Boardroom vs. boat deck

B.A.S.S.
Mark Zona, Don Logan and Kevin VanDam (left to right) on a smallmouth trip Logan won during a charity fundraiser.

When I signed up for writing a blog occasionally, I did it for one reason. To stay in touch with everyone and let you know I was still on the job.

Make no mistake about it, I am not a writer. I don’t plan out what an article should be about. I just put down what’s on my mind at that particular moment. Here comes a perfect example.

Can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “How you enjoying the offseason?” That would be a logical question if all B.A.S.S. did was hold fishing tournaments. But the idea that we only hold tournaments, well, that’s way off. So, there is obviously no offseason.

However, if tournaments were the only thing it would still be a year round job just trying to keep all the balls in the air and most importantly grow everything. I’m a firm believer that if you aren’t at least making an attempt to get bigger and badder, you’re backing up.

So let me tell you a quick story that’s related to what I have just said. My offseason. Let me remind you that I’m a guy who in the last 65 years has probably fished more than anyone in the world. But that all stopped last fall.

My rods stood in the corner until late spring and actually had spider webs gathering on them. Then, Coach Knight asked me to go away for a 2 or 3 day smallmouth trip and after that it was back to the spider webs for my fishing equipment. That meant from last May until this past September I never got a single bite.

So, my business partner Don Logan, who was also experiencing a dry spell on the water, decides he will go to Traverse City, Mich., and in smallmouth fish for a couple of days with Mark Zona.

At the last moment, Don invites me along, which is a good idea because no one should have to put up with Zona by themselves. So I agree, invite Kevin VanDam and now all four of us are headed to smallmouth heaven.

What a great day and a half we end up having. Although the weather is really tough the fishing is really good and Don ends up catching the biggest smallmouth of his life, a 6-plus-pound fish.

Here’s where the fun starts though. Zona at one point pulls out his phone and takes a picture of me holding a fish so we can send it back to my son Mike as a “rubbing it in” picture. We get that taken care of and then Z puts it on his website with several other pictures and they finally make the Bassmaster.com site.

So now everyone thinks I’m doing what I have done all my life and that’s fish constantly. Truth be known, this was only the second time I had been this year.

Now after about 100 words, I’m finally getting to my point.

I am not ashamed that people would think that all I ever do is fish.

To the contrary … I am proud, if that’s what anyone thinks. That’s the biggest thing I bring to the B.A.S.S. table. I fish.

Don’t take this all wrong now, because in the past I have built a successful business and got really good at what I did. But it all came together because I fished.

All of this comes to mind because after the trip to Traverse City, I was asked on a radio show … get ready for this one … I was asked if it wouldn’t be better for me to be in a boardroom as opposed to a boat with KVD.

I think that was a joke, but maybe not.

Here are my thoughts on that question. I have hopes and dreams, as does Don Logan and Jim Copeland, far and beyond what you can imagine for B.A.S.S. Some of them may be almost unattainable. However the dream and the passion to get there is what is important right now.

Now, if I want something good to happen in the sport of bass fishing, my thinking is I need to be talking to the likes of Denny Brauer, Rick Clunn, Hite, Swindle or maybe KVD. The best place to do that is in a boat. In a boat fishing. I’m sure you get my point.

The very best bass fishermen in the world have some really good ideas about their sport. I, too, have really good ideas about the sport and this organization as well; and man, that can sure come together … in a boat … fishing.

One of the smartest men I have ever known is Don Logan. When it comes to the business of bass fishing; one of the smartest people I know of is KVD. On the second day in Traverse City, Don and I drew straws and I lost. So I fished with Zona and he went with KVD.

I have no idea what was talked about in the Logan/KVD boat, but nothing but good could have come from that day of bass fishing.

Zona and I talked about baseball. Actually, Mark Zona has a great bass fishing mind, as well.

B.A.S.S. has a number of good things going on that finalize in an office or “boardroom”. I know that. I’m not an idiot. But I will always believe that some of them happened because for 95% of my life, all I did was fish. 

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