UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - St. Lawrence River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

LeBrun Wins All-American at Home

LeBrun Wins All-American at Home
Nick LeBrun

Ever since the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League All-American awarded $100,000 to Shaw Grigsby in 1984, $100,000 paydays have become commonplace in the ranks of professional fishing. Yet, through it all, the BFL All-American has retained its essence: a place where a workingman can still springboard his hopes and dreams of professional fishing into a reality from divisional and regional competition.

The history of the All-American has propelled the careers of some of the top pro fishing names we know today. Along with Grigsby, other pros such as Rick Clunn, Joe Thomas, Stephen Browning, Clark Wendlandt and Jacob Wheeler have used an All-American $100,000 win to fuel their careers.

Today, that All-American tradition was carried on by Nick LeBrun of Bossier City, La., whose All-American win at Cross Lake reads like a story book. 

As a 33-year-old tackle manufacturer’s rep, LeBrun has been preparing himself for a professional fishing career over the last few years. Today, he made great strides in achieving that dream by hauling in 62 pounds, 8 ounces of Cross Lake bass over three days to emerge victorious.

From the beginning, LeBrun’s story had a “meant to be” feel.

LeBrun qualified for the BFL Regional on the Red River in October via the Cowboy Division, and he qualified for the Cross Lake All-American by a tiebreaker at the Regional, earning the final qualification spot. The tie was broken by the bigger one-day limit, which was earned by LeBrun.

After qualifying for the All-American last October, Lebrun lost his father, Billy LeBrun, to cancer in February.

“My dad didn’t necessarily teach me how to fish, but he had one heck of a work ethic, and he was the best family man a son could ask for,” LeBrun recalls. “He worked for the railroad for 38 years. I got my work ethic and sense of family from him.”

During the All-American week on Cross Lake, the tournament turned into a high-weight shootout between LeBrun and another local, his good friend Randy Deaver of Blanchard, La. The two have fished the waters around Shreveport together for years.

“That first morning at the takeoff dock, I saw Randy’s dad there supporting him,” LeBrun says. “When I saw him, it hit me pretty hard, wishing my own dad could have been there with me.”

LeBrun’s very first bite of the tournament that morning was an 8-plus-pounder. After a harrowing battle with the beast, LeBrun took a minute to point to the sky and say, “That one is for you, Pop.”

That special moment set the tone for what would turn into an even more special week.

LeBrun checked in the heaviest weight of the event on day one – 26 pounds, 9 ounces – to take the early lead. On day two, he faltered a little bit, checking in just 16 pounds. Meanwhile, his friend Deaver stole the show – and the lead – with a massive 25-pound, 3-ounce limit.

Starting the final day 3 pounds, 6 ounces off the lead, LeBrun knew he had his work cut out for him. He was going to need a special day.

As the takeoff ceremonies commenced this morning, the random music playing from the loud speakers cued up Alan Jackson’s Small Town Southern Man. At that moment, LeBrun felt a calming presence come over him.

“That’s the song my family remembers my dad with,” LeBrun says, his voice cracking with emotion. “When they played that song this morning, I felt my dad step into the boat with me. It’s something that’s just hard to explain.”

From that point on, LeBrun fished with the confidence and momentum he had on day one. He went to work banging a 6th Sense Movement 80X crankbait into cypress tree bases to trigger reaction bites from big bass. During the day he tricked two 5-pounders and a 4-pounder into inhaling the crankbait after ricocheting of a tree.  

While many of his competitors flipped the same cypress trees with soft plastics or jigs, LeBrun stuck with the crankbait, exemplifying the extreme patience it takes to deal with a crankbait’s sticky nature around gnarly roots.

“It was all about the deflection,” LeBrun says. “Making that bait contact the roots and deflect erratically off them was the triggering mechanism for those bigger bites. I picked that particular bait because it doesn’t seem to hang up as much, and when it hits a base or knee, it creates a hard deflection.”

He also likes the bait because it’s a bit heavier than other crankbaits of its diving-depth class, allowing him to more easily pitch it under gangly limbs. Then he would “steer” the bait with the rod and far-reaching body English to make the lure contact trees and particular ambush points at the bases.

Many of LeBrun’s strikes were short-range strikes, requiring a rod with a certain degree of forgiveness. For that he used a 7-foot Fitzgerald Rods Bryan Thrift cranking rod in a medium-heavy action spooled with 17-pound-test Bass Pro Shops XPS fluorocarbon.

The key areas in the cypress-strewn bayous were places that featured subtle drains and troughs running through them.

“A drain might only be a foot or two deeper, but that’s a big depth change in Cross Lake, especially with the low water,” he says. “Those places got a lot of pressure. That’s why I think the crankbait was key. It was a different presentation.”   

Though the crankbait did most of the damage during the week, LeBrun also used a SPRO popping frog to bail him out on the second day.

“Day two was the real test for me,” he says. “I got three bites early, and then that crankbait bite went dead. I ran to a few bream beds I knew about and caught a couple of decent fish on that frog to close out my limit the second day.”

After holding up his $100,000 check and trophy, LeBrun dedicated his win to his late father, Billy, who got to watch his son catch nearly 20 pounds on the final day of the All-American – from right there inside the boat.

 

Complete results

 

Top 10 boaters

1. Nick LeBrun – Bossier City, La. – 62-8 (15) – $100,000

2. Randy Deaver – Blanchard, La. – 60-5 (15) – $20,200

3. Adam Wagner – Cookeville, Tenn. – 53-13 (15) – $15,100

4. Roger Fitzpatrick – Eldon, Mo. – 52-7 (14) – $14,000

5. Tyler Morgan – Columbus, Ga. – 50-14 (15) – $13,000

6. John Duvall – Madison, Ga. – 50-9 (15) – $12,000

7. Rob Jordan – Flowery Branch, Ga. – 49-5 (14) – $11,000

8. Marty Sisk – Evansville, Ind. – 48-13 (15) – $10,000 + Ranger Cup ($4,000)

9. Heath Pack – Ellijay, Ga. – 39-0 (13) – $9,000

10. Ben Blaschke – Muldrow, Okla. – 37-11 (12) – $8,000

Tags: headline-story  2018-05-31-cross-lake 

Seal Sticks to River

Seal Sticks to River

Zackery Seal of Findley Lake, New York, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 44 pounds, 4 ounces, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Northeast Division super-tournament at the 1000 Islands Sunday. Seal earned $6,066 for his efforts. The Northeast Division is presented by Gajo Baits. READ MORE »

Elrod Nets a Hat Trick

Elrod Nets a Hat Trick

Bryan Elrod of Mechanicsville, Virginia, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 29 pounds, 7 ounces, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Shenandoah Division super-tournament on the James River Sunday. Elrod earned $3,542 for his efforts. READ MORE »

Fitzpatrick Notches No. 7

Fitzpatrick Notches No. 7

Roger Fitzpatrick of Eldon, Missouri, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 36 pounds, 3 ounces, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Ozark Division presented by Bassing Bob super-tournament on Lake of the Ozarks Sunday. For his victory, Fitzpatrick earned $6,891 for his efforts. READ MORE »

No. 6 for Schroeder

No. 6 for Schroeder

Billy Schroeder of Paducah, Kentucky, brought a two-day total of seven bass to the scale Sunday weighing 22 pounds, 12 ounces, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) LBL Division super-tournament on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. Schroeder earned $6,122 for his efforts. READ MORE »

Murray Wins on Watts Bar

Murray Wins on Watts Bar

John Murray of Spring City, Tennessee, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 28 pounds, 11 ounces, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Volunteer Division super-tournament on Watts Bar Lake Sunday. Murray earned $7,334 for his efforts. READ MORE »

Rampey Takes Another on Hartwell

Rampey Takes Another on Hartwell

Jayme Rampey of Liberty, South Carolina, added another BFL victory to his impressive resume Sunday, bringing a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 31 pounds, 6 ounces, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Savannah River Division super-tournament on Lake Hartwell. Rampey earned $5,665 for his efforts. READ MORE »

Leary Frogs and Flips on G-Ville

Leary Frogs and Flips on G-Ville

Jim Leary of Guntersville, Alabama, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 37 pounds, 12 ounces, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Choo Choo Division super-tournament on Lake Guntersville presented by Cortland Line Sunday. Leary earned $5,869 for his efforts. READ MORE »

Humbard Claims Another Cherokee W

Humbard Claims Another Cherokee W

Bill Humbard of New Market, Tennessee, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Mountain Division tournament on Cherokee Lake Sunday after catching a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 26 pounds, 9 ounces. For his efforts on the water, Humbard took home $6,337. READ MORE »

Youngstown Wins on Erie

Youngstown Wins on Erie

The Youngstown State University duo of Jeffrey Jardine of Niles, Ohio, and Mike Soots of McDonald, Ohio, won the YETI FLW College Fishing event on Lake Erie with a five-bass limit weighing 22 pounds even. The victory earned the Penguins’ bass club $2,000 and a slot in the 2020 FLW College Fishing National Championshi READ MORE »

Williams Winds and Flips on Dardanelle

Williams Winds and Flips on Dardanelle

Charles Williams of Clarksville, Arkansas, won this weekend’s T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Arkie Division tournament on Lake Dardanelle presented by Navionics after catching a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 35 pounds, 9 ounces. For his efforts, Williams took home $4,868. READ MORE »

Shadowens Drags Docks on Grand

Shadowens Drags Docks on Grand

Mark Shadowens of Kiefer, Oklahoma, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Okie Division tournament on Grand Lake Sunday after catching a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 29 pounds, 3 ounces. For his finish, Shadowens pocketed $5,704. READ MORE »

Smith Needed One Rod on Shelbyville

Smith Needed One Rod on Shelbyville

Bradley Smith of Saint Jacob, Illinois, took home the win at the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Illini Division tournament on Lake Shelbyville Sunday after catching a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 23 pounds, 7 ounces. For his win, Smith pocketed $7,310. READ MORE »

Lobato Sticks to Pool 8

Lobato Sticks to Pool 8

Fernando Lobato of Sparta, Wisconsin, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division tournament on the Mississippi River at La Crosse Sunday after catching a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 31 pounds, 2 ounces. Lobato earned $5,316 for his win. READ MORE »

Hawkins Deep Cranks on Smith Mountain

Hawkins Deep Cranks on Smith Mountain

Rick Hawkins of Roanoke, Virginia, brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 31 pounds, 10 ounces, to win the two-day T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Piedmont Division super-tournament on Smith Mountain Lake. Hawkins earned $4,682 for his efforts. READ MORE »

Trombly Drops 24-13 on Detroit River

Trombly Drops 24-13 on Detroit River

Mike Trombly of Belleville, Michigan, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Michigan Division tournament on the Detroit River Saturday after catching five bass weighing 24 pounds, 13 ounces. For his day on the water, Trombly took home $4,545. READ MORE »

Reese Goes Wire-To-Wire

Reese Goes Wire-To-Wire

The final weigh-in of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event on the Potomac was one of the most intense of the season. In the end, with just enough to hold on, Marvin Reese weighed four for 8 pounds, 5 ounces to earn the win with a 38-15 total. For his win, which was his first on the boater side, Reese earned $38,026. Finishing second, Troy Morrow rocked up from tenth with 14-7, which was the biggest bag of the day. READ MORE »

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Through two days of competition on the Potomac in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event the weights haven’t been nearly what the river is capable of kicking out. That said, all the top pros have managed to put at least one good day together, and some have maintained really strong consistency, just at a lesser pace than would be the norm in June or some other time of the year. READ MORE »

Better Day Keeps Reese Out Front

Better Day Keeps Reese Out Front

A lovely morning gave way to a dismal afternoon on day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits on the Potomac River, but despite the difference in conditions, Marvin Reese kept on plugging. Weighing 14 pounds, 12 ounces on day one, Reese added 15-14 on day two for a 30-10 total. With his day two bag, Reese has now weighed the two biggest bags of the event, which is presented by Lowrance, and he’s widened his lead over Justin Atkins to nearly 4 pounds. READ MORE »

Potomac River Midday Update – Day 2

Potomac River Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event on the Potomac has been quite a swing from day one. However, despite dramatically different weather, some of the top pros are still catching, and it looks like a tight race is setting up for the final day. READ MORE »

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

As is so often the case, the first day of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits on the Potomac River wasn’t quite as bad as some predicted in practice. Though it was hot and humid as all get out, plenty of limits hit the scale and enough pros weighed 12 pounds or better to make things really interesting READ MORE »