Professional Bass Fisherman: Reeling in More than Fish
According to the American Sportfishing Association, more people fish in the U.S. than play golf or tennis combined. Many people like to fish as a sport, a hobby, even as a profession. You’ve probably seen lots of anglers fishing at Geist.
“Geist is one of the best bass fishing lakes in Indiana,” says Todd Hollowell, local professional bass fisherman. “Geist is attractive to many organizations, such as the Indiana Bass Federation, because it’s such a great fishery.” Thanks to strict conservation and “catch and release” practices, the Geist eco-system stays in balance.
As a fishing fanatic, it’s seems appropriate that Todd has made Fishers his home of eight years. Besides working as an insurance agent for Ray Insurance Group (near Scotty’s Lakehouse) he recently signed with Red Gold Tomatoes (Elwood, IN) to represent them on the FLW Tour in 2012, the highest level of the sport with FLW Outdoors. (www.flwoutdoors.com) If you’re not familiar with professional bass fishing, this is the equivalent to a stock car driver racing in NASCAR.
“Since bass fishing is a visibly growing sport, many companies are choosing to get involved as a way to market and expose their brands to a huge demographic that fishing offers,” says Todd. “I’m proud to be associated with Red Gold, who provides thousands of jobs for Hoosiers in Central Indiana and produces premium tomatoes grown in the Midwest.”
FROM BASEBALL TO BASS FISHING
Todd played baseball professionally, for the Indy Frontier League on the Richmond Roosters. He played for two years as a pitcher before facing a shoulder injury that forced him to change directions in his life. He then coached baseball at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Eventually, he realized however, that his focus had changed from competing on the mound of a baseball field to the seat in a bass boat. In 2002, Todd began fishing competitively for the Walmart Bass Fishing League.
BASS FISHING: “CATCHING ON” IN OUR COMMUNITY
Starting in April, the Tuesday Night Bass Club meets from 5-9pm at the Olio Road ramp. These events have grown in popularity, with this club and with other anglers who visit Geist. Todd says, “There is such a positive economic benefit with people coming here to fish Geist who are buying gas, eating at restaurants, and staying in hotels. Geist is a valuable resource not only for boating, swimming, and skiing, but also for fishing.”
One of Todd’s friends is Derick “Dizzy”Grant, guard for the Harlem Globetrotters, who is also a Fishers resident. They spend time together in the summer and share a common bond with bass fishing. In fact, they took 2nd place in a benefit tournament last summer. Also, they are both passionate about taking children fishing to introduce them to the outdoors.
MENTORING AT MARION UNIVERSITY
Bass fishing is also growing as a collegiate sport. Many universities have bass fishing team such as Indiana, Purdue, and Ball State. Todd mentors the Marian University Bass Fishing Team, which has just started competing in 2012. He has assisted with obtaining sponsors, ordering jerseys, and scheduling tournaments. Todd claims, “College fishing is really taking off and is grooming the next generation of college-educated men and women that will continue to grow this sport.”
FOLLOWING TODD ON TOUR
By the time you read this, Todd will be competing in the first of seven 2012 FLW Tour events, which span across the country, including: South Carolina, Missouri, Arkansas, Washington D.C., Kentucky, New York and Georgia.
Todd’s wife and two sons (ages 7 and 4) will join him for a few trips. The boys, who attend HSE schools, will use their summer and spring breaks to travel with and support their dad. “Without the support of my family and friends, there’s no way I could do this. It’s something they have made possible for me, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to do something I love,” says Todd.
If you would like to follow Todd, go to www.bigindianabass.com and look for the feature titled, “On Tour with Todd.”
FUN FISHING FACTS
- Most bass fishing tournaments are judged by the highest weight with each angler allowed five bass measuring at least 14 inches in length.
- FLW stands for “Forest L. Wood” who founded Ranger Boats.
- The Forest Wood Cup along with the Bassmaster’s Classic, are the most prestigious tournaments of the year with a $500,000 first-place prize.
- FLW Fantasy Fishing grants the largest prizes in fantasy sports history including $100,000 awarded at the end of the season. You can go to www.fantasyfishing.com and play for free.
- Todd has been fishing since age 4. Like his sons, he learned how to cast a rod and reel before riding a bike.
- Todd fished his first bass tournament with his dad in 1988 at the age of 12, at Geist with the Tuesday Night Bass Club.