Introduction to Our New Contributor, Brent Lanier
It is our pleasure, here at the Fishing Association, to announce and introduce our newest contributor – Brent Lanier, Kayak Bass Angler. Brent is in Murfreesboro, TN, living the single life with no kids. Which gives him a lot of time for fishing.
As a 46 year-old Bass Angler he runs the ropes of personal fishing as well as tournaments around the country.
One of his favorite things is a hot summer top water bite more than any other. Brent will be adding a sense of professional insight to Fishing Association. We look forward to sharing his stories and experience.
How I Got Started Tournament Bass Fishing – by Brent Lanier
It all began at a very young age. In the ’70s and ’80s, my dad was a Badass Bass Fishing Tournament Angler. He used to be the guy to look to when our family or friends needed to know something about fishing or especially about bass fishing. I watched him like a baby bear watches their mother, learning everything I could – making connections.
When I was a little older, not an annoying kid anymore, he started taking me on long fishing trips. We would go out on a boat and thus created some of my fondest memories. He was entering tournaments and catching some excellent fish. I was a little guy; every fish he caught seemed like a monster. I was not the only one traveling with my dad. Now and then, my mother and I would go around the United States with him to tournaments, always managing to get in some family fishing after a long successful tournament.
In 1980, we moved to a new home in Jackson, MS. It sat on a couple of acres and had a pasture behind it with a small pond. I was seven years old and already had a love for fishing.
My dad was already a significant influence in my life. A turning point, I feel, was when he taught me how to use a baitcasting reel and gave me one that he had in his tackle box. I was the only kid in the neighborhood not using a Zebco reel. Fishing was an escape during those years – I spent my childhood on that pond, bank fishing for bass and bluegill.
I kind of feel he was passing the torch of fishing on to me because shortly after moving to this home, my dad sold his boat and gave up bass fishing. He said it was to help further his career at his “real job.” Of course, I fished a lot, then less, then even less. I still enjoyed my time on that pond bank, but the boat fishing trips were over – for now.
Fast forward, 20 plus years, and I was living in Murfreesboro, TN, in my own home. One day, while golfing with my neighbor, he asked me if I had seen the fishing kayaks? I had not; however, it piqued my interest. I also heard they were a lot less expensive than traditional fishing boats.
Boats are very pricey today; therefore, a lesser expensive kayak seemed like a more natural way to get back out on the water. You see, through the years, golf had gotten stale, and I was looking for something else to do. This might be the answer I was seeking.
Taking a chance, I called my dad and told him I was going to start bass fishing again. He was so excited that he packed up all his old gear and shipped it. I had the equipment; old equipment, but I had material. All I needed now was a kayak.
At first, I did not want to spend much money as I was not sure I would like it. My neighbor and I bought matching kayaks for only $600 – from a “big box” store. Just getting started, we went out a few times to “test the water.” Holy Smoke! We had a blast! We spent some time researching on the internet. We found out there were a lot of local kayak bass fishing tournaments. Could this be a way back to fishing? Was I about to make a complete circle?
I took only a couple of months of owning a fishing kayak until I was competing in Kayak Bass Fishing Tournaments. I love the competition.
I was shocked to see 30 to 50 kayak anglers competing in these tournaments. They had all different kinds of kayaks of sizes, weights, and different brands. I considered myself well researched. However, I had not heard of many of them. Just like my dad had always said, everyone was friendly at the tournaments. A lot of them let me try their kayaks. I realized very quickly that my cheap-ass kayak wasn’t what I wanted if I was going to take this seriously. I needed to invest in my new-found love of kayak fishing.
After competing in a few tournaments, I upgraded my kayak to a larger more comfortable one built with the ability to stand up and fish comfortably. I was so competitive towards the end of the season, I fished six tournaments that year.
The following year, I realized one of my friends I met, started a club. I decided to join them because some of the people I enjoyed fishing with were also going to fish with that club. It took only three tournaments in year 2 for me to win one.
It was a night tournament on a local lake. I fished one nighttime tournament previously and finished well.
With my newfound confidence, I knew it was time to start upgrading. Over the first year, I bought the newest gear available. There were are also a lot of new techniques to learn. I purchased a fish finder for my kayak and started learning how to use it. That first full season I qualified for the State Championship and the Kayak Bass Fishing National Championship. I went to both; however, I finished middle of the pack – No wins.
My second full season was a kick in the shorts. I quickly became humble. In some tournaments, I caught a few fish. In other competitions, I did not catch a thing. I was trying all these new baits and techniques instead of just relying on what I knew how to do; what my dad taught me all those years ago.
Another issue was fishing too many tournaments, not giving any time to pre-fish for any of them because I was fishing every weekend. I got lucky at a National Trail Event that year, winning 4th place which Qualified me for the Kayak Bass Fishing National Championship. I did not do well enough in my local club to qualify for the State Championship.
At this point the club director was moving out of state; so, I took over as the Tournament Director. Now, I had the pressure of doing well and making sure I obtained sponsors for our tournaments.
In my third full season, I went back to basics and focused on catching limits in tournaments -doing what I was taught how to do. I was running the club now and fishing as well. My goal was to qualify for the State Championship, and I did that with flying colors. Not only did I qualify, but I almost won angler of the year – finishing 2nd, just 6 points out from 1st.
I won our last tournament of the year to cap off a great season of fishing. Going into the State Championship, I was very excited as I had found good pre-fishing and thought I had a substantial opportunity to win.
Day one of the tournament went well as I was sitting in 2nd place. Within the first hour of day two, I had taken the lead. I had the confidence of honey badger as I held the lead for most of the day. However, I did lose it later that day. Ultimately, I ended in 3rd as I had one small fish that I could not cull for a larger one. Culling a fish is when you trade it for another one you catch, giving you the points of the bigger fish.
Although not the result I wanted, this qualified me, again, for the Kayak Bass Fishing National Championship. Not to spoil the whole story, but unfortunately, I did not do well at that event.
From childhood to my mid 40’s I have always loved to fish. I also have a drive to compete. Here is where two things I enjoy, collide. If I could afford a big bass boat, I would probably have one and fish tournaments out of it, but for now, the kayak is what I use.
I fish on the local and national level for upwards of $100,000.00 from a kayak. I don’t need a big fiberglass boat to win big money. I can do it from my kayak, and so can you. There are hundreds of kayak bass fishing clubs across the country as the sport has grown. It is the fastest segment of fishing at the moment and is now involved with the FLW Tour. Find your local club, and maybe I will see you out there someday.