This interview will let us hear from our 3rd place anlger on the leaderboard, Austin Shoemaker. I can say because I know Austin personally he is about as humble as they come, and always looking for ways to improve. Another shining example of someone who epitomizes what the league is all about. He is currently the top angler on Team Dead Drift.
1. Ben-” How long have you been competing and what brought you to the competition scene? ” Austin- This is my second full season of competitive fly fishing, but what brought me to the competition scene is, I wanted to see how my ability was against some of the best in the nation. So, I reached out to a friend, and then I started learning the competition aspect of fly fishing.
2. Ben- “What were your goals for last season and did you accomplish them? If so what were the keys to your success?” Austin- My goals for last season was to fish to the best of my ability, but the biggest goal I had was to place in the top 10 in the league, and to be the best angler that I can be. As for meeting my goals for last season, I’m pretty content with my Proformance’s so yes, I have met my goals. The keys to my success were, probably breaking water down and using proper beat management, and a big factor for me is thinking outside the box.
3. Ben- “What are your goals for this season and how do you plan to achieve them?” Austin- My goals for this season are spend more time in the water, focus on my weak points, feel confident on all water types and over all place top three individually in the south east league, and contribute as many points to team dead drift as possible, and have as much fun as possible.
4. Ben- “Whats your favorite fly pattern?” Austin- I don’t have a favorite fly pattern, honestly I find it more of a size of the fly and the bead color, and the way its presented, but if I would have to choose id would have to go with the france fly, frenchie, and variations of walts worms
5. Ben- “What is your go to techique during a competition?” Austin- My go to technique usually depends on the water type, what time my session starts at that time of day, the weather, who fished the beat before myself, trying to hit water they missed and the places they have spooked or moved fish into. Time management, beat management, trumps technique in my opinion.
6. Ben-“For someone interested in competing or starting out, what would be your advice to them?” Austin- For someone interested or starting out the advice I have would be always believe in yourself. Never be afraid to reach out to seasoned anglers with more knowledge to get pointers, verbal techniques, when you are out on the water practice things you are not comfortable with, because you never know when you will need to put the factors into play and stay positive and never doubt yourself.
7. Ben-“Why did you choose to fish in the SEFFL?” Austin- I chose to fish the SEFFL because it’s not too far from home, they are very well organized, every angler is respectful and welcoming, we always have well-kept venues and leadership of the league is always open to new ideas and angler input! SEFFL is very well ran and I highly recommend to anyone!
8. Ben- ” You are the top angler on your team, do you believe the team aspect of competitive angling is a unique outlier that makes the sport more fun than just individual angling?” Austin- Being on a team is amazing just make sure to keep having fun and always enjoying it don’t burn yourself out its so easily just remember it’s about making memories and all the friendships you come across are priceless!
9. Ben- “Open forum anything you wish to add?” Austin- I want to give a shout out to the guy that has always believed in me and has always kept my head high, Ben Vandevender thank you for everything you do for everyone. The league wouldn’t be what it is today without you. I truly respect and thank you for everything you have done for everyone in this league…… oh yea #whiteclaw