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FLW Fishing Costa Series Angler Sullivan Brownhill
I noticed that Sullivan has had a great rookie season on the FLW Fishing Costa Series. So, I wanted to find out about his season went, and I appreciate he was willing to take some time to share about his tournament fishing.
GFN: You just finished your first year on the FLW Fishing Costa Series. Congrats. What was the best moment of the tournament season for you, the moment you were like this is why I am doing this?
Man, it was a great experience. I would have to say the best moment of the tournament came on day 2 of the 1000 islands tournament. After a horrible first day of fishing and conditions, 4/5 foot rollers all day, and throwing my only fish back in the water from day 1, which i would later learn a huge lesson from...I ended up smacking em and bringing in over 14lbs. That whole day even though it started out slow was just magical. I was fishing in a way I had never really fished before, with a bait I had never seen until the night before day 2.
I kept my mind clear and focused on the task ahead and got it done. Sadly, had I weighed in my fish from day 1 I would have cashed a paycheck, a tough pill to swallow and a huge mistake on my part. But now I know that every ounce truly counts and to never throw away a fish!
GFN: What was the toughest or most challenging moment for your this season?
The most challenging part I would have to say is everything but the fishing. Of course, the fishing can be tough sometimes but I am used to that. The time on the road, the long nights, the tackle prep, pretty much everything that goes into doing these can be a big challenge. Especially the money aspect. It ended up being quite a bit more than I originally had thought. But man if you stick with it and cash that first check, its a great feeling and one that I intend on feeling again very soon!
GFN: The Costa Series stopped at 3 great locations, the Potomac, 1000 Islands, and Oneida. Which was your favorite body of water to fish and what made it your favorite?
All of these events were great. Its really kinda hard to pick a favorite because they all suited to my favorite styles of fishing in one way or another. But i will say that 1000 islands stood out the most. Its a beautiful place to fish for one, and the fishing it just amazing! Even though the tournament was a little slow for me getting a few days to practice before hand was awesome and I had so much fun catching fish on those days. Throwing a drop shot there was totally different then back home in Rhode Island. You can literally see the fish in 20+ feet of water swim up and eat your bait....cool thing to see!
GFN: You made the National Championship in November, which is on Table Rock Lake. Do you have any experience on this world-class fishery? What is your initial thinking about game plan to approach this water?
Coming from Rhode Island I'm a huge underdog in this series. Our biggest body of water is a puddle compared to these places, so its hard to take the knowledge of breaking down water here in Rhode Island and apply it to these bodies of water.
I have never been to Table Rock but I cannot wait to go. One of the great things about fishing the FLW Costa series is that you get to meet alot of great folks, who are more then happy to share experiences on bodies of water as well as some bait and tackle tips. With all the research I have been doing, Table Rock should, hopefully, be in a pretty strong fall pattern, with fish schooling in the coves getting fat for winter. If this is the case I can hopefully get dialed in on my bait selection for those schooling fish, will most likely be a spinner bait or underspin. Paired up with some topwater lures like a pop-R or a spook. Aside from that I'll be targeting docks and fishing the tops of submerged trees and throwing around a shakey head as well. If all goes well I should be sticking to a Spook, pop-R, spinner bait and underspin to catch all my fish. But I'll always have a shakey head and wacky worm tied on just in-case.
GFN: As a co-angler, what characteristics do you hope for in a boater that you are going to spend a day with?
I have been fortunate enough to draw boaters this year that are all what I would call "team mates". What I mean by that is we would work together out on the water to help one another catch fish. My boaters were all nice enough to position the boat just about every were we went to get some casts at the good stuff. My ideal boater would simply do that with me, and of course share a good conversation. Some guys draw boaters that basically ignore you and do what they call "back boating". When this happens, especially if they are targeting specific things, it can be very tough to stay mentally focused and figure out how to catch them given the hand you have been dealt.
GFN: Being from Rhode Island, what are your home waters that you like to fish?
Rhode Island actually has some good fishing believe it or not. Tournament wise its kind of the same rotation of lakes with every club which can make it tough. But we do have a bit of everything here as far as our fisheries go. You can find rivers, rock lakes, grass, lakes and some lakes that have a bit of everything.
Sadly there is no real fisheries management programs in Rhode Island so most places get pretty choked out by mid to late summer and our boat ramps are all in pretty rough shape. But with the different bodies of water here we can get some experience fishing a bit of everything.
The one thing we do lack is depth, There are no fisheries in Rhode Island where you can go and chuck a 6 or 8 XD crankbait on ledges and catch em. So when I eventually fish Kentucky Lake that should be interesting! The thing I would have to say that makes Rhode Island lakes special to me is that fishing is not very big in Rhode Island so I typically have the lake to myself when I'm not fishing a tournament.
GFN: What do you think are the most valuable lessons you have learned from fishing Rhode Island waters that translate over to fishing new bodies of waters in tournaments?
Patience and the willingness to adjust your presentations. These are two big things that a lot of anglers struggle with. Most guys want to fish one way, and when they don't catch them they start running around the lake trying to force a bite.
You always have to be willing to adjust what you are throwing. Sometimes you can catch them how you want to, but you may need to adjust bait size or just how fast or slow you are fishing it. Those are two things I learned fishing in Rhode Island and they are must haves when it comes to tournament fishing no matter where you are.
Perfect example was on lake Oneida just a few weeks ago. I was throwing a 4 inch wacky rigged worm and not getting bit too much. I adjusted to a 3 inch worm which I thought would never get bit but I had heard they can work when the 4 is not getting the attention you want it too, and I caught my limit fishing that exclusively. Had I not been willing to adjust to a smaller size, that may not have ever happened.
GFN: What are your goals for next year as a tournament angler?
I am going to stay fishing as a co-angler on the Costa Series for at least two more seasons. I still have a lot to learn. My biggest goal for next season is to stay a bit more focused and to slow myself down more when it is needed. I lost some key fish this year from either not paying attention or fishing too fast. When i say fishing too fast I'm not really talking about fishing my baits too fast, but more along the lines of taking my time when I get a bite, or when I am reeling a fish in. I had a few fish I jumped the gun on setting the hook and lost, and a few fish I tried to get to the boat too fast and have them come unbuttoned.
GFN: What can you tell us about your sponsors?
Here are my current sponsors. Ardent reels, Net bait, Powell rods, and OSS.
Ardent Is a great company with some good people. I have worked my reels so hard this year from all my days out on the water, moving them from boat to boat and jumping around in the back of my truck and they have held up great. I like representing Ardent because I truly feel that they make a good product.
I have been using Netbait for at least 5 years now and I have nothing but great things to say about them. The line up of baits is great. They have the best craw trailers around and the products can take a beating. I don't have to worry about changing a bait every time I catch a fish or set the hook. If you have never tried them I HIGHLY suggest you go get some you won't be disappointed.
I actually just recently got on with Powell rods and I have not had enough time to give a genuine review, but I can say I know they make a quality product and I cannot wait to see how they perform over time.
OSS is a sublimation company here in Rhode Island, the owner is a great guy and I hope that I can help him in advancing into the fishing apparel market. Contact me if you need a jersey. He also has the best pricing I have ever seen!
GFN: Such an impressive young angler that these companies should be very proud to have representing them. I am looking forward to following Sullivan's tournament career and highly suspect we will be hearing some great things. Good luck at Table Rock Sullivan!