Bass Angler Headquarters caught up with Todd Kline for an interview after his recent Co-Angler victory on Lake Havasu. Before last year, the bass fishing world had not heard the name Todd Kline before. After making the top 10 in two FLW events last year, winning at FLW Lake Roosevelt, FLW Co-Angler of The Year in 2013 and now a win 1st event of the year in 2014. Fishermen want to know a bit more about Todd Kline.
BHQ: Congratulations Todd for winning the first FLW Rayovac event for the Western Division as a Co-Angler at Lake Havasu. What a way to start the season!
Todd: Thanks for reaching out to me and I still cant believe that I have another FLW champion trophy in my house. It is so hard to place in these events fishing against some of the best anglers in the world let alone win two now.
BHQ: Where did you cut your teeth fishing?
Todd: I grew up in Fort Lauderdale, FL and water is so prevalent there. Most people fish in FL and I started fishing at 5 years old. I used to fish for everything including salt water, brackish, and fresh. My house was near two dams that brought the freshwater into the brackish. With that said, I would fish for bass in the fresh and the Snook and tarpon in the brackish. I moved to CA when I was 21 to pursue a career in professional surfing. I was able to make a living surfing for 5 years before taking a marketing position with a top apparel manufacture that was at the time my sponsor. When I moved to CA, I had no idea you could even bass fish here since there is very minimal water/lakes. There was a void in my life considering I did not bass fish in CA for about 10 years. In 2001, I went fishing at Laguna Niguel Lake, which is tiny, even a large pond if you will. We caught some bass and I was hooked again. Bought a boat that had been won at a tournament and started fishing team tournaments. Last year was the first year I had the time to try my luck at the next level on the FLW. It was an awesome experience meeting new friends and learning a ton from the pros.
BHQ: Wow, we had no idea that you surfed for a living. When you competed as a surfer, what were some of the highlights for you?
Todd: I was able to win a total of 5 pro events with 4 of those being ASP events. I was also able to win 3 gold medals in the XGames as a coach or the East Coast Surf Team.
BHQ: Do you miss surfing and do you think competing for many years as a surfer has helped you in any way competing as a bass fisherman?
Todd: I still surf a ton both locally and when I am traveling around the world with my current job as a broadcast commentator for professional surfing events. Regarding my background and competing, I do feel that I am able to apply things I learned competing as a surfer to fishing events. I am sure some are probably laughing at this point, but I believe talent is important when competing in any sport, but I even think the mental side of things is more important. Fishing as a co-angler or a pro, you are going to be challenged throughout the day and have curve balls thrown at you. Many will fall into a negative funk during those moments and lose focus. THE WHEELS FALL OFF THEN!!!!!! You need to always stay focused, relaxed, and keep a line in the water. So I think the mental side of things is probably the #1 thing I have been able to parlay into fishing.
BHQ: Lets jump into Lake Havasu and your experience at the first event this year on the FLW Rayovac Tour for the Western Division. Were you able to practice prior to the tournament?
Todd: Yes, I was able to practice. I went out to Havasu about two weeks prior for two days with Pro Mike Phua from Chino, CA. He is an amazing fisherman with a tremendous resume including great results at Lake Havasu. He really knows that lake. He and I fished for two days out there and found a good swimbait bite. We then traveled together for the event and pre-fished once again for 4 days leading up to the event. The swimbait bite was still there. We were both excited for the start of the event. We were not getting a ton of bites, but when we did, they were the right grade.
BHQ: What swimbait were you throwing and is that what you fished during the event?
Todd: We were fishing a 4-inch swimbait. I was able to catch my 15lb limit day one using the swimbait with Brent Becker, which put me in the lead. Day two, I did have to adapt as I fished up the river with Patrick Spencer. I basically had to cut all my baits off and start from scratch once I saw the water we were fishing up in the river. I tied on a savage gear crankbait and a revenge jig with a rage craw trailer. I caught two crank fish and 1 fish on the jig pitching into wood. The 3 fish gave me over 8lbs for the day. Blaine Christenson who is a good friend of mine, caught 21lbs with Billy Skinner and dropped me to 2nd place 4lbs off the lead. With that said, Blaine drew Billy again for the final day and I drew Jason Barofka. Knowing that Blaine caught 21lbs with Billy and they were fishing together again the final day, I knew I had my work cut out and needed a solid day.
The final day we woke up to winds ripping at 30mph from the North. Jason took us straight across the lake to a wind blown bank. Once I saw the area that we were fishing, I tied on the 4-inch swimbait and a Powell Custom’s Frenzy Alabama Rig. About 8:30am I caught my first fish a 2 1/2lb smallmouth on the bama rig.
While we were blowing down the bank at a very fast pace, I noticed a dock with rocks, a small boat ramp next to it, and medal poles in front of it. I wanted to throw my bama rig in there but you are not directing a bama rig in 30mph winds. Shortly after we passed that spot, Barofka said “we are going to run back up the bank and do the drift again” So I made a mental note to tie on a Savage Gear crankbait just for that dock. As we approached the dock, I took a couple of casts to get the feel of throwing a crank after hucking a bama rig all morning.
Once I saw the perfect angle, I fired the crank and landed right where I wanted to. I began cranking it back to the boat and midway back it began banging the rocks. About the 3rd rock I hit, she hit! The fight was on and I just recall Barofka saying, “it’s a giant”. I was so nervous using 10 flouro as the boat was drifting at a tremendous pace due to the wind. After a battle, Jason netted the fish. Both Jason and I were shocked. A largemouth bass weighing 9.8 lbs was lying in the net. I let out a couple of screams, through a culling ball on her and got back to fishing.
WOW! Now I thought, you better get a limit and not waste that fish. I felt that Blaine was probably crushing them again with Skinner so I needed to round that limit out to even have a shot. We ran all the way across the lake over to Lake Havasu Marina. Jason had one spot that he had caught 1 fish at each time he hit it. As we pulled in the marina, I fired out the 4 inch swimbait I had used day one and caught a Largemouth Bass about 2 lbs. As I put that fish in the well, I hear Jason yell “net”. I run from the back of the boat as I see a fish jumping right next to the boat. As I leaped from the back, I fell into my rods and sliced my finger on a hook. I still got the fish in the net though:) I taped up my finger and got my swimbait back out there as quick as possible. Before leaving the marina I picked up my 4th keeper which was another small Largemouth Bass weighing about 1lb. We then moved to a point outside the marina and I was able to catch my 5th fish a 2 1/2lb Smallmouth Bass.
BHQ: When you got your 5th fish, did you think at that point you had won?
Todd: I was pleased with my day and the fact that I caught a limit. Knowing I had a pretty good limit, I was fairly confident I would not slide in the standings. However, I was still thinking about Blaine and wondering if he wacked them again with Skinner. Once we got back to the ramp and I spoke to Blaine, he mentioned he had a tough day and did not get a limit. At that moment, I thought I might have a shot. He asked how I did and I let him know I got a limit and one pretty solid fish. He and many others wanted to see my fish but I waited until weigh-in to pull out that big girl.
BHQ: What was the reaction of Blaine and the crowd when you pulled that Largemouth Bass out that weighed 9.8lbs?
Todd: I think most were pretty shocked to see a fish of that size at Havasu. Blaine is a great guy and immediately came over to hug me and say congratulations! At that point, I realized I had won.
BHQ: How does this win compare to your first win last year at Lake Roosevelt?
Todd: Both were awesome but this one gives me more gratification knowing we had 152 anglers, multiple event winners in the top 10, and the fact I had to adapt so much throughout the event with the conditions.
BHQ: What’s next for Todd Kline?
Todd: I will fish the next two FLW Rayovac events here in the Western Division, hopefully make the championships, possibly fish a couple of WON Bass Pro/AM events, and then the Forrest Wood Cup in August at Lake Murray, SC. That is the event I am so excited to attend. That’s going to be an awesome experience.
BHQ: I am sure you are starting to get some sponsors and support. Who are you working with?
Todd: I am very blessed on many levels including the support from my sponsors. I would like to thank Okuma, AFTCO, Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, L Wagner Fine Jewelry, Roboworm, Revenge Baits, and Howard Custom Boats for supplying me with the best product possible and giving me the support that allows me to compete in the tournaments. Of course BHQ for building me an awesome website! Is it live yet?
BHQ: Thank you for your time Todd. Best of luck the rest of this year as you defend the AOY title and compete in the Forrest Wood Cup! Yes, your website is in production and should be live soon.
Todd: Thanks guys for reaching out to me and for the support. You guys rock!!!!!!!!!