UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2015 - Ohio River

Back Story: Law books aside, Jake Gipson’s mind is still on fishing

Day-two leader Jake Gipson of the University of Florida spends a few quiet moments reflecting on the day ahead.

The typical tournament angler is somebody who relishes bass fishing and competition. Beyond that, there's not much to stereotype. He or she might be rich or middle-class, a bricklayer or a doctor, an intellectual or somebody who relies on "walking-around sense" as a guide through life. Scan a long weigh-in line and you'll see fishermen of varied backgrounds, whose feet have trod different paths to get there. Which brings us to Jake Gipson. When we last saw him, he was hoisting the FLW National College Fishing Championship Trophy above his head. That's not quite accurate; since 2010, when the former University of Florida angler and his co-angler teammate Matt Wercinski won the team title for the second consecutive year, Gipson has fished a couple of Walmart FLW Tour events as a co-angler and a Rayovac tournament as pro. He's also won a few bucks along the way. What we most remember about him, however, is what he did as a collegian. Memory fuses both championships - one coming at Ft. Loudoun Lake in 2009 and the other at Kentucky Lake in 2010 - into a single snapshot of triumph that likely will be forever unique. A college team that wins a championship is very good; a team that does it twice in a row sets itself apart as something special. Gipson and Wercinski reached the 2009 National Championship by first winning the Southeast Regional Championship over runners-up Dennis Parker and Shaye Baker of Auburn, and third-place finishers Richard Peek and Caleb Rogers, another of the storied Auburn teams. The following year, the Gators overcame Thomas Frink and Jake Akin of Kennesaw State, and Baker and Jordan Lee of Auburn, to win their second regional. Then they captured their second national championship, and in the process established themselves as nose-to-the-grindstone kinds of guys who could always be counted on to apply their best effort when it counted the most. Jake Gipson shines again with another 6-pounder."Going to school, fishing competitively and taking part in the national championship process those years involved a lot of pressure, but in the long run it really helped Matt and me in the next stages of our lives," notes Gipson. "The competition was really good and we had stay on our game. Once we won that first championship and qualified to fish the next one, we had a big bull's-eye on our backs. A lot of people expected us to do well, including us. We couldn't let the pressure get to us. We had to compartmentalize the different things in our lives and not let things overlap to the point where we couldn't reach the different goals we had set for ourselves." These days, the 26-year-old Gipson is still setting goals. He's also still going to school, though now at the University of Alabama, where he is in his last semester of studies. After graduating summa cum laude from Florida with a degree in industrial and systems engineering, the Niceville, Fla., native made the most of a full scholarship to the University of Alabama Law School. He'll graduate this spring with honors, including membership in the Order of the Coif, a national law school scholastic society reserved for the best and the brightest. Then it's off to Birmingham and a year clerking for a federal judge. After that, Gipson will join a law firm where he hopes to specialize in intellectual property litigation - patents, trademarks, copyrights and that sort of thing. Jake Gipson and Matt Wercinski spend some time in the hot seat before being named national champions in 2010.He's got the world by the tail on a downhill drag ... and yet ... those old longings for tournament fishing keep stirring, the what-ifs, the struggle to balance what a man loves with what he needs, and to decide whether they're even compatible. Gipson faced the same sort of conundrum after he graduated from the University of Florida. Having won $357,500 for the university's bass club in two years of fishing with Wercinski, Gipson was tempted mightily to leapfrog from the college ranks into the major leagues, as some of his former competitors did. He was able to defer the law school scholarship, and fished the Rayovac FLW Series instead. Ultimately, family members and friends convinced him to take advantage of his educational opportunities first. Gipson is still unsettled, though. Tournament fishing still tugs at him. He's signed to fish the six Walmart FLW Tour events this year as a co-angler, beginning with Lake Okeechobee. And one of his professional ambitions is to practice law in Huntsville, which is at the hub of some of the most important tournament waters in the country. Jake Gipson shows off his catch."The way things are for me now, fishing as a pro is something that's going to have to wait," says Gipson. "It's a huge commitment of time and money, and - just coming out of law school - I won't be able to. Down the road, maybe, if I'm more the master of my schedule and perhaps have my own practice. I might have more time to fish then. At least I would like to give it a crack." That's all left for the future to sort out, or perhaps not. All we know with any degree of certainty is that on whatever path Jake Gipson sets foot, he'll wind up at the top of the class.

Tags: blog  colin-moore 

/tips/2015-09-01-getting-whipped-by-the-young-bucks

Getting Whipped by the Young Bucks

It really goes against all logic, but logic flew out the window again at the recent Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Take the example of Brandon Cobb and Dion Hibdon. Cobb, at the tender age of 25, not only qualified for the Cup (the most difficult championship in the world to qualify for, much less win), but he finished in the top five. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-08-31-soar-derby-a-success

SOAR Derby a Success

Be it children or adults, we all want others to be able to experience the pure joy that we feel when hooked up and battling a fish that we have worked so hard for. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-20-2015-forrest-wood-cup-off-and-running

2015 Forrest Wood Cup Off and Running

If the fishing matches the weather on the opening day of the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita, there will be plenty of limit stringers brought to the scales in Hot Springs’ Bank of the Ozarks Arena when the weigh-in commences at 5 p.m. Up until a couple of weather forecasts ago, anglers were anticipating hot, miserable weather during all four days of this, the crowning event of the Walmart FLW Tour season, which is hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Passing thunderstorms Tuesday afternoon brought a pleasant respite to the sultry heat, however, and now Cup contenders only have sulking bass to contend with as they vie for tournament fishing’s richest prize: a winner’s purse of $500,000. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-08-17-peter-t-is-back-on-track

Peter T is Back on Track

Quick, who was the first Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year? If you answered Peter Thliveros, give yourself a pat on the back. Peter T, as he’s more commonly known, led the pack in 1996, the year FLW burst onto the national bass tournament stage. Three years later, Thliveros had another stellar season and finished fourth in the annual standings. In fact, the Florida pro qualified for six consecutive Forrest Wood Cup championships between 1996 and 2001 (the year of 9/11, when there was no Cup) and was one of the Tour’s shining stars in its formative years. It seemed Thliveros could do no wrong when he set out on the tournament path, but then came a lot of ups and downs in what became a rocky road for him. He finished 117th, 135th and 146th in 2002, 2003 and 2005, respectively, and disappeared from the Tour scene between 2006 until his return in 2012. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-08-12-mr-consistency

Mr. Consistency

Winning is goal No. 1 for any tournament angler, but attaining consistency is probably a close second on his to-do list. Without consistency, it’s difficult for a fisherman to put himself into a position to win on a regular basis. He might come in first occasionally because all the stars align on a particular lake in a certain season when he’s in his groove, but he knows that, ultimately, consistency or lack of it is going to make or break his career. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-08-07-shifting-gears

Shifting Gears

I am stripping the big line off the Halos and re-spooling with 6- and 8-pound-test Berkley flouro, and reflecting on how much fun it was catching all those fish with all these relatively new baits, how hard some of the strikes were and how easy it was catching fish on baits that they haven't seen before. Well, that's all over now – back to smallmouth fishing. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-07-29-do-you-really-need-so-much-stuff-

Do You Really Need So Much Stuff?

Lures and clothes have a lot in common. Just like clothing evolves and new styles come out and old styles come back, so goes fishing lures. The difference between the two, however, is that you can outgrow your old jeans, but you can never get rid of your old baits. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-27-fishing-the-cup-for-a-cure

Fishing the Cup for a Cure

n his first year fishing the Walmart FLW Tour, Jason Meninger placed 41st in the standings, earned more than $30,000 and qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup. Oh, yeah, he also found out he had cancer. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-07-24-shallow-does-it-for-scott-wiley

Shallow Does it for Scott Wiley

Wiley settled all doubt about that at the last Walmart FLW Tour event of the year on the Potomac River, where he finished 12th in the tournament and 27th in the yearly standings. It was his best finish in the three years he’s fished the Tour, and provided him his first shot at winning the Cup and its top prize of $500,000. The Potomac locked him in. Had it not been for muddy water sweeping through his area on day three, the Alabama pro might have made it into the championship round. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-07-22-never-miss-a-bass-again

Never Miss a Bass Again

Do you ever listen at the weigh-in at how many guys talk about all the fish they missed? I can’t accept that it’s part of the job at hand. It’s one of my pet peeves. Most of us would do much better if we would just ask the simple question “why?” In prefishing we have already done most of the hard work. During the tournament, a missed fish can’t be accepted. I consider it a good tournament when I come back to the ramp with no missed fish, regardless of my finish. How does that happen? It starts way before the tournament. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-21-shane-lehew-gets-his-chance

Shane Lehew Gets His Chance

In 2014, Lehew began his Tour pro career by capturing 24th place in the first event of the year on Lake Okeechobee. His performances on the Big O last year and at Lake Toho this spring reflect his preference for fishing shallow water with mixed cover. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-15-new-clothing-and-sunglasses-at-icast-2015

New Clothing and Sunglasses at ICAST 2015

Sunglasses and clothing that can resist all that Mother Nature throws at it are critical for hard-core anglers. Here’s what’s new in those categories at this year’s ICAST show. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-07-08-a-bass-is-a-bass-but-not-always

A Bass is a Bass, But Not Always

Amigos, as you may remember, we left the past blog with a big question mark on the well-known saying, “A bass is a bass, no matter what.” Well, it’s time to give you a different point of view. A lot of you, while reading these lines, might start questioning my ideas. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-07-06-from-kayak-to-bass-boat

From Kayak to Bass Boat

Like many anglers, I am a fanatic about my equipment for the things I do. For example, I’m a four-time world champion whitewater kayaker and have won three of them in a boat of my design. I started Jackson Kayak to take kayak design to the next level and to do things that the bigger company I was working for wasn’t willing to do. I am also a long-time bass fisherman, which led me to fishing 2015 Walmart FLW Tour as a co-angler. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-07-06-more-than-a-fisherman

More Than a Fisherman

The competitive fishing world is a small one, and when narrowed down to the competitive bass fishing world, it is even smaller in the grand scheme of things. This, of course, isn’t to say that this small group doesn’t have an absolutely huge impact. It does. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-07-01-the-no-excuse-guide-

The "No Excuse" Guide

Chatter can be dock talk, personal abusive talk, hater talk, fan talk and everything in between. The list goes on. I truly believe tournament fishing is all a mental game. I feel that the most successful anglers know how to tune it all out and fish in the zone. It is crucial to know how to tune out all the chatter and shut up and fish. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-30-missed-chances-at-the-finale

Missed Chances at the Finale

The final Walmart FLW Tour event on the Potomac River was a tough event for me. After one of the strongest practices I’ve ever had there, or anywhere, really, I drove home scratching my head. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-21-top-10-patterns-from-the-all-american

Top 10 Patterns From The All-American

Giant spoons and drop-shot rigs were out in force during the All-American, as it strictly was a ledge tournament, but they weren’t the only tools that the All-American anglers worked with in the three-day event. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-20-richardson-wins-all-american

Richardson Wins All-American

Curtis Richardson has a way of surprising people – even himself. The Ontario angler had all but written himself off in the championship round of the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American, thinking his limit of five bass wouldn’t hold up for long with the likes of Jeremy Lawyer and Bill Schroeder breathing down his neck. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-20-burgess-tops-all-american-co-angler-field

Burgess Tops All-American Co-Angler Field

If Bob Burgess could have picked three better partners to fish with in the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American on Kentucky Lake, it might have been illegal. READ MORE »