An open letter to Gerald Swindle

Don Barone

About the author

Don Barone

Don Barone

db has been in the reporting biz for over 30 years, won some Emmys and other awards, but is proudest of his four-decade marriage, his two kids and the fact he founded Tackle The Storm Foundation to help children.

“You can chase a dream…”

Dateline: BASSfest

“Gerald, tell me, in your mind, do you think you are a good angler?”

“Honestly, db, no, no I don’t.”

I struggled with whether to use that quote, struggled in fact with even writing this story. If you are into numbers, know this, I have deleted this entire story 3 times now.

Never backed up a one of them.

So, if I begin with brutal honesty from my good friend, Gerald Swindle, I will follow that with brutal honesty from myself.

Fair is fair.

Here goes: As a reporter I’m supposed to be an uninvolved, non-biased observer of who or what it is that I cover.

For 23 years, I was exactly that, coldly so.

Truth…I am not that anymore.

Go on your boards and jump all over me, say whatever you want, mock whatever you want, but it don’t matter none to me.

I AM FRIENDS WITH AND I CARE ABOUT THE PEOPLE I COVER NOW. And yeah, they don’t teach that in Journalism School.

But I think maybe they should.

I think you GET and you WRITE the best stories, when you have skin in the game. I have a dog in this fight…104 to be exact.

So I tell you, back a couple weeks ago at Lake Dardanelle when Gerald was sitting up on the Bassmaster stage on Championship Sunday, I was standing a few feet to his right, waiting and hoping, this would be his day. I had the camera up and focused on him to record victory, or defeat.

This is the shot I took.

And as I took the shot, I felt as bad as he did at what turned out to be the eventual outcome.

He lost.

In the couple weeks since this shot, I have reached out to Gerald a few times, txt’d him this exact message: “U OK.”

Gerald always responded, that he was, but the other day was the first time I got to talk to him in person, talked to him at the best time, after a day of practice fishing as he worked on tackle in his boat parked next to his 5th wheel.

“Gerald, tell me, in your mind do you think you are a good angler.”

“Honestly, db, no, no I don’t.”

And this was my answer back.