Bassmaster Elite Series rookie Trevor Romans has always been a fan of competitive fishing and longed to become a pro angler.
“I didn’t know if it would ever happen though,” Romans said. The 45-year-old Romans finally made the big time when he qualified for the Elites by finishing third in the 2013 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Opens point standings.
The Plano, Texas, angler recalls fishing his first tournament when he was about 12 years old in an independent bass club in west Texas. He fished out of a Bass Hunter plastic boat equipped with a trolling motor and small outboard engine. “I had a 2-hp motor on the back, and I could go really fast,” he said.
Romans remembers that he “didn’t do that great” his first year in the club, but he did finish fourth and won some money in one event. “I thought that was the greatest thing that ever happened,” he said.
Staying in the club until he was about 20 years old, Romans also started fishing team tournaments in the late 1980s. “Those were kind of the best option in my area as far as entry fees and what I could win,” said Romans. “I had some great partners that I learned a lot from, and we learned from each other.”
In his early days of fishing team tournaments, Romans rode in the back of his partner Gary Carr’s boat. After moving to Dallas and buying his own boat, Romans became the boater most of the time while teamed with Les Kennedy.
Romans also joined a B.A.S.S. Nation club in Dallas and fished in Nation events for about five years. He recalls doing “pretty well” in the club and made the Texas state team that competed in the 2002 Central Divisional at Lake of the Ozarks.
From 2003 until 2010, Romans competed in FLW and Walmart Bass Fishing League events on various Texas lakes. He also fished the Central Texas division of the Bassmaster Weekend Series in 2006.
Tired of fishing the same lakes all the time, Romans felt he needed a change of scenery. “I don’t feel like you grow and get better going to the same places every year,” he said. “You have to change it up a little bit. I loved going to new places and I felt like I needed a bigger challenge.”
So Romans decided to enter the pro side of the Bassmaster Central Opens in 2011. The thought of starting the Opens as a co-angler never crossed his mind since he had fished from the front of the boat for several years in team tournaments. “Once you are a boater, it is very difficult to go back as a non-boater,” he said.
His best finish in the Opens was last year on the Arkansas River where he placed third. “I really didn’t have it on my radar as far as making the Elites,” Romans said. However, he recalls catching a 4 1/2-pounder in the afternoon on the last day of the 2013 Central Open finale at Ross Barnett that changed his thinking. The fish helped Romans place 19th in the tournament and secured third place in the point standings, which resulted in the invitation to the Elites.
Throughout his career, Romans has developed into a shallow-water angler who favors pitching and flipping a Texas rigged Warrior Baits Warrior Craw. Romans notes he does best in tournaments on shallow weedy reservoirs.
Having competed in team derbies, club events and regional draw tournaments, Romans has plenty of insight on the best way for a newcomer to start on the path to the Elites. “I think the B.A.S.S. Nation is probably as good of a place as any to start because you can go as a boater or non-boater,” Romans said. “The tournaments are B.A.S.S.-sanctioned events, and typically the Nation fees are pretty manageable.”