(Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of stories profiling some of the leading men and women in the outdoors world across Texomaland.)

(Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of stories profiling some of the leading men and women in the outdoors world across Texomaland.)

Fishing is a way of life for Denison resident Chris Bobo.

For starters, it’s how the 27-year old husband and father of one makes his weekly paycheck.

"I have been working in outdoors retail for nearly 10 years now and currently I’m the hunting and fishing manager at Academy Sports and Outdoors," said Bobo, who grew up in Sherman and went to Texoma Christian School.

"Believe it or not, I actually began (my career) over at Gander Mountain a number of years ago as a part-time fishing associate. I had previously worked as a waiter at a local restaurant but I could not pass up working with my passion and surrounding myself with fishing on a daily basis."

When he’s not stocking and selling rods, reels, line, and lures, you’ll often find Bobo on a local lake in his bass boat.

That’s where the Denison man fishes for fun, helps introduce others to the sport, and competes in local and regional tournaments.

Bobo’s love affair with fishing began a quarter of a century ago on trips to various North Texas water bodies with his dad Steve Bobo.

"I was lucky to grow up with a father that was passionate about the outdoors," said Chris. "He got me involved at a young age and helped fuel my love of the outdoors. I owe any success I’ve had in bass fishing to him."

Trips with his grandfather Freddy Covington didn’t hurt either.

"My love of fishing also grew on crappie trips to Lake Lavon with my grandfather," said Bobo. "The first fish that I remember catching with him was a slab that I caught on a live minnow.

"And the first bass I remember was caught on a 1/4-oz. red head/white Road Runner at Sherman Country Club on pond number six.

"This fish is ultimately what sparked the monster."

The monster being Bobo’s love affair with fishing, a hobby that he hopes will one day take him to the highest levels of competition including the Bassmaster Classic.

"It may take me 20 years, but ultimately I want to compete in the Classic," he said. "I already compete in numerous local and regional events and I’m currently sponsored by Matco Tools, Xcite Baits, Denali Rods, Plano, Frabill, and United Rentals."

While many Texas anglers love to fish on big bass factories like Fork, Falcon, and Amistad, Bobo prefers the reservoir not too far outside his back door.

"My favorite lake is Texoma, of course," laughed Bobo. "It provides a large variety of different structure and fishing opportunities. Plus, where else in North Texas can you actually fish specifically for smallmouth bass?"

Besides, says Bobo, there are plenty of good largemouths on Texoma.

"The biggest fish of my career — so far — came from Texoma," he said. "It was a 10-pound largemouth that I caught on Feb. 10, 2009 while I was fishing a Texas-rigged green pumpkin seven-inch Berkley worm over a brush pile in 15-feet of water."

While he has competed on a variety of other lakes, Texoma is Bobo’s favorite tournament lake too.

"My favorite fishing memory would have to be in 2008 when I fished the FLW Stren Series four-day event on Texoma. On Day One, I drew Tommy Martin, the 1974 Bassmaster Classic champion.

"I will never forget the things I learned in one day fishing out of the back of his boat.

"And on Day Two, I actually led the co-angler division but couldn’t hold on and finished eighth overall."

Given his love for the deep, clear, rocky waters of Texoma, Bobo’s favorite angling method involves a bit of finesse.

"My bread and butter technique is probably the "Shaky Head," he said. "It’s quite similar to fishing a Texas-rig, but the weight is attached to the hook like a jig head.

"This is fished with finesse baits, primarily hand pours or ones that simply float like Xcite Baits.

"These two things combined look like a worm or crawfish on the bottom and they will stand straight up. Give it the right twitch and it is sure to get you a bite even in the toughest conditions."

If it sounds like Bobo is a natural-born teacher for fishing, he is.

"My job allows me to give back every day to the sport of bass fishing. The greatest joy of my job is getting a kid set up with his first fishing rod and tackle box.

"Being able to teach them a few basics to get them started and then having them come back and tell me about their experience is a good feeling."

So is catching big bass, especially around the spawn.

"I count down the days to spring," laughed Bobo. "During the pre-spawn, you will more than likely catch the biggest fish of the year as they work up towards shallower water in search of the right spot for a bed.

"But the spawn itself is an excitement overload since you can actually see the fish you are trying to hook.

"And I love the post-spawn too since it is time to flip those marinas and tire reefs for bass headed back out to deeper water."

Not surprisingly, springtime fishing has produced one of Bobo’s favorite angling moments.

"I will never forget reeling in by hand a 6.51-pound largemouth — during a tournament, no less — after my line broke as I set the hook. I had fished for that bed fish for four hours."

Such experiences have given Bobo the encouragement necessary to continue pushing forward in his sport.

And to have a pretty good angling philosophy to boot.

"Stay humble in the sport, learn everything you can from others, and always give back when you can," he said.