Elite Series pro Brent Chapman is a 10-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier and has amassed more than a million dollars in BASS tournament winnings to date. Here's how the Kansas pro answered our 20 Questions:
1. Where are you from?
I was born in Merriam, Kan.
2. How did you get started in bass fishing?
My dad introduced me to fishing and taught me a love of the sport. I took it to the next level after I saw a tournament at Melbourne Lake on a family camping trip. It seemed like every angler had 20 pounds of bass at the scales, and I heard that they could win money. I must've been 10 or 12 years old, and I hounded my dad to get us involved in tournament fishing.
3. Who were some of your earliest fishing heroes?
First and foremost, it would have to be my father. He got me started. I also followed Jimmy Houston, Roland Martin and whoever was featured on The Bassmasters with Bob Cobb.
4. When did you realize you had made it in the bass fishing industry?
Gosh, I don't know. Probably after making my first or second Bassmaster Classic (1997 and 1999). That's when I realized I could make it in the industry. It's also when you start getting better deals from your sponsors, so things improve financially.
5. What's the biggest bass you've ever caught?
Believe it or not, I've caught seven bass that all weighed 9 pounds, 8 ounces, and I've caught them all over the place — Falcon, the California Delta, Seminole. Once I caught one that I think weighed 10, but I didn't have a scale with me, so I can't be sure.
6. What do you love most about bass fishing?
I ask myself that question a lot when times are tough. I guess it would have to be the competition and the chance to be outdoors. I truly love the outdoors and find so much beauty in it. That's a big part of what I love about bass fishing.
7. What is your greatest strength as a bass angler?
It has to be my versatility. There are no techniques that I'm afraid to try.
8. What is your greatest weakness as a bass angler?
It would have to be Carolina rigging. I think it's boring, and it's the least likely thing that you'll ever see me doing on the water. The first time I ever had a chance to win a boat in a tournament, I was Carolina rigging and lost a big fish — one that would have won the tournament. I've hated it ever since.
9. Where is your favorite place to fish for bass and why?
Falcon Lake! I've only been a few times, but every time you're there you feel like you're going to catch a giant. You usually do, too!
10. What question do you get asked most by fans and how do you answer it?
Lately, the question I keep getting asked is "What are those crazy things sticking up out of the back of your boat?" They're talking about my Power Poles. I get that question every time I stop for gas. I usually have to stop and show them how they work. Power Poles are awesome.
11. What's the biggest mistake you see from casual anglers?
They don't listen to the pros. When I give advice about catching bass near home here in Kansas, a lot of it seems to go in one ear and out the other. I know other pros have the same issue. Casual anglers also tend to ignore the details. Those fine points are usually the difference between a good day and a bad one.
12. Do you have any fishing superstitions?
I'm not overly superstitious, but I do have a routine before I fish that I like to stick to. The biggest part of it is making sure that my Triton/Mercury rig is extremely clean before I launch.
13. How big a part does luck play in fishing?
I think it plays a big part, but you create your own luck. The guys who work harder and prepare better are the luckiest ones.
14. What has been your greatest accomplishment in the fishing industry?
Longevity. I haven't won a Classic or a Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year title, but I've been able to establish myself as a good guy and a consistent angler.
15. What goals have you yet to accomplish in your bass fishing career?
I want to win a Classic and an Angler of the Year title. If I could win just one, it would be the AOY title. To win the Classic, you have to be good for three days. To win AOY, you have to be good for eight tournaments plus the new postseason.
16. What has been the greatest regret of your fishing career?
I'm 37 now, and I really wish they had competitive collegiate bass fishing when I was younger. I think maybe I jumped into the sport a little too fast. I wish I had gotten my college degree and learned more about marketing myself. Also, if I had waited, I know I could have learned a lot more about fishing by competing from the back of the boat for a year or two.
17. When you're not bass fishing, how do you like to spend your time?
I love spending time with my family, and my mind is always on deer hunting and land management. That's a real passion of mine.
18. What profession (other than your own) would you like to have tried?
I think it would have been great to be a professional deer hunter, but I'd have probably gone into law enforcement or become a fire fighter. That always interested me, and I have a great deal of respect for the people who work in those areas.
19. If you could do one thing over in your career, what would it be?
I wish I had started later and spent more time fishing from the back of the boat. I was pretty naïve about the sport and the industry early in my career. When I was young, I had a little success and thought sponsors were going to throw big bucks at me. That's not how it works, and it was a tough lesson learning that.
20. What's the biggest lesson you've learned in your career?
There's just no substitute for hard work. Nothing happens overnight, no matter how it might appear. You've got to pay your dues. As far as fishing goes, my biggest lesson has been that there's no substitute for time on the water.