Polaris Sportsman Giveaway

FLW has teamed up with its partners at Polaris to give away a Polaris Sportsman® 570 EPS valued at approximately $7,799. This special giveaway offer is being shared with FLW members and fans. READ MORE »

Ouachita to host Dee Zee FLW/KBF Cup

Ouachita to host Dee Zee FLW/KBF Cup

The Dee Zee FLW/KBF Cup presented by YakAttack will feature up to 238 of the top kayak bass anglers from around the country who have qualified for the event through the FLW/KBF Kayak Open, the KBF National Championship, the KBF Trail and the KBF Pro Tour. They will be competing for a total prize package of $18,000 – a $3,000 Dee Zee gift card and $15,000 in cash. READ MORE »

Winning Baits from the 2019 FLW Tour

Winning Baits from the 2019 FLW Tour

Before we shift our focus to previewing the 2019 FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton, let’s start with a look back at the baits that were used to win the seven FLW Tour events this season. READ MORE »

First 2020 FLW Tour Invites Sent

First 2020 FLW Tour Invites Sent

Today, FLW sent out 119 invitations for the 2020 FLW Tour to the top performers from the 2019 FLW Tour. These invitations are in alignment with the 2019 FLW Tour rules that were announced last summer that transitioned the Tour to a qualification system, as well as one amendment made to accommodate changes in the pro bass fishing industry. The amendment was announced to pros at the registration meeting for the season finale on Lake Champlain last week. READ MORE »

2019 FLW Cup Roster

2019 FLW Cup Roster

With Casey Scanlon’s win at Lake Champlain in the books – not to mention the crowning of David Dudley as Angler of the Year for the fourth time and Ron Nelson as Polaris Rookie of the Year – the 2019 FLW Tour season is complete. Now, focus turns to Hot Springs, Ark., and the 2019 FLW Cup August 9-11. READ MORE »

Cortiana Recovering from Wreck

Cortiana Recovering from Wreck

Oklahoma pro Kyle Cortiana was involved in an accident near Indianapolis on his way home from the FLW Tour event at Lake Champlain on Saturday. He has since been released from of a local hospital and is now in a hotel room recovering and waiting for a ride home to the Sooner State.  READ MORE »

Melissa Browne’s First Look at Champlain

Melissa Browne’s First Look at Champlain

When Browne passed away last month after a difficult fight with cancer, there was one item on his list with regard to Champlain that remained unchecked. And it had nothing to do with actually competing there.  Glenn never got to take his wife, Melissa, to visit Champlain and spend time together in the Adirondack region. She’s remedying the situation this week by participating in the FLW Marshal program. READ MORE »

Jonathan Henry, 1982-2019

Jonathan Henry, 1982-2019

Professional angler Jonathan Henry of Grant, Ala., lost his battle with cancer today. He was 36 years old. READ MORE »

Check-in Time: Buddy Gross

Check-in Time: Buddy Gross

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 Buddy Gross.  READ MORE »

FLW Spain Championship Recap

FLW Spain Championship Recap

The 2019 FLW Spain Championship took place June 1-2 in the waters of the Garcia Sola reservoir. The event, which was the qualifying route to the Costa FLW Series Championship, was hosted by the municipality of Herrera del Duque. The team of Mario Sánchez and Juan Luis Sánchez topped the field with a total weight of 19 pounds, 9 ounces. READ MORE »

Check-in Time: David Williams 

Check-in Time: David Williams 

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 David Williams. READ MORE »

Reserve Your FLW Cup VIP Pass Now

Reserve Your FLW Cup VIP Pass Now

If you’re an FLW member, now is the time to start planning your trip to Hot Springs, Ark., for the 2019 FLW Cup Aug. 9-11. Act now to take advantage of special members-only VIP benefits by signing up for a special VIP pass. READ MORE »

Cox and Dudley on their AOY Chances

Cox and Dudley on their AOY Chances

Every angler starts his season with the hope of being in contention for AOY by the final tournament. Mathematically, only a handful of anglers are still in it this year, but realistically, as the FLW Tour heads to its final stop of 2019 at Lake Champlain, it’s a two-angler race. READ MORE »

Rapala Varsity Bass Premieres at 2 p.m. CT

Rapala Varsity Bass Premieres at 2 p.m. CT

The long-awaited premiere of Rapala Varsity Bass is here. In Episode 1, college fishing competitor Tyler Anderson takes on Lake Texoma. Along the way, Tyler offers an intimate portrait into his life as a YouTuber, tournament angler and senior at Texas A&M. READ MORE »

Check-in Time: Josh Douglas

Check-in Time: Josh Douglas

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 Josh Douglas.  READ MORE »

Bass Fishing's in the Blood for Swanson Brothers

Bass Fishing's in the Blood for Swanson Brothers

You could debate whether it’s nature or nurture that starts an angler toward success in tournament bass fishing. In the case of Thor and Mitchell Swanson, the answer is both.  READ MORE »