If you happen to go fishing at Tennessee’s Cherokee Lake, be sure to stop by Huff’s German Creek Marina for a visit with co-owner Mike Huff. You’ll be conversing with a new Bassmaster Elite Series pro.
“My number one goal has always been to make the Elite Series,” Huff said. “It hasn’t really set in yet that I’ve done it. I don’t think it will until I fish the first tournament on the St. Johns River.”
Huff plans to pre-fish as many of the Elite events as possible. Lake Lanier will surely be one of them since it is only 3 hours from his home. He may not be able to fit in a pre-fish trip to Lake Fork, but he is looking forward to competing on this trophy bass lake.
“I would like to win the Rookie of the Year,” Huff said. “Beyond that I want to make the Classic every single year and have a chance to win it.”
Huff’s grandfather, David Huff, died a month before Huff competed in the final 2017 Northern Open tournament at Douglas Lake.
“I told my granddad before he passed away that I wanted to fish the Classic,” Huff said. “Just making the Classic is a huge accomplishment.”
At age 4, Huff began bass fishing with his grandfather and father, Rex Huff, at a pond near his home in Corbin, Ky. His cousin, Nick Huff, who is about the same age, was usually part of the gang. Although his father and grandfather were “strictly bass fishermen” they started Huff on bluegills. On one of those early outings Huff was reeling in a bluegill when a sizable bass “destroyed it.”
“I’ve been hooked on bass ever since,” Huff said.
A Zebco spincaster was Huff’s first bass outfit, and he often had its line knotted to a floating worm or Heddon Baby Torpedo. At age 8, Huff was allowed to ride with his father and grandfather when they fished local weeknight tournaments on Cherokee, Laurel and Douglas lakes. They let him fish during these events, but he was not allowed to weigh in any bass he happened to catch.
At one of these tournaments Huff’s Zebco baitcaster flew out of the boat and was never recovered. That was the day he stepped up to baitcasting tackle. His first outfit was a secondhand Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 5500C reel affixed to a 6-foot rod.
“My granddad really liked night fishing, but he would fish day tournaments with my dad,” Huff said. “When I was 12 years old I started teaming up with my dad to fish day tournaments and with my grandfather to fish night tournaments.”
The first night fishing technique Huff learned from his grandfather was slow rolling a heavy spinnerbait sporting a large Colorado blade over the bottom. His father loved to fish a 3/8-ounce jig during daytime tournaments, and it was the first thing he taught his son how to fish.
Huff’s tournament involvement took a huge leap forward after he graduated from Corbin High School in 2009. His older cousin, Clay Elliot, was attending Georgetown College in Georgetown, Ky., and had started a collegiate bass fishing team there. Elliot recruited Huff and his cousin Nick to come to Georgetown and become members of the team.
The team competed in B.A.S.S., FLW and Cabela’s affiliated college tournaments. These events challenged Huff with a broad variety of tournament venues, including Kentucky Lake, Lake Norman, Pickwick Lake, Lake of the Ozarks and Table Rock Lake.
“It’s crazy how much you learn when you’re in college fishing,” Huff said. “You meet so many people across the country who do so many different things. The first year we were completely lost. By the time we were seniors we were pretty successful at it. We learned a lot of different techniques and how to calm down and stay focused.”
After graduating with a communications degree, Huff worked at a tire outlet in Corbin before he and his cousin Nick bought German Creek Marina and renamed it Huff’s German Creek Marina. They have been busy updating, improving and expanding the marina’s facilities. You can see what they’ve been up to at huffsgcmarina.com.
In 2015 Huff competed in two Bassmaster Northern Open tournaments. The first of these events was on the James River. Huff claimed 14th place and earned a nice payday. He failed to earn a check at the following event on Lake Oneida. In 2016 he competed in all three Southern Opens without winning a cent. At the third of three 2017 Northern Open tournaments he finally cut a check again at Douglas Lake.
Not one to be discouraged, Huff signed up to fish the 2018 Easter Opens and claimed a check in three of the four events to earn his an opportunity of a lifetime.
Huffs sponsors are Berkley, Abu Garcia and Dave’s Boat Sales of Frankfort, Ky.