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Brent Haimes Classic Bound
By: Tim Domaille
Brent Haimes from Mazeppa MN will be fishing his heart out in the 2008 Bassmaster Classic February 22-24 at Lake Hartwell in Greenville SC. I recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Brent who is one of the most skilled and technical anglers from Minnesota.
Brent got his start in fishing while in his mid teens wading through sloughs on the Mississippi River. With a hand full of Beetle Spins and one rod and reel, Brent set off to see what he could catch. In his mid 20’s he joined a fishing club out of Plainview MN. They would fish multi species tournaments including rough fish. It was during that time that sparked Brent’s desire for Bass fishing.
Brent joined the Zumbro Valley Bassmasters in 1989. He recalls how intimidating it was to walk into his first meeting with 25 Club members staring at him. Brent thought he was a pretty good fisherman and soon found out he was in for an education. During the time Brent has been in the Bass Club, he has held several committee positions including Tournament Director, Vice President, President and Federation Representative and continues to be very active today.
When Brent first started tournament fishing in the Bass Club, he threw a lot of Spinner Baits and Crank Baits. He thought he was pretty good with these tactics. After fishing a few Club tournaments with some great anglers, Brent learned to adapt. He learned to look at such things as water temp, water clarity, vegetation, forage, sun, clouds, wind, current, fish movements and fishing pressure. All of these things combined make up the “Big picture”.
By “Big picture” Brent is referring to putting together a strategy for fishing any body of water and over coming conditions. With all these added perspectives on fishing, Brent was able to broaden his arsenal of Bass fishing tackle and techniques. He learned techniques such as flipping and pitching, drop shotting, slop fishing, dock fishing, dragging tubes, swimming grubs and jigs, Carolina rigging and deep cranking. Having the opportunity to fish with such an array of anglers has given Brent the ability to adapt and form his own techniques. Learning to be versatile is one of the most important keys to Brent’s success.
Fishing in the Club has also helped Brent grow into a more confident fisherman. Fishing with all types of anglers with different personalities, ages, back grounds, lifestyles and abilities has made Brent more mature, helped him make his own decisions, and gaining a lot of confidence both on and off the water. Now instead of being a follower, experience has made him into a leader. Qualifying for the Bassmaster Classic has also been a humbling experience. To realize all of the people in the Club, friends, State members, Regional members, and guys around the country, are pulling for the “Underdog”. What a feeling!
If there is one thing that stands out to Brent for gaining knowledge and confidence, it’s time spent on the water whether with someone or by himself, the more time the better. Every time Brent takes to the water, he ties something different. Fishing an area differently, trying a new technique or refining an existing technique, the time is invaluable. Learning to utilize your electronics is another important key to success. Knowing how to read the graph and knowing what you are looking for has immensely aided in his success.
Ask most people that know Brent and they will tell you he is the most intense angler when it comes down to preparation for a tournament. Brent spends countless hours studying maps, previous tournament results and recaps, internet searches and video of tournament coverage’s. Also during pre fishing, Brent spends a tremendous amount of time with an underwater camera viewing structure and looking for a concentration of fish. He also utilizes a video camera, tape recorder and mapping chips to help aid him in finding “the spot on the spot”. Brent strongly feels that with his preparation time and tools, he will be successful in his tournament.
Brent fished the MN BASS State TOC on Gull Lake September 7th & 8th 2006, which allowed him to advance to BASS Northern Regional held on Lake Erie August 17th- 19th 2007. Fishing Lake Erie was a challenge. The wind and waves of this big body of water were always a challenge. In practice, Brent learned how to navigate the ever changing conditions in order to best present his bait and be able to fish his “spot on the spot”. He fished reefs, rock piles, and hard spots in 20-28’ of water with a drop shot Goby or Straight tail worm. A portable GPS was the real key to his success.
Because Brent was skilled enough to place first in the Minnesota division, he advanced to the BASS Federation Championship held on Lake TOHO Florida November 8-10th 2007. Even though Brent prepared himself for this tournament more than any other, practice was very tough. Research told Brent that the fish would relate to clean water in the middle and along the edges of the grass flats. In two days of practice, Brent boated one 6 inch bass and shook off one other bite. On the day of tournament, Brent fished the outer edges of the grass with a Texas rigged worm, Jerk baits, and Carolina rig. Brent flipped miles of Hydrilla and grass everyday. He felt that the bigger fish would be there and it was just a matter of putting his bait right on there nose. Brent’s winning fish were in matted grass that took a 1 oz Conquistador Tungsten weight thrown 20’ in the air to punch through the heavy mats. His bait of choice was Yum Big Show Craw with a 4/0 Gamakatsu Superline on 65# Braided line. Brent said “This is one of the toughest tournaments I have ever fished and a good mental attitude was a major key in catching my last two fish with less than three hours to go in the tournament”. Brent finished 1st in the Northern Division with a lead of over three pound to secure his victory.
Brent's preparation for the 2008 Bassmaster Classic included a trip to Lake Hartwell in which he spent six days fishing before the cut off. Brent video tapped most of what he fished and a lot of different locations to help him in preparing a game plan for the tournament. The six days spent on Lake Hartwell was very critical because the lake was at a record 13’ below normal pool. The time spent also helped in understanding the importance of following the bait fish on a reservoir and to realize these fish seem to always roam. The patterns will be different than when Brent was down there during practice, but keeping up on exercising to stay in shape and listening to positive mental attitude tapes will help in his quest for victory.
To quote Brent...“This is the Super bowl of Bass fishing and I want to be able to give it my Best Shot!”
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