Ehrler’s Classic Hopes

Category: article

 Jan 31st, 2013 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Jan 31st, 2013 at 12:00 AM

Nope, no, nope. Former FLW Tour Champ and multi-tournament winner Brent Ehrler is not fishing the Bassmaster Classic this year. He is prepping for his 2013 FLW Tour run starting on Lake Okeechobee on February 7 as I write this. However, there is an excitement in his voice when he speaks about the potential to qualify for the Classic. Even though his mantle is crowded with tons of hardware, there is always space for the one title he has thought about since his youth.

Brent Ehrler (Photo BassFIRST)

Of course as a consummate pro, Ehrler’s focus is on the season’s first task before thinking about the Classic. That task is figuring out Lake Okeechobee and scoring his first win there.

“I’ve never done really well at Lake Okeechobee,” said Ehrler. “I wish I had the free time like some FLW Tour pros to go and fish a tournament there prior to the season opener, but I don’t.

“A couple years ago I was practicing for an FLW there and thought it would take about 12 pounds per day to cash a check. The fishing was tough. The first day of the tournament, I caught two big fish and had 20 pounds or so. I thought I was gonna do great. I was all cocky walking from the dock to the holding tank.

“Then I find out a bunch of anglers already came in with over 20 pounds and a few over 25 pounds. I like the lake, but it’s never been kind to me.”

Ehler’s focus is the FLW Tour but if time permits, he will take a shot at qualifying for the Classic.

“I’ve been treated very well by the FLW,” said Ehrler. “My main focus is on the FLW Tour, but I will probably pick up a B.A.S.S. Open circuit. The only reason I may do that is to try to qualify for the Classic. I have never fished a Classic. I have worked the show there for sponsors many times, but never qualified to fish it.

“I read about it and saw it on TV as a kid. Who wouldn’t want to fish in the Classic if you fish professional bass tournaments? Plus, if I qualified to fish the Elites through the Opens, I would look at fishing both the FLW and the Elites.

“The only problem there is nobody seems to do good when they try and fish both complete circuits. Anglers who have tried it often have sponsor obligations that are tied to one or the other circuit and will often let a tournament slide if their focus isn’t completely on the tournament they are fishing.

“For me, the goal would really be to qualify for the Classic.”

Ehrler has confidence the FLW will bounce back stronger after their diminished 2013 schedule.
“It’s unfortunate we all lost four premier events to fish,” said Ehrler. “Losing that many opportunities to make $125,000 is bad, but we’ve fished only six events before and made it work, so we will have to do it again. I believe the FLW will eventually grow the tour back to more events again. I have no inside information, but I think they will.”

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