Within the last two years, the sport of professional fishing has seen its share of changes, merging trails and anglers looking for something new. In some ways, it’s common place where others it’s a way of legitimizing the passions of thousands of anglers.
The National Professional Fishing League took a step out and in a new direction with the announcement of their newly formed trail to begin in 2021.
Anglers submitted their resumes, and the long process of filling available spots went into motion. Three of those anglers were notable names among Arkansas fishing circles.
Hunter Baughman, of Judsonia, Paul Browning of Morrilton and Josh Ray, of Little Rock were accepted and are now poised to take their fishing careers to a new level. A level where their expertise and talents will be tested among the best of the best on a national level.
Baughman grew up in a typical rural Arkansas home centered around a love for the outdoors. His accomplishments range from wins on multiple levels including team trails, and Pro-Am level such as Mr. Bass of Arkansas.
If you have been near Baughman, you’ll know his unique personality shines for spreading his faith, his love of family and friends.
My lifelong goal is to fish professionally and the opportunity to compete at this level happened at the perfect timing.
Baughman is approaching the NPFL series with a mindset same as he would with a Pro-Am event. But, he knows with the full field competing three days, he’s going to have to tweak his game plan and mental strategy.
Browning has competed on numerous levels within the Arkansas fishing circles, notably winning the American Bass Anglers District 50 championship, and recently making his Top 12 appearance in a Bassmaster Central Open at Muskogee.
The NPFL is a great opportunity to get my name out there and compete against guys who work for a living like myself.
Browning and Baughman will be travel partners for the 2021 NPFL season.
Ray, who is a constant threat on any body of water made the jump and commitment to the NPFL after realizing it’s where he felt its where he needed to be.
Beginning his fishing career, Ray competed in the McHenry Bass Club based out of Little Rock where they fished Lake Maumelle and oxbow lakes from a flat bottom boat.
I never felt like fishing as a co-angler was for me. I was going to learn from my mistakes from the front of the boat.
Ray won the 2016 Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Central Regional on Lake Guntersville in Alabama. It was that event, and win that taught Ray the important lessons of “time on the water” and the confidence to be more consistent.
A title is a good thing, and getting a check is great but I felt like the NPFL offered me something on a national level which is something all anglers want.
These anglers are the quality of sportsman both on and off the water that will not only make Arkansas proud, but showcase the National Professional Fishing Leagues top tier of athletes.
For more information on the National Professional Fishing League, or to follow them on social media, visit their website HERE