March 15, 2010

Bradley Roy: The Youngest Elite Fisherman

 James Overstreet -
At 19 years old, most guys are chasing girls, drinking beer illegally, working for a low wage or just trying to figure out which major to choose.   This time in life is filled with uncertainty.  Hardly anyone has it figured out.  But one teenager who does is Bradley Roy, barely 19 years old and living the life of a pro bass fisherman.  Last week, he began his rookie year of the Bassmaster Elite Series, fishing against the best bass fisherman in the world.
Anyone who fishes bass tournaments has most likely dreamed of fishing for a living.  How could you not want to fish and get paid to do it?  Bass fishermen often spend years and thousands of dollars chasing the dream of being a pro.  The Bassmaster Elite Series is seen by most as the pinnacle of tournament bass fishing.  The field size is limited, you have to qualify to get in, and the entry fees are steep; but the rewards are great.  The difficulty in just qualifying for the Elite’s will eliminate most who ever try to get in.  So how is it that a 19 year old from Kentucky is already fishing at the sports top level?
After talking to Bradley, it is obvious that he is mature beyond his years.  He gives all of his credit to a great support system around him that was extremely supportive of his fishing at a young age.  Bradley was able to rise to the top of the sport in a short period of time, but he has been fishing competitively for years.  He is a product of the BASS Federation Nation and it’s Junior Program.  At  13, he won the 2004 Junior Bassmaster World Championship’s inaugural event on Lake Norman in North Carolina.  In 2008 he was a team member on the Kentucky Bass Federation Nation State Team and was the Kentucky representative to the Federation Nation Championship.  Success has come quickly for Bradley and people everywhere are watching to see how he will do in the Elite Series.  I had a chance to talk with him after his first tournament on the California Delta where he finished in 50th Place. 
TB:  Congrats on the Top 50 finish Bradley.  So how did you sleep the night before the tournament and were you nervous in the morning on Day 1? 
BR:  I slept well.  Actually I wasn’t really nervous, I was at peace.  I had a hard practice so I knew it was tough out there.  Overall I was pretty calm.  If I would have had a better practice it would have been much worse.  
I had to put it out of my mind that I was fishing against guys like KVD.  The morning of the tournament I was calm until I was idling out.  That’s when it hit me.  It was a surreal feeling for me, but it was a great feeling. 
TB:  How did you prepare for such a big tournament on an unfamiliar lake? 
BR:   I learned a lot from watching television of past events, but really I didn’t do anything different for the fishing side of things.  I did spend more time making sure my tires, vehicle and trailer were prepared for the long drive out to California. 
TB:  How long was that drive for you? 
BR: 40 hours of driving time, almost 2500 miles. 
TB: That’s a long trip.  At least they all won’t be that far away.  Are you traveling with anybody? 
BR:  I am traveling with Mark Menendez and Greg Vinson.  They have been a great help in just  showing me the ropes of life on the tour. 
TB:  Going back to the Delta: What would you have done differently if you could do it again and what were the highs and lows? 
BR: I learned a lot on the Delta. The tide was a whole new thing for me, and I didn’t really like it. I realized late in the tournament that I should have been keying more on the outside grass instead of just fishing the tules.  As far as the highs and lows:  The low would be missing the cut.  I actually might have made it if it weren’t for a California regulation that requires you to release any fish that is hooked outside of the mouth.  I was having a tough day already and to have to throw a big one back when you don’t have a limit is really hard on you.  I would say the best memory was getting a limit on Day 2.  It was kind of a moral victory for me. 
TB: What tournament are you most looking forward to on the schedule? 
BR:  People always ask me and I always say “the next one”.  You have to take it one tournament at a time.  I feel like the star-struck feeling is gone and I’m ready for Clear Lake. 
TB:  Have you been to any of them on the schedule? 
BR:  Kentucky Lake, I have been there a few times and it’s only four and a half hours from home. 
TB: Since you’re a rookie, have you had any rookie hazing? 
BR: Not much, everyone has been pretty good to me.  Maybe just a few jokes about my age 
TB: Who were your idols growing up? 
BR: I didn’t really have just one idol.  I really liked the style of fishing of KVD, and he’s so consistent. 
TB: So what’s your style? 
BR: I am a power fisherman.  I like to be flipping and pitching with an 8 foot rod and braid.  I can use a spinning rod and have done well in a few tournaments but would rather power fish. 
TB: On your website ( you have been keeping up with your tournament updates, are you going to continue that throughout the season? 
BR: Yeah I will be.  I really want to show people the true life on the tour.  People think the life of a professional bass fisherman is glamourous, but they don’t see it all.  They don’t see the driving all day and sleeping in the truck to save a few dollars.  Or doing laundry at 5 A.M. in a laundry mat and trying not to eat at fast food restaurants every day.  I want to be able to show them a little more about what it’s like. 
TB: What two pieces of advice do you have for a young fisherman following in your footsteps? 
BR:  Number one would be to spend time on the water.   Just like any other sport, the more you practice, the better you get.  No matter where you fish, a pond, creek, lake, whatever.  Spend as much time as you can fishing and learning. Number two would be to get involved in the Bassmaster Federation.  I am a product of this organization, both through the Junior Federation and the Federation Nation.  
Bradley is sponsored by: Berkley, Abu Garcia, Triton Boats, Mercury, Motor Guide, Power Pole, Gray Construction, Costa Del Mar, D&L Tackle, Whitaker Bank, Angler’s Outpost and Marine.
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