I've managed 8 top 10's and 10 checks out of 18 tournaments but a large part of my income is based on tournament winnings and with all of the contingency money (Triton Gold, Boat U.S., Power Pole Captain's Cash, etc.) riding on a 1st place finish, the difference in 1st and 2nd is 10 grand or more. Unfortunately the WIN has evaded me all season and my overwhelming desire to win has all but taken the "FUN" out of tournament fishing for me and I've considered taking a break from it. I love the guiding part of my business, watching people get excited over catching fish has been the only thing keeping me going.
I'm not one of those people that just loves to be on the water, I just love to fish. When the opportunity arose to drive the camera boat in the Lady Bass Anglers Association event on KY Lake I was a little hesitant. If I'm not casting, catching or searching for fish, I'd rather be doing something else, so I wasn't real enthused about watching other people fish for 2 days but it was a chance to make a little money so I decided to do it.
It ended up being just what the Dr. ordered and one of the few good decisions I've made this season! It started with my being introduced to the "camera man" Larry Morris. Larry is an outdoor writer, photographer, bait maker (River Runner Baits) and fisherman from Virginia who does the photography and PR for the LBAA . Larry and I got to know each other quite well the past 2 days. Every once in awhile you meet someone who has a lot of the same views, beliefs and interests as you and Larry was one of those people. We really hit it off and have already talked about working together in the future.
When we hit the water Thursday morning I was trying to get mentally prepared to spend a day on the lake without a fishing rod my hand which is something I've never experienced. A couple of the lady's stopped close to the launch and we shot some pics of them and saw a few fish being caught which was pretty cool. I kept my distance from the first two so we didn't bother them while they were working.
Our 3rd stop was the legendary Emily Shaffer. When we pulled up to Emily she started trolling towards us and casting at my boat. I was afraid I'd gotten too close and interfered but she was actually wanting us to come closer so we could get some pics of a couple of nice smallmouth she'd just caught! It surprised me that she would take the time to do that and it was very gracious of her. I've known of Emily forever but had never met her and after just 20 minutes with her we were cutting up like we'd known each other for years. She was very personable and I learned quickly why she's been as successful in the industry as she has.
The 4th stop was Lisa Johnson and her co-angler Kim Giddens. We actually ran into them twice that day and Lisa had a smile on her face the entire time. Lisa had one rod on the deck and said she was going to do what she liked to do, have fun and that's all that mattered. She was cool, calm and collected and I was truly inspired by her attitude and the way she handled herself. She rode that attitude to the day 1 lead with 16lbs.
I can't break down every single angler we watched, but long story short, they were all great in every way. Not only in their fishing ability but more importantly their attitudes. They were out there working hard, catching fish and every one of them taught me how to do something I've somehow forgotten.....to HAVE FUN!
I would've never dreamed I would've gotten so much out of 2 days on the water not making a cast or turning my electronics on. I'd like to thank my new friend Larry Morris just for being the kind of person he his, the LBAA for the opportunity to help them out and most of all the lady anglers for treating me like I was one of the family and especially their outlook on the sport. It was refreshing, inspiring and it couldn't have come at a better time!
|LISA JOHNSON, "THE INSPIRATION" Photo courtesy of Larry Morris|