By John Johnson
BassFan Senior Editor
Joseph Webster hasn't had to endure much of a learning curve since launching his pro career in 2017. In two-plus seasons on the FLW Tour, the 44-year-old from Winfield, Ala. has logged 12 top-30 finishes and only three placements in triple digits en route to qualifying for two Forrest Wood Cups.
When he looks at the current FLW Tour points standings with a quarter of the season in the books, he sees only one name above his own – Terry Bolton, the winner of the season opener at Sam Rayburn Reservoir. The two just below him are guys most BassFans have heard of – Bryan Thrift and Scott Martin.
Not bad for a man whose "real" occupation is running an insulation business. And no matter how well he does in fishing, he doesn't foresee his current situation changing much.
"I've been in the insulation business for 18 years and I've had my own company for 12," he said last week. "People ask me if I'd quit if I ever got enough sponsor help to cover all the bills and I tell them I don't think I would.
"I'm proud of what we've got going and I've worked hard to get where I'm at. I've got some pretty good workers who can handle everything when I'm gone, so it's all good."
Not a Major Risk
Webster said that running a successful business that can do without his presence for perhaps a dozen weeks a year allows him to fish will a lower stress level than many tour pros must endure.
"It's kind of like a safety net for me," he said. "Tournament fishing is a form of gambling, and if I don't do well at a tournament, we've still made money back home during the week.
"A lot of the guys out here, I think that's what gets them – the money pressure."
He goes into this week's event at Lake Seminole off a 7th-place showing last month at Lake Toho his second top-10 in a Tour regular-season event (he was 3rd at Lake Lanier last year). Prior to that, he was 17th at Rayburn.
"Just coming out and starting good at Rayburn got the ball rolling for me," he said. "It just seems like I'm making good decisions.
"I don't really have a strong suit – I've fished in north Alabama all my life, so I have experience with river fishing, deep fishing, Smith Lake fishing, a little of this and a little of that. It kind of worries me about ever winning a tournament because they're usually won on a guy's strong suit. But a lot of it is about timing and if I put in my work and it's meant to be, it'll happen."
Loves the Grass
Webster's preferred style of fishing is throwing a swimjig or spinnerbait in or around shallow grass. He used the former bait at Toho and the latter at Rayburn.
He's not quite sure what he'll do at Seminole, but he's looking forward to the derby. The lake is just a five-hour drive from his home, but he's been there only once before and that was 20 years ago.
"I think it'll be spot-on – there'll be pre-spawn fish, spawning fish and maybe some that have already done the deed. It should be Shallow Water 101, and that suits me fine. I'm ready for this one."
The AOY race isn't foremost in his mind at this point, but he doesn't discount his chances of hanging with the Tour's biggest names for a full season.
"It'd be a dream come true to win it. To beat the Thrifts and the Martins and the guys who've been doing this for a long time, it'd be pretty special. Things would have to fall in place and there's a lot more days of fishing left, but sometimes it might just be your time.
"I got off to a good start and now I just have to keep up the momentum. Just about every move I've made so far has been a good move and if I can keep that confidence, I think everything will stay on the straight and narrow."