SHELBY COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — University of Montevallo bass fishing angler Easton Fothergill has been competing in fishing tournaments since he was six years old.

Fothergill was crowned the 2023 Bassmaster College Classic Bracket champion in October, but his career reeled in an unexpected catch in August.

“I had terrible headaches getting out the water, and I have terrible headaches all the time and didn’t really think much of it,” Fothergill said. “The next morning, I woke up and it was the most unbearable pain I ever felt, and I was actually at a tournament when that happened, and I ended up taking ibuprofen all week and ended up getting through the week.”

Fothergill said he went to the hospitals after the headaches continued. Doctors told him he had a mass on his brain, and he had to have surgery immediately. But he didn’t let this obstacle stop him from doing what he loved.

“It was about three weeks I was back on the water,” Fothergill said. “It took about two and a half weeks to get cleared and about five days after I got cleared, I was back on the water.”

The bass fishing angler said doctors said he has fully healed. He has learned a valuable lesson from this experience.

“Every sunrise I see, I will take it for what it is worth,” Fothergill said. “Every day on the water, I will never take for granted here on out. Anything from life I’ve learned it can change with a snap of a finger so experience anything for all it’s worth and just take everything in as you go through life.”

Fothergill said he plans to continue competing in collegiate and professional fishing tournaments in spring 2024.