March 11, 2013 by Gary Mortenson
(Editor's note: Leading up to the 2013 FLW College Fishing National Championship - slated for April 19-21 on Beaver Lake in Rodgers, Ark. - CollegeFishing.com will publish weekly, in-depth features stories of each of the 25 national championship team qualifiers. At stake in the tournament is a first-place prize package that includes $30,000 in cash, a brand new, Ranger Z-117 bass boat and an automatic berth in the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup.)
Club Web site:
CollegeFishing.com: How were you introduced to fishing?
John Smith: I was introduced to fishing at a very young age. I started out fishing in local rivers and lakes. When my dad would get off work of the evenings, I would be waiting on him at the house with the poles ready. As I grew older, I started tournament fishing and quickly realized that I was hooked
Kyle Raymer: My dad got me started in recreational fishing really early on and let me tag along in little local tournaments on a private lake when I was in middle school. From there, my mom convinced my dad to start taking me to junior tournaments which eventually lead to college fishing.
CollegeFishing.com: What style/method of fishing are you most comfortable with?
John Smith: I like power fishing. I like covering water with reaction-type baits and making them bite.
Kyle Raymer: I am probably best at cranking, but flipping is my favorite way to fish.
CollegeFishing.com: What did it feel like to qualify for the 2013 FLW College Fishing National Championship? How do you plan to prepare for the big event?
John Smith: This is our goal every single year. So it was a big relief the moment we knew we had qualified for the National Championship as we realized that all the hard work had paid off. Also, this is a great opportunity and could be a life-changing event.
As far as preparation goes, Kyle and I will try to spend as much time on Beaver Lake as we can to try to find that one key spot or area that will help lead us to a National Championship title.
Kyle Raymer: I felt relief after the second day of regionals knowing that John and I had qualified for the National Championship - a potentially life-changing event. And because of our hard work, we have given ourselves the opportunity to qualify for the Forrest Wood Cup. Now it's time for us to start researching Lake Beaver; and hopefully we can get down there for some pre-practice.
CollegeFishing.com: Tell us something interesting about yourself that most people wouldn't know.
John Smith: I have a wonderful, loving, caring, supportive and beautiful wife. We have been married for five years now and without her, this opportunity would not be possible.
Kyle Raymer: I won a Junior World Championship title.