My current Bass Cat Eyra, which I plan to replace later this year, is the fifth bass boat I’ve owned. It’s also the most lightly used among the bunch. As I’ve gotten older, not only have increased obligations prevented me from fishing as much, but a decreased sense of urgency combined with greater discretion lead me to treat my boats more gently.
Last week my wife Hanna took her first fishing trip without me, meeting up with her lady angler friends from Tennessee and Wisconsin at Kentucky Lake. It’s a renowned tournament venue, mostly for its summer offshore ledge fishing, but they were there during the “yellow flower” bite and it promised to be a shallow water slugfest.
My father’s college roommate Steve was a precocious go-getter, a scholar and an athlete who put himself through college by working as a waiter in the Catskills during the summers, and through medical school by making semi-legal late night house calls to the roughest neighborhoods in Harlem and Brooklyn. His story was always even more impressive to me because he came from exceptionally humble beginnings, raised by a handicapped grandmother in a dilapidated beach shack.
I first met Ronnie Moore at the Elite Series event on the Delaware River in 2014. I needed a ride to the ramp one morning and somehow ended up in the passenger seat of Ronnie’s silver pickup, where I was treated to a 75 mile per hour run up the road, dodging early commuters and running up on a sidewalk or two as we hauled the mail to get there in time for blast-off.
At the 2005 Bassmaster Classic in Pittsburgh, the suits at ESPN decided that more media coverage is always better media coverage, so they attempted to shove two writers in certain competitors’ boats on a single day. Aaron Martens, who is known to be pretty obsessive about the weight of his boat, flipped out. Not only would his ride be slower, but it would be more cramped, too. He appealed to Rick Clunn for advice.
Last year KVD won an Elite Series event at Toledo Bend with 96 pounds of bass. This year John Murray won there with 77-plus. Some pros attribute the drop-off to the fact that this year the derby took place a month earlier, when the fish were in a funky in-between stage. Others say it was because of a change in the vegetation. But there has also been lots of grumbling that the fish population is not what it was.
Three tournaments into the Elite Series season and newcomer Jamie Hartman is sitting pretty in 10th place in the AOY race, thanks largely to top three finishes at both Cherokee and Toledo Bend, two wildly disparate lakes. Hartman’s story is a good one, not only because he’s a 40-something northeasterner bashing into a circuit where rookies are still largely younger and more southern, but also because he pretty much bet the farm on this as a career – selling almost everything, putting the rest in storage, breaking up with the girlfriend and couch surfing his way to this point.