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RAF MILDENHALL — Eddie Kidd’s been fishing for so long, he says he can see the world like the slimy, gilled creatures of the water.

“There’s so much that goes into where fish are going to be found,” he said. “The weather, the water temperature, the time of year, the phases of the moon, the clarity of the water and the color of the lure. Even the presentation matters.

“You basically have to think like the fish.”

Kidd, a coordinator for school activities at RAF Mildenhall, became so adept at thinking like the fish that he cast his way onto the professional fishing circuit.

“It went from being a little bit of fun with the guys to really getting into it,” he said. “It’s definitely in my blood now.”

His competitive fishing started when he would travel from Germany to Spain to fish at Lake Caspe, which was stocked with bass by an American Air Force colonel in 1973 and now boasts one of Europe’s largest bass concentrations, Kidd said.

“It all started out with basic potluck tournaments,” he said. “We’d have prizes for the biggest bass, the most bass and the biggest fish overall. Everyone got pretty competitive, and we had a ton of fun on that lake.”

In 2003, his fishing prowess earned him a spot in a professional fishing tournament in northern California.

“In my first tournament, I actually beat the pro who was in my boat with me,” he said. “From then on, I knew I could compete at that level.”

Today, despite living in England, the 46-year-old Cincinnati native still travels to the U.S. to compete in tournaments and continues to hit the water regularly to fish.

People may wonder what differentiates the weekend fishermen from the professional angler who can make upwards of $100,000 on the pro circuit. Kidd says it’s like any sport, and that it’s the minute details that separate the good from the great.

“There’s so much that goes into play I can hardly list it all,” he said. “Besides knowing how the fish act, you have to have great skills. Timing and accuracy are huge. Sometimes you have less than two seconds to set a hook, or you have to be able to place a lure in exactly the right spot.”

Fishing has always been a family affair for Kidd. He learned to cast his first line with his father on the Ohio River where the two would angle for bass and catfish.

Now the retired Army sergeant first class is teaching his daughter how to net fish at a lake in nearby Lakenheath village.

“She loves it and I love it, and as soon as my youngest daughter is ready, she’ll be joining us at the lake.”

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