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Maintenance Super reels in $10,000

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Timothy R. Capling
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
For many Tyndall Air Force Base Airmen, fishing is a popular hobby because of the many bodies of water in Bay County. 

An Airman in the 325th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron has taken fishing to a whole new level and earned a substantial amount of money participating in a hobby he loves. 

Master Sgt. Greg Auzenne, production supervisor with the maintenance squadron, recently won $10,000 for taking second place as a co-angler in the Wal-Mart Forrest L. Wood Tour Beaver Lake bass fishing tournament. 

In April, Sergeant Auzenne also earned $900 while competing in a FLW  Tour event at Lake Norman, N.C. His next tournament is scheduled for June 19 at the Tellico Lakes, Tenn.

If he finishes in 44th place or better in the point standings for the circuit, Sergeant Auzenne will qualify for the national championship tournament at Lake Murray, S.C., in August where he will have a chance to win the $50,000 grand prize.

Tournaments are divided into two divisions, professional and co-angler.

Sergeant Auzenne said the pros show up to tournaments before the co-anglers to scout where they plan to fish for the week. For the tournament, each pro is paired with a co-angler and the two fish together on the pro's boat. They don't compete with or against each other, but in their own separate divisions. Each day every pro is paired with a new co-angler.

After the first two days of the tournament, the top 10 co-anglers with the best five-fish limit weight go onto the third day of the tournament to compete for the top prize.

Sergeant Auzenne has his daily tournament schedule planned to the minute, from his meals to equipment preparation. He said he wakes up around 4:30 a.m. to prepare to start fishing by 7:30 a.m. and finishes by 4 p.m.

"I'll call whatever pro I'm fishing with the next day the night before, and find out where we're going to fish, and based on that and the weather forecast, I'll prepare four rods and reels each night," Sergeant Auzenne  said. "Generally, I'm up until about 11 p.m. every night getting my gear rigged."

The sergeant grew up in Lake Charles, La., and learned to fish when he was 8 years old. He's been competing in local fishing tournaments for ten years, but this is his first year on the national circuit. He said when he was a kid he would have never imagined he would be winning money from fishing.

"One word for the money in FLW is 'crazy'," said Sergeant Auzenne. "We're talking $1.2 million purses in each tournament including pros and co-anglers. The pro that wins the championship in August, will win a million dollars."

Eventually Sergeant Auzenne hopes to retire from the Air Force and continue to compete on the circuit as a professional.

"I have 19 years in the Air Force this year," the sergeant said. "I'm not looking to retire soon, but I want to get my feet wet in the bass fishing circuit. If I can make money on it, then at least I'll know when I retire I can feel comfortable going pro and making some money."

He said his Air Force career has helped him with his fishing.

"The Air Force has helped me with adaptability," he said. "Some guys on the circuit will find one method during a tournament and stick to it the entire time. My training in the Air Force has taught me to adapt accordingly to the conditions I'm faced with."

At Tyndall, Sergeant Auzenne provides oversight and logistic support to the aircraft maintenance units and he is a crew chief by trade.

"A professional Airman like Master Sgt. Greg Auzenne strives for perfection, both on and off duty," said Maj. Matt Reynolds, 325th AMXS maintenance operations officer. "As a squadron production supervisor, he is constantly challenged coordinating aircraft maintenance issues and resolving difficult problems and has a particular knack for not letting a problem sit idle. His tenacity at his job obviously carries over to tournament fishing. No matter what the issue is -- bad weather, equipment problems, difficult location, he'll find a way to push through until the solution is found."