Q&A with Cole Swede
Senior Cole Swede and his fishing partner won the Southern Conference Regional Fishing Championship last fall, and the pair placed second in the High School Fishing National Championship on Table Rock Lake this April. The e-Mustang staff sat down with Swede to discuss his fishing career and his plans for the future.
Tell us about your background in fishing.
I’ve been around fishing my whole life. I started with my dad as soon as I could hold a pole. When I was 12 or 13, I started fishing tournaments and really getting into it. That’s when it took off. I’m very serious about fishing, so I dedicate a lot of time to the sport. I fish two or three times a week — there’s more off-the-water training you can do than on-the-water stuff.
You and your fishing partner, Chase Meyers, placed second in the National Championship last month. Tell us how you prepared for that tournament?
We looked at fishing maps, talked to some pros and studied topographic maps and contours in the lake. That way, when we got out in the boat, we already had spots mapped out. We also went up to Table Rock about two months in advance to get a feel for the lake, then returned the week before the tournament for official practice. That’s when we went and found out where the fish were. (You don’t want to catch them all during practice, though — you want to save those for the tournament).
What makes for a good fishing partner?
You need a fishing partner you’re compatible with. Chase has been around fishing his whole life, so he knows what he’s doing. He works at a fishing store and gathers all sorts of information. He’s a good fisherman. We’ve known each other for a long time and fish together almost every weekend.
What has been the most memorable moment of your fishing career?
The national championship is cool to be a part of. There is only one other team in the nation that has qualified twice. The whole nation starts out competing, and it’s cut down from around 13,000 teams to 10 teams. We came in second this year, but to get in the top ten twice in a row is pretty special. Winning the conference championship in Pine Bluff was memorable too. We’re usually going different places to compete, so winning near home with a bunch of friends around supporting us was awesome.
We heard you’ll be helping with Harding University’s fishing club this fall. Tell us about that.
Dean Collins contacted me last summer. He knew I had some interest in going to Harding and told me he wanted to step up their fishing program. We’ve had a few meetings about the program, and Harding is going to help me out with some expenses around the tournaments.
To you, what’s the most enjoyable part of competitive fishing?
Just being out there is great. Every tournament, someone is going to catch the fish, so you have to stay on your game. That’s good for me and my partner since we’re very competitive. Also, there is a definite comradeship that forms when you see a lot of the same people out fishing and at the weigh-ins.
Outside of fishing, how do you spend your time?
I play basketball, hang out with my friends and am pretty involved with PV’s youth group.
What are your plans for your future? Will you continue competitive fishing?
I’m going to college to get a business degree, and I’ll go from there. I don’t know if professional fishing is for me yet or not. It involves a lot of traveling and being away from family and friends, but I’m going to try to fish some pro-am stuff in college to see what I want to do.