Bass Rankings: You’re currently the No. 1-ranked Minors angler, but you’ve also spent some time in the Majors. Talk about what it’s been like starting in the Minors, jumping to the FLW Tour the last two seasons, and now being back in the Minors.
Roy Hawk: You know, looking back I probably jumped in a little early. I didn’t have my finances in order to really make the leap to the Majors.
My first Major event was the FLW Tour event at the Red River that was canceled. I spent all my money just getting there and practicing, and I was depending on a check to be able to move on to the next tournament. I ended up just driving to Table Rock, which was the next event, and just waiting there until the tournament started. I made a check there, and was able to continue the rest of the season.
BR: Finances aside, how do you think you did at the Major level?
RH: I didn’t have any huge successes, but I was leading the Rookie of the Year race going into the final event my first year. I also would have made the Forrest Wood Cup had I not had a fish die on me. Those eight ounces tied me with David Dudley for the last spot, and he got the invite based on the tiebreaker. So, I know I can fish at that level.
Last year started out great, with a top 20 at Beaver Lake and a third at an EverStart at Lake of the Ozarks. Then I had boat issues and things seemed to fall apart.
I actually had to work for my uncle in Illinois to try and make some money mid season. When I did, I had the option of limping to the Detroit River for an EverStart and then the final tour event at Pickwick, or heading home. I only had enough money for one or the other. I chose to go home.
BR: Looking back, do you think you made the right decision?
RH: I do. I came back and handled some personal things, and things started coming back together. I won six team tournaments in a row, which was really cool. Things just started clicking. I got that spark.
BR: Do you see yourself fishing the Majors again in the future?
RH: My main goal is to get back on the FLW Tour. I loved the traveling and the competition. I’ll get back there. I’m thinking of fishing a couple FLW Tour Opens later this year.
BR: Seeing as you’ve been a professional angler in both the Minors and the Majors, how do they compare?
RH: In the end, it’s just fishing, and both have very strong fields. Just in different ways.
You have better overall anglers on the Tour, but most are not as familiar with the bodies of water.
In the Minors, the anglers are much more familiar with the lakes. They might not all be as good of anglers as on the tour, but there are some super stars that, for whatever reason, haven’t made the jump to the Majors.
Regardless, you still have to go out and try to catch your best five.
BR: Do you think the regional aspect of Minors hurt you when you made the jump to the FLW Tour?
RH: Not at all. There were a lot of places that I had never been before on the tour, but I did well at a lot of them. Those are the tournaments that are special to me and give me the positive feedback that I can catch fish anywhere.
If you look at my career, I’ve never done well at just one place. That’s how I want it to be. I don’t want to be the best angler on Lake Havasu. I want to win all over. I think any angler who wants to make the jump to the Majors has to have the same mentality.
BR: So what would you say to someone trying to do what you did and make the jump?
RH: First would be that he needs to have a strong faith that what he’s doing is the right thing. It’s a major undertaking and a lot of commitment. He needs to be sure he’s ready.
Second, he needs the support of his family. Everyone has to be behind you or it will wear on you during the season.
Last, you have to have your finances in order. I’m not the one to talk about finances, but what a lot of guys say is you should have enough money, or a source of income that can survive three years in the Majors. That’s something I’m working on, and maybe one day I’ll have that.