May 29, 2024

Easton Fothergill: Overcoming Obstacles and Reeling in Victories

Fishing has been a part of Easton Fothergill’s life for as long as he can remember. A member of UM’s champion fishing team, the senior relishes spending time outdoors, breathing in fresh air and seeing sunrises and sunsets as he competes in the sport he’s always been so passionate about.

“I was born into it,” he said. “My family is a big fishing family, and my dad does tournaments. I’ve done it my whole life — I don’t know any different.”

Hailing from Grand Rapids, Minnesota, a city about an hour away from the U.S.-Canadian border, Fothergill chose to attend Montevallo for its top-notch fishing program, but also to get away from the snow and cold of his hometown.

“I love the weather here right now,” he said. “I’m always sending Snapchats to my parents at home just because it’s so warm.”

Fothergill has had a successful run on the fishing team — in May 2023, he and his tournament partner, Nick Dumke, claimed the Team of the Year title at the Strike King Bassmaster College Series, presented by Bass Pro Shops. With 937 points, the two automatically qualified for the College Classic Bracket presented by Lew’s, set for the end of September at Milford Lake in Junction City, Kansas. But as tournament time neared, an unforeseen obstacle threatened to derail Fothergill’s path to the competition.

In August, after he had experienced a series of worsening headaches, doctors discovered an infected abscess on Fothergill’s brain. He underwent emergency surgery at UAB Hospital to have it removed, and returned to his home in Minnesota to continue the recovery process with his family. Although the first couple weeks after his surgery were rough, his doctors were able to guide him through the healing process successfully.

“Ever since then, I’m living my normal life, super active,” Fothergill said. “I still play basketball every night. It’s just normal life from here on out, so I’m super grateful for that.”

Just a month after his procedure, Fothergill won the Bassmaster College Classic Bracket presented by Lew’s by catching 11 pounds, 13 ounces on the final day. He earned a spot in the 2024 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Toyota, held in March at Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees near Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he ranked 16th. Fothergill also earned paid entry fees into a division of the St. Croix Bassmaster Opens with the use of a fully rigged Toyota Tundra and Nitro Boat for the year.

Fothergill always dreamed of competing against the best anglers in the world on the sport’s biggest stage, but he has a greater appreciation for his journey after overcoming so much adversity in such a short time to reach his goal.

“I can’t really wrap my mind around it,” Fothergill said. “A lot of professional anglers never make it this far. I’ve learned if you work hard, you will be successful.”

Fothergill graduated in May 2024 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing, and he is looking to go into the sales industry. His advice to incoming students is to keep up with their schoolwork, don’t procrastinate and make a connection with their professors.

“This is the perfect school to do that with the small class sizes,” he said. “Being on the fishing team, we’re gone a lot. All the professors really work with you, and you get a lot of one-on-one with them. I don’t think I’d be able to do this at any other school.”