I Don’t go to Work, I go Fishing.
Aug 25th, 2009 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Aug 25th, 2009 at 12:00 AM
This Mother’s Day, Chad Shilling’s family was on the water
catching catfish. Wife Shonda and their two and three-year old kids were
hauling them in. “My life revolves around fishing,” he said. Tournament
fishing is one more step in the process. “I wished I had started 15 years
ago,” he said.
His approach to tournaments follows a similar philosophy during
the 250 days of guiding the Missouri River near Akaska, SD every season.
“Tournaments are no bigger than any fishing day. I learned long ago not to
get stressed when fishing. I just go out and have fun,” he said. He knows
that is not the case with many of his tournament friends.
Chad said, “I’ve had tough tournament days, and caught almost
nothing, but took a deep breath, relaxed and slept all night. Then, I hit
it hard the next day, and was even stronger. Fishing relaxed has been the
best lesson I’ve learned.”
The tournaments he’s fished so far have been very good to him,
and he considers them one more step in the process. “I love everything
about fishing, but on tour, it’s weird, because even though I’ve done
something all my life (fishing), I get to new waters and learn even more new
methods. This year with AIM on new waters, I can hardly wait.”
Chad guides every day of summer, guides pheasant hunters all
fall, and with the great hunting, ends up fishing every fall afternoon and
evening. He also guides ice fishermen. Working with brother Jesse and dad
Brad, their guide service caters to families. Now in his 15th season as a
fishing guide (since age 18), and in his 21st year as a pheasant guide, he
said, “I don’t go to work, I go fishing.”
Being a guide and watching families grow as they return year
after year is like being part of a new family reunion week after week. He
said, “I also like watching 50 year olds turn into seven year olds because
they’re so excited about catching fish.” He likes teaching people,
especially first-timers, to catch fish. “Maybe that’s why I have so much
fun with my co-anglers during tournament-time,” he said.
Guiding and tournaments make for a great life for Chad and his
family. “It’s not easy, and I can do both because of my employee of the
month, every month — my wife Shonda. She takes care of the kids, handles
the books, does the cooking and cleaning at the lodge, and takes