How did you get started fishing? I started fishing with my dad at a early age. He introduced me to tournament fishing in 2nd grade and I never turned back. Tournament fishing was a experience that didn't compare to anything I had every experienced. Until this day I still remember the smells, sights, conversations from my first tournament.
When did you decide to make fishing more than a hobby? There was never really a moment when I decided I wanted to be a professional fisherman. I was so ingrained within the sport that I just assumed that fishing was my destiny. There were times where there was doubt, but fishing was the only sport I could see myself doing long term.
Do you have a routine that you follow when preparing to go out on the water? My routine during competition weeks is very repetitive. My mornings start very early every day during competition weeks. Oftentimes I'm up at 4am or earlier and my days really never end during tournament weeks. Even after the day of fishing is over I still have responsibilities to take care of to make sure the next day is successful. My boat has to be fueled, charged as well as any repairs or maintenance has to be executed daily. Fishing for a living is often glamorized as a dream job where all you do is fish. Nothing is farther from the truth. I am the mechanic, the boat driver, the PR person, screen talent, angler, and the truck driver. Fishing is the reward for doing the dirty work right.
In what ways has being a part of a boating community been beneficial to you? Having a group of people to ask specific boating questions to has been a tremendous help to my family and I. Caring for and using a boat came natural for me as a fisherman. However understanding the recreational side of fishing when it came to tubing with my kids was a new venture that I knew nothing about. Having a group to ask questions about my gear was very helpful.
Finding people that have similar interest in boating came natural for me as a fisherman. There are thousands of fishing clubs all over the country. I would highly recommend that anyone looking for friends and like minded anglers join a bass fishing club.
What was a piece of game changing advice that you have received that you still use today? One piece of information that I still use today as a professional is simplicity is best. During tournament scenarios, everything is simple until it isn't. Everything is easy until it isn't. One of the things that I've learned to regulate is my emotions while competing. It's so easy to become discouraged and defeated when things aren't going my way on the water during competition. Keeping everything flatlined emotionally during tough times has won me many mental victories.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in boating but hasn’t tried it yet? I would advise anyone who is interested in boating to start small and start affordable. There's so many good options when it comes to boats from kayaks to bass boats to runabouts and center consoles. Boats are like shoes and there's one that fits everyone's needs and personality.
What advice would you give to someone who is still new to boating? My advice to fresh boaters would be safety. Oftentimes as skillful boaters grow and get more confident behind the wheel, we become less cautious. The longer and more you're a boater the more likely you are to be a part of a accident. Slower is always better, paying attention prevents nearly all accidents and proper maintenance will reduce your chances of being stranded.
Other than fishing, what are your other favorite thing to do on the water? A few years ago I was introduced to free diving. Although I don't get to do it very often it's one of the coolest experiences I've ever had. Free diving is very challenging and takes a lot of concentration and relaxation. I'm certain if I lived closer to the coast I would do more diving.
What fills up your time when you’re not on the water? When I'm not on the water I love riding motorcycles with my son and I still play tennis a few days a week. Motocross was something I spent a ton of time doing as a kid so I love reliving those memories on occasion. The only other sport that I was serious with other than fishing was tennis. It's extremely important to stay in shape as a pro angler so I use my court time to keep my motor skills sharp and to get some cardio for long hot days on the water.