Whether they are fishing in Louisiana or Mississippi, Jason Pittman,44, his father Floyd, 66, and son Trenton, 21, are a threat to win any derby they enter.
While Jason and Floyd made several Louisiana B.A.S.S. Nation state teams since the mid-90s and Jason and Trenton both earned spots on the Mississippi B.A.S.S. Nation state team in 2018 as boaters, all three generations had not made a state team together prior to 2020.
But when the 2021 TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Southeast Regional at Lake Hartwell began on April 28, three generations of Pittman’s were on the water competing for a spot in the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship.
After Day 1, Jason is in second place in the Mississippi standings and 18th overall with a five bass limit of 10 pounds, 8 ounces while Trenton is right behind in third-place in Mississippi with 9-2 and 38th overall.
On the non-boater side, Floyd is sixth in the Mississippi standings with a three bass limit of 3-6.
Jason and Trenton earned a spot on the Mississippi B.A.S.S. Nation state team as boaters, with Jason winning the 2020 Angler of the Year title. Meanwhile, after a couple year hiatus from Nation competition, the recently retired Floyd qualified in the co-angler division, finishing in the Top 5 in all three qualifying days he fished, including a victory. It is the first time Jason and Floyd earned a spot on the state team together.
“What it boiled down to was, instead of having three qualifying tournaments, they molded them into two and had a three-day event one week and a two-day event another week on ,” Jason said. “They took your best three finishes out of all five days. I did decent enough in my three days in the first event, as well as my dad, and held on to stay on the state team. On the first day of one of the qualifiers, I had the biggest stringer of the day and my dad had the biggest stringer of the day and that was really cool.”
With his spot on the state team in doubt after fishing the first three-day event on the Pearl River, Trenton competed in the final two-day event at Columbus Lake and won the final day to lift him to a seventh-place finish in the overall standings and onto the state team.
“It was a good phone call to get,” Jason said. “(Floyd and I) were traveling home from another tournament in Missouri and we knew going up there that he needed a Top 5 one of the days to make it. To get that call was pretty surreal. That’s when we realized there would be three generations moving onto the state team.”
Bass fishing has been a tradition passed down from generation to generation in the Pittman family. As a young kid, Jason remembers riding with Floyd to pick up his grandfather for trips to Toledo Bend and fishing his first tournament ever with Floyd when he was 8 years old. That passion for the sport never died, and Jason fished Nation and Bassmaster Open events until Trenton was old enough to begin fishing with him.
“My dad sacrificed tremendously when he was fishing, and I was growing up, in order to fish with me. He could have easily fished with anyone and done well. When Trenton got old enough to compete pretty competitively, I backed off of that and we stuck around the house and went to local tournaments and stuff like that,” Jason said. “One year, we joined a club in Louisiana and went on a great run. I think we won seven out of 12 tournaments that year and everybody kinda saw him come into his own. His competitive fire was there. When he was 14, I was traveling out of town and he didn’t even have his driver's license, but we were in the running for angler of the year for one of those club tournaments. My dad pulled the boat to this tournament for Trenton, launched it, came back and it picked him up and he actually won the tournament that day.”
From then on, the Pittman family has been a dominant force whenever they hit the water. Whether they stay local or head to Toledo Bend or Sam Rayburn, the trio is always out on the water strengthening their bond and honing their skills.
“It’s always been there. Some people play golf with their family, we just happen to fish,” Jason said. “It’s kind of been a three-headed monster deal with us when we are together. We team fish so much together. If I can’t make a tournament, Floyd and Trenton will fish together and if one of them can’t make it I’m filling in. We trust each other's instincts. It’s been bittersweet competing against Trenton on the boater side of things.”
As a 17-year-old, Trenton fished the 2016 Bassmaster Opens as a co-angler and finished fifth in the Angler of the Year standings. Then in 2018, Jason and Trenton both earned a spot on the Louisiana state team in the boater division and competed against each other in the 2019 B.A.S.S. Nation Regional at Lake Guntersville.
“He was able to key me in to a deal that was happening with some cruising fish at Guntersville and we were able to capitalize on it,” Jason said. “It was phenomenal to see him. He met his partner who is twice his age. He was either boat two or three the first morning, so seeing him go through boat check and takeoff and see him trim that boat out and fly to where he was going was a surreal feeling. To see his smile when I got back because he had a decent day with 16-pounds and ask how I did and say about the same, it was a neat moment.”
Jason ended the tournament as the top Louisiana boater with an 11th-place finish overall and earned a spot in the Nation Championship.
“From the parental standpoint, you always want to see your child succeed and you don’t want to impede that or get in their way,” Jason said. “But in this aspect of it, I know he is just as capable and after all it is fishing. The fish don’t know who is holding the rod.”
During the TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Southeast Regional at Lake Hartwell, the top boater and top co-angler from each state team will earn a spot in the Nation Championship, leaving the door open for two of the three Pittmans to reach the highest level of the B.A.S.S. Nation.
“If it is in the plans, the Good Lord will let it happen and either way we are going to make some memories.”