LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — One of the most common comments THV11's Adam Bledsoe hears when he runs into someone at the local grocery store is, “You get paid to travel around with Mariel and be on TV?”
So, that got us thinking about all of the unique jobs around the state.
Meet Cody Kelley, a professional angler, whose job is to catch some big fish. When he told us his story, we immediately thought, “You get paid for that?!”
So, Adam and THV11 photojournalist John Young (JY) headed out to Greers Ferry Lake to hang out with Cody and get a taste of what his day-to-day looks like.
This first thing our crew noticed? A fully decked-out pro fishing setup on Cody's boat. He had equipment for everything -- fish finders, huge outboard engine, fishing gear, etc.
It was about 25 degrees and windy the day we went out -- we about froze to death during our short trip. But Cody was a true professional through it all. He never once complained, despite having to defrost his gear.
We found a spot that looked as if there may be a chance and Cody sets our course on his super-fancy GPS-guided trolling motor.
As he slings his baits into the cold water, Cody shares funny fishing stories, leading Adam to believe that there are no fish in any lake in Arkansas.
Apparently, pro fishermen like to keep their honey holes a secret. Ice was building up on the tip of his rod and was encased in his reel. This was a moment when we thought, “You couldn’t pay me enough to have to do this for a living right now.”
But, rain or shine, sleet or hail, hot or cold, Cody loads up and travels all over the United States for fishing bass tournaments. He said time away from his friends and family can be very difficult.
The high-profiled weigh-ins are exhilarating -- catching the big fish and hearing the crowd cheer. Receiving the huge check is what he hopes for every time he goes out. However, nobody sees the 18-hour days or the long, lonely rides back to central Arkansas. There are plenty of great times, but there are also trying times.
We got skunked during our short time out, meaning we didn’t catch any fish. But we've seen what Cody can do and, dang it, he knows how to catch large-mouth bass.
From sharing stories about catching the big one, to when the big one got away. From teaching us the quickest way to tie a knot, to how to prevent your turkey sandwich from becoming soggy -- Cody is the real deal. We still can’t believe he gets paid to fish for a living -- living the dream.
Cody recently wrapped up a tournament event in Kissimmee, Florida, and will be heading to Bainbridge, Georgia to fish on Lake Seminole. Cody hopes to make the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Hamilton in August, which happens to be the FLW World Championship of bass fishing. Until then, Cody will be on the lakes and rivers seeking those 8 pounders. Good luck Cody!