My friend Fred ... Roumbanis, that is

I’ve been rooming with Fred Roumbanis and his wife, Julie, this year. I’d like to take this opportunity to say thanks to them for their hospitality and to tell you a little about Fred and Julie. The fans often learn about the pros’ fishing, but rarely about their life. Let’s change that.

First and foremost, Fred and Julie are about the nicest people I know. Their world is positive and upbeat, catching fish or not. I’ve often thought that they must have parents who were hippies or were a part of the love and peace generation. They’re always smiling, laughing and having a good time. They tiptoe through the tulips without a care in the world.

Fred loves Julie to death. That’s obvious. At the same time, however, he seems oblivious to how much she spoils him. She caters to his every need. She fixes his favorite foods, looks after his clothes and generally babies him. If he doesn’t have what he needs, Julie gets it for him or makes him forget he ever needed it in the first place. He’s spoiled rotten.

But, there’s another side to Fred. He's a fierce competitor. When you first meet him on the dock, Fred can seem a little shallow in his thinking — like a guy who doesn’t put a whole lot of deep thought into much of anything.

That couldn’t be more wrong. If you fish against him, you’ll find out quick enough that he can bite.

An example of what I’m talking about happened this past week on Lake Murray. We were all having big fish follow our baits — mostly bigger stuff like swimbaits and big topwaters. Most of us continued to fish them thinking that if the bass were following them, that must be what they wanted.

Not Fred. During practice he quietly marked every spot where he had a follow on a big bait, all the while complaining and carrying on that he couldn’t get them to bite. Then, during the tournament, he quietly fished those same spots with a light drop shot. He used a tiny hook, tiny worm and very light line. And he caught them — good.

I suppose I’m telling you all of this because things are going to change with us in the near future. Julie’s pregnant, and their son Jackson, will be starting kindergarten this fall. Both of them want him to have more structure in his life than he’ll get traveling all the time. Fred and I are going to have to bach it.

Charlie can handle that. Fred’s another story. That boy has a long ways to go. His learning curve will be steep. He’s my friend; I’ll help him. I’ve warned him, however, that I draw the line when it comes to tucking him in at night. He’ll have to wait until he gets home for that.

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