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.
Here are six of the story lines to keep an eye out for during the upcoming Super Tournaments.
Hunting the wins record
Currently, Scott Martin has the most Pro Circuit-level wins of all-time, with eight to his name. With the reintroduction of Bryan Thrift and Brent Ehrler to the field, Martin has some heat on him now. Both Thrift and Ehrler have seven wins, and they could tie or surpass Martin in the remaining three events.
Thrift is as dangerous as they come in terms of competing for a win, so the easy money may be on him to tie or pass Martin first. With his most recent win coming in August of 2019 in the FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton, a win in 2020 would give him his second three-year Pro Circuit winning streak.
Ehrler, somewhat incredibly, has not won since he left the FLW Tour after the 2014 season, with his last win coming in 2013 on Lewis Smith Lake. Since departing the Tour, Ehrler has posted some solid finishes, but hasn’t been able to seal the deal in a major event. It would only seem fitting that he would break the win slump in his return to FLW events as he’s certainly capable of winning one or more of the three upcoming events.
Behind them sit David Dudley and John Cox, who both have five wins to their name. Both do extraordinary things on a regular basis, but it seems unlikely that one of them will win each of the next three events.
Meyer is back in business
Bryan Thrift’s limit streak of 71 consecutive five-bass limits is currently insurmountable, but there is some definite movement possible on the all-time leaderboard with the reinjection of former FLW Tour stars.
The current list of streaks of 33 or more looks like this:
71 – Bryan Thrift
50 – Cody Meyer
46 – Jacob Powroznik
45 – Wesley Strader
45 – Luke Clausen
39 – David Dudley
36 – Jay Yelas
35 – Jason Christie
33 – Cody Meyer
33 – Stetson Blaylock
33 – Scott Suggs
Of that list, most of the streaks are inactive, but Cody Meyer’s streak of 33 (in bold above) will come alive again at Chickamauga. If Meyer could catch 12 limits the rest of the way (making day four in each tournament is admittedly a lot to ask), he could get his second streak to 45 in a row. If he does, he’d have the unique distinction of being the only angler ever to put two streaks into the top five – a very fitting accomplishment considering his fishing style.
John Cox vs. Everyone
One of the prime matchups everyone should be looking forward to is the restart event at Lake Chickamauga at the end of June. Putting Cox anywhere on the Tennessee River is always fun because you can about guarantee that he’s going to do something different, but he’s really got things dialed on Chickamauga. Between the 2019 FLW Tour event and the 2019 Bassmaster Open there, Cox has won the last two major events on Chick.
This time, in what will likely be more of an offshore event than his last two wins, Cox will get to go up against perhaps the strongest field he’s faced at Chickamauga. Not only will the field include Andy Morgan, Jacob Wheeler, Michael Neal, David Walker and Wesley Strader, but some of the best ledge anglers in the country like Jason Lambert and Justin Atkins will also be there.
Of course, you’d be unwise to discount some of the other regular Pro Circuit talent in the field. Sam George really has a knack for Chick, and East Tennessee’s Brad Knight pretty much always catches them at Chickamauga.
All-time money considerations
The FLW all-time money winners list is fairly set at the top, with David Dudley sitting pretty at $3,804,409 million. With the money on the line the rest of the way, two wins would make him the first to ever win $4 million with FLW, but he could also get there with a win and two second-place finishes – $125,000 plus two $35,000 checks would put him less than $100 dollars away from $4 million. Though, if he takes home a Berkley Big Bass check one of the days he’d be good to go!
Thrift is also over the $3 million mark, but nobody else in the field is even within striking distance.
With over $1.8 million in earnings, both Larry Nixon and Dave Lefebre are right in range of the $2 million mark. Below them, guys like Jacob Wheeler, Andy Morgan, John Cox and Wesley Strader have over $1 million in FLW earnings, but aren’t in range of hitting the next million mark this season.
Moving down the list, there are plenty of anglers within striking distance of their first million with FLW, and some of them will have a better-than-average chance at crossing that threshold. Tom Monsoor at $956,301 and Brett Hite with $927,889 both have a real shot at making it to $1 million without a win the rest of the way. Brad Knight is also sneaking up to his first million at $883,943 – and he could surpass $1 million in one shot with a win at Chickamauga.
Clustered around $850,000 are Greg Bohannan, Troy Morrow, David Walker and Ramie Colson Jr. Obviously, everyone with under $895,000 in earnings needs a win to get over $1 million in just three events, but they’re not too far off the pace if that win happens.
The smallmouth showdown
Ever since the Detroit River got on the schedule fans have been excited for a smallmouth showdown, but moving the tournament later in the year has made it even more interesting. Now, Lake Erie is poised to play even more of a role than before, which should make the decision between running into St. Clair or running into Erie even trickier (not that the Detroit River won’t play).
The other highlight of that event, other than giant smallmouths, is the field. Though sadly lacking Kevin VanDam, adding Jonathan VanDam and Dave Lefebre (a real Erie expert) to the group makes things a lot more interesting. Between Ron Nelson, Scott Dobson, Chad Grigsby, Josh Douglas, Grae Buck, Matt Becker and Matt Stefan, the smallmouth talent is already stacked, but it just got deeper. Now, it’s even more likely that we’ll get to watch at least a few pros truly in their element shooting for a win on the final day.
A chance at three titles
Coming into the Super Tournaments, there are four anglers who will have a chance to win their first major FLW event to go with a Bass Pro Tour (BPT) win and a major B.A.S.S. win. It’s an elite group comprised of Edwin Evers, Cliff Pace, Dean Rojas and Jordan Lee. If any of them wins one of the Pro Circuit events they will join a hyper-exclusive group of anglers with a BPT win, a major FLW win and an Elite Series or Classic win. Currently, that group includes just Jacob Wheeler and Aaron Martens.