Kelly Bostian: Bixby angler Chip Porche looking to get fishing career off the ground
BY KELLY BOSTIAN World Outdoors Writer
Thursday, October 11, 2012
10/11/12 at 6:35 AM
Go to Kelly Bostian's blog Original Print Headline: Local angler seeking career in fishing
ONE OF THE kids who came up through Stan Honeycutt's local Fishin' Pals tournament series and who became a founder of the College Bass team at the University of Oklahoma is ready for his next fishing career step - all he needs is a little help to get there.
Chip Porche of Bixby scored fourth place overall in the Bassmaster Central Opens this year, an accomplishment that netted him an invitation to fish the Elite Series in 2013.
The top five in each of the Open series - Southern, Central and Northern - get those invitations.
Life circumstances or money challenges keep most from joining the corps of 100 or so Elites. But fishing at the top level in Bassmasters is what the 2010 OU communications graduate believes he is meant to do, and he is determined to make it work. "You get the opportunity and you have to make it work," he said.
Porche is a guy who remembers, in detail, watching Fish Fishburne sight-fishing Lake Seminole on Bassmasters television when he was 7 or 8 years old and thinking that was the life for him.
"I told my dad then I wanted to fish professionally," he said. "I quit baseball in seventh grade because I wanted to fish more. This is what I've always wanted to do. I've got to find a way to do it."
He talks bass fishing statistics, tournaments and personalities the way baseball fans recite batting averages and MVP lists from years gone by.
Stepping up to the Elites means landing sponsorships to help cover the sizable commitment. It's no small task for a 20-something. His first entry dues payment of $8,000 is due in just a few weeks. He'll need $43,000 for the full season's dues. That doesn't count gas, food, lodging, boat repairs, tackle, etc.
"I'm talking to every business lead I know of," he said.
He even cast out a note to the local newspaper's outdoors columnist with one of those "hey, remember me?" notes.
After leaving college, Porche fished local tournaments, Bass Fishing League Weekend Series tournaments and a few Everstart Series tournaments in Texas.
"Anything I could afford with help from my dad," he said.
The past year he's had a job with outdoor industry promoters Dynamic Sponsorships. That put him at bass tournaments all season, working the expos and helping with on-site product promotions. He was on tour all year working in promotions. His new job put him in position to learn a great deal about the business side of bass fishing and it put him in position to meet and speak with experienced pros at length. His bosses let him fish the Open series.
The experience changed the way he thinks about fishing.
"When I get to go now I think more about how critical making decisions can be, thinking before you take action," he said. "In the past I just got to go fish. I didn't think I was taking it for granted, but now when I get to go and I look back, I think I was. I make the most of it now."
Looking back at his foundation in fishing, he obviously gives great credit to family, but also to programs like Fishin' Pals. He started fishing those tournaments when he was 11 years old and lists anglers and others now working in the fishing industry he remembers fishing against as a kid.
"I developed a work ethic as a kid and learned how to fish against the elements and appreciate Mother Nature, to go out and stay persistent and learn from your mistakes and develop respect for those guys who put in the time," he said.
Heading into the next phase of his fishing career, he pulls on some of that wisdom gained at the hands of natural elements.
"It seems like it's almost not possible. But it's like anything else you get into and you wonder how it'll ever work out. You have to have some faith and you work hard and good things can happen."
If you'd like to contact Porche, email Chipporchefishing@yahoo.com.
A final note on two events this weekend: Entries still are open for Terry Butcher's 2012 Wohali Bass Classic set for Saturday at Grand Lake, based out of Tera Miranda. Registration is $200 per team with check-in/registration Friday 9 a.m.-7 p.m. at the Stonebrook Inn near Grove. Call 918-343-3800 or see tulsaworld.com/wohaliclassic
The 2012 HRC Fall International Grand begins Saturday on the old Skelly Ranch grounds. Find it east of Tulsa, north off I-412 at North 305th East Avenue. Directions and information can be found at tulsaworld.com/3rivershrc
Angler Chip Porche of Bixby holds one of his bass on the Bassmaster Central Open weigh-in stage at Lake Lewisville, Texas, in February. JAMES OVERSTREET/BASS/Courtesy