By Eric Jackson
Wesley Strader won his first FLW Pro Bass fishing tournament in 2002 at 30 years old and has been fishing as a pro for 20 years now.
Known by the other fishermen as the “every guy’s guy”, Wesley seems more relaxed, friendly, funny, and at home on tournament day as most people do on their couch with family. I first noticed him last year when he got third at Toho fishing the FLW Walmart Tour’s opening event and was bantering back and forth with the M.C. during the weigh-in about his dance moves. Since then, I started following Wesley to see what he was about until one day he yells at me from his boat just before weigh-in… “Hey Eric, tell me about those fishing kayaks you make!” It took us the rest of the season to connect on it, but ultimately as the 2015 season wound down, he decided he wanted to get himself a couple of Coosa HDs for himself. Wesley lives in TN near some great creeks for bass and muskie and was hungry for a good way to fish them and I was fired up that we had the perfect solution in the Coosa HD.
This year’s tournament season began with the BASS Southern Open on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes. One of the most competitive tournament trails is the Southern Opens with 200 fisherman coming from both the FLW and BASS leagues. Wesley bested the field with consistently good days of fishing winning by a small 2 ounce margin over Cody Detweiler.
This win gives Wesley a guaranteed spot in the 2017 Bassmaster Classic. He is also looking to compete in the FLW Forest Wood Cup this year, which would be his 16th appearance. Of course there are still 5 tournaments between today and making the Cup, so he has his work cut out for him still.
When Wesley came to pick up his Coosa HDs, I wanted to make sure he knew the boat well and we went out to some local lakes to test them out. It didn’t take long before he was running around in the kayak getting in good position for catching fish without much thought or trouble and catching fish. Just before dark, Wesley hooked into a big one using a frog and was hooting and hollering in excitement. I took this photo of him, and the smile says it all. Awesome! We are proud to have him on the team! As you can see he is also a big fan of Orion Coolers and I wrote a short piece there as well, click here to see it.