By Wyatt Crosher, Assistant Director of Communications for Student Affairs
When Louis Monetti was about 3 years old, his dad started taking him fishing. Later in middle school, Monetti decided to go bass fishing with some friends, something he did not expect to enjoy.
Instead, Monetti fell in love with it, so much that he decided to compete when he was a teenager. It ultimately led Monetti to choose UNC Charlotte, despite living hours away in Brielle, New Jersey.
"I knew in high school that I wanted to fish for a college team somewhere in the southeast where I can fish 12 months out of the year. I found out that Charlotte had a pretty successful club team, winning the national championship with Andrew Helms and Jake Whitaker in 2014,” Monetti said. “I also saw Charlotte as a solid place that wasn't too far away from home. It seemed to be a great fit, especially with the campus being so close to the city. Having a great business school to have as a backup plan, it was the right fit for me."
Monetti graduated from Charlotte in May with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, marketing. A few months later, Monetti, along with Michael Fugaro, would earn Charlotte’s bass fishing team the Team of the Year honor for the 2022 Strike King Bassmaster College Series. Then, on Oct. 3, Monetti won the Bassmaster College Classic Bracket, taking down Florida Gateway College’s Seth Slanker in the championship.
The Charlotte grad won with a final-day weight of 8 pounds, 13 ounces. At first, Monetti did not think it would be enough to earn a victory.
But Monetti didn’t lose, coming up over a pound ahead of Slanker’s 7 pounds, 11 ounces total. The win earned Monetti a berth into the 2023 Bassmaster Classic, as well as paid entry into all nine of next year’s Bassmaster Opens. Monetti also gets to use a fully rigged Toyota Tundra and nitro boat for a year starting in December.
It was a major moment for Monetti, but not one he was able to properly react to after thinking he fell short.
“This tournament is such a big deal that winners usually get really emotional, but I didn't,” Monetti said. “I think I had emotionally come to terms with the fact that I had lost, so to get back and be smacked in the face with a 'you won' was a truly bizarre experience, but a really special one at the same time."
Monetti’s time at Charlotte is a positive one for more than his experiences fishing. He said the University gave him a new community, which especially helped throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was able to find a new home in the Charlotte area and meet a bunch of cool people. I loved my time on campus,” Monetti said. “It’s been a really great growth period of my life. I really enjoyed being at Charlotte and finding a place where I hope to spend most of, if not all of the rest of my life."
The University also gave Monetti the experience he needs outside of fishing to help make it his full-time job.
"You can't really pursue a fishing career without sponsorships and partnerships with other companies,” Monetti said. “Getting a marketing degree and understanding the business side really helps me navigate all of that.”
Now, newly graduated and newly named a national champion, Monetti is spending the next few months preparing for next year’s tournaments. The ultimate goal from those tournaments, he said, is to qualify for the pro circuit.
Monetti is also getting ready for next year’s Bassmaster Classic, which takes place March 24-26 in Knoxville, Tenn., an event that brings in more than 100,000 fans.
“The Bassmaster Classic is going to be a surreal experience that I don't even know how to prepare for or know what to expect,” Monetti said. “That one, more than anything, I'm just excited to get to."
Photo credit: bassmaster.com