UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Erie

Young Healed, Ready for Another Shot

Young Healed, Ready for Another Shot
Andy Young

Andy Young is still smiling. Actually, he never really stopped smiling. Or laughing. Or having fun.

Young was even still his normal, jolly self last season when he was in a back brace, limping around on shore at FLW Tour events, watching his friends and colleagues fish while he was recovering from the Jan. 25 boat collision that threatened his career and nearly ended his season.

Optimism is a valuable personality trait in a pro bass angler, and it’s fair to say the Minnesota pro has reason to be optimistic.

That he was able to return to competition for the final two events in 2018 after suffering a compression fracture in his L2 vertebrae in the accident that took place on the first day of the season; that his career trajectory has generally been on the rise during four years on the FLW Tour; that he’s able to make a living fishing having experienced the grind of a 23-year career at a sheet metal company in Chaska, Minn.; that his fishing business is better than ever on the cusp of a new Tour season – all are positives in the life of the 48-year-old.

“I still feel like I’m the same ol’ guy. I just don’t move quite as quick,” he says.

You could say Young has the right attitude to survive the ups and downs of the pro fishing circuit, and if the 2019 season turns out to be his best so far, like it’s shaping up to be, a positive state of mind might be the biggest reason why.

 

The Okeechobee accident

The 2018 season was supposed to be Young’s chance to finally push himself over the edge and into the FLW Cup. In his previous two seasons Young finished 52nd and 51st in the standings, respectively, and barely missed qualifying for the Cup. In 2017, he ended the season with his first-ever FLW Tour top 10. Young was competing, building a sponsor portfolio and loving life on the tournament trail.

Then, on Jan. 25, 2018, the first day of the FLW Tour season, Young’s career momentum was halted when he was involved in a boating collision with fellow pro William Campbell while they traveled boat lanes coursing through one of Lake Okeechobee’s grass mats. Young and his co-angler, James Bianchi, were ejected from the boat but were able to return to the craft and travel back to the takeoff site.

The accident, while it could’ve ended with far graver consequences, effectively put Young’s career on hold for four months.

“Luckily, I didn’t have to have surgery, and there’s no spinal cord damage,” Young says. “I had to wear a brace for about two and a half months. Other than that it should heal back up. They [the doctors] said I might have chronic pain the rest of my life, and I’m going to know what it’s like to have a bad back.”

During the early stages of recovery, Young actually stayed in the South and traveled the FLW Tour trail with roommates and fellow Minnesotans Austin Felix and Dave Larson. Watching his friends compete helped motivate him to eventually get back on the water for the final two events, where Young earned a $10,000 check on Kentucky Lake in the second-to-last tournament.

“It was really hard watching everybody go out there last year,” he says. “But I didn’t want to drive home and have to recuperate in 30-below weather.

 

Back to bass fishing

Young feels that he’s ready for another full season; anxious for it, actually. A big part of his rehab, in addition to doctor-ordered physical therapy, was staying active. He got back on the water last summer and pursued ducks, geese and deer in the fall and winter.

Young says he still experiences some soreness after standing in a boat for eight or so hours, but he’s able to tough it out and put in 12-hours days when necessary.

“I’m pretty much back to normal where I can get around and do pretty much anything I could do before,” he says. “My mobility isn’t quite as good as what it used to be. Reaching down to the deck and tying my shoes is kind of tough yet. The doc says it might be that way forever.

“But I fished all summer long, up here on Mille Lacs. I didn’t get my boat back until August. Before that I got to fish with friends. After I got my boat back I fished a lot. I fished about three local tournaments around here. I didn’t do real good in any, but I think I feel good that I can compete. I think I can do all right out there. But I think I’ll be driving my boat a little bit slower than I used to, that’s for sure.”

 

The 2019 FLW Tour

This season, Young plans to travel with Felix as well as pros Matt Stefan and Mark Fisher. They comprise one of the core groups of a larger collection of Midwestern anglers that has been flourishing on the FLW Tour over the last few seasons.

Young, who was born in Hawaii but has lived in Minnesota since he was 10 years old, attributes the trend to a number of factors, including the example being set by other anglers from the region.

“To be honest with you I think it [competing on a regional or national level] is getting a lot more popular up here ever since some of us guys have had some success,” he says. “You look at, for instance, Seth Feider. I think he has a big influence on the guys up around this area. Or they see me or Josh Douglas and think, ‘If they can do it, I can do it.’ We fished against a lot of those guys for so many years.

“Another thing about the bass fishing up here is that people not from Minnesota don’t realize it’s really good. We catch a lot more fish up here than guys do down there [in the South]. On the best lake in the country down south you can go out and catch one or two fish a day and be really happy about it. Up here, you catch a lot more. Having 20-, 30-, 50-fish days is pretty common. I think the more fish you catch the better off you are.”

Young’s hoping all that fish-catching experience helps him out when he migrates south to start the season. He can’t name a single lake on the schedule that he’s not excited about fishing, but definitely gives the edge to grass lakes where he can flip a jig or otherwise power fish.

That fits the description for most of the Tour lakes this year, including Rayburn, Toho, Seminole, Chickamauga and Champlain.

And if a tournament does wind up being an offshore battle, Young’s OK with that, too. He’s won more money in his career by fishing offshore than shallow.

Still, with all those power-fishing destinations on tap, Young likes his chances of finally accomplishing a career milestone that has thus far eluded him.

“I’m not a big goal setter,” he says. “I probably should be. For me it’s more about going out to do the best I can every day. Obviously, if I did have a goal, it’d be to make the Forrest Wood Cup this year.”

 

Sponsorship and a slogan

It’s no secret that life on the professional bass trails isn’t all easy. It can be a personal and financial grind. On the personal side, Young is all-in. He’s fishing for a living, which is what he wants more than anything, and he’s adopted a new personal slogan to help motivate him this season: “whatever it takes.”

On the financial side, he’s in a good place too thanks to sponsors such as Biovex, Kruger Farms, International Comfort Products and Outkast Tackle.

“I feel like I’m starting to get a pretty good grasp of it [sponsorship],” he says. “This year I’ve actually got enough sponsorship to where it’s covering all my entry fees and then a little bit more. It’s the first year I’ve been able to say that. It really, really does help.”

A year removed from his accident, Young has his finances in order and his health in check. No wonder he’s smiling. He likes where his career and his life are headed.

“There’s no question in my mind that I’ll be fishing the rest of my life,” Young adds. “Somewhere, somehow I’ll be fishing.”

Tags: bass-fishing  -andy-young  curtis-niedermier  article 

Stokes Pulls Ahead on Erie

Stokes Pulls Ahead on Erie

One of a number of pros who elected to make the run from Sandusky to the Detroit River, Troy Stokes pulled into the lead on day two of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. READ MORE »

Erie Midday Update – Day 1

Erie Midday Update – Day 1

From a weather standpoint, day one of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie has been almost too perfect. Slick and hot from the start, anglers have been able to go wherever they want and fish however they want. READ MORE »

FLW Classics – Week 5

FLW Classics – Week 5

Even though tournament action is back in full swing, we decided to keep dipping into the archives for some tournament highlights from yesteryear. Below is a batch of classic FLW TV shows from 2008 to 2010, with more on the way.  READ MORE »

Virtual FLW Tournament to Benefit Keep America Fishing

Virtual FLW Tournament to Benefit Keep America Fishing

As part of the American Sportfishing Association’s first-ever ICAST Online fishing tackle tradeshow later this month, FLW is partnering with Keep America Fishing to host a special virtual ICAST Cup fishing tournament.  READ MORE »

A Dream Come True

A Dream Come True

On June 27, 16-year-old Noah Crogan’s big wish came to fruition at the Apple Island Marina on Lake Champlain when he became the owner of a brand-new Tracker aluminum bass boat. Thanks to Make-A-Wish Vermont, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and local anglers – including Phoenix Bass Fishing League and Toyota Series angler Cole Harris – Crogan was surprised at the marina with the boat, along with plenty of rods and tackle to get him on the water. READ MORE »

BFL Winning Patterns – June 27-28

BFL Winning Patterns – June 27-28

Wrapping up competition for the month of June, the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine saw four divisions compete this past weekend, which included a pair of double-headers. Due to the heat and a desire for the best fish care possible, one of the tournaments took place with a three-bass limit instead of the usual five-bass limit. READ MORE »

Northern Division Heads to Sandusky

Northern Division Heads to Sandusky

Swiftly rescheduled due to New York’s recently announced travel restrictions, the Toyota Series Northern Division is now kicking off on Lake Erie, launching out of Sandusky, Ohio, July 9-11. The event is the first of three in the division, with the others scheduled for August on Lake Champlain and on the Detroit River in September. READ MORE »

AOY Update: Lake Chickamauga

AOY Update: Lake Chickamauga

Though Jacob Wheeler won the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga in grand style, his win didn’t impact the Angler of the Year standings. Only the original Pro Circuit anglers were competing for AOY points. That means the AOY focus is still on Ron Nelson, who slipped off his blazing pace a bit, but still holds the lead heading into the final two regular-season events in July and August on the Mississippi River and the Detroit River, respectively. READ MORE »

"FLW Fishing" Premieres Friday

"FLW Fishing" Premieres Friday

FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, announced today the 2020 season of “FLW Fishing” will debut on the Outdoor Channel, Friday, July 3 (7 to 9 p.m. EDT). READ MORE »

Wrapping Practice with Jon Canada

Wrapping Practice with Jon Canada

Second-year Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro Jon Canada enters the first of three Super Tournaments down the stretch run of the season ranked third in Angler of the Year points. After a 10th-place finish at Sam Rayburn to start the season, he tacked on a 20th at the Harris Chain and 21st at Martin, and he’s looking to keep that consistency rolling on Chickamauga this week. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Chickamauga

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Chickamauga

On the schedule this week is 24 hours of streaming on-the-water tournament action with hosts Travis Moran, Todd Hollowell and Marty Stone, who joins the crew for the first time ever. Daily weigh-ins will also stream live from Dayton, Tenn. READ MORE »

Birge Back on Track After Boat Fire

Birge Back on Track After Boat Fire

Major League Fishing pro Zack Birge is back on the water for day two of practice for the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga after scrambling overnight to deal with a boat fire. READ MORE »

Roaming Chick with Cole Floyd

Roaming Chick with Cole Floyd

Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit rookie Cole Floyd is a rookie by definition only. Despite living in Ohio until joining the Bethel University fishing team, it hasn’t taken long for the young phenom to make his mark on the Tennessee River, from Kentucky Lake to Guntersville, Pickwick to Chickamauga. Floyd was gracious enough to allow me to ride along with him for the first day of practice on Chickamauga for a firsthand look at how he’s preparing to get the job done. READ MORE »

Several Patterns in Play at Ouachita BFL

Several Patterns in Play at Ouachita BFL

FLW has a long history of hosting multiple-day summertime tournaments on Lake Ouachita, where pros have to grind it out for three days in what are usually tough conditions. On June 27, when the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Arkie Division takes to Ouachita, the Natural State’s best bass anglers will need to game plan a little differently. With only one day to fish and a three-bass limit, they’ll have to swing for the fences with big-bass patterns to have a shot at winning. READ MORE »

HS Championship Will be a Frog-Fest

HS Championship Will be a Frog-Fest

If you wanted to design the perfect frog-fishing tournament, you might host it at Guntersville or the Cal Delta, but you could also copy the agenda for the Student Angler Federation High School Fishing National Championship on the Mississippi River out of La Crosse, Wis. READ MORE »

Inside Bass Fishing Magazine’s June-July Issue

Inside Bass Fishing Magazine’s June-July Issue

With fishing tournaments back in full swing and the summer bite starting to heat up, now’s a good time to pick up a copy of Bass Fishing magazine for tips, tricks, gear reviews and all the bass fishing content our readers have come to expect from within its pages. READ MORE »

BFL Winning Patterns – June 13-14

BFL Winning Patterns – June 13-14

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine season is in full swing again with six more divisions holding competition the weekend of June 13, including three double-headers. READ MORE »

48-Pound Limit Weighed at FLW Zimbabwe Event

48-Pound Limit Weighed at FLW Zimbabwe Event

From the moment registration opened for the second year of FLW Zimbabwe competition, it was obvious that FLW was here to stay. With Zimbabweans Roger Cousens and Denis Todd winning the International Division titles at the Toyota Series Championship on Lake Cumberland in November 2019, and Roger having been awarded a pro berth to compete on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit in the USA in 2021, every aspiring angler was out to be the next in line. READ MORE »

Review: Berkley PowerBait The Deal

Review: Berkley PowerBait The Deal

Designed by Major League Fishing pro Skeet Reese, the Berkley PowerBait The Deal is a unique twin-tailed trailer that’s right at home on the back of a vibrating jig or a swim jig. The Deal comes in 3 1/2- and 4 1/2-inch versions (I tested the 4 1/2), all the standard colors and has already seen tournament success. READ MORE »

John Cox’s Greatest Hits

John Cox’s Greatest Hits

FLW is looking forward to getting back on the water for the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit in a few weeks. In the meantime, we’re offering a little retrospective on some of the all-time greats who’ve fished with FLW through the years. READ MORE »