I’ve been around this sport long enough to know which anglers are generally despised and which ones are known to “do things the right way.” No, I’m not going to divulge any names from the former group, but if you read between a few lines you can probably figure some of them out. In fact, if you read between the lines, there’s a lot you can learn about the levels of respect that various anglers are afforded.
I don’t know Wesley Strader well. I’ve interviewed him fewer than a half dozen times and last year I had dinner with him as part of a large group in Columbus, Ohio. I’ve never watched him on the water (except on TV). When he made the decision to switch from the FLW Tour to the Elites last fall, I openly pontificated that he was going to Pac Man up a lot of checks, but made no predictions about whether he’d win, or how he’d be received.
After his two recent wins, though, it’s obvious that he falls into the “highly-respected” camp. You can tell it just from looking at the social media posts from his peers, who one after another lined up to congratulate him, recognize his achievements, and also to celebrate the teamwork that exists between Wesley and his wife Stephanie. If he/they weren’t well-liked, the response would’ve left space for chirping crickets.
I’m not saying that there’s no one on tour who dislikes Strader – after all, everyone who achieves even a modicum of success has enemies and envious rivals -- but by means of my own unscientific intuition I’ve determined that the haters are in a distinct minority.