Benton couple hooked on fishing

By Lisa Burnett Originally Published April 7, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated April 5, 2013 at 1:56 p.m.
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PHOTO BY: Rusty Hubbard

Marvin and Shawna Lewis of Benton fish bass tournaments all across the state. They’ve been fishing together competively for about four years and were married a couple of years ago.

— For them, a typical weekend involves going out to a lake and standing for eight hours or more in the sun, the wind, the rain or whatever Mother Nature throws at them. Yes, there’s something fishy about this pair — Marvin and Shawna Lewis. That’s because the couple have been angling competitively together for about four years now.

The two compete in Vince Miller’s Arkansas Couples Tournaments across the state from March to September.

Shawna, originally from Jessieville, met Marvin, from Benton, through some mutual friends. The Lewises married about two years ago but started fishing together before they wed.

“That’s why I decided to keep her,” Marvin said.

Shawna said she went fishing in creeks in her hometown when she was a child but had never learned how to fish competitively.

Marvin isn’t new to the competitive-fishing circuit. He began fishing competitively with his uncle at a young age and still fishes with his uncle when not fishing with his wife.

“I’ve been tournament fishing since I was about 13 or 14 years old,” Marvin said. “I used to literally beg to go fishing.”

As Marvin began teaching Shawna the correct techniques to fish competitively, she realized how much hard work the sport really is.

“Wives should not complain about their husbands fishing if they haven’t been,” Shawna said.

Shawna said that as Marvin was teaching her the correct way to fish, she realized that he got frustrated with her as she was learning.

“It’s been a learning process for me,” Shawna said. “It took me a year to figure out how to cast correctly.”

Despite those trying times as he instructed Shawna, Marvin said he is proud of his wife and the way she fishes in competitions.

“She’s done really well,” Marvin said. “There aren’t a lot of women that can do this.”

Each competition the Lewises participate in can physically take a toll on a person. Contestants are usually out on the water from 7 a.m. to about 3 p.m.

Shawna said that because she and Marvin are on their feet for about eight hours when they compete, she is sore when she gets back to work on Monday.

Fishing together allows the Lewises to spend time together outside of their home.

“It’s a good way for me to clear my mind and focus on my fishing and forget about work,” Marvin said.

Although the hours spent fishing can be exhausting, Marvin said, the time spent on the water is worth it in the end.

“When you’re outside, you get to see more things than most people get to see,” Marvin said. “We see some of the best sunrises and sunsets [on the water] you’ll ever see.”

When the two compete on the weekends, Marvin said, it isn’t the other couples in the tournaments that they are competing against; it’s the fish.

“Those little green devils are smart,” Marvin said.

Shawna said she enjoys spending time with her husband while they fish, even if he gets frustrated with her at times.

“Some guys don’t want their wives to fish with them,” Shawna said. “It’s nice that he enjoys it.”

Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or

Online News Editor Lisa Burnett can be reached at

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