Nichols wins Southeast AOY, Shot on Tour

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Nichols wins Southeast AOY, shot on tour

Cody Nichols

April 30, 2019 by Curtis Niedermier.

Within the hierarchy of FLW tournaments, there is a lot of youth and enthusiasm to go, but only so many places in the FLW Tour. That's why Cody Nichols, 27, of Fayette, Alabama, will not miss the opportunity (neither his youth nor his enthusiasm) to join the Tour in 2020.

Nichols is the King Angler of the Year for the Southeast Coast Division FLW Southeast Series of 2019. After finishing in the top five in the divisional ranking, he qualifies to join the Tour next season.

"I qualified for that and I can not move on," he says. "It does not appear very often, so I have to try it."

Helping the Nichols cause, who works at an oil refinery in Tuscaloosa, is the $ 5,000 Strike King AOY award and another $ 36,700 in seasonal profits in the Southeast Division. In addition to the confidence that is had to know that contained the best bass fisherman on the planet, Bryan Thrift, in his race for the title of the division during the final in Santee Cooper.

Of course, fishing the Tour is a great step for a shallow-water fisherman whose career has been based in the south to this point.

Nichols, who frequents the Tennessee River reservoirs, such as Guntersville and Pickwick, understands the obstacles he will face and is ready to apply his strengths and improve his weaknesses.

"My fishing in real house would probably be the Tombigbee river system, but I probably spend more days fishing in Guntersville than in any other place," he says. "My strengths are definitely the shallow water and the grass lakes. The most important thing in what I'm going to have to work on is the small mouth places. It's not what I do. "

With some sponsors in his corner, including Reaction Innovations and Hammer Rods, Nichols says that, in general, it's the right time to pursue his dream.

"I have to do it, I feel like it," he adds. "It's a lot of money and everything, and I do not have many sponsors, but I'm not married, I'm single, I have a pretty good job, so I'm going to try it and see.

"I'm looking forward to it, I hope it starts tomorrow.

Here is a look at how Nichols won his chance on the FLW Tour.

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Tournament summary

Nichols had a couple of important days in 2019, but the real key to his success throughout the season was consistency. He never bombed, not even the first day at Santee Cooper, when he could not reach a limit but brought four good ones to weigh. Nichols' patterns and techniques were consistent with his preference for shallow fishing.

Lake Okeechobee, January 31-February. 2, 2019

Second place

Complete results

The first two days of practice at Okeechobee were sad, but on Tuesday afternoon of the week of the tournament, Nichols found the area that would take him throughout the tournament.

"I found an area that had a lot of fish," he says. "I did not know what was there, but I knew it should be good for the fish that appeared to breed.

"I just went fishing, I captured most of them in a swim template and in a Skinny Dipper (Reaction Innovations), I just got some good bites."

Nichols describes his area as a "stopping point" between the main lake and the main spawning waters, although he believes that some basses were also appearing around him.

"It was quite far, near the main lake, and I was intercepting them," he adds.

On the first day, the lost fish cost Nichols his chances of winning. I weighed 12 pounds, 10 ounces. The 17-6 catch on day two moved Nichols to the third to make the cut, but he still had more than 5 pounds off the lead. He finished with 12 pounds on day three to move to second place with 42 pounds in total.

A last minute kicker on Friday was the highlight of his week.

"On day two of Okeechobee, when I had my biggest bag, I caught several fish before 10 o'clock, and that was my last day of check-in," recalls Nichols. "I had to be at 4. I spent four or four and a half hours without a mouthful. I had been catching more fish in a Skinny Dipper but the biggest fish in the swim template. I knew I had nothing else to do, so I grabbed the swim template and hoped to get one more bite. They gave me that big mouthful, 7 to 15 minutes before we had to leave. I got a 2 lbs. "

Chickamauga Lake, March 21-23

4th place

Complete results

As in Okeechobee, Nichols dedicated almost all of his Chickamauga tournament to one place. It was a power cut 2 feet deep where, in practice, he made three pitches and caught a 7, 5 and 4.

"The first day I had 20 pounds in the first 20 minutes," he recalls. "I left him and ended up catching another big one."

Nichols was second after the first day with 25 pounds and 5 ounces.

The second day was a fight to catch 13-7.

"I think the second day was just a bad day, with the exception that the giant weight hat was weighed (37-5 by the eventual winner Brent Butler), the weights of all the others dropped a bit."

On the last day, Nichols made three stops at his key location and managed to catch another good one each time. A limit of 18-15 for a total of 57-11 was good enough for the fourth.

Nichols caught most of his fish in lipless crankbaits.

Santee Cooper, April 25-27

11th place

Complete results

Although Nichols finally (barely) missed the cut in Santee Cooper, he still did enough to finish in 11th place to stop 2018 AOY Bryan Thrift, who finished ninth in Santee and only seven points behind Nichols in the 2019 standings .

Nichols spent more practice time before Santee because he figured (and rightly so) that Thrift would make the cut and force the young professional to also finish in the top 10 to hold on to AOY. A slip on the first day to bring only four guards was surprising for Nichols, who says he had a great practice and had the potential to really delay it. I weighed 17 pounds, 7 ounces.

"The first day I had no more than four fish, and I had a good 2 1/2 pound of out two or three times, it was aggravating," he says. "That was one of my biggest fears in leading the points, because Thrift was just behind me. I did not want to not reach a limit. I practiced six days. About the fourth day I felt comfortable not having five fish. Well, I ended up having four. "

Day two at Santee was canceled due to dangerous conditions, and Nichols certainly did not complain.

"It probably helped me more than anyone, just so my fish calms down, and for me too," he admits. "Saturday was beautiful to shoot those trees. I should have had a big bag, but I lost an 8 or 9 pounds. But it was enough. I had a great time. I caught a lot of fish on Saturday. "

Adding 22 pounds gave Nichols 39-7 in total. Although Nichols captured fish in several ways in practice, he chose a pattern that, he believed, would produce fewer bites, but of superior quality. He threw a tree of cypresses Yamamoto Senkoto with a rare installation, focusing mainly on isolated trees.

"I think I caught a pre-fished or spawning fish all the time, most of those fish were post-tuna," he adds.

What else was at stake?

The Strike King Angler of the year wins $ 5,000. In addition, the top 40 professionals in each division of the FLW Costa Series (if they fished all three events) qualify for the FLW 2019 Series Championship. The top five professionals in the season classification of each division qualify for the FLW 2020 Tour .

Here is a look at the top 10 professionals in the Southeast Division in 2019.

1. Cody Nichols – Fayette, Ala. – 736 points

2. Bryan Thrift – Shelby, N.C. – 729

3. Kyle Welcher – Cleveland, Tenn. – 707

4. Jason Abram – Piney Flats, Tenn. – 699

5. Wade Grooms – Bonneau, S.C. – 690

6. Bryan New – Belmont, N.C. – 677

7. Billy Hall – Greenback, Tenn. – 670

8. Donny Bass – Naples, Fla. – 668

9. Nick Thliveros – San Agustín, Fla. – 658

10. Michael Conley – Bainbridge, Ga. – 645

Tags: santee-cooper chickamauga okeechobee bryan-thrift wacky-rig rat-l-trap swim-jig Article by curtis-niedermier


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