During his formative years of bass fishing, Glenn Browne bided his time learning from the back of the boat. When he started fishing national circuits, Browne believed he was ready to move to the front deck.
“I was pretty fortunate because I got to fish team tournaments with some really good anglers,” he said. “I learned a lot really quick. I just never really was crazy about fishing out of the back of the boat."
The Bassmaster Elite Series newcomer recalls getting into bass fishing and wanting to become a pro when he was 9 years old. “In my early teens I became eaten up with it,” said the 38-year-old Browne. “I blossomed into catching other fish such as grouper in saltwater, but now I am back to the whole bass fishing thing.”
The Florida pro remembers the first tournament he cashed a check in when he was 13 years old. The event was an independent club’s buddy tournament that he fished with his dad on the Holly Chain of Lakes in Florida. “We caught 10 pounds or something, and I caught most of them flipping some grass,” Browne said. “I thought I was a hero because we won like $70."
The experience left a lasting impression on Browne, who describes himself as a “hard-core flipper.” He likes to punch mats with a Warrior Baits Quiver Bug or flip docks and wood cover with a Gambler Tube. His early successes on grassy water like the Kissimmee Chain and Lake Okeechobee have Browne always thinking shallow even when he competes on deeper reservoirs.
“If we put in at a dam you can just about count on me going just as far the other way up a river,” he said.
Browne fished in independent clubs in Florida until he was about 19 years old and then switched over to a B.A.S.S. Nation club and competed in Bass Fishing League (BFL) events while in college. “I just kind of worked up the line,” said Browne, who also fished team tournaments in Florida with Fred Rigdon. “We won four boats over a four- or five-year stretch.”
During his collegiate days, Browne also won a BFL tournament on Lake Toho in 2000 and the following week took top honors in a Florida B.A.S.S. Nation state championship and earned a berth to the Nation Southern Divisional. However a scheduling conflict with college studies prevented him from fishing the divisional.
After college, Browne entered the Everstart series of pro-ams as a boater in 2003. The following year he started his 10-year stint with the FLW Tour and won events at Lake Okeechobee in 2007 and Ft. Loudoun/Tellico lakes in 2010. The Florida pro also competed in six Forrest Wood Cup championships.
Despite his success on the FLW trail, Browne made a commitment to fish all of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Opens last year. “The whole sponsor climate had changed in the industry,” Browne said. “B.A.S.S. just draws a bigger crowd and has more notoriety. I felt that if I was going to continue on this path and have it be my career, then I needed to put myself in a place where I had more opportunities.
“It was a tough call because there was the last Open at Logan Martin that conflicted with the FLW Tour event at Eufaula,” Browne recalls. “I made the call to go fish the Open, and it worked out OK for me.” His 25th-place finish at Logan Martin clinched fourth place in the Southern Opens point standings and an invitation to the Elite Series.
Although he succeeded in his early tournament years while fishing from the front deck, Browne believes entering regional or national circuits as a co-angler can be beneficial to newcomers. “Guys are so good and their skills are so vast now that I think you can learn a lot by riding in the back of their boats,” he said.
That’s especially true if you happen to draw a pro like Glenn Browne.