UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

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: colin-moore  blog 

/tips/2016-07-23-1000-islands-day-3-midday-update

1000 Islands Day 3 Midday Update

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-22-1000-islands-midday-update-day-2

1000 Islands Midday Update Day 2

Day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands got started on a slightly different note this morning when FLW’s tournament directors declared Lake Ontario off limits due to hazardous conditions. The change threw a few of the top pros off their primary plans, but regardless the 137-boat field will be cut down to the top 10 after today, so adjustments need to be made in order to qualify to fish the weekend. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-19-flw-podcast-126-icast

FLW Podcast 126 - ICAST

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-14-2017-walmart-flw-tour-schedule

2017 Walmart FLW Tour Schedule

In what has become an annual tradition at FLW, the 2017 Walmart FLW Tour schedule was announced at a press conference and industry gathering held Thursday on the show floor at ICAST in Orlando, Fla. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-12-si-se-puede-yes-we-can

Si Se Puede ... Yes We Can

Mexico’s Lake Zimapan is different in many ways from the lakes to the north such as Florida’s Lake Okeechobee and California’s Clear Lake, but one element it has in common with those famous fisheries is big bass. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-11-5-rookie-lessons-learned

5 Rookie Lessons Learned

People have asked me what my first year on the Walmart FLW Tour was like. Well, it was like running headfirst into a hurricane for a few months. I came out the other side a little battered, bruised and smelling like fish. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-11-flw-podcast-125-scott-martin

FLW Podcast 125 - Scott Martin

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-08-review-lew-s-custom-speed-stick-lite

Review: Lew’s Custom Speed Stick Lite

Recently I had the opportunity to try one model in particular – the 7-foot, 4-inch Magnum Pitchin’ rod. After fishing with it several times, I’ve concluded that it performs as advertised, is sensitive and lightweight, and is well worth the money. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-08-reunited-and-it-feels-so-good

Reunited, and it Feels so Good

This year I really had a reunion with finesse fishing. Most of my better tournaments came from fishing some type of finesse presentation. Finesse tactics seemed to always give me a certain confidence about the day. While finesse tactics are nothing new to the game of bass fishing, this year I regained the confidence and joy of catching bass on smaller offerings. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-08-2016-icast-preview

2016 ICAST Preview

The doors to ICAST don’t open until next week, when everyone gets out on the showroom floor in Orlando, Fla., but there are already plenty of snippets of information available. FLW’s media crew will be there in full force to bring you coverage of the hottest new products, as well as the annual New Product Showcase awards. For now, take a gander at some of the early birds. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-07-flw-canada-kicks-off-at-tri-lakes

FLW Canada Kicks Off at Tri-Lakes

Among these Canadian all-stars was the eventual winning team of Chris Vandermeer of Peterborough and Jeff Slute of Millbrook. Capitalizing on a strong day one shallow-water smallmouth pattern, the duo took advantage of the slick-calm conditions using a silver-hued topwater popping plug to agitate the lake’s bronzebacks into attack. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-30-flw-tour-pro-cooksey-recovering-after-accident

FLW Tour Pro Cooksey Recovering After Accident

Walmart FLW Tour sophomore Dalton Cooksey of New Concord, Ky., is recovering at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee following a single-car accident that took place Wednesday afternoon. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-30-flw-podcast-124-jeremy-lawyer

FLW Podcast 124 - Jeremy Lawyer

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-29-stetson-blaylock-s-recipe-for-a-wacky-rig

Stetson Blaylock’s Recipe for a Wacky Rig

From March until the end of the fishing season I’m going to have a wacky rig on deck. It’s a really effective way to fish anytime the fishing is tough, or if the fish are up cruising banks. Anytime fish are about 5 feet deep or less, I can catch them on the wacky rig. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-28-morgan-claims-third-flw-tour-angler-of-the-year-title

Morgan Claims third FLW Tour Angler of the Year Title

MINNEAPOLIS – Livingston Lures pro Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tennessee, added to his incredible fishing resume by winning his third Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year title Saturday at the FLW Tour's final 2016 regular-season event on Lake Champlain.... READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-24-three-things-by-dd-kentucky-lake

Three Things by DD: Kentucky Lake

Kentucky Lake did not go the way I intended. I was pumped and ready to rock out a top-20 finish. I had great expectations of myself, but nothing seemed to come together. Practice was dicey, but I thought for sure I could put something together to make the cut. That was until day one came, and the whole vibe of my day instantly went from eager to agitated. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-23-how-to-catch-smallmouths-with-hair-jigs

How to Catch Smallmouths with Hair Jigs

The “right” hair jig for smallmouths is a small 1/16- to 1/8-ounce marabou jig with a round or mushroom-shaped head. The jig is similar to marabou jigs used by crappie fishermen, but bass models will often have a larger, stronger hook and possibly a longer or thicker skirt. Naturally, anglers have their favorites, and there are subtle differences in jigs that make some better than others. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-22-two-exciting-events-to-look-forward-to

Two Exciting Events to Look Forward To

We are in the last stretch of the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour. Awaiting us is the Lake Champlain tournament in just a few days. A couple of things will be settled there: the pro field for the Forrest Wood Cup and the Angler of the Year. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-21-tagging-along-with-sprague-in-kentucky

Tagging Along with Sprague in Kentucky

Through the first four events of the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour season, Jeff Sprague finished inside the top 20 every time and challenged for the win at Beaver Lake. After stop No. 4 on Pickwick, Sprague took over the lead in the Angler of the Year race. This is the story of his first tournament as the AOY leader – stop No. 5 on Kentucky Lake. Currently, Sprague is preparing for the finale on Lake Champlain. He’s in second place in the AOY standings. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-19-waunakee-hs-wins-wi-title

Waunakee HS Wins WI Title

The Waunakee High School duo of Colin Steck and Nathan Lorenz brought a five-bass limit to the scale Sunday weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces, to win the 2016 TBF/FLW High School Fishing Wisconsin State Championship on the Minocqua Chain of Lakes. The win earned the team trophies, the title of state champions and advanced the team to the High School Fishing Central Conference championship on the Ohio River in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, on September 23-24. READ MORE »