What makes Todd Auten and Bryan New an ideal match for the Bro Series is a mix of youth and enthusiasm, along with sage wisdom and age. Auten is a Bassmaster Elite Series and tournament trail veteran with three decades of experience, while New will be fishing his rookie season.
New, 29, and Auten, 54, will be running mates during the 2021 Bassmaster Elite Series, choosing to do so as practically neighbors. They live about two miles apart, and both enjoy fishing on nearby Lake Wylie.
New began his tournament career as a co-angler, although unless knowing that you’d think he was fishing in the front of the boat. New qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup as a co-angler in each of the four years he competed on the FLW Tour. That came as the result of making the league’s top-10 cut 42 times. Fishing from the back of the boat is the ultimate proving ground for moving up front, and New passed that test with flying colors. In 2015, he made the move and began fishing the Costa Series as a boater, earning $400,000 in his combined FLW career.
New signed up to fish the 2020 Basspro.com Bassmaster Eastern Opens, won the first event in January, and registered for all four Central Opens, doing so with the goal to qualify for the Elite Series. It was a wise move, also paving the way for him to win 2020 Falcon Rods Bassmaster Opens Angler of the Year.
Auten has fished 159 B.A.S.S. events dating back to 1996. He will compete in his fifth world championship at the 2021 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk. Fishing consistently throughout his career, Auten is respected by his peers for his skills and sportsmanship.
“He impressed me from the start,” said Auten. “I kind of watched him come up, first as a kid hanging around a bait shop, and then seeing him rise up through the local ranks and beyond.”
Find out more about the veteran and rookie in this profile of them.
How did you meet?
Bryan: “It goes way back. When I was 7 or 8 years old, I would walk to a tackle store about two miles from my house after school. I swept floors, took out trash and just hung out. All the fishermen would come, and I would pester them to take me fishing. That’s how I met Todd.”
Todd: “I met him at Earl’s Bait and Tackle that’s on the road to Southpoint Boat Ramp on Lake Wylie. I’d always see him in there. Earl introduced us and said he wanted me to take him fishing. I was reluctant because he was just a kid. Then he got older and started fishing local tournaments, and that’s when we got to know each other. And then he started doing really well, always tinkering with baits, just like me. Then, next thing I knew he’d bought a truck and boat, bound and determine to be a pro, and here he is.”
What made you decide to be running mates?
Bryan: “We roomed together some on the FLW Tour, and even now we do a lot of striper fishing during winter on Lake Wylie. We live two miles apart. It’s obviously a better deal to have a traveling buddy on the road, whether you have a breakdown or want to compare notes from practice.”
Todd: “It goes back farther than now. We started fishing night tournaments and won some of those. He moved on to fishing bigger tournaments, and I watched him become successful. It impressed me. We’ve always talked about fishing, like to tinker with baits, and it just made natural sense.”
How will you work together?
Bryan: “We fish similar and are really good friends. And Todd is a really good cook, and I’m a really good eater, so it should work out really well. We are both lure junkies, so that helps too.”
Todd: “We are going to be fishing the Elite Series together, which is pretty neat after seeing him come up. We’ll probably share information, trade notes. We live five minutes apart and just talk about fishing, now more about tournaments, so it will be good.”
Describe him as a competitor.
Bryan: “Todd is a laid-back butt kicker. He doesn’t really talk a ton, but he gets it done. He just goes about his business and doesn’t worry or pay attention to what everyone else might be doing.”
Todd: “He is someone that does their homework. He studies a lot. He is really into the electronics side of the game and very good at it. He practiced on the FLW Tour with Bryan Thrift, and you can’t get much better than that. I think he’ll apply what he learned quite well in the Elite Series.”
What would you say his strongest skills are?
Bryan: “It’s no secret that Todd is one of the best bladed jig fishermen on the planet. The ChatterBait is fairly simple to use, but his skills are so advanced that he can make it work for specific applications that other anglers don’t think of using.”
Todd: “He is good at dialing into the specifics of a bite. He can find that one offshore spot that he can fall back on when he needs a limit. He’s a really good offshore fisherman and good at finding multiple patterns. He also has good intuition about knowing when to make a change.”
What do admire about him?
Bryan: “Todd doesn’t think he’s better than anyone else. He does his thing and doesn’t get caught up in what others are doing. He is very respectful and doesn’t try and chase somebody else’s fish, and then he catches them anyway.”
Todd: “I admire how he took the proper steps to get to this point. He didn’t skip any of the steps, took his time and developed his skills. He worked his way up, from local tournaments on up. He put his time in and earned his way up here. I have a lot of respect for him doing it that way.”