If you’ve been following the Bassmaster Elite Series this season, you may have caught a glimpse of a boat wrapped with a baseball theme. There are two reactions I’ve experienced. One being, "Wow, that is such an eye catching and unique wrap." The other being, "Why are there pictures of baseball players on your boat?" Or, "What is DuraEdge? Is it your company?"
Before we answer these questions and dive deeper into the tie between baseball and bass fishing, let me introduce myself. My name is Destin DeMarion, and I am a rookie on the Elite Series this season. I’m from Grove City, Penn., which one former Elite Series angler described as Mayberry — the idealistic town depicted in the Andy Griffith show of old.
I’m 30 years old, a Leo, and I like long walks on the beach ... wait, this isn’t a Tinder profile. In all seriousness, I am 30 and a new father. My wife, Meghan, and I welcomed our first child, Eva, to this world back in February around the time the Chickamauga event was originally scheduled. The cancellation ended up allowing me to be there for the birth which was an amazing experience.
I’m also a United States Coast Guard licensed captain. I have run charters on Lake Erie out of Pennsylvania for six years and in Florida on the St. John’s River for the past four. We can delve into that more in a future column.
As far as fishing goes, I’ve fished my whole life. My grandfather got me into the sport very early on. I grew up in my grandparents' home with them and my mom until I was a teenager. My grandfather, Steve, retired right around the time we moved there — I was about 3 — and he really got into fishing. He wasn’t a fisherman until that point, but in true Steve Slencak fashion, if he was going to do something he was going to go all-in. I was kind of the beneficiary of that as we both learned together. We fished for just about anything, but I branched off and got more into the bass side of things.
Although I've fished all my life, I’m still relatively new in my bass tournament career. I played football into college at Gannon University in Erie, Penn. So, I didn’t end up fishing my first tournament until I was at the end of my college career. I always wanted to be a professional bass angler from the days I would watch The Bassmasters with my grandfather. I grew up watching many of the guys that I fish against and that are still professionals in the sport now.
Although I fished some local series at first, I figured the Bassmaster Opens were the best way to achieve my ultimate goal. I fished all three Opens Series (there were three divisions, back in the day) over the course of four years as a co-angler to learn more before stepping up and fishing them as a pro. I had a lot of success as a co-angler and was able to learn a ton. It’s something I highly recommend if this is a path you want to follow.
I ended up qualifying for the Elites last season through the Eastern Opens series which was a dream come true. For more information on my strategy, check out DeMarion's Elite Series puzzle.
Back to the DuraEdge questions. The answer is, no, I do not own DuraEdge. It is a company that started right near my hometown of Grove City, Penn., and it has blown up nationally and even overseas. It’s a very niche business; it started out solely as a manufacturer of infield mix for baseball fields … yes, essentially dirt.