Latimer Leads the Charge - Major League Fishing
Latimer Leads the Charge
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Latimer Leads the Charge

Setzer sacks 24-8 to rocket up to second on Seminole 
Image for Latimer Leads the Charge
Brian Latimer Photo by Jacob Fine. Angler: Brian Latimer.
March 9, 2019 • Kyle Wood • Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit

For the majority of the top pros this week at stop No. 3 of the FLW Tour on Lake Seminole, presented by Costa, getting to work right out the gate in the morning has been clutch for putting the bulk of their weight in the boat. A fog delay held the top 30 pros back for about an hour past originally scheduled launch this morning, which had many thinking their bite window would be over by the time fishing began.

Not Brian Latimer, though.

Day three coverage blog

FLW Live

Complete results 

So far in the tournament, Latimer has been slowly and steadily catching fish throughout the day each day. Today, he bagged his best limit yet, worth an even 23 pounds, and took the lead with 59-12 overall. He’ll hold just a 1-10 lead going into the final day over Braxton Setzer, so expect to see some fireworks on FLW Live tomorrow.

Latimer got the ball rolling on day one by cranking a current seam in the Flint River, and he actually caught the majority of his 19-1 bag doing just that. It was a one-time deal, and he didn’t put much thought into being able to replicate it throughout the week. Yesterday, he caught a few fish cranking, but the rest came from a run down the river to a flat with isolated clumps of grass. He scrapped up a limit weighing 17-11 to move him into fifth. The grass flat produced all of his fish today and is where he will call home for the final day.

“I wasn’t really too worried about [the fog],” Latimer says. “I only have two places to fish; I don’t have to make a lot of decisions. I knew I didn’t necessarily have to catch a limit to fish [Sunday].

“I only culled twice today, and I missed my first three bites of the morning. I was literally ready to spin out because I know I’m only getting five, six, seven bites a day. You can’t afford to lose them. You can’t dwell on it, but I didn’t expect to catch 23.”

Despite jumping off two bass and breaking off another to start the day, Latimer’s first bite was a 6-pounder – his biggest of the event so far – and helped get him back on track.

“I started off with a 6-pounder, and it really set the tone for the day,” he adds.

On day two, Latimer flipped the grass clumps for his bites with baitcasting gear. The water was dirty and allowed him to get away with heavier gear. Today, the water cleared up, and he had to rely on a spinning rod – which is how he caught the 6-pounder.

“I love finesse tackle,” Latimer says. “To be completely honest, I was planning on coming into this tournament spending a lot of time with my spinning rod, but the wind wouldn’t let me do it. If the wind lays down, I can use my spinning rod, and that’s what happened this morning. The current pushed a lot of that muddy water out of my area and it was crystal clear.”

Latimer feels confident he can get bites on that flat again no matter what the water color. If it stays clear, a spinning pole with a wacky rig is the deal. If it’s dirty, flipping with a big pole gets the nod.

With one day of fishing remaining, the question must be asked: Will it reload?

“I think so,” Latimer adds. “They have to go by me; they’re all prespawn fish. There’s no doubt. They’re fresh, fat, nasty, big ol’ ugly, greasy bass. I really feel I can catch them again because yesterday and today I would make circles in the same area and there’s one block of milfoil that I think I’ve caught four of my weigh fish out of, which tells me every time I pluck one off, one pulls up.

“If I can stay focused, land my bites and stay focused, I think I can do it again.”

 

2. Braxton Setzer – Montgomery, Ala. – 58-2 (12)

One of many anglers counting down each minute that passed during the fog delay this morning was day-one leader Braxton Setzer. When it’s on for Setzer, it goes down quick. His fish fired on day one to produce 25-15, but on day two it just never happened. Today, it was game on.

“I was worried to death this morning that I’d get down there and they wouldn’t be biting because the bite has been over by 9 o’clock each day,” says Setzer. “I pulled up there, stood up, made a cast and caught one. Then I caught another one. I caught nine fish on nine casts and figured if it ended after that I had a good day. They were firing on all cylinders today.”

Setzer is fishing in Spring Creek around a ditch that leads to a flat with a clean spot on it, and the bare spot is where most of his fish have come from.

Only catching two bass off the spot on day two could have led Setzer to try different offerings in the area, but he stuck with his guns and it worked.

“I don’t know if it was the lack of extra boats around or the cloud cover or what, but I don’t know why they bit better today,” he adds. “I fished to same place I have been; it was just a new day.”

Setzer isn’t sure he can strike again tomorrow, as it seems the spot is on the every-other-day pattern, but he’s ready to see what he can do. He has some other areas to try if it doesn’t shake out right away, but hopefully less boat traffic in the area will let them bite just one more day.

 

3. Sheldon Collings – Grove, Okla. – 56-2 (15)

For the entire week, Sheldon Collings has been calling one 50-foot-long stretch home. It’s the only place he’s got, and he’s all-in on what it has to offer.

The second-year pro knows his spot is full of fish, but getting them to bite can be a bit of a challenge. Today, it shelled out his lowest weight of the week – 15-4 – but it didn’t deter his confidence for a big bag.

“The fish are still there,” Collings says. “I saw them swim out of the grass on my graph (which he also saw yesterday), but I wasn’t smart enough to mark them and throw back to them. When I finally did it I caught a 6-pounder.”

A vibrating jig has been the primary weapon for Collings all week, though today he employed a swimming worm to catch a few.

Collings has been able to get bit throughout the day, but his best window is in the morning. Pending no fog delay tomorrow, he could make up some ground quickly.

“I just made some rookie mistakes today,” he notes. “I did learn some things and changed the retrieve (on the vibrating jig) to get bit, so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”

 

4. Rob Kilby – Hot Springs, Ark. – 55-9 (15)

Steadily hanging in the top five all week, Rob Kilby strung together another consistent day posting a strong 16-10 while the majority of the top 30 struggled to get bites.

Kilby has been throwing a vibrating jig, swim jig and spinnerbait trying to catch prespawn bass in a backwater. He knows with each warm day the fish will be trying to move shallow and he’s been able to stick with them.

“I did the same deal today,” Kilby says with regards to how he fished. “I was just trying to make the top 10, and tomorrow that will give me a little more room to move around.

“It was a little tougher today. I’ve been catching my limit by 10 o’clock each day, but today it wasn’t until about 11. So, I was about an hour behind, but it worked out. Everything is going as planned.”

Kilby did spend a good portion of time cruising up shallow looking for any fish that may be on beds or thinking about moving to them, but to no avail. Though, he did find one fish on a bed, but he doesn’t know how big it is because it’d swim off before he could get there. He plans on trying to get eyes on it tomorrow.

 

5. Joshua Weaver – Macon, Ga. – 48-14 (15)

One of the anglers most excited about the Lake Seminole Tour event is Georgia’s Joshua Weaver. He’s spent countless hours on the lake since he was little with his dad, and now he has a shot to win $125,000 on the same waters.

With the cold front earlier in the week, Weaver knew that if he could survive until the weekend he’d have a shot. Warm, stable weather helps move fish shallow, which is where he likes to fish. His first day didn’t go as planned, but on day two he sacked 21-3 to slide into the top 10. The fog this morning put a damper on his early bite, but he knows the potential is still there to make a run at the title tomorrow.

“The fog threw me off big time,” says Weaver. “I got to my spot and caught a 3 1/2- and a 2 1/2-pounder and thought, ‘We’re still good.’ Then I stuck a big one and she came off, ate it again and came off. I just didn’t fish clean.”

Of pros in the top 10, Weaver has probably the most knowledge on where he can run all over the lake in search of a bite. Despite the wealth of knowledge, Weaver is hoping that his starting spot pulls through.

On day two and today, he started on a current break in the Chattahoochee River that has a ditch leading into a backwater where the fish want to spawn. He can catch them anywhere from the mouth of the ditch on up into the backwater, allowing him to follow the school if they move overnight.

“In past [Costa FLW Series tournaments] out here I’ve been right there for making a top 10, but it hasn’t worked out. This feels really good. I’m going to give my spot a legit shot in the morning and if it doesn’t of, I have plenty of spots I have confidence I can catch fish at. I know I need a 30-pound bag to have a shot and that’s what I’m going to try for because it lives out there.”

 

News and Notes

 

The fog factor

This morning was a prime example of what springtime conditions can offer. Sure, a fog delay cuts into fishing time, but it becomes even more of a factor when the primary bite window only lasts the first hour or so of the morning. If fog sets in again on Sunday, it could open some doors for guys poking around closer to the bank or a guy like Latimer, who is grinding it out for a handful of bites throughout the day.

 

Top 10 pros

1. Brian Latimer – Belton, S.C. – 59-12 (15)

2. Braxton Setzer – Montgomery, Ala. – 58-2 (12)

3. Sheldon Collings – Grove, Okla. – 56-2 (15)

4. Rob Kilby – Hot Springs, Ark. – 55-9 (15)

5. Joshua Weaver – Macon, Ga. – 48-14 (15)

6. Hunter Freeman – Monroe, La. – 47-10 (14)

7. Scott Martin – Clewiston, Fla. – 46-13 (15)

8. Bradford Beavers- Summerville, S.C. – 46-10 (12)

9. Miles Howe – San Juan Capistrano, Calif. – 45-6 (14)

10. Terry Bolton – Benton, Ky. – 45-4 (15)

Complete results