Porche was able to obtain a title sponsor, US Highland in Tulsa, to help defray his costs.
“He got a stellar deal for a rookie,” Elam said. “I have a few sponsors helping me out, but I don't have anybody floating it all.”
Elam, 26, works for his family's machine shop in Catoosa. He says fishing the Elite Series is a financial risk, but it's one he can't pass up.
“It's like starting your own business, really,” he said. “I knew how hard it would be and how much money it would take, but it's something I've always wanted to do. I didn't know if it would ever be possible.”
To help save money, Porche and Elam will be traveling buddies on the Elite Series. They will ride and room together during the season.
“James and I have known each other since we were kids,” Porche said. “We grew up fishing Fishin' Pals against each other.”
The anglers might share a meal and a room, but they won't share any fishing secrets.
Even though Elam and Porche are friends - they are competitors on the water - and rarely share fishing information with each other.
“We just don't talk a whole lot about fishing out of respect for each other,” Porche said. “Maybe what color (bass) are eating or something like that, but not where you're at or what you're focusing on.”