Earn Your Wings Program

Fenwick Earn Your Wings Program

Fenwick Earn Your Wings Program

Participant Bios

Nicholas Ahearn

I am a student at the University of South Florida, where I major in marketing. I have been the president of the USF Fishing Club for the past two years. This is my third year on the Fenwick College Pro staff, and have loved every minute of it! Growing up in Florida, I have been exposed to some of the best fresh and saltwater fishing the world has to offer. I fish competitively in both fresh and saltwater tournaments, but I spend most of my tournament time in freshwater. When I graduate, I hope to be able to pursue a job in the fishing industry, while continuing to fish tournaments on the weekends.

Tanner Blaschka

I am a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, majoring in marketing with a specialization in supply chain management. As a kid, my passion for fishing was fueled by trips to northern Wisconsin with my Dad and Grandpa, catching anything from to bass to bluegill. This passion has led me to my position as president of the Wisconsin Fishing Team and an interest to pursue a career in the fishing industry. I began fishing local bass tournaments as a junior in high school, and now my focus has transitioned to the Collegiate BASS, FLW, and Cabela’s/ACA tournament trails. This is my first year in the Earn Your Wings program, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to further develop my professional skills and represent an industry leading brand.

Steven Cole Blythe

I am currently a junior at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) where I am a business marketing major. I am a member of UNCC’s Bass Fishing team and currently serve as our team’s treasurer. 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, BASS and Boat US tournaments. 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 first year participating in the Earn Your Wings program and I could not be more excited for this opportunity to work with some of the best folks in the fishing industry and to see where this journey takes me.

Patrick Bowers

I am currently a junior at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse where I am majoring in accountancy. I serve as the treasurer for the Bass Team here at UWL. I grew up in the Twin Cities Metro area fishing the surrounding lakes and rivers for smallmouth and largemouth bass and the elusive muskie. My favorite bass fishing technique is swimming a jig with a Fenwick HMG 7' Medium Heavy. Last year my tournament partner and I qualified for the 2015 FLW College National Championship by placing 2nd at Lake Carlyle for the Central Conference Qualifier and 8th at Kentucky Lake for the Central Conference Invitational.

Thomas Brewbaker

I am a junior 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 chasing green fish developed during the years spent fishing local tournaments near my house on Lake Martin, Alabama. In addition to fishing the FLW College and Carhartt BASS series, 2015 will be the first year I’ll have the opportunity to fish the Alabama Bass Trail series. This is my third year fishing for the Anglers at USC and my second year 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. A few of my favorite techniques include throwing a double fluke rig, a chatterbait, and deep water cranking. This is my first year in Fenwick’s Earn Your Wings program, and I'm looking forward to the opportunity to grow as both an angler and a business professional.

Wade Brown

I am a junior at the University of Louisville in Louisville, KY. I am majoring in industrial engineering and I am the president of the Louisville Bass Fishing Team. 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 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 two 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.

Eric Bykowski

I'm a junior business major at Carnegie Mellon University and am president of the CMU Fishing Team. I've fished my entire life growing up in SC, 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. 2015 marks my third year as a Fenwick College Angler, 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.

Josh Cannon

My name is Josh Cannon, and I am a freshman at Western Carolina University. I have been chasing bass around the boat since I was about 8 years old. I have always been in love with the sport since a young age. My specialties would have to be top water and jerk bait fishing. I fish the College FLW Tour as well as the BASS Collegiate also. This is my first year fishing college events and so far I love them!

Evan Chambers

I am a graduating senior at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville studying environmental engineering. I am also the co-founder and current president of the Bass Fishing Team at UW-Platteville. For as long as I can remember I have been an avid outdoorsman. My love and passion for the outdoors was passed down to me by my father. We would fish for catfish or anything that would bite along the river, or bass and panfish at local ponds. At age 16, I was part of the first two years of the Illinois High School Association Bass Fishing State Finals, where my obsession with tournament fishing all began. I have been fortunate to meet many great friends through fishing high school and college tournaments, and have made many great memories. My aspiration for my final year fishing at the collegiate level is to qualify for the FLW or College BASS National Championship, after falling short twice in the past.

Scott Davis

I am a recent graduate of the University of Louisville where I earned a degree in marketing. I am also the former president of the University’s Bass Fishing team. I was born and raised in Kentucky where I developed my lifelong passion for fishing. Growing up all I ever wanted to do was fish, and as I got older my passion continued to grow. I started fishing tournaments in high school, but really grew as an angler while fishing throughout college. While on the U of L Fishing Team I was fortunate enough to fish with some great friends all over the country on some of the best fisheries in the world. I have spent the last three years as a member of the Earn Your Wings program, which has allowed me the opportunity to not only grow as an angler, but as an industry professional.

Michael Dawson

I am a junior at the University of South Florida, and am the new 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.

Ethan Dhuyvetter

I am currently a senior at Kansas State University, graduating in May 2015 with a degree in marketing. I have held office and fished for Kansas State all four years. Through college fishing, I have gotten the opportunity to travel to Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and more. The college fishing circuit and supporters have encouraged me to get involved in the industry as much as possible, and I plan to work and participate in it for the rest of my life. My favorite fishing technique is flipping a jig or plastic into heavy cover. I really want to thank Fenwick, Pflueger, and all of Pure Fishing for the awesome opportunity!

Sig Finley

I am a graduating senior at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse majoring in marketing. I was born and raised in the small town of Hebron, Illinois. I grew up fishing Lake Geneva in Southeast Wisconsin, but have traveled throughout the Midwest fishing in collegiate tournaments. I learned everything I know about fishing from my father, who started me at a young age, and he’s been my biggest supporter since I’ve started tournament fishing. My partner, Patrick Bowers, who is also in the Earn Your Wings program, and I will be traveling to Lake Murray in April for the FLW National Championship. My go-to bait is a homemade jig. I won’t fish a tournament without one tied on.

Briana Gagnier

My name is Briana Gagnier and I am a sophomore marketing major at University of South Florida. I was born and raised in Rochester, New York and moved to Florida with my family three years ago. My dad has passed on his love for fishing to me. Being a part of the Fenwick Earn Your Wings program has provided me with a glimpse of what I want to do when I am older. I hope to incorporate my passion for fishing and my degree into a dream job. I fish various land based shark fishing tournaments and also have a charter company with my dad. Utilizing Fenwick and Pflueger for my saltwater fishing and being able to market the brands for inshore saltwater species is something I take pride in.

Nathan Hettinga

My name is Nathan Hettinga, and I am a junior at the University of Wisconsin LaCrosse studying physical education and health education. I have a passion for working with kids and want to be a positive influence in as many lives one day as possible. On top of this my main love and passion is fishing. I have loved the sport ever since I caught my first smallmouth bass on the Wisconsin River near my hometown of Wausau, Wisconsin. I hope to try my hand at fishing some of the professional circuits someday once I graduate from college. It would be a dream come true to fish professionally and live out the dream I have had since I was a little boy. I am honored to have the opportunity to represent Fenwick and Pflueger because it is great companies like these that make the sport we love possible!

Billy Hines

I am a graduate student at Slippery Rock University. Fishing is my passion and one of the most important things to me. Since connecting with the SRU Bass Team in 2013, I have become a very avid tournament bass angler. Being from Erie, PA gives me the great opportunity to chase after various species of fish using many different techniques. In 2015 I will be fishing multiple college events as well as TBF events including the 2015 Mid-Atlantic regional. I will also be competing with the North Coast Bass Association and the Fishers of Men Tournament Trail. My preferred technique is to drop-shot with my Fenwick Elite Tech and Pflueger Supreme reels. I hope to have a very successful tournament career and I know that as long as I continue learning and having fun with the sport, I will always consider it to be successful. Being a part of the Earn Your Wings program has given me the opportunity to connect with some first-class anglers and to grow as an ambassador of the sport.

Knox Hitt

My name is Knox Hitt and I'm a junior sport management major here at Xavier University. I am originally from The Woodlands, TX and this is where my passion for bass fishing really began. I am on the Men's Swim Team here at Xavier University. When I'm not hitting the books or tied up with two-a-day practices you can catch me on a body of water somewhere in the area fishing with my friends. I am extremely excited to be a part of the Fenwick Earn Your Wings Program!

Noah Humfeld

My name is Noah Humfeld and I am a senior in biology at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. I have been fishing competitively for the last 8 years, including fishing in local tournaments, the FLW College Bass Series, and more recently the AIM Pro Walleye Series. As a freshman I started the UWP Bass Team with a few friends which has grown considerably ever since, with several top finishes and championship qualifications. In the last 3 years my focus has turned to the elusive walleye. As one of the youngest anglers on the pro side, I have some serious competition. I managed a top-20 finish in my first event of 2014, followed by two other solid finishes. I have been fishing with Fenwick rods ever since I started fishing tournaments, and they have always performed far beyond my expectations. Being a member of the college pro team has been a great experience, and I am looking forward to working with Fenwick for many years to come.

Richard Keene

I am a senior at Mississippi State University where I am majoring in chemical engineering. I am a member of the MSU Bass Fishing Team. I have always enjoyed fishing and I started fishing tournaments when I was old enough to compete in a local youth tournament trail. My tournament highlights include qualifying for the 2013 TBF National Championship and also winning co-angler of the year in the BFL Mississippi Division. My favorite ways to fish are with soft plastics around cover, topwater baits around grass, and shakey heads on deep water ledges. This is my first year as a member of the Earn Your Wings program and it has been a great experience.

Alex Klein

I am currently a senior at California State University—Chico where I am majoring in organizational communication with a minor in entrepreneurship. I grew up in Oroville, California where when I wasn’t playing sports I was either out fishing on Lake Oroville or out in the duck blind. I played two years of junior college baseball before transferring to Chico State where I eagerly joined the Bass Team. My first year on the team, I was fortunate enough to be a 2014 Bassmasters National Championship Qualifier. I have grown up around fishing and started fishing with my dad as soon as I could hold a rod. I started to competitively bass fish with my dad in team tournaments around eight years old and we continue to compete in team tournaments to this day. Fishing in California, I have learned to finesse fish to survive but, when the right conditions presents itself, I prefer to fish with reaction baits such as cranks, rip baits, and spinnerbaits. When I am not fishing, I am a seasonal firefighter for the State of California in the summer and I serve as a local volunteer firefighter as well.

Adam Knowles

As a collegiate fisherman for the University of Wisconsin, I have been extremely fortunate to travel around the country in pursuit of the sport I love, and even take part in tournaments in my home state of Wisconsin. I am proud to say, though, that competitive bass fishing is only a portion of what I do, and that over the past few years I have had a hand in a number of events with the sole purpose of giving back to the fishing community, and helping to garner a passion for the sport in young men and women. It gives me great pleasure to take part in the long-standing Fenwick tradition of fishing excellence as part of the 2015 Earn Your Wings program. After graduating with a degree in economics/mathematics I look forward to pursuing a career within the fishing industry through marketing, writing, guiding, and any way I can keep my finger on the pulse of competitive fishing while attempting to give back even just a small part of what fishing has blessed me with.

Roberto Munoz

My name is Roberto Munoz and I currently am a sophomore at San Jose State University double majoring in business marketing and economics. I am currently the vice president of the Spartan Bass Fishing Club here at SJSU and have been fishing for eight years. I first started competing in high school and now compete at the collegiate level. I fished my first collegiate tournament this May, a B.A.S.S Regional on Clear Lake, CA and went on to fish the B.A.S.S. Collegiate National Championship this past summer in Georgia. The sport of bass fishing has taken me places I never imagined I’d visit and has given me some amazing opportunities thus far. I am very excited to be a part of the Earn Your Wings program and look forward to learning the business side of the fishing industry.

Tanner Pederson

Currently, I am a junior at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. This is the first year I have been involved in the Concordia Fishing Club, which is in its inaugural year. I hail from Warroad, Minnesota, which lies on Lake of the Woods. This was the birthplace for my love of fishing. It has given me an opportunity to access world-class walleye fishing any time of the year. Needless to say, I have been blessed. As I moved away, I have taken an interest in many new species like bass and crappie that weren’t available to me back home. As I work towards a major in business with concentrations in finance and healthcare leadership, I look for every opportunity to fish. I have a strong passion to learn everything I can about the sport of fishing and I always look to try a new tactic whenever I go on the water. The Earn Your Wings program excites me because it gives me a chance to learn about what goes on behind the scenes in the fishing industry and hopefully be able to grow as a fisherman alongside companies like Fenwick and Pflueger!

Lance Phearsdorf

My name is Lance Phearsdorf and I am a junior at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. I am double majoring in electrical and computer engineering and am a member of the NC State Basspack Fishing Team. 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. My best individual single day bag was caught in one of our club tournaments with 4 fish weighing 25 lbs. 10 oz. and the best 5 from the boat weighing over 36 lbs.

Zac Sayed

I grew up in Lake Tahoe, fishing all over Northern Nevada and California sharpening my skills on Trinity River Steelhead to Bullards Bar Spotted Bass. My latest passion is going after large brown trout and fishing regional tournaments. When not fishing I work at Sportsman's Warehouse in the fishing department. I started college focusing on business but have now been leaning towards the environmental side. In the long run I want to keep having fun progressing my fishing and would love to continue working in the fishing industry.

Aaron Schiller

I am a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and I will be graduating in December with a double major in fisheries and water resource management as well as biology. I have held the tournament coordinator position for two years for the Stevens Point Bass Team and I am the current president of the Fisheries Society here at UWSP. My goal is to obtain a graduate degree in fisheries biology and pursue my passion for fisheries as a career. I grew up fishing bass and walleye but it’s hard to beat the strength of a steelhead or salmon. I hope that my multiple interests open future opportunities and bring diversity to the Fenwick Earn Your Wings team.

Danny Sprague

My name is Danny Sprague and I am a freshman at Michigan State University. I am majoring in marketing 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 really enjoy the outdoors in general. 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.

Justin Telep

I am a senior at Ohio University studying freshwater and environmental biology. I truly love wading along the rivers of southern Lake Erie in hunt for giant steelhead trout. Here I have won two tournaments in the Ohio Central Basin Steelheaders Club, one of which that I had two steelhead that measured 64.25 inches long total. Bass fishing has really started to become my favorite way to fish recently as I am the vice president of the Ohio University Fishing Club. In 2013 I advanced to the regional championship of the FLW Collegiate Fishing Series. I fish a lot of local tournaments in the northeast Ohio, which can be tough sometimes. The highlight of my summer was the last tournament of the year, where my team brought in 20.25 pounds of largemouth bass to win a tournament. I also was in charge of running the first Ohio College Bass Fishing Circuit last summer, where I placed first in the end of the year points. This is my second year with the Earn Your Wings program and I am very excited to be a part of this team.

Jared Zandstra

I am a junior at Ferris State University, majoring in business administration with a concentration in marketing. I was born and raised in Highland, IN and moved to Big Rapids, MI 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 first year being a part of the Earn Your Wings program but I am so excited for this awesome opportunity.

Ryan Zetzsche

Right now I am currently finishing up my Associates degree at Lone Star College in Texas, where I was born and raised. I found a real strong direction to go with my life a few years ago with fishing. I believe if you're going to do something, you should take it to the stage, or don't do it at all. So I have always been very competitive with everything I do from hockey to catching fish, which I love capturing on film and featuring on my YouTube channel. I'm ecstatic that I have the amazing opportunity to work with two of my favorite companies this year, Fenwick and Pflueger, as a member of their Earn Your Wings program. I hope to one day enter the fishing industry hard and strong and can't wait to learn everything I can along the way to make myself better on and off the water.