Lincoln wins big at the National Bass Championship | Nebraska today
While some people who fish like to trade exaggerated stories about who got away, A J Lincoln will always be able to brag about the weekend he and a partner were the best bass anglers in the country.
Lincoln, a construction management specialist, teamed with fellow Omaha native Garrett Woockman to win the National Bass Anglers Association championship April 7-9 at Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri. They took home over $42,000 in cash and prizes, including a nearly 20-foot red bass fishing boat worth nearly $38,000.
“In the bass community, Garrett and I are really young – the youngest team to ever win the national championship and also the only Nebraska team to ever win it. It’s pretty important for us to be able to do that,” Lincoln said. “Some days it all works, and some days it doesn’t. This is something you need to take with a grain of salt and keep fishing because one day things will go your way.
Lincoln turned 27 on May 14, the same day he graduated.
Lincoln and Woockman didn’t have to worry about another team flipping a big fish and knocking them out of first place. They turned a maximum of five fish a day; the total weight of those fish – 51 pounds, 15 ounces – was more than 7 pounds heavier than the second-place team’s total.
Those who participate in these tournaments prepare by exploring the competition lake days and weeks in advance to find the best spots and learning where the fish are and what baits might work best.
Their success, Lincoln said, was built on a find in practice based on a stroke of bad luck – a faulty trolling motor on his 13-year-old, 21-foot fiberglass Triton.
“We were trying to fix this engine and that’s when I saw these bass coming in and feeding on schools of shad just off the wharf. I was just messing around and went over there and threw my bait in there and caught two of the bigger fish right there on the dock,” Lincoln said.
“That’s when we realized the big fish are out in the middle of the lake chasing shad, not in the shallow waters where we thought they would be.”
This resulted in Lincoln and Woockman fishing in a creek, mostly with no other competitors nearby. They had the third-best carry on day one (16 pounds) and the best totals on days two (17 pounds, 2 ounces) and three (18 pounds, 13 ounces).
With all this success in the national tournament, Lincoln said, he’s inclined to continue using his current boat. Woockman also has a boat he wants to keep, so the brand new one is up for sale.
“We are going to invest part of the money in the modernization of my current boat. It’s a bit taller and handles rougher waters better,” Lincoln said. “We talked about maybe trying to sell the prize boat and my current boat to get a new fiberglass boat, but we decided against it. Hopefully next year we will win another boat and a whole fleet will start.
Lincoln expected to have more time to work on his “semi-professional” fishing career after graduating, but that wasn’t his only goal.
“I plan to get my SARL, and I started working for myself, doing contractor work — renovations and stuff like that — since 2020,” Lincoln said. “I love being able to make my own schedule, especially with fishing, so that’s what I’m going to keep doing.”
And in the local fishing community, the national championship made Lincoln and his partner instant legends.
“It all only hit me a week later, at our first club tournament. It was cool to see all these guys, and them wanting to talk and hear all the details,” Lincoln said. definitely something about fishing and telling stories.”