Grayson Smith, who graduated this past semester from the University of Tennessee at Martin, wrapped up the coveted Bassmaster Angler of the Year honor when he won the 2013 Bass Pro Shops Southern Open #3, May 16-18, on Logan Martin Lake in Pell City, Ala.
Smith wrapped up the three-tournament trail with his first-place finish on Logan Martin Lake, a sixth-place finish on Douglas Lake in Dandridge and a 12th-place outing early in the year on Lake Tohopekaliga in Kissimmee, Fla.
Smith, from Clarksville, caught more than 61 pounds of fish and finished in the money in all three tournaments. He won a Triton boat, valued at $25,000, for his effort in the Bass Pro Shops Southern Open #3.
Smith’s recent success has him thinking more and more about a professional fishing career. “I started thinking about turning pro a year ago, but the recent success helps me,” he said. “I am able to attract more sponsors with the recent wins.”
For now, Smith will keep his day job at DBS & Associates, an engineering firm in Clarksville. “I have to do both right now,” he said.
“Champions are able to consistently go out and make adjustments,” Smith said. “That’s what I am struggling with right now. When the fish are not biting I want to move to the next spot. The winners are not the ones that pull up on their first spots.”
Smith calls fishing a head game. “I need to learn how not to freak out when the fish aren’t biting.”
For the Rossview High School alumnus, fishing is all mental, even more so than golf, and Smith should know. He played golf all four years at Rossview High School.
Smith was back in the boat less than 10 days after winning the Southern Open with his partner Dylan Powley of Paris as the duo finished 31st in the Collegiate Bass Championship on Pickwick Lake in Florence, Ala.
However, Smith and Powley were just one of three UT Martin duos to compete in the tournament. Alex Derry of Bradford and Ryan Lackey of Parsons finished the two-day tournament in 18th place. Derry and Lackey caught five fish weighing in at 32.71 pounds.
Hayden Smith of Dickson and Zach Morphis of Cordova also competed in the tournament, which included 168 two-man teams.
The UT Martin bass fishing team is 10th in the current Cabela’s ACA School of the Year standings. The complete college standings can be found at http://www.collegiatebasschampionship.com/.
(Published in The Press on 6.4.2013)