It was very nerve racking for me in 2006 trying to justify to my parents and college professors why I should be able to hook my boat up and drive 1,000 miles to Lewisville, TX from Richmond, KY to compete at the first Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship. I was worried about missing a week of college classes, but more than that I was anxious about pulling a boat that far away considering at that point I had only fished local weekend tournaments. I had absolutely no clue my life was about to be changed forever.
We arrived for the first day of practice and could not wait to get on the water and start searching for patterns. I know people blow smoke all the time about how good their practice was and I admit most of the time that is just “dock talk”, but I can honestly say it was one of my best days on the water. I think it must have been a sign from above when the first bass I caught on Lewisville Lake-- and first bass in Texas-- was a spotted bass also referred to as a “Kentucky.” We finished 2nd that year and went on to compete the following three years capturing another top 5 finish in 2009. From that moment on, my fishing career hit the ground running.
After graduating college in May of 2009, I decided that there was no way I could give up the thrill of traveling and fishing different lakes across the country. In 2010 I fished as a co-angler on the FLW EverStart Series and am going on this year in 2011 to fish the FLW Tour as a co-angler. I am considering this as my internship or as it is commonly said in the fishing industry as “putting my time in.”
I was in New Orleans this past weekend (Feb 18-20) watching the Bassmaster Classic when I ran into Wade Middleton, the President of Careco TV. It made me think of the people I have met along the ride of college fishing. Not only have I become very close with other competitors, but also formed great relationships with the staff running the tournaments. I would like to take this opportunity to thank two of these men that I believe have made college fishing what it is today. Wade Middleton and Mike Hastings are two special people that have worked very hard to give people like me a chance to chase a dream.
I am truly chasing a dream to become a professional bass fisherman and there is no way that this would be possible if it were not for my start in college fishing. It is amazing to look back on 2006 and see where college fishing has evolved today and I can honestly say that I am proud to be a part of the legacy.