“PRO-Files” – Meet FLW Tour Rookie Dylan Hays
As the 2017 tournament season approaches, I took a few minutes to speak with FLW Tour rookie Dylan Hays.
Hays, age 29, is embarking on the great American Dream. “I quit my ‘real job’ to go fishing.” He resigned from Mondi, a paper mill where he worked as a buyer. “I bought all of their raw materials. I also worked at Pradco before as a buyer.”
While Hays has worked in the fishing industry, so has his wife Melinda, daughter of professional anglers Jimmy Mize and Lucy Mize. A tournament veteran herself, Melinda currently runs the Costa fishing team, And Dylan will run a Costa-wrapped boat that promotes his biggest sponsor.
Dylan met Melinda at a fish fry. “A friend invited her and another friend invited me. We kind of hit it off. I had seen her around, tournament fishing you know, but I always honestly thought she was kind of too good for me, to be honest with you,” shares Hays about his best catch ever.
There’s a lot of good water around Sheridan, Arkansas where Hays hangs his hat when not on tour. If he had to pin-down a single ‘home’ lake it would be Dardanelle.
The variety available a short drive from his house has made him a versatile angler which he ranks as his biggest strength. Finesse fishing would be among his weaknesses. “I can catch them on a shakey head or drop shot, but I’d rather not fish that way.”
Hays has been fishing competitively since he graduated high school 11 years ago. He helped start the fishing team at the University of Central Arkansas. “I think I just have a competitive nature. My dad never really fished, no one in my family really fishes.
“I had a couple of really good buddies in high school. They fished. We would go to ponds after school. When I turned 16 I got a boat. I actually had a boat before I had a truck. I would make my dad take me places. It just grew from there. But I’ve always been competitive and been into sports and I think I just wanted that part of it. Honestly, I think that’s the biggest reason I fish – for the competition.”
While he’s proud to have helped start a college fishing team, Hays had another highlight last year. “My team partner, which is actually (Melinda’s) daddy, Jimmy Mize, we won a boat. It’s the biggest team trail in the state of Arkansas and we won the championship.”
Hays also been to the TBF National Championship twice, as well as the All-American.
Looking ahead Hays is excited about the Tour schedule. “I like Lacrosse. That’s supposed to be fun – shallow river fishing, lots of fish. And I’m really looking forward to the first one, Guntersville. I just love going to quality fisheries and that’s one of the best in the nation.”
Beaver Lake is in his home state but Hays is not really a ‘local’ there. “I like Beaver too. It’s close and I like that style of fishing – highland lakes.
“Those 3 for sure are my top 3. If I had to pick the one I’m looking forward to the most it would probably be the first one, Guntersville. It’s the first tournament of my rookie year and I’m ready to get it started.”