College fishing standout Nolan Minor crossed something off his bucket list in Fort Worth, Texas, during the 51st Bassmaster Classic while simultaneously bidding farewell to his impressive college fishing career. The former West Virginia University (WVU) Mountaineer drove down to Texas to compete in the final college tournament of his career, The College Classic.
Minor’s tournament resume features a pile of top finishes; including major wins, second-place finishes in events, Team of the Year races and even the 2018 Carhartt College Series Classic Bracket. Nick Ratliff narrowly edged out Minor’s Classic aspirations in 2018 during an exciting head-to-head battle. But one of Minor's goals came full circle in Fort Worth this June.
“It was a pretty amazing experience getting to walk across the Bassmaster Classic stage, and I even got to do it with a 5-pounder,” Minor said with a smile. “That checks one dream off the bucket list, taking a big bass across the Classic stage. Now I just have to carry a 5-pounder across the Classic stage while actually fishing in the tournament.”
Minor’s confidence and goals are rooted in his humble, hard working but always friendly demeanor. Though he qualified for and competed in four straight Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championships while attending WVU, Minor was never able to fish in the special college tournament held in conjunction with the Bassmaster Classic. The experience was a fitting end to his days as a collegiate fisherman.
Now Minor has his sights on his next goal, qualifying for the Bassmaster Elite Series.
He's trying to follow in the footsteps of anglers like Patrick Walters, Jake Whitaker and the Lee brothers by qualifying through the Bassmaster Opens. Countless anglers competing at the professional level have proven that college fishing provides invaluable “on-the-job” experience to young anglers.
Currently, Minor is helping manage social media accounts for brands in the fishing industry while competing in the northern division of the Bassmaster Opens.
To the surprise of few, Minor had a strong 38th-place finish in his first Open event on the James River, cashing a solid check and learning a lot for his next two events in the process. If things work out the way he hopes, Minor plans to compete in all nine Opens in 2022.
“Trying to be a pro angler isn’t like most jobs,” Minor said. “There is no set path; it’s unpredictable. Every single person who fishes professionally has a different story. It could take a lifetime, or it could happen quickly. To be honest, financing a professional career is pretty intimidating. I have no idea how I’d do it, but I know I love this sport and I feel like it’s what I’m supposed to do.”
Throughout his college fishing career, Minor’s honest loyalty and performance on the water helped him form working relationships with brands like Carhartt, Abu Garcia and Berkley Fishing, Featherwick, Fishing Online and Bass Resource. These companies continue to support Minor in his Bassmaster Open campaign.
“I’m fresh out of college. I’m hungry, and I know I’d really regret it if I didn’t at least give the Opens my best effort,” Minor explained. “I have the support of my family, friends and hope to continue growing my relationship with a few incredible companies. There is no better time to give it a shot.”