Face of Defense: Soldier Fishes, Recruits for Guard
By Army 2nd Lt. April Hawes
Illinois Army National Guard
KENTUCKY LAKE, Ky., Jun. 10, 2010 With the sun beating down in 90-degree pre-summer heat, the lake here was Army Sgt. Adam Lock's home away from home as he cast his fishing line into the cool water in hopes of coaxing a bite from a bass.
Army Sgt. Adam Lock, 29, of Altamont, Ill., catches a bass on Kentucky Lake, Ky., June 2, 2010. Lock is a recruiter with the Illinois National Guard and the only military member on the Forrest L. Wood Fishing Tour Team, sponsored by the National Guard. Photo by Illinois Army National Guard 2nd Lt. April Hawes
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
"I'm throwing an Omega, custom tackle football jig with a green pumpkin Berkley chigger craw trailer," said Lock, using a fisherman’s jargon.
Catching bass right and left is not something new for Lock. The 29-year-old is the only National Guardsman on the Forrest L. Wood Fishing Tour, sponsored by the National Guard.
What started as a hobby became Lock's passion growing up in Altamont, Ill., a town of 2,400 people. He got his start fishing in his family’s backyard pond with the help of his mother when he was 3.
"He was a little outdoors boy," said Lock’s mother, Kathy Corder, of Altamont.
"He would catch a lot of fish, and I would have to take them off the hook for him."
Fishing became a bigger part of Lock’s life four years ago when he stepped away from teaching and coaching high school basketball to become a full-time recruiter with the Illinois Army National Guard and a co-angler on the FLW Fishing Tour.
Lock, who now lives in Metropolis, Ill., said he enjoyed teaching and coaching, but he needed something more.
"There was something missing, and that was bass fishing," he said.
At that time, he said, the fishing tour was casting about for someone who could fish and also talk to young people about the National Guard.
Lock took the bait.
His first tournament with the tour was at Lake Travis in Austin, Texas, in 2007.
Lock finished in the top 10, which meant that a helicopter followed him on the lake, tracking his progress. Afterward, he was interviewed by a television network covering the tournament. Lock then realized that competitive fishing was his life’s calling.
"It felt like I had hung the moon," he said. "If you're winning, you're on top of the world."
Lock's mother supports her son’s fishing exploits with enthusiasm, especially since she saw him on TV after his first tournament.
"It was then when I think I really understood [fishing] was something bigger than I thought it was. He has a passion for it," she said. "We're a small community, so I called everyone to tell them he was in the finals."
Corder said she also is proud of what Lock has given back to the fishing community, particularly in Altamont.
For example, she said, her son returned to his hometown this past Easter and took a local 11-year-old boy out fishing for nearly five hours.
Lock’s mother said the boy's eyes lit up when her son showed up with a full tackle box for the boy to keep.
And, as a National Guard recruiter, Lock has the opportunity to talk with potential recruits at fishing tournaments and with high school fishing teams. Illinois recently became the first state in the country to officially adopt fishing as a sanctioned high school sport.
"It's good to work with the kids and talk to them about the National Guard,” Lock said.
Young anglers can advance from high school fishing, Lock said, to go on to college fishing, which also is sponsored by the National Guard.
Lock said he enjoys the opportunity to combine his love for fishing with his National Guard career.
"If I can intertwine my job with fishing, it's a win, win," Lock said. "I'm going to keep doing this as long it stays afloat."