By GREG KLEIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
A former Cooperstown resident is pursuing his dream of making it on the professional bass fishing tour and having success doing it.
Kyle Patrick, who grew up in Cooperstown, and whose family still lives here, has spent his year since college graduation making advances into the pro tour.
“It has been a neat thing,” said Patrick, who lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, but was home last week visiting. “It is just something I love.
“I played college soccer (at Hobart and William Smith Colleges), but I was never as good at that as I am at fishing,” he said.
Patrick said he got his start bass fishing on Canadarago Lake when he was about 11-years old.
It turns out, he was the one who was hooked.
“At some point you have to decide if you want to make the jump to the next level,” he said.
Local tournament success led Patrick to seek out a spot on the Bassmasters Fishing Tour. Similar to the sport of golf, bass fishing requires competitors to qualify for the pro tour by winning or accumulating points on a smaller, regional circuit first.
Patrick has started that process and said he thinks he has a good chance to make the elite competition, either this year or, at worst, in the next several years.
“It can be tough, just because it’s a lot of travel and you are not making a lot of money,” he said.
However, for someone who fished his first tournament as a pre-teen in a canoe, paddling hard to compete with guys in motorboats, Patrick said he can see the signs of his improvement and success. He has about a dozen sponsors now and a professional boat that is state-of-the-art.
And although the sport is something that Patrick said he loves, he stressed it is also hard, grueling work. When he is in competition he can log 12-hour days on the lake, not just during events, but before them as well as he studies the water and the fish.
“It is a lot of casting, a lot of trial and error with lures,” he said. “I have a lot of different rods with different technology.”
After fishing in a couple of New York competitions in the past month, Patrick is returning south for events.
He will cast off Thursday, Sept. 23, in the Lake Norman Tournament in Charlotte, and then travel to Oklahoma in October for the Grand Lake Tournament.
Go to www.kgpfishing.com to follow Patrick’s progress on the tour.