UPCOMING EVENT: YETI FLW COLLEGE FISHING - 2019 - Lake Erie

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

What Happened to LeBrun?

What Happened to LeBrun?
Nick LeBrun

Nick LeBrun had been planning this day for a while. Almost a year, in fact. 

On day one of the 2019 FLW Cup, LeBrun locked down second place thanks to a 15-pound stringer caught on a stingy Lake Hamilton. But his preparation for the event – his practice, really – had started 12 months earlier at Lake Ouachita. 

Ouachita was the site of the 2018 Cup, where LeBrun finished a respectable fourth after keying in on an off-the-wall pattern of fishing a River2Sea Whopper Plopper around docks. 

“My worm pattern had dissolved, and I picked up a Plopper and caught a 6-pounder the second day,” he recalls. 

That one fish keyed LeBrun into the possibilities to come. After qualifying for the 2019 Cup at Lake Hamilton, which is separated from Ouachita by a dam, Lebrun knew the Whopper Plopper could be a game-changer. 

“I really wanted to catch them on it in this tournament,” he says.

When practice started for the 2019 event, LeBrun had the Plopper on hand. Practice results were promising. 

Nick LeBrun

“I used it on Sunday and caught all my bites and had about 13 pounds,” LeBrun says. 

He then cut the hooks off his bait for the remainder of the practice period to dial in the specifics.

“I knew what was good. I just needed to figure out where to find more of it,” he adds.

By the final day of practice, LeBrun noticed the most productive areas were those being missed by his competition. Seawalls and docks were the starting points, but it was important to get the lure into the most remote places, including under cables, beneath walkways and in cobweb-filled corners far underneath the platforms. 

“That told me no one else had made that cast,” LeBrun says. 

Lebrun is a shallow-water fisherman by trade, and his biggest win – the 2018 T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League All American at Cross Lake – came by making short pitches to cover with a crankbait. In both the 2018 and 2019 Cups, LeBrun did the same with the Whopper Plopper. 

“I specialize in taking a treble-hooked bait and treating it like a jig,” he says. 

Precise casts were made thanks to a 7-foot, 2-inch Fitzgerald frog rod with Sunline braid

Again this year, the Plopper did the trick, resulting in a massive summertime tournament stringer Friday. 

Nick LeBrun

Naturally pumped, LeBrun set out to do the same on day two, but he managed just two small bass, finishing 24th. LeBrun isn’t sure why the Plopper bite faded. Bass would swirl on it but weren’t getting it, whereas on day one they were crushing it.

It’s easy to wonder what happened, and why LeBrun didn’t go to a backup plan. He did throw a jerkbait around docks for a little while, but mostly he stuck with the Plopper. Why?

“I just couldn’t put it down,” LeBrun reflects. “I knew it was a hero or a zero deal. But it was the only thing I found that I could win on.”

And to LeBrun, winning was all that mattered. 

“If I punted and did something to catch a 5- to 7-pound limit, I’d be in eighth place and 7 pounds off the lead, and then you can’t win anyway. I’m not satisfied in just making the cut.”

But isn’t being a pro bass fisherman all about “cashing a check” and avoiding attempts to force a win? Aren’t we taught that when it’s a competitor’s turn to prevail, things naturally fall into place? 

Evidently not for LeBrun. At least, not in the Cup. For more than a year, he’s waited for the chance to make his own luck, living and dying by the sword.

“Coming in to this, I wanted to fish to win,” he says. “I did that. I’d do it all over again and wouldn’t change a thing.”

Nick LeBrun

Tags: joe-balog  headline-story  2019-08-09-flw-cup-lake-hamilton 

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 »

Reese Leads on the Potomac

Reese Leads on the Potomac

Day one of the Potomac River event, which is the second stop of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits, featured plenty of limits, but getting quality bites was definitely an issue for some. In the lead after day one, Marvin Reese of Randallstown, Md., weighed 14 pounds, 12 ounces to get things underway. Behind Reese, Justin Atkins and Jason Kervin both weighed 14-5, and Robert Grike rounded out the 14-pound brigade with 14-4. Overall, just 11 pros cracked the 12-pound mark on day one of the tournament, which is presented by Lowrance, but 8- and 9-pound limits weren’t too hard to come by.  READ MORE »

Potomac River Midday Update – Day 1

Potomac River Midday Update – Day 1

As predicted, day one of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event on the Potomac River has been fairly tough. Though most folks have a fish or two, and many will undoubtedly fill limits by weigh-in, it certainly hasn’t been a catch-fest. READ MORE »

Curveballs at the Cup

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When the field of 52 anglers arrived in Hot Springs, Ark., for the official practice period for the 2019 FLW Cup, they were greeted with sunshine, humidity and brutal daytime temperatures in the upper 90s. Early in the week, there was little mention of anything other than the same – a typical Arkansas summer forecast of sunny and hot. READ MORE »

High Tide Takes Langford to Top

High Tide Takes Langford to Top

Todd Langford of Great Falls, Virginia, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Shenandoah Division tournament on the Potomac River Saturday after catching a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 2 ounces. Langford took home $2,600 for his efforts. READ MORE »

Mills Works Wood at Ohio River

Mills Works Wood at Ohio River

Craig Mills of Hamilton, Ohio, took top honors at Saturday’s T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Buckeye Division tournament on the Ohio River at Tanners Creek after catching five bass weighing 10 pounds, 4 ounces. Mills took home $5,466 for his win. READ MORE »

Pollak Plays Current for Big Muddy W

Pollak Plays Current for Big Muddy W

Joe Pollak of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division tournament on the Mississippi River at Prairie du Chien Saturday after catching five bass weighing 15 pounds, 1 ounce. For his win, Pollack netted $4,586. READ MORE »

Slow Down in Brush for More Success

Slow Down in Brush for More Success

Many times, hitting as many brush piles as possible is the key to success, with Bryan Thrift’s 2015 FLW Tour win on Lake Eufaula serving as a prime example of that strategy. However, with the fishing pretty tough on Lake Hamilton, both Wade Strelic and Joel Willert turned to more methodical approaches to generate bites. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Osborne Fished Finesse

Cup Top 10: Osborne Fished Finesse

Osborne spent the early visit graphing for brush in Hamilton’s lower end. In practice, it was more of the same, as Osborne spent only a couple of hours beating the bank. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Douglas Fished Brush and a Buzzbait

Cup Top 10: Douglas Fished Brush and a Buzzbait

Minnesota pro Josh Douglas is regarded as an electronics expert. But while he put his Lowrance units to the test at the FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton to find offshore brush piles, even Douglas couldn’t resist spending some time in the mornings hunting shallow bass. READ MORE »

Thrift and Kripp to discuss FLW Cup

Thrift and Kripp to discuss FLW Cup

FLW Tour pro Bryan Thrift, of Shelby, North Carolina, the newest FLW Cup champion, will break down his career-defining week... READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Salzman Went Shallow to Deep

Cup Top 10: Salzman Went Shallow to Deep

Ryan Salzman earned an eighth-place finish at the FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton with a well-executed two-part strategy. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Webster Wormed Brush

Cup Top 10: Webster Wormed Brush

Among the FLW Cup pros that committed the entire tournament to one pattern was Joseph Webster, who weighed in a three-day total of 28 pounds, 2 ounces at Lake Hamilton. He finished seventh. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Felix Keyed on Clear Water

Cup Top 10: Felix Keyed on Clear Water

Eden Prairie, Minn., pro Austin Felix finished sixth in this year’s FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton, but he’s convinced that if the engineers operating Blakely Mountain Dam had released water on a more consistent schedule, the results might have been even better for him. Felix spent most of the tournament keying on the clear waters of Hamilton’s upper end. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Martin went up the River

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Prior to practice, Scott Martin had no idea that the far upper end of Lake Hamilton, where the cold waters from the bottom of Lake Ouachita flow in through Blakely Mountain Dam, was such a drastically different mini-fishery within the reservoir. Then he started scouting it in practice and realized there was potential to win the tournament in the tailrace in areas where the water temperature was below 60 degrees. READ MORE »

Cup Top 10: Lawyer Mixes it Up for Fourth

Cup Top 10: Lawyer Mixes it Up for Fourth

Fourth-place pro Jeremy Lawyer was the highest finisher to utilize the shallow-early, brush-later strategy. Lawyer stacked together limits of 12 pounds, 1 ounce and 12-5 on the first two days to go into the final day in fourth place. He weighed in just 7 pounds on Sunday. READ MORE »