Good things come to those who bait

Nineteen-year-old Center Grove resident competes in 25-30 national fishing tournaments per year

By Sherri Coner

A boat, some bait and a bobber sum up a lot of Brennan McDougal’s life.

This Center Grove resident accidentally fell for fishing when he threw a line in the water a few times with a buddy.

“I was almost an indoor kid until I started to realize that actually, a lot goes into fishing,”

Brennan said with a laugh. “I was 13, and I thought to myself, ‘This is more fun than I thought it would be.’”

One year later, he participated in his first fishing tournament.

“I just jumped right into it,” Brennan said. “I’m a competitive person.”

Center Grove resident Brennan McDougal, 19, tournament fishing in Smith Lake, Ala. (Submitted photos)

Since then this 19-year-old has packed up his rod and reel and bait box and hit the road.

He has competed in Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Florida to Louisiana, Texas and Michigan, just to name a few.

“Sometimes I spend more time on the road than I do in a boat,” he said.” But I love to travel and see new places, so this is perfect.”

When he competes in Indiana, “Some local tournaments are in the range of 50 to 100 boats,” Brennan said. “But in my main series, I fish on the national scale in the Major League Fishing Toyota Series.”

The national tournament competition is fierce, with up to 270 boats allowed.

Brennan doesn’t own a bass boat. “They can cost upward of $100, 000,” he said. “I’m very fortunate to have someone who will let me use their boat.”

Brennan, son of Jeff and Leslie McDougal of Center Grove, tournament fishing in Lake Guntersville, Ala.

Even if he could somehow afford to buy his own boat, it wouldn’t be practical.

“I live in an addition. I couldn’t park a 21-foot boat in our driveway for very long.”

Traveling around to competitively fish would not be possible without sponsors, he said.

Participating in 25 to 30 tournaments a year requires a serious commitment.

“I put a lot into this,” Brennan said.

When he arrives at a location, competitors are allowed a couple of days of practice, followed by three days of serious bass fishing.

According to weight, competitors choose their top five bass.

Tournament fishing on the Morse Reservoir in Indiana.

“In one tournament, I caught two bass over seven pounds each,” he said. “And I ended up winning another tournament too, which was an added bonus.”

In this busy guy’s opinion, fishing all day is not constantly exciting.

“Some fishermen will lie to you and say they never get bored when the fish aren’t biting,” Brennan said. “But I get bored, I absolutely do.”

Someday, the only reason Brennan baits a hook will be to enjoy a lazy day in the sun.

“I do not have intentions to fish full time,” he said. “That is not what I’m interested in. That’s a risky way to go through life.”

As a freshman at Ivy Tech, Brennan completes homework after fishing all day, and he is also serving as the boat captain for Indian Creek High School Fishing Club, so club members can participate in the Indiana Bass Nation competition.