UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Santee Cooper

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Luke Dunkin is Pulling Back the Curtain

Luke Dunkin is Pulling Back the Curtain
Luke Dunkin

With Luke Dunkin, what you see is what you get. And you get to see a lot.

The three-year FLW pro is all about authenticity – the kind of authenticity that only comes from pulling back the curtain to reveal everything that happens in the life of a Tour angler. As Dunkin puts it, “it’s not all roses.”

“Some days it [Tour life] just flat-out stinks – the weather’s bad, the fishing’s bad, you do bad, you lose fish, your boat breaks down, you’re gone from home for two weeks straight, and you haven’t seen your wife, and you haven’t seen your kids,” he says. “They’re missing you, and you’re missing them. You miss birthdays and anniversaries and holidays. That’s just part of it. It’s what breaks a lot of guys who come out on the road.”

But make no mistake: None of that is breaking Dunkin. In fact, those sometimes-hard-to-stomach drawbacks to fishing professionally are exactly what motivate Dunkin to do what he loves nearly as much as fishing – letting other people into that life.

In the world of tournament fishing, social media has taken prominence as a sponsorship tool, a way for anglers to promote themselves for sponsors and fans alike. No matter how good an angler is on the water, it’s often the pros who embrace the promotional aspects of the sport who stick around longest.

“I think that in this day and age, it’s very important to represent your sponsors on and off the water more than ever,” Dunkin says. “I think if you’re a guy who makes top 10s in every single tournament, if you’re still terrible at promoting – whether that be social media or on stage or whatever – you’re really missing the boat.”

Dunkin practices what he preaches. The 35-year-old has tried to remain on the forefront of social media and self-promotion, but where others fail – in showing only highlights and on-the-water success – Dunkin strives for authenticity. He wants people to see what his life is really like, whether he’s hoisting a trophy or packing up his boat short of the cut.

“I want on-the-water footage with a chase boat following me every single day of the event. If I make the cut, if I don’t, if I finish dead last, if I finish first, I want to show it all,” he says.

In his pursuit of real authenticity, Dunkin has embraced traditional social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. He’s coming around to YouTube, as well, but his primary focus is his Podcast, “Luke Dunkin’s Low Budget Live,” with plans for a video series in 2019 called “Luke Dunkin’s Traveling Circus.”

“Low Budget Live” began as a modest venture at the Forrest Wood Cup in 2017. It was a talk show-style live show Dunkin hosted on Instagram, and the platform continued to play host to each subsequent episode until September 2018 when Dunkin decided it was better to explore other options than a medium that automatically removes story videos after 24 hours.

“We kicked around this idea of doing a live show on Instagram, doing it as inexpensive as we could,” he says. “I had a lot of music equipment from over the years [as a songwriter and musician], and we figured out how to make that work with a cellphone so we could run full audio.

“It has evolved into now a podcast on iTunes and all that, and it continues to grow. We’ve had amazing guests, and it keeps getting better. It’s so much fun. I really enjoy asking people questions that I feel like fans of the sport will find interesting. We don’t necessarily talk about fishing techniques the entire time.”

That, too, is the plan for “Luke Dunkin’s Traveling Circus.” As Dunkin quips, there are enough videos on the Internet about “how to Texas rig a worm or retrieve a spinnerbait.” What he wants to do with his video series is give fans true insight into the world of a professional angler.

“This video series I’m going to do, I really hope to give everybody an insight into my life on the road and on Tour and the ups and downs,” he explains. “I did one, kind of a vlog, called ‘Low Budget Life’ last year that I filmed all myself with an iPhone. A couple of those got a decent number of views, and I had a lot of fun doing it, so we’re going to kick it up a notch this year [2019].

“It’ll be lifestyle stuff, too. I want that reality series-type stuff where we’re sitting around the house, whoever I’m rooming with, the jokes and the rigging tackle and stuff like that where people see the life. I think that’s really important. Everybody sees the trophies and the big cardboard checks and the shiny boats that are wrapped and the jerseys, but they don’t see everything else.”

No part of Dunkin’s vision for his podcast, video series and social media promotion is about himself, either. It’s neither a selfish venture nor an inauthentic approach to gaining more sponsorship opportunities. For Dunkin, it’s all about entertainment and growing the sport he loves.

“I love this sport. I do,” he says. “I do make money at it, and it is a business for me, but I love being a helping hand in growing this. And the end game, I guess, would be to grow all these channels to as large as they can possibly get, within reason, and pushing the envelope. Keep being creative; keep trying new things and taking risks to deliver the information to people.”

Dunkin is a natural fit for the role. He has personality and a sense of humor. He’s young enough to fully embrace social media and podcasts and video series, but he’s old enough and wise enough to know why they’re so important to growing the sport of bass fishing.

After all, the future superstars of professional fishing are consuming much of their information through those channels, and Dunkin has an opportunity to show them the life of a Tour angler, which is something he didn’t have as an aspiring pro.

“When I was a 16-year-old kid, if I could have seen into the life of these bass pros that I saw living this glamourous rock star lifestyle, it would have been some critical information to have,” he admits. “It wouldn’t have changed my path at all, but you see these guys with the jerseys and the boats. It’s cool to know there are different sides to it.”

There are different sides to Dunkin, too, like that of a family man. He and his wife, Marissa, have five children. He’s also a musician who’s been playing music for years, having performed at “just about every place” in Nashville, recorded an album and earned a publishing deal. It takes authenticity and honesty to pull back the curtain of one’s life as a musician, and that remains the driving force behind his podcast and social media accounts and future video series.

“I think all of that is very compelling to me,” he says. “That’s the type of stuff I like to see. I like to see honesty and behind-the-scenes kind of stuff, especially in music. That’s what we’re going to try to do with the ‘Traveling Circus.’ That, and of course be funny and hopefully showcase my personality. We’ll definitely be playing music.”

Tags: luke-dunkin  flw-tour  bass-fishing  podcast  justin-onslow  article 

The Miles Burghoff Master Plan

The Miles Burghoff Master Plan

Miles Burghoff is in a rare position. He’s a rookie on the FLW Tour, and he’s leading the 2019 Angler of the Year race with two tournaments left to fish. Traditionally, the AOY frontrunners are veteran pros in the prime of their careers, not rookies who are often still trying to learn their way around a full season of Tour competition. Burghoff, however, isn’t your traditional rookie. READ MORE »

Backlash with Jordan Osborne

Backlash with Jordan Osborne

FLW Tour pro Jordan Osborne discusses life in Texas, the business of running a pawnshop and how, as a self-taught bass angler, he's leaned on his competitive drive to overcome the doubters in his quest to make it at the highest levels of tournament bass fishing. 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 »

Register Now for FLW KBF Kayak Open

Register Now for FLW KBF Kayak Open

The first of two joint kayak fishing tournaments conducted in partnership between FLW and Kayak Bass Fishing (KBF) will take place at Nickajack Lake May 4-5. The tournament will be held in conjunction with the FLW Tour event on Lake Chickamauga. Both events are hosted by Fish Dayton and Fish Lake Chickamauga. To register for the FLW/KBF Open. visit KayakBassFishing.com/flw. READ MORE »

Big Weights Expected at Santee Cooper

Big Weights Expected at Santee Cooper

The Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division finishes up its 2019 season at the Santee Cooper lakes, Marion and Moultrie, in South Carolina this week. Forty pros and co-anglers will qualify for the championship, and an Angler of the Year will be crowned as the field fishes for hefty postspawn largemouths. READ MORE »

FLW Tour Set to Visit Lake Chickamauga for Sixth Event of Season

FLW Tour Set to Visit Lake Chickamauga for Sixth Event of Season

DAYTON, Tenn. – Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), the world’s largest tournament fishing organization, is set to continue the 2019 FLW Tour season – the 24th season of the competitive Tour – next week, May 2-5, with the FLW Tour at Lake Chickamauga presented by Evinrude. Hosted by Fish Dayton and the Rhea Economic Tourism Council, the tournament will feature 168... READ MORE »

Latimer, Cobb Honored by Visit Anderson

Latimer, Cobb Honored by Visit Anderson

Latimer represents Green Pond Landing and Event Center (on Lake Hartwell) with logos on his boat and jersey, and, with Hartwell serving as Latimer’s home lake, he’s being honored with a press conference on April 22 at Green Pond Landing to celebrate his recent success. READ MORE »

Cup Bubble Boys with Two to Go

Cup Bubble Boys with Two to Go

The top 40 pros in the 2019 FLW Tour standings qualify to fish the FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton Aug. 9-11. For about a dozen pros, the final two events of the season will decide whether they make it in or out. READ MORE »

How to Choose a Swim Jig for Bushes

How to Choose a Swim Jig for Bushes

Allen Boyd’s spinnerbait tactics are featured in the Spring 2019 issue of FLW Bass Fishing magazine. Here’s his advice on choosing and using swim jigs in flooded woody cover. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Cherokee Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Cherokee Lake

Targeting spawning smallmouth bass was by far the dominant pattern when the FLW Tour visited Cherokee Lake in east Tennessee in April. With a few exceptions, the top 10 pros targeted various combinations of rock and gravel banks where the fish were bedding. Finesse baits such as shaky heads, Ned rigs and small swimbaits saw the most work. READ MORE »

Cherokee Has Been Good to Jason Bridwell

Cherokee Has Been Good to Jason Bridwell

Jason Bridwell fishes in the Volunteer Division of the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League, and his track record on Cherokee, a lake at which he considers himself a local, is nearly spotless, especially after a win in the FLW Tour Marshal program contest. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Cherokee Lake

Top 10 Baits from Cherokee Lake

The smallmouth bass spawn was on at Cherokee Lake in east Tennessee when the FLW Tour came to town in April. Most of the top pros caught their fish on Ned rigs and shaky heads, as well as swimbaits and jigs. READ MORE »

It’s all Upshaw

It’s all Upshaw

As pretty much everyone figured, the final day of the FLW Tour event presented by Lowrance on Cherokee Lake was a nail-biter. Coming down to the wire, a final-hour cull from Andrew Upshaw was enough to hold off Grae Buck and earn the Tulsa, Okla., pro his first Tour win. Weighing 15 pounds, 6 ounces, Upshaw totaled up 67-10 to earn the $100,000 payday and his first trophy after eight years on Tour. READ MORE »

Oklahoma’s Upshaw Leads Wire-To-Wire, Wins FLW Tour on Cherokee Lake Presented by Lowrance

Oklahoma’s Upshaw Leads Wire-To-Wire, Wins FLW Tour on Cherokee Lake Presented by Lowrance

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Pro Andrew Upshaw of Tulsa, Oklahoma, won the FLW Tour at the Cherokee Lake presented by Lowrance after catching five bass Sunday weighing 15 pounds, 6 ounces. Upshaw’s four-day cumulative total of 20 bass weighing 67 pounds, 10 ounces, was enough... READ MORE »

FLW Live Leaderboard - Cherokee Lake

FLW Live Leaderboard - Cherokee Lake

FLW Marshals and media staff provide unofficial weight estimates for stop No. 5 of the 2019 FLW Tour at Cherokee Lake. READ MORE »

Upshaw Almost There

Upshaw Almost There

Andrew Upshaw is one day away from going wire-to-wire to secure his first-ever FLW Tour victory, and as long as the pressure and the nine pros behind him don’t knock him off course, the Tulsa, Okla., pro has a game plan to make it happen. READ MORE »

Upshaw Leads Field into Final Day of FLW Tour on Cherokee Lake Presented by Lowrance

Upshaw Leads Field into Final Day of FLW Tour on Cherokee Lake Presented by Lowrance

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Pro Andrew Upshaw of Tulsa, Oklahoma, maintained his lead Saturday at the FLW Tour at the Cherokee Lake presented by Lowrance after catching five... READ MORE »

Upshaw Still Up at Cherokee

Upshaw Still Up at Cherokee

Day two of the FLW Tour presented by Lowrance on Cherokee Lake featured great fishing again and remarkable consistency from many of the leaders. Still on top, Andrew Upshaw weighed 17 pounds, 14 ounces of smallmouths to up his total to 36-4. In second, Dylan Hays dropped off the pace slightly and weighed 16-11 for a 34-8 total to lurk a bit less than 2 pounds behind Upshaw. Overall, 18 pros weighed more than 16 pounds on day two, and 28 pros have amassed totals over 30 pounds. READ MORE »

Upshaw Holds Lead at FLW Tour on Cherokee Lake Presented by Lowrance

Upshaw Holds Lead at FLW Tour on Cherokee Lake Presented by Lowrance

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Pro Andrew Upshaw of Tulsa, Oklahoma, is still on top at the FLW Tour at the Cherokee Lake presented by Lowrance after catching five bass weighing 17 pounds, 14 ounces. Upshaw’s two-day total of 36-4 will lead the final 30 pros into the third day of... READ MORE »

Upshaw Leads Packed Top 10

Upshaw Leads Packed Top 10

Day one of the FLW Tour presented by Lowrance on Cherokee Lake was a sure enough catchfest. Leading the way, Andrew Upshaw of Tulsa, Okla., weighed 18 pounds, 6 ounces to take the lead, but 13 other pros also weighed more than 16 pounds. READ MORE »