Bro Series: Johnston brothers

Cory Johnston (L) watches as his brother Chris Johnston takes an Elite trophy in 2020.

Chris and Cory Johnston were literally born into the fraternity of anglers we feature in the Bro Series. Sibling rivalry permeates through both, which is the reason why they both compete at the sport’s highest level, on the Bassmaster Elite Series.

The Johnston’s underscore the teamwork that epitomizes being “bros” on the tournament trail. In their early teens, the boys fished as a team and began racking up wins … and earning money. They made a pact to fish team tournaments together, practicing separately, while merging their findings for the good of the team. They split expenses, winnings and sponsorship money and started a business that thrives today. Tournament winnings fuel the business, with profits divided between them, and expenses are deducted from the business.

The Johnstons crossed the border and brought their Canadian dominance to the states. Success came quick. Both qualified for the 2020 Bassmaster Classic, and Chris won a Bassmaster Elite Series event on the St. Lawrence River in July. Cory has been a threat to win, and it’s only a matter of time before he earns a coveted blue trophy.

One of them is laid back; the other stays wound up. Get to know these two blood brothers in our profile of Chris and Cory Johnston.

Describe your brother as a competitor. 

Chris: He is very serious. It’s tough to get him to crack a smile when he’s in competition mode. He’ll do anything to win. 

Cory: He is very competitive. Very driven to win. He is very focused.

Who is the most competitive and why?

Chris: We are both very competitive, but we come from two different mentalities. I’m more laid back. He’s more wound up. 

Cory: Probably me. We are both competitive. I want to beat him more than he wants to beat me. It’s always been that way. The rivalry is always there.

How do you work together and what’s the history of it?

Chris: We have a business set up. We started it when we were young. Actually, when we were 13 years old. We always fished as a team. Expenses came out of our business profits, and as we grew, we just kept that going like we do now.

Cory: We still do it the exact same way as we did when we started our business as teenagers. We still share everything, split everything. It’s always worked out well.

What have you learned from him?

Chris: What not to do (laughs). I’ve picked up a lot of techniques from him, because he is so driven to compete. He has a lot of tricks. I have learned a lot from him. 

Cory: Probably a little bit of patience. He is very good with using his electronics out deep. I’ve learned a lot from him about being patient, slowing down and being methodical. 

What’s he like without the game face? 

Chris: He is pretty laid back. He likes to joke around, hang around with the guys. 

Cory: He’s laid back, likes to sleep. Probably too laid back for me, but that’s him.   

What about him gets on your nerves?

Chris: When he gets grumpy it takes him awhile to get out of the bad mood. That really gets on my nerves.

Cory: He’s always late for everything. It drives me nuts. 

What do you admire the most about him? 

Chris: His competitive drive; he’s always competing and thrives on it.

Cory: He is just a very outgoing, fun-to-be-around kind of person. Not much gets under his skin. He’s always yelling at me to calm down and relax. So probably that is what I admire most about him.