Although it’s a memory of a time when he was 5 years old, Blue Springs native Adam Almohtadi remembers it like it was yesterday.
He was on boat at Lake Jacomo with his father Joe, and that’s when he caught his first fish.
“It was a 3-pounder,” Almohtadi said. “It was a keeper. I was just so excited to catch something. If you look at the picture, it explains itself. I was thrilled. Ever since then I have been fishing.”
He also remembers his father, a frequent Bassmaster tournament competitor, bringing home a bevy of trophies. Almohtadi envisioned himself one day being in his father’s shoes. Now, Northwest Missouri State senior is taking a step toward that goal, fishing at Fishing League Worldwide college tournaments.
“I thought it was so cool that you could fish and make money off of it,” he said. “That really sparked my interest, so I decided I wanted to do that. That’s my dream. I want to one day be as good as my dad, if not better.”
Almohtadi has been fishing in tournaments since he was in high school, and he is on a quest to make a living doing what he loves. His father was a big influence on that, and has taught him everything he knows.
“My dad helped me build the first boat I ever had; it was a little john boat,” Almohtadi said. “He also taught me how to fish in deep water, stuff that some tournament anglers don’t know how to do.”
Ever since he’s had the boat, he’s been fishing four to five times per week and has been on the water before and after class while being a part of the fishing club at Northwest Missouri State.
“I’ve learned so much by just having my own boat and taking the stuff my dad taught me and using it,” he said. “That’s what I need to do to live my dream and become a pro fisherman.”
He’s found out fishing is a tough sport, however, and at the college level, success has been hard to come by.
“Our first Bassmaster college tournament was on Lake of the Ozarks,” he said. “It was really tough. The lake froze over for the first time in 100 years. Everything this year has been tough and the fishing has been really hard. Everything was behind as far as the spawn, and the fish didn’t have their normal behavior.
“I was with my partner and neither of us have fished there before. We actually did really well during the practice stage. But the day of the tournament, it had rained and completely shut our fish off. We didn’t know the lake well enough to find another good spot. At the weigh in, we saw if we would have caught the fish that we did in practice, we would have placed in the top three.”
Almohtadi has had some success, though. Northwest Missouri hosted a tournament in March which had 14 other college teams competing, including Nebraska and Kansas State. He and his partner caught five fish weighing 19 pounds and took second place.
“The team that beat us ended up catching two 7-pounders,” Almohtadi said with a wry smile. “There’s really nothing you can do about that.”
The year 2014 has been a tough one, he said. Almohtadi had issues with his boat engine and had to combat with weather he wasn’t used to fishing in. That’s not keeping the college senior from staying optimistic for 2015, however.
Almohtadi had been scheduled to compete today’s FLW tournament at Fort Madison, Iowa, on the Mississippi River, but he is letting a fellow fishing club member take his place to gain experience.
He said he will fish in local tournaments to prepare himself for the next FLW tournament season. He plans to compete in the three qualifying FLW events next year in hopes of placing in the top 15 in one of those to advance to regionals, and from there, aim for a top-10 finish to nab a national tournament berth.
“I'm really looking forward to it,” he said. “I think some of the lakes the tournaments will be held at will play to my strengths. Everyone better watch out. I will be ready for the tournaments next year.”