UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Grand Lake

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

 

B. Lat, MDJ Win Pan Am

B. Lat, MDJ Win Pan Am

Brian Latimer and Mark Daniels Jr. are best friends off the water, and it looks like they’ve got the makings of a deadly team on the water. Weighing five smallmouths for 21.16 pounds in the first session and 23.92 pounds in the second session, the pair totaled 45.08 pounds to win the individual competition in the Pan American Bass Championship on Lake St. Francis. READ MORE »

Canada Wins Gold at Pan Am

Canada Wins Gold at Pan Am

Though Team USA locked up the top three places, Team Canada placed six teams in the top 10 and averaged 38.98 pounds to win the Pan American Bass Championship on Lake St. Francis. Results were tallied based on the average weight brought in by each team in the two sessions of fishing, which almost guaranteed an extremely close finish. Earning a silver medal, Team USA finished just a hundredth of a pound back with a 38.97 average. READ MORE »

Canada Leads at Pan Am

Canada Leads at Pan Am

The first session of competition in the Pan American Bass Championship on Lake St. Francis was a roaring success. After the morning weigh-in, Team Canada is leading with an average of 21.16 pounds, Team USA is in second with a 19.6 average, Team Akwesasne First Nation is in third with 18.62 and Mexico had an up and down morning to accrue a 17.24-pound average. READ MORE »

Do you need a generator for bass fishing?

Do you need a generator for bass fishing?

Austin Felix has been running a generator for a few years now, and his primary use is during the spring in the North, when he’s spending mega-days on the water practicing for tournaments that feature bedding smallmouths. READ MORE »

Day 1 Delayed at Pan Am

Day 1 Delayed at Pan Am

Because of steady rain and hard winds at around 20 mph or more, day one of the Pan American Bass Championship has been canceled. With gusts up to 40 mph in the forecast, the organizers have decided to fish two sessions on Friday instead. READ MORE »

Pan Am Gets Underway in Canada

Pan Am Gets Underway in Canada

With the official training day in the rearview, the Pan American Bass Championship starts Thursday, Oct. 16, on Lake St. Francis in Cornwall, Ontario. Teams from Mexico, the Akwesasne First Nation, Canada and the United States will be competing the next two days for glory and country, but also to help along the movement to make bass fishing an Olympic sport. READ MORE »

How to Find Big-Water Smallmouth in Fall

How to Find Big-Water Smallmouth in Fall

The key to finding smallmouth bass on big water in the fall is to know where they’re coming from and where they’re heading, then connecting the dots in between. Swimbaits, blade baits, ChatterBaits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, drop-shots and Ned rigs all put bass in the boat. READ MORE »

Morris Locks up Central Division AOY

Morris Locks up Central Division AOY

It’s not often an angler wins a Strike King Angler of the Year title in a Costa FLW Series division by chance, and while skill is what carried Jake Morris to his first Costa AOY title, chance definitely brought him to the opportunity. READ MORE »

Umbrella Rigs for Great Lakes Smallies   

Umbrella Rigs for Great Lakes Smallies   

The days of catching seemingly infinite bass on an umbrella rig are mostly gone, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't fish with one. The rig is a great tool for catching fall smallmouth bass on the big waters of the Great Lakes and elsewhere up north. READ MORE »

Takeoff Delayed at Lake of the Ozarks

Takeoff Delayed at Lake of the Ozarks

The final Costa FLW Series Central Division event on Lake of the Ozarks – which is presented by Evinrude – was originally slated to begin at 7 a.m. CT this morning, but Mother Nature had other plans. A massive thunderstorm has been rolling through Osage Beach, Mo., this morning bringing heavy downpours and lots of lightning. READ MORE »

Major League Fishing to Acquire FLW

Major League Fishing to Acquire FLW

Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today that it has reached an agreement to acquire Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization. The Letter of Intent (LOI) sets in motion the most significant brand merger in competitive bass fishing history, linking a tour and original, award-winning programming featuring the top professional anglers in the world to an extensive grassroots organization that serves tens of thousands of competitive anglers from high school and college students to weekenders and tour pros.  READ MORE »

How the MLF Acquisition will Affect Me

How the MLF Acquisition will Affect Me

The Thursday announcement of Major League Fishing’s acquisition of FLW signifies a historic shift in the landscape of competitive bass fishing. Here’s an overview of how the competitive circuits of FLW will operate. READ MORE »

Newberry Wins Southwestern Division AOY

Newberry Wins Southwestern Division AOY

It was sweet redemption in many ways for the Texas legend who still owns and operates his Houston-based HVAC company despite spending so much time on the tournament-fishing circuit. Redemption for missing out on the FLW Cup in his first season. Redemption for what Grand did to him earlier this year on Tour (dropping from sixth to 41st with only one fish on day two). And, in a way, validation for a career filled with big accomplishments. READ MORE »

Rapala Varsity Bass Ep. 3 Airs Friday 

Rapala Varsity Bass Ep. 3 Airs Friday 

Join FLW for a Rapala Varsity Bass watch party on Friday, Oct. 4 at 2 p.m. CT for the premiere of Episode 3 in the series. READ MORE »

Valdivia is Best in the West

Valdivia is Best in the West

California pro David Valdivia has consistently finished near the top of the standings in the Costa FLW Series Western Division. This year he finally won his first Strike King Angler of the Year award, and he did it by just one point in the standings. READ MORE »

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 4

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 4

The final five T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Super Tournaments took place over the weekend, bringing BFL regular-season competition to a close. Regional tournaments will kick off Oct. 10, and by the end of the month the majority of the field for the 2020 All-American will be set.  READ MORE »

Wild Card set for Kentucky Lake

Wild Card set for Kentucky Lake

Fishing League Worldwide, the world’s largest tournament fishing organization, announced Sunday that the 2019 T-H Marine BFL Wild Card tournament will take place on Kentucky Lake in Gilbertsville, Kentucky, Nov. 8-9. The two-day event, hosted by the Kentucky Lake Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, will launch from the Kentucky Dam Marina in Gilbertsville. READ MORE »

Dobson Wins First FLW Series AOY

Dobson Wins First FLW Series AOY

Scott Dobson has earned a pile of accolades up north, but this year, he earned his biggest title yet. Winning the Strike King Angler of the Year in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits, the Clarkston, Mich., angler finished third at Lake Champlain, 13th on the Potomac River and wrapped the season and the title with a second-place showing on the St. Lawrence River. READ MORE »

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 3

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 3

The third round of T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Super Tournament action saw smallmouths, spotted bass and largemouths all make an appearance as six divisions put a bow on the season with their respective two-day events. Here’s a quick recap of what all played out in the action spanning from the Detroit River down to Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

Buy a Hat, Help USA Bass 

Buy a Hat, Help USA Bass 

Bass fishing fans have a chance to help the USA Bass team achieve its goal of winning the 2019 Pan American Championship in Canada next month. To help fund the effort, USA Bass, which is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, recently launched a limited edition hat drive with the goal of selling 1,000 USA Bass hats. READ MORE »