Our friend Glenn

After more than 30 years of competing in B.A.S.S. tournaments, I’ve seen a lot of anglers come and go. Some I dig deep to remember, others I’ll never forget.

Glenn Browne is one of those that will stay in my mind forever.

I first heard of Glenn through his exploits in tournaments across Florida — regional derbies held on our state’s best waters. Places like Okeechobee, Seminole, the Kissimmee Chain and St. Johns River.

Glenn was making a name for himself through consistent high finishes, largely with a flipping stick. He loved that technique to a fault.

As time passed, Glenn advanced to the national scene where he became a force on the FLW Tour, claiming four victories. In 2013, he decided to compete in the Bassmaster Southern Opens — in the hope of qualifying for the Bassmaster Elite Series. And he was successful.

His year in the Elites

During the 2014 opener on Lake Seminole — his Elite Series debut — I shared a house with Glenn and Jacob Powroznik.

It was early spring and the bass were moving in to spawn. Jacob and I were finding plenty of bedding fish and we tried sharing that information with Glenn. But he didn’t want to hear it. He had established a flipping pattern and wasn’t about to give it up.

As the tournament progressed, Glenn’s flipping bite faded, and he ended up near the bottom of the standings.

In retrospect, I think, deep down, he knew our pattern was stronger. But rather than rely on the help of others, Glenn insisted on developing his own strategies. He was proud that way, and I respected him for it.

As the Elite Series moved north, Glenn and I continued to share houses and hotels together. And with each tour stop, we got to know each other a little better.

Unfortunately, his struggles continued. It seemed the harder he fought, the worse things went for him. Yet, through it all, I never heard him complain.

Anytime I figured something out, I would try to share it with him. But Glenn was so set in his ways, he would always stick to his own game plan. And by the end of the season, his Elite Series campaign was over.

Bigger battles begin 

I recall after the final event on the Delaware River, things weren’t going well at home. His marriage and finances were in turmoil. That led to an ugly divorce. 

Wanting to help Glenn through his financial struggles, best friend Rick Couch gave him a job at his local RV dealership. The two had been close fishing buddies throughout their adult lives. 

While working at the RV dealership, Glenn entered FLW’s Costa Series. His intent was to requalify for the FLW Tour, which he did through an incredible run — ultimately winning at Champlain. 

In 2016, Glenn was having another strong season … but something wasn’t quite right. He was beginning to feel tired, drained of any energy. Rather than seeking medical help, in typical Glenn Browne fashion, he kept it to himself and battled through it. 

At the end of the season, with his condition worsening, he finally consulted with a physician and had some tests run. That was about the time he met his soulmate, Melissa. The two found each other online and made an immediate connection. She was teaching nursing classes at nearby Rasmussen College, which, in time, proved to be invaluable to their relationship. 

Shortly after they had begun dating, the bad news came. Glenn’s test results revealed that he had stage-4 colorectal cancer. 

Learning of his condition, he immediately notified Melissa … expecting her to move on. But Melissa had other plans. She was all in. She wanted to help.

Relying on her insight and years of medical training, the two began their battle with the disease together.

With Melissa at his side, Glenn underwent lengthy and exhaustive chemo and radiation treatments. When those treatments were complete, surgeons removed his tumor and any surrounding lymph nodes. Through it all, he never complained. 

As time passed, his numbers began to improve, and he was regaining his strength. It appeared he was in recovery. His bond with Melissa, too, was growing stronger.

He returned to competition, fishing both the FLW Tour and Costa Series. Toward the end of that season, however, follow-up tests revealed his cancer was still present … and worse, it had spread to his liver and lungs.

Knowing the end was near; Glenn devoted his remaining time to Melissa. They were married on Jan. 19, 2019, and from that point, they did everything together — including a trip to Springfield, Mo. Glenn’s final wish was to see the attraction Wonders of Wildlife. 

A week later, on May 28, 2019 — with Melissa and his mother at his side — Glenn finally succumbed to the disease.

Looking back 

Speaking to Glenn’s relationship with Melissa, Rick Couch said this: “Glenn was a standup guy before he met Melissa. Glenn was a happy standup guy after he met Melissa. And it’s clear why he battled cancer for so long … it was so that he could have more time with her.” 

For those who knew Glenn, that statement hits home. When he was with Melissa, it seemed he didn’t have a care in the world. He always had a smile on his face. Without a doubt, she was the best thing in his life. 

Glenn’s sponsors, too, supported him to the end. Super Chips, Ranger, Evinrude, Lew’s, Power-Pole, River2Sea, Phantom Outdoors … all stood behind him. And that speaks volumes to his character and how strong those relationships truly were.

As I write this, hundreds of people are gathering to celebrate Glenn’s life. Family, friends, fishermen, media and sponsors — all coming together to remember the man who had such a positive impact on all of us and our sport. Each of us knowing, no one ever fought harder in competition … or in life.

In lieu of flowers, Glenn asked that all donations go to the Marion County Youth Bassmasters — a group of young, up and coming anglers whom he mentored.