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Kozak

College, Fishing, and the works. Need some advice.

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Hey everyone,

This is my first post but I figured there's more fishing brains here than anyother forum on the net, so I've came to you in search of advice.

Alright, I'm in my Senior year of High School and am getting ready to apply to about 6 colleges. I'm going in to major in buisness and wildlife conservation, with the dream of one day bass fishing full time as a sponsored bass angler. I feel like it's my calling, but I'm only 17. This is where I need advice. I come from a not-so-rich family where money can't really be tossed around with buying boats and such.  Would trying to start tournaments straight out of college be a okay thing to try? or do you think I should get a job with a fishing company first and make some money before putting it on the line? The main reason I'd like to try and jump into tournaments (they wouldn't be big money ones at first) is because I feel that if I settle down and get a decent job with a fishing company, I'll never 'get back up' and go for my dream.  I understand the sacrifices and hard work it would take to become a professional bass angler, but I'm willing to do both of those, as I have my entire life. I've gotten straight A's all through school and that's came from very hard work and making sacrifices (quitting football at one point for instance).  Right now I'm hoping to get into either Texas A&M, Texas Tech U, or NC State U. Those are my top choices and all of them have competitive bass teams, I think they could even give me a taste of what tournament fishing is like. I live in the Northeast right now (MA) and bass fishing isn't huge around here, so I've never had the chance to join a club.

I hope someone can offer some advice. I'm basically wondering how to get started fresh out of college.

thanks

-MarkK

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I am currently in the same sitiuation. It is a LONG gradual process in my opinion. I am fishing with Penn State but also trying to get involved with local clubs so I can  get more tournament experience. Don't go to college for the fishing trust me that is just a bad decision.  Go for your education primarily and make fishing work in your offtime. My suggestion to what to do may not be the right one... but it's the one i'm taking.  I am fishing with my college team we fished the National championship in texas at lewisville and we will be attending lake newton for the big ten championship and some local tournies here and there.. Along with the college team I am tyring to get involved with an active club to get CHEAP more tournament experience. Then maybe a few years down the line I will try to get into some BFL tournaments and local tournaments and so on. In my mind.. you just need to put your time in and work at it like everything else at life. Good luck and work hard!

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Wow, that was like reading a post about my exact position in life.  What I'm going to try to do is along the lines of what you said.  I'm going to a college with a bass fishing team, then when I graduate try to get a job somewhere in the bass fishing industry.  Then, hopefully with experience there I can get a semi-major sponsorship to cover costs to start fishin touraments and start climbing to the top.  I dont know if that helped, but I'm looking forward to the other responses too.   Good luck in the future.

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haha good to see there's others like me, I see it as; there's going to be a need for a new generation of bass anglers and I'd like to be one of them when the time comes

thanks Robby for the advice, I know not to go to college just for the fishing.  I dont know if you've heard of CollegeBass (Smash-Mouth) but it's sponsored by ESPN and Under Armor, they also have a yearly championship, it was just last weekend. Each registered college sends their top 2 anglers and it's all expense paid. VA-Tech won this year's championship.

I could start a fishing team at whichever college I go to but the fact that my first choices already have one in tact is just a plus. Depending on where I go, I as well will see if I have enough time to join a local club

thanks again

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Yes I heard of smashmouth, I dont know about the all expense paid deal... Wherever your getting that from that is interesting...Plane tickets, hotels, food, gas? that would be a suprise. We couldn't go to smashmouth because we didn't get a qualifying event in. Collegate bass fishing is a somewhat new thing and many places are unorganized low funded and cannot get boats and the majority is your own expense. If it IS all expense paid... that's amazing and neat.

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As an academic recruiter for LSU in Virginia (no sports) and knowing about college life may I add my two cents?

When you enter college, your job is to get good grades and graduate.  That is number one on your hit parade.  Fishing, drinking, partying, playing club sports, joining a fraternity, attending football, basketball, baseball games, etc. or being a part of the student council is a part of college that is enjoyable but secondary.

You will note that some of the brightest kids in your high school will not make it in higher education. Others who you thought were dumb will succeed.  We all "blossem" at different times in our lives and if you blossem in college you will do well in life.

That is one of the reasons I suggest to all parents to throw their kids out of the house and send them off to school away from home.  You will find out who can make it and who cannot within four or five months.

You will get into a schedule at college that may allow you to fish on weekends or maybe in the early AM or PM depending on your class schedule.  But fishing will have to take a back seat to your main goal: graduating.

Here is my two cents (or maybe a quarter) for your consideration:

First, you are young and have a long, long life ahead of you. Don't be in a hurry.

Second, being a junior in high school means that the fun and games are over.  You are entering a phase in your life that screams "serious business" for your future.  You need to attain and maintain good grades and good ACT or SAT scores.  You also need that college degree.

Third, with the degree comes a good career (not a job, but a career) that will give you income.  Not a great amount of income after you graduate, but as you obtain more and more experience you will be more and more valuable to businesses and will be paid for your knowledge and experience.

It is estimated that a college degree (even one from Penn State  ;D) is worth $1,000,000 when compared to a high school degree.

Fourth, you will be getting married.  It happens to 99% of us, sometimes two and three times. :D  You and your wife will want a nice home in a nice neighborhood, nice furnishings and children.  So there goes the money you will be earning.

Fifth, you can invest in a good bass boat and fishing equipment after college, if you have the time. Starting out after college can be demanding and you may not have all of the free time you think you will have, especially once you get a serious girlfriend or get married.

So purchase your boat after you get your first job and before you get married.  Be sure to take care of the boat as it may have to last 10 years or more.

Sixth, you will have time to fish after you and your family settles in.  However, you will be taking the kids to all types of sporting, school and church events so that will cut into your fishing time. Saturdays will become very busy with all of the activities your kids will be into and on Sunday it is church, including Sunday School for the rug rats.

Seventh, once you and your wife make a deal on your fishing and your work schedule will allow it, you will then be able to give more time to fishing.  Either with your children or in a club or by yourself. But fishing is expensive and if it is between little Johnny's braces and a nice used bass boat or a new trolling motor guess which one will win?

Eighth, once you are settled in your career or start you own business and the financial responsibility is under control (good luck) then fishing or hunting can be done without any added stress of family life or job responsibilities.

For now, your goal is to get into one of those six colleges and then graduate.

You can go to a school that is located around good year-round fishing opportunities (like down south in SEC country or the great state of Texas) and maybe the school will have a fishing club you can join.

You will need a car and one day you will want your own apartment off-campus.  To study? No, to have your own space and have girls come over and study.  ;D ;D ;D

However, with all of this going on you can always try to continue fishing as best as possible while in school.  Just as long as it does not interfer with your school work.

Hey, there are a lot of places to fish from the bank. LSU has its own lakes filled with bream and bass. Tulane in New Orleans floods so you can fish anywhere on campus after a hurricane.  There are so many places to fish in Florida you could start tomorrow and not fish them all in your lifetime.

And you have the guys on this forum who live where you are going to school that you can fish with when possible.  I would love to go out with Avid, Catt, George Welcome or any of the moderators if I was visiting or living in their areas.

So keep on fishing for as long as you can but please, please, please get your priorities straight so you can graduate college and make a lot of money and pay a lot of your earnings into F.I.C.A.

We all love F.I.C.A. ;)

Good luck and let us know where you decide to go to college.

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thank you Sam,

that was all very helpful.

I am currently a Senior in High School. So I already have taken my SATs & gotten good scored, been on the high honor roll since middle school and it's staying that way this year.

and I already have a truck that should last me for a while so that's one payment that's done

Like you said, I may end up finding a girl and settling down, honestly, I really would rather spend my life bass fishing for a job right now, than settle down. I love the ladies, and kids are cool to, but I wouldn't want to put them through the hassle of me always being gone. Perhaps I'd come back after years of pro-angling and fine a wife then, perhaps adopt a child if we're too old or something.

what I'll probably do straight out of college is find somewhere where I can get a fishing-related job, with BPS or something of that sort and do fishing on the side. Eventually when I have enough money I'll buy a bass boat and step it up from there.

thanks again

and Robby, I'm 90% sure I read that somewhere, here's their site, collegebass.com . I don't know if the colleges have to pay something to register, I dont think they do. ESPN has a bunch of sponors in on it and it's very good publicity for them, so I believe the food and hotel are deffinately free

thanks again

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Kozak,

Thanks for the reply.

Glad you are doing well in school.  Keep up the good work.

Now, let's talk about bass fishing as a pro.

It is a job.  An unforgiving but rewarding job.

More losses than wins.

Money is tight.

It is a year-round adventure.

It is no longer fun.  It is work.  Hard work.  Serious work. Stressful work. 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Work.  Hard work.

In all sorts of weather.  During holidays.  Keeping the sponsors happy and constantly producing.

Writing books and making DVDs.  Work.  Hard work.

I tell the kids who want to play football or other sports at LSU to enjoy their college adventure and that it is more fun sitting in the stands with a nice coed on your arm watching the game then to be going to school and working at your specific sport all year.  

Yes, college sports is an all-year - everyday program.  It is hard work.  Not fun.  Mess up and not only are the coaches on your fanny but so is the student body and your teamates.

And professional fishing is the same.  

Fishing is fun.  All I can do is suggest that you keep it as fun.

Try the pro circuit.  Join a BASS or FLW fishing club and work your way up into the amature side of the sport. If you can.

Be the top finisher in your club for two or three years.  Fish the six-man teams and see how you do.

But...you will need a career that will produce the capital for your fishing (it is expensive) and the time to prefish and then fish tournaments.

This means you will be on the road an entire week before the tournament; that weekend of the tournament; and then driving either home or to the next tournament.  This is very expensive and you need a method to fund your expenses.

That is why I suggested taking it slow. Improve and sharpen your fishing skills.  Read, study, listen and watch.

Get a summer job with one of the fishing industry companies (easier said then done) and learn all you can about fishing while in school.  Study the fish, itself; water conditions; weather; Ph factors, etc.  Get a good base to work from; get a good career to fund your efforts; and give it a try.

Fishing for fun is like playing high school football.  It is fun.  Who really cares if you win or lose?  But once you graduate into college it is a whole new ball game. An unforgiving game. Your future is at stake.

Once again, get that degree; fish as much as you can; and see where the chips fall.

And as for girls....just wait.  Some nice coed out there is just waiting to get her hands on you.  

Who knows?  Maybe one day you will want to spend the weekend with her and not go fishing.  It happens.  Just be ready and use protection.  But make sure you don't spend too many weekends with her and not go fishing.  You need to keep your fishing skills sharp; not your coed skills.

OK, let's get on the big yellow bus and go to school.  Lecture over.

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1.  Don't get married.

2. Don't have kids.

You just freed up the rest of your life!  Score!

And get a useful degree.  I can't stand it when people graduate making $12/h and are $30k in debt from school loans.  Its stupid.  

Degrees are good, but you don't have to go to school if you have skills and can market them.  

Anthony- married senior at UAH working on a degree in mechanical engineering....

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Anthony,

What school is UHA?

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Sam, that is some really great advice.  You are so right about sports in college.  I played basketball for the first year in college and it was a great experience, but it was all day, every day sport.  I ended up not playing after that first year and took a job, and i'm finishing school this december with a BS in Maketing.  College has been very challenging, but my experience has been very rewarding.  

I can't stand it when people graduate making $12/h and are $30k in debt from school loans.  Its stupid.  

I couldn't agree more.  But, getting a degree is never a waste of money.  It is their own fault for only making $12/hr right out of college.  They don't have to take that job, and they shouldn't, as they are worth much more than that with their degree.  With the degree they have an edge up on the competition, and ultimately will be paid accordingly.

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Start by getting into a local bass club as a non-boater. This way you can see where you're at, and if you really like it as much as you think you would.

Fishing is tons of fun, I think everyone here would agree. But I also think that if it becomes your only means on income, it can also become a high pressure very risky job. That MIGHT take some of the fun out of it once you're at that level, then again it might not. Just another thing to think about.

Definitely start by joining a local club though, get out on the water and get on boat experience.

Goodluck.

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i agree with starting as a non-boater. You can find out if you really want to fish tourneys that way, without putting up alot of capitol. I thought i would enjoy fishing tourneys, so i started as a non-boater. After a few tourneys i decided it wasn't for me. So i went out and bought a boat that fit my fishing needs and not one that would be great for tournament fishing. I saved myself alot of money by doing this, and also was able to learn about what fishing really means to me....a chance to relax

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i agree with starting as a non-boater. You can find out if you really want to fish tourneys that way, without putting up alot of capitol. I thought i would enjoy fishing tourneys, so i started as a non-boater. After a few tourneys i decided it wasn't for me. So i went out and bought a boat that fit my fishing needs and not one that would be great for tournament fishing. I saved myself alot of money by doing this, and also was able to learn about what fishing really means to me....a chance to relax

Exactly, many people have the same experience you did. I'm in the stage right now where I'm debating if I like it or not. There's pros and cons to it, but really, it's not nearly as exciting it was the first time.

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Well Kozak... I will tell you... Texas A&M is the place to go for a major in Wildlife Science and Business, I go there.  ;)  AND I am also on the Texas A&M bass club, the Aggie Anglers.  TRUST ME, fishing these College Bass clubs can be a great ticket to getting sponsers and moving your way up the ladder.  For example... you can fish at a University club and just have to beat out 20-25 anglers to be on your way to a National Championship and getting awesome publicity (compared to having to compete against MANY MANY more for sponsors).  

This thing is BLOWING UP! College bass fishing is growing tremendously every year and more and more huge sponsers are catching on.   And with not too many anglers in these college clubs, and the sport growing...RIGHT HERE, and RIGHT NOW, is your best chance to make it.  TRUST ME.  Plus, the college tournaments are great because you are also getting your education, a much needed asset for the future.  I'm telling you man... this is the way to go.   Hope to see fishing at A&M next year!  ;D ;)

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surprised to say that i graduated this year class 07 also. I am starting out in college as a freshman, but i am not sure if i want to pursue a career as a bass pro. I have a real special talent in fishing and fishing seems to be the only hobby i grew up with. That road ahead looks kind of long, if i wanted to become a bass pro but i just fine where i'm at. ;)

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For everyone who is interested in what careers are available with a Wildlife and Fisheries degree please check out this site:

www.usajobs.gov

It is the Federal Government's job site.

I forest ranger in the Shenandoah National Park who graduated from Kent State gave me the web site.

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This is going to be a shameless plug for my school pride...

Look into Ball State University here in Indiana.

Their Entreprenuership program is top 10 in the nation.

Their Miller college of Business as a whole is getting national attention more and more all the time.

the campus is relativly small (I can walk across it in 15 min.)

The people(i.e. faculty etc...) are great, very friendly, and helpful.

We have a small bass club that could always use more great fisherman. This sport in college is getting ready to explode, it can only get better from here and we have a small club that is on the verge of getting the recognition it needs from this school, we just need more members now.

Muncie is a nice little city, not like Indy or any other big metropolis but it has all the things anyone would need.

The technology at BSU is top notch, also nationally ranked.

Dorm life isnt so bad (although im getting out as soon as they will let me)

The food really is pretty good as long as you go the right places, also it svery diverse.

I almost ended up at Purdue, and boy am i glad I didnt, I have friends over there that are miserable.

But most importantly the next few years are only going to be what you make them. Think long and hard, it will pay off.

Shameless plug over...

IK

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Hey everyone,

This is my first post but I figured there's more fishing brains here than anyother forum on the net, so I've came to you in search of advice.

Alright, I'm in my Senior year of High School and am getting ready to apply to about 6 colleges. I'm going in to major in buisness and wildlife conservation, with the dream of one day bass fishing full time as a sponsored bass angler. I feel like it's my calling, but I'm only 17. This is where I need advice. I come from a not-so-rich family where money can't really be tossed around with buying boats and such.  Would trying to start tournaments straight out of college be a okay thing to try? or do you think I should get a job with a fishing company first and make some money before putting it on the line? The main reason I'd like to try and jump into tournaments (they wouldn't be big money ones at first) is because I feel that if I settle down and get a decent job with a fishing company, I'll never 'get back up' and go for my dream.  I understand the sacrifices and hard work it would take to become a professional bass angler, but I'm willing to do both of those, as I have my entire life. I've gotten straight A's all through school and that's came from very hard work and making sacrifices (quitting football at one point for instance).  Right now I'm hoping to get into either Texas A&M, Texas Tech U, or NC State U. Those are my top choices and all of them have competitive bass teams, I think they could even give me a taste of what tournament fishing is like. I live in the Northeast right now (MA) and bass fishing isn't huge around here, so I've never had the chance to join a club.

I hope someone can offer some advice. I'm basically wondering how to get started fresh out of college.

thanks

-MarkK

Same with me, i've gotten straight A's in school and hope to do good on my SAT and make into Harvard Buisness school ( i know i'm a dreamer) and get a good start, save 1-2 million, and become a bass and whitetail guide around lake fork texas.

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Go to college and get your degree.  If it happens to be a school where you can continue to fish and keep it in your life, great.

You may go to school with your intended major and realize that its not what you thought it was...then what?  Don't put all your eggs in one basket right now.

A little bit about my deal (and this is the closest to "sharing" that I have gotten on this site):  I had my life planned out in high school.  It involved what my major would be, what the grad school program would be, the job I would have upon completing grad school, when I would make the change, and when I would retire.

Well, in my junior year I realized that that what I was supposed to be studying for my "grad future" was incredibly boring!  To sum things up, I ended up doing a shift in majors, picked up a minor and changed horses mid-stream.

Long story short, it took time after school but at least I now enjoy my job...even though I don't make anywhere near the amount of money I would have ahd I followed the "plan."

You are young and things look good down the road....they way you want them to look.  Maybe it will become a reality.  Maybe not.  Just think long and hard and have a back up plan.

Good luck.

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