Tommy Skarlis and his fishing partner, Jeff Lahr, are at the top of their game. They recently accomplished a huge feat by winning back-to-back World Walleye Championships. Skarlis, with over thirty years of experience and countless championships under his belt, is thrilled about the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit 2018 World Walleye Championship win. He’s passionate about sharing his knowledge with others and hopes to use his platform to inspire the next generation of pro anglers. When we recently caught up with the highly decorated walleye pro, he was more than willing to share some of his secrets for success.
Start with a great partner.
Skarlis and Lahr have been fishing together competitively for eight years, and recreationally for more than 15! Building this kind of rapport is key. Skarlis attests that Lahr is a great river angler and is incredibly fast at picking up new techniques. But most importantly, Skarlis says, “Jeff has an amazing ability to catch fish whenever I'm not.” What more could you ask for?
“Navionics has continually taken my fishing game to the next level.”
Tommy admits that you don’t have to be the best angler out there, but you do need to have the right tools! And for him, the competitive advantage lies in his electronics; Raymarine Axiom units, affectionately referred to as “Ray Ray”, and his Navionics HotMaps Platinum card.
Practice, on and off the water.
When Skarlis is preparing for a tournament, he is constantly reviewing his maps and scouting potential areas. That’s the case especially when he’s off the water, where he has immediate access to maps on his Boating app. Plotter Sync makes it easy for him to transfer the routes and markers on his app to the Raymarine Axiom unit on his boat.
"Structure is the cornerstone of any pattern.”
To identify fishing patterns, you need to start by locating structure. Once you mark the structure, you can focus on determining the depth where the fish are holding. It takes diligence to understand the patterns, but once you do, you can break away from the crowds and fish locations off the beaten path. This is exactly what Skarlis and Lahr did on days two and three out on Bays de Noc to secure the world championship win.
You have to work hard for it. And that’s the fun part!
Winning back-to-back world championships in any sport is a massive accomplishment. It takes passion, drive, and the right tools to set you apart from the rest. Post-win, Skarlis plans to keep very busy. That means more fishing, hunting, and lots of time spent mapping uncharted waters with SonarChart Live. “It’s nice to have mapping, but I love going to new lakes that haven’t been mapped yet, because I can do SonarChart Live right on my Raymarine and see the difference I make right away. It’s addictive, like a live video game.”
Interested in learning more about identifying fishing patterns with Tommy? Register now for his upcoming webinar on November 29th at 8 PM EST where he'll dive deeper into unlocking fishing patterns on a lake near you!