Who’s Hot? Brandon Carpenter
Jun 10th, 2010 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Jun 10th, 2010 at 12:00 AM
What gives a pro that “hot stick” come tournament day?
Sure, luck may figure in, but planning is always the trump card, says Iowa native Brandon Carpenter, a young pro who’s on a roll in his second season on the AIM Pro Walleye Series.
So far this season, Carpenter has notched two great performances that would make any seasoned veteran proud.
Following a fifth place finish at Bay City in May, topped by a strong second-place showing at the special Bay Mills Invitational in Brimley, MI, Carpenter is hoping that the Green Bay AIM is the proverbial ‘third time’s a charm’ to continue building on that momentum and keep him in the hunt for the championship and Angler of the Year honors on Lake Winnibigoshish in September.
“I’m excited about the event in Green Bay. I’m really focused this year and I was wishing the invitational in Brimley would have counted for AIM Angler of The Year,” said Carpenter, who exudes an affable, easy-going, nothing-bothers-me attitude on the water, even when the difference between a swing and a miss and a hook-up can mean thousands of dollars.
“Normally I try to get in six full days of fishing before each tournament he adds from his home in the rolling farm country of Rockwell, IA, south of Mason City. “Our goal is to find one good spot each day. If you can go into a tournament with five or six spots you can count on, that makes a huge difference,” Carpenter says. And like any top pro, it also pays to have a great support team. He says he already has a scouting party out on Green Bay, searching for those potential hot spots.
“I’ve got some good friends in Green Bay who are trying to locate fish already,” he says.
While some pros fish on teams having three or more members, Carpenter says he also has to overcome the fact that his team numbers only two, himself and Bruce Mirabella, from Bartlett, IL., near Chicago.
“So it takes us a lot longer to cover the water we need. That makes fishing harder, and smarter, even more important.
“I’ve had some amazing pre-fishing so far this year and it seems like whenever I get to a tournament, I stay extremely focused and don’t panic. In Bay City, my Number One spot was the one I fished, and my No. 2 spot is where Jarrad Fluekiger, who won the tournament, was.
“I’m kind of the rookie in the league. As my wife says, I’ve been a Triple-A League fisherman for the past 10 or 15 years, and last year I decided to move up to the big leagues. I competed in the full season with AIM last year and learned quite a few lessons from these guys. “
That’s one reason he says he teamed with Mirabella. “I learned that if you’re competing, you’d better have more help, as in teammates, so you can learn, watch and work together. I was just an average angler last year, and had high hopes for this season, and things are starting to work out pretty well,” he says.
His preliminary strategy for Green Bay? Fish hard, and again, smart on that water body, which presents its own challenges because of its size and the influence of Lake Michigan.
“I’ve probably got all of 30 days experience on Green Bay. Last year, after the pre-fish, the weather came out of the north and blew colder water right out of the big lake and into Green Bay. Because of my inexperience, I didn’t know how to react to that. But this year I’ve got some ideas. Last year, I didn’t make the cut. This year, that will be different,” he says confidently. Which is what you also have to be a hot stick: the confidence to stick to your plan, and be versatile.
“A lot of guys have favorite baits and techniques. I really don’t have one. I love them all. And I’ve learned that you usually have to have a different presentation at each spot, so it’s good to be a journeyman in every technique,” Carpenter says.
“I’m feeling more comfortable with what I’m doing this season, and that there’s a game plan every day. I stick to my plan and hope that everything works out come tournament days, and we’re not about to change. I’ve done the panicking thing before and that very rarely works. That’s one of the things I’ve learned.
“It’s all about having the knowledge and confidence to think you can compete with the rest of the field and do the best you can every day,” he says. “When things work out, it’s great, and when they don’t, it kinda stinks. But that’s fishing. And, so far this year, it’s been working out.”
Reach Brandon with a comment at [email protected].