For all intents and purposes, Stetson Blaylock had a fantastic 2013 season. (As posted on BassFan.com)
He cashed checks in all six FLW Tour events, followed up his worst finish with back-to-back Top-10s, qualified for his fourth Forrest Wood Cup and second Toyota Texas Bass Classic, and trailed only Andy Morgan in the final FLW Tour Angler of the Year (AOY) points. Not bad for the 26-year-old from Benton, Ark.
Still, he’s hardly satisfied.
He’s already drawn up his to-do list for 2014 and at the top is to win AOY. Yeah, that’s at the top of everyone’s wish list, but a quick look at Blaylock’s career arc indicates his desire to assume the AOY throne is nothing to sneer at. Two years ago, he was 14th in points. Last year, he slipped to 21st before rebounding in a big way this year.
Only a 56th-place finish at Beaver Lake this season prevented him from putting more heat on Morgan at Lake Chickamauga to close the year.
“It could’ve been better and when it was over, it really frustrated me,” he said, reflecting on the Beaver result. “Looking back now, I feel worse because that’s the one that cost me Angler of the Year. When the tournament was over, I was pretty upset with that finish. I was off to a good start and being able to fish Beaver close to home where I’ve fished 100 times. To finish 56th, I didn’t like it. It fueled that fire, though, and I kept on chugging. I didn’t expect to come back and finish 2nd in points. I scratched and clawed and got back up there.
“It’s all about how strong you are mentally,” he continued. “There are a lot of good fishermen out there, but not all of them can bounce back and keep things going and stay on top of it. I’ve had several good years now and in a way it’s good and in a way it worries me. I see guys who’ve won Angler of the Year and then finish in the 100s in points. To me, I don’t understand how that’s possible and that’s what scares me about this thing. When is that going to happen to me, when every decision I make is the wrong one? Hopefully, it won’t ever happen, but it’s in the back on my mind.”
While Blaylock was happy with the consistency he showed in Tour events, two tournaments at the Red River – the Bassmaster Central Open in April and the Forrest Wood Cup in August – continue to confound him. The Central Open came 2 weeks after Beaver Lake and gave him a perfect opportunity to get that bad taste out of his mouth. He wound up 114th, an outcome that still irks him.
“I couldn’t catch ’em,” he said. “That kind of thing frustrates me. I know it was a smaller event and wasn’t that far from home so it didn’t cost me a lot, but that’s not how I like to do it. It didn’t let the wind out of my sails, but I felt like I was on a roll. Then I went in there and dumped a tournament. I had to stand back up and shake it off and carry on.
“The Red River is the only place I’ve ever been that makes me feel like I don’t know what I’m doing. It changes so much.”
After his stumble at the Central Open, Blaylock was sure he’d learned something he could apply at the Red in August for the Cup. He made a trip down before it went off-limits and came home thinking main-river fish would prevail over those swimming in the backwaters or lily pads. He was sorely mistaken.
“To be honest, this time it was all about making the wrong decision before I ever left the house,” he said. “I went down and pre-practiced and saw all the lily pads. To me, it was going to be August and it was going to be hot. The main river should’ve been good. I told myself before I even left home that I’m not going to throw at a lily pad and I’ll spend 90 percent of my practice on the main river. It wasn’t the right decision. A couple of guys did really good fishing the main river and I’d sure like to know how.”
Next on Blaylock’s fishing to-do list is to win Angler of the Year.
When he returned for official practice, his confidence soared after finding a backwater pond that produced 18 pounds for him pretty quick one morning. He also had some fish in the 2- to 2 3/4-pound range on the main river. He even told his brother and practice partner, Keeton Blaylock, who qualified as a co-angler, that he couldn’t recall being that confident before a Cup.
“It can’t be this good,” he told him.
He was boat No. 1 on day 1, meaning he had his pick of where to start. He opted for the backwater in Pool 5.
“Lo and behold, the only boat that came in there with me was Bryan Thrift,” he said. “He started on one little spot and caught that 7-pounder and another 6. His co-angler caught a 5 or 6 and I saw it all go down. It hurt because I knew what was there. I just had to stay confident. I fished in there until 11 and caught but three little 12-inchers.”
He scratched together 6-14 on day 1, then changed it up on day 2 and fished in pads. He wound up catching 10-06, his best effort at the Red, and finished 30th.
“Those fish on the main river I had, I would’ve sworn that 10 or 11 pounds would’ve been no problem and I wound up with 6-14 on day 1,” he said. “You just can’t do that. I don’t understand where those fish go or if they just didn’t eat or if they repositioned. It’s the only place that makes me feel stupid every time I fish it. My mentality has to get better for that place and it was this year because I really felt like I had a shot to win there. I thought a Top-20 would be no problem.”
Happy On His Own
Blaylock fished out of FLW sponsor-wrapped boats the first 4 years of his career, a different one each season. He grew weary of the constant change and when STP didn’t return as an FLW sponsor in 2013, he started to build his own stable of sponsors. He couldn’t be happier. While there is some security in having a team deal through FLW, he says the short-term involvement of some sponsors made him step back and examine what was going to be best for him moving forward.
“I’m happy to have had the team deals I’ve had and it stinks when those companies pull out and go away, but that’s how it is,” he said. “Am I happy with where I’m at now? Absolutely, because my family can travel with me and I don’t have to work the Fun Zones and stuff like that. I will stay and hang around for the sponsors I have now if they need me to, but just having that freedom and not being tied down is good.
“For what you have to do, though, the team deals are a great deal. Anybody that has one and complains has a problem. I don’t want to be the guy that says I’m glad I don’t have one because they’re good deals. At the same time, the freedom of not having one and for example, getting your own vehicle and being able to customize it how you want it and put your own wrap on it, you just kind of build an image. It is a little harder to build an image with a team deal because they’re so here today, gone tomorrow. If you can do it through a team deal and build a career around it like some of the guys have, more power to them, but it just didn’t work for me. I’m happy with where I’m at.”
While Blaylock would like to see a few more fall events on the schedule, he’s anxious to get to Texas for the TTBC next month. He tied for 21st in his only previous appearance in 2011. “I absolutely love Conroe,” he said. “If I could wake up in the morning and say, ‘Man I want to go fish exactly how I love to fish and do exactly what I love to do,’ Conroe is that lake. It’s really good deep, but it’s really good shallow. If we get some cooler weather between now and then, there’ll be enough fish shallow. I feel confident there and I’m looking forward to that. Hopefully, there will be a little more water in there this year and some more cover so you can fish new water every day.”
Stetson Blaylock holds up his biggest bass from day four on Lake Norman. With a two-day total of 23 pounds, 15 ounces, the Berkley pro won the National Guard Open and $200,000. (Photo by Brett Carlson) As posted on FLW Outdoors
Stetson Blaylock finished 9th at the FLW Tour Grand Lake event on June 9th. His 65 pound, 12 ounce four day total was enough for him to crack the Top 10 for the second consecutive tournament of the FLW Tour season.
“I had a solid tournament. Pretty much everything I hooked I got into the boat. That’s what it’s all about. You can’t miss opportunities,” explained Blaylock.
Blaylock did find the conditions changed during their day off, “I found fish out deep in practice. I was fishing the Livingston Lures DM-20 crankbait out in 20 feet and had caught a few really good fish. But, it changed for the event. I had to go to the bank and flip to get the fish in the boat. I spent all four days flipping trees and bushes in the high water conditions. Making that adjustment early on the first day was the decision that made the difference.”
To read the FLW Full story about the tournament Click Here
San Antonio, Tex. – Livingston Lures has added two premier FLW Tour anglers to the Livingston Lures pro angler team. Both Jacob Powroznik, who currently sits in the fifth spot in the FLW Angler of the Year Race and Stetson Blaylock, who currently holds down the 19th spot in FLW AOY race are the new additions. More
Benton, Ark. – FLW Tour professional Stetson Blaylock has joined the Kinami pro Team for the 2013 season. Blaylock will be using Kinami and Yamamoto baits while he attempts to qualify for his fourth Forrest Wood Cup in five seasons.
In 2009, Blaylock earned the FLW Tour Rookie of the year by a landslide margin. Since then Blaylock has won over $400,000 in the pro ranks. Bringing his total winnings to nearly $600,000 with FLW Outdoors alone. In 2009, Blaylock won the FLW Tour Open on Lake Norman and became the youngest angler to win an FLW Tour event.
Stetson Blaylock Joins Kinami Baits Team
Blaylock appreciates the support from Kinami, “I’ve always fished Kinami and Yamamoto products, there’s probably not a pro angler anywhere that doesn’t. They are without question the best soft plastic bait makers in the world. Their baits have helped me earn many checks over the years and I know they will be a big part of many more.”
When asked what his two favorite Kinami baits were Blaylock answered, “That’s a tough one, they have so many great baits including the flash shad (a soft plastic jerk bait and I fish a single tail or skirted double tail grub almost every trip to the lake. My favorites have to be the Kinami Flash stick bait and the Pscho dad punch and flip bait. The Kinami Flash is absolutely the easiest and best way to catch fish. If you just want to go catch a bunch of fish, tie on a Kinami Flash, put it on a hook and go toss it on just about any body of water. You’ll catch fish.”
Ron Colby, Pro Staff Director for GYCB and Kinami Baits believes Blaylock is a perfect fit for the company. “We’ve known Stetson for quite a while and we like theway he handles himself on and off the water. He’s a consummate professional and a future star in our sport. We are especially proud of the fact Stetson has been using our products successfully for years. It just made sense to add him to our pro team.”
For more information about Kinami Baits please visit KinamiBaits.com.
For more information about Stetson Blaylcok please visit StetsonBlaylockinc.com.
If you are the type of angler who puts as much emphasis on rod section like Stetson Blaylock does, then you need to pay close attention to 13 Fishing. You may not have heard of 13 Fishing yet, but watch out because this company is starting to pop up everywhere!
Already known for their dominant ice fishing brand, 13 Fishing has introduced a line of trendy yet functional rods to their brand but don’t be mistaken, this isn’t only a rod company. “13 Fishing is a brand not only a rod company”, says FLW Pro Stetson Blaylock. “We have been in the ice fishing industry for a few years now and have done really well and this past summer we launched our freshwater line of rods”.
Unlike many other companies, 13 Fishing manufacturers their own rod and rod components and in doing so, this has given them the ability to test their rods to the max, ensuring that every aspect and component of their rods are perfected. Where some rod companies may only test a handful of prototypes before releasing a product, well let’s just say that 13 Fishing got their share of testing in! “We fished and tested 622 different blanks before we got the final product nailed down”, Blaylock says. “Since everything with the exception of the recoil guides on our Envy rod is manufactured by us, we wanted to make sure that everything was perfect. Our team literally sat down and drew all the components like the reel seats, created prototypes and we tweaked them from there”.
COLUMBIA, SC — Berkley® XL/XT was awarded with the Best New Line Awards at this year’s ICAST show in Orlando, Fla. Berkley XL and XT have been industry standards, and the line continues to get better with the improvements to these monofilament lines.
XL and XT were recognized by the voters as the best line for 2012 by the select ICAST attendees, which include active editorial journalists and retailers.
With a 10 percent improvement in strength and 20 percent more flexibility, Trilene XL gives anglers more reason to reach for the new red packaging also available with the improved XL. Not only did the Berkley line team improve the toughness and smoothness of XL, they also improved the knot strength by over 20 percent. This will help anglers land more fish without worry of knot failure.
Photo by David A. Brown
by Gary Mortenson
With the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup slated for Aug. 9-12 on Lake Lanier in Duluth, Ga., the clock continues to tick toward the start of one of the most prestigious and exciting bass-fishing championships in the nation. In an effort to provide bass-fishing fans with a little more perspective and background on the competition, FLWOutdoors.com is launching a five-part series/overview of each of the 46 qualifying pros – one of whom will walk away with the title of Forrest Wood Cup champion.
With a guaranteed first-place prize of $500,000 on the line, there is clearly plenty at stake this summer in Georgia. So without further ado, let’s meet the contenders.