Do What You Love (originally posted February 2014)
I fish because I love it. Plain and simple. Very few things invoke the type of intense passion like the passion I have for fishing. There’s just something about the whole experience that draws me back to the water, rod in hand. I’ve fallen in and out of it a few times in my 30 something years for various reasons, yet I come back to it every time. It’ll always be a big facet of my life, there’s no doubt in my mind. Some of the best friends I have, I have because of our mutual love for this very dynamic “sport”.
Now that I’ve built a brand around something I have an incredible amount of love for, at times I find myself honestly questioning why I continue the chase. As much fun as I have prepping for trips, going through gear, and planning my attack, there are moments when I sit back and think to myself, “man, this is A LOT OF WORK”. The sleepless nights, long tow to the launch ramp, caffeine, and those dreaded fish less days… it can suck the life right out of me. Add on top the filming I’ve been trying to do the last few years, and there are times I feel like Les Stroud futilely attempting to catch a fish for survival Hahaha. That poor dude couldn’t catch a cold.
Then there’s the pressure I put on myself to come through with the goods. I know I’m a victim of my own goals, expectations, and (get ready for the shameless self promotion)…DREAMS. Now there’s added pressure from some people that have an agenda against what I’m trying to do, which is to share with you my story and journey. The unique experiences I’ve been fortunate to have. My passion for this game. My absolute LOVE for fishing. Many of these negative Nancy’s and Debbie downers are people whom have never once spoken to me, reached out, or engaged me in any way whatsoever. Yet they talk about me and the project in such a way that the Kardashians Housewives Of Atlanta would envy. Sad really. It is what it is.
Thankfully these people whom I usually have to hear about via third party compromise a low percentage of the people whom voluntarily follow this project. After all I’m not forcing anybody to follow me on Instagram, “like” the Facebook page read this blog or log onto this website. I’ve learned that I can’t make everybody happy no matter how true my intentions may be. I’m going to be myself, do things in the manner I do, continue to show you my personality in a transparent form and straight up bring the mother loving ruckus!
I’m a different type of angler than what most people would perceive when they conjure an image of a “fisherman”. Frankly, I know that there are a lot more of “us” than people realize and it’s time people saw that there are other ways to be engaged in something we all tremendously love doing. If I have to be the guy that catches some heat in order to break some of the ridiculous stereotypes out there, than so be it. Nothing I’ve ever done that was worth doing in my life has come easy anyway.
This project for example. You might not realize the long hours spent working on content, managing a new brand, even engaging those of you whom have supported us in so many different ways. Thank you for that by the way. Chasing big bass obviously doesn’t come easy either, and as cheesy as it may be, I often find myself seeing parallels in fishing and other aspects of my life. It’s important for me to keep it all in perspective. There is so much going on in the world that fishing should be our escape from the seriousness of life. It can be a straight bitch sometimes.
Lately when I’ve been fortunate to get out, I’ve given a real effort to remind myself of how I started this crazy journey in the first place. It all started with one bite that changed me forever. Fishing became a real love in my life that can’t be duplicated. It’s difficult to explain to friends whom don’t fish, they haven’t experienced the experiences I have, they haven’t soaked in those moments of peace and clarity that I often find on my many journies. Each time I’m out on the boat is really that – a journey. I go from zoning out one moment and finding myself immersed in nature to diving deep into thought on different aspects of my life.
I think about my youth and some of the negative traits I’m guilty of exhibiting as I was learning life lessons on the fly. Yes it’s true, I haven’t always been an enlightened angler. Unfortunately there were times where I was “that dude”, feeling shades of jealousy of others successes and accomplishments and even doubting people I didn’t know and their achievements. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was being a hater. Instead of feeling envy, which is perfectly ok, I was jealous. Jealousy is an ugly emotion. It’s negative and negativity breeds faster than zebra/quagga mussels. Upon realizing the difference I was able to channel my energy into fulfilling my own goals instead of shooting down others. It was an important step that I had to take as I continue my growth as a person.
It’s kind of like the guy at the bar whom sees another dude walk in with a beautiful woman. He makes comments like, “that guy is such a D-bag” or calls the girl a _____. That poor bastard doesn’t realize he could better serve himself by just giving the dude props on courting a gorgeous woman and go find one for himself. It’s a cop out to just start dishing dirt in a sad, sad attempt to make up for his own shortcomings. Don’t be mad at others just because they see some success, believe it or not but some people actually put in a lot of work to get where they are.
The tournament bass fishing scene is something I’ve been a part of on and off most of my adult life. Talk about a demographic of people whom live, eat and breathe their passion. Wow, I don’t think there is another group that will jump with both feet and without hesitation for what they love doing than a tournament bass fisherman. These dudes are serious, I know I was when putting up the money to compete against my brethren. There are few things I’ve experienced that are more rewarding than putting together and executing a plan like winning a tournament.
There’s a real ugly side to the game that I started to see with my own eyes that I believe has taken away from the culture. The fun at times has been taken out of the equation as the focus of why we even go fishing. It’s easy to get caught up in the competitive aspect of the tournament scene. Egos swell, arrogance and chest pounding overtake having fun, humility and comraderie. Money and the “win at all costs” mentality create tension, stress and anxiety. I don’t know about you guys but I go fishing to get away from all that madness. Finding/keeping a job, family, my health, bills, and women provide plenty of that for my life already. I’ll ditch the #FISHBEEF.
I’ve cut back on the tournament fishing so that I can just focus on enjoying what I love doing. I still participate from time to time because it still can be real enjoyable and there are still a ton of good people that I like to engage and test myself against. They’re not all bad, in fact to be real with you I think people that fish tend to be some of the most grounded people I know. There are just a few guys that frankly try too hard right off the bat. There is no formal requirement to be considered a “pro”. You can go out and buy a $70,000 boat, $600 rod & reel combos, throw on a jersey covered in patches, custom paint your lures and cut a check to enter tournaments as a “pro”. There’s a lot of money involved in this scene and as they say, “money is the root of much evil”. When you invest that much into something you love and fail to accomplish goals, it can be real easy to exude negativity in an attempt to justify the failure that we all feel at times.
I just want to remind MYSELF that I need to continue this journey for the right reasons and move past the pettiness. I see guys all over the country that push themselves on others so hard as the greatest thing to happen to fishing in attempts to gain sponsors, fans and who knows what else at these trade shows. It’s not genuine anymore, they have just become another sales pitch for something nobody wants to buy – lol. I enjoy engaging the younger guys and non tournament fishermen the most. It’s because they just fish because they love to fish. They don’t have sponsorship obligations, weird motives, and agendas to fulfill and don’t blow up my social media with”sponser” requests with promises to market my brand to new Hawaii vacation funding heights. Please pay attention in school youngsters, it’s kind of a bigger deal than how many likes and followers you’re getting on your bathroom selfie posts. It’s spelled s-p-o-n-s-o-r. Say it with me now…hahaha. Don’t make me sit here and shake my head in amazement as I often find myself doing.
You really want to pursue your dreams of a future in this industry? Put in the time and work to find your niche, be 100% real with others and most importantly be “100” with YOURSELF. Unfortunately “REAL $h!t ain’t for everybody”. I’ve found that staying as grounded as possible, while reaching for the clouds pays off. Here’s another term I’m a fan of, it goes like this – “real recognize real”. What that means is people can spot the B.S. You’re not going to fool people if you are living a lie. Personally I think it’s way too much work to keep up a lie than just telling the truth. I don’t have the energy to maintain lies.
In conclusion fishing is dope. Fishermen are dope. Usually anyway. Go fishing, say hello, wave back when I pass by on the lake you jerks lol. Few things are as awkward as my married friends at the bar like when the courtesy wave goes unreturned hahaha. Don’t be a hypocrite, it’s lame. Most of all friends and even the guys that I just pissed off, JUST HAVE FUN no matter what your motivations. Otherwise do the rest of us a favor and pick up something else, like some Vagisil at the drug store 😛
I love to fish. If you share that with me, I’m down to be a friend. I’m not that bad, the world just wasn’t ready for my brand of CRAZY. #Hashtag
“…much success to ya, even if you wish me the opposite…” -Nas← BackNext →