Last month I attended the Grand Reopening of Bass Pro Shops in the Opry Mills Mall in Nashville, Tenn. The store was closed for four months due to floods on May 2, 2010. Waters from the nearby Cumberland River literally ran through the store. Store managers told me merchandise actually floated about the store, the water was so deep.
The entire Nashville region was really hit hard by that disastrous flood. Perhaps you saw some of the media's coverage at the time of the event.
The opening was a lot of fun and it raised money for a great cause. For every dollar spent in BPS that day, half of it went to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee to assist in ongoing flood recovery efforts.
Of course, my good friend and BPS founder Johnny Morris was there, as were other big names in the outdoor industry such as Kevin VanDam and Jimmy Houston. Several country music artists were on hand, as well as many athletes, including some members of the NFL's Tennessee Titans.
The event was a big success, and you could tell the community was glad to have that store up and going. There were a lot of people there. I even got to meet some folks from the Lynchburg, Tenn., area where I grew up learning to fish in the region's small creeks. These new friends promised me that a few fish could still be caught in my old childhood stomping grounds, Mulberry Creek!
With the help of many, the people from the Nashville area have really banded together in the wake of a major disaster. It's definitely true — what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. To me, such examples speak volumes about the human spirit, not only for our will to press on in trying times, but also of our potential to reach out and help others.
Now I'd like to talk fishing for just a moment. I've long said confidence is the most important tool in your tacklebox, and that's true. But patience is also paramount to anglers. You've got to have patience, especially on those days when nothing seems to be working. Your early choice on these days is simply to wait them out. Select an area where you think the bass should be and stay there. The theory being that bass are on the move and eventually will pass your way.
Use light tackle on the tough days, those that require extra doses of patience. Short strikes, or bass that follow your lures but refuse to hit, mean that something is making them a bit more cautious than usual. This is the time to try ultralight equipment with light line and miniature lures. You may have difficulty landing some of the fish you hook, but at least you're likely to get some strikes!
For more words of wit and wisdom from one of our sport's greatest legends, check out www.billdanceoutdoors.com.