Flash Me!


On Monday I got to spend 90 minutes in the boat with David Fritts, 1993 Bassmaster Classic Champion, 1997 FLW Championship victor, and widely acknowledged crankbait savant. About a decade ago I’d spent a day with him on the Potomac River on a tour practice day, but that day he was focused on finding fish so I really couldn’t pick his brain. This time, it was all about the Q&A.

He led me through his (proven) theories on crankbait design, rod construction, retrieve angles and provided a master class in plugology, but once we’d done the heavy lifting I started poking around his boat, looking for other little nuggets of information that he hadn’t given up so easily.

The thing that caught my attention immediately was his Eagle flasher-style depthfinder.

I’d had some sort of flasher (Eagle/Lowrance/Vexilar) in every boat I owned up until 2014, and there are lots of times, particularly in grass, when I miss mine, but I’m guessing that Fritts is among the handful of tour-level pros who still use them regularly. In fact, he might be the only one since Larry Nixon finally abandoned his. That decision was a boon to Fritts, because he got Nixon’s remaining stock.

Right now he has five new ones still in boxes, plus what he described as “piles” of used ones. “I probably have 10 others that will work but you have to bang on them,” he said. He doesn’t intend to ever have a boat without one.

“A flasher does something no other instrument can do,” he said. “It shows you the bottom exactly – how steep the drop is, the little steps in the drop, and with a straight cone under you it does it in real time. They help you find the sweet spot.”

He sells his Ranger every year, but the buyers “don’t get my flashers.” Most wouldn’t want them, or wouldn’t know what to do with them. Fritts is fine with that.