Our new Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year, Brent Chapman, lives in a world of positives, as does the rest of his family. I’ve waited a couple of weeks to write this because I wanted some of the fishing publicity surrounding him to die down before I put forth my thoughts.
Brent’s a good guy. I remember fishing one time on Lake Wheeler in an Elite Event. I was throwing at a dock post near the entrance to a large bay. I’d caught a lot of fish by it the day before, so I had no intention of leaving. It was one of those places where the bass moved in and out. Any cast could produce a big one. Of course, Brent didn’t know any of this.
He came in, fished his way around it, and then started to leave after about a half-hour. Just as he was alongside me on his way out, I hooked and landed a giant. It was in the 5-pound class. He yelled at me with a huge smile on his face, saying I was the most patient guy in the world.
I’m sure he thought I was crazy to fish one post for 30 minutes, at least before I caught that big fish. Nevertheless, he took joy in my success. His smile was genuine and his good spirit was true.
His wife, Bobbi, is no different. On the first day of the Oneida event this year I was fishing within sight of the campground where the Chapman’s were staying. Bobbi was out walking their dog. I hooked a good fish. It was jumping and thrashing about making a ruckus. I was doing the same thing.
Bobbi saw all this and started yelling and hollering at me, telling me to fight hard and encouraging me to get the fish to the boat. You could tell by the way she was acting that she really meant it. She wanted me to do well. We all know that her husband was fishing for the AOY title. That had to be on her mind. She wouldn’t be human if it wasn’t. Yet, she was genuinely thrilled that I was catching a bass.
OK, maybe I wasn’t her husband’s prime competitor. What I did or didn’t do that day would have no effect on him one way or the other. But still, she had the moral makeup and the positive mental attitude to want others to do well, too. That says something about her — something good.
And so, while everyone talks about his fishing skills and how good he is with a rod and reel, let’s not forget that he’s an even better human being surrounded by wonderful human beings. (Brent’s father is just like the rest of the family.) His world is a good world. It’s one we should all envy.
If his blog isn’t already named, I’ll suggest we call it Brent Chapman’s World. I’m sure if we read it regularly we’ll learn as much about how to live as we learn about how to fish.