Back in April, Cornelius fisherman Brent Long fished in the FLW National Guard Open Bass Fishing at Blythe Landing. Even though he was fishing on his home lake, he didn't win. He didn't even place in the top five.
On the FLW Bass Fishing Tour this year, Long finished no higher than 80th place, until the weekend of June 26.
On that Saturday, Long concluded his four days of fishing on the tour on Lake Guntersville, not too far from Huntsville, Ala. He caught 20 bass weighing a total of 95.7 pounds, finished first and won $125,000.
On June 23, the first day of the tournament, Long caught the limit of five bass for a total of 25 pounds 11 ounces, putting him in second place. The next day, Long again caught a limit, weighing 25 pounds 8 ounces and moving him into first place. On the third day, it was critical for him to finish in the top five, because only those fishermen get to fish the last day for a chance to win. He caught five bass weighing 25 pounds 4 ounces, keeping him in first place.
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June 26, the final day of the tournament, Long had only three small keeper fish by 12:15 p.m. He decided to return to a spot where he had caught fish the first two days of competition. He eventually caught a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds even, giving him the win with an 8-pound 3-ounce margin.
"I got five big bites in 10 minutes," he said. "I lost two of them.... I should have had over 25 pounds again and busted the 100-pound mark. But it wasn't meant to be. I won the tournament, and that's fine with me."
Long caught his fish deep by dragging a 3/4-ounce football jig and casting a Bill Norman DD22 crankbait, a deep-diving lure.
Visit Lake Norman sponsors Long as the lake's official pro angler for 2010. Travis Dancy, sports marketing manager of VLN, said Long "is such a passionate ambassador of his home lake and the Lake Norman region. He was a perfect fit for us as our official VLN angler."
According to Long's sponsorship agreement, the VLN logo is wrapped on his boat and is on his competition jersey. Long will also fish at least 20 national and regional tournaments during 2010, including the Bassmaster Classic and the FLW Tour, so you'll see the VLN name a lot on the internet and TV.
Although it was broadcast live over the internet, if you missed it, you can watch Long and the Lake Guntersville tournament on "FLW Outdoors" on Versus at 12:30 p.m. Oct. 3. Also, there's a video interview with Long just after his win at www.visitlakenorman.org; click the "Media Room" link. (It's also on anglerschannel.com.) Long will also be on "FLW Live Reel Chat" at 3 p.m. July 6 on FLWOutdoors.com.
Besides his Visit Lake Norman sponsorship, Long wants to thank all his family and friends who have followed his career and watched him on the internet. He also wants to thank his other sponsors: Ranger Boats, Yamaha, G-Loomis rods, Denver Marine, The Great Outdoors, AnglersChannel.com, Zoom Bait Co. Inc. and Ernest Langley Lures.