Bill Lowen talks about what it took to reach the level he has, and his plan for this year's 2016 Bassmaster Classic.
Bill has a sturdy grasp on what's important to him, and may just be the last man on the stage when they hand out the hardware in Tulsa.
Bill Lowen is the son of a professional angler. His passion for fishing was instilled as a birthright. His love for chasing largemouth bass has taken him to where few ever dream.
He will be fishing in his eighth Classic, and with that experience now on his side, he shared with me what is important to him, who inspired him, and why he thinks he just might win the Bassmaster Classic.
Wide Open Space: What is the first fishing memory you have?
Bill Lowen: A trip with my dad. He used to be a tournament fisherman. He used to drag me along during practice. I guess I was maybe six or seven years old at the time.
When did you realize that tournament fishing was what you wanted to do for a living?
I really cant remember when it was that I actually said 'I want to go pro.' I remember being a kid fishing the creeks, walking the Ohio River, and I can always remember saying 'I wanna be like Denny Brauer some day.' That was the dream, to be like him. He was a professional angler when I was a little guy. I'm surely blessed to be doing it today.
Do you currently have, or have you ever had, a fishing role model?
Well, Denny Brauer would certainly be that. Hank Parker too. Those were the guys I looked up to growing up. It was kind of ironic, Denny's last three years on tour we were practice partners. It was kinda cool to get to spend that time with him before he retired. He always was willing to spend the time with me. We were similar fishermen in that we both like shallow water flipping. It worked out well because we could turn three days of practice into six by sharing the info. He taught you things you may never be able to learn on your own.
Do you have a favorite sport outside of fishing?
That's hard to say. Football, baseball, and basketball always seemed to get in the way of some season. Whether that be spring spawn, fall deer hunting, or winter waterfowl. If I had to pick one that would spark my interest I would have to say golf. The golfers are a lot like us. The weather, wind, all of the things they have to take into consideration is like us. I feel like its one of the closest sports to our sport that you could have.
Do your kids fish?
My son is 4, my daughter is 7. We take them to the lake and they will fish until we say it's time to go, or their just wore out. My son tends to have the toughest temper when its time to go. As a family we do everything outdoors together. My wife, the kids, nieces and nephews, were all interested in the outdoors. We share that time together.
Any notable times or big catches with the kids fishing?
No. Not really. I like to look at it as every moment we spend out there is special. So nothing really stands out. I've got to see all their firsts, so to speak, and I just cherish it all. I look forward to every day, what is new, and what are they gonna do so I can't pick one above the rest.
How do you balance travel and family?
I am very fortunate they get to travel with me all year long. My wife just started home schooling my daughter so it's a family affair. My daughter is 7 and she has seen almost all 50 states.
Do you like the venue for this year's Classic?
I do. Last time we were here I thought I had a really good chance to win. The weather came in and kinda threw me off. I think I ended up finishing 18th. I remember having a gut feeling that I had a really good chance of winning here last time. This year is setting up perfect for what I had going on last time before the weather came in. So to say I'm excited is an understatement. I'm very excited to be back here.
What kind of conditions are you looking for in this year's Classic?
I'm not looking for any kind of conditions. I just want it to be stable. I don't care if the highs are in the 40s or the 60s, as long as it's stable.
What sort of preparation did you do to specifically prepare?
It has rained a lot. We've had four or five big events at Grand Lake O' the Cherokees so I didn't go there because I didn't feel like I would benefit from it. As far as preparing for the Classic or even the upcoming season as a whole, I like to do what a lot of other guys don't do. I take a lot of time off from the fishing scene. Go deer hunting, waterfowl hunting, spend time with the family. What that does is it gives me a burning desire to be fishing again. Right now I feel like a caged animal. It gives me that drive to really want to go and make things happen.
What can you take from your previous Classics that will help you win in this one?
They consider me the most consistent angler on tour. I have always fished for a check. I don't have the luxury to swing for the fences. What I have learned in the Classic is you get paid whether you catch a fish or not. Last year was the first time I really swung for the fences. I gambled. Pulled up and left a good spot. Had I stayed there and caught a few more fish, I would have been able to compete on the third day. I knew I had to take chances to try to win. That was an eye opener to me. It really doesn't matter where you finish in the Classic unless you win. This year I'm going to fish to win. That means you will see either really good things out of me, or really bad.
What is your favorite bait to throw?
If they told me I had one bait to throw the rest of my life it would be a 4-inch flipping tube. Right now, it's the Tight Lines UV flipping tube.
What are you never on the water without?
I always let my kids add a sticker or two in a spot only we know about, usually where I am tying baits, working on my tackle, an area I see a lot. You never know what it is going to be. This year it's a T-Rex dinosaur and a pair of pink deer antlers with my daughters name written in them.
By putting those stickers there, does it help keep things in perspective for you?
Absolutely. When I pull in the dock it doesn't matter if I have a limit or one fish, my kids are gonna be glad that dad is back in.
Why will you win this year's Classic?
It's my time. It sets up perfect for the way I like to fish. It's time for all the stars to line up. So if I had to say one thing, I would say it's my time.
After talking with Bill Lowen, I have come to one conclusion. He is a competitor, he has all his values in order, and it just may be his time.