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Blayne Leeman prepares to take the stage to receive his diploma during Northwestern High School's graduation on Saturday, June 5.

The most exciting day of Blyane Leeman’s fishing career to date came after a long dry spell.

Leeman had just moved from Logansport to Howard County. Upon arrival, he faced an unproductive run while trying his hand at the Kokomo Reservoir.

“I didn’t catch a single bass for like a month straight but I kept going,” Leeman said.

He was frustrated but undeterred and his patience paid off. When one day he caught a 6.5-pound largemouth bass, it was his most exciting day on the waters because of the accomplishment, and who was with him at the time.

“When I caught my biggest fish, my dad was there,” Leeman said.

It was fitting that his father, Tim, was there because his dad is the one that got him started fishing when he was little.

“I was raised in Logansport and my dad would always take me fishing,” Leeman said. “That was his hobby. That’s what he did. We had a lot of family members with ponds and I was a kid who always loved to be outside.”

Now, after graduating Northwestern High School this spring, Leeman embarks on a fresh adventure filled with the promise of a lot more exciting days on the water.

Leeman will attend Kentucky Christian University this fall and has a scholarship to compete on the school’s bass fishing team. He will officially sign with the school this coming Monday.

“I’ve been in touch with a bunch of schools and I did get accepted to a bunch of different fishing teams, but this one really stuck out, not just because of the scholarship, but because of the community and how small the campus was,” Leeman said. “And it’s a Christian school and I’m a Christian person. That was another big factor.”

Leeman said his relationship with God played a big role in leading him to KCU. He plans to major in general business at KCU and will be one of three dozen members of the bass fishing team. He liked the personal touch of a small school and coupling that with an opportunity to fish was an irresistible lure.

“It’s all I’ve ever loved doing, fishing and getting outside, and why not make a hobby into a career and a dream?” Leeman said. “It’s different than anything else. A lot of people haven’t heard of it. It’s awesome to get the opportunity to do what you love.”

After eighth grade, Leeman moved with siblings Alivia and Jarrett, mom Devin and stepfather Rob to Howard County so he could fish every day. He was excited about the challenges that brought.

“I’ve always been a fisherman, but I started to get into bass fishing once I moved to Kokomo and I started watching the elite series of Bassmasters and how people turned their hobby into a career,” Leeman said. “I challenged myself to do it. I really got into bass fishing here at the Kokomo Reservoir.”

Leeman wrestled and played football at Northwestern but being an outdoors was always his passion.

“Fishing’s my favorite thing, but I’ve always been outside,” he said. “You’ll never find me inside watching TV or playing video games.”

Leeman’s favorite fishing spot is where he grew up. He loves fishing on the Eel River in Logan. This fall, he gets to taste new waters. He leaves for KCU on Aug. 12 and expects to start practicing with the team shortly thereafter when school starts. The team’s first tournament will be in New York on the St. Lawrence River.

“I’m really excited. I get teary-eyed about it,” Leeman said. “It’s amazing. Turning a hobby and a passion into a career, and instead of having a job and going fishing, my job is fishing. I don’t think you could ask for anything better.”

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