Details Make the Difference at FLW Tour on Seminole
The sky may have been falling but it was a bright moment for Brian Latimer as he hugged his first FLW Tour trophy.
His wife kids joined him on stage, sheltered from the thundering downpour that almost waited until weigh in was over. With an extra $100,000 in the bank, ‘B. Lat’ can make it rain any time he wants to now.
The pro from Belton, SC earned the victory over a week of slow fishing that, despite numerous pros bringing in numerous 20-something-pound bags of bass, was a grind, even for the guys who finished near the top. Bites were hard to come by.
“I told my wife after the 2ndday that I was on the right fish and if I could just catch 5 fish a day, I would win,” shared an exhausted Latimer.
On-lookers couldn’t help but notice his superior per-fish average weight as we watched FLW Live. However, when the Live feed was cut near the end of the final round, Latimer had only 3 fish and had lost a couple that would have helped him.
In the closing hour or so Latimer landed 2 more fish to make a limit that weighed 21 pounds, 3 ounces. He amassed a 4-day total of 80 pounds, 15 ounces. He was the only angler to post more than 80 pounds.
Three other pros put up over 70 pounds. Then there’s a gap of nearly 10 pounds between 4thand 5thplaces.
The difference between the haves and the have-nots was big – and not just in terms of weight.
Small details made huge differences.
The guys who made the cut generally stayed in a single area and picked it apart with one or two techniques and waited patiently for the bites which were often hours in coming.
The biggest difference may have been the way top performers worked their lures – or let them lie. A haphazard, straight retrieve wasn’t cutting it.
Sheldon Collings, the 21-year-old phenom who is a much older soul than his age indicates, was dialed-into the action. He pumped his Chatterbait and said he never got a bite all week on a straight retrieve, even his speed worm had to be jerked from the grass to provoke a reaction from the bass. It worked to the tune of 76-2 and a 3rdplace showing.
Rob Kilby, first man out of the final cut spoke on Day 3 of the need to stop/start his spinnerbait to trigger strikes as he reeled it through sparse pads in the Chattahoochee arm of the sprawling lake.
Speaking to the FLW Live audience on Saturday, Latimer noted that he had to soak his Z-Man Palmetto BugZ craw while flipping hydrilla clumps. “Can’t just go through the motions. You have to fish it like you know that fish is sitting there and concentrate on every flip. The weights make it look like it’s easy, but it is really tough to get a bite here,” said the 4th-year Tour pro as he waited over an hour for his next bite.
Amazing how many guys credited their Lowrance units with an assist. Collings marked fish in the deep grass on Day 3 and returned to catch them on Day 4.
Braxton Setzer (78-14, runner-up) nearly won the tourney by targeting fish on a submerged “sand area” that he found on his Lowrance Carbon unit.
Latimer’s area was dirty 3 days out of the 4 so he was glad he had way-pointed some individual grass clumps on his Lowrance when the visibility had been good. Those are what he flipped to produce all of his fish over the last 3 days.
During the final round, Costas replaced Carbon units for many in the field.
Scott Martin sight-fished. Terry Bolton busted a 27-pound sack by looking at them.
Josh Weaver jumped on the sight train too. He caught one fish.
Full disclosure: Weaver admits he passed over a bunch of 2-pounders while burning miles of bank looking for the 30-pound bag he figured he would need in order to contend for the win.
Latimer even went looking for a short period. He missed 2 fish and figured he needed to get back out to his flat on the Flint River that held big pre-spawn females. He added a pair of 3-pounders to close out the win. Good call, B. Lat!