Angler Of The Year 2021 - JASON FLESHER -
As promised, 2022 we are going to do better. We have fallen off on a lot of aspects of the company and we have decided that is not to the standard of what F5 is about. With that being said we want to start the year out recognizing someone in the Swimbait Community that stands out for the entire year of 2021. Again, this is not an award for the best anglers or the most money spent with us or anywhere else in the community. It doesn't require an extensive tackle box or the newest and fasted boat. This award is meant for anglers that devote their time and energy to making the world and the community a better place. Someone that has persevered through the valley and climbed to the top of the mountain to scream positivity and unity.
We would like to honor Jason Flesher. His story is one of pure inspiration and dedication. Not only to fishing, but to life. I am personally inspired in a way that is indescribable. I would like to tell this story straight from Jason's point of view.
"Born and raised in rural West Tennessee, I developed a love for fishing at an early age. I can remember going to local farm ponds with my dad as young as probably 4-5 years of age and fishing for bream and catfish. At age 9 I got my first artifical lures for targeting bass (mostly Texas rigged worms and spinnerbaits in the beginning), and from that day forward thats the only fish I wanted to catch. It became one of my passions, and I spent a lot of time riding my bike to area ponds and small lakes to catch bass as I entered my early teen years. For me, it never mattered whether I was alone, or had a friend along. I just wanted to catch the biggest bass I could. I was fortunate to catch a few over 6 pounds by the time I had reached my late teens, but still had a desire to catch bigger fish.
Unfortunately, I became involved in drugs and alcohol in those mid to late teen years as well. Bad decisions mounted, and I ended up addicted to meth at age 17 and it mostly controlled my life up until 2005, when by the Grace of God, I finally put that chapter behind me. The residual effects of declining as a human being for a decade took YEARS for me to fully overcome. I was able to be there for my wife and 2 young sons and dedicated most of my time to trying to be a better husband, dad, and friend to the many people I had hurt along my path of destruction. I was fortunate to be able to play a big role in raising my sons, and helping them pursue THEIR dreams and goals, and mostly only fished occasionally during my very limited spare time. Eventually, both of my boys were grown and headed off to college, and I made the decision to pursue my passion for catching Big Bass. I purchased a used 16 ft bass tracker and a kayak in 2018 and started fishing a bunch to occupy my spare time and keep the empty nest syndrome at bay. The following year Someone sent me a video of Mike Gilbert catching that 17 lb bass on a swimbait, and I purchased a couple of cheap swimbaits online. After reading Bill Murphy's book "In Pursuit of Giant Bass" I made the decision to go "all in", and use Swimbaits in place of conventional tackle. I wanted to catch a double digit so bad I could taste it. lol. I picked up a couple of F5 rods, some proven baits and dedicated myself to swimbaits at the beginning of 2020 , and I spent every moment I could muster up (when I wasn't on the water) reading books and listening to interviews with all the top trophy bass anglers. Made friends with several of them. Picked their brains nonstop. Taking notes along the way and applied the knowledge as I was learning. I've been very fortunate to not only catch my first DD (10-1), but also quite a few other big fish these past 2 years. Skunked a ton too. Learned a lot, and still have a lot to learn! Most importantly I've built bonds. I made friends. I developed relationships with people and companies that I trust and respect. I am beyond humbled and honored just to get to be a member of this community. I feel that God has used it to help me grow, and hopefully I can show a few others the same grace that I've been forwarded in this life. I look forward to even Bigger fish, closer friendships and being some small part of this awesome community moving forward...."
If by chance you aren't inspired by this story, CHECK YOUR PULSE!!!!
Please, if you run into Jason online or at a show. Thank him, congratulate him, and cherish his friendship and positivity. He's one of a kind that we all should aspire to copy.