Fulfilling his passion: junior George Guerra casts out COVID and reels in enjoyment

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Courtesy of George Guerra

Fishing in the middle of the night on the beaches of Naples, Fla., junior George Guerra holds a 39-inch Common Snook he caught. There are a lot more fish in the oceans of Florida where it’s tropical, than there are Missouri. “In Florida, there’s a bigger variety of fish to fish for, and they are way bigger than the ones you catch in Missouri,” Guerra said. “I go there pretty frequently and every time I fish there I am blown away by how the fish look in color and size, it is amazing to see.”

Since his childhood, junior George Guerra has reeled in fishing knowledge from YouTube and family members to become a fishing fanatic. 

“I started [fishing] with my dad when I was young, but didn’t get serious about it until I was 13,” Guerra said. “[Starting to learn to fish was] very random. Just thought it would be fun to learn, so I started watching fishing YouTube videos before I went to bed every night.”

Guerra plans to pursue fishing in college to gain expert knowledge, with the goal of having a career in fishing later in life.

“I would love to fish in college if the opportunity was ever given. I think it’ll be a great experience for me to fish along with people with great fishing knowledge and I can learn from them,” Guerra said.

Fishing can be something few people consider when looking into a college; Guerra sees this as an opportunity to fulfill his passion.

“[Fishing in college] will be a fun thing to do in my free time and will allow me to continue. In college there are so many distractions and everyone is kind of finding where they fit. If I join a fishing team I know it will allow me to find that group of people much easier,” Guerra said.

Guerra started the recruiting process by reaching out to schools, like Mizzou, through social media.

“It all depends [on] whether the team is club or school-sponsored. If it’s a club you can reach out to them through social media and give them a summary of tournaments you have fished in or other achievements,” Guerra said. “When the team is school-sponsored you have to have more extensive history with tournaments and big lake fishing.”

While many high school athletes continue their athletic careers into college, fishing is a D1 sport that many may overlook. 

“Kids can go to college to fish and get a scholarship, but it’s very difficult. Your resume has to contain a lot of accomplishments that the average fisherman doesn’t have,” Guerra said.

Guerra believes the key to fishing lies in positivity. 

“When you fish you need to be very optimistic. You could be having a terrible day and it could all change in seconds. Have a positive attitude, and you should be able to get better at fishing,” Guerra said.

Guerra encourages those interested in fishing to begin looking into the sport.

“Go try fishing. Especially during COVID it’s important for us to get out and do things, but also be safe. You can go fishing with some buddies, or by yourself and have a great time,” Guerra said. “If it doesn’t go well the first time keep trying you’ll get the hang of it. Keep fishing and just don’t give up on it.”