The unlikely angler: Pro fisherman Clay Dyer visits Destin
Even though he was visiting the World's Luckiest Fishing Village, professional fisherman, Clay Dyer, enjoyed his recent vacation in Destin without a single catch.
"My fiancée and I mainly came to relax," said Dyer, who didn’t once toss a line in the water.
Born without any lower limbs, no left arm and only a partial arm on the right, Dyer's dreams of becoming a professional athlete were not likely. Supported by his friends and family, Dyer did not let his physical limitations get in the way of his positive attitude.
"I have always been an avid competitor and I love the outdoors," he said.
While Dyer travels yearly to central Florida for his freshwater fishing competitions, when he stayed at the Pelican Beach Resort in June, it was purely a leisure trip — something he hasn't had the chance to do in years, Dyer said.
Visiting Destin from his home in Hamilton, Ala., Dyer and his fiancée Kim, enjoyed a dolphin cruise, local fare at The Back Porch Seafood and Oyster House and The Crab Trap and even made friends with both residents and tourists.
"We met several wonderful people from all around the country," Dyer said.
Dining at The Crab Trap on one of their last nights in Destin, Dyer made friends with Officer Kelly of the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office.
"He's an outstanding gentleman," Dyer said.
Whatever impact Destin had on the fisherman is almost nothing in comparison to the impact he leaves on others.
Dyer started fishing at the age of five and began competing in tournaments at 15. By 17, he was a professional angler and continued to fish in the Forrest L. Woods (FLW) tour for four years.
"There were a few people that would take a look at me and tell me they thought I was crazy," Dyer said of his pro fishing beginnings.
However, the negativity only made Dyer work harder at achieving his goals.
"When someone tells me 'You can't do this,' I'm going to find a way to get that done and beat the adversity," he said.
Through his determination, he not only became a professional fisherman, but has been a motivational speaker for the past 16 years with his traveling ministry. His personal motto is, "If I can, you can." Testimonials on his website from former president George W. Bush and title winning fisherman Kevin VanDam — to name a few — praise Dyer for his strength and perseverance.
For Dyer, his success was simple.
"If you want to know how to succeed in life, put your faith in God and you will beat that obstacle — and the adversity," he said.
And although this wasn't Dyer's first trip to Destin, it certainly won't be his last.
"We're planning to come back in a couple of months," he said. "We really enjoyed our time here."
Learn more about Dyer and his ministry at claydyer.net