Please select your home edition
Edition
Coast Guard Foundation LEADERBOARD 1

LeBoom! Louisiana Pro locks up life-affirming Guntersville win

by Major League Fishing 18 May 19:52 UTC
Nick LeBrun © Major League Fishing

On Championship Sunday, Nick LeBrun stepped to the deck of his boat surveying an expanse of eelgrass on the Tennessee River.

He told his cameraman, E.K., that a 5-pounder would change everything for him today as he let a cast fly 120 feet over the bow. Seconds later, a 7-pound Guntersville largemouth smashed his line and really did change everything for the newest Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Fuel Me champion.

LeBrun went on to boat a 22-pound, 15-ounce total that gave him his first MLF win since a Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American title in 2018. It's at that BFL event where this week's story begins.

On an early summer day four years ago, LeBrun stood onstage holding a $100,000 check, his wife of six years, Jolene, invisible in his mind.

Two weeks later, LeBrun said he was on the side of the road in Louisiana preparing to commit suicide.

Caught in a self-described web of lies weaved together by his own ego, the check that was supposed to solve LeBrun's problems had only made them worse. Though his fishing career was taking off, LeBrun's marriage with Jolene was on the rocks. The couple were separated and seemingly beyond repair.

"I was chasing fame and fortune," LeBrun admitted. "I was the president of my own fan club, and I thought getting a major win with major money would fix it all. But it didn't. It left me feeling more hopeless and broken than ever."

According to LeBrun, his image was the problem. He felt like a character playing a fictionalized version of himself, one that needed to be perfect to feel worthy to others. The Nick LeBrun that won the All-American was supposed to be someone that had everything figured out, someone that had no problems.

"It was a complete 180 from the truth," he said.

But the truth did come out. Instead of taking his life, LeBrun called a good friend that immediately connected him to crisis manager and chaplain Craig Kennedy. And it was Kennedy who pointed a shattered Lebrun down a pathway where he could begin picking up the pieces and feeling complete. The phone call that followed on the side of that highway may well have saved LeBrun's life.

"Craig told me not to do it," LeBrun recalled. "He said, 'Hey man. Listen. Don't do that. Because that's not the answer. If you do that, there's not going to be any chance of things working out. Just come see me. Come see me.' He talked me off the ledge."

A few weeks later, Jolene invited Nick to church. Though they hadn't spoken in weeks, LeBrun accepted the invitation and became a man of faith.

"I realized that I was in need of a savior like I had been told my whole life," Lebrun said. "Until that point, I had stiff-armed the idea. I thought it didn't apply to me. But finally, I realized that I do need Jesus Christ in my life to continue in any way. That didn't just patch up our marriage, it made it brand new."

Nearly four years to the date, the words of Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit emcee Chris Jones echoed out over a crowd gathered on the shore of Lake Guntersville. In the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains with the most storied bass fishery on the planet lapping behind the stage, Jones told LeBrun that he would need a 5-pound bass to knock Nick Hatfield off the hot seat.

LeBrun reached into the bag and pulled out a 7.

A few minutes later, Jolene joined him on stage as the couple accepted a $100,000 check for a professional bass fishing win.

The record books will say that LeBrun won his first Pro Circuit championship using a blue, 10-inch V&M J-Mag Worm on a ¾-ounce, V&M Mega Shakey Head by fishing in 30 feet of water mid-lake at Guntersville. They might say that he put in at Waterfront Bay and that - occasionally - he would cruise into the nearby shallows to target bed fish. They might even tell you that LeBrun found what proved to be the winning school on the final day of practice. But ask the man himself, and he will tell you that none of that really matters.

He will tell you that he is a Christian first, a father second and a bass fisherman after that. Four years after his lowest low, LeBrun has reached his greatest height as a pro bass fisherman; and he did so without making professional bass fishing his identity.

"The truth is I wasn't the same person on that stage that I am today," LeBrun told the crowd. "Those were dark times in my life."

Today, the LeBrun family basked in the light.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of taking your own life, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress.

Top 10 Pros:

1. Nick LeBrun - 22 - 15 (5) - $101,000
2. Nick Hatfield - 20 - 09 (5) - $30,000
3. Michael Neal - 18 - 06 (5) - $25,000
4. Bobby Lane - 17 - 03 (5) - $20,000
5. Josh Butler - 15 - 15 (5) - $19,000
6. Jacob Wall - 14 - 10 (5) - $18,000
7. Spencer Shuffield - 13 - 02 (5) - $17,000
8. Ron Nelson - 11 - 08 (5) - $16,000
9. Brandon Mosley - 11 - 06 (5) - $15,000
10. Lane Olson - 0 - 00 (5) - $14,000

Complete results here...

Related Articles

LeBrun locks up back-to-back wins with 17-9
On the James River at Toyota Stop 5 by PowerStop Brakes All week long, Nick LeBrun looked in control as he posted consistent bags the first three days to lead the field going into Championship Sunday at Toyota Stop 5 Presented by PowerStop Brakes on the James River. Posted on 23 Jun
Ultrex keeps getting better
“It changed the way I fish” If your trolling motor can lock onto any spot, drive your boat for you and be controlled from anywhere...you're gonna catch more fish. Posted on 19 Jun
Connor closes wire-to-wire All-American blowout
Cunningham led from Day 1 and never relinquished his lead It was nothing but domination from start to finish for Missouri angler Connor Cunningham as he was named the champion of the 39th annual Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine All-American on Lake Hamilton on Saturday. Posted on 9 Jun
Top 10 baits from the Harris Chain
What wasn't much of a surprise were the baits used by the Top 10 as a whole Jonathan Semento's momentous rally from Lake Griffin to win the Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. Southern Division event on the Harris Chain was a huge surprise. Posted on 1 Jun
Top 10 baits from Lake Guntersville
Those fishing offshore found their schools were often moving from day to day The sudden onset of summer heat and a lake in transition meant tournament days at the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Fuel Me stop on Lake Guntersville looked a little different than practice for most competitors. Posted on 25 May
Top 10 baits from Sam Rayburn
Look at what helped the Top 10 anglers catch 'em from shallow to deep Most of the pros in the Top 10 of the Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. Southwestern Division Presented by Outlaw Ordnance event fished transition spots. However, there were a few guys who also scored shallow to keep the fish honest during the transition. Posted on 12 May
Top 10 baits from Pickwick Lake
Look at the lures that helped during the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Fuel Me Of the Top 10 pros for the latest Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Fuel Me event on Pickwick Lake, only one (John Cox) didn't use at least one of the three, with most pros using multiple in their arsenals. Posted on 5 May
Drury University wins on Table Rock Lake
Abu Garcia College Fishing Tournament victory earned the Panthers' bass club $2,000 The Drury University duo of Clay Henderson of Purdy, Missouri, and Zachery Ward of Cabot, Arkansas, won the MLF Abu Garcia College Fishing Presented by YETI event Table Rock Lake Saturday with a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 4 ounces. Posted on 28 Apr
Alexis & Bacot win High School Fishing State Champ
First all-girls team makes history in Louisiana Alexis Virgillito and Taylor Bacot won the March 13 LHSAA High School Fishing State Championship on Caddo Lake with an incredible five-bass limit worth 30 pounds, three ounces. Posted on 20 Apr
Top 10 patterns from Lake Texoma
Reynolds secures yet another Texoma Top 10 How do you catch the biggest bag after multiple days of pounding wind and waves and excessive fishing pressure? That's the question the pros had to answer during the Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. Southwestern Division event on Lake Texoma. Posted on 13 Apr
Coast Guard Foundation FOOTER 3Sea Sure 2020 - SHOCK-WBV - FOOTER38 South - Merry Fisher 795 Series - FOOTER - Sept2021