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Carter Andrews Shares His Angling Obsession with the World

Diverse talents and huge enthusiasm have given Andrews much, and he’s passing it on

Be Inspired

The label “larger than life” gets thrown around a fair bit, but more often than not the reality doesn’t match the billing. Not so with Carter Andrews. In fact, spend just a few minutes with this bear of a man and you’ll quickly see that larger than life is an inadequate description.

Mercury Pro Team angler Carter “Big Boy” Andrews started life in Tennessee farm country. He grew up with visions of becoming a pro bass angler, but his life took a major turn once he discovered fly-fishing. Soon he became obsessed to the point he was compelled to take his talents out West, eventually settling into life as a guide in the fly-fishing mecca of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. There, he built a resume that would be the envy of anyone who’s ever pulled on a pair of waders, and in the process won nearly every possible accolade a freshwater fly fisherman could hope to have.

Then a chance trip to the Bahamas introduced Andrews to saltwater angling, and his life and career took another abrupt turn as he redirected his formidable focus toward a whole new facet of fishing. Soon he was working as a guide on Crooked Island, Bahamas, honing his craft and soaking up every bit of knowledge he could garner. Long story short, Andrews quickly became as big of a name in saltwater circles as he was in Rocky Mountain fly-fishing. Today he is the host of “The Obsession of Carter Andrews” television show, not to mention a recognized figure at practically any dock from Jacksonville to Panama, and plenty other fishing hot spots around the globe.

And while many of the so-called larger-than-life folks you’ll meet in life end up being more self-promoters than anything else, Andrews is as real as it gets. He’s quick to give credit to everyone who has helped him along the way, most notably legendary Florida angler Jose Wejebe, host of the popular “Spanish Fly TV” program. Wejebe was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1958, just before his family fled the Cuban revolution for Miami with scarcely more than the clothes on their backs. Wejebe flourished in Miami, and over the course of his career he became one of the most recognizable figures in south Florida fishing. In 1995, he launched “Spanish Fly TV,” which became a smash hit on the fledgling ESPN2 network and is still one of the most beloved fishing shows of all time. Before Wejebe’s tragic death in a 2012 small plane crash, he was a friend and mentor to Andrews.

“I was just this kid, fending for myself on Crooked Island, and Jose was coming to do a show there,” Andrews said. “I was nobody. I was trout fishing, roaming, working on Crooked Island and then The Man shows up. He accepted me, and that first trip we just hit it off together. He wasn’t pretentious or anything like that. That was the day I started learning more about saltwater fishing than ever before. He was just an open book. I ended up shooting 12 or 13 episodes on his show with him over about 15 years.

“I feel like everything that I do in practice and what I believe in comes from those times I spent with him.”

Like Wejebe, Andrews genuinely loves sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm with anyone he can. He also sees this paying-it-forward approach to be both a duty and a privilege.

“I’m the guy that you can find at the boat ramp that will stop and talk to anybody,” Andrews said. “I’ll tell ’em where I’m fishing, what I’m fishing for and how I’m gonna catch ’em. I have been fortunate in life that so many people shared stuff with me, and I think it’s just time to give back. I think that’s a really important part of where I am in my life. It’s just giving back.”

Today, Andrews calls Vero Beach, Florida, home. He lives on a small horse farm with his wife, Heidi, and daughters, Haley (16) and Payton (13). The family also still has a house in Jackson Hole and spends time out there every summer.

“Right now, we’ve got about 45 animals on our little farm here (in Vero Beach),” he said. “I grew up on a farm in Tennessee, so we’re just taking the opportunity to let my girls have the same type of experience. They both do a lot of riding, and they actually show horses as well.”

Though Carter has achieved no small degree of notoriety and continues to travel the world, recording shows with some of the biggest names in fishing, he still enjoys fishing for its own sake. And he’s happy to do it with whoever in his circle happens to be available at the time, chasing anything that will bite.

“You think of fishing as an individual sport, but really what it is is being with friends. It’s being with family and sharing experiences,” he said. “I have just as much fun taking my wife and our two girls out to fish in the Indian River as I do heading to Australia and going to fish with famed photographer and angler Al McGlashan for barramundi. I don’t ever fish by myself. I look at it as a time to share experiences and ideas.

“Getting more people into fishing is a huge part of it, and it always has been for me. I think it goes back to my days as a fishing guide because even though you’re guiding, what you really are is an instructor. You’re teaching. But where before I was teaching one or two people a day, now I feel like through the TV show I’m able to teach tens of thousands of viewers a week, and I really like that.”

 

For more information on “The Obsession of Carter Andrews” TV series, visit TheObsessionofCarterAndrews.com. You can also follow Andrews on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

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Carter Andrews Shares His Angling Obsession with the World
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