February 05, 2022 7 min read

In a little town in east Texas lives a big guy with big dreams.  I’m sure many of you know him or know of him. I started following him on social media about a year ago, I kept seeing his pictures of these huge largemouth bass {which calls “donks”) that I’ve always mostly dreamed about catching, and he’s doing it daily, multiple times. I was fascinated, and thought, “that lake has to be stocked with full grown bass”, or “that must be photoshopped”, or “his arms can’t be that long”!   When we finally talked by phone, he agreed to share some of his inner thoughts and how he came to be where he is now in life. 

Jack with two donks! 

Starting off at an early age in the foothills of Tennessee, before moving west, like most of us, his dad, and his granddad, nurtured his love for fishing. He lives in what is known as “The Oldest Town in Texas” -Nacogdoches, where he attends school at Stephen F. Austin State University, but Lake Fork is his “home”, and where he honed his skills patiently and now guides other fishermen looking for the “donks”.   

But fishing wasn’t always his only sport.  This extremely polite, soft spoken young man, grew into a mountain of a guy, and after High School he headed off the the University of Minnesota on a football scholarship. After several surgeries and lots of self- introspection, he made the tough decision to give up football for his first love…fishing.  And this is where we pick up our conversation: 

Our Q & A:

Q:  Jack, you’ve told me about your time at the University of Minnesota and having to go through eight separate surgeries by the age of nineteen, I can’t imagine, can you tell our followers a little about that experience, your feelings at the time, and what drew you to fishing full time? 

A: It was definitely a tough thing to process mentally at a young age… the uncertainty of not knowing what kind of affect my injuries would have on me down the road. I really started to think and wonder if, as I got older, would I have trouble standing on the front of a boat? When I had my last surgery before I decided to step away from football I had a lot of time to think and pray about it and I couldn’t be more at peace with my decision. I always knew fishing full time was the only job I ever wanted so to be able to chase that dream is definitely something I’ll never take for granted. 

Q:  What do you enjoy most about fishing?

A:  I think the thing I enjoy most about fishing is just being in the outdoors everyday and getting to soak in Gods creation

Q:  Where are some of your favorite places to fish? 

A: My favorite two body’s of water are Lake Fork and the St Lawrence River 

Lake ForkLake Fork

Q:  I know you do a lot of tournament fishing, what do you have coming up and what are your goals this year?

A:  This year I’m fishing all the college trails and the southwestern Toyota series. My goals this year are for my college partner and I to win Bassmaster team of the year and get a shot at the classic, and personally to have a top 5 AOY finish in the Toyota series. 


Q:  Last year you you came in second place in your conference in the Abu Garcia /YETI MLF College Championship.  Tell us about the National College Championships. 

A:  The college National Championships are the real deal. Me and my partner, Jacob Miller, have big hopes for a strong showing there.  You get to fish against some of the best young talent in the country which only makes you better. It’s a crazy cool deal for us college kids to have a shot at qualifying for the Bassmaster Classic. 

Jack and JacobJack and Jacob


Q: Do you currently have sponsorships? 

A:My sponsors this season are: Gatorwaders, Platinum Healthcare Corp, Jones Trolling Motor and Electronics, 6th Sense Fishing, Waterland Fishing Optics, Ross Motorsports, and Bass Cat Boats.  

They help me get to and from tournaments and making sure I have everything I need to stay on the water year round. In return I get to be a platform of advertising for their business through my guide business and tournaments. 

Q: When we spoke on the phone last, you were on your way back from Florida to Texas from a tournament, how many miles would you say you travel each year, boat in tow, for fishing?

A:  In the last couple years I’ve traveled about 35k miles a year for fishing whether that be for tournaments, fun fishing, or guide trips 


Q:  Do you have a favorite knot or rig you use?

A:  The Palomar knot is my go to!

Palomar knot 

Q:  What’s your favorite or most important piece of gear?

A:  I would say my most important piece of gear IS my boat. It’s my everyday office and I have to be in something reliable and sturdy. I’m making a switch to a Bass Cat Cougar this season and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve driven quite a few different Bass Catmodels and they’re all solid, but I think the Cougar fits me best as a tournament guy/guide.  

Cougar Bass CatBass Cat Cougar


Q:  How long have you been a guide?

A:  I’ve been guiding for a little over 2 years now 

 Happy guide customersCadillac BobMy homie

Q:  So we know you call Lake Fork home, how long do it take you to know the lake well enough to become a guide? 

A: I spent a couple of years going out almost every day, learning the lake, learning the habits, and finding that works and where.  But I also spent a lot of time learning from some of the guys on the lake that already knew what was what. 


Q:  Yeah, you mentioned some big names in fishing on Lake Fork, some still hold records.  Who inspired you to be a guide and make fishing your line of work (pardon the pun}?

A:  Some guys like Lee Livesay, Tom Redington, James Caldemeyer, Rick Carter, and a long list of others really inspired me as a kid and made me realize you can make a living chasing the dream we all share. I’ve been lucky enough to develop friendships with a lot of those dudes that I still idolize to this day, but it’s been really cool to soak in all the advice that those legends have to offer. 


Q:  Why is guiding important to you? 

A:  My favorite part of guiding is getting to experience that “once in a lifetime” fish with different people from all walks of life everyday. It’s truly a dream come true for me and something I’ll never take for granted. 

Image of customer and Jack 

Q:  Do you guide anywhere else besides Lake Fork?

A:  I guide on a bunch of east Texas lakes when I’m at school for the semester and guide back home at Fork when I’m out of school for break.


Q: What do you like most, tournament fishing or recreational fishing?

A:  Like I said, I love to see the smiles and reactions while guiding, but if its just me, I definitely like tournament fishing more than fun fishing. I’ve always been extremely competitive since I was a kid so it’s pretty fun to mix that with my passion for bass fishing.  


Q:  We know you are focused on Largemouth, but are there other species of fish you enjoy catching? 

A:  My favorite species to target are actually smallmouth. There’s just something about those suckers that I can’t get enough of. 


Q:  What’s your PB?

A:  My pb is an 11.75 lber caught on a 6th sense fishing cloud 9 C10

Jack with a DONK 

Q:  We know your fishing is mainly catch and release, but do you keep any of your catches for dinner and what’s your favorite recipe?

A:  I only keep crappie, but my favorite deal is to soak em in buffalo sauce the night before you throw em in the batter. Mmm, Texas stuff !!

Fish Fry


Q:  I think I saw where you are getting married soon? Can you tell us a little about her and your relationship?  How does she handle you being away at tournaments all the time and stuff like that?

A:  My fiancé, Makenzie grew up in Denton and we met at school at Stephne F Austin.  She is about to start nursing school, so we know her time for me  is going to be limited pretty soon.  But she  is insanely supportive of the whole fishing dream. She pushes me to be the best I can be on and off the water day in and day out. Our goal is to eventually be able to travel on the road together while I fish the tour, but for the time being she is so supportive when I have to leave home.  

 Jack and MakenzieJack and Makenzie

Q:  What do you enjoy doing when you’re not fishing? 

A:  I get asked this question a lot and to be honest I truly don’t have any other hobbies than fishing. I never got big into hunting and with it being warm enough in Texas to fish year round, I really never get off the water.

 Jack with a DONK



And obviously that is where he belongs.  He knows his sport, has his goals in sight, has the drive and determination, has the love of his life to share his dreams with, and is on the path to living the dream.  Thanks so much for chatting with us Jack, we wish you much success in 2022 and in the life ahead of you.