Throughout my entire life, I have been a fisherman.
Whether it was off of the dock or out of my Skeeter, I have always been chasing that next bite. Somewhere along the way, I decided that I wanted to get more into filming and editing some of my fishing adventures, so I started a YouTube channel. As my channel grew in numbers and my skills as a fisherman grew as well, the desire in me grew to become more competitive in my craft, so by the time I was in high school, I was ready for whatever lay ahead.
High School Bass Fishing
I paid a lot of attention to high school fishing across the nation and noticed that Illinois, Kentucky, and Florida all had high school bass fishing tournaments, but Texas wasn’t as developed at the time. Several years later, I finally saw the growth of high school tournaments in Texas so in the middle of my sophomore year I did some research and found out just how easy it was to make a team. By the summer of that year, I founded my high school’s fishing team at Lake Travis High School in Austin, Texas.
The small team and I fished our first State championship that year and the next year, we began our journey into the Central Texas high school fishing scene. Let’s just say, with as much as it was expanding, there were plenty of schools joining in despite it staying fairly regional.
Today, high school tournament anglers are traveling much further to tournaments and getting into the college, “travel based” mindset. Some of the tournaments consist of over 500 teams per tournament, which is just mind-boggling.
My College Fishing Career
Coming out of high school, I had one dream and that was to fish for Texas A&M University and win a college fishing national championship. Once I was accepted I reached out to the team and found out when the first meeting was. After that meeting, I was sold.
Every semester, we have one club tournament per month for us on the A&M team to fish against each other, which provides the opportunity for us to get to know each other as anglers. During my freshman semester I told the reigning national champion Josh Bensema that, even though I was only a freshman, I wanted to help him defend his title. So he told that me if I beat him on his home lake, Lake Conroe, I could fish with him that coming year. I bet you can guess the outcome of that tournament; I wasn’t gonna let that opportunity go to waste.
During that first year with Josh, we qualified for both national championships.
It was a good start to my college fishing career. It wasn’t an easy year by any means, but we made some incredible memories and some of my favorite tournament videos came from that season.
During my sophomore year, I did not participate in any college fishing tournaments, instead focussing building my personal brand and keeping my grades up. I jumped back in my Junior year and man was it a rollercoaster. My partner and I did not qualify for either championship, but we were on the cusp so many times. We finished one spot out and then four spots out the very next tournament. The Bassmaster qualifier on Sam Rayburn just didn’t work out either, the fish just changed on us and we had a rough tournament.
We even flew out to Clear Lake for the final Bassmaster qualifier and ended up having boat problems. It was a tough season, being ounces away from qualifying a few different times but that’s fishing and what keeps you coming back for more. I look forward to my Senior season here this spring!
Full-time Student and Full-time Angler
I often get asked how I find the time to run my YouTube page, attend a full college course schedule and still make time to fish. My answer?
It’s all about time management.
In order to live the life that I feel called to live, I have had to sacrifice things that most college students wouldn’t want to sacrifice. I realized that in order for me to succeed in the industry at such a young age, something would have to give, and that was often sleep or extended periods of social time. As an entrepreneur, you have to be ok with sacrificing something temporary for something that will last longer.
Working a full-time job, along with school, church, and a few other school organizations as well as being a fishing personality on YouTube and social media; that’s my life. Thankfully, I have been blessed to have the opportunity to be where I’m at and provide for myself and I thank God every day for the blessings he has given me.
My Top Three Tips for a Younger Angler
First off, be ok with sacrificing things to accomplish your dreams. Focus on being hardworking and diligent. You’ll like the results.
Secondly, learn to be confident in yourself. Learn to accept criticism and different opinions but be ok with people not liking you. As weird as it sounds, when you have a small group of people disapproving of what you do, they are usually just jealous of your success. Keep it up.
Finally, we live in a digital age so If you are not putting out content regularly, you’re not going to make it. Sometimes with this content, it’s better done than perfect which can be hard for a perfectionist like me. Along with that, try new things, try new experiences, and make new relationships. Life is all about networking and using that network of friends and acquaintances to better your life and the lives of those around you.
As a final statement, I can never be fully satisfied with what I do here on earth.
That statement is not meant to come across as arrogant or make me seem like a workaholic, but instead points to this truth: I will never be able to do enough good things or be successful enough to make me feel worthy of praise. The reason I feel this way is because I know that Jesus Christ accomplished everything for me. He put on flesh and lived a perfect life, yet died a death that we deserve so that we can be brought back to God. No matter how successful I am or how many good deeds I do, I will never be able to do enough to earn my way to Heaven.
I simply feel incredibly blessed and fortunate to have had the opportunities and abilities and desire to chase my dreams. I feel fortunate to be the person that I am and I couldn’t be here without my support system. My family, friends, and sponsors keep me up and keep me going. I love being able to represent who I am to the world, and I thank each and every one of you for allowing me to continue pursuing my dreams.
This article was contributed by an ANGLR Expert
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