Week 16 -Brent Ehrler
After three modest performances to kick off his FLW Tour career, Brent Ehrler finally cashed in at last week's Beaver Lake event. He penetrated the much desired Top 50, which pays a minimum of $10,000. His 22nd-place finish earned him $11,500 and gave him a huge boost in confidence.
He said he'll focus the rest of the season on placing in the money, with the ultimate goal of a berth in the FLW Tour Championship (July 13-16 in Hot Springs, Ark.).
With his solid finish at Beaver, his confidence has increased, his energy is high and the home stretch is ahead of him.
He Got Shaky
Since Beaver Lake is loaded with classic deep-water structure, Ehrler started with his bread-and-butter dropshot approach. After a few days of practice, he realized his West Coast method wasn't the ticket. His roommate Art Berry offered a bit of advice. He listened to Berry, switched things up, added a jigworm combo to his arsenal and tied on a Lucky Craft jerkbait to bring home the bacon.
"I started practice with a dropshot rig," Ehrler said. "I figured with the type of structure and the clearer water, this would work great. I didn't do well at all with it. My roommate said he'd caught them with a shaky-head jig. I switched to a little Spot Remover jig and a slim Senko and caught 30 or 40 fish.
"The other change I made was with a jerkbait. I started with a Slender Pointer and caught a few fish, but had more follows than hookups. The fish followed, but then dropped into deeper water. I decided to tie on the Pointer 78 DD to get the lure a little deeper. It worked great.
"I had the deeper Pointer tied on for the entire tournament," he said. "It was a ghost Tennessee shad. I put a red hook on the front and made the gillspot a little larger and also painted some extra red where the gills are. Some big fish really inhaled that lure."
Ehrler wanted sunny conditions for the entire event at Beaver Lake. While most anglers like overcast and cloudy skies, he found the brighter the day, the better the bass bit.
"On the second day of the tournament, I had a small limit when I decided to check out a couple of points," he said. "The water was dead calm and the sun was bright. My partner for the day was casting a spinnerbait in open water when he nailed a good fish. I couldn't believe it. I cast my Pointer 78 DD and a good fish just ate the bait.
"This lake really threw me off," he noted. "When you had perfect overcast with some wind the bite wasn't so good, but with bright sun and wind, they really became active."
On the Outside
Thanks to his Top 25 finish, Ehrler leaped up 40 spots in the FLW points race, but he still has a way to go to make the Championship.
"I'm not sure I can make the Championship, but I'd sure like to come close," he said. "I jumped up 40 places with my last finish. I think I'll need to have a couple more Top 20 or higher finishes to make it. I feel real good about my finish at Beaver Lake.
"Right now I'm in about 90th place (he's 94th in the FLW points), which keeps me qualified for the Tour next year, but I'd sure like to fish the Championship," he said. "Of course, my shorter term goal is to finish 50th or higher so I can earn at least $10,000 per tournament for the last two events. I'm more confident now and feel good about the last two events."
> Ehrler isn't quite moved in to his "new" house. "I purchased a home about a year and a half ago," he said. "I haven't exactly moved in yet. I've been at my parents' home while I've been on the road, but I've promised to move into it for the last few months. I just haven't had the time with the Tour and other commitments. This week I'll paint the house. It may be about time I moved in."
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