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LeBrun’s Shot at the Cup

LeBrun’s Shot at the Cup
NICK LEBRUN

For the last few years, Nick LeBrun has been chugging toward a career as a pro angler. From excellence in the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) and other local circuits to good years in the Costa FLW Series, it looked like it was only a matter of time before he’d be fishing in the big leagues. Now he will be. With his win in the BFL All-American back in June on Cross Lake, the Louisiana angler punched his ticket to the 2018 Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Ouachita Aug. 10-12.

LeBrun is a pretty calculated guy, and he’s taken a steady approach to get where he is today.

“Growing up, I never had one single person who mentored me and taught me everything,” says the soft-spoken Louisianan. “It was a mixture of my dad, my uncle and my older brothers. I had a lot of people in my life when I was young that got me exposed to fishing.”

LeBrun also taught himself as he climbed his way up the ranks.

“I’m mostly self-taught now,” he adds. “I’m a real humble guy, so it bothers me to say that, but I’ve paid my dues to get to this level. At this level it calls for a lot of versatility, and sometimes the best way is to get out there and do it and take a good beating every once in a while.”

In 2017 LeBrun started LeBrun Outdoors and started working as a manufacturer’s rep for a number of fishing companies. Since then, he’s been on a tear, and seems to be on the cusp of a real breakout.

“Now if I’m not at a tournament I’m working with people in fishing. I feel like I’m wearing one hat all the time, and I’m out of the corporate world and it gave me more of a laser focus on the water.

“I’m going to fish the Tour sooner or later. With or without the All-American and regardless of how the Cup goes, that’s a big goal of mine,” says LeBrun, who’s currently sitting eighth in the standings in the Southwestern Division of the Costa FLW Series with one event left. “I still need to qualify from the Southwestern Division, but I’m really optimistic about hopefully 2019 being my rookie year, but it’s all up to the good Lord. If He wants me to quality I will, and if it’s a few years down the road I’ll wait. But I feel like I’m mentally ready and financially ready. Really, fishing for a living is a big goal of mine.”

 

Prep for the big one

Though LeBrun is shooting hard for a career on Tour regardless of his results this August on Lake Ouachita, he’s not taking the Cup lightly. With $300,000 on the line and more notoriety than any aspiring pro could ask for, he knows it’s a big opportunity.

“I have the same feeling now as I did when I won the All-American and I realized I was going to fish the Cup,” says LeBrun. “I’m excited, but I would describe it more as a laser focus and a determined feeling. There are so many guys at my level who would be happy to be there, but I’m trying not to have that mentality. I’m going to try to fish to do very well and fish to win. I know that you can lose it on day one, but you’ve got to make that cut to win it. I don’t want to be too conservative, but I want to win, and I know you can’t win unless you make day three.”

To that end, he’s putting in the time. Since he won the All-American in June, LeBrun has spent seven days on Ouachita, with more on the docket as the derby nears.

“Two weeks ago I went Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and that was the first time I’d ever been on the water over there,” relays LeBrun. “The first day I was there I didn’t really make a cast. I just ran around looking at the lake. I found it was all pretty much the same, except some areas have standing timber and some don’t.

“My first impression was how much shoreline the lake has and how much fishable water there is. Toledo and Rayburn, lakes I’m used to, they’re big giants, but it’s not all fishable water,” explains LeBrun. “They still fish small, and there are only so many places you’re going to catch a bass. My impression on Ouachita is that you can literally get bit in any pocket or on any bank or around any island.

“Right off the bat, my main goal was to figure out what area of the lake I want to live in for the tournament. When it’s a grind, and I’m pretty sure it will be, I want to keep my ignition key off and my bait wet. I use that strategy on the Red River a lot. I really want to find an area of the lake or a certain five- or 10-mile stretch that I can really dissect.”

LeBrun thinks he may have narrowed things down a little bit, and he’s created a little bit of “fishing history” on the lake to get him going for the official practice. That’s probably a good thing in a field of experienced pro anglers. And, after all, knowing Cross Lake like the back of his hand sure didn’t hurt in the All-American. If he wants to win the Cup, too, and kick off his Tour career as the champ of champs, LeBrun needs every bit of knowledge he can gather.

 

Tags: jody-white  pre-tournament  2018-08-10-forrest-wood-cup- 

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