Tuesday, August 16, 2016

2016 FLW CUP: Interview with Chris Johnston FLW Rookie of the Year

Hometown legend in the making.
By Luigi De Rose 
As the scales settled on the FLW CUP on Wheeler Lake, Alabama on August 7th, the 2016 Walmart Tour season came to a close.  John Cox was declared champion but there is another champion who was bolting back home to continue his bass tournament season in Canada. Chris Johnston, of Peterborough, Ontario had concluded his rookie season on tour. We caught up with him to discuss his fantastic season and his 8th place finish at the FLW CUP. 

Chris Johnston 2016 FLW TOUR Rookie of the Year. (Photo: FLW)
IBASSIN: Thanks for taking the time out to chat. 

Chris: No problem we are just about 40 minutes from the Canadian border.

IBASSIN: You had an amazing FLW CUP! Let’s talk a bit about it the championship and how you fished. 

Chris: I am surprised that I did so well. I had a very poor practice. I was expecting to flip trees to get the better bites and I did get a few fish but it was random. The first couple of practice days I could get about 5 to 6 bass a day. I was worried that I couldn’t get a limit each day. The deep bite wasn’t there. I got nothing out deep.
On the third practice day, I found a point that had some schoolers but many of the fish were very small. Some were only a few inches long but there were a few 2 pounders mixed in. So, I determined that I would get a few schoolers each morning then try for the flipping fish.
What I discovered was that the schooling bite got better throughout the day. That is something you shouldn’t figure out during an event but in practice so I got a bit lucky. On Day 1 of the tournament I determine that bite was stronger than what I imagined it would be. 

IBASSIN: FLW had pictures of you with some big smallmouth. Did you catch them mixed in with the small schoolers?

Chris: Yeah, there was a mix of bass. You had to sit there for about a ½ hour and then they would feed. You could catch a 2 or 3 pounder as the school busted shad on the surface. On the second day, I missed a really big smallmouth. It knocked my Evergreen SB 105, which had three trebles, right into the air without ever grabbing a hook.

IBASSIN: What were the techniques you used to catch your fish? 

Chris: I weighed in all schooling fish. The trick was to wait until they busted on the surface. Then make super quick casts that landed right onto of the boiling bass. If you were too slow or not accurate, you never got a bite. I used an Evergreen SB 105 the whole tournament. I got a few on drop shot but that topwater was better.
The real key was the tackle. I spooled up with straight 20lb Power Pro braid on Shimano Metanium METMGL150XG with an 8.5:1 gear ratio. The rod was a 7’2” Shimano Cumara casting rod. You needed to cast up to 50 yard with accuracy and get the lure back quickly to make another cast so the reel, rod and line were so important. 

IBASSIN: Did you have a few areas or just one main spot?

Chris: I really only had one producing point which I stuck with the whole tournament. I was fishing between the dam and the Elk River. I had 5 or 6 points but there were others fishing for schoolers and there weren’t many places to fish. 

Learn how Chris Johnston became a fishing super star as dad Lynn Johnston weighs in and how Cory missed winning the FLW CUP.

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