December 5, 2017 by Todd Kline
(Editor’s note: Few co-anglers in the Costa FLW Series have been as successful as California fisherman Todd Kline. He’s won back-to-back Co-Angler of the Year titles and earned more than $124,062 in three seasons.)
I started fishing from the back seat as a co-angler in the Costa FLW Series Western Division in 2013. I entered one tournament, my intentions being to learn the lake and different techniques of the pro anglers with whom I would be fishing.
I had a blast and the experience motivated me to dive in head-first and fish all of the Western Costa FLW Series tournaments for the next four years. During that time, I achieved the biggest goal I had: to learn from the anglers I drew as partners and I practiced with at each tournament.
Fishing with some of the greatest pros in the West has been awesome. Sure, it’s been challenging at times, given that a co-angler’s fishing space is limited, but I wouldn’t change anything about it. I’ve made good friends with many of the FLW Series anglers and it’s been awesome learning from them.
Their techniques, how they break down the water and manage fish have been like lessons at Fishing School. It’s time to graduate. I’ve been an absolute sponge during those four years, and now I’m going to make the big move in 2018; I’m going to fish from the front of the boat in the Costa FLW Series Western Division.
The stepping stone
As in other areas of life, a fisherman needs to evolve continuously in order to grow. I want to make the move to the front of the boat next year as this will give me the opportunity to continue to develop in a sport that I love. I feel that the knowledge I have gained over the passed four years has given me a great stepping stone.
Why now? Last year I launched a guide service in southern California and it has been awesome. In addition to meeting great people, passing on my knowledge to other anglers and watching them catch fish, I have learned a ton. Constantly being on the water and running my own boat, I have continued to build knowledge and confidence with decision making and reading the water and fish, which will help me in tournaments. Guiding has been a great learning experience.
Also, let’s face it, fishing from the back is great fun, but you can find yourself many times in a tough situation trying to find space to fish while still respecting the pro in the front. That’s one thing I was always mindful of and happy now that I did, considering I’m friends with many of those pros. I feel that I have learned a ton and I’m ready to apply this knowledge. But I also know that I will continue to learn from the front.