Landing my first win

Well, I got my first win last weekend, my first at the B.A.S.S. professional level anyway. It felt great to hold up the trophy after the final weigh-in at the 2021 Bassmaster Central Open on Pickwick Lake. This win is a life changing experience that’s a part of my journey in fishing that started a long time ago.

I’m told that my dad took me to a dock so that I could see a trout he caught when I was only 2 weeks old. It was at our family home at Liberty Lake in Washington. I can’t say I remember it, but if his goal was to develop a love of fishing in me he sure succeeded. It’s really all I’ve done my whole life, and it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.

Back when I was a kid I was an active member of, and fished with, the Inland Empire Bass Club in Washington state. After my dad started the first youth chapter in Washington in 2005 I fished with the various B.A.S.S. youth events that were happening at the time. 

Over the years I won two Junior Bassmaster World Championships. They helped pave the road to a career in the fishing industry through sponsor relationships and being fully committed to the sport of bass fishing.

When I’m not fishing the Opens I guide on the Coosa River system. Actually, I suppose I should list that first. I guide about 200 days a year. We cover Logan Martin Lake, Neely Henry Lake, Lay Lake, Lake Mitchell and Lake Jordan. Our world is all about bass fishing in the great state of Alabama.

Before that got going I worked at the Bass Pro Shops in Leeds, Ala. And, I’ve been fortunate enough to host a TV show, Sweetwater, on the Sportsman Channel for the past seven years.  

My wife, Jessica, is my full-time partner in life. We are an absolutely perfect team, and we do everything together as a family. It’s incredibly comforting to have her and my awesome kids, Zeke and Eli, with me every step of the way. We’re together 99% of the time. 

A ton of people have asked me if my ultimate goal is to fish the Bassmaster Elite Series. That’s a simple, straightforward question to ask a guy who has fished 43 B.A.S.S. events since 2010. I have to admit, though, that my answer isn’t so simple or straightforward. 

On one hand, I’ve tried to fish at the highest level I was qualified to fish all of my life. If I could qualify, the Elite Series would fit right into that. On the other hand, I have a good life right now. My family is with me, and I’m able to support them in an industry I love. It would be nice to move up, but it’s not necessary. I don’t need that to make my life complete.  

And, let’s be honest, there are a lot of factors that go into a decision like that. It would have an effect on the family so it would definitely have to be a family decision. 

There’s the money thing too. The Bassmaster Elite Series is an expensive step up the ladder. We’d have to work out the finances. I have great sponsors now. They treat me well, and I’m proud to represent them. But the Elite Series would require more money. 

All of that notwithstanding, I’ve never faced a decision in my life that I couldn’t work through with prayer and conversation with my amazing wife. With that mindset, we know when the time is right and the opportunity presents itself we will make the right decision.

Cherish your wins and know that things don’t always happen on your time. And for me personally, God’s timing is the perfect timing for everything.