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I am currently in high school and starting to think about what I want to do with my life. I plan to bass fish in college at NC State or Georgia (haven't decided yet), graduate in four years, possibly fish professionally if I can (MLF/FLW), and start a family. I would like to know some of y'all folks life stories (that involve fishing) so I can get some information. i.e. how did fishing play a role in your life, how did fishing affect your career and life course, etc.

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Well I have been fishing non stop since I was about 2. To say fishing is my life’s passion would be an understatement. I always made good grades in school but Hated every minute of it (because I wasn’t fishing). When it came time to graduate high school, I didn’t want to go to college. My mother said well too bad son, you are going anyway haha. Then she said it’s easier to get a scholarship if you pick a major. Looking at a list of majors, one had the word fish in it! Wildlife and fisheries management. So I naturally picked that one and got a full ride to the university of Tennessee—- GO VOLS!!! Now I work in nuisance wildlife management through the week and part time as a fly fishing guide for trout at a fancy resort on weekends.  The whole nuisance wildlife thing was a total surprise to me as I never did any trapping growing up. But I’ve got a knack for it I suppose, and top notch training. There is also a huge demand for it in my area, we get way more calls than we can keep up with 

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I wanted to have my own professional charter/guide service since I stumbled a little in college. But I figured that wouldn’t be plausible. 

 

I’m miserable because my current career is not what I wanted to do and can’t change since I have so much student loan debt. 

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The hardest part about being a 'hardcore' fisherman with a job and family is balancing time and money.  Money for boats, travel, entry fees, gear, gas etc.  Time away from home, time off work, time spent on fishing-related stuff while at home, etc.  Many times, having more of one means less of the other....

 

I've been a bass-head all my life.  I now have a career, house, wife, kids, dog and I'm still out there as much as possible...Most of my life decisions were effected by fishing in one way or another. 

 

I got a job and worked way more than a teenager should so that I could buy my first bass boat at 15.  HS and college fishing didn't really exist for me (graduated HS in 03, college in 07), but I fished tournaments locally as a boater as soon as I was 16.  I had zero social life due to working toward the boat and then truck and after that fishing so much.  I was also little too cavalier with my school/class skipping in HS/college in favor of fishing trips and it almost bit me...But when you've got a truck and boat and a tournament on the Potomac the next weekend, how are you supposed to sit in school on a beautiful spring Thursday? 😂 It all worked out in the end, barely.

 

I got a degree in Meteorology because it was semi-related to fishing/outdoors (and I liked math/science)...Which was a mistake since scientific/specialized degrees are tough to find job in without going to school for your whole life.  Realized that almost immediately after graduating (and not finding a job) and took an entry level IT job and started climbing that ladder.  IT is universal and once I was at a point where I had more choices in my employers, I could pick the ones that offered lots of PTO so I could keep my tournament trips on the books.  

 

My wife has known me since HS and knew I've always had fish on the brain...It was part of the 'deal' when we first started dating and I'm fortunate that she still understand and supports my passion.  I try to keep the fishing trips/days close to 1-for-1 with my wife so that she can have her time for herself while I'm with the kids.  If you're going to have a family and still fish a ton, you've got to make sure your duties to your family aren't neglected.  For me it results in essentially nothing outside of fishing and family for me...No other trips or hobbies or vacations on my own - which is fine with me, those are the only 2 things I really care about anyway ;).

 

I have a longer term pipedream of fishing professionally like you, but I need more money saved for that...And I need to get better ;).  I plan on giving it a shot one day, no age limit and I'm still pretty young anyway...

 

Not sure if that's what you're looking for or if it helps, but here it is anyway...Logan's story :).  

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Hmmmm...started fishing in a bucket when Grandma was washing the car.  Then rode a bike everywhere as I got older and chased anything that swam.  Was sitting on a dock one day with some friends perch jerkin and some sparkly boats racing around the lake.  (many years ago)  We asked the owner of the campground what was going on....A bass tourney she says....I wanna do that I say to my friends.  Been downhill ever since....BASS and bass fishing has taken me all over the US.  My wife has been awesome and I have been blessed....Tight Lines

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I'm gonna be the debbie downer of this thread.

 

Ive been fishing since I was about 4. Love it, its my favorite hobby. About 4 years ago I met the woman who is now my wife. At first she was cool with me fishig once or twice a week. (Usually 1 full day and 1 half day) thats all I had time for anyway with a busy work schedule. But 4 years later, a house, 2 kids, and some disagreements later, I'm lucky to go fishing 3 full days a year. I live vicariously through this site and through pitching and flipping into a coffee can in the yard.  Fishing has all but been ruined for me. I am changing that this year regardless of the circumstances.  So be smart with what partner you chose and never let them make the decision of "should I go fishing today" because the answer is always yes. 

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Wanna take the fun outta fishing?  Make it a "Job" or make it your only source of income.  Sure there are a lot of careers that will put you outside and offer time for fishing but I got a rude awakening when I decided to keep a full time job and guide as well.  There are many angles to fishing, fun fishing, tournament fishing, guiding and professional fishing.  Those are the ones I can think of that put you on the water fishing, not just working in a related field.  Look at it this way, how many college athletes go on to be professionals in their given sport?  Football to the NFL, Baseball to the big leagues (not farm teams), Basketball to the NBA?  I personally know athletes in all of these disciplines who are or were professionals.  I don't know about the actual #'s or % of fishermen and women who started out with professional fishing as a career goal and made it.  I would assume the success rate is just as small as the other sports I mentioned given that the participation rate is really high in the other sports I mentioned.  That's not to say you shouldn't pursue it, just make sure you have plan B, C and D.  

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I remember a story Rick Clunn told in Bassmaster many years ago .  He was fishing a tourney and didnt have the weight to place . He was out of funds and wasnt going to be able to continue  tournament fishing . On his way back to the weigh-in he saw a tiny splash , like someone dropped a BB he said. He made a cast , caught a four lber , cashed a check and was able to fish the next tourney . The rest is history .

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wow! this can go anywhere. I have seen a lot of great advice already written here. like others I started as a young boy, when my dad would always take mw and my brother. I remember it being so much fun and exciting. I guess this is the first thing that is a must , you have to feel passion for it.you mentioned wanting a family some day , fishing is one of the best family time together events one could ever do.. the key word family is important. tho I never fished competitively , I still am thankful for the fun, personal, self satisfying, sport I was taught, and look back on the wonderful time my dad gave me when we had very little.  all in a nut shell, search for happiness in every thing , and be thankful for what ever it is. good luck in your dreams , stay positive, be willing to always learn.

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Update: nuisance wildlife control not so fun today. I stink.........bad.......

IMG_20190213_132306_01.jpg

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8 hours ago, CroakHunter said:

I'm gonna be the debbie downer of this thread.

 

Ive been fishing since I was about 4. Love it, its my favorite hobby. About 4 years ago I met the woman who is now my wife. At first she was cool with me fishig once or twice a week. (Usually 1 full day and 1 half day) thats all I had time for anyway with a busy work schedule. But 4 years later, a house, 2 kids, and some disagreements later, I'm lucky to go fishing 3 full days a year. I live vicariously through this site and through pitching and flipping into a coffee can in the yard.  Fishing has all but been ruined for me...

The time of your life that you are currently in is the most difficult.  The fact that you are newly married with young kids should change your priorities, that is what makes you a good person.  The good news is that your life will continue to change as your kids get older and the availability of free time will increase.  Enjoy your wife & kids at the stage they are at, it won't last forever.

 

At age 25, I had been married two years and we just had twin boys.  I vividly recall going to my mom's, unloading kids, car seats, diaper bags, etc. and thinking to myself "I am going to be doing this for the rest of my life".

 

Fast forward 30 years and it is so much different.  The first 20 years of marriage & kids meant fishing was a couple times a year thing.  However, for the past decade, fishing once or twice a week has again become part of my life.  My boys never showed much interest in it, but my daughter did and still joins me occasionally.  Best yet, there is a grandson on the way come May and I figure I will have him in my boat before he takes his first step 😁

 

If you have a current situation that limits your fishing, don't blow it up in order to get out & fish more.  Continue to do the right things and the rewards will come in spades in the future.

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8 hours ago, CroakHunter said:

I'm gonna be the debbie downer of this thread.

 

Ive been fishing since I was about 4. Love it, its my favorite hobby. About 4 years ago I met the woman who is now my wife. At first she was cool with me fishig once or twice a week. (Usually 1 full day and 1 half day) thats all I had time for anyway with a busy work schedule. But 4 years later, a house, 2 kids, and some disagreements later, I'm lucky to go fishing 3 full days a year. I live vicariously through this site and through pitching and flipping into a coffee can in the yard.  Fishing has all but been ruined for me. I am changing that this year regardless of the circumstances.  So be smart with what partner you chose and never let them make the decision of "should I go fishing today" because the answer is always yes. 

Dude that's messed up. A spouse/SO has no business destroying an innocent and healthy hobby. That's controlling and inconsiderate. Sometimes my wife's girlfriend's will ask her how she deals with me fishing so much, and she tells them that there are many worse things a spouse could be doing. Plus my wife fishes with me sometimes. 

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21 hours ago, TnRiver46 said:

Well I have been fishing non stop since I was about 2. To say fishing is my life’s passion would be an understatement. I always made good grades in school but Hated every minute of it (because I wasn’t fishing). When it came time to graduate high school, I didn’t want to go to college. My mother said well too bad son, you are going anyway haha. Then she said it’s easier to get a scholarship if you pick a major. Looking at a list of majors, one had the word fish in it! Wildlife and fisheries management. So I naturally picked that one and got a full ride to the university of Tennessee—- GO VOLS!!! Now I work in nuisance wildlife management through the week and part time as a fly fishing guide for trout at a fancy resort on weekends.  The whole nuisance wildlife thing was a total surprise to me as I never did any trapping growing up. But I’ve got a knack for it I suppose, and top notch training. There is also a huge demand for it in my area, we get way more calls than we can keep up with 

Dude! Wildlife and Fisheries Management is the exact major I am interested in! I would love it if you could tell me some more information about this. Also I bet you are excited for the Bassmaster Classic this year on the Tennessee River.

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13 hours ago, Alec McMillan said:

Dude! Wildlife and Fisheries Management is the exact major I am interested in! I would love it if you could tell me some more information about this. Also I bet you are excited for the Bassmaster Classic this year on the Tennessee River.

I also was an 18 year old kid that saw the Wildlife and Fisheries Management major and was sold.  Ended up picking WVU over PSU as the costs were cheaper even though I was a resident of PA.

 

I have no regrets as it was a great four years and a study that perked my interest,  however 9 years later and I am not using the degree in every day life.  I struggled with the job field out of college (location, pay, and job security).  I passed up fisheries jobs in Louisiana and Alaska and entered into the world of lean manufacturing which has been an amazing career start.

 

As for lady friends, I found one that enjoys to fish herself.  She understands it is a driving force behind many life decisions.  While she isn't always pleased, she understands enough to have a conversation to resolve any issue.

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14 hours ago, Alec McMillan said:

Dude! Wildlife and Fisheries Management is the exact major I am interested in! I would love it if you could tell me some more information about this. Also I bet you are excited for the Bassmaster Classic this year on the Tennessee River.

Yeah man! I can hopefully answer any questions you might have. Most of the guys/girls I graduated UT with work for the state or the fed. Lots of game wardens, a handful that deal with nuisance animals for Uncle Sam (airports, dams, etc), one that deals with fire management at a refuge in FLA, one who is still a top notch carpenter (he did this all through school to pay tuition), one that works for TVA, one that works for UPS, and 6-8 out of the 25 that I graduated with I don’t really know what they are up to (no Facebook haha). Most of the jobs in wildlife/fisheries don’t pay well but they won’t let you starve either. Several of The guys, law enforcement, can work private security as well. A side job isn’t 100% necessary but most of us seem to have one 

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Remember in the younger years of marriage things were very tough....Fridays were go out to dinner night.  Lots of times it was turn in the bottles for a refund and go to taco bell or pizza.  (kids loved pizza)  Fridays were our night as life was full off stress.  Weekends were in the Volkswagen camper buss and an hour down the road for an overnighter.  Kids loved the outdoors and this kept us all very close.  One of the big reasons we moved to Tennessee was to be with our kids and grandkids.  We've always had a respect for each others lives and for the most part have given 100% to each other.  Always smooth.....NOT....but after 45 years we're still working on it!

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I fished all the time growing up and I love it as much today as I did as a child. I joined the Army at 17 and spent the majority of my "prime" in service to this great country, until retiring at age 41. I still fished whenever I was not deployed and my wife always let me have my time on the water. I took a 4 year break when I got out of the military and fished almost everyday during the spring and summer. I then started working as a teacher, so I was still able to fish during late spring and summer and I again retired in 2017. (I'm sure I inspired many youths to take up fishing as my classroom walls were covered with bass and fishing pictures.) I did try tournament fishing one time, but it seemed to much like work, so I gave that up; it seems like that passage in "Walden" echoes the reasons I fish.

 

If you want to become a pro angler or get into a fishing related career, go for it. A dream never pursued is a dream never realized. Make your life extraordinary!

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On 2/12/2019 at 7:20 PM, Alec McMillan said:

 how did fishing play a role in your life, how did fishing affect your career and life course, etc.

It cost me my first job painting apartments because fishing was more fun. 

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