Brandon Day and Cade Wilson met at a stock show because Day’s son, Hunter, was involved in FFA at Brownwood High School and Wilson is one of the BHS agriculture teachers. Little did they know at the time that a winning bass fishing duo would result from their first meeting.
“We just got to talking, and we realized that we both love fishing,” Day said.
Day and Wilson earned Anglers of the Year honors for the Central Region during the just-completed Bass Champs 2019 series, the largest team tournament trail in Texas. They said there are multiple secrets to their success.
“I think that we get along well is the main key,” said Day, who works at Superior Essex Inc. in Brownwood. “It’s easy when things aren’t going well to butt heads, but we stay the course. We know that a lot of fish are caught late in the day.”
Wilson, who actually lives in Early, shared another secret. “We’re open minded in that we kind of fish by instinct. A lot of fishermen have their certain spots they fish and they don’t change it. We move around a lot, and it’s worked for us,” he said.
“We’ve learned to be patient. You can be out there and not get a bite for three hours (tournaments typically go from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.). But you have to maintain your intensity level because it can happen at any moment. You can have your day made on the last cast as easily as the first one,” Wilson said.
Finally, Day said, “I think another thing that helps us is that we have fun and don’t take it too seriously. We both started fishing to have fun as kids. It’s a competition now, but we remember why we originally got into fishing and that’s to have fun.”
Those secrets may not work for every two-person bass fishing team, but they made Day and Wilson the Anglers of the Year for the Central Region for the 2019 Bass Champs Tournament Trail. In four tournaments this year, Day and Wilson finished fourth at Lake Travis on Feb. 9, eighth at Lake Travis on March 23, 27th at Lake Belton on April 13, and fourth at Lake LBJ on May 11.
Each team submits its five largest bass and places are determined by the combined weight of the fish. There are about 140 teams entered in each tournament, and Wilson said one pound can mean the difference in 30 or 40 places.
The entries change somewhat in each tournament, in part, because of the $20,000 prize for winning one of the four events. Day and Wilson wouldn’t have turned down $20,000, but their consistency over the four tournaments gave them 536 points for the tournament trail and Anglers of the Year distinction. Day and Wilson finished the tournament trail with 536 total points, 42 points ahead of the runner-up team of Damon Ross (Georgetown) and Dylan Ross (Lexington).
Tim Reneau and Judy Reneau of Richland Springs finished second at the Lake LBJ tournament and tied for 10th in the final standings with 426 points. Overall, 257 teams earned points during the Central Region’s four tournaments.
Day and Wilson said being able to fish in bad weather was important to their consistency in the four tournaments. “The chamber of commerce days (warm and sunny) usually aren’t the best days to fish,” Wilson said. “We didn’t have good weather at any of the four tournaments. We had cold, rain, fog, wind and thunderstorms. Some spent time complaining about the weather. We spent time fishing.”
Day said, “We actually prefer bad weather because it eliminates a lot of the competition just from a mental standpoint.”
Wilson said he and Day’s earnings for the year were about $7,000. The overall points victory also earned Day and Wilson free entry fees for next year’s tournament trail. They also will be featured on the Bass Champs TV show, which airs on the Sportsman Channel four times a week, at a time to be determined.
At a year-end event in October, Day and Wilson will be recognized as the Central Region Anglers of the Year. They also will compete in a championship event with qualifying teams from each of the four regions -- North, South East and Central. Additionally, they will compete in a bracket challenge event with the Anglers of the Year from the other three regions.
“It’s a neat deal to be the top team from our region because the chance to win $20,000 in every tournament draws some of the best fishermen from across the state,” Wilson said.
Day and Wilson are the second Brownwood area winners of the Central Region Anglers of the Year award for the Bass Champs Tournament Trail, following Johnny Grice and Dustin Grice in 2013.