We all had a real good time at Dixie Marine last Saturday. I enjoyed seeing my old fans and meeting new ones. As always, we had a good time swapping fishing stories and trading tips about the newest baits and techniques. Thanks to everyone who took the time to join us. We appreciate it.
Next to seeing everyone, the thing I most enjoyed about the day was seeing my new Ranger boat. I’m now running a snakeskin-wrapped official Ranger bass boat, and is it ever a beauty. They put it right out on the front lawn so everyone could see and admire it.
I’ve owned several Ranger boats but this is the first one I’ve ever had with all the bells and whistles on it. I even ordered optional deluxe wheels for the trailer. I’m about as proud as a new father. To be sponsored by a company with the storied reputation of Ranger is a dream come true for me. There’s more than one reason for that.
As a businessman, I admire the way they put together their brand name and reputation among anglers. Their products are first-class and so is their service. It’s rare to have a problem with one but if you do, they make it right. And you’ll never hear anybody say they were nickel-and-dimed in the process. That matters to someone like me. If I’m not on the water, I’m not competing. If I’m not competing, I’m not in a position to win.
Brand awareness like that is something that’s earned over many years. Earned is the operative word. You don’t fool professional anglers, not for very long anyway. They know what works and they know what doesn’t. Ranger boats work. That’s the long and the short of it.
Another thing I like about them is that they’ll sponsor someone like me. What I mean by that is that they look beyond the winning and losing record of an angler. They look towards dedication to the sport and the character of the competitor. They see the bigger picture.
I’ve never claimed to catch the most — or the biggest — bass. I’m not the guy who’s always in the winner’s circle with a crowd of photographers and writers around me. Nevertheless, there’s no angler on this planet that launches his or her boat with more pride than me. Nor is there any angler on this planet who loves the sport of bass fishing more than me.
I do everything I can to promote our sport every time I go fishing, no matter how many fish I have (or have not) caught. Ranger recognized that effort with this boat and wrap. I appreciate them for doing that. I’m really proud to be a part of their family. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.
But enough of that: It’s Classic week. Congratulations to all who earned the right to fish the Red River this year. It’s an honor not to be taken lightly. May the best man win!