By John Johnson
BassFan Senior Editor
(Editor’s note: In observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday, a new First Cast story will not appear until Tuesday, Jan. 18.)
Cole Floyd had no difficulty whatsoever in transitioning from a college standout and BFL stalwart to an ultra-consistent MLF Pro Circuit Competitor. This year, he'll attempt to continue his rapid ascension in the sport on the Bass Pro Tour.
The 25-year-old from Ohio is coming off a 5th-place finish in the 2021 Pro Circuit Angler of the Year (AOY) standings. He'll remain a part of that trail this year, and thus will be among the anglers who bounce back and forth between the five-fish limit format and the BPT's catch-all-you-can setup.
The product of the high-powered Bethel University program logged four top-10 finishes in seven outings on the Pro Circuit last year, including a 3rd at the TITLE Championship on the Mississippi River.
He attributes his success to an early start in pro-style tournament fishing, with perhaps a bit of good fortune mixed in.
"Sometimes I feel like I get lucky all the time," he said. "When I was young, ever since I (became old enough to get into) the BFLs, I fished everything I could. I think some kids miss out on that, where you're relying on yourself and not on a team tournament partner.
"Going straight from college to the pro level can be a little tough, but everyone is different."
It's All Just Fishing
Floyd has a bit of experience with the BPT format – it was employed at the 2021 TITLE at Sturgeon Bay, where he finished 49th, and his collegiate team used it for one event against Bryan College.
"I don't mind it – it's definitely different," he said. "It's fast-paced and I think it makes you a better angler, for sure. You have to adjust throughout the day as you get the (ScoreTracker) updates. It can be stressful, but for me it's calming at the same time. It's kind of weird."
His preferred mode of operation is in shallow water using power-fishing techniques, so that could bode well for him on the venues that the BPT visits. He also has confidence in his ledge-fishing abilities during times when that program is applicable.
"I feel like when I can get out on the Tennessee River in the summertime, I can compete with anyone," he said.
He's not nearly as comfortable employing light-line tactics, but he's working to improve that part of his game.
"I definitely consider finesse a weakness," he said. "I've had some decent tournaments doing it, but I just haven't clocked enough hours with it to really feel good about it. I am open to learning everything I can about it, though."
Looking for the 'W'
Competing in twice as many tournaments this year will give Floyd more opportunities to achieve his first tour-level victory.
"I definitely want to win one – that's a real big goal," he said. "And winning the Angler of the Year would be even better, I'd say. I had a really good year last year, but some of those guys were just on fire! (Points champion) Michael Neal and (2nd-place) Skeet Reese were catching them everywhere.
"I really felt like I had a chance, but gosh dang! I couldn't believe how good they caught 'em. They were making top-10s almost every time."
> Floyd is a product of the same college program that produced fellpw tour pros Cody Huff, KJ Queen and John Garrett. "I learned a lot about different techniques from those guys and that's been a big deal for me," he said. "As one example, Cody taught me a lot about using (Garmin) LiveScope."
> He doesn't anticipate the hectic two-tour schedule being much of a hardship for him. "Getting places to stay and stuff like that can be a pain in the butt. That will probably be the hardest part of it."