January 29, 2016 by Colin Moore
By his own admission, Glenn Browne isn’t the most organized guy. After the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division opener on Lake Okeechobee, he spent hours returning stuff to its proper place and tossing out the usual flotsam and jetsam that accumulates in a bass boat during a tournament.
“It looked like the storm that came through the second day at Okeechobee dropped a tornado in my boat,” says the Florida pro. “It was like a disaster zone.”
Some disaster; Browne came within a pound and change of winning the event. If he isn’t a neat freak when it comes to keeping his Ranger tidy, at least Browne is one efficient angler when it comes to sizing up shallow fish and getting them in the boat. His second-place finish to Jason Lambert at Okeechobee testifies to that, and also sends a symbolic message to fellow Walmart FLW Tour pros: “I’m back.”
Browne already made that sort of statement in the FLW Series last year. In 2014, after trying his hand in the Bassmaster Elite Series, Browne sought to return to the Tour, but his year off cost him his place in line. Bill Taylor, senior director of tournament operations, steered him toward the FLW Series as a way of regaining his qualification. Not only did he earn his Tour stripes again, but Browne accomplished it in convincing fashion.
En route to placing third overall in the Northern Division’s 2015 campaign, Browne won a tournament at Lake Champlain. He finished 23rd in the Central Division and added an exclamation point to his season with a 14th-place showing in the Costa FLW Series Championship on the Ohio River last fall.
Browne ended his 2015 season on an upbeat note and begins the 2016 campaign in like fashion. Just as every successful pro develops a knack for “reading” water and weather conditions to piece together a winning strategy, so too do the best mentally stand off and judge what they see in themselves. In Browne’s case, the self-examination revealed an angler who got too down on himself when things didn’t go right, an angler who lost his concentration and focus when he got “spun out” by a bad day and made matters worse.
“In the last year or so, I’ve gotten to where I take things more in stride. You look at some of the great ones like [Greg] Hackney or [Andy] Morgan and they never seem to get all twisted up about anything,” observes Browne, who lives in Ocala. “They’re so easygoing, come what may. Being the opposite can really mess you up in a tournament. It doesn’t make it better to get so uptight; it makes it worse. Now my focus is good, my head is in the right place – maybe that comes with age.”
His performance in the FLW Series event at Okeechobee supports Browne’s contention that positive mental attitude plays a huge role in outcome. On the second day of the tournament, Browne trailed Lambert by 1 pound, 1 ounce after catching limits of 16-4 and 14-11. In the final round, Browne’s plan was to catch a quick limit and then go looking for bigger fish. It didn’t happen quite the way he envisioned.
“I had the opportunity to win on the third day, but my fish were biting weird,” he recalls. “I started off missing a really good fish, then had two little keepers by 12:30. So I had about 2 pounds in the livewell when I went to my backup area. Right off the bat, I lost another good one.
“When that happened, I just sat down, had a drink and ate some crackers, then jumped back up and started fishing again,” Browne continues. “On my first flip, I caught a 4-pounder. Three flips later and I had a 3-pounder, and so on. Because I chilled out a little, it helped me regroup. It was a good tournament for me. I was in position to win it, but I also could have caught nothing except those two dinks on the third day and finished 10th. I prefer to look at it on the positive side.”
Browne realizes a lot has changed on the Walmart FLW Tour since he last fished it in 2013: new faces, new challenges and venues that wouldn’t seem to play to the strengths of a shallow-water specialist. As his performance at Champlain last summer attests, though, there’s a little of Okeechobee in every lake on the schedule.
“All the lakes I fished last year were what you might call deep-water lakes. But when we fished them, there was a lot going on in the shallows. This year, I can see myself flipping in every tournament and doing well, though Kentucky Lake might be a little iffy. In any tournament, the wind and water conditions will dictate how successful the guys wanting to fish shallow will be,” says Browne.
If the season is setting up as a flipper’s paradise, Browne is sure to be a favorite. As he puts it, if his Ranger doesn’t have to sit in water that’s more than 5 feet deep in any tournament he fishes, it will be a perfect season.
The Tour opener at Okeechobee will oblige him, but the other schedule stops are up for grabs at this point. Any way it goes, Browne will take what he’s confronted with and give it his best shot. Do well or do badly, second-guessing himself won’t be part of the program.