OK guys, here goes some free, unsolicited advice: Marry well, especially if you want to be a B.A.S.S. pro.
Last week, I was out fishing. There’s nothing unusual about that except for what I found when I got home. Our golf cart was decorated by Tracey for the Teka Village Parade down here, and I don’t mean decorated just a little bit. It had a Santa, fishing rods and reels and a Christmas banner. She even put a B.A.S.S. sticker on the darn thing.
I got the biggest kick out of what she did. It made our cart unique but also celebrated the fact that I fish. That’s true support from a wife. She’s been that way since before we got married. It’s the most powerful force in my life. There’s nothing more a man can ask of his wife.
I’ve been driving that cart around since she decorated it. I even take it fishing when I hit some of the local ponds and borrow pits. I get a few stares but they’re all good natured, and the bass don’t seem to mind at all.
This column isn’t just about her, though. It’s also about her family. You know a lot of people complain about their in-laws, or at least just tolerate them. Not me. I love my in-laws. In truth, they couldn’t be any better to me. If I sat down and made a list of what I wanted from my wife’s family, they would hit every bullet point.
Back in the day, before I married Tracey, I had to run down to Florida when the weather turned cold in Ohio. I stayed somewhere, anywhere I could afford at the time, and fished as best I could. After a few short days, I’d have to go back — business and finances left me with no alternative.
Now things are different. Tracey’s family lives here. We have a beautiful home to stay in, one that feels like a home, and we’re treated better than anyone could expect. How my boat is handled is a perfect example of what I’m talking about.
They made special arrangements in their community so that I could park my boat under the carport. That’s no small thing. It’s in a safe place. I don’t have to take my tackle out of it at night or worry about someone vandalizing it. And I have electric for my batteries ready at hand. How’s that for service with a smile?
Another thing is the food. I mostly subsist on fast food hamburgers, fish sandwiches and whatever else you can buy at a drive-thru for a couple of bucks when I’m fishing. It’s not bad but it’s not real good, either. Down here I get hot meals, home cooked, that are delicious.
The bottom line is that things are going well. I won’t tell you that I’m not disappointed in my performance at Okeechobee. I fished a place I thought might give up the winning weight. It didn’t. Nevertheless, Tracey was at the weigh-in wearing a smile.
And so, I repeat myself: Marry well!