Know-it-all to learning sponge

About the author

Andrew Upshaw

Andrew Upshaw

Andrew Upshaw of Hemphill, Texas, teamed with Ryan Watkins to win the 2011 Mercury College B.A.S.S. National Championship for Stephen F. Austin, then edged Watkins for the first Bassmaster Classic berth from the collegiate series.

My college experience truly helped me to become the fisherman I am today. This topic will hit home to a lot of my buddies, particularly my fishing partner, Ryan Watkins.

Coming into college, I had done my fair share of local fishing tournaments and had some early success at it. Thought I knew a lot about fishing … man was I wrong.

Ryan and I had a conversation about this the other day. A few years ago, he and I thought we were good sight fisherman. Looking over the past two years, all we can do is laugh at how ignorant we were.

The Mercury College B.A.S.S. fishing experience has been invaluable. We couldn’t rely on knowing our home lakes; we had to branch out and try to win on new places. This was something we weren’t used to, but something always seemed to click for us.

We fished lakes completely unknown to us and seems like we were more successful than on our home lakes. College fishing is no walk in the park, and the guys competing are very passionate about it and want to win.

I started thinking I knew “fishing,” yet I didn’t know a thing about sponsorships or about many other lakes. Quite frankly, I was an idiot back then. Part of that was being a kid, and kids don’t know better.

That was the past, and I can say I’ve learned some things that I hope help me. I know for a fact I don’t know everything about fishing. I know a little about sponsorships. I know quite a few more lakes, but mostly, and maybe most importantly, I know I am still learning.

I have a desire that is even stronger today than I thought possible. My love for fishing grows daily, and I learn so many things every time I’m on the water. I don’t know everything, but I am eager to learn.

College fishing has taught me that I need to continue to learn. Each year I look back to evaluate what I learned and what I can adapt to the next year. College fishing elevates your game; it shows you what you are made of on various lakes and makes you a lot better fisherman.

More than anything though, the key is to never stop picking up new things. You don’t know it all, and if you really feel like you do know everything, you should probably just quit because it will no longer be a fun sport for you.

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