UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Eufaula

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.

Pickwick Midday Update – Day 2

Pickwick Midday Update – Day 2

The red-hot shad spawn bite that fueled the big catches on day one of the Toyota Series Central Division event on Pickwick has fizzled this morning. READ MORE »

A New Outlook on AOY

A New Outlook on AOY

As the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit season looks to start back up in June on Lake Chickamauga, there are some new factors to consider in the Angler of the Year race.   READ MORE »

6 Super Tournament Story Lines

6 Super Tournament Story Lines

The expanded field list for the new Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournaments brings with it some very fun matchups and the potential for some record chases to reignite. Because many of the newly added Major League Fishing anglers have had longer careers than those at the top of the Pro Circuit, they’re in a unique position to chase down some records that otherwise may not have been touched this year. In other cases, it’s simply going to be a pleasure to watch the best of the best duel on some epic bodies of water. READ MORE »

Be a Super Tournament Marshal

Be a Super Tournament Marshal

The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit is professional bass fishing’s premier five-fish-limit tournament trail, and it’s about to get a whole lot more exciting for the remainder of 2020. READ MORE »

Super Tournament Roster Set

Super Tournament Roster Set

FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, released the expanded 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit roster, which now includes top Major League Fishing (MLF) pros like Jacob Wheeler and reigning REDCREST Champion Edwin Evers. When the season restarts June 23 on Lake Chickamauga, the final three regular-season Pro Circuit events will feature 209 boats and nearly $4 million in prize money. As previously announced, FLW extended invitations to all MLF anglers to compete in three “Super Tournaments” after MLF announced an abbreviated schedule due to the mid-season pause in response to the coronavirus pandemic. READ MORE »

The BFL Returns on May 30

The BFL Returns on May 30

After a nearly two-and-a-half-month hiatus from fishing tournaments, FLW is excited to get back to business with the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League season. The action kicks off again on May 30 with the Volunteer Division on South Holston. From there, the BFL season will waste no time getting back in the swing of things with a full slate of tournaments scheduled nearly every weekend from the beginning of June through October. READ MORE »

2020 FLW TV Schedule

2020 FLW TV Schedule

Beginning on July 3 and running through Dec. 27, FLW will air 312 hours of Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit action on the Outdoor Channel and Sportsman Channel. New this season, episodes have been expanded to two hours long. Each show goes in depth to break down the final rounds of competition, with six unique episodes covering each day of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit TITLE Championship. READ MORE »

2020 FLW TV Schedule

2020 FLW TV Schedule

READ MORE »

Pros’ Favorite Shad Spawn Baits

Pros’ Favorite Shad Spawn Baits

With the bass spawn winding down across the South, it’s time to capitalize on the shad-spawn bite. Shad spawn patterns usually don’t last long into the day, but fishing the shad spawn can be a fantastic way to catch a pile of fish and some big ones to boot. READ MORE »

Mark Rose’s Greatest Hits

Mark Rose’s Greatest Hits

FLW is looking forward to getting back on the water once it’s safe to come together and fish tournaments again. In the meantime, we’ll be offering a little retrospective on some of the all-time greats who’ve fished with FLW through the years. This time around we’re shining the spotlight on Mark Rose. From his Angler of the Year title to winning multiple FLW Tour events and even joining the bass-fishing millionaire club, it’s easy to see why the Arkansas pro is one of the best to have ever fished with FLW. READ MORE »

FLW Adds Free High School Minicamps

FLW Adds Free High School Minicamps

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Murray State University announced that it will not host any summer camps this year. As a result, FLW is replacing its traditional High School Fishing Camp, scheduled for July 22-24, with a series of FREE minicamps held in conjunction with three Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit tournaments. Campers already registered will receive a full refund and are invited to participate in any of the FREE minicamps.  READ MORE »

FLW Classics – Week 4

FLW Classics – Week 4

This week’s shows cover some old FLW Series Western Division events, Steve Clapper's 2007 FLW Tour Open win on the Detroit River and more high-level tournament action.  READ MORE »

FLW Making Final Preparations for Restart

FLW Making Final Preparations for Restart

FLW is looking forward to restarting the tournament season May 28-30 with the Toyota Series stop on Pickwick Lake in Florence, Ala. There may be a few more schedule changes as states ease restrictions and reopen their economies at different rates, but FLW is optimistic that most of the schedule changes are behind us.      READ MORE »

FLW Revamps Pro Circuit

FLW Revamps Pro Circuit

FLW has extended an invitation to Major League Fishing’s pro anglers to join the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit for three newly created “Super Tournaments” that include an expanded roster and higher payouts. The Super Tournaments are made possible by the abbreviated schedules announced recently by MLF and FLW. READ MORE »

Anglers React to Super Tournaments

Anglers React to Super Tournaments

When the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit season picks back up, it will be with a new schedule, some new anglers and a lot more money in the pot than originally planned. READ MORE »

Pros’ Favorite Baits for May

Pros’ Favorite Baits for May

Across the country, May is a great time for fishing, with tons of bass in and around the spawn and a lot of baitfish species spawning as well. With warming water, it’s a great chance to throw a topwater for the first time, or really to do just about whatever you want in some parts of the country. READ MORE »

2020 MLF College Faceoffs Canceled

2020 MLF College Faceoffs Canceled

Originally announced in early March, the four-tournament series featuring the MLF-style catch-weigh-immediately-release format was set to feature 20 College Fishing teams that qualified through the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI circuit. MLF officials are hopeful that the Faceoff events will return in 2021. READ MORE »

How to Make a Buzzbait Squeak

How to Make a Buzzbait Squeak

One of the key aspects of buzzbait fishing is the sound, and Bradley Dortch modifies his with a file and some pliers to get the most squeak he can. READ MORE »

Q&A: Winnipeg Jets Goalie Connor Hellebuyck

Q&A: Winnipeg Jets Goalie Connor Hellebuyck

The Michigan native, who now spends plenty of time on the ice in Winnipeg – both playing hockey and chasing after walleyes – grew up fishing, and bass fishing has become one of his favorite fair-weather hobbies. We got a chance to chat with Hellebuyck about his background in fishing, his future on the water and his present on the ice. READ MORE »

Throw Bigger Swimbaits in Tournaments

Throw Bigger Swimbaits in Tournaments

Fitting larger swimbaits into a tournament arsenal is a goal that a lot of anglers never hit. Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro Kurt Mitchell has gotten it done, and actually earned a lot of money with some of the more specialized and larger swimbaits over the past few years. READ MORE »