Setting Goals Gets MAXimum Results for Young Anglers

You’re never too young to know your calling and start setting goals for yourself, and Max Plemmons is proof of that. His dad and grandpa started teaching him about hunting and fishing at a very young age and he shot his first deer at six years old. Max continues to enjoy hunting recreationally, but Jeremy and Amanda Plemmons learned quickly that fishing was their son’s biggest passion – and they knew it was going to have a major impact on his life. 

It’s been said that it’s important to write down your goals, and Max did just that. On his first day of preschool, he publicly stated his goal of becoming a professional fisherman, and he’s been working toward that goal ever since. 

Max celebrates his second birthday the best way he knew how.
Max celebrates his second birthday the best way he knew how.

It was around that same time that four-year-old Max started developing his business sense as well. His dad recalls the day Max proudly walked up to him with plastic worms in a sandwich bag. He had written out his own label that displayed the name Maximum’s Baits. A very confident Max showed his young entrepreneurial spirit when he told them about his new business idea-and nobody was challenging this determined kid. 

Fast forward a few years, and his dad opened a company that sells custom weights. The name he chose… you guessed it – Maximum Baits. Max may not be running the company at the moment, but he wears the name proudly as one of his tournament sponsors. This business minded young man told me that continuing to develop sponsors is another goal of his, and he has also received sponsorships from MMA Fishing Rods and Backwoods Custom Jigs.

Max showing his catch after a day at Lake Guntersville, Alabama.
Max showing his catch after a day at Lake Guntersville, Alabama.

This budding angler continued to grow his skills over the years as he fished with his dad and grandpa, but he anxiously awaited 6th grade-that was when he could finally start fishing competitively in junior tournaments. He worked hard and surpassed that goal. Not only did he get into the tournament scene that year, but he also made it to the TBF Junior World Championship in Quad City, Illinois and ended up finishing 8th in the world. It hasn’t been his last trip to the championship either-his list of tournament achievements is mind blowing-especially for someone his age. 

His dad is an avid angler also and is no stranger to the tournament scene in his own right. His love and support for Max is evident, and although he continues to be astounded by what his son does on the water, he shared with me that the tournament scene has had positive impacts on Max on a deeper level as well. “I’ve seen him participating in these tournaments, and I’ve seen how they’ve helped him grow as a young man. They’ve helped him mature and set goals for himself. I’m proud to see him find ways to meet those goals on his own.” 

Max’s dad, Jeremy (left) and his grandpa, Wayne, have been strong influences on Max, and got him started fishing.
Max’s dad, Jeremy (left) and his grandpa, Wayne, have been strong influences on Max, and got him started fishing.

For Max, goals are an important part of his success. He has a long term goal of making it to the Bassmaster Elite Series, but also has plans to attend the University of Montevallo and major in business. His goal is that fishing will help get him there. His dad told me the level of tournaments available for youth now is just not something that existed when he grew up, saying “It’s unbelievable what the trails have to offer for these kids now-there’s so many scholarships that are available.”

Max is a nineth grader at Plainview High School in Rainsville, Alabama, and is still a few years away from college. However, he’s already had the opportunity to be mentored by college anglers. He fished the Logan Parks Fishing Chaos Tournament last year in their inaugural event in Auburn, AL. In this unique tournament, a college and a high school angler are paired up to fish together. There is an official draft, and the college anglers select their high school partners. It was a great day on the water, and Max and his partner finished 2nd. His enthusiasm couldn’t be contained when he was telling me about his experience in that tournament. “I learned a lot from fishing with the college angler. He especially taught me a lot about staying focused.”

Max has many awards to show for his efforts-including two Angler of the Year awards.
Max has many awards to show for his efforts-including two Angler of the Year awards.

Max plans to continue to fish in this special tournament and take advantage of learning from those who are a few years ahead of him. His goal is to also fish in the tournament when he is in college and then be able to mentor another high school student. In the meantime, he has advice to share with younger anglers just getting started- “Just stick with it. Don’t get discouraged, and keep your head up. Always go into the next tournament with a good mindset and try your hardest.” 

Max encourages others to make goals for themselves, and has a few short term goals for himself. He’s won the TBF state angler of the year twice for the junior division, and came in third in the senior division this year. He hopes to take the top spot next year. He also set a goal to make it back to the national and world championship. Max qualified for the 2024 High School National Championship Tournament by finishing in the top 10% of participating teams in the February 2024 Student Angler Federation (SAF) Alabama State Tournament. In conjunction with the High School National Championship tournament, Max will participate in the High School World Finals tournament. These tournaments will be held this summer at Lake Hartwell in Anderson, SC. 

Max is an inspiration to us all, and has a growing number of fans in the fishing industry. Jim Sparrow is the President of Alabama Bass Federation and has known Max for years. He said, “I’ve witnessed him develop into an outstanding high school angler- always displaying a positive and helpful outlook.” 

In addition to being goal focused, Max believes that being humble and having a good attitude is important in fishing. Even with his impressive credentials, he admits that he has his less successful days on the water too, and told us, “It happens, that’s just fishing. Dad says it’s called fishing-not catching. If I’m not catching fish that day, well the Lord just didn’t want me to catch fish that day.” Luckily the Lord is blessing him with many more good days on the water than bad though-and we can’t wait to see him reach his goal of making it to the Bassmaster Elite Series. 

Brandy is a contributing journalist for several online and print publications and is a member of Outdoor Writers Association of America. She also holds roles as a news reporter for an Orlando based radio station, works for a tourism technology company, and owns and operates OutdoorTravelWriter.com. Based in Florida, she enjoys hiking, kayaking, paddleboarding, fishing, metal detecting, birding, and traveling.

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