Wesley Strader on the Fishing Business, Being a Pro, and his Last Meal
By Dave Landahl
November 28, 2018
Wesley Strader is considered by many fans and peers as an easy-going, funny fella who is wicked-good at winning money as a pro basser. This MLF Bass Pro Tour pro is the type of angler who gets on a roll and mows down the opposition.
His 2018 stat line proves it: three tour-level wins (an MLF Select, a Bassmaster Elite Series and a Bass Pro Shops Open), and almost $220,000 in tournament winnings.
Strader didn’t start as a pro right out of high school or college, though: He toiled as an electrical lineman before switching careers. So what makes this easy-going former lineman tick?
Plenty. MLF sat down recently with the Tennessee pro, here’s what he had to say:
MLF: Has making a living as a professional angler lived up to your expectations?
WS: Honestly, it’s been beyond my expectations. I was a lineman (before, that was the) only job I had. I worked my butt off doing that. But I loved to fish. I knew I was good at tournament fishing and always wondered if I could be a professional.
One day I just prayed and asked the good Lord if I was ready to go after it. All I wanted was to be able to pay my bills fishing for a living. So far, this career has provided for my wife and me beyond any expectations we had going into it.
MLF: The corporate side of professional fishing can be difficult for many anglers to navigate. Have you had an easy or tough time dealing with fishing as a business?
WS: Boy, I’ve struggled with the business side of professional fishing. I wish I went to college. I don’t have a degree, and I believe it would’ve helped me. At the very least, I wish I had taken some college programs focused on business practices and marketing.
If it wasn’t for Stephanie, my wife, I don’t think I’d be as successful. I didn't see value in myself as a brand or promotional partner, but she did. I’m not one to toot my own horn, but she pushed me. As soon as she started to manage me, the career things turned around. Now, if I don’t believe in something or a product, I don’t do it and won’t use it.
MLF: If you could plan it, what be your last meal before you meet your maker?
WS: A good meal with my wife, brother, and all of my friends and family. A delicious steak dinner. I wouldn’t be drinking alcohol since I’m meeting the good Lord. Also, we’d all be in a duck blind. Something like 5,000 mallards dropping in on us. That would be an excellent way to go out at a last meal.