Bass fishing is Kash Daniel’s ‘getaway’

Photo provided by Kash Daniel.

Erika Bonner

A certain Eastern Kentuckian’s official title has temporarily changed from “Kash Daniel the Kentucky Linebacker” to “Kash Daniel the Kentucky Bass Fisherman.”

On Jan. 9, Daniel announced via Twitter that he’s officially a new member of the UK bass fishing team, saying he’s “looking forward to being able to fish some good tournaments this year.” The UK junior said he’s been fishing for a long time and joining a team is something he’s always wanted to do, but since his life has been so filled with football since he’s been in college, it’s taken him a few years to free up his schedule with enough time to join. Since Daniel graduates in December after the 2019 football season, this spring is his last opportunity to be a part of the school’s bass fishing team. However, football is still the linebacker’s number one priority.

“I get to fish on Kentucky Lake on March 10th I think, or March 12th, and then spring ball is all the way through April 14th and I’ll try to fish as many tournaments after that as I can,” Daniel said. “But within this whole thing, you know, football still comes first and everything. This is just something I can do whenever I can.”

The Paintsville, Kentucky, native has been competitive fishing with his dad for as long as he can remember and recalls eventually going by himself to his local hometown tournaments when he was 14 or 15. For him, it’s something he can be competitive with while also using it as his getaway. He said he has so many “best days” bass fishing that he can’t pick just one.

“Any time I go to Lake Guntersville in Alabama, I feel like I do really good down there. Or anywhere in Florida. So, I like to stick to the southeast to fish,” Daniel said.

Daniel has two specific hotspots in his home state that he enjoys going to the most: Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley.

“And everybody goes out there, no matter what time of year it is, it could be a winter bite, spring bite, or a summer bite and people are still catching really good, quality fish off those ledges or up shallow, anywhere you want to go,” he said.

Some might think the first letter of each word is the only thing fishing and football have in common, but Daniel said they actually have many similarities. He explained that in both, you’re doing everything you can to win, and each one takes a specific set of skills to be good at them.

“It’s like knowing your opponent, you’ve got to know what the fish are doing just like you’ve got to know what your opponents are doing,” Daniel said. “If they’re going to be running the ball or passing the pall. You’ve got to know if the fish are going to be biting in the morning or the evening, or if it’s going to be a crankbait or a jig bite, you never know.”

If you’ve watched Daniel play football, seen his pre-game huddle speeches, or more recently, his pep talk in UK Football’s newest hype video that aired during the Super Bowl, you know that his intensity is through the roof and he’s nothing short of passionate. However, the linebacker wouldn’t describe himself that way when he’s on the water.

“I’m pretty calm out there. I usually like to just go out when I’m fun-fishing by myself just because I like being out there just myself and not have to worry about my phone buzzing 24/7,” Daniel said. “I don’t have any cell phone service anyway, so it’s just me out there. But I still get pretty amped up, very excited if I get a good one so don’t think I don’t get excited.”

Daniel said it’s been a fun experience getting accustomed to new teammates, meeting new people with the same interests as him and talking with others about how they got into fishing. According to him, there’s no such thing as building too many relationships.

It isn’t always easy to make a name for yourself coming from a small, Eastern Kentucky mountain town, but when Daniel looks back on his life, he sees a kid with dreams and goals, and he said he feels fortunate that he’s getting the opportunity to reach them. He wants the same for “kids back home,” and hopes to show them what can happen when you work hard and keep your head straight.

“That’s what I hope out of everything that comes with this, football or bass fishing, whatever it is, is that no matter what you do, no matter where you’re from, no matter where you come from, it’s possible and you can do anything you ever want to if you put your mind to it and work hard for it,” Daniel said.

Getting to wear Kentucky across his chest while both on the gridiron and as he casts a fishing pole into the water is special to number 56 in more ways than just one.

“It’s cool, I get to represent my state and my school in another way than besides, you know, trying to run through somebody’s face,” Daniel joked. “It’s a pretty cool feeling.”