Most quiet hours find PEC Regional Operations Supervisor Terry Kircus in one of two places: walking down his backyard pathway to Lake Buchanan to practice his fishing skills or out on the water, putting those skills to the test.
For as long as the 19-year PEC veteran can remember, he’s always ‘gone fishing.’ But 15 years ago, Kircus’ brother-in-law, Jason Buchanan, helped him elevate his lifelong hobby to a sport. Kircus was hooked.
“I’ve always loved to fish, but Jason was really the one that taught me how to fish on another level,” Kircus said. “He’s been my partner ever since, and we’ve been doing pretty good as a team together.”
Each year, the duo participates in 20-25 bass fishing tournaments January through June, prime fishing season. A typical fishing tournament takes place on an eight-hour day. All teams draw a number for the order they’ll enter the water and find their own fishing spots. To qualify for a payout and ranking, teams must catch a five-fish limit, and the team with the heaviest weight of those five fish wins. Teams can win anywhere from $500 to $20,000 depending on the size of the tournament, Kircus said.
In the last three years alone, Kircus and Buchanan have won about $100,000 at fishing tournaments throughout the Hill Country and have earned the title “2014 Angler of the Year” at Skeeter’s Bass Champs tournament. Their secret? Practice, practice, practice and dedicated patience.
“You’ve got to keep an open mind and look at the time of year to see where the fish might be in the water,” Kircus said. “You have to have faith that you’re gonna catch the fish, because if you go out there thinking that you won’t, you’re most likely not going to catch any fish.”
Kircus and Buchanan can go three to four hours without one bite, which is why patience is so important while competing, he said. Their composure led them to catching an 11-pound bass at Lake LBJ, Kircus’ favorite place to take his boat out and go fishing. The thrill of the catch is nice, but Kircus and his brother-in-law say they’re in it to win it.
“We hope to win the championship,” Kircus said. “That’s always been a goal of ours, and I think we have a good chance of winning someday.”
Until then, Kircus will keep on perfecting his ability to become a reel fishing expert.
“[Competitive fishing] takes up a lot of your time if you do as much as my partner and I do,” Kircus said. “Our families have always been super supportive through our wins and losses. We love it, our loved ones love it, and there’s pretty much nothing better than being on your boat and making that perfect catch.”