UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Eufaula

Introducing Myself

Introducing Myself
Justin Atkins

When FLW contacted me about doing some blogging I was immediately excited. I am a very vocal person. I love to talk to people, express my ideas and hear other opinions on topics and situations. I think the only way to ever grow and be an open-minded person is to hear other’s thoughts and opinions as well. I was also overcome with a little bit of anxiety because writing hasn’t always been my best friend. In fact, I enjoyed an English writing class in college so much that I took it twice! With that in mind, I decided I’d start with the topic I know best – myself.

For starters, I was born March 3, 1990, in Columbus, Miss. I always have co-anglers or marshals I tell that to that say, “gosh you are young, I was (insert grown-up activity here) in 1990!” Enough of the small stuff though, let’s talk about how I got to where I am now.

I was not much different than every other professional athlete as a child. I was consumed with the sport that I now call my profession.  My dad has owned a Ranger Boat since before I was born, so trips to the river were pretty much an every weekend thing. My honey hole as a kid was a gravel pit lake in the woods behind the neighborhood I lived in. I spent every available minute at that lake fishing. I knew it – and the few bass that occupied it – like the back of my hand.

In middle school and high school my love for fishing tournaments really took off. My dad and I started fishing full divisions of team events all over north Mississippi. I spent countless Friday nights rigging tackle while my friends were out getting into who knows what. Having to take girlfriends home at 8:30 p.m. so I could get in bed for my tournament the next day cost me a few of those, but that’s ok, that part of my life worked out pretty good too!

At 19 things got a little more serious, I signed up to fish the Bassmaster Weekend Series as a co-angler and the Mississippi Division of the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) as a boater. I went on to win the Weekend Series National Championship as a co-angler that year, earning a smooth $50,000 dollars. For most 19 year olds that could be dangerous, but the only thing my money was getting spent on was fishing equipment. I upgraded my electronics and bought a set of Power-Poles to go on my Ranger and at the ripe age of 20, I started fishing the Costa FLW Series events. After two years of fishing Costas I could see really quickly that I was forming a habit of working and fishing instead of going to school. So, at 22 I went back to school and enrolled at Mississippi State University. It was the best decision I ever made.

Life has a funny way of taking you down one path just to show you that was the wrong one. At the time, I thought that fishing bigger multiple day events was going to be my way to the big time, but I was wrong. During my time at State I met a ton of great fisherman, some that are still great friends of mine competing against me and on the B.A.S.S. Elite Series. The real key to my college adventures that set my career off was through the people I met working in the fishing industry for companies that helped our bass team.

For my first year on the FLW Tour, it boiled to Jimmy Mason. Jimmy and I were both working for PRADCO at the 2014 Bassmaster Classic on Guntersville and after some brief conversation we hit it off as friends. Little did I know, Jimmy would help me land a job in Florence, Ala., on Pickwick Lake, the place I wanted to live since I was a kid. He also helped me land a second job a few years later with LakeMaster that allowed me the time off to fish the Tour this year. My two main sponsors my first year on Tour also came through people I met because of college fishing. Pretty much the rest is history.

As for my first year on Tour, it went better than I could have ever dreamed it while sitting in class. Two top 10s during the regular season, making five out of seven checks and winning the Forrest Wood Cup. It was an unbelievable experience and I have to thank FLW for running the best tournaments and providing this opportunity for people with a dream like mine.

I have a few topics I would like to discuss in future blogs, but I would really love to know what you would like to hear from me. Simply go to my fan page on Facebook and send me a message on a topic you would like my opinion on. Anything from lakes, baits, seasonal patterns or any other fishing-related topic you can think of. Until next time, tight lines and God bless!

Tags: justin-atkins  blog 

Fishing with Confidence

Fishing with Confidence

This year, I’ve chosen to home in on trusting my gut, even with tough practices. I’m happy to share that I rarely have a practice that’s worth writing home about. It’s just the way it goes, and I’ve learned to not let the discouragement affect the tournament. READ MORE »

Renewed Excitement for Super Tournaments

Renewed Excitement for Super Tournaments

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Why I’m Excited to be Back with FLW

Why I’m Excited to be Back with FLW

This year has been an interesting one, to say the least. For the first time in my pro career, I’ve been home for much of the spring, and while it was great to fish local waters and get some projects done around the house, I’m ready to get back to fishing tournaments. READ MORE »

Big Changes for the Pro Circuit

Big Changes for the Pro Circuit

Recently announced changes to the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit have me extremely excited to get the season back under way. Specifically, a good number of the Major League Fishing anglers will be fishing the remaining three Pro Circuit Super Tournament events with increased payouts. This makes these truly the most lucrative five-fish-limit events in the country, with potentially half of the tournament field being paid $10,000 or more. READ MORE »

My Line-Thru Addiction

My Line-Thru Addiction

Pollen is in the air, on the water and covers my boat on a daily basis. When this happens, it means one thing to me – the bass are on the bed. Now, most people are all giddy about sight-fishing, but that’s not my deal. I can count on two hands how many fish I’ve caught truly sight-fishing. What comes to my mind during this time is swimbait fishing, but more specifically, one kind of swimbait in particular – a line-thru swimbait. READ MORE »

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

The Real Reason I love Spring

Fishing for a living is awesome, but when spring comes it can be tough. April is always a busy month for tournaments – and the fishing is usually fantastic – but I really love to turkey hunt and tournaments can put a damper on that. READ MORE »

A Silver Lining

A Silver Lining

From spending some quality time with my wife, Katie, and my dog, Doppler, to organizing my life and fun fishing, there are numerous ways that I have been able to take advantage of our current social responsibility to participate in “social distancing.” READ MORE »

Encouraging the Next Generation

Encouraging the Next Generation

Growing up in the city of Chicago, I didn’t have the outlet to the outdoors that a lot of our youth enjoy while growing up. It often takes hours to travel out of the city due to traffic, and there were no lakes within walking distance from my house. So it’s not like I could swing by the pond after school. READ MORE »

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

Always Go Down Swinging

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 »

How to Catch Your New PB

How to Catch Your New PB

Out of the five biggest fish I have caught in my life, four have come on a ChatterBait, including my personal best – a 9-pounder I caught this year on Sam Rayburn during the first Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event. READ MORE »

Why You Should Reel with Both Hands

Why You Should Reel with Both Hands

Without a doubt, during a tournament day I always get a question from my Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Marshal about why I have both left- and right-handed Abu Garcia baitcast reels. I get comments about the same thing from multiple social media followers if I post a picture that shows my reels. The remarks originally surprised me, but not any longer because of how frequently I see them. READ MORE »

Carrying Momentum into Florida

Carrying Momentum into Florida

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

Vlog: Rayburn Recap, Practice to Pattern

Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro Josh Douglas and his wife, Bri, created this baller recap video from Sam Rayburn and the first Pro Circuit event of 2020. In the video, which includes footage from practice and the tournament, Josh dishes on how he used his practice time to eventually uncover a productive trap pattern that helped him earn a 42nd-place finish, which is a big improvement on the 114th he posted at Rayburn in the 2019 FLW Tour event. READ MORE »

Why You Shouldn’t Second-Guess Your Gut

Why You Shouldn’t Second-Guess Your Gut

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 »

More Fishing, More Focus in 2020

More Fishing, More Focus in 2020

People talk a lot about the offseason in professional bass fishing, but when you do this for a living you pretty quickly realize there really isn’t much of an offseason anymore. READ MORE »

New Challenges, New Opportunities

New Challenges, New Opportunities

Now with 2019 in the rear-view mirror, 2020 is in the crosshairs, and I look forward to the challenges ahead. With the rebranding of the Tour to the new FLW Pro Circuit, there are some great new opportunities that both fans and competitors will benefit from. READ MORE »

Why I Chose FLW

Why I Chose FLW

My name is Richard Dunham, but most people know me as Dicky D. I currently live in Palm Harbor Florida where I work for the Folsom Corporation, one of the largest fishing distributors in the country. In 2020 I am fishing as a boater in Southern Division of the FLW Series. READ MORE »