Mel Poveromo had two passions – dentistry and fishing. Though, he made his views crystal clear only the former was a legitimate career; one he pushed both his sons to pursue.
So, naturally, his older son, George, opted for the latter.
To be fair, pursuing a career in fishing wasn’t actually the plan for George. Honestly, he didn’t really have a plan. He just knew that from the first moment his dad took him fishing as a young child, catching tiny grunt and snapper while trying not to fall off a sea wall into the waters of Biscayne Bay, Florida, that he was forever changed.
“It just ignited a passion in me,” says Poveromo. “From then on, every free moment I had, I just wanted to go fishing.
“Nothing against dentistry, but had I done what my dad wanted and become a dentist, I would’ve been so bored and hated life. It just wasn’t for me. I like looking in fish’s mouths, not peoples.”
Decades later, he’s looked in a lot of fish’s mouths, and helped tens of thousands of other anglers do the same. Whether it’s writing articles for Salt Water Sportsman magazine; producing the Salt Water Sportsman National Seminar Series; or hosting his own nationally-televised series, “George Poveromo’s World of Saltwater Fishing,” the Mercury Pro Team member has carved out one of the most successful careers imaginable in the fishing industry.
Though, he’ll be quick to point out he did listen to his dad’s wants for him to get an education. Hence, his degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Miami. But even that comes with an asterisk.
“If anyone had told me back in school that one day I’d actually do anything in broadcast journalism I’d have called them a bold-faced liar,” says Poveromo. “The only reason I chose that degree was because I heard it had the easiest courses, which would leave me more time to fish.”
And fish he did.
Once his dad retired, he wanted to fish more and more, but he also didn’t feel like running the boat. George was more than happy to take the helm.
“[My dad] was, inadvertently, my first sponsor, because he always kept the boat full of gas,” jokes Poveromo.
While he was supposed to be getting an education in school, he was equally getting an education out on the water. So much so, he was recognized by Motor Boating & Sailing magazine as one of the top eight anglers in the country in 1983 … at age 23.
Poveromo never looked back from there, with his dad watching his own passion turn into something he never could’ve imagined for his son.
“My dad passed away eight or nine years ago, but he was around for all my successes,” says Poveromo. “While we had plenty of arguments about my passion when I was younger, I could tell he was really proud that I succeeded …
“Well, it was a mixture of proud and surprise.”