UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Santee Cooper

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

2019 FLW Tour Predictions

2019 FLW Tour Predictions

There are a lot of unknowns at the beginning of every FLW Tour season, but this year is special. With 34 rookies and an absolutely killer slate of big-fish lakes, a lot could happen. We gathered together some FLW staff and Tour pros to crank out a few predictions for the season. Some of them are pretty straightforward. Others are a little more out there…


 

Cox finally does it

John Cox has finished top 10 in the AOY standings three of the last four years. With how the schedule lines up, there’s no reason to believe he won’t be in the mix again this year. As long as the fish are biting up shallow (which they always seem to be for him), I think he’s going to finally lock down an Angler of the Year title. – Drew Aspinwall, FLW Communications and Social Media Specialist

 

 

Felix wins on Champlain

Austin Felix is on a first-name basis with almost every smallmouth bass in Lake Champlain. He’s excellent on smallmouth fisheries and seems to always be able to catch just a little bit better average-size smallmouth than the rest of the field. On Champlain, every ounce counts. I’ve talked to him several times, and all he wants to do is talk about Harry Potter and Lake Champlain. I think he’s excited for that one. – Matt Stefan, FLW Tour pro

 

Someone else wins AOY

The AOY title will not be won by one of the big-four power hitters: Thrift, Martin, Dudley or Cox. As good as they all are, I’m predicting another Tour veteran will step up and take the crown. With the departure of some of the most well-known FLW pros, a lot of people believe the talent level has dropped immensely. But, let me tell you that the caliber of anglers on Tour is still phenomenal. There are a lot of us that want nothing more than to hold up the AOY title at the end of the year. – Matt Stefan

 

We get a blowout at Big Sam

I think Sam Rayburn will be won by a Texan by a margin of 15 pounds or more. Sam Rayburn has some giant bass in it, and I’m expecting to see several bags of more than 30 pounds weighed in. But a lot of people will struggle as well, and the guys that find them will absolutely crush them, creating a lot of separation over the majority of the field. My pick would be Todd Castledine, Russel Cecil or Dicky Newberry, but any of the Texas boys could win this event. – Matt Stefan

 

AOY and FLW Cup champions will be first-time winners 

There’s been some turnover on the Tour this year, and there are plenty of new faces in the 170-angler field. Hammers such as Bryan Thrift and Scott Martin are still around, sure, and I wouldn’t necessarily use my own money to bet against either of them winning AOY or the Cup. But, considering the volume of new (and fairly new) faces we’ll see on the water this year, it’s a pretty good bet there will be at least a couple guys who make a name for themselves en route to AOY honors or a Cup victory. – Justin Onslow, FLW Associate Editor

 

Someone cracks the century mark at Chick

Chickamauga in the spring. There’s very little else to say. Last time the Tour visited Chick (in June 2015), Michael Wooley sacked up 92-4 for the win. The Tour will come to Chick more than a month earlier in the season this year, and that means bigger fish, shallower, on a lake that hasn’t stopped producing massive bags. Cracking 100 pounds is hard to do, but I think there’s a shot on the hawg factory that is Chickamauga. – Justin Onslow

 

A rookie makes it happen

I predict that at least one rookie will win a Tour event in 2019. The youth movement is in full-force, and with a big influx of seasoned rookies 2019 could be a big year for them. In fact, I’ll go one step further and predict that FLW Tour rookie Dicky Newberry will win the opener at Rayburn. – Todd Hollowell, FLW Live Analyst

 

Thrift’s streak survives the season

Due to the greatness of Bryan Thrift and the sweet schedule on tap for the 2019 FLW Tour season, I think there’s almost no way that Thrift’s consecutive limit streak in Tour competition ends. The fisheries are too good, and the timing of the events is right for a bunch of slugfests. As long as we don’t get sleet at Rayburn in January or some other crazy weather-influenced event along the way, his streak survives. Maybe ... maybe it ends at the FLW Cup on Hamilton. The precedent is there: Thrift has fished 12 Cups as a pro, and in five of them he’s failed to catch a limit at least one day. August is a tough month, and at the Cup Thrift swings for the win, which can jeopardize his chances at a five-bass limit. Still, I don’t see him slipping up. Thrift is too good. He’s on the mother of all rolls. This season, he puts the record out of reach of the mortals on Tour. – Curtis Niedermier, FLW Editor-in-Chief

 

David Dudley gets a win

I don’t think you need to justify a prediction that David Dudley will win a tournament in a season; it seems like an easy one. Then again, Dudley hasn’t won since 2012, the year he won twice and earned his second consecutive Angler of the Year title. So let me back up this prognostication. First, I think Dudley is due. Six winless years is a drought by his standards. Second, I think the schedule is right for it. My guess is it happens at Cherokee, Chickamauga or Champlain – someplace where multiple patterns are in play or he can junk around and finesse fish into the boat. Third, and this one’s a little more out there, but I think the fishing world is channeling some serious energy toward Dudley right now. He’s FLW’s all-time best, and he’s stuck around despite many of his peers leaving. Now that Dudley might be the torchbearer for the FLW Tour for the foreseeable future, I think we’re trending toward the return of the dominant force he once was. – Curtis Niedermier

 

Thrift wins AOY

You don’t need me to tell you this, but Bryan Thrift is really good. In his entire Tour career, the Carolina pro has only finished outside of the top 10 in the points twice – one of those seasons was his rookie year. With a pair of Angler of the Year titles under his belt already, I think Thrift improves on his runner-up finish in 2018 and joins the exclusive three-title club. – Jody White, FLW Digital Editor

 

Hallman makes the Cup

Bradley Hallman is one of the most decorated anglers to never qualify for the FLW Cup or the Bassmaster Classic. He’s banked three wins with FLW since 2015, but his ability to throw up a triple-digit finish is just as present as his ability to win big. In theory, this year’s schedule has a lot of potential for him. Rayburn and Grand are obviously places where he has a lot of experience, and there should be shallow opportunities throughout the rest of the schedule. Additionally, Hallman is just fishing this year, not also working a normal job, so he’s going to be able to fully apply his considerable drive to fishing. I think he makes it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s swinging big at Hamilton come August. – Jody White

 

The first four take big weight
After a wild offseason, it’s finally time to get the new season started. The 2019 FLW Tour sets up to be a superb one. Although the Tour has a few new faces, they are all still great anglers, and every single one of them is capable of winning any event. We are hitting some of the best fisheries in the country at some of the best times to catch giant bags (assuming the weather cooperates). The first four events of the year at Sam Rayburn, Lake Toho, Lake Seminole and Grand Lake could very easily take a 4-pound average to win. Throw in a couple smallmouth events and a Tennessee River event, and it’s gonna be a pretty exciting season. Put the best anglers in the world on the best fisheries in the world, and there’s gonna be fireworks. – Matt Becker, FLW Tour pro

 

The AOY hunt is diverse

I truly believe the 2019 AOY race will include myself, another West Coast angler, a Midwestern angler and two anglers from the East Coast (sorry Northern guys). The wild card tournament will be Lake Cherokee, not the final event of the year at Lake Champlain. Whoever survives the conditions and elements on Cherokee will have the best odds for the AOY title. – Jimmy Reese, FLW Tour pro

 

We see a giant

I also predict someone will catch a monster largemouth bass over 13 pounds this year. It will probably be caught on a swimbait, not on a float ‘n’ fly. – Jimmy Reese

 

Logan contends for a win

Without question, Wes Logan is one of the hottest up-and-coming anglers in professional fishing. Logan netted a top-10 finish at the FLW Cup (his first appearance to the big show) and finished second in points to Bryan Thrift in the Southeastern Division of the Costa FLW Series this past year, which helped to confirm that he’s really, really good. The 2019 Tour schedule could feature a solid shallow bite in nearly every event, and because of Logan’s shallow-water prowess, I think he’s got a chance to push for his first Tour win this season. Both Seminole and Chickamauga seem like solid venues for him to excel, but really, it could happen anywhere. – Kyle Wood, FLW Senior Editor

 

Both McMillan brothers finish in the top 10

Brandon, the older brother of the McMillan professional fishing duo, is about to embark on his fifth year as a Tour pro. Jared will be in his third, but his second going at it full time. They work well together and have greatly expanded their fishing game outside of the flipping they are used to doing in Florida. Since they’ll be able to keep their boats near the bank for most of the year and play to their strengths, look for them to have their name in the Angler of the Year race and punch their tickets to the Cup in style. – Kyle Wood

 

I make the Cup

My goal this year is to make the FLW Cup, and I think I do it. I came out of the gates swinging in 2017 and struggled a little in 2018, but all I wanna do in 2019 is make the Cup. I believe that accomplishment will solidify my goal of fishing long-term as a professional angler. – Jeff Dobson, FLW Tour pro

 

A McMillan wins in Florida

I think one of the McMillan brothers will win the Toho event. Brandon’s commitment to dive in headfirst in gator-infested water will be key, and Jared’s youth and drive will make him one to watch out for. – Rob Matsuura, FLW Staff Videographer and Photographer

 

The first two-time FLW Cup champion will be crowned at Lake Hamilton

Every year, we look forward to the world championship of bass fishing – the FLW Cup – and every year, we wonder if a former winner will take the season’s most coveted prize. Well, mark my words, 2019 will be the year it happens. This season we have five returning Cup champions on Tour – John Cox (2016), Brad Knight (2015), Scott Martin (2011), David Dudley (2003) and Darrel Robertson (2002). At first glance, it’s a pretty stout crew of anglers that should have little trouble qualifying for the Cup, as this year’s Tour schedule is loaded with shallow-water opportunities. Though, if I had to pick someone to win it all at Lake Hamilton, I’d take John Cox. Lake Hamilton has a lot of small creeks for anglers to pick apart, and as we’ve seen in the past, Cox excels in those nooks and crannies. He’s a versatile guy who has already pieced together some hefty limits on the big stage. This August, I think he heads to the record books with two FLW Cup titles to his name. – Brian Johnson, FLW Communications Specialist

 

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 »

Lawyer Loads Up on Cover Cash at Grand Lake

Lawyer Loads Up on Cover Cash at Grand Lake

Jeremy Lawyer has become well acquainted with earning bonus money through contingency programs like LEER Cover Cash and Toyota Bonus Bucks. In fact, he just pocketed another $500 from Leer and $2,000 from Toyota for his first-place finish on Grand Lake. These two programs, among others, have been especially kind to Lawyer throughout his career. READ MORE »

By the Numbers: Cherokee Lake

By the Numbers: Cherokee Lake

You can drive from the TVA Dam Boat Launch on Cherokee Lake to the Dayton Boat Dock on Lake Chickamauga – takeoff sites for the next two FLW Tour events – in less than two hours, yet the two eastern Tennessee fisheries are wildly different in a number of important ways.  READ MORE »

Nabe to Use Marshal Winnings for Leg Surgery

Nabe to Use Marshal Winnings for Leg Surgery

When you live a bass-fishing vagabond lifestyle, sleep in a van and have no bank account, every dollar counts out there on the tournament trail. That’s why Hiroyuki Watanabe – better known as Nabe – was very pleased to earn the $2,500 winner’s check for being the top-finishing marshal at the Grand Lake FLW Tour event last week. READ MORE »

By the Numbers: Grand Lake

By the Numbers: Grand Lake

After prespawn slugfests on Sam Rayburn, Toho and Seminole, the FLW Tour heads a little further north for what should be another big-bag prespawn showdown. READ MORE »

Bolton’s Real Secret to Success

Bolton’s Real Secret to Success

Kentucky pro Terry Bolton nearly retired from fishing in 2018, but his wife, Dacy, whom he married in the fall, convinced him to stick with it and helped him remember why he loves to fish so much: for the fun of it. Now, he's won an FLW Tour event and is leading the Angler of the Year race. READ MORE »

FLW Magazine Spring Issue Shipping Now

FLW Magazine Spring Issue Shipping Now

The spring issue of the FLW Bass Fishing magazine is shipping now to subscribers. It comes complete with the best bass fishing tips, technique breakdowns, profiles and tournament coverage in the industry. Each quarterly issue includes gear reviews, tips and tricks from the pros, and full coverage of the FLW tournament scene. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Chickamauga

Top 10 Patterns from Chickamauga

Tournament champion Brent Butler ran different patterns nearly every day in the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event on Lake Chickamauga last week. The tournament, presented by T-H Marine, wasn’t quite the slugfest many expected it to be, but Butler’s 68-pound, 8-ounce three-day total was still an impressive showing. The rest of the top 10 got on a handful of patterns – some the same all three days and some changing from day to day – but all worked well enough to earn a top 10 and a paycheck. READ MORE »

Darrell Lowrance Part of Fishing’s First Generation of Innovators

Darrell Lowrance Part of Fishing’s First Generation of Innovators

The future of fishing is brighter thanks to the hard work and ingenuity of industry pioneer Darrell Lowrance, who passed away on Saturday at age 80. FLW joins the industry in mourning his loss, and offers its condolences to the Lowrance family. READ MORE »

Seminole on YouTube

Seminole on YouTube

The third stop of the FLW Tour season on Lake Seminole was a roaring success. Many pros documented their practice and tournament days to give viewers an inside look at how their event unfolded. READ MORE »

FLW, Abu and Boy Scouts Launch Youth Contingency

FLW, Abu and Boy Scouts Launch Youth Contingency

FLW, along with Abu Garcia and the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), recently announced a new contingency program for youth bass anglers who fish the YETI FLW College Fishing and Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing tournament circuits. READ MORE »

President Signs S. 47, Expands Fishing Access

President Signs S. 47, Expands Fishing Access

President Donald Trump, on Tuesday, signed into law S. 47, a package of bills that “sets forth provisions regarding various programs, projects, activities, and studies for the management and conservation of natural resources on federal lands.” READ MORE »

College Open Midday Update — Day 1

College Open Midday Update — Day 1

Kentucky Lake is showing out in a big way on day one of the YETI FLW College Fishing Open. Cool but fairly calm conditions have paved the way for a lot of quality fish and some impressive stringers so far. READ MORE »

KHSAA Region 2 Tournament Moved

KHSAA Region 2 Tournament Moved

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) Region 2 bass tournament originally scheduled on Lake Cumberland out of General Burnside Island State Park has been moved to Halcomb’s Landing. READ MORE »

FLW, Kayak Bass Fishing Join Forces

FLW, Kayak Bass Fishing Join Forces

FLW announced today that it has partnered with Kayak Bass Fishing (KBF), LLC, the nation's foremost organization supporting kayak bass anglers, to hold two kayak bass-fishing tournaments in 2019. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The two events will be held in conjunction with FLW Tour events – the FLW Tour at Lake Chickamauga and the FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton – on nearby fisheries to offer kayak anglers and Tour pros separate fisheries for competition. KBF will manage operation of the two events, and the winners will be recognized on the FLW Tour stage and featured in FLW’s media outlets. READ MORE »

Polaris Named Title Sponsor of ROY Award

Polaris Named Title Sponsor of ROY Award

FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, announced today that Polaris, the leading global powersports manufacturer, has been named the presenting sponsor for the coveted Polaris FLW Tour Rookie of the Year (ROY) award. The award is given to the highest-ranked first-year angler on the prestigious Tour, which features some of the top anglers in professional bass fishing. READ MORE »

FLW Kayak Fishing

READ MORE »

Co-angler Parks Nearly Goes Wire-to-Wire

Co-angler Parks Nearly Goes Wire-to-Wire

Jesse Parks came within 1 pound, 6 ounces of running wire-to-wire for the co-angler win in the Costa FLW Series Western Division Opener presented by Ranger Boats. He finished day one in fourth place with 10-9, but a 9-4 day-two effort (on a day that stumped most of the field) and two more fish for 3-11 on day three were plenty to claim the lead and never relinquish it. READ MORE »

Lake Mead Midday Update – Day 2

Lake Mead Midday Update – Day 2

It’s hard to get a read on how well Mead is fishing on day two of the Costa FLW Series Western Division opener presented by Ranger Boats. By some accounts, calmer conditions and cloudy skies have made the bite pick up in some key areas of the lake. On the other hand, the Overton Arm area is much slower today than it was on Thursday, and it's an area of the lake that produced for many anglers atop the day-one leaderboard. READ MORE »