Live now : Costa FLW Series 2019 Lake Champlain

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

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 

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 »

Meet the Latimers

Meet the Latimers

I know everyone isn’t in the same situation, but personally, I wouldn’t want to try to be a pro angler and not have kids or a family. I got married in 2008, and I fished the EverStart FLW Series the first year I got married. READ MORE »

Create a Base List of Go-To Baits

Create a Base List of Go-To Baits

Every season, my garage goes from organized to absolute chaos as I come and go from one tournament to the next. By the time I empty out my boat in the fall to sell it, I wind up with a mountain of tackle that needs to be dealt with. It needs to be culled, cleaned up, organized, re-stocked or replaced so it can be packed into my new boat, organized in the garage or stowed in my truck bed camper, keeping in mind all the lakes and reservoirs the FLW Tour will be visiting from January through August. READ MORE »

A New Plan for 2019

A New Plan for 2019

If you haven’t been living under a rock this offseason then you know there are going to be some well-known faces missing from the FLW Tour next year. Over the years, my brother Jared and I have run a lot with the Johnston brothers, Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson and Jeff Sprague, and now they’ve all switched to fishing other circuits. It’s like high school again. At least, that’s the best analogy I can find: You grew up with the same buddies, but after you graduate you go your separate ways. I’m really sad about it. READ MORE »

You’re Not Great at Everything

You’re Not Great at Everything

My wheelhouse is shallow power fishing, mainly with single hook-type baits such as spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, bladed jigs, jigs, soft plastics, and flipping and pitching baits. But I also really like topwater and shallow cranking, plus sight-fishing. That’s where I feel like I really excel. READ MORE »

Fishing for a Championship

Fishing for a Championship

Watching the Forrest Wood Cup and the Bassmaster Classic as a kid was the source of, literally, my entire life’s motivation. I want to fish as a professional angler, and I love what I do every day, but the thought of fishing the Classic and the Forrest Wood Cup – that’s really what I want to do. I want to walk across that stage and be fishing against the top 50 guys in the world. For some guys the dream is Angler of the Year or finishing well in a Tour event or whatever, but mine has always been that big stage. READ MORE »

How to Fish Florida in the Fall

How to Fish Florida in the Fall

It’s been a while since my first blog, and with the season wrapping up around the rest of the country I figure it’s time to talk about Florida fishing. The big national tournaments don’t come down here this time of year, but the fishing is pretty good. It’s pretty simple this time of year, too. You just need a couple of rods. READ MORE »

How to Long-Line Pressured Smallies

How to Long-Line Pressured Smallies

So, up north, what we call “long-lining” has become a popular technique. It’s not done with a crankbait, like Southern ledge fishermen do, but it’s similar. You get your bait out a long way from the boat, and then drag it over key areas. It takes a long time to reel a fish in, but you get probably five times as many bites just by getting your bait that far away. READ MORE »

Jumpsuits, Patches and Bell-bottoms

Jumpsuits, Patches and Bell-bottoms

These days just about everybody puts something on every square inch of their shirts. There’s even a style of jersey with elastic armpits. It’s so you can cast easier, but there’s also a place there where you can put another sponsor’s logo that shows up when you hold up a fish or a trophy. Those guys back in the day were nowhere in the same league as far as showing off sponsors. READ MORE »