UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Pickwick Lake

Volunteering for the Volunteers

Volunteering for the Volunteers

(The writer's opinions and observations expressed here are his own, and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views, policies or positions of FLW.)


The 2016 season is finally winding down, and I can’t believe how crazy this year has been. I’ve had a great year full of some good memories, including winning a Costa FLW Series tournament and a Walmart FLW Tour event, plus some not-so-good finishes. But as a whole I’m more than happy with how it all went down. That’s a topic for another time, though.

Instead of talking about tournaments and fishing for my first blog, I wanted to take a different route. Recently, I got the opportunity to speak with the University of Tennessee fishing team before the final Tour Invitational tournament on Norris Lake.

Now, before I get into that I suppose a little backstory is in order. This whole thing came together a few months ago after I posted a picture of the UT football team taking the field on my Instagram page. Not long after posting that photo, Scott Ellis, who fishes on the UT fishing team, commented saying I should swing by to talk with the guys. It only took a second for me to respond that I was more than willing, and with the Norris Invitational being just outside of Knoxville (which is where the UT campus is located), it made perfect sense to stop on in.

Scott and I settled all the details, and we set it up for the Wednesday evening before the tournament began.

So, after a few days of tough practice on Norris I made the roughly 30-minute drive from my hotel in Clinton, Tenn., down to Knoxville.

I’m a laid-back guy, so I didn’t prepare a speech or anything like that. I just wanted to give them a little background on who I am and then open it and let them ask me whatever questions they had. I think it is more fun that way, rather than hearing me blab on forever.

When I got down to the campus I met up with Scott and followed him to the meeting room, and I have to admit that I was more than surprised to see 20-plus eager kids sitting in the room.

After a quick introduction I gave them a little background about myself and how I got to where I am now. In all honesty, I never had any intentions of being a professional angler, and while it isn’t the most glamorous job at times I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

The meeting started at 5 p.m., and the UT team threw questions at me until a little after 7. There’s no doubt a few of them were a little shy at first, but it basically became two hours of just back-and-forth questions and answers.

We covered everything from go-to baits to handling sponsors to spending some time as a co-angler to develop skills, and we even talked a little college football since one of the club’s members plays for the Vols. The guys had some great questions, and it was a really relaxed time.

As the meeting drew to a close, I could only imagine what it would have been like to have resources like this available when I was in college. It sure would have saved me a lot of frustrating outings trying to dial in on certain techniques, that’s for sure.

Being a professional angler isn’t just about catching fish and being on the water. Sure, that’s a big part of it, but taking time out of your busy schedule to do things like talking with college teams or speaking at local sport shows is a very important aspect of it. Sometimes that gets lost in the busy schedules we live in, but this opportunity was a firm reminder that giving back is another benefit of the job.

I’ve had just a few days to relax after a great tournament on Norris and am now getting ready to head to Missouri for the Costa FLW Series Championship on Table Rock. A huge congrats goes out to James Watson for taking the win. While I don’t like losing – especially by a few ounces – it was cool to see him finally lock in a W.

Hopefully I can keep the momentum rolling into the championship, which is my last tournament of the year. I feel good, and I’m hoping I can end the season as strong as I started it.

Go Vols!

Tags: jason-lambert  blog 

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