As a kid growing up in Arkansas, Tom Huynh would fish for bass in the ponds on his mother’s cattle farm. Fast forward 20 years or so and Huynh has launched himself eagerly into the world of professional bass fishing. “I love the challenge of finding where the bass are, then trying to get them to bite on artificial lures,” says Huynh, who owns Polished Nail Spa and Regal Nails in Fargo, N.D. “I also like the challenge of breaking down and studying a new lake, then fishing the spots I find. Catching a fish where you think they are living is a good feeling.”
Despite his success as a nail tech and salon owner, two years ago Huynh decided to try his hand at pro bass fishing. “I have a good crew at my salons and a very strong client base, so I thought the time was right to step away from the nail station and give this new venture a try,” he says. He has a fully equipped bass boat where he keeps more than 30 Finatic custom fishing rods and reels. “Last year I entered six tournaments and did better than I thought I would, and this season I plan to do a full 12-tournament stretch,” he says.
Professional bass fishing has two major leagues. “The Bassmaster Classic and FLW’s Forest Wood Cup are the goals for us anglers,” he explains. “Both are like the Superbowl of bass fishing, with $300,000 to $500,000 as the grand prize.” When you consider that entry fees for tournaments are around $1,500 and that the competitors need to pay for their lodging, meals, and gas, it’s no wonder that gaining sponsorships is nearly as important to Huynh as winning championships.
“I would love to get a major nail company as my title sponsor,” he says. “Right now I have my salon’s logo printed on the side of my boat. I get tons of extra attention due to the fact that fishing and nails don’t usually go hand in hand.”