2019 Season Recap
Now that the 2019 FLW Tour season is officially over, I’ve finally had a minute to
look back on the year. Obviously, the highlight was winning at Seminole, but
qualifying for the FLW Cup was something that was just as important to me. It
helped me to believe in myself and realize that I know what I’m doing out there.
It All Came Together
This was my fourth year on tour, and the fish few years were tough. I had realistic
expectations when I started fishing the FLW Tour in 2016 and knew it would take
some time. I expected this. I paid my dues, and it finally started to come together
The year started rough for me at Rayburn, but things began to turn around for me
this year at Toho. I love fishing in Florida, but I’ve never had success in a
tournament situation down there. I had a good event on Toho when made the cut
and ended up finishing 20th, and it laid a solid foundation for the whole year. It
made me believe that what I found during practice was the best pattern on the lake and made sure I didn’t question my decisions. That feeling carried on to the next event and for the rest of the season.
Seminole was next, and I had plenty of experience there from my BFL and Costa
days. I knew where to run and felt comfortable at least getting around the lake. That event is where everything came together for me. Even though I ended up winning, I still didn’t realize what I had until the second day, and that is when things clicked for me. I trusted my decisions, and I rode that feeling for the whole season all the way to qualifying for the Cup.
My First Cup
Making the Cup was a huge deal for me because it was a season-long
accomplishment and not just having a week where everything comes together
perfectly. Qualifying for the championship is based on a whole season, and it felt
awesome because it shows consistency against so many great anglers. When I
qualified, I thought to myself, “you know what you are doing,” and it felt good.
Fishing the Cup was such an awesome experience. It’s funny because it is the most money I have ever fished for in my life and I was the most relaxed I was all season for a tournament. There was no pressure, and it was an awesome experience.
Some people might look at the weights from Hamilton and think it was horrible
fishing, but I actually thought it was pretty good. It was August and hot out, but it
was still fun to fish, and the bass were biting. That’s a tough time of year anywhere it is hot, and it was still decent fishing. I liked fishing there and hope we go back someday.
Even though I didn’t fish the final days, I still had so much fun and was impressed
with the fan interaction in Hot Springs. Each day leaving the ramp with all the fans
lined up on the dock and on the shore was dope. It was awesome seeing everyone there and cheering us on. It was pretty wild to see the coliseum jam-packed with people watching us weigh in our fish. When Chris Jones put the mic in front of me, something happened that never happens to me, and I was speechless. I was at a loss for words and just took a minute to take it all in.
Looking ahead, I am excited for next year. I was fortunate to win an event this year and also qualify for the Cup, and I figured it out all on my own. Now, I am going to build on that. I’ve learned over the years about different fishing scenarios, and I am ready for next year’s schedule.
Growing up on Lake Hartwell, I never fished ledges, I never caught smallmouth, and never flipped grass. Now, I’ve had the chance to do all of that and feel comfortable doing it. For the first time, I am looking at the schedule and making a plan for what the fish should be doing instead of just guessing. That has me more focused than ever.
The 2019 season was great, and I can’t say enough about how rewarding it was to do well. I’m grateful for all of the support from every one of you.