One cast at a time Obey Land chases his dream of being a professional angler. Since the age of five, heâ€™s fished lakes in his home state of Alabama, the Carolinas and in Georgia.
At an age where most boys are too busy chasing girls, he hit the lake participating in local bass tournaments. For Land, 39, fishing is a vehicle in which he can escape to a peaceful place.
His love for fishing is pure and passionate.
â€œI love absolutely everything about it. Itâ€™s where I go to get away from stuff, itâ€™s quiet and the competition,â€ he said.
Currently, the aircraft mechanic spends days tinkering on airplanes as an aircraft mechanic at Landsâ€™ Aviation in Lincolnton. Itâ€™s there he always dreams of realizing his ultimate goalâ€”to be on the B.A.S.S. (Bass Angler Sportsman Society) or on the F.L.W (Forest L. Wood Association), who was the maker of Ranger boats.
â€œI hope it to be in the future. My goal is to be on the professional circuit. What Iâ€™m on now is kind of like the Busch Series when it comes to racing. Iâ€™m trying to get into the big money,â€ he said.
Per year, he participates in an average of 25 tournaments fishing on the National Bass Circuit and the North Carolina Bass Federation. Several times a year, he will enter a B.A.S.S. sanctioned event, but due to the fact heâ€™s only a part-time anglerâ€¦ heâ€™s not able to garner the results he hopes for.
â€œItâ€™s not real good. Iâ€™m like a Busch driver racing Nascar and Iâ€™m just happy to finish a couple of laps. I donâ€™t have the time to put on the water right now, that I want to put on. Itâ€™s pretty expensive to fish these tournaments. One of the things that is keeping me from the circuit is the money,â€ Land said.
The Mobile, Alabama native estimates most professional anglers spend $3,000 or more per tournament when you consider a hotel, gas money and other expenses.
He believes he needs double the amount of time on the water as the three days he puts in per week now.
Land, who is sponsored by the North Carolina Air National Guard of Charlotte and Tri-County Marine of Morganton, has had to make plenty of sacrifices along the way to get to that elite level.
Each tournament costs $500 and heâ€™s not able to spend as much time with his family as he would like because heâ€™s away from home.
Heâ€™s not the only one whoâ€™s made sacrifices. His wife Jeannie, of 18-years, wakes up at 3 a.m. to fix him breakfast before he leaves for a tournament.
Land realizes how fortunate he is to have such a supportive other half.
â€œShe does everything she can do to help me out. She keeps my boat polished for me. She does all she can do, other than going out there and fish for me,â€ he said.
While he already has a catch of 9 lb. 12 oz. To his credit, Landâ€™s competitive spirit is fierce.
â€œIâ€™m extremely serious about it. Itâ€™s disappointing to not get the money. I donâ€™t throw a fit or anything. I just go out and work harder for the next weekend.â€
With that type of determination, he may not have to work on airplanes too much longer.
by John Mark Brooks