Earn Your Wings Program

Fenwick Earn Your Wings Program

Fenwick Earn Your Wings Program

Participant Bios

Thomas Baker

I am a senior at University of South Florida, and I will be graduating in May 2016 with a degree in marine biology. I am on our school’s fishing team and I mostly do saltwater tournaments for the team. I’ve been fishing for most of my life. I started fishing in freshwater up in Pennsylvania for trout, but after going over to New Jersey and fishing for striped bass, bluefish, and flounder I instantly got hooked on saltwater fishing. My favorite type of fishing is using lures and jigs to catch fish. I’m not much of a fan of throwing out a hunk of bait and waiting. I rather be trying to do my own technique in getting the fish to bite. I hope to become a professional angler and one day have my own fishing television show. That has been my dream since I was a small kid. I used to spend most days when I wasn’t fishing learning about fish and watching new shows to learn new ways to fish. My career goals has always been to study marine biology and hope to work for the government studying fish and their behavior, and this is because it will make me a better angler if I understand exactly how the fish think and why they do what they do. This is my first year on the Earn Your Wings program. I’m looking forward to working with everyone in the Earn Your Wings program and I want to thank them for giving me this wonderful opportunity to show what I can do.

Cole Blythe

I am currently a senior at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte where I am a business marketing major. I was born and raised on a small dairy farm on the outskirts of Charlotte, NC where my father taught me how to fish, not long after I learned to walk – before I knew it, fishing was second nature to me. A few years later my mother could not keep me away from the local farm ponds across the street from my house. Soon after, I talked my dad into buying a small metal boat that I could pull on a homemade trailer behind a four-wheeler up and down the road, rain or shine. My fishing buddies and I really thought we were something then! When I started college, I immediately sought after the fishing team and quickly became obsessed with tournament bass fishing. I am currently competing in the Collegiate FLW Series, Collegiate BASS, and Walmart FLW Bass Fishing League. I plan to pursue my dream of becoming a professional angler for as long as it takes me, and a life-long career in the fishing industry nonetheless. This is my second year on the Earn Your Wings program and it has been a blast. I really enjoyed meeting and working alongside some of the men and women at Fenwick and Pflueger and hope to continue to grow those relationships through this upcoming year on the program. Please follow me through Facebook and Instagram @coleblythefishing as I purse my dream of becoming a professional fisherman and encounter all of the ups and downs along the way!

Patrick Bowers

I am a senior at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse where I will be graduating in May of 2016 with a degree in accountancy. I serve as the Vice-President for the Bass Team here at UWL. This is my third year being a member of the Fenwick Earn Your Wings program, which has been an honor and privilege to represent the Fenwick and Pflueger brands. I grew up in the Minnesota Twin Cities Metro area fishing the surrounding lakes and rivers for smallmouth and largemouth bass along with the elusive muskie. My favorite bass fishing technique is swimming a jig with a Fenwick HMG 7' Medium Heavy. Just this past year my tournament partner and I qualified for and fished the FLW College National Championship on Lake Murray where we placed 14th. It is my goal to one day work as an Accounting/Finance analyst in the fishing industry.

Tom Brewbaker

I am a senior at the University of South Carolina, majoring in business and history. Growing up in Montgomery, Alabama, I’ve had the opportunity to visit some of the greatest fisheries in the country. My personal favorite is Lake Eufaula, located on the Chattahoocee River. The region has also given me a chance to catch various saltwater species in the Mobile Bay area and in the Gulf of Mexico. My passion for bass fishing developed during the years spent competing in local tournaments near my house on Lake Martin, Alabama. In addition to fishing the FLW College and Carhartt BASS series, 2016 will be my second year competing in the Alabama Bass Trail series. This is my fourth year fishing for the South Carolina Bass Fishing team. I’ve spend the last two years serving as the team’s sponsorship chair. I’m fortunate to live near Lake Murray in South Carolina, which is where I spend most of my time on the water. One of the highlights of my competitive fishing career was having the opportunity to compete in the Bassmaster College Classic last February on Lake Hartwell, Georgia. This gave other college anglers and me the opportunity to weigh-in on the same stage as the pros during the Bassmaster Classic. A few of my favorite techniques include throwing a double fluke rig, a chatterbait, and deep water cranking. This is my second year being a part of the Fenwick Earn Your Wings program, and I'm looking forward to another opportunity to grow both as an angler and a business professional.

Wade Brown

I am a senior at the University of Louisville in Louisville, KY where I am majoring in industrial engineering. I was born and raised in southern Indiana. However, it was my summer home on Kentucky Lake in Gilbertsville, KY where I began to develop my ever-increasing passion for fishing alongside my Father and my Poppy. This passion is something that has been with me since my very first fish catch. It is a passion that continues to grow each and every day as I continue to learn more about fishing, and as I continue to create new friendships along the way. The biggest bass I have caught in a tournament to date weighed just over 7 pounds. I have participated in collegiate tournaments all across the country. From Table Rock Lake in Missouri to Lake Norman in North Carolina, from Carlyle Lake in Illinois to Pickwick Lake in Alabama, traveling the country with your teammates and fellow fishermen is the best part of any collegiate fishing tournament. I have been a team member in the Earn Your Wings program for three years now. It is programs like this that provide collegiate anglers like me the opportunity to fish lakes that I otherwise would not financially be able to fish. Thank you to the Earn Your Wings program and all of my family, friends, and team sponsors that make my dream become a reality every day.

Brian Bueker

I am a junior at Missouri State University (MSU) pursuing a degree in wildlife conservation and management and a master’s degree in environmental studies and administration. I have been an active member of the MSU Fishing Team for the past three years and will be pursuing an office next year. I am also the Secretary of our College American Fisheries Society which is active in fisheries management and conservation. This is my first year with the Earn Your Wings program, and I feel honored to be able to represent the Fenwick and Pflueger brands. Coming from an outdoors family, fishing became second nature at a young age. I grew up fishing for anything that would bite with my family, and around the age of twelve I became obsessed with bass fishing. This obsession lead me to the MSU Fishing Team where I compete on the FLW College Fishing, ACA, and BASS College Series. My favorite type of fishing is power-fishing chatterbaits and spinnerbaits for largemouth. For me, fishing provides an escape from the stress and worries of life as well as the many family bonding memories that I will never forget. I plan to pursue a career in the field of fisheries management to try and give back to a place that has given me countless memories, while continuing to fish tournaments and be involved in the fishing industry. I want there to always be opportunities for future generations to enjoy our natural resources as much as I have.

Chris Bulaw

My name is Chris Bulaw and I am a junior at Miami University (OH) pursuing a degree in marketing and entrepreneurship. I am the president and founder of Miami University’s fishing team, which started in the spring of 2015. This is my first year as a part of the Earn Your Wings program, and I am both honored and excited for the tremendous opportunities it brings us collegiate anglers. I stated fishing small rivers with my father around the age of seven, but my passion took form through competing in the IHSA bass fishing tournaments. As a very competitive individual, the competition channeled and accelerated my passion, and directed my efforts towards continually bettering myself for a future in the fishing industry. My favorite way to fish is undoubtedly using a jerkbait for Great Lakes smallmouth, and every June I look forward to trips up north chasing those beautiful fish. In the big picture, I feel blessed to have found a true passion in my life, and I hope it brings a lifetime of opportunities, memories, and the ability to give back to future generations and further grow our wonderful sport. Regarding my career goals, I am pursuing positions involving marketing and brand management with time-tested, respected companies like Fenwick or Pflueger. Further down the road, I hope to start a company and create a product that forever enhances the way the world fishes.

Graham Burke

My name is Graham Burke and I am a junior at the University of North Carolina. I am studying business with an emphasis in marketing management. In the fall of 2013, I helped start the UNC Bass Fishing Team, and I have been the team’s Treasurer for the past three years. This is my first year with the Earn Your Wings program, and I am eager to get started and start fishing. I grew up fishing ponds everyday with my older brother, and I have become hooked on competitive bass fishing since high school. There is nothing like catching big bass with money and prizes on the line! I hope to continue fishing competitively after graduation while pursuing a job in the fishing industry.

Trevor Burnette

My name is Trevor Burnette, and I am a senior at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga where I am majoring in criminal justice. I have completed an associate’s degree in criminal justice at Asheville Buncombe Technical College located in Asheville, North Carolina. I assist in designing the social media pages for the UTC bass fishing club and have been a member for two years. This is my first year on the Fenwick Earn Your Wings team, and I look forward to an awesome season with them. I also fish kayak tournaments and have finished in the top ten in several tournaments. My two main passions are fishing and photographing/filming. My dreams would be to fish on a pro bass fishing circuit, be a host of a fishing show, or to be involved in promoting the sport of fishing and the industry. My favorite technique when fishing for bass is throwing fast moving baits, such as chatter baits, crank baits, and also top water baits. I also enjoy fly fishing for trout on the dry fly and enjoy being able to see the take. I am very excited to be part of this amazing opportunity and look forward to an awesome season using some amazing products from Fenwick and Pflueger.

Eric Bykowsky

I'm a senior business major at Carnegie Mellon University and am president of the CMU Fishing Team. I've fished my entire life growing up in South Carolina, and became an avid bass angler once I started college. I have competed in several tournaments in my career as a college angler, and qualified for the FLW Regional Championship last fall on the Chesapeake Bay. 2016 marks my fourth year on the Fenwick Earn Your Wings team, and in my first year on the team I was fortunate enough to win an incredible internship with Fenwick through the Earn Your Wings program.

Shawn Callahan

My name is Shawn Callahan, and I am a junior at the University of South Carolina. I am pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering and plan to graduate in 2017. I am currently on the University of South Carolina Bass Fishing team, called Anglers @ USC. We were founded in 2009 and recently took home the 2014-2015 FLW National Championship. I have two leadership positions with the club which are the High School Outreach Representative and the Sponsorship Co-Chairman. This is my third year on the team and I have loved becoming a part of such an organization. This is my first year as a member of the Fenwick Earn Your Wings program, and I am really thankful for this opportunity. I have been fishing since I was old enough to walk. I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio where we had a backyard pond. My first memory of fishing was when I left a rod with a bobber and a worm sitting on our dock while I went in for dinner. When I came back out to check it, I had not just a bluegill, but a big largemouth bass that had eaten the bluegill. Ever since then, I have been chasing bigger and better fish. My favorite type of fishing has to be bass fishing, especially power-fishing with frogs and big jigs. Fishing is my passion and I am truly blessed to have figured out what my passion is so early on in my life. Like many, I hope to one day become a professional angler. I also hope to not only do that, but to use my mechanical engineering degree to work on bettering the designs of rods and reels as well as working on the process of manufacturing rods and reels. I enjoy problem solving and working to make every part of my fishing experience better, and I would love to work on inventing new and better fishing setups.

Michael Dawson

I am a senior at the University of South Florida, and am the president of the school’s Fishing Club. I write for an online digital media publication titled theonlinefisherman.com. I am primarily a saltwater angler who loves to target big snook and redfish. I have been on multiple local television shows, and do seminars through theonlinefisherman.com for Walmart.

Grant Ehlenfeldt

I am currently a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin Platteville, where I am majoring in mechanical engineering. I was born and raised in Wisconsin and have been blessed to have access to so many different varieties of fishing, whether it is fishing from shore, a boat, or through the ice. My passion for fishing started at a very young age when my dad and grandpa taught me everything they know about fishing. I went through a couple different phases of fishing but finally settled on bass fishing when I joined the local junior bass club. From then on I was hooked on tournament bass fishing and it became my goal to exceed in the bass fishing industry. During my senior year of high school I created the first high school bass fishing team my school had seen, and we were fortunate enough to compete in nationals that year. After high school I advanced to college where I continued my passion for fishing and joined the University of Wisconsin Platteville bass fishing club. I compete in tournaments for the club, FLW, and BASS. Over the summer after my freshman year of college I was able to qualify for the 2015 BASS National Championship, and have recently qualified for the FLW National Championship in the spring of 2016. This is my first year joining the Fenwick Earn Your Wings program, and I am very thankful they have provided me with such a great opportunity to expand my knowledge and passion for fishing.

Michael Evans

My name is Michael Evans, and I am a junior pursuing a nursing degree at Western Nevada College. This is my first year participating in the Earn Your Wings program. My dad started me off young and had me fishing by the age of 3! I've been fishing ever since. My favorite type of fishing is a toss-up between bass fishing and fly fishing. I go fishing for many reasons: not only is it peaceful and relaxing, but it is also very rewarding. From catching a fish on a fly you tied yourself to teaching kids and new anglers how to fish, nothing is better than when a kid’s face lights up when he or she catches his or her first fish. Introducing people to the sport and getting them more involved is what it's all about. My career goals are to finish my degree and get a good job, start a family, and then hopefully one day be able to open my own guide service and taxidermy shop.

Briana Gagnier

My name is Briana Gagnier, and I am a junior marketing major at the University of South Florida. This is my second year with Earn Your Wings program. I have been fishing all my life, but grew up in upstate New York and have now been living in Florida for three years. Although I love freshwater fishing, saltwater fishing is my new passion. Depending on what species I am targeting, I use a different technique. I love saltwater fishing because every cast you could end up catching a different species of fish. The array of hard-fighting fish in the Gulf of Mexico are unlike any other I have ever experienced. Whether fishing from the beach with chunk bait, off a bridge with a lure, or trolling on a boat, I absolutely am hooked on the fish in the area. I have loved everything about fishing since I made my first cast and hope to shape my career around the sport. I love marketing, the outdoors, and of course, fishing so I hope to be able to get my captains license, as well as market fishing brands in the future.

Wesley Griner

My name is Wesley Griner and I live in Leesburg, Georgia. There are many lakes and ponds close by that I frequently fish. The Flint River also has some of my favorite honey holes. Lake Eufaula is my Favorite Lake to fish in my area. I enjoy multiple types of fishing such as striper, bass, crappie and catfish. My favorite type of fishing is bass fishing. Ever since I was young I have always dreamt of becoming a professional bass fisherman. As I watched the FLW, Bassmaster, and college tournaments I would say to myself “that will be me one day.” Currently I am the president on my college fishing team and my dreams are starting to come true. We have fished many tournaments and qualified for the National Championship in Bassmaster and Region Championship in FLW. I currently attend my local college Darton State and plan to transfer to the University of Georgia in the fall of 2016 with a major is agribusiness. Upon the completion of my degree, I plan to start fishing Bassmaster opens in hopes of qualifying for the Elite Series. This is my first year on the Earn Your Wings program and I am very excited to promote Fenwick and Pflueger, and am happy to be moving in the right direction.

Ethan Hall

I am a junior environmental science major at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in central New York where I am an active member of our school bass team as well as the current Vice President. Although I'm just entering my first year with the Earn Your Wings program, I've been fishing since I was able to walk and have continued to pursue a variety of fish species both recreationally and competitively ever since. I thoroughly enjoy chasing lake-run steelhead and trout through the winter and spring months, but my true passion lies in tournament bass fishing. From the time our season opens in early summer until snow flies in late fall, I'm targeting bass with an emphasis on smallmouth whenever possible. Moving forward, I hope to continue learning something new with every trip to the lake or stream and build on my consistency as a tournament angler. Outside of fishing, I intend to pursue an environmentally-focused career that allows me to give back to the outdoors and create the same opportunities that I have enjoyed for future generations to come.

Kolton Hawks

I am currently a sophomore at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) where I am a mechanical engineer major. I am also a member of the UNCC’s Bass Fishing team. I was born and raised in Lexington, NC and my dad began taking me fishing as soon I was able to hold a rod and reel. Growing up, if I was not on the baseball field, I was either at a local farm pond or on the lake with my dad who has taught me almost everything I know about fishing. I grew up fishing at High Rock, Badin, and other surrounding lakes for fun until a couple of years ago when I fished my first tournament. I enjoy the competiveness of tournament bass fishing, but more importantly the chance to meet other anglers and continually learn more about fishing. This is my first year with the Fenwick Earn Your Wings program and I am looking forward to the opportunities this program has to offer. I plan to continue fishing the B.A.S.S. and FLW Collegiate tournaments throughout my college career. I would love to pursue my dream of becoming a professional angler and if that doesn't work out, I would definitely like to use my degree in the fishing industry to engineer rods and reels.

Jim Herrero

I am a graduate student in pursuit of a Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Northern Arizona University. This is my third year being involved in the bass fishing team at NAU, and my second year as team President. I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this team and feel we are making strides to increasing the prestige of collegiate fishing in the western U.S. This is my first year being involved in the Earn Your Wings program, and I feel honored to be a part of such an elite group of collegiate anglers. I grew up fishing in Arizona and developed a passion for bass fishing at a young age. As I’ve developed into a more established angler, I have grown to love developing new techniques, but my two favorite presentations are finesse fishing and flipping. It is my goal to become a successful college angler and develop into a well-rounded angler that can be competitive at the professional level, while maintaining my enjoyment for the sport and passing my enthusiasm for fishing on to other aspiring anglers.

Nathan Hettinga

I am a senior at the University of Wisconsin Lacrosse pursuing a double major in both physical education and health education. I am the President of the fishing team here at UWL and have held that position since my freshman year when I started the team. We are a small team but are growing in numbers every year! This is my second year involved with the Earn Your Wings program. I have really enjoyed this experience dealing with some great products and even better people! I have been fishing since I could walk thanks to the help of my father and other mentors. I started walking the banks of the Wisconsin River when I was growing up catching smallmouth bass. Now I’ve focused more on fishing local and national bass tournaments through college. There are a million ways to catch fish nowadays but I would have to say there is nothing better than flipping bushes. I love picking apart cover and dragging fish out of shallow cover. Like a lot of pursuing anglers, it is my dream to be fishing one of the professional circuits someday. I would also like to start a successful guiding service out of the local water in which I live someday. As far as a career goes, I will see where the path of life takes me. I would like to teach in a high school during the school year while guiding in the summer months. Otherwise, of course, travel the country fishing the professional circuit for 20-30 years.

Roberto Munoz

Currently I am a junior at San Jose State University in San Jose, California where I am pursuing a major in business marketing. I am the President of the Spartan Bass Fishing Club here on campus and have been a part of the club for three years now. This is my second year working with the Earn Your Wings program and I am very excited to continue to be a part of this program. I got started fishing around ten years ago when my dad and I decided to give fishing a try at our local lake. My favorite type of fishing is mainly bass fishing, but I also enjoy striper fishing during the fall with my dad. The sport of bass fishing has given me some incredible opportunities and I have gotten to visit places and meet people I would not have met if it wasn’t for fishing. I hope I can continue to do this and immerse myself more into the industry. My career goal is to ultimately end up working in the fishing industry whether that is professionally or on the business side.

Adam Neu

I am a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, majoring in mechanical engineering. I was introduced to fishing at a young age by my father, who brought me fishing for everything from bluegills to Chinook salmon. Starting at a young age made fishing a huge passion of mine and has lead me to join the UW-Platteville fishing team both years that I have attended Platteville so far. I am interested in pursuing a career in the fishing industry in whatever form possible. I began fishing tournaments at the age of 11 with my father, most of them were walleye but once a year we would fish the Sturgeon Bay Open Bass Tournament (SBOBT). Since then I have learned many new things about fishing and fished many different tournaments, but still love to fish the SBOBT every year. This is my first year in the Earn Your Wings program, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to develop professional relationships with industry leading companies like Fenwick and Pflueger. I am very excited to see how this year is going to play out and be able to share it with all of you.

Lance Phearsdorf

My name is Lance Phearsdorf and I am a senior at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. I am double majoring in electrical and computer engineering and will be graduating December 2016. I am a member of the NC State Basspack where I am the Public Relations Officer. This is my second year with the Fenwick Earn Your Wings program. My strengths are in power-fishing techniques, but I also have the ability to slow down my presentation when needed. Through fishing in college I strive to take every opportunity as a chance to learn from those around me to better my skill set as a fisherman. My career goals are to find a job within the fishing electronics market where I can contribute to the advancement of electronics in the fishing industry.

Connor Ramsdell

I am a junior and current vice president of the SUNY Plattsburgh fishing club. I’m pursuing a bachelor’s degree in ecology and have a minor in biology. This is my first year with the Earn Your Wings program, and I am thrilled to be a part of it. I learned how to fish when I was about six years old at our family camp on Higley Flow, a small reservoir of the Raquette River in Colton, NY. Although my grandfather encouraged me to take up fishing, I am a self-taught angler. Having to learn everything from scratch established my passion for the sport and has ultimately turned me into a better angler. Due to the short fishing season we have in the north, I also fly fish and ice fish. My heart lies with chasing smallmouth bass, especially on my home water of Lake Champlain. There are very few techniques that I do not like using when it comes to bass fishing, but my favorites have to include drop shotting and throwing a frog. I hope to purchase my own boat someday and join a local bass circuit. Fishing will always be my escape from everyday life, and I plan on fishing until I can no longer hold a rod. After graduation, I want to become a restoration ecologist and work to save brook trout streams across the northeast.

Alex Sandahl

I am a senior at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota graduating in May with a degree in elementary education and a coaching minor. I am currently a member of our campus’s fishing club which is now in its second year. This is my first year being a part of the Earn Your Wings program and I am very excited about the opportunity to be involved. I have been fishing ever since I was able to walk down to the dock at our cabin in Northern Minnesota. This is where my love of fishing small lakes comes from. In addition to smaller lakes, I grew up on the shores of Lake of the Woods, a premier walleye destination where I was able to fish for world class walleye and various other species. My favorite type of fishing, however, has to be chasing rainbow trout in the small streams near my home town. I think fishing is a great way to relax and unwind while still meeting our need for adventure. I plan to use my summers for fishing and being at the lake when I am on break from my career as a teacher and I look forward to fishing in numerous locations, with various techniques, all across the country.

Zac Sayed

My name is Zac Sayed and I am currently attending Western Nevada College and the University of Nevada Reno. I helped start collegiate bass fishing at Western Nevada College and I am currently still on the board. Fishing has been a lifelong passion and addiction. Thankfully with the support of Fenwick and Pflueger, this year and last year, I have been able to spend a few extra days on the water. I started fishing long before the time I could walk, as my father is an avid outdoorsman. I sharpened my skills on Lake Tahoe and the many surrounding lakes. My main focus these days in catching trophy fish with a variety of methods. I spend a lot of my days swinging flies for trophy browns. I chase a variety of species throughout the year and during multiple tournaments. I really hope to stay involved with the fishing industry and would like to guide fulltime.

Corey Skaggs

I am a freshman at the University of Louisville, where I am pursuing a major in marketing. I am on the University of Louisville’s fishing team as a first year member. This is my first year on board with the Earn You Wings program. I have been tournament fishing for five years now. My favorite style of fishing is junk fishing, because I like to figure out the current conditions and adjust my techniques based on what the fish are doing. My end goal is to have a career in fishing. I am currently fishing college events to explore new lakes before taking the next step and jumping into the next level of the sport.

Danny Sprague

My name is Danny Sprague and I am a sophomore at Michigan State University. I am majoring in accounting and am an active member of the MSU Fishing Club. While I consider myself an avid tournament bass angler, living in Michigan allows me to experience a wide range of angling opportunities from ice fishing all the way to steelhead fishing. I have plans to fish the B.A.S.S. and the FLW college series this upcoming year along with my local BFL division. It has been an awesome experience to be a part of the Earn Your Wings program and an honor to represent brands like Fenwick and Pflueger.

Kyle Stafford

I am a sophomore at Polk State College pursuing a degree in business with a specialization in marketing. This is my first year with the Earn Your Wings program. I have been fishing for as long as I can remember, however only competitively for three years now. Living in Florida it's really fun to power fish. Flipping mats and throwing swimbaits in grass always produces, however finesse fishing is my favorite type of fishing. Fishing has taught me to be patient and how to adjust to situations I don't have control over. I hope to end up in the fishing industry, whether it be fishing professionally or doing the marketing aspect of it. I am stoked to have the opportunity to be a part of the Earn Your Wings program!

Brian Sweeney

I am a sophomore at The University of South Carolina pursuing a degree in marine science. I am the Vice President of Anglers at USC, my school's 2015 FLW National Championship winning fishing team. This is my first year as a part of the Earn Your Wings program. I have been fishing since I was old enough to walk and my father has been a great teacher and supporter throughout my life. Being from Frederick, Maryland I did not get the opportunity to fish many large impoundments except during our yearly trip to the Carolinas. I learned how to fish on the Potomac and Susquehanna rivers and I would say river smallmouth fishing is my favorite thing to do. I would be hard-pressed to find a fish that fights harder and strikes more aggressively than a smallmouth bass in a free flowing river. In my next few years as a college angler I aim to fish as many tournaments as possible and represent my school as well as I can while fine tuning my fishing skills. After college I would love to pursue a career as a professional angler. If that doesn't work out I want to either find a job in the fishing industry or use the degree I am pursuing to help manage our nation’s fisheries for future generations to enjoy.

Landon Tucker

My name is Landon Tucker and I am currently a sophomore studying marketing at Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Georgia. I am the President of our fishing team at the university. I started fishing from the time I was born and have grown up around fishing. Catching my first 5+ pound bass when I was six really got me into the sport. I fished my first tournament with my dad when I was thirteen and haven't looked back since. My dad being a Bassmaster Elite Series Pro has helped me tremendously in my college career and will continue to help me throughout my fishing career. I plan on graduating and then fishing the Bassmaster Opens for some years until I believe I'm a good enough fishermen to try my hands at the Bassmaster Elite Series.

Jared Zandstra

I am a senior at Ferris State University, majoring in business. I was born and raised in Highland, Indiana and moved to Big Rapids, Michigan three years ago. I have been fishing ever since I was a little kid, and have vivid memories of my great grandfather taking me out on his boat. In 2010 I started a bass fishing team at my high school, and it was then that I fell in love with tournament fishing, which I’ve been doing ever since. This is my second year being a part of the Earn Your Wings program and it has been an awesome opportunity.

Ryan Zetzsche

I am a senior at Lonestar College in Texas, currently finishing my Associates Degree of Liberal Arts and am interested in continuing my studies in film and media. This will be my second year participating in the Earn Your Wings program and am eager to get out there with my camera and start capturing the amazing experiences and moments this program has brought me. Like most people, I started fishing at an early age with my father at local ponds. Although, I didn’t fall in love with fishing until my later years, when I was able to drive myself to local ponds and lakes. Fishing became an escape for me: working maximum hours at a job and going to college full time, the quiet, tranquil moments became much cherished. Fishing helped me find myself, and made me realize I love capturing my adventures on film, which I upload onto my YouTube channel for other anglers to enjoy. Even though film is mostly a hobby for me currently, I aspire to one day turn it into a career, filming short documentaries, fishing cinematics, and even filming short films for companies. I hope to one day combine my love for fishing and film into a career. If I had to choose a type of fishing that I enjoy the most, it would hands down have to be fly fishing. The amount of finesse and technique it takes to cast a fly and line is something special, and is a much cherished skill of mine. There’s nothing better than taking your shoes off, stepping in a nice cold flowing creek, and chucking some line. Fishing has taught me some very important life lessons that I will keep with me forever, one of utmost importance being patience: Like fishing, life takes patience. Overall, fishing has made an extraordinarily positive impact on my life and I cannot wait to see where else it can take me.