Extol Celebrating Health

MAR 2017

Extol Sports is a publication dedicated to celebrating, covering and featuring health, fitness and sports in Southern Indiana and Louisville, Kentucky.

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Brad Moser fishes bass for the competition and prize money. It's a hobby that can take over his life. By Steve Kaufman | Photos By David Harrison sk any fisherman about the biggest one he's ever caught and – well – there's a reason they call those "fish stories." But Brad Moser's record is on full view and easy to confirm. When he talks about the seven-pound bass he caught on Lake Monroe, it's part of his competitive record, just like Malik Monk's 47 points against North Carolina. (He once caught an eight-pounder on Lake Okeechobee, but that wasn't in a tournament, so we'll take his word on that one. Actually, Moser would insert a correction right here: It was eight pounds, four ounces.) Moser is a professional bass fisherman who goes out on the lakes and rivers of Kentucky and Indiana practically every weekend, competing for prize money. Over more than 20 years, he's been pretty successful at it – especially around here, competing with the First River City Bassmasters out of Southern Indiana. But there are other, bigger fish to fry for him. Professional bass fishing has an entire network of tournaments. Competitors progress from local tournaments, to state, to regional, ultimately culminating in what Moser called "the Super Bowl" of his sport, the Bass Master Classic, to be held at the end of March this year, near Houston. Weekend anglers go out and try their luck. Moser, like other professional bass fishermen, insists there is no "luck" to the sport. Success is a combination of experience, knowledge, judgment and equipment. It's also a willingness to put in the time, go out to the lakes and ponds and do your homework, studying the conditions, the weather and – most of all – the bass. The bass can be a hungry fish, willing to chomp at anything he sees swirling around in his environment. But he's also easily spooked, by noise or motion in the water, and can have unpredictable habits, determined by the weather or the water temperature, or by whatever he chooses to feed upon on that particular day. And it's the understanding and anticipation of these habits that separates the serious fishermen from the good-time- Charlies who see fishing as an excuse to relax on a boat and pound back a beer or two on a Sunday afternoon in August. Or, as Moser said, "tournament fishing is not going out, tossing a line in the water and watching your bobber all day." A It's pretty much a year-round sport, too. "You can catch bass all year, even with the water temperature in the 30s," he said. "ey're still eating the shad, still moving – their metabolism requires that they move." In the spring, they spawn. "ey get into the shallower waters to build their nests and lay their eggs. ey're not chasing the shad so much; they're at the shoreline where you can actually see them. It's a different kind of fishing." Like shooting fish in a barrel. His favorite time, Moser said, is in the late fall. "e bass feed better. Also, you don't have all the boat traffic, all the jet skiers." And in the winter, he said, "the shad die off until the water gets into the 50s, so right now the water is full of bass – and they're hungry." PONDS AND POLES Like so many kids who grew up in the more rural parts of Kentucky and Southern Indiana, Moser was surrounded by ponds as a young boy. It wasn't unusual to see him and his friends trooping through the New Albany woods of the 1970s and 80s with fishing poles on their shoulders, heading for the ponds to catch some bass, catfish and bluegill. "It was a different time," he recalled. "You don't see many 10-year-olds today walking around with fishing poles on their shoulders, do you?" But golf was his other passion in those days. After playing for Providence High School, he earned a scholarship to Trine University in Angola (known as Tri-State in those days), and then, for two years, at Indiana University Southeast. "I loved the competition of golf," Moser said. "And when I got out of school, I missed it. I was looking for that same level of competition." Which drew him back to fishing. FROM GOLF CLUBS TO BASS CLUBS Moser joined a local club, Rodbenders, in 1994 and, in 1998, moved to First River City Bassmasters and became part of the competitive world of tournament fishing. HE'S THE REEL DE AL 10 EXTOL SPORTS / MARCH 2017 THE ATHLETE NEXT DOOR

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