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Editor’s Note: 2020 got off to a great start for pro angler Bryan New. In his first tournament with BASS, New managed to take first place at the Bassmaster Eastern Open at Kissimmee Chain. His catch total tallied at 49 pounds, 8 ounces and was enough to send the North Carolina native home with a prize of over $50,000.
Recently, Premier Angler correspondent Chase Sansom had the opportunity to speak with Bryan New about his fishing journey, his recent win in Florida, and what’s coming next.
Below is a transcription of that conversation.
Premier Angler’s Chase Sansom Chats with Bryan New
Sansom: So, tell us where you’re from.
New: Belmont, North Carolina
Sansom: Before your win in Florida, had you won any other tournaments?
New: Last year, I won the Ray Scott Championship. I also won a BFL regional and then I won a Forrest Wood Cup as co-angler in 2014. I won co-angler of the year on the tour — some big stuff.
Sansom: That’s awesome, man. The Forrest Wood Cup win is a big deal. I read a lot of this stuff on Bassmaster but I’ll just ask you for my own records, how much did you win?
New: It was $52,500
Sansom: Give me a little background story on yourself. How did you get where you are today?
New: Well, I lived on Lake Wylie my entire life. Growing up, me and my brothers always fished the lake here at the house, really for whatever. Not always bass, but some amazing crappie and catfish. As I got older, the first job I got was in middle school. After school, I’d be taking out trash and sweeping floors at a tackle store right up the street from the house.
I got to meet some guys and started fishing with some of the the guys who shopped there. Even to this day I’m still good friends with a lot of them. But that’s kinda where the bass fishing started.
When I was 16, I started fishing the BFLs as a co-angler. I started doing well and meeting more people. I did well then stepped up and starting fishing the tours as a co-angler and did well there, too. Then just kept moving up. And last year, there was winning the Ray Scott Championship, I finished third in All-American, won a BFL regional on Lake Seminole. It was just an awesome year.
I think I finished third or fourth in points on the Costa series last year. Then this year, I had never fished anything with BASS before so I just decided I would fish some opens and see where it goes. Right now, it seems like it was a pretty good decision.
Sansom: Definitely. Last night, I got on Bassmaster to look up your stats and saw that you had one tournament fished with BASS and you won $52,500 and I thought to myself, “man, that’s some pretty good stats!”
But yeah, they’ve good a really good program.
New: You know, everyone treats you like you’re family. I didn’t know any of those guys over there and they didn’t know me personally but everyone working for BASS has just been super cool, super nice, treated me like we’ve been best friends forever.
Sansom: That’s awesome, man. Now, I’ve got some questions about tournament week. I think I read it on there, but what was your biggest bag of the tournament and what day was it?
New: So the first day, I had 21 (pounds) even and it went down from there. That was my best day.
Sansom: Breaking it down, what really got it done for you last week?
New: Well, I had one main area, or really one main place, which was all shore grass. That place is what won the tournament for me. I still had to go do some junk fishing because that place wasn’t even in the game plan.
So on the first day, I’m on boat two of four and I planned on locking down Kissimmee. Well, the lock will only hold about twelve boats and it’s a twenty minute turnaround per lock. So, I know I’ve got to go and start somewhere and I’m thinking in my mind, “well, I’ve got one bite here in practice, a four pounds,” so I stopped there and fished for a while. I do, and I catch a 5 1/2 (pound) keeper.
My plan on Kissimmee had kind of sunk, it disappeared. And that changes your decisions. I had to just go junk fish. I felt like it was the right conditions to throw a prop bait and I catch a 4 pounder. With that deal, I felt I had something going on with it.
So later in the day, I’m on lock, I’ve got about 45 minutes to fish and caught another 4 1/2 pounder then a couple smaller ones that might help me a little bit and I ended the day at 21 pounds.
The second day, it was pretty much every cast until around 9:15 for me and my co-angler both. I just never got a big bite. I had two 3.5 (pounders) but that was the biggest bite I had. But I elected to stay on (Lake) Toho that day and not take any risks. I didn’t have any one place or spot I felt I could go to on Kissimmee that would really make anything happen. So I decided I would just stay close and not use all of that time running and locking.
So the last day comes around and I started on that place again and I catch limit pretty quick, including a six pounder. The wind was gonna get up really hard that day and they predicted 15-to-25 (mph) and it was blowing every bit of that. I decided to run down to Kissimmee and with the wind and everything, it just seemed to set up right.
I get in there and tried to fish some pads. Well, I caught two really quick and I stayed on that for about two hours and never got another bite. Finally, I decided I had to throw a chatterbait with all that wind and I caught one fish that didn’t help.
Sansom: Now your biggest first, would that have been on the first day?
New: Actually, the biggest one I caught was on the third day. It was that six pounder.
Sansom: Now I’m kinda going backwards here, but how did practice go?
New: Practice was pretty tough. It was extremely tough, actually. I never really like to fish more than a couple hours on the day before a tournament. So that day before the tournament, I only fished until around 9:30 and I had four, maybe five bites.
The day before that I was getting some bites and both of those days, it was all on pads. So going into the tournament, that was my game plan. I was going to fish pads.
So after the first day, when I get locked down to Kissimmee, that’s what I was doing. On the first cast, I immediately had a bite. Second cast, I hooked one and it got tangled up in the pads. Four hours later, I hadn’t had another bite. So that’s when I knew I had to do something different.
Sansom: So in winning at Kissimmee, you’re qualified for the Bassmaster Classic. That’s a pretty huge accomplishment. How do you feel about qualifying for it?
New: Man, it’s an awesome deal. You know, it’s over a year away, so I’ve got over a year to prepare for it. I’m pretty excited about that. I’m looking forward to this year’s Classic. This is really the Super Bowl of bass fishing — there’s nothing bigger. I hope it’s the first of many.
Sansom: I’m definitely excited for you! As far as 2020 goes, what’s the rest of the plan?
New: Well, I’ve got the rest of the open I’m trying to do. I’m fishing some Costas in the South Division. I’ll end up cherry picking a few other ones. We’ve got the BFL All-American in May. We’ve also got a big Thursday night trail on Lake Wylie.
Me and one of my good friends — actually one of the guys I was telling you about from the tackle store who took me fishing when I was a kid — we’re still really good friends and we fish the Thursday night tournaments here, so that’s a lot of fun.
Sansom: That’s awesome. To wrap it up, do you have any sponsors or anyone you’d like to thank or give a shout-out to?
New: Yeah, so Greenfish Tackle especially. They’ve got some awesome stuff, from jigs to spinner baits, buzz baits, some crank baits and top waters.
Fitzgerald Rods, they make an awesome rod. Last week, I fished several different rods, but my primary was the (Bryan) Thrift Signature Series square bill rod. And there’s the Bryan Schmitt series — the swim jig rods. Really awesome stuff.
Sansom: Well man, that’s about all I have. I appreciate you taking the time to talk with us.