PORT ARANSAS, Texas — Going from the gridiron to competitive fishing was an easy curl route for Nick Savoie.
Savoie grew up in Cut Off, La., excelling in just about every sport while also plying the Sportsman’s Paradise waters. He played college football at LSU and reached the NFL with the New Orleans Saints. But, like a number of other athletes, he returned to fishing to keep his fire lit.
“I think the reason being is we love competing, and we love the comradery,” he said. “When you get older and when you’re done playing football or whatever sport and you just love to compete, the easiest way to compete is jump in a boat and go fishing against someone.”
In the past two decades, the 48-year-old has been one of the most successful anglers on the redfish pro circuits, winning numerous titles. He and Travis Land teamed up to fish the Yamaha Bassmaster Redfish Cup Championship presented by Skeeter in November. They had a bead on the $50,000 first prize by leading after the second day, but two teams came in with monster bags to drop them to third place.
Savoie had a blast, however, and he was quite the spectacle at a lean 6-foot-6 or so, while Land was a head shorter. Emcee Dave Mercer had fun with the team’s height disparity, calling them “Biggie and Smalls.”
“You’d be an ‘over’ if you were a redfish,” said Mercer, referring to the term of the week for fish above the 20-to-28-inch slot.
Savoie’s stature gives him an advantage in redfishing, as anglers agree having eyes higher in the sky extends their all-important vision to locate fish.