LOCATION: Hixson, TN
APPEARS ON: Sweetwater TV
Craziest fish story?
Though I'm a die-hard bass angler, I also guide in Alaska during the summers, and with such a wild, untamed, environment up there, you could imagine I have some pretty great stories. One fishing story in particular that sticks out happened while trolling for salmon with a family of four. It was a father, mother, and two small children. It had been a brutally tough early season day where we hadn't caught much, and it was the end of the day. In a last-ditch effort, I had made a move to an area that I had past success in, but it was a little tricky to fish with high current and a few high spots that were well known for claiming down-rigging gear if you weren't careful. I was having a conversation with the group and didn't realize I was getting close to one of those rises. All of a sudden, starting in a clockwise fashion, all four rods that I had stacked on the riggers went off. At first, I thought I had caught bottom, but soon realized we were dealing with one, or multiple, halibut. The family sprang into action, each grabbing the nearest rod and started to fight. It didn't take long for me to realize that it was one fish we were fighting. I just assumed it had ate one rig and got snagged on the other three, but it didn't matter because the family was having a blast fighting this massive 100-plus pound halibut on salmon gear. Once to the surface, I was shocked to realize that indeed all four rigs were completely down it's throat. He must have just gone in a circle eating each bait in a matter of seconds. Needless to say, the family was ecstatic, I was happy to salvage a tough day, and we both came away with a pretty awesome fish story!
Who got you into fishing?
I’d have to say that both my parents got me started equally. My dad was the fisherman, but my mom was very supportive, so she deserves a great deal of credit also.
Where do you wish you were right now?
Lake Okeechobee—no question.
Dream job if you weren't fishing?
I hate to dismiss a question, but I’m living my dream right now. I can't imagine myself doing anything else with my life.
Least favorite part of your job?
Time away from my wife. One day I hope we can travel together everywhere I go, but she has her own career ambitions that keep her close to home, and I respect that.
What makes a good fisherman?
I think the best anglers embrace their own instincts and don't overthink things. Fishing is a very instinctual sport, and we tend to get in our own heads, but when I’m doing my best is when I’m allowing myself to let go of conventional wisdom and do what feels right. It's important to always be learning—particularly in the early stages—but I think that the top anglers who have seen lasting success trust their gut above all else.
Something nobody knows about you?
I’m a HUGE Pink Floyd fan. If I'm getting tired on the road, I put on The Wall and pretty much become a one-man rock opera. Also, for those millennials out there that probably don't know, my nickname "Sonar" comes from the fact that my dad was an actor who played a character named "Radar" on this old show called "MASH".