Tanner Deas, Team Eye Strike
Dauphin Island, Alabama
What do you like most about fishing? I love so many things about fishing and what it’s done for me but at the top of the list I’d have to say that I love dialing the fish in, specifically on artificial lures. From learning their biology, how they feed, swim, behave, see and live – there’s nothing like getting those fish down, thinking you learned that bite, then having to do it all over again. It’s so frustrating yet so… obsessive. Like a dare, “I bet you can’t figure me out again” is what I picture them saying to me. I really fell in love with fishing when I was learning about Speckled Trout and really diving in on that species (with my limited experience, I’m still in that process). From learning about their feeding patterns, where they like to be in the water column, theories on proper depths to wade, proper colors, working feed times, changing colors, getting skunked trying to find them, to ripping lips and smashing them I love every bit of it. Speckled Trout are so special and such beautiful fish. There’s nothing I love seeing more than a big Yellow-Mouth-Fang-Donkey shaking her head and showing me that pretty smile, ever since I’ve been hooked. All species and all fish are so amazing, creation is so beautiful and I’m so thankful to be able to experience it and share it too. Feeling that thump, feeling that pull and hearing that drag after you figured out how to get that bite is beyond exhilarating and so satisfying, we all deserve to get that once in our life, I love it.
How did you start fishing? I started fishing years ago as a kid because of my dad, Shane Gilchrist, but fishing wasn’t my own passion until I became older. October 2020 I was involved in a work accident that really changed my life. I found myself in a wheelchair, by the grace of God, pure determination, and an amazing support system, I was able to get back on my feet. Many family members helped take care of me and supported me, my dad said we at the hospital and moved into my home to help as well. As I recovered and got back on my feet I got tired of walking around my apartments to get better so instead started going to my local beach, Dauphin Island, Alabama. As I spent more time on the beach and on the water, I recovered physically and mentally, spending more time with myself than I ever had before. I began fishing and catching more and more; Speckled Trout, Sheepshead, Flounder, Redfish, Spanish Mackerel and other fish caught my heart and before I knew it I was going as much as possible. I started “DauphinIslandFishing” to document my catches for myself and to write about them, little did I know God was leading me down a path that could potentially be a new, life-fulfilling career. I’m excited to see where life takes me and what fishing brings to me next.
What are your other interests? I really enjoy cooking and bringing people together. It’s hard to beat coming together with the people you love and having a good meal together, it feels like such a bonding time to me. Drinks are flowing, conversations are had, acquaintances become friends, people who have never met get to know each other, music is playing, food is coming, people are happy, life is a celebration and one we fail to appreciate regularly. I love to recenter after a long week of fishing by coming together with friends and family to celebrate each others lives, accomplishments, struggles and to lift each other up over a good meal and a house full of love. I also really enjoy Football, both college and NFL seasons are watched at my house but college ball definitely has my heart over the two. Even though I enjoy football and other sports throughout the year, fishing seems to always take priority. I remember a couple Bama games I missed last year due to being on the water and that’s damn near a sin around here… gotta love those fish. I also enjoy music of most genres and dabbled with drums and writing music in my high school and college years, nothing like a great song to resonate with your current feelings and mood as your driving down the road or the water, another hard to beat moment.
What is your favorite Eye Strike product? The Texas Eye jig head (3/0 hook) is my favorite Eye Strike product. I feel as if there’s no other jig on the market like it. The Texas Eye keeps my bait from getting caught in the snags of the oyster bottom, rock beds, shipwrecks, destroyed docks and anything else that could cause a snag. I typically throw a 1/8oz Chartreuse eye jig but vary to the 3/16 and the 1/4 ounce jigs as well. The golden eye jig is also a personal favorite that I feel is a very natural approach, I use it on almost all of my subtle, life-like colored plastics. Even when I’m not covering water with snags I find myself continuing to throw the Texas Eye jig regardless of it not being the most practical use for it. I’ve not noticed any decrease in hook-ups or landed fish due to the jig and I’m absolutely in love with this product. The Trout Eye Finesse Jig Heads (1/0 hook) come in a close second and are frequently used by me as well, if I’ve noticed game fish are biting the tail end of my bait and not getting all the way hooked up sometimes I’ll try the traditional style with the open hook thinking it gives me more of a chance for that fish to get snagged – when I’m in that scenario the Trout Eye Finesse Jig Head is my go-to.
What do most people not know about you? Most people don’t know that I grew up riding horses! Horses were a big part of my childhood, not only did I ride but I also showed horses. From Cross Country jumping to formal dressage to barrel racing, I did it all. I really enjoyed riding, I gained a respect for horses and how beautifully strong they are and the bond that can be created with them. They truly are a special animal. We still have horses on the farm that I interact with and ride once every blue moon but once I got busy with high school, college, and a job I lost time for some of the things I enjoyed, horses being one of them. It’s awesome to be able to tend the horses out at grandmas farm whenever I want to and to have had the experience I did with such amazing animals.
Anything else you’d like to add? In fishing, in life, in all things. Stay positive, stay grounded, establish your faith, lean on your faith, friends, family, spouse, whoever may be there for you. Be humble or be humbled. Appreciate this beautiful thing we call life. Appreciate the earth and the creation and the fish and the beauty that we experience everyday on or off the water. Connect with yourself, the people and things you love and live your life to the fullest. We only do it once and it’s too short and fragile to do it halfway, you owe it to yourself and to those around you to live it to your fullest potential. Even in your lowest moments, know you’re loved, be strong and push through. Show yourself, show others, show the world who you really are. We need you.