Minnesota Anglers Have Success on FLW Tour in 2017

Two FLW Tour Anglers Will be Competing in Lake Minnewaska Champions Tour Event

The 2017 FLW Tour regular season is a wrap and all that is left is the Forest Wood Cup to be held in August on Lake Murray, so we caught up with the five Minnesota anglers that traveled the United States this year fishing the Tour.

Austin Felix (24th place)

Austin Felix, a Champions Tour competitor at the upcoming Lake Minnewaska event completed his sophomore season on the FLW Tour accomplished his goal of getting back to the Forest Wood Cup by finishing in 24th place in the year end point standings.

Felix who had fished the Cup back in 2014 on Lake Murray when he qualified through the FLW College ranks, is very excited to get back to Murray and make a run at hoisting the Cup over his head!

In 2016, his rookie season on Tour, Austin cashed a check twice, which doubled this season with four checks being deposited into Felix’s bank account.  “I really didn’t do anything different from last year,” stated Austin.  “My first year it started off slow and it took some time to get used to the limited amount of practice time we have.  This year I was able to break down the lakes quicker and get a plan put together.”

The highlight of Austin’s season was a 7th place finish on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, WI, as this was his best finish of the year and the closest an event has been to Minnesota, allowing his family to attend.

Going into each event with an open mind and no pre conceived notions was a key part to Austin’s success this year, along with avoiding the “super bomb finish!”  “Avoiding those finishes when you are in the triple digits is key to staying up there in the standings,” chuckled Austin.

One lure that Austin had rigged up in some fashion at each event this season was a Keitech Swimbait, from fishing it in inches of water to depths of 20 feet or more, this bait got the job down for Austin.  “It is subtle enough that bass will eat it over a swim jig or vibrating jig.”

We asked Austin for advice to the Classic Bass audience that may be thinking about fishing regional and national level events “Don’t be scared to do it, just have confidence in your abilities to find and catch bass, as that is all it is, same as here on the lakes in Minnesota.  You have to remember you are going to fish bodies of water against guys who are also traveling there, you aren’t going up against all the local big sticks.”

Andy Young (51st place)

Andy Young fished his third season on the FLW Tour this year and furthered his progression up the year end point standings by finishing 51st; this was a one spot in improvement from 2016 and 26 spots better than his rookie season in 2015.

Young cashed three checks during the 2017 campaign, including a 28th place finish on the Mississippi River, 36th place on Lake Cumberland and the highlight of his season was closing out the year on the Potomac River with a tenth place finish.

Jim Moynagh (52nd place)

Jim Moynagh, a Champions Tour competitor at the upcoming Lake Minnewaska event completed his twentieth year competing on the FLW Tour this year and finished 52nd in the year end point standings.

Jim never finished below 100th this season and he cashed two checks this season, with his best finish being a 15th place finish on the Harris Chain in Florida and 50th on Lake Cumberland.  Besides competing on the Tour, Jim also fishes the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division and had a nice 8th place finish this past April on Grand Lake in Oklahoma.

“I haven’t really started to think about the 2018 season yet, all I know is that I want to perform better than I did this season,” stated Jim.

Josh Douglas (106th place)

Despite only cashing one check in his rookie year on the FLW Tour, Josh “loved it!”

“It was frustrating and fun all at the same time, smiled Josh.”  “There is no question that I’m not happy with my performance, but the biggest thing is that I learned from each event and know that all I learned from this season will help me during the 2018 season.”

Josh’s lone check came down in Texas on Lake Travis with a 27th place finish and much like Felix’s rookie season; the biggest hurdle to overcome is having a limited amount of practice to breakdown new lakes and put together a successful pattern for tournament day.

For the 2018 season, Josh is planning on pre practicing each event when possible as this will allow him to garner additional knowledge about the venues prior to the official practice days.

If you are thinking about making the jump to fish at the National level, Josh offered his insight:

“Make sure you are financially ready and sound, as no one fishes well when they are financially strapped.  If you are ready, take the chance, as you’ll learn more this way and become a better angler in the long run. And lastly, you have to go all in, meaning you need to make this your life and focus on it and not just give this a year, it takes a couple years to make it work.”

David Larson (2nd place, Co-Angler)

David Larson fished his second year as a Co-Angler on the FLW Tour this year and was VERY successful, including a win on Lake Travis in February and finishing runner-up in the year end point standings.  Larson cashed a check in six of the seven events this season and earned an invitation to fish the 2018 FLW Tour as a Professional!  “It may be my time to make the jump to the front of the boat,” said David.  “I’m looking for that key title sponsor, so we’ll see what the future holds.”

Larson had fished the Bassmaster Opens as a co-angler for three seasons, took at try at the front of the boat in 2015, but realized he had more learning to do.  “I just wasn’t ready to make the jump and decided to fish the Tour as a co,” stated David.

David credits several things to his success in 2017, the first being able to practice and learn from FLW Tour Pro and fellow Minnesota angler Andy Young.  “I also switched over to Seaguar Fluorocarbon in 2016 and have been using it ever since.  What this allows me to do is downsize my line, as the smaller size line I feel gets me that extra bite or two over the course of the day.”

For those Classic Bass co-anglers out there, David had these wise words to offer, “Don’t get spun out, keep it simple, have fun and stay focused as everything can change for you in just five minutes!”

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