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Father sees professional fishing in his son’s future

Randy Hutchins grew up in Spencer and graduated from North Rowan High School in 1974. He now lives in Jamestown with his wife, Tracey, a 1977 North Rowan graduate. They have two children, Katie, 22, and Lucas, 15. Randy was inspired to write this after his brother, Bob Hutchins, North Rowan Class of 1968, recently passed away unexpectedly at age 59. – – –
To any father who has a son:
I would like to share a story about a young man who has a very special love for bass angling. His name is Lucas McCain Hutchins and although he is my son, I feel that I can be fairly objective in my claim that his dedication to the sport exceeds that of anyone I’ve ever known at his age (just turned 15 on April 29).
Although Lucas has been bass angling seriously for only three years, he has learned more in that brief time than many adults who have practiced the sport for decades. He routinely devours any information he can get his hands on related to bass angling, his mind acting like a magnet in the process. It’s probably safe to say he has forgotten more than I know about this rewarding although often frustrating sport. I took up the sport primarily because it allowed me to spend quality time with my son, and it offered the peacefulness of the great outdoors. I never envisioned the rewards that it would bring to our relationship.
Lucas and I began fishing competitive tournaments about 15 months ago and soon decided to join an anglers club known as the “Ridgeway Bass Anglers.” We had fished with the group in a couple of “open” tournaments.
We felt very comfortable with the members because they appeared to love the sport as much as we did. We quickly learned by competing against the club members that there are a lot of good anglers out there who truly know how to catch fish, even under the toughest conditions.
Anyone who has ever fished competitively can attest to the fact that anglers are certainly no stranger to humility. Lucas and I were no exception. Finishing close to the bottom of the standings in most tournaments seemed only to increase Lucas’ desire to better understand the secrets that would lead to success in this rewarding sport. He vowed to learn as much as possible and set a goal of finishing in the top three in this year’s “Angler of the Year” points standings within our club. He memorized every lake, every type of lure, every kind of rod and reel and their respective purpose. He studied the effects of water, temperature and wind on fishing habitats. He practiced endlessly on our electronics to better increase his chances of locating and catching fish.
Considering our club averages 12-15 two man boats per tournament and includes some very experienced anglers, I reluctantly told my son that his goal of finishing in the top three this year might be a little too optimistic. Although I was happy he had committed himself to something that he loves, I felt that setting his goals too high this early might reduce his enthusiasm for the sport. But he kept insisting that his goal was obtainable and that he would work as hard as necessary to achieve it.
He lived up to his promise to dedicate himself to be the best angler that he could be and over the months ahead I recall only two or three weekends that he and I were not fishing on some lake in 30-40 degree weather, often in the rain and wind, and ó believe it or not ó loving every minute of it.
Getting up at 3 or 4 a.m. and riding 2-3 hours to our destination lake of the week became a regular occurrence, giving us many hours to discuss not only angling strategies of the new lake but more importantly life’s strategies as well. After fishing many lakes, all of which presented their own unique challenges he soon realized the powerful connection between how we prepare ourselves both mentally and physically as we try and master our craft.
He also began to understand the vital role that our mental attitude plays in our ability to achieve success and even more importantly deal with failure. As any angler will tell you, failure is a common component of bass fishing. He began to realize that the mental aspect of angling is equally if not more important than the motor skills and the knowledge of the sport.
It seemed like over that 6-8 month span that he grew from a boy to a young man both physically and emotionally. As a father, I truly wouldn’t trade the experience for all of the money in the world.
When we showed up for our first tournament this season in early March he was full of confidence and anticipation. While I was hoping for a “middle of the pack” finish, his one and only focus was winning.
We went on to take first place in the first two tournaments and have finished in the top three in seven of the nine tourneys we’ve entered (both in and out of our club). Not only are we the current points leader for the “Angler of the Year” award within our club but we have held first place since day one. Quite a turn around from the previous year when finishing in the top seven was celebrated.
Although I am 35 years his senior, I learned an inspirational lesson in life from my son over the past 15 months. A lesson that we all have heard many times but often don’t fully comprehend or process the true meaning. “There is truly nothing in life that we can’t achieve if only we have faith in God, faith in our self and our own abilities, focus only on the positives while using the negatives as motivation and truly dedicate ourselves both mentally and physically so that we may improve ourselves every day”.
It is Lucas’ dream to some day become a professional angler. What I think makes him special is not his search for fame or fortune but more importantly the self satisfaction that he is constantly improving his game.
Even if I’m not around to witness it come true, I will have already lived my dream of watching my son grow into a man right before my eyes.

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