The recent Elite Series tournament at Winyah Bay was presented as a binary choice – do you make the long run to the (assumedly better) fishery in the Cooper River, or stay close and get more fishing time? Within those two choices, though, there were strategic elements that had the potential to derail even the “proper” choice.
Unlike many of you, I’m generally of the opinion that golf is a waste of good real estate, but nevertheless I was moved by seeing Tiger Woods celebrate his victory in the Masters on Sunday. As fishing fans have already been reminded this year, you should “never think that your best days are behind you.”
We’ve reached peak velocity in the professional fishing world, with all three major tours holding events this week on three distinctly different venues – a TVA grass lake full of monsters, a southern smallmouth impoundment, and a massive river system that demands game day strategy as much as fishing skill.
If you’re even a casual fan of professional bass fishing, this is likely one of the most exhilarating, confusing or maddening years of your fan experience. If you’re “inside the bubble” – a tour-level pro, a wannabe pro or some other sort of industry figure – you might think you have things figured out, but in reality you should probably be more on edge than ever before. From this point forward, there will be tremendous opportunity, but there will also be chances to miss the boat.
After nearly 25 years of tournament fishing and 15 years of writing, I remain fascinated by the tow vehicles anglers use to get from Point A to Point B. Whether it’s Craig Lamb telling me about his days of being a personal driver for Forrest Wood’s Ranger-pulling Lincoln Continental, or Rick Pierce telling me about the Lane brothers’ grandfather pulling up to Rodman Reservoir in an old green hearse, I love to hear about anything outside the ordinary.
I really wish that I’d had some formal training in journalism, because despite a wealth of informal mentors I’ve had to learn many of the hardest lessons through trial and error. One of the skills that I’ve worked hardest on in recent years is the not-so-simple act of building working relationships with specific anglers and industry personalities. I suppose in hardcore investigative journalism they’d call it “cultivating sources.” It involves access and trust.
I’ve blogged for B.A.S.S. at the last 10 Bassmaster Classics, and while I still geek out on it, the boat rides scare the hell out of me. Between wind, boat wakes and general idiocy on the water, I assume that there’s at least a 42.8% chance that meet my eventual demise trying to track down some glitter boat chasing fishing immortality.