FLORENCE, S.C. – Cole Drummond has been on a boat fishing somewhere since pretty much the time he could walk, he said.
“I live and breathe the outdoors,” the now 19-year-old South Florence High graduate said.
So much so that while his days of angling for the Bruins might be over, the weekends are still most often spent on a lake somewhere doing exactly the same thing.
Now, he’s trying to make a career out of it.
Since graduating in 2017, Drummond has been a part of local and regional fishing tournaments with the Bass Fishing League – part of the Fishing League Worldwide circuit – as well as the Carolina Bass Challenge among others.
He’s put together a number of strong outings, including two top-10 finishes in the FLW, and has racked up somewhere in the neighborhood of $15,000 while fishing by himself or with a partner, he said.
“Just trying to make a footprint in my spare time,” said Drummond, who works with his father Steve at 301 Deer & Wild Hog Processing and Taxidermy on Olanta Highway outside Effingham. “Everybody says find a job that you love, so I’m going to chase after it.”
That’s one of the main reasons he and his father found themselves this week in Orlando, Fla., at ICAST 2019 – a convention of sportfishing trades where Drummond is hoping to connect with potential sponsors.
“A lot of (professional fishing) is about sponsorships and having the passion and the money to do what you want to do,” Drummond said. “From what I’m hearing, you have to live and breathe fishing.”
The second part isn’t an issue, but sponsorships are vital as entry fee, travel and equipment costs can exceed $100,000 in a given year.
“I’m just meeting people and talking to sponsors that (I’ve) reached out to through email,” Drummond said. “You want to meet them in person and represent yourself in a better way than through an email.
“It’s just about marketing yourself.”
No matter the outcome this week, Drummond is eyeing a big next step in the near future.
“Next year (2020), I’m probably going to step up and fish the Bassmaster Opens, and if I qualify through that, I could possibly fish with the Bassmaster Elite Series or Major League Fishing,” he said. “We’ll see when that time comes, but hopefully I’ll be able to qualify and be up there with the big dogs.”
Drummond still spends approximately three days per week on average on the water, but sometimes more depending on how big the tournament is or how much extra free time he has.
“I just try to get as much time on the water as I can,” he said. “The more time on the water, the better knowledge you’re going to have.
“I just try to push harder and harder every day and try to get where I want to be.”