BROOKELAND, TX - Tom Monsoor didn't have time to talk early Wednesday. He was busy buying a GoPro video camera.
You see rules change every year on the FLW Tour.
In addition to mandatory video cameras mounted in each competitor's boat this year, there will be no co-anglers, rather marshalls to watch the pros each and every move on the water. Monsoor was busy gearing up for the 2019 FLW Tour opener beginning Thursday on Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Brookeland, Texas.
Once re-connected late Wednesday afternoon, the affable Monsoor was just as excited about the start to the new season as he was in his first in 2002.
Monsoor, who turns 70 on Jan. 28, is a legend in La Crosse area bass fishing circles. He's also well known on the FLW Tour entering his 16th season.
Monsoor has piled up $881,125 in his previous 15 years on the granddaddy of all bass fishing circuits worldwide. He has eight top 10 finishes and one victory. That was in 2017, when he outlasted the field in the FLW Tour Qualifier on the Potomac River in Marbury, MD. He not only brought home the prestigious huge and heavy first-place trophy, but also the winner's $105,000 paycheck.
Now Monsoor opens the first of another seven 2019 FLW Qualifiers with hopes of making it to the highly acclaimed Forrest Wood Cup (world championship) one more time. He has advanced to six previous Forrest Wood Cups, although 2014 was the last, and he hopes to snap that streak this year.
"My goal is to win another FLW Qualifier and make it to the FLW Cup," he said. "My other goal is to finish in the top 50 in all seven qualifiers. If I do, I'll make the Cup."However, he says the news isn't very good considering his three-day practice.
"I had a terrible pre-fish, one of my worst ever," said Monsoor, who last competed on Lake Rayburn four or five years ago. "The water went up 10 feet the last two weeks and it's winter down here.
"The (air) temperature right now is 60, but tomorrow morning it's supposed to be in the 30s," he added. "It's supposed to get up to the 50s Thursday, but we'll see."
Jimmy Houston, one of Monsoor's closest friends on the tour, had very good success during pre-fishing. He told Monsoor he was using crankbaits in deep weeds. Monsoor tried the same thing, but no luck, which prompts a less than positive outlook going into Thursday's early morning departure.
I'm not depending on a good finish," Monsoor said. "If you're not catching anything, it's hard to be confident, but this tournament doesn't look good for me."
Monsoor already knows what he is going to try first - his patented
swimming jig and also chatter baits as suggested by one of his sponsors and fellow competitor, Gary Yamamoto.
"I'll give it my best and do whatever I can because it's what I like to do," Monsoor said. "I'm never be in a bad mood, only disappointed. I'll do it whatever, because fishing is what I like to do."
The field is reduced to only the top 30 after Friday. The top 10 advance to Sunday's final round.