Hunter Poteete – Winder, Georgia
Hunter Poteete has been fishing for as long as he can remember. “The first fish I remember catching was at Fort Yargo Lake with my mom, grandma, and brother on regular fishing tackle. I fished off and on through the years but it really started when I was 13. My family and I went on a camping trip on the Hiwassee River, my dad took me and my brother into a field and taught us to cast a fly rod. I wasn’t very good but enjoyed trying to cast and get the loop perfect. Later that day we jumped in the river and started to fish I started with the fly rod and caught a small brim. It wasn’t much, but I was ecstatic. We got home and I was begging my dad to go fishing, ” he says. It was a couple long months of fishing just about every weekend before he caught his first trout and from there he was “hooked”. Hunter was exposed to competitive fishing about two years ago when he and his dad judged the Gold Cup Fly Fishing competition in Dahlonega and Helen, GA. As Hunter says, “I loved the idea of competition fishing. My dad and I had been fishing with Kevin Griffin for a while and he taught us a lot about competition fishing and about 6 months later I entered into my first competition. I placed last, but instead of quitting I used the disappointment to drive me to work harder. I started tying flies every day and fishing every time I got the chance.” Hunter was invited to join Team Dead Drift and working with the team gave him the support and knowledge to improve. In addition to that, Hunter got the chance to work with some of the best youth anglers in the world (2014 world champion Gabriel Wittosch and Team USA members Andrew brown and Mason Sims). He says, “These guys taught me a lot and encouraged me to keep working. In April of 2014 I went to the Team USA Youth Clinic and had a great time. Every time I had the chance I would ask a question or volunteer. I spent the whole time doing nothing but learning. In June, 2014, I competed in the Youth Nationals competition in Syracuse, NY where I finished 12th in the nation. That was also when I made Team USA Youth. I am currently ranked 8th in the nation and hoping to climb. Hunter meets the challenge of keeping his skills honed by fishing almost every free weekend and practicing.
When asked what he likes best about being on Team USA, he answers, ” I like being one of only 15 kids in the world that can say honestly that they are on Team USA Youth. I like the sense of pride and honor that comes with it.” Currently in high school, Hunter plans to be attending then graduating from college for wildlife and fishery management and biology.