Lisa Johnson — A Southern Charm in the WBT

Lisa Johnson at her first WBT Tournament 

A small ad in the December 2005 issue of her husband's Bassmaster magazine caught the eye of Lisa Johnson of Centre, Alabama. The ad was about the Women's Bassmaster Tour. The next day, she mailed her membership fee to BASS and her entry fee for her very first bass tournament. It was the inaugural WBT event on Neely Henry in Gadsden, Alabama and Lisa signed up as a pro.

In preparation for the tournament, Lisa and her husband Mike, traded in his Bass Tracker and motorcycle for her very first bass boat. Two weeks before the tournament, the motor on her boat blew up. Lisa ended up fishing the event in a borrowed boat. The first day of the tournament, she fouled a plug, ran out of gas and failed to catch fish. Lisa did not let her bad luck dampen her spirits and on day two she crossed the weigh-in stage with fish. Three weeks later, she bought a used Triton and was looking forward to the next tournament in Lewisville, Texas.

Lisa's love of fishing was a gift to her from her Dad. Although he did not fish, he often took her fishing for brim after she was old enough to hold a cane pole. Family vacations were spent camping in the Smoky Mountains. She was born and raised in Rome, Georgia. In high school she competed in several sports and received awards in basketball, shot put and high jump. Track was her least favorite sport. Math was her favorite subject.

After high school, Lisa married Mike Johnson just before he finished a 4-year tour of duty with the Marines. Mike is the one who taught her to bass fish. He is also her biggest fan and an excellent "bass caddie". Mike owns a tree service company and he and Lisa work side by side every day, when not fishing. Driving a chipper truck and running a chain saw is second nature for Lisa. Mike will quickly tell you that she can work circles around any man on his crew.

Both Mike and Lisa love animals, and before she got into tournament fishing, they had a farm and enjoyed riding the two horses that they owned. One of the hardest obstacles they face now when traveling to the WBT tournaments is leaving behind "Boo" their 3-year-old Great Dane who is on medication for seizures, Cleo a 13-year-old Red Bone and Angel, a Harlequin Great Dane who is 2. Mike's mother Linda takes good care of their "kids" while they are away, but they still miss them. Lisa's other hobby is shooting skeet and clay targets and she loves flower gardening. She and Mike also enjoy hunting together.

I first met Lisa Johnson at the city docks in Gadsden, Alabama in April of 2006. She and Mike were getting ready to launch her borrowed boat to pre-fish. I asked her permission to take a photo. Her southern accent and manners were charming as she shyly posed for the photo. We met again briefly in Charlotte, North Carolina at the WBT event on Lake Norman in August of 2006. It was there that our husbands became friends. At the Bull Shoals tournament in September of 2006, I had the opportunity to pre-fish with Lisa and to witness first-hand, her passion for fishing and her skills as an angler. One would never know that she was a rookie pro who had only fished 4 tournaments previously. She finished in 12th place and cashed her first check at Bull Shoals. To date, she has had two Top 20 finishes and five Top 50 finishes.

Lisa and Mike both enjoy traveling to new lakes and meeting new people. The hunt for bass and the fight they give once they are hooked is what excites Lisa the most. The frustrating part of bass fishing is when she doesn't catch anything and wonders what she might have done different to put fish in the boat. Her favorite lake thus far is Lake Amistad. Her favorite lure is crankbaits. Her personal goal is to fish a WBT Classic and find some sponsors for 2008. She regrets not knowing about the women's tour in time to fish the premier event on Lake Lewisville in October of 2005, but is thankful she noticed the small ad in the Bassmaster magazine that changed her life overnight.