Minnesota’s Snowbird

There’s a group of Minnesota Anglers who simply cannot stand the winters, and because of this, have become “Snowbirds”. Heading south for warmer weather, and open water bites. Rather than fishing through a singular hole, they prefer exploring the depths with their boats in warmer climates. One of the newest members of this crew? Minnesota Legend, Brad Leifermann.

3 Years ago Brad started making the trek down to his new seasonal home, on the Harris Chain of Lakes in Florida. He took up guiding, and is now doing between 50 – 60 trips a year down in Florida. Focusing on using artificials for his clients to catch fish, he isn’t one of the “Shiner Guides”. Part of the reason for this move was for Brad to stay sharp as an angler. He’s commented on how he feels fresh for a much longer time now being able to fish year round. Feeling this experience will help him in his seasons on the Champions Tour.

Minnesota's Snowbird

“Florida fish are big, smart, and lazy. They are in no hurry to do stuff,” commented Leifermann.

The experience down south has taught him how to work through a day, baits, and patterns to get some of the most pressured fish in the country to bite. Harboring a new love for the Upper Midwest and our fisheries he chuckled, “You’ll never hear me say it was tough today, back in Minnesota (after a day of fishing), after fishing for a winter in Florida.”

Leifermann has never been one to chase other activities during the fall and winter, mainly in reference to hunting. Being obsessed with bass fishing, the pursuit of being better, is what brought him down to Florida. As well as avoiding our 6-Month offseason. 

Minnesota's Snowbird

Viewed as a Legend in the Upper Midwest, Leifermann has mentored several different anglers who’ve gone on to pursue tournament fishing full time. It’s very hard to make the Bassmaster Elite Series or the MLFLW BPT only fishing half the year. So pursuing bites year round has been something he feels is essential for the development of an angler. And although the statement may be as old as time, he still holds true to nothing beating time on the water.

“The harder you work, the luckier you get,” commented Leifermann.

Heading into last season (2023) Leifermann was on the recovery from a Knee Surgery. With the goal of simply making it to the Championship and fishing a whole season, he seemed pleased with his finishes last year, based on the physical limitations he had in the boat. Over the 4th of July last summer Leifermann actually ended up in the hospital because of an infection in the repaired area. He commented that he only felt about 30-40% for most of the summer.

Minnesota's Snowbird

And just for the record, 30-40% of Brad Leifermann still had him finishing in 25th in our AOY race, while also almost chasing down Joel Willert, at our first stop of the season at Big Stone Lake.

Looking ahead to 2024, Leifermann feels healthy and ready to get back after it again. Where is he looking forward to most?

“I’m definitely looking forward to Hudson,” Leifermann commented with no hesitation. Referring to our 3rd event on the St. Croix River.

Minnesota's Snowbird

Back around 2006 Leifermann won a boat on the St. Croix River, this was fishing a Silverado or it could have been the circuit right after Chevrolet left, but either way he remembers his time there fondly. He caught about 14lbs on Day 1, and remembers having a woman as his partner for Day 2, who’d only caught 1 bass on Day 1. In this event they couldn’t cull, so they had to catch their limit of fish to weigh and go in. After Brad made his last catch, an around 3lb fish, he remembers her then catching her fish to help their cause and they made their way in early. It ended up that they would take the clean sweep after the day, with Leifermann taking home the boat, and his Co-Angler on Day 2 taking home the win on that side.

Looking towards 2024, Leifermann is ready to make the trip back up north. This time fully healthy, and excited for the opportunity to compete on the Champions Tour once again.