UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

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

 

Nixon Ready for Fresh Start

Nixon Ready for Fresh Start

Except 2020 will be different for the General. He’ll miss the season opener on Sam Rayburn and stop No. 2 at the Harris Chain. In fact, he might not get to launch a boat for the 2020 Pro Circuit until stop No. 4 or 5 in April. READ MORE »

Review: VMC Tokyo Rig

Review: VMC Tokyo Rig

When the VMC Tokyo Rig first debuted at ICAST in 2018, a lot of folks didn’t know what to make of the weird-looking contraption. Some thought of it as a gimmick. I kind of felt that way at first until some industry friends told me about their success with it. It didn’t take long before I had a few in hand and was ready to take it for a spin. READ MORE »

Check-in Time: Kurt Mitchell

Check-in Time: Kurt Mitchell

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with Delaware pro Kurt Mitchell.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Reasons to Fish the Phoenix Bass Fishing League

Top 10 Reasons to Fish the Phoenix Bass Fishing League

Fishing tournaments in general is obviously a blast, but we like to think that fishing the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine is especially fun. READ MORE »

BFL Registration Now Open

BFL Registration Now Open

Boaters and co-anglers interested in fishing the Gator, Piedmont, Savannah River, Shenandoah and South Carolina divisions of the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine can begin registering today. With the addition of these final divisions, registration for the Bass Fishing League is now open for everyone who wants to fish in 2020.  READ MORE »

How to Fish Offshore Grass in Florida

How to Fish Offshore Grass in Florida

In recent years, fishing a lipless bait, a spinnerbait or a vibrating jig in offshore grass in Florida has lit up the leaderboard in many tournaments. Tyler Woolcott, a second-year pro from Port Orange, Fla., has plenty of experience tracking the bass in offshore grass throughout the seasons, and you might be able to learn a thing or two from him. READ MORE »

Registration Starts Monday 

Registration Starts Monday 

This year, things are better than ever for anglers looking to get in on the action of the Bass Fishing League, which is the premier grassroots tournament circuit. MLF and FLW are rolling back entry fees – now just $200 per boater and $100 per co-angler for one-day qualifiers and $300 per boater and $150 per co-angler for two-day Super Tournaments. Those are the lowest entry fees since 2014.  READ MORE »

FLW, TBF Extend Strategic Partnership

FLW, TBF Extend Strategic Partnership

Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) and The Bass Federation (TBF) announced today a new strategic partnership. This agreement extends bass fishing’s longest-running alliance between two pioneering organizations in service to grassroots anglers from coast to coast and around the world. READ MORE »

2020 High School Fishing Details

2020 High School Fishing Details

Today FLW (Fishing League Worldwide) announced the schedule, rules and entry dates for the 2020 FLW High School Fishing season. New for 2020, the winning team (two anglers) at the National Championship will both advance to the 2020 FLW Series Championship to compete as co-anglers and fish for the top prize of $30,000, in addition to each receiving a $5,000 scholarship to a school of their choice. READ MORE »

Phoenix Signs as Exclusive Boat Sponsor

Phoenix Signs as Exclusive Boat Sponsor

FLW has reached a sponsorship agreement with Phoenix Boats, a leading boat manufacturer known for innovation, performance and an angler-centric business approach. Effective immediately, Phoenix will assume title sponsorship of the FLW Bass Fishing League, which recently announced decreased entry fees to offer grassroots anglers the best payouts at the lowest cost available. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. READ MORE »

Wall Back to Building Baits

Wall Back to Building Baits

The offseason for many professional anglers is a time to hang out with family and take a step away from a bass boat, while some even swap time on the water for time in a deer stand or duck blind. Not so for Jacob Wall, who just wrapped his first year as a professional angler. READ MORE »

Thrift, Dudley Join 2020 Bass Pro Tour

Thrift, Dudley Join 2020 Bass Pro Tour

Bryan Thrift and David Dudley will be joining the 2020 Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour. READ MORE »

How the Pros Spend Thanksgiving

How the Pros Spend Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy the company of family and friends – especially those we might not get to see that often. And, of course, it’s time to indulge in some delicious food while giving thanks for what we have in our lives. For professional anglers, the holiday is even more special because it lands during that small portion of the year when they’re not on the road and can spend a little extra time relaxing at home. READ MORE »

BFL Co-Anglers Win Polaris ATVs

BFL Co-Anglers Win Polaris ATVs

Jacob Yelton and Richard Thornburg, both of whom fished as co-anglers in the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League this season, are each proud recipients of a brand new Polaris Sportsman 570 EPS ATV as winners of the Polaris Sportsman Giveaway. READ MORE »

How to Catch Winter Bass on Hair Jigs

How to Catch Winter Bass on Hair Jigs

“It’s hard to pass up smallmouths in the winter,” Slegona says. “When they get bunched up out there you can have a lights-out day. So, when that water temp drops below 50, I break out the hair jig box, and I put it away again in the spring when the water gets warm.” READ MORE »

Cash in on the Florida Prespawn

Cash in on the Florida Prespawn

Growing up on Lake Okeechobee, Jared McMillan loves to flip for big fish when the opportunity presents itself, but he’ll be the first to tell you that mid-November can be one of the best times to be on the water. READ MORE »

Check-in Time with Kurt Dove

Check-in Time with Kurt Dove

The most exciting thing I have going on currently is that I just picked up my 2020 Ranger 520L, and the prepping and rigging happens on the weekends. I’m hoping to get out on the water sometime after Thanksgiving to test it out. READ MORE »

Rapala Varsity Bass Ep. 5 Airs Friday 

Rapala Varsity Bass Ep. 5 Airs Friday 

Join FLW for a watch party for the premiere of Episode 5 of Rapala Varsity Bass presented by General Tire. The episode will air Friday, Nov. 22 at 2 p.m. CT. READ MORE »

2020 FLW College Fishing Details

2020 FLW College Fishing Details

The schedule, rules and entry dates for the 2020 FLW College Fishing presented by YETI season are now available, highlighted by the FLW College Fishing National Championship on the Harris Chain of Lakes in Leesburg, Fla., and advancement opportunities for anglers to compete in the Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American and the FLW Series Championship. All teams also now have the freedom to add as many nonconference tournaments to their schedule as they like.  READ MORE »

Less Stress and More Fun

Less Stress and More Fun

After qualifying for the FLW Tour out of the FLW Series Northern Division for the second time in 2018, Slegona finally had the money lined up and hit the big leagues. So, he pointed his Tundra and Skeeter toward Texas in December to start an adventure that was a lifetime in the making. READ MORE »