UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Clear Lake

How to be a Pro Angler 

How to be a Pro Angler 
Brian Latimer

I get a lot of questions from young and old anglers alike about the steps to becoming a pro. I guess maybe sometimes I take it for granted. The process seems somewhat obvious to me. How to execute on it might not be simple, but the steps you need to take really are. There are only a couple of ways to get into this sport, and they all start at the grassroots level, in $200 and $300 tournaments. 

Fishing through FLW there’s a very simple path to becoming a professional fisherman. That starts by fishing T-H Marine Bass Fishing League tournaments, or BFLs. It’s very easy to enter and very easy to compete, and there aren’t really any restrictions on the equipment that you need. 

You can start out as a co-angler with no boat – just your rods and reels and love of fishing. Obviously, if you’re looking to be a pro, I think it’s a very good idea to figure out how to get some type of boat. The BFLs are close to home, so it doesn’t cost a lot to compete. Chances are there’s a division close to where you live where you can compete on your home bodies of water. 

Boater Brian Latimer of Belton, S.C., won the April 28 BFL Savannah River Division tournament on Lake Hartwell to earn $4,197 plus a $740 Ranger bonus.

I started at the club level first, and then I started fishing BFLs later on in life, in my early 20s. I fished the entire season for four years. The other years I was in school and fished one or two here and there. 

When I won one, that gave me a pretty good stash of money to fish the Costa FLW Series, which is the triple-A division and the next step up to the professional division. I fished the FLW Series for a long time, from 2008 until 2016. Some years I couldn’t afford to fish all of them, and some years I did. I fished those until I started to fish the FLW Tour. The FLW Series is your gateway to get to the Tour, which is the top level. 

It’s really that simple. It’s not anything you can’t overcome. Some anglers are going to go through that system in three or four years, and then there are other guys like myself that might take 10 or 15 years. 

I think the biggest piece of advice I could give anyone is to just be patient with the process and not get ahead of yourself too quickly. Let each level finance the next level, and know where you’re at and what you can do with your skill level. 

Also, be aware of tournament bodies of water you have or haven’t been exposed to. I didn’t know anything about fishing grass when I started fishing the FLW Series. I didn’t know anything about fishing for smallmouths. I used the triple-A level of fishing to expose myself to that before I started fishing the Tour. I learned how to fish grass in the FLW Series Southeastern Division where we always went to Okeechobee, Guntersville and Seminole, and this year I won the Tour event on Seminole. 

You just have to start where you’re at. Be prepared to be patient and maybe have to wait 10 years. It could be 20 years. If you’re 20 years old and it takes you 20 years to go through the system, you’re still only 40, and there are plenty of guys that are competing in their 60s and 70s. It’s a career where you don’t have to be a pro when you’re 22. If that happens, it’s great, but it’s not over for you if that isn’t the case. Joseph Webster is a perfect example. He started fishing as a pro in his 40s after he won the TBF National Championship just the same year I started on Tour. If I fish for another 20 years I’ll only be 56; I’d be satisfied with 20 years. 

There’s no need to rush. 

Tags: brian-latimer  blog 

Decisions, Decisions

Decisions, Decisions

Coming into the final Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament event on Lake Erie there were so many things riding on it. Obviously, it was a chance to make a paycheck, but more importantly it was the last chance to earn enough points to qualify for the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota. READ MORE »

Encouraging Youth Fishing

Encouraging Youth Fishing

Not long ago, with support from many sponsors, I had a blast hosting a very successful first-annual Youth Fishing Derby at Green Lane Park in Pennsylvania. READ MORE »

My Mississippi River Game Plan  

My Mississippi River Game Plan  

My plan going into the Mississippi River event is pretty simple. I’m going to have four rods on the deck of my boat: Two flipping sticks and two frog rods. In my experience in western Wisconsin, that’s what will work the best for me to get big bites. READ MORE »

Guiding and Mentoring

Guiding and Mentoring

Now that we are back on track with fishing, and hopefully developing some normalcy to our lives again, I am excited to keep going with what I started talking about at the beginning of the year – mentorship of young anglers. READ MORE »

Super Tournaments: Super Fun and Super Competitive

Super Tournaments: Super Fun and Super Competitive

There’s a big change coming to the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, and I’m really excited to be a part of it. READ MORE »

Fishing with Confidence

Fishing with Confidence

This year, I’ve chosen to home in on trusting my gut, even with tough practices. I’m happy to share that I rarely have a practice that’s worth writing home about. It’s just the way it goes, and I’ve learned to not let the discouragement affect the tournament. READ MORE »

Renewed Excitement for Super Tournaments

Renewed Excitement for Super Tournaments

Like everyone else, I had concerns about when we would be able to resume our 2020 season on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit. Probably a bigger concern was what the rest of the season would look like. READ MORE »

Why I’m Excited to be Back with FLW

Why I’m Excited to be Back with FLW

This year has been an interesting one, to say the least. For the first time in my pro career, I’ve been home for much of the spring, and while it was great to fish local waters and get some projects done around the house, I’m ready to get back to fishing tournaments. READ MORE »

Big Changes for the Pro Circuit

Big Changes for the Pro Circuit

Recently announced changes to the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit have me extremely excited to get the season back under way. Specifically, a good number of the Major League Fishing anglers will be fishing the remaining three Pro Circuit Super Tournament events with increased payouts. This makes these truly the most lucrative five-fish-limit events in the country, with potentially half of the tournament field being paid $10,000 or more. READ MORE »

My Line-Thru Addiction

My Line-Thru Addiction

Pollen is in the air, on the water and covers my boat on a daily basis. When this happens, it means one thing to me – the bass are on the bed. Now, most people are all giddy about sight-fishing, but that’s not my deal. I can count on two hands how many fish I’ve caught truly sight-fishing. What comes to my mind during this time is swimbait fishing, but more specifically, one kind of swimbait in particular – a line-thru swimbait. READ MORE »

Making the Most of Quarantine

Making the Most of Quarantine

At the beginning of this year I was excited about the opportunity to fish the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and the Bassmaster Elite Series. I was most excited about fishing the spawn in March and April on some of my favorite lakes. When the schedules for both circuits were first released I was feeling very confident about doing some sight-fishing on Santee Cooper, Eufaula and Lake Hartwell. READ MORE »

The Real Reason I love Spring

The Real Reason I love Spring

Fishing for a living is awesome, but when spring comes it can be tough. April is always a busy month for tournaments – and the fishing is usually fantastic – but I really love to turkey hunt and tournaments can put a damper on that. READ MORE »

A Silver Lining

A Silver Lining

From spending some quality time with my wife, Katie, and my dog, Doppler, to organizing my life and fun fishing, there are numerous ways that I have been able to take advantage of our current social responsibility to participate in “social distancing.” READ MORE »

Encouraging the Next Generation

Encouraging the Next Generation

Growing up in the city of Chicago, I didn’t have the outlet to the outdoors that a lot of our youth enjoy while growing up. It often takes hours to travel out of the city due to traffic, and there were no lakes within walking distance from my house. So it’s not like I could swing by the pond after school. READ MORE »

Picking out a New Favorite Rod

Picking out a New Favorite Rod

When selecting a new rod, I consider several elements: action, power, length and components.  Different rods will fit the role, depending on the type of lure, cover and fish species you are targeting. READ MORE »

Always Go Down Swinging

Always Go Down Swinging

Greg Bohannan's late father, Kenny, taught his sons to never take a third strike looking. "If you take the pitch and don't swing, you never give yourself a chance," he'd say. With that lesson in mind, Greg took his cuts at Lake Martin and gave himself a shot to win. Even though it didn't work out, he knows that at least he went down swinging. READ MORE »

How to Catch Your New PB

How to Catch Your New PB

Out of the five biggest fish I have caught in my life, four have come on a ChatterBait, including my personal best – a 9-pounder I caught this year on Sam Rayburn during the first Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event. READ MORE »

Why You Should Reel with Both Hands

Why You Should Reel with Both Hands

Without a doubt, during a tournament day I always get a question from my Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Marshal about why I have both left- and right-handed Abu Garcia baitcast reels. I get comments about the same thing from multiple social media followers if I post a picture that shows my reels. The remarks originally surprised me, but not any longer because of how frequently I see them. READ MORE »

Carrying Momentum into Florida

Carrying Momentum into Florida

Despite the solid start to the year, and the confidence that comes with overcoming adversity, Miles Burghoff knows very well how a good start to a season can either create positive momentum, or open the door to complacency, which often can result in a loss of motivation and focus. With the Harris Chain event kicking off this week, he's determined to keep that focus and motivation. READ MORE »

New Year, Same Feel

New Year, Same Feel

Ending 2019 on a bad note wasn’t how I pictured last season going. I was in contention to qualify for the FLW Cup going into the last FLW Tour event on Lake Champlain, but after coming in 97th at the finale I finished the season 51st in the Angler of the Year points and missed my chance for the Cup. Not going to lie, it stung a little bit and made for a LONG drive home, but it also made me hungry for 2020. READ MORE »