Success isn’t only catching
by Kevin Hawk
I used to think the only way to pursue my passion for bass fishing was by competing in tournaments. But after competing full-time for the past five years, I’ve discovered there are other ways as well, like guiding clients on the water and writing bass fishing articles.
I don’t regret the time I spent fishing tournaments, because I wouldn’t be in the position I am now if I hadn’t competed. Creating friendships within the fishing industry and winning the 2010 Forrest Wood Cup have led to new opportunities—ones allowing me to take a different path than the one I started on.
Two years ago, I started guiding on Lake Guntersville during the off-season to help cover my tournament expenses. As I gained experience, I realized I enjoyed certain aspects of guiding more than tournament fishing, like teaching people how to become better anglers.
I draw from my fishing experience during my trips to teach my clients techniques or patterns they may not be familiar with. Sometimes my clients catch a bunch of fish or their personal best, while other times we struggle to get bites. Regardless of our results, I feel my clients see the effort I’m making to teach them. My goal is to give my clients knowledge, so they can take what they’ve learned and apply it to their own fishing.
I studied literature and writing studies in college, because I wanted to become a better writer. I wasn’t sure how I’d use my English degree as a professional angler, but it’s proven useful in many ways. I gained sponsorships by offering to write articles promoting the products I fished with while on tour. Now, my degree has landed me writing jobs for bass fishing websites, like bassmaster.com, insideline.com, and rahfish.com.
I’ve found writing complements my guide business well. Not only does writing keep income flowing in when I don’t have guide trips, but it gives me another teaching outlet—one I can continue sharing my fishing experiences even when I’m not on the water.
Writing also helps me market myself by reaching anglers all over the world. I’ve fished with clients from outside the U.S., like Canada and Portugal, and have had clients book trips me after reading an article I wrote about a technique they were interested in learning more about.
Even though I’ve failed to maintain a successful living fishing tournaments, bass fishing remains my biggest passion—a passion that’s led to fresh opportunities in the fishing industry.
My guide service and writing are allowing me to piece together a successful living. I’m covering my bills, saving for the future, and most importantly, teaching others to become better anglers. It’s my ability to teach that defines my success.