In 2019 Alabamian Joseph Webster competed in the Bassmaster Central Opens with the goal of finishing among the top three in the Angler of the Year standings and qualifying for the Elite Series. He made the top 20 in three of the four events but wound up eighth in AOY points due to a 69th-place finish at the Upper Mississippi.
“It broke my heart,” Webster said. “I was so upset I sat out the Opens the next year.”
However, he continued to compete in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit. He made that tour’s championship for five consecutive years and pocketed nearly $400,000 while doing so.
“But I’d much rather be an Elite Series angler,” Webster said. “I decided to give it another go in 2021.”
The Central Opens 2021 schedule encouraged Webster to try again. Two of the events were slated for Pickwick and Lewis Smith. Webster lives 40 minutes from each lake. He made good use of his home-field advantage, finishing fifth at Pickwick and 16th at Lewis Smith. He currently holds first place in the Bassmaster Central Opens AOY standings.
The final Central Open takes place at Grand Lake, Oklahoma, which bodes well for Webster. He finished 12th at the Grand Lake Open in 2019.
Wester was introduced to bass fishing early in life by his father, Randy, and grandfather, Bob. Both competed regularly in local tournaments.
“My dad and grandfather threw nothing but spinnerbaits,” Webster said. “I still fish shallow. That’s where my heart is. But when it comes to winning money, I’m usually fishing off the bank.”
He stayed well off the bank at Lewis Smith and caught his bass by fishing the tops of tall trees rooted 100 feet deep. He dotes on Lowrance’s ActiveTarget Live Sonar.
A self-taught offshore angler, Webster has eagerly adopted the advances in sonar and mapping technology as they have been introduced. He has also invested countless hours learning how to take advantage of this technology to find bass offshore.
After graduating from high school, Webster joined three bass clubs and competed in their events. He later stepped up to the TBF circuit. In 2016 he won the TBF National Championship, which took his competitive fishing to another level. The prize included paid expenses to fish the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit for one year. Webster has been a standout on that tour ever since.
He lives in Hamilton, Ala., with his wife, Deah. They have been blessed with two girls, Mariah, 24, and Olivia, 17. Besides fishing, Webster owns and operates his own spray foam insulation business — Webster Insulation.
“I’ve got three guys who work for me full time,” Webster said. “When I roll back into town, we go to work the next day.”
Webster’s sponsors include Midway Marine in Fulton, Miss., Berkley, Abu Garcia, Lowrance, BoatLogix, Power-Pole, Mercury Marine, Ranger Boats and T-H Marine.