Gut or bottom line? It’s been Bill Lowen’s dilemma which to follow in much of his Bassmaster Elite Series career. While he has sniffed several titles, Lowen was nearly resigned he might never win an Elite.
“I guess you start telling yourself that,” the 46-year-old from Brookville, Ind., said. “In the back of your head, there’s always that little voice, ‘Is it ever going to happen?’ I think all of us as anglers, we all want to win.”
Lowen wrote in his column, “A weight has been lifted,” that he could have lived with it. After all, a number of great anglers have carved out successful careers and never won.
“Would I have been fine with that?” he said. “I guess, but boy it sure makes it a hell of a lot sweeter to win that blue trophy.”
Tied atop the leaderboard heading into the final day, Lowen followed his instincts, and he weighed in more than he thought he had in winning the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Pickwick Lake on March 23. Wildly fluctuating conditions created by a storm that delayed the event two days made adjustments critical. And it was Lowen who made all the right moves to exit the best-to-never-win contingent.
“I guess it kind of puts the icing on the cake, it kind of solidifies your career,” he said.
Fishing the top B.A.S.S. circuit since its inception in 2006, Lowen has been runner-up three times, made 20 Top 10s and amassed $1.4 million in earnings. Known as the guy “who will 12-pound you to death,” he’s always taken the steady approach of going after limits, and that’s helped him reach 10 Classics and cash checks in 116 of 159 events, a stellar 73% rate.
“That’s how I’ve been able to keep the lights on, survive, put food in my kids’ mouths and shoes on their feet,” he said. “I didn’t have a choice.”