When Eli Wiggins was 7 years old, nearly the same size as the gun he held in his hand, he downed his first 8-point buck. A few months later, he caught a 4-lb. largemouth bass. His dad, James Wiggins, says what his son has is not natural.
“He’s got a gift like none I’ve ever seen,” said James. “To the point where as a father it makes you very proud, but it makes you very frustrated to go hunting and fishing with him because you know you’re not going to out-fish or hunt him.”
When he was 4 years old, Eli, who is now 14, wanted his room painted camo. He practices calling turkeys and deer with his mouth. His father only taught him to shoot a gun and to cast a line, and Eli has taken it and run from there.
Behind his house as a child, there was a small mud hole used for fill dirt that was about half full of rain water. Eli decided one day he was going to catch a few fish in that mud hole.
“He grabbed a Zebco 33, and I don’t even know what kind of bait he was using because I know he didn’t have any,” said James. “He may have scratched up some earthworms or something. His granddaddy went down to check on him, and he had 13 fish.”
No matter the sport, as long as it was some form of hunting or fishing, Eli had the magic touch. His dad would wait hours in the blind for a turkey, and one would strut out as soon as Eli sat down. James would take 20 casts before catching a fish, and Eli would be landing fish after fish in the boat. He just had it.
Young kids get nightmares, but not many would venture to say they’ve had one like Eli.
“Where my in-laws live, his granddaddy, they run dogs for hunting. He woke up about 4 years old crying, ‘I had a nightmare. I had a dream someone stole all of Papa’s dogs and we couldn’t go hunting.’”
Just this past June, 14-year-old Eli was fishing on Lake Burton in Clarkesville on Father’s Day weekend when he reeled in a whopping 10-lb., 1-oz. largemouth bass. What did he do just three days later? Reel in a monster 9-lb., 9-oz. bass.
Instead of buying video games and electronics, Eli spends his money on fishing lures and rifle accessories. He even practices pitching with his fishing pole in the pool when he’s at home not hunting or fishing.
“It’s almost comical to watch him,” said James. “He’s got it in his blood.”