Jana Beck brings home the bacon so husband Mickey can bring home the bass.
As Mickey recalls, the arrangement went something like this:
“Honey, I’m turning my business over to you. You run it; I’m going fishing.”
“That’s about how it went,” says Mickey, founder and owner of Lebanon-based Micktel Telecommunications, who asked his wife Jana to oversee the business while he pursues his dream of fishing professionally.
“She said she was fine with it,” Mickey says. “She knew this is something I’d always wanted to do, and she told me to go for it. I knew the business would be in good hands. That was five months ago, and so far, everything has gone smoothly.”
“Mickey worked hard to build the business and had it in good shape, so I didn’t mind running it,” Jana says. “I told him if I need him I’ll call him, and so far I haven’t had to call.”
Mickey, a native of La Vergne, moved to Lebanon 12 years ago, attracted by the quality of area schools (they have two sons) and growing business opportunities. But while his mind was on telecommunications, his heart was on the water.
Mickey says he inherited his competitive fishing spirit from his mom.
“When I was a little kid she’d take me fishing and do some trash-talking,” he says with a chuckle. “She’d kid me about catching more fish or bigger fish than I did. Now I’m the same way. I tell my mom I got it from her.”
During his years of fishing various pro circuits – American Bass Anglers, FWL, Military Trails and local competitions – Mickey has fared well. His biggest payday was three years ago when he collected a $19,000 first-place prize in a one-day tournament.
Last week he teamed with another fisherman to win the Sgt. Daniels Benefit Bass Tournament on Kentucky Lake. That tournament was a Military Trails event to benefit fallen soldiers and law enforcement officers. Mickey, a four-year veteran of the 101st Airborne, says such events are special to him.
Next on his schedule are tournaments in South Carolina and Missouri, in addition to some local events on Old Hickory and Percy Priest lakes.
“There’s good money to be made in pro fishing, but it’s like anything else, you have to put in the time and really work at it,” he says. “That’s the key – having the time to devote to it. You can’t just go out on a weekend now and then, throw a bait in the water, and expect to compete with these guys.
“That’s why is was so important for Jana to run our business; it frees me up to fish full-time. I’ve also got some great sponsors, like Two Rivers Ford, that help out. I’m fortunate to have a lot of support, from my wife to my sponsors.”
Mickey says some of his toughest tournament competition is home-grown – semi-pro Lebanon fishermen such as Drew Boggs, Daniel Johnson, Tony Eckler, Joey Mallicoat and the Drennon brothers, Buster, Jason and Michael.
“There are some really good fishermen from here,” Mickey says. “That’s good – competing against each other makes us all better fishermen.”
A competitive spirit, tough competition and a supportive wife – that combination could take Mickey to the top.