Co-Anglers | The Next Endangered Species by Sean Ostruszka

Can a Pro be a Pro if He Has to Fish with a Co


Winter 2019

While a lot of a co-angler’s finishes depends on the luck of which pros he draws, New routinely was able to show he had skill from the back of the boat.

From 2012-2017 he never finished worse than 19th in the standings, earning Co-Angler of the Year in 2016. He also had four top-five finishes at the Forrest Wood Cup; winning it in 2014. All told, he earned more than $184,000 from the back of the boat.

Needless to say, if anyone would be disappointed to see FLW discontinue co-anglers it’d be him. Yet, he wasn’t. “I agree 100 percent [with the decision to eliminate co-anglers],” New said. “Honestly, I never really agreed with [the idea of co-anglers] in the first

place. There are just too many variables a co-angler can change.”

New is obviously a good fisherman, which he admits can play into the heads of a pro. A pro may fish a piece of cover or an area differently knowing a talented co-angler may catch fish behind him; fish the pro could use later on. Then there is always the risk of a pro getting a bad co-angle etiquette- wise; one that casts in front of the boat or is disrespectful.

“[Eliminating co-anglers] allows us to just worry about fishing,” says FLW Tour pro Jimmy Reese. “We can now focus solely on the whole process of finding and catching fish. There’s no more worrying about someone catching your fish that could alter the outcome of a tournament.”