When Soddy-Daisy resident Cody Frazier joined BassWhacker Guide Service five years ago, he was just trying to live out his dream of getting to fish for a living by offering guided tours on Chickamauga Lake. The company was based around Lake Guntersville in northern Alabama, and Frazier helped BassWhacker break into Tennessee with his knowledge of Scenic City waters.
In the wake of owner Jonathan Henry's cancer diagnosis, though, Frazier has stepped up to ensure his friend's small business doesn't crumble.
BassWhacker has formally relocated to Soddy-Daisy and Frazier is now a first-time business owner.
"If I didn't step up, we were worried it would diminish to nothing," Frazier said of the business, which opened in 2011. "None of us wanted that to happen."
Frazier has been a mainstay in the Chattanooga fishing community for years. He grew up fishing in Lakesite, and Henry initially brought him on for his knowledge of Chickamauga Lake. But owning a business, even one that capitalizes on a passion that's become second nature, comes with a learning curve, and getting everything right the first time is one of his goals.
"There's paperwork and startup costs, and getting everything in order took a bit longer than I thought," Frazier said. "I want to do everything the right way."
That meant getting not only the state-required license for his guides, but also a U.S. Coast Guard captain's license and liability insurance for BassWhacker's boats and employees.
In addition, he's had to find a new guide to take his place on Chickamauga Lake. Dillon Falardeau, a former member of the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga bass fishing team, is stepping in to offer his expertise.
Frazier said the company's focus will stay on Chickamauga Lake for the moment, considering the wealth of bass fishing there, but his goal is to grow BassWhacker with Falardeau's help.
"I want to have these guys fishing every day, if possible," Frazier said of the company's how many guides throughout the region. "We brought them on full time for a reason."
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