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From the Back to the Front

FLW Tour pro Justin Lucas

Making the move from the back of the boat to the pointy-end; it is a story that many anglers have lived and for even more it is a dream come true.  National Guard pro Justin Lucas is amidst living that dream and has just wrapped up his sophomore year on the FLW Tour as a pro.

Lucas had this to say about the differences that have surfaced besides his change in deck position when he went from co-angler to pro.

Q:  What is the most noticeable change since you’ve made the leap to the front end?

A:   The biggest thing that has changed for me is that I am fishing on lakes that I’ve never been on before and it seems like there is limited time to find the fish.   It was nice when I was going to places that I knew, places that I already had a sweet spot on or had some water where I knew I could get a limit or pick up that last big one.  With the way things are now, I can get to feeling like I am fishing on the go.  It isn’t easy; but like my dad told me, if fishing for a living was easy everyone would do it.

Q: What is the best change that has come about since your move?

A: Traveling is fun.  Even though it can be tough to find fish on new lakes, it is also like an adventure and fun too.  Of course, the studying starts before you even get to your water with maps and talking to people; but it is just fun to launch into a new lake and have the challenge of getting it done.

Q: So, when you say “talking to people” are you talking about locals and the dock talk?

A:  So far, I haven’t gotten a lot of help out here.  I haven’t really built up a big network, yet.   There is only a couple of people who I really trust information from.  As for the locals, I don’t think they mean to feed you bad information; but you never know how good their information is and with limited time you have you need to rely on your own skills.  That is what you are here to do… find the fish.

Q:  Why did you make the move to live near Lake Guntersville?

Justin Lucas – Top 10 Beaver Lake 2011

A:  Mainly, I moved due to the traveling and being closer to the tournament stops; also, I wanted to pick a place that would be closer to practice waters.  Historically, West Coast guys can struggle on the Tennessee River.  Guntersville was my choice because I can practice there a lot and if you can fish Guntersville, you can fish anywhere.

Q:  Do you feel that you’re at a disadvantage being a “West Coast guy”?

A: The techniques are the same; but the lakes are so different and being able to have the experience on a wide variety of water is definitely an advantage in this sport.

Q:  When you were a youngster out here in Northern California, you were part of the Pro Teen tournaments on the Delta, how important do you think that opportunity was for you to get you where you are today?

13lb Big bass on the co-angler side Ca. Delta 2008 Photo by David A. Brown

A:  Very, very important,  I still remember the first one I fished in and my first boater.  It is the start that helps build you and give you a taste of the tournament scene and the camaraderie of the sport.  It also gives you a taste for the dream of pro fishing.  As soon as I went to my first one, I wanted to do it again.

Q: Is the Pro Teen tournaments how you got your start?

A:  No, I was fishing before that.  I grew up fishing tournaments with my grandpa.  If it weren’t for him I wouldn’t know so much of what I do.  When I told him I wanted to start bass fishing, he went and got a boat and we just started fishing.  I started learning from the good and the bad.  Even the mistakes, were something to learn from.

Justin Lucas – leads the Co-angler Division after day one at Lake Shasta 2006 with a limit weighing 11 pounds, 5 ounces. Photo by Jeff Schroeder

National Guard pro Justin Lucas accumulated five championships and 12 top-ten finishes in the FLW from 2006 to 2009 as a co-angler.  He moved into pro status in 2010 and added two more top-ten victories to his profile.  He closed the regular season for 2011 with a qualification for the Forrest Wood Cup, finishing a very respectable 13th.

To learn more about Justin Lucas, please visit his website at justinlucasfishing.com.

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About Jody Only

Credentials may be a bit of stretch in the pro world of fishing. No, not a recipient of a Bassmaster title, never won a boat. However, regarding experience, if you're looking for a Regular Joe... or uh, Jane, on the Ca. delta, launchin' outta Stockton, several times weekly, fishin' local waters, chattin' it up here on BHQ with Bass Angler's nationwide... you found it.