Nathan Gray could be on the verge of landing a lunker.
After spending the past 12 years fishing at the regional and state levels, the Columbus angler is knocking on the door of a professional career. If he wins the Northern Federation Nation Divisional next summer in South Dakota, he will qualify for the Bassmasters Classic, the Super Bowl of bass fishing.
“If I can win this tournament — most definitely,” Gray said of the possibility of going pro. “Until then, I would need to work on picking up sponsors. I would absolutely love to go fish full time.”
As is the case with many sports, cost plays a major role in moving up in the bass world. A win next summer would yield a $500,000 pay day, along with major sponsors.
“Basically, (the state/regional level) is the working man’s group, the guys that don’t do this full time,” Gray said. “That doesn’t mean they’re not excellent fishermen or couldn’t go pro. It more than likely just means they don’t have the funds or the corporate sponsorship to go pro.
“If somebody sponsored me, or if I had enough money, I could go fish pro,” he said. “It’s kind of like NASCAR. We don’t have a pit crew, though. We don’t have somebody always working on our gear. You have to keep your big motor (boat) and your trolling motor in top working order because some of these tournaments, I’ve run 90 miles one way to get to fish.”
Gray, 36, qualified for the divisional event in South Dakota by winning the 2012 Indiana BASS Federation Nation State Finals last month on Lake Monroe. His maximum 10 fish caught over two days weighed 30.22 pounds.
“All of our lakes that are public are small,” Gray said. “The lake I’m going to go fish in South Dakota is 98 miles long. Lake Monroe, you’re not going to run 20 miles on that lake in a day. Technically, compared to some of these lakes that we fish, they’re ponds.”
Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!
Follow us on your favorite social network!