The 2007 Bassmaster Elite Series Capitol Clash was the first tournament that I covered for B.A.S.S., and it took a remarkably unlikely series of events for me to get the job.
Three years earlier I’d written an article for Bass West magazine about A-Mart’s performance at the Lake Wylie Classic. Soon thereafter, Bass West magazine editor Jon Storm left for a similar position at BassFan. I bugged him for a while to give me some work and eventually he assigned me to write a weekly column called “On Tour With Lucky Craft.”
Lucky Craft’s Doug Cox was the point man for that effort, which gradually ran out of steam or financial backing, or both, thus ending my gig. I nevertheless stayed in touch with Cox, pestering him more than once for opportunities to write for any of his clients. Except for those eight or ten columns I’d written for BassFan, he had no reason to know of anything I’d done so I was probably just an annoyance.
Doug spent the 2006 Elite Series season on tour, taking pictures of the Lucky Craft pros and working with Bassmaster’s Steve Bowman on a coffee table book called “The Series,” documenting the first Elite Series season.
By the time the Capitol Clash rolled around in 2007, Bowman needed writers to help him on site. By his own admission, he’d had trouble finding people who knew the sport who could write ably and on deadline. He asked around for possible suggestions. Doug Cox, perhaps looking to pawn pestering Pete off on someone else, said “I know a guy…” I was hired with the thinnest of resumes.
Since that trial-by-fire, I’ve covered probably 10 Elite Series events, a handful of Opens, and seven Classics for B.A.S.S., all because I was pushier than I’m normally inclined to be. I must’ve really wanted it bad, and if I didn’t, I should’ve, because it’s an awesome gig. Of course, the work has changed since then. There was no on-the-water blogging in those days – you’d write your morning story, go take a nap or a swim in the hotel pool, grab some lunch and then head back for the weigh-in and your evening story. It was much easier, but not as fulfilling because the writers weren’t as close to the action. I miss those naps, but I’m glad to have seen lots of winning tournament catches come into the boat.
What hasn’t changed is much of the cast of characters. Bowman, Steve Wright and James Overstreet are still at every event, and while I’m not a full-timer like them, they’re kind enough to let me in on the inside jokes and occasionally buy me a beer. And of course I see Doug Cox now and then, and I’ve done some freelance work for him over the years. From my perspective, it seems fitting that Skeet Reese, a Lucky Craft pro, won that first derby. Good karma for his sponsor giving me my start.