Being an all-state angler is basically a Vandagriff family tradition now.
Warren County High School senior Matthew Vandagriff followed his brother’s footsteps recently, earning a coveted spot on the Bassmaster all-state team. Samuel Vandagriff received the same honor as a senior in 2018.
It’s no surprise the Vandagriffs are stars on the water. Matthew had a pole in his hand as soon as he started taking steps.
“I’ve been fishing ever since I could walk. About all we do is fish – every weekend, every tournament we can. It’s year-round,” said Vandagriff.
Vandagriff and Brentwood’s Drake Hemby were both selected as all-state performers from Tennessee, part of a group of 49 all-state performers selected from 30 different states. Winning the Bassmaster Classic along with teammate Asa Robertson helped put Vandagriff on the map this season.
The moment doubled as his favorite moment of the season – at least so far.
“Winning the Bassmaster Classic was a highlight. Most of the spring season has been canceled, so that’s disappointing, but we may be able to fish the region and state tournaments,” said Vandagriff. “It’s pretty cool being named all-state. I was surprised.”
The region tournament is scheduled to be held June 13 at Dale Hallow Lake, while the state tournament is tentatively set for July 9-11 at Pickwick Lake.
Vandagriff has excelled for years on the water, using weekends around the calendar to learn his craft. It’s a labor of love for the Pioneer senior, who hopes to continue fishing when he gets to college next fall.
“Being out on the water is peaceful. And I like tournament fishing – when you get your blood pumping and start catching fish. It’s a fun time,” said Vandagriff. “I’m thinking about going to Motlow for the next two years and hoping I may be able to start a team there.”
All the time on the water has allowed Vandagriff to learn all the tricks of the trade. He’s equipped to fish all areas – and in all conditions.
“Everything depends on the situation. What time are you out there – morning? Afternoon? Water clarity is important. Temperature too. It’s different if it’s sunny or rainy,” said Vandagriff. “You can fish one place in the morning and not get a bite, then go back that afternoon and catch a bunch of fish. It’s just learning the conditions and the lakes.”
Vandagriff has obviously learned it all.