Professional bass angler John Hunter talks about his fishing background and greatest influences growing up. This is one post in a multi-part series.
(3 minutes to read)
JB: Who is John Hunter in a nutshell?
JH: I’ll just tell you a little bit of background story about me. I’m from Kentucky. I grew up playing multiple sports. I played three sports through most of high school, then narrowed it down to baseball near the end.
I was always a super competitive kid growing up. Everything I ever participated in, I wanted to win. I was big into fishing as a kid, too. I was introduced to it around the age of ten years old. I had a family member, an uncle who took me fishing, and he let me catch a fish off the nest one day (It was a big one.) From then on, I was hooked. When I would come home from baseball practice, I would run to the pond.
I was fortunate to get into the tournament fishing, and to be able to fish in high school and college.
As far as me as a person, in a nutshell -- man, on the water, I have a competitive drive. I think what drove it was playing sports when I was growing up. And that’s why I really like tournament fishing: It gives me a chance to go out and compete.
JB: You’ve mentioned your dad and your uncle as heroes...
JH: They’re my role-models. I grew up watching them. They helped shape me into who I am.
My dad isn’t big into fishing. Neither of my parents are. But the whole time, they’ve been very supportive. And I learned a lot of things from my dad other than fishing.
My uncle Jimmy, I learned a lot of great things other than fishing from him, too. But he basically instilled the love for fishing in me. He presented the opportunity for me to take the next step.
Both Jimmy and my dad helped me realize that it was possible for me to be great and do the things that I’ve done. They were both super influential in my upbringing and in making me who I am today.
JB: What’s one thing that your dad gave you or taught you that you’re grateful for?
JH: From my dad - my work ethic. My dad is the hardest worker I’ve ever seen. He works his butt off. Always has. He came from nothing, and now he’s a successful part-owner and COO/CFO of a commercial construction company. He’s worked for anything he’s ever had. I’ve gotten the benefit from that growing up. And now that I’m older, I can really see and appreciate how hard he works, and he’s passed that on to me.
Also, he’s really helped me on the business side of things. I got my numbers from him. Fishing isn’t a game of just catching fish; it’s a game of business, too.
JB: Do you also work for your dad?
JH: When I graduated from college in May of 2014, I went to work for my dad at Buffalo Construction, basically full-time. I was still wrapping up some college fishing that summer. I worked for him for eight or nine months.
While I was working, I also spent my nights and weekends building my fishing presentations and sponsorship packets. That fall, around September, I told my dad that I really wanted to give this fishing thing a try and chase it professionally.
Both my dad and my mom were super supportive. I was living at home, and they said, Yeah, go after it. We’re right behind you.
So I said, “Awesome.” I called and emailed thousands of people that fall and got a good group of people to support me. Some awesome companies came forward to help me out for my rookie season: Texas Roadhouse, Fishbrain, Afterburner, and Buffalo Construction. That’s when I knew I’d be able to try it.
My rookie year (2015), I went out and had a dream year.
Although, maybe it wasn’t quite a dream year from the beginning. It was kind of funny - it started off terrible. My first two tournaments were awful. But the rest of the year was just great. I gave it a chance and it worked out for me. And now I’m doing it full-time, and that’s pretty neat.
[Content edited and condensed - Jesse Bastide]
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