Another Bassmaster Classic is fast approaching and as I looked back at the event’s recent history I was surprised to learn that the last western winner was Skeet Reese in 2009. As westerners have increasingly established themselves at the top of the Elite heap throughout the regular season and in accumulating AOY titles, there’s been a dearth of big trophy traffic going leftward across the country.
I spent 48 hours in Idaho over the weekend, and except for hard-won breaks to catch a little sleep nearly all of that time was spent in meetings or in a vehicle driving to meetings. On Saturday, though, we had a 90 minute break while El Jefe dealt with some family matters. One member of our group had to go to the store, and I’d heard there was a tackle shop in town, so I asked if I lobbied to be dropped off on the way.
We all pay attention when there are open disputes on the water, and rightfully so, but if we’re going to do that we also need to report on situations where anglers make the right decisions. It’s less sexy, less controversial, and might not generate as many clicks, but it’s important to present both sides of the coin.
For a long time, Kevin VanDam was the model for building a bass career. Not only was he exceptionally gifted and ruthless on the water, but he simultaneously seemed to understand the media and business side of the sport as well. He was able to focus on each individual event without losing sight of the long game. Whether he knew it or not, he served as a template for the next group of super-successful pros – the Ikes, Swindles, AMarts and even Skeets.