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Angler Profile: Fred Roumbanis

“Fatherhood, Fishing, and Following your Dreams”

By Danny Mancini

Exclusively for Futurebass.com

 

           On May 20, 2007, the sporting world witnessed the emergence of promising young talent within the realm of Professional Bass Fishing. North Carolina’s High Rock / Townsend Lakes were host to the 2007 Bassmaster American, a B.A.S.S. Major tournament that would assure a $250,000.00 payday to the victor. Following a three day practice round that was described by many of the elite series pro’s as nothing less than “tough” the anglers experienced ever changing weather conditions and a sudden revival of the previously nonexistent High Rock bass’ appetite. The dual day preliminary round had proven to be surprisingly productive in contrast to practice for most of the 51 anglers battling to make the cut where the top 12 anglers would move to a nearby, 1500 acre, Lake Townsend. The weights would be zeroed as the top contenders embarked on a two- day slugfest worth a quarter of a million dollars. At the conclusion of the 2007 Bassmaster American, 28 year old, California native, Fred Roumbanis stood victorious on the ESPN Bassmaster Stage. Roumbanis, who led the final round on both days of competition, bested the field by a 4 pound 11 ounce margin over second place angler, Brian Snowden. To his surprise, Roumbanis would earn his first win in only his sophomore season as an Elite series professional and never catch a limit in four days of competition.

“ I really was not on a ton of fish in practice, but I was confident that I could go out and catch a limit everyday” That was precisely Fred’s goal. His wife Julie was back at home and days away from giving birth to their son Jackson. “My intention was to go out there, catch some fish, get back in my truck and head home to California in time to see my Son born, but then I ended up making the cut.” In a surprising turn of events, things fell into place for Roumbanis, even more than he had hoped. He chalked up his first B.A.S.S. win and was home in time to witness the birth of his child. “He held out for a few more days until I was able to get home.” Roumbanis said, in reference to Jackson’s arrival into the world. “Now I have my new fishing partner”.

In just a few days, the world’s greatest professional bass anglers, will converge upon Lake Hartwell in South Carolina to compete in the 2008 Bassmaster Classic. Fred Roumbanis, who placed 12th in the 2007 Angler of the Year race, which earned him the Toyota Tundra Moving forward Award, has earned a berth in this years Classic, a first for Roumbanis. I had the opportunity to speak with Fred recently on the subjects of Fatherhood, Fishing, and following your dreams.  What I discovered from our conversations is that Fred, although well accomplished in only a few short years as a full time professional angler, is a very humble person. He displays a certain distinct confidence about him, not at all to be confused with arrogance. To phrase it simply, Roumbanis is just a guy who loves to fish, and is happy to be where he is today with regard to his career. I asked Fred to elaborate a bit on his emotional state in the days prior to the 2008 Classic. “ It is a dream come true. It has been the best feeling knowing that I will be fishing in the Bassmaster Classic. It has been my dream ever since I could hold a fishing pole. Awesome. That is all I can say.”  Roumbanis told me that his competitive side stems from his childhood. “My brother and I would walk over to a local reservoir by our house and have our own fishing contest. We really didn’t know how to fish, but it was for bragging rights.” Like many of us, Fred was introduced to competitive bass angling by watching television. It was the likes of Roland Martin, Bill Dance and Jimmy Houston on Saturday morning fishing shows that sparked his interest. The Bassmaster’s was a television show that proved a guy could get paid by going fishing. Roumbanis watched as guys like Rick Clunn and Denny Brauer cashed in on big paydays doing what they love. “In school, if we had a career day or something like that, when they asked us what we wanted to do when we grew up, I always said a professional bass fisherman. They just looked at me and said, that’s not a job.” Now, years later, Mr. Roumbanis can honestly say to those guidance counselors who care to listen, yes Sir, it is indeed a job.

Recently the Roumbanis family has moved to Bixby Oklahoma. Julie’s parents live near there and this will give them a welcomed opportunity to spend time with their Grandson, Jackson. This also places Fred geographically closer to many of the Tournament locations, cutting down on travel time.

Roumbanis considers himself to be a power fisherman, relying heavily upon his confidence techniques of swim baits and a top water frog. He has also proven that he can dangle the finesse baits with the best of them if the conditions call for it. It was a combination of both power and finesse that helped secure his win at High Rock in 2007. The swim bait presentation that Roumbanis had perfected over the years in the deep, clear water lakes of California had proven itself to be lucrative for one other person during the Bassmaster American as well.  Randy Moffitt of Oak Island NC. Was paired with Roumbanis as an observer on day 2 of the Major. The observer that was in the boat with the pro angler that caught the Puralator Big Bass, was to win a fully rigged boat from Triton / Mercury. “I had just put a keeper in the box, I told my observer, let’s go win you a boat.” Roumbanis remarked as he described what happened next. “I picked up the swim bait and started blind casting. I hooked up with a good one and turned to my observer and said, I think I have your boat on the end of my line.” Indeed he did. Roumbanis landed a 6lb 6oz largemouth wining big bass, and earning Moffitt a brand new Triton Boat. Fred’s Power approach to fishing has not gone unnoticed in the fishing tackle industry as well. The Tulsa based, American Eagle fishing rods, has developed a series of three technique specific rods named after Roumbanis. The RoumBasstik series is scheduled to be available to the public soon and features a frog rod, a toad rod and a rod designed for swim baits. I spoke with Roumbanis shortly after he received his rods. “They are awesome. I have already caught 15 bass at a local pond with them, and they are named after me.”  Fred believes that the RoumBasstik series of rods should be available around Classic time but isn’t sure. This year, Fred’s 2008 Triton 20X will be wrapped with the Ima lures logo featuring a picture of the “Roumba” a bait also named after Roumbanis.

          One way to describe Roumbanis is that he is determined. He is an angler that has accomplished more in the last 5 years than many can hope to achieve in a lifetime. From our conversations, I can assume that he has the drive to accomplish much more. He is focused on his goals, plain and simple. So what does the future have in store for Fred Roumbanis? Hopefully it will include great things. The world may have the opportunity to witness one of those great things later this week as the 2008 Bassmaster Classic Champion is crowned. Roumbanis just may be that champion. We will have to wait and see.

 I would like to Thank Fred Roumbanis and family for extending the courtesy to futurebass.com.

 www.swimbaitfred.com

 Fred Roumbanis Sponsors include:                

  • Triton Boats

  • Mercury Motors                          

  • Motorguide

  •  Ima Lures

  • American Eagle Fishing Rod

  • TABU Tackle

  • Reaction Inovations

  • PowerPro

  • P-Line

  • Snag Proof

  • Yakima Baits

  • Elite Bass

  • Zappu