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 describing the Lane brothers’ grandfather pulling up to Rodman Reservoir in an old green hearse, I love to hear about anything outside the ordinary.
As boats have grown heavier, and anglers have grown more status-conscious and performance-conscious, the range of rides at the ramp has grown more limited. For the most part we’re now down to a handful of pickups and SUVs from a limited selection of manufacturers.
What we lack in variety, though, we make up for in customization. Following the leads of pros like Skeet, Ike and Ish, more and more anglers have decided to trick out their trucks, whether it’s with a lift kit, custom bumpers, or some combination of add-ons and modifications.
One of the coolest ones I’ve seen belonged to photographer Shane Durrance, with whom I worked at last week’s Bassmaster Classic. He had a 2014 Jeep Wrangler that had been customized as part of a collaboration between Jeep Nation and Orvis. There were all sorts of performance-related upgrades do it, but the thing that I thought was coolest was the fabrication of a set of Orvis waders into seat covers. There are lots of wrapped and stickered vehicles out there that indicate you’re a serious angler, but relatively few have similar reminders inside. I don’t know what the tournament angler’s corollary would be — perhaps seat covers made of Gore-Tex rainsuits? — but this one got the wheels spinning in my mind.
The Jeep is up for sale right now. With a Suburban and an Explorer in the driveway, I’ve got no need for it, but I can’t say I’m not tempted.