When the two Kentucky Wildcats football sophomores went bass fishing with “Kentucky Afield” host Chad Miles on a pond in southern Fayette County in early June while filming an episode of the outdoors TV show that will appear on KET Aug. 26 at 8:30 p.m., they both say Young had the better day.
“My best catch of the summer, you can actually see on ‘Kentucky Afield,’” Young said. “It was a little over six pounds. Not a bad bass.”
Acknowledges Daniel: “It was a really solid fish.”
But Daniel says Young’s success pond fishing should not be interpreted as definitive proof the UK offensive tackle from Lafayette High School is a better overall fisherman than is he.
“(Young’s) a pond guy,” says Daniel, a UK linebacker who was Kentucky’s 2015 Mr. Football at Paintsville High School. “I’m more of a lake guy. That’s two different things.
“It’s like we got coming up, (Conor) McGregor vs. (Floyd) Mayweather. You’ve got a boxer (Mayweather), you’ve got an MMA fighter (McGregor). Well, (Young) is the MMA fighter, I’m the boxer. I’m going to win (in a fishing contest) on the lake. (Young) comes to play my game, I am going to win on the lake.”
College athletes at the level Daniel and Young are at — Southeastern Conference football players — are under ample pressure to produce on the field, obviously. They face college academic demands, too. That’s why it is such a valuable life asset for them to have something that can serve as a release from day-to-day stress.
A pair of Kentucky outdoorsmen, Daniel and Young have that outlet in fishing.
Over the summer, “I definitely did plenty of quality fishing,” Young says.
Last year, during his true freshman season at UK, Daniel said he tried to build a day of fishing into his weekly routine.
“I would try to go home Saturday night after the game or wake up early Sunday morning and go home,” Daniel said. “Just go out and fish, get out on the water and put the past week behind you, win or lose, and decompress for a couple of hours. Then come back (to Lexington) and do it all again. I’m going to try to do that again this season coming up.”
You can see why the two UK sophomores were attractive guests for “Kentucky Afield,” the long-running (since 1953) outdoors TV program produced by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife.
According to publicist Mark Marraccini, each of the UK football players successfully caught fish during filming for the show. In addition to Young’s 5 1/2 to 6-pound bass, Daniel took a 3 1/2 to 4 pound bass.
Both of the fishermen are important to UK’s 2017 football fortunes. With the season-ending knee injury suffered by Cole Mosier, Young is expected to be UK’s starting left offensive tackle.
After making 19 tackles last season as a true freshman, Daniel is expected to log more snaps in the coming year behind starting middle linebacker Courtney Love.
Besides fishing, the two UK players also talk about going through the college football recruiting process and playing in the SEC on “Kentucky Afield.”
“It was very interesting,” Young says of the day of filming. “It was probably the best day of fishing I had (all summer).”
That, of course, gives Young bragging rights over Daniel.
“He gives it to me pretty bad,” Daniel says of the fishing smack talk. “Look, come out on a boat on a lake, it’s a different ballgame. You got to know if there (are) river currents, river channels, depth, all that stuff. You can’t get that on ponds.”
Goodnatured back and forth aside, Daniel says fishing has cemented a connection with Young that transcends sports.
“Landon has the same interests I do,” Daniel says. “Just a country boy who likes to fish. Loves football. You get a lot of things in common with a guy like that, (add) how good a character he has about himself. He’s going to be a really good friend of mine for the rest of my life.”
That doesn’t slow down the fishing trash talk at all.
Says Daniel: “Landon Young, I’m coming for you.”