Right off the heels of an incredible win at the Walmart FLW Tour at Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude, we got to sit down and ask bass-fishing pro Dave Lefebre a few questions. We appreciated how his candid and competitive nature showed through, so we're sharing it with you. We know you'll enjoy this read!
So, how long have you been been bass-fishing or fishing in general?
Dave Lefebre: Since I was 2! Professionally for 13 years.
THM: For many of us, it was a father, a grandfather or an uncle who took us out on the water. Who do you remember getting you hooked with bass-fishing?
DL: My Dad was an addict; he fished from daylight until 7 am every day before work, and went out again after dinner most days, too. We crappie fished and Musky fished, but he didn't get into bass-fishing much. We also ice fished during the winters. My uncle, gramps, and cousins also fished and we took routine family fishing vacations to Canada and Florida every year while I was growing up. Always from boats or on the ice.
THM: What about fishing appealed to you most?
DL: It was everything, really: being outside, being in a boat, the anticipation of the bobber going down, trying to catch more, or trying to catch something bigger than the adults -- that played into it a little, too. I was always very competitive, which did not run in the family. We still can't figure out where that came from.
THM: When did you know you were going to be a bass-fishing pro and how did you know?
DL: When I found out I could fish and also compete at the same time, during my junior year of high school, I immediately knew I would be pro some day. So I started training and looking for fishing writers and photographers that summer vacation. I was consumed 100%, quit football, joined the club at 16 and won AOY that year. Our club was the best in the state: The Bassmasters of Crawford County.
THM: Where do you like fishing most?
DL: Smith Lake! (laughing) I love diversity, and going to new places and trying to crack the code. If you twisted my arm, I would say shallow, stained, grassy, stump and dock filled lowland reservoirs, rivers, or natural lakes would be more in my wheelhouse. Deep, clear, highland, spotted bass fisheries were not my favorite until a couple days ago.
THM: Especially as you navigate those shallow waters with various structure, you have to have the right equipment. So we have to ask... what T-H Marine product has made the most positive impact on your boating experience?
DL: I notice all the ones that are missing when I have to use a top 10 boat on the final day (laughs). I notice the Atlas Jack-Plate and Hot Foot especially. T-H Marine is like the glue that holds everything together: it's the stuff I always took for granted, and it never seems to get the credit, you know?
But like I said, when it's gone, you definitely know it. I'd have to say those two things have always been high priority and key for me being a Lake Erie, big water guy. I need both hands on the wheel, Foot Throttle, and I need to constantly adjust jack-plate height when navigating the giant waves. Those two things are absolute "must haves" on the Great Lakes.
THM: We know there are a lot of other great players in this industry, so as you try new gear and build new partnerships, if you had to name a couple other brands and products, which ones are essential to your success?
DL: I've had the same sponsor group for most of my career and it's pretty rare for me to add any, but there are two more. I replaced two vehicles, a dually and SUV, with a super cool 4 wheel drive van, the absolute perfect vehicle for what I do and the only one on tour. After only two bass-fishing events, I've had more compliments on my new Quigley 4x4 Van than all my other vehicle in the last 12 years combined, it's amazing, and it's not even wrapped yet.
I also hooked up with 13 Fishing, first through the ice fishing world, they dominate there. They did it incredibly quickly, too, and it's obvious why. After experiencing how superior the Wicked ice gear was, I asked if I could check out a casting rod and reel, and I was sold immediately. I'm thankful to be a part of their family now and look forward to working with them to continue to provide the best, most innovative rods and reels in the industry.
THM: Switching gears a little bit, you don't seem to limit yourself to bass-fishing and your fans may seem a "fishing" connection elsewhere, too, as your bio says you enjoy listening to and playing contemporary Christian music. What do you play?
DL: A little bit of everything, keyboards, guitar, bass, and drums. The rhythm and bass section has always been my focus. With everything else, I just kind of dabble in it.
THM: Which artists inspire you? Who do you crank up as you travel to the next tournament?
DL: Luke Dunkin!
THM: Playing to the audience a bit, huh?
(laughing because Luke is a member of the T-H Marine team and a musician with music you can check out here)
DL: Seriously though, the ones who can jump out of the loud band and go grab a guitar and sing at a coffee house by them self. I like that. I like Matthew West, 33 Miles, Josh Wilson, Francesca Battistelli, The Afters,Mercy Me, Casting Crowns, Shane and Shane, Chris August... Shall I go on?
My theme song for the season is "Hope in Front Of Me", by Danny Gokey. But just like in my fishing, I like everything really, sometimes I crank up the Switchfoot, Skillet, and Red, and most mornings a goodHillsong Live gets the day going!
THM: We see that something must be working with getting your days going! According to Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), you have six career tournament wins, 49 career top 10 finishes, 186 events you've fished, 11 cup appearances, and 13 years a an FLW Tour Pro. Those are some impressive numbers. How would you describe the impact of all that as to who you are?
DL: Thank you. I work really hard and I'm also the biggest stat junky when it come to bass tournament history. I'd love nothing more than to have my place in the record books and I try really hard to build my numbers. I really pay attention to that, and believe me, missing the Cup that one year really irks me! I'm not real sure if I answered your question correctly here or not.
THM: In terms that may relate to the more recreational, infrequent anglers and boaters reading, what does your latest bass-fishing win mean to you?
DL: This may go a bit deeper than your question is intended, but it means more to me than any other win, including the Toyota Bass Classic back in 2009. It's a testimony to trusting God.
I was going through the very first really tough time in my career and just when I started to question God and what my purpose on this Earth might actually be, BOOM! We know what we want, but He knows what we need. And sometimes things don't make sense, but I promise you, they will. I know I needed this win on many levels and I'll never doubt Him again and I know now that He wants me to be a fisherman.
THM: Especially with two young kids and a family, there have to be some challenges with the bass-fishing, pro angler lifestyle. What would you say is the hardest thing about it?
DL: I'm finding out the hardest things this season, as we speak. I've been fortunate to be able to travel with my family throughout my entire career. We camped everywhere we went, my wife, Anne, home-schooled, and we just really enjoying the outdoors to the fullest. When I came off the water after a long day, I got hugs and a hot meal. We made campfires, and just had a blast.
But now that the kids are eight and 12, they are going to public school, and they have after school activities and new friends. So it's a big change coming for sure, and after the first two events, I have to say it's tough not having them on the road with me. I have a new respect for the guys who have done it this way for many years.
THM: What advice do you have for all the anglers out there who may be up-and-coming, bass-fishing pros?
DL: Loaded question, but in a nutshell: Practice, practice, practice! Train yourself and make yourself available to the local media.
Be a listener, a student, and be humble. Get a solid education as a backup and think of tying it into the sponsor or industry side of this game. Most importantly, surround yourself with believers and get away from the naysayers in your life!
THM: Great, well-rounded advice for sure. So where do you cast your efforts from here?
DL: I've got some other things cooking: a local TV show, working with 13 Fishing, and new potential title sponsor prospects. My main focus is on the tour and shooting for that AOY title and the next win!
THM: We look forward to seeing that! Good luck, Dave, with your bass-fishing and all that you are led to do.
DL: Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity to talk with you all!
Stay tuned for more updates from our bass-fishing Pro Staff as the tournament season continues.