I shouldn’t be here. That’s one thing that keeps me humble and helps me appreciate each part of the journey.
I shouldn’t be here. That’s one thing that keeps me humble and helps me appreciate each part of the journey, including the challenges. Every good story includes overcoming the obstacles or beating the odds. I’ve had a lot of them.
I grew up in Jacksonville, AL and growing up you would find me in the woods, on a boat, or at the ball field. I always looked forward to the weekends with my dad doing what we both loved—anything in the outdoors. The same still holds true today.
As a kid, I would grab an old Bassmaster or Alabama Game and Fish Magazine from the big bathroom stack and read articles about the top fishermen of the 1980s, like Bill Dance, Roland Martin and Hank Parker. Many times I would daydream about having a bass boat and fishing tournaments like those guys. Never did I imagine that my childhood dreams would come true. And never did I imagine that the journey to get to my dream would be so full of ups and downs and victories and defeats.
When my wife, Meredith, walked into my life 18 years ago my world was turned upside down in all the best ways. She is a red-headed firecracker that has brought life, laughter, and three amazing children into my life. She is my biggest fan, my biggest support, and my best friend. She’s passionate and she’s competitive. She doesn’t believe in playing it safe or being conservative. In 2010 she convinced me to quit my “safe” job at the government depot and pursue my dream of becoming a professional fisherman. And in 2019, when we had $40 in our fishing account and were just about ready to call it quits and go back to a “normal life” she was the one encouraging me to double down on the dream. She is the one that pushed me to take a leap of faith and go all the way.
And now, after 11 years of pursuing that dream of fishing at the highest level of professional fishing, we are finally at the start. The journey to get here hasn’t been easy. I’ve had “good” seasons of consistent wins and “bad” seasons when I haven’t cashed one check. But every season has been part of leading me to where I am now. It has all been part of making me the husband, father and fisherman I am today. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
At the end of the day on the lake, whether my livewell is full or empty, I always pull up to the dock a winner when I see Meredith and the kids stand on the shore waiting. Pursuing my dream to become a professional fisherman would mean nothing without them.
Like my dad did with me, I’ve been taking my girls fishing since they were old enough to hold a rod. Now that they’ve grown into young women, it’s usually my 6 year old, River, who rides along—napping in his carseat on the way to the lake and charming the crowd from the stage during weigh-ins.
If I wasn’t trying to fish for a living, I’d still be fishing because it teaches me about living.
Some days, you come away with a livewell full of fish. Other days you have to chalk it up to learning experiences and memories. As long as you have an opportunity to cast a bait into the lake, you have a chance to reel in the big one
But for me, the win is simply trusting God through the process and enjoying the ride.