Professional Anglers Visit With Fans Before FLW

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) – Hundreds of professional anglers will compete in the Walmart Fishing League Worldwide tournament next weekend on Beaver Lake.

Some of those anglers visited Northwest Arkansas Saturday (April 18).

Walmart shoppers in Fayetteville, Springdale, Bentonville and Rogers were greeted by the anglers. They gave away prizes, signed autographs and informed fans about next weekend’s competition.

Nicole Jacobs is one of three females competing next weekend.

“My mission is simple -- it's to empower others to follow their passions through faith and fishing," Jacobs said.

She’s from Minnesota and she's played sports her whole life. In just a few days, she will compete with hundreds of other anglers on the lake.

"This is my first year on tour -- I’m a rookie this year. I fish as a co-angler...we fish off the back of the boat. I consider myself a 'pro-in-training' -- hopefully to be a pro someday,” she said.

Before she was a “pro in training,” Jacobs learned the basics from her dad. He died of cancer in 2012.

"Fishing is a very sacred time for me…I always had that time with my dad. I really fueled my career to honor his life. And so it's really my time with my dad and God on the water,” she said.

Anglers at a Walmart in Fayetteville said the sport of fishing is for anyone.

"It doesn't matter if you're young or old, male or female, black or white -- fish don't discriminate. It’s you against the fish at the end of the day. And anybody can enjoy fishing,” Jacobs said.

“It’s a really good thing to do, spend time in the outdoors, not on TV or video games. And just enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer. Just start simple -- catch a fish and you'll be hooked,” professional angler Cody Meyer said.

Jacobs is also one of three competitors who are sponsored by Walmart, a partner of the FLW.

It all kicks off on Thursday at Beaver Lake and goes all weekend (April 23-26), ending with a free concert on Sunday.