Local man keeps fishing despite ALS diagnosis

Published 3:19 pm Friday, July 17, 2015

Andy Koundourakis struggles daily with a disease called amyotrophic lacteral sclerosis, most commonly abbreviated to ALS. Despite dealing with the cramps and muscle trauma associated with ALS, Andy finds a way to succeed and overcome it, especially through fishing.

Koundourakis was diagnosed with ALS in April of 2014. He loves Bainbridge and its efforts to support fishermen. With a community full of love and care, he says he is in the right place to battle the disease.

“If I had a nickel for every prayer I have been given by others, I would be a millionaire,” Koundourakis said.

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Last year, when awareness of ALS reached its peak, many people performed the Ice Bucket Challenge with a pledge to donate money in Koundourakis’ honor.

Andy doesn’t let his ALS diagnosis get in the way of what he loves to do. He still spends time on the water, enjoying every moment. Every line is scratched off his bucket list. Now he just does the fun stuff. He recently won a Media Bass tournament on Lake Eufaula and A Big Fish Event on Lake Seminole. He also won the $10,000 first place prize at that Big Fish special tournament held last year.

Koundourakis started a successful insulation business named AKA Insulation on Spring Creek Road. The company has taken off, offering jobs to several people and allowing Koundourakis some free time to do the fishing he loves. Operating in two states, his business has become a name in the industry and one of the finest in the Lake Seminole area.

Koundourakis is a top performer with the Hydrilla Gnats, a Lake Seminole-based, BASS affiliated club. He’s placed first many times in their tournaments and made the Top-6 Bassmaster Federation Nation events every year that he’s been a club member. Koundourakis’ success at the state level is especially impressive. In his 10-plus years, he has made the State Team all but two times.

Fishing in the East is a completely different style from anywhere else, Koundourakis said. His methods out West typically involve a finesse approach. In the West, he likes how the fisherman use innovative approaches and how they’ve developed new baits and tweaked the swim bait.  He does not miss the lack of cover, the deep and clear lakes where it’s 30 feet deep, 10 feet from the bank.

In the East, Koundourakis turned from finesse to power, found cover and fell in love with the grass. He said there are more bugs and more humidity, but it’s worth the creature discomforts to target the quality largemouth found in the Southeast.

Koundourakis’ wife, Patty, stands strong with her husband as he battles the terrible ALS disease.

“We are all proud of him and thankful for every day we get with Andy,” Patty said. “Andy doesn’t even realize the impact he has made on those around him.”

Surrounded by friends and family that he loves, Koundourakis considers his life to be a success, regardless of ALS.

“I have a wonderful life, a wonderful wife and I am going to leave this world happy!” he said.