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Transition Thoughts

On the other hand, I am at times happy to avoid the worry and stress involved with relying on that little green fish to make a living. The bass populations across the country have blessed me with enough success to raise a family and create a livelihood for all these years.

In life, I find that the greatest rewards come after the greatest risks. When I first started thinking of making a living at bass fishing, I was faced with the decision whether to quit my job as Fisheries Biologist or give up on the crazy idea of fishing for a living. I had reached the end of my available “leave” time from the job. I had no more time to travel and fish tournaments. I had to make it happen, or give up on the idea.

I had already gambled a lot by spending my time and money to enter the BASS Invitational series. Fortunately, I won one of the first events I entered. It was the Florida Invitational on Lake Toho. I had never even been to Florida at the time and it was pretty intimidating just to be there, let alone figure out how to catch bass. I found that by concentrating on my strengths as a fisherman, I could compete anywhere. That is a REALLY important realization.

Winning that event provided the bravado and cash necessary to return to Florida and gamble the huge sum of $1250.00 to enter Ray Scott’s crazy idea of Super BASS One. The second time I visited Florida I managed to eke out another Florida win to the tune of $100,000. It was a lot of money then.

Tammy had been with me on the first Florida event because it was part of our honeymoon since we had been married just the week prior to the event, but she had to stay home at her job in a Dentist’s office for this trip. That put more pressure on me to have success. It worked out for the very best to put it mildly.

One of my sweetest memories of that win, or my life for that matter, was the ensuing phone call home. I made the call after the final weigh-in from a pay phone booth on the street in front of the motel where I was staying in East Palatka. I remember speaking into the phone and jumping up and down with joy as Tammy and I made plans to quit our jobs and hit the tournament trail full time. It was a momentous occasion to say the least.

The momentous occasion that will occur in New York next month will hopefully feel as good, or nearly so, as that one on the street in Palatka, FL many fishing trips ago. I know that when any door closes in life, another one opens.

We don’t know how the future will unfold, but Tammy and I are confident it will be for the best. We have lots of things we want to accomplish and enjoy. We are so proud of our family and we look forward to spending more time with them. Lord knows I have missed out on lots of milestones along the way. Now we can be there for more birthdays and anniversaries.

It will be nice to travel with no time constraints and fish where and when we want. There are lots of fish to catch without worries about weigh-in time or bad weather. We have plans to spend a summer in the future driving to Alaska enjoying the journey and all it involves. There are sights to be seen and leisure time to be enjoyed for sure.

I am writing this on the way to Little Rock to see an orthopedic surgeon. We have scheduled an arthroscopic procedure for one of my painful knees tomorrow. Hopefully, this will alleviate some of the pain that has occupied too much of my mind for the last few months. I know it is a pretty long walk from the docks to the stage at Oneida and I want to be able to carry my heavy weigh-in bag up there with pleasure, not pain.

Hopefully, those Yankee bass will cooperate in this plan as well as those Florida bass did way back when. Regardless of how the fishing pans out, I know the week at Oneida will produce lots of memories for me and my whole family. We hope to see you there.

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