The stars of “Fishing University” held class with students at Troup High School on Friday morning, answering questions and taping the segment for use on the show.
But they had a message for students, as well.
“Life is short,” said Ray Brazier, a professional fisherman on the Outdoor Channel series. “We’re not going to work. We’re playing every day.”
Brazier and Charlie Ingram, the other professional fisherman on the show, said students need to find their passion.
“Put your whole heart into it,” Brazier said. “If you want to do it, you can.”
Brazier, Ingram and Eric Jackson, owner of Jackson Kayaks, are in town this week to film kayak fishing on the Chattahoochee River below West Point Dam. They praised the area and the lake.
“You have one of the best fisheries of the country in your backyard,” Brazier said. “You’re blessed to have it here.”
The fishermen were welcomed to town Thursday night with a reception on Lafayette Plaza where they presented the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce with a plaque honoring the area as “corporate cup champions” for supporting the program.
The television stars, along with Brent Hess, fisheries biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, also encouraged the students to look at careers in the outdoors.
“You can see today there are camera men to tape this show, there are park rangers,” Ingram said. “You can do anything with a proper education.”
Drew Gregory, marketing director for Jackson Kayaks, said he fell into his job after starting a website that was noticed by ESPN. He now is working on developing a show for the sportsman’s channel about kayaking called “Wild Waters.”
“You have to find people that can help you find your passion and your talents,” he said.
Jackson admits he took a lesser known career path. He wound up becoming a gold medalist on the Olympic kayak team before starting his business.
“You won’t get a lot of career advice if you say you want to be a professional kayaker,” he said. “It takes that first leap of faith.”
The episode featuring West Point Lake and the Chattahoochee River will air between January and July of 2014. “Fishing University” airs three times a week on Saturday at 3 p.m., Sunday at 8 a.m. and Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. – all Eastern time. The episode will air six times.
“The viewership is 40 million and everyone who gets the Outdoor Channel has to pay their provider to have it – meaning it is a dedicated audience looking for places to go that offer great outdoor opportunities. Because it is network, it is seen in all 50 states and 14 other countries,” said Laura Jennings, tourism director for the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce.