Making it to the Elite Series

Elite Series

Cody Detweiler
Cody Detweiler

Making it to the Elite Series takes hard work, more bass fishing know-how than most have, and a good bit of money. The right connections don't hurt, either.

Cody Detweiler has the right pedigree and drive to pursue his dream of fishing against his heroes.

"Ever since I was six or seven, I've wanted to be a professional fisherman," the 17-year-old Floridian said. "That's part of the reason my dad went and bought the marina; I get a lot of exposure to people in the industry."

Cody's dad, Mark, has owed a piece of Florida bass fishing history for seven years — Big Toho Marina. Most all of the Elite Series pros have put in at Big Toho, Dean Rojas caught the heaviest five bass limit in BASS history within sight of the store and Cody has been there whenever he could to watch the pros and pick their brains.

"One of the coolest things about being here is getting to meet a lot of the BASS pros. I've met Terry Scroggins, Mike Iaconelli, Terry Seagraves, Jason Williamson and a few others," he said. "They're why I want to be a BASS pro. I think it'd be cool to compete against them."

Despite his age, Detweiler is no novice to tournament fishing. Three years ago he fished and won a charity event put on by professional angler Terry Segraves called "Angling against Cancer." Since then he has fished in one and two-man tournaments with success. Detweiler believes the thing that is holding him back the most is his one-dimensional fishing experience, through no fault of his own.

"I have fished Toho forever. I need to get out and fish other bodies of water to be a more well-rounded angler," he said. "I mean, Toho is 7 feet deep and muddy, whereas the Conway Chain here in Florida is 27 feet deep and clear. I still have a lot to learn."

While he admits he has a lot to learn, he has the best "teachers" available.

"Earlier this year (Elite Series pro) Jason Williamson came and stayed at our house before the season, and he taught me a lot, including a lot about Amistad. I had watched him there last year, and before he left I told him I knew he was going to win. Sure enough, he goes out there and wins it," Detweiler said. "He called right after he won; it was pretty cool."

For the time being, Detweiler is content graduating high school and attending community college to study marketing. All the while, he plans on working on his fishing career by fishing Opens and local events.

"I can always use my degree as a backup," he said. Spoken like a true — and bright — future pro.