April 16, 2013 by Gary Mortenson
Believe it or not, Walmart FLW Tour pros actually do have some hobbies outside of fishing. While the season-long grind of a professional bass-fishing career obviously takes its toll on angler's ability to participate in an extensive list of extracurricular activities, Kellogg's Frosted Flakes pro Dave Lefebre has at least managed to find a little time to fit in one of his main passions into his busy schedule - playing drums whenever he gets the chance.
And that passion was on full display this past Sunday where Lefebre was able to participate as a stand-in drummer for country music singer Dylan Scott's band, which played on the final day of the Walmart FLW Tour event at Beaver Lake in Rogers, Ark.
"I first got to play with Dylan Scott Saturday night at George's Majestic Lounge - it was a really cool place. I really had a good time and I can't thank Dylan and his band enough for giving me the opportunity to play with them. It wound up being a great warm up for Sunday as well.
"Then the next day, before weigh-in, I got to play two songs with the band again and that was really fun," Lefebre continued. "Honestly, I'll never forget it. Playing music is really my other passion in life."
The Pennsylvania pro said that his love of music runs deep, mostly due to his family upbringing.
"I grew up in church and was pretty involved in music there," he said. "My dad and mom played in the church band. Each member of my family is a pretty accomplished musician. My dad is a classical guitarist, my mom is a classically trained pianist and so is my sister; and my brother plays the drums. So I was really around music from an early age."
As his interest and musical talents flourished, so did his opportunities to perform on bigger stages. Consequently, in the late 90s, Lefebre officially joined a touring band known as Steel Justice.
"Before I started fishing professionally, I got a gig with a road band, Steel Justice," he said. "We toured all over the country and we're playing pretty regularly. We mostly played new country and rock and roll. At that time, I was playing bass. I did that for three years. Then we lost our drummer, so I took over the drums. And I did that for about another two years. So I wound up playing professional for about five or six years."
While music was certainly a huge part of his life, Lefebre finally got to a point where he had to start making some tough decisions - namely, did he want to make a career out of playing in a burgeoning rock/country band? It was a difficult choice. On one hand, Lefebre was just starting to experience some success fishing part time on the EverStart Series and in the BASS Opens. But on the other hand, potential lucrative musical career opportunities were starting to open up as well. In short, Lefebre realized he was going to have to choose.
"In 2002, another opportunity came up for me to audition professionally as a bass player. But at the same time I had just qualified for the FLW Tour through the EverStart Series. I had also qualified for the Bassmaster Elite Series through the Opens. So I had a big decision to make," Lefebre recalled. "I had done the band thing for five years and kind of knew what it was all about. I don't drink and don't really party, so I knew that if I kept playing, a good part of my life would be hanging out in bars. And I wasn't really sure I wanted to do that. (Ultimately), after talking it over with (his wife) Ann, I decided to try and make it as a professional angler. I really wanted to give professional fishing a shot. So that's what I did. And I've never regretted the decision."
Musical talent aside, so far it seems as though Lefebre made the right decision. Since 2002, Lefebre has notched five tournament titles, including two FLW Tour victories (Old Hickory Lake in 2004; and Kentucky Lake in 2012). He has amassed more than $1.5 million in career earnings at FLW events. He's qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup 11 straight years, finishing as high as second place in 2008. Additionally, he has logged eight top-25 finishes, six top-15 finishes and three top-10 finishes in the FLW Tour Angler of the Year race.
However, that doesn't mean that Lefebre can rest on his laurels either - as this year has proven. While the Kellogg's Frosted Flakes team pro is used to being in the AOY hunt year after year, this season has certainly been a bit more trying.
"My number one goal every season is to win the FLW Tour Angler of the Year title," he said. "But this year I blew it at the very first event. I always tell myself heading into (Lake Okeechobee - the first FLW Tour stop of the season) that my goal is to just get out of there alive. But this year I kind of struggled and made some bad decisions in practice. And it screwed my whole event up."
Due in large part to a 102nd-place finish at the "Big O" in the leadoff event of the year, Lefebre has had to spend an inordinate amount of time and effort digging himself out of the proverbial fishing hole.
"Like I said, I just wanted to get out of Florida alive and I really didn't accomplish that," Lefebre lamented. "But other than that, I'm pretty happy with how this year is going. I had a good finish on Beaver Lake. I finished 16th at Lewis Smith. And I'm currently in 37th place in the overall standings. And with another good showing (at Eufaula) I could easily be in the top 20. I've already qualified for this year's Forrest Wood Cup (via a third-place finish in the 2012 FLW Tour Open standings) so I don't have a lot pressure there. So overall, things have been going pretty well for me this year. I'm happy."