It is 4:30 am when the alarm sounds on his iPhone. He sits up in his bed, puts his feet to the hotel room floor, and begins to prepare for the day. He throws on some shorts and a sun shirt, grabs a quick bite to eat, and quickly paces out of the room and down the hallway. As he walks out of the sliding doors of his dimly lit hotel, he can hardly see the truck parked in front of him in the darkness of the early morning hour. He hops in the passenger seat, and helps navigate his partner to the boat ramp where their day will officially begin.
This morning routine has almost become a ritual for young fisherman, Noah Armstrong. The 15 year-old Georgia native is one of the youngest anglers to fish the southeasts top fishing tournaments – and his career is just getting started.
But what this young angler lacks in experience, he makes up in his love for the sport, and unceasing drive for improvement.
“My favorite memories were fishing with my grandpa when I was 2… I would go through his tackle box for hours”
Noah’s earliest fishing memories began when he was just 2 years old. “I remember going to a lake by my grandpa’s friend’s house. We’d go twice a week all summer long…”
Noah has always been fascinated by the outdoors, and fishing become the pinnacle of his outdoor interests. It wasn’t just a fun hobby for this middle school boy, it was something deeper and more important to him than that.
His parents supported him every step of the way. Supplying Noah with fishing gear was the start, but once they took him to see his first tournament, everything changed for him. His parents had a long-time friend from Alabama who was a fisherman as well. Oftentimes they would take the weekend to go watch him fish.
“I was 11 years old on Lake Guntersville in Alabama. I didn’t know you could actually fish for a living. Once I learned that I was hooked”
No pun intended… J
As soon as he could begin supporting himself, all of his allowance and birthday money went straight to fishing. He spent hours on the computer researching new tech and learning about the numerous bodies of water here in the Southeast. The small flame inside was fanned into a burning desire to get out on the water and fish, whenever and wherever he could. And that isn’t too easy when you can’t even drive yet.
Today, Noah has 9 tournaments under his belt. Some wins and many losses. But for him, it all amounts to experience, perhaps the most valuable reward of all.
His favorite memory thus far was in 2017, when he fished a tournament in Weiss Lake along the Coosa River in Alabama. Noah explained that after practicing for several days with little success, him and a buddy trolled off the dock on their final day of practice to a small inlet along the shore. They struck gold. After several catches, they decided they would stop and begin fishing at that same spot the next morning. The next day when the tournament began, all of the boats sped off in a frenzy once the starting bell rang. Noah’s boat, on the other hand, quietly floated towards their spot, and in a matter of 3 casts, they had netted 10lbs of fish – he had won the tournament in the first 30 minutes of competition.
Although thrilling, Noah fully understands that these stories are hard to come by in the world of fishing.
Noah told us of his most difficult experience fishing thus far.
“My hardest tournament was Lake Kiwi in South Carolina. We had never been there before, and we couldn’t get a good practice run in. The first day, we got about 5 lbs. in total…”
Noah explained that the final hours of the tournament, they finally found a good spot. However, each time he hooked a fish, the line would break. This happened cast after cast for a number of attempts.
Noah says these trips teach him his most important lessons…
“Stay patient. Don’t give up. And don’t be afraid to speak up and try something new…”
For a young fisherman, the speaking up portion is crucial, seeing he doesn’t own his own boat. Noah is at the mercy of his tournament partner, the boater. In these competitions, if you are a co-angler and do not own a boat in the competition, you are essentially a hitchhiker on water, going wherever the boater wants to go.
Noah’s story is unique, but just pinning Noah as a young, up-and-comer in the fishing world doesn’t do his story justice.
At the end of every competition when each boat weighs in their catches of the day, Noah is greeted by his supportive fan base; however, on most occasions there are two individuals who aren’t there to greet him at the finish line – his parents.
“My mom and dad don’t normally come to my competitions. Not because they don’t want to, but because they are following their dreams too…”
It’s true… Recently Noah’s Parents, Jason and Becca, set out to follow a dream of their own. His dad, Jason, quit his successful Corporate America career in order to start a non-profit with his wife, Becca. Nuevo Camino was the result. In English it means “New Way” or “New Path”. The program was created to build community for those in need. Right now, Nuevo Camino is based in Peru, where they aid single mothers who are fighting domestic violence, Venezuelan refugees fleeing the turmoil in their country, and families in rural villages of the Andes mountains.
Because of their aspirations, Jason and Becca spend most of their time away from their kids in South America. Their life is centered around giving, and Noah isn’t just happy about it, he’s proud.
“In the end, it doesn’t bother me. I know they are supporting me from miles and miles away. It’s weird, I can feel them when I’m out there. It’s hard to explain, but it’s just a feeling I get…”
You would be hard pressed to find a kid with that kind of perspective on life.
The Armstrong family loves chasing dreams. Whether it’s putting it all on the line to work in South America, or casting a fishing line into a lake, Noah and his family are truly Living the Adventure every day.
This season, Noah has high expectations. On top of trying to earn enough money to purchase a boat, Noah hopes to “get a win or two… or three… or four or five…”
Regardless of the outcome, our NUVO family believes that Noah and family have already won. When you pursue your passion with everything you have, how can you lose?