Luke Bryan Says New Diagnosis Won’t Keep Him From Doing What He Loves

Luke Bryan

Heavy/ABC Luke Bryan recently learned he's literally allergic to one of his favorite pastimes

Country star Luke Bryan may have topped the charts in 2017 with “Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day,” but the “American Idol” judge recently learned that he has to be extra careful in the great outdoors.

During an interview on “Audacy’s Totally Private” — released on April 16, 2024 — the avid outdoorsman told Katie Neal that he’s been diagnosed with an allergy to bass, the very species of fish he has caught and released his whole life. Though the condition has always plagued him, he never knew what was causing him to look and feel so bad out on the lake.

Not willing to give up bass fishing due to his allergy, Bryan said if he stays “ahead of it” with medicine, he can lessen his symptoms — though he worries some people may still wonder why he looks red and swollen after a day on the lake.

Luke Bryan Jokes That If He Looks ‘Like I’ve Been Smoking Pot,’ He’s Probably Been Bass Fishing

At the start of their discussion, Bryan started sharing what a great weekend he’d had hunting and fishing with his family at home in Franklin, Tennessee. But all that time in the outdoors, he wanted Neal to know, was taking its toll on his sinuses.

“I’ve been in the woods in the spring (in) Tennessee,” Bryan explained, looking a bit bleary-eyed. “Couple of allergies, but we’ve been turkey hunting … I had my boys and some of their buddies come in, and it’s been a fun weekend.”

Neal interjected, “Speaking of allergies, can we finish the conversation we started to have last week?”

At first Bryan looked puzzled, but then he exclaimed, “Oh! My bass fishing allergy!”

“It’s unbelievable,” she marveled, given that Bryan is such a huge fisherman and frequently posts his latest catch on social media.

Rubbing his eyes, Bryan said, “I actually caught bass today. So, just so we know, if I do interviews and I look like I’ve been smoking pot, that’s not true. I’ve been catching bass.”

“So, you’re literally allergic to touching a bass is what you’re telling me,” Neal said.

“If I touch a bass, my eyes will get red, my hands will swell if I have to take the hook out,” he explained. “I’ll take, like, an Allegra, and I’ll get in front of it. I’m like, ‘I know I’m gonna fish today, so I’ll take an Allegra.”

Luke Bryan Never Knew Why He’d Get So Sick Fishing With His Dad When He Was Young

Bryan has been very vocal over the years about his love of fishing, especially bass fishing. In the fall of 2021, Bryan even released a song and music video called “Bill Dance,” dedicated to the legendary pro bass fisherman.

The following July, they filmed a day of catching and releasing on the lake at Bryan’s Tennessee property along with another pro, Kevin VanDam. Bryan crowned himself “the ultimate fisherman” in the video of their adventures.

Bryan has also turned his boys — 16-year-old Bo and 13-year-old Tate — into fishing fanatics, joking to Audacy’s Rob + Holly show in January that he’d been “brainwashing” them into wanting to repeat a trip he once took to the Amazon to fish for Peacock Bass.

Bryan grew up fishing with his own dad, he told Neal during their interview, but said they never knew why he had such severe allergic reactions whenever they went out.

“My dad would take me on these fishing trips, and I would be in the back of the boat like wheezing, maybe in need of an EpiPen,” he recalled. “My Dad was just like, (‘Suck it up’). We just thought it was allergies (to) like, the trees, but it’s actually touching the bass.”

Since learning about his allergy, Bryan said he’s spoken to others and learned he’s “not alone in that.”

“So, maybe I can bring awareness,” he joked. “My new foundation is (for) those who’ve been cursed by the touch (of bass).”

Explaining that his allergy extends beyond bass, Bryan said, “It’s really sunfish — like a brim, a shell cracker. There’s a lot of internal names for fish. Blue gill is a more Illinois reference. But any of those things, yeah, they wipe me out pretty good.”

According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, bass are part of the sunfish family, which exists “naturally only in the fresh waters of North America.”

Bryan launched his latest tour on April 17 and appears live on “American Idol” every Sunday and Monday night through May.

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