TAMPA — Trevor Loving and Josh Campbell have had the sea in their blood for as long as they can remember.
For them, days are best spent on the water, fishing for just about anything that swims. It’s a passion for them and they plan to make a lot of money doing what they love.
Campbell is a senior at Steinbrenner High and Loving is a recent graduate of Sickles High. They competed in the recent Kingfish Tournament at Madeira Beach and plan to do more competitive fishing. They’ve known each other for years and their fishing careers are just starting.
Campbell is about to get his captain’s license in June and he and Loving are working on a boat to start a charter business. For while they have a boat, at the moment, it isn’t exactly seaworthy.
Other than that, it is just a matter of time. The two know how to work on boats and it paid off when, just before the Kingfish event, they needed parts to make sure the motor of their 25-foot craft was going to make it through the tournament.
“We are ready to work all night to make it ready,” Campbell said. “We have a backup plan, but we’ll do whatever it takes.”
Loving said that fishing is a part of their lives.
“You learn when you are young and it never goes away,” Loving said. “If we aren’t fishing we are hunting. It’s kind of a way of life.”
The Kingfish event was the first major event they have entered together. It is the biggest Kingfish tournament in Florida and involves about 400 boats. The winner earns up to $20,000 and there’s plenty of money to be made up to 25th place. Campbell and Loving have both won class events in the past, but nothing as big as the events they are getting into now.
“You can make a living doing this as long as you are willing to put the work in,” Loving said. “But you have to be really good at it. We have won before, but now it’s getting bigger and more competitive.”
Campbell will be trying for his captain’s license only a few weeks after graduation from Steinbrenner. He has his heart set on his fish charter service. He knows the business already and also knows the local waters. He knows the spots and he knows his potential clientele. Fishing, he said, is a matter of knowing the right spots. When it comes to competitive fishing, he knows the area and he said having a boat fast enough to get to those spots first is key.
For the competition, Campbell and Loving are part of a six-person team called Hammered Down. They have sponsors, including the Anderson Road Cafe. Everyone on the team is local. Campbell said that the team is committed to each other. He and Loving both learned fishing from their fathers, so it is a family affair, but now it’s time to take it to the next level.
“It isn’t easy to make a living at this, but we’ve known each other so long and been fishing for so long that it is in our blood,” Loving said. “It’s been so long I don’t remember the first time I was out fishing, but it’s still a thrill every time we go out. It’s in our blood.”