I had the opportunity to talk with professional fishing guide, outdoor writer, and photographer Brad Wiegmann. Brad Wiegmann has owned and operated …
I had the opportunity to talk with professional fishing guide, outdoor writer, and photographer Brad Wiegmann. Brad Wiegmann has owned and operated a fishing guide service on Beaver Lake since 1989. Brad also does guided trips at Lake Swepco. Brad offers guided trips for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, stripers, hybrids, and white bass. Brad has fished 58 FLW tournaments since 2000 including the FLW Tour, FLW Series, FLW Stren Series, and the FLW BFL. Brad has qualified for the Stren Championship in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005,2007, and 2008. Brad is also writes for American Bass Angler Magazine, Heartland Trails Magazine, Probass Network, Futurebass.com, The Great American Heartland Trails Magazine, and he has a weekly column in the Westfield Weekly Newspaper in Oklahoma. Just recently Versus the outdoor channel has been keeping in touch with him for the latest in spawning activity down at Beaver Lake.
I asked Brad about the fishing down at Beaver Lake and Brad says that this is one of Beaver Lakes better years. He says that the water has been high for the last couple of years which has really helped the fish out. Right now the fish are still in the mix and some of them are still shallow. Lately he has been on a roll with a topwater. He is catching his fish working pencil poppers along extended points. The technique he says is great because it has been catching all kinds of fish from largemouth to stripers. He has been catching a lot more quality fish on this technique but he also mentioned that a shaky head has been producing better numbers. Brads versatile in that he guides for so many different species.
While he hasn’t been frequenting Lake Swepco as often now as it has been getting warmer. He commented on the lake and that the number of the fish has gone down but the quality of the fish has gone up. He says that the power plant lake features rock and standing timber and offers excellent fishing during the colder months. The lake also has new ramp facilities. He takes clients out in the winter for hot bass fishing action.
Everyone who’s ever dreamed of fishing for a living has thought about what it is like to be a fishing guide. Brad says that it is great because it gives him a chance to be in the outdoors. He finds spending time with a lot of different people in the outdoors to be fun and interesting. He says it is great to have a job in which you get the opportunity to teach people of all ages more about the outdoors. He has tried a lot of different jobs in the past but found them to be almost unbearable at times. All the jobs in the past have helped him in what he’s doing now. He has had some interesting jobs throughout his life. He also has a degree in psychology. He’s come to the conclusion that being in the outdoors is what he truly loves.
Most anglers when you ask them what their favorite technique is will say flipping a jig, cranking, or casting a spinnerbait. Brad’s favorite technique is wake bait fishing. He likes to throw a jointed Red Finn or a Bomber 15 A in open water. He says it is a hard bait to learn at first mainly because it is hard to gain confidence in fishing open water. Most of the times in bass fishing you’re fishing specific cover and it can be hard to have the confidence in it. He says wake bait fishing is at its best when the fish are up and roaming around. In order to succeed at the technique he says you have to believe in it. He likes it because the fish that you catch will usually be good ones. Another lure that Brad feels comfortable throwing is a shaky head. He said that if you are going to fish Beaver Lake or any of the lakes of the Ozarks you have to know how to fish it. The technique that Brad dislikes the most is Carolina -rigging. He says he dislikes it because it can get to be a big time waster in having to retie after breaking off. Having to eventually retie due to line wear or breaking off can cut into valuable fishing time. There are too many components to the setup for his likes.
Brad gets to spend a great deal of time on Beaver Lake and Swepco but when asked what his two favorite lakes to fish are he says that it’s hard to beat Kentucky Lake and Sam Rayburn because both of them have grass that produces those big ol’ bass. There are not too many lakes in the Ozarks that have grass so I guess getting to fish lakes that offer it is a great change of pace.
Brad has fished with hundreds of different anglers over the years and two of the biggest mistakes he sees anglers make is that they are rusty on their casting accuracy and distance and that they come with reels spooled with old crinkled line. It is hard to catch fish if you cannot present the bait to the right locations with accuracy or cast the distance needed to get your bait to the strike zone. If you’re using old line you’re not going to be able to cast the distance you need or have the line strength to land hard fighting fish.
I thought it was interesting that a fisherman would have a degree in psychology so I asked Brad if he uses any of his schooling to his advantage while on the water. He says that his degree is an asset in that he always sets goals for each tournament. He tries to set goals that are reasonable and he tries to keep a level head while on the water. He says that he tries to stay focused at times when other people might be exploding with their emotions.
Brad also talked about some of the products he has been relying day in and day out. Brad has been using Excalibur’s copolymer mono fishing line from 30 pound to 4 pound test for all his guide trips. He really believes in the line and has found that he doesn’t have to come home from his guide trips and change it every day. He recommends this line for its strength and its long lasting ability. The Naked Bait Company Skirt Expander is another product he has been using a lot of lately. The Skirt Expander gives him the ability to make the skirts and patterns he needs. Fishing for a living, Brad goes through hundreds of baits and skirts a year. He spends a lot of time sitting down a head of time and making up different skirt patterns for his upcoming tournament stops or guide trips. It is important to have the right patterns for the conditions. Often times he is matching the crawfish. The Frabill Conservation Series Landing net is also getting its use in the boat. Brad says that Frabill makes the best net on the market. He says that it’s a knot less mesh that doesn’t take the slime coat off of the fish. When your netting as many fish a year as Brad does it is important that you have a net that helps improve each fish’s survival.
I also asked Brad how much luck plays in fishing and he said that luck is just being in the right place at the right time throwing the right lure. He says that there is no luck involved when you’ve got people casting a lure out that they think will work for whatever reason regardless if it is because they caught a fish on it last year or the other day. He says that fishing is all about picking the right locations and presentation and that the better you get and doing those two together the more lucky you get.
Brad currently spends his free time kayaking and other outdoor activities with his family. He spends a lot of time working on his website which includes keeping up with photos and writing. The website has been a work in progress. He does it all on his own and a lot of hard work and perspiration has gone into it. He says that some days he would be working over the phone for 3 hours or more in order to figure out different features. The website features articles by fish biologist on fish behavior, fishing tips, photos, tackle reviews as well as other featured articles. There will be more and more articles and information to come.
The best way to get a hold of Brad Wiegmann for guide trips is to visit his website at http://www.bradwiegmann.com/ or give him a call at 479-756-5279 or 479-871-5296.
Article by Spencer Clark