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News | April 16, 2020

Hooked: How one Army recruiter inspires others through fishing

By Emily Peacock Richmond Recruiting Battalion Public Affairs

On any given weekend, you will find U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Bobby Davis doing what he does best: fishing.

Accompanied by his trusted Pomeranian, Fox, Davis cruises up and down Virginia and North Carolina in pursuit of calm waters and the perfect catch.

But for Davis, fishing isn’t just a pastime; it’s a way of life and a means to connect.

In 2018, while serving as an Army recruiter in Tampa, Florida, Davis was encouraged to apply for the Army Bass Anglers team.

“My battalion commander at the time recognized me at a fishing tournament and told me to apply for the Army pro staff team,” Davis explained. “I drove 19 hours to Lake Fork, Texas, for an interview and have been competing for the Army ever since.”

What makes Davis so recognizable on the water isn’t his bright red Army Bass Anglers shirt or his furry companion, but rather his unique fishing boat. The entire outer shell of the boat is decorated in the American flag with the words “SUPPORT. DEFEND. FISH.” written along the port and starboard sides.

“I have random people, all the time, come up to me and say they’ve seen my boat on Facebook or TV,” Davis laughed.

Despite his newfound popularity, Davis uses his passion for fishing to keep him humble.

“My cousin was an Air Force veteran and would always take me fishing when he was home,” Davis said. “For me, fishing became an escape during the tougher times in my life.”

Nowadays, when he isn’t in the office, Davis volunteers as boat captain for his local high school’s fishing team. Here, he uses his experience to help mentor students excited about the outdoors.

“I struggled a lot growing up,” Davis said. “To be able to mentor and connect to kids who are also struggling makes me feel like I’m paying it forward in the same way my cousin mentored me.”

In addition to sharing his passion for fishing with students, Davis also talks about his Army experiences.

“Growing up, I was terrified of heights,” he explained. “Then I joined the 82nd Airborne, became a paratrooper and started jumping out of planes. Kids love that story.”

Keeping his life experiences in mind, Davis reminds his students that the key to a happy career is to never give up.

“I am a witness to life and how you can start from the bottom and work your way up,” Davis explained. “Never give up on your dreams, passions and goals. If you work hard and keep pushing forward, you’ll get to where you want to go.”

Despite recent limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Davis continues to do what he loves – all while following social distancing guidelines, of course.

“When times are tough, go fishing.”

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