Editor: Terry Bolton recently smoked the field at the FLW Season Opener. iBass360 pro staff Kevin Carwile had the opportunity to discuss that win with him and get his view on a number of other industry issues. Bolton has racked up over $1 Million in earnings in his 24 year FLW career. A Kentucky native currently living in Benton, Bolton has seen more than half of his top-10 finishes come from the ledges of Kentucky and Barkley lakes. Bolton has fished the FLW Tour and FLW Series, as well as EverStart and BFL tournaments. He has three career wins and 47 Top-10 finishes. Bolton’s angling heroes include Rick Clunn and Gary Klein- which probably explains his love for spinnerbait and jig fishing. While he loves fishing the ledges of his home lakes, his least favorite fishing is “any lake in Florida”. Major sponsors include Ranger, Evinrude, Rapala, Lew’s and Picasso Lures.
iBass360: Terry, you just had a big win on Sam Rayburn. How did the high water conditions help
you and your approach to the tournament?
Bolton: I had some previous experience years ago when the water was high at Sam Rayburn. I had done well in the past fishing inside grass lines and I knew I wanted to try to establish that pattern when I arrived.
iBass360: Do you have a favorite style of fishing and were you able to employ it to your advantage at this tournament?
Bolton: I like structure fishing. I grew up fishing Kentucky Lake, so basically I have spent my whole life ledge fishing. I guess you would say I’m very comfortable fishing off shore.
iBass360: Are there other bodies of water on the circuit this year that you feel are conducive to your style of fishing?
Bolton: I like the Chickamagua event and I like Grand Lake so hopefully those lakes will be conducive to my style of fishing.
iBass360: From a bait perspective, what were the keys to your success on Rayburn?
Bolton: I think the Rapala DT series was a big part of it. For this series, Rapala has put together several different running depths of bait. This helped me cover the different levels of flooded grass. I also think the subtle action of the Rapala bait makes it deadly in cold water.
iBass360: Moving to some broader questions about our industry- how did you work your way up to the big leagues? What were your keys to success and what advice would you give anglers trying to do the same?
Bolton: That’s hard because things are different today what with the prices of boats and higher entry fees. I still think a young angler should start out locally. When you can beat most of the guys at home, it will be time to branch out to a more regional level. As an angler shows
consistency and works way up, sponsors will notice the success. Reality also dictates that each angler trying to climb up the ladder should have a back-up plan. I believe that the back-up plan needs to include a good education and learning a trade or other skill you can fall back on to financially support yourself when times get hard.
iBass360: What sacrifices have you had to make along the way? Would you say this is the area weekend warriors understand the least and need to?
Bolton: There is no question that I’ve sacrificed a lot of family time. It is also definitely hard on relationships. You have to find ways to make time for family because that’s something you can’t
get back when it’s gone.
iBass360: What approach did you take to lining up sponsors and using social media? What advice can you give us?
Bolton: It has been my experience that with success sponsors will come. Also they come through contacts and friendships you make along the way at tournaments and at shows. I also try to post as much as I can on social media but this takes time and I have to say I struggle with it at times. That’s probably because of my age. I enjoy doing the Wired2Fish videos. I get a lot of good response from those.
iBass360: So now for a harder question. This is the first season of the new MLF sponsored pro tournament series with its TV-oriented format. What is your take on all this? Good for the industry? Not so good? What are your thoughts?
Bolton: I think change and competition are good. As you get older it’s easier to resist change and I am trying not to do that. We will see what the future holds for MLF, but so far I think it is a good thing. They will have some bumps in the road but I feel they are trying to make the sport of
professional fishing better. The format will cause some guys to really excel and some guys to struggle.
iBass360: Terry, on behalf of my colleagues in the 360Nation, I thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to share your thoughts with us. I am sure many will appreciate the insights you have shared. I know I do. iBass360 will look forward to following your continued success. Keep the lines tight and Live The Passion!
Kevin Carwile is one of the up and coming anglers on the iBass360 team. Born in Indiana, he now resides in neighboring Illinois where he fine tunes his Midwest angling know-how. Kevin is quickly developing an expertise in bank fishing and topwater frogging, and he is pro-staff for