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John's Journal... Entry 43, Day 1

click to enlargeTim Horton's Leap From Fishing Nobody To King Of The Fishing World

EDITOR'S NOTE: Twenty-seven-year-old Tim Horton of Spruce Pine, Alabama, has earned the title of 1999-2000 B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year. He accumulated more tournament points than any other angler and won more than $200,000 in tournaments and sponsorship. In the 1998-1999 fishing season, Horton earned between $15,000 and $20,000 as a fishing guide. But he dreamed big dreams of one day becoming a professional bass fisherman.

Today Horton has reached the goal he dreamed about, hoped for and chased for several years. He's the leading contender to win the BASS Masters Classic at the end of July in Chicago, Illinois.

"In 1999, I fished two B.A.S.S. tournaments and finished in the 200s," Horton remembered.

What made the big difference in Tim Horton's tremendous leap from a fishing nobody to king of the fishing world?

click to enlarge"I just got on a roll," Horton said. "While guiding on the Tennessee River in northwest Alabama, I learned a lot about fish behavior. Last fall I won a major tournament on the Potomac River, which gave me enough confidence to compete with the best anglers in the nation. This year the B.A.S.S. tournament circuit was held on lakes where I could use the tactics and lures with which I was the most comfortable. For instance, I won the Potomac River tournament using the Cordell Spot. Another technique that caught plenty of bass was side fishing the Riverside tube jig."

National fishing pro Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, may have described Horton's fishing most accurately, when he observed that, "Tim Horton fished instinctively and comfortably, relying on his intuition this year. I think this kind of fishing is similar to being in the groove, a term that baseball and basketball players use to describe the times when you can do no wrong."

click to enlargeHorton attributes much of his success to the companies that started sponsoring him although he was a nobody from nowhere. Fishing a year on the professional bass-fishing circuit costs big money. Without the support of sponsors, professional anglers can't stay on the tournament trail long enough to become successful.

"EBSCO Industries of Birmingham, Alabama, owns PRADCO, a major fishing-tackle company, and the company was one of my first sponsors," Horton said. "EBSCO believed in me when very few others would and was very instrumental in my success."

Russell Sporting Center in Florence, Alabama, a Procraft and Mercury Motor dealer, also helped Tim Horton this year by giving him the boat he needed to compete. "Too, ProCraft and Mercury helped me out with my Fishing For Kids program, which started a few years ago, that allows me to take handicapped and under-privileged kids fishing," Horton explained.

click to enlargeFor several years, Horton's parents had to wonder why they'd paid for a college education for Horton to become a bass-fishing guide and a tournament wanna-be. However, they now see the value of their investment in a son who heard the beat of a different drummer and launched a career to find an impossible dream. Tim Horton stands like a beacon for all of us to see as every day he exemplifies the old adage, "if you dream big dreams and work hard, you can make those dreams a reality."

Tomorrow: The Rewards Of Reaching The Top




Check back each day this week for more about Tim Horton ...

Day 1 -Tim Horton's Leap From Fishing Nobody To King Of The Fishing World
Day 2 -The Rewards Of Reaching The Top
Day 3 -How To Get Sponsors
Day 4 -A Tournament Angler's Life On The Road
Day 5 -The Tournament Lifestyle Of A Professional Angler

John's Journal