From suits to St. Clair

For his day job, Edward Loughran III wears a dark gray pinstripe suit paired with a confident red or blue tie.

He gets his suits from JoS A. Bank.

Back in July, if you had asked Loughran about fishing the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship on Lake St. Clair out of Detroit, Mich., he would have laughed.

“The way my season was going, I figured it was out of reach,” he said. “I know it gets said a lot by anglers who are struggling, but I was not fishing to my potential. At all.”

At the conclusion of the Guntersville Elite in June, Loughran was in 59th place in AOY standings. At mid season, that’s a deep hole to crawl out of, and it didn’t get any better. At the end of St. Lawrence River he struggled and fell deeper into the standings at 65th place.

During the second leg of the back-to-back in New York at Lake Cayuga, Loughran finished stronger to earn a 28th-place finish, which pushed him to 61st place in AOY. Still, earning a spot in the AOY Championship seemed slim with one remaining regular-season event on the calendar.

The wildcard was Oklahoma’s Lake Tenkiller, which was a backup fishery to Ft. Gibson due to floodwaters. In late September, the lake was very hard to predict.

After Day 1 at Tenkiller, Loughran was in 35th place for the event, and that had him unofficially in 55th place for AOY. Day 2 he climbed the event standings into 22nd place and 53rd in AOY, again unofficially. On Day 3, he got even stronger and finished in 12th place, which was just shy of the Top-10 cut.

Thanks to his strong showing at Tenkiller, Loughran managed to squeak into the AOY Championship at 49th place, one spot above the Top-50 cutline.

A Top 10 would have been a nice improvement on his season, but that would have seriously cramped his work obligations at home.

He was headed to St. Clair. And this is where it gets interesting.

Loughran is an attorney from Richmond, Virginia, — a career that he continually works very hard at. (It’s a suitable career path to support an addiction to tournament bass fishing. We can all relate to that.)

That career had demands, which required him at home during the few days between Tenkiller and St. Clair.

“I scheduled court appearances early in the week thinking I didn’t have a chance to make the AOY tournament,” he said. “And as you can guess, judges don’t take to kindly to missed appearances. I’ve been so immersed in the stack of cases I needed to be present for, there was no way someone else could adequately represent. I had to be there, no question about it.

“Missing the Top-10 cut was actually a good thing, believe it or not,” he said. “I loaded my gear and hit the road to Detroit. The goal was to drop the truck and boat off at the house where we were staying, catch a flight home and get done what needed done before flying back north a couple of days later.”

The 49-year-old pro was back in Virginia by 11 p.m. Sunday night with plans to make a 2-hour drive to court the next morning.

“Our firm represents a lot of creditors,” he continued. “We file suits on behalf of banks, hospitals, car finance companies, landlords and those types of organizations. Typically, I’ll have a docket in certain jurisdictions where I might have anywhere from 10 to 100 cases. But since most defendants don’t appear for those hearings, I can zip through them pretty quickly.

“Thankfully, I had that type of work on Monday and Tuesday of this week, and I managed to get through them without any major road blocks. That meant I could catch a flight back to Detroit in time to begin practice for the Championship.”