CORBIN, Ky. — Many anglers talk about a home lake advantage, but that is one thing you’ll never hear Corbin High School senior Matt Brown proclaim.
Brown grew up fishing on his home waters of Laure Lake, which he considers extremely tough for bass fishing.
“It has some of the biggest smallmouth in the world, but you are lucky to catch a couple every winter,” said Brown, a Bassmaster High School All-State Team pick from Kentucky.
When he was 9 years old, Brown fished in his first tournament, a charity event, with Jeff Burchette, who became his best friend and frequent buddy tournament partner. He also competed in some buddy events with his grandfather before joining the Corbin High School bass fishing team in 2013.
“I didn’t win a lot when I was growing up, and I still don’t around here,” said Brown, “but if I go out of state, I do really well.”
The Kentucky angler spends his summer fishing at his grandfather’s place on a small chain of lakes in Florida where he has learned how to fish river grass. He said this education has helped him do well when he fishes in Alabama and Florida.
“Now, if I don’t have anything figured out, I go as far as I can upriver to find some of that river grass,” he said.
That strategy paid off for him in his home state as well when he finished in seventh place in the 2014 Bassmaster High School Open on Douglas Lake. Brown and his partner, Christian Warren, ran up the river at Douglas and keyed on the grass the second day of the tournament to catch 18 pounds, 10 ounces and win the Mud Hole Custom Tackle Heavyweight Award for the largest sack of the tournament.
Although he struggles on his home lake, Brown has fared well in high school tournaments across the state and throughout the South. He won the 2013 Inaugural Bradley Roy High School Open on Cedar Creek Lake and the 2015 Kentucky B.A.S.S. Nation (KBN) High School qualifier on Barren River.
His other high school accomplishments include finishing second in the 2015 points standings for the Kentucky B.A.S.S. Nation Youth trail; third in the Kentucky High School State Athletic Association (KHSAA) Region 3 tournament at Lake Cumberland; fourth in the 2015 KBN High School Qualifier at Lake Herrington; and sixth in the 2015 Bassmaster High School Classic on Lake Keowee in South Carolina. He was also a member of the 2014 Kentucky state team that finished third in the B.A.S.S. Nation Southern Divisional at Alabama’s Lake Eufaula.
Understanding and studying the science of fishing has made Brown an exceptional angler, according to John Crawford, his fishing club adviser and school principal.
“He is a fine young man,” said Crawford, who added that he is an exceptional student with a 3.5 grade point average. “He is very courteous and has a sense of decorum. He is also well respected by his teachers and his peers.
“We’re really proud of him here at Corbin High School and so is the community.”
Brown said he plans to get a college degree in business/marketing and then pursue a professional fishing career.