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

From the All-American to the Cup

From the All-American to the Cup
Brennon McCord

Brennon McCord is a self-described quiet, easygoing guy, but the 22-year-old T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League All-American champion hopes to make some Lake Hamilton noise in his first FLW Cup appearance. For the moment, understandably so, he’s still basking in the afterglow of a victory that earned what he calls the biggest honor of his career.

“It’s unbelievable. It still hasn’t sunk in,” says the journeyman lineman from West Frankfort, Ill. “I’ve grown up watching that event. I’ve looked up to the guys that fish that event, and now, I can’t believe I’ll be there.”

A BFL Illini Division boater since 2014 (non-boater in 2013), McCord has notched eight top-10 finishes, including two wins – this season’s All-American and a 2018 regular-season event on southern Illinois’ Rend Lake – and earned more than $113,000. His grassroots experience has taught him many lessons of practical and tactical merit, but McCord points to the mental game as his biggest growth area.

“It’s made me a much better angler by learning how to make gutsy decisions – good and bad,” he says. “It’s also given me a different outlook. I used to just worry about points and making the championships, but now I fish to win.”

A big part of that has been his burgeoning confidence. To that point, McCord recalls a BFL event on Rend Lake when he found himself with two good fish that had him on course for a possible win. Unfortunately, he admits to getting in his own way and failing to fill his limit.

“It was early in my fishing career, and I just got nervous and made a rookie mistake,” McCord says. “Now, I don’t get myself all nervous and worked up. In every tournament, I think I have a chance to win. I don’t get intimidated. I really go out to have a good time.”

 

Brennon McCord

A family fishing history

A journeyman lineman who spends his days ensuring consistent electrical power for southern Illinois, McCord is set to marry to Mackenzie Campbell on Oct. 27 – four days before competing in the Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland.

Between work and tournaments, he spends a lot of time on home improvement projects. Each fall, McCord also puts some hours into local deer stands and duck blinds, but he dreams of making a run to Kansas one of these yeas for a shot at a trophy whitetail or some serious water-fowling.

McCord traces his bass-fishing roots to his adolescent years of bending rods with his father and grandfather. While his personal best was an estimated 10-pounder he plucked from a local pond, McCord’s favorite angling memory was partnering with his dad, Neil, at age 15 to win a boat in the Illini Team Trail Classic.

“Being able to experience that with my dad was incredible,” Brennon says. “I already had the fire lit, but that topped it off. The confidence went up a lot.”

Balancing the pride, Brennon carries with him a deep family principle stressed by both of his angling mentors.

“Sportsmanship was the biggest focus for my dad and my granddad,” he recalls. “My dad taught me that no matter if you zero and get beat; even if you don’t like the guy that won, you still go up and shake his hand.

“I try to get along with everyone, whether I’m at work or on the water. My dad raised me to be ethical and friendly to everyone around me.”

 

Brennon McCord

(Mostly) unfamiliar waters

McCord spent a few days on Lake Hamilton prior to the cutoff and came away with a sobering reality: Not only is the lake a party boat haven, it’s kinda the opposite of what he considers his strength.

“If I had a choice, I would fish the shallowest, muddiest water I can find,” McCord says. “I like fishing slower baits, but I fish them fast. I like to flip a jig and cover a lot of shoreline.

“I really think that this lake’s deep, clear water will push me to do something different. I’ll probably have to go buy a couple of spinning rods.”

Noting that his brief visit to Hamilton was more about recon than pattern identification, McCord says he’ll start the Cup’s official practice with a clean slate.

“I’ll approach it like it’s a brand new lake because I didn’t figure out anything except it’s deep and clear,” he says. “I’ll stay positive and hopefully cross paths with something.”

 

Brennon McCord

Looking ahead

A Cup win would have major career implications for a young angler whose resume already includes a major championship. 

“I’ve dreamed about this ever since I was a child,” McCord says. “I’m hoping it’s a stepping stone to my career, but even if I don’t catch a bass in three days, I’ve qualified for the FLW Cup.”

Then again, there’s nothing wrong with planning for both ends of the possibility spectrum. McCord already has a contingency plan for the best-case scenario.

“I’d pay off my house and take my fiancée on an extended vacation,” he says. “It’s pretty much non-stop fishing, and she puts up with it all.”

And that begs the natural question: Could the future Mrs. McCord someday see her husband weighing fish in FLW Tour competition?

“I got an invitation to fish the 2020 Tour, but I’m not sure I have the finances ready for that yet,” McCord says. “A lot of that will depend on sponsorship.

“I would definitely like to try it and see how it goes. That is my goal.”

And an FLW Cup win would certainly hasten that goal.

Tags: david-a-brown  article  2019-08-09-flw-cup-lake-hamilton 

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 »