CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- The short four-day break between the end of summer conditioning and fall camp provides players a chance to relax before returning to the grind of football.

At Virginia, players relaxed around town, took a trip to the beach or if you are Brennan Armstrong, knocked out a quick photo shoot with McDonald's for his NIL deal. But senior cornerback Anthony Johnson returned to a lifelong love.

"I've been fishing basically since I grew up, since I knew how to," Johnson said. "Me and my family would go out in Alligator Alley, the whole family we would go out and catch coolers filled with bluegill and shell crackers and things like that."

You would never expect to find the same boisterous, sideline dancing Anthony Johnson on a quiet pond outside Charlottesville, a spot shown to him by offensive line coach Garett Tujague.

"It was just something that I grew to love, something to do outside of football," Johnson said. "It's real calm, real relaxing, just being out on the water, see how calm the water is, you can just get away, just think, gather your thoughts."

Although a release from football, Johnson's unwavering self-belief is just as evident.

"Always confident in everything that I do, I think that just comes with being a defensive back though, I don't know," Johnson said. "Either a defensive back thing or a personality thing, I'm trying to figure that out."

While always a part of his life, Johnson said most of his fishing time was spent on trips home after struggling to find a spot in Louisville or in his first with the Cavaliers. With a busy football schedule, Johnson has found pockets of time this year to cast a line in, even getting a few teammates hooked.

"I fish with [Keytaon Thompson] and Billy Kemp, those are the guys I normally fish with," Johnson said. "Might be too early for them, probably still in bed asleep.

"I got to beat those guys up, they're about to be competition in a few days, so if I'm up before them that's good. I kick their butt out here on the fishing creek too, so they get the best of both worlds, they get it out here on the lake and on the field."

An hour of waiting for something to bite provides plenty of time to reflect on the goals and challenges heading into a new season. As one of the leaders on a UVA defense along with Nick Jackson, which struggled throughout last year, Johnson has made it a goal to hold himself and his teammates to a higher standard.

"Something Coach Curome Cox has challenged me with is just be louder, I mean I'm like 'Coach I feel like I'm pretty loud', but he challenged me to be louder, so that's the challenge I'm going to take on," Johnson said.

On this summer day before fall camp though, a few days before the first fall camp of the Tony Elliott era, football is far from the mind.

"Just get to relax, get off my feet, just get my mind mentally ready for football camp. Taking it in that this is my last fall camp ever, I don't think it's hit me yet," Johnson said. "Get ready for a good fall camp, think we're going to have a really good team this year."

From an early age fishing with his grandfather, Johnson's learned many of life's lessons with a rod in hand.

"I can see now, I may not get many bites, so I got to make them count when I get them," Johnson said. "Almost just like that, you never know at corner how many passes you're going to get, how many interception opportunities, so when they come, you definitely got to capitalize."

Moments later, Johnson caught his first fish of the morning, a small bass, but proved a point nonetheless.

"I got one. Nothing to brag about, but it's a fish. That's a nice bass there," Johnson said. "Told you I was going to get one, so now I can talk crap now."

While AJ, as teammates know him, sets his focus on a final season at UVA and his parents prepare for a possible future in the NFL talking to agents, Johnson wants fishing to be a part of any plans.

"That's the plan post-football, maybe even during if I can manage it," Johnson said. "I want to open my own bate and tackle down in South Florida. Just another way to give back to the community as well."

One bad play can ruin any Saturday afternoon, but not much trips up Johnson out here.

"The saying goes a bad day of fishing is better than a good day in the office," Johnson said. "So I would rather do this than be in the office."