JACKSONVILLE -- Some athletes grow up watching their favorite athletes on the hardwood or the baseball diamond, but Jacob Wall found his idols in a different sport.
"When I was about 12 years old, I started watching Bass Fishing on television. I thought it was really interesting how active the sport was," Wall said, "You’re constantly moving and constantly trying to find the fish rather than sit there and wait for the fish to come to you."
That interest turned into a passion as Wall decided to pursue a professional career in bass fishing. At the University of Oregon, he worked toward that goal as he qualified for and competed in a number of national tournaments.
Now, he has the chance to qualify for the biggest bass fishing event in the country.
"The ultimate goal, for right now at least, is to go to this tournament in Lake Bemidji and I have a chance to qualify for the Bass Master Classic through this event," Wall said.
Win that tournament and he qualifies for the Bass Master Classic, something that could open the door to him eventually competing on the pro tour.
"I’d really like to compete on the tour level and travel around the country and fish for a living is the ideal goal," Wall said.
He said without the support of his mom and dad, he would have never pursued bass fishing as a career. Now, again with their help, he is working to build himself up financially to jump to the tour.
Qualifying events can cost more than $1,000 and traveling expenses aren't cheap. For a recent college graduate, it isn't easy to make the financial investment it takes to have a chance to qualify for the pro tour.
"I could have an event in Alabama and then have another event in the middle of the country and then have another event on the East Coast," Wall said, "It’s kind of a back and forth, back and forth type of deal and you’re spending a lot of time on the road."
But thanks to his creativity, the dream is well within sight.
"I like to think outside the box as far as fishing goes, because if you do what everyone else does, the fish have already seen all that, so how are you going to stand out from the crowd if you’re doing what everyone else is doing?" Wall said.
Based on how he does at Lake Bemidji, he may be like very few: someone who gets to compete in the famous Bass Master Classic.
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