Angler's hooked on competitive fishing

By age 43, it is standard for most professional athletes to have completed or to be in the process of wrapping up their play-for-pay careers. Not fisherman Scott Dipman, however, who has plans to launch his career as a pro angler.

Dipman recalled getting hooked on the sport as a kid, fishing off the old pier under the San Mateo Bridge and spending time with his dad on Clear Lake.

“I just really enjoy the outdoors, the boating,” the San Mateo native and resident said. “It’s peaceful, tranquil.”

Recreational fishing may have that laid-back reputation, but tournament fishing is an entirely different ballgame.

“It really is a sport; it can be rough out there. It’s not always 70 degrees and smooth water,” Dipman said. “You can get rain, high winds, hail; you can get pretty beat up.”

Dipman competes in 12 to 15 bass tournaments each year. Clear Lake was the locale of his 2011 highlight, November’s Gamakatsu Hook and Hold ’Em Challenge. Dipman and partner Herb Peoples reeled in the competition’s largest fish, a 6.92-pound black bass, to win the 90-team tourney.

Overall, Dipman ended the 2011 season ranked 29th of 300 in his division. As a co-angler, Dipman competes as a team with professional partners, fishing off the back of the pros’ boats in tournaments, though competing against his fellow co-anglers.

It’s been a tale of two outings on Lake Shasta for Dipman thus far in 2012. The weekend of Jan. 14, the fish were biting for Dipman and his pro partners at the Won Bass competition. He captured sixth place out of the 80 co-anglers. The weekend of Jan. 28 was a stark contrast, as Dipman ended the tournament a disappointing 82nd.

“The difference is I was up there the entire week practicing, pre-fishing,” Dipman said of his successes that first weekend. “Those fish were in the same place with the nice steady weather pattern.”

“Day one we just couldn’t get on the fish,” Dipman said in discussing his disappointment from the second tournament, an FLW/Everstart Western Division event. “Day two we figured out what the fish were doing and got a pretty good bag together.”

But, like a golfer that shoots in the 80s the first day out, there was too much ground to make up, and Dipman fell far out of the money.

Successful in the environmental restoration and mitigation industry — Dipman’s company, S&C Environmental Solutions, constructs habitat for endangered species — the co-angler feels the lure to “move to the other side of the boat.”

The year-around fisherman will gage in November if he plunges his line into the professional stream in 2013 or remains as a co-angler one more season.

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