The Mossy Oak Fishing Team has some of the most famous and highly regarded bass tournament pros on its fishing team, including two men who have won six Bassmaster Classics, one who’s won the Major League Fishing World Championship, and others who have earned millions of dollars on several different fishing circuits over their long careers. Forty-four-year-old Bill Lowen from Brookville, Indiana, has fished the Bassmaster Elite Circuit for 14 years and has earned more than $1 million at tournaments. Bill, his wife and his two children live in a motor home most of the year, travelling from tournament to tournament across the United States. Wherever Bassmaster is holding an Elite competition, Lowen and his family are there. We wanted to know more about this bass gypsy, and why he does what he does. Lowen terms himself as a blue-collar fisherman.
From the time I was a little kid, all I ever wanted to do was fish the Bassmaster Classic. As far as I’m concerned, the biggest event in the world of fishing is the Bassmaster Classic. That’s where the best of the best compete against each other each year. And when you earn the right to be one of the best of the best and qualify for the Classic, that’s one of the highest honors I believe a bass fisherman can achieve. So far in my career, I’ve qualified for nine Bassmaster Classics. For me, that’s similar to competing in nine Super Bowls or nine World Series. Although my highest finish in any of those Classics is fourth place, the thrill and the honor of being there is a reward and makes memories I’ll have for lifetime.
I’m often asked, “How did you get bit by the bass bug?” My dad, Bill Lowen (same name as mine), was a tournament bass fisherman who fished local bass tournaments. He never took his bass fishing to the next level. When I started entering bass club tournaments, I decided I’d try and come through the ranks to qualify for the Elite Series.
My fishing buddy Billy Backman passed away at age 20, and his family decided to help me with my expenses to try and reach the Elite Series on Bassmaster. Since their son had died, they felt the best way they could honor him was to help me (his fishing buddy) to realize the dream that he never was able to achieve. They were a huge boost to my career.
Billy and I always travelled together to all the tournaments that we fished, and when we weren’t going to tournaments, we were hunting and fishing together. Both our dreams were to one day fish in the Bassmaster Classic. Billy’s parents helped me early in my career to try and qualify for the Bassmaster Elite Series. I was fortunate enough to get on the Elite Series because of their help, and they came to the first Bassmaster Classic I ever fished. They were able to live their son’s dream through helping me get to the Classic.
I made the Elite Series in 2006, and I’ve been fishing that circuit ever since then. Although I’ve never won an Elite Series tournament, I’ve had one, second-place finish, I’ve been in the money for more than 100 of the tournaments, and I’ve participated in 9 Bassmaster Classics.
As far as I’m concerned, the Bassmaster Elite Series is the top-rung for which a bass angler can compete. It’s the only way an angler can participate in the Bassmaster Classic, which this year, will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, March 6-8, 2020, on Lake Guntersville, one of the premier big-bass lakes in the nation.