Brent Chapman on Answering Minnesota's Biggest Bass Fishing Question - Major League Fishing

Brent Chapman on Answering Minnesota’s Biggest Bass Fishing Question

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February 15, 2017 • Lynn Burkhead • Cup Events

For Jack Link’s Major League Fishing Pro Brent Chapman, there’s really only one question to be answered this week near Grand Rapids, Minn. as the 2017 MLF Summit Cup championship is being contested: what species should he target in the epic bass waters found here in the North Country not too many miles south of the Minnesota/Canada border?

“The biggest hurdle that we have here is to know whether I need to go after largemouth or do I need to go after smallmouth,” said Chapman, a Kansas pro who has four B.A.S.S. wins and the 2012 B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year title on his resume.

How will Chapman seek to answer whether he should be targeting the green largemouths of Minnesota or the state’s renowned brown smallmouths?

“Well, for me, it starts as soon as we get out there on our ride through and I take my first look at what type of structure and cover is available,” said Chapman, a pro with more than $1.7 million in career earnings in the bank.

“If I can find some offshore reeds with some rocks on them, that might be a good indicator of smallmouths but if it’s all shallow vegetation and docks, then I’m probably going to start fishing for largemouths.”

But no matter what goes through Chapman’s mind as he takes a spin around a MLF venue, he says that he wants to start fishing with an open mind.

“You want to let the fish tell you what to do (each day),” he said. “Some of that comes with the type of lure that you’re fishing since it can be easy to start catching either species of bass with a topwater, something like a jerkbait or even a soft plastic.

“Just get out there and see what happens when you start catching fish.”

With more than a dozen rods lying on his front deck with several different types of lures tied on, Chapman says that he’ll be searching for that sense, or that gut feeling, that he often gets during a day’s action.

If the fish he winds up catching are smallmouths on certain types of cover, Chapman said that such an occurrence will quickly lead him down the path to target Minnesota’s big bronzeback bass.

“But if I am finding myself catching largemouths on shallow stuff, then I’ll just stick with that,” Chapman said, noting that he hopes the first few bites of the day will quickly lead him down the right path.

Even so, Chapman mentioned the possibility that whoever succeeds here this week may very well have to do so by catching both species of black bass.

“Minnesota has always been known for having some phenomenal fisheries,” he said. “Everybody down south (like myself) enjoys coming up here to the north to catch bass on our summer vacations.

“That (reputation) is very exciting in and of itself.”

Chapman is also excited to be in Grand Rapids this week given his own personal angling history in the state.

“My very first professional tournament was in Minnesota, so that brings back some fond memories,” he said. “It was on (Lake) Minnetonka and it was a phenomenal fishery.

“We’re farther north here this week (in Grand Rapids) but I know this place is going to be good for sure.”

Given the big wolfpacks of smallmouth bass and the numerous largemouths roaming shoreline cover, Chapman hopes to make the SCORETRACKER LIVE! leaderboard light up, especially if he can cover the water quickly and/or find success while searching with something like a topwater lure.

“The boat officials, they are going to be busy in this one, there’s no doubt about that,” Chapman said. “SCORETRACKER is going to be busy and I’ve just got to be prepared for that mentally – I hope I’m the one that sets the pace.

“I bet this is one of the busier events in all of Major League Fishing history,” he added with a smile.