The Lure of the Catch
|Aaron Teal, August 9th, 2013|
Aaron Teal hits the Professional Bass Angling Circuit
|On July 28, Teal took first place on the 2013 Superslam Bass Fishing Tournament on Minnesota's Horseshoe Chain of Lakes.|
|Teal sends one back into the water.|
Aaron Teal is one of the leading competitive bass fishermen in the Upper Midwest. He competes on the Big Bass Pro Team Series Tour. He has over 49 Top 10 Finishes with eight wins and five Big Bass Awards, and has finished as the runner-up for AM Angler of the year on the Chevy Silverado Pro-am Tour. On July 28, he took first place on the 2013 Superslam Bass Fishing Tournament on Minnesota's Horseshoe Chain of Lakes with 22.07 pounds for six fish. He is sponsored by several companies, among them Sheels All Sports, a chain of sporting goods stores.
Teal has been catching fish since he was three-years-old and entering fishing contests since he was in grade school. Now at age 20, he has two goals, first to become a professional bass fisherman, and second to work on the media side of the professional fishing world. A career with national fishing organizations, magazines, and television shows are all on Teal's radar. "Working on a fishing show, advertising, public relations, it all sounds good ... I want to work in the fishing industry," he said. That's where UMD came into Teal's picture.
"I have more I want to learn," said Teal, who is a junior communication major at UMD. "I want more experience writing, and I want to take more classes in video and film production." He hasn't landed on a specific minor yet but film studies and writing studies are in the running. He produces an Internet fishing show and Internet blog for Sheels. That helps him put everything he learns in the classroom into immediate practice.
Teal grew up on a lake near Richmond, Minn. He played hockey in high school and a couple of his friends play on the UMD hockey team. When he was shopping for colleges, he made the tour to UMD on his own. "I drove onto campus, and it just felt right." Without even leaving the car, he knew. "I needed to be near the outdoors, but I wanted the city too. UMD has it all." This year, Teal brought his boat to Duluth so he can fish after class and on weekends.
"I could have majored in biology, but I decided to go another route," Teal said. Nevertheless, Teal is tuned into the natural world. Wind conditions, air temperature, water temperature, recent weather conditions, the amount of food available, and the number of fisherman who fish the lake are all factors that Teal considers. Understanding the needs of the fish gets trophys for Teal. "There's nothing you can do if they aren't hungry." he said.
When he is out on the water, it's all about the fish. "You've got to figure out why they are there. Just about anybody can get a two or three-pounder, but for the big ones, over five pounds, you've got to get into deep water," he said. "I like fishing deep and slow."
Teal fishes for bigmouth bass, and he likes the big ones. "They get the blood pumping better than anything I've experienced, he said." He can target a tiny patch of water, under a dock or against a rock, and his cast hits it spot-on. "Bass are the best," he said. They are one of the most exciting fish to catch. "They are predators, so they like to hide before they ambush their food. When they see the bait, they hit it hard." They're also flatter and have more muscle. "Pound for pound they are the biggest fighter. It's an adrenalin rush," he said.
This fall, Teal will fish in a couple of weekend tournaments but it's back to class. There's one more activity on his agenda. Teal and a group of friends have organized a student bass fishing club, Bassmasters of Duluth (The Real Bass Fishing Team).
Photos by Joe Oliveri and Aaron Teal. Story by Cheryl Reitan, August 2013