UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - James River

Winning Baits from the 2019 FLW Tour

Winning Baits from the 2019 FLW Tour
Terry Bolton's Rapala DT Series Crankbaits

It’s tough to believe that the FLW Tour season is already a wrap and it’s only Independence Day weekend, but that’s exactly the situation. Last week the FLW Tour finished up at Lake Champlain with Casey Scanlon earning the W.

What a season it was in 2019. David Dudley won a record fourth FLW Tour Angler of the Year award. There were six first-time Tour champions, two events won with smallmouths, a smattering of double-digit bass brought to the scales and plenty of drama on FLW Live. 

Before we shift our focus to previewing the 2019 FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton, let’s start with a look back at the baits that were used to win the seven FLW Tour events this season. Lucky for you, TackleWarehouse.com is running a holiday sale that ends Friday evening, so you can stock your tackle boxes at a discount. In the process, you might want to consider adding some of the winning gear from another great year on Tour.

 

Terry Bolton

1. Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Jan. 10-13

Rapala DT10, DT14 and DT16 crankbaits were all crucial in Terry Bolton’s first FLW Tour win. To target prespawn bass on the big Texas reservoir, Bolton opted for the demon and Caribbean shad colors and threw his crankbaits with Lew’s BB1 Pro Speed Spool reels with the 5.1:1 gear ratio. The man nicknamed “Blade” for his spinnerbait prowess also caught some quality fish on a white 3/4-ounce Accent spinnerbait and mixed in a few on a Carolina rig with a 5-inch green pumpkin Zoom Lizard. Bolton targeted bare spots on inside grass lines in the mornings. Then, after 11 o’clock, he fished 15 to 18 feet deep on outside grass line drains.

Full top-10 baits gallery

 

2. Lake Toho, Feb. 7-10

Buddy Gross found the winning fish in clumps of grass between two ditches on the main lake. The ditches were situated in a large V-shaped notch in a grass mat. The bass Gross caught were prespawn and postspawn. All but one of his keepers came on two baits: a 5-inch Scottsboro Tackle Co. Swimbait (natural shad) on an 8/0 Owner Beast Flashy Swimmer 3/8-ounce belly-weighted hook with a blade, and a homemade white 1/2-ounce swim jig with a 4-inch Scottsboro (natural shad) trailer. Gross fished with 50-pound-test braid on a Daiwa Tatula SV reel (7.3:1) and a pair of 7-foot, 3-inch Fitzgerald Rods All Purpose Series sticks – extra-heavy for the swimbait and heavy for the swim jig. 

Full top-10 baits gallery

 

3. Lake Seminole, March 7-10

Brian “B. Lat” Latimer got on his way to his first Tour title by cranking a current seam in the Flint River on day one with a Bill Lewis MR-6. That bite faded, and he turned to a main-river flat in the Flint for the remainder of the tournament. There, he flipped grass clumps to target prespawn fish with a Z-Man Palmetto BugZ on a 1/2-ounce weight. To get ’em out of the grass, Latimer used a 7-2, medium-heavy Favorite Phantom rod and an Abu Garcia Revo STX (7.3:1 gear ratio).

Full top-10 baits gallery

 

4. Grand Lake, March 28-31

Falling water and changing conditions throughout the Grand Lake event made it one of the toughest Tour events of the season. Jeremy Lawyer figured out the winning pattern by running new docks every day. He keyed on the backs of docks, particularly where he found wood cover. A spinnerbait fanatic, Lawyer cycled through five different spinnerbaits on any given day, including ones from Freedom Tackle and Nichols Lures, along with a host of homemade versions. Regardless of the spinnerbait, he swapped out all the blades to Hildebrandt blades of varying colors.

Full top-10 baits gallery

 

Andrew Upshaw

5. Cherokee Lake, April 11-14

Andrew Upshaw wacky-rigged a 4-inch Strike King KVD Perfect Plastics Ocho in green pumpkin to catch most of his fish. He was targeting spawning smallmouths behind boulders on main-lake islands for most of the tournament. Key spots were where the bank made a turn. On the final day, he used a 3 1/4-inch Strike King Rage Swimmer for the kickers that he pulled off a rock pile not far from the takeoff ramp.

Full top-10 baits gallery

 

6. Lake Chickamauga, May 2-5

Once again, John Cox made the case that he might be the best bed-fisherman in the world right now by winning on Lake Chickamauga with spawning bass. Cox caught some of his bass sight-fishing, but he also fished around cypress trees and other shallow cover where he couldn’t see the bass but assumed they would be setting up to spawn or actively engaged in the process. When Cox was trying to tempt bedding bass to bite, he did it with a wacky-rigged 6-inch Berkley PowerBait MaxScent The General in the baby bass color. He also caught some key fish on a white Dirty Jigs Swim Jig with a white Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Meaty Chunk trailer. 

Full top-10 baits gallery

 

7. Lake Champlain, June 27-30

To win the Tour finale, Casey Scanlon made the hour-long run to Ticonderoga at the lake’s south end each day and fished for largemouths that were mostly postspawn, though he figures a few were spawning. Scanlon dialed in on a series of rocky points and shallow inside grass lines to catch most of his bass and used a handful of baits and techniques to catch them. He fished rock and milfoil with a 3/8-ounce chartreuse and white Z-Man ChatterBait with a white soft jerkbait trailer, fished rock and lighter grass with a Luck-E-Strike Series 3 (green copper shad) square-bill crankbait, Texas-rigged a Luck-E-Strike Pow Stik with either a 3/16- or 1/4-ounce Bass Pros Shops tungsten weight, flipped a black and blue Bass Pros Shops tube, and targeted pencil reeds and dollar pads with a Trophy Bass Company 1/2-ounce Trophy Swim Jig.

Full top-10 baits gallery

FLW Live Schedule for the Mississippi River

FLW Live Schedule for the Mississippi River

With just two events left in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit season, it’s time to turn attention to the northern part of the country. Presented by OPTIMA Batteries, the Pro Circuit Super Tournament on the Mississippi River out of Stoddard, Wis., will not only crown a winner with a $125,000 payday but also shape the Angler of the Year race. READ MORE »

Alvin Shaw Withdraws from Remaining Super Tournaments

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Citing emergency surgery to remove his gall bladder, pro Alvin Shaw announced today that he is withdrawing from the remaining two 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit events. Shaw, a 16-year FLW pro, has 15 top-10 finishes and two career victories in FLW competition. READ MORE »

MLF Analyst Marty Stone Joins "FLW Live"

MLF Analyst Marty Stone Joins "FLW Live"

FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, and Major League Fishing (MLF) announced the addition of veteran MLF NOW! analyst Marty Stone to the FLW Live broadcast team. READ MORE »

2nd Place Earns MDJ Bonus Bucks

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Major League Fishing pro Mark Daniels Jr. took home $3,000 of Toyota Bonus Bucks thanks to his second-place finish in the final Bass Pro Tour event of the 2020 season. “MDJ” had an extremely close, back-and-forth battle with eventual winner Justin Lucas on Sturgeon Bay before finishing the Championship Round as the runner-up. READ MORE »

Northern Division Returns to Sandusky

Northern Division Returns to Sandusky

FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, announced today that the organization will shift its Aug. 18-20 Toyota Series Northern Division event from Lake Champlain in Plattsburgh, New York, to Lake Erie and Sandusky, Ohio. The move was made in response to New York’s expanded travel restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic. READ MORE »

Under the Cap: Look Inside Justin Lucas’ Truck

Under the Cap: Look Inside Justin Lucas’ Truck

Although he makes his living fishing on the front deck of his Phoenix boat, MLF pro Justin Lucas spends as much (or more!) time in between competition rounds and Bass Pro Tour events working out of a four-wheeled tackle garage that includes an A.R.E. Z Series truck cap. READ MORE »

BFL Winning Patterns – July 18-19

BFL Winning Patterns – July 18-19

The weekend of July 18 featured eight Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine events spread across six different divisions. With a pair of double-headers mixed in, it was an action-packed weekend on the water. READ MORE »

Assessing the ROY Race

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With the final two events of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit regular season slated for the Mississippi River and Sandusky Bay, on Lake Erie, there’s really no candidate that is perfectly suited for both. Because of that, the final two events set up well to test true fishing talent, and it won’t be easy for someone to get on a roll to close it out. READ MORE »

Pro Circuit Events Move to Great Lakes

Pro Circuit Events Move to Great Lakes

FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, announced today that the final two Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit events of 2020 have been moved. The final Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament scheduled for Aug. 11-14 has been moved to Lake Erie in Sandusky, Ohio, while the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota, scheduled for Aug. 24-29, has been moved to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. READ MORE »

Lake Martin TV Show Premieres Tonight

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The 2020 season of “FLW Fishing” features 13 two-hour episodes, showcasing competition during each of the six regular-season Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit events, plus all six days of the Tackle Warehouse FLW TITLE presented by Toyota, the Pro Circuit Championship. This week, the Pro Circuit event at Lake Martin is on tap.  READ MORE »

Cifuentes’ Chickamauga Mayfly Pattern

Cifuentes’ Chickamauga Mayfly Pattern

Adult mayflies only live for about 24 hours out of the water, but during that brief window, they can dramatically affect the prospects of catching a bunch of fish. At the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga, Miles Burghoff based a lot of his success on schools of bass that were related to the mayfly hatch. Joey Cifuentes also keyed on the mayfly hatch, and his strategy provides a great playbook for responding to mayfly hatches in a variety of situations. READ MORE »

Apex Watercraft Funding Next Kayak Venture

Apex Watercraft Funding Next Kayak Venture

Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit angler Eric Jackson’s new company Apex Watercraft is setting out to build carbon fiber fishing kayaks that are faster, lighter and just as stable as the competition. Apex Watercraft is currently offering fans the opportunity to back the groundbreaking kayak-building venture on Kickstarter and via their website at apexwatercraft.com.  READ MORE »

ICAST Cup Winners Announced

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The ICAST Cup presented by FLW, a popular part of the ICAST tradeshow for the last five years, kicked off ICAST Online as a fish, photograph and release tournament Saturday and Sunday with 50 anglers across the country fishing their local waters to raise money for Keep America Fishing. READ MORE »

BFL Winning Patterns – July 11-12

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The weekend of July 11 featured seven Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine events spread across six different divisions. With a pair of double-headers mixed in, it was an action-packed weekend on the water. READ MORE »

Erie Midday Update – Day 1

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 »

AOY Update: Lake Chickamauga

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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 »