With temperatures dipping as low as 40 and 50 degrees in rural Tennessee 10-year old Darrell Anders would head toward his neighbors house between 4 and 5 a.m. and await Austin Emerson's arrival in his old pickup truck.
Emerson would drive his nephew Houston and Anders, the future Newton County Sheriff's deputy to nearby lakes, cow ponds and the Tennessee River where they would fish throughout the day. The young duo would reel in catfish, blue gill and bass.
Anders love of fishing was hard to quell, no matter how hard the locals would try.
"Every summer we would go fishing, catch the fish and my mom aunt would cook them up for us," said Anders of his fishing origins. "There were even times when this old guy would come out and blast his shot gun a couple of times and run us off. (My cousin and I) would run over the barb wire away from the ponds through the fields."
In the rivers, lakes and ponds of Tennessee Anders would not only find hundreds of hours of pleasure but also hone the skills that would go on to make him the back-to-back Metro Atlanta Hawg Hunters Angler of the Year.
"That's how I started," Anders said. "I'm going to fish till the day I die."
Anders, who left Tennessee for the Navy, retired to Newton County after 22 years of service and is now in his capacity of sheriff's deputy since 1998. Though he left the areas near the Tennessee River Anders never stopped fishing.
In Newton County Anders bought a boat and joined the 40-member strong Hawg Hunters, which he has been a part of for the last 14 years. For as long as he has been a member of the club only one man was named angler of the year in back-to-back years.
No one has ever received the award in three consecutive years. That's Anders goal now as he currently sits well ahead in points for the club's top honor.
"I'm going to keep on going until December," Anders said. "I'm planning on three-peating on them."
Anders wouldn't share all the secrets behind his run to an unprecedented third-straight Angler of the Year award but he did say that it helps to know the areas you're fishing.
"I've been fishing these lakes for at least 13 years, and I know where the fish are biting," Anders said.
He also mixes plastic worms on a Shaky Head Hook with a line that he felt was the secret to his success. That success was proven three weeks ago when he won $700 for first place in a tournament at Lake Hartwell.
The victory brought Anders yet another plaque, which serves as almost a wooden wallpaper spreading throughout his den.
"I've got them all over the wall in my den," Anders said. "Every time you win you get a little plate to put on a plaque. You can get 16 plates on a plaque, and I've got six or seven of them now."
Even though Anders racks up plates like a stocker at Macy's he is eager for another trophy, and what comes with it.
"I'm going to get my picture in the paper and then try to three-peat," he said.