By Todd Ceisner
For Dave Lefebre, 2012 was a busy year on the water, but then which ones aren’t?
He fished 16 events between early February and early October, an average of two tournaments a month. There was one stretch at the end of the season where he was away from home for about a month straight, fishing the Wheeler Lake FLW Tour Open, then three straight weeks in Texas.
As grueling a year as it was, he was able to maintain the consistency that he’s come to be known for. In those 16 tournaments, he cashed 14 checks, including the winner’s share at the Kentucky Lake FLW Tour Major in June. Aside from a bomb at the Table Rock Major and a hiccup at the subsequent event at Beaver Lake, he was a virtual lock for a 35th-place finish or better the rest of the way.
His ability to produce solid finish after solid finish allowed him to end the year ranked 8th in the BassFan World Rankings.
There’s been no rest for the weary, though. The Erie, Pa., native and his family are in the final stages of building a new house and everything that’s connected with that project has kept him on the go since he parked his boat after the final FLW Tour Open at Sam Rayburn Reservoir last month.
“We put the kids on the school bus at 8 o’clock and then we just keep driving to do what we have to do every day,” he said. “It just never seems like we can get ahead. It’s going to be pretty much like that right up until we head to Florida (in January).”
Kentucky Lake A Surprise
Lefebre started 2012 with decent showings at the Lake Okeechobee Tour Open (23rd) and the Lake Hartwell Major (11th), but that momentum quickly evaporated after duds at Table Rock (103rd) and Beaver (63rd).
He recovered with an 8th at the Potomac River before capturing the Kentucky Lake victory by pulling a swimbait and a jig over shellbeds on an area he’d uncovered last year. The triumph came at an opportune time, though, as it pulled him out of his mini slump and propelled him to an 11th-place finish in points.
“That particular win, for me, couldn’t have come at a better time because I had just come off a couple tournaments [Beaver Lake and the Potomac River] that if you’d have interviewed me before either event I would’ve said I was going to win,” he said. “That was one of the ones I wouldn’t have said that about. I just had two tournaments before that one that if I was ever going to win one, those were going to be it. Then, it didn’t happen.”
He was so dialed in at Beaver and the Potomac that seeds of doubt started to take root in his psyche, but he was able to set them aside on the Tennessee River.
“You get the preconceived notion in your mind that you may never get another chance,” he added. “Just the way it set itself up after being as low as you can get after the Potomac to as high as you can get where a win’s not expected. It’s just that much sweeter.
“That’s the difference with our sport. As hard as you train or as prepared as you think you are – that stuff helps you be consistent and do well – you just can’t win a tournament every year no matter how good you think you are. It’s just a lot different from any other sport that way. I don’t know if there’s another sport – maybe golf – where you can be called a good athlete in that particular sport and not have a single win in 2 years.”
While winning certainly is key in this sport, especially with the direction payouts are trending, maintaining a certain level of consistency by being in contention virtually every time he launches his boat is something he attributes to his fishing roots in northwestern Pennsylvania.
“It’s about being versatile and not having a technique that I don’t like,” he said. “I just love to catch a fish. I fish with a lot of people that if we catch 20 little 11-inch bass they’re just not into it. They just want to quit and go home. I’m just into catching fish. I don’t care if it’s a 6-inch bluegill. Sometimes, it can actually hurt me in being one of those guys who might be a threat to win every tournament. As far as being consistent, it’s about liking all the different ways to fish.”
Calling The Shots
Since his tournament season ended more than a month ago, Lefebre can count on one hand the number of days he’s been on the water just fun fishing around home. That’s because virtually all of his time has been consumed by overseeing the construction of his family’s new home in Erie.
A year ago, he and wife, Anne, purchased a property that had a small, two-bedroom cottage on it. They did some remodeling and fixed it up and soon after the adjacent lot came on the market, and they were fortunate enough to purchase that as well and that’s where they’re building their new house.
Initial plans were to have the house move-in ready by Thanksgiving, but Christmas seems like a more realistic target now, he says.
The centerpiece of the house will be the fishing-centric garage, which Lefebre has been plotting for some time. He’s taken notes over the years on how fellow pros organize and lay out their garages and he’s hoping to blend them with his vision in his ultimate fishing garage.
“Its neat to see all of that stuff come together,” he said. “They aren’t just my ideas. There are ideas from other fishermen and what they’ve done in their garages so I’ve stolen some of their ideas and am incorporating them into one. It's pretty neat, too, because it’s new for my contractors because they’ve never really designed a house around (a garage).”
With the project entering the finish-work phase, he needs to decide which direction to go in – a rustic, lodge-like look or a sleeker, modern feel.
“I’ve been back and forth,” he said, “but now that the finish work is getting ready to start, I’m leaning toward a rustic, drive-in-one-side-drive-out-the-other style and when you drive in, there’ll be a dock right beside the boat so it’ll be like pulling up to the dock in the water.
“You only get this chance once. It’s a lot of extra work and we’re consumed by it and you can get discouraged because there’s so much going on and you get tired and sometimes you just want to say, ‘Ahh, do what you want.’ We’re never going to go through this again, I can promise you that.”