Do you think all fishermen tell the truth? I would say that the answer to that question could have a plethora of answers. Most of them would probably be a lie! Okay now really, we all know that fishermen may stretch the truth from time to time. That doesn’t make them bad, does it?
I’ll bet most of you reading this have fond memories of fishing when you were young(er). You remember – going out to a farm pond or honey hole and catching more bluegill than you can shake a stick at. I’m talking fill a five gallon bucket full in an hour kind of fun. The cool thing about pond fishing is that anyone can do it, almost anywhere, and mostly anytime (just don’t forget to ask permission first).
For some of us that was, or is, the extent of our fishing careers. Weekend anglers lots of times use fishing as a time to get away from life for a while. I mean what’s not to like about being out on the water or fishing from a bank. It can be so very peaceful, relaxing, and (if you’re catching fish) fun too!
Fishing as a career?
Yes you heard me right. Fishing as a career is a real thing. This is not a new concept, however, the level to which the sport has grown in the past several years is phenomenal. Especially in the professional and semi-pro bass fishing arenas.
Opportunities in the fishing industry as a whole are almost endless. From the top pros on any of the professional tours to the engineers that develop new and innovative lures, there are literally thousands of job opportunities available.
Fishing is growing and growing
Here’s something new that most people don’t realize – hundreds of colleges have bass fishing teams. Even better, many of them offer scholarships for students to fish for those schools while getting their degrees.
I think tremendous opportunity and personal growth can and will come from these college teams. They are sort of like a stepping stone if one of the anglers choose to, or get the opportunity to, take it to the next level.
An interesting note, once the college bass fishing took hold high school bass fishing followed closely behind. Being a coach for a high school team I can attest to the fact that it has taken off like wildfire. Competitive bass fishing has given many students another avenue to pursue other than the main stream sports.
Developing good people
If you have ever had the pleasure of fishing (especially competitively) you probably know that it could be considered a character building exercise. I have both witnessed and been a part of good fishing trips and some that don’t quite turn out so good. Seems in the fishing world you will experience the good, the bad and the ugly at some point. Maybe all of those in one trip if you’re lucky!
In the college fishing world the competition is pretty fierce. There are literally hundreds of colleges and universities that have bass fishing teams. Some of them have multiple teams too. Many of the top teams do just as well as the pros do when it comes to their tournament bag weights. This success doesn’t come without it’s struggles though.
Success and something quite good
McKendree University’s bass fishing team has been very successful in recent years. Matter of fact, for the last two years they have captured the National College Championship title. Back to back titles, that’s amazing!
Here’s what’s even more amazing. During the recent championship tournament on Pickwick Lake in Alabama they finished well enough to capture their second championship, but not without an interesting hurdle. On the final day of the tournament they needed one more good fish to finish off their bag. Late in the day on their way to a ‘spot’ they encountered another team needing help.
Without hesitation, Trevor McKinney and Blake Jackson from Mckendree stopped (during the tournament) and jump started a competitors boat. Big deal you say? With a national championship on the line and not much time left in the tournament, yes it was a big deal.
Doing good even under immense pressure
These guys really didn’t have to stop. If I were in that position I am not sure I would have acted in the same way. I certainly should, but with so many people counting on me to finish well, it would be a tough call.
This is one of the best selfless acts I’ve heard about in a while. Trevor and Blake showed such character and maturity that day. Remember what I said above about character building? This situation is a result of this team most likely going through tough times before and receiving help from someone. They just paid it forward. They did Good!
To finish up the fishing tournament story, after helping those stranded, the McKendree team went on to catch that last fish they needed. The amazing thing is they caught it with five minutes to go in the tournament. That fish secured the second consecutive championship for McKendree University.
Pretty sure we can consider these guys modern day Good Samaritans. No matter what we call them, we know they did good for others at a time they certainly didn’t have to. I’m sure glad they did, how about you?