UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - James River

SOAR Derby a Success

SOAR Derby a Success
Jacob Bagget

(Editor’s Note: The writer's opinions and observations expressed here are his own, and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views, policies or positions of FLW.)

Fishing is a sport that is absolutely filled with many traditions. However, no one can argue that the greatest tradition in fishing is the constant quest to expose others to our great sport.

Be it children or adults, we all want others to be able to experience the pure joy that we feel when hooked up and battling a fish that we have worked so hard for.

As many people know, I have been representing Special Olympics of Arkansas (SOAR) all over the country this year while on the Walmart FLW Tour. On Tour, I have tried to do my part to help raise awareness for our athletes and furthermore help them reach their goals, as so many people helped me reach mine.

Cody Calhoon

Having the opportunity to represent SOAR this year was an absolutely amazing experience, but the folks at SOAR and I wanted to do a little more for the athletes directly. These athletes work so hard throughout the year to stay at a competitive level, and we thought it would be great to give them a taste of a little different type of competition: a fishing tournament.

Not only did we want the excitement of competition to be present, but also the full experience of a championship. Thus, there was no larger or better event to partner with than the Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing.

At first, this was all just a pie in the sky idea, or so we thought. We were absolutely amazed by the support of FLW and the FLW Foundation when we came to them with the idea of having a fishing derby for the athletes of SOAR. They went so far out of their way to help us gain the supplies we needed from companies like DMF Bait and Steinhauser rods (makers of Kid Casters and The No Tangler) and help us make sure everything was perfect for our athletes.

Jacob Bagget

The FLW Foundation Special Olympics Fishing Derby was an absolute success, with 45 of our athletes competing for the chance to be crowned champion on the largest stage in fishing. An urban fishing area, which had been stocked by the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, was lined with athletes that couldn’t stop smiling as they continuously reeled in their catch. Jacob Bagget, age 30, of Bryant, Ark. was crowned the champion.

It is so amazing to watch the fishing community come together for causes like this. So many volunteers from the community come out to help, along with fellow FLW angler Nicole Jacobs and G2 Gemini rep Mike Schnupp. Three generations of my family were present to help with this event and the expo, and it produced great memories for all of us. 

My family, as well as the SOAR family, simply cannot thank the people of FLW, Steinhauser, DMF Bait and the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission enough. Without your support, none of this would have been possible. We have many exciting events for 2016, and I thank all of our supporters for partnering us this year and in the future.

Tags: special-olympics  cody-kelley  blog 

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My plan going into the Mississippi River event is pretty simple. I’m going to have four rods on the deck of my boat: Two flipping sticks and two frog rods. In my experience in western Wisconsin, that’s what will work the best for me to get big bites. READ MORE »

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Renewed Excitement for Super Tournaments

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My Line-Thru Addiction

My Line-Thru Addiction

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Making the Most of Quarantine

Making the Most of Quarantine

At the beginning of this year I was excited about the opportunity to fish the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and the Bassmaster Elite Series. I was most excited about fishing the spawn in March and April on some of my favorite lakes. When the schedules for both circuits were first released I was feeling very confident about doing some sight-fishing on Santee Cooper, Eufaula and Lake Hartwell. READ MORE »

The Real Reason I love Spring

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Encouraging the Next Generation

Encouraging the Next Generation

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Picking out a New Favorite Rod

Picking out a New Favorite Rod

When selecting a new rod, I consider several elements: action, power, length and components.  Different rods will fit the role, depending on the type of lure, cover and fish species you are targeting. READ MORE »

Always Go Down Swinging

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Greg Bohannan's late father, Kenny, taught his sons to never take a third strike looking. "If you take the pitch and don't swing, you never give yourself a chance," he'd say. With that lesson in mind, Greg took his cuts at Lake Martin and gave himself a shot to win. Even though it didn't work out, he knows that at least he went down swinging. READ MORE »

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Why You Should Reel with Both Hands

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Carrying Momentum into Florida

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Despite the solid start to the year, and the confidence that comes with overcoming adversity, Miles Burghoff knows very well how a good start to a season can either create positive momentum, or open the door to complacency, which often can result in a loss of motivation and focus. With the Harris Chain event kicking off this week, he's determined to keep that focus and motivation. READ MORE »

New Year, Same Feel

New Year, Same Feel

Ending 2019 on a bad note wasn’t how I pictured last season going. I was in contention to qualify for the FLW Cup going into the last FLW Tour event on Lake Champlain, but after coming in 97th at the finale I finished the season 51st in the Angler of the Year points and missed my chance for the Cup. Not going to lie, it stung a little bit and made for a LONG drive home, but it also made me hungry for 2020. READ MORE »

Vlog: Rayburn Recap, Practice to Pattern

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Why You Shouldn’t Second-Guess Your Gut

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In tournament fishing, you can beat yourself up for days with the “what if” scenarios that cause you to second-guess your gut. Well, in this case, I guessed wrong. I finished the Lake Champlain event in 145th place. It knocked me all the way down to 60th in points and out of Cup contention. READ MORE »