Week 26 ・Brent Ehrler
FLW Tour rookie Brent Ehrler took his lumps this season. He had a few finishes in the 100s, but he also had a few Top 30 finishes. In fact, he earned approximately $25,000 in Tour money ・just enough to come close to the break-even point for expenses and entry fees this year.
Is he down and out from this difficult inaugural season- Nope. He's energized and motivated to improve upon his 2005 season performance. He re-qualified to fish the Tour and plans on a breakthrough 2006 campaign.
Newbie Ups and Downs
Like a lot of professional athletes, rookies on the FLW Tour go through a series of highs and lows. Ehrler experienced both this year.
"I guess the best moments I've had this year involved a couple of $10,000 checks," he said. "Seriously, a couple of big checks like that are really memorable. When I caught fish and figured them out, that made me feel pretty good, like I belonged on the Tour.
"When I caught bigger fish, that made me feel pretty good too," he said. "I remember when I caught a nice 5-pounder at Toho, that was cool. Basically anytime I made the right decisions and they paid off were high moments for me."
"I had plenty of low moments this year," he added. "A few finishes in the 100s・some missed fish opportunities. Also, a few bad decisions along the way didn't help.
"I guess my lowest point came at the Louisiana tournament (Ouachita River). I knew I needed to get on fish to move into position to make the (Forrest L. Wood) Championship. It was my worst finish. I just couldn't get fish in practice or the tournament. All in all though, my first year could've been worse."
Top Lucky Crafts
With such a variety of water to fish this season, Ehrler had the opportunity to fish his favorite Lucky Craft baits under the best and worse conditions.
"It's a tough call, but the lure that worked just about everywhere for me was the LV-100 (lipless crankbait)," he said. "All I had to do was match the color to the conditions and I could catch fish. That lure is my favorite lipless crankbait that Lucky Craft makes.
"In addition to the LV-100, I had some solid success with the Classical Leader SSR," he noted. "It's a super-shallow diver and the fish on the Potomac just ate it up. I had some real nice fish on that crankbait."
Ehrler plans to compete in the BASS Western Opens this year. "The EverStarts in the West are over, so I decided to fish the Opens. Maybe I can qualify for the Bassmaster Tour this season."
In addition to the BASS events, the U.S. Open is on his radar. He finished a strong 2nd there last year.
"I also plan to fish the U.S. Open in September," he said. "I've had some very good success in that event and I'd like to win it this year. I've been close in the past."
Along with his tournament schedule, he plans to increase his efficiency for next year.
"I need to make sure I can get more of the fish I hook into the boat. I lost one fish here and there this year, which cost me my chance to qualify for the Championship and more Top 20 appearances, or even to make a cut or two. I just need to get the fish into the livewell."
> Ehrler has had several high finishes at the U.S. Open. "I've had some good luck at the U.S. Open," he said. "I had a 6th and last year I finished 2nd. I've also had two other Top 30 finishes."
> Topwater baits are Ehrler's favorites at Lake Mead, where the U.S. Open is always held. "I've done very well using a topwater on Lake Mead ・in particular, the Lucky Craft Gunfish. I think it's their best topwater lure. It walks the dog very easily and really catches fish."