To become a better angler, don't go fishing just on fair-weather days.
That's the advice Brent Chapman gave today during the B.A.S.S. Twitter Chat, when fans asked how to up their game.
"To be successful, you have to be able to fish when conditions are bad — rain, snow, burning hot, freezing cold — and when you have to use techniques you're not familiar with," he said. "It takes a lot of practice."
Chapman has given anglers everywhere a reason to listen to him. He's had a stellar season so far: He won the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open in February, he won the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament this past weekend, and he's the current Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year leader.
Below is a transcript of the B.A.S.S. Twitter Chat. Keep up with B.A.S.S. events, get pro tips and share your bass photos by following B.A.S.S. on Twitter.
fishnsquirrel Would you consider coming to the NW to fish the Columbia river for big smallies?
brentchapman2 I would love to! I get excited every time B.A.S.S. takes us out West.
REALscoopSQUAD How do you become pro? Being that I'm 17, any tips to becoming a pro :-)
brentchapman2 Spend as much time on the water as possible, and a marketing degree helps you represent yourself and sponsors well.
MK_Bassfishing Brent, congrats on your win! What have you done differently that has allowed you to have your best season as a bass pro?
brentchapman2 Winning the Open at Lewisville opened the door for me, allowing me to fish without pressure and swing for the fences
CampBenCh What are you most excited for for La Crosse?
brentchapman2 The Wisconsin cheese, for sure! I love to eat cheese! And, I hear they have great cheese there
brentchapman2 It's going to be a shallow water power fishing tournament, and that's right up my alley!
brentchapman2 That's easy for me! The Kansas State Wildcats fishing team!
bafirewrestler How do you feel about getting to fish Grand Lake for the Classic? Have any experience there?
brentchapman2 I am more excited about this one than any other I've fished! It's one of the lakes I grew up fishing.
AJPAnders What’s the biggest thing that you have changed from last year to allow you so much success this season?
brentchapman2 Being in top physical shape, being well prepared in advance and winning the tournament at Lewisville early on!
mic_miller12 What advice do you have for young anglers pursuing professional bass fishing?
brentchapman2 Make sure you spend a lot of time on the water, and become as diverse as possible. Focus your efforts on marketing.
mic_miller12 Thanks! Keep working hard man!
AJPAnders How do you plan on keeping the momentum going and how would an AOY change your career?
brentchapman2 I need to try to stay focused, one fish one day at a time. AOY puts you in a smaller bracket of tournament fisherman.
Michael_Gaydos What was the most challenging thing on Toledo Bend last weekend?
brentchapman2 To stay focused on fishing deep because it was hard to find those quality areas. I only found 5 key areas.
froggerbassCan you describe some of the conditions that make those flutter spoons successful?
brentchapman2 When fish are offshore and schooled up. The more they're concentrated the better it is.
afulker Is there anything co-anglers can do to increase their chances of placing in the money at tournaments?
brentchapman2 Focus on finesse. Pay attention to what the guy in the front is doing. Cast to where he's not, do something different.
matthewnowack23 How do you decide when to translate over to finesse fishing instead of power fishing?
brentchapman2 When you've exhausted your power resources, it's time to switch to finesse. You've got to do your homework, too.
matthewnowack23 What's your favorite finesse technique? Mine is an 1/8-ounce drop shot.
brentchapman2 Definitely a drop shot, but heavier is better for me!
matthewnowack23 Aight, thanks for the answers. Congrats on your success and good luck the rest of the year, man.
brentchapman2 Thank you and thanks to all of my fans across the country for your support!
twreed Knowing you're such good friends, how do you feel about knocking Randy Howell out of the AOY leader spot?
brentchapman2 I don’t feel like I knocked Howell out of the top spot, he just had a bad tournament.
brentchapman2 There is a lot of fishing left this season. The AOY race is pretty fragile. Anyone in the Top 10 still has a great shot!
T_Burtam Brent, what is the best spoon to use in your opinion and how should I go about using this lure?
brentchapman2 I wish I could tell you the brand, I'm not sure who makes them! I got them off a rack at Mark's Outdoors in Birmingham, AL.
brentchapman2 A heavy flipping rod works best, with 20-pound fluorocarbon. Make short casts and sharp pops off the bottom.
froggerbass How do water clarity and structure fit in to your chose of the flutter spoon over a big crankbait, spinnerbait or Carolina rig?
brentchapman2 They're all the same, just a different tool to get the job done. I think it catches the biggest fish in those schools.
froggerbass Cool, thanks. Great consistency and execution, looking forward to seeing your continued success.
brentchapman2 Thank you, and so am I! I am hoping I can stay on top of this wave for the rest of the season. What an awesome ride!
brentchapman2 Even I don't catch another fish this season, I feel good about what I've accomplished so far!
kengobble What best practices/steps would you recommend a weekend angler take to change his habits to become competitive?
brentchapman2 Take yourself out of your comfort zone. Don't fish in the past, fish in the moment. Capitalize on every opportunity.
bafirewrestler Got any suggestions on learning how to fish deep? Definitely not in my comfort zone yet.
brentchapman2 Force yourself! Take everything out of the boat that you're comfortable with and just fish deep.
brentchapman2 Fish somewhere where fishing is known to be good deep. It'll make you a better fisherman!
brentchapman2 Sounds like everyone wants to know how to become a better pro or angler... The success I've had has not come overnight.
brentchapman2 To be a great fisherman, you have to be well-rounded, and able to fish in all weather conditions — rain, snow, heat.
brentchapman2 If you can overcome the hard stuff, that'll make you a better fisherman.
bafirewrestler What knot do you use when flipping with fluorocarbon?
brentchapman2 I use a Palomar knot strictly when fishing with fluorocarbon.
bafirewrestler Thank you for your time! Good luck the rest of the season, I'll be rooting for ya!
kengobble Is it better to fish your strength or work to identify a solid pattern when competing? BTW, congrats on your year.
brentchapman2 A little bit of both, that's a hard one. You want to fish to your strength, but in the reality of what will win.
T_Burtam What size do you recommend?
brentchapman2 A 5-inch spoon. Watch The Bassmasters on June 23, and you'll find out for sure!