Separated by their nearby home lakes, Bassmaster Elite Series pros Skylar Hamilton and Mike Huff were destined to join the Bro Series. Hamilton lives on Douglas Lake, while Hamilton calls Cherokee Lake home, with both lakes nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee.
It’s more than home for Huff, 31, who co-owns Huff’s German Creek Marina, with his cousin Nick.
“I used to have to chase Skylar away from the dock; he was always trying to catch our pet bass,” Huff said, with a laugh.
Huff’s B.A.S.S. career began in 2016 with the Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens, and then he qualified for the Elite Series in 2019. The native Kentuckian fished his first world championship in 2020.
Hamilton, 26, is the veteran of the duo. At age 18, he fished his first Opens event, then went full time in 2012 with his goal of qualifying for the Elite Series. At age 21, he punched his ticket. Since 2017, Hamilton has qualified twice for the world championship.
Here is more about what makes Hamilton and Huff click.
How did you meet and what made you decide to be running mates?
Skylar: “He and his cousin own a marina, and we had an informal friendship going on social media. Then, he qualified for the Elite Series and sent me a private message asking me if I wanted to room with him, and I accepted the invitation. A good ‘ol boy from Kentucky can’t be too bad, and we’ve been good friends ever since. That was three years ago.”
Mike: “He kept trying to catch my pet bass (laughs). I reached out to him when I qualified for the Elites about rooming together. We never even really spent much time together until my first Elite event. It’s worked out really well.”
How do you work together?
Skylar: “Being from the same area, you might think we fish alike, but we really don’t, and that’s what makes it works so well. We go try opposite things, patterns and baits. We’re completely honest with each other during practice and throughout the week.”
Mike: “We call each other several times a day during practice, analyzing how things are going, what’s working and what’s not. We are 100% transparent about sharing everything. We put our heads together and figure things out. It works out really well, because we have different fishing styles.”
Describe him as a competitor?
Skylar: “His nickname is ‘Mean Mike Huff’ as a joke. He’s the gentlest, kindest person that I know. He gets it done, even though he’s laid back.”
Mike: “Skylar is very calm, never gets in a hurry or rushed. You don’t see him as a fiery competitor, but deep inside he is very driven to win.”
What’s he like without the game face?
Skylar: “He’s the same person, on and off the water. You find some of the guys that are super laid back off the water, and they turn into a visibly fierce competitor when wearing their game face. He’s neutral, all the time, the same guy.”
Mike: “Skylar is a fun guy to be around. He’s relaxed all the time. Really laid back. He’s become a great friend.”
What do admire about him?
Skylar: “Mike is probably more laid back and happy-go-luck than me. I’ve got to have everything planned out, room reservations, where we eat, all of it. He’s fine with whatever. I wish I could be more like him in that regard.”
Mike: “Skylar is an easy guy to like. Neutral all around.”