By Loretta Gillespie
The Cullman Times
For Wesley Sams, any day spent on the lake or the river is a good one. A fisherman since he was just a little kid tagging along after his dad, Roger Sams, he took to fishing like, well, like a fish to water.
Sams graduated from Cullman High School in 2001, then went to Wallace State Community College on an academic scholarship. While there he walked on and was chosen for a position on Coach Dale Seale’s basketball team. He graduated with an associate’s degree in drafting in 2003, then went back for another associate’s degree in business management.
Sams took a part-time job with his dad’s employer, Pepsi Cola. It wasn’t long until he was on a full-time route supervisor’s position.
On June 2, 2007, he married the former Brittany Freeman. The couple has a son, Brenten, 19 months, and a baby due in September. Brittany teaches 11th grade biology at West Point.
Wes’s favorite place to be, after church and being with his family, is fishing. “My dad started taking me with him when I was just a little boy,” Sams recalled. “Later, he would take me to a tournament every weekend.”
It really started with his grandfather, James Wesley Sams, of Spring Hill. “It was just sort of a family tradition,” explained Sams. “Spending time on the water with them was priceless. When we started entering tournaments and winning, it just added fuel to the fire,” he said.
Every weekend the Sams men are on the water. “Most of the time we fish Smith Lake and Lake Guntersville,” he said, “But we do go further sometimes. We figure that if we break even on our gas, food and a place to stay, we’ve done good.”
But winning money is even nicer. He has won up to $2,000 for doing what he loves — fishing. They hit the water in a 2006 519 Ranger, and stay from safe daylight until around 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
They are always extremely safety coconscious. “We wear our life preservers, use our running lights if it’s dark, and are always aware of our surroundings,” he emphasized.
That awareness includes knowing their distance from other boats and taking note of any floating objects in the water, which can be anything from a log to a loose dock.
They fish for largemouth bass. Wesley has landed an 8-pound, 6-ounce largemouth, but hasn’t beaten his dad’s best catch, which was an 11-pound whopper.
They both have a passion for fishing tournaments. “It’s partly because we are hooked on the competition,” he laughed. But another reason he enjoys this pastime so much is that he is getting to spend it with his dad. “Spending a day on the river with Dad is something you can’t put a price on,” he said. “I learned that from my grandfather, who also told me that I would learn more from them than from any book I’d ever read, and I have.”
He encourages everyone who is interested in fishing to enter the Ryan’s Creek Baptist Church Bass Tournament on May 12, at Smith Lake Park.
“This will be a really good tournament,” he said. “All the prize money is donated, and it’s free to enter. The goal of this tournament is to get people to hear the Gospel. Everyone who enters is required to attend church services the Sunday prior to the tournament (May 6). They have to be at that service in order to be eligible,” he explained.
The Sams attend Bethlehem West Missionary Baptist Church, near West Point. Wesley says that it is his goal to see his children grow up and be saved, and to be the most excellent husband, father, son, and friend that he can be.