Keeton Susong has quite a fish story to tell — and pictures to prove it.
The Bearden High School Class of 2014 graduate recently received regional recognition for a 28-pound monster freshwater drum he caught in Middle Tennessee, where he now resides.
A lifelong avid fisherman, Susong was hoping to catch trout in Caney Fork River — one of his favorite fishing spots — when he hooked the drum.
“I caught it in a setup that was equipped for trout — tiny swimbait and a 6-pound line, so you could say catching this was quite a shock,” he shared in an e-mail.
“I fought this fish for around 20 minutes as I tried to make my way to land. I have a sit-in kayak and I knew the second I hooked into the fish, that this was a fight I wasn’t going to win on the water.”
After landing it, he immediately “measured and weighed it, so I could submit it to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency,” he said, noting it was the first freshwater drum he had ever caught, and at 37.25 inches, was just 2 inches shy of the Tennessee state record.
Catching it in the Caney Fork River “makes it even more impressive because you typically find these in massive lakes,” he said, adding he released the fish after measuring it.
For now, fishing is a hobby. But Susong, son of Randy and Corry Susong of West Knoxville, would love to make a career out of his past-time.
“I have always loved to fish,” he said. “I have photo albums dating back from childhood to now, with pictures of the fish I’ve caught and where I caught them.”
A sports background led Susong to major in exercise science with a minor in marketing. “When I moved to Murfreesboro” to attend Middle Tennessee State University, “I needed something to take my mind off of school, and used it as a way to meet new people and get outdoors,” he said. “It was a fun way to explore a new city and find outdoor trails, rivers and dams.”
He keeps many of his favorite fishing spots “secret,” but said Caney Fork River is one of his favorite spots “just because of the diversity of the fish that live in it.
Though looking into eventually becoming a fishing guide, “There are some rivers near me in Murfreesboro, but sadly people do not treat it correctly and trash it, so the fishing is not very good,” Susong added.
The Bearden graduate has parlayed his hobby into a thriving You Tube Channel: “Scar Fishing,” so named “because I’ve always been intrigued with the markings/scars that you see on fish. It tells the story of what they’ve been through, similar to us.”
He said he started it a year ago “as a way to just remember all my crazy fishing trips and legendary fish, and then I realized how much I not only enjoyed catching the fish, but also the videography and editing piece.”
When he’s not in search of his next big catch, Susong also enjoys spending time with his fiancée, Charlotte Bunting.