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Outdoor: Catawba alum invited to Bassmaster all-star event

From Staff Reports

Tim Hawley, a 2000 graduate of Catawba College, has a chance to shine this summer in the big leagues of bass fishing. Hawley honed his skills on High Rock Lake as a student at Catawba. He had a standout year in 2014 competing in the Bass Master Southern Opens.

Hawley earned his spot in the Bassmaster BASSfest at Kentucky Lake presented by A.R.E Truck Caps after he finished in the top 10 in points on the Southern Opens circuit. BASSfest is June 3-7 in Paris, Tennessee.

Hawley, who lives in Lexington, is one of 144 anglers invited to participate in the all-star event. There is upwards of $850,000 in prize money up for grabs, and the winner receives a guaranteed berth into the 2016 Bassmaster Classic.

Upstate New York is where Hawley is from. He picked up fishing from his grandfather Gordon Hawley and cousin Jason Bessett. Though, his time at Catawba College showed him a way to achieve his dream of becoming a professional.

“Being from a small town in upstate New York, I really was unsure about what direction I was going to go in after high school,” he said in a press release from the school. “I was a three-sport athlete and really wanted to play sports in college but the options in upstate New York are really limited to just Division III schools.

“Looking back on it now that’s really where fate stepped in.”

Hawley said he knew little about the school. A trip over Easter Break to meet the Catawba football coaching staff led to him finding his home.

It was then he got involved with fishing. He was hired as a mate on a deep sea fishing charter in South Carolina.

“I still remember the look on my Mom’s face when I told her I landed my first summertime job to help give me spending money for college,” Hawley said. “…I’m not sure if the look on her face was because she was concerned for my safety going 60 miles out in the ocean every day or the fact she thought I was crazy, but the look was priceless.”

After two years playing football for the Indians, Hawley hang up his pads and cleats so he could pick up a fishing rod. He and Ryan Millwood, his roommate and teammate, moved to a house on High Rock Lake. Hawley spent his spare time on the water in a john boat.

“If it weren’t for those early years at Catawba and fishing on High Rock, there is absolutely a zero chance that I would be where I am at today,” Hawley said. “Looking back on it now, it is amazing to me how the good man upstairs has placed people in my life and presented me with unique obstacles that have led me to the path I’m on today. 

“I truly feel blessed and very fortunate to be able to do what I love at the highest level in the sport.”

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