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Stanco Believes No Limitations in Life or Fishing

by: Brad Wiegmann


Running, playing ball, snowboarding-Jonathan Stanco was living the active life that many young adults in high school enjoy; in fact, they take it for granted and believe they’re superman, nothing could possible happen to them. Unfortunately for Stanco everything changed on February, 12, 2004. That’s when a snowboarding accident left him paralyzed for the waist down and confined in a wheel chair. For the next 10 months he was in the hospital before finally returned home to recover. His strength came from his family and friends who stayed by him during that time.
That was a life changing moment for him and from that day forward certain things changed; however, his attitude did not spiral down in to anger or depression over why it happened to him. “For the first week after I first got hurt, I was depressed but only because of the things I would miss doing,” Stanco continued, “after a week it left my mind and I was back to my normally positive self.”
Stanco found refuge in fishing. At first he only fished from the bank. “I was really limited but not because of being in a wheel chair,” Stanco continued, “I just did not have a boat to go out fishing in.” So, he did what any shore-bound angler would do, he bought a boat from a friend. A boat meant freedom for Stanco who was no longer stuck on shore. Now Stanco drives himself to the boat ramp, launches his boat, fishes, and then loads his boat without any help.
At the age of 21, Stanco now feels the competitive drive of fishing in professional bass tournaments. So far Stanco has competed in FLW Series, FLW Stren Series, and BFL tournaments. His best finish was an impressive 12th place as a co-angler in the FLW Stren Series tournament on Lake Champlain in New York.
While Stanco requires no special gear to fish from a boat, Ranger Boats designed a special seat that keeps him lower to the deck on the boat. “All I have to do is replace my seat with the seat that’s normally in the back deck and I’m ready to go fishing,” he continued, “In the beginning when I was tournament fishing it was a little tough but now I am more comfortable.” His favorite ways to catch bass are flipping, pitching, and dropshotting.
Stanco’s positive attitude and aspirations have not been overlooked by several national fishing tackle companies. Naked Bait Company (www.nakedbaitco.com) and Power Tackle (www.powertackle.com) have both placed him on their pro staff. Naked Bait Company, CEO Blake Muhlenbruck can see the passion Stanco has for fishing. “Stanco serves as a true ambassador to the sport and is an inspiration to other anglers,” Muhlenbruck continued, “He really shows everyone that there are no limitations in the sport of fishing or in life.”
However, its Stanco’s passion to fish competitively has really just erupted, “I really want to fish as a pro, I like being a co-angler for now, but I can’t wait to fish on the boater side.”
Life challenges every one different. Some people sit around and feel sorry for themselves if something negative happens to them. Others individuals take what life deals them and makes the most of it. Stanco is now attending college at Central Connecticut State University majoring in Secondary Biology Education and looking forward to someday being a school teacher.
As for his philosophy on life, “There is no limitation on my life, just because I’m in a
wheel chair does not mean I can’t do it,” Stanco continued, “no one should limit
them self, go out and find a way to get it done; the only limitations are what you
have set on yourself.” Stanco is definitely an inspiration for the rest of us.

Brad Wiegmann is a professional fishing guide on Beaver Lake and outdoor writer. Contact
him at (479) 756-5279 or by E-mail at bwiegmann@cox.net
 

Brad Wiegmann is a professional fishing guide on Beaver Lake and outdoor writer. Contact him at (479) 756-5279 or by e-mail at bwiegmann@cox.net.