Focus and confidence in pursuit of dream

RANDLEMAN, N.C. — Like most fishermen, Dekota Shaw’s definitely a morning person, but it’s probably safe to say he won’t need an alarm clock when he represents his home state of North Carolina in the 2014 B.A.S.S. Nation Southern Divisional, on Eufaula — an honor he earned by finishing second at the North Carolina B.A.S.S. Nation Youth State Championship, June 15 on Lake Tillery.

“It’s pretty exciting,” said the 18-year-old from Randleman, N.C. “It’s the biggest thing to happen to me by far. It’s definitely a big step toward my fishing career.”

A recent Randleman High School graduate, Shaw participated in the school’s Outdoors Club, where Bill Frazier, Archdale Bass Club conservation director, serves as a coach/instructor. Confidence, poise and that intuitive “sixth sense” definitely occupy Shaw’s wheelhouse, Frazier notes. But summarizing the young angler’s strength, he points to focus.

“When he fishes, he fishes,” says Frazier. “He does not unnecessarily chit-chat or let his mind wander. He is conscious of boat, water and weather conditions and he listens to the fish. Also, whatever he learns he catalogs and keeps like a database.”

Shaw said he’s made a concerted effort to learn as much as he can from more experienced anglers and integrate that knowledge with his personal style. Showing a glimpse of the gamesmanship inherent to the tournament fishing scene, he describes his favorite tactics as shallow water, but quickly follows with this: “That’s all I’ll say. You can’t tell everybody everything you’re doing, or they’ll go out and do it.”

Presently, Shaw is working part-time at a local furniture store and saving money for trip expenses to the Southern Divisional. Support from his local Bass Pro Shops in Charlotte, Oakley, Lew’s Reels and the Randleman Outdoors Club will also help with the big trip.

He’s taking online courses at his local community college and plans to transfer to Montgomery Community College in Troy, N.C., where he’ll study gunsmithing. Fishing professionally is his dream gig, but he’s wisely pursuing a viable vocational skill set with visions of someday owning a hunting/fishing service center.

“I’m definitely hoping for a professional fishing career, but I’m taking a backup plan too, because that’s never guaranteed,” Shaw said.

Frazier’s betting on the pro career, saying he has high expectations for Shaw’s future: “He is here to fish — nothing more, nothing less. And, I assure you, he’s not intimidated by any of the big sticks out there. There is no lack of talent so he’ll go as far as fate lets him.”

Shaw’s right on board with that tall order. “Confidence is a big key. If you go out there with the mindset that you might catch a few fish, that’s probably what’s going to happen.

“But if you go out with the attitude that you can win, most times you’re going to do well.”

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