Editor: iBass360 likes to highlight bass anglers who have break through performances. Todd Auten, 53, has been around the tournament scene for both B.A.S.S and FLW for a long time. Todd has fished a total of 151 tournaments, finishing in the money in 83 of those- including 22 Top 10 finishes. He has fished the Bassmaster Classic four times, but none with better result than the 50th Edition, this year on Lake Guntersville, where he finished second. Todd shared his thoughts on the Classic and his career with our Kevin Carwile.
iBass360: Todd, congratulations on your 2nd place and Berkley Big Bass at the Classic. Can you share your thoughts about the experience of sharing that stage with Hank Cherry, Dave Mercer and even the legendary Bob Cobb?
Todd: Thanks. Sitting in the hot seat was a little nerve-racking, but with the lead Hank had going into the final day, I knew he would probably be the winner. Sharing that stage with them was a legendary experience for me. It was a truly memorable moment. I grew up watching Bob Cobb broadcasting tournaments for Bassmasters on Sunday mornings after church. It really stirred
my competitive juices and had a lot to do with me going down this path.
iBass360: So, seems you’re no stranger to Guntersville, but the conditions were all over the place. Tell us about the conditions, especially that first day, and how it shaped how you fished each day?
Todd: Well, I'm not a native of Alabama, I'm from South Carolina, but Alabama is my second home and I have fished Guntersville a lot. The first day of tournament was different for me. After the rain, cold , and wind, if did change my primary area, but I was still able to catch a couple there including a 7 lb 9 ounce one which gave me confidence that my adjustments were good. Ultimately, I did have to change areas due to the muddy water. My knowledge of the lake, and my
experience, helped me find another area and a different creek where I was able to finish out my limit.
iBass360: Can you talk about your favorite way to fish and how you went after them at the Classic?
Todd: My primary arsenal includes spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and jigs. There are times when you need to call on special techniques like dropshot or deep cranking, but when I can, I prefer shallow water fishing. For the Classic, I targeted those transition areas where fish move from the deeper water into the shallows to spawn. My go to baits were the Z-Man Chatterbait Jackhammer and a Strike King Red Eye Shad.
iBass360: It was clear that family and faith are very important to you. How has your family and your faith influenced who you are as an angler? Any regrets about all the weekends and time on the road?
Todd: Professional fishing is harder than most people think. There can be some real hard times on the family financially as well as just being there. The practices, obligations to sponsors and the tournaments mean I am away from home a lot and miss some of those special moments with family. But then there are times that I am home for a while. You just have to make every moment count. A strong faith helps with all that. The only regret I have is that, due to family obligations, my wife can’t travel with me all of the time. She does however try to come to as many events as possible when close to home.
iBass360: Can you discuss who have been your fishing mentors and fishing inspirations along the way that helped you arrive to this point in your career?
Todd: My dad was definitely an inspiration early on by taking me fishing as much as he could. I also had a cousin that really got me hooked. It always helps a young person if they have people who like to fish around them. As for competitive fishing, my friend Chris Baumgardner began fishing the old Bassmaster Invitationals and the Bassmaster Top 150s, and he encouraged me to come and fish with “the big boys," one being Rick Clunn who I have followed throughout his long career and seeing all that he has accomplished has certainly inspired me and keeps me motivated to keep going, just like he does.
iBass360: I note, with all respect, that you are one of the more senior anglers fishing big tour events. What advice do you have for the older fishermen who still have the dream of walking across a big stage with a big bag?
Todd: One of the great things is that there is really no age limit on the sport of fishing or competitive fishing. You have to take care of your health of course because it does require stamina, but If you have the drive and the desire, and you work hard to both deepen your skills and broaden your experiences, then you can accomplish anything in fishing.
iBass360: Final question- what’s next for Todd Auten? What are your hopes and aspirations related to your fishing passion?
Todd: There is no question about it, I plan to keep fishing tournaments and hope to continue climbing my way to the top. Being on that Classic stage just fueled the fire.