By John Johnson
BassFan Senior Editor
Allen Boyd's first "Living the Dream" season on the FLW Tour in 2012 got off to a good start, but then fizzled down the stretch. He'll seek much greater consistency when he gets to do it all over again next year.
"I just hope I can put more into it this time than I was able to last time," said the 34-year-old construction foreman from Indiana who won the TBF Championship for the second time last week at Table Rock Lake in Missouri. "I really had to try to juggle work and practice before, and that makes it really tough.
"I want to spend more time practicing this time and less time at work. Last time I did it, I was just a (heavy-equipment operator) and it wasn't too big of a deal to be gone. Now that I'm a foreman, it'll be a little more difficult. In fact, my boss made the comment that if I decided to fish the Tour, he'd probably have to let me go."
He said that getting another opportunity to fish the Tour without having to pay entry fees and with use of a boat and truck for the season is one that he can't pass up.
"I might be looking for a job when it's over, but I don't think it'll be too difficult to find another one. I hope it works out where I don't have to do that."
Fortunate to Win
Boyd said he feels quite fortunate to have prevailed at Table Rock in a five-day event that began with a field of more than 200 anglers. He failed to catch a limit on two of those days and his daily average was only about 11 pounds, topped by a 17-13 effort in the third round.
He'd been to Table Rock several times previously on fun-fishing trips, and the bite during those excursions was a lot better than it was last week.
"The lake wasn't (at its best) for the tournament, that's for sure," he said. "The weights were pretty low – I think we were a week or maybe two weeks early. That lake's got some giants and it's a heck of a fishery."
He went into the event believing that most of the fish were still in the pre-spawn mode, but one he caught in practice led him to start thinking otherwise.
"I caught one that was 3 1/2 pounds and a big part of its tail was gone (often the result of nest-sweeping). It looked like she was done spawning and was starting to heal up. Maybe some of the cold snaps they had there slowed the whole process down."
He definitely wasn't brimming with confidence at the conclusion of practice.
"I felt like I could catch some fish, but I didn't feel like I was getting the bites to compete. (Winning) caught me by surprise. Some tournaments you fell pretty confident going into, but this was not one of those.
"The day I had over 17 pounds, they were right where they were supposed to be – leading into the spawning areas. On the other days I really didn't catch them. I can't say that I ever figured them out."
He stayed within five miles of Crooked Creek Marina for the duration of the event. He flipped a Texas-rigged Hawgback tube (made by a friend in Indiana) and threw Strike King KVD 1.5 and 2.5 square-bill crankbaits.
"I have a lot of confidence in that tube," he said. "At home our fisheries are small and not very good, and when the bite's really tough it's something that the fish will pick up. It's saved me many times."
Something to Build Upon
Boyd's first foray on the FLW Tour wasn't anything resembling a total disaster. He ended up 64th in the points after three straight money finishes to begin the campaign (including a 14th in his initial outing at Lake Hartwell), followed by three consecutive showings in the 90s that took him out of Forrest Wood Cup contention.
He could live with the 94th at Kentucky Lake, as he wasn't a proficient offshore angler back then and still lists that as his biggest weakness. However, the 93rd at the Potomac River and the 96th at Lake Champlain were tough to choke down.
"The one I thought I was going to do real well in was the Potomac, but that place got me," he said. "And then at Champlain I was afraid to make the run (to the southern end of the lake) where I could fish shallow and I ended up staying around the ramp. It was won there, but it was a bad decision for me.
"I had a hard time deciding whether to practice down there and spend that much money on fuel because I couldn't make it down there and back on what I had. I opted not to do that and I tried to make something happen close by. It didn't happen."
His win at Table Rock got him into this year's Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Murray. His goal for next year on the Tour will be to make the 2018 edition via the points list.
In the meantime, he'll try to boost his offshore game, but that's not an easy thing to do where he lives.
"We have a handful of guys here who do catch some fish out deep, but we really don't have the lakes to be good at it. When you travel, you meet guys from Pickwick or Kentucky Lake who talk about those big mega-schools offshore, and that's something I've never experienced.
"Here in Indiana, we're out there chasing 12-inchers and on a lot of days it's a struggle just to get five bites."