There have been big doings this week in our world. The sale of BASS is official. With new owners will come change.
Naturally, all of us (professional anglers) are wondering what that means for us and how it will affect the future of our sport. Our worries are not that things will go bad. They won't. The new group is top-shelf. (I say that as a businessman as well as an angler.)
It's just that change is unsettling. We like things in predictable patterns. Most of us want things to be as they always have been. There's one thing about this sport that I'm not wondering about, however, and that's the men and women who participate in it. I don't believe that'll ever change.
Anglers are a funny group. They'll beat your brains out on Thursday and then lend you a rod and reel to fish against them on Friday. I've seen it happen many times in the past and I'll see it happen many times in the future.
I'll never forget the break-in down in Florida. Basically, everything I owned fishing-wise was stolen. As soon as the story spread, my phone started ringing. The calls came in so fast that I couldn't answer them all. In the middle of all that, I had to answer the door to my room because guys were coming by wanting to know what I needed. Those anglers were doing that knowing that I would use the tackle to try to out-fish them in a few hours. I was after the same check they were after. Nevertheless, they did it with a smile and a good luck wish. In part, their actions were motivated by self-interest.
If you do something good, it'll come back to you later — the good karma, bad karma thing. And make no mistake, everyone will need help at some time in this business, and probably in every other business as well. Their bigger motivation came from the heart. Anglers are that way. It's a part of our soul. We want to help.
This topic reminds me of the Special Olympics commercial on TV. A young man is running on a track, nearing the finish line. He's obviously going to win. Another young man, way behind and in last place, falls. Everyone in the race stops and turns around to look. Not one competitor will start running again until they know their fallen friend is OK. It's a camaraderie that exists in some sports that others have trouble understanding. Thank goodness we have it in professional bass fishing.
And so, while we think about the changes that are coming, wondering what they will be and how they're going to affect us, we should also think about what's permanent and far more important. The men and women who chase bass — like those who compete in the Special Olympics — are good people.