The 2019 Bassmaster Eastern Opens season concluded this past Saturday at Oneida Lake in Syracuse, New York. Like every year, five professional anglers from the pool of hundreds of competitors, get their “major league” call up to the top level of the sport, the Bassmaster Elite Series (featured on ESPN). This season, DuraEdge Pro Destin DeMarion, who would be the sole Pennsylvanian in the 2020 Elite Series field, earned a spot from a schedule that took the competitors from fisheries in Florida, Tennessee, Virginia and New York.
DeMarion, 30, attended Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania where he founded a college bass fishing team his senior year after playing football there as well. He continues to mentor current team members in his spare time. The Gannon team also had a big weekend, qualifying for Nationals in Sandusky, Ohio.
After graduating college, DeMarion began fishing as an amateur in Pro-Am Bassmaster events for four seasons, where he developed many skills and relationships with mentors and friends in the industry. Following his final season as a co-angler (amateur division), an unlikely meeting occurred between him and the President of DuraEdge Products, Grant McKnight. A friend and fellow professional angler ran over the McKnight family’s lawn with his boat trailer. Shortly after the “incident”, a job and sponsorship was forged between the two, the fifth year about to conclude this fall.
While working for DuraEdge, DeMarion, a U.S.C.G. licensed captain and fishing guide, takes DuraEdge customers on bass fishing trips all over the United States, visiting grounds crews from MLB, MiLB and college programs.
After a 2015 Bassmaster Opens rookie season in which DeMarion narrowly missed an Elite Series qualification, he came through at a tough Oneida Lake fishery this season. Qualifying for the Bassmaster Elite Series is considered to be one of the most challenging feats to accomplish in the sport.
“It’s been a pleasure witnessing the hard work and determination put into this journey. I’m just happy to have played a part in helping this come to fruition and I am very proud of Destin. It’s very rare to be that young and to have the willingness to do what it takes to persevere. Our employees and customers have loved having Destin around and our program has gained a nice little following among our industry,” says Grant McKnight.
“It still hasn’t really sunk in yet, I feel like it’s going to take about a week or so to really process it,” says DeMarion. “I couldn’t be any more grateful to my family/wife, McKnight family, entire team at DuraEdge Products and my friends for all the support throughout the years and the sacrifices we have all made.” DeMarion joins a group of four full time touring pros and veterans from the competitor organization, the FLW Tour, to qualify for the 2020 Bassmaster Elite Series this season.