UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Clear Lake

Felix + Smallies = AOY

Felix + Smallies = AOY
Austin Felix

Austin Felix has chalked up some pretty impressive accomplishments in his time with FLW. From winning the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship in 2014 to a handful of top 10s on the FLW Tour and three FLW Cup appearances, the Minnesotan has proved he can fish around the country.

This year, fishing the Northern Division of the Costa FLW Series, Felix proved just how good he is at catching smallmouths. He ripped off three top-10 finishes and earned more points than anyone else fishing any of the five Costa FLW Series divisions in 2018 to lock up the division’s Strike King Angler of the Year award.

 

A smallmouth wizard in his element

Felix went into the season with high expectations for himself, but didn’t really set out to win AOY.

“It felt great,” says Felix of his AOY win, “but it was kind of a secondary goal. My main goal this year was to try to win Champlain. But I didn’t quite come through on that one [he finished third]. After the second event on Erie [sixth place] I thought I had a pretty good shot at it. But with them all being smallmouth events I knew you were probably going to have to top 10 all three of them to have a shot.”

Felix hopped in Champlain with his eye on bedding smallmouths. He’s very adept at finding and catching spawning brown fish, and that’s now paid off with a pair of top-10 finishes on Champlain – a lake that is more than 1,000 miles from his home.

Of course, it wasn’t just Champlain that he liked.

“I jumped in it mainly for Champlain, but when I saw the schedule I wanted to fish them all,” says Felix. “I didn’t fish the Northern Opens this year because B.A.S.S. got rid of that, so the Northern Division of the FLW Series was essentially the same thing, and it kinda started up as the Tour was winding down. And with all the smallmouths I thought it might be a chance to pad the bank account a little bit.

“It’s really rare that a circuit sets up where you have the opportunity to fish three smallmouth tournaments, let alone three in a row,” says Felix. “Usually I’ll get maybe one or two shots in a year to go after northern smallmouths. I mean, if you look at my results doing that, I usually do pretty well. So, with a New York smallmouth circuit I was ready to go. I was also sick of hearing about the Johnstons always winning everything, so I figured I’d knock them down a peg.”

Whether Felix actually got in it with an eye toward beating the legendary Canadian brothers, the end result put him on top. It’s impressive enough on the surface, but when you account for the fact that Felix had never been to the 1000 Islands and only been to Erie once, it’s even more remarkable.

“The Great Lakes thing was new. I had to learn that as I went,” explains Felix. “I don’t usually graph for smallmouths in Minnesota. On Mille Lacs you can’t really see them well. You have to fish for them because they hide in the rocks so bad. Whereas on the Great Lakes they tend to get off the bottom a little more, and you can mark them better.”

Mark them he did. In three days of competition on Erie and Ontario Felix weighed more than 22 pounds of smallies each day. As a result, he finished sixth at Erie and eighth at the 1000 Islands, which was more than enough to back up his third-place finish at Champlain to start the season.

 

Tournament rundown

Felix got things kicked off with a bronze-medal finish at Champlain and stayed hot from there.


Lake Champlain, June 21-23

3rd Place

Results

Felix weighed 59-1 over three days on Champlain, nearly averaging 20 pounds a day and finishing third. As everyone expected, sight-fishing dominated the tournament, and Felix was able to hang with the locals and the veteran Northern Division sticks in fine style. There, he relied on a green pumpkin 3-inch Keitech Shad Impact on a drop-shot rig, a Ned rig and a tube. Other than the tube, he could have probably used just two rods all year.

How Felix fishes the smallmouth spawn

Top 10 patterns from Champlain  


Lake Erie, July 26-28

6th Place

Results

Launching out of Buffalo on the eastern end of Erie, one or more canceled days were a distinct possibility. Going out on day one, Felix sacked up 22-12 to sit in sixth. And that was it. The next two days of competition fell victim to the wind.

Felix had never been to the eastern end of Erie before, but he got it done when it mattered.

“I’m not sure if the cancelation helped me or not,” says Felix. “I was fishing around a bunch of people, but I had a couple of sweet spots where the fish were setting up. On the first morning, as other people were pulling in there and showing up, I was catching them really good. I had over 22 pounds in the first 35 or 40 minutes. If it held up and if people stayed off of it I felt like I could have moved up, but there were so many people, and I was a late boat draw the second day. So, if a couple of the sweet spots were covered up I would have had to scramble.”


1000 Islands, Sept. 6-8

8th Place

Results

Day three at the 1000 Islands was battled out on the St. Lawrence River because of the wind, and it dramatically reshaped the top 10. Felix did enough on the first two days fishing in Lake Ontario to make the top 10 and end up in eighth place with 57-12.

After a little struggling in the river in practice, Felix found his groove on the lake. Fishing deep for bass he could graph, he used pretty much the same stuff he used at Erie: a Ned rig with a Z-Man Big T.R.D on a 3/8-ounce Treeshaker Tackle prototype head, and a drop-shot with a 2.8 or 3.3 Keitech Swing Impact FAT (goby color).

Top 10 patterns from the 1000 Islands


Prizes and standings

For winning the 2018 Costa FLW Series Northern Division Strike King Angler of the Year award, Austin Felix earned an extra $5,000 in cash. Additionally, cash payouts of $4,000, $3,000, $2,500 and $2,000 went to the other top five pros. 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. Austin Felix – Eden Prairie, Minn. – 736

2. Chris Johnston – Peterborough, Ontario – 728

3. Ron Nelson – Berrien Springs, Mich. – 726

4. Neil Farlow – St. Catherines, Ontario – 714

5. Bradley Dortch – Atmore, Ala. – 707

6. Cory Johnston – Cavan, Ontario – 706

7. Joseph Wood – Westport, Mass. – 704

8. Carl Jocumsen – Queensland, Australia – 692

9. Matt Becker – Finleyville, Penn. – 676

10. AJ Slegona – Pine Bush, N.Y. – 672

 

Tags: jody-white  article 

Grubb Wins Co-Angler Side at the Detroit River

Grubb Wins Co-Angler Side at the Detroit River

Taking the co-angler win in the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River, Tony Grubb weighed four bass for 14 pounds, 1 ounce on the final day for a 46-5 total. For the win, his second as a co-angler with FLW, Grubb takes home a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat worth over $35,000. READ MORE »

Dardanelle Midday Update – Day 3

Dardanelle Midday Update – Day 3

Championship Saturday of the Toyota Series Plains Division opener at Lake Dardanelle presented by Fish-Intel followed its pattern of the week with anglers failing to capitalize on sparse opportunities. READ MORE »

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 3

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 3

With the wind laying down a bit, the top 10 anglers in the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River have been able to go wherever they pleased today. With crisp morning temperatures, plenty of sun and a north wind, the conditions have largely been quite good, with mixed results from the anglers. READ MORE »

Dobson Grabs Second Toyota Series W

Dobson Grabs Second Toyota Series W

Weighing 18 pounds and 9 ounces on day three for a 59-3 total, Scott Dobson moved from second to first to win the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River. The win is Dobson’s second in Toyota Series competition and his eighth overall with FLW. For the win, Dobson takes home $27,534 and further burnishes his record as one of the best smallmouth anglers on the planet.   READ MORE »

Dardanelle Midday Update – Day 2

Dardanelle Midday Update – Day 2

Anglers said Thursday that current didn’t matter during the first round of the Toyota Series Plains Division opener presented by Fish-Intel at Lake Dardanelle, but apparently it matters more than they thought. READ MORE »

Burton Edges Ahead at the Detroit River

Burton Edges Ahead at the Detroit River

Day two of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River saw the pros stuck in the river itself again due to the wind. Moving up from fourth place into the lead, Wilson Burton weighed 20 pounds, 4 ounces to get up to a 40-11 total. With the only 20-pound bag of the day, Burton slipped past Scott Dobson by just one ounce, who weighed 19-12 and sits behind him with a 40-10 total. READ MORE »

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 2

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 2

With strong wind from the north again, the Toyota Series Northern Division field was again confined to the actual Detroit River. On day one, the fishing was quite good, and several pros crossed the 20-pound mark and plenty of limits hit the scales. Today, things seem a little tougher. READ MORE »

Stokes Leads on the Detroit River

Stokes Leads on the Detroit River

Strong winds kept the pros in the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River pinned to the actual river, but the fishing was still very good. Plenty of anglers brought in 17 pounds or more, and the leaders are all concentrated around the 20-pound mark. In first, Troy Stokes of Brownstown, Mich., weighed 21 pounds, 4 ounces to kick things off. READ MORE »

Tommy Skarlis, 1965-2020

Tommy Skarlis, 1965-2020

FLW learned today that former FLW Walleye pro Tommy Skarlis of Denver, Iowa, passed away after a battle with brain cancer. He was 55. READ MORE »

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 1

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 1

Right off the bat, the anglers in the field at the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River were thrown a curveball by the weather. This morning, with increasing wind forecasts, tournament officials made Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair off-limits, thereby penning up the 87 pros and co-anglers on the American side of the Detroit River. READ MORE »

Smith Wins Southeastern AOY

Smith Wins Southeastern AOY

Originally from Wisconsin and sometimes wearing a Green Bay Packers hoodie on stage, Dustin Smith doesn’t fit the mold of Toyota Series Southeastern Division Strike King Angler of the Year. Still, Smith hammered out a pair of top 10s and a 27th-place showing en route to the title, and his style of fishing was simply perfect for this season in the Southeastern Division. READ MORE »

Northern Division Finishes at Detroit River

Northern Division Finishes at Detroit River

The 2020 Toyota Series Northern Division will wrap up in Trenton, Mich., Sept. 17-19, at the Detroit River. Hosted by the Detroit Sports Commission, the three-day tournament will feature the region’s best bass-fishing pros and co-anglers casting for a top prize of up to $65,000, plus a $35,000 bonus if the winner is a qualified Phoenix Boat owner. READ MORE »

Potomac Midday Update – Day 3

Potomac Midday Update – Day 3

Clouds have lingered throughout the morning, which most of the top 10 were thankful for as the bite has been better than it was during practice when conditions were calm and sunny. READ MORE »

Potomac Midday Update – Day 2

Potomac Midday Update – Day 2

Clouds once again greeted the field for day two of the Toyota Series Eastern Division event on the Potomac River and the fish were biting this morning. With low tide this morning around 8:40 a.m. ET – about an hour and a half later than yesterday – more anglers had time to capitalize on the strong bite revolving around that window today. READ MORE »

Potomac Midday Update – Day 1

Potomac Midday Update – Day 1

It was a gloomy start to the first day of competition for the Toyota Series Eastern Division event on the Potomac River, and though it seems like a fishy day, so far the fish don’t seem to think so. READ MORE »

2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Schedule

2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Schedule

The 26th season of FLW’s top professional circuit will feature six regular-season tournaments showcasing the best 150 anglers in the world competing for as much as $135,000 in a five-biggest-fish format on top bass fisheries at peak times. The 2020 season culminates in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit TITLE presented by Toyota, where the top 50 pros will compete for as much as $235,000 in a catch, weigh, immediate-release format. READ MORE »

Wheeler's Wheelhouse

Wheeler's Wheelhouse

The past 20 months of Jacob Wheeler’s fishing career have been nothing less than incredible. In 2020 alone, the MLF pro notched a Bass Pro Tour win on Lake Eufaula, an FLW Toyota Series victory on Pickwick Lake, and dominated the first-ever FLW Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga. READ MORE »

Ft. Gibson Midday Update – Day 3

Ft. Gibson Midday Update – Day 3

Cameron Foster began the final day of the 2020 FLW Toyota Series Southwest Division event at Fort Gibson Lake with an 11-pound lead. By 8:00 a.m., Foster had returned to the honey hole that brought him to pole position with $27,070 on the line for crossing the finish line. Thanks to a hot, early bite, Foster is now nursing a four fish total with at least one 4-pounder in the boat. READ MORE »

Ft. Gibson Midday Update – Day 2

Ft. Gibson Midday Update – Day 2

Competitors in the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event at Fort Gibson Lake awoke to a completely different waterway than the one they fished yesterday. While day one brought overcast skies and a bevy of baitfish to the surface, day two screamed bluebird skies from the start and has settled into a mostly sunny blanket of blue towards midday. READ MORE »

Fort Gibson Midday Update – Day 1

Fort Gibson Midday Update – Day 1

Day one of theToyota Series Southwestern Division event on Fort Gibson Lake is underway, as anglers largely from Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas battle it out over an extremely low fishery. The waters at Fort Gibson, a nearly 20,000-acre reservoir along the Grand River, are sitting some 4 feet below average lake levels. Many local anglers report having never seen conditions this low, as submerged houses and a cemetery threaten to peak above the surface in some areas. READ MORE »