The best piece of clothing I acquired in the past year was actually two pieces of clothing.
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 telling me about the Lane brothers’ grandfather pulling up to Rodman Reservoir in an old green hearse, I love to hear about anything outside the ordinary.
I really wish that I’d had some formal training in journalism, because despite a wealth of informal mentors I’ve had to learn many of the hardest lessons through trial and error. One of the skills that I’ve worked hardest on in recent years is the not-so-simple act of building working relationships with specific anglers and industry personalities. I suppose in hardcore investigative journalism they’d call it “cultivating sources.” It involves access and trust.
I’ve blogged for B.A.S.S. at the last 10 Bassmaster Classics, and while I still geek out on it, the boat rides scare the hell out of me. Between wind, boat wakes and general idiocy on the water, I assume that there’s at least a 42.8% chance that meet my eventual demise trying to track down some glitter boat chasing fishing immortality.
There are two good articles about spinnerbaiting in the March 2019 issue of Bassmaster, the first by Mark Hicks and featuring Rick Clunn and the second by Steve Price and featuring Matt Herren. They both discuss the same type of lure, but what really caught my attention was the fact that both successful pros had spinnerbait mentors:
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’d guesstimate that I have 80 pounds of tackle in the two bags I keep in storage at Lake El Salto. Most of it consists of proven tools, but there are also plenty of items that haven’t produced a single fish for me down there – including flutter spoons, umbrella rigs and various glide baits. Their lack of production might be because I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, or because I’ve fished them at the wrong times, or a combination of the two, but the bottom line is that they’re wasting space, and so far they’ve wasted time, too.
Much has been made of Rick Clunn’s seeming agelessness, the fact that some considered him over-the-hill before he won an Elite Series tournament on the St. Johns River in 2016, and then proceeded to match that feat to start the 2019 season. He’s 72 years old, has been fishing for a living for over four decades, and seems just as fascinated by the intricacies of the sport as he was in the 1970s.
The last time I’d visited Mexico’s Lake Picachos, in the summer of 2015, the fishing was insane. The guides, all of whom by local ordinance have to be from the villages that were flooded to make the lake (don’t worry, they were all compensated and relocated), could simply beat the bank and lead you to one fish after another after another.