UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

ALL IN for the Invitationals

ALL IN for the Invitationals
Luke Dunkin

(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.)


FLW to Tour pros: “Want more tournaments to fish?”

Tour pros: “YES!!!”

FLW to Tour pros: “Want to fish an event without co-anglers?”

Tour pros: “YES!!!”

FLW to Tour pros: “We are going to have two events this fall, with no co-anglers, and the winner of each event will receive a 2017 Forrest Wood Cup berth!”

We asked, and we received. FLW made it happen. If you’re a Tour-level pro, you want and need to fish as many events as you can in a given year. This gives you more opportunities to cash checks and promote your sponsors. Not to mention there are 2017 Forrest Wood Cup berths on the line. That in itself is a huge prize. Knowing that you have a Cup berth locked up before the 2017 Walmart FLW Tour season kicks off at Guntersville in February would be an amazing feeling. It would certainly help you sleep a little easier after a rough day on the water, and allow you to take a few chances along the way.

From a fishing fan’s perspective the Invitationals offer a little bit of everything. In a normal year, after the dust and confetti settle from the Forrest Wood Cup, fans have to wait a few months before the FLW Tour fires up again. Not this year. A little more than a month will separate the Cup from the first Invitational at Lake Norman in North Carolina, and that will be followed up a month later by the Norris Lake event in Tennessee.

The regular Tour schedule usually takes place during the prespawn, spawn and postspawn phases. We rarely get to fish a fall event on Tour. That means totally different tactics and techniques will come into play to do well in these events. We will trade sight-fishing, oversized spoons and crankbaits for schooling fish and topwater blowups. Fans will have a front-row seat for all of it during these two events. Each pro will be paired with a marshal who will be there to observe every move the pro makes. During the regular-season Tour events this only happens on days three and four because we fish with co-anglers the first two days. At the Invitationals, the marshals will be able to provide up-to-the-minute updates every single day of the event. This should lead to some incredible coverage from the FLWFishing.com crew.

Not only will the FLW pros be front and center at the Invitationals, but I feel like the lakes themselves will be the stars of the show. These two bodies of water are VERY different than a lot of lakes around the country. Norman is nestled right outside of Charlotte, N.C., and is very well developed. That means lots of boat docks, brush piles and sea walls.

Norris is a typical east Tennessee clear-water highland lake that will have rock, rock, gravel and more rock. Word on the water is the lake level could be drawn down as much as 30 feet when we get there. That should be interesting, to say the very least. Both lakes are full of a variety of bass. We could certainly see a mix of spotted bass and largemouths win at Norman, and it could take a grand slam of smallies, largemouths and spots to win the Norris event. That’s something to get fired up about. Any time you start talking spots and smallies I get weak in the knees. I know a lot of people in the bass world are the exact same way.

The win-and-you’re-in-the-Cup nature of these events, mixed with no points and a smaller field, will make them very exciting to be a part of. I can’t wait to roll the dice at Norman and Norris. Hopefully I can net a big paycheck, a bigger trophy and a Forrest Wood Cup berth all at the same time. With all those opportunities combined with fall fishing on some great fisheries, there’s no reason to not be all in with the FLW Tour Invitationals.

Tags: luke-dunkin  blog 

Prepping for the 2020 Fishing Season

Prepping for the 2020 Fishing Season

This is one of my favorite times of the year, the (not so) calm before the storm before the tournament season kicks off down south in January. READ MORE »

I’m Signed up and Ready to Go

I’m Signed up and Ready to Go

Following a great season in 2019, I just signed up for the FLW Pro Circuit for 2020. Foremost, I’m excited about the opportunities that are being provided by MLF and FLW. I see overall growth in the platform as we strive to be a bigger and better industry. READ MORE »

FLW Foundation Volunteers Have a Big Impact on Youth

FLW Foundation Volunteers Have a Big Impact on Youth

For the past several years, the FLW Foundation has been working diligently on a mission to introduce young people to their local natural resources. One strategy employed by the Foundation is to host free youth fishing derbies across the country. READ MORE »

4 Easy Ways to Store Soft Plastics

4 Easy Ways to Store Soft Plastics

One of the easiest and most controllable ways to save time and be efficient on the water is to keep tackle organized and accessible. Hard baits are easy to organize in Plano boxes, but soft plastics can sometimes cause a bit of a headache. Here are some tips for doing it based on how I go about tackling the issue.  READ MORE »

How to Land More Bass

How to Land More Bass

My technique for fighting a bass depends significantly on the equipment – my Dobyns rod, Ardent reel, Seaguar line and Cornerstone Baits – that I’m using at the time. READ MORE »

God, Grace, Grit

God, Grace, Grit

Life isn’t always easy, and we all find ourselves in situations that seem impossible to overcome. But with God, grace and grit we have not only persevered, we have risen. And we are continuing to rise together, and can commit to uplifting one another along the way. No matter what you are going through on or off the water, know that with God, grace and grit, but most of all God, anything is possible. READ MORE »

How to Prepare for Big Water 

How to Prepare for Big Water 

As many of you know, fishing big water for giant smallmouths is my favorite type of fishing. Competing on the Great Lakes, 1000 Islands, St. Clair, Champlain and other big Northern fisheries is not for the faint of heart. Sometimes it gets rough, which is why it’s critical that you have the correct equipment and understand how to use it. READ MORE »

How to be a Pro Angler 

How to be a Pro Angler 

I get a lot of questions from young and old anglers alike about the steps to becoming a pro. I guess maybe sometimes I take it for granted. The process seems somewhat obvious to me. How to execute on it might not be simple, but the steps you need to take really are. There are only a couple of ways to get into this sport, and they all start at the grassroots level, in $200 and $300 tournaments.  READ MORE »

Introducing Myself

Introducing Myself

I want to start off by telling you a little bit about myself. I grew up in Pennsylvania about 45 minutes north of Philadelphia. I grew up fishing for whatever would bite with my grandfather and in middle school I had a friend who started taking me with his dad down to the Chesapeake Bay. That was my first time ever on a bass boat, and I was immediately hooked! READ MORE »

Riding the Roller Coaster

Riding the Roller Coaster

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog, although it seems like the last one was just yesterday. This season has flown by, and I finally have some down time before the last stop on the FLW Tour at Lake Champlain. This Tour season has been full of ups and downs, and I’ve learned a lot. READ MORE »

The History of the Drop-Shot

The History of the Drop-Shot

FLW Tour pro James Niggemeyer recalls his first introduction to the drop-shot, as well as what came before it and how he developed his tackle to have better success with this capable finesse bass bait. READ MORE »

From Dead Last to Making Money

From Dead Last to Making Money

If you were hanging out with me at the FLW Tour event on Seminole recently, you would have thought I won the tournament. I was congratulated by every pro I saw, and they were being genuine. READ MORE »

Fishing the Worst Conditions

Fishing the Worst Conditions

Watching giant bags of bass caught down in Texas and Florida on FLW Live during FLW Tour events has many anglers dying to get on the water. The only problem is that a lot of people are still facing some of the toughest conditions for catching a bass – cold, muddy, moving water.   READ MORE »

How to Deal with Dock Talk

How to Deal with Dock Talk

If you fish tournaments or follow tournament fishing, you know about dock talk. It’s the chatter that goes on among bass fishermen during and around tournaments on subjects such as how the fish are biting, what patterns are in play, the weather and just how much of a grind it’s been. Dock talk can be dangerous. It can lead you astray if you listen to the wrong person. It can hurt your confidence if you hear about someone else really catching ’em doing something different. It can distract you from your game plan and your goals. Dock talk rarely gives you the complete story. READ MORE »

Moving into My New Office

Moving into My New Office

The new year to many professional fishermen also means a new boat. Some people like the smell of a new car — who doesn’t, really? But the smell of new fiberglass is better than that. It’s better than the smell of warm apple pie to me. READ MORE »

How to Work in Fishing

How to Work in Fishing

There was a time when the only way to make money at fishing and to express your love for our sport was by fishing tournaments, but that’s just not true anymore. With the growth curve we’ve had, the economic muscle of the fishing industry has spawned some interesting opportunities that didn’t really exist years ago.  Now, there are many jobs in the fishing industry that allow someone with a creative mind to indulge in what they love to do. I get to be around a lot of pros, but my job has also brought me into contact with a lot of folks with other jobs in fishing. So, here are four people I think you should follow and study if you know you belong in the fishing industry, but you don’t know exactly where yet. READ MORE »

Why We Need More Winter Bass Tournaments

Why We Need More Winter Bass Tournaments

FLW Tour pro Brian Latimer explains why he loves winter bass fishing and tournaments. READ MORE »

Get More out of Guide Trips

Get More out of Guide Trips

Guide trips are great opportunities to learn about bass fishing and to have an enjoyable day on the water without the pressure of having to find fish and figure out patterns on your own. I highly recommend them, especially if you’re sitting around during the offseason with nothing much to do. READ MORE »

Martin’s Final Prep for the 2019 Tour

Martin’s Final Prep for the 2019 Tour

Getting mentally prepared is the biggest thing for me. There’s a process, and it has to be done. Everything has to be ready so when I roll into Texas to start practice for Sam Rayburn on Jan. 6 I know exactly where every piece of tackle is stowed and exactly how every piece of equipment works and exactly what I need to accomplish to support my sponsors and keep my own media  projects on schedule. Sometimes the preparation goes into panic mode, like I’m in hyperventilate mode or something, but that’s just part of it. READ MORE »

Life Between Seasons for a Pro Angler

Life Between Seasons for a Pro Angler

As busy as a Tour pro stays from August until December, getting things lined up for the following year, I still find time to relax a bit. Like most fishermen, I also enjoy passing time in the fall and winter by going hunting.   READ MORE »