‘Fish Whisperer’ Boggs knows the angles

Larry Woody • Updated Apr 17, 2018 at 8:30 AM

When Drew Boggs was a kid growing up in Fayetteville he would accompany his dad and several friends on an annual trip to the Elk River for a weekend of camping and trout fishing.

Year after year Drew out-fished everybody.

“My dad started calling me the ‘Fish Whisperer’ because I caught so many trout,” says Drew, who arrived in Lebanon in 1996 on a Cumberland University baseball scholarship and is now a realtor with Cumberland Real Estate and owner of Boggs Builders.

“I would fish in the same spots with same lures and baits as everybody else and I would wear their tails out,” Drew says with a chuckle. “I’d catch a bunch of fish when nobody else was catching anything.”

What’s his secret?

“I can’t explain it,” he says. “I guess it’s the same reason why I can’t sing and Blake Shelton can. It’s just something I was born with.”

Drew hasn’t lost his Midas angling touch over the years. Today he is one of the area’s most successful semi-pro fishermen, fishing about 25 tournaments a year.

He has posted two wins already this year in tournaments on Center Hill and Kentucky Lake. The former was a team competition with partner Whit Gammon and the latter came a couple of weeks ago on the FLW circuit.

Most tournaments that size pay around $4,000-$5,000 for first place -- not bad for a day on the water, but not in the category of pro Kevin VanDam’s career record winnings of $6.3 million.

Drew, 40, says big paychecks don’t tempt him to try his luck in the big leagues.

“Maybe at some point in the future,” he says, “but right now my family is my priority (wife Kadie, daughter Macie, 9, and son Wesley, 3.)”

Drew was introduced to tournament fishing by his dad Danny in 2002 and took to it like, well, a fish to water.

“Tournament fishing appeals to my competitive nature,” says Drew, who played first base during his college days. “Most tournament fishermen are like that. A lot of them are former athletes.”

Having a special touch helps separate Drew from the average weekend angler, but on the pro circuit most everyone else also has a talent for sticking hooks in fish. On that level, what’s the difference in finishing first and elsewhere?

“It’s like anything else,” Drew says, “the more you invest in it and work at it the better you become at it. You have to spend a lot of time on the water and keep learning. You’re not just competing against the other fishermen but also competing against the fish.”

Drew fished his first tournament this year on the second week of January and will wind up in October. Amid that busy schedule he finds time to do some father/son coaching – just as his dad did decades ago.

“Wes loves to fish,” he says. “He likes being on the water, being out in the boat, casting, everything about it. At three, he’s already a good little fisherman.”

Looks like there’s another Fish Whisperer in the making.

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