UPCOMING EVENT: TACKLE WAREHOUSE PRO CIRCUIT - 2020 - Lake Erie

Robert Lee’s AOY Season

Robert Lee’s AOY Season
Robert Lee

On one hand, he won, but on the other, it’s not the win Robert Lee wanted most.

Anyone following the Costa FLW Series Western Division knows Lee’s name. He’s a contender to win just about every tournament he enters, as he has 14 top 10s since 2006, and he’s finished in the top 10 in the Angler of the Year race five times, winning the Strike King Angler of the Year title in 2008 and now a second time in 2017.

However, even though he’s one of the best in the West and a threat to win every tournament, one thing gnaws at Lee even after winning AOY.

“I just can’t win anymore,” says Lee, a native of Angels Camp, Calif., who’s never won an individual tournament with FLW. “It’s a giant monkey on my back.

“I’m happy to have won Angler of the Year, but 100 percent, without a doubt, I’d rather win a tournament again than Angler of the Year.”

 

Robert Lee

The Delta’s best

There was a time when winning was almost a forgone conclusion for Lee, at least when it came to one fishery – the California Delta.

B.A.S.S. began hosting invitational tournaments on the Cal Delta in 1997, and Lee won that inaugural event. The organization went back in 1999, and Lee won that one, too. A stop there in 2001 ended with a third-straight win for Lee. And when the Bassmaster Tour visited in 2003, you can take a guess at who won it.

“I’m a bank-beater at heart, and back then the Delta was a lot different,” Lee says. “Everything was in front of your face. Meaning, you could see everything. The vegetation wasn’t as thick, and you could fish faster. It just fit with my style perfectly.”

The Delta might have changed, but Lee is still quite the stick there. Since 2005, Lee has the 11th-best average of any angler on the Delta according to BassRankings.com, and he is the best in the last two years, beating 95.6 percent of the field on average.

Yet, as hard as it is to believe, that 2003 event was his last victory at the Delta or anywhere else.

“I know it will happen again,” says Lee. “That’s the reason I sign up for every tournament. Why else would you sign up other than to win?

“I think sometimes I’ve tried to make it happen too much instead of letting it happen. I just have to keep doing what I’m doing, and one of these times things will work out a little better.” 

 

The 2017 season

 

Robert Lee

Lake Havasu, Feb. 9-11

8th place

Despite his typical win-at-all-costs outlook, Lee is a realist when it comes to Lake Havasu.

“Locals always win that event,” says Lee. “So my game plan is just to make the top 10.”

He did just that by fishing to his strengths and flipping into what he termed “extreme shade pockets” in the tules and weed mats.

He started in third thanks to bright sunshine on day one, but the sky got cloudier each following day, weakening his pattern and weights. He finished in eighth.

Top 10 patterns from Havasu

 

Robert Lee

California Delta, May 11-13

2nd place

If there is one regret for his 2017 season, Lee’s final day of this event was it.

“I should’ve won that one,” says Lee. “On the final day, I went left when I should’ve went right. I messed up.”

Up until that day, this tournament played out perfectly for Lee. With such experience on the fishery, he knew his typical power-fishing approach would get him in the top 10 again. Yet, he didn’t want another seventh- or eighth-place finish. He wanted to win. So he ditched his typical areas and tactics, and instead slowed down with a wacky-rigged Reaction Innovations Pocket Rocket.

Lee cracked more than 21 pounds on day one to start in second, and he took the lead on day two by more than 5 pounds with another 19 pounds, 14 ounces.

Not wanting to recycle areas, though, Lee hit an area on the final day that he hadn’t fished much, and it let him down. He managed only a 9-3 limit, and when Hunter Schlander cracked more than 21 pounds, Lee fell back to second.

Top 10 patterns from the Delta

 

Robert Lee

Clear Lake, Sept. 28-30

15th place

Lee went into the final event knowing he could catch them on a crankbait and a Zoom Brush Hog, and he certainly did in practice. Yet, unseasonably warm weather put the fish in a funk during the tournament.

Lee grinded his way to 29th after day one, but one key decision solidified his AOY season on day two.

After jumping off a 5-pounder that morning, Lee had little to show for his day. So with two hours left he made a run to a new area where he could try and crank for a big one. He caught a pair of 2 1/2-pound bass to upgrade, but on his final cast of the season Lee caught a 5-pounder.

“That one fish won me Angler of the Year,” says Lee. “That’s pretty cool.”

Top 10 patterns from the Clear Lake

 

Prizes and standings

For winning the 2017 Costa FLW Series Western Division Strike King Angler of the Year award, Lee earned a $2,000 prize package that includes paid deposits for the 2018 season. The top 40 pros and 40 co-anglers in the division standings qualified for the Costa FLW Series Championship.

The top 10 anglers in the standings, including AOY points earned:

1. Robert Lee – Angels Camp, Calif. – 728

2. Kyle Grover – Trabuco Canyon, Calif. – 718

3. Joe Uribe Jr. – Surprise, Ariz. – 691

4. Andy Scholz – Reno, Nev. – 686

5. Jason Milligan – Cottonwood, Calif. – 682

6. Roy Hawk – Lake Havasu City, Ariz. – 681

7. Bryant Smith – Castro Valley, Calif. – 664

8. Miles Howe – San Juan Capistrano, Calif. – 664

9. Justin Kerr – Simi Valley, Calif. – 661

10. Mike Nichelini – Napa, Calif. – 659 

Tags: sean-ostruszka  article 

Nelson Clinches AOY

Nelson Clinches AOY

Winning the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Angler of the Year title is no mean feat, but Ron Nelson made it look easy this year. Finishing 11th or better in the first three events at Sam Rayburn, the Harris Chain and Lake Martin, the Michigan pro kept it rolling in the second phase of the season when the Super Tournaments started. At Chickamauga he made the cut and finished 41st, then finished 12th at the Mississippi River and locked up the title by making the top 50 (currently in 18th place) at Lake Erie. For his win, Nelson will get his 2021 Pro Circuit entry fees paid, as well as a nice piece of hardware for his mantle. READ MORE »

Lucas Takes Erie Lead

Lucas Takes Erie Lead

Day two of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Erie was calmer than the previous, and the anglers making the run to St. Clair had more time to do work. That being said, Justin Lucas stuck to his guns in Erie to put together a 19-pound, 14-ounce limit to move his total weight to 41-5 overall. Behind him by just 3 ounces sits Jeremy Lawyer, who is also fishing Erie, but the rest of the pack is starting to fire up on St. Clair. READ MORE »

Bertrand Starts Strong on Erie

Bertrand Starts Strong on Erie

Day one of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Erie started off fairly rough and made the run to St. Clair long and grinding. As a result, many anglers who focused on Lake Erie did very well on day one, and Josh Bertrand was chief among them, weighing 22 pounds, 6 ounces of feisty Erie smallmouths to take the day-one lead. Behind him, six other pros weighed more than 20 pounds, and with calmer weather in the forecast on day two, things could really shake up. READ MORE »

Matt Lee’s Smallmouth Keys: Bright Braid, Smelly Baits

Matt Lee’s Smallmouth Keys: Bright Braid, Smelly Baits

MLF pro Matt Lee may have cut his teeth fishing for largemouth and spotted bass south of the Mason-Dixon line, but the Alabama native has proven his smallmouth chops time and again throughout his professional career. Lee looks forward to the yearly northern swing, when tournament trails head north to famed bronze-bass fisheries. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Erie

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Erie

The final event of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit season takes place this week on Lake Erie out of Sandusky, Ohio. Not only will this event showcase some of the best smallmouth fishing in the country and hand out a $125,000 payday to the winner, but it will also crown Angler of the Year, Rookie of the Year and set the field for the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit TITLE presented by Toyota. READ MORE »

ROY Update: Mississippi River

ROY Update: Mississippi River

The most recent Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament presented by OPTIMA Batteries at the Mississippi River was a pivotal one for the season-long points races. On the Angler of the Year side of things, Ron Nelson widened his lead tremendously. In the Polaris Rookie of the Year race, Kyle Hall roared from third place into first. READ MORE »

TITLE Bubble Watch

TITLE Bubble Watch

There’s a lot at stake in the final Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Erie. Aside from someone taking home the $125,000 top prize, Angler of the Year and Polaris Rookie of the Year will be crowned. But there is another important thing to be settled on Erie: finalizing the field for the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota on Sturgeon Bay. The top 50 anglers in the points will qualify, and while some are already just about locked in, others will need to fish down to the wire. READ MORE »

AOY Update: Mississippi River

AOY Update: Mississippi River

Ron Nelson has led the way in the Angler of the Year race in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit since the very early going. Now, with just one event left, he’s opened up a fairly massive gap between himself and the rest of the field. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the Mississippi River

Top 10 Patterns from the Mississippi River

Instead of limits coming in bunches, the top pros were often scrambling to get five keeper bites a day at the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament presented by OPTIMA Batteries event. READ MORE »

Breaking Down Poche’s Disqualification

Breaking Down Poche’s Disqualification

Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Rule No. 12 regarding Boat and Horsepower Regulation recently came under scrutiny after Major League Fishing pro Keith Poche’s day one weight was disqualified at the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at the Mississippi River presented by OPTIMA Batteries. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Mississippi River

Top 10 Baits from the Mississippi River

The top pros in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament presented by OPTIMA Batteries on the Mississippi River ended up using fairly similar tactics to attack the river, but with slight variations throughout. Tom Monsoor won with a variety of unique jigs, but many of the other top finishers used more standard fare. READ MORE »

Monsoor Clinches Win on the Mississippi

Monsoor Clinches Win on the Mississippi

Weighing 12 pounds, 10 ounces on the final day, Tom Monsoor totaled 54-10 to win the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament presented by OPTIMA Batteries on the Mississippi River. Leading the final three days, the win is Monsoor’s second at the top level and earned him $125,000.   READ MORE »

Monsoor stays ahead on the Mississippi

Monsoor stays ahead on the Mississippi

After day three of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament presented by OPTIMA Batteries on the Mississippi River the weights are stacked as tightly as they were on the first two days. With the lead, Tom Monsoor of La Crosse, Wis., weighed 13 pounds, 5 ounces to stay in the lead with an even 42 pounds. Behind him, Zack Birge, David Walker and Scott Wiley have all crossed the 40-pound mark and are hot on his heels. READ MORE »

Monsoor Moves Ahead at the Mississippi

Monsoor Moves Ahead at the Mississippi

After two days of fishing in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament presented by OPTIMA Batteries on the Mississippi River the weights are as tight as can be. Moving into the lead on day two is Tom Monsoor of La Crosse, Wis., who weighed a second 14-pound bag for a 28-11 total. In second, Scott Wiley is one of seven anglers with 27 pounds and some ounces in the top 10, making the tournament anyone’s game in the final two days. READ MORE »

Wiley Leads on the Mississippi

Wiley Leads on the Mississippi

As expected on the river, the weights are bunched together after the first day of fishing in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament presented by OPTIMA Batteries. More than a quarter of the field are in the 11-12-pound range, and 10 pounds marked the exact halfway point of the field. That means leader Scott Wiley only has a 5-pound, 3-ounce lead over half the field after weighing in 15-3. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for the Mississippi River

FLW Live Schedule for the Mississippi River

With just two events left in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit season, it’s time to turn attention to the northern part of the country. Presented by OPTIMA Batteries, the Pro Circuit Super Tournament on the Mississippi River out of Stoddard, Wis., will not only crown a winner with a $125,000 payday but also shape the Angler of the Year race. READ MORE »

Alvin Shaw Withdraws from Remaining Super Tournaments

Alvin Shaw Withdraws from Remaining Super Tournaments

Citing emergency surgery to remove his gall bladder, pro Alvin Shaw announced today that he is withdrawing from the remaining two 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit events. Shaw, a 16-year FLW pro, has 15 top-10 finishes and two career victories in FLW competition. READ MORE »

MLF Analyst Marty Stone Joins "FLW Live"

MLF Analyst Marty Stone Joins "FLW Live"

FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, and Major League Fishing (MLF) announced the addition of veteran MLF NOW! analyst Marty Stone to the FLW Live broadcast team. READ MORE »

2nd Place Earns MDJ Bonus Bucks

2nd Place Earns MDJ Bonus Bucks

Major League Fishing pro Mark Daniels Jr. took home $3,000 of Toyota Bonus Bucks thanks to his second-place finish in the final Bass Pro Tour event of the 2020 season. “MDJ” had an extremely close, back-and-forth battle with eventual winner Justin Lucas on Sturgeon Bay before finishing the Championship Round as the runner-up. READ MORE »

Northern Division Returns to Sandusky

Northern Division Returns to Sandusky

FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, announced today that the organization will shift its Aug. 18-20 Toyota Series Northern Division event from Lake Champlain in Plattsburgh, New York, to Lake Erie and Sandusky, Ohio. The move was made in response to New York’s expanded travel restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic. READ MORE »