provided by John Phillips
Mossy Oak Fishing Pro Bill Lowen of Brookville, Indiana, finished 11th on the Bassmaster Elite Circuit in the Angler of the Year competition in the 2019 season, which qualified him for the Super Bowl of Bass Fishing, the 2020 Bassmaster Classic, to be held March 6-8, in Birmingham, Alabama, and fished at Lake Guntersville, one of the nation’s top big-bass lakes.
I’ve had a great year. I base a good year or a bad year on whether or not I qualified for the Bassmaster Classic. I feel like any year I can qualify for the Classic has been a strong year, the entire year. I think every one of the anglers on the Bassmaster Elite Circuit tries to win the Angler-of-the-Year title, but I feel like any time I can qualify for the Classic means I’m running at the head of the pack that year.
I told my wife at the beginning of 2019 that I’d be fishing my strength, which I believed was shallow-water fishing, at every tournament of 2019. I tried to do that. I believe every fisherman knows what their best tactics are and on what types of lures and water they perform best. What I’ve learned is that you’ve got to trust your strong points with the lures you have the most confidence in to give yourself the best chance to win in any tournament in which you compete. I’ve realized that shallow-water fishing is the style I’m best at, I feel the most comfortable in shallow water, and generally I have the best tournaments when I’m fishing to my strengths.
I’ve done well at every tournament that I’ve fished shallow. I try not to overthink the tournaments. I turn my brain off and fish like I normally will. There have been several pros on the circuit who have won tournaments fishing shallow water. George Cochran won two, and Denny Brauer won one. I’ve learned that regardless of the weather, you always can catch some bass in shallow water, which I define as from 8-feet deep to the bank.
One of my favorite places to fish is red clay points with no structure on them. Some people believe these red clay points warm up quicker than muddy or rocky bottoms. Although I don’t know whether that’s true, I do know I catch a lot of bass, especially in the early spring on those red clay points. I think one of the mistakes that is made early on is many anglers believe that bass have to hold on structure. That’s not necessarily the case. I believe that anywhere there’s a presence of bait fish that I have an opportunity to catch a bass. Although many of us call those red clay banks “do-nothing banks,” I think one of the reasons for my success on them is they don’t hold any structure. Therefore, they’re overlooked by most bass fishermen.
Another factor that I’ll be considering is that shallow backwater heats up quicker than water on the main body of the lake. Therefore, knowing that the bass are looking for the right water temperature to spawn, it only makes sense to me that if the bass are in the prespawn or the spawn stages, they must be in the grasses in the backwaters. Now I know that many contestants will produce some big bags of fish while fishing structure on the main lake, but I also know that there will be some big bags of bass coming in from the backwater schools of fish.