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Published March 31, 2024

Angling Ambition

Written by
Kim Fundingsland
| The Dakotan

A Slice of Life

He’s been in the fishing tackle business for 14 years, yet he’s only 22 years old.

Peter Olson of Washburn grew up in a family with a love of all things outdoors – fishing, hunting, camping. He started making his own fishing lures at age 8 and still does today operating Missouri Secrets Tackle. It’s a small business in the competitive fishing tackle world, but it has spurred him towards a goal to succeed in the fishing industry.

“Getting paid to go fish? Unless something is wrong with you, you can’t complain about that,” remarked Olson.

Today Olson works at tackle and bait shops, a perfect environment for learning and gaining experience about all things fishing. Olson loves talking fishing, particularly explaining to others what he has learned from countless hours on the water and at the lure-making table.

“The best way to learn something is to teach it,” says Olson. “Especially to people who have never fished or don’t fish much at all.”

Olson regards visiting with other fishermen, regardless of their experience on the water, as learning opportunities. He shares his knowledge but listens intently to others about how they approach the sport and what they have learned with rod and reel in hand.

“You better yourself,” explained Olson. “I’m trying to learn and understand how everything in the fishing industry works.”

Al and Ron Lindner of Minnesota are credited with advancing many fishing techniques in the country today. Their fishing magazines and television shows helped vault the fishing industry into the monster it is today. Like so many anglers, young and old, Olson was a devout follower of the leaders in the fishing industry.

“I grew up watching Al and Ron Lindner on TV and reading In-Fisherman magazine,” said Olson. “The first time I met Al Lindner in person I was shaking like a leaf on a windy day. It was a dream come true. We toured Lindner Productions in Brainerd, Minnesota. Unbelievable what that group of guys has done. They were ground zero in the fishing industry.”

Olson has never forgotten his first visit with the Lindners, especially their attention to minute details that can make or break success on the water or in the industry. He has aspirations of follwoing in their footsteps, finding niche in the fishing world.

“As of right now, my end goal is to become a Bassmaster angler. That is my dream,” said Olson. “Right now, I’m going where the wind takes me.”

While Olson recognizes Bassmaster anglers as a very elite and limited group, he is confident his growing knowledge of fishing and of how the fishing industry works gives him another step up on the ladder leading to a successful career in which to pursue his passion for all things fishing.

“There’s a lot of different directions to go. Infinite, really,” said Olson. “A lot of the guys at the highest level of tournament fishing don’t make a living at it. Very few have ever done that. Their money flow comes from working with partners and sponsors.”

Olson has fished several Badlands Bass Bandits tournaments in North Dakota along with his father, J

Geremy, and done well. It’s a long way from the professional level but is a valuable learning experience for Olson.

Peter Olson, left, and father Geremy. (Photo: submitted)

“When you have a group like the Bass Bandits willing to help each other and get along, things go better each and every way,” explained Olson, adding, “You do need to fail in order to succeed. Sometimes you do something well and you get content, but you have to change that monthly, weekly, daily. That applies to business too. It’s all about adjustment, figuring out what you need to change, what you should stop doing and start doing.”

Fishing among the upper echelons of tournament anglers is rare, even for the most promising young anglers in the country. It’s a goal for Olson, but he knows the odds are long. However, he says it puts him on a path to keep him involved in fishing.

“Careerwise, I’m still trying to figure out what I truly want to do. I know I want to be in the fishing industry somehow because that is my passion. Fishing is what I believe, whether or not as a tournament angler,” said Olson. “If I find something that works for me, that’s what I’m going to do. If it benefits my family and me, I’ll know I’m on the right track.”

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