Opens profile: Horne's 10-year plan

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James Overstreet

“I’ve been a Bassmaster fan since the beginning of time,” says Harvey Horne of Bella Vista, Ark.

That puts the beginning of time for Horne at around 1981 when he was 5 years old. His Big Bang moment was the day he caught a bass on a Jointed Rebel Minnow with a Zebco 33 reel.

“I was walking on the bank fishing by myself,” Horne says. “That was the catalyst that started me on the path.”

Horne’s grandparents, Howard and Wilma Horne, lived on White Oak Lake in southern Arkansas, which is where Horne caught his catalyst bass on a Rebel Minnow. His grandparents often fished for crappie and bass and began taking Horne with them when he was 3 years old.

By age 7 Horne was catching bass on baitcasting tackle. He moved to Monroe, La., at age 11 when his mother, Frances, married his stepfather, Wayne Furr. During Horne’s teen years he often fished two small private lakes on land owned by a hunting club. The membership fee for the club was beyond what Horne and his stepfather could afford. They paid for their dues with sweat equity.

“We would work on the lakes a bit, run a brush hog, mend fences and do whatever general work needed to be done,” Horne says.

The club had two stick-steer bass boats for members and Horne put them to good use. A major milestone happened at these lakes when Horne was 13. That was the day he caught his first bass on a topwater lure, a Heddon Baby Torpedo. The event convinced Horne that he had what it takes to succeed as a bass pro.

Playing football at Ouachita High School in Monroe, La., put Horne’s bass dreams on hold for a few years. Bass fishing resumed as his top priority when Horne turned 20 and began fishing team tournaments in southern Arkansas and northern Louisiana with his friend Clay Smith.

It took them a few years to get up to speed, but they eventually began finishing in the money with regularity. Zoom Old Monster Worms and Carolina rigged lizards were big players for them.

Bass fishing became secondary when Horne married his wife, Rhonda, when he was 22. They moved to Dallas for work. Four years later, after the birth of their daughter, Caney, they moved to Bella Vista, Ark.

“We set up a plan that I would turn pro in five years,” Horne said. “The day after we made that plan we found out Rhonda was pregnant with our son, Joseph. So, we extended that plan to 10 years.”

During those years Horne joined the Northwest Arkansas Bassmasters, which he claims is one of the country’s oldest B.A.S.S. Nation clubs. Competing in club tournaments allowed Horne to fish a variety of lakes and rivers in the region and learn from his fellow members. He qualified to fish three B.A.S.S. Nation Regional events.

“Fishing with the club and learning from the older members is where I learned the skills I needed to move to the next level,” Horne says.

One of the best pieces of advice Horne received was from B.A.S.S. founder Ray Scott. Horne had an opportunity to visit with Scott during a promotional event at the Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Mo.

“I asked Ray if he could give one piece of advice to a young angler that wanted to turn pro, what would it be,” Horne says. “Ray’s answer was, ‘Take your time.’”

Horne took Scott’s advice and tested the waters of big-league tournament fishing for the first time when he fished a Bassmaster Central open in 2012 as a co-angler. The event was at Lewisville Lake, Texas, and Horne finished in 18th place. In 2015 Horne fished all three Bassmaster Central Opens as a co-angler.

The next step for Horne was to fish the Bassmaster Central Open series on the pro side of the equation. After a lot discussion with his family and realizing that it was now or never, he made the leap. That happened in 2017 when Horne qualified for the Elite Series. Though Horne won't fish the Elites it 2018, it was in the 10th year of Horne’s 10-year plan to go pro.

“My wife always said, that if I could pay for my passion, I could keep fishing, so I have always used the best products that don’t break the bank. I have moments when I think that this is too good to be true, then I pick up my favorite jig and cast it out again.”

TH Marine and Nightingale Custom Cabinets are Horne’s sponsors, and he is currently seeking partnerships willing to gain additional exposure through the 2018 tournament year.

“I am grateful for the sponsors that are willing to support a 41-year-old rookie,” Horne said. “I will invest all I can to support them in return.”