In our Opens house

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Opens angler Andrew Upshaw with his wife, Valerie, and son, Cain.

This year I’m fishing all eight Bassmaster Opens, and that includes traveling all over the country. I much prefer renting houses to setting up in hotels, and it’s really important to me to share those houses with other like-minded anglers. Here’s how I think about my roommates.

It’s so important in life to surround yourself with winners and positive thinking individuals who don’t see the problem as the end of the world, but rather a hurdle they must overcome to be the best. Someone who doesn’t complain about missing out on their “lucky break” and embrace a problem to make them better.

In fishing, I try to surround myself with guys who have a positive attitude, who know how to win and put everything they have into the sport. My dad taught me long ago that one of the most important things he did as a head football coach was surround himself with “hungry” coaches who wanted to win and who complemented his coaching style. That’s exactly what I’ve done in the fishing world. 

Our house on the road is one-of-a-kind. It’s filled with fishermen who work hard, research, win, and most importantly, they’re positive. I’ve been blessed to know these guys for years, and I look forward to rooming with them this year and in the future. Here’s a look at the guys I’ll be rooming with for 2020, some of the best people in the fishing industry that I know. 

Todd Castledine 

East Texas Hammer. Arguably one of the most successful regional tournament anglers to ever to come out of Texas. Todd Castledine won more tournaments than I can list here. He’s won Angler of the Year in just about every single trail he’s fished, including three in the FLW Series in the last eight years. His accomplishments are large, however his love for fishing is bigger.

Todd and I fished together when I attended Stephen F. Austin State University, and he was a vital part of my growth in fishing. He taught me how to sight fish and helped me understand the importance of keeping some things a secret.

However, Todd is bigger than just the tournaments he competes in. Todd is an avid lure designer, one of the best artists I know and a thinker. He is a very passionate person. He’s helped Strike King develop some popular baits and colors that many of you use today.

Lately, Todd has become a YouTube fanatic. He’s quickly become one of my favorite people to watch on YouTube. Yes, I watch his stuff even though I room with him, and he works so hard to create great content. He calls me constantly with ideas on how to shoot better shows, and how we can work together to be better YouTubers. If you haven’t already, follow his YouTube.

Bradley Hallman

The gentle giant, Bradley Hallman is one the nicest, most honest and positive people I know. Although I won’t judge him for it, he’s arguably the biggest University of Oklahoma Football fan I’ve come across.

Bradley has a resume that is unique, just like him. In the years that I’ve known him, Hallman has won two FLW Tour events. He won at Lake Okeechobee and Lake Lanier. Talk about two polar opposite fisheries. Bradley has won countless Angler of the Year titles and other tournaments.

Since we have a slightly more open schedule this season, Bradley and I have decided to team up and fish some regional team tournaments throughout Texas and Oklahoma. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t extremely excited to get in the boat with him and learn. Don’t tell him, but I’ve looked up to him for years and value his ability, passion and hard work.

Like Todd, Bradley has developed a love for shooting videos for his YouTube channel. His videos range from technique specifics, how to and include some hilarious videos as well. I guess this is as good a place as any to announce that Todd, Hallman and I will be teaming up to release a lot of videos to you in the near future. Be sure to follow Bradley

Scott Martin 

What has this guy not accomplished? Scott’s won everything the FLW Tour had to offer; runs a super successful TV show, The Scott Martin Challenge; and is a booming YouTube star. I don’t think Scott ever has a day off.

Despite his busyness, Scott still makes time for his kids and all-star wife, because all fishing wives deserve a medal, including mine. I started rooming with Scott last season on the FLW Tour, and he was instrumental in me winning my first big event ever. Did he give me a secret spot or tell me exactly how to catch them? No. Scott was beyond positive, supportive and helped me manage my fish. We game planned until late in the night, every night, leading up to the tournament.

See, that’s the thing about Scott. He works so incredibly hard to be the best and sets his goals higher than many that I know. But what I like about him the most is his desire to help people. He’s an excellent teacher, supporter, and positive influence on my life. If you haven’t already, follow Scott’s YouTube channel.

Long story short. Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you and don’t bring you down. I get asked all the time what has helped me “make it” in this industry. The simple answer is I surround myself with people who make me a better fisherman, but most importantly a more positive thinker.