Standing aboard a fishing boat on the Columbia River and holding a 3-foot sturgeon, Travis Dupell is smiling from ear to ear. It might be the catch of the day that has him in good spirits, but more than likely it’s because this 18-year-old has found his place in the world as a fishing guide, Coastal employee, and big dreamer with a solid future.
Before he could even walk, Travis was the proud owner of a fishing license and a rod and reel.
“I was in diapers when I started fishing,” Travis says, casting out another line. “When you’re born, your parents can buy you a fishing license. My dad took me out and cast my line when I was just a baby.”
By the time Travis could walk and talk, he was hooked.
“I was three when I really got into fishing. I think I’ve been out every day since.”
This hard-working, recent high school graduate also has a job at Coastal.
“I work at the Oregon City store in the yard department,” he added. “Worked here for about a year now. It’s the perfect job for me because I can get time off for fishing. They like that I’m a guide, I think.”
Travis is living his ideal country lifestyle, working hard to make ends meet, growing his fishing guide business, and dreaming of an even brighter future.
“My dad is Buddy Dupell,” Travis proudly stated. “He’s been guiding a long time. I took a week and a half off school earlier this year to take my test. That way I could start guiding when I turned 18.”
While it’s the dream of most fishermen to guide, the process to get there isn’t easy. Especially when you’re a teenager in high school.
In Oregon, Travis had to obtain a valid U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Marine Credential (MMC) along with his Oregon State Marine Board Motorized Passenger Boat Operator’s Certification.
He passed with flying colors.
To add to the fun, he is required to show proof that he is insured and bonded, has basic first aid and CPR skills, and carries adequate safety equipment aboard his boat.
While Travis worked hard in school to graduate early from Oregon City High School, he has no plans to go to college.
“I graduated early to start guiding right away,” he added. “I don’t have any college plans. But I would like to get on with Tidewater Barge Lines and work my way up to tugboat captain on the Columbia River someday. I’d also like to become a lineman for PGE.”
One of Travis’s other dreams includes a fishing trip in Alaska.
“The Columbia River basin is amazing, but I’ve heard that Alaska is a great place to go fishing,” he says with a smile. “It’s part of the plan.”
Start Your Fishing Trip at Coastal
We have everything you need, including rods, reels, tackle boxes, Yeti coolers and tumblers, the Lowrance Elite 5 CHIRP Gold Fish Finder, as well as Smokehouse Wood Smoking Chunks to cook up your catch later in the day.