Randy Pierson, longtime Oakdale resident, has had a passion for fishing since he was a young boy. His father, Glenn Pierson, took him fishing when he was three and he has been hooked ever since.
“He taught me everything I know, I owe all of my success in the sport to him,” Pierson said about his father.
Today, Pierson is ranked among the top in the world as a bass fisherman.
In 2017, Pierson qualified for the California Fishing Team. The team competed in five statewide tournaments. In June of 2017 Pierson made his mark on the tour.
“You have to win one of the five tournaments to advance to the next round and I won the second tournament,” recalled Pierson. “It was a great feeling, anytime you can win is fantastic because the competition is so fierce.”
In May of 2018 Pierson competed in the Western Regionals of the Bassmaster Classic. This competition includes 11 states and was originally scheduled to be hosted in Idaho. Luckily for Pierson, it was moved to Clear Lake, California.
“I was nervous because the tournament was scheduled for late May, which just happened to be the same day as my daughter’s Oakdale High School graduation. So I was trying to figure out what to do,” admitted Pierson. “So when they moved it to Clear Lake, I was able to make both.”
The three-day tournament began on a Friday. By the third day, only the top three from each state make it to the finals. Pierson was not only one of the top three, but he was first in California and third overall on the leaderboard.
His efforts punched his ticket to the Bassmaster National Championship in Florence, Alabama. That tournament took place along the Tennessee River and featured 63 of the best bass anglers. This prestigious tournament not only featured the top fishermen in the United States but also internationally.
“There were the best in the world there,” Pierson noted, “from Mexico, Canada, South Africa and even Australia.”
Pierson held his own against the field as he took third overall on the first day with a total of 20 pounds, seven ounces of fish. Participants look to get a limit of five bass and can ‘cull’ their catch during the day, keeping the five heaviest fish. It is also a catch and release tournament so once weigh-ins were complete, the bass were returned to the water. Day two saw Pierson end with 19 pounds, seven ounces and he held better than a four-pound lead over the rest of the field.
Entering the third and final day, Pierson said he remained calm. It was a very cold 27 degrees in Florence for the last day and it started off rough for Pierson as he caught just a two-pound bass in the first five minutes and his next two were not much bigger.
His luck would turn later that afternoon, however. With less than an hour remaining in the tournament, Pierson caught a four pound, five ounce bass and soon followed up with a three pound bass to total 14 pounds, eight ounces for the win. He finished four pounds ahead of the second place finisher and was 10 pounds up on third place. The second place finisher was from Florence and third place was from Italy.
“When I stepped on the podium, I thought I would be emotional but I was still calm,” Pierson noted. “I was not sure if it set in or not but it was not until I embraced my wife that I became emotional.”
This spring, Pierson will go to the Bassmaster Classic in Knoxville along the Tennessee River, with fishing at Fort Loudoun and Tellico lakes as well as along the river. From March 15 through 17, Pierson will join more than four dozen of the best bass fishermen on the planet for the competition. The event will be aired on both ESPN and Pursuit Channel. He will also be competing throughout 2019 on the Bassmaster Elite Tour. This February he will be in both Florida and Georgia for tour events.