Columbia, S.C. — Patrick Williford enjoyed fishing the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series so much that he decided to pursue a career in the fishing industry.
Before attending Clemson University, Williford had fished for bass in ponds but had never competed in a tournament until he heard about the Clemson bass fishing team. “I joined the team my freshman year and did really well the first couple of tournaments so I thought I might be able to make a career out of it,” said Williford, who majored in marketing with a minor in fisheries and wildlife.
However, his thoughts about fishing professionally changed by his junior year. “I got humbled one too many times in tournaments and realized that wasn’t the way I wanted to make my livelihood,” Williford said. “I felt like if I had to catch fish to put food on the table that would be a little more pressure than just fishing on a Sunday afternoon or something.”
Since he was the Clemson team’s sponsorship director, Williford got to learn about the fishing industry and how to “talk the language.” He also discovered there were other career opportunities in the outdoor industry. “So I got to work on the business side of the whole bass fishing world and kind of fell in love with it,” he said.
Williford’s connections in the fishing industry led to the Clemson graduate’s recent hiring by Pure Fishing as a product coordinator for the Abu Garcia, Fenwick, Pflueger and All Star Rods brand teams.
His hiring is a classic example of how the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series is shaping the careers of collegiate anglers. “The college series was designed to not only showcase and help collegiate anglers further their fishing careers, it was also designed to help shape their off-the-water skills," said Hank Weldon, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series manager. “We are seeing more and more anglers now graduate and then take positions with our sponsors. Patrick is no exception; we wish him luck with his new position at Pure Fishing and look forward to working with him.”