SAN MARCOS, Texas — Whether standing in a boat on the lake or standing on the mound at a baseball diamond, Matthew Nicholas is always up for the challenge of his two favorite sports.
Nicholas is a relief pitcher for the Texas State baseball team, which is on the cusp of securing its first regional NCAA spot since 2011. The redshirt junior has appeared in more than 50 games during of his career with the Bobcats.
“Baseball, you basically live on failure. Fishing is the same way. You do 1,000 casts a day, you might catch 10 fish,” Nicholas said.
Fishing isn’t just a hobby for Nicholas either. He has worked as a fishing guide for the past two summers on the Choke Canyon Reservoir in South Texas.
“It’s one of the funniest times I’ve ever had. You meet new people every day from all over the world,” said Nicholas. “There’s nothing more fun than being able to not only teach them, but also put them on some fish.
The thrill of catching fish runs in the family. Nicholas grew up watching his father fish saltwater derbies in the gulf.
“I always made the trip to see him weigh in, even though I couldn’t go see him catch the fish. I wanted to see what he could catch that day,” Nicholas said.
He started fishing competitively in high school at New Braunfels Christian Academy. As a junior, he teamed with Chase Hux to win the Texas state title in 2015.
“If it wasn’t for baseball, I’d probably still be fishing in college,” Nicholas said.
The pitching career also went well. Nicholas became a reliable arm in the Bobcats bullpen after switching to a handgun delivery.
“I was one of those guys who was on the chopping block. I didn’t know if I was going to make the team my third year here,” Nicholas said. “Making that adjustment and going to play summer ball, it was really a game-changer for me.
Now it’s baseball tickling its competitive itch. Fishing with your teammates provides a break from the daily grind.
“Normally during the season we have about one day off a week,” Nicholas said. “It’s a little more stressful than baseball. You bring buddies there and if they don’t bite, it’s all up to you. You have to go find them.
Tristan Stivors and Zeke Wood are his usual fishing buddies, although Nicholas said there’s a waiting list of guys who are ready to put a line in the water when a spot opens up.
“It’s always a great stress reliever whenever you get away from baseball,” Stivors said. “The outdoors definitely brought us together. Last summer we went fishing a bunch at Choke [Canyon] then also during the Christmas holidays. It’s great to spend time with him. »
It’s even better when the fish bite.
“I love coming here and creating my own story,” Nicholas said. “Every fish is a reward. And every second you’re here is spending time with your friends trying to catch fish.