Brookfield East competitive bass fisherman lives childhood dream

Brookfield East graduate Hayden Fry told his parents he wanted to become a professional bass fisherman when he was 9 years old. He's living that dream, and he will be fishing at the collegiate level on scholarship come August.

Fry was named a member of the Bass Master High School All-State Team. His motto is "fish to win."

"I've got that on just about all my rods," he said. "You know, you spend so much time and so much money out here, why would you come out here and then not try to win or do your best? Typically, I carry about 25 rods, so they all have different purposes, and they are just tools in the toolbox, essentially, for me. Once you have them all out, and you have your boat all organized, and it looks good, you just kind of feel better about yourself, and you fish better, too. Before every tournament, I do a new line on every reel. I check all my gear, make sure everything is perfect. Fishing is a mental sport. It's a tough sport. There is only so much I can prepare, and that is why it is so important to prepare to the extent that I do."

As you might imagine, the Eagle Scout has spent a "tremendous amount of time in the outdoors."

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"You know, God's country is beautiful, and the amount of respect that you have to have towards the environment, towards the animals, the fish, it all counts."

Fry recounted for FOX6 how he got hooked on fishing.

"The first fish catch that I can remember, it was at my uncle's lake house," said Fry. "I was fishing on his dock. My dad went inside to grab some hotdogs to throw on the hook, and I hooked a fish. I got it right up to the dock. I thought it was the biggest fish in the world. Realistically, it was probably just a little 10-inch green bass, but that is where it really started. I think that was my first fish catch that I remember."

It wasn't long after that that Fry told his parents about his dream of going pro.

"They didn't know if that was a thing," he said. "I know they kind of looked at each other and they asked, ‘Is that even a thing?’ I am just super blessed. I mean, the opportunities that it has given me are amazing."

Speaking of opportunities, Fry plans to continue fishing on scholarship at McKendree University, where he will study business administration and finance.

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"Nothing could have prepared me or got me to imagine that starting fishing with a little hook and a hotdog on a dock could become where it is," said Fry. 

You might not be surprised to learn that fish are among Fry's pets.

"I do have a lot of pets. I used to have four dogs," said Fry. "Right now, I have three. I used to have a little parrot. We have a Koi pond with about 100-something fish in there."