UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Kentucky / Barkley Lake

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Eric Jackson Q&A

Eric Jackson Q&A

Tennessee pro Eric Jackson is a rookie on the Walmart FLW Tour but is no stranger to elite-level competition. He’s a former International Canoe Federation (ICF) Freestyle World Champion in freestyle kayaking. Jackson has paddled all over the world and is the patriarch of a family of extreme outdoor enthusiasts. He’s also the owner of Jackson Kayak, which manufactures crafts for a variety of on-the-water activities.

We caught up with Jackson just prior to his Tour debut on Lake Okeechobee to learn more about his background in the outdoors and how he got started in tournament fishing.

 

How’d you get started kayaking?

My dad, James Jackson, got me started when I was six years old. He and I were invited by the test pilots at Piper Aircraft in 1970 to head out on some whitewater rapids with them. We were in a Grumman canoe but eventually purchased two kayaks in 1979. The next year we made a mold and made more than 100 kayaks in our basement for our club. We were hooked on the sport. 

 

What is freestyle kayaking, and how did you become the world champion?  

Four-time world champion whitewater kayaker Eric Jackson enjoy's training in Rock Island, Tenn.

Think freestyle skiing, snowboarding or MX (motor cross). It is doing tricks on waves or in holes. I have always been naturally inclined and extremely addicted to freestyle and extreme racing in kayaks. It suited my personality, and I won my first World Championship with bloody hands from the skin being rubbed off of them from over-training in 1993 (he won the Senior Division freestyle kayaking competitions in 1993, 2001, 2005 and 2007). I really just loved the challenge of trying to do new things in a kayak that nobody has ever done.

That challenge got me thinking about new techniques, training methods, traveling more to remote destinations and creating my own kayaks with new features. I was able to dominate and win every major international event for a decade … before my kids grew up and started winning. I am most proud of teaching my kids (Emily, 25, and Dane, 22, both with multiple world titles) the skills and the freethinking methods that allowed them to become the reigning World Champions.

 

What got you interested in bass fishing? Have you always fished?   

My dad moved us to Lakeland, Fla., in 1974. I was 10. With no whitewater rapids around, we both began bass fishing in the phosphate pits around town. Bill Johnson’s Pro Bass Shops was my local dealer, and they had weekly and monthly tournaments. I always competed in those simple “big bass of the month” or “big crappie of the month” competitions. I won a lot of gear and became hooked.

I decided by the age of 12 that I wanted to be a professional bass fisherman. When I was 15, my family and I moved to New Hampshire where I started whitewater kayaking again. With no more bass fishing mentors around, only whitewater kayakers, I decided I wanted to go to the Olympics for Kayaking instead.    

 

Last year you fished as a co-angler on Tour. What made you decide to transition to boater this season?

My reasoning to be a co-angler last year was to “scope out the scene.” I wanted to meet the fishermen, FLW staff and sponsors to see if this was a circus I wanted to travel with. I was very impressed with the FLW staff. Bill Taylor (senior director of tournament operations) and Al Chapman (director of advertising) were my main contacts, and they always took good care of me. The fishermen were an above-board, hard-working and fun group. I made new friends among the pros and was fired up on the idea of spending more time with them. Of course, the real reason for wanting to be a pro fisherman is that I really want to be a pro fisherman. My childhood dream coming true in 2016 at age 51. I am still competing in whitewater kayaking, but my first priority will be fishing. 

 

Aside from the fishing platform being used, what are some of the major differences between bass fishing from a kayak and from a bass boat, and how have you adjusted?

Kayak fishing is a little closer to the water, quieter, slower but can be extremely effective. I personally feel that kayaks should be used to get you to where power boats can’t go. I am a big fan of fishing rivers that are too shallow, too rocky and have rapids, all of which mean less pressure, fewer people and more fish.

Jackson Kayak made fishing from a kayak much closer to fishing from a Ranger boat, for example, by making our kayaks stand-able. Standing and fishing is easier to see and cast and really was a game-changer for fishing kayaks. It is something we are very proud of at Jackson Kayak. 

 

Last year you wrote a blog for FLWFishing.com about introducing new people to kayak fishing. You mentioned that you introduced some fellow FLW Tour anglers to it. What was their reaction?

Eric Jackson with a nice bass on the line in his Big Rig Jackson Kayak.

I was very lucky on my draws in 2015, getting to fish with some of the biggest names in professional fishing: Jimmy Houston, Scott Canterbury, Wesley Strader and Bill McDonald. And I met champions like Brad Knight and more. Each of these guys was so fired up to get a kayak for his local “skinny water.” I have had the luxury of taking Scott, Wesley and Brad out on my home waters during the off-season, and they were like kids in a candy store.

 

What are your bass fishing strengths/weaknesses? 

My strengths are my athleticism, motivation and desire to be a student of the game. I am very good at casting accurately and can put the lure where I want it over and over again quickly.

My weakness would be my struggle to slow down. When the bass want it slow, I want to catch one going fast first to locate them and then, maybe, I’ll slow it down.

My other main weakness is big lakes. I have fished for bass for 40 years but always in small bodies of water where I can locate them easily. Of course, that doesn’t mean I will make any excuses. I am here to win like everyone else, and if I don’t, well, then somebody else was a better fisherman on that day.

 

What lakes do you think you’ll do well on this year on Tour?

All of them, of course, as my optimism is something I couldn’t curb if I tried. However, if you were to bet money on what lakes I will finish the best on, I would bet on the last two (Kentucky Lake and Lake Champlain). I need to get my feet wet and learn the ropes of fishing against the best fishermen in the world before I can expect good results.

 

What are your goals for the season

There you go again – trying to make me look presumptuous. Here they are, in priority order:

1. Have lots of fun.

2. Be thankful I get to have so much fun.

3. Learn as much as I can about competing well in this venue.

4. Make new friends.

5. Be Rookie of the Year.

 

Tags: eric-jackson  flw  angler-features 

North Carolina’s Bryan New Wins T-H Marine BFL Regional Championship on Lake Seminole

North Carolina’s Bryan New Wins T-H Marine BFL Regional Championship on Lake Seminole

BAINBRIDGE, Ga. – Boater Bryan New of Belmont, North Carolina, brought a three-day total of 15 bass to the scale weighing 63 pounds, 4 ounces, to win the no-entry fee T-H Marine FLW BFL Regional Championship on Lake Seminole Saturday. For the win, New earned $71,200, including a new Ranger Z518L with a 200-horsepower Mercury or Evinrude outboard and automatic... READ MORE »

Arkansas' Dylan Hays Wins Costa FLW Series Tournament at Lake of the Ozarks presented by Evinrude

Arkansas' Dylan Hays Wins Costa FLW Series Tournament at Lake of the Ozarks presented by Evinrude

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. – Beginning the day in fourth place, Nitro Boats pro Dylan Hays of El Dorado, Arkansas, caught a five-bass limit Saturday weighing 14 pounds, 6 ounces, to jump to the top of the leaderboard and win the three-day Costa FLW Series at Lake of the Ozarks presented by Evinrude... READ MORE »

Major League Fishing to Acquire FLW

Major League Fishing to Acquire FLW

TULSA, Okla. - Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today that it has reached an agreement to acquire Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization. The Letter of Intent (LOI) sets in motion the most significant brand merger in competitive bass fishing history, linking a... READ MORE »

Newberry Wins Southwestern Division AOY

Newberry Wins Southwestern Division AOY

It was sweet redemption in many ways for the Texas legend who still owns and operates his Houston-based HVAC company despite spending so much time on the tournament-fishing circuit. Redemption for missing out on the FLW Cup in his first season. Redemption for what Grand did to him earlier this year on Tour (dropping from sixth to 41st with only one fish on day two). And, in a way, validation for a career filled with big accomplishments. READ MORE »

Osage Beach Readies for Weekend of FLW Youth Bass-Fishing Tournaments

Osage Beach Readies for Weekend of FLW Youth Bass-Fishing Tournaments

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. – Already playing host to Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) this week, FLW will remain in town next weekend with two events for young anglers, Oct. 18-19, with the YETI FLW College Fishing tournament at Lake of the Ozarks presented by Bass Pro Shops and the Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Open at Lake of the Ozarks presented by Costa... READ MORE »

Rampey Wins T-H Marine BFL Regional Championship on Lake Hartwell presented by Navionics

Rampey Wins T-H Marine BFL Regional Championship on Lake Hartwell presented by Navionics

SENECA, S.C. – Boater Jayme Rampey of Liberty, South Carolina, brought a three-day total of 15 bass to the scale weighing 43 pounds, 12 ounces, to win the no-entry fee T-H Marine FLW BFL Regional Championship on Lake Hartwell presented by Navionics Saturday. For the win, Rampey earned $70,000, including a new Ranger Z518L with a 200-horsepower Mercury or Evinrude... READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Grand Lake

Curt Warren knew what he wanted to do, and it had nothing to do with weeding through a bunch of small fish up shallow. Rather, he focused his attention on deeper Grand Lake spots with chunk rock and brush and amassed a three-day total of 46 pounds, 7 ounces to win the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine. Here’s how the rest of the top 10 caught their fish and earned their checks on Grand. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

Top 10 Baits from Grand Lake

A cold front moving in at the start of Grand Lake’s fall transition put a damper on seeing a bunch of big weights during the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, which was presented by T-H Marine, but plenty of pros managed to find the right fish to make things exciting on the final day. READ MORE »

Meador Repeats Co-Angler Win on Grand

Meador Repeats Co-Angler Win on Grand

Defending his title as co-angler winner in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, which was presented by T-H Marine, was impressive enough, but the way Steven Meador did it was truly remarkable. After earning the 2018 win on Grand by 3 pounds, 6 ounces, the Bentonville, Ark., co-angler repeated the victory with a three-day total of 27-15 for a much slimmer winning margin this time around – just 10 ounces. READ MORE »

Rose, Oklahoma's Warren wins Costa FLW Series Tournament at Grand Lake presented by T-H Marine

Rose, Oklahoma's Warren wins Costa FLW Series Tournament at Grand Lake presented by T-H Marine

GROVE, Okla. – After starting the day in third place, pro Curt Warren of Rose, Oklahoma, caught a five-bass limit Saturday weighing 15 pounds, 9 ounces, to vault to the top of the leaderboard and win the three-day Costa FLW Series at Grand Lake presented by T-H Marine... READ MORE »

Warren Mounts Furious Comeback on Grand

Warren Mounts Furious Comeback on Grand

Curt Warren was a paragon of consistency over three days at Grand Lake, and the result was a victory in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine. Warren turned in limits of 14-5 on day one and 16-9 on day two, but it was his day-three limit of 15-9 that was the most impressive – no other pro even cracked the 13-pound mark battling the tough post-frontal conditions Grand had to offer on day three. READ MORE »

Grand Lake Midday Update – Day 3

Grand Lake Midday Update – Day 3

Typically, the first day or two following a cold front put bass in a bad mood, and today, Grand Lake’s fish are following the script. This has created a challenging scenario for the top-10 finalists in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 2

When conditions changed, Cody Bird of Granbury, Texas completely scrapped his day-one pattern, caught a limit that weighed 13-11 and took over the lead of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event, presented by T-H Marine, with a two-day total of 32-14. Here’s what the rest of the top five was up to on day two. READ MORE »

Grand Lake Midday Update – Day 2

Grand Lake Midday Update – Day 2

You know fishing’s tough when the most common greeting we receive is the goose egg hand signal. No question, day two of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine, had a lot of anglers scratching for bites and scratching their heads. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Grand Lake - Day 1

Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., leveraged his intimate understanding of Grand Lake’s tendencies to catch a five-bass limit that weighed 22 pounds, 10 ounces to take the lead on day one of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event Presented by T-H Marine. Here are the details of the rest of the top five. READ MORE »

Grand Lake Midday Update - Day 1

Grand Lake Midday Update - Day 1

After several weeks of hot, sunny conditions, anglers launched with cloudy skies, stout winds and air temperatures in the low 60s. By midday, the temperature rose into the mid to upper 60s and the wind started to subside, however, the first couple of hours saw Grand Lake’s temperamental side. READ MORE »

Changes Afoot at Grand Lake

Changes Afoot at Grand Lake

Fall is a time of change and movement; two notions bound to impact the outcome of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division finale, presented by T-H Marine, on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake. Typical fall migrations are underway, but an approaching cold front will likely complicate the already challenging nature of autumn’s transition. READ MORE »

Costa FLW Series Closes Out Regular Season at Lake of the Ozarks presented by Evinrude

Costa FLW Series Closes Out Regular Season at Lake of the Ozarks presented by Evinrude

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. – The 2019 Costa Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) Series Central Division will wrap up their season next week at Lake of the Ozarks, Oct. 10-12, with the Costa FLW Series at Lake of the Ozarks presented by Evinrude. Hosted by the Tri-County Lodging Association, the three-day tournament will feature more than 230 of the best regional bass-fishing pros and... READ MORE »

Byhalia’s Lewellen Wins Two-Day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Event on Pickwick Lake

Byhalia’s Lewellen Wins Two-Day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Event on Pickwick Lake

IUKA, Miss. – Boater Kyle Lewellen of Byhalia, Mississippi, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 34 pounds, 5 ounces, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Mississippi Division super-tournament on Pickwick Lake Sunday. Lewellen earned $5,690 for his efforts... READ MORE »

Vandiver’s Stracner Wins Two-Day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Event on Lake Eufaula

Vandiver’s Stracner Wins Two-Day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Event on Lake Eufaula

EUFAULA, Ala. – Boater Josh Stracner of Vandiver, Alabama, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 35 pounds, 12 ounces, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Bama Division super-tournament on Lake Eufaula Sunday. Stracner earned $6,694 for his efforts... READ MORE »