The Iowa Premier Bass Elite tournament is where anglers compete against the best of the best in the state. This year, the top anglers hail from Creston.
This August, John Thomsen and Trevor Frain won the Anglers of the Year award from the IPB Elite after tallying enough cumulative points over this year’s tournament circuit.
“I’ve been doing this a long time and I really wasn't planning on competing this year,” said Thomsen. “My son Trey usually fishes with me, but he is in Houston going to optometry school."
With Trey at school in Texas, Frain approached Thomsen about joining him for the competition this summer, and the chance pairing proved to be a success.
Anglers who join the ranks of the IPB can expect to compete in a 'higher stakes’' environment than a weekly tournament at a local lake. The fishing locations are on a yearly rotation to prevent a team from having a possible home-field advantage.
“It just so happened Trey was with me at the tournament we won at Okoboji, Thomsen said “We had a couple other good ones where we got second.”
The exclusive tournament series hosts only 25 teams who pay in $1,500 each to support a prize pool that is boasted to be the highest in the state. The teams of anglers begin the competition in March and are to fish once a month through August.
Each tournament ranking builds points towards a team’s yearly score. At the end of the season the team with the most points is awarded the Anglers of the Year award. Thomsen’s point tally over his fishing career is enough to equal 10 of these awards.
“If you watch the guys that do well in these things,” said Thomsen “There is a lot of experience, and there are so many variables like the sun and wind most people just don’t think about. There are just a million little things.”
Thomsen has been fishing for most of his life, growing up in Rockford. Thomsen recalls fond memories of fishing with his grandfather a few times a year while he was growing up.
“I’ve just always liked the outdoors and the fishing,” said Thomsen, “when the other kids would go downtown, I would go play in the river.”
Before beginning his time with the IPB Thomsen was involved with the Southwest Iowa Bass Anglers, the first bass club in the state.
“It was just a bunch of local guys,” Thomsen reminisced. “I had no gear and these guys would always pair up someone with a boat and someone without a boat. That’s how they got the rookies going.”
As the popularity of the local lakes increased with anglers the tournaments became too crowded for Thomsen and he began to fish in other tournaments before joining up with the IPB. Thomsen doesn’t plan of quitting any time soon and is looking forward to the next round of tournaments next year.
“I’ve always been very competitive as a kid, and in college I played every sport you could play,” said Thomsen. “As you get older, it gets harder and harder to be competitive. But with fishing, it's more mental than physical, so I get to compete against anyone in any age group."