UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Cumberland

2020 Pro Circuit Predictions

2020 Pro Circuit Predictions

The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit is at Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Brookeland, Texas, this week to kick off what promises to be another great season of professional bass fishing for FLW. In anticipation of great things to come during the inaugural Pro Circuit season, a few FLW staff members and one Pro Circuit pro decided to play pundit and make a few predictions. 

 

Ron Nelson

Ron Nelson for AOY 

– Jody White, FLW Digital Editor 

As one of the foremost Ron Nelson fans on staff, I feel like it’s incumbent on me to engineer an Angler of the Year prediction for the sophomore Michigan pro. This year, there are only three returning pros that finished higher in the standings than Nelson in his Rookie of the Year season in 2019: John Cox, Joseph Webster and Terry “Blade” Bolton. Now, though Cox is amazing, I think you can slip him out of the mix due to the likelihood that he’ll miss at least one event for a Bassmaster Elite Series tournament. The likely absence of Cox makes the anglers in contention for the title awfully level. I don’t see anyone running away with AOY this year, but, gosh, can I see Nelson doing well. He’s great around grass and due for redemption at Rayburn, and I’m to the point with Nelson that there isn’t anywhere I don’t trust him to figure it out. Nelson’s unique pattern of fishing in the Southeast and the North seems to have given him a good start on national competition, and he really only stumbled at Grand and Rayburn in 2019. Finally, if things are close at the end, I would wager a lot on Nelson excelling in the final smallmouth showdown on the Detroit River. After all, he finished a close third in the points to the likes of Austin Felix and Chris Johnston the last time the Northern Division fished a smallie-only schedule. 

 

John Cox

John Cox makes the TITLE

– Matt Stefan, Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro 

If I told you I thought an angler would qualify for the championship without fishing an entire year you’d probably think I was nuts. But I predict John Cox will qualify for the FLW TITLE championship even though he will most likely miss one of the regular-season events. He’s that good.

Read more about Cox's plan to fish two major circuits this season.

 

Nick LeBrun

Nick LeBrun finds redemption at Rayburn

– Justin Onslow, FLW Associate Editor 

Last year, then-rookie Nick LeBrun announced his presence on the FLW Tour with a bang and turned in a second-place finish at 2019’s first event on Sam Rayburn. He very nearly missed out on the victory (which went to Terry Bolton, who should also do well at Big Sam again this season) with a four-day total of 90 pounds, 7 ounces. 

High winds and poor boating conditions on the morning of day four last year forced tournament officials to deliberate and ultimately push back the final round for a day. During that process, no one in the top 10 was as amped up and ready to fish as LeBrun, and it was at that point I realized just how confident he is on Rayburn and how badly he wants to win his first pro-level event. He’ll get another shot at it this week, and this time he’s going the distance. 

 

Wade Strelic

A dozen under 30 years old will qualify for the FLW TITLE championship

– Curtis Niedermier, FLW Editor-in-Chief

FLW has some serious young firepower on the Pro Circuit this season with a roster that includes 27 pros who won’t even be 30 years old when the season kicks off at Sam Rayburn on Thursday (two of them, Evan Barnes and Kyle Gelles, will turn 30 during the season). Most of these young bucks have a few professional seasons behind them, too, which means they’re primed to have big showings in 2020. I’m predicting we’ll see a dozen of our current “under 30s” qualify for the FLW TITLE championship this year. That’s 12 out of the 50 qualifiers. And if I’m wrong, we’ll still see 10 make it in. 

In case you were wondering who’s still under 30, here’s the list: Lane Olson (19), Colby Miller (20), Bailey Boutries (20), Kyle Hall (22), Laramy Strickland (22), Tyler Woolcott (22), Cole Floyd (23), Hunter Freeman (23), David Gaston (23), Jared McMillan (23), Sam George (24), Travis Archer (25), Corey Neece (25), Jacob Wall (25), Tyler Stewart (25), Joshua Weaver (25), Dakota Ebare (27), Matt Becker (27), Preston Craig (27), Kurt Mitchell (27), Cody Nichols (27), John Hunter (28), AJ Slegona (28), Wade Strelic (29), Chad Warren (29), Evan Barnes (29) and Kyle Gelles (29).

 

Dakota Ebare

Dakota Ebare will earn a W 

– Jody White

Dakota Ebare came perilously close to a win several times in 2019, most notably in an FLW Series event at Table Rock and in the FLW Cup on Hamilton. Overall, Ebare had a phenomenal first season as a pro, earning more than $124,000 across all the tournaments he fished. This year, he has already earned money in the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Cowboy Division opener on Rayburn, so he seems to be back in the saddle pretty nicely. I think in 2020 he’ll close the door on a Pro Circuit W in some form or fashion. I could totally see Rayburn happening (though I suspect Nick LeBrun will have something to say about that), but there really isn’t any lake he couldn’t win on because, after a frantic 2019, he’s fished everywhere. 

Read more about Dakota Ebare's marathon season in 2019.

 

Spencer Shuffield

Spencer Shuffield will win at Dardanelle 

– Matt Stefan 

Picking tournament winners can be difficult, but if I had to pick the pro I think had the best shot at winning any of the regular-season events I would choose Spencer Shuffield at Lake Dardanelle. I know he has been tearing up Arkansas lakes, and I think he’s going to have a leg up on the majority of us at Dardanelle since the Pro Circuit hasn’t been there in the 10 years I’ve been a pro. The rest of us won’t have near as much experience to fall back on. 

 

Cole Floyd

Rookie Cole Floyd will make the FLW TITLE championship

– Justin Onslow 

Age and time on the water often go hand-in-hand, but that’s not necessarily the case with Pro Circuit rookie Cole Floyd. The three-time Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine LBL Division AOY is only 23, yet he already has a ridiculously stacked resume at the grassroots level, including FLW College Fishing presented by YETI and the FLW Series.

The Bethel University standout is making the jump to the Pro Circuit this season, and while most 23-year-olds would struggle with that jump, Floyd won’t. He might have a couple letdowns here or there, but I’m predicting at least one top 10 and a TITLE appearance for the young pro. 

 

Ron Nelson

John Cox, Ron Nelson will make four top-30 cuts apiece

– Curtis Niedermier 

This season’s Pro Circuit schedule has a little bit of everything in it: big Texas prespawn bass, Florida spawners, Southern smallmouths, spotted bass, junk-fishing lakes, big water up north and plenty of different styles of fisheries. With a schedule so diverse, everyone on the roster will at some point find himself in a scenario that fits his specialty, but only a few have the kind of track record that suggests they’ll be top-10 contenders at every event. Among them are John Cox and Ron Nelson. This is probably bold, but I predict both will make four top-30 cuts during the regular season, and they’ll probably each make at least a couple of top 10s. 

Nelson is a smallmouth hammer who’ll do great at Detroit River and Cherokee Lake. He’s also had a few good finishes in Florida in his career, which suggests he might make the cut at the Harris Chain, and could easily get a top 30 junk-fishing at Dardanelle or catching spots at Martin or Hartwell. Last year at Rayburn, Nelson blanked on day one, but caught 16-plus on day two. I think we’ll see two good days this time for a shot at the cut. 

As for Cox, making four top-30 cuts would be extraordinary because he’ll miss a tournament due to a scheduling conflict. But Cox does extraordinary stuff all the time. He’ll make the top 30 at Harris, Hartwell and Dardanelle for sure. And he’ll probably come close at all the others.

Who’s Ready to Fish the Bass Pro Tour?

Who’s Ready to Fish the Bass Pro Tour?

For the Bass Pro Tour opener, the top four anglers based on the 2020 Pro Circuit AOY standings will get a chance to compete for $100,000, meaning Ron Nelson, Spencer Shuffield, Grae Buck and Matt Becker will head to Texas. READ MORE »

Varkevisser, Eastman Win 2020 FLW South Africa Championship

Varkevisser, Eastman Win 2020 FLW South Africa Championship

After three days of fishing on Witbank Dam, Justy Varkevisser and Reed Eastman of Team Beli VC took home the 2020 FLW South Africa Championship title with a total weight of 19.56kg (43.12 pounds). Taking place Nov. 19-21, Eastman and Varkevisser won over $1,300 for their efforts. READ MORE »

Phil Marks Passes at Age 55

Phil Marks Passes at Age 55

FLW is saddened to report that Phil Marks, Senior Vice President of Sales for Strike King and tournament angler, passed away at the age of 55 following a long battle with cancer. READ MORE »

 Cox Commits to MLF

 Cox Commits to MLF

The announcement of the 2021 MLF Bass Pro Tour roster finally makes it official: John Cox will fish the Bass Pro Tour and the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit. READ MORE »

2021 Bass Pro Tour Roster

2021 Bass Pro Tour Roster

Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today the 2021 Bass Pro Tour angler roster. The roster includes 75 returning anglers, headlined by 2020 Angler of the Year (AOY), Heavy Hitters winner and General Tire World Champion Jordan Lee, five-time MLF event winner Jacob Wheeler, Ott DeFoe, Edwin Evers, and the man considered by many to be the greatest professional angler of all-time, Kevin VanDam. READ MORE »

College Open Headed to Chick

College Open Headed to Chick

Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today that Dayton, Tennessee will host the 2021 Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open on March 30-31 at Lake Chickamauga. The famed big-bass fishery has produced some of the best trophy bass fishing opportunities in the country and has served as a highly competitive playing field for many major bass tournaments over the years.   READ MORE »

16 Spots Filled For Toyota Series Championship

16 Spots Filled For Toyota Series Championship

With the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP wrapped up, the field for the Toyota Series Championship happening this December on Lake Cumberland can now take shape. While the full roster will be released soon, the highest-finishing boater and co-angler from each of six Regional Championships, the Wild Card and The Bass Federation (TBF) National Championship at the All-American now advance to Cumberland next month for a shot at winning $235,000 and $33,500, respectively. READ MORE »

All-American Midday Update – Day 3

All-American Midday Update – Day 3

The final day of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP is shaping up to be a nail-biter. READ MORE »

All-American Midday Update – Day 2

All-American Midday Update – Day 2

Like day one, day two of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP has thrown a variety at the anglers. The day started with rain, which was heavy overnight, and tapered off after takeoff. Then, cloudy and slick conditions set in. Now, it’s turned into a perfect day, with puffy clouds, lots of sun and a nice breeze. READ MORE »

All-American Midday Update – Day 1

All-American Midday Update – Day 1

Day one of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP hasn’t been quite as wet as anticipated, but it’s still offered far from ideal conditions for offshore fishing on Hartwell. So far this morning, nobody has distanced themselves, but there’s still plenty of time before weigh-in. READ MORE »

Table Rock Midday Update – Day 3

Table Rock Midday Update – Day 3

The final round of competition for the Toyota Series Plains Division event on Table Rock Lake has been yet another beautiful early November day with highs in the 70s, a light wind and clear skies. READ MORE »

Lake Seminole Midday Update – Day 3

Lake Seminole Midday Update – Day 3

After two spectacular sunny days at the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Lake Seminole, the final day brought heavy low clouds and an east wind. The cloudy weather seemed to be exactly what Dillon McMillan needed to prolong his jerkbait bite in the Spring Creek channel. READ MORE »

Table Rock Midday Update – Day 2

Table Rock Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the Toyota Series Plains Division finale on Table Rock Lake has been essentially a carbon copy of day one, well, as far as weather goes. Bluebird skies, light wind and temperatures hovering in the mid 70s once again made for pleasant conditions on the water, though it hasn’t done anything to help the fishing. READ MORE »

Table Rock Midday Update – Day 1

Table Rock Midday Update – Day 1

Most of the dock talk this morning hinted at the fact things weren’t going to be easy on Table Rock for the final Toyota Series Plains Division event of the season, and while that was mostly true, the guys focusing their efforts off the bank have been producing both numbers and some quality. READ MORE »

Curtis Locks Up Southwestern AOY

Curtis Locks Up Southwestern AOY

This year, things lined up for Curtis to fish a full season of Toyota Series competition for just the fourth time since 2011 (when he finished fifth in the points). With a pair of top fives and a 16th place showing at the finale on Sam Rayburn, Curtis cruised to the Strike King Angler of the Year title. READ MORE »

2020 All-American Roster

2020 All-American Roster

The 110 best boaters and co-anglers from FLW’s grassroots ranks will compete on Lake Hartwell, November 11-13 in the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine All-American presented by TINCUP. READ MORE »

2021 High School Fishing Schedule

2021 High School Fishing Schedule

Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today the schedule, rules, payouts and entry dates for the 2021 season of High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing, along with scholarship and advancement opportunities to compete in the 2021 Toyota Series Championship. The top 10 percent of teams in each High School Fishing tournament will advance to the High School Fishing National Championship, featuring national television coverage on the Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel and World Fishing Network.  READ MORE »

Hays Makes History, Inspires Other Women to Compete

Hays Makes History, Inspires Other Women to Compete

Melinda Hays of Hot Springs, Arkansas recently became the first woman in FLW history to win a Phoenix Bass Fishing League Regional Championship. She competed in the Regional on Table Rock Lake in October and weighed 10 bass over three days totaling 22 pounds, 4 ounces. She took home the top co-angler prize package of $50,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro bass boat with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard. READ MORE »

2021 College Fishing Schedule

2021 College Fishing Schedule

Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today the schedule, rules, payouts and entry dates for the 2021 Abu Garcia College Fishing season, culminating in the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship presented by Lowrance on Grand Lake in Grove, Okla., as well as advancement opportunities for anglers to compete as boaters and co-anglers in the 2021 Toyota Series Championship.  READ MORE »

Au Best in the West

Au Best in the West

While 2020 has been a year to forget for many people, Tai Au will cherish it forever. Though Au has dabbled in Toyota Series competition over the span of nearly a decade, this was the first year he went all-in to fish the entire division. In doing so, he won the season opener on Lake Havasu, banked a top 10 on the California Delta and closed it out with another win on Clear Lake to handily win the Western Division Strike King Angler of the Year title. READ MORE »