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Local angler ready for FLW tourney
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Forrest Wood Cup

When: Thursday-Sunday

Where: Takeoffs at 7 a.m. at
Laurel Park; Weigh-ins at 5 p.m. at the Gwinnett Arena.


Like most other boys growing up, Luke Clausen enjoyed playing football and baseball, but what he loved more was fishing.

Raised in Spokane, Wash., Clausen often headed to the water while his friends stayed indoors playing video games. A self-proclaimed lover of the outdoors, he began mastering his skills at an early age, fishing competitively at 12-years-old and entering tournaments as early as 16.

Nearly 15 years later, Clausen is still doing what he loves while making a pretty good living at the same time.

“I’ve always dreamed of making a career out of fishing,” said Clausen.

Now 31-years-old, Clausen recently moved to Gainesville and will be competing in the FLW Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Lanier, set to begin Thursday.

“My parents didn’t like the idea of me doing this after college, but after I won a couple $500,000 events, they were much more supportive,” he said.

Thursday’s Forrest Wood Cup also carries a $500,000 payout, which Clausen thinks will be won by the angler who nets at least 15 pounds of bass per day.

“If I can put 15 pounds a day on the board, I wouldn’t go back out anymore,” he said. “Winning is going to be dependent on your type of pattern and using the right techniques at the right time.”

Considered the “flagship event” of the FLW series, the Forrest Wood Cup has a five-fish limit with the caveat that the anglers must keep the fish alive. The anglers are penalized if they show up to the weigh-in with dead fish.

Keeping the fish alive is one of Clausen’s largest concerns, while the other is adapting to a lake where he has little experience.

One way he tried to combat that lack of experience is by moving to Gainesville.

Although his relocation from Nashville was originally because his girlfriend lives in Georgia, Clausen quickly realized living in a house on Lake Lanier has its advantages.

“I haven’t spent must time on the lake recently, but I know the fishing is pretty good this time of year,” he said. “Lake Lanier is one of the best fisheries in the country.”

To prepare for this week’s event, Clausen devoted much time to practice. Unlike sports such as football and baseball, Clausen knows that there is no perfect way to prepare for a fishing tournament of this magnitude.

“I’m just going to spend a lot of time in my boat working brush and trying to find where the fish might be,” said Clausen, who has been practicing from sunrise to sunset. “I’m just going to try and do the right thing to get the fish.

“After practice, I’ll have a better handle on how I’ll do Thursday,” he added. “But you don’t know until the event goes on.”

One thing Clausen definitely won’t be doing is relaxing. As much as fishing is used as a calming activity for recreational anglers, competitive events are rather stressful.

“We are fortunate to fish for a living, but I’m frustrated most of the day because you think you find them as well as you want,” he said. “But that’s what drives you too.”

Regardless of how he performs this week, Clausen knows that boycotting a desk job and making a living as an angler was the best move he’s ever made.

“It’s been a pretty good career for me,” he said. “It’s all I’ve ever done or known.”

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