Twenty Questions With Walleye Pro Brian Keller
At 30 years of age, Brian Keller has experienced as much as any seasoned Pro on any of the Walleye circuits across this great nation, and he has held his own in this very competitive sport against some of the best in the world. Learn more about this good natured angler and what makes him who he is below.
Also, join us in the Walleye Central Chat Room Wednesday night, January 27th, at 7PM Central Time where you can visit with Brian and ask him your own "Twenty Questions".
Juls: Who is Brian Keller?
Brian: I am a 30 year old who has a beautiful wife and a 6 year old son. My love for the outdoors is strong, but my real passion is for fishing. And, more specifically, catching WALLEYES! Much of my time is spent putting time into my multimedia company, PK Media, providing services in photography, videography, website/application development and our unique Photo Booth. I am also a member of the J.J. Keller Fishing Team.
Juls: How old were you when you went fishing for the first time? And, who was it with?
Brian: As far as when this all began, I must have been very young as I have been fishing as long as I can remember. My first official fishing trip is only remembered via pictures... I was 6 months old on Lake Michigan with my Mom and Dad.
Juls: You recently got married, does your wife like to fish with you too?
Brian: She does like to get out, as long as the sun is out, the wind isn't blowing, and I'm not pre-fishing for a tournament :) All joking aside, she is very supportive of what I do!
Juls: What is your most memorable experience while fishing? (Either tournament or fun fishing...doesn't matter)
Brian: Tough question...there are many! If I had to pick one it would be watching my son catch his first walleye out of our pond. He was so excited and started shaking immediately! A close second would be last year; Day Two of the AIM Pro Walleye Series in Akaska, SD. I was fishing 2 hours south (60 miles) of the launch and had only 7 bites, but brought in a weight of 31.72lbs! The best part was, the night before I had told my partner, John Schneider, how someday I would love to have one of those days where I just pound'em and come in early. Well that next day after catching those 7, which is the limit for the AIM circuit, I knew what my weight was going to be, thanks to AIM's Catch-Record-Release format, and figured that I wouldn't be able to do much better, so I packed it up and headed back. I was in 2 hours early!
Juls: How long have you been fishng tournaments and which event is/was your favorite?
Brian: I have been touring for the last 3 years, but I started with local tournaments in 1998. I nearly missed my high school graduation due to a weigh in once. Upon finishing 2nd, I drove straight to school, parked my rig, threw my gown on over my fishing clothes, and met the girl I was walking down with at the door just as it was our turn to walk in! Needless to say, she wasn't very happy, but it couldn't have been too bad because today she's my wife!
Juls: Who are your sponsors?
Brian: J.J. Keller & Associates, JJK Sports Entertainment, Ranger Boats, Mercury Outboards, Humminbird and PK Media.
Juls: Your Father is also a competitive angler, was he your inspiration to become a competitive angler yourself? And, what's it like to compete against your own Dad?
Brian: Actually, it's the other way around. Dad has been fishing professionally for 30 years, but as a Charter Captain on Lake Michigan. It was not until after I caught the tournament bug, that he thought it looked like fun and started in on the action too. As much as we are family, and quite close at that, when I'm fishing a tournament, it's me against the fish! I don't have time to worry about who else is fishing.
Juls: What do you do for a living, or do you fish and promote for a living?
Brian: I am a Technology Manger for J.J. Keller and also run PK Media operations, www.pkmediallc.com. Fishing and tournaments are used to promote myself and my sponsors.
Juls: Now that it's the "off season" what do you do?
Brian: I work and spend as much time as possible with my family.
Juls: When did you get your first boat?
Brian: At the age of 12, I became the proud owner of a 14' Alumacraft. My first tournament rig, a Ranger 620, came at 18.
Juls: Many anglers are all around outdoorsmen and hunt too...do you also hunt? And, if so, what kind of hunting do you do?
Brian: Yes, I do hunt. Duck hunting was big while growing up, but now it's pretty much just bow and gun hunting for whitetails.
Juls: What are your plans for the 2010 season?
Brian: I will fish the AIM Pro Walleye Series, the AIM Bay Mills Invitational, Merc National, and a few local tournaments for the 2010 season.
Juls: Do you guide? If so, how can people contact you?
Brian: I do run walleye trips on the Bay of Green Bay and Lake Winnebago. I also run a 32' rig on Lake Michigan for salmon and trout. Visit www.JJKellerFishingTeam.com for details.
Juls: Of all the waters you have fished in your lifetime, what are your top five favs? And, why?
- Lake Erie - If the weather's nice, what's not to love?
- Bay of Green Bay - Big fish and it's close to home.
- Missouri River - Can fish it however you want.
- Lake Winnebago System - It's always nice to be on your home water!
- Lake Michigan - This is where I learned to troll.
Juls: Who are some of your fishing idols? Who did you look up to when you first got into tournament fishing?
Brian: I don't really have fishing idols per say, but Gary Gray was the guy that got me started. He set me up with my fist set of rods and tought me alot on the mental side of tournament fishing. Thanks Gary!
Juls: Do you do any kids events?
Brian: Yes, I help support many area youth fishing events.
Juls: What is your favorite presentation to use? What is the most fun for you?
Brian: My favorite presentation is definitely trolling, but I do love the feeling of setting the hook while vertical jigging too.
Juls: How do you break down a body of water you've never fished before? How do you approach your prefishing?
Brian: Studying lake maps is step one. I spend a lot of time focusing on the layout of the lake, learning what types of structure the lake has to offer. I don't worry about where I think the fish are going to be until I get there, so as conditions change, I can quickly make decisions. When I start prefishing, I spend time driving around and graphing the lake, making the connection between what I thought it would look like to what it actually looks like. I look for transition areas, bait, and of course the fish themselves. During the first couple practice days, 70% of my time is spent driving around in search mode. The last couple of days practicing are spent fine tuning my presentations.
Juls: What are you most proud of in your life?
Brian: My family and the support that they give, allowing me to live out my dreams.
Juls: If you could only give ONE piece of advice to a new angler who wanted to start fishing tournaments professionally, what would that be?
Brian: Stay focused on YOUR plan, don't worry about who is doing what. You have to fish your fish and let the chips fall where they may!
To follow Brian and the other Pros this season, keep an eye on Walleye Central's Live Leader Board at www.liveleaderboard.com.
To read past "Twenty Question Interviews" with other Pros, just click on this link or copy/paste it into your browser's address bar: http://www.walleyecentral.com/articles/?author=18&c=65