Live now : Sam Rayburn Reservoir - FLW Live Coverage

God, Grace, Grit

God, Grace, Grit

This is my story; a story of vulnerability, authenticity and hope. I want to share my experience as an offering to anyone who is going through a hard time or a series of hard times that feels like it is never ending. Whatever you are experiencing, be it illness, grief, confusion or trauma, please know that it is possible to find forgiveness, to bring the light into your life and to shine brighter than you ever have before and with God, Grace and Grit. Most importantly, God.

?Fishing is a sport of patience and ever-present experience of self-growth. Yet, as dedicated anglers, we know that fishing is more than a sport. It’s a communion with nature, a pathway to peace, and a way of life for families and friends. I found fishing at a time in my life when I felt like things had fallen apart. A series of unfortunate events put me in a difficult place that I didn’t know how to deal with, and I lived in darkness for some time before finding my road to healing through faith, family and fishing. I was gifted an abundance from God that gave me strength to carry on with my life as a mother, a sportswoman, and an advocate for empowerment through authenticity and dedication. I feel very blessed to have found my calling from God and a pathway to service and helping others, while being true to my own healing and growth through fishing. Now, onto the hard part of this story.

?Our family cabin on Rush Lake in Ottertail, Minn., is the place where my dad first taught me to fish. It was always a special time for our family when we spent summer days at the cabin, fishing from the boat or from the dock out back, running through the grass, and living in the joy and wildness of a Minnesota summer as a happy family. At a young age, our time fishing together was about way more than fishing. It was quality time where we could be peaceful and prioritize family and faith. During these summer days, my dad instilled in me the importance of always putting God and family first, sharing in the love of God, maintaining faith, and always pushing myself as an individual and as an athlete.

?My dad battled multiple myeloma cancer for many years, and the illness had been completely debilitating. The day I found my father unconscious at our cabin was shocking and terrifying. Educated in sports medicine, I immediately began to administer CPR while calling 911. This was the day I was able to save my father’s life. It was an act of God that I was there at the right moment, and was adequately trained to act in that shocking scenario. As time has passed, I am able to look back on the impact of that moment and know that it defined me in many ways and was God’s plan. But at that time, I felt both helpless and empowered, trained on what to do and how to execute the drill, and also overcome with fear as a helpless child trying to save her daddy. Thank God this time it turned out in our favor, and my father was saved. Eventually, the stress on my father’s body became too much for him to handle, and after years of illness ravaging his cells, he passed peacefully in the hospital one year later.

?For a long time, the grief was unbearable, and I couldn’t find the light within the darkness. It was only through surrender to Christ, on a mission trip to Nicaragua, that I finally found my way back to myself and my family and, mostly, to God. The road to healing was harder than I could have ever imagined, and was complicated by various events that seemed determined to keep me down. 

Over the next few years after my father’s death, I experienced what felt like hardship after hardship in test of my strength and character. I was involved in two motor vehicle accidents and suffered both physical and mental injuries due to concussion. My memory and cognitive capacity were impacted, and I struggled for a long time after to be understood, and to develop for myself an understanding of the ways I was impacted. 

While participating in a tournament for St. Jude, one of my favorite charities, in 2018 I experienced severe disorientation and memory loss. In an instant, I was unable to remember what I was doing and was unable to continue in the tournament. This was the incident that pushed me to come to a better understanding of all that had happened to me in recent years, and I finally was officially diagnosed with PTSD. Shortly after, I suffered a miscarriage that left me brokenhearted and in despair. But this time, I knew I was stronger than ever before because I surrendered to God’s plan.

?On my path to healing I continued to give my heart over to Christ to give me strength to come back to myself and continue to be a strong role model, a caring mother and wife, and a dedicated athlete. Through hard work, self-acceptance and forgiveness, I was once again able to focus on the people and things in my life that were most important. I began to feel my faith coming to life and showing itself to me, first in moments I called “God winks” and eventually in my everyday experiences. Living in faith and in my power became the new normal, and once again there was a fire within me that wasn’t as angry as before, but instead excited a spark of action. I continually recommitted to making an impact in the lives of others through nonprofit outreach, teaching children and supporting other women in the sport of fishing.

?I am proud of my accomplishments in the world of bass fishing and of what God has provided for me. Through acts of grace and moments of grit, I have dug deep within myself to find healing, happiness and inspiration.

Fishing is my platform and opportunity to share what I love with others, to embody the spirit of my dad, and to express my love of Christ. Acting gracefully on the water in times of stress relieves pressure and allows me to find appreciation for the moment and gratitude for my opportunities. Fishing is a time of self-reflection and a way to push beyond any limitations. 

Life isn’t always easy, and we all find ourselves in situations that seem impossible to overcome. But with God, grace and grit we have not only persevered, we have risen. And we are continuing to rise together, and can commit to uplifting one another along the way. No matter what you are going through on or off the water, know that with God, grace and grit, but most of all God, anything is possible.

Tags: nicole-jacobs  blog 

Why You Shouldn’t Second-Guess Your Gut

Why You Shouldn’t Second-Guess Your Gut

In tournament fishing, you can beat yourself up for days with the “what if” scenarios that cause you to second-guess your gut. Well, in this case, I guessed wrong. I finished the Lake Champlain event in 145th place. It knocked me all the way down to 60th in points and out of Cup contention. READ MORE »

More Fishing, More Focus in 2020

More Fishing, More Focus in 2020

People talk a lot about the offseason in professional bass fishing, but when you do this for a living you pretty quickly realize there really isn’t much of an offseason anymore. READ MORE »

New Challenges, New Opportunities

New Challenges, New Opportunities

Now with 2019 in the rear-view mirror, 2020 is in the crosshairs, and I look forward to the challenges ahead. With the rebranding of the Tour to the new FLW Pro Circuit, there are some great new opportunities that both fans and competitors will benefit from. READ MORE »

Why I Chose FLW

Why I Chose FLW

My name is Richard Dunham, but most people know me as Dicky D. I currently live in Palm Harbor Florida where I work for the Folsom Corporation, one of the largest fishing distributors in the country. In 2020 I am fishing as a boater in Southern Division of the FLW Series. READ MORE »

Prepping for the 2020 Fishing Season

Prepping for the 2020 Fishing Season

This is one of my favorite times of the year, the (not so) calm before the storm before the tournament season kicks off down south in January. READ MORE »

I’m Signed up and Ready to Go

I’m Signed up and Ready to Go

Following a great season in 2019, I just signed up for the FLW Pro Circuit for 2020. Foremost, I’m excited about the opportunities that are being provided by MLF and FLW. I see overall growth in the platform as we strive to be a bigger and better industry. READ MORE »

FLW Foundation Volunteers Have a Big Impact on Youth

FLW Foundation Volunteers Have a Big Impact on Youth

For the past several years, the FLW Foundation has been working diligently on a mission to introduce young people to their local natural resources. One strategy employed by the Foundation is to host free youth fishing derbies across the country. READ MORE »

4 Easy Ways to Store Soft Plastics

4 Easy Ways to Store Soft Plastics

One of the easiest and most controllable ways to save time and be efficient on the water is to keep tackle organized and accessible. Hard baits are easy to organize in Plano boxes, but soft plastics can sometimes cause a bit of a headache. Here are some tips for doing it based on how I go about tackling the issue.  READ MORE »

How to Land More Bass

How to Land More Bass

My technique for fighting a bass depends significantly on the equipment – my Dobyns rod, Ardent reel, Seaguar line and Cornerstone Baits – that I’m using at the time. READ MORE »

How to Prepare for Big Water 

How to Prepare for Big Water 

As many of you know, fishing big water for giant smallmouths is my favorite type of fishing. Competing on the Great Lakes, 1000 Islands, St. Clair, Champlain and other big Northern fisheries is not for the faint of heart. Sometimes it gets rough, which is why it’s critical that you have the correct equipment and understand how to use it. READ MORE »

How to be a Pro Angler 

How to be a Pro Angler 

I get a lot of questions from young and old anglers alike about the steps to becoming a pro. I guess maybe sometimes I take it for granted. The process seems somewhat obvious to me. How to execute on it might not be simple, but the steps you need to take really are. There are only a couple of ways to get into this sport, and they all start at the grassroots level, in $200 and $300 tournaments.  READ MORE »

Introducing Myself

Introducing Myself

I want to start off by telling you a little bit about myself. I grew up in Pennsylvania about 45 minutes north of Philadelphia. I grew up fishing for whatever would bite with my grandfather and in middle school I had a friend who started taking me with his dad down to the Chesapeake Bay. That was my first time ever on a bass boat, and I was immediately hooked! READ MORE »

Riding the Roller Coaster

Riding the Roller Coaster

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog, although it seems like the last one was just yesterday. This season has flown by, and I finally have some down time before the last stop on the FLW Tour at Lake Champlain. This Tour season has been full of ups and downs, and I’ve learned a lot. READ MORE »

The History of the Drop-Shot

The History of the Drop-Shot

FLW Tour pro James Niggemeyer recalls his first introduction to the drop-shot, as well as what came before it and how he developed his tackle to have better success with this capable finesse bass bait. READ MORE »

From Dead Last to Making Money

From Dead Last to Making Money

If you were hanging out with me at the FLW Tour event on Seminole recently, you would have thought I won the tournament. I was congratulated by every pro I saw, and they were being genuine. READ MORE »

Fishing the Worst Conditions

Fishing the Worst Conditions

Watching giant bags of bass caught down in Texas and Florida on FLW Live during FLW Tour events has many anglers dying to get on the water. The only problem is that a lot of people are still facing some of the toughest conditions for catching a bass – cold, muddy, moving water.   READ MORE »

How to Deal with Dock Talk

How to Deal with Dock Talk

If you fish tournaments or follow tournament fishing, you know about dock talk. It’s the chatter that goes on among bass fishermen during and around tournaments on subjects such as how the fish are biting, what patterns are in play, the weather and just how much of a grind it’s been. Dock talk can be dangerous. It can lead you astray if you listen to the wrong person. It can hurt your confidence if you hear about someone else really catching ’em doing something different. It can distract you from your game plan and your goals. Dock talk rarely gives you the complete story. READ MORE »

Moving into My New Office

Moving into My New Office

The new year to many professional fishermen also means a new boat. Some people like the smell of a new car — who doesn’t, really? But the smell of new fiberglass is better than that. It’s better than the smell of warm apple pie to me. READ MORE »

How to Work in Fishing

How to Work in Fishing

There was a time when the only way to make money at fishing and to express your love for our sport was by fishing tournaments, but that’s just not true anymore. With the growth curve we’ve had, the economic muscle of the fishing industry has spawned some interesting opportunities that didn’t really exist years ago.  Now, there are many jobs in the fishing industry that allow someone with a creative mind to indulge in what they love to do. I get to be around a lot of pros, but my job has also brought me into contact with a lot of folks with other jobs in fishing. So, here are four people I think you should follow and study if you know you belong in the fishing industry, but you don’t know exactly where yet. READ MORE »

Why We Need More Winter Bass Tournaments

Why We Need More Winter Bass Tournaments

FLW Tour pro Brian Latimer explains why he loves winter bass fishing and tournaments. READ MORE »